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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 Jisrespectfully 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, oceupied 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
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 friendship—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 substantially with their assailants. General Buckner, with whom McClellan was alleged to have made his treaty of neutrality, had thrown off his neutral mask, and was gathering an army of rebels in Kentucky, co-operating with General Bragg who was invading the state with the determination to force it into secession. To meet and repel this invasion, General W. T. Sherman advanced with a large force to Bowling Green, while General Nelson, on his left, gained a decisive victory over the rebels under Colonel Williams. The various operations of the Union forces broke up the rebel project of subjugation, and re-invigorated the efforts of the Union men to hold the state to its loyalty. General Halleck was appointed to the command of the army of the West, and General Buell took General W. T. Sherman's command in Kentucky.
The question of slavery was an ever-present one during all the operations of the year. The instructions given by the War Department to General Butler on the eighth of August, were based upon “the desire of the President that all existing rights in all the states should be respected and maintained;" yet it was declared that “the rights dependent on the laws of the states within which military operations are conducted must necessarily be subordinate to the military exigencies created by the insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of the parties claiming them.” The difficulty of settling the claims of loyal masters was such that it was recommended to receive all fugitives, keep a record of them, and set them to work. Congress, the Secretary of War believeil, would provide for the repayment of loyal masters. On the departure of General T. W. Sherman on his expedition to Port Royal, Mr. Cameron referred him to the letter to General Butler on this subject. He was directed to receive the services of any persons, whether fugitives from labor or not, who should offer them to the national government. These fugitives might be organized into “squads, companies, or otherwise,” though that liberty was not intended to mean a general arming of them for military service. Loyal masters were