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DAVIS'S PRIVATEERING PROJECTS
an armed force, for the purpose of cap- passage—the last of all—as a memora. turing its fortresses, and thereby sub- ble specimen of mingled assurance and verting its independence, and subjecting audacity: “We feel that our cause is the free people thereof to the dominion just and hely. We protest solemnly, of a foreign power,” issued a proclama in the face of mankind, that we desire tion, marking out the deadly plan he peace at any sacrifice, save that of honor. had in view, and “inviting all those in independence we seek no conquest, who may desire, by service in private no aggrandizement, no cession of any armed vessels on the high seas, to aid kind from the states with which we this government in resisting so wanton have lately confederated. All we ask and wicked an oppression, to make ap- is to be let alone—that those who never plications for commissions or letters of held power over us shall not marque and reprisal, to be issued under now attempt our subjugation by the seal of these Confederate States." arms. This we will, we must resist, to
This insolent proposition was met the direst extremity. The moment that by another proclamation from President this pretension is abandoned, the sword Lincoln, April 19th, declaring a block. will drop from our grasp and we shall ade of the ports of the seceded states, be ready to enter into treaties of amity and subjecting the privateers in the and commerce that cannot but be murebel service to the laws for the preven. tually beneficial. So long as
pre tion and punishment of piracy. Some tension is maintained, with a firm reliten days afterwards, Davis addressed ance on that Divine power which covers the Confederate Congress, and affected with its protection the just cause, we to doubt whether the proclamation will continue to struggle for our inherwere authentic or not. He stigmatized ent right to freedom, independence, and Mr. Lincoln's course in no measured self-government.” terms, and could not bring himself to Up to this point, the government had believe that President Lincoln was pre- decided, in part at least, upon its course pared to “inaugurate a war of extermin. of action, and had begun to make some ation on both sides, by treating as pi- preparation for the inevitable issues at rates open enemies acting under commis- stake. How imperfect this preparation sions issued by an organized govern. was, how inadequate the appreciation ment.” He also stated, that there were of what was before our country to do 19,000 men in the various places seized and to endure, how insufficient the sense upon by the rebels, and 16,000 more entertained of what the rebels meant, on their way to Virginia, and that in and were able to accomplish, the rapid view of the present exigencies 100,000 progress of events ere long demonstratmen were to be organized and held in ed. We may reverently thank God, readiness for instant action. It was in that, in this hour of bitter trial, neither this address that Davis's desire “to be government nor people were found let alone" occurs, and we quote the wanting.
PROGRESS OF EVENTS: UPRISING OF THE PEOPLE.
Position of Virginia at this date - Efforts and success of secessionists – Virginia lost to the Union - Harper's
Ferry - Attack on by rebels, and burning of arsenal by order of the government - The Navy Yard at Gosport - Its value and importance - Great loss of property, etc., to the United States — Exultations of the rebels — Eagerness to attack Washington — Preparation on part of the government – Baltimore — Riot, and attack on the troops — The New York Seventh - Gen. Butler and Annapolis — His energetic course in Maryland — Conduct of Gov. Hicks - Gen. Cadwalader in Maryland - Habeas corpus suspension — Chiefjustice Taney's course - Gen. Banks in command — His action — Gen. Dis succeeds — Immense gathering in New York - Speeches by Prof. Mitchel and others — Patriotism of our countrywomen — Affairs during month of May- Proclamation of the President calling for more troops — Activity of secessionists - Movement of troops into Virginia — Ellsworth's death at Alexandria — Rebels alarmed at attitude of the North — Davis and his schemes and efforts — His Address to Confederate Congress — Intended uses of it Action of Confederate Congress — Davis goes to Richmond - His speech - Beauregard in Virginia – His insolent and abusive words - Efforts to prepare for advance of Union troops — Skirmishes, etc., – Lieut Tompkins at Fairfax Court House — Rebels routed at Philippi and Romney - Harper's Ferry abandoned by rebels - Gen. Butler and Big Bethel - Failure of the expedition - Negroes contraband of war — Gen. Schenck at Vienna in Virginia — Forces on the Potomac at close of the month of June — Spirit and expectations of the people at the time — Closing scenes in the life of Senator Douglas.
