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“  succeed very well in the command of a brigade. On one occasion, in talking about this to my staff officers, I said that I would give anything if I were commanding a brigade of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac, and I believed I could do some good. Captain Hellyer suggested that I should make application to be transferred there to command the cavalry. I then told him that I would cut my right arm off first, and mentioned this superstition.” But now he was to be transferred, without any solicitation on his own part, to “the main field of the war.” At first, however, he was appointed to the command of the “Military division of the Mississippi,” and after fighting a severe and successful battle at Chattanooga in November (1863), relieved that place and Knoxville, which the Confederates were threatening. President Lincoln, who had daily, almost hourly, been telegraphing to him to “remember Burnside,” to “do something for Burnside,” besieged in Knoxville, was overjoyed. “I wish,” he wrote to Grant, “to tender you, and all under your command, my more than thanks, my profoundest gratitude, for the skill, courage and perseverance with which you and they, over so great difficulties, have effected this important object. God bless you all!” Congress voted
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