not ordered by him. It is enough to say that the responsibility of the day does not rest upon General McClellan
, without going further and inquiring to whom it does belong; but it may be added that the battle of Ball's Bluff is one of the many enterprises of this war which are held to be brilliant if successful, and rash if unsuccessful.
The praise in one event and the blame in the other are alike exaggerated.
A great stake is played for, but the rule of the stern game of war requires that in such cases a great stake must be laid down.
On the 31st day of October, 1861, Lieutenant-General Scott
addressed a letter to the Secretary of War
, in which he requested that, on account of his increasing infirmities and the necessity of repose of mind and body, his name might be placed on the list of army officers retired from active service.
The letter was laid before a Cabinet meeting, and General Scott
was placed on the retired list of the army, with the full pay and allowance of his rank; and on the same day the President
, accompanied by the members of the Cabinet
, proceeded to his residence and read to him the official order which gave to the decision the force of law. The venerable commander-in-chief expressed his acknowledgments in words and with a manner which betokened strong emotion, and the President
answered in appropriate terms.
In the official order announcing General Scott
's retirement, the President
of the United States
said, in language the justice and propriety of which were universally felt,--