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[184]

And here the writer, before closing his work, wants to say something about Fremont. He believes no man in this country was made the victim of greater injustice than he was.

It has always been the opinion of the writer that, if Fremont had been permitted to take his own way in his Western command a little longer, he would have achieved a brilliant military success. He was a weak man in some respects, being over fond of dress parade. The financial management of his department was bad, or, rather, very careless. Of these shortcomings, which were considerably misrepresented and exaggerated, Fremont's enemies took advantage, and succeeded in effecting his overthrow in the Western Department. But, notwithstanding his admitted failings, he gave evidence of military ability. He showed that he possessed both physical and moral courage, and he knew how to plan a campaign. He undoubtedly formulated the movement that resulted in the capture of Forts Donelson and Henry in Tennessee, taking the initial steps, but of which Halleck got the credit. He was removed from command when in the field, and almost on the eve of battle. He had an enthusiastic army and the prospect of a decisive victory. His recall gave up nearly the whole of Missouri to the enemy, and was one of the causes of complaint that the Missouri Unionists had against the National Administration.

Not long afterwards, with no more than even chances, Fremont defeated Stonewall Jackson in Virginia-at Cross Keys — which was more than any of the other Union generals then in that department

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