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[108] in the battle of Bull Run, had, in September, been promoted to a Major-Generalship, and assigned to command at Winchester, and who had led1 a strong force westward, expecting to surprise and capture our detachments holding Bath and Romney, though lie succeeded in taking both those places, driving out their garrisons, capturing a few prisoners, and destroying at Romney very considerable supplies, yet his unsheltered troops suffered so severely from storm and frost, while so many of his horses were disabled by falling on the icy roads, that his losses probably exceeded the damage inflicted on us; and his blow was fairly countered by Gen. F. W. Lander, who led 4,000 men southward from the Potomac,2 and, bridging the Great Cacapon in the night, made a dash at Blooming Gap, which he surprised, killing 13 and capturing 75 Rebels, including 17 officers, with a loss of 2 men and 6 horses.

Gen. Simon Cameron had been succeeded3 by Hon. Edwin M. Stanton--an eminent lawyer, without pretensions to military knowledge, and of limited experience in public affairs, but evincing a rough energy and zeal for decisive efforts, which the country hailed as of auspicious augury. Two weeks later,4 a War Order was issued by the President, commanding a general advance upon the enemy from every quarter on the 22d of February proximo, and declaring that “the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the General-in-Chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.” Four days later, a “Special War order no. 1” was likewise issued to Gen. McClellan, commanding him, on or before the 22d prox. aforesaid, to impel “all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac,” “for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad south-west-ward of what is known as Manassas Junction.” Though these orders are signed Abraham Lincoln, they doubtless received their initial impulse from the new Secretary of War, who had already urged Gen. McClellan to take immediate steps to “secure the reopening of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and free the banks of the lower Potomac from the Rebel batteries which annoyed passing vessels.” 5 Gen. M. had been previously urged by the President to organize his army into four or five distinct corps, under Generals of his own choice; which he had declined, and still declined, to do; alleging that he wished first to test his officers in active service as division commanders, so that he “might be able to decide from actual trial who were best fitted to exercise those important commands.” At length,6 the President issued “General War order no. 2,” directing the organization of the Army of the Potomac into four corps, to be commanded by Gens. McDowell, Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes respectively, beside the forces to be left for the defense of Washington under Brig.-Gen. James S. Wadsworth, who should also be Military Governor of the District of Columbia, and a fifth, composed of the forces on the upper Potomac, to

1 Jan. 1, 1862.

2 Feb. 13.

3 Jan. 13.

4 Jan. 27.

5 Gen. McClellan's Report.

6 March 8.

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