General Burnside Takes Command


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 22, 1862

This site has online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers printed during the Civil War. These newspapers enable you to watch the events unfold week by week. These reports were created by eye-witnesses to the actual events. They serve as a great way to learn more about this war.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


Governor Horatio Seymour

Horatio Seymour

McClellan Removed From Command

McClellan Removed from Command

Burnside Takes Command

Burnside Takes Command

Loudon Valley

Loudon Valley

Catharine Wilson

Execution of Catharine Wilson

Army of the Ohio

Army of the Ohio

Rufus Ingalls

Rufus Ingalls

General Stanley

General Stanley

McClellan Fired

General McClellan Relieved of Command

Maryland Heights

Maryland Heights Sunrise


US Warship "Vanderbilt"

Gen. Thomas

General Thomas

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley

Army of the Ohio

Army of the Ohio









NOVEMBER 22, 1862.]



(Previous Page) President provided he will do exactly what we wish him to do—we mean only that we would stand by Jeff Davis upon the same terms.

What the President means he has said.

"Oh yes," says the Conservative; "but he has been latterly under Radical pressure. Let him return to his former position."

"Thank you for nothing!" retorts the Radical; "he was formerly under the border State pressure. Let him hold fast to a vigorous policy."

"I go for a constitutional prosecution of the war!" shouts the Conservative.

"Exactly my position," replies the Radical.

"But my interpretation of the Constitution is the right one," says the Conservative.

"Not at all. Mine is the right one," answers the Radical. "I am for the Union at every cost."

"You are a disorganizer," sneers the Conservative.

"Can't see it," smiles the Radical.

"You're a—"

"You're another."

Meanwhile the President has declared his policy. It is to maintain the Government and the Union at all hazards. And what do the people ask of him and signify to him? Merely that they wish to see constant proofs of activity and earnestness in carrying out that policy. They believe that they can suppress this insurrection, and that they can do it speedily. They will not quarrel with any measure of vigor or of rigor, whatever the politicians may say or do. Disgust at hesitation, languor, and delay—discontent with the slow course of military justice—fatigue with the pressure of a war which sometimes seems waged against their own patience as much as against the power of the enemy, will often extort from them the sharpest censure. Generals, Cabinets, parties, are nothing. The country is all. The former may and must be changed as events decree. The latter must and shall be saved, whatever tries to resist.

To sustain the President, then, is to support his policy. If you like his policy you mean what you say in supporting him in its most earnest prosecution. If you dislike it, you are forsworn in declaring that you sustain him. He is the judge of his constitutional power and duty. If he mistakes and abuses his power he can be impeached. But it is to be remarked that he is not sustained by those who threaten him that if he does not follow the advice of men who have always opposed him, his principles, and his measures, the war shall be stopped by any and every means. That is not support—it is attempted coercion.

Meanwhile, again, the President is a man of convictions. He has certain profound persuasions and a very clear purpose. He knows what the war sprang from, and upon what ground a permanent peace can be reared. He is cautious, cool, judicial. But he knows that great revolutions do not go backward; while he is aware that when certain great steps in their prosecution are once taken there will be loud outcries and apprehension. But the ninth wave touches the point to which the whole sea will presently rise, although the next wave and the next should seem to show falling water.


ADDISON, in the twelfth number of his Freeholder, a paper which he published in 1715-16, during the attempt of the Pretender upon the throne of England, has one passage which might have been written among us to-day. Every word of it applies to the causeless rebellion waged upon our Government—a rebellion which airy jesters excuse with a joke, and complacent demagogues palliate with falsehood.

"We may likewise consider rebellion as a greater complication of wickedness than any other crime we can commit. [Addison in the same paper justifies revolution by the very argument used by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.] It is big with rapine, sacrilege, and murder. It is dreadful in its mildest effects, as it impoverishes the public; ruins particular families; begets and perpetuates hatred among fellow-subjects, friends, and relations; makes a country the seat of war and desolation, and exposes it to the attempts of its foreign enemies. In short, as it is impossible for it to take effect, or to make the smallest progress but through a continued course of violence and bloodshed, a robber or a murderer looks like an innocent man when we compare him with a rebel."


IF a pirate were sailing in a dark night along a dangerous channel, and you wanted him to run on the rocks and be wrecked, you would not carry out torches and show the rocks, and hallo, "Look out, here's a bouncer! Don't run into it!" would you? If he escaped, and landed and ravaged and ruined the country, you couldn't say, "I didn't help him," could you?

These are the questions that must inevitably occur to every man who sees the frankness with which information, that should be most secret, is printed in the papers. Within a week we have had a careful statement of the condition and prospects, and probable time of readiness, of our new iron-clad ships; and an announcement of the intended sailing of transports with troops into the very course of the Alabama; and details of intended movements of the army in Virginia; and of the projects of General Banks. And we have always done this, knowing that every paper is read in Richmond within four days.

Of course we are told that it is not the papers which carry the news. Yes; and it may be the chart in his pocket that carries the pirate through. But your torch helps wonderfully, my good friend. And we are told that, if the Government allows it, it's all right. Yes; but your paper in the some issue accuses the Government of stupidity. And we are told that if Tom and Dick don't print it Harry will. Yes; but because Tom and Dick are foolish, or indifferent, or worse, are you so? It may be that the ship is so leaky that she must

sink. But shall we, therefore, not try to stop the leak?

It is the duty of every loyal editor to take care that nothing in his paper shall in any way give information to the enemy, whether other papers do or not, and whether the Government cares about it or not. Can not Patriotism do what Despotism certainly would? Let the rebels find out if they can. Don't let us assume that they will, and therefore tell every thing we know.


FULL STOP.—The organ in Dr. S—'s church did not play last Sunday, because, we learn, of its having a new stop put to it. It was added, we believe, by the deputy-sheriff.

A single glass of liquor too much may separate lovers more widely than the ocean ever did.

He must be a person of very insignificant standing who is always standing upon his dignity.

ARABIAN DAIRY.—The Arabs have an excellent portable dairy, which preserves their milk a number of days in a very hot climate. It is called a dromedary.

The man who, in talking to a lady, lays his hand upon her shoulder may be thought too touching in his remarks.

A farmer likes cold weather at the proper season, but an early frost in autumn goes against his grain.

Why is the letter l, in the word military, like the nose? —Because it stands between two "i's."

Is there any perceptible improvement in a caterpillar when he turns over a new leaf?

Philosophers tell us that Nature never errs. They certainly can not mean human nature.

WIDOWS.—A fellow hits off the following definition of widow: "One who knows what's what, and is desirous of further information on the subject."

AN OLD WRINKLE.—Who is the most industrious of all plowmen?—Time, for he turns the most furrows.

May our blonde beauties be looked on as forming a portion of the pale of society?  

The old lady who believes every calamity that happens to herself a trial, and every one that happens to her friends a judgment, is not yet dead.

Can a man who has been fined by the magistrates again and again be considered a refined man?

THE MYSTERIES OF TANNING.—"Father," said a hopeful urchin to his paternal relative, "why don't our school-master send the editor of the newspaper an account of the tannings he gives the boys?" "I don't know," said the fond parent; "but why do you ask such a question?" "Why, that paper says that Mr. Brown has tanned three thousand hides at his establishment during the past year, and I know that old Furney has tanned our hides more'n twice as many times—the editor ought to know it."

RATHER!—The gentleman who did not trust to his memory wrote in his pocket-book, "I must be married when I get to town." The possibility is that he recollected whether he was married or not afterward.

A SAVORY REMARK.—Some one defines ham as the poetry of bacon.

HOW TO MAKE MEN BRAVE.—Sir Thomas Fitzgerald, famous for flogging, had raised a regiment of pardoned peasantry in the sister kingdom, which he called the "Ancient Irish." He and his corps were sent on foreign service. On his return he boasted frequently of their bravery, and that no other troops were so forward to face the enemy. "No wonder," said Ned Lysaght; "thanks to your flogging, they were ashamed to show their backs."

"Papa, can't I go to the zoological to see the camomile fight the ry-no-sir-ee-hoss?" "Sartin my son, but don't get your trowsers torn. Strange, my dear, what a taste that boy has for nat'ral history! No longer ago than yesterday he had eight tom cats hanging by their tails to the clothes-line."

At a court-martial lately the following dialogue is said to have taken place between one of the witnesses and the court: "Are you a Catholic?" "No, Sir." "Are you a Protestant?" "No, Sir," "What are you then?" "Captain of the foretop."

A TRUE EPITAPH.—Here is a sharp and spicy epitaph on an old cardinal, reminding us of Shakspeare: "The evil that men do," etc.:

Here lies a cardinal, who wrought

Both good and evil in this time;

The good he did was good for naught;

Not so the evil!—that was prime.

