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A NEW CAMPAIGN FBTJSTKATED BY THE ELEMENTS. 261
Another Advance.— The Army stalled in mud.— Removal of General Burnside.— General Hooker succeeds him.— Character of the two men.—General Franklin relieved, and General Smith transferred to the 9th Army Corps. —His Parting Address.— Colonel Taylor assigned to a Brigade.—A Contraband Prayer Meeting.— Sanitary Condition of the Army.
The weather continued to be very open and favorable for offensive operations, and accordingly, on the 20th of January, General Burnside began another forward movement. His plan this time was to cross the Rappahannock several miles above Falmouth, and turn the enemy's left wing.
Monday morning, the left Grand Division was put in motion, reaching Banks' Ford — the spot designed for crossing—the same day. One of the most terrible storms the Army ever experienced set in that night and continued until Wednesday, rendering the passage of the river impossible
We were literally engulphed in a sea of mud, Virginia subsoil, of all Jeff's dirty allies the most effective, completely blocking our progress, and transforming, in a few hours' time, our compact, well disciplined forces, into a confused, chaotic mass. One hundred and thirty-seven thousand men "stalled" in
THE ARMY ENGULPHED IN MUD.
mud I Pontoons overturned and abandoned, or "snaked" along by infantry; artillery "mired" to the hubs, or broken down by the roadside; ammunition trains upset, or at a dead-lock; supply wagons stuck fast in the clayey soil, or half hidden beneath the surface; soldiers leaping from bog to bog, or floundering in the mud like so many Neighbor Pliables in the Slough of Despond; stragglers roaming through the fields and forests in quest of food, or collected around a barrel of whiskey thrown overboard to lighten some driver's load; did an army ever before encounter such a plight?
A further advance under such circumstances was of course out of the question, and on Thursday the army returned to Falmouth, the Thirty-third re-occupying its old camp for the third time. A portion of the Regiment remained up the river to assist in getting back the artillery, pontoons and other materiel. On the Monday following, we were startled by the report that General Burnside had been succeeded by General Hooker. Very few were disposed to credit the statement, but it was soon confirmed by the appearance of the following farewell address:
Headquarters Of The Army Op The Potomac, ) Camp Near Falmouth, Jan. 26, 1863. J
General Orders No. 9.—By direction of the President of the United States, the Commanding General this day transfers the command of this army to Major General Joseph Hooker. The short time that he has directed its movements has not been fruitful
GENERAL Burnside's FAREWELL ADDRESS. 263
of victory, nor any considerable advancement of our line, but it has again demonstrated an amount of courage, patience and endurance that, under more favorable circumstances, would have accomplished great results. Your General, in taking an affectionate leave of the army, from which he separates with so much regret, may be pardoned if he bids an especial farewell to his long and tried associates of the Ninth Corps. His prayers are that God may be with you, and grant you continued success until the rebellion is crushed.
MAJOE GENERAL BURNSIDE.
Owing to the lack of co-operation manifested on the part of many subordinate officers, General Burnside had, prior to this time, issued an order dismissing several of them. This order he sent to the President, with the request that he would either sanctionvit, or relieve him from the position of General Commanding. He must be clothed with authority to root out all disorganizing elements in his army, substituting, in the place of envious, intriguing Generals, those who would labor in unison with him, or yield over his command. The President did not see fit to confer this authority upon him, and he was accordingly relieved.
Rarely do we meet with one possessed of such noble qualities as were displayed in General Burnside's character. Free from those personal ambitions which lead so many to seek only
"The bubble reputation even in the cannon's month;"
264 BURNBIDE AND HOOKER CONTBA8TED.
influenced solely by motives of patriotism, generous and magnanimous to a fault, manly and Christian in his deportment, unassuming and almost diffident, he was the idol of the Ninth Army Corps, and won the esteem and admiration of all who were thrown in contact with him. His only faults were those of a military character: of these the main one was a want of reticence. The closest secrecy in all matters was seemingly incompatible with his frank, open nature. Lack of confidence in his own judgment led him to confer freely with others concerning his plans, who in turn communicated them to others, until he could with truth, exclaim:
"I never whisper a private affair
But admitting, as he himself repeatedly did, that he was not endowed with that grasp of intellect, fertility of resource, in short Napoleonic comprehensiveness, necessary for commanding so large an army, how many men are born in a century who are thus endowed I Napoleon once remarked that there was but one General in the whole of France, besides himself, who could manoeuvre one hundred thousand men.
General Hooker came into power with a flourish of trumpets, breathing death and destruction to the foe. After ridiculing without stint his predecessors, plotting and scheming for their overthrow, and declaring that he would "take the contract for bagGENERAL HOOKER IN COMMAND. 265
ging the whole rebel army," he had at last prevailed upon the President, who was boxing the compass for a new chief, to appoint him. The appointment was, however, conferred, as General Hooker has frequently said, in direct opposition to General Halleek's wishes. Now that he had secured the reins, Mr. Rebel must beware. He would "smash them
to ." "God Almighty must have mercy on their
The prince of braggarts, one could not be in his presence an hour without recalling a character in King John.
"Here's a stay
No sooner had he assumed command than the Grand Divisions were abolished, and Generals Franklin and Sumner relieved—the latter at his own request. General Smith was immediately after transferred to the Ninth Army Corps, which had departed for the Peninsula. The following was his parting address: