Page images



but for some cause failed to advance an oppressively hot day, both corps were promptly to the ridge beyond. Had they engaged in a forward movement upon

done this, I have every reason to the enemy's entrenchments cov

believe that Petersburg would ering the road to Richmond have fallen. Other troops were imme- immediately in their front. Birrey was diately pushed forward, but the time partially successful ; but Hancock was consumed in getting them up enabled repulsed in an advance upon an advanthe enemy to rally from his surprise tageous position of the enemy, our loss (which had been complete), and get of the day being estimated at least at forces to this point for its defence. The 1,000. On the following day, there was captured line thus held being untena. some heavy cavalry skirmishing on the ble, and of no advantage to us, the right where Gregg's division, guarding troops were withdrawn, but not with the flank, reached the Charles City road. out heavy loss. Thus terminated in On Tuesday, the 16th of August, the disaster what promised to be the most weather still continuing oppressively successful assault of the campaign."* hot, fighting was renewed. The ene

This last attempt on our part having my's line was carried; but having ralmet with so lamentable a failure, mat- lied, it was again retaken by them, the ters resumed their usual course in car. contest continuing until evening. On rying on the siege against Petersburg. the night of the 18th of August, BirGrant learning by reports from various ney's line was attacked by the rebels sources that Lee had detached a large in heavy force ; but after half an hour's body of troops to reinforce Early in the fighting, they were repulsed with great Shenandoah Valley, availed himself of loss. Gen. Miles, with two brigades, the occasion to order a force to threaten took part in the fight, attacking the Richmond from the north side of the enemy on his right flank. Two days James, in order to prevent Lee from later, Hancock returned, by way of Bersending off troops, and if possible to muda Hundred, to his old camp before draw back those which had been sent. Petersburg. Our loss in this movement Accordingly, on the night of August was estimated to exceed 1,500 men. 13th, Gregg's cavalry division and Bir- The principal advantage was, the keepney's corps crossed the river on the pon- ing back troops under orders to march toon bridge and joined Foster's brigade for the Valley; and the capturing six in its old position at Deep Bottom, pieces of artillery and several hundred while, at the same time, Hancock's corps, prisoners. * which had been ostentatiously sent The rebel commander, having withdown the river on transports, was se- drawn largely from Petersburg, in order cretly brought back and united with this force. The next day, August 14th, James River a strong working party was presently en

* About this date, August 10th, to the north of the

gaged, under cover of our advanced batteries on that * Gen. Grant's “ Report," p. 25. See also, on the side, in digging a canal across the peninsula at Dutch subject of the mine at Petersburg, Coppée's " Grant Gap, for the sake of securing a nearer base of opera. and his Campaigns,' pp. 364-373.

tions against Richmond.

CH. XI.]



to resist the movement abore narrated, up at the opportune moment, and the ar. Grant determined to strike out on the tillery being effectively employed, the left flank, which now rested within enemy was driven from the field, three miles of the Weldon Railroad. and the. Union lines re-established. On the morning of August 18th, War. Another desperate attempt was made ren moved from camp towards the Wel. by the enemy on the 21st of August, don Road, wbich he struck about noon to break up the line now firmly estahat Six-mile Station. While Griffin's lished across the railroad. An attack division remained there breaking up was made in two beavy columns, both the road, Ayer's, with Crawford's and of which were repulsed, the enemy sufCutter's divisions, advanced several fering fearfully from their exposure to miles beyond, and took up a position the fire from our works. The loss of to the right and left of the railroad. officers on the field was large. The ag: Lee, aware of the vast importance of gregate loss sustained by Warren in this road for his communications, order these actions was, in killed, wounded, ed a determined assault to be made, and missing, about 4,500. and our men to be driven off. Hill's While Warren was strengthening his corps advanced, and charged with im- position before Petersburg, a considerapetuous confidence. .At first, they were ble body of infantry, with cavalry supsuccessful in the assault, but afterwards ports, was engaged in the destruction of were repulsed. Again and again they the railroad below. They had been reinrenewed the assault; but were in each forced in this work in the vicinity of instance driven back; and at the close Ream's Station by the 2d corps, when, of the day, Warren was in possession on the 25th of August, the enemy made of the road. Resolved to hold the im- a fierce and determined attack on portant advantage thus gained, Warren Hancock's men. Twice the rebels at night threw up entrenchments in a were repulsed, but as A. P. Hill heavy rain. The next day, while the resolved to carry the position at all baznew line was being strengthened and ards, the attack was renewed about reinforced to connect with the old posi. 5.30 P.M. “The enemy," says Hancock,

tion before the city on the right, in his report of Ream's Station, "form.

