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    Temple Place

    Sunday Dec. 7. 62

    My dear travellers –

    You have solved the
    mystery at last by your letter of the 25th
    with journal from Hyêres & we rejoice
    to learn that you have got in to real warm
    weather & comfortable quarters withal.
    Nothing I should like better than to be
    with you, for we have just got a pretty deep
    snow and really cold weather is just setting
    in, I do not love it, you know, little
    as I suffer from it in comparison.
    - The most important event of the week
    is one of family interest, Mr. Cabot was
    struck with paralysis a few days ago,
    affecting one entire side, & though reco-
    vering since some slight power of
    motion, the chances, at his time of life
    are, of course against him. His mind
    is said now to be clear, and Sam thinks
    the brain is not affected, & therefore that
    he may recover completely. But this I
    do not believe. He's more likely to be
    like Mrs. Torrey's case. - As for military
    movements there is not a scrap of in-
    telligence worth recording, except that
    Banks himself, with the residue of his ex-
    pedition, has actually sailed from N.Y.-
    I note too the sailing from Fortress Munroe,
    with sealed orders, of seven transports &
    some gunboats, about the same time.-
    probably part of the same expedition.
    The secret of its destination has been tho-
    roughly kept,- Texas, Florida, the James
    River, Charleston, have all been sug-

