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colored soldiers to form a division. General Burnside had, for a considerable time, been in favor of the employment of colored troops, and was desirous of incorporating them with his command. The matter was laid before the War Department as early as the 26th of January, and, after some delay, received the approval of the Secretary.

General Burnside also submitted, on the same day, a plan of operations, which contemplated the occupation of North Carolina and the reduction of that entire State to the Federal authority. Wilmington, which had long been the great entrepot of supplies for the rebellious government, was to be taken, and the railroads in the interior of North Carolina were to be occupied and held. This movement would compel the evacuation of Virginia and place Richmond at our mercy, or it would at least draw off a sufficient number of men from General Lee's army to make it easy for the Army of the Potomac to fall on and defeat, capture or destroy its steadfast enemy. General Burnside thus hoped to be employed upon a coastwise expedition, and, with his old soldiers of 1861 and 1862, complete the course of his public service on the fields which had been the scene of his early triumphs. It certainly would have been a fitting close to the history of his brave command. But the Lieutenant General had other objects in view. He already had his eye fixed upon the route which General Burnside had once essayed to follow, and, knowing its difficulties, which were now greater than ever before, and also its advantages, was disposed to use all his available means to achieve success. A coastwise expedition was not yet to be attempted. But, doubtless with the design of concealing the real plan of the campaign both from friend and foe, General Grant somewhat encouraged the hope, that the Corps would eventually be employed in North Carolina, and it was only within a short time of the opening of the campaign that General Burnside himself was apprised of his destination.

On the 8th of March, the Secretary of War designated An

napolis, Maryland, as the "depot and rendezvous" for the Ninth Corps. The new regiments were to be sent to that point as soon as their recruitment and organization were complete. The old regiments of the Corps then in East Tennessee were also ordered thither. General Parke had already come East, and General Willcox superintended the removal of the troops. The Corps left Knoxville on the 17th-23d of March, marched to Nicholasville, Kentucky, thence moved by rail, and arrived at Annapolis in the early part of the following month. The old regiments were filled up by reënlistments and new levies, five cavalry and twelve infantry regiments and five batteries of artillery, besides the colored troops, were added to the veterans of the Corps, and by the 20th of April, the strength of the command was fully twenty-five thousand men.

On the 11th of April, General Burnside left his home in Providence for his last campaign, and repaired immediately to Annapolis. For the next two weeks, he was occupied in arranging, reorganizing, equipping and arming the command. The Corps was formed into four divisions. General Parke was made Chief of Staff. Brigadier General Thomas G. Stevenson, once Colonel of the 24th Massachusetts, was assigned to the command of the first division; General Potter to that of the second; General Willcox to that of the third; and General Ferrero to that of the fourth, composed entirely of the colored troops. The expectation of embarking was still kept alive, and many a curious eye scanned the southern horizon, eagerly watching the waters of Chesapeake Bay to discover, if possible, the transports which were to carry the troops to North Carolina. Many would scarcely believe their senses, even while the harbor of Annapolis exhibited nothing but its usual monotonous quiet, and insisted that the transports were concealed in some retired creeks and inlets below the town, to be sent up at the instant of embarkation.

On the 7th of April, General Burnside was ordered to have his command in readiness to move from Annapolis at the

shortest notice after the 20th of that month. Every arrangement was accordingly made, and on the 23d, at early morning, the Ninth Corps broke camp and took up its line of march. The direction was not towards the harbor, but into the interior, and the column was soon on the road to Washington, whither General Burnside repaired by rail. General Willcox had direction of the march, and, on the night of the 24th, encamped his command on the Bladensburg road, about six miles distant from the Capital. In Washington, it began to be rumored that the Ninth Corps would pass through the city, and that a division of colored troops, five or six thousand strong, was incorporated in the column. The citizens were on the qui vive, the members of Congress and the President were eager to witness the movement. About nine o'clock in the morning of the 25th, the head of the column entered the city, and by eleven, the Corps was marching down New York Avenue. Halting a short distance from the corner of Fourteenth street, the column closed up, and prepared to pay a marching salute to the President, who, with General Burnside and a few friends, was awaiting the coming of the troops. The President.and his party occupied a balcony over the entrance of Willard's Hotel.

The scene was one of great beauty, spirit and animation. The day was superbly clear. A cool wind breathed through the soft air of the early Spring. Rain had fallen during the previous night, and there was no dust to cause discomfort to the soldiers or the spectators. The troops marched and appeared exceedingly well. Their soiled and tattered flags, bearing inscriptions of battles in six States, east and west, were silent and affecting witnesses of their valor and their sacrifices. The firm and soldierly bearing of the veterans, the eager and expectant countenances of the men and officers of the new regiments, the gay trappings of the cavalry, the thorough equipment and fine condition of the artillery, were all subjects of warm commendation. Multitudes of spectators filled the streets and greeted the column with enthusiastic cheers. Gen

eral Ferrero's division was the first body of colored troops of any magnitude that ever marched through Washington, and their fine appearance and demeanor, though they had been but a week or two in the service, elicited numerous expressions of the heartiest approval. Mr. Lincoln himself seemed greatly pleased, and acknowledged the cheers and plaudits of the colored soldiers with a dignified kindness and courtesy. As they saw the modest and true gentleman who, with head uncovered, witnessed their march, a spirit of wild enthusiasm ran through their ranks. They shouted, they cheered, they swung their caps in the exuberance of their joy. They were now freemen. They had a grand and glorious object to live for. They would now make a history for their race, and there, looking down upon them, was the man who had given them this magnificent opportunity, and who was opening before them a new path of ambition and hope! It was a spectacle which made many eyes grow moist and dim. Through the greater part of the day, the column, with its long wagon train, filled the streets of the city. And thus the Corps that had never lost a flag or a gun marched through Washington! Crossing Long Bridge, the troops went into camp in the vicinity of Alexandria.

Even then, many of the officers and men had not entirely given up the thought of moving to some point upon the southern coast. They still cherished the hope that transports would be put in readiness for them at Alexandria. But the duty to which the Corps was now assigned effectually dispelled any such idea. To guard the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, from the Rapidan to the Potomac, was the immediate work to which General Grant had appointed the command. General Willcox, who was still in charge, established his headquarters at Manassas, and distributed the different divisions of the Corps along the railroad. In the course of the next few days, General Burnside had made his personal preparations to take the field. On the 27th, he proceeded to Manassas, and thence to Warrenton Junction, and, through all the stirring

scenes of the next four months, commanded the Corps in person. It was definitely settled by the 1st of May, that the Ninth Corps was to operate in Virginia, in immediate connection with the Army of the Potomac. Once more the soil of Virginia was to be ensanguined with the blood of brave men, and to tremble beneath the roar of artillery and the march of armies.

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