From The Constitution, Wednesday, November 12, 1862 (volume 25, number 1298)
The grand army of the Potomac has been making a gradual advance in pursuit of Lee. Ashby’s Gap, which is next north of Manassas, was occupied, and it was believed that if Manassas Gap could be secured in time the rebel retreat would be effectually cut off. It is now thought that the rebel army has eluded McClellan, at least so far as to avoid a battle in the Shenandoah valley, that Lee will retreat to Richmond and go into winter quarters there.
On Monday morning it was announced that General McClellan had been removed from the command of the army of the Potomac, and Gen. Burnside has been appointed in his place. The order making the change was delivered to Gen. McClellan at his headquarters at 11 o’clock on Thursday night, by Gen. Buckingham of the War Department in person. Gen. McClellan’s last official act was the issuing of an address on Saturday to the army giving the information in a few words that the command had devolved on Gen. Burnside, and taking leave of the soldiers. The General and staff were to leave for Trenton.
Gen. Grant in the southwest has established his headquarters at La Grange, near the Mississippi line, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. A heavy body of his troops is pushing southward in the direction of Holly Springs, and the rebels there are apparently making preparations to evacuate the place.
Removal of Gen. McClellan.
The President would not have removed Gen. McClellan from command if he had not believed that it was absolutely necessary. It now appears from a letter published by Gen. Halleck, and from other information that is beginning to come before the public, that McClellan has refused to obey the orders of the war department, and that he alone is chargeable with the delays which have occurred. On the 1st of October McClellan was urged to cross the Potomac and fight the enemy. This produced no effect. He was then peremptorily ordered by Gen. Halleck, on the 6th of October to “cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him South.” This order was disobeyed. Gen. McClellan excused himself on the plea of a want of supplies, but the General-in-Chief shows in his letter that this excuse was without foundation.
Under these circumstances the President could do no otherwise than remove Gen. McClellan. By his unnecessary delays Lee’s army has already eluded our forces, and the chances are that the rebels are safe until next spring. Gen. Burnside, who succeeds McClellan, has been remarkably successful in everything he has undertaken. He has eminent abilities, and what is more he has the confidence of the entire army.
General Burnside’s name has been urged in the highest military circles for the most prominent command of our armies in the field. He has twice refused this promotion, a fact which shows that he fully appreciates the grave responsibilities of such a position.
Death of Major General Mitchel.
The army has suddenly lost one of its most successful generals, and the country mourns the death of one of its noblest sons. Major General O. M. Mitchel died at Beaufort, S. C., on the 30th ult., of yellow fever. He was born in Kentucky Aug. 23, 1810, graduated at the Military Academy at West Point in 1829, and was immediately appointed Professor of Mathematics, which post he held for two years. He became Professor of philosophy, mathematics and astronomy in Cincinnati College in 1814, and continued such ten years. Through his efforts the Observatory in Cincinnati was erected. In 1854 Professor Mitchel became director of Dudley Observatory at Albany. Immediately on the breaking out of the civil war he tendered his services to the Government, and received a commission as Brigadier General.
His services during the war are well known to the country. He soon showed that he possessed the highest qualities of a military commander. By his efforts in the neighborhood of Cincinnati and in Kentucky he checked the rebel advance and drove Polk, Buckner and Zollicoffer to the southwest. His brilliant campaign in the south is the most glorious among the records of the war. He descended into northern Alabama, and by his great energy and superior strategy held at bay a greatly superior force of the rebels, and redeemed a large section of the Union.
For some unaccountable reason he was recalled by the Government. After much time spent in forced inaction, he was sent to Beaufort. Here in a limited field, and with only a small force at his command, he went to work with more than his usual zeal. He undoubtedly overtasked himself, and his overwrought energies gave way before the power of disease.
His death is an irreparable loss. In certain essential qualities as a military commander he was excelled by no other.
New York.—Seymour is elected and probably every member of the democratic state ticket, by a majority of not far from 9000. It is believed that 14 republican Congressmen and 17 democrats are elected. The Assembly will have a republican majority.
Massachusetts.—Gov. Andrew is re-elected by a majority of about 25,000. Nine republicans are elected to Congress and the legislature will be strongly republican.
New Jersey has gone democratic, electing Parke Governor by 6000 to 8000 majority. Three democratic Congressmen are elected. The legislature will have 10 or 12 dem. Majority on joint ballot, which gives them a U. S. Senator.
Delaware has elected the Union candidate for Governor by about 100 majority. Mr. Fisher, republican, will represent the state in Congress. The legislature will be composed of men who will elect two Union Senators.
Missouri.—The radical emancipation ticket in St. Louis county has been elected. In the second district, Blair, radical republican, is elected by a handsome majority.
Kansas.—The republicans have elected their entire state ticket.
THE ELECTIONS – Their Meaning.
The great State of New York has in the recent election rendered a verdict against the Administration. There is no use in denying this fact. It is as clear as need be that the vote is a deliberate expression by the people of their dissatisfaction with the manner in which public affairs have been managed.
