« PreviousContinue »
appointed in July, 1861, to inquire into the felt at liberty to leave within circumstances of and reasons for the destruc- a few hours after his arrival,
mittee's Report. tion of property at the Gosport station and this yard and the property conat Harper's Ferry, was given to the public nected there with, in the defense of which he was inApril 19th, 1862, in substance as follows:
trusted, without first having determined in consulta. “ The Committee relate at
tion with Captains McCauley and Prendergrast opon Investigating Commitlength the facts as to the
some definite course to be pursued in the event of tee's Report.
amount of property at the imminent danger to or attack upon the yard. The Norfolk Navy-yard, valued at $9,760,000, the vessels Committee come to the following conclusions : worth nearly $2,000,000. There were in the yard at
“ First. The Administration of Buchanan was guil. least 2000 heavy guns, of which 300 were of the ty of negligence, in taking extraordinary care, and Dahlgren pattern.
employing every possible means to protect and de“ The Administration of Mr. Buchanan must have fend this yard, after indications of danger had man. been perfectly cognizant of the series of events dis. ifested themselves. tinctly foreshadowing the civil war about to be en- “ Second. The Administration of Mr. Lincoln can. acted; therefore, the Committee regard it as negli- not be held blameless, for suffering thirty-seven gence and dereliction of official duty of the gravest days to elapse after he came into power before character; that it was a party to that fatal policy making a movement for the defense of the yard. of temporization and negotiation with armed and “ Third. Captain McCauley was highly censurable causeless rebellion against the rightful authority of for neglecting to send the Merrimac from the yard, the laws, and of scrupulous tendencies toward se- as he was ordered, and also for scuttling the ships dition, agencies which seem to have actuated the and preparing to abandon the yard before any atGovernment at that time. Want of vigor and deci- tack was made or seriously threatened, when he sion in the discharge of its duties on the part of the should have defended it, and the property intrusted new Administration was to be regarded as strange, to him, repelling force by force, as he was instructif not a failure to appreciate the actual condition of ed to do, if the occasion should present itself. the country, at least until the 10th of April, or thirty- · Fourth. Captain Paulding was censurable for seven days after the expiration of the previous Ad neglecting to consult with Captain McCauley and ministration. The Committee can find extenuation Captain Prendergrast, while he was at the yard on in this only in that insane delusion which seemed to the 17th of April, in regard to the course to be purhave occupied the public mind that the portentous sued in the event of an attack upon the yard, and clouds that had blackened the heavens for months, also for immediately, upon his arrival at the yard on were charged with no real danger, and were to be the 20th, ordering the property to be burned, and dissipated by a continuation of forbearance which the yard abandoned, before taking proper means to had been continued so long that it had ceased to be satisfy himself that any necessity for such measures a viriue, and had become the most disgraceful weak existed. ness and pusillanimity. Captain McCauley was in- “ Fifth. Captain Prendergrast, in command of the duced to believe that the peace and security of the Cumberland, the flagship of the Home Squadron, yard depended upon preserving the existing state of made no suggestions as to the measures proper to things, upon doing nothing further to excite the al- be adopted, and seems to have taken no part in the ready maddened public feeling, and who was willing transaction, except to move his ship as he was dito see the Government lie still, and be bound hand | rected. and foot, till it should be completely in the power “ The Committee say they can suggest no remedy of the insurgents. In the threats and menaces of for the errors which they think have been proved in the mob, exaggerated by the representations of the this case. So far as the officers of the Navy are conbase and treacherous officers, who surrendered the cerned, it belongs to the Executive Department of command, and against whom he was warned, with the Government to determine what course shall be out avail, the Committee find the key to his deplora- pursued. ble conclusion; and the fact that neither he nor “ The estimation formed by that Department of Captain Paulding and Captain Prendergrast now re- the conduct of Captains McCauley, Paulding and member or acknowledge the operation of such influ. Prendergast, has been manifested by leaving the ences upon their conduct, goes far to show the in- first-named without active duty, and assigning to considerate haste, if not timidity and want of nerve, the others the commands of two of the most impor. under which they acted. The Committee cannot tant Navy.yards we have left, namely: Brooklyn understand why Captain Paulding, the special and and Philadelphia. confidential agent of the Department, should have " In concluding what they have thought it their
YORK “UNION DEFENSE COMMITTEE."
