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SKETCH OF GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

the next month he was breveted captain for his heroism in the conflicts of Molina del Rey and Chapultepec. He was subsequently, in May, 1848, promoted to the rank of commandant of sappers, miners and pontoniers. There was scarcely another instance among the many talented young men who distinguished themselves in that war, of a person whose rise in the profession was so rapid and so constant as his.

The war being ended, McClellan returned to West Point, where he remained till 1851. The ensuing interval he employed in preparing a manual for the bayonet exercise, which was introduced into the army. That work became a standard authority on the subject. During the summer and fall of 1851 he superintended the building of Fort Delaware. In the following spring he joined the expedition under Major Marcy for the purpose of exploring the Red river. Thence he proceeded to Texas as senior engineer, to survey the rivers and harbors of that State. While in Mexico he had attracted the attention and won the confidence of Jefferson Davis, whose sagacious eye easily detected his superior qualities. When Davis became Secretary of War under President Pierce, he employed McClellan to make a reconnoissance of the Cascade mountains on the Pacific, with special reference to the future construction of the Pacific railroad. This difficult duty he discharged to the entire satisfaction of the Secretary; who, having set his heart upon the accomplishment of that important enterprise, was very exacting in regard to every thing which might promote its attainment.

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In 1854 McClellan was dispatched on a secret mission to the West Indies. In the next year he received a captaincy in a regiment of cavalry; and then followed the most important commission with which he had yet been honored. He was selected by Mr. Davis, in connection with Richard Delafield and Alfred Mordecai, to proceed to the Crimea for the purpose of making observations upon the military operations which were then in progress; and to examine the most noted military establishments of Europe. The commissioners were absent two years, and after their return, each of them submitted to the government a separate report containing the results of their observations. It may safely be affirmed that though the reports of Delafield and Mordecai were creditable performances. the production of McClellan was superior to them both; and it was so regarded by the government for whom it was prepared.

This elaborate work was published in 1857. It was illustrated by admirable plates, diagrams and maps. Its contents were of the utmost value, including not merely reports upon the events of the great struggle in the Crimea, but also dissertations on many topics of importance connected with military science. It described with accuracy the characteristics of the French, Austrian, Prussian and Sardinian infantry, the various departments of the Russian army, and the regulations for military service in the chief countries of Europe. The author discussed the peculiar tactics

discipline and equipments of all the great European armies. Nothing of interest which appertained to the organization of troops and camps, the construction of field works, the most approved method of reducing fortified positions, the peculiar merits and defects of British and French, Russian and Sardinian soldiers, was omitted. The principles of modern warfare, hospitals, commissariats, the Zouaves, military instruction in generalthese and many other subjects of great interest and value were investigated in the various reports which constituted this volume; and they were treated with the ability of a man as well practiced in handling the pen as in wielding the sword. The style of the work is clear and forcible, the research exhibited is thorough and deep, the reflections made are sagacious and original, the learning displayed is accurate and profound.

After his return from Europe in 1857, McClellan resigned his position in the army, and assumed that of Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad. This office he retained until he was elected President of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. It was from this position that he was transferred, immediately after the commencement of the Rebellion, to the military command of the Department of Ohio, comprising that State, together with Illinois, Indiana and Western Virginia. His achievements in the latter field we have already narrated. After the battle of Bull Run the Administration at Washington, discovering the incompetence of some of those in high command, felt the necessity of summoning to the capital the best military talent within their reach. Then it was that they conferred upon General McClellan the most responsible, the most difficult, but also the most honorable post ever bestowed upon any young American officer, since that memorable day when George Washington was chosen by the Continental Congress, in another great crisis of the nation's destiny, to conduct the armies of the rising Republic to scenes of victory and glory.

MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

CHAPTER IX.

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THE EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF CONGRESS IN JULY, 1861—MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN

-ITS CHARACTERISTICS-ITS DEMANDS-SKETCH OF THADDEUS STEVENS-HIS POLITICAL CAREER-HIS PERSONAL QUALITIES-HIS ACTION AS CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS-IMPORTANT BILLS PASSED BY CONGRESS-OPPOSITION OF MESSRS. VALLAN DIGHAM AND BURNETT TO THE POLICY OF THE ADMINISTRATION-THE CIVIL WAR IN MISSOURI THE GRAND ARMY EQUIPPED AT WASHINGTON-COMPLAINTS OF ITS PROLONGED INACTIVITY-ORDER GIVEN TO GENERAL MCDOWELL TO ADVANCE TOWARD MANASSAS-ARRANGEMENT OF THE ARMY-THE ADVANCE REACH BULL RUN-THE PRELIMINARY CONFLICT AT THAT PLACE-REPULSE OF GENERAL TYLER'S DIVISION-POSITION OF THE REBEL ARMY AT MANASSAS-GENERAL BEAUREGARD THE IMPENDING CONTEST-TEMPER OF THE REBEL TROOPS-THE ARTS EMPLOYED TO INFLAME THEM.

THE extraordinary session of Congress which convened at Washington on the 4th of July, 1861, will always remain an event of supreme importance in American history. It assembled under circumstances such as never before existed since the foundation of the Federal Government; and it may be added, that the peculiarities which marked its deliberations were such as have rarely been exhibited in the proceedings of the national Legislature. A regard was paid, to some extent, to the real purposes for which the members had been summoned to meet; and wordy speeches for popularity and profit, as well as brutal assaults for supremacy or revenge, were for the time being abandoned. On the 5th of July President Lincoln sent in his message, which was read to both Houses, and became at once the subject of scrutiny and attention.

