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Andersoư ville, Georgia, and in the full shot by unrestrained and brutal guards; descripticn, verified on oath, of what despondent even to madness, idiocy and is now being suffered there by the im- suicide; sick of diseases (so congruous prisoned soldiers of our army. It would in character as to appear and spread appear to be Belle Isle five times en- like the plague), caused by the torrid larged, and tenfold intensified. An sun, by decaying food, by filth, by ver. enormous multitude of 35,000 men are min, by malaria, and by cold; removed crowded together in a square enclosure at the last moment, and by hundreds at or stockade of about twenty-five acres, a time, to hospitals corrupt as a sepulwith a noxious swamp at the centre, chre, there, with few remedies, little occupying one-fourth of the whole space. care and no sympathy, to die in wretchHere the prisoners suffer not only the edness and despair, not only among privations already mentioned, but others strangers, but among enemies too resentpeculiar to circumstances of a worse ful either to have pity or to show mercy. description. In this pestilential prison * These are positive facts. Tens of they are dying at the rate of 130 a day, thousands of helpless men have been on an average! The commissioners and are now being disabled and deallude to this station not as part of the stroyed by a process as certain as evidence taken by themselves, but as poison, and as cruel as the torture or an interesting, authentic, and corrobo- burning at the stake, because nearly as rative illustration of the point now agonizing and more prolonged. This under consideration.*
spectacle is daily beheld and allowed “It is the same story everywhere :- by the rebel government. No supposiprisoners of war treated worse than tion of negligence, or thoughtlessness, convicts, shut up either in suffocating or indifference, or accident, or ineffici- !| buildings, or in outdoor enclosures, ency, or destitution, or necessity, can without even the shelter that is pro- account for all this. So many and such vided for the beasts of the field ; un- positive forms of abuse and wrong can supplied with sufficient food; supplied not come from negative causes. The with food and water injurious and even conclusion is unavoidable, therefore, poisonous; compelled to live in such that these privations and sufferings' personal uncleanliness as to generate have been designedly inflicted by the vermin; compelled to sleep on floors military and other authority of the often covered with human filth, or on rebel government, and cannot have ground saturated with it; compelled to been due to causes which such authorbreathe an air oppressed with an intol. ities could not control.'”* erable stench; hemmed in by a fatal dead-line and in hourly danger of being * Some mitigation of these unutterable, indescrib.
able sufferings was happily effected before the close of * In a supplement to the report is an account of the the year, the result of a correspondence between Gen. sufferings of our prisoners at Andersonville, Georgia, Lee and Gen. Grant, the rebel authorities taking the and the memorial and appeal, sent through one of initiative, by which it was agreed that either party their number exchanged, to the president of the Uni- might send to their prisoners of war such articles of ted States, under date of August, 1864.
necessity and comfort as might be desirable. This was
ATTEMPT TO FIRE NEW YORK CITY.
As we have before noted (p. 387), requiring, in any similar case, that the raids were threatened along our north- marauders be shot, and, if need be, that ern frontier by rebel sympathisers and they be pursued into Canada and traitors in the British dominions. Two brought to his headquarters for sumsmall steamers were burned on Lake mary execution. The president modiErie by a band of these ruffians, who fied the order, and the Canadian authormade their escape into Canada ; * and ities re-arrested Young and several of in October, another band, about thirty his companions. in number, attacked the village of St. In furtherance of their vile purposes, Albans, Vermont, plundered the banks, the rebels made a deliberate attempt to stole all they could, and made off to set fire to the chief hotels and theatres, ward the Canada line. They were pur on the night of the 25th of November; sued, and, by the help of the Canadian but, providentially, the murderous atauthorities, twelve of them, beside a tempt was defeated. In speaking of fellow named Young, were arrested and this, Gen. Dix said, the next day: “If put in jail. Various delays occurred this attempt had succeeded, it would before a trial could be had; and then, have resulted in a frightful sacrifice of on the 13th of December, the Canadian property and life. The evidences of judge, Coursol, of Montreal, decided extensive combination, and other facts that the court had no jurisdiction, and disclosed to-day, show it to have been set the robbers and murderers at liberty. the work of rebel emissaries and agents. Such conduct stirred up great indigna. All such persons engaged in secret acts tion in the United States; Gen. Dix, of hostility here can only be regarded at New York, issued a stringent order, as spies, subject to martial law, and to
the penalty of death. If they are dea decided measure of relief pending the negotiation of the entangled question of a general exchange of tected, they will be immediately brought prisoners. Early in the following year, 1865, the ex before a court martial or military comchange of prisoners, on the part of the North, was mission, and, if convicted, they will be placed in the hands of Gen. Grant, by whom arrangements were made and carried into effect for a general executed without the delay of a single exchange. (See p. 390.)
