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of the army

. McClellan, in reply, stated that the troops · were not in a fit condition to move, that they lacked clothing, supplies, horses, in short, could not march against the enemy, with any prospect of success. The correspondence between McClellan and Halleck at this time, is one of the most extraordinary developments of the war-the former repeating his needs, and urging that they be immediately supplied, and the latter, flatly contradicting him, affirming that he had clothing, horses, everything necessary. That the Commander of the army in the field, who had just saved Washington and won a great victory, should not know what his troops stood in want of-in fact, should be told, over and orer again, that they had shoes, and clothing, and horses, right against the testimony of his own cyes, and the reports of his own officers—is a singular exhibition of want of harmony of action. The President seemed to think that Ilalleck was right, and, acting in accordance with the views of the latter, on the 6th of October, directed that the army more at once, while the roads were good. Four days after, the rebel Stuart crossed the Potomac with cighteen lundred mcn, on a raid into Pennsylvania, and so utterly was MeClellan deficient in horses, that he could mount but cight hundred men to follow him-a sad comment on Halleck's assertions. It was on this account, that the rebel force, after penetrating to Chambersburg, some twenty miles in rear of the army, was able to make its way safely back to Virginia--having com pleted the entire circuit of the Federal forces. The success ful return of this daring expedition was à cause of deep mortification, and kindled into greater strength the general desire that McClellan should move at once against the enemy.

At length, he put the army in motion, and on the 26th of October, began to cross the Potomac at Berlin, designing to move parallel with the Blue Ridge, holding each Gap as he advanced-Warrenton being the point of general direction.

120

MCCLELLAN REMOVED.

By the 5th of November, he had planted his head-quarters at Warrenton-his army well in hand, and ready to close in a great struggle with the enemy-when he received a telegram from Washington, relieving him from the command of the army, and ordering him to turn it over to Burnside.

The announcement of this sudden change of leaders at this critical juncture, fell like a thunderbolt on the army and the nation, and awakened for a time the gravest fears as to its result. The reason given by Halleck—that it was done. because McClellan disobeyed orders—if the true one, should have caused his removal a month before, when, directed to move at once across the Potomac, he had delayed until he thought he could do so with any prospect of success.

His parting with the army was a sad one to him and the troops, for it was the child of his creation, and common sufferings and dangers had endeared them to each other. None saw him leave, with keener regret, than Burnside himself, who did not wish to accept the position forced on him-openly declaring that McClellan was the only man fit to occupy it.

This terminated McClellan's connection with the army, and ended the first great chapter of the war. Public opinion will always be more or less divided as to his merits as a Commander, and the partisan character which the whole question at once assumed, rendered a just discussion of it impossible; and not, till the generation to which he belongs shall have passed away, will his conduct, during the two years and upwards that he was at the head of the Army of the Potomac, be judged simply by the rules of military criticism. But there are two great facts which do not admit of discussion. The first is, that the failure of the Peninsular campaign rendered a long and tedious war inevitable. The second is, that a great campaign cannot be successfully carried on, by a divided power and conflicting counsels.

CHAPTER VIII.

OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 1862.

BURNSIDI: ADVANCES ON FREDERICKSBURG-HIS DESIGN-IS DISAPPOINTED

RESOLVES TO CARRY THE. HEIGHTS BY ASSAULT-TERRIFIC BOMBARDMENT

OF TIE PLACE-A STRIKING SCENE-GALLANTRY OF THE SEVENTH MICHIGAN -THE SHARPSHOOTERS-CROSSING OF THE RIVER-THE BATTLE-THE

DEFWAT-THE ARMY RECROSSES

THE

RIVER-FEELING OF THE PEOPLE

BURNSIDE TAKES THE RESPONSIBILITY-REVIEW OF THE CAMPAIGN-SECOND

ATTEMPT MADE AND ABANDONED—THE SOFTHERN DEPARTMENT-DEATH OF MITCHELL-FOSTER'S EXPEDITION INTO NORTH CAROLINA-CLOSE OF

rile YEAR.

BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG,

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TEN days after the removal of McClellan, Burnside broke

his head-quarters, and commenced a rapid march to Fredericksburg, with the design of capturing the place befure Lee's main army could reach it, and thus to cut off his l'etreat towards Richmond, and compel him to a decisive battle in the field. But the pontoon trains, without which the army could not cross the river, did not arrive from Washington at the expected time. Consequently, it lay idly on the banks of the Rappahannock till nearly the middle of the next month. Ampie time was therefore given to Lee to interact the intended movement, and make that which at first seemed feasible, an impossibility. Still, Burnside did not abandon the project of taking the place, and thinking that, the most desperate movement would be never anticipated by the enemy-viz., a direct assault up an open slope, upon his intrenched positions, held by an ample force, with interior lines equally formidable—determined to hazard it. The country back of Fredericksburg rises in successive terraces, to the heights on which Lee's army lay intrenched

122

THE BOMBARDMENT.

This line of heights curves in towards the river, some three miles below the city, where it is wooded. Here the right of Lee's army rested. At this point also, Franklin, commanding our left wing, was directed to cross with his corps, , and, if possible, turn the enemy's flank, while the main army was to cross directly at the city, and move in one grand assault up the heights. For two days before the battle, the banks of the Rappahannock presented a stirring si'ectacle. The moving of masses of troops, the far-echoing notes of the bugle, the heavy tramp of the marching columns, preparatory to the great “day of decision,” the sullen tl under peals that rolled along the heights on either side of the river, dark with long rows of cannon-combined to make a scene at once grand and fearful. On Thursday, the place was bombarded, in order to drive out the sharpshooters who prevented the laying of the pontoons, and a hundred und seventy-nine guns opened at once on the town. At the commencement of this terrific cannonade, that shook the shores of the river like an earthquake, the city was enveloped in a dense fog-a spire here and there, piercing above the sleeping mass, alone revealing its locality. As the awful bombardment went on, dark columns of smoke, shooting fiercely through the white sea of mist, told where building after building was fired by the shells. About noon the, fog lifted, and, drifting gently away, revealed the city in flames. All day long, the deep reverberations shook the shore, and rolled heavily away over the trembling earth, and when the blood-red sun went down in the hazy sky, it shed a lurid light on field and river, and frowning heights, and miles of quiet tents. " As the air darkened, the red flashes of the guns gave a new effect to the scene—the roar of each report being preceded by a fierce dart of flame, while the explosion of each shell was announced by a gush of fire on the clouds. Towering between

A GALLANT DASH.

122

us and the western sky, which was still showing its faded scarlet lining, was the huge, somber pillar of grimy smoke that marked the burning of Fredericksburg Ascending to a vast height, it bore away, northward, shaped like a plame bowed in the wind."

The guns, however, could not be depressed enough to reach the houses on the bank of the river, in which the sharpshooters lay convealed. If these could be dislodged, the pontoons might le laid, for the river ran so deep between its banks, that Lee could not command it with his batteries.

To do this, the Seventh Michigan volunteered to cross over in boats, under the fire of the sharpshooters, and expel them with the bay.net In ten boats, holding twenty-five or thirty men each, the regiinent pushed off with a ringing cheer, and, pulling straight into and through the pattering balls, reached the opposite shore. The - Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts followed, and the rebels, popping up like rats from behiņd walls, rifle pits and heaps of rubbish, scampered off through the streets of the city, when three pontoon bridges wer: quickly laid, and soon shook to the tread of the mighty lost.

By Saturday inorning, the 13th, the army was across, in. cluding Franklin's Corps down the river. The fog lay heavy and still along the river and plain, and shrouded the batteries in gloom; yet heavy esplosions incessantly shook its mysterious bosom, sounding the notes of preparation to the mighty columns, that, wrapped in its gray mantle, stood in battle array on the further side of the river. The battle, however, dici not really comience till nearly noon, when the order to advance was given, and vouch's Corps moved forward into the fire. It is impossible to describe the din and carnage that followed. In three massive columns, our bráve troops mounted the ascent, but, when they reached the second terrace, the rebel batteries, with a rapid and concentrated fire,

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