General Rosecrans is Removed as Commander of the Army of the Potomac

October 24, 1863

In the wake of Union defeats in southeastern Tennessee, General Ulysses S. Grant recommends replacing him with General George Thomas, who had gained fame as the “Rock of Chickamauga.”  Journalist Noah Brooks writes General William Rosecrans: “It is a sad disheartening that such things must be, but yet they must be, and it is a sufficient answer to all cavils to be able to say that no man in the nation was more pained at the necessity of the removal of General Rosecrans than was the President himself.”

President Lincoln writes General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck regarding Confederate reenforcement of their operations in East Tennessee and presses for an attack by General George Meade in northern Virginia: “Taking all our information together I think it probable that Ewell’s corps has started for East Tennessee by way of Abingdon, marching last Monday, say, from Meade’s front directly to the Railroad at Charlottesville– First, the object of Lee’s recent movement against Meade, his destruction of the Alexandria & Orange Rail road, and subsequent withdrawal, without more, not otherwise apparent, would be explained by this hypothesis. Secondly, the direct statement of Sharpe’s man that Ewell has gone to Tennessee. Thirdly, the Irishman’s statement that he has not gone through Richmond; and his further statement of an appeal made to the people at Richmond to go and protect their salt, which could only refer to the works near Abingdon. Fourthly, Graham’s statement from Martinsburg that Imboden4 is in retreat for Harrisonburg. This last matches with the idea that Lee has retained his cavalry, sending Imboden, and perhaps other scraps, to join Ewell.”

Upon this probability, what is to be done? If you have a plan matured, I have nothing to say. If you have not, then I suggest that with all possible expedition the Army of the Potomac get ready to attack Lee; and that, in the mean time, a raid shall, at all hazzards, break the Railroad at or near Lynchburg.

The appointment of Maine’s ex-Governor. Israel Washburn, Jr. as  collectorship at Portland is discussed by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase with President Lincoln.   “On returning to the Department I found a letter from Mr Fessenden,2 in which he had anticipated our wishes our wishes for the appointment of Gov. Washburn, by transmitting an application in his behalf from the merchants of Portland. This is very agreeable and I transmit his Commission at once,” writes Chase to Lincoln later.   The Washburns are politically important; brother Elihu B. Washburne (spelled differently) is an Illinois congressman and friend of President Lincoln

In the afternoon, President Lincoln addresses the Baltimore Presbyterian Synod after the synod moderator addresses him: “I can only say in this case, as in so many others, that I am profoundly grateful for the respect given in every variety of form in which it can be given from the religious bodies of the country.  I saw, upon taking my position here, that I was going to have an administration, if an administration at all, of extraordinary difficulty.  It was, without exception, a time of the greatest difficulty that this country ever saw.  I was early brought to a living reflection that nothing in my power whatever, in others to rely upon, would succeed without the direct assistance of the Almighty, but all must fail.

I have often wished that I was a more devout man than I am.  Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any resort, I would place my whole reliance in God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.

I thank you, gentlemen, in the name of the religious bodies which you represent, and in the name of the Common Father, for this expression of your respect.  I cannot say more.

After the Presbyterian meeting, President Lincoln pays a brief visit to the Government Printing Office at the request of the office’s commissioner, John D. Defrees.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes a New York friend: “I am an miserable as a rat.  The town is dull.  Miss Chase is so busy making her father next President that she is only a little lovelier than all other women.  She is to be married on November 12th which disgusts me with life.  She is a great woman & with a great future.”

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Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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