Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From Washington

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 1862

It is raining in this miserable city, – it has rained for more than two weeks.  The roads are almost impassable.  I understand the horses on the other side of the Potomac are suffering for want of forage, because it is impossible to carry it in sufficient quantities.  Fever and small pox are prevailing to an alarming extent.  Everybody gets vaccinated, but still everybody trembles.  And it is to this long spell of bad weather, that the wiseacres tell us the slow movements of the army are owing.  Gen. McClellan, they say, contemplated a grand movement of our entire army – the Burnside expedition, the Cairo expedition, the brilliant maneuver in Kentucky, Halleck’s advance in Missouri, that of Rosecrans in Virginia and that of the great army of the Potomac, were to be projected simultaneously.  The plan is frustrated by the weather.  I hope and believe it was so contemplated, for the pressure from the North and from Congress must have forced a forward movement of some kind, but I only give you the rumors, and you can judge.  And by the way, I hear that the member of the cabinet most strenuous for an immediate advance is the Attorney General., Mr. Bates.  Postmaster General Blair has heretofore occupied this position, but it is now occupied by a man whom we have been accustomed to consider and old fogy of the slowest kind.

The war will continue according to General McClellan’s policy, endorsed as it is by the President, and such men as Garrett Davis and Mr. Crittenden.  The story of a conversation between Jim Lane and Mr. Lincoln, in which the latter endorsed the former’s opinions is a most ridiculous hoax.

Judge Swayne of Ohio is appointed to the Supreme Bench to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Justice McLean.  The appointment will create some surprise as it was understood no immediate appointments were intended. – But it has been difficult sometimes to obtain a quorum of the Court, and hence the appointment now.  Judge Swayne is an Ohio man, of about fifty years of age, and a Republican of what they please to call conservative tendencies.  If the bill creating another Circuit in the West passes, Senator Browning or Secretary Smith will probably be created a Justice.

The expulsion of Bright is occupying the attention of the Senate.  The charge against him is similar to that of against our illustrious fellow-citizen Gen. Jones, of writing letters to Jefferson Davis, asking him as President of the Confederate States, friendly offices towards a Mr. Lincoln, a new inventor in fire arms.  He will hardly be expelled, (a two-thirds vote being required,) but a majority will probably be recorded against him.

The War Department under Secretary Stanton is at present very active and efficient.  But “as new broom always sweeps clean,” and the present is no indication of the future.  A bill has been posted up, allowing Congressmen Saturdays to transact their business, and the ungloved Public  Mondays, while for the rest of the week the Department is closed to outsiders. – Mr. Stanton says that without such an arrangement he cannot proceed.

A movement is in progress to make a Major General of Brig. Gen. Sigel.  I understand the President favors it as a recognition of the services of our German fellow citizens during the war; their regiments being acknowledged on all hand to be among the most efficient and the best drilled of the troops in the field.


– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 1, 1862, p. 2

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