General Rosecrans Removed from Command


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 31, 1863

Welcome to our extensive collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers are available online. Reading about the war on the pages of these old papers allows you to watch the events of the war unfold in real time. The papers have interesting insight and perspective not available elsewhere.

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Army of the Cumberland

Rosecrans Removed from Command

Bristoe Station

Battle of Bristoe Station

White Stone Hill

Battle of White Stone Hill

Siege of Charleston

Siege of Charleston

Quack Medicine

Quack Medicine



Cavarly Battle

Cavalry Battle


Sioux War

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie

Battle of Chickamauga

Battle of Chickamauga




[OCTOBER 31, 1863.



WE devote pages 689, 692, 696, and 697 to illustrations of the Army of the Cumberland. On pages 696 and 697 will be found a fine battle scene, which will convey an idea of the gallant stand made by General Thomas's heroes against the rebel advance at the battle of Chicamauga, when they saved the day and covered themselves and their leader with glory.

On pages 689 and 692 we reproduce three illustrations of the cavalry operations which followed the battle, from sketches by Mr. Theodore R. Davis, who writes:


CHATTANOOGA, October 7, 1863.

Arriving at Bridgeport during a pelting rain-storm, and at night, I domiciled until morning under a railroad platform that seemed to comprise the town.

The morning came, and out I crawled, finding, after much inquiry, that "the way to reach Chattanooga was to walk, of course;" and "the distance by the safe route was only sixty miles." "But," quoth my informant, "General Wheeler, with all the cavalry of Bragg's army, is on that route now." My bunk-mates of the previous night (there had only been a regiment under the platform) now extended sympathy and hard tack.

Very soon I learned that Colonel E. M. M'Cook, with a portion of his division of cavalry, would start at once to attack the raiders. Excellent! I at once volunteered my valuable services and those of a mule of which I unexpectedly found myself proprietor.

The combined forces started at once, the rain pouring in torrents. We reached Jasper at midnight, and bivouacked; which means, or did in our case, to pour the water out of one's boots and crawl under a rail shanty. Dawn found us on the march, and when within a few miles of Anderson's Gap we saw a dense smoke, caused by the burning of a large wagon train by the rebel cavalry.

At three o'clock we came up with the enemy, charging them at once; the First Wisconsin, under Colonel La Grange, dashing down the road, while the Second Indiana charged through the field to the right, Major Presdee at their head. The whole force being under Colonel M'Cook.

The rebels drew up in line, fired one volley, then turned and ran, dropping their plunder as they went. Reaching a very strong position they again drew up in line of battle, only to break in disorder as our men came upon them in a sabre charge.

At every commanding position they drew up in line only to stand for a moment—the sabre charge of our men being demoralizing in the extreme.

In one of these charges General Wheeler had a very narrow escape. Colonel La Grange had cut down one of Wheeler's staff, run his trusty blade through another, and dashed at Wheeler, whom he had nearly reached, when the rebel jumped his horse over a fence, which the horse of the gallant Colonel refused.

Jost at this time Major Presdee had gotten so far in advance of his men that a number of the rebels had surrounded him, when a sergeant of his regiment rushed to his rescue, spoiling on his way the pates of several of the rebel cavalry. During the charges Captains Mitchell and Pratt, of Colonel M'Cook's staff, were among the foremost in the fray. When the fight ceased at night we discovered, by questioning prisoners, of whom we had quite a number, that we had fought and whipped twenty-five hundred picked men with two regiments, or less than half their number—we having prisoners from 11 different regiments.

The Fourth Indiana cavalry, under Major Lampson, had now come up: orders were issued for an advance at the earliest moment of daylight.

The next morning came, but with it a fog so dense that it was impossible to move, and eleven o'clock came before it was practicable to advance. Then after them we went, recapturing a large number of mules that they had stolen from our wagons, and again driving them.

Finding now that the continuance of my stay with the pursuing cavalry would carry me too far from Chattanooga, t returned to Anderson's Gap—finding at that place the brigades of Colonels Mitchell and Tilson. Near the Gap, and scattered for some distance along the road, were the smouldering wagons, the destruction of which had been complete. Over two hundred wagons had been destroyed and hundreds of mules shot. Some of the wagons had been fired without taking the mules from them.

By the President of the United States.


