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tion to "invade" the "sacred soil” of the South faded out under the stern necessity to forestall an invasion of the equally sacred soil of the North; and on May 24 the Union regiments in Washington crossed the Potomac and planted themselves in a great semicircle of formidable earthworks eighteen miles long on the Virginia shore, from Chain Bridge to Hunting Creek, below Alexandria.

Meanwhile, a secondary concentration of force developed itself at Harper's Ferry, forty-nine miles northwest of Washington. When, on April 20, a Union detachment had burned and abandoned the armory at that point, it was at once occupied by a handful of rebel militia; and immediately thereafter Jefferson Davis had hurried his regiments thither to "sustain" or overawe Baltimore; and when that prospect failed, it became a rebel camp of instruction. Afterward, as Major-General Patterson collected his Pennsylvania quota, he turned it toward that point as a probable field of operations. As a mere town, Harper's Ferry was unimportant; but, lying on the Potomac, and being at the head of the great Shenandoah valley, down which not only a good turnpike, but also an effective railroad ran southeastward to the very heart of the Confederacy, it was, and remained through the entire war, a strategical line of the first importance, protected, as the Shenandoah valley was, by the main chain of the Alleghanies on the west and the Blue Ridge on the


A part of the eastern quotas had also been hurried to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, lying at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, which became and continued an important base for naval as well as military operations. In the West, even more important than St. Louis was the little town of Cairo, lying at the extreme southern

end of the State of Illinois, at the confluence of the Ohio River with the Mississippi. Commanding, as it did, thousands of miles of river navigation in three different directions, and being also the southernmost point of the earliest military frontier, it had been the first care of General Scott to occupy it; and, indeed, it proved itself to be the military key of the whole Mississippi valley.

It was not an easy thing promptly to develop a military policy for the suppression of the rebellion. The so-called Confederate States of America covered a military field having more than six times the area of Great Britain, with a coast-line of over thirty-five hundred miles, and an interior frontier of over seven thousand miles. Much less was it possible promptly to plan and set on foot concise military campaigns to reduce the insurgent States to allegiance. Even the great military genius of General Scott was unable to do more than suggest a vague outline for the work. The problem was not only too vast, but as yet too indefinite, since the political future of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri still hung in more or less uncertainty.

The passive and negligent attitude which the Buchanan administration had maintained toward the insurrection during the whole three months between the presidential election and Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, gave the rebellion an immense advantage in the courts and cabinets of Europe. Until within three days of the end of Buchanan's term not a word of protest or even explanation was sent to counteract the impression that disunion was likely to become permanent. Indeed, the non-coercion doctrine of Buchanan's message was, in the eyes of European statesmen, equivalent to an acknowledgment of such a result; and the formation of the Confederate government, followed so quickly



by the fall of Fort Sumter, seemed to them a practical realization of their forecast. The course of events appeared not merely to fulfil their expectations, but also, in the case of England and France, gratified their eager hopes. To England it promised cheap cotton and free trade with the South. To France it appeared to open the way for colonial ambitions which Napoleon III so soon set on foot on an imperial scale.

Before Charles Francis Adams, whom President Lincoln appointed as the new minister to England, arrived in London and obtained an interview with Lord John Russell, Mr. Seward had already received several items of disagreeable news. One was that, prior to his arrival, the Queen's proclamation of neutrality had been published, practically raising the Confederate States to the rank of a belligerent power, and, before they had a single privateer afloat, giving these an equality in British ports with United States ships of war. Another was that an understanding had been reached between England and France which would lead both governments to take the same course as to recognition, whatever that course might be. Third, that three diplomatic agents of the Confederate States were in London, whom the British minister had not yet seen, but whom he had caused to be informed that he was not unwilling to see unofficially.

Under the irritation produced by this hasty and equivocal action of the British government, Mr. Seward wrote a despatch to Mr. Adams under date of May 21, which, had it been sent in the form of the original draft, would scarcely have failed to lead to war between the two nations. While it justly set forth with emphasis and courage what the government of the United States would endure and what it would not endure from foreign powers during the Southern in

surrection, its phraseology, written in a heat of indignation, was so blunt and exasperating as to imply intentional disrespect.

When Mr. Seward read the document to President Lincoln, the latter at once perceived its objectionable tone, and retained it for further reflection. A second reading confirmed his first impression. Thereupon, taking his pen, the frontier lawyer, in a careful revision of the whole despatch, so amended and changed the work of the trained and experienced statesman, as entirely to eliminate its offensive crudeness, and bring it within all the dignity and reserve of the most studied diplomatic courtesy. If, after Mr. Seward's remarkable memorandum of April 1, the Secretary of State had needed any further experience to convince him of the President's mastery in both administrative and diplomatic judgment, this second incident afforded him the full evidence.

No previous President ever had such a sudden increase of official work devolve upon him as President Lincoln during the early months of his administration. The radical change of parties through which he was elected not only literally filled the White House with applicants for office, but practically compelled a wholesale substitution of new appointees for the old, to represent the new thought and will of the nation. The task of selecting these was greatly complicated by the sharp competition between the heterogeneous elements of which the Republican party was composed. This work was not half completed when the Sumter bombardment initiated active rebellion, and precipitated the new difficulty of sifting the loyal from the disloyal, and the yet more pressing labor of scrutinizing the organization of the immense new volunteer army called into service by the proclamation of May 3. Mr. Lin



coln used often to say at this period, when besieged by claims to appointment, that he felt like a man letting rooms at one end of his house, while the other end was on fire. In addition to this merely routine work was the much more delicate and serious duty of deciding the hundreds of novel questions affecting the constitutional principles and theories of administration.

The great departments of government, especially those of war and navy, could not immediately expedite either the supervision or clerical details of this sudden expansion, and almost every case of resulting confusion and delay was brought by impatient governors and State officials to the President for complaint and correction. Volunteers were coming rapidly enough to the various rendezvous in the different States, but where were the rations to feed them, money to pay them, tents to shelter them, uniforms to clothe them, rifles to arm them, officers to drill and instruct them, or transportation to carry them? In this carnival of patriotism, this hurly-burly of organization, the weaknesses as well as the virtues of human nature quickly developed themselves, and there was manifest not only the inevitable friction of personal rivalry, but also the disturbing and baneful effects of occasional falsehood and dishonesty, which could not always be immediately traced to the responsible culprit. It happened in many instances that there were alarming discrepancies between the full paper regiments and brigades reported as ready to start from State capitals, and the actual number of recruits that railroad trains brought to the Washington camps; and Mr. Lincoln several times ironically compared the process to that of a man trying to shovel a bushel of fleas across a barn floor.

While the month of May insensibly slipped away amid these preparatory vexations, camps of instruction

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