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RETREAT OF LEÉ.
gish Antietam, waiting for the morning, to renew the conflict. Twelve thousand had fallen on our side, and a much larger number of the enemy-a ghastly throng-covering those wooded heights, and choking the hollows. We had taken six thousand prisoners, and thirteen guns.
The next morning, McClellan determined to renew the fight, but he found his heavy batteries were nearly out of ammunition-ten thousand stragglers were scattered among the hills—supplies were to be bronght up, while fourteen thousand fresh troops were on the march to join him. He, therefore, deemed it prudent to delay the attack till the next day, and spent the 18th in caring for the wounded, burying the dead, and gathering up his energies for the last decisive blow. Everything being completed, the orders were issued to commence the attack at daylight, but the enemy during the night had retreated, placing the Potomac between himself and our victorious army.
The nation was exultant over the victory. The feeling of triumph was dashed, however, because Lee's army had escaped. From the commencement of the war, certain cries, taken up by a portion of the press, had become, for a time, popular, and, like all clamors, furious and unreasonable. The first, was derision of fortifications, as though it were impossible to suppose we should ever need them. Then, there came an unthinking demand, that a retreating army, no matter whether it was ten, or a hundred thousand strong, should always be “bagged " by an equal number, though operating in a country covered with forests, crossed by rugged heights, and seamed with rivers. Next, came the outcry against siege operations, and the adoption of the motto, " to move at, once upon the enemy's works." One after anothier, they wers abandoned, as they always must be, and the operations in the field, left to those who understood their business. Thus, the next year, the public saw, without one
THE ARMY RESTS.
Word of complaint, Meade's victorious army, with all its reinforcements up, sit down idly for a week on this very spot, and let Lee construct scows, and ferry his army, guns and supplies and all, over the Potomac, that seemed swollen with rains on purpose to secure the overthrow of the enemy. So, too, the clamor' against the comparatively short siege of Yorktown, was changed to plaudits over the tedious sieges of Port Hudson and Vicksburg.
McClellan did not undertake to move his army at once, across the Potomac, for, he knew, if the enemy chose to retreat, he could do so without serious molestation; and if he risked another battle, it would have to be accepted under great disadvantages, and with the river, which was liable to be swollen at any time so as to be unfordable, between him and his base of supplies. On the night of the 19th, however, General Griffin, with a part of two brigades, crossed the river and carried the enemy's batteries, capturing several prisoners, and driving the rebel supports back a half a mile. He reported, on his return, that appearances indicated the retreat of Lee towards Winchester. To ascertain whether this was actually so, Porter, in the morning, sent over a detachment which advanced about a mile, when it fell into an ambush, and was driven back with great slaughter.
The balance of the month was spent in resting the overtasked troops, bringing up supplies and ammunition, and in vain attempts to get the soldiers properly clothed, so that an onward movement could be resu ned with some prospect of success.
While the first month of Autumn was thus drawing to a close, the two armies still confronting each other on the upper Potomac, two proclamations were issued by the President, which had an important bearing on the future prospects of the war. One appeared on the 22d, abolishing 'slavery in all the States that should be in rebellion on the 1st day of January. 1863. The President had
long been urged to do this, both by politicians and ecclesiastical bodies, but he had stubbornly refused, not only on the ground of its doubtful constitutionality, but its uselessness, saying, facetiously, that it would be like the “Pope's bull against the comet. The armies freed the slaves, only as far as they advanced, and it seemed to him idle to suppose that a proclamation could achieve more than the bayonets of the soldiers. It would be time, he thought, to settle this vexed question when the rebel armies had been .conquered. With these views, he had struggled hard to secure an Emancipation Act, which would allow compensation to the owners of slaves. In his preceding message, therefore, he had recommended the adoption of the following resolutions :
“ Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two thirds of both Houses concurring.) That the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures (or Conventions) of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures (or Conventions,) to be valid as part or parts of the said Constitution, namely:
ARTICLE - Every State, wherein slavery now exists, which shall abolish the same therein, at any time, or times, before the first day of January, in the
year of our Lord one thousand nine humdred, shall receive compensation from the United States, as follows, to wit:
The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State, bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of per annum, to an amount equal to the aggregate sum of for each slave shown to have been therein, by the eightli census of the United States, said bonds to be delivered to such States by instalments, or in one parcel, at the completion of the abolishment, accordingly as the same shall have been gradual, or at one time, within snch State; and interest shall begin to run unda any such bond only from the proper time of its delivery as aforesaid. eliminy State having received bords as aforesaid, and afterwards reintroducing 37 tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all interest paid thereon.
All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom by the chances of the war, at any time before the end of the rebellion, shall be forever free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal, shall be compensated for them, at the saine rates as is provided for States adopting abolishment of slavery, but in such way that no slave shall be twice accounted for.
ARTICLE --. Congress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide for colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, ai, any place or places without the United States.”.
AN ELOQUENT APPEAL.
He argued these resolutions at length, closing the message with the following eloquent, earnest language:
“ This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but additional to all others, for restoring and preserving the national authority throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in its economical aspect. The plan would, I am confident, secure peace more speedily, and maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force alone ; while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of payment, and times of payment, would be easier paid, than will be the additional cost of the war, if we rely solely upon force. It is much, very much, that it would cost no blood at all.
The plan is proposed as permanent constitutional law. It cannot become such, without the concurrence of, first, two-thirds of Congress, and afterwards, three-fourths of the States. The requisite three-fourths of the States will necessarily include seven of the slave States. Their concurrence, if obtained, will give assurance of their severally adopting emancipation at no very distant day, upon the new constitutional terms. This assurance would end the struggle now, and save the Union forever.
I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed to the Congress of the nation, by the Chief Magistrate of the nation. Nor do I forget that some of you are iny seniors, nor that many of you have more experience than I, in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I trust, that in view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will perceive no want of respect to yourselves, in any undue carnestness I may seem to display.
Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of inoney and of blood ? Is it doubted that it would restore the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we lere--Congress and Executive-can secure its adoption? Will not the good people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can they, by any other means, so certainly or so specdily assure these vital objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not can any of us imagine better? but, can we all do better?' Object whatsoever is possible, still the question recurs,
can we do better?" The dogmas of the qniet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think auew and act
We must disenthrall ourscives, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this Administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will tot forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We-eren we here—hold the power and wear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free-honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of carthi.
Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just-a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.
PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM.
This plan not having been tried, we can only conje ture how it would have worked, and what the final result would have been. But whatever differences of opinion may be entertained of these views, no one can doubt the sincerity, or the lofty patriotism from which they sprung. Their straightforward honesty mast command the respect of all, while the feeling with which they are urged, cannot fail to awaken the deepest sympathy for their unselfish author. They were not coincided in by Congress—and the President seeing no alternative, issued the following proclamation:
"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States and the people thereof in those States in which that relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed ; that it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all the Slave States, so-called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, the immediate or gradual abolislıment of slavery within their respective liznits; and that the efforts to colonize persons of African descent, with their censent, upon the continent or elsewhere, with the previously oba lained consent of the governments existing there, will be continued ; that on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand cight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or any vesignate part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against ne United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever frec; and the Ex centive ūovernment of the United States, including the military and naval anthority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections, wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people there. of, are not in rebellion against the United States.
That attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress entitled 'An Act to make an additional article of war,' approved March 13, 1862, and which Act is in the words and figures following: