Cabinet Meeting Discusses Burnside Expedition in North Carolina

February 14, 1862

Attorney General Bates reported on the Cabinet meeting at the White House at which the North Carolina expedition led by General Ambrose Burnside was discussed: “The sec: of War read the official report of the Burnside expedition.  The Genl. says that the success at Roanoke Island was complete, the fight lasted near two days. 4 forts (40. guns) taken, near or quite 3000 prisoners and over 3000 stands of small arms.  A few of the enemy, when driven to the north point of the island, escaped to the main[land] by swimming – 30 or 40.”

Bates noted: “I was greatly surprised at one thing – and trusted with the command of the Expedition down the Mississippi from Cairo to N.[ew] O.[rleans]!  Evidently, he has been strongly plied from outside, or he never wd. have thought of it – The President met it in limine saying that was the greatest business of all, and needed the highest general in that region.  He added that it was generally thought that a man was better qualified to do a thing because he had learned how; and that in this case it was Mr. Blair’s misfortune not to have learned.  It is very instructive to consider how much is won in this world, by bold and impudent pretention!  The Messrs Blair gain a great deal by claiming all.”   Bates lamented that Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, always a disputatious man, seemed to disagree with Bates more regularly.

Meanwhile, the Union-Confederate stalemate at Fort Donelson continued as Union gunboats were forced to retreat.

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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