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THE SIEGE OF SUFFOLK.
endanger Fortress Monroe. His first care was to conceal the facts of his own presence and his strength in numbers (then increased), and to weaken Peck's command. It was reported that he had gone to South Carolina, and D. H. Hill was sent to attack Little Washington, and menace New Berne, in North Carolina, for the purpose of drawing some of the troops at Suffolk and at Fortress Monroe in that direction, while the bulk of Longstreet's army was in readiness along the Blackwater, and on the railway between Suffolk and Petersburg, for an immediate advance.
Longstreet thought his plan was working well, when spies informed him that General Foster, the successor of Burnside,' had ordered Peck to send three thousand soldiers to oppose Hill. Being in readiness, Longstreet at once crossed the Blackwater on pontoon bridges, and made a forced march on Suffolks with about twenty-eight thousand men in three columns, under skillful commanders,' capturing the cavalry outposts
* April of the Nationals on the way. Peck was ready for him, and Longstreet found in that officer an antagonist as vigilant and active as himself. He had watched the Confederates with sleepless scrutiny, and had penetrated their designs. He kept his superior informed of the increasing number of foes in his front, and had been re-enforced in March by a division under General Getty, making his whole force about fourteen thousand. Now he was about to comply, reluctantly, with a summons from Foster for three thousand troops to oppose Hill, when a Confederate mail, captured by General Viele, who was in command at Norfolk, informed him of Longstreet's plans, and the important fact that Hill's was only a co-operating movement. The detachment was detained. Admiral Lee was asked, by telegraph, to send gun-boats up the Nansemond, and made a prompt and practical answer; and Longstreet quickly perceived that his attempt at a surprise was a failure. Then he determined to carry the works at Suffolk by assault.
Longstreet's first care was to drive away the half-dozen armed tug and ferry boats (commanded by Captains Lee and Rowe) which lay in the way of his crossing the Nansemond, there narrow and sinuous. For this purpose batteries were erected under cover of darkness, and opened upon them in broad daylight, which seriously wounded the little warriors afloat, but did not drive them far from the scene of conflict. And right gallantly did that little detachment of the National navy perform its part, and most usefully assist the land troops in a siege which continued twenty-four days. Longstreet recalled Hill from North Carolina, and the besiegers numbered about forty thousand. Gallant achievements were almost daily performed by both parties, and the Confederates, with overwhelming numbers, tried in vain
See page 815, volume II.
? The Confederates were in four divisions, commanded respectively by Generals Hood, French, Pickett, and Anderson.
* Viele had ascertained that Longstreet was in possession of complete drawings of all of Peck's works, and had determined to get in bis rear and surprise him.
* To General Getty was intrusted the river line below Onondaga battery (see map on page 42), the key of the position, extending about eight miles in length. During the siege General Getty stormed and carried, with the Eighth Connecticut and Eighty-ninth New York, aided by Lieutenant Lamson and the gun-boats, a Confederate battery on the west branch of the Nansemond. He captured 6 guns and 200 prisoners. General Peck mentioned with commendation Generals Corcoran, Terry, Dodge, and Harland, and Colonels Dutton and Gibbs, commanding front lines; Colonels Gurney and Waddrop, commanding reserves; Colonels Spear and Onderdonk, of the cavalry, and Captain c) of artillery. The forts were in charge of the following officers: Fort Union, Colonel Drake; Nansemond, Colonel Hawkins; Halleck, Colonel Sullivan ; Drau-bridge Bat
SERVICES OF THE ARMY OF SUFFOLK.
every skills and strategy of modern warfare to accomplish their object. Finally, on the day when Hooker and Lee had their severe battle at Chancel
lorsville, Longstreet, foiled and disheartened, turned his back on • May 8,
Peck and retreated, pursued as far as the Blackwater by National
troops under Generals Corcoran and Dodge, and Colonel Foster. Thus ended the remarkable SIEGE OF SUFFOLK, “which had for its object the recovery of the whole country south of the James River, extending to Albemarle Sound, in North Carolina ; the ports of Norfolk and Portsmouth; eighty miles of new railroad iron; the equipment of two roads, and the capture of all the United States forces and property, with some thousands of contrabands."1
The importance of the services of “the Army of Suffolk," as its commanding officer styled it, seems not to have had due consideration hitherto. As an act of war, the holding of that position by the garrison against more than double its own number of assailants led by one of the best of the Confederate officers, entitles the commanding general and his troops to the highest praise, and which he received from those most competent to judge. But when we consider the grand object of the Confederates and the price at stake, and the fact that the holding of Longstreet south of the James, so that he could not re-enforce Lee, probably saved the Army of the Potomac, then one hundred and twenty-five thousand strong, from far greater disaster -possibly annihilation—at Chancellorsville, the value of the services of the gallant Peck and his brave soldiers may be appreciated, and should be fully recognized by the historian and the student.
tery, Colonel Davis; Battery Mansfield, Colonel Worth; the Redan and Battery Rosecrans, Colonel Thorpe; Battery Massachusetts, Captain Johnson ; Battery Montgomery, Colonel England; Battery Stovene, Colonel Pease; Fort Dix, Colonel McEvilly.
