Page images



spirators were the secret allies of the Emperor, it being understood that so soon as he should obtain a firm footing in Mexico he should, for valuable commercial considerations agreed upon, acknowledge the independence of the Confederate States, and uphold it by force of arms if necessary; it also being understood that the Government which Davis and his fellow-conspirators were to establish at the close of hostilities, should in nowise offend Napoleon's ideas of imperialism. Monarchical titles, distinctions, and privileges, were to prevail. The slave-holding class were to be the rulers, and the great mass of the people were to be subordinated to the interests of that oligarchy. Therefore the triumphal march of the French invaders toward the Mexican capital, in the spring of 1863, was hailed with delight by the authorities at Richmond.' To them, and to the deluded people of the Confederate States, who did not penetrate the dark designs of the leaders,

, against their liberties, the skies never seemed brighter with promises of speedy success for their cause, and the establishment of a permanent empire, with slavery for its corner-stone. For in addition to the positive victory at Chancellorsville, the increase of Lee's forces, and the evident demoralization, for the moment, of the Army of the Potomac, the impression was universal in the Confederacy that the Peace Faction in the Free-labor States was a true exponent of the sentiments of the Opposition, and that a great majority of the people were eagerly awaiting an opportunity for revolting against the Government, because of its decided emancipation policy, its threat of conscription, the increase in the prices of food and fabrics, and the plain appari


1 Soon after the late civil war broke out, England, France, and Spain, entered into negotiations for a triple alliance, ostensibly for the purpose of compelling Mexico to pay its debts due to citizens of those countries, or punishing it for wrongs inflicted on those citizens. The treaty was signed on the 21st of October, 1861. Diplomatic relations with Mexico were broken off by those powers, and each ally sent a tleet with troops to the Gulf of Mexico, numbering in all 61 vessels and 35,000 men. They appeared off Vera Cruz on the Sth of December, 1861, where they landed without inuch difficulty, the commanders assuring the Mexicans that there was no intention to interfere with their form of government, or to abridge their liberties. It was soon discovered by the representatives of Great Britain and Spain that the French Emperor was playing falsely and selfishly in the matter, and in the spring of 1862 the British and Spanish troops left Mexico and returned home.

The real designs of Louis Napoleon were now made apparent. His political design was to arrest the march of empiro southward on the part of the United States. His religious design was to assist the Church party in Mexico, which had been defeated in 1957, in a recovery of its power, that the Roman Catholic Church might have undisputed sway in Central America. In a letter to General Prim, the Spanish commander, dated July 3, 1562, the Emperor, after saying that the United States fed the factories of Europe with cotton, and asserting that it was not the interest of European Governments to have it hold dominion over the Gulf of Mexico, the Antilles, and the adjacent continent, he declared that if, with the assistance of France, Mexico should have “ a stable Government," that is, a monarchy, "we shall have restored to the Latin race upon the opposite side of the ocean its strength and its prestige; we shall have guaranteed, then, security to our colonies in the Antilles, and to those of Spain; we shall have established our beneficent influence in the center of America ; and this intluence, by creating immense openings to our commerce, will procure to us the matter indispensable to our industry."

Louis Napoleon supposed the power of the United States to be broken by the rebellion and civil war, and that he might, with impunity, carry out his designs against republican institutions in the New World, and establish a dependency of France in the fertile, cotton-growing regions of Central America. His troops were re-enforced after the two allies withdrew. They marched upon and seized the capital, and then, in accordance with a previous arrangement made with leaders of the Church party, the Austrian Archduke Maximilian was chosen Emperor of Mexico by a ridiculous minority of the people, known as the “ Notables," and placed on a throne. This movement was offensive to the people of the United States, for they saw in it not only an outrage upon a sister republic, but a menace of their own. No diplomatic intercourse was held by them with Maximilian , and when the civil war was closed, in 1965, and it was seen that our Government was more powerful than ever, Louis Napoleon, trembling with aların, heeded its warning to withdraw his forces, at the peril of forcible expulsion by our troops. He was mortified and humbled, and, with a pertidy unparalleled in the history of rulers, he abandoned his dupe, Maximilian, and left him to struggle on against the patriots fighting for their liberties under the direction of their President, Benito Juarez, until the “ Emperor” was finally captured and shot, leaving his poor wife, the “ Empress" Carlotta, a hopeless lunatic in her home in Austria.

