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[159] stores and much valuable property. The mass of the army advanced to the vicinity of Fairfax Court-House, and General McClellan himself went to Manassas. The roads were in so impassable a condition that a rapid pursuit of an enemy who burned or broke up all the bridges behind him in his retreat was impossible. The main body of the army was on the 15th of March moved back to the vicinity of Alexandria, to be embarked. It was while General McClellan was absent on this brief reconnoissance in force that the President saw fit to remove him from the position of general-in-chief, by the following order, which appeared in the National Intelligencer of Marc h 12, and which General McClellan heard of for the first time at Fairfax Court-House.

President's War order, no. 3.)

Executive Mansion, Washington, March 11, 1862.
Major-General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered, further, That the departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under General Buell as lies west of a north-and-south line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated, and designated the Department of the Mississippi; and that, until otherwise ordered, Major-General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered, also, That the country west of the Department

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