1 General J. J. Peck's Report, May 5, 1868.
? On the 15th of February, 1865, General Meade wrote to General Peck, saying: “That with the united force under your command, you should have held in check and defeated the designs of such superior numbers, is a fact of which you may well be proud, as the most practical proof of your own skill and the gallantry of your troops."
On the 1st of January, 1865, General Slocum wrote: "I think the gratitude of the nation is due to you and your gallant little army for the important services performed at Suffolk.”
On the 30th of January, 1565, General Stoneman wrote: "I have always looked upon it as a most fortunatething for us that you were enabled to hold Longstreet at Suffolk."
It has been asserted that Longstreet joined Lee at the battle of Chancellorsville. Lee, in his report of that battle, page 5, says: "General Longstreet, with two divisions of his corps, was detailed for service south ^ James River in February, and did not rejoin the army until after the battle of Chancellorsville."
THE TWO ARMIES COMPARED.
LEE'S INVASION OF MARYLAND AND PENNSYLVANIA.
LTHOUGH the Rappahannock was again flowing full
and turbulent between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia, and Hooker was in full communication with ample supplies, his forces were in a perilous situation. The enlistments of his nine months' and two years' men, to the number of almost
thirty thousand, were expiring; and at the close of May, his effective army did not exceed eighty-eight thousand men. His cavalry had been reduced by one-third since March, and in every way his army was sadly weakened. Lee, meanwhile, had been re-enforced by the remainder of Longstreet's troops, which had been brought up from before the fortifications at Suffolk,' and the chief had reorganized his army into three corps, commanded respectively by Longstreet, A. P. Hill, and Ewell,' all able leaders, and each bearing the commission of Lieutenant-General.
Recent events had greatly inspirited the Confederates, and given a buoyant tone to the feelings of the army. Richmond seemed secure from harm for at least a year to come. Its prisons (especially the Libby, which became both famous and infamous during the war) were crowded with captives.
i See page 42
? Probably at no time during the war was the Confederate army more complete in numbers, equipment, and materials, than at the middle of June, 1863, when, according to the most careful estimates made from the Confederate official returns, there were at least 500,000 men on the rolls, and more than 300,000 " present, and fit for duty." Full one-half of the white men of the Confederacy, eligible to military duty, were then enrolled for active service, while a large proportion of the other half were in the civil and military service in other capacities. Doubtless at least seven-tenths of the white adults were then in public service, while a large number of slaves were employed in various labors, such as working on fortifications, as teamsters, et cetera, for the cause of the conspirators. The following is the form of the voucher held by the Government” as the employer of slaves for such purposes :
“We, the subscribers, acknowledge to have received of John B. Stannard, First Corps of Engineers, the sums set opposite our names, respectively, being in full for the services of our slaves at Drewry's Bluff, during the months of March and April, 1863, having signed duplicate receipts.
J. G. Woodfire.
$16 a month.
Joseph G. Woodfire.
W. E. Martin.
"I certify the above pay-roll is correct and just,
“JOHN B. STANNARD."
The above was copied from one of several in possession of the writer, taken from hundreds found in Rich. mond after the evacuation, and showing that thousands of slaves were employed on the fortifications in different parts of the Confederacy.
BRITISH INTERFERENCE DESIRED.
Charleston was defiant, and with reason. Vicksburg and Port Hudson, on the Mississippi, though seriously menaced, seemed impregnable against any force Grant and Banks might array before them; and the appeals of John
The friends of the Confederates in Europe encouraged the latter with promises of aid. They were elated by the National disaster at Chancellorsville, and desires for the acknowledgment of the independence of the “Confederate States” were again strong and active. In England public movements in favor of the rebels were then prominent, and these culminated in the spring of 1864 in the formation of a “ Southern Independence A880ciation,” with a British peer (Lord Wharncliffe) as President, and a membership composed of powerful representatives of the Church, State, and Trade. But the British Government wisely hesitated; and notwithstanding
1 This was a large store and warehouse belonging to a man named Libby, who, it is said, was a friend of the Union, and the conspirators gladly ordered his property to be used for public purposes. It stands on the corner of Carey and Nineteenth Streets.
? See page 615, volume II.
3 On the 26th of May a great open-air meeting was held at Sheffield, in England, at which Mr. Roebuck, M. P., was the chief speaker The object of the meeting was to urge the British Government to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. On this occasion the following resolution, offered by the Rev. Mr. Hopp, was adopted by an immense majority:" "Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, the government of this country would act wisely, both for the interests of England and those of the world, were they immediately to enter into negotiations with the great powers of Europe, for the purpose of obtaining the acknowledgment by them of the independence of the Confederate States of North America."
