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264

BURNSIDE AND HOOKER CONTRASTED.

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
Within the hearing of cat or mouse,
But I hear it shouted at once from
The top of the house."

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 ? Napoleon once remarked that there was but one General in the whole of France, besides himself, who could manæuvre 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 bag

GENERAL 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 Halleck'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 souls—he wouldn't.”

The prince of braggarts, one could not be in his presence an hour without recalling a character in King John.

“Here's a stay
That shakes the rotten carcass of old death
Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth indeed!
That spits forth death, and mountains, rocks, and seas :
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions,
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs.
What cannonier begot this lusty blood ?
He speaks plain cannon, fire, and smoke, and bounce.
He gives the bastinado with his tongue.
Zounds ! I was never so bethump'd with words,
Since I first call’d my brother's father, dad.”

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 :

266 GEN. SMITH TRANSFERRED TO THE NINTH CORPS.

HEADQUARTERS Sixth CORPS, IN CAMP NEAR

WHITE-Oak CHURCH, VA., Feb. 5, 1863. } To the Officers and Soldiers of the 6th Army Corps :

I relinquish command over you in obedience to orders. Your soldierly qualities make it a high honor to command you, and long months of association with you make me regret the separation.

To my old Division I would say more in memory of our past and longer association. You will not forget that you were in the advance from Fort Monroe to within sight of the spires of Richmond; that in front of the lines near Yorktown, you took and held for days a position within three hundred yards of the enemy; that your valor decided the day at Williamsburg; that in three consecutive days, the 27th, 28th, and 29th of June last, you met and repulsed the foe; that on the 17th of September you came upon the battle-field to find the enemy advancing upon unsupported artillery, and that, rushing upon their lines, you drove them back in confusion, and saved the right wing at Antietam. With such memorials your future is easily foretold.

W. F. SMITH.

. The rainy season had now arrived; all hopes of further active operations were abandoned, and the army went into permanent winter quarters. During the month of Feburary, the Thirty-third, Fortyninth Pennsylvania, and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania, were formed into a new Brigade, and placed under the charge of Colonel Taylor, who

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established his Headquarters at the “ Lee House,” about one mile and a half from White-Oak Church. The Regiment changed its location to a woody crest on the Lee estate, a third of a mile in the rear of the Colonel's quarters. This was the most delightful camp the Thirty-third had during its two years of service; airy, roomy, healthy, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country, and well supplied with pure water from springs close by. On the summit of the hill, a square clearing was made, company streets laid out, and the soldiers' cabins built in regular order. The officers' quarters were constructed just in the edge of the wood at the head of the various streets. Encamped directly beneath, on the hill side, were the Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania.

The months of Feburary, March, and April, passed very pleasantly. Athletic sports of every description and in-door amusements, beguiled away many hours. A mail was received every evening and distributed at the Chaplain's tent. The New York, Philadelphia and Washington daily papers, together with numerous volumes from the Bernard libraries, and other secession sources, furnished ample reading material.

On becoming weary of the monotony of camp life, many sauntered out to the surrounding forests, fields, and farm-houses, in quest of adventure. Between the encampment and Acquia Creek was a settlement of contrabands, employed by government in wood-chopping. They occupied the huts built by

268

A SETTLEMENT OF CONTRABANDS.

the enemy when in possession of the region, and were apparently very contented with their new mode of life. After the labors of the day were closed, they assembled for a Virginia “ hoe-down,” in which the slaves so much delight, or to participate in religious exercises. Most of the older members of the community were of a religious turn, and not unfrequently spent the entire night in devotion. Their leader on such occasions, a wrinkled, osseous specimen, whose crisp hair and callous skin were, if possible, a shade darker than that of his companions, had been the head-cook of his master, and now acted in that capacity. He was never so much at home as when exhorting the brethren, and instead of being embarrassed by the presence of soldiers, then talked and prayed with increased fervor. The writer took down his prayer one evening. He had just risen from his knees when we entered, but loth to lose an opportunity of displaying his talent to the “northern white folks,” he again kneeled down and delivered the following with great unction.

Oh, Lord God of dis glorious Universe. Wilt dou look down in de omnipresence of dy eye upon dese dy collard children bowed upon de knucklebone dis night. Take a solemn peep upon us and let a heap of light in. Dou knowest what dese dy poor darkies need. Dere be Sam, dere be Jerry, and dere be Pompey. Dey are in dere sins, dats what I reckon. Help dem to git up, and git from de wilderness of sin, and come in to de clearing of salvation. Take a solemn peep also upon de darkies

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