Which of the feathered tribe would be supposed to lift
the heaviest weight?—The crane.

A provincial contemporary says there are hundreds of people who become religious when danger is near, and adds: "We know of a man who fell from a bridge across a certain river, and just as he found he must go, and no help for it, he bawled out at the top of his voice, 'Lord have mercy on me—and be quick too!' "

The Chinese have no word which will compare with our English word, "Amen;" they say, instead, " Sin yeuen ching sing"—"The heart wishes exactly so."

Why is a patch of corn like a dunce?—Because it's always liable to get its ears pulled.

LIFE IN DEATH.—Tom Hood speaks of a bird building its nest upon a ledge over the door of a doctor's office, as an attempt to rear its young in the very jaws of death.

The men who deserve, if they do not find, the greatest favor among women, are husband-men.

A contemporary boasts that he "can stand on his intellectual capital." We suppose he means that he can stand on his head.

A CLEAR TITLE.—A New Zealand chief maintained that he had a good title to his land, because he had eaten the former owner.



AN official order releasing General McClellan from the command of the army was received at head-quarters on 8th, and was presented by Assistant Adjutant-General Buckingham in person. General McClellan immediately issued an address to his army, transferring the command to General Burnside, and taking a kind farewell of the men who had fought and suffered with him so gallantly through his long and arduous campaigns. General McClellan is ordered to report at Trenton, New Jersey.


A letter from General Halleck, dated October 28, has been published, giving the reasons for McClellan's removal. He states:

Third—Soon after the battle of Antietam General McClellan was urged to give me information of his intended movements, in order that, if he moved between the enemy and Washington, reinforcements could be sent from this place. On the 1st of October, finding that he purposed to operate from Harper's Ferry, I urged him to cross the river at once and give battle to the enemy, pointing out to him the disadvantages of delaying till the autumn rains had swollen the Potomac and impaired the roads. On the 6th of October he was peremptorily ordered to "cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy, or drive him south. Your army must move now while the roads are good." It will be observed that three weeks have elapsed since this order was given.

Fourth—In my opinion there has been no such want of supplies in the army under General McClellan as to prevent his compliance with the orders to advance against the enemy. Had he moved to the south side of the Potomac he could have received his supplies almost as readily as by remaining inactive on the north.

He goes on to show that all General McClellan's requisitions have been complied with.


The following order was issued by General Burnside on taking command of the army:

In accordance with General Orders No. 182, issued by the President of the United States, I hereby assume command of the Army of the Potomac. Patriotism and the exercise of my every energy in the direction of this army, aided by the full and hearty co-operation of its officers and men, will, I hope, under the blessing of God, insure its success. Having been a sharer of the privations and a witness of the bravery of the old Army of the Potomac in the Maryland campaign, and fully identified with them in their feeling of respect and esteem for General McClellan, entertained through a long and most friendly association with him, I feel that it is not as a stranger I assume command.

To the Ninth Army Corps, so long and intimately associated with me, I need say nothing. Our histories are, identical.

With diffidence for myself, but with a proud confidence in the unswerving loyalty and determination of the gallant army now intrusted to my care, I accept its control with the steadfast assurance that the just cause must prevail.


Major-General Commanding


HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, CAMP NEAR RECTORTOWN, VIRGINIA, Nov. 7, 1862. Officers and Soldiers of the Army of the Potomac:

An order of the President devolves upon Major-General Burnside the command of this army.

In parting from you I can not express the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army you have grown up under my care. In you I have never found doubt or coldness. The battles you have fought under my command will proudly live in our nation's history. The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and by disease, the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness have disabled—the strongest associations which can exist among men—unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution of our country and the nationality of its people.   GEN. B. McCLLELAN, Major-General United States Army.


Major-General McClellan and personal staff left Warrenton at eleven o'clock on 11th. On reaching Warrenton Junction a salute was fired. The troops, which had been drawn up in line, afterward broke ranks, when the soldiers crowded around him, and many eagerly called for a few parting words. He said, in response, while on the platform of the railroad depot, "I wish you to stand by Burnside as you have stood by me, and all will be well. Good-by." To this there was a spontaneous and enthusiastic response.


