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issued the order necessary to carry out the command of the President.
The second of the orders issued by the President on the 8th of March was as follows:
(“President's General War Order, No. 3.)
“ EXECUTIVE Mansion,
WASHINGTON, March 8, 1862. Ordered, That no change of the base of operations of the Army of the Potomac shall be made without leaving in and about Washington such a force as, in the opinion of the general-in-chief and the commanders of army corps, shall leave said city entirely secure.
“ That no more than two army corps (about fifty thousand- troops) of said Army of the Potomac shall be moved en route for a new base of operations until the navigation of the Potomac from Washington to the Chesapeake Bay shall be freed from enemy's batteries and other obstructions, or until the President shall hereafter give express permission.
“That any movement, as aforesaid, en route for a new base of operations which may be ordered by the generalin-chief, and which may be intended to move upon the Chesapeake Bay, shall begin to move upon the bay as early as the 18th of March instant; and the general-in-chief shall be responsible that it so moves as early as that day.
“ Ordered, That the army and navy co-operate in an immediate effort to capture the enemy's batteries upon the Potomac between Washington and the Chesapeake Bay.
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.”
Here it will be seen that the President again assumes to fix a certain day in the future for the beginning of an important military movement.
Whether the army would be prepared to move upon the Bay on the 18th of March depended upon the state of readiness of the transports, the entire control of which had been placed by the Secretary of War in the hands of one of the assistant secretaries. Unless his arrangements had been completed on or before that day, the army could not have moved.
But the record of the important events of the 8th of March is not completed; for on that day the Merrimac appeared in Hampton Roads and destroyed the Cumberland and Congress, and the news, flashed far and wide by the telegraph-wires, filled the whole land with consternation and dismay. But our spirits rose the next day at the opportune arrival and gallant and successful achievement of the Monitor. It is needless to dwell upon the memorable contest between these two vessels, so important in its effects upon the whole science of naval warfare; but it was an event of no inconsiderable moment in the fate and fortunes of the Peninsular campaign. The power of the Monitor had been so satisfactorily demonstrated, and the other naval preparations were so extensive and formidable, that the security of Fortress Monroe as a base of operations was placed beyond a doubt; but, on the other hand, the presence of the Merrimac in the James River closed that river to us, and threw us upon the York River, with its tributaries, as our only line of water-communication with the fortress. The general plan, therefore, remained un
disturbed, though less promising in its details thau when James River was in our control.
On Sunday, the 9th of March, trustworthy information came to Washington that the enemy was beginning to evacuate his positions at Centreville and Manassas, as well as on the Upper and Lower Potomac. It is not improbable that, in some mysterious way, they had heard of the council of general officers held on the preceding day, and of the conclusions arrived at.*
We have the right, we think, to say that McClellan never intended to advance upon Centreville. His long-determined purpose was to make Washington safe by means of a strong garrison, and then to use the great navigable waters and immense naval resources of the North to transport the army by sea to a point near Richmond. For weeks—perhaps for months—this plan had been secretly maturing. Secrecy as well as promptness, it will be understood, was indispensable here to success. To keep the secret, it had been necessary to confide it to few persons; and hence had arisen one great cause for jealousy of the general.
“Be this as it may, as the day of action drew near, those who suspected the general's project and were angry at not being informed of it,--those whom his promotion had excited to envy,—his political enemies (who is without them in America ?) -in short, all those beneath or beside him who wished him ill,-broke out into a chorus of accusations of slowness, inaction, incapacity. McClellan, with a patriotic courage which I have always admired, disdained these accusations, and made no reply. He satisfied himself with pursuing his preparations in laborious silence. But the moment came in which, notwithstanding the loyal support given him by the President, that functionary could no longer resist the tempest. A council of war of all the divisional generals was held; a plan of campaign,
As soon as the news came, General McClellan determined to cross the river immediately and ascertain by observation whether the intelligence was true, and then determine what course to pursue. Orders were accordingly issued, during the 9th of March, for a general movement of the army the next morning towards Centreville and Manassas, sending in advance two regiments of cavalry as a corps of observation. At noon on the 10th of March the cavalry advance reached the enemy's lines at Centreville, finding there still burning heaps of military
not that of McClellan, was proposed and discussed. McClellan was then forced to explain his projects, and the next day they were known to the enemy Informed, no doubt, by one of those thousand female spies who keep up his communications into the domestic circles of the Federal enemy, Johnston evacuated Manassas at once. This was a skilful manæuvre. Incapable of assuming the offensive, threatened with attack either at Centreville, where defence would be useless if successful, or at Richmond, the loss of which would be a grave check, and unable to cover both positions at once, Johnston threw his whole force before the latter of the two."
The above is taken from a pamphlet published in New York, in 1863, with the following title:-" The Army of the Potomac: its Organization, its Commander, and its Campaign. By the Prince de Joinville. Translated from the French, with Notes, by William Henry Hurlbert.” The original appeared in the number of the “Revue des Deux Mondes” for October 15, 1862. It is there entitled “Campagne de l'Armée du Potomac, Mars-Juillet, 1862," and bears the signature of “A. Trognon.” The article has been generally ascribed to the Prince de Joinville; and, as the translation bears his name on the title-page and has been constantly referred to as his, the future extracts from the pamphlet will be cited under his name.
stores and much valuable property. The mass of the army advanced to the vicinity of Fairfax CourtHouse, and General McClellan himself went to Ma
The roads were in so impassable a condition that a rapid pursuit of an enemy who burned or broke up all the bridges behind him in his retreat was impossible. The main body of the army was on the 15th of March moved back to the vicinity of Alexandria, to be embarked. It was while General McClellan was absent on this brief reconnoissance in force that the President saw fit to remove him from the position of general-in-chief, by the following order, which appeared in the “National Intelligencer" of March 12, and which General McClellan heard of for the first time at Fairfax Court-House.
("President's War Order, No. 3.)
“ EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHIngton, March 11, 1862. S “Major-General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.
Ordered, further, That the departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under General Buell as lies west of a north-and-south line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated, and designated the Department of the Mississippi; and until otherwise ordered, Major-General Halleck have command of said department.
Ordered, also, That the country west of the Depart