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WAR WITH THE SIOUX INDIANS.
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> Feb. 28,
Minnesota, in August and September,' and at outposts beyond the boun-
General H. H. Sibley, with a body of militia, was sent to crush the Indians, but the latter were too numerous to suffer more than partial disasters here and there. Sıbley attacked a large force of Indians, under Little Crow, at Wood Lake, and drove them into Dakota, with a loss of five hundred of their number made prisoners. These were tried by court-martial, and three hundred of them were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Their execution was stayed by the President. Finally, thirty
. seven of the worst offenders were hanged at Markato, and the remainder were released. But the “Sioux War” was not ended until the following summer, when General Pope took command of the Department, picketed the line of settlements in the far Northwest with two thousand soldiers, and took vigorous measures to disperse the hostile bands. In June, Sibley moved westward from Fort Snelling, and General Sully went up the Missouri River to co-operate with him. Both fought and drove the savages at different places, and finally scattered them among the wilds of the eastern slopes of the spurs of the Rocky Mountains.'
Our horror and indignation because of the atrocities committed from time to time by the savage tribes on the borders of civilization, should be somewhat tempered by the reflection, that these may be logical and righteous retributions for wrongs committed by the Government in its dealings with the Indians, which, unfortunately, fall upon individuals. It is believed that the origin of nine-tenths of the troubles with the Indians may be traced directly to the agents of the Government in their dealings with these ignorant and confiding children of the forest. Such being the acknowledged fact, the important question arises, whether it would not be wiser and more humane to incorporate all the nations and tribes of Indians into the body politic of each State and Territory in which they exist, and hold each individual amenable to the laws, as a citizen. An army of officials might thus be dispensed with, the chief causes of irritation be removed, and the work of civilizing and Christianizing of the savages be greatly facilitated.
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· Little Crow, the "foremost hunter and orator" of the Sioux, was shot near Hutchinson, in Minnesota, by Mr. Lamson, while the chief was picking blackberries. His skeleton is preserved in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. It is said that Little Crow (whose Indian name was Tah-o-ah. ta-doo-tah, “his scarlet people ") was urged into making war against his better judgment. For a full account of this “ Indian trouble," see llistory of the Sious War, by Isaac V. D. Heard.
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THE NATIONAL FINANCES.
CIVIL AFFAIRS IN 1863.—MILITARY OPERATIONS BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE
EFORE proceeding to a consideration of military affairs
in 1864, let us take a brief glance at the aspect of civil affairs at the beginning of that year.
The management of the finances of the nation was yet in the able hands of Secretary Chase; and so fully did the people and Congress confide in his judgment and patriotism, that his suggestions were generally
accepted as eminently wise, and the measures he proposed were usually carried into execution. From the day when he assumed the duties of Minister of Finance, and his plans began to develop, the public credit became stronger every hour; and at the time we are considering, when the public debt had reached the appalling sum of over a thousand million dollars, the great war in full career, and that debt increasing enormously every day, the public credit, especially among the people of this country, had never stood higher. “The history of the world,” said the Secretary, a. year later, when he had been fully sustained by the people, “ may be searched in vain for a parallel case of popular financial support to a National Government.”
When Congress met in December, 1862, Secretary Chase laid before them a statement and estimate which would have appalled the representatives of a less hopeful people. He reported, that, on account of greatly increased expenditures, there remained a balance of disbursements to the amount of nearly two hundred and seventy-seven million dollars, for which provision must be made; and he asked for an additional sum to meet the estimated expenditures of the Government to the close of the fiscal year, at the end of June, 1864, which would make the whole sum to be provided for, for the next eighteen months, more than nine hundred million dollars. The important question, How is this vast sum to be provided ? had to be met. Tbe able Minister of Finance was ready with an answer. Keeping in mind the four objects in view which had controlled his action up to that time, namely, “ moderate interest, general distribution, future controllability, and incidental utility,” he now renewed propositions which he had already made, and recommended two immediate measures of safety, in connection with a.
1 Annual Report, December, 1863.
? The National debt on the first of July, 1863, was $1,098,793,181. It was estimated that at the same period In 1864 it would be $1.686,956,190. The average rate of interest on the whole debt, without regard to the varying margin between coin and notes, had been reduced from 4:86 per cent., on the first of July, 1862, to 3-77 per cent. on the first of July, 1863.
► March 3.
scheme for establishing a system of National bank paper. One of these was to drive home, by a tax, the State bank paper circulation, and the other was the funding of Government notes.
The Secretary proposed a moderate tax on the State bank circulation; that no issue of Government notes beyond the limits authorized should be made, unless a clear public exigency should demand it; the organization of banking associations for the improvement of the public credit, and to supply the public with a safe and uniform currency; and the repeal of restrictions concerning the conversion of certain Government bonds. To these propositions Congress responded, first by authorizingo an additional
* January 17, issue of $100,000,000 of Government notes; then by an act, approved on the 25th of February, to provide a National currency through a National banking system; then by another, approved on the last day of the session, authorizing the Secretary to issue $300,000,000 for the current fiscal year, and $600,000,000 for the next fiscal year, ending June 30, 1864. These amounts were to be issued in “ 10-40” bonds, at six per cent. interest, both principal and interest to be paid in coin. The Secretary was authorized to exchange the same for certificates of indebtedness or deposit, any Treasury notes or lawful money of the United States. He was also authorized to issue $400,000,000 of six per cent. Treasury notes, payable within three years, to be a legal tender for their face value, excluding interest, and exchangeable for and redeemable by Government notes, for which purpose alone $150,000,000 of the latter was authorized. He was given authority, also, to issue $150,000,000 Government notes, including the $100,000,000 authorized in January; also to issue $50,000,000 of fractional notes, in lieu of the postage and revenue stamps, for fractional currency. He was also authorized to receive deposits of gold coin and bullion, and to issue certificates therefor; and to issue certificates representing coin in the Treasury, in payment of interest, which, with the certificates of deposits issued, should not exceed twenty per cent. beyond the amount of coin and bullion in the Treasury. A tax of one per cent. half-yearly was imposed on the circulation of the State banks.