WHEREAS, The term of service of part of the volunteer forces of the United States will expire during the coming year; and whereas, in addition to the men raised by the present draft, it is deemed expedient to call out three hundred thousand volunteers, to serve for three years or the war—not, however, exceeding three years.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do issue this my proclamation, calling upon the Governors of the different States to raise and have enlisted into the United States service, for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States, their quotas of three hundred thousand men.

I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium, and bounty, as heretofore communicated to the Governors of States by the War Department, through the Provost Marshal General's office, by special letters.

I further proclaim that all volunteers received under this call, as well as all others not heretofore credited, shall be duly credited and deducted from the quotas established for the next draft.

I further proclaim that if any State shall fail to raise the quota assigned to it by the War Department under this call, then a draft for the deficiency in said quota shall be made in said State, or on the districts of said State, for their due proportion of said quota, and the said draft shall commence on the 5th day of January, 1864.

And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with existing orders, or with those which may be issued for the present draft in the States where it is now in progress or where it has not yet been commenced.

The quotas of the States and districts will be assigned by the War Department, through the Provost Marshal General's office, due regard bring had for the men heretofore furnished, whether by volunteering or drafting, and the recruiting will be conducted in accordance with such instructions as have been or may be issued by that department.

In issuing this proclamation I address myself not only to the Governors of the several States, but also to the good and loyal people thereof, invoking them to lend their cheerful, willing, and effective aid to the measures thus adopted, with a view to reinforce our victorious armies now in the field, and bring our needful military operations to a prosperous end, thus closing forever the fountains of sedition and civil war.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this seventeenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


GENERAL ROSECRANS has been removed from the command of the Army of the Cumberland, and General Thomas, the hero of Chicamauga, appointed in his place—General Grant taking the supreme command of all the armies on the Mississippi and in East and Southern Tennessee. The announcement has taken every, one by surprise. But whereas, some months ago, the removal of a popular general from his command would have been a signal for a popular uproar, now even the Copperheads can barely get up a feeble hiss at the change; and the public at large, fully satisfied that the President knows what is required by the emergency, and is doing his duty faithfully, accept the event without murmur.

Whatever may have been the faults of General Rosecrans, it is encouraging to see that the President, when satisfied that he ought to be removed, had the courage to remove him, without hesitation or explanation to the public. We remember the time when the public safety absolutely required the removal of General Fremont, whose impolicy was jeoparding our cause in Missouri, and whose friends were threatening us with a military despotism if their favorite were disturbed. If ever a head wanted amputation, it was his. Yet Mr. Lincoln hesitated for weeks, and months, and only ventured at last to strike the blow after the public of the West had been educated to distrust Fremont by the publication of Adjutant-General Thomas's famous report in the Tribune. Again, there can be no doubt but McClellan's removal ought to have taken place much sooner than it did—as soon, in fact, as that General refused to obey orders from Washington, and to report to the Commander-in-Chief. The President temporized and hesitated until a month of invaluable time was lost—fearing the effect of the removal of a commander who had won great personal popularity. We are all of us learning, however, in these days; and Mr. Lincoln, perceiving that the Republicans did not throw down their arms when Fremont fell, nor the Democrats when McClellan retired to Jersey, now understand that the people, of whatever political party, are more devoted to the country than to any individual, and has not hesitated to remove Rosecrans. It was just this nerve and this courage which were required to insure the success of the North.

There is a lesson to be learned by the people from this event, and that is, to beware of accepting the newspaper and popular estimate of generals as the true one. Up to the hour of Rosecrans's removal he was believed to be nearly perfection. He was called prudent, daring, invincible, loyal to the back-bone, dextrous as a strategist, and always obedient to his superiors. He was contrasted with other generals, to their invariable disparagement. When he failed at Chicamauga, the Copperheads—whose implacable foe he had proved himself—threw the whole blame on Government, and entirely exonerated him. At one time loyal men clamored for his appointment to the command of the Army of the Potomac, and were only silenced when they were assured that the Army of the Cumberland had the more important duty of the two. Well, what if it should prove, when the truth comes to be known, that this paragon was prudent when he should have been daring, and rash when he should have been cautious; that the battle of Murfreesborough was lost by him, and afterward—when he had given it up—won by his subordinates; that he should have taken Chattanooga weeks before he approached it, and should never have advanced a step beyond; that, by his advance, he disarranged the general plan of campaign determined at Washington, which had been prepared with his aid and approval—and this seemingly from no other motive than a vain wish to win greater victories than Grant; that, so far from obeying orders promptly and cheerfully, he frequently disregarded the commands of the President; and that, so far from being the chivalric soldier we pictured him, he left the battle-field at Chicamauga in the middle of the fight, and was in bed at Chattanooga, snug and safe, when the gallant Thomas, with his handful of heroes, was stemming the furious onset of the rebel army. If all this should be presently discovered to be the truth, what shall we then say of popular estimates of generals?