    gested, and plausible reasons assigned for each. One
    place that I have not seen suggested in the newspapers strikes me
    as more probable than either,- that is North Caro-
    lina,- with the view of joining the force
    already there, which would make a
    pretty formidable army, & threatening
    Richmond from that side. The putting
    to sea of the transports at lately anchored off
    Fortress Munroe, filled with troops, seems
    to negative the idea that Banks is bound
    either to Norfolk or the James River.
    He may however, I should suppose
    easily penetrate when a landing is
    once effected at Roanoke, or its neighborhood,- far enough into No. Car.
    to cooperate with the force already at
    Suffolk in a movement on Petersburgh,
    threatening Richmond on that side; on
    joining the force now at Newbern,
    he might be strong enough to advance
    to Goldsboro, cutting the line of the main
    Southern R.R., & pushing on, if strong e-
    eno', perhaps to Raleigh, & to threate-
    ning Richmond from the rear. I can
    not help thinking some such move-
    ment as this against Richmond, or
    at least endangering it, of far greater
    present importance than any more
    distant operation & therefore more likely. A serious threat
    on the opposite side of the rebel capital,
    could not but have the effect of draw-
    ing off part of Lee's army from the
    neighborhood of the Rappahannoc, and
    give the main army under Burnside an excellent chance to demolish Lee. It
    is difficult to account for Burnside's
    long inactivity, after every allow-
    ance for the deficiency's of the Quarter
    Master Gen. against whom complaints
    are now very loud,- except on the
    supposition that he is waiting for
    somebody else. The last story against
    the powers at Washington is, that Burn-
    side has discovered that nine out of
    ten of the bomb-shells sent him will
    not explode! At any rate, there stand
    the two armies still, shivering on the banks
    of the Rappahannoc. Neither moves;- un-
    less, as is said one day & denied the
    next, Lee has already thrown back part of his
    force nearer towards Richmond,
    So as to be ready to act on either side,
    as the case may require. It is also re-
    ported, & is probably true, that Jackson
    has wholly withdrawn from the Shenan-
    doah region, leaving only a few flying
    skirmishers here & there, & has effected a
    junction with Lee.- The beginnings
    of Congress, the Reports of the Departments,
    & the proceedings of the several Court
    Martials going on at Washington chiefly
    occupy attention. Halleck's Report is a
    renewed attack upon McLellan,- to
    whose dilatoriness in moving the his
    army, under peremptory orders, from
    the James River to Aquia Creek, he,
    to shift responsibility from himself, attributes, by insinuation at least,
    the defeat of Pope. But it is curious to see how McLellan, keeping perfect silence
    against all attacks, is constantly re-
    lieved from one charge after another
    by incidental pieces of evidence, which
    turn up out of the very proceedings
    intended to operate against him. Halleck's reports for
    instance, make very plain the origin
    of his going over to the side of McLellan's
    enemies. They differed entirely in their
    views of certain military points. Mc-
    Lellan was bent on pursueing his attack
    on Richmond from the point where he was in James
    River, & was confident of success, if he
    could have sufficent reinforcements.
    & believed that to be the true mode of securing Washington.
    Halleck thought, on the other hand, that
    the safety of Washington required that
    Pope should be strengthened- that the two
    armies must be united, neither being
    strong eno' to withstand the whole force
    of the enemy alone,- & that danger to
    Washington precluded the sending of
    Burnside to McLellan, & that the alter-
    native was the drawing of McLellan's
    army, as well as Burnside's, to Pope. In-
    cidentally he appends a letter from McLellan with
    his answer,- the former protesting, respectfully, but
    earnestly, against the withdrawing of his army
    from Harrisons Landing, & even entreating him
    to recall that order, assigning reasons which at
    least make a very strong case. Halleck was
    obliged to publish this for the sake of publishing
    his answer, which gives his reasons for insisting
    on the withdrawal. They are strong ones & I am not
    sure that they were not such as mustshould have prevailed.
    But at any rate McLellan's judgement on this part
    of the case is thus incidentally brought to light,& places him, so far, very favorably before
    the public. On the other hand, Halleck does not
    state any of the circumstances which go to account
    of delay in the movement,- as the further cor-
    respondence probably would. He simply states
    the date of the his order, & the date of the
    McLellan's movement,
    leaving it to be inferred that the delay was
    unreasonable & without without excuse, & then, somewhat disinge-
    nuously, states, by way of contrast, the date
    of his order to Burnside, & the date of his move-
    ment,- which was immediate. The difference
    of the two cases was, that Burnside was at
    Newport News, in transition merely, with his
    tranports before him, & no enemy near,
    waiting merelyfor orders to proceed either up
    the James River, or up the Potomac, as the order
    might be.- McLellan's encampment on the
    other hand was a fixed one, with an army
    five times as large as Burnside's required to
    move with sick, wounded, siege guns & great collections of things in the face of the enemy, & through
    the enemy's country. Such a movement re-
    quired vast previous arrangement & great
    caution,- Burnside's none at all.- Another
    piece of evidence comes out incidently on
    the trial of Gen. Fitz John Porter,- a letter from Mc-
    Lellan to that Gen. urging him in the most earnest
    terms to render all possible aid to Gen. Pope,-
    a letter exactly of a piece with his more recent appeals
    to the army to stand by Burnside. The pretence
    of McLellan's assailants has always been that
    he threw obstacles in the way of Pope & influen-
    ced his favorite generals to hold back.-
    Thus "little Mac" continues to come out brighter
    & brighter, just as fast as anything authentic
    appears; & whenever he comes to make his
    own exposé, as he probably will some timeor other, tho' not till it can do no harm to the cause I have little doubt that it will
    be clearly shown that his plans were al-
    ways interfered with, & overruled or marred
    by sideways blows, from the time of his being
    deprived of the general command of the
    armies. Halleck indeed takes care to re-
    lieve himself from the responsibility
    of all consequences of acts that had occured before he
    was made chief in command- as he
    has a right to do. All our misfortunes
    of the eastern campaign are very plainly
    consequences of the two grand mistakes
    made by the Admn before Halleck had any-
    thing more to look after than his own Western Dept.
    -viz. 1. dividing the command in Virga
    2. stopping recruiting & omitting to
    provide any reserve for reinforce-
    ments of at any point that was found to
    need it. For both these the Abolition clique
    is responsible as the Presidents advisers
    to whom he yielded. To this must be added, I sup-
    pose, a small honest conceit, which led
    him to think it was his duty, & within his
