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of the squadron which was to operate against New Orleans, and arrived at Ship Island on the 20th. The chief obstacles to his intended advance, after crossing the bar, were Forts St. Philip and Jackson, on the Mississippi river, seventy-five miles below New Orleans. These works were so formidable, and the preparations to receive the "Northern armada so thorough, that the Rebels were entirely confident of success in repelling all attacks. That part of Farragut's fleet which crossed the bar consisted of the steam sloops Hartford, 24 guns, (flag ship); Richmond, 26; Pensacola, 24; Brooklyn, 24; Mississippi, 12; Iroquois, 9; Oneida, 9; the sailing sloop-of-war Portsmouth, 17; the gunboats Varuna, 12; Cayuga, 9; and eight others of 4 guns each. Com. Porter's mortar fleet consisted of twenty schooners, mounting one large mortar, with two small guns, and was accompanied by the Harriet Lane, (flag ship,) the Miami, and three other steamers carrying five or six guns each. No part of either fleet was iron-clad.
Much time was consumed in getting these vessels over the bar at the mouths of the Mississippi. The bombardment commenced on the 18th of April, the mortar boats leading, supported by the gunboats, which made occasional approaches to the forts, drawing their fire. The bombardment continued for six days with no material result apparent, except the breaking of a heavy rifled gun on Fort St. Philip. By a bold movement, begun at two o'clock on the morning of the 24th, a portion of Farragut's fleet, after a gallant fight, succeeded in overcoming all obstructions and passing the forts. With nine of his vessels, Com. Farragut appeared before New Orleans on the 25th. Forts St. Philip and Jackson capitulated on the 28th. Gen. Butler was at hand with his forcesthe Rebel Gen. Lovell made a precipitate retreat into the interior of the State, and the city was surrendered, Gen. Butler taking possession on the 1st day of May.
For a time, the cheering and substantial results recited in this chapter were claimed, by many, as triumphs due to a "grand plan" of the young General-in-chief; while others as confidently pointed out their inconsistency with an alleged scheme which involved "thunder around the whole horizon,"
when once the spell of silence should be broken. Scarcely the faintest echo, in fact, unless at Roanoke Island, where a victory had been gained in February, responded to the reverberations at Mill Spring, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Shiloh and New Orleans. All mystery on this subject was dispelled by the subsequent disclosure that, as early as January, the President had substantially revoked the broader authority given to a dilatory General-in-chief, who had caused the Army of the Potomac to waste in idleness six months that had been expected to bring forth a decisive campaign, and who had opposed the movements so brilliantly executed in the West, as well as the Southern expeditions, one of which restored New Orleans and the passes of the Mississippi to the Government. In the West and Southwest, we have seen that ample results, even in the worst season of the year, followed this wise policy of Mr. Lincoln. How the President's order for active movements was carried into effect by the commander of the Army of the Potomac, will appear in the pages immediately following.
Military Events in the East.-The Peninsular Campaign.
THE fortifications around Washington, commenced by Gen. J. G. Barnard, Chief Engineer under McDowell, and continued by the same officer under McClellan, had been essentially completed before the close of September, 1861. In an order issued on the 30th of that month, the commanding General designated the names by which the thirty-two principal works should be respectively known. From this time onward a large portion of the Army of the Potomac was no longer needed on merely defensive duty. In a communication addressed to the Secretary of War in the latter part of October, Gen. McClellan estimated the number of troops required for the protection of Washington at 35,000, with a further force of 23,000, to be distributed on the Upper and Lower Potomac, and at Baltimore and Annapolis. The main purpose of this vast army, raised, equipped and disciplined at such a cost, was manifestly something quite beyond what 58,000 men alone amply sufficed to accomplish. To destroy the Rebel army before Washington, and to occupy Richmond, were, in the minds alike of military men and civilians, the prime objects to be effected by the Army of the Potomac.
October, November, December, passed without result. The commanding General admits his consciousness of the anxiety no less of the people than of the President for active operations during these pleasant months, on the part of an army sustained at a cost of millions daily. Gen. McClellan's official statement gives his entire force on the 1st of December as 198,213, of whom 169,452 were present for duty, and on the first of January, 1862, as 219,707, of whom 191,480 were "effective." After deducting the 58,000 deemed necessary for defensive purposes and most of these might also have been employed in a direct movement on Manassas-there thus remained an effective
army of 111,452 at the former date, and of 133,480 at the Latter, for an aggressive movement. Beauregard, who had his neadquarters at Centreville, until he was transferred to another command, on the 30th of January, certainly had at no time a force in McClellan's front exceeding one-half the number of the Army of the Potomac.
Gen. McClellan records no surprising fact, therefore, when he states that "about the middle of January, 1862, upon recovering from a severe illness," he "found that excessive anxiety for an immediate movement of the Army of the Potomac had taken possession of the minds of the Administration.”
More than six months having elapsed since the command of this army had devolved upon Gen. McClellan, without the development of either a particular plan or a general purpose of attacking the enemy, under circumstances the most favorable, and an unexpected quiescence having followed his appointment as General-in-chief, the President at length issued his "General War Order, No. 1," as follows:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
President's General War Order, No. 1.]
January 27, 1862.
ORDERED, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.
That especially the Army at and about Fortress Monroe, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the Army near Mumfordsville, Kentucky, the Army and Flotilla at Cairo, and a Naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement on that day.
That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given.
That the Heads of Departments, and especially the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the General-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
This mandate, communicated to high officers immediately
concerned, was not made public until the 11th of March fol-lowing. In it, the President fully resumed his constitutional position as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, practically dispensing with the services of Gen. McClellan as a "Lieutenant," in the discharge of those high duties, as was more formally announced at a later day, on the publication of this general order.
After thus directing Gen. McClellan's efforts more particularly to the management of the Army of the Potomac, the President soon found it expedient to concentrate that officer's thoughts upon some definite plan-which had evidently been not very clearly before his mind hitherto-for rendering this great force of practical service to the Government. Consequently, four days later, the following order was communicated to McClellan :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
ORDERED, That all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac, after providing safely for the defense of Washington, be formed into an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad south-westward of what is known as Manassas Junction; all details to be in the discretion of the Commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before, or on, the twenty-second day of February next. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Immediately after receiving this order, Gen. McClellan prepared a long letter to Mr. Stanton, (dated January 31, 1862,) in which he set forth his objections to this movement, and vehemently urged the substitution of a plan of advance upon Richmond by the Lower Rappahannock, with Urbana as a base. He insists that a movement by Manassas must be delayed on account of the bad condition of the roads, and that this difficulty would be removed by taking the route he proposes, over a more sandy soil, and in a latitude in which the season is two or three weeks earlier. "This movement, if adopted," he says, "will not at all expose the city of Washington to danger. The total force to be thrown upon the new line would be (according to circumstances) from 110,000 to