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[553] and forced a battle on more equal terms as to position. The popular notion that General Jackson wanted to move down on the Federals after their repulse and drive them into the Rappahannock, is disposed of by his own report, in which he says: “The enemy making no forward movement, I determined, if prudent, to do so myself, but the first gun had hardly moved from the wood a hundred yards when the enemy's artillery reopened, and so completely swept our front as to satisfy me that the projected movement should be abandoned.” With the Federal defeat all was quiet along the Rappahannock, both armies “seeking the seclusion that a cabin grants” in winter quarters. Two more attempts were made to cross the army over the river by General Burnside, one at a point opposite Seddon's house, some six or seven miles below Fredericksburg, which President Lincoln stopped, because, as he said, no prominent officer in the command had any faith in it; and later a second attempt was made to cross above Falmouth. This movement was intended to flank Marye's hill by reaching the Plank road towards Salem church and beyond it. A glance at the topography of the country and the position of the Confederate army will show that such strategy possessed none of the elements of success. On the 25th of January an order from the War Department relieved Generals Burnside, Sumner and Franklin, his right and left grand division commanders, from duty, and placed Major-General Hooker in command of the army. They were removed, the order states, at their own request. But Burnside (Report of Committee on Conduct of War, page 721) says the order did not express the facts in the case as far as he was concerned. The day after Hooker was placed in command he read the following letter from Mr. Lincoln:

Executive mansion, Washington, D. C., January 26, 1863.
Major-General Hooker:
General — I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appears to me to be sufficient reasons. And yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and skillful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable if not an indispensable quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm. But I think that during General Burnside's command of the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong both



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