It being McClellan
's intention to throw himself between Stonewall Jackson
in the valley and Lee
, on Nov. 6 the direction of the march was changed to the southeast and the troops reached Rectortown
late in the afternoon, in the midst of a snow storm.
The men awoke on the following morning to find three inches of snow upon their blankets.
was reached on the 8th and Warrenton
on the 9th, the men having been repeatedly formed in line of battle, owing to the proximity of the rebel cavalry.
All through the first part of this march the men lived quite well, finding many springhouses rich with cheese, butter, milk and eggs and occasionally a jar of apple butter.
It happened luckily, as rations gave out early and none were issued until Rectortown
On that day, while halted, just after leaving Snicker's Gap, the Brigade commander rode oy and men in the regiments cried out ‘Hard Tack, Hard Tack.’
The general stopped, made inquiries and then rode on. The men were provided with the required ‘staff’ that night.
it was rumored that Gen. McClellan
had been relieved of his command and succeeded by Gen. Burnside
This was realized next day, Nov. 10, when Gen. McClellan
took leave of his troops, 100,000 strong—all of whom, except the Ninth Corps, had for twenty months shared his fortunes on the battlefields of the Peninsula
The army was drawn up in line and McClellan
rode past the men whom he had organized and led so often and who had a very great regard and affection for him. As he approached, the regiments dipped their colors and presented arms.
Immediately the salute was changed for three rousing cheers and salvos of artillery from the hill tops.
The retiring commander was greatly moved as he passed along the line and realized what a hold he had upon the hearts of the men.
assumed command immediately and the army was reorganized in three grand divisions, the right being commanded by Gen. Sumner
and consisting of his own Second Corps; Gen. O. O. Howard
commanding the Second Division and Col. Norman J. Hall
, of the Seventh Michigan, the Third Brigade, which,