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[261] and deeper cause, that, aside from the interference of the weather, would have baulked his projected campaign. This cause was a lack of confidence in him which he believed to be entertained by the leading officers of the army. Among these officers were Generals Franklin and Hooker, respectively commanders of Grand Divisions; and his first act on the return of the expedition was to prepare an order dismissing from the service of the United States Generals Hooker, Brooks, Cochrane, and Newton, and relieving from their commands in the Army of the Potomac, Generals Franklin, W. F. Smith, Sturgis, Ferrero, and Colonel Taylor. Upon this order he resolved to make issue with the Government; and he immediately took this paper to Washington, demanding of the President its approval or the acceptance of his resignation. It was not asserted by General Burnside that the officers named had been guilty of any dereliction of duty, but simply that they lacked confidence in him as commander. This charge was probably true; but, as this issue involved the alternative of relieving nearly the whole body of the officers of the army or of relieving General Burnside himself, the President was compelled to refuse to sanction the order. General Burnside's resignation was accepted; and General Hooker, the officer whose name stood in the order as head and front of all the offending, and who, by its terms, was dismissed the service of the United States, was by the President placed in command in his stead.

General Burnside's career as head of the Army of the Potomac was as unfortunate as it was brief; and there is much in its circumstances and in his character to inspire a lenient judgment. His elevation to the command was unsought by him; for, with a good sense that was creditable to him, he knew and proclaimed his unfitness for the trust. It was right to try him, because it was impossible to tell whether his own gauge of his fitness was correct, or whether he wronged himself by a self-distrust that he might soon surmount. When, however, the trial had proved the absolute justness of

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