Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cu. II.]

REBEL PLUNDERING AND SPOLIATION.

31

or grants, were freely supplied; and and order, and with those, of happi. early in May, there were at least 100,- ness and prosperity throughout our 000 men in active preparation for the country.” field. The promptitude and enthusi- It was not, however, in the loyal states asm of the people were ably seconded alone that active and energetic measny the governors of the states, and it ures were pursued. The southern leadwas a truly noble and inspiriting spec-ers, who had long before marked out. tacle to behold the heartiness and un- their course of proceedings, pushed forselfishness of those who had resolved ward operations in every direction. The that the Union should never perish work of public spoliation, which was through their neglect or lack of devo- begun at Charleston, Savannah and tion to its best interests.*

New Orleans, was also vigorously car. On the 31 of May, the president is- ried on in other regions of the country. sued a proclamation, calling for troops, Within a few days of the fall of Sumter,

a to serve for three years, unless sooner the steam transport Star of the West, discharged. Forty-two thousand vol. loaded with provisions, sent for the unteers were thus called for, while the relief of the United States troops in regular army was directed to be in Texas, was treacherously seized at Increased by the addition of eight regi. dianola by a body of insurgents, under ments of infantry, one of cavalry, and Colonel Van Dorn; the arsenals at one of artillery, making an aggregate Liberty in Missouri, Fayetteville in

, of nearly 23,000 officers, and men. North Carolina, and Napoleon in ArEighteen thousand seamen were, at the kansas, with stores of arms and ammun. same time, ordered to be enlisted for ition, were plundered by the rebels ; the naval service of the United States. Fort Smith, in Arkansas, was taken posHaving stated that these requisitions session of by Colonel Solon Borland, and acts would be submitted to Con- the leader of a volunteer band of secesgress, as soon it assembled, the presi- sionists. In consequence of the vardent said :-“In the meantime, I earn- ious acts of robbery and violence in estly invoke the co-operation of all good Virginia and North Carolina, defeating citizens in the measures hereby adopted the exercise of the proper powers of the for the effectual suppression of unlaw. federal government, President Lincoln, ful violence, for the impartial enforce on the 27th of April, by proclamation, ment of constitutional laws, and for the extended the blockade of the southern speediest possible restoration of peace coast to those states.*

As Washington was now considered * The activity, zeal, and courage of the governors of he loyal states, deserve especial mention. Not only in he older states, but in the great West, these qualities * On the 20th of May, the United States marshals, were nobly exemplified. In Indiana, for instance, Gov- by order of the government, seized upon all the disernor Morton called for the troops apportioned to that patches and communications in the leading telegraph state by the president's proclamation. In less than offices in the North. This was done in order to diseight days, more than 12,000 men, three times the cover secret confederate allies and sympathizers in the number asked för, tendered their services in behalf of loyal states, and thus to defeat their plans and prir

| poses.

their country

1861.

*

а

to be safe from any rebel attack, it was man by the name of Jackson, met him, but natural that some active steps and seeing what had been done, fired should be called for, in order to put an into his bosom. Ellsworth fell dead,

end to the insolent pretensions and Jackson immediately after was

of secessionists and violators of killed by one of the zouaves in comthe law. Arlington Heights might be, pany. The funeral ceremonies in con

, and probably would be, taken posses- nection with Ellsworth’s death were sion of by the rebels, if time were impressive and largely attended, both allowed them; and then, what roused in Washington and New York. On the blood of many a patriotic citizen the other hand, the southern press laudand soldier, there, just across the river, ed Jackson's act as a noble deed, aud in full sight from the capital, the seces- worthy of perpetual memory.* At the sion flag was displayed, as if in mockery North, Ellsworth was looked upon as of the majesty and dignity of that gov. having been assassinated; at the South, ernment which the father of his country Jackson was called a hero and a martyr. gave his whole life to uphold. It was However the incident may be viewed. therefore resolved to make a forward it certainly indicated at the time, that movement into Virginia. This was ac- there was likely to be a terrible earn. complished on the night of the 23d of estness on both sides; that the contest May, under the direction of Gen. Mans was a real one which was now inaug. field. The force which crossed the Poto- urated; that the day of words had mac consisted of some 13,000 in all, and passed; and that the hour for deeds had immediate possession was taken of Ar. arrived. lington Heights and of Alexandria. The determination of the government At this latter place, Colonel Ellsworth, to use such force as was at its command, with his noted New York Fire Zouaves, in order to suppress the rebellion, caused arrived by water, very early in the no little alarm to the secession leaders; morning of the 24th of May. His first and notwithstanding much boasting op impulse was to destroy the railroad their part as to their superior prowess,

