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DISASTER AT BALL'S BLUFF.
Two hours or more the battle raged fatal result was not prevented by those with fierce energy on both sides, but in command at the time.* with terrible havoc among our men,
This second defeat on the soil of Vir. owing to their uncovered position. ginia, added to that at Bull Run, in Between four and five o'clock, P.M., Col. July, was a severe trial to the loyal Baker, whose daring bravery amounted people of the country; it gave rise to to recklessness, fell, shot through the much complaint; but it did not lessen head, and cheering his men to the last. their determination to put down the reA scene of disaster followed. Our men bellion. The effect upon the rebels was rushed down the side of the bluff, and similar to that produced by Bull Run; tried to cross in a flat boat, but were their conceit was inflamed, and their shot by the rebels and drowned by the confidence in their invincibility magnisinking of the boat. Fully one-half of fied to an absurd degree. Baker's entire force was lost; while the The veteran General Scott, conscious rebels escaped with a loss of about of the infirmities of increasing age, as 200.*
well as mortified at the disastrous reThis lamentable affair at Ball's Bluff sult at Bull Run, begged to be allowed was criticised every where with sever- to retire from active service. This was, ity and indignation, and the question of course granted, and the highest enwas frequently asked, who is responsi. comiums were heaped upon him froso ble for the gross bungling and blunder all quarters. Gen. McClellan, ing which exposed our troops to almost whose popularity was now in certain destruction? Why was a force the ascendant, and for whom president
of less than 2,000 men allowed Lincoln entertained strong personal re
to be placed in the perilous po- gard, was made his successor, and on sition that this was? Why were there the 1st of November, he assumed the only such paltry means of communica- position of general - in · chief of the tion as these flat boats; and why, if armies of the United States. Aware the movement was necessary, was it of the weighty duties imposed upon not adequately supported, when there him, McClellan felt, as he says, that were 40,000 of our men only a few “ the direction of the campaigns in the miles distant? The subject came up West, and of the operations on the seabefore Congress for inquiry, and efforts board, enabled him to enter upon larger were made to ascertain and fix the blame where it properly belonged; but
* Gen. McClellan repudiated all responsibility in the
matter, saying in his report: “I did not direct Stone to little purpose, for it has never yet to cross, nor did I intend that he should cross the river been satisfactorily explained why this in force for the purpose of fighting.” Early in Janu
ary, 1862, Gen. Stone was severely spoken of in Con
gress, during debate. A month or so later, he was ar * Col. Baker's death was very generally lamented. rested by order of the war department, on charges of The Senate, of which he was a member, devoted a day disloyalty, involving, among other things, his conduct (Dec. 11th), to the commemoration of his talents and at Ball's Bluff. He was sent to Fort Warren, and do virtues; and Gen. McClellan, Oct. 22d, issued an order, tained there till late in the summer, when he was ro speaking in the highest terms of the gallant deceased. leased without trial.
combinations” than he otherwise could The advance was attended with excellent have undertaken. He addressed letters results. A body of some 3,000 insurgof instruction to Gen. Burnside in North ents laid down their arms and disCarolina, to Gen. Halleck in Missouri, banded ; and, in March, 1862, a repre. to Gen. Buell in Kentucky, to Gen. T. sentative was chosen and sent to ConW. Sherman in South Carolina, and to gress. Gen. Butler, who was placed in com- Early on the morning of Dec. 20th, mand of the land forces to operate Gen. Ord was sent by Gen. McCall against New Orleans. McClellan's in- from Camp Pierrepont, on the Potomac, tention was, that the several undertak- towards Dranesville, to capture, if posings against the enemy “should be car sible, the rebel force there, and collect ried out simultaneously, or nearly so, forage. Between 4,000 and 5,000 men and in co-operation along the whole were placed under bis command. line;" but, various circumstances inter. When near Dranesville, he was attack. fered, and his plan was modified and ed by the enemy under Gen. J. E. B. virtually given up. The coming into Stuart with a force of 2,500 to 3,000 office of a new secretary of war, Mr. men. The fight began at one o'clock, Stanton, had a marked effect upon our and lasted only an hour, the victory military operations from this date; and being entirely on Ord's side. Gen. McClellan soon found that he had McCall did not deem it prudent to a different officer from Mr. Cameron to pursue the enemy, but brought back deal with, and one disposed to yield to with him to camp sixteen loads of hay the popular call for more active, speedy, and twenty-two of corn. Although the forward movements.