it was again assailed in the ed in the woods, placed their artillery afternoon in the midst of a heavy rain. in position, opened a heavy cannonade, storm by A. P. Hill, and the two right lasting about fifteen minutes, and then divisions of Warren's corps were driven assaulted Miles's force. He resisted in, and a number of prisoners captured. tenaciously, but the enemy broke bis Wilcox's and White's commands—about line. Some of Gibbons's troops were 2,000 in all—of the 9th corps* coming hurried over to repair the damage, and

the * Gen. Burnside, after the disaster above detailed,

enemy only gained a slight foot. was relieved from command of the 9th corps, on the hold. The fighting was continuous un 13th of August. He returned to Providence, R. I., and til dark, the enemy being held in check was not called again into active service during the

by artillery, dismounted cavalry and



[ocr errors]


skirmishers. At dark we withdrew to would bave given a victory of consider a line in the rear and left of the station. able importance.” Hancock's loss num.

This is acknowledged to have bered 2,400 in killed, wounded, and been one of the most determined and missing, out of his small command of desperate fights of the war, resembling 8,000 infantry and cavalry. Five pieces Spottsylvania in its character, though of artillery were also lost. The rebel the number engaged gives less impor. loss is not known in numbers, but it is tance to it. A few more good troops known that it was very severe





Condition of the country — Preparations for the presidential election – Apprehensions — Trials to be encoun

tered — The Republican party at this date — Cleveland Convention, in May — Platforin — Fremont and Cochrane nominated — The Union and Republican Convention at Baltimore, in June - Resolutions and platform — Lincoln and Johnson nominated — The Arguelles case — The forged proclamation – Journal | of Commerce and World offices seized — Gen. Dix arrested — The Niagara Falls Conference – Longing desire for peace - Greeley and his efforts — The president's course in the matter — Raymond’s remarks — Democratic Convention in Chicago, in August — Its platform – McClellan and Pendleton nominated Action of the Thirty-eighth Congress -- Appropriations, loans, internal revenue, taxation, etc. —New enrollment bill — Proposed constitutional amendment – Fugitive slave law repealed – Reconstruction of states in rebellion - Provisions of the bill — Not signed by Mr. Lincoln - His reasons, as given in a proclamation - Protest of Messrs. Wade and Davis — Day of fasting, humiliation and prayer appointed by the president.

In the history of every country where | field, and the discipline to which they war has been prevailing for a length of were subjected, in God's Providence, time, details of military movements, was testing them, in various ways, and and their various ramifications, neces. teaching them to understand and apsarily occupy the larger space, and it is preciate, better than ever, the blessings apt to be forgotten that the narrative and privileges of freedom under the of military and naval operations, im- Constitution and laws of the land. We portant as these may be and are, affords shall, then, before resuming the narrabut a partial and imperfect view of the tive of the further progress of the war,

history of the nation, in the take this opportunity of turning aside

comprehensive and proper sense for a while, and of devoting a chapter of the term. The American people to some other matters than the ensanwere now going through other trials guined battle-field, matters which, althan those of the camp and the tented though not free from connection, more


Cu. XII.]



or less direct, with war and its terrors, increasing; new diafts of men, to fill are of historical importance and need- the ranks of new armies, were impend ful to be placed on record.