Such was one of the provisions of Congress, made early in 1864, for carrying on the war vigorously. These acts concerning the finances were followed by an immediate revival of the public credit,' and within two months after the adjournment of Congress, the whole mass of suspended requisitions had been satisfied, all current demands promptly met, and full provision made for the pay of the army and navy.
The Confederates, at the beginning of 1864, were sadly straitened, financially. The fiscal agent of the Conspirators (Memminger) reported their public debt, in round numbers, at $1,000,000,000, of which $800,000,000 were treasury notes, with a prospective increase, at the end of 1864, to about $2,510,000,000. The currency in circulation amounted to $600,000,000, and was so depreciated that the Conspirators could see nothing ahead but ruin,
• March 4.
1 so confident were the loyal people in their ability to put down the rebellion, and the consequent assurance of the stability of their Government, that on the first of May, or only two months after Congress adjourned, they had loaned to the Government $169,000,000; and at the end of the fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury had the gratification to see that the disbursements did not greatly exceed his estimates, and that the increase of tho public debt did not equal his estimates.
FINANCES OF THE CONFEDERATES.
unless a change in their system of finance might be adopted. Davis declared that there was no other remedy than a “compulsory reduction of the currency to the amount required by the business of the country.” To do this, it was proposed to substitute for the outstanding notes, interest-bearing bonds, which the holders of the currency would be obliged to take in exchange, to render their property of any possible value. Memminger, at the same time, told the victims of his financial mismanagement, that the “Government” found itself“ unable to comply with the letter of its engagement,” and with this assurance he offered his bonds to the people.
These bonds, as well as all other “Government” securities issued by the Conspirators, never had a really substantial basis, and were now avoided by every sensible person in the Confederacy, as far as possible. Through the grossest misrepresentations by the Confederate agents abroad, European capitalists were induced to take their bonds to the amount of $15,000,000, their payment professedly secured by the sales of cotton, to be sent to England. These bonds were eagerly sought after by confiding and hopeful Englishmen, who sympathized with the Conspirators, and a large number of the members of the “Southern Independence Association " I became heavy holders of the worthless paper.
The Confederate currency, at the close of 1863, had become so nearly worthless, that it was sold at four and six cents on the dollar, and the prices of every necessary of life to be purchased with it, ruled correspondingly. Producers, such as agriculturists, were unwilling to exchange their products for the detested stuff, and starvation for the army was threatened.
In consequence of this state of things, the “Congress” at Richmond proceeded with a high hand, and, as we have seen, authorized the seizure of supplies for the troops. Had not the despotic heel of the Conspirators been firmly planted on the necks of the people, a revolution would have followed. As it was, no man dared to murmur audibly. At the same time the railways in the Confederacy were rapidly decaying, and means for transportation were hourly decreasing, while the blockade, rendered more and more stringent by the repossession of sea-ports by the Government, diminished supplies of every kind from abroad. The country in the vicinity of the great armies was stripped, and poverty and want stalked over the land. The distress of the people was very great and almost universal, while favored officers of the "Government,” having large ownership in blockade-runners, were living on luxuries brought from Europe and the islands of the sea, and growing rich at the expense of the suffering people."
1 See page 46.
2 See page 97. 3 Among the members of “ Congress" at Richmond, who were not favorites of Jefferson Davis, and consequently not allowed to share in the good things of the “ court," was Henry S. Foote, formerly United States Senator, and then misrepresenting Tennessee at the Confederate capital. His wife, in a letter to a friend, on the 6th of February, 1863, gives us a glimpse of the hardships endured by the “common folk " of the ruling classes " in Richmond. After saying that her little boy had been named “Malvern," by his papa, * after the Battle-ground of Malvern Hills," and that " he spits at Yankee pictures and makes wry faces at old Abe's picture, " she said: “We are boarding at Mrs. Johnson's, in Governor Street, just opposite Governor Letcher's mansion. It is a large boarding house, bigh prices and starvation within. Such living was never known before on earth. We have to cook almost every thing we eat, in our own room. In our •larder' the stock on hand is a boiled bacon ham, which we gave only $11 for; three pounds of pure Rio coffee, we gave $4 a pound for, and one pound of green tea, $17 per pound; two pounds of brown sugar, at $2.75 per pound; one bushel of fine apples, about the size of a good common marble, which were presented to me by a member from Missouri; one pound of butter, about six months old, at $2 per pound, and six sweet potatoes, at 50 cents. We have to give a dollar for a very small slice of pound-cake at the confectioner's.
Yesterday, for dinner, we had nothing on the table
RETALIATORY MEASURES PROPOSED.
Notwithstanding these disabilities, and the fading away of every hope of recognition by foreign governments, or the moral support of any civilized people, the Conspirators at Richmond, holding the reins of despotic power with firm grasp, resolved to carry on the war regardless of consequences to their deluded and abused victims.' The Emancipation Proclamation “fired the Southern heart” somewhat, and, for a time, strengthened the power of the Conspirators. It produced great exasperation, and led to the authoriza tion of cruel retaliatory measures by the Confederate “Congress," on the recommendation of Jefferson Davis. The most flagrant misrepresentations were put forth as solemn truths, in order