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[10] rations, with ten days supply in the wagons, together with a supply of forage, beef cattle, ammunition, and other stores, and for the entire army to be ready to move at twelve hours notice. It is not worth while to give the details of this intended movement. It will be enough to say that the cavalry had already started upon it, and the necessary orders were prepared for all the forces, when I received from the President a despatch in the following words:
I have good reasons for saying that you must not make a general movement without first letting me know of it.

I at once countermanded the order and proceeded to Washington, and was told by the President that some General officers of my command had represented to him that the army was not in condition to move, and he was induced by their statement to telegraph me as he did.

Soon after this I made the fourth attempt, which was to cross at the fords above Falmouth, and moved the entire command for that purpose; but owing to a severe storm, which rendered the roads almost impassable, together with other obstacles, I was forced to return the army to its old position.

Many difficulties had presented themselves to me in the exercise of the command of this army. I was the first officer to take charge of it after its first commander had been relieved; I had not been identified with the Peninsular campaign, and was unacquainted with a large portion of its officers. The season was very far advanced, which rendered all military movements precarious. The army had not been paid for several months, which caused great dissatisfaction among the soldiers and their friends at home, and increased the number of desertions to a fearful extent, and, in short, there was much gloom and despondency throughout the entire command.

When to this is added the fact that there was a lack of confidence on the part of many of the officers in my ability to handle the army, it does not seem so strange that success did not attend my efforts. I made four distinct attempts between the ninth day of November, 1862, and the twenty-fifth day of January, 1863. The first failed for want of pontoons; the second was the battle of Fredericksburg; the third was stopped by the President; and the fourth was defeated by the elements and other causes.

After the last attempt to move, I was, on the twenty-fifth day of January, 1863, relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac.

I am not disposed to complain of my lack of success in the exercise of the command, and in view of the glorious results which have since attended the movements of this gallant army, I am quite willing to believe that my removal was for the best.

The courage and heroism displayed by the army at the battle of Fredericksburg has not been excelled during the war, and the memories of the brave officers and men who fell on that field will ever be cherished and honored by a grateful country.

To the staff officers of my headquarters and to those gentlemen who so kindly volunteered their services for the day, I am indebted for their cheerful and hearty co-operation and assistance. The great numbers which necessarily composed the staff render it impossible to individualize, and for fear of doing injustice by making improper distinctions, I must content myself with simply thanking them in a body.

The list of casualties, as shown by the reports of the grand division commanders, were as given below. I would state that a large proportion of the wounds were slight, not requiring hospital attention, and many reported as missing proved to be stragglers, and returned to their respective commands:

 killed.wounded. missing.
right Grand division.   
Second Corps 390 2,903 540
Ninth Corps 101 1,030 197
Total 491 3,933 737
left Grand division.      
First Corps 323 2,368 588
Sixth Corps 50 329 65
Total 373 2,697 653
centre Grand division.      
Fifth Corps 192 1,684 564
Third Corps 124 714 191
Total 316 2,398 755
Right Grand Division 491 3,933 737
Left Grand Division 373 2,697 653
Centre Grand Division 316 2,398 755
Total 1,180 9,028 2,145

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

A. E. Burnside, Late Major-General1

1 See Documents, pp. 79 and 396, volume 6, Rebellion Record.

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