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GEN. BUTLER'S ADMINISTRATION.
difficulty. He had but a few thousand men, was in a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants, nearly all of whom were bitterly hostile. Yet the manner in which Gen. Butler met and overcame all the difficulties in his way, showed him to be just the man for the place. If he had never before rendered, and should not hereafter render, any important public service, the ability, firmness, good sense, energy and justice, which he exhibited in administering the government of New Orleans, would make his name immortal. It was attended with the most triumphant success. He “subdued” the women of the city, and compelled them to be "keepers at home”; he impressed upon the city authorities that none but loyalists could rule, the Press that it could not publish treason, the bankers that they must not aid it with funds or credit, the foreign consuls that the Federal Government was now in the ascendancy; and all classes that had heretofore joined in the rebel march, must now "keep step to the music of the Union.”
The success which thus attended the conquest and subsequent government of the city, has had no parallel during the war. Its capture was a brilliant martial triumph, and scarcely less credit is due to Gen. Butler, for the great executive ability which he exhibited in "subduing” the insolence of the leading rebels, and restoring and enforcing order and good government in that vile and turbulent city,
Gen. Butler continued in command of the city until near the close of the year, when he was superseded by Major Gen. Banks, who, with a formidable land and naval expedition, was sent to the Gulf, to co-operate with the Mississippi flotilla, in the reduction of Vicksburg, and other rebel works upon that river.
THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC-CAMPAIGN OF 1862 -SIEGE OF YORKTOWN-BATTLES OF WILLIAMS
BURGH AND WEST POINT. General Movement Ordered by the President - Good Results in the West
Advance of General Banks - Battle of Winchester — General Shields' Report - Gen. McClellan's Advance - Manassas Abandoned - Its occupation - Ramors of a Change of Base Advance by the way of Fortress Monroe Movement upon Yorktown - The Siege — Toils and Sufferings of the Soldiers - Battle of Lec's Mills -- Progress of the Investment - Fierce Resistance of the Enemy - The City Evacuated - The Rebel Retreat - The Pursuit Desperate Battle before Williamsburgh - Advance up York River — Battle of West Point.
On the 27th of January, 1862, the President issued the following order :
“Ordered, that the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces ; that especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe, the army of the Potomac, the army of Western Virginia, the army near Munfordsville, Ky., the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement 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 of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the Generalin-Chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order."
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
On March 8th, the following :
"Ordered, first, that the Major-General commanding the army of the Potomac, proceed forthwith to organize that part of said army destined to enter upon active operations, including the reserve, but excluding the troops to be left in the fortifications about Washington, into four army corps, to be commanded according to seniority of rank, as follows:
"First Corps, to consist of four divisions, and to be commanded by Major-General J McDowell.
"Second Corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General E. V. Sumner.
“Third Corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General S. P. Heintzelman.
“Fourth Corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General E. L. Keyes.
“II. That the divisions now commanded by the officers above assigned to the commands of corps, shall be embraced in, and form part of their respective corps.
“III. The forces left for the defense of Washington, will be placed in command of Brigadier-General James Wadsworth, who shall also be Military Governor of the District of Columbia.
"IV. That this order be executed with such promptness and dispatch as not to delay the commencement of the operations already directed to be undertaken by the Army of the Potomac.
“V. A fifth army corps, to be commanded by Major-Gen. N P. Banks, will be formed from his own and Gen. Shields' (late Gen. Lander's) division."
And on March 11th, also, the following:
“Major-Gen. 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.
RESULTS IN THE WEST.
“Ordered further, that the two Departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under Gen. Buell as lies west of a north and south line, indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tenn., be consolidated and designated the Department of the Mississippi, and that until otherwise ordered, Major-Gen. Halleck have command of said Department.
“Ordered also, that the country west of the Department of the Potomac, and east of the Department of the Mississippi, be a military department, to be called the Mountain Department, and that the same be commanded by Major-General Fremont ; that all the commanders of Departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them."
The results of the movements made in pursuance of those orders, in the west and south-west, we have already detailed. It remains to trace the progress and doings of the army of the Potomac, when the "quiet,” which it had so long maintained, in the vicinity of the Capital, was once broken.
Of this movement, the fifth army corps, commanded by Gen. Banks, formed the advance, and occupied Harper's Ferry. A pontoon bridge was here thrown across the river, and completed on the 26th of February, over which the troops passed, occupying in the passage until the first of March. The re-construction of the rail road bridge was commenced, to facilitate the transmission of supplies. The corps was ordered to advance to Charlestown on March 1st, and the order was speedily executed, the advance passing through the town, and occcupying an eminence beyond it on the same day. Here Gen. McClellan visited Gen. Banks, and received the salutations of his soldiers. The command halted for several days, occupying the town.
At this time, the rebels under Jackson, were at WinchesJACKSON'S RETREAT FROM WINCHESTER.
ter, twenty-two miles to the south-west, and believed to be in force, protected by strong earth-works, with some sixty pieces of artillery. Here a severe contest was looked for. On the 4th of March, Gen. Banks moved on to Berryville, ten miles from Winchester. Gen. Jackson learning the force that was bearing down upon him, and knowing his own inability to cope with it, retreated from Winchester, with all his supplies, but of which our Generals were in utter ignorance, although but eight miles distant, and the retreat occupying three days ! It was not until March 12th, that a reconnoissance showed the fact of the retreat, when the town was occupied by our troops.
The occupation of Winchester showed the boasted fortifications, which our Generals had so much feared, to exist only in their imaginations. They were extremely insignificant, and his boasted force consisted of but six thousand men, a part of which was Ashby's famous cavalry. With the latter, a body of Michigan cavalry had a slight skirmish on the road to Strasburgh, about nine miles from Winchester, on the same day that the town was occupied, in which six of the enemy's force were made prisoners.
Jackson's retreat was covered by Ashby's cavalry, which was accompanied by field batteries. Ashby kept from one to two miles in the rear of Jackson. Upon elevated positions he would plant his guns commanding the route, of the pursuers, and on the approach of our cavalry advance, he would throw a few shells among them, which would cause them to fall back upon the infantry supports.
Meanwhile Ashby had left, to take another similar position, to re-enact a similar game ; thus delaying the advance of the pursuing force, and enabling that retreating, to escape unmolested.
The main body of the Potomac army, under Gen. McClellan, had meanwhile occupied Centreville, where it was now the object of Gen. Banks to join him. Gen. Shields, commanding a division of his army, made a reconnoissance in force