The New York " Union Defense Com
duty to say on this subject, the Committee would | exigencies of the times, simply remark, that the lesson afforded by the sur- deserves notice, viz.: the render of the Norfolk Navy-yard will not be wholly “New York Union Defense without its value to us, if we shall learn by it, as a Committee”—an organization which grew nation, that pusillanimity in the defense of our rights out of the great Union demonstration of may be as seriously injurious as the open assaults
April 20th. Twenty-six influential citizens of our enemies."
were named by that meeting as a committee Pending these important An Extraordinary
“to represent the citizens in the collection transactions, the military Spectacle.
of funds, and the transaction of such other movements of the North
business in aid of the movements of the Govwere of a nature to excite the astonishment of both the friends and the enemies of the The funds flowed in in heavy amounts, while
ernment, as the public interest may require.” Government. The rapidity with which regi- the New York city authorities soon placed ments filled up and hastened southward ; the
the munificent sum of one million of dollars absorption into the ranks, as officers and
to be expended under the Committee's manmen, of those occupying, in many instances,
agement. Thus empowered, the work of eminent positions in commercial, political, assistance commenced; and, as the Commitreligious, and literary circles; the formation
tee stated in their report of September 19th, of societies devoted to the welfare of the 1861: “Mainly owing to the exertions of the volunteers and their families; the heavy do- city and citizens of New York, and to the nations of individuals and corporations to zeal and efficiency of eminent officers, (parthe funds of regiments for arming, equipping, ticularly referring to General Wool,) an army and sustaining them; the action of banks
was placed in the field, armed and equipped and men of wealth in placing immense sums
for the defense of the National cause, in a at the disposal of States--all contributed to briefer space of time and with less expendirender the spectacle one of extraordinary so
ture of money, than, so far as any record lemnity and novelty. The Harper's Ferry shows, ever before was accomplished by any and Gosport Navy-yard affairs, the threaten- Government, no matter how great its power, ed assault on Washington and its isolated how abundant its resources, or how powerful condition, the notes of defiance which came the motive for its action.” We should, also, up from the South, and the gathering of its in justice to New York and her sister Comarmies for a Northern campaign, while they monwealth, Massachusetts, further quote the added intensity to the war-spirit of the Free
Committee's words: “With a generous frankStates, also served to assure the people of the
ness which confers honor upon the stations necessity for providing for the “common de. they fill, the chief Executive officers of the fense”—for an obstinate if not a prolonged National Government, and the distinguished struggle.
Commanding General of the army, have been The sudden call for troops found the Gen- pleased to say that the safety of the National eral Government in a comparatively help- Capital and the preservation of the archives less condition. With no stores of arms and of the Government at a moment when both ordnance to draw upon, no organized sub
were seriously menaced, may fairly be attrisistence and quartermaster departments, no buted to the prompt and efficient action of depots of clothing and camp equipment, no the State and city of New York, united with means at its immediate disposal to provide the vigorous efforts of the noble Commonfor the immense drains upon its treasury
wealth of Massachusetts, devoted to the same the emergency was one of peril; but, the
patriotic object." As Rhode Island was patriotism of States, cities, individuals and among the pioneers – having her superb banks came to the relief, bountifully supply- regiment and splendidly-equipped battery ing all that money could secure, though the in the field with those first forward, want of arms was not fully obviated for many that little State of wise heads and busy anxious months.
hands should have been named in this roll One of these agencies, called forth by the of honor.
The New York Ad.
The report of the Committee stated at malign presence. Indeed, the city never was length the amount and character of the im- free of the unnatural apostates. portant services which it rendered-gratui- The reception extended
Reception of the New tously, so far as their own time and onerous to the gallant Seventh, was labors were concerned. From it we learn thus chronicled by one
that it assisted into the present: “At the depot they were received
field, and stimulated to the with the utmost enthusiasm. But their march vanco Regiments.
advance of all the splendid down and up Pennsylvania avenue, past the regiments of New York Militia which re- hotels, the State and Treasury Departments, sponded to the call and were among the was a triumphal procession. The steps and earliest to reach the Capital, viz. : the Seven- balconies of the hotels, the windows of the ty-First, Colonel Vosburgh; Sixth, Colonel private houses, the doorways of the stores, Pinckney ; Twelfth, Colonel Butterfield ; and even the roofs of many houses, were Eighth, Colonel Lyons ; Fifth, Colonel crowded with men, women and children, Schwarzwelder ; Sixty-Ninthi, Colonel Cor- shouting, and waving handkerchiefs and flags. coran; Second, Colonel Tomkins; Ninth, Many and brilliant have been the greetings Colonel Stiles; Seventy-Ninth, Colonel Came- they have received at home and abroad, but
All these regiments were standing or- never have they been welcomed before with ganizations which had only to fill up their such heartfelt and grateful plaudits. ranks and hurry forward to the Capital. “The regiment had been looked for day They were acc
ccompanied by the Brooklyn after day and hour after hour, until many (New York Militia) regiments, viz.: the had almost adopted the conclusion that the Thirteenth, Colonel Smith; Twenty-Eighth, name was a myth, and their existence a very Colonel Bennett; and Fourteenth, Colonel sham. But their appearance at last cheered Wood. To all of these the Committee acted every heart, and filled many an eye with warm as director and paymaster-general. The Ul- tears of joy and thankfulness. Union men ster Twentieth Regiment of New York Mi- who had hung their heads, now waikeil litia completed the quota of the standing erect, and the few Secessionists still in our militia of the Empire State which quickly
midst who had been blatant in their sneers found their way to the seat of danger. at the northern men who were invincible in
The Massachusetts Eighth, peace and invisible in war,' now slunk away, Washington Safe.