ing; the democratic party, from the It was one of the severe trials at this very beginning hostile to the war, and period in our country's history, that the largely imbued with devotion to the time had arrived when it was necessary principle of state sovereignty on which to go through the proper preliminaries, the rebellion rested, and with toleration and then for the people, by their suf- for slavery, out of which it grew, was frages, to make choice of him who was watching eagerly for every means of to be the president of the United States arousing popular hatred against the from and after the 4th of March, 1865. government, that they might secure the Mr. Lincoln's term of office would ex. transfer to their own hands; and the pire at that date; and it was now to losses, the agonies, the desolations of be determined whether he should be re- the war, were beginning, apparently, to elected to carry on to its completion the make themselves felt injuriously upon present policy of the government, or the spirit, the endurance, the hopeful whether some other citizen should be resolution of the people throughout the placed in this most responsible and dif loyal states." * Yet the duty was to be ficult position. That such an election, performed; it cculd not be evaded; always abundantly exciting, had be. and the people entered upon the work come necessary in the midst of a civil before them with a profound sense of war, when men's passions were roused the magnitude of the interests involved, to a fearful extent, was a strain upon and of the obligations resting upon the American system of government them to see that the Republic suffered which forehoded dangerous and pos- no harm through their negligence or sibly fatal consequences. It was an lack of patriotic effort. entirely new thing in our history; wise Preparations for the nomination of and thoughtful men looked uneasily at candidates were begun in the spring of the state of public affairs, and feared 1864. For a time, there was considereven more than they hoped; and many able hesitation as to the course to be a dark cloud bung over the political pursued. A portion of the party, which horizon. “The public debt was stead. placed Mr. Lincoln in the presidential ily and rapidly increasing. Under the chair, was strongly opposed to his conresistless pressure of military necessity, tinuance in office. The radical and the government, availing itself of the sweeping anti-slavery leaders deemed permission of the Constitution, had sus- Mr. Lincoln too slow and uncertain for pended the great safeguard of civil their wishes; active and ambitious men freedom, and dealt with individuals, were dissatisfied with the president for whom it deemed dangerous to the pub- not giving them the opportunity to lic safety, with as absolute and relent- advance their own as well as their less severity as the most absolute mon- country's interests; and office seekers, archies had ever shown. Taxes were

Raymond's “ Life of Abraham Lincoln," } 547.

in no small number, resented the lack recognized principle; and that the es of discrimination at Washington in not tablishment of an anti-republican gov. placing them in positions of trust and ernment on this continent by any for emolument. As it was impossible for eign power cannot be tolerated.” The Mr. Lincoln to please every body among question of “the reconstruction of the his supporters, even under the most fa- rebellious states” was pronounced to vorable circumstances, so he offended“ belong to the people through their numbers in the republican party, by de representatives in Congress, and not to clining to act upon their advice, or by the executive ;” and it was declared, determining upon great and critical “ that the confiscation of the lands of measures in a way which they did not the rebels, and their distribution among approve. It was no wonder, then, that, the soldiers and actual settlers, is a mea. under the pressure of various motives sure of justice.” Having passed these, and causes, efforts should be made to among other resolutions, the convention bring forward other prominent men, nominated Major-General John C. Fresuch as Secretary Chase, Gen. Grant, mont for president of the United States, Gen. Fremont, etc., and to obtain for and Gen. John Cochrane for vice presi some of these the nomination in place dent. Fremont's letter of acceptance of Mr. Lincoln.

was dated, New York, June 4th, in reThe earliest movement of a direct ply to the letter of the nominating comkind for nominating candidates for the mittee of the convention, in which he presidency was made by a convention was styled “the standard bearer of the which assembled at Cleveland, Ohio, radical democracy of the country." He on the 31st of May. Some 350 repre-expressed himself strongly in hostility to sentatives or delegates met at the time the policy of President Lincoln, and apappointed, having come from fifteen of proved of the platform of the convention, the different states, and the District of except the proposed confiscation. He also Columbia. Gen. John Cochrane of New expressed himself ready to withdraw York presided. Resolutions were adopt- from the field, if the Baltimore conven. ed, asserting that “the Constitution and tion should“ nominate any man whose laws of the United States must be main- past life justified a well grounded contained;" that “rights of free speech, free fidence in his fidelity to our cardinal press, and the habeas corpus be held principles.” * inviolate, save in districts where mar- The Union and Republican convential law has been proclaimed;" that tion met at Baltimore on the 7th of the rebellion has destroyed slavery, and the Federal Constitution should be vention, the nomination, and the letter of acceptance

According to Mr. Raymond's statements," the con amended to prohibit its re-establish- fell dead upon the popular feeling. . . . The posi ment and to secure to all min absolute him from those who had been his truest friends," etc. -

tion which Fremont had here taken at once separated equality before the law; that “Life of Abraham Lincoln,” p. 552. For the proceed “the national policy, known as ings of the Cleveland convention, the documents etc,

in full, see McPherson’s “ History of the Rebellion " PP · The Monroe Doctrine, bas become a 410-414.


« PreviousContinue »