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to the River.
uttered, after the disaster, against the Gene- | land as they gave way in
The Enemy's Advance ral. His arrest and long imprisonment in front of Washington. The Fort Lafayette followed; but, the War De- advance of the Federal partment will not fail to suffer for its course corps of Banks towards Edwards' Ferry and in his ease when so many greater blunderers, Harrison's Island, on the 22d, was accompain more responsible commands, were allowed nied by a corresponding gathering of the to repeat their errors, even to the loss of enemy in the vicinity of Leesburg, between great campaigns.
which place and the river they erected batMcClellan, when inform- teries preparatory to disputing the Federal ed of the defeat, hastened occupation. This position of matters, added
to the vicinity. It some to the fact that McClellan did not regard what disarranged his projected advance. Leesburg as worth a struggle, induced him Having determined and announced that there to order Banks back to Darnestown; where must be “no defeats in his command,” it was his army remained, with strong pickets thrown as unwelcome as unexpected, and for a mo- along the river. It was a double watch; for ment delayed his then inaugurated “pressure" the Confederates, on the Virginia side, were of the enemy on his front. Leesburg was his ever on the alert, occasionally using light by virtue of the retirement of the Confede- artillery on the detachments of Federal cavrate forces from Vienna and Harper's Ferry. alry and scouts which dashed up and down The reconnoissance in force made by McCall, the river, and not unfrequently crossed, to was simply a demonstration to compel the spread alarm in the rebel camps. The histoabandonment of the region around. Draines- ry of that guard-mounting and reconnoiterville was not held—McCall retiring from it ing, up to Banks' final occupation of Harper's after a two days' occupation, on Monday, Oc- Ferry, is one that will afford the future rotober 21st, the day of the disaster at Edwards' mance writers much novel incident and exFerry. When McClellan received word of citing adventure. the movement over the Potomac, by Stone,
On the 31st of October he countermanded his order to McCall for Lieutenant - General Winevacuating Drainesville; but the word came field Scott retired from his too late-McCall already having retired to position as General-in-Chief of the United Langley's.
States Army. The causes of his retirement McClellan at once pro
were stated in his letter to the Secretary of ceeded to the vicinity of War. It read: Edwards' Ferry. In com
* HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, I
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 ist, 1861. pany with Generals Banks and Stone, he spent
“ The Hon. Simon CAMERON, Secretary of War : the 22d on the Virginia side, reconnoitering
Sir : For more than three years I have been and examining into the state of the command. unable, from a hurt, to mount a horse or to walk Pickets were thrown forward about one mile
more than a few paces at a time, and that with inland from Conrad's Ferry, and the same much pain. Other and new infirmities--dropsy and distance up Goose Creek. General Banks as- vertigo-admonish me that repose of mind and body, sumed full command. Stone threw his en- with the appliances of surgery and medicine, are tire division over the river on the 22d, only necessary to add a little more to a life already proto withdraw again on the night of the 23d, tracted much beyond the usual span of man. It is owing to the heavy concentration of Confed- under such circumstances, made doubly painful by erates on his front. After the affair at Bolivar the unnatural and unjust rebellion now raging in
the Southern States of our so lately prosperous and TIeights, on the 16th-in which the enemy experienced a severe repulse at the hands of happy Union, that I am compelled to request that Colonel Geary's brigade—the rebel forces tired from active service. As this request is found
my name be placed on the list of army officers repressed forward from Winchester, compelling ed on an absolute right, granted by a recent act ol Geary to withdraw to the Maryland side. Congress, I am entirely at liberty to say it is with These forces were augmented rapidly—the deep regret that I withdraw myself, in these moenemy seeming ready for a push into Mary- | mentous times, from the orders of a President who
The Retirement of
Stone's Advance in
OF GENERAL SCOTT.,
The Retirement of
The Retirement of
has treated me with much dis- “On the first day of Novem-
tesy, whem I know, upon much application to the President of personal intercourse, to be patriotic, without sec- the United States, Brevet Lieutenant-General Win. tional partialities or prejudices, to be highly consci-field Scott is ordered to be placed, and hereby is entions in the performance of every duty, and of un. placed, upon the list of retired officers of the army rivalled activity and perseverance. And to you, of the United States, without reduction in his current Mr. Secretary, whom I now officially address for the pay, subsistance or allowance. last time, I beg to acknowledge my many obliga- “ The American people will hear with sadness and tions for the uniform high consideration I have re- deep emotion that General Scott has withdrawn ceived at your hands, and have the honor to remain, from the active control of the army, while the Pres. sir, with high respect, your obedient servant.
ident and unanimous Cabinet express their own and “ WINFIELD SCOTT." the nation's sympathy in his personal affliction, and This resignation, though it had long been their profound sense of the important public serapprehended owing to the inability of the vices rendered by him to his country during his long veteran to sustain the extraordinary pressure and brilliant career, among which will ever be of duty devolving upon bim, (see page 465,] gratefully distinguished his faithful devotion to the was received with surprise by the people if constitution, the Union and the flag, when assailed
by parricidal rebellion. not by the Administration. So long had
• ABRAHAM LINCOLN." Scott been the responsible and acting head
General Scott thereupon rose and addressed of the army-so able had been his conduct the President and Cabinet, who had also risen, of his office—so thoroughly had he won the
as follows: confidence and love of the great mass of his
“ PRESIDENT: This honor overwhelms me. It over. countrymen, that his withdrawal from duty pays all services I have attempted to render to my was, for the time-being, regarded as a calami- country. If I had any claims before, they are all ty. Weighed down with age, longing for obliterated by this expression of approval by the repose, still the nation, in its hour of peril, President, with the remaining support of his Cabicould not forego the wish that he might net. I know the President and this Cabinet well. serve a little longer, adding the force of his I know that the country has placed its interests in great influence, the charm of his noble fame, this trying crisis in safe keeping. Their counsels
are wise, their labors are as untiring as they are to the cause of the Union. But, it could not be. Either the cares of oflice must be laid loyal, and their course is the right one.