as stated, piloted the way lest their very presence should excite the to Annapolis, preserved the frigate Constitu- loyal men to give them the punishment their tion from seizure, and landed to take posses- treason deserved. Every honor the citizens sion of the railway depot and works prepara- could devise at the moment, was accorded to tory to appropriating the road to Government them. On their return from the Capitol, uses. While the Eighth was prosecuting the they met many ladies with rosettes in their work of relaying the track and repairing the bonnets, and gentlemen with rosettes in their bridges, the New York Seventh pushed on button-loles, and many persons with small ahead, reaching the Junction (eighteen miles) flags in their hands. after thirty hours of most arduous tramping “The regiment marched past the White and railway repairing. From the Junction House and then wheeling, passed through the it passed to Washington by railroad--arriving west gate, and in front of the President's at the Capital Thursday, April 18th, to glad house. The gateway was thronged with ladies den the hearts of all but the many traitors and gentlemen. Mrs. Lincoln sat at one of the who lingered in the Departments, who in- open windows, accompanied by several otlier fested every public place, who lurked every- laslies. The President, accompanied by the where throughout the city under the guise Secretaries of State and of War, and surrounded of citizens-creatures who stood ready to be- by uniformed United States Army oficers, tray the Government to which they had stood upon the sidewalk near the stepe, in the sworn solemn allegiance. It was long before broiling sun, with his hat off, towering above the authorities could purge the city of their the crowd, and here received the marching
TIE POSITION OF MARYLAND,
salut, of the Seventh. There was no speech | New York Seventy-first and Twelfth, and making. The Quartermaster reported the Governor Sprague's Rhode Islanders — the presence of the regiment, and the Colonel was first influx of that tide of "Northern invaders" presented to the President, but beyond this who were so soon to press over the Potomac no further ceremony was used.”
and assure the permanent safety of the NationTheir arrival was rapidly succeeded by al Capital by an invasion of Virginia's “S&that of the Massachusetts Eighth, and the I cred soil.”
UARYLAND IN THE
TIRO ES OF
into the Davis
The position of Mary- , rayed against Abolitionism, The State welcomed Maryland's Anoma
land, for the four weeks and cling to the South: and
Confederacy. the Massachusetts Sixth in the streets of Bal- with us now, she is in open defiance of Lincoln timore, was anomalous. Professing loyalty, and his Government, and will soon be with she still stood arrayed against the Govern- us even by revolution. The cause of Baltiment, and only ceased her opposition to the more is the cause of us all, from the Atlantic passage of troops over her soil when oppo- to the Rio Grande. Her hands must be held sition became useless. Governor Hicks was up, and triumph must be assured her.” The at once anxious to preserve the peace and enthusiastic Vice-President had a basis of the “neutrality" of his State; and labored truth in his averments, as the “ Safety Bill” earnestly, for a brief period, to restrain the introduced into the Legislature of the State transit through Maryland of the forces and soon showed. Doubtless that bill was persupplies requisite to render Washington safe fected under his own eyes. But, he literally --thus far submitting to the behests of the counted the chickens before hatching.' pro-Southern faction in the State. The Gov- Maryland was not with them to a man,' ernor, and most of the men of influence in nor, indeed, would she be able to secede,' Maryland, were Unionists, but with such except by the miserable jugglery of a few qualifications as rendered them, for a while, revolutionists. The Vice-President's regard distrusted by the General Government- for “the cause" would not allow him to make distrust eventually banished by the position a more correct statement than fell from his afterwards assumed by Governor Hicks, of lips. It was wanted to "fire the Southern open and unqualified support of the Ad-heart." ministration.
