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[375] had reluctantly assented to his designation after Burnside's collapse; had been strengthened in his conviction of Hooker's unfitness by the Chancellorsville failure; and now, very naturally, improved his opportunity. The next day brought Col. Hardie to Hooker's headquarters at Frederick, with instructions relieving Hooker and devolving the command on Gen. Meade; who was therewith advised that he might do as he pleased with the Harper's Ferry men; while Couch and his militia, estimated at 20,000 men, were placed under his orders.

Gen. Hooker at once took leave of the army, with whose fortunes he had been so long and so honorably identified, in the following characteristic order:

headquarters army of the Potomac, Frederick, Md., June 28, 1863.
In conformity with the orders of the War Department, dated June 27th, 1863, I relinquish the command of the Army of the Potomac. It is transferred to Maj.-Gen. George G. Meade, a brave and accomplished officer, who has nobly earned the confidence and esteem of the army on many a well-fought field. Impressed with the belief that my usefulness as the commander of the Army of the Potomac is impaired, I part from it, yet not without the deepest emotions. The sorrow of parting with the comrades of so many battles is relieved by the conviction that the courage and devotion of this army will never cease nor fail; that it will yield to my successor, as it has to me, a willing and hearty support. With the earnest prayer that the triumph of this army may bring successes worthy of it and the nation, I bid it farewell.

Joseph Hooker, Major-General.

Bidding a cordial but hurried farewell to his general and staff officers, Gen. Hooker left at once for Baltimore; being instructed to await there further orders from the Adjutant-General's office. Three days bringing none, he went over to Washington; where he was forthwith arrested by Halleck for visiting the capital without leave, and in violation of the rule which forbade officers to do so. Thus ended his service with the Army of the Potomac.

Gen. Meade, astounded by his promotion, announced to the army his acceptance of the command in these sincere, fit, modest words:

headquarters army of the Potomac, June 28, 1863.
By direction of the President of the United States, I hereby assume command of the Army of the Potomac. As a soldier, in obeying this order — an order totally unexpected and unsolicited — I have no promises or pledges to make. The country looks to this army to relieve it from the devastation and disgrace of a hostile invasion. Whatever fatigues and sacrifices we may be called upon to undergo, let us have in view constantly the magnitude of the interests involved, and let each man determine to do his duty, leaving to an all-controlling Providence the decision of the contest. It is with just diffidence that I relieve in the command of this army an eminent and accomplished soldier, whose name must ever appear conspicuous in the history of its achievements; but I rely upon the hearty support of my companions in arms to assist me in the discharge of the duties of the important trust which has been confided to me.

George G. Meade, Major-General Commanding.

Such a change of commanders, for no more urgent reasons, on the very brink of a great battle, has few parallels in history. Whatever his faults, Hooker was loved and trusted by his soldiers, who knew less of Meade, and had less faith in him. Had that army been polled, it would have voted to fight the impending battle under Hooker without the aid of French's 11,000 men, rather than under Meade with that reenforcement. But it was inured ere this to being astonished oftener than delighted, and to moving firmly onward in the path of duty, even when that

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