Removal of Gen. Fremont.
The long suspense regarding the fate of the General commanding in the Western Department is at last terminated. Gen. Fremont is suspended, and Gen. Hunter, a Brigadier General in the regular army, and an officer of experience and demonstrated ability, commands the army at Springfield. Every one, whether friend or enemy of Gen. Fremont, will rejoice that this vexed question is at length settled, no matter in what manner. Anything is better than the prolonged discussion of the subject, and the excitement to which it gives rise.
We presume Gen. Fremont will at once demand an investigation of his official course, to be a full, complete and impartial examination of the whole subject, and by the result of that investigation he will stand or fall. If he has been so grossly slandered and persecuted as his friends assert, his fame will shine brighter, and his standing before the people will be higher than ever. If he is proven corrupt and incompetent, as his enemies charge, no one will deny that the Administration has acted properly in removing him.
While these attacks were being made upon him it was impossible that he could devote his full energies to the prosecution of the war, and the discharge of the complicated and most difficult duties that devolved upon him. No officer could display full efficiency under such a pressure. And it was equally impossible that a fair and impartial investigation of the charges against him could be made while he was still in the field.
General Fremont has probably been injured as much by the injudicious efforts of the St. Louis press in his behalf as by the machinations of his acknowledged enemies. A free people will not tamely hear the insinuation that any General, no matter what his abilities, is acquiring so great personal popularity as to be able to set the Government at defiance, and usurp the functions of a military dictator. We are assured that no such idea entered the mind of Gen. Fremont, but the fact that a correspondent of a leading St. Louis journal made the suggestion, is an indication of the way affairs were drifting.
Pending the final adjustment of the difficulties, we are rejoiced that the command of the army has devolved upon a man of the known skill of Gen. Hunter. Whatever his merits as an executive officer, no one doubts his ability to fight an army, and that is what we need at present. Under his orders, we have no doubt that the army in Missouri, if it ever meets the enemy, will render a satisfactory account of itself to the country.
The St. Louis papers take the removal as a matter which they have all along expected and been prepared for.
The Democrat consoles itself as follows:
A solution of the troubles appears to have at last been reached. Much as we preferred a wise one, we hail any with a feeling or relief. Greatly as we deprecated Gen. Fremont's removal, it could not be so disastrous as the continued warfare against him. We are disposed to believe that the step was reluctantly taken as the only mode of terminating the calamitous hostility, and of silencing "the enemy in the rear." Melancholy as such a necessity seems, the persistency and spirit with which Gen. Fremont was assailed have probably sufficed to create it. He is, then, sacrificed, not because the allegations against him have been established — for not one of them he has been called to meet — but because his power had been fearfully impaired by the desperate, numerous and ingenious attacks incessantly made to supplant him.
The Republican expresses its belief that "Gen. Fremont will demand a full and searching investigation of all the charges made against him, and that he will overthrow them, we have no doubt, and woe be to his vindictive enemies when all the facts, and the motives influencing them to degrade and disgrace him, are placed before the people of the United States."
The Democrat pays Gen. Hunter the following well deserved compliment: "Gen. Hunter, recently the second in command, is a veteran of proved ability, and is doubtless as well acquainted with the affairs of the department as any man in it with the exception of Fremont. Since the latter was to be superseded, the selection of his successor is evidently a judicious one, especially in view of the prospect of a decisive battle at hand."