, communication, and to seize upon the it was felt that the North was now fully telegraph office, both of them measures roused, and settled in its conviction in of importance; but, as he was on his regard to the duty owed to our native way to the office of the telegraph, he land in this hour of trial. All the espied iying from the Marshall House, hopes and expectations based on the a second class hotel, a confederate flag. alliance and aid looked for from north Although accompanied by only three ern sources were futile and valueless, t or four persons, Ellsworth, with more enthusiasm than discretion, rushed into * See Duyckinck’s “ War for the Union,” vol. i., pp. the house, mounted to the roof, cut the circumstances attending it. For the “ fire-eating"

195 to 202, for a full account of Ellsworth's death and down the flag, and having wrapped it statement

, overflowing with furious words, see Polround his body was coming down the lard's “ First Year of the War," vol

. i., pp. 72–76, and

the Charleston Mercury," of that date. stairs. The proprietor of the house, a + Franklin Pierce, formerly president of the United

Ch. II.

DAVIS'S APOLOGY FOR REBELLION.

33

and if the rebel states were to fight at all, sophism of sovereign state rights and they found that they must rely on their the secession of any state at pleasure, own resources in the present emergency. the Union being a mere rope of sand. Jefferson Davis, the astute politician and The apology was intended for effect fit leader in a bad cause, was well aware abroad quite as much as at home; and of all this; and consequently, every subsequent events showed that Davis effort was made to nerve the deluded had made his calculations to good purpeople, who had been drawn into sec- pose. On the 6th of May, the Montession and rebellion, to enter with all gomery Congress formally declared war their might into the contest. At Harper's on the United States, as a foreign power. Ferry, Manassas, Hampton, and Rich. An enlistment act was passed ; an issue mond, the rebels were strongly posted, of $50,000,000 treasury notes was auand it was the plan of the leaders to thorized; debtors were forbidden to pay make Virginia, as far as possible, the their northern creditors, etc. By rebattle-ground on which to test the quest, Davis appointed a fast day, and cause they had adopted, against the on the 21st of May, the congress adforce of arms wielded by Union hands. journed, to meet July 20th, in RichDavis and his co-workers knew that, on mond, Virginia, which was henceforth every account, it was important as well to be the capital of the Confederate as desirable for them and their so-called States of America. Immediately Davis gorernment to be in Virginia; and ac- left Montgomery, and, on arriving at cordingly, they made arrangements to Richmond, on the 28th, was received this effect as speedily as possible. with due honor and attention. Some

At the close of April, (see vol. iii. of his words may be quoted here, as p. 562,) the Confederate Congress met manifesting the spirit which actuated at Montgomery, Alabama, and Davis, the head of the rebel organization. in his address, made an elaborate apol. Speaking of the loyal population in the

ogy for southern secession. It free states, he said: “They have al

was prepared with undoubted lowed an ignorant usurper to trample ability and skill; but, like all papers upon all the prerogatives of citizenship, of the kind, emanating from that and to exercise powers never delegated

, source, it was based upon the necessary to him; and it has been reserved to ,

your own state, so lately one of the States, wrote to Jefferson Davis, January 6th, 1860, en

now, couraging him and others in their fell designs, in original thirteen, but

thank God, language such as this: “Without discussing the fully separated from them, to become question of right, of abstract power to secede, I have the theatre of a great central camp, never believed that actual disruption of the Union can occur without blood ; and if through the madness of from which will pour forth thousands northern abolitionism that dire calamity must come, of brave hearts to roll back the tide of che fighting will not be along Mason's and Dixon's this despotism. Apart from that gratiline merely. It will be within our own borders, in our oron streets, between the two classes of citizens to fication we may well feel at being sepawhom I have referred. Those who defy law and sacred rated from such a connection, is the constitutional obligations, will, if ever we reach the arbitrament of arms, find occupa-ion enough at home." pride that upon you devolves the task

1861.

VOL. IV.-5.

of maintaining and defending our new fortunes and your lives, are involved government."

in this momentous contest." Witt Beauregard reached Richmond a few this, and more such like stuff Beaure. days afterwards, to take command in gard entered upon his work in VirVirginia. Before leaving Charleston, ginia. Troops from every quarter were he gave expression to the disappoint- gathered together, and generals and ment and spite entertained at the South other officers of various grades, who towards Gen. Scott, because the brave had forsworn themselves by desertold hero held to his loyalty without ing the flag of the United States, wavering. * On the 5th of June, Beaure were busily engaged in fortifying varigard issued a proclamation, which, for ous points, and in bringing the troops its ridiculous bluster and foul-mouthed into as high a state of discipline and insinuations, was not surpassed by any efficiency as was in their power. of the southern rebels, military or The rebels saw no opportunity now otherwise. “A reckless and unprinci- of assaulting Washington, or carrying pled tyrant has invaded your soil. the war, as they had been led to hope, Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all into the loyal states. Their main efforts moral, legal, and constitutional re were now directed to the sustaining straints, has thrown his abolition and holding the positions already occuhosts among you, who are murdering pied, and to the repulsing the advances and imprisoning your citizens, confisca of the Union troops. Numerous skirting and destroying your property, and mishes and collisions, of no great mocommitting other acts of violence and ment, occurred at several points in Viroutrage, too shocking and revolting to ginia; and the gunboats began to prove humanity to be enumerated. All rules their value at Sewall's Point, Acquia of civilized warfare are abandoned, and Creek, Matthias Point, etc. On the they proclaim by their acts, if not on 1st of June, Lieutenant Tomptheir banners, that their war-cry is, kins with a company of cavalry, 'Beauty and Booty !' All that is made a bold dash into Fairfax Courtdear to man-your honor and that House, and defeated a detachment of of your wives and daughters—your the enemy whom he found there. Two

