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LEE AND BURNSIDE ON FREDERICKSBURG. 349 The two armies stood facing each | body of his army. But how could other throughout the 14th and 15th: he know at once how severely we Lee strengthening his defenses and had suffered? And, even if he did awaiting a renewal of the attack; know, would it have been wise to Burnside at length deciding to with rush his men upon our batteries, as draw all but Hooker's corps across ours had been rushed upon his? the river, and continue to hold Fred Jackson had decided against this, ericksburg; but this he finally gave when in the flush of his success; and up, on Hooker's representation that he decided wisely. To push forward he should be unable to hold the town; their men till under the fire of our and decided to rëcross his entire army heavy guns, commandingly posted on during the night of the 15th; which our side of the Rappahannock, would was quietly effected without serious have been to imitate Burnside's blunloss. A few of our desperately wound- der; and they had not 15,000 men ed, a few pickets, and considerable to spare..? ammunition, were left by us in Fred- General Burnside's errors in this ericksburg; but Franklin did not lose movement were errors of judgment a man; and not one gun was aban-only; and these were nobly redeemed doned as a trophy of this ill-starred by his subsequent conduct and bearadvance on Richmond. Our pon- ing. Though he had accepted the toons were all taken up and brought chief command with unfeigned reoff; the Rebels next day rëoccupy- luctance and self-distrust, and keenly ing Fredericksburg and their side felt that he had not been fairly treatof the river; and thenceforth pickets ed in the matter of the pontoons, and and sharp-shooters fired across the that Franklin had not done his best stream, whenever any temptation to in the hour of trial, he excused others a shot was afforded, with as business- and took all the blame on himself. In like an air as though the Rappahan- his report to Gen. Halleck,18 he says: nock had always been the boundary “But for the fog, and the unexpected and of two hostile empires, over which no unavoidable delay in building the bridges, armed force had ever ventured.
which gave the enemy 24 hours to concen
trate his forces in his strong position, we Lee has been blamed for not follow-should almost certainly have succeeded; in ing up his advantage; and it is just which case, the battle would have been, in possible that he might have made
my opinion, far more decisive than if we
had crossed at the places first selected. As it something by a tremendous bom was, we came very near success. Failing bardment of the town while still in accomplishing the main object, we re
mained in order of battle two days—long crowded with our decimated, dis
enough to decide that the enemy would not heartened troops-possibly by a sud
his infantry-after which, we rëcrossed to den, determined assault upon it, or
I to this side of the river unmolested, without upon Franklin's wing, with the great the loss of men or property.
17 Lee's General Order No. 38, dated Dec. / sand of this brave army; and its columns, 21, congratulating his army on their success in crushed and broken, hurled back at every point, this encounter, says:
with such fearful slaughter, that escape from en“The immense army of the enemy completed
tire destruction became the boast of those who its preparations for the attack without interrup
had advanced in full confidence of victory." tion, and gave battle in its own time, and on
This is so unfair as to be essentially false, and ground of its own selection.
quite unworthy of a great saldier. "It was encountered by less than twenty thou- ! 18 Dec. 19,
"As the day broke, our long lines of | While the Rebel chiefs were controops were seen marching to their different positions as if going on parade--not the
gratulating each other that the Army least demoralization or disorganization ex of the Potomac had been paralyzed, isted.
at least for the Winter, he was plan“To the brave officers and soldiers who accomplished the feat of thus rëcrossing in
ning a fresh and determined advance the face of the enemy, I owe every thing. on Richmond. Within a fortnight For the failure in the attack, I am respon
ham respon after his bloody repulse, he ordered 19 sible; as the extreme gallantry, courage, and endurance shown by them were never rations cooked, wagons packed, and exceeded, and would have carried the points every thing made ready for a general had it been possible.
