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thorized, under the direction and during the pleasure of the President, to command the armies of the United States." The President immediately appointed General Grant to fill the honorable post, and on the 2d of March the appointment was confirmed and the commission issued. General Grant was summoned to Washington, and on the 9th the President, in the presence of the Cabinet and several distinguished personages, formally gave into the hands of the successful officer the commission which he had so bravely won. The wishes of the country and of the army had become so unmistakable, that General Halleck went through the formality of requesting to be relieved. On the 12th, General Grant was assigned to the "command of the armies of the United States," and on the 17th, he assumed the command, in General Orders. Headquarters were to be in the field and with the Army of the Potomac. Order, vigor, a settled purpose and plan at once took the place of the feeble and unstable policy which had characterized the previous administration of military affairs.

The discussion of this and other similar questions in Congress and among the people had directed the public attention to the necessity of vigorous measures. It was determined to fill the depleted corps of the different armies to their maximum number. Great exertions were made during the winter of 1863-'64 to place the entire army upon a basis of enduring strength, and to give to it such efficiency as would make the approaching campaign the great and final campaign of the war. With an effective army and able officers, the nation indulged the hope of complete success. The victories of the past were full of promise for the future. If the army was put into the field at the proper time, with proper materiel and a sufficient number of men, the result would be a glorious triumph. General Sherman was to conduct operations in the West, and his great march was already projected in the mind of General Grant. The Army of the Potomac was to fight over its old ground for its long desired object. General Grant was determined to crush the strength of the rebellion by the utter defeat

of the rebel Army of Northern Virginia. General Lee was to share the fate of Generals Buckner, Pemberton and Bragg. On what field was the Ninth Corps to win fresh laurels? The answer to that question was not long left in doubt.

On the 7th of January, General Burnside was again assigned to duty as commander of the Ninth Corps. His special task was to "recruit and fill up the old regiments" of the Corps, and to increase its strength to the number of "fifty thousand men for such service as the War Department" might "specially designate." The field of this duty was in the New England States, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania, so far as the regiments from those States already in the Corps were concerned. Old regiments were first to be increased at least to their minimum strength, after which new regiments were to be raised. The details of the work required frequent conferences with the Governors of the above named States, and General Burnside soon found himself very busily engaged in travel and labor. The task of recruiting, though in competition with other favorite corps, was carried forward with great activity and commendable success.

During the months of January, February and March, General Burnside was constantly employed in gathering recruits and in organizing them into their proper commands. The Governors of the different States gave their full coöperation, and wherever he went, the people greeted him with enthusiasm and cordiality. In some instances, the Legislatures of the States which he visited were in session, and public receptions were tendered him with every expression of respectful and even affectionate interest. Massachusetts, always forward to recognize the worth of faithful public service, and Maine, always loyal to the defenders of the Republic, gave him a public welcome which was peculiarly gratifying to his feelings. The Ninth Corps had thus the promise of a substantial support and reënforcement. In addition to the white troops that were to be raised, it was decided-in consonance with General Burnside's recommendation-to annex to the Corps a sufficient number of

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

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