Still Later from the North.
We have received through the courtesy of Maj. Norris
, of the Signal Corps, Northern papers of the 27th.
They contain very dull accounts of Christmas
In New York everything was quiet — in Philadelphia
the same case, and in Washington
it would have been so, too, but for a visit from ‘"President
to the wounded soldiers, who were much cheered thereby and the ‘"President
"’ much gratified.
Christmas day in New York was on livened by the funeral of several officers of the Irish Brigade, attended by Brig. Gen. Meagher
It was doubtless a cheering scene.
The correspondence from the army shows the army to be still (or a part of it,) at Falmouth
, the letter-writers declaring that Burnside
is a commander of ‘"dash,"’ but his ‘"dash"’ falled through an accident.
, of Indians
, it is said, It to be the successor of Mr. Smith
, as Secretary
of the Department of the Interior.
The New York Herald
is now very anxious to know the results
of the North Carolina expedition.
It don't think they will amount to much.
A row occurred between Washington
and New York on Wednesday night, by a negro demanding a sleeping both on a railroad car, and being sustained by Vice President Hamlin
in the demand.--The conductor, however, overruled the ‘"Vice President
,"’ and the negro was ejected.
The following items from the Washington
correspondence of the New York Herald
, dated the 25th inst., will be found interesting:
The President Exsected to Veto the bill Creating the New State of West Virginia.
There is reason to believe that the President
will return to Congress, with his objections, the bill for the erection of West Virginia
into a separate State.
Col. Forney and the weak Sacked Republicans.
's organ is busy whipping in weak backed Republicans, who are already croaking about the necessity of recognizing the Southern Confederacy.
In this list are found a number of Republican members of Congress, who openly express despair of the success of the Federal Government
under its present military administration, and declared that, under existing circumstances, no more troops can be raised, even by draft, in the States which they represent.
The negroes and the military service
The most intelligent and cunning contrabands here say that colored then will not enlist in the black regiments proposed to be raised, unless they can be absolutely assured of having political privileges equal with the whites at the end of the war.
The President's first of January Proclamation.
There is reason to believe that in the President
's 1st of January Proclamation, in reference to negro emancipation, he will except such States and parts of States as have furnished evidences of loyalty, but have been prevented by the presence of a hostile army from complying with the terms of his proclamation of the 22d of September A strong protest has been presented to him from Tennessee
, signed by Gov. Johnson
and a large number of the most noted loyal Tennessean, claiming to be exempt from the emancipation proclamation upon the ground that, if an opportunity were offered to the people of Tennessee
to express themselves, unmistakable evidences of the loyalty of a majority of them would be shown; but that the occupation of their soil by contending armies has prevented the holding of elections, as required in the preliminary proclamation, and precluded for the present any other representation of the loyalty of the people than can be furnished by the assurances of men of undoubted patriotism, who are familiar with the people of that State, Similar representations have been made on the part of the people of the 8th Congressional District of Virginia
, known as the Harper's Ferry
District, composed of the counties of Hampshire
, Page, Warren
, and Loudoun
Numerous letters have been received here by the Marshal
of the District of Columbia, a native of that section, and other prominent residents of Washington
, complaining bitterly of the failure of Gov. Pierpoint
to order an election.
There was a time when it might have been held with comparative safety, and the Union
sentiment of the district been freely represented.
The responsibility for the Fredericksburg disaster — report of the Congressional Committee on the War.
[From the N. Y. Herald, 26 h.]
The report of the Congressional Committee on the War
fixes the responsibility for the disaster at Fredericksburg
beyond the shadow of a doubt.
When Gen. Burnsides
white-watching letter to Gen. Halleck
was cagey published in anticipation of this report, the radical press raised a shout of exultation.
They cried, ‘"See here, the War Department, Stanton
, and Halleck
are as innocent as the child unborn.
Nobody is to blame but Burnside
himself; he admits it, and every other General ought to follow his noble example."’ Burnside
little thought, when he gave this certificate of character, extorted from his generosity when he visited Washington
after the battle, that so base a use would be made of it by the radical journals, and we think it very unlikely that he or any other General will ever again write such a letter during the present war. It was a trap laid for Burnside
to trip him up and make him the scapegoat of the calamity.
It hears internal evidence that the points in it were suggested by another, and are not the natural emanation of his own mind.
It is more remarkable for what it than what it contains.
There is not a word in it about the failure to have the pontoons at Falmouth
at the proper time, which all the evidence taken by the committee shows to have been the prime cause of the disaster, and but for which it could not by any possibility have happened.
The sworn testimony of General Burnside
himself corrects the erroneous impression which his inconclusive letter is calculated to make on the superficial reader.
