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I left Lexington on Thursday last, under the impression that the war was over. This impression was generally shared by the citizens of that place, and on application at the Provost Marshal's office for a pass to Frankfort, I received the gratifying reply that none was required. Yet, so little was known of "the situation" by the authorities, that Morgan's forces entered the city the night succeeding the very afternoon on which I left. On arriving at Frankfort, to my inexpressible horror and disgust, I found the place in a state of close siege, and the citizens in great excite
Frankfort has been repeatedly captured and recaptured during this war, but generally given up without a fight. This time Governor Bramlette didn't see it in that light, although fabulous numbers of rebels under John Morgan, and all the other Morgans, Forrest, Everett, and other noted raiders, with smaller hosts under such lesser lights as Jenkins, Jessie, et al., were reported to be advancing from all possible and impossible directions, and closing in around the devoted town. The plucky Governor swore he'd be something or other'd-if they should be permitted to enter the capital without a fight, and they were not.
The means of defence, outside of the " melish," did not amount to any considerable sum; but the latter proved a host within themselves. Of soldiers, there were about fifty, including the lame, halt, and blind. Then there was a little fort on Blanton's Hill, mounting several six, twelve, and twenty-four-pounders. So it was manifest that the main dependence must be in the indomitable spirit of the citizens, town and county. Peak's Mill and Bald Knob each sent in a full company of half-tamed tigers men whose faces indicated good fighting qualities, and whose expertness with the rifle is such that any of them can knock out a squirrel's eye every "pop," from the topmost branch of the tallest white-oak in Kentucky. The town citizens either volunteered, or were impressed into the service, and so the siege began.
Not being altogether satisfied that a successful defence could be made, it was determined to convey the most valuable portion of the State property to Louisville. Accordingly, several million dollars' worth of ordnance stores, together with the State archives, were loaded on to a train, and on Thursday afternoon started down the road. On arriving at North Benson,
the track was found torn up, and a determined attack made upon the train by a party of rebels. The citizen guard made a gallant defence, and, after a spirited skirmish, the train began to back out. Then it was found that for miles in their rear obstructions had been placed at intervals on the track, rendering their return a work of danger and difficulty, the rebels following up and firing, all the way.
Friday, another force of citizens, with a small mounted force of State troops, went down the road, and encountered the rebels in a stockade at North Benson. The cavalry are not reported to have covered themselves with any particular effulgence of glory, but the "melish" charged the stockade determinedly, and drove the rebels out, wounding three of them severely and capturing some horses and prisoners. The pris oners escaped, but the horses were secured. The attacking party lost one man badly wounded
a State soldier-and three prisoners (citizens), who were kept a day or two and released on parole.
On Friday evening, just about sundown, a party of rebels made an audacious attack upon the fort on Blanton's Hill, north of the town. They drove in the pickets near the barracks, on the Owenton road, and captured a six-pounder stationed there, following it up with a determined dash for the fort, as if they meant business. Finding themselves met by a more stubborn defence and a hotter fire of small arms and artillery than they had anticipated, they fell back as rapidly as they had advanced, and in a few moments the light of the burning barracks, fired by the retreating rebels, illuminated the surrounding country. Of those in the fort, a young man named Hutchinson was shot in the mouth, and a man by the name of Coleman in the shoulder. Enemy's loss, if any, unknown.
The females and children of Frankfort passed a tempestuous night. The citizen picket manifested throughout the night the eternal vigilance which is the price of liberty, and a wonderful alacrity in pulling trigger. There was a continual popping at imaginary rebels, and several matronly cows, instead of wooing tired nature's sweet restorer, indulged in nocturnal rambles, with a reprehensible curiosity to see what the d-l was up, and failing to give satisfactory answer to the excited" Who comes there?" of the pickets, fell victims to the feminine vice of wanting to know things.
Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful, and all serene about the beleaguered city. A glance toward the frowning battlements of the fortress on the hill revealed the gratifying fact that our flag was still there. Not a rebel was in sight, and sanguine temperaments began to indulge in fond hopes that the crisis was over, when suddenly a long, straggling string of horsemen were seen winding around the base of Monroe's Hill, in South Frankfort. The old iron six-pounder at the arsenal, which had been looking savagely up the river toward the cemetery, was slewed around and trained on the
ally dropped a bullet among the force around the gun at the arsenal, nearly a mile distant from his position on the hill-side. The fort threw shells and the little iron gun solid shot into the hill, but shelling a dozen sharpshooters with a twenty-four-pound gun proved to be a sinful waste of ammunition. The rebels did not open with their battery, and it soon became evident that they had no battery. Then an attack was looked for from the other side of the town, but it did not come. The fact became apparent that the demonstration of the rebels was mere bravado, and they were not in force enough to make an attack. But they kept it up bravely, shoot
mass, but a doubt as to whether it was composed of friends or foes reserved the fire until a flag of truce, a towel on a ramrod, was seen advancing. It came to the bridge, was blindfolded, and conducted to the Military Board, when, curse their impudence, it transpired that the rebels were anxious to secure an unconditional surrender of the town, in order to prevent the effusion of blood. A young man named Freeman, formerly of this city, was bearer of the flag. He was sent back with a polite reply that a surrender was not to be thought of. Again the flag came back with a renewed demand, and a threat to open on the town immediately. Governor Bramlette tolding Mr. John Todd, printer of the Commonthem to go to the d-1. Colonel Monroe said if they sent any more of their "d-d white rags" he would fire on them.
Everybody that could be reached-old and young, rebel and Union, citizen and stranger, (American citizens of African descent alone excepted) was conscripted. Remonstrance, entreaty and disability were useless. A reluctant citizen of Hebrew extraction, although at the point of death from cramp colic, was led to the slaughter, set to work building a barricade of hay-bales. Rheumatism and diarrhoea and partial paralysis were compelled to shoulder a musket. Obstinacy was tried by some, and came nigh proving serious. A large party of young gentlemen and ladies, who had been attending an examination at Georgetown Seminary, were stopping at the Capitol Hotel, and indulged freely and musically in sedition Friday night, while the attack was being made on the fort. A young man, with a squad, was sent down to conscript the male portion. They ran, were fired on, and one of the party severely wounded; after which the remainder came up to the defence of their bleeding country with amazing alacrity.
"You are wanted up at the arsenal," was the remark of a sweet-voiced young gentleman, with a carbine in his hand, who tapped me lightly on the shoulder.
"Am I? I was just going there." “Well, fall in."
I fell in.
Arrived at the arsenal, Adjutant-General Boyle loaned me an Austrian rifle, and presented me with forty rounds of cartridges; so I became, for a limited time, a soldier of the State of Kentucky. The idea was not pleasant. If I had a leg or two shot away, or lost an arm, to whom could I look for a pension?
In the meantime, the fulfilment of the threat to open on the town was anxiously looked for. A force was stationed at the railroad and South Frankfort bridges, and the planks on the latter taken up. The rebels were seen manoeuvring about on Monroe's Hill, as if looking out a location for their battery, while a number of sharpshooters scattered among the trees on the hillside, and kept up a spiteful popping at the force stationed at the bridge; while one fellow, who seemed to have a gun of great range, occasion
wealth, in the little finger and thumb, a nigger in the heel, and just grazing Mr. Van Winkle, Secretary of State, in the side. As for us, we killed a horse that we know of, with a shell from the fort, and suspect that some of the rebels were wounded. But the rebels effected their damage at a much less pecuniary cost. While the ammunition expended from the fort was a matter of several thousand dollars, the sacrifice of the rebels in that respect was trifling.
About twelve o'clock, becoming satisfied that the affair was not serious, I am afraid I skulked. I sat in a house during the balance of the day, conveniently near the arsenal, so that I could rush to my post, or run, as I thought proper or politic, in case of a real attack, and read "Hard Cash," while my comrades were expending hard lead in firing at impossible ranges. Under the circumstances, I believe I shall claim nothing of the State for my services. If they will say nothing, I will engage to remain silent on the subject of pecuniary compensation.
All day the rebels kept up the farce of besieging the town, sometimes appearing in one quarter, and sometimes in another, and at night disappeared, probably with enhanced ideas of the fighting qualities of the Frankfort militia. Altogether I do not think there could have been more than two hundred of them. Beyond stealing a few horses in the country about, their investment of Frankfort did not prove remunerative.
Sunday evening the Ninth Pennsylvania came in, and the siege was over. Monday morning the militia were drawn up in front of the Capitol Hotel, addressed by General John M. Harlan, and dismissed.