victory was of no special moment, it On the 13th of November, Gen. Dix came acceptably at the time, there still ordered 4,000 troops under Gen. Lock- being great soreness in the public mind wood, to march from Baltimore into as to Ball's Bluff, and the unaccountAccomac and Northampton Counties, able—as it seemed to outsiders—delays Virginia, and occupy them. This part in the Army of the Potomac making of the state, forming the “eastern shore," any forward movement. as it is called, is east of Chesapeake Gen. McClellan, professing his earn. Bay and joins Maryland. By a procla. est desire to move against the enemy mation Gen. Dix assured the people in Virginia,* still both showed by his that the rights of persons and property action, and gave it as his mature judgwould be respected, and “ the condition ment, that the army was not sufficiently of any person beld to domestic servi- numerous, nor in the proper state of tude" was not to be interfered with.* readiness to advance at the beginning
* It is curious to note how slowly people learned to * McClellan advised, in August, sending armed ves call a spade a spade. It took years before the awk-sels to hinder the rebels from constructing batteries ward periphrasis or euphemism of the Constitution, along the Potomac. In September, Gen. Barnard made about "persons held to service or labor” was abandon- a reconnaissance of the rebel batteries as far as Mated, and negro slaves were designated by their true thias Point. He reported adversely to the plan of atname, negro slaves.
tempting to carry these batteries by assault.
Cu VII ]
REBEL CONGRESS AT RICHMOND.
of December. He preferred to wait The Confederate Congress, according till the winter was passed. Mr. Stan- to adjournment (see p. 56), met at ton, the secretary of war, at an early Richmond, Nov. 18th. Members were date urged upon McClellan to take im- present from six of the seceded states, mediate steps to secure the reopening sufficient to form a quorum, and the of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, next day Jefferson Davis sent and to free the banks of the lower in his message. It was a docuPotomac from the enemy's works, which ment prepared with care, and evidently seriously annoyed passing vessels. The intended to produce effect abroad people generally, not fathoming the quite as much as at home; its tone causes or reasons for matters relating to was very confident, and its presentation the Army of the Potomac, which, ac- and treatment of various topics skilful cording to McClellan, required “minds and shrewd, even for Davis. accustomed to reason upon military gradually becoming independent of the operations,” were eager for some for- rest of the world for the supply of ward movement, or something which such military stores and munitions as looked like it at least; and it was hard are indispensable for war," was one of to persuade them that time was not his statements. Further, he said, “a wasted, and opportunity let to slip by succession of glorious victories at without profit.
Bethel, Bull Run, Manassas, SpringComplaints having been made that field, Lexington, Leesburg, and Belvarious rebels had recovered their fugi- mont, has checked the wicked invasion tive slaves at Washington, through the which greed of gain and the unhallowed connivance, it was supposed, of officers lust of power brought upon our soil." of the army, the secretary of state, on The state of the finances was pronoun. the 4th of December, addressed to ced good ; some smart remarks were Gen. McClellan an order, calling his made upon the Trent affair, evidently attention to this subject, and stating in the hope that England would go to that: “By the fourth section of the act war about it; and a sort of loftiness of Congress, approved August 6th, was assumed on the subject of the re. 1861, entitled an act to confiscate pro- cognition of the rebel states, as much perty used for insurrectionary pur- as to say, if foreign nations can do poses, such hostile employment in the without us, we can get along very well rebel army) is made a full and sufficient without them. Davis also indulged in answer to any further claim to service some spiteful words, scorning any idea or labor. Persons thus employed and of ever again having aught to do with escaping are received into the military the people of the loyal states; e. g., protection of the United States, and “our people now look with contemptu- . their arrest as fugitives from labor or ous astonishment on those with whom service, should be immediately followed they have been so recently associated. by the military arrest of the parties They shrink with aversion from the making the seizure.”
bare idea of renewing such a connec