An Awful Panorama — A Modern Sodom.
The editor of the Chicago Post, writing from Washington on the 10th, has the following lamentable picture of things there:
Long ere this reaches Chicago you will have heard of McClellan's removal — his dismissal. We cannot describe the excitement which prevails here. But excitements here are of a peculiar nature, and it is time that the people of the west should understand matters. The fact is, that there is no sincerity in the public display of patriotism in the eastern states. It is all hollow, except the money; all speculation, dishonesty, crime and outrage. While we of the west are volunteering and contributing so heavily to the demands of the government, and in good faith, to put down the rebellion, here — and by here I mean all east of the Alleghanies — there is nothing in the world but speculation, fraud, dishonesty and money. No man here has the least idea of putting down the rebellion — no hope or expectation of doing so; in short, the general, universal feeling here is fully, forcibly, though indignantly expressed in the remark, "The country is going to the devil rapidly, and while the money holds out we must make all we can."
On Saturday night it was known here that McClellan was removed. Burnside is only appointed temporarily to the command of the army. Gen. Hooker is ultimately to have Gen. McClellan's place. He is a bold, brave, rash man, lacking the great quality of a commander — discretion and temperate judgment. The order removing McClellan was received by him on Friday. He communicated at once with Burnside, but, like a patriot and a soldier, remained with the army all day Saturday and Sunday. He is expected here to-night. Halleck will go to the west, and it is supposed that Burnside will be called here to be general-in-chief, if he will take it.
Washington is sadly changed since I was here before. It is a moral pest-house. During the closing days of President Polk's time, a senator in his place in the senate declared that if the people of the United States could comprehend the iniquity that prevailed in high places in Washington, they would rise, march to this city and tumble all the individuals controlling all the branches of the government into the Potomac. What would be the remark of the senator, could he look upon the horrible picture of political and social degredation, shame and crime, which this city now presents? Vice in all its forms occupies the highest and most prominent positions in the awful panorama of the nation's destruction. That panorama is unfolding with fearful rapidly. Imbecility, intrigue, cowardice and stupidity have so far ruled the conduct of this war, and the eye is pained and the heart disgusted when as each day's progress is added to the history of the past, these disgraceful particulars, instead of diminishing, increases with tenfold frequency.
Gen. Halleck's letter to the secretary of war is a confession of the incapacity of the administration which must be painful to every lover of his country. It appears that after the battle of Antietam the general-in-chief asked his subordinate for his plans! This is a frank confession that the government and the commander-in-chief had no plans of their own! He also says that he advised McClellan to cross the Potomac before the rains; had McClellan done this it would have left the river free to the enemy to recross it. By waiting until the river was swollen, McClellan was enabled to withdraw 40,000 men from picket duty along the river and to add them to his army. Had he crossed the river before that event, the rebels would have gone back into Maryland.
The complaint about the horses is another lamentable confession of a want of efficiency. Horses were sent, but they were not fit for service, and seventy-five per cent. of the horses sent to the Potomac army were sent back. They were not able to draw food enough to feed themselves! I am told upon authority which I believe, that at this day there are not in the army of the Potomac 2,000 horses fit for cavalry service. Let the country form its own judgment upon that fact. An army within twelve hours reach of Washington, after eighteen months time, unable to mount efficiently twenty-five hundred cavalry!
The effort of McClellan's removal upon the army remains to be seen. The worst of all, feelings — that the rebellion is not to be put down — is disheartening the troops as well as all other patriotic men. To remove the only general in whose supreme command that army had confidence, can have no effect but to add to the general despondency.
You will remember that Secretary Stanton said to the committee of western men that he had Halleck almost right upon the McClellan question. It appears that Halleck has got "all right" at last. He, too, has yielded to the pressure, and the Republican newspaper of this city this morning says that McClellan's removal is the answer to the New York election. Sad mistake! This defiance of public sentiment argues badly for the spirit with which government is to be administered. Fanaticism has triumphed, but let us still hope not at the sacrifice of the nation.
I forbear speaking of the condition of the army — I mean the tone of its spirit. It has not been abolitionized and never will be. Regiments are decreasing rapidly from sickness and other causes, and yet the war is not advancing. To speak more of this matter, without even relating one-half that could be said with entire truth, might subject me to the suspicion of wishing to injure our cause.
I am afraid — against all my cherished and often expressed hopes — that Mr. Lincoln will not [unknown] the lesson of the recent elections. He will continue the anti-slavery role until the end of the present congress, if not longer. If so, what is to become of the country?
Gen. Lee's army is at Gordonsville, but there still remains a large force further north. Before you receive this you will possibly have heard that they have retaken Snicker's Gap and our forces must fall back or be outflanked. Before thirty days the army of the Potomac will be again protecting Washington and the enemy will be at Manassas!