day.": * The leader in this affair, John Y. Beall, a native of Virginia, was arrested, in December, by Mr. Young, * R. C. Kennedy, a Louisianian, one of the chief in. chief of the New York Metropolitan detective force.cendiaries, was arrested and tried by a military com. Beall was tried and convicted “as a spy and guerrillero," mission at Gen. Dix's headquarters. He was convicted and was hung on the 18th of February, 1865.
and hung on the 25th of March, 1865.
PEACE PROPOSITIONS: ACTION OF CONGRESS: INAUGURATION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Renewal efforts to negotiate peace with the rebels – Mr. F. P. Blair goes to Richmond — His movements
The president's course – Conference — Failure of any result -- Another attempt - The president's letter to Gen. Grant - The rebel statement — Davis's mortification — Lee appointed rebel commander-in-chief His urgent appeal — Rebel congress vote to arm the slaves and employ them as soldiers — Bitter necessity of the case — Last appeal of rebel congress — Second session of the Thirty-eighth Congress — Various measures — The most important, the passing the Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery — The amendment, as sent to the states — Action thereupon — The national debt at this date — Andrew Johnson's inaugural speech, as vice-president, on the 4th of March — Striking scene at Mr. Lincoln's inauguration His remarkable address in full — Reasons for hopefulness in the future.
In a previous chapter (p. 460), we | ton, and communicating Davis's letter have given some account of the efforts to the president, Blair received, on the made to satisfy the longing desire for 18th of January, a reply, as follows: peace, and the fruitless results of such “Sir, you having shown me Mr. efforts. Despite the failure, in the sum. Davis's letter to you, of the mer of 1864, there was a renewal of the 12th inst., you may say to him that I attempt to reach the same end, by the have constantly been, am now, and shall visit of Francis P. Blair, senior, to continue ready to receive any agent Richmond, in December. This gentle- whom he, or any other influential perman was allowed, by an order from the son now resisting the national authority, president, on the 26th of December, may informally send me, with a view of " to pass our lines, go south, and re- securing peace to the people of our turn,” but received no authority to common country.” Blair, thereupon, speak or act for the government, nor revisited Richmond, and Davis appointwas the president “ informed of any- ed three persons, A. H. Stephens, J. A. thing he would say or do on his own Campbell, and R. M. T. Hunter, as account or otherwise.” On his arrival commissioners 10 proceed to Washing. at Richmond, Mr. Blair had an inter- ton. On the 29th of January, these view with Jeff. Davis, and received agents of Davis reached our lines, and, from him a letter, dated January 12th, after some delays, arrived at Gen. in which he expressed himself desirous Grant's headquarters at City Point, to send a commissioner, or receive a where they met Major Eckert, whom commission, “ to enter into a conference the president had sent on his behalf. with a view to secure peace to the two An unsatisfactory interview was had, on countries.” On returning to Washing the 1st of February, and matters would
PEACE CONFERENCE FAILS.