The position of Virginia, as one of expressed their sentiments and wishes the largest and most important of the freely and deliberately, they would border states, rendered it especially de- have cast their lot with the supporters sirable for the rebel conspirators to se- of the Constitution and laws. But cure control over it, and to gain all the Davis, and his fellow laborers in a had prestige arising out of connecting her cause, were determined at all hazards
destinies with those of the new to prevent any such result. By auda
confederation. This was by no cious falsehoods, by intimidation and means easy of accomplishment. Vir hlustering, by getting control over leginians, as a hody, were proud of the gislative action, they aimed at forcing Union, and anxious to preserve it. the state into the ranks of secession; They had always frowned upon dis- and unhappily they succeeded in accomunion and the political demagogues who plishing their ends. had at various times broached so vile a The convention of Virginia had been heresy. Their true interests, as they elected by Union votes, and the legiswell knew, consisted in keeping close lature had taken care, in authorizing the bonds which united them to the loy. its consideration of this matter, to proal states; and it is almost beyond doubt, vide that no ordinance of secession that, could the people of Virginia have should have any effect without being
VIRGINIA FORCED INTO SECESSION.
ratified by the people. At the opening Congress were appointed; troops were of the convention in Richmond, a ma- sent into the state from further south; jority of its members were decidedly and when the 23d of May arrived, the opposed to the secession of their state ; voting was only to support a foregone but the conspirators, stopping short at conclusion; union men were not safe in nothing, resorted to secret sessions, and casting their suffrages; of course, secesto deriding the weaker members, bul. sion was carried, the actual vote being lying the timid, cajoling the wavering, 128,884 for secession, to 32,134 against. and firing southern pride and passion Virginia, mad and foolish, joined the in every possible way; so that, three foes of law and order; and bitterly did days after the bombardment of Fort she afterwards find occasion to repent Sumter, they gained their purpose, and of her action.* Virginia was lost.* Although the law As we have said above, there was no required the vote of the people before waiting, no delay in entering upon acsecession could be ratified, there was tive measures of hostility. Within no waiting, no scruple on the part of twenty-four hours after the convention the rebels. “For mutual defence," as had done its work, not only were the Mr. Mason, late Senator, wrote, May Custom House and Post Office at Rich16th, “immediately after the ordinance mond seized upon, but an attack on of secession passed, a treaty, or mili- the United States arsenal at Harper's tary league' was formed by the con- Ferry was made. The possession of vention, in the name of the people of this latter was of prime importance to Virginia, with the Confederate States the rebels. Situated at the junction of of the South, by which the latter were the Shenandoah and Potomac, some bound to march to the aid of our state, sixty miles above Washington, it conagainst the invasion of the Federal stitutes the outer gate to the great val. Government. And we have now in Vir- ley of Virginia, and offers the readiest ginia, at Harper's Ferry, and at Norfolk, mode of approach from the east to in face of the common foe, several thou- Winchester and the inner region. In sand of the gallant sons of South Caro- addition to the armory with its weapons lina, of Alabama, of Louisiana, Georgia, of war, it contained a large number of and Mississippi, who hastened to fulfil the covenant they made, and are ready * “The second secessionary movement and eager to lay down their lives, side termed it, which was began by Virginia, added three
other states to the confederacy. Tennessee seceded May by side, with our sons in defence of the 6th, 1861; Arkansas, May 18th ; North Carolina, May soil of Virginia."
21st. Thus, eleven states were arrayed in hostile attitude
against the Constitution and laws. (See note, vol. iii. p. Everything was assumed as being 556.) In regard to Tennessee, however, it may here be con.plete. Members of the Confederate stated, that she was never carried into the position of
rebellion by the will of the majority of her people. On * The vote, at the last, was 88 to 55; a majority in the contrary, it was only by the audacity and unscrucreased both by the means above spoken of, and by the pulousness of disunionists, that the secession act was purovision noted on a previous page (see vol. iii. 560,) forced upon the people. Andrew Johnson was appointthat Virginia, unless she joined the rebels, would be ed military governor, March 4th, 1862, and in Septemcut off entirely from a market for her slaves.
ber, 1863, the rebel government was quashed entirely,
as the rebels
shops for the manufacture of arms. ily as possible. On the 17th, she was The arsenal was, at the time, in the ready to be moved, and yet Commo
charge of about forty riflemen, dore McCauley refused to allow her de
under command of Lieutenant parture. His excuse was, paltry enough Jones, who was instructed, in case of too, that he relied on the honor and veattack, not to surrender, but to destroy racity of his junior officers, who, by the works. Receiving information that the way, when they had got through at bands of state militia were prepared to Norfolk, coolly resigned and went over seize upon the arsenal, Lieut. Jones to secession. Commodore Paulding was caused all the arms, some 15,000 in sent with the Pawnee, and some Masnumber, to be heaped up ready to be sachusetts troops, on the 20th of April, burned. When, on the night of the to save what he could and destroy the 18th of April, the invaders approached, remainder. When he arrived, he found the trains were fired, and in three min. that the powder magazine had fallen utes the buildings were in flames, and into the hands of the insurgents, and nearly everything was destroyed. that the ships were scuttled and sinkLieut. Jones escaped with his men by ing. Commodore Paulding had them the bridge leading into Maryland, and set on fire, and destroying as much of reached Carlisle barracks in Pennsylva- the public property as was possible, he nia the next afternoon. For this good took the U.S. ship Cumberland in tow, service he was duly thanked and pro- and sailed down the river.* By a motod.
