October 26, 1863: Rebels hear of the replacement of Rosecrans

William Rosecrans

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports on the dismissal of Rosecrans. There are some other replacements rumored as well.

The removal of Rosecrans — Government opinion of his cowardice — Meade to follow suit — Dahlgren reported removed.

The most prominent item in the New York papers of Friday is the removal of General Rosecrans from the command of the Army of the Cumberland. He received the order relieving him from command on Mondayevening last, and left on Wednesday for Cincinnati, where he was ordered to report, leaving Gen. Thomas in command. At Stevenson, Ala., he met Gen. Grant, who had been ordered from Nashville to take command of the army. Both Generals staid there that night, and were the guests of Gen. Hooker. Grant was still walking with a crutch, and very much shattered by his late accident. The Philadelphia Inquirer says of his removal:

The country was somewhat startled by the rumor, followed by the acknowledged statement, that Rosecrans had been relieved from his command. The reasons seem to be that he exceeded his instructions and was unsuccessful; that he aimed to take Atlanta, when he should have been content with Chattanooga, and that when he met the enemy the battle was not as skillfully managed as it might have been. We do not presume to judge. Rosecrans has gained great credit in former actions, and of this any mere failure, as such, cannot rob him. New York journals have tried to make us believe he was forced by the War Department to move, but the movement and the ill success, it seems, were his own.

A telegram from Washington gives the Government reasons for the removal, among which it will be seen is the mortifying one of cowardice in the presence of the enemy. It says:

The removal of Rosecrans is the subject of much and contradictory comment. The more correct understanding of the causes that led to it is that charges were preferred against him by Generals McCook and Crittenden of unofficer like conduct on the battle-field, of a panic- stricken flight from the field to Chattanooga, while the battle was in its crisis, and of his unsoldierly and mischievous conduct in publicly reporting, on reaching Chattanooga, to both officers and men that the day was lost. Superadded to this is alleged Governmental resentment of his disobedience of positive orders not to risk a general engagement by advancing beyond Chattanooga before he was reinforced; also, its impatience of his disposition and handling his troops on the field.

The reputation for courage that he won at Stone river is plead in bar to the imputation of cowardice in his abandonment of the battle-ground, and his friends attribute it to a mistaken impression that his army had been wholly whipped and was wholly on the retreat. The replication to this is that such a mistake is a complete disqualification for command.

The statement acquiring growth that he had an attack of epilepsy during the battle, and that he was subject to that disease, is untrue; but that he was constitutionally and by education subject to fits of religious depression of the profoundest character, is correct, as is well known. In connection with this it may not be unsuitable to add that it is understood that the fourth specification of the preferred charge is an excessive use of opium.

The relations between General Rosecrans and the General-in-Chief, Halleck, have been bad. A sharp correspondence took place between them after the battle of Chattanooga, and before that the Government had found fault with his military conduct on several occasions, and he had retorted by charges of neglect by the Government and want of support.

His removal has been in contemplation for some time.

Gen. Meade, it appears, is about to share the fate of Rosecrans. The Washington Republican, (Government organ,) of Friday, announces the arrival of Meade there, and says:

We stated yesterday morning that Meade had been ordered to pursue Lee and give him battle. –We gave the item as a rumor, although it was well founded. We now learn that he was positively ordered to pursue Lee and make him fight.–From the fact that no engagement has taken place, since the General’s arrival in the city all sorts of rumors have been set afloat. Some are to the effect that he was to be removed unless he led Lee into battle, and that, failing in so doing, he has presented himself for that object. Be this as it may, we learn that he has informed the President that he cannot make a forward movement under three weeks at least, on account of the condition of the railroad, which has been utterly destroyed. It will take at least sixteen days to replace the bridge at Rappahannock Station, and, until that structure is rebuilt, no extensive advance can be made. In connection with this subject we may state that it is rumored that Ewell’s corps has been sent to reinforce Bragg.

A Washington telegram to the Philadelphia Inquirer says:

General Meade, and General Humphreys, Chief of Staff, arrived this afternoon from the front, and are in town to-night. Speculation is busy concerning the object of this visit, and some wiseacres have it that Meade has been relieved, and ordered to Washington because he failed to attack Lee, as ordered several days ago.

In view of this some are already canvassing who will be his successor. Generals Warren, Sedgwick, Hancock, and Sykes have been named.–There is reason to believe, from sources well informed, that the reports of Meade’s being relieved are without foundation, and the object of his visit is to consult with the President concerning the Army of the Potomac. He will leave in the morning for the army.

Reports from the Army of the Potomac represent all quiet to-day. The presence of General Meade in Washington indicates no active operations at present. The campaign on the Rappahannock may be considered closed, at least till repairs to the railroad below Manassas have been completed.

Admiral Dahlgren, in command of the fleet before Charleston, has also gone up. The New York World has a special dispatch from Washington stating that “Captain Thomas Turner has relieved Admiral Dahlgren.”

This entry was posted in William Rosecrans. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *