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() General John Charles Fremont was born in Savannah, Ga., Jannary 21, 1813. He was educated at Charlestou College. He was appointed instructor of mathematics CHAPTER XVI.
in the navy,
1833–35. He received the appointment of second lieutenant of Topographical Engineers, 1837. He became son-in-law to Senator Benton, of Missouri, and through Mr. Benton's influence was appointed to command an expedition to explore an overland route to the Pacific Ocean. He assisted in the conquest of California, and was appointed Military Governor. He was elected Senator from that State upon its admission to the Union. He explored a new route to the Pacific at his own expense, 1853. Upon the formation of the National Republican Party, 1856, be was nominated as candidate for the Presidency, and received 114 electoral votes against 174 given to Buchanan. He was appointed major-general in the United States Army, 1861, and assigned to command the Western Department. His military admivistration was conducted without regard to economical considerations. His proclamation in relation to the freedom of slaves greatly embarrassed the President. In 1862 he was assigned to West Virginia, but resigned his commissiou, not being willing to serve nder an officer of inferior rank. -Author.
(') Gideon Welles, “Galaxy Magazine,” 1883, p. 647.
WINTER OF 1862.
IE year opened with half a million men in arms. Very little had
been accomplished by the Union generals. McClellan had organized a great army, but with the coming of winter it was dwindling rather than increasing. The hospitals were filled with patients. He had no plan for a movement. General Halleck was in command in Missouri, General Buell in Kentucky. There was no co-operation between them. The President endeavored to bring about unity of action. • I state,” he wrote to Buell and Halleck,“ my general idea of the war to be that we have the greater numbers, and the enemy has the greater facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail unless we can find some way of making our advantage an overmatch for his ; and this can be done only by menacing him with superior forces at different points at the same time.” He went on to say he wanted Halleck to menace Columbus on the Mississippi, and Buell at the same time to move upon the force under Johnston, at Bowling Green, in Central Kentucky. Buell took no notice of the letter, possibly thinking, though Mr. Lincoln was commander-in-chief, he knew nothing about military affairs.
Halleck sent no reply to the President, but wrote McClellan the idea of moving down the Mississippi was impracticable, or at least premature. He thought it better to move up the Tennessee and carry out a plan which had been suggested. He must have 60,000 men before undertaking it.
The President awoke to the fact that the three commanders were three do-nothings. Neither McClellan nor Buell had any plan, and Halleck wanted a great army before undertaking any movement.
The people of eastern Tennessee, who had declared for the Union, were being arrested and imprisoned by Confederates from Georgia and Texas. Refugees had pitiable stories to tell of sufferings. The President was anxious that Buell should move to their relief, but nothing was done.
The Confederate Government determined to secure central Kentucky. Two expeditions were planned to invade the eastern section of that State. General Humphrey Marshall, with 3000 men, prepared to descend the valley of the Big Sandy River, and General Felix Zollicoffer, with 10,000, began a movement from Tennessee towards the central section of the State.
Colonel James A. Garfield, commanding the Forty-second Ohio regiment at Columbus, was directed by Buell to proceed with his own and
two other regiments against Marshall. He went up the Big
Sandy and attacked him ; the Confederates fled in confusion. The battle was quickly over, but the victory secured eastern Kentucky to the Union.
Two Union brigades - one under General George B. Thomas, at Columbia, the other under General Schoepf, at Somerset, twenty miles farther east-were moving towards Mill Springs to confront Zollicoffer. The Confederate commander resolved to make a rapid march by night, and fall upon Thomas before the brigades united.
In the dim light of the winter morning the Union pickets discovered the advancing Confederates. The drums beat the long roll, and
Thomas's lines were quickly Jan, 19.
formed. The battle raged furiously, but after an hour's struggle the Confederates fled in disorder. Zollicoffer, whom we have seen member of the Peace Convention before the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln as President, had been killed.
The successes of Garfield and Thomas aroused the enthusiasm of the country. The President issued a letter, congratulating the troops upon the victories. More than half of the Union soldiers engaged were Kentuckians. People began to see how wise and prudent the President had been in his course. The State had abandoned its neutral position, and was standing by the Union.