" To the families and friends of the dead. | movement; intending to make a I can only offer my heartfelt sympathies; feint above Fredericksburg, but to but for the wounded, I can offer my earnest cross at the Sedden House, six or prayer for their comfort and final recovery. "The fact that I decided to move from
seven miles below; while 2,500 cavWarrenton on to this line rather against the alry, with 4 guns, crossing at Kelly's opinion of the President, Secretary of War, and yourself, and that you have left the | whole movement in my hands, without giv- Central, the Lynchburg and the Weling me orders, makes me the more respon- don Railroads, blowing up the locks sible."
on the James River Canal ; crossing But General Burnside's usefulness the Nottoway, and reporting to Gen. as commander of the Army of the Peck, in command at Suffolk; while Potomac was at an end. Officers several other flying expeditions were and soldiers alike felt that he had to distract the enemy's attention and sadly misjudged in ordering an as- deceive him as to the significance of sault on the bristling heights south the general movement. He had just of Fredericksburg-still more,in seek- given ao the initial impulse to this ing to repeat that assault after the combined movement, when a telebloody, calamitous experience of the gram from the President arrested it; 13th-and the popularity of Mc-and, repairing at once to WashingClellan was immensely strengthened ton, Gen. B. learned that represenand widened by that disastrous re- tations had been made at headquarpulse. Whatever his faults, 'Little ters by certain of his subordinates, Mac'had ever been careful of the prompted and sustained by others, lives of his men; and this fact was that, if he were permitted to proceed, now remembered to his credit. Had in the existing temper of the army, the army been polled for the choice he would inevitably incur disasters of a commander at any time during so grave as to signally belittle, if not the month following our withdrawal wholly efface, those of the recent failfrom Fredericksburg, it is probable ure. In deference to these representhat McClellan would have had a de- tations, the President had telegraphed cisive majority, and morally certain as he did; and the Secretary of War that Burnside's supporters would and the General-in-chief, though now have proved a still more indubitable for the first time apprised of the clanminority.
destine communications of army offiThe latter, however, had no idea cers to Mr. Lincoln, failed even to of sitting down under his defeat. attempt a removal of the impression 19 Dec. 26.
20 Dec. 30.
BURNSIDE'S 'MUD MARCH' HE IS RELIEVED.
they had made on the President's attempts to assail our stalled and mind.
struggling forces; but they guarded Returning to the army, Gen. Burn- the fords so strongly that Burnside side soon ascertained that certain was glad to order his men back to details of the proposed cavalry move-their old camps—some of which they ment had transpired-in fact, he was had burned on quitting, in the confiassured by Gen. Pleasanton that they dent expectation that they should were known among Secessionists in nevermore need them. Washington two or three days after Gen. Burnside, having discovered, his first interview with the President as he believed, the officers who had ---so he abandoned that movement; paralyzed his efforts by fomenting intending to make one somewhat dif discontent in his army, and by disferent, in the course of a few days. heartening communications to Wash
This new movement contemplated ington, now prepared a general order a crossing in force at Banks's and at No. 8), dismissing 22 them from the United States fords, above Fred- the service; but, on the advice of a ericksburg; the crossing below be- trusted friend, decided to submit it ing also made, or at least menaced, to the President before giving it pubas originally proposed: and again licity or effect. He did so; and the his preparations were perfected and President, after consultation with his his army now put a in motion ; when, official advisers, decided, instead of at 10 P. M., there burst over it one of approving the order, to relieve Gen. the severest and most trying storms Burnside from command; which was ever experienced in that region. accordingly done: the order stating Snow, driving sleet, pouring rain, a that Gen. B. was so relieved at his general breaking up of the roads, own request_against which, Gen. B. hitherto hard and dry, and a chaos remonstrated as most unjust, pressing of the elements which rendered loco his demand that his resignation should motion impossible and life under the be accepted instead; but he was drenching sky scarcely endurable, finally persuaded to withdraw it, and arrested that advance at its outset, agree to serve wherever his aid might and fixed our army in the mire be required, allowing any order to wherein it for hours wretchedly, sul- be published that might be deemed lenly, hopelessly floundered. Day- essential to the public weal. Thus light exposed to the enemy across the ended his command of the Army of stream movements which were in the Potomac. tended to be consummated under the cover of night: they were not foolish During this Winter and the ensuenough, had they been able, to ing Spring, a number of raids were squander their men and animals in made by the Rebel cavalry: one 24 21 Jan. 20, 1863.
Taylor, were relieved from duty with this. 22 Maj.-Gen. Hooker, with Brig.-Gens. W. T. army. H. Brooks and John Newton, were designated 23 Jan. 28. Gen. Sumner, at his own request, in this order for ignominious dismissal from the and Gen. Franklin, with expressive silence, were service; while Maj.-Gens. W. B. Franklin and relieved by the same order. Gen. Sumner died. W. F Smith, and Brig.-Gens. John Cochrane soon afterward, at Syracuse, N. Y. and Edward Ferrero, with Lt.-Col. J. H.! 24 Dec. 25, 1862.
by J. E. B. Stuart across the Rappa-, the very great advantage enjoyed by hannock to Dumfries, where 25 Rebel raiders in the readiness of the wagons and some 200 prisoners were White inhabitants to give them intaken, and thence toward Alexandria formation, and even to scout in quest and around Fairfax Court House, of it, throughout that dreary Winter, burning the railroad bridge across that nothing that might be asserted the Accotink, and returning in tri- of Rebel audacity or Federal imbeumph with their spoils; another, 25 cility is absolutely incredible. by a party of Imboden's troopers, The somber cloud is lighted by a farther west, from the Valley to single flash, not of victory, but of Romney, where the guards of a humor. In a Rebel raid far within our supply train were surprised and lines, Gen. Stoughton, a young Verrouted: 72 men, 106 horses, and 27 mont Brigadier, was taken in his bed, wagons taken and carried off ; a near Fairfax Court House, and, with third,28 by Fitz Hugh Lee, across the his guards and five horses, hurried off Rappahannock, near Falmouth, sur-across the Rappahannock. Some one prising a camp, and taking 150 pris-, spoke of the loss to Mr. Lincoln next oners, with a loss of 14 men; a morning : “Yes," said the President; fourth,27 by Gen. W. E. Jones, in the "that of the horses is bad, but I can Valley, routing two regiments of make another General in 5 minutes." Milroy's cavalry, and taking 200 prisoners, with a loss of 4 men only; When General Hooker assumed 28 while a more daring raid was made command of the Army of the Potoby Maj. White, of Jones's command, mac, its spirit and efficiency were at across the Potomac at Poolesville, a very low ebb. Desertions were at taking 77 prisoners. Lee further re- the rate of 200 per day; soldiers ports that Capt. Randolph, of the clandestinely receiving citizens' clothBlack Horse cavalry, by various ing by express from relatives and raids into Fauquier county, captured others to facilitate their efforts to over 200 prisoners and several hun escape from a service wherein they dred stand of arms; and that Lt. had lost all heart. The number Moseby (whose name now makes its shown by the rolls to be absent from first appearance in a bulletin) “has their regiments was no less than 2,922 done much to harass the enemy; officers and 81,964 non-commissionattacking him boldly on several ed ' officers and soldiers--many of occasions, and capturing many pris- them in hospitals, on leave, or detachoners.” - One or two minor cavalry ed on duty; but a majority, probably, exploits, recited by Lee in General had deserted. The frequency, audaOrder No. 29, read too much like city, and success, of the Rebel cavalry romance to be embodied in sober his-raids that Winter forcibly indicate tory; yet such was the depression on the elation and confidence felt on one our side in Virginia, such the elation side, the apathy, born of desponand confidence on the other, such dency, on the other. Superior as its 25 Feb. 16. 26 Feb. 25. 27 Feb. 26. 28 Jan. 26. enormous total probably includes all who had
deserted from the regiments composing that 29 So Gen. Hooker testified before the Com- | army since they were severally organized, as mittee on the Conduct of the War. But this I well as the sick and wounded in hospitals.