In saying this it is necessary to discriminate between two things essentially different, but which some of the democratic journals persist in confounding with each other. The enemies of the Administration say that this is a verdict against radicalism by which they mean the emancipation policy of the government. We do not believe it is so. We feel assured that the loyal people of New York and other loyal states are convinced that the proclamation of emancipation is essential to the overthrow of this rebellion. If the President had taken even stronger ground against slavery than he has taken we believe he would have been sustained by the people. Not because the people are abolitionists or emancipationists, but because they believe this is the only way to end the war and at the same time restore the Union. To say that the people are afraid of radicalism on the part of President Lincoln at this moment while a gigantic rebellion threatens to break up the Union is to say that they are frightened at a mere shadow while they are unmoved at sight of a vast impending evil.
The result of the elections in New York does not show that there is a general dissatisfaction with the emancipation policy, but that the people are dissatisfied with the apparent want of energy on the part of the government and the humiliating and disastrous delays which have attended military operations. They have seen the fine army gathered on the Potomac more than a year ago frittered away and almost lost without accomplishing anything towards putting down the rebellion. They have expended vast sums of money, without seeing any good results. They have seen a year and a half go by, and that we are apparently no nearer the end than when we commenced. This is what has produced wide dissatisfaction, and led to such results as we now see in some of the State elections. The people will sustain the President in any decided policy he may adopt. They have perfect confidence in his integrity. What they want, and what they must have, is decision, energy, SUCCESS.
Telegraphing Extraordinary.—On Thursday the associated press of New York sent a dispatch to California between four and five in the afternoon, and in return received a full news dispatch before seven o’clock. The dispatch came direct over the line, 3,500 miles, which is the longest circuit ever worked.
Gen. E. W. N. Starr has returned after a few days absence on a visit to Harper’s Ferry. He says the sick and wounded have all the accommodations which circumstances permit, but that circumstances have been against them. Lying on the straw, even if it is clean straw, in a room with scores of sick men, and having hospital attendance is not equal to good nursing at home. Their condition, however, is fast improving, and new comforts are continually added.
Long Life.—Joseph Dart, Esq., of Middle Haddam, who died last Thursday at the age of 92, was the oldest man in that place. Less than a year ago a brother-in-law of Mr. Dart died aged 99 years and 10 months. A few years ago another member of the same family died after reaching the extraordinary age of one hundred years and eight months. Mr. Dart was the father of fourteen children, all of whom reached mature life, and all but one are now living.
Photographs of General Mansfield.—Bundy & Williams have fine photographs of General Mansfield, exceedingly natural and lifelike. They can be obtained at their rooms. The cost is but twenty-five cents each.
Robbery.—On Thursday night a bold robbery was committed at the store of Hubbard Brothers in Water street. Three hundred and two dollars were abstracted from their safe in the following manner. There are two or three keys to their safe, and on Thursday evening it was discovered that one of them was missing. But this caused no suspicion, as it was supposed to be in the possession of some one of the members of the firm. On opening the safe the next morning, the amount above mentioned was found to have been taken, and the missing key was in its proper place. The perpetrator of the deed was undoubtedly well acquainted with the premises.
Snow Storm.—The first snow of the season came on Friday, a severe storm of snow and sleet, wind north east. It continued through the day, and a part of the night. It is worth putting on record that it was tolerable sleighing on Saturday morning. Several runners were out, and performed very well for the first time.
Some concern was felt by considerate and prudent people who have always been accustomed “to go in when it rains” and snows, for the comfort of the soldiers in camp during the snow storm of Friday and Friday night. We would report that they did not leave camp, nor their tents, nor suffer much from the storm, but had a pretty good time. The sleet froze on the canvass of the tents and so kept out the wind. Such a storm was of course unexpected, and the tents used by the regiment are not intended for such weather, but the men stood it very well, and said they were more comfortable than during some of the cold rain storms we have had.
To Camp or the Watch-House.—One day last week an officer with two or three men was walking a drunken soldier off to camp as quietly as possible, when the fellow suddenly changed his mind and expressed some objections to going any further in that direction. The officer tried to reason with him, but he was as unreasonable as the “donkey what would’nt go.” He did not seem to want to go anywhere else. His fuddled intellect had only one idea and that was as to going to camp “I wo-o’nt.” Just then a constable came along and saw a man drunk on the sidewalk. It was his duty to arrest that man. He proceeded to perform his duty, and the fellow began to march in spite of himself towards the watch-house. About that time he concluded he had made a mistake somehow, and that he would go to camp if he only could. The military officer interposed, offered to take charge of the man, and the constable consented, when the fellow set off for camp as if he believed it was the safest place for him. His experience is a caution to any other of Uncle Sam’s boys who drink too much liquor when in the city. A night’s lodging is usually provided for them, not quite so airy as out in camp, but a good deal safer, only it’s rather expensive. Sometimes the charge is $10 a night for lodging and breakfast. A big price, but the city authorities won’t take anything less.