This message was also novel in its character. Unlike Presidential messages in general, it was characterized by brevity, clearness, and practical good sense. It went directly to the heart of the great theme which then absorbed and influenced every mind. It was indeed destitute of the polish of style and the elegance of language which have generally embellished, but have as often obscured or enfeebled, the official addresses of the Chief Magistrate. But every man in the nation could understand it. It possessed the qualities of sagacity and intelligence, which recommended it to the most cultivated and fastidious. It displayed a vigor of purpose and an earnestness in defence of the Union, which elicited the applause of the most illiterate and obscure. It was precisely the right thing in the right place. It was a faithful response to the convictions and sentiments of every patriot in the community.

In this message the President made a requisition upon Congress for four hundred thousand men, and four hundred millions of dollars; in order that, by adopting the most vigorous measures, the most decisive results might at once be attained. One of the first acts of the Speaker of

the House was to appoint the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. That committee, under the existing circumstances, was invested with even more importance than it ordinarily possessed. Upon the ability and industry of its members, and especially of its chairman, the efficiency of the whole body in a great measure depended; and the Speaker in this instance made a selection which was marked by eminent appropriateness and prudence. No man then occupied a seat in the Federal Congress who was more highly gifted by nature, or possessed greater experience and skill in the management of deliberate bodies, than Thaddeus Stevens; and upon him this responsible post was wisely conferred, to the exclusion and the mortification of not a few aspiring politicians, who imagined that their vast abilities and their extraordinary services entitled them to it.

Mr. Stevens was one of the most remarkable of a generation of Ameri can statesmen, who have now nearly all passed away. His name and his influence were distinguished in the political history of Pennsylvania for thirty-five years; and for twenty years he was prominent among our politicians of national reputation. He was a native of Vermont, and was born in 1796. In his early manhood he removed to York, and afterward to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the practice of the law. He quickly become the head of a bar adorned by such men as Judge Reed of Carlisle, Charles B. Penrose, Senator James Cooper, and others of high repute. Being elected to represent his district in the State Legislature, he there took the first rank among many talented men; and domineered over both Houses, over the Whig governors, over their Cabinets, and over the affairs of the State generally, during several administrations, with an influence which was well nigh absolute. The chief secret of his power and of his success was his superior ability in debate, and his matchless tact in controlling a deliberative assembly. In all the highest arts of a popular and forensic orator, in earnestness and pathos of declamation, in shrewdness and sophistry of reasoning, in scathing severity of sarcasm, in dauntless resolution of temper, in readiness of reply, and in quickness to detect and expose the weak points of an adversary,—in all those qualifications Mr. Stevens, when in his prime, had few superiors among the most renowned and accomplished of American

orators.

In the Federal House of Representatives he always maintained a high rank; although he did not take his seat in it till after he had passed the most vigorous period of his life. His achievements as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, in the memorable extra session of 1861, formed a noble and appropriate climax to his long career; and his name will descend to future generations as one of the ablest and most efficient of those coadjutors of the President, who, in that perilous crisis of the nation's history, infused energy, liberality and patriotism into the legislative branch of the government. Though he made no long speeches in

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IMPORTANT BILLS PASSED BY CONGRESS.

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the performance of his duties, he accomplished greater things than long speeches could then achieve, by the use of tact, and even by the maintenance, in some cases, of prudent and significant silence. More than once, when Vallandigham and Burnett-the chief representatives of a treasonable policy in the House-had delivered themselves of impetuous and frothy harangues against the measures proposed by the committee, and briefly advocated by its chairman; when they had fumed and fretted for an hour, and imagined that they had so effectually badgered the chairman of the committee that he must needs respond, and endeavor to vindicate himself by a speech equally convulsive and equally frantic as their own; -more than once, under such circumstances, and after such a tremendous assault, did Mr. Stevens annihilate all that the adverse orators had uttered, by maintaining an unexpected and contemptuous silence, or, at most by uttering a few words of poisoned and deadly sarcasm. Many able men have served as chairmen of the Congressional Committees of Ways and Means, in many difficult crises of our national history; but no one ever acquitted himself with more ability and success than did Mr. Stevens in that position.

On the 10th of July a bill was passed, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to borrow, on the credit of the United States, a sum not exceeding two hundred and fifty millions of dollars; for which he was authorized to issue certificates of coupon or registered stock, and treasury notes. The stock was to bear interest not exceeding seven per centum per annum, payable semi-annually, and to be irredeemable for twenty years. The treasury notes were to be payable three years after date, with interest at the rate of seven and three-tenths per centum per annum. The faith of the United States was pledged for the payment of the interest, and the redemption of the principal of the loan. This act conferred on the President the necessary means to carry on the war, and was preliminary to many other important bills which were subsequently passed, and which provided for the continuance of efficient military operations.

Two members of the House and one of the Senate particularly disgraced themselves during the entire progress of this session, by their systematic opposition to the patriotic policy of the Government. These were Messrs. Vallandigham of Ohio, and Burnett and Breckinridge of Kentucky. It is difficult to conceive what could have been the real motive of their action, unless it were that perversity which characterizes some minds, and impels them to resist what all other men unanimously approve. It is the unenviable distinction of these persons that, in this perilous crisis, they exerted themselves to aid the Rebels by obstructing the wheels of legislation, and by the use of every possible expedient-by direct opposition, by offering sub. stitutes, by proposing amendments, by calling for the previous question, by moving to lay on the table, and by moving to adjourn-by these and other tricks they endeavored to hamper the onward march of the most honorable

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