Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 1863

January 23, 1863:  Gen. Burnside, incensed with the disloyalty and insubordination of several of his generals, on this night issues orders relieving a number of them from service in the Army, and incredible step to take, considering how many there are on the orders.  He asks Lincoln permission to see him late at night, to get the President’s signature on this document:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, January 23, 1863-8.50 p.m.
President of the United States:
I have prepared some very important orders, and I want to see you before issuing them. Can I see you alone if I am at the White House after midnight? I must be back by 8 o'clock to-morrow morning.

Major-General, Commanding.


I. General Joseph Hooker, major-general of volunteers and brigadier-general U. S. Army, having been guilty of unjust and unnecessary criticisms of the actions of his superior officers, and of the authorities, and having, by the general tone of his conversation, endeavored to create distrust in the minds of officers who have associated with him, and having, by omissions and otherwise, made reports and statements which were calculated to create incorrect impressions, and for habitually speaking in disparaging terms of other officers, is hereby dismissed the service of the United States as a man unfit to hold an important commission during a crisis like the present, when so much patience, charity, confidence, consideration, and patriotism are due from every soldier, in the field. This order is issued subject to the approval of the President of the United States.

II. Brigadier General W. T. H. Brooks, commanding First Division, Sixth Army Corps, for complaining of the policy of the Government, and for using language tending to demoralize his command, is, subject to the approval of the President, dismissed from the military service of the United States.

III. Brigadier General John Newton, commanding Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, and Brigadier General John Cochrane, commanding First Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, for going to the President of the United States with criticisms upon the plans of their commanding officer, are, subject to the approval of the President, dismissed from the military service of the United States.

IV. It being evident that the following named officers can be of no further service to this army, they are hereby relieved from duty, and will report, in person, without delay, to the Adjutant-General, U. S. Army: Major General W. B. Franklin, commanding left grand division; Major General W. F. Smith, commanding Sixth Corps; Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis, commanding Second Division, Ninth Corps; Brigadier General Edward Ferrero, commanding Second Brigade, Second Division, Ninth Army Corps; Brigadier General John Cochrane, commanding First Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Corps; Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Taylor, assistant adjutant-general, right grand division.
By command of Major General A. E. Burnside:

Assistant Adjutant-General

It is likewise astonishing that Burnside was willing to take a fast night-time trip to the capital on this errand when his army was woefully mired in the Virginia mud and badly damaged. Needless to say, Lincoln would not sign the orders.

---There has been skirmishing this day in Johnson County, East Tennessee, between a unit of Confederate troops under a Col. Folk and some local Tories irregulars---Unionists---resulting in the Unionists being chased out of the vicinity after taking some losses.

---A Union soldier named Jenkin Lloyd Jones, an artilleryman, notes in his journal the behavior of some soldiers:

Spent the day in darning stockings. Listened to Brownlow read in tent. But when night came there was a scene at once ludicrous and deplorable. Music was started in the 4th Platoon tent; Parker with his fiddle, Bill Bailey with the banjo, Day’s tambourine, Byness with the bones, and Goodman’s clarinet. But Quartermaster had brought some bottled whiskey into camp and it broke up in a drunken row.

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