? For a year the subject of a seal for the Confederate States had been before the “ Congress " at Richmond, and on the 27th of April, 1963, the “Senate," in which action upon the subject originated, amended a resolution 1 To this necessity the Richmond journals poi at that PROPOSED “CONFEDERATE STATES time, in guarded editorials, one of them closing with the remark: “We urge nothing, suggest nothing, hin nothing; only state facts."

[merged small][ocr errors]

tion of an enormous and rapidly accumulating National debt. It was believed that a vigorous invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvånia again would inaugurate a revolution in the Free-labor States, which would lead to a practical coalition between the Confederates and their political friends in the North, and a speedy peace on terms dictated, by the servants of Jefferson Davis, on the banks of the Susquehanna and the Ohio. Back of all this was a powerful and perhaps a prime motive for such an invasion, in the lack of subsistence for Lee's army, then to be obtained, it was believed, most speedily and abundantly from the herds and flocks and store-houses of more fruitful Maryland and Pennsylvania.' These considerations made the Confederate leaders audacious, and impelled them to attempt audacious achievements. At the time we are considering, the Army of Northern Virginia was in a condition of strength and morale, General Longstreet said, "to undertake any thing."?

Impelled by false notions of the temper of a greater portion of the people of the Free-labor States, and the real resources and strength of the Government, the conspirators ordered Lee to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania again. So early as the 28th of May Hooker suspected such movement, and so informed the Secretary of War. Earlier than this a benevolent citizen, who had been much in the army for the purpose of comforting the sick and wounded, and had rare opportunities for obtaining information from Confederate councils, had warned the authorities at Washington, Baltimore, and Harrisburg, of the impending danger; but these were slow to believe tha



of the “House of Representatives," and decided that the device for the seal should be as follows: “A device representing an equestrian statue of Washington (after the statue which surmounts his monument in the Capitol square at Richmond), surrounded with a wreath composed of the principal agricultural products of the Confederacy, and having around its murgin the words, CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, 220 FEB., 1862,' with the following motto: DEO VINDICE,'"- God, the protector, defender, deliverer, or ruler. This was adopted by th" Houses," and then it was proposed to send some one through the lines to New York, to procure an engraving of the saine on brass and steel. This was objected to, and the commission was finally given to an engraver in England. The writer was informed by Mr. Davis, of Wilmington, N. C., the Confederate “ Attorney-General," that the engraving was not completed in time for use. It had just arrived at Richmond when the evacuation of that city occurred, in April, 1865, and no impression from it was ever made. That

FEB.22. pretended Gorernment nerer hud an insignia of sovereignty. None of its oHcers ever boro a commission with its seal; and the writer was informed that many officers of high rank in the Confederate army never received a commission.


? Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, note 1, page 310.

3 The informer was Clement C. Barclay, of Philadelphia, who gave the warning so early as the 20th of May, a notice of which, in a letter from Baltimore, was published in The Inquirer, of Philadelphia. “I am authorized to say," said the writer, " that Mr. Barclay has been in close counsel with our highest authorities here, and is inore than ever convinced of the imperious necessity devolving on our people throughout the whole land to awake at once tu a realizing sense of preparing to counteract the contingency of an invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the rebel hordes. Mr. Barclay returns to Washington on important business, after which he proceeds immediately to Harrisburg, to confer with Governor Curtin upon matters of weighty moment, touching affairs in Pennsylvania. He is fully alive to the importance of his mission, and of his state


• This is copied from a rude wood-cut, at the head of a certificate of honorary directorship of a Confederate Association for the Relie, 6f Maimed Soldiers. The object of that association was to supp y artificial limbs gratuitously to solaiers who had lost them. A subscrip tion annually of $10 constituted a member; of $300, a life members and of $1,000, an honorary director




[ocr errors]



Lee would repeat the folly of the previous year, because of his sad experience then ; -and preparations for invasion were deferred until the Confederate army, in full force, was pressing forward toward the Upper Potomac.

Lee's first step in this aggressive movement was to allure or drive IIooker from the Rappahannock. Leaving Hill's corps to occupy the lines at Fred

ericksburg, he put the remainder of his army in motion' westward June 3,

toward Culpepper Court-IIouse, where Stuart's cavalry was con

centrated. Ilooker, suspecting some important movement, threw Howe's division of the Sixth Corps over the river, at Franklin's Crossing, for observation. IIill's display of strength and numbers satisfied Howe that the Confederates were still in nearly full force on the heights, and he withdrew. Lee, who had halted his columns to await the result of this movement, now ordereıl them forward, and it was three days later before Hooker was certain that his antagonist was massing his forces toward the National right. Then, informed that Stuart was at Culpepper Court-IIouse, he ordereil Pleasanton, who was at the head of the cavalry, at Catlett's Station, to cross the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly's forels, with two of his divisions under Buford and Gregg, supported by two infantry divisions (Russell's, of the Sixth, and Ames's, of the Eleventh Corps), and push on toward Stuart's camp by con