* This association was formed in Manchester in April, 1864, and the announcement of its organization, together with a list of its officers and members, was published in the Manchester Guardian on the 9th of that month. Nearly nine hundred names appeared in the list, representing the highest and most influential classes in England-members of the House of Lords, and of the House of Commons, not a few; baronets, clergymen, lawyers, magistrates, and merchants, prominent in all parts of the country, and representing immense wealth and social and political power. Of course the funds at the disposal of that association were immense, and no one doubts that these were used without stint in furnishing the Confederate armies, through blockade runners, with large supplies of clothing, arms, and munitions of war, and so prolonged the bloody strife. Collectively, these men were, in one sense, the British Government, for they represented the ruling classes, and, as such, were professedly neutral; as individuals, acting as members of a private association, they were the British Government, making deaully war on the United States. Every right-minded Englishman condemned their iniquity, and none more keenly and effectively than the eminent Professor Goldwin Smith, in a Letter to a Whig member of the “ Southern Independence Association," in which he said at the beginning: “ Your association wishes this country to lend assistance to the slave-holders of the Southern States, in their attempt to. effect a disruption of the American commonwealth, and to establish an independent power, having, as they declare, slavery for its corner-stone. I am one of those who are convinced that, in doing so, she would commit a great folly and a still greater crime, the consequences of which would, in the end, fall on her own head.”
LORD LYONS AND THE PEACE FACTION.
leaders of the Peace Faction in the city of New York had, six months before, waited upon Lord Lyons, the British minister at Wash
*Nov., 1862. ington, with an evident desire to have his government interfere in our affairs, and thus secure the independence of the Confederates,' and the emissaries of the conspirators were specially active in Europe, the British ministry, restrained by the good Queen, steadily refused to take decided action in the matter. Only the Pope of Rome, of all the rulers of the earth, acting as a temporal prince, officially recognized Jefferson Davis as the head of a real Government.? At the same time a scheme of the French Emperor for the destruction of the republic of Mexico, and the establishment of a monarch there of his own selection, pledged to act in the interest of despotism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the domination of the Latin race, was in successful operation, by means of twenty thousand French şoldiers and five thousand Mexicans. In this movement, it is said, the con
* In the darkest hour of the war for the life of the Republic, when the loyal people of the country were despondent because of reverses sutfered by their armies in the field during the summer and autumn of 1862, Lord Lyons, on his arrival in New York from a visit to England, found, he says, the “ Conservative leaders" exulting in the success of the Opposition in the State, by whom Horatio Seymour had been elected Governor by a large majority. They felt assurance that they would henceforth have strength sufficient to check the goyernment in its vigorous prosecution of the war, and believed that the President would heed the voice of warning given in the late elections. (See page 18.) “On the following morning, however," his lordship said, "intelligence arrived from Washington which dashed the rising hopes of the Conservatives," as the Democrats called themselves. It was announced that General McClellan, who “ had been regarded as the representative of conservative principles in the army," had been supersoded in command of the army, and suspended from active service. This was regarded as an evidence of the determination of the President to push straight forward in the course he had adopted for the suppression of the rebellion; and his lordship said that the “irritation of the Conservatives," seemed “to be not unmixed with consternation and despondency." "Several leaders of the Democratic party," he said, “sought interviews with me, both before and after the arrival of the intelligence of General McClellan's dismissal. The subject uppermost in their minds, while they were speaking to me, was naturally that of foreign mediation between the North and the South. Many of them seemed to think that this mediation must come at last, but they appeared to be very much afraid of its coming too soon. It was evident that they apprehended that a premature proposal of a foreign intervention would afford the Radical party a means of reviving the violent war spirit, and thus defeat their peaceful plans." Then they laid before his lordship “the plans and hopes of the Conservative party. At the bottom, I thought," continues his lordship, “I perceived a desire to put an end to the war, even at the risk of losing the Southern States altogether; but it was plain that it was not thought prudent to avow this desire. Indeed, some hints of it, dropped before the elections, were so ill received, that a strong declaration in the contrary sense was deemed necessary by the Democratic leaders. At the present moment, therefore, the chiefs of the Conservative party call loudly for a more vigorous prosecution of the war, and reproach the government with slackness as well as & want of success in its military measures.” They expressed themselves determined to stand by “the South " in perpetuating slavery, and if their party should, as they hoped, speedily acquire the control of public affairs, " they would be disposed to accept an offer of mediation, if it appeared to be the only means of putting a stop to hostilities.” They would prefer to have such proposition come from the great European powers conjointly, and Great Britain to appear as little prominent as possible.- Dispatch of Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell, November 17, 1862.
? In the autumn of 1862, Pope Pius the Ninth addressed a letter to the Archbishops of New York and New Orleans, enjoining them to employ their prayers and influence for the restoration of peace. These were published, and on the 23d of September, 1863, Jefferson Davis, in his official capacity, addressed a letter to "The Most Venerable Chief of the Holy See, and Sovereign Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church," thanking him, in his own name and that of the Confederate States, for his - Christian charity and love," declaring that they then were and ever had been earnestly desirous that the “ wicked war should cease.'
e." To this the Pope replied on the 8d of December, in a letter * To the Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confed. erate States of America," expressing his gratification that Davis appreciated his letter to the archbishops, and to recognize that he and his people were animated by the same desire as himself " for peace and tranquillity.". This was the only official recognition the Chief Conspirator ever received by the head of any Government