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[157] though less promising in its details than when James River was in our control.

On Sunday, the 9th of March, trustworthy information came to Washington that the enemy was beginning to evacuate his positions at Centreville and Manassas, as well as on the Upper and Lower Potomac. It is not improbable that, in some mysterious way, they had heard of the council of general officers held on the preceding day, and of the conclusions arrived at.1


We have the right, we think, to say that McClellan never intended to advance upon Centreville. His long-determined purpose was to make Washington safe by means of a strong garrison, and then to use the great navigable waters and immense naval resources of the North to transport the army by sea to a point near Richmond. For weeks — perhaps for months — this plan had been secretly maturing Secrecy as well as promptness$, it will be understood, was indispensable here to success. To keep the secret, it had been necessary to confide it to few persons; and hence had arisen one great cause for jealousy of the general.

Be this as it may, as the day of action drew near, those who suspected the general's project and were angry at not being informed of it — those whom his promotion had excited to envy,--his political enemies (who is without them in America?)--in short, all those beneath or beside him who wished him ill,--broke out into a chorus of accusations of slowness, in-action, incapacity. McClellan, with a patriotic courage which I have always admired, disdained these accusations, and made no reply. He satisfied himself with pursuing his preparations in laborious silence. But the moment came in which, notwithstanding the loyal support given him by the President, that functionary could no longer resist the tempest. A council of war of all the divisional generals was held; a plan of campaign, not that of McClellan, was proposed and discussed. McClellan was then forced to explain his projects, and the next day they were known to the enemy Informed, no doubt, by one of those thousand female spies who keep up his communications into the domestic circles of the Federal enemy, Johnston evacuated Manassas at once. This was a skilful manoeuvre. Incapable of assuming the offensive, threatened with attack either at Centreville, where defence would be useless if successful, or at Richmond, the loss of which would be a grave check, and unable to cover both positions at once, Johnston threw his whole force before the latter of the two.

The above is taken from a pamphlet published in New York, in 1863, with the following title:--“The Army of the Potomac: its Organization, its Commander, and its Campaign. By the Prince de Joinville Translated from the French, with Notes, by William Henry Hurlbert.” The original appeared in the number of the “Revue des Deux Mondes” for October 15, 862. It is there entitled “Campagne de l'armee du Potomac, Mars-Juillet, 1862,” and bears the signature of “A. Trognon.” The article has been generally ascribed to the Prince de Joinville; and, as the translation bears his name on the title-page and has been constantly referred to as his, the future extracts from the pamphlet will be cited under his name.

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