The history of the thirty days succeeding As late as April 30th, Mr. Stephens pro- April 17th would fill a volume. Doubtless claimed the safety of Maryland for the South- it will be given to the world to interest the ern cause, saying: “But, the best of all is people of Maryland and all special students that Maryland-gallant little Maryland - of causes and effects bearing on the great right under the guns of Lincoln, and the rebellion. But, for the general reader, a threats of Blair to make it a Free State if brief chapter will suffice, showing how the the blood of the last white man has to be ship of State trimmed and veered to the galo shed in accomplishing it--has resolved, to a ere she righted and rode out her destiny, se man, to stand by the South. She will be ar- curely if not gallantly.
Against the passage of the honor to inform your Excellency in regard to Governor Hicks' Pro
troops, either through or another insurrection against the laws of Maryland,
around Baltimore, the State I am here armed to maintain those laws, if your Ex. and city authorities protested, as we have cellency desires, and the peace of the United States, already recorded. Against the use of the against all disorderly persons whatsoever. I am
endeavoring to save and not to destroy; to obtain route by way of Annapolis, the Governor
means of transportation, so that I can vacate the likewise protested as follows:
Capital prior to the sitting of the Legislature, and “ EXECUTIVE CHAMBER, ANNAPOLIS, not be under the painful necessity of incumbering Friday, April 23d, 1861.
your beautiful city while the Legislature is in ses. To Brigadier-General B. F. Butler :
sion. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, “Sir: Having, by virtue of the powers vested in
“Your Excellency's obedient servant, me by the Constitution of Maryland, summoned the
“(Signed) B. F. BUTLER, Legislature of the State to assemble on Friday, the
“Brigadier-General." 26th instant, and Annapolis being the place in
Annapolis was not vacated, nor the railwhich, according to law, it must assemble; and having been credibly informed that you have taken way released from Government control. The
outraged Legislature therefore assembled at military possession of the Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad, I deem it my duty to protest against this Frederick, (April 26th,) when the Governor step ; because, without at present assigning any
detailed the recent history of affairs in a mesother reason, I am informed that such occupation sage, from which we may quote : of said road will prevent the members of the Legis
Believing it to be the de
Governor Hicks' His. lature from reaching this city.
sign of the Administration to
tory of Affairs. “ Very respectfully, yours,
pass over our soil troops for
the defense of the City of Washington, and fearing In General Butler the that the passage of such troops would excite our Governor found both a
people and provoke a collision, I labored earnestly eply.
to induce the President to forego his purposo. I shrewd lawyer and an able
waited upon him in person, and urged the impor. military commander. His reply was charac
tance of my request. I subsequently communicated teristic of both qualities :
with him and his Cabinet by special dispatches, en“ HEAD-QCARTERS U. S. MILITIA,
treating an abandonment of his designs. To all my ANXAPOLIS, MD., April 23d, 1861.5 requests I could get but the reply that Washington “ To His Excellency Thomas H. Hicks, Governor of was threatened with attack; that the Government Maryland:
had resolved to defend it; that there was no other “ You are credibly informed that I have taken way of obtaining troops than by passing them over the possession of the Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad. soil of Maryland, and that the military necessity o? It might have escaped your notice, but at the offi
the case rendered it impossible for the Goverument cial meeting which was had between your Excel. to abandon its plans, much as it desired to avoid lency and the Mayor of Annapolis, and the Com- the dangers of a collision. * On Surday mittee of the Government and myself, as to the morning last I discovered that a detachment of landing of my troops, it was expressly stated as the troops, under command of Brigadier-General Benjareason why I should not land, that my troops could min F. Butler, had reached Annapolis in a steamer, not pass the railroad because the company had and had taken possession of the practice-ship Contaken up the rails, and they were private property. stitution, which, during that day, they succeeded in It is difficult to see how it can be, that if my troops getting outside of the harbor of Annapolis, where could not pass over the railroad one way, the mem- she now lies. After getting the ship off, the steambers of the Legislature could pass the other way. er lay outside the harbor, and was joined by an. I have taken possession for the purpose of prevent- other steamer having on board the Seventh Regiing the execution of the threats of the mob, as offi- ment, from New York city. Brigadier-General But. cially represented to me by the master of transpor- ler addressed me, asking for permission to land his tation of the railroad in this city, 'that if my troops forces. It will be seen from the correspondence passed over the railroad, the railroad should be de- herewith submitted, that I refused my consent. stroyed.'
The Mayor of Annapolis also protested. But both “ If the Government of the State had taken pos- steamers soon afterwards landed and put off their session of the road in any emergency, I should have troops. Subsequently other large bodies of troops long hesitated before entering upon it; but as I had reached here in transports, and were landed. I was