Governor Bramlette and his State officers, Colonel Monroe, and the citizen-soldiery of the town and county, deserve great credit for the pluck manifested in their willingness to fight for the city. They did not know whether they were to be attacked by two hundred or two thousand, but were equally resolved to fight.
I understand that extensive contributions were levied on the flower-gardens about Frankfort, for the purpose of making a magnificent floral wreath with which to encircle the brows of John Morgan. The wreath was made, and was to be presented by the transient young ladies of the Capitol Hotel. The presentation speech was written, memorized and rehearsed,
and I have no doubt every thing would have others of a more marked character, if all in both gone off well but for one thing. Mr. Morgan sections who sincerely desire peace upon cordidn't call; and now, while the dashing horse-rect terms will give that movement thus inthief is making remarkable time out of the augurated all the aid in their power. State, the wreath is all withered and sere.
An Illinois copperhead, present during the siege, indulged largely in fierce rebel talk, and deserves to be ventilated. His name is B. B. Pepper, and he hails from Springfield. It is hoped the people of Sangamon county will put Mr. Pepper in a box when he returns to them, and keep him at home. The loyal people of Kentucky do not want him, and the rebels despise him.
Doubts have repeatedly been expressed in regard to Governor Bramlette's soundness on the national goose. No one present during the siege of Frankfort can for a moment doubt that the Governor is thoroughly, heartily, and enthusiastically loyal. The rebels and copperheads bear testimony to his loyalty by abusing him heartily. Several young men who were impressed into the service of the city, and afterward skulked until the danger was over, have been arrested, and are held in durance vile at the Military Board. The young gentlemen are in considerable distress, as they firmly believe they are to be shot.
LETTER OF ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.
ON STATE SOVEREIGNTY.*
CRAWFORDSVILLE, GA., September 22, 1864. GENTLEMEN: You will please excuse me for not answering your letter of the fourteenth instant sooner. I have been absent nearly a week on a visit to my brother in Sparta, who has been quite out of health for some time. Your letter I found here on my return home yesterday. The delay of my reply thus occasioned I regret.
Without further explanation or apology, allow me now to say to you that no person living can possibly feel a more ardent desire for an end to be put to this unnatural and merciless war upon honorable and just terms than I do. But I really do not see that it is in my power or yours; or that of any number of persons in our position, to inaugurate any movement that will even tend to aid in bringing about a result that we and so many more desire.
The movement by our Legislature at its last session, at the suggestion of the Executive, or this subject, was by authority properly constituted for such a purpose.
That movement, in my judgment, was timely, judicious, and in the right direction. Nor has it been without results. The organization of that party at the North to which you refer may justly be claimed as a part of the fruits of it. These, it is to be hoped, will be followed by
*Written in reply to a communication addressed to him by
his friends in Georgia, on the subject of which it treats.
The resolutions of the Georgia Legislature, at its last session, upon the subject of peace, in my judgment, embodied and set forth very clearly those principles upon which alone there can be permanent peace between the different sections of this extensive, once happy and prosperous, but now distracted country.
Easy and perfect solutions to all present troubles, and those far more grievous ones which loom in prospect, and portentously threaten in the coming future, is nothing more than the simple recognition of the fundamental principle and truth upon which all American constitutional liberty is founded, and upon the maintenance of which alone it can be preserved that is, the sovereignty, the ultimate, absolute sovereignty, of the States. This doctrine our Legislature announced to the people at the North and to the world. It is the only keynote to peace-permanent, lasting peace-consistent with the security of the public liberty.
The old Confederation was formed upon this principle. The old Union was afterward formed upon this principle. No league can ever be formed or maintained between any State, North or South, securing public liberty, upon any other principle.
The whole framework of American institutions, which in so short a time had won the admiration of the world, and to which we were indebted for such an unparalleled career of prosperity and happiness, was formed upon this principle All our present troubles sprang from a departure from this principle, from a violation of this essential law of our political organ ization.
In 1776 our ancestors, and the ancestors of those who are waging this unholy crusade against us, together proclaimed the great and eternal truth for the maintenance of which they jointly pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, that governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that destructive of those ends for which it was whenever any form of government becomes formed, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such a form as to them may seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
It is needless here to state that by "people," and "governed," in this annunciation, is meant communities and bodies of men capable of organizing and maintaining a government, not individual members of society. The consent of the governed refers to the will of the men of the community or State in its organized form, and expressed through its legitimate and properlythe Colonists stood justified before the world in constructed organs. It was upon this principle
effecting their separation from the mother country. It was upon this principle that the original thirteen coequal and co-sovereign States formed the Federal compact of the old Union in 1787. It is upon the same principle that the present coequal and co-sovereign States of our Confederacy formed their new compact of union.
