Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

United States. It is true that this re- On subsequent pages we shall bave sult did not take place, as they confi- occasion to speak more fully of several dently looked for; but it is equally points, which require careful examinatrue, that the South obtained a great tion' in order rightly to comprehend the amount of sympathy and help from state of affairs in this great struggle abroad, and the government was very for national existence.* seriously hampered and injured by the doings of the partisans for disunion on

* See Greeley's American Conflict,” vol. i., pp. the other side of the Atlantic.

498-516, in which is a carefully prepared estimate of We need not, however, enlarge

“the relative strength of the opposing parties about

to grapple in mortal combat.” The reader will find further on this topic at this time. these pages worth consulting and examining.

CHAPTER IV.

1861.

CONGRESS IN SESSION: BULL RUN DISASTER.

Thirty-seventh Congress, extra session - President Lincoln's message — Extracts from — General object of

message - Concluding words — Reports from the secretaries as to the army, navy, and treasury — Spirit of Congress — Special points of interest — Debate on the army bill — Resolution of the House and Senate after Bull Run defeat Bill for confiscating the property of the rebels — Enacting clause approving the president's acts, proclamations, etc. — Adjournment of Congress — Confederate Congress — Davis's message — Its bitter tone - Various measures adopted —“On to Richmond!”— Impatience of the people — Gen. Patterson and his course — Gen. McDowell in command of Army of the Potomac - Force under his command — March of the Grand Army from Washington — Tyler at Blackburn's Ford - Change of plan – Vexatious and fatal delays – Extracts from McDowell's report, describing the battle of Bull Run - Jefferson Davis on the field — Nume bers of the troops engaged on both sides — Losses at Bull Run according to the Union and rebel accounts Beauregard's and Johnson's reasons for not pursuing the routed army – Rebel outrages — Effect of the disaster at Bull Run — Depression and discouragement - Criticism on the battle — Mr. Greeley's statements – Bitter but salutary lesson for the future.

On the 4th of July, 1861, in compli-| large, working majority of republicans. . ance with the president's proclamation The next day, Mr. Lincoln sent in his (see p. 19), the Thirty-seventh Congress first message to Congress. It was a met in Washington for its first session. document looked for with no ordinary Senators from twenty-five states were interest in every part of the country, present, soon after the opening; in the and was eagerly read and commented

House 159 representatives ans- upon. In it the president discussed, at

wered to their names; and Mr. some length, the questions requiring Grow, of Pennsylvania, was elected speedy attention and action, and on acSpeaker, on the second ballot. In both count of which this extra session of the Senate and the House there was a the national legislature was called. A

1861.

VOL. IV.-7.

review of matters connected with the preserve our liberties, as each had then outbreak of the rebellion, and a brief to establish them. A right result, at this statement of the policy of the new ad. time, will be worth more to the world ministration, were given in clear precise than ten times the men and ten times terms.* Inasmuch, however, as the the money. The evidence reaching us secessionists were determined to force from the country leaves no doubt that upon the country the issue, "immediate the material for the work is abundant; dissolution or blood,” he stated distinct- and that it needs only the hand of legis. ly what, in his judgment, Congress lation to give it legal sanction, and the ought to do. “It is now recommended hand of the executive to give it practithat you give the legal means for mak- cal shape and efficiency." ing this contest a short and decisive The latter part of the message was one; that you place at the control of the devoted to arguing again the question government, for the work, at least 400,- of secession and rebellion, and the 000 men and $400,000,000. That num president, in characteristic terms, de

.

, ber of men is about one tenth of those nounced the folly and wickedness of of proper ages within the regions where, those who, for thirty years, bad been apparently, all are willing to engage; drugging the public mind with the and the sum is less than a twenty-third sophism, “that any state of the Union part of the money-value owned by the may, consistently with the National men who seem ready to devote the Constitution, and therefore lawfully whole. A debt of $600,000,000 now, and peaceably, withdraw from the is a less sum per head than was the Union, without the consent of the debt of our Revolution when we came Union or of any other state.” “The

" out of that struggle; and the money states," as he justly said, “ have their value in the country now bears even a status in the Union, and they have no greater proportion to what it was then, other legal status. If they break from than does the population. Surely each this, they can only do so against law man has as strong a motive now, to and by revolution. The Union, and

* In view of the objections made by Chief-justice not themselves separately, procured Taney and others (see p. 29) on the subject of suspend their independence and their liberty. ing habeas corpus, Mr. Lincoln briefly argued the legality of his course on the ground of pressing necessity: By conquest, or purchase, the Union " The provision of the Constitution that the privilege gave each of them whatever of indeof the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended un pendence and liberty it has.