That testimony is fully conferred by the other Generals
, and ‘"leaves no peg whereon to hang a doubt."’ What does General Burnside
testify ? His evidence is explication several points, proving the imbecility of the War Department as leading inevitably to the result which has now become history.
In the first place, he swears that, to his ‘"surprise,"’ while on the march to Richmond
, and in command of a corps, he was visited by an officer attached to the War Department, who brought an order appointing him to the command of the army, ‘"In a violent snow storm, with the army in a position that he knew little of;"’ in fact, be ‘"knew less than any other corps commander of the positions and relative strength of the several corps."’ He told General Buckingham
, the bearer of the order, that he ‘ "did not want the command; that it had been offered to him twice before, and that he did not feel he could take it."’ He also told his staff officers the same thing, and that he had expressed his opinion to the War Department ‘"over and over again that he was not competent to command such an army as this;"’ that McClellan
‘"could command the Army of the Potomac better than any other General in it;"’ and that ‘"he (Burnside
) did not think there was any one who could do as much with that army as Gen. McClellan
."’ It was only on being assured that, as a soldier, he was not at liberty to disobey that he yielded at last to the peremptory order from the War Department.
Here was in under the first, which led to the catastrophe at Fredericksburg
An able General, of a comprehensive mind, and yet attentive to the most minute details — which was the leading characteristic of Napoleon
— a General to whom friends and enemies alike paid the tribute of praise, the Prince de Joinville
on his staff, and the Prussian officer who fought against him in the rebel service, (whose narrative we published yesterday,) doing equal homage to his masterly skill — a General who had led the whole Army of the Potomac in numerous pitched battles — the army which he had himself created, and who had thus gradually gained by practice the skill necessary to move large bodies of men — was removed without cause from the command of those troops who also worshipped him — removed in the presence of the enemy — an act which military writers, military experience, and common sense, agree to condemn.
Campaigns have often been lost by such folly.
's failure at Quatre Bras, preliminary to the battle of waterloo
--a failure which had a fatal influence on the result — is attributed to his being placed suddenly in command of troops of whom he knew nothing.
In his case it was necessity; in the substitute on of Burnside
it was choice.
The American General was removed when he was rapidly advancing against the enemy, and another was put in his place who had proved himself a good commander of 20,000 men, as several other Generals
in the army had done, but who candidly stated that he felt incompetent to lead so large an army as McClellan
's. This is no discredit to Gen. Burnside
, but to those who perpetrated the folly of forcing him into the position.
The genius for leading small bodies and large bodies is entirely different.
did very well with 30,000 men; but when he took command of 100,000 he failed Pope
behaved very well with a small, independent command, and with a portion of a great army; but when he took command of large army in Virginia
he made a sad business of it. Jackson
is an enterprising brilliant General, with 20,000 or 30,000 men under his command; but give him the army that Lee
commands, and the chances are ten to one that he would fail.
The genius of McClellan
is very like that of Lee
, and he is the only man we know of at present who is able to cope with him. Gen. Scott
indicated him as the best commander for the whole army, and it is the rashest presumption on the part of more civilians--third rate lawyers — to remove him from it, and put in his place General untried upon a large scale.
It is true, that the greatest Generals
the world ever saw took command of armies without ever having led a regiment against the enemy, Peter the Great
, and Napoleon
, are examples, But these are exceptions to the general role, and we would be woefully deceived by following the exceptions instead of the rule — Even Napoleon
— a General of such surpassing genius — did not suddenly assume the command of large armies.
It was only by degrees that he acquired the skill to wield vast masses of men. McClellan
with his larger experience and greater military knowledge, would not have assailed so strong a position as that of the enemy behind Fredericksburg
It he had decided to move by that route, he would have turned the position above or below Burnside
, after this lesson, will, perhaps, do better next time, and he may yet prove himself able to lead to victory an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men.--There can be no doubt that the removal of McClellan
and the substitution of Burnside
, in the middle of a winter campaign, while the army was on the march, was one main cause of the disaster which followed.
It is pretended that he was removed for disobedience of orders.
It is yet to be proved that he ever disobeyed any positive orders it was in his power to fulfill.
If he did so, why has he not been court martialed ? And does it not seem strange to every one that the abler General should be hampered by orders while the less experienced, we are told, had a carte Blanche?
The more immediate cause of the disaster is proved to be the delay on the part of the War Department in sending forward the pontoons, as agreed to by Gen. Halleck
With his usual foresight, Gen. McClellan
, on the 6th of November, had dispatched an order to have the pontoons in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry
sent to Washington
, with a view to their being taken thence to Falmouth
in the event of his upon a change of base.
On the 7th or 8th.
received the order investing him with the command Halleck
went down to Warrenton
, and on the nights of the 11th and 12th of November discoursed with Burnside
the plan he proposed, and part of that plan was that Halleck
should send down pontoons immediately to Falmouth
for the purpose of crossing the river.