The idea that the old Union or any union between sovereign States, consistently with this fundamental truth, can be maintained by force is preposterous. The war springs from an attempt to do this preposterous thing. Superior power may compel a union of some sort, but it would not be the Union of the old Constitution or of our new. It would be that sort of Union that results from despotism.
The subjugation of the people of the South by the people of the North would necessarily involve the destruction of the Constitution, and the overthrow of their liberties as well as ours. The men or party at the North, to whom you refer, who favor peace, must be brought to a full realization of this truth in all its bearings, before their efforts will result in much practical good. Any peace growing out of a union of States established by force will be as ruinous to them as
The action of the Chicago Convention, so far as its platform of principles goes, presents, as I have said on another occasion, a ray of light, which under Providence, may prove the dawn of the day to this long and cheerless night, the first ray of light I have seen from the North since the war began. This cheers the heart, and toward it I could almost exclaim, "Hail, holy light, offspring of heaven, first born of the eternal coeternal beam. May I express thee unblamed, since God is light."
Indeed, I could have quite so exclaimed, but for the sad reflection that whether it shall bring healing in its beams or be lost in a dark and ominous eclipse ere its good work be done, depends so much upon the action of others who may not regard it and view it as I do. So at best it is but a ray, a small and tremulous ray, though only to gladden the heart and quicken the hope. The prominent and leading idea of that convention seems to have been a desire to reach a peaceful adjustment of our present difficulties and strife through the medium of a convention of the States. They propose to suspend hostilities, to see what can be done, if anything, by negotiations of some sort. This is one step in the right direction. To such a convention of the States I would have no objection, as a peaceful conference and interchange of views between equal and sovereign powers, just as the convention of 1787 was called and assembled.
mination of one side or the other must be ended sooner or later by some sort of negotiation. From the discussion or interchange of views in such a convention, the history, as well as the true nature of our institutions and the relation of the States toward each other and toward the federal head, would doubtless be much better understood generally than they now are; but I should favor such a proposition only as a peaceful conference, as the convention of 1787 was. I should be opposed to leaving the questions at issue to the absolute decision of such a body.
Delegates ought to be clothed with power to consult and agree, if they could, upon some plan of adjustment, to be submitted for subsequent ratification by the sovereign States whom it affected, before it should be obligatory or binding, and then binding only on such as should so ratify it. It becomes the people of the South, as well as the people of the North, to be quite as watchful and jealous of their rights, as their common ancestors were.
The maintenance of liberty in all ages, times, and countries, when and where it has existed, has required not only constant vigilance and jealousy, but it has often required the greatest privations, and sufferings, and sacrifices that people or States are ever subjected to. Through such an ordeal we are now passing. Through a like and even severer ordeal our ancestors passed in their struggle for the principles which it has devolved upon us thus to defend and maintain.
But great as our sufferings and sacrifices have been and are, to which you allude, they are as yet far short of the like sufferings and sacrifices which our fathers bore with patience, courage, and fortitude in the crisis that tried men's souls in their day. These are the virtues that sustained them in their hour of need. Their illustrious and glorious example bids us not to underestimate the priceless inheritance they achieved for us at such a cost of treasure and blood.
Great as are the odds we are struggling against, they are not greater than those against which they successfully struggled. In point of reverses, our condition is not to be compared with theirs. Should Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, Augusta, Macon, Montgomery, and even Petersburg and Richmond fall, our condition would not then be worse or less hopeful than theirs was in the darkest hour that rested on their fortunes.
With wisdom on the part of those who control our destiny in the Cabinet, and in the field, in husbanding and properly wielding our resources at their command, and in securing the hearts and affections of the people in the great The properly constituted authorities at Wash-cause of right and liberty for which we are ington and Richmond, the duly authorized rep- struggling, we could suffer all these losses, and resentatives of the two confederacies of States calamities, and greater even, and still triumph now at war with each other, might give their in the end. assent to such a proposition. Good might result At present, however, I do not see, as I stated from it. It would be an appeal on both sides in the outset, that you or I, or any number of from the sword to reason and justice. All wars persons in our position, can do anything towhich do not result in the extinction or exter-ward inaugurating any new movement look
ing to a peaceful solution of the present strife. The war on our part is fairly and entirely defensive in its character. How long it will continue to be thus wickedly and mercilessly waged against us depends upon the people of the North.