The less when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,' is equivalent to a provision—is Union is older than any of the states, a provision—that such privilege may be suspended and, in fact, it created them as states. when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety does require it. ... The Constitution itself is Originally some dependent colonies silent as to which, or who, is to exercise the power; made the Union, and, in turn, the and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous Union threw off their old dependence emergency, it cannot be believed that the framers of the instrument intended that, in every case, the danger for them, and made them states such should run its course, until Congress could be called

as they are. Not one of them ever had together; the very assembling of which might be prevented, as was intended in this case, by the rebellion." a state constitution independent of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Union.. What is now combatted, whole class of seceder politicians would is the position that secession is consistent at once deny the power, and denounce with the Constitution—is lawful and the act as the greatest outrage upon peaceful. It is not contended that there state rights. But suppose that precisely is any express law for it; and nothing the same act, instead of being called should ever be implied as law which • driving the one out,' should be called leads to unjust or absurd consequences. “the seceding of the others from that The nation purchased, with money, the one,' it would be exactly what the secedcountries out of which several of these ers claim to do; unless, indeed, they states were formed. Is it just that they make the point that the one, because it shall go off without leave, and without is a minority, may rightfully do what refunding? The nation paid very large the others, because they are a majority, sums (in the aggregate, I believe, nearly may not rightfully do." a hundred millions), to relieve Florida In concluding his message, Mr. Lin. of the aboriginal tribes. Is it just that coln, aware of the prospect before him she shall now be off without consent, or at so eventful a crisis, used words of without making any return? The nation solemn earnestness: “In full view of is now in debt for money applied to the his great responsibility, the executive benefit of these so-called seceding states, bas, so far, done what he has deemed in common with the rest. Is it just, his duty. You will now, according to either that creditors shall go unpaid, or your own judgment, perform yours. He the remaining states pay the whole ?

the whole? A sincerely

sincerely hopes that your views, and part of the present national debt was your action, may so accord with his as cuntracted to pay the old debts of Texas. to assure all faithful citizens, who have Is it just that she shall leave, and pay no been disturbed in their rights, of a cer. part of this herself? Again, if one state tain and speedy restoration to them may secede, so may another; and when under the Constitution and the laws. all shall have seceded, none is left to pay And having thus chosen our course, the debts. Is this quite just to credit- without guile and with pure purpose, ors ? Did we notify them of this sage let us renew our trust in God, and go view of ours when we borrowed their forward without fear and with manly money? If we now recognize this doc- hearts.” trine by allowing the seceders to go in

in The accompanying reports, from the peace, it is difficult to see what we can secretaries in the several departments, do if others choose to go, or to extort gave full and accurate information as terms upon which they will promise to to the position of affairs, and the de. remain. The principle (of se- mands which were to be made upon cession) is one of disintegration, and the country in the emergency upon which no government can possibly then existing. The entire army endure. If all the states, save one, force was thus computed : regulars and should assert the power to drive that one volunteers for three months and the out of the Union, it is presimed the war, 235,000; regiments of volunteers

.

1861.

accepted and not yet in service, 50,000; Mervine, consisting of 21 vessels, 282 new regiments of the regular army, guns, and 3,500 men 25,000 ; making a total of 310,000. The secretary of the treasury, Mr. Deducting the 80,000 three months Chase, in view of the vast increase of volunteers, 230,000 would be left for expenditures consequent upon the crisis the effective national army for the into which the country had fallen, estiwar, and the speedy crushing out of máted the coming year's outlay at the rebellion.

$300,000,000. To meet this expendiSecretary Welles, of the navy, re- ture, custom duties, direct taxes and ported, that, on the 4th of March, there loans were recommended; and the sewere 69 vessels of all classes, in the cretary set forth at large that, in his navy, mounting 1,346 guns. The ves-judgment, the people would sustain sels in commission were mostly on the government in its call for funds to foreign stations, with about 7,500 men, crush the rebellion. Startling as was exclusive of officers and marines. The the prospect of passing from the ordinhome squadron consisted of 12 vessels, ary outlay of $60,000,000 a year to carrying 187 guns, and about 2,000 five times that amount, the government men; added to this, was the demorali- found by experience, that the loyal supzation among navy officers (259 reporters of the Constitution and laws signed or were dismissed the service were fully equal to the demands then, between March 4th and July 4th), al- or at any time, to be made upon them.t though to their honor be it recorded, Congress addressed itself to its duties the crews, like brave and loyal men, with energy and determination. It was stood by the flag of the Union, and a fixed fact, that the Union must be were not to be seduced into betraying maintained, and the legislature, by its or deserting it. Necessity compelling

