they had made on the President
Returning to the army, Gen. Burnside
soon ascertained that certain details of the proposed cavalry movement had transpired — in fact, he was assured by Gen. Pleasanton
that they were known among Secessionists in Washington
two or three days after his first interview with the President
— so he abandoned that movement; intending to make one somewhat different, in the course of a few days.
This new movement contemplated a crossing in force at Banks
's and at the United States
fords, above Fredericksburg
; the crossing below being also made, or at least menaced, as originally proposed: and again his preparations were perfected and his army now put 1
in motion ; when, at 10 P. M., there burst over it one of the severest and most trying storms ever experienced in that region.
Snow, driving sleet, pouring rain, a general breaking up of the roads, hitherto hard and dry, and a chaos of the elements which rendered locomotion impossible and life under the drenching sky scarcely endurable, arrested that advance at its outset, and fixed our army in the mire wherein it for hours wretchedly, sullenly, hopelessly floundered.
Daylight exposed to the enemy across the stream movements which were intended to be consummated under the cover of night: they were not foolish enough, had they been able, to squander their men and animals in attempts to assail our stalled and struggling forces; but they guarded the fords so strongly that Burnside
was glad to order his men back to
their old camps — some of which they had burned on quitting, in the confident expectation that they should nevermore need them.
, having discovered, as he believed, the officers who had paralyzed his efforts by fomenting discontent in his army, and by disheartening communications to Washington
, now prepared a general order
( “No. 8” ), dismissing2
them from the service; but, on the advice of a trusted friend, decided to submit it to the President
before giving it publicity or effect.
He did so; and the President
, after consultation with his official advisers, decided, instead of approving the order, to relieve Gen. Burnside
from command; which was accordingly done: the order stating that Gen.
B. was so relieved at his own request
--against which, Gen.
B. remonstrated as most unjust, pressing his demand that his resignation should be accepted instead; but he was finally persuaded to withdraw it, and agree to serve wherever his aid might be required, allowing any order to be published that might be deemed essential to the public weal.
his command of the Army of the Potomac.
During this Winter and the ensuing Spring, a number of raids were made by the Rebel