Georgia, our own State, to whom we owe allegiance, has with great unanimity proclaimed the principles upon which a just and permanent peace ought to be sought and obtained. The Congress of the Confederate States has followed with an endorsement of these principles. All you and I, and others in our position, therefore, can do on that line at this time, is to sustain the movement already inaugurated, and to the utmost of our ability to hold up these principles as the surest hope of restoring soundness to the public mind of the North, as the brazen serpent was held up for the healing of Israel in the wilderness.
The chief aid and encouragement we can give the peace party at the North is, to keep before them these great fundamental principles and truths, which alone will lead them and us to permanent and lasting peace, with possession and enjoyment of constitutional liberty. With these principles once recognized, the future would take care of itself, and there would be no more war so long as they should be adhered to.
All questions of boundaries, confederacies, and union or unions, would naturally and easily adjust themselves, according to the interests of parties and the exigencies of the times. Herein lies the true law of the balance of power and the harmony of States.
ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.
VINDICATION OF COLONEL DAHLGREN.
A LETTER FROM HIS FATHER.
UNITED STATES FLAGSHIP PHILADELPHIA,
I have patiently and sorrowfully awaited the hour when I should be able to vindicate fully the memory of my gallant son, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, and lay bare to the world the atrocious imposture of those who, not content with abusing and defacing the remains of the noble boy, have knowingly and persistently endeavored to blemish his spotless name by a forged lie.
That hour has at last come. I have before me a photolitho. copy of the document which the inhuman traitors at Richmond pretend was found upon the body of my son, after he had been basely assassinated by their chivalry at midnight, and who, on the pretext that this paper disclosed an intent to take the lives of the arch-rebel and his counsellors, and to destroy Richmond, have not hesitated to commit and commend the most shocking barbarities on the
remains of the young patriot, and to exult like dastards over his sad fate.
I can now affirm that this document is a forgery-a bare-faced, atrocious forgery-so palpable that the wickedness of the act is only equalled by the recklessness with which it has been perpetrated and adhered to; for the miserable caitiffs did not confine themselves to the general terms of a mere allegation, but published the paper in all the precision of a photographic fac-simile, as if not to leave doubt for cavil.
I felt from the first just as if I knew the fact that my son never wrote that paper-that it was a forgery; but I refrained from giving utterance to that faith until I had seen a sample of the infamous counterfeit. and, having seen it, could say, as I now say, that a more fiendish lie never was invented.
For the poor wretches who did the work I have not a word-it was their trade, their daily bread; and they pretended to be no better than they were hardened ruffians, fit only for a rope. I leave them to the price for which they have bartered their souls. But what doom do they deserve who have instigated the crime that they might profit by it-who devised it that they might justify to the world the gratification of their vengeance on the heroic dead, by desecrating the inanimate body of one whose high and pure purpose was to release the weary captive from the accursed dungeons of Richmond, and who to that end refused not to peril his own life? What shall be awarded to these high-minded and honorable men-the leaders of the chivalry-the impersonation of the high virtues that are supposed to disdain even the semblance of wrong?
And yet these are the criminals who conceived the thought, and, frantic with fear at what might have come to them if that daring young soldier had reached the portals of their bastile and given liberty to the weary captives, vented their cowardly rage on his cold body, and gave their names and their cause for a lie.
It is difficult to imagine such utter baseness in any but the most abandoned felons, and yet it is only of a piece with the entire conduct of the chivalry, leaders, and followers, in all the events that preceded and accompanied the untimely death of Colonel Dahlgren. The forged lie was but the seal to deeds of inhumanity and horror that no one could enact or sanction unless his nature were debased to a level with that of the brute.
It is well known that the cruel usage practised on the Union soldiers who were imprisoned at Richmond had become a theme at the North, and that their release from slow and horrid death was the object of the expedition. My son had just returned from a visit to me off Charleston when he learned of the project. Every one was aware that he had lost a leg by a wound received in a charge through Hagerstown, pending the battle of Gettysburg, and the consequent illness nearly cost him his life.