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The aay after he gave his modifying order, he received a letter from Hon. Joseph Holt of Kentucky, in which that gentleman spoke of the alarm and condemnation with which the Union-loving citizens of that state had read the proclamation, and begged him to modify it by an order such as he had already issued. Judge Holt concluded his letter by saying: "The magnitude of the interest at stake, and my extreme desire that by no misapprehension of your sentiments or purposes shall the power and fervor of the loyalty of Kentucky be at this moment abated or chilled, must be my apology for the frankness with which I have addressed you.'
Complications in the personal relations of General Fremont and Colonel F. P. Blair, under whose personal and family influence General Fremont had received his position, occurred at an early day. Colonel Blair doubtless thought that he had not sufficient weight in the General's counsels, and the General, doubtless, exercised his right, in choosing his own counselors. Whether he followed the advice of others, or was guided by his own judgment and impulses, he conducted himself quite as much after the manner of an eastern satrap as a republican commander. The public found it difficult to get at him, he kept around him a large retinue, and dispensed patronage and contracts with a right royal hand. The most there is to be said of the matter, is, that it was his way. Power was in his hands, a great work was before him, great personal popularity attended him, and the sudden elevation was not without its effect upon him. Colonel Blair, who was the gallant commander of the First Missouri Volunteers, stood in a peculiar relation to him, and was not, by virtue of that relation, and by reason of a high and worthily won political and social position, to be lightly put aside. He came down upon his superior with a series of charges which covered a long catalogue of sins:-neglect of duty, unofficerlike conduct, disobedience of orders, conduct unbecoming a gentleman, extravagance and the waste of the public moneys, and despotic and tyrannical conduct. Among the specifications were Fremont's alleged failure to repair at once to St. Louis to enter upon his
duties; his neglecting to reinforce Lyon and Mulligan; his suffering Brigadier-General Hurlburt, "a common drunkard,” to continue in command; his refusal to see people who sought his presence on matters of urgent business; his violation of the presidential order in the matter of his proclamation and the manumissions under it; his persistency in keeping disreputable persons in his employ; and his unjust suppression of the St. Louis Evening News. General Fremont had no better opinion of Colonel Blair than Blair had of him, and placed him under arrest for alluding disrespectfully to superior officers.
It was a very unhappy quarrel, and it is quite likely that there was blame upon both sides, though it occurred between men equally devoted to the sacred cause of saving the country to freedom and justice. It is not necessary to believe, with the enemies of General Fremont, that he found the country going to pieces, and intended to place himself at the head of a huge north-western fraction; nor, with the enemies of Colonel Blair, that he was offended with his General because he could not have as good a chance at stealing from the government as was believed to be accorded to some of the General's California friends. Both were loyal men, both were antislavery men—Colonel Blair being quite the equal of General Fremont in this respect--and both wished to serve their country. Mr. Lincoln always gave to each the credit due to his motives, and so far refused to mingle in the general quarrel that grew out of the difficulty, that he kept the good-will of both sides, and compelled them to settle their own differences.
On the sixth of September, General Grant, under General Fremont's command, occupied Paducah, Kentucky, at the mouth of the Tennessee River. Price and Jackson were raising a formidable army for service in Missouri, and, on the twelfth of September, compelled the surrender of Colonel Mulligan and his forces at Lexington. General Fremont at length took the field in person. On the eighth of October he left Jefferson City for Sedalia. As he advanced with his forces, Price retreated, until it was widely reported that he would give battle to the national forces at Springfield. Just
as Fremont was making ready to engage the enemy, he was overtaken by an order relieving him of his command. He was succeeded by General Hunter; but Hunter's command was brief, and was transferred at an early day to General Halleck.
General Fremont was relieved of his command by the President not because of his proclamation, not because he hated slavery, and not because he believed him corrupt or vindictive or disloyal. He relieved him simply because he believed that the interests of the country, all things considered, would be subserved by relieving him and putting another man in his place. The matter was the cause of great excitement in Missouri, and of much complaint among the radical antislavery men of the country: but the imputations sought to be cast upon the President were not fastened to him; and did not, four years later, when Fremont himself became a candidate for the presidency, prevent the warmest anti-slavery men from giving Mr. Lincoln their support.