President, you must excuse me. I am unable aside or life itself—so long had the General
to stand longer to give utterance to the feelings of in-Chief laboreri at his post.
gratitude which oppress me. In my retirement I A special Cabinet meeting assembled on
shall offer up prayers to God for this administration the morning of Nov. 1st, to take into con
and for my country. I shall pray for it with confi. sideration the subject of the resignation, dence in its success over all enemies, and that when it was decided to grant the request, in speedily.” view of the General's evident inability to dis- In official answer to his request, to be placcharge the important duties of his office. ed upon the retired list, the Secretary of War The question of his successor was discussed, addressed Scott the following response: and it was decided to advance General Mc- “WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, Nov. Ist, 1861. Clellan to the position of General-in-Chief.
“ GENERAL: It was my duty to lay before the The incidents connected with Scott's re
President your letter of yesterday, asking to be retirement are so interwoven with the history lieved under the recent act of Congress. In sepaof the time, that we make place for the ad- rating from you I cannot refrain from expressing dresses which passed between the Executive my deep regret that your health, shattered by long
service and repeated wounds received in your coun. and the retiring Chief.
try's defense, should render it necessary for you to During the afternoon (Nov. 1st) the Cabi- retire from your high position at this momentous Det again waited upon the President, and at- period of your history. Although you are not to retended him to the residence of General Scott. main in active service, yet I hope that while I con. Being seateil, the President read to the Gen- tinue in charge of the department over which I vow eral the following order :
preside, I shall at times be permited to avail myself
McClellan in Chief
of the benefits of your wise counsels and sage es. sanctified with his blood, who in more mature years perience. It has been my good fortune to enjoy a proved to the world that American skill and valor personal acquaintsnce with you for over thirty years, could repeat, if not eclipse, the exploits of Cortez and the pleasant relations of that long time have in the land of the Montezumas, whose whole life had been greatly strengthened by your cordial and en- been devoted to the service of his country, whose tire co-operation in all the great questions which whole efforts have been directed to uphold our have occupied the department and convulsed the honor at the smallest sacrifice of life ; a warrior country for the last six months. In parting from who scorned the selfish glories of the battle field you, I can only express the hope that a merciful when his great qualities as a statesman could be Providence that has protected you amid so many employed more profitably for his country; a citizen trials will improve your health, and continue your whose declining years have given to the world the life long after the people of the country shall have most shining instances of loyalty in disregarding all been restored to their former happiness and pros- ties of birth and clinging still to the cause of truth perity.
and honor. Such has been the career and cha ac“I am, General, very sincerely, your friend and ter of Winfield Scott, whom it has long been the deservant,
light of the nation to honor, both as a man and as a “SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War." soldier. While we regret his loss there is one thing
McClellan assumed com- we cannot regret-the bright example he has left
mand of the armies of the for our emulation. Let us all hope and pray that Command.
United States in an order his declining years may be passed in peace and hap. issued on the evening of Nov. 1st. It read: piness, and that they may be cheered by the suc. “ HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
cess of the country and the cause he has fought for WASHINGTON, Nov. 1st, 1861.
and loved so well. Beyond all that, let us do “ In accordance with General Order No. 94, from nothing that can cause him to blush for us ; let no the War Department, I hereby assume command of defeat of the army he has so long commanded emthe armies of the United States.
bitter his last years, but let our victories illumiate “ In the inidst of the dificulties which encompass
the close of a life so grand. and divide the nation, hesitation and self-distrust
“ GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, may well accompany the assumption of so vast a
“Major-General Commanding U. S. A." responsibility ; but, confiding as I do in the loyalty,
This indicated the extent of the young discipline and courage of our troops, and believing General's powers ; - he was virtual Com as I do that Providence will favor ours as the just mander-in-Chief of the entire Army of the cause, I cannot doubt that success will crown our Union. The destiny of the country was comefforts and sacrifices.
mitted to his keeping. A greater trust never “ The army will unite with me in the feeling of
was confided to a younger man; nor does his regret that the weight of many years, and the effect tory show a greater trust reposed in one who of increasiug infirmities, contracted and intensified had done comparatively so little to prove his in his country's service, should just now remove from our head the great soldier of our nation, the fitness for the trust. Time alone could dehero who, in his youth, raised high the reputation termine if he was equal to his responsibilities
-if he was the leader for the crisis. of his country in the fields of Canada, which he
Note.-In reference to the Ball's Bluff disaster we state (page 343) that General Stone determined upon the movement over the Potomac on his own responsibility. This statement will be qualified only by the orders under which the General assumed to have acted. They read : “ To BRIGADIER-GENERAL STONE, Poolesville :
“Gencral McClellan desires me to inform you that General McCall occupied Drancsville yesterday and is still there. He will send out reconnoissances to-day in all directions from that point. The General dasires that you keep a good look out from Leesburg, to see if the movement has the effect to drive them away. Perhaps a slight demonstration on your part would have the effect to move them."
This was signed by A. V. Colburn, McClellan's Adjutant-General. Stone replied, late the same day, (Oct. 20th,) that he had started a reconnoissance, &c. The advance of Gorman's force under Baker, was the “slight demonstration" of which Stone assumed the responsibility. See page 465 for McClellan's repudiation of the movement,