PENNSYLVANIA and Ohio have followed in the track of California and Maine, and Iowa and Indiana have not been behindhand. New York will fittingly close the campaign with a magnificent Union majority.

Last year honest citizens were deeply pained by a precisely opposite result. New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio were carried by the opponents of the Government, and it seemed to superficial observers that the people of the North

were about to be substantially divided, which in effect would have secured the triumph of the rebels. The chief European organ of the insurgents—animated by a simple wish to see the United States destroyed—chuckled over the defeats of the Administration candidates, and confidently predicted the collapse of the "Lincoln Despotism."

We have changed all this now, and good citizens may congratulate themselves on the restoration of confidence. Throughout the North the fiat has now gone forth that the war must be prosecuted until the entire territory of the United States is permanently replaced under the dominion of the flag. We hear no more sixty-day or ninety-day prophecies in these times. No one is now willing to pledge himself to the capture of Charleston, or Atlanta, or Richmond within a given time. We have learned to respect our enemy, and to bide our time. It may take one year, or it may take four to complete the work of subjugating the rebels. The Administration is basing its calculations and its contracts upon the theory that it will take at least three years from this time. This is the reckoning of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Treasury, though both are wisely providing for a prolongation of the contest beyond the expiration of the period fixed in their estimates. The idea of every body, in and out of the Government, is that no further estimates as to time must be made, but that the war must be prosecuted steadily and perseveringly until the object sought has been attained.

In this view the overwhelming defeat of the Copperheads is a matter of decided congratulation. We learn from the elections in Pennsylvania and Ohio that the masses of the people can be relied upon, and that they are not less resolutely fixed upon the vigorous prosecution of the war than their leaders. With such evidence of popular determination the ultimate result is not doubtful. It is, as we said, a mere question of time.

History, which has pilloried Benedict Arnold, will erect a still higher gallows for the mean sneaks who, in this darkest hour of their country's peril, wavered, and commended submission to the traitors of the South.


THE Earl Russell, who made his reputation as a friend of liberty and democracy throughout the world, and who seriously damaged that reputation by espousing the cause of the slave-holding rebels against the United States, has lately seen fit to recant, and in a speech delivered in Scotland protests that he wishes to be considered as much a friend of the North as of the South, and reproaches Senator Sumner with trying to create ill-will between the two nations. The Earl contrasts Senator Sumner with Mr. Seward, and compliments the latter, as a friend of peace, at the expense of the former.

People in this country are very much touched by the Earl's graceful allusions to the beauty of peace, and to our common tongue, our common origin, and so forth. We remembered these things when England was at war with Russia, and our authorities combined in an instant to prevent even the semblance of an infraction of our neutrality laws. Earl Russell forgot them when he let the Alabama, the Florida, and the Georgia go to sea to prey upon our defenseless commerce. They only occurred to him after he had heard of the capture of the Atlanta (a vessel as formidable as the Warrior) in fifteen minutes by the Weehawken, and of the performance of Gilmore's Parrott guns at Charleston.

When a man has trampled on his enemy and done him all the harm he can do, and is beginning to apprehend that the foe who seems crushed may rise and retaliate, he is very apt to be a lover of peace, and a hater of war. The Earl Russell's recollection of our common origin would have been better timed if it had occurred to him before he let the Alabama go to sea, in spite of the earnest protests of our officials.

He thinks it horrid that Senator Sumner should, on the heels of the bloody fight at Gettysburg, express views which may lead to bloody battles with British troops. It had never occurred to him, probably, when he made his famous Newcastle speech which encouraged the rebels so much, that the natural consequence of that speech would be bloody battle-fields. We, like Earl Russell, dislike battles. But it is rather cool for the man who has done more than any other individual to foster the resistance of the rebels, to turn on us now, and exclaim against the blood spilled in the war. Why did he not think of this before he pronounced the slaveholding insurgents a belligerent power?

Blood-letting, in war, is a shocking thing, no doubt. No nation loves peace more than the United States. But we have been driven into a desperate war, mainly through the acts and expressed opinions of Earl Russell and his colleagues; and they may now rely upon it that Senator Sumner, much more than Secretary Seward, expresses the views of the people on our relations with England, when he tells the English that their conduct during the present war has aroused a hostility to them in this country which will outlive this generation.



