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When General Burnside organized his expedition, he desired and secured the valuable aid and companionship of his old friend and school fellow. Captain Parke was commissioned Brigadier General of Volunteers on the 23d of November, 1861, and from that time his history was identified with that of the Ninth Corps through its entire term of service. For his services in North Carolina, he was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel in the regular army and promoted to Major General of Volunteers, his commission dating July 18, 1862.* General Parke's pure, noble and unselfish disposition had made him profoundly beloved by all the officers and men of the Ninth Corps, and his assignment to the command was hailed with sentiments of undisguised approbation and joy.
On the 10th of February, 1863, the Corps was separated from the Army of the Potomac, and was sent down to Newport News, where it remained inactive for the next six weeks. General Getty's division was transferred to Suffolk, where the enemy was making a demonstration against our works and even for a time threatened a siege. The two remaining divisions were respectively under the command of General Willcox and General Sturgis. General Getty's division did not again join the corps as a complete command. The regiments composing it were dispersed among the different armies in that quarter, after the retirement of General Longstreet, and only two of them-the 4th Rhode Island and the 9th New Hampshire-returned to the Corps, when, in the following year, it again formed an integral part of the Army of the Potomac.†
The two divisions that were left at Newport News were destined to more active service on distant fields. The West
*General Parke's promotion, with that of Generals Reno and Foster, was at first dated April 26, 1862, but, by the influence of General McClellan and the western generals, other corps commanders were allowed to out-rank General Burnside's officers and the commissions of the latter were re-dated as above.
†The detached regiments never forgot their alliance with the Ninth Corps, and, when transferred to other commands, their tents were still inscribed with the initials "9th A. C.," by which they were proud to be known.
and the Southwest were to be the scenes of their valor and endurance. They were to assist in opening the Mississippi to the unobstructed trade of the country, and in freeing a long-suffering people from the thraldom of a tyrannical government. The record which the Corps had written for itself in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, was to be illustrated by new and even brighter deeds. Under the able direction of General Parke, it had other fields to conquer and other laurels to win. The work which it had already performed was but the promise of more important labors, which had for their end faithfully to discharge its entire duty to the Republic. How thoroughly and well the work was done, it remains for the subsequent pages of this narrative to record!
NOTE TO THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Mr. William Swinton, a former correspondent of the New York Times, has recently published a volume entitled "Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac." Whatever worth the book may have as a record of the career of other generals, it has very little in reference to that of General Burnside. Every man has a right to form and express an opinion as to the merits or demerits of every public officer, so far as his official conduct is concerned. But in making up the estimate, there must be a strict accordance with facts. Mr. Swinton scarcely speaks of General Burnside and the Ninth Corps without a contemptuous sneer, and applies derogatory epithets to every military movement in which they were engaged. At South Mountain, "the key point of the whole position was overlooked" by General Reno. At Antietam, "Burnside's tentatives were frivolous in their character," and "five hours passed before the work that should have been done in the morning was accomplished." For the determination of the first point, the military judgment of General Reno can safely be put over against that of Mr. Swinton. For the decision of the second, it is but necessary to refer to the reports of Generals Burnside and Cox, and of other officers who were present in the action at the bridge.
That which Mr. Swinton calls a task of "comparative ease was judged to be one of great difficulty by those who were most interested in performing the work. Three hours, not five, were occupied in carrying the position, and in those three hours the Ninth Corps lost some of its best officers and men. Every reader of military history knows that a narrow bridge is not an easy position to carry in the tace of a resolute enemy, even though the num