    capacity to "run the machine himself"
    - quoting, as I do, words that are attributed
    to him. I presumed he had got cured of that,
    so far as the military part of the general
    machine is concerned, when he made
    Halleck his overseer of that Department.
    But one never knows whether it is Halleck's
    will, or Stanton's, or the President's, or that of
    the radical clique which at times seeming
    to control the Prest., which causes a par-
    ticular movement or appointment. There
    is at least a sad want of unity of purpose
    & all seems to indicate that the President him-
    self, with many excellent qualities, is notso strong a man as I at one time took him
    for. The gradual emancipation scheme of his mes-
    sage is, I presume, his own deliberate
    judgment; & if it could be made effectual
    my conclusion is that it is a good one,
    if not the only one, to relieve the country-
    fully & finally from its difficulties.-
    His immediate emancipation proclamation, on
    the other hand, I believe was altered merely
    as a quietus to radical pressure. But
    what shall we say to the combination
    of these two schemes, so utterly inconsis-
    tent, with each other? He seems to me,
    by his message, to treat his former pro-
    clamation as a thing of which wld have
    no practical consequence. If the slaves
    are to be made free on the 1st of Jan. by
    his own military act why propose to
    Congress a scheme that which will require
    a year or two at least, merely to put
    the machinery in motion, which
    is to accomplish their freedom on,
    or at some time before, the year
    1900? Yet in his message, he alludes to the pro-
    clamation as if he really expected to act upon
    it on the 1st of Jan. - The Treasury's Report is
    clear, well written, & frank- but financiers
    differ greatly as to his banking scheme. The Bank
    interest will of course to be opposed to it. Mr.
    Chase seems to be startled by the effect of his paper
    money system, & while laboring to show that it
    is not a depreciated currency, but that the high
    price of gold is owing to other causes, he mani-
    festly does not with to pursue the system fur-
    ther if he can help it, except to the extent of
    substituting a U.S. currency for that of the
    Banks. At any rate he has got to raise in
    some way nearly 300 millions to carry us along to
    the 1st of July, & double that sum at least for theyear following, if the war lasts so long on the same scale.
    He exposes the necessity of the case fairly, &
    shows that, even should the present scale of
    expense continue till July 1, '64, the total
    debt then would be far short of 2000
    millions, which has been represented to be
    the amount of the debt now, by the political
    opponents of the Admn.- and he shows great
    cause to believe that even this enormous
    sum would not be beyond the resources of
    the country on long loans. As to the best means
    of effecting such large loans he makes suggestions,
    but leaves it to Congress to work out the problem.
    He will have to meet the market of course;
    unless he runs into the more ruinous system
    of multiplying paper money. It is worthy of re-
    mark however that the disclosures of the
    report do not as yet materially affect the
    price of Govt. securities; i.e. do not seem,
    to shake the domestic credit of the Govt.-
    So far as any questions have yet been raised
    in the Ho. of Reps., by way of attack, the Admn.
    seems to command about two to one in
    votes. But I do not think that anything has
    yet been presented which fairly tests the
    relation of the Conservatives to the Radicals.
    I fear the latter will keep a large majority, at
    least a sufficient one for all working pur-
    poses. But in the Senate it is said it will be
    otherwise. At any rate the Radicals have
    only three months more to work mischief-
    in. The majority in the next Congress will cer-
    tainly be the other way. The danger then
    will be of a different kind, the machine
    is certainly rather ricketty in its working;
    but I believe on the whole we shall rule &
    go, as we have so often before. The
    three months of ultra Republican rule
    ought to do much towards settling the
    merely military questions- and certainlymust settle the question of immediate
    emancipation as a war measure.
    If as the Sumnerites assume, the
    four millions of negroes are all going
    to rush to arms on our side as soon
    as the 1st of Jan. comes & all the rebel
    armies are going to rush home to
    take care of their negroes, that certainly
    will settle the matter one way. our army
    & navy will have little in that case to
    oppose them. If on the other hand, not
    a solitary nigger flees as I believe, except where
    he has one of our soldiers along side
    of him to protect him, that certainly
    must settle the matter the other way. I
    do not see how even the abolitionists,
    out of the lunatic hospital, can get
    in that case get over the determina-
    tion that immediate emancipation
    is not a practical idea. That done
    with, we may hope to make some real
    progress in the legitimate objects of the
    war, and towards a peace on terms that
    will reduce the rebellion without abso-
    lutely revolutionizing either South
    or North. Dark & difficult it all is,
    but not hopeless. The South must suffer
    terribly this winter,- & perhaps the bulk
    of their people will be tired enough of
    the war to be ready to give up the notion of
    secession, if they find they can save
    their negroes. The North of course, Abolitio-
    nists excepted, will ask no more,- and
    possibly some scheme of distant emancipa- tion, similar to the President's, may
    be gradually worked through, the South
    having it the modus operandi entirely in their own hands:
    this to quiet the abolitionists, & satisfy the
    conscience of the world, and prevent
    any future quarrels about slavery. But all
    this is remote speculation,- & events move
    so rapidly that the idea of today is knocked
    in the head by the fact of tomorrow. The only cer-
    tain thing is that military success is indis-
    pensable to the working out of the problem fa-
    vorably for the north on any theory. I hope
    for that soon in some quarter.

    Tuesday Dec. 9 There is a report that a por-
    tion of Burnside's army has crossed the Rap-
    panoc at some distance from Fredericksburgh. If
    true, it is a flanking movement, which may
    lead to a battle. Both armies must be suffering
    terribly from the weather. I see 6 of our sentinels
    reported frozen to death, & 7 more disabled from the
    same cause. -There is a good deal of move-
    ment going on in the Southwest- our armies
    advancing, & the rebels retiring. We have
    got some ways into No. Mississippi, and
    there seems to be a gathering there for battle.
    The large movements look promising. On
    the other hand we hear of another disgraceful
    surrender, by a detached body of troops, at
    one point either in Tenessee or Missippi.
    -Our foreign relations seem from the published
    correspondance to have been, & still to be, stan-
    ding on rather [illegible] ground. What Louis Nap.
    really intends is of course always a mystery.
    He must have known of course, or might
    easily have known, before-hand, that his Medi-
    ation scheme would not be accepted by England
    & Russia, and when declined, why does he pub-
    lish it?

    Affectionately yrs &c.,
    W.H.G.