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it, but heavy rains set in, which turned the whole country into a sea of mud, and it was abandoned.
This practically closed the campaign in Virginia for the year. The rebels, some three thousand strong, crossed the Rappahannock above Burnside, and attacked Dumfries, but were repulsed.
Further south, but little was accomplished. General Mitchell, the celebrated astronomer, who had abandoned his quict pursuits at the call of his country, and, under Buell, acquired the reputation of a skillful, energetic General, but was afterwards relieved from his command, under the insane charge of speculating in cotton, was sent, early in the Autumn, to the Southern Department to take the place of Hunter. He immediately infused energy and life into affairs, and great results were expected from his known force of character. But he was stricken down in the midst of his usefulness, by the yellow fever, and died at Beaufort on the 30th of October. A pure and noble man, he was at the outset, so ungenerously treated by the War Department, that, during Cameron's administration, he sent in his resignation, but it was not accepted. Afterwards, though he had filled the land with his deeds, he suffered under the charge of speculating, and at last was sent to Beaufort to die.
In North Carolina, only partial, isolated blows were struck, having no direct bearing on any of the great campaigns. The principal event which marked the closing year in this Department, was an expedition against Kinston, set as wat by Foster, with four brigades under General Wessels and an imanded by Colonels Amory, Stevenson and Lee. He left Nenern on the 8th of December, and on the 14th, met the enemy in force, under General Evans, about a mile from Kinston, and gave him battle. The rebels were beaten, and retreated, abandoning the town, which Foster took possession of. He rendered useless two heavy guns which he
A DARING DEED.
dimi off, and captured four field pieces. After
roeg the quartermasters' stores, and burning the bridge, łe proceeded to Whitehall. From thence, he continued his course, fighting as he advanced, till he came within eight miles of Goldsboro', which was only fifty miles from Raleigh, the Capital of the State. After burning trestle-work and cars, and tearing up railroad tracks, and, last of all, firing the bridge over the Neuse, under the shots of the enemy, he retraced his steps to Newbern-having advanced seventy or eighty miles into the heart of the State, and spread consternation wherever he went. Lieutenant George W. Graham applied the torch to the bridge, under the fire of the enemy's artillery and infantry, and then saved himself by jumping from it.
The total loss in the expedition, was five hundred and seventy-seven. Among the killed was Colonel Gray, of the Ninety-sixth New York regiment.
The sum total of the military operations for the year, was not satisfactory, and belied the promise of the Government, and the hopes of the people, that the war would be a short
But while in the East, the New Year came in gloomily, in the West, it was signaled by a battle that inaugurated a series of movements, which, in the end, were to have an important bearing on the war.
BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO', OR STONE RIVER-ROSECRARS AT NASHVILLI
HIS DELAY TO MOVE-THE COUNCIL OF WAR-ROSECRANS' PARTING
COMMENCED_THE ENEMY'S LINK BATTLE AT
PEARANCE OF THE FIELD-OUR HEAVY LOSS-OPERATIONS OF THE FOL
OSECRANS, who had succeided Buell in command of
the Army of the Cumberland, had a high reputation for
energy and skill, having never yet been beaten in a single: battle.' He took up his head-quarters at Nashville, and commenced the reorganization of the army.
Here he remained, apparently idle, for two months, and the country, ignorant of the circumstances that surrounded him, grew impatient. The usual pressure, which at the first had urged on McDowell, and which, like an evil genius, had followed
General since the war began, was brought to bear on him. But no power on earth could make him move till he was ready. They might supersede him, but could not force him to do that which his judgment condemned, if he was to be held responsible for the result.
At length, having settled matters somewhat to his satisfaction in Nashville--secured his communications, and accumulated thirty days' provisions, he determined to move. A consultation was held at head-quarters, on Christmas night,
was to march in the morning; and as Rosecrans, in parting, took each commander by the hand, he said : “Spread out your skirmishers far and wide! Expose their nests! Keep fighting! Good night.”
The morning, so big 'with fate, dawned gloomily on the army—the clouds hung like a pall over the wintry landscapegreat drifts of slowly moving mist lay along the valleyswhile the rain came down in torrents, that gathered in pools in the road, or ran in yellow streams along the gullies. The reveille, as it rolled from camp to camp, had a muffled sound in the murky atmosphere, and everything conspired to shed a gloom over the army. But the soldiers seemed to forget the storm in the excitement of marching on the enemy, and soon the mighty host, nearly fifty thousand strong, was sweeping along the muddy roads and across the drenched fields. Thomas led the center, McCook the right, and Crittenden the left. About noon, the clouds broke away before a stiff north-west breeze, and the sun came out to lighten up the somber landscape. But already the dropping fire of musketry, and now and then the boom of a cannon, told that the rebel "nests were being "stirred up." All day long, the steady columns toiled on over the broken country, and at night bivouacked in the wet fields. But with dark. ness came again the heavy rain-clouds, and the cold storm beat or the tired army. Through the darkness and storm, fiusecrans with his escort went dashing over the country, in search of McCook's head-quarters. Their horses' hoofs struck fire
among the rocks, and they swung along at such a slashing pace that one of his escort finally exclaimed:“General, this way of going like h-1 over the rocks will knock up the horses." “That's true,” he replied; "walk.” Moving on more slowly through the impenetrable blackness, he called an orderly and said, "Go back and tell that young man he must not be profare." Reaching McCook's head-quart
in the woods, the two entered a wagon, and sitting down on the bottom, with a candle between them, stuck in the socket of a bayonet
, the point of which was driven into the foor, they consulted together of the movements for the
Push them hard !” were his last words as he arose to his feet. Emerging from the wagon between ten and eleven o'clock, he exclaimed, “We mount now, gentle. men.” The blast of a bugle suddenly rung through the forest, rousing up the staff, some of whom, tired with being ten hours in the saddle, were dozing in their blankets, upon the rocks around. To the “Good night" of McCook, Rosecraps added, "God bless you!” and striking the spurs into his horse, dashed down the road, splashing the mud over himself, and those who pressed hard after him. Losing his way on his return, he “charged impatiently" through the woods, in the vain effort to find the right road. Amid bugle calls, and shouts, the escort got separated and confused, and lost their leader, who, with a part of his staff, wandered off alone, and at length, at one o'clock in the morning, reached his camp---having been in the saddle eighteen hours. The others did not arrive there till two hours later,
The next day, Saturday, dawned in gloom, like the ora before ; the heavy clouds hung low, and a pall of mist wrapped the landscape. Slowly and uncertainly the columns felt their way on, but at one o'clock the fog lifted, and they moved off over the soft fields and along the muddy highways, driving the enemy's skirmishers before them. It was uncertain whether Bragg would make a decided stand before he reached Murfreesboro', or not, and the whole army was kept well in hand. The next day, Sunday, was a day of rest to the main army, for Rosecrans was averse to military operations on that day, unless they were absolutely necessary,
*W. D. B.'s “Rosecrans' Campaign with the Fourteenth Army Corps."