« PreviousContinue »
seven years. At that time we shall probably have a hundred millions of people to share the burden, instead of thirtyone millions, as now. .. At the same ratio of increase which we have maintained, on an average, from our first national census, in 1790, until that of 1860, we should, in 1900, have a population of 103,208,415. And why may we not continue that ratio far beyond that period ? Our abundant room our broad national homestead — is our ample resource.
I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor colonization. And yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against free colored persons remaining in the country, which is largely imaginary, if not sometimes malicious. It is insisted that their presence would injure, and displace white labor and white laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere catch arguments, that time surely is not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that colored people can displace any more white labor by being free than by remaining slaves? If they stay in their old places, they jostle no white laborers; if they leave their old places, they leave them open to white laborers. Logically, there is neither more nor less of it. Emancipation, even without deportation, would probably enhance the wages of white labor, and, very surely, would not reduce them.
This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but in addition to, all others for restoring and preserving the national authority throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in its economical aspect. The plan would, I am confident, secure peace more speedily, and maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force alone; while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of payment, and times of payment, would be easier paid than will be the additional cost of the war, if we rely solely upon force. It is much
that it would cost no blood at all.
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present: The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case
is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this Administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.
This appeal, for the moment, brought no new support to the Administration. Emancipation in any form was wormwood and gall to men of the Border States in general, and the proposal of compensation for slaves, to be followed by their colonization, was hardly less repugnant to the most earnest emancipationists. Opposition members in both branches of Congress had become bolder and more outspoken since the late elections. On the Republican side there were serious discontents, with a growing inclination to criticise the Executive management. As to the conduct of the war, this state of feeling was aggravated by military events which had their disastrous culmination, soon after the session began, under the new commander of the Army of the Potomac.
Third Stage of the War – Stone River – On the Mississippi
and the Gulf.
The second period of the war may be reckoned as closing with the battles at Antietam, Perryville, Corinth, and Prairie Grove, which arrested the aggressive Northern movements of the Confederates after their repulse of McClellan at Richmond. About the same time helping to give character to a third period — were the initiation of an Emancipation policy and a change of military commanders.
A few days before McClellan was relieved of his command a like event happened to General Buell. He was ordered (October 28th) to give place to General Rosecrans, who found the army at Bowling Green. It required weeks to complete the restoration of the railway. Bragg had meantime not only returned through East Tennessee to Chattanooga, but had advanced from thence directly toward Nashville, where Rosecrans was at Christmas. Bragg was thirty miles distant, at Murfreesboro, when a southward movement of the Union army began on the 26th of December. McCook reached Wilkinson's Cross Roads, within six miles of Murfreesboro, on the 29th. Crittenden, by the Nash
( 146 )
ville turnpike, came up to Stone River the same day, and found the bluffs beyond occupied by a strong force of the enemy.
On the following day McCook advanced near the river, and was directed to place his men in position, forming the right of the line; and the corps of Thomas, now arrived, was joined to his left, connecting with Crittenden. The three corps numbered altogether a little less than fifty thousand men. Bragg's line, in a crescent, with Breckinridge's corps over the river forming the extreme right, was extended westward by Polk and Hardee to the intersection of the Nashville road with the railway, and thence across Wilkinson pike and the Franklin road.
Rosecrans planned to advance (on the 31st) against Breckinridge, expecting to rout him, and then to assail Polk and Hardee in flank and rear. McCook was to hold his position against all assaults, and to aid this latter work in front. But Bragg had been planning also,—very much after the same fashion—and promptly took the initiative himself. The movement undertaken by Rosecrans, only to be abandoned after loss of precious time, made his adversary's work less difficult. Bragg massed a heavy force for attack on McCook, and before 7 o'clock the onslaught began; Johnson's division, on the extreme right, was scattered, to be captured or driven back upon that of Davis, and all in turn upon the division of Sheridan, who contested the ground with energy and persistence, inspiring his men with his own fire and pluck. The whole of the corps remaining in organized shape had, in three or four hours, been whirled around, falling back with heavy loss to the Nashville turnpike. The battle seemed to be lost. Still
the tempest came rushing on. Negley's division, next in order, having exhausted its ammunition and lost nearly all its artillery horses, also retreated. Thomas, now in the thickest of the fight, drew Negley and Rousseau (whose division had been in reserve) into a better position, out of the low cedar brushwood, and with batteries delivering a concentrated fire from the ridge south of Nashville turnpike, stopped the further advance of the enemy, while the Union lines were readjusted. Rosecrans labored incessantly, freely exposing himself to danger, reassuring his men, and succeeding in the hard task of establishing and confirming a new line of battle, which remained unshaken when night mantled the field. Both parties claimed the victory. Neither seriously resumed the conflict or materially changed position during the next day — the memorable January 1, 1863. On the 2d there was some skirmishing, and a more serious yet profitless attack on the Union left by Breckinridge; but the Confederates began retreating before midnight, on the way to Shelbyville. Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro, where he had his headquarters for several months following:
The battle (so important in results) has had few equals in relative carnage.
The Union losses were reported as 1,533 killed, 7,245 wounded, and less than 2,800 prisoners - in all, nearly 12,000. Bragg reported a Confederate loss of 10,000 of whom 9,000 were killed or wounded. (War Records: Union
Union - killed, 1,730; wounded, 7,802. Confederate — killed, 1,299;
On the Mississippi River and the Gulf there had