So important was haste that he then and there sent a dispatch to Gen. Woodbury
, commanding the engineer brigade, to transport all the pontoon and bridge materials to Aquia Creek
On the 14th, Burnside
, feeling uneasy that he had received no intelligence that the pontoons had started, telegraphed to General Woodbury
and Major Spaulding
It turned out that this was the first time that they had ever heard of the pontoons.
had sent his plan to the authorities at Washington
on the 9th, it was not till the 19th that the pontoons started, and they did not arrive till the 22d or 23d of November--ten days toe late, and when Lee
had ample time to concentrate his troops and fortify his position.
testifies that he did not receive information in time as to the movement which was about to be made.
‘"The Quartermaster's Department was almost totally destitute of mesas.
With the very short notice given him, there was only one possible way of supplying the army with a pontoon train in time.
Had the emergency been made known to him in any manner he would have disregarded the forms of service and seized teams, teamsters and wagon masters or instant service wherever be could find them; but he had no warrant for such a course, which, after all, could only have been carried out by the authority of the General-in-Chief
, testifies that he did his best to forward the pontoons; that the time was too short in which to send them Gen. Halleck
being examined, declared that he did not hold himself responsible for anything more than to give the order.
He did not consider it his business to see it carried out, but thought it was Gen. Burnside
's business to look after the pontoons in Washington
This is cool.
was suddenly placed in command of a large army, and was to leave it and go to Washington
to look after pontoons, which Halleck
had already under taken to send him, and when the Secretary of War
, too, was there to see the matter attended to ! Burnside
, indeed, says that if he had thought the authorities would have neglected it he would have sent his own officers for the pontoons But Halleck
deceived him, and never informed him that he would not or could not do what he had promised.
positively swears that the ‘"nonarrival of the pontoons at the time he expected prevented his crossing at the time he expected to cross, and interfered with the success of his plan."’ Gen. Sumner
swears that he ‘"could have taken Fredericksburg
and the heights on the other side of it at any time within three days after his arrival if the pontoons had been there,"’ Gen. Sumner
adds that the army was ‘ "demoralized"’ in consequence of the battle, and that ‘"there was a great deal too much croaking and not sufficient confidence"’ Gen. Franklin
testifies that if the pontoons had been ready at the time of the arrival of the army the troops ‘"would have immediately crossed the driving the enemy — perhaps five hundred or one thousand men — and they would have occupied those very heights they had to attack, and the crossing would have been permanent and successful"’ Again, he says:
"I would like to impress as firmly upon the Committee
as it is firmly impressed upon my mind the fact that this whole disputer has resulted from the delay in the arrival of the pontoons Whoever is responsible for that delay is responsible for all the disasters which have followed"
This is plain speaking.
And he adds, that he does not believe they could have crossed at the time they did had the enemy chosen to prevent is, General Hooker
deposes, that Hallock
, or Meigs
, promised to have the pontoons down and everything ready in three days. When Sumner
arrived there were only five hundred rebels at Fredericksburg
; ‘"but,"’ he adds ‘" the same mishap was made there that had been made all along through the war"’
From Gen. Halleck
's own testimony it does not appear that he is of any use whatever at Washington
He acts the part of a mere clerk, copying orders but not seeing that they are carried out. He neither plans campaigns, nor gives efficient assistance to the Generals
who do plan and fight them.
The necessary supplies were withheld from McClellan
at Harper's Ferry
, at the time that the radical journals were clamoring against him for not moving on, and so it has been in the case of Burnside Gen. Franklin
swears that, notwithstanding the delay of the pontoons, the position of the enemy would have been captured had more, men been on the field on the day of battle.
Whose fault is that?
Is it not boasted that we have 800,000 men in arms?
Is it not the fault of General Halleck
and the Secretary of War
that we had not enough men at the decisive point?
It seems that there are not only no military men at Washington
to carry on the war, but not even men of common sense.
The only suggestion Burnside
received from headquarters was a caution not to attack too soon, while all his Generals
agree that, from the imbecility which rules at the capital, his attack was delayed too long, and thus failed.
There is abundant ground in this report for the most determined action of both Houses of Congress, and we trust that immediately after the recess a joint resolution will be adopted, calling upon the President
to remove Stanton
, and the whole batch of incompetent officials, whose delays paralyze the best efforts of the Generals
in the field.
And, to aid in the same result, we would suggest that a great meeting be called in this city to give expression to public opinion, and send a deputation to Mr. Lincoln
.--The meeting intended to be held last Saturday was postponed till fuller information could be obtained of the facts.
The official report of the Congressional Committee has furnished it on oath from the best sources, and now is the time for the people to act.