strange fatuity of the government, in Simultaneously with this attack on not making proper provision in order Harper's Ferry, the rebels took active to save public property from the hands measures to get possession of the Navy of thieves and robbers, the confederates Yard at Norfolk. This large and very gained 2,000 pieces of heavy ordnance, raluable depot, with its vast stores of 300 of the guns being of the Dahlgren provisions and materials for naval pur- pattern, and in stores, furniture, etc., poses, its shops and manufactures, was property to the amount of $10,000,000.+ situated at Gosport, adjoining Portsmouth, on the Elizabeth River, opposite
* Mr. Pollard, of Richmond, with various flourishes
of rhetoric, terms what was done by order of the govNorfolk. It covered an area of three
acts of ruthless vandalism,” and winds up quarters of a mile in length and a his paragraph, giving an account of the matter, in these
words: “In the midst of the brilliance of the scene quarter in breadth, and it had a dry. (1. e., the conflagration of the ships
, etc.) the Pawnee dock of granite, with ship-houses, naval with the Cumberland in tow, stole like a guilty thing hospital, etc. There were twelve ves through the harbor, fleeing from the destruction they
had been sent to accomplish.”—“ First Year of the sels in the yard, but most of them were War,” pp. 65, 66. dismantled and in ordinary. The Mer
f The Senate committee (April 18th, 1862) speaks of rimac, a first class frigate of forty guns, verity. The hope of good and true men at Norfolk,
this whole matter with very great and deserved sowas the most important of all. Her who greeted the arrival of the Pawnee with cheer on machinery needed repair, and steps had cheer,“ was cruelly disappointed by the hasty attempt
to destroy the yard ; and the government afforded the been taken to put her in order as speed- loyal men at Norfolk—as indeed every where else a:
EAGERNESS TO ATTACK WASHINGTON.
It was a painful, mortifying event, ered that both he and we are wholly and rendered all the more so by its crip- indebted for our means of resistance to pling the government, strengthening his loss and our acquisition of the Gosthe secessionists, prolonging the contest, port Navy Yard." * and giving the enemy so abundant For some time past, the bot-bloods of ground of rejoicing. It was bad enough the South had been crying out for an to meet with losses such as those just attack upon Washington. Its capture, named; but to have the guns stolen they thought, would be no difficult matfrom us turned against us, in Virginia, ter, and its importance to them, as giv. North Carolina and the West, was par. ing them a sort of credit in the eyes ticularly aggravating. Mr. W. H. Pe of the world, they valued very highly.
, ters, a person appointed by the gov. Various and alarming reports came up ernor of Virginia to make an inventory from all quarters of the seceded of the property acquired by seizing upon states, and the newspapers, as what belonged to the government, illus- well as the speechifying demagogues, trates clearly the position of affairs on urged an immediate advance
the this subject. He writes in this strain :- capital. “The capture of Washington “I had proposed some remarks upon city," said a Richmond paper, April the vast importance to Virginia, and to 23d, “ is perfectly within the power of the entire South, of the timely acqui- Virginia and Maryland, if Virginia will sition of this extensive naval depot, only make the effort by her constituted with its immense supplies of munitions authority; nor is there a single moment of war, and to notice briefly the dam- to lose. The entire population pant for aging effects of its loss to the govern- the onset. There was never half the ment at Washington; but I deem it un- unanimity among the people before, nor necessary, since the presence at almost a tithe of the zeal upon any subject that every exposed point on the whole south. is now manifested to take Washington ern coast, and at numerous inland in and drive from it every Black Repnb.
. trenched camps in the several states, lican who is a dweller there. From the of heavy pieces of ordnance, with their mountain tops and valleys to the shores equipments and fixed ammunition, all of the sea, there is one wild shout of supplied from this establishment, fully fierce resolve to capture Washington attests the one; while the unwillingness city at all and every human hazard. of the enemy to attempt demonstrations The filthy cage of unclean birds must at any point, from which he is obviously and will assuredly be purified by fire. deterred by the knowledge of its well. The people are determined upon it, and fortified condition, abundantly proves are clamorous for a leader to conduct the other—especially when it is consid. them to the onslaught. That leader
will assuredly rise, aye, and that right that time every possible reason for the conviction speedily.” that the rebellion was the winning side, and that de.
Doubtless, from what is now known votion to the government could end only in defeat,
* See Richmo.id Enquirer, February 4th, 1862.
loss, and death."