Mr. Lincoln suggested a general movement towards Richmond, which would threaten communication between that city and Johnston's army at Centreville. This the reply of McClellan:
HENRY W. HALLECK.
“Information leads me to believe that the enemy could meet us in front with nearly equal forces, and I have my mind actively turned towards another campaign that I do not think at all anticipated by the enemy, nor by many of our own people." ()
The army in and around Washington numbered nearly 200,000 men. McClellan had employed Mr. Pinkerton to ascertain the number of Confederate troops at Centreville and Manassas. His spies reported there were 80,000 immediately in front of Washington, 18,000 of them supporting the batteries along the Potomac; that the total Confederate force in Northern Virginia was 115,000. The reports were greatly exaggerated. We now know the force was only 47,000.
The discontent of the people at the inaction of the army manifested itself in Congress by the appointment of a “Committee on the Conduct of the War.” McClellan paid little heed to the murmurings of the people or to the committee of Congress. He was taken ill and confined several weeks to his chamber.
The President was in distress over the prospect, and held a conference with General McDowell and General Franklin.
“I am in great trouble,” he said, " for if something is not soon done the bottom will be out of the whole affair. If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it, provided I can see how it can be made to do something. What movement, General McDowell, can be made ?"
McDowell replied that an advance against both flanks of the Confederate army would compel it to leave the intrenchments at Centreville and accept battle on terms favorable to the Union troops. General Franklin thought it would be better to move on Richmond by way of York River.
“But that will require a great number of vessels and involve a large expense,” the President replied. “Think the matter over, and let me know your conclusions to-morrow evening." “In view of the time and means it would require to take the army
to a distant base, operations can best be carried on from the pres
ent position,” read the paper prepared by McDowell and Franklin. Mr. Seward, Mr. Chase, Mr. Blair, and Quartermaster-general Meigs were present when the paper was submitted, but nothing was decided. A second conference was held with McClellan present. McDowell,
with proper deference to his superior officer, and to the Pres
ident as commander-in-chief, said he had submitted his sug. gestions at the request of Mr. Lincoln.
“You are entitled to have any opinion you please," the curt reply of McClellan. (0)
The Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chase, asked McClellan what his plans were, and what he intended to do with the army. It was a plain question, put by a member of the Cabinet upon whom rested the great burden of providing money for carrying on the war.
The expenses were more than $1,000,000 a day, and the army was doing nothing. Mr. Chase doubtless thought he had some right to know what the commander of the army intended to do.
“I must deny,” McClellan replied, “ the right of the Secretary of the Treasury to question me upon the military affairs committed to my charge. The President and Secretary of War alone have the right to question me.”
McClellan was much disturbed because the President had conferred with two subordinate officers. He regarded it as an attempt to bring about his removal—“to dispose of the military goods and chattels,” he said, “ of the sick man, so inopportunely restored to life." ()
The conclusion was unwarranted. The President knew something must be done. The people were holding him responsible. As things were drifting, the war would soon end in failure.
“Well, General McClellan, I think you had better tell us what your plans are," said Mr. Lincoln.
McClellan replied that the President knew in general what his designs were, but he should decline to give any information unless so ordered. He said: “I trust you will not allow yourself to be acted upon by improper influence, but still to trust me. If you will leave military matters to me, I will be responsible that I will bring matters to a successful issue, and free you from all troubles." (*)
Gloom was settling upon the army. Thə soldiers were weary of the routine of camp drill. The hospitals were filled with sick. People from the North were sending them delicacies, books, and newspapers. The Hutchinsons - a family of vocalists who had been singing songs and ballads over the country — came to cheer them. President Lincoln had heard them in Springfield, and invited them to sing in the White House. The piano was opened, but found to be out of tune.
“If you will wait a moment we will use our own instrument,” said John W. Hutchinson. He ran to their carriage, standing under the portico at the door, and brought in a melodeon.
“I remember one song that you sung when you were in Springfield," said the President. “ It was a good while ago—ten years, perhaps-