The federal army under General Hunter retreated without a battle; and thus the campaign, inaugurated with great show and immense expense, was a flat failure.
In the meantime, General Rosecrans finished up the work in Western Virginia that General McClellan had prematurely declared, accomplished, and the army of the Potomac, under the latter General, was swelling in numbers, and active in organization and discipline. General McClellan's popularity with the army was very great. They felt his organizing hand, and regarded him with the proudest confidence. The country, however, was becoming impatient with him. He would spare no men for any outside enterprises, and still rolled up the numbers of his cumbersome forces, though good roads lay in front, and pleasant weather invited to action. On the twenty-ninth of August, General Butler, acting with a naval force under Commodore Stringham, took possession of the Hatteras forts, with a force which he had raised independently for the expedition. This gave great satisfaction to the country, and helped to keep up the popular courage under the depressing influence of delay on the part of the army of the Potomac.
In the month of August, Munson's Hill, within view of the capitol, was occupied by the rebel forces; and, though they were not strong in numbers, and took but limited pains to intrench themselves, they remained there undisturbed until nearly the last of September, when they left of their own accord. On the twenty-first of October, there occurred a disastrous battle and blunder at Ball's Bluff. It was a sad failure to fulfill the promise of a magnificent preparation for action. The country was disappointed. and indignant. The number killed, drowned, wounded and captured was eleven hundredfull half that went into the action. Here Colonel Baker, the President's friend, fell; and, although General McClellan, in his report of the affair, said that, "situated as their troops were-cut off alike from retreat or reinforcements-five thousand against one thousand seven hundred-it was not possible that the issue could have been successful," the unmilitary mind will still inquire why, with an immense army but a few miles away, they were left or placed where reinforcement and retreat were alike impossible?
General Scott did not like the looks or management of military affairs, and felt that his place was becoming unpleasant. Only a few days after the affair at Ball's Bluff, he made known to Mr. Lincoln his desire to be released from all active duties, in consequence of his increasing physical infirmity. In a letter dated November first, the President acceded to his request, and added: "The American people will hear with sadness and deep emotion that General Scott has withdrawn from the active control of the army, while the President and the unanimous Cabinet express their own and the nation's sympathy in his personal affliction, and their profound sense of the important public services rendered by him to his country, during his long and brilliant public career, among which will ever be gratefully distinguished his faithful devotion to the Constitution, the Union and the flag, when assailed by parricidal rebellion." To do all possible honor to the noble veteran who had stood by the country when so many army officers had gone over to the rebellion under the appeal of sectional friend
ship-an appeal made to him with all the persuasions that ingenuity could devise the President and his entire Cabinet waited upon him at his residence; and there, with his Secretaries around him, Mr. Lincoln read to him his letter. It was a grand moment in the old man's life. "This honor overwhelms me," he responded. "It overpays all services I have attempted to render to my country. If I had any claims before, they are all obliterated by this expression of approval by the President, with the unanimous support of the Cabinet. I know the President and this Cabinet well-I know that the country has placed its interests in this trying crisis in safe keeping. Their councils are wise; their labors are untiring as they are loyal, and their course is the right one."
Thus, after fifty-three years of service in the armies of his country, General Scott went into his nobly earned retirement, with the blessing of his government and the blessing of his country upon his venerable head; and it is one of the sweetest satisfactions of both to remember that he lived to see his country's enemies vanquished, and to hear of those who taunted him with faithlessness to his sectional friends, humbly seeking pardon of the government which they had outraged, and which he had so loyally supported.
On General Scott's retirement, General McClellan held the highest rank in the army, and was intrusted with the chief command.
During the month of November, the Union forces achieved several important and encouraging successes. South Carolina was invaded by an expedition under the joint command of General T. W. Sherman and Commodore Dupont, the latter of whom achieved a brilliant naval victory in Port Royal Harbor. Generals Grant and McClernand, with a force of three thousand five hundred men, attacked a rebel camp in Missouri under General Polk, captured twelve guns, burned their camp, and took baggage, horses and many prisoners. The rebels were afterwards reinforced, and compelled the Union forces to return to their transports. Notwithstanding the fact that the rebels claimed a victory, the results were