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68 SURRENDER OF NORFOLK-HARPER'S FERRY.

not taken to prevent the catastrophe. The Secretary of tho Navy leemed to think its surrender a foregone conclusion, and iutent only on saving the vessels there, ordered Commodore McCauley to remove them to a place of safety.

When he found it was not done he despatched Commodore Paulding to take his place. When the latter arrived he found that they were being destroyed, the Merrimac and other ships having already been scuttled. Seeing this would not prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, he applied the torch to them and to what other public property he could, and abandoned the place. The Cumberland, towed down by the tug Yankee, escaped only eventually to meet a worse fate than burning, from her former consort the Merrimac. The country enraged asked why the ships did not shell the batteries the enemy were erecting in the neighborhood, and the place itself, and leave them a heap of smoking ruins, and destroy the guns. Instead of this, we succeeded in scuttling and firing the Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Columbus, each seventy-four guns; the Merrimac and Columbia, forty-four; the Raritan, forty-five; the sloops-ofwar Germantown and Plymouth, each twenty-two guns; the brig Dolphin, a powder boat, and the frigate United States, (in ordinary.) of these, the Merrimac was to be heard from again. The value of the property was estimated at fifty millions of dollars. This, however, was a small matter compared to the advantage we gave the enemy by supplying him with hundreds of cannon.

Two days before, Lieutenant Jones, commanding the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, hearing that twenty-five hundred Virginians were advancing to seize it, set it on fire, destroying it with all its arms and munitions of war. Why these had not been removed, when it was only some thirty miles to a place di perfect safety, the public was not informed. But for the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Jones, the arms so

INACTIVITY OF THE GOVERNMENT.

69

much needed by the rebels, would have fallen into their hands.

These apparently unnecessary disasters, produced an outburst of indignation from those who had been the warmest friends of the administration, and for a time shook seriously the confidence of the people. It is true, Gosport navy yard was surrendered five days after the proclamation of the President on the 15th of April, and Harper's Ferry on the 18th. Events were marching with fearful rapidity; the hands of the government were tied for the want of means to carry out its plans, and it knew not where to look for loyal men. But with six weeks (the time since the inauguration of the President) in which to gather its energies, it might have done something. The fault was, that those six weeks had been wasted in listening to the claims of politicians greedy of places. With the lightning rending the clouds that were rolling up the angry heavens, and the thunder breaking on every side, the administration calmly devoted itself to the filling of offices. All this time the rebels were at work.

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CHAPTER IV

APRIL, 1861.

ENTIIUSIASM OF THE PEOPLE AND BASENESS OF CONTRACTORSOMARCA OF THE

REGIMENTS-THE

MASSACHUSETTS SIXTH ATTACKED

IN

BALTIMORE-DE

PARTURE OF THE SEVENTH NEW YORK-ENTHUSIASM SOUTHFEARS OF THE PEOPLE AND MAYOR OF BALTIMORE-COLLISION PREVENTED BY THE TROOPS GOING BY WAY OF ANNAPOLIS-THEIR ARRIVAL AT WASHINGTON-DEFECTION IN THE ARMY AND NAVY-ROBERT E. LEE- EFFECT OF THE STATES'

RIGHTS DOCTRINE-GREAT UNION MEETING IN NEW YORK-ITS RECEPTION

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SUSPENSION OF THE WRIT OF HIABEAS CORPUSMISTAKE IN NOT CALLING

CONGRESS TOGETHER SOONER.

W!

HILE indecision was thus characterizing the govern

ment at Washington, patriotism and a stern determination to settle the quarrel by the bayonet, were rousing the people of the north, and it was soon evident that a power was gathering that the government must control and let loose on the rebellion, or it would go down before it.

To a thoughtful man, this indecision of the administration on the one hard, and this tremendous energy and purpose of the people on the other, were calculated to awaken serious alarm.

the people had forgotten politics, and were fully aroused to ihe danger of the country. The regiinents kept pouring in, but, relying on the government to provide for their wants were ill supplied with the things necessary to their comfort and efficiency. Seeing this state of things, a Union Defence Committee was formed in New York to supply the troops with necessary means. But politicians, greedy of gain, soon assumed control of its affairs in order to fill their own pockets. General Wool, who came to New York to direct matters, attempted to put a stop to the wastefu: ez savagance, but

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