days later, a camp of some 1,500 seces. * See Beauregard's letter to Gen. Martin, May 27th, sionists at Philippi, Barbour Co., in 1861: “Whatever happens at first, we are certain to Western Virginia, was, assaulted by have triumph at last, even if we had for arms only pitchforks and flint-lock muskets ; for every bushand Union troops under Colonels Kelly hay-stack will become an ambush, and every barn a and Dumont. A heavy storm interfer fortress. The history of nations proves that a gallant ed with their operations; Col. Kelly firesides, are invincible against even disciplined mer. was dangerously wounded; but the cenaries at a few dollars per month. What, then, rebels were routed and ran away,

1861.

leav. than an armed rabble, gathered together hastily on a ing everything behind. A spirited ad. false pretence and for an unholy purpose, with an octo

vance of an Indiana regiment, under genarian at its head? None but the demented can

Colonel Wallace, was made on the 11th

must be the result when its enemies are little more

doubt the issue.”

CH. IL.]

BUTLER'S BIG BETHEL FAILURE.

35

1861.

of June, in a rapid march across Hamp- took each other for enemies, and fired shire County; a body of secessionists at both musketry and cannon, killing two Romney was dispersed and compelled and wounding nineteen. The rebels to retreat. On the 9th of June, Gen. received warning of the approaching Patterson at Chambersburg, Penn,, ad- expedition and profited by it; so that, vanced towards Harper's Ferry with a when towards noon the assault was considerable force; the result of which made by the Union troops, it proved movement was, that on the 14th, the unsuccessful, and the order was given rebels abandoned that position, after to retreat. Major Winthrop and Lieut. having burned the railroad bridge over Greble were killed, together with quite the Potomac, destroyed all the proper a large number of the troops, and the ty they could, and torn up the track of expedition turned out to be a failure. the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for On the 17th of June, Gen. Schenck, about twelve miles from the Ferry. by order of Gen. McDowell, went on a

Gen. Butler, having in command, at reconnoitring expedition with the 1st Fortress Monroe, about 6,000 men, Ohio regiment. The troops left Alex. learned that the enemy had fortified andria in the cars on the Leesburg themselves strongly at Big Bethel, Railroad, and soon after reached some twelve miles from the fortress.* the little village of Vienna. A secret expedition was thereupon pre. Here a masked battery was opened pared to drive them out. Late on the upon them with fearful destructiveness; night of the 19th of June, boats con. and although the Ohio men stood their veyed troops, under Col. Duryea, across ground bravely, they were at last comHampton Creek, to take the advance. pelled to retire. Their loss was five These reached Little Bethel, a few miles killed, six wounded and seven missing; from Big Bethel, about four o'clock the enemy, it was reported, suffered no in the morning, and made prisoners of loss whatever. At the same date, June a picket guard of the enemy. Every 16th, Gen. Thomas crossed the Potomac thing promised success; but unbappily, at Williamsport, Maryland, but was the main body, consisting of two regi. ordered to recross on the 18th, which ments, in the darkness of the night mis- gave the rebels a fresh chance for deg.

* The facilities afforded to the rebels by slave labor truction at Harper's Ferry. General in erecting fortifications, etc., brought up a novel and Patterson, in command, crossed at Wilrather difficult question. At Hampton, when the

liamsport on July 2d; and it was esti. whites fled, the negroes came into camp near Fortress Monroe. What was to be done with them ? Gen. mated that at the close of the month of Butler could not think it right to send them back to June, there were on and near the Pototheir masters to work against the Union and its cause; 80, with great cleverness, he pronounced them contra mac a hundred thousand troops, more band of war

. When a certain lawyer, named Mallory, or less ready for active service. The sent for three fugitives, the above was the answer he received; with the privilege, however, of coming in,

rebel force, as nearly as could be ascerand on taking the oath of allegiance, receiving back tained, was supposed to be, though it his slaves. The government sustained the action of Gen. was not, equal to ours in number. Butler, whose letter to Gen. Scott, May 27th, is worth reading even at this day.

With such and such like evidences

« PreviousContinue »