All the dispatches from Virginia agree in the statement that the main rebel army had eluded General McClellan, at least so far as to avoid a battle in the Shenandoah Valley. Head-quarters of the army were established at Warrenton on 7th; which place was taken possession of by our advance on the day previous. The rebel General A. P. Hill's command was at Warrenton on 5th, his command and Stuart's Cavalry forming the rear-guard of Lee's force. Dispatches from Warrenton, on 9th, bring the important information that General Pleasanton had a skirmish on 8th, near Little Washington, with Stuart's Cavalry, in which he captured three pieces of artillery, and that General Bayard, on the same day, occupied and now holds the railroad bridge across the Rappahanock—the structure being unimpaired. The bridge across Broad Run had been destroyed by the rebels, but as that is further back, in the vicinity of Manassas Junction, and in a section of country now completely within our control, it can be put in good condition again in a very short space of time.

It is said that Stonewall Jackson's whole column is at Front Royal, with the exception of about 2000 men and six guns still remaining in the Shenandoah valley. The rebels, with a large force of cavalry, artillery, and infantry, made an attack, on the 10th, upon General Pleasanton at Amosville. Reinforcements from General Wilcox's command were at once pushed forward to support Pleasanton, who had no infantry and was compelled to fall back, and having joined him, drove the rebels back. General Fenno at the same time advanced upon the town of Jefferson and occupied it.


General Hooker takes command of General Fitz John Porter's corps, the latter officer being ordered to Washington to answer charges preferred against him by General Pope.


Major-General Halleck has issued an order that all officers, of whatever grade, belonging to the Army of the Potomac, shall proceed to join their respective commands within twenty-four hours. The penalty for disobedience of this order will be dismissal from service.


General Rosecrans and staff arrived at Nashville on 10th, having left Bowling Green at six that morning on train to Mitchellville, making the remainder of the trip, forty miles, on horseback, without interruption by guerrillas. The forests are blazing along the greater portion of the route, and many dwellings have been destroyed. The country looks painfully desolate, inhabitants, forage, and stock being nearly all gone.


The investigation of the Harper's Ferry surrender has been brought to a close, and a general order has been issued upon it. The result is the dismissal from the United States service by the President of Colonel Thomas Ford, of Ohio, who abandoned the batteries on Maryland Heights, and of Major Baird, of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York Volunteers. The conduct of General Julius White receives the approbation of the Commission.


Our news from Richmond is dated up to the 8th inst. General Lee had arrived there two weeks ago, and is said to be still there, acting as Commander-in-Chief and military adviser to the War Department. The active command of the enemy's forces in the field has devolved upon General Joe Johnston, who has his head-quarters at Culpepper. The Merrimac No. 2 is completed, and now lies below Fort Darling ready for mischief at the mouth of the James River.


An expedition composed of 12,000 men and several gun-boats left Newbern, North Carolina, by land and water, on the 28th ult., under command of General Foster. Where it has gone to has not yet been made known.




THE following letter, signed by Mr. Gladstone's secretary, has been published: He (Mr. Gladstone) holds himself fully responsible for having declared his opinion at Leith nine mouths ago, to the effect that if the Southern States of America were in earnest the struggle on the part of the Northern States was hopeless, and again at Newcastle, last week, to the effect that the confederation which has been formed under Mr. Jefferson Davis has shown itself to be sufficiently supplied with the elements which make a nation, and with the will and power to defend its independent existence. He can not, however, be responsible for the inferences which, from your letter, you appear to have drawn from his statements—the more so, as they might, he thinks, have been checked by attention to other portions of his declarations concerning America on the same occasion, in which he referred to steps that might, under conceivable circumstances, be taken by the Powers of Europe. And generally, he desires me to remark that to form opinions upon questions of policy, to announce them to the world, and to take or be a party to taking any of the steps necessary for giving them effect, are matters which, though connected together, are in themselves distinct, and which may be separated by intervals of time longer or shorter, according to the particular circumstances of the case.


A London correspondent of the Boston Commercial Bulletin writes: "It is well you are just completing a fleet of 'Monitors.' You are likely to need them before long. Workmen are engaged night and day on the Mersey, on the Clyde, and elsewhere, in building some 20 iron-clads, which are to see service in American waters. They are intended to convoy vessels into Southern ports. This I know to be a fact. My information is direct from those in confidence with the promoters."



King Otho, of Greece, abdicated his throne on the 25th of October in favor of his brother. This step was forced on his Majesty by a revolution, which commenced in Western Greece and spread rapidly, the revolutionists organizing a provisional government in Patras, of which the statesman Mavrocordata is President.

—"Lawks! why it's hexact like our Hemmer!"





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