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or suspension of these important officers, and after a long talk with the irate commander it was finally agreed that he should be relieved of his command. This was done, and Hooker was appointed to succeed him.
In March, 1863, Burnside was given the command of the army of the Ohio, taking with him his old corps, the ninth, and coming into coöperation with the army of the Cumberland. The ninth corps was withdrawn from his army to the aid of Grant in his operations against Vicksburg, but with the remainder Burnside advanced to coöperate with Rosecrans, and in August advanced upon and took possession of Knoxville, in east Tennessee, it being evacuated by General Buckner on his approach. He also sent a force to Cumberland Gap, captured the garrison holding it, and restored that important pass to the National Government. The whole surrounding district was cleared of Confederate soldiers, and the many Unionists of east Tennessee, most of whom had been hiding in the mountains, hailed the coming of the Stars and Stripes with enthusiastic demonstrations of loyalty.
This movement was not accepted by the Confederate leaders with equanimity. Various detachments of troops entered the region and Burnside was kept busy, his force being divided up to hold numerous points. After the defeat of Rosecrans at Chickamauga by the aid of Longstreet a more vigorous effort was made to drive out Burnside, Longstreet being detached and sent against him with his veterans. Bragg had weakened his army in the effort and Grant, quick to see the error his antagonist had made, sent word to Burnside to hold on to Knoxville, keeping Longstreet there while he dealt with Bragg. He would send him succor as soon as possible and perhaps Longstreet and his men might be captured.
When Longstreet appeared in the vicinity of Knoxville, he was met by Burnside's advance detachments and several sharp engagements took place. Longstreet pushed on rapidly, and at Campbellville Burnside was so hotly pressed that he had to abandon his trains or fight. He chose the latter, repulsed his foe after a sharp engagement, and then hurried to the shelter of his intrenchments at Knoxville, when he soon found himself invested by Longstreet.
Knoxville, standing on the northern bank of Holston River, a large portion of it on a table-land and one hundred and fifty feet above the stream, is well adapted to stand a siege, and Burnside's engineers quickly surrounded it with defensive works. Captain Poe directed their erection, and we are told that “under Poe's hands rifle-pits appeared as if by magic and every hill-top of the vast semicircle around Knoxville, from Temperance Hall to College Hill, frowned with cannon and bristled with bayonets.'
Burnside, in fact, was soon so strongly intrenched that he felt he had little to fear except a failure of his supplies. These the famous cavalry leaders Wheeler and Forrest were engaged in cutting off, while Longstreet pressed the siege briskly, hoping to compel a surrender by starvation in a few days. He was well aware of the weakness of Bragg and hoped quickly to get back to his aid.
Not content with cutting off the channels of supply, Longstreet pushed the siege vigorously, and on November 25 succeeded in capturing a knoll which commanded Fort Saunders, five hundred feet away. His exultation over this success was dashed by the news that quickly reached him, that Bragg had been defeated and driven from Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. He knew that help would now quickly reach Burnside from Grant, and his only hope lay in taking Knoxville by storm before it could arrive. Burnside received the same tidings and resolved to defend the place till the last extremity.
The assault took place on the 28th, at eleven o'clock of a dark night, the storming parties being directed against Fort Saunders, one of the chief points in the defences. The rifle-pits were quickly taken, but behind these were lines of abatis and of wires stretched from stump to stump, a foot above the ground. The charging party was thrown into utter confusion by these obstacles, whole companies being prostrated by the wires, while the guns of the fort played fearfully upon them. A single officer alone gained the summit of the parapet, and his body quickly rolled into the ditch, pierced by a dozen balls. The storm of shot was so heavy that three hundred of the foremost assailants surrendered, the others retreating. The fort was saved, and with it Knoxville and perhaps Burnside's army. Longstreet had promised his men that they should dine in Knoxville that day, a promise not kept except to the three hundred prisoners.
1 Meanwhile help was swiftly on its way, Granger approaching with twenty thousand men, while Sherman led another strong body northward. Sherman's cavalry entered Knoxville on December 3, when Longstreet, finding himself in serious peril, raised the siege and hastily retreated. Burnside had won his fight.
We must deal very briefly with the remainder of General Burnside's career. He had no further inde
pendent command, but led the ninth corps in Grant's advance on Richmond, fighting in the several battles from the Wilderness onward. He occupied important political positions after the war, being elected governor of Rhode Island successively in 1866, 1867, and 1868, and United States senator in 1875 and 1881, dying September 13 of the latter year.
As a man Burnside was warm-hearted and generous and as a soldier able, but the weight of a command like that of the army of the Potomac seemed beyond his strength.
WINFIELD S. HANCOCK, THE SUPERB
"HANCOCK was superb," said McClellan, in allusion to that gallant soldier's bayonet charge at Williamsburg, and the saying became proverbial during the war and was heard again in later years when Hancock was a prominent candidate for the Presidency. He never held an independent command, like the other soldiers whose deeds we have chronicled, but we select him from among the many distinguished subordinate soldiers, both for his notable record in the war and the prominent part he afterwards played in National politics.
Winfield Scott Hancock was born near Norristown, Pennsylvania, February 14, 1824. He graduated at West Point in 1844 and continued in the army till his death, not leaving it to engage in business pursuits, like many others. He served on the frontier till 1846, and afterwards took part in the Mexican War, in which he won the grade of first lieutenant by gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. This war ending, he went back to frontier duty, and in 1855 was appointed captain in the quartermaster's department and ordered to Florida, where there was new trouble with the Seminoles. In 1858 he was in the expedition to Utah to bring the Mormons to terms. He was serving as quartermaster of the southern district of California when the Civil War broke out.
Eager to take part in the contest, he requested to be relieved from his peaceful duties, and sought active