probably have closed here, had not Gen. other party, it was not said that, in any Grant, indirectly, through the secretary event or on any condition, they ever of war, urged the president to meet would consent to reunion; and yet they Messrs. Stephens, Campbell and Hunter. equally omitted to declare that they Acting on this suggestion, Mr. Lincoln would never so consent. They seemed followed Secretary Seward, who had to desire a postponement of that quesgone to Fortress Monroe a day or two tion, and the adoption of some other before. He reached Hampton Roads course first, which, as some of them on the evening of the 2d of February, seemed to argue, might or might not and the next day the interview took lead to reunion, but which course, we place on board of a steamer in the thought, would amount to an indefinite river. “On the morning of the 3d,” as postponement. The conference ended the president stated in a message to without result.” Congress, in reply to a resolution, The persons above named, on their “Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Camp- return to the rebel capital, made a rebell came aboard our steamer, and had port to Jeff. Davis, who sent it, with a an interview with the secretary of state message to his congress, on the 6th of and myself, of several hours' duration. February. As was to be expected, No question of preliminaries to the Davis felt very uncomfortable at the meeting was then and there made or result, which placed Mr. Lincoln, in his mentioned. No other person was pre- view, in the light of a “conquerer," sent. No papers were exchanged or and required "unconditional submisproduced, and it was in advance agreed sion” to the Constitution and laws of that the conversation was to be informal the United States, emancipation and and verbal merely. On my part, the the abolishment of slavery included. whole substance of the instructions to Several public meetings were held in the secretary of state, herein before re- Richmond, in order, as one of the news
cited, was stated and insisted papers phrased it, “to hurl back into
upon, and nothing was said in- Lincoln's teeth the insult put upon the consistent therewith; * while, by the southern people by his answers to the
confederate commissioners.” Speeches * These instructions were thus worded :-“You will were made by Hunter, Benjamin, and make known to them (Stephens, etc.) that three things others; fierce denunciations were in. are indispensable,- 1st, The restoration of the national authority throughout all the states. 22, No receding dulged in; and tremendous efforts were by the executive of the United States, on the slavery made to rouse up the southern spirit question, from the position assumed thereon in the late annual message to Congress, and in the preceding sufficiently to carry on the contest now documents. 32, No cessation of hostilities short of an almost hopeless. end of the war, and the disbanding of all the forces
Another attempt at negotiation was hostile to the government. You will inform them that all propositions of theirs not inconsistent with the made by Davis, at the end of February, above will be considered and passed upon in a spirit arising out of a conversation between of sincere liberality. You will hear all they may Gen. "Ord and the rebel Gen. Longchoose to say, and report it to me. You will not assume to definitely consummatr anything.”
street, at an interview on the subject
of the exchange of prisoners. Lee, by of dissolution, and, bravely and detiDavis's direction, communicated with antly as the rebels talked, they could Grant, who asked for orders from the not shut their eyes to the fact. president. The answer came directly
, Another measure, which plainly fore. on the 3d of March, through the secre- shadowed the approaching ruin of the tary of war :-“The president directs rebellion, was that which, after much me to say to you, that he wishes you to bitter discussion in the newspapers, and have no conference with Gen. Lee, unless by the rebel leaders and congress, was it be for the capitulation of Gen. Lee's finally determined upon in the month army, or on mere minor and purely of March; we refer to the arming of military matters. He instructs me to the negroes and employing them as say
that you are not to decide, discuss, soldiers. Gen. Lee, who was of opinion or confer upon any political question. that the negroes would make good solSuch questions the president holds in diers, and who was painfully aware of his own hands, and will submit them the vast importance of securing an into no military conferences or conven- crease to his army, said distinctly, “I tions. Meantime, you are to press to think this measure not only expedient the utmost your military advantages." | but necessary.” And so others thought This, of course, put a stop to anything and said; but it was a bitter draft to further, and Grant informed Lee ac- swallow by those haughty men who cordingly.
were trying to build up an edifice, the Early in February, Lee, who had very corner stone of which was, the been inade general-in-chief of the rebel blessings of slavery and the absolute, forces, issued an order stating the fact, God-ordained inferiority of the negro in which he said, “I rely for success race. It was like a self-stultification to upon the courage and fortitude of the adopt the course now resolved upon; army, sustained by the patriotism and and this, more than one among them firmness of the people, confident that clearly saw. “Whenever,” said Gov. their united efforts, under the blessing Brown of Georgia, " we establish the of Heaven, will secure peace and inde- fact that the negroes are a military pendence.” Lee followed this by call people, we destroy our theory that they ing, in most urgent terms, upon desert. are unfit to be free. When we arm the ers, absentees, and the like, who, he slaves we abandon slavery.” So, too, was 'sure, would “require no exhorta- Mr. Hunter of Virginia, in the rebel tion to respond to the calls of honor senate, pointed out the inevitable conand duty." He offered free pardon to clusions to which the present measure all such who would come before twenty led. “If we offer slaves their freedom days elapsed, and threatened punish- as a boon, we confess that we were inment in case of refusal. But the appeal sincere, were hypocritical, in asserting was in vain. Deserters and absentees had that slavery was the best state for the had enough of fighting in this war. The negroes themselves. · Arming “ Confederacy” was in the last stages and emancipating the slaves was an