Necessity compelling votes, proved what was the spirit of immediate action, the navy department the people on this subject. The army had, previous to the meeting of Con- was increased by authorizing the erlistgress, secured transport steamers, and ment of 500,000 volunteers; the navy given out contracts to build 23 gun received its proportional increase; a boats, each of about 500 tons burden,

* To assist the secretary in the labors of the de as well as larger vessels. Eight sloopspartment, the president was directed to appoint an of war were put in forwardness at the assistant secretary of the navy. navy yards, and seamen were being ac- great practical experience and sagacity, and at the time

ferred upon Lieutenant G. V. Fox, a gentleman of

, tively recruited. The effective force, chief clerk in the navy department. His promotion at this date (July 4th), consisted of the was hailed with pleasure as a promise of increased vigor

in the service. See Dr. Boynton's History of the squadron on the Atlantic coast, under Navy during the Rebellion,vol

. i., chap. 111., pp. 56–69. the command of Flag Officer S. H.

+ About a month after the adjournment of Congress, Stringham, consisting of 22 vessels, of the United States for subscriptions to the two hund

Mr. Chase issued a circular, appealing to the citizens 296 guns, and 3,300 men—and the red and fifty million loan. The appeal was promptly squadron in the Gulf of Mexico, under met, and the secretary's circular did good service in

setting forth the ability and resources of the country the commaud of Flag-Officer William for so critical a condition of affairs as the present.

This office was con

CH, IV.

PREVAILING SENTIMENT IN CONGRESS.

53

1361.

loan of $250,000,000 and $50,000,000 The army bill was very ably and issue of treasury notes were authorized; warmly debated in the Senate, on the import duties were increased; taxes 18th of July, and it is interesting to were laid, collectable at a future day; note the sentiments and views expressetc. Here and there, there were men ed by eminent men in Congress, just like Vallandingham of Ohio, B. Wood before the humiliating repulse at Buil of New York, Burnett of Kentucky, Run, and when, on the loyal side, there and such like, who made every sort of was a general and confident expectation opposition to the means proposed in that the rebellion would speedily be order to sustain the government; but subdued. Mr. Sherman

of Ohio, they were a small, and on the whole, avowed that, in his view, there was no insignificant minority, and Congress intention of subjugating any state, or went on vigorously with its work, des- interfering with slavery. Mr. Dixon of pite their efforts to the contrary. Connecticut, declared emphatically, that

Without attempting to go into de if the question was, either let the gov- . tails, we may notice a few of the pro- ernment or slavery be destroyed, then minent points of interest at this extra of course slavery must perish. Mr. session. On the 9th of July, Mr. Love Browning of Illinois, uttered words of joy of Illinois, offered the following re similar import: “If the South force

solution, which was adopted by upon us the issue, whether the govern.

the House: Resolved, That in ment shall go down to maintain the inthe judgment of this House, it is no stitutions of slavery, or whether slavery part of the duty of the soldiers of the shall be obliterated to sustain the ConUnited States to capture and return stitution and the government, for which fugitive slaves.” This bore more or our fathers fought and bled, and the less directly upon the views set forth in principles that were concentrated in Gen. McClellan's proclamation in May, their blood,—I say, sir, when the issue (see p. 43, note), on the subject of sla. comes, if they force it upon us, that very and insurrection of the slaves, and one or the other is to be overthrown, what he and the army would do in such then I am for the government and a state of affairs. On the 10th of July,

On the 10th of July, against slavery, and my voice and my Mr. Clark of New Hampshire, moved vote shall be for sweeping the last vesthe expulsion from the Senate, on the tige of barbarism from the face of the ground of their being engaged in a con- continent.” Other senators, who took spiracy against the Union, of Messrs. part in the debate, while they held that Mason and Hunter from Virginia, slavery did not produce the rebellion, Clingman and Bragg from North Caro- and deprecated sentiments like those lina, Chesunt from South Carolina, just noticed, were still ready and will. Nicholson from Tennessee, Sebastian ing to give heart and hand to the putand Mitchell from Arkansas, Hemphill ting down disunion and rebellion. and Wigfall from Texas; which was In the House, Mr. Crittenden, of Kenaccordingly done

tucky, on the 19th of July offered a

« PreviousContinue »