IT is amusing to see the different interpretations that are put upon the recent elections. One Copperhead paper finds that they mean merely that nobody wants peace at any price. Another, of a lighter hue, discovers that they are a terrible rebuke of Mr. Lincoln for listening to radical advisers. Another insists that they prove that loyal men are going to do exactly what the rebels want them to do. And so the doleful tale goes round, and the Copperheads console themselves with thinking what would happen if only the sky would fall, and twice two make seven and a half.

One thing is clear amidst all the speculation. It is pretty evident that Ohio does not wish Vallandigham for Governor, nor Pennsylvania Woodward. We can all agree that they prove so much. Then why did those States not wish such Governors? The canvass was exactly the same in both States. The arguments were identical. And what were they? Simply that Vallandigham and Woodward were not heartily for the war. There might be shadowy differences of opinion between them. Vallandigham might wish peace upon terms of separation, looking to reconstruction; and Woodward might pronounce for war upon terms certain to secure the success of the rebellion. But the popular common sense sees that if the rebellion is to subdued, it must be done by cordially supporting and supplying the men and means for the war. The people knew that neither W. nor V. intended so to support and supply—and they therefore repudiated them both.

The policy of the war is as clearly defined as the war itself. Fighting, confiscation, emancipation, suspension of the habeas corpus "when the public safety requires it," and drafting, are all measures of that policy. In one word, the policy of the war is its prosecution by all honorable means of warfare. That has been plainly announced for a year. It went into practical operation on the 1st of January, 1863, and every popular election since has overwhelmingly approved it. Every man whose vote swelled the Union majorities did not, of course, mean to say that he approved every detail and every person involved in the working out of the policy. But allowing for human nature, confiding in the good intention of the Government, and especially in the unquestioned honesty of the President, all loyal men know that to perplex and embarrass the operations of the war is to help the enemy. They have, therefore, in the great States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Iowa, and Maine, as well as in the smaller States of Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, declared for the war and the policy of the war. Does any body suppose that New York will falter?


THERE is one great change in the policy of the rebels. They began by shouting that they would cut themselves off clean from any association with the vile Yankee North. Every Northern party and man excepting Vallandigham and Seymour were repugnant to them. They would establish their independence, and then, perhaps, hold their noses and trade with us.

Wisdom is the child of experience. They confess now that they need Northern co-operation. It is not enough that they have an army invincible and innumerable. They must have Northern support. The Chattanooga Rebel, published in Atlanta, says plainly that all the rebels have to do is to pulverize Rosecrans, winter in Kentucky and East Tennessee, "retake the Valley of the Mississippi, secure the election of a Peace-Democrat to the Presidency in the fall, and arrange the terms of treaty and independence." Here is a very pretty programme, but one of its cardinal points is the aid of the Northern Copperheads. Now the rebels may be supposed to know their friends as well as we do. When they say that they want rebel bullets and peace ballots, who does not see that to vote for the candidates they wish to see elected is as serviceable to them as to shoot in the ranks of Bragg's or Lee's army?


THE London Times, speaking of Mr. Channing's expression of the want of English sympathy as the wonder of wonders, says: "To make a complaint that spectators of the horrible conflict have not approved the plunge into national ruin is unreasonable almost to childishness."

Here are words of the most solemn sound, and utterly meaningless. "The plunge into national ruin" is a phrase meant to describe the war. Very well. If the rebel States had been suffered to secede without opposition, and the Union and Government had been consequently destroyed, would there have been any less national ruin? Where would then have been the nation known as the United States? Or if, after an unquestioned and peaceful constitutional election in which they took part, the rebels had offered, or had been solicited to offer, terms upon which they would obey the laws, would the Government have been any the less overthrown, and could its usurpation, without so much as a shot fired, for the sole purpose of perpetuating human slavery, have been any less national ruin?

The Times says further: "Whatever may rise out of the wreck, it will not be the old Federal Union of America." Very likely; and what then? Whatever arose out of the great rebellion of 1645 in England was not the old monarchy of England. Was the civil war consequently a process of "national ruin?''' The nationality and the union of these States will be preserved under a better and more stringent fora than ever. Is that ruin? A man finds the walls of his house cracking. He strengthens them with new beams and rafters. It is not, in a certain sense, the old house that rises from the scaffolding; but is the old house ruined?




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