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CAMPAIGNS FOR OPENING THE MISSISSIPPI, AND PIERCING THE GREAT EAST AND WEST LINE OF THE CONFEDERACY.
FORCING OF THE FIRST CONFEDERATE LINE. CAPTURE OF FORTS HENRY AND DONELSON, AND OPENING OF THE MISSISSIPPI TO MEMPHIS.
The President issued a general War Order, directing all the armies to advance on the 22d of February, 1862.
The Tennessee River was selected by General Halleck as the correct line of operation for the armies of the central region. Under his orders, Fort Henry was captured by Foote, and Fort Donelson by Grant.
The Confederate line being thus broken at its centre, Nashville was evacuated on its right, and Columbus on its left. Island No. 10 and Fort Pillow were surrendered, and the Mississippi opened to Memphis, the Confederate fleet at that place being destroyed.
of Bull Run.j
THE battle of Bull Run manifested to the Northern Effect of the battle people the real nature of the struggle in which they were engaged-that they must accept a wasting war, or consent to the destruction of representative government in the land.
They did not delay in making their choice. It was evident that more vigor must be infused into their movements. Lieutenant General Scott, who was at the head of the army, and who thus far had directed all the mili tary operations, was, in consideration of his age and great bodily infirmities, relieved (July 15th) from the more active portion of his duties. A new military department,
McClellan in com
to be known as that of Washington and mand at Washing- Northeastern Virginia, was formed, and General McClellan was placed in command of it. As has been already related in detail (Chapter XLIV.), General McClellan at once commenced the organization of the great army authorized by Congress. His views of the military position and appropriate military conduct were, for the most part, accepted, and such was the patriotism of the people, the resolution of Congress, the energy of the executive, that the Army of the Potomac had reached (p. 195), on Oc tober 27th, a strength of nearly one hundred and seventy thousand men (168,318). It was the general's opinion that the advance upon the enemy at Manassas should not be postponed beyond the 25th of November. It was his desire that all the other armies should be stripped of their superfluous strength, and, as far as possible, every thing concentrated in the force under his command.
Army of the Potomac organized.
On the 31st of October, General Scott, having found his bodily infirmities increasing, addressed a letter to the Secretary of War requesting to be placed on the retired list. With every cir cumstance that could indicate an appreciation of the brilliant services which the aged chief had rendered the republic, his desire was granted. An order was simultaneously issued appointing General McClellan commanderin-chief under the President.
General Scott retires from command.
This change in his position at once produced a change Change in General in General McClellan's views. Hitherto he McClellan's views. had undervalued the importance of what was to be done in the West. He had desired the Western armies to act on the defensive. Now he wished to institute an advance on East Tennessee, and capture Nashville contemporaneously with Richmond. This, in his military administration, implied another long delay to
STANTON SECRETARY OF WAR.
bring up the organization of the armies of the West to an equality with that of the Army of the Potomac.
In preparation for this, the Department of the West was reorganized. On the day following that of McClellan's promotion, Fremont was removed from his command (p. 234). His department was subdivided into three: (1.) New Mexico, which was assigned to Colonel Canby; (2.) Kansas, to General Hunter; (3.) Missouri, to General Halleck. To General Buell was assigned the Department of the Ohio, and to General Rosecrans that of West Virginia. The end of November approached, and still the Army of the Potomac had not moved. The weather was magnificent, the roads excellent. One excuse after another was alleged. The Confederate army in front was magnified to thrice its actual strength. Expenses were accumulating frightfully. Winter at last came, and nothing had been done.
Command of the departments reorganized.
Immobility of the
So wore away day after day and month after month. The clicking telegraph in the War Office had nothing to say but "all quiet on the Potomac." Not alone among the people, who had only imperfect information, but even among officials in prominent positions, the inquiry became more and more urgent, "When will McClellan move? What is he going to do?" "Sir," said an eminent statesman, to whom Lincoln addressed that now painful interrogatory, "I declare to you my firm belief that to this day he has no plan." It seemed as if the army he had organized was a coat of mail he could not carry. The sword he had caused to be forged was too heavy for him to lift.
Mr. Stanton had succeeded Mr. Cameron as Secretary of War (January 13th, 1862). He had been attorney general in the latter part of Buchanan's administration, and had acted with conspicuous
Commencing dissatisfaction with McClellan.
Stanton made Secretary of War.
energy in preserving Washington from seizure by the conspirators (p. 47). To him Lincoln spontaneously turned, satisfied that by him the great duties of the War Department would be energetically and faithfully discharged. Others, who had aspired to the position thus unexpectedly imposed upon Stanton, declared that he was unsuited to the office; that he was a man of only one idea. "It is true," wrote a very observant foreigner at that time residing in Washington, "he is a man of one idea, but his enemies abstain from saying that his one idea is the grandeur and immortality of the Republic.”
THE GENERAL WAR ORDER.
At Stanton's suggestion, the President, whose patience He infuses energy was completely worn out by McClellan's inin the department. activity, issued an order that on the 22d day: of February a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent states should take place; that "especially the army at or about Fortress Monroe, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the army near Mumfordsville, Ken
tucky, the army and flotilla near Cairo, and the naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move 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 the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the generals in chief, with all other commanders and subor dinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execu tion of this order."
The President's general war order.
A special war order was issued January 31st," that all the disposable force of the Army of the Pothe Potomac Army. tomac, after providing safely for the defense of Washington, be formed into an expedition for the im
Special order as to
CONFEDERATE LINE OF DEFENSE.
mediate object of seizing upon the railroad southwestward 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 22d day of Febru ary next." This order was, however, subsequently modified.
These orders carried upon their face the distrust which the administration had conceived of General McClellan, a distrust fast spreading all over the country. It was felt not alone in the council chamber of the cabinet, but among all grades of society.
With the President's order of January 27th the war may be said to have begun systematically.
The rivers of Kentucky and Tennessee show by their Commencement of course that those states present a topograph ical incline to the northwest, the Cumberland Mountains being its culminating ridge. Down the gentle slope thus afforded, the Tennessee and its affluent the Duck, the Cumberland, the Green, the Kentucky, the Big Sandy, empty into the Ohio. Beyond the ridge the rivers flow southward into the Gulf of Mexico.
Political as well as military considerations, already deThe first line of Con- scribed (p. 219), had led the Confederate federate defense. officers to establish upon this incline their first line of defense. Commencing at Columbus, a little below the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, it crossed the Tennessee and Cumberland, having on the former Fort Henry, on the latter Fort Donelson. Eastward of the latter post there was an intrenched camp at Bowling Green. The Confederate left, therefore, rested on the Mississippi, their right on the intrenched camp at Bowling Green, which was at the junction of the Memphis and Ohio with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. A railroad connection between the ends of the line