verging roads. Accordingly, at dawn on the 9th, Buford crossel

at Beverly Ford, and immediately encountered a brigade of Confederate cavalry under the active General Sam. Jones. A sharp engagement ensiked, when the Eighth New York, under Colonel B. F. Davis, was routed, and its commander was killed. A charge by the Eighth Illinois drove the Confederates, in turn, about two miles, when Jones was re-enforced by the brigades of Hampton and W. II. F. Lee. In the mean time Russell's infantry had come up and engaged the foe in front while Buford attacked their flank, when two Confederate regiments burst from the woods on the National flank, and placed the latter, commanded by Pleasanton in person, in great peril.

Gregg, who had crossed at Kelly's Ford, had been expected for several hours. IIe, too, had been fighting most of the morning with cavalry under General Robertson, whom he pushed back to Brandy Station, and gallantly took possession of the heights near there. At one o'clock he and Buford joined forces, when the Confederates recoiled; but Pleasanton, satisfied that the bulk of Lee's army was on his front, fell back, and at dusk recrossed the Rappahannock with a hundred prisoners, after a loss of about five hundred

Stuart reported his loss at six hundred men, among whom was General W. H. F. Lee, wounded.

Pleasanton's cavalry reconnoissance developed the fact of Lee's grand movement, but so perfectly were his real intentions concealed, that while Hooker was expecting him to follow his route of the previous year,' and was watching and guarding the fords of the Rappahannock, he projected his left


losing no time in the organization of her milítia, that she may be in readiness to meet any emergency. All the signs of the times, and very many indications, visible only to those who see behind the curtain in the arena of Secessionism, tend to show that the Confederates will, if they can, invade Maryland and Pennsylvania this summer."

Mr. Barclay urged the authorities of Pennsylvania to proceed at once to the “organization of the militia, 80 as to be in readiness to meet the emergency."

See chapter XVII., volume IL



* June, 1863.

wing, under Ewell, through the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, and by way of Front Royal it crossed the Shenandoah River, and burst into the valley at Strasburg like an avalanche. That energetic leader moved with the divisions of Early and Edward Johnston rapidly down the Valley pike, and arrived before Winchester, where General Milroy was in command of about ten thousand men, on the evening of the 13th, having marched from Culpepper, a distance of seventy miles, in three days. At the same time Imboden, with his cavalry, was operating in the vicinity of Romney, to prevent Milroy from being re-enforced from the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railway. This was a bold movement on the part of Lee, for it made the actual line of his army, from Hill at Fredericksburg to Ewell at Winchester, full one hundred miles in length.

Although Milroy, since the first of the month, had felt a pressure from the foe stationed up the valley, and on the 12th had sent out strong reconnoitering parties to ascertain why it was increasing, it was not until the forenoon of the 13th that he was aware of any considerable force on his front. The revelation of that force so near was astounding, and the assurance of its overwhelming numbers, given by scouts and prisoners, would have justified him in retreating at once. But Milroy, brave even to rashness, resolved to fight before flying. He called in his outposts. Colonel JcReynold's, with a brigade stationed at Berryville to watch the passes of the Blue Ridge and the fords of the Shenandoah, retreated before Rodes, and very soon Milroy had his forces, not more than seven thousand effectives, well in hand. While awaiting an attack, his foe was accumulating force on his front and flank, and on the evening of the 14th, after some skirmishing, the Confederates substantially invested the city and garrison. At one o'clock the next morning' Milroy, in compliance with the decision of a council of officers, resolved to retreat. He spiked his cannon, drowned his powder, and was about to fly, when the Confederates fell upon him. Then began an unequal struggle, and an equal race, toward the Poto

The fugitives were swifter-footed than their pursuers, and might all have escaped, had not Johnston's division, which had gained the rear of the post, stood in their way, four miles from Winchester. By these the flying troops were stopped, scattered, and many were made prisoners. Most of those who escaped, crossed the Potomac at Hancock, and took refuge in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; and others fled to Harper's Ferry, where Milroy's wagon-train crossed the Potomac, and was conducted in safety to IIarrisburg, by way of Hagerstown and Chambersburg. Milroy lost nearly all of his artillery and ammunition. Alarmed by the approach of the Confederates in such force, the garrison at Harper's Ferry, under General French, withdrew to Maryland Heights. The Shenandoah Valley was now clear of all obstacles to the march of the invading army.

Hooker, in the mean time, had been kept in the vicinity of the Rappahannock, partly by uncertainty concerning Lee's movements, and chiefly by directions from Washington;' but the moment he was informed of the

> June 15.


' Lee reported that in this affair his troops captured * more than 4,000 prisoners, 29 guns, 277 wagons, and 400 horses." These doubtless included 700 prisoners and 5 guns captured at Martinsburg by General Rodes.

? Hooker had been instructed by Ialleck (January 31) to " keep in view always the importance of covering Washington City and Harper's Ferry.” On the 5th of June, when he expected a movement of General Lee Stuart had almost daily encounters. In one of these, near Aldie, toward the Potomac, he suggested, in a letter to the President, that in caso he should do so, leaving (as he actually did) his rear resting on Fredericksburg, that it would be his “duty to pitch into" that rear, and desiring to know whether such an act would come within the spirit of his instructions. The President and General Halleck both disapproved the movement hinted at in the suggestion, and so, when Hooker found that Lee had stretched his army into a line a hundred miles long, and his rear was still at Fredericksburg, he was deprived of the privilege of cutting off the latter by a quick movement across the Rappabannock, and forcing his way between Hill and Longstreet, at Culpepper.




► June 9.

presence of Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley, he called Howe across the

river, and on the day when Milroy was driven from Winchester," a June 15, he moved rapidly northward, with his whole force, to Centreville

and its vicinity, keeping his cavalry well to his left to watch the passes of the Blue Ridge, while intent, himself, upon covering Washington. The National authorities, as well as those of Maryland and Pennsylvania, had, meanwhile, become thoroughly aroused by a sense of danger. The

Government had just created two new military departments in .

Pennsylvania.' On the 12th, Governor Curtin, of that State, issued a call for the entire militia of the commonwealth to turn out to defend its soil, but it was feebly responded to; and on the 15th, the President called upon

the States nearest the capital for an aggregate of one hundred thousand militia.' This, too, was tardily and stingily answered, while uniformed and disciplined regiments of the city of New York so promptly marched toward the field of danger that the Secretary of War publicly thanked the Governor of that State for the exhibition of patriotism. Despondency had produced apathy, and it appeared, for the moment, as if the patriotism of the loyalists was waning, and that the expectation of the Confederates, of a general cry for peace in the Free-labor States, was about to be realized. Finally, when the Confederates were streaming across the Potomac, the number of troops that responded to the call was about fifty thousand, one-half of whom were Pennsylvanians, and fifteen thousand were New Yorkers.3 Lee had about a week's start of Hooker in the race for the Potomac, and

when the latter disappeared behind the Stafford hills,' the occu• May 13.

pants of Fredericksburg Heights marched for Culpepper. Longstreet, in position there, his ranks swelled by a part of Pickett's division, then moved along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, and took possession of Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps, for the purpose of seriously menacing, if not actually attempting the capture of Washington, drawing Hooker farther from his supplies, and preventing the Nationals from darting through the Blue Ridge and striking the Confederates in the Valley, into which Hill, covered by Longstreet, speedily followed Ewell, and took position at Winchester. Hooker, meanwhile, was in the vicinity of Fairfax Court-House, expecting a

direct attack from his adversary, and the cavalry of Pleasanton and

1 The eastern, under General Couch, was called the Department of the Susquehanna, with head-quarters at Harrisburg; and the western, under General Brooks, the Department of the Monongahela, with head-quarters at Pittsburg. The Middle Department was under the command of General Schenck, head-quarters at Baltimore.

? Maryland was called upon for 10,000 men; Pennsylvania, 50,000; Ohio, 30,000; and West Virginia, 10.000.

3 The Secretary of War and Governor Curtin called upon Governor Parker, of New Jersey, for troops, and he responded by issuing a call on the 16th. On the same day, General Sanford, of New York City, issued an order for the regiments of the First Division of that State to proceed forth with to Harrisburg, " to assist in repelling" the invasion of Pennsylvania. In addition to these, about 1,800 volunteers from various parts of the State were organized and equipped, and sent to Harrisburg. On the 20th of June, about 50,000 men bad responded to the President's call. New York had furnished 15,000; Pennsylvania, 25,000; New Jerser, 3.000; *).aware, 2,000; Maryland, 5,000. A patriotic appeal of Governor Bradford, of the latter State, fully aroused the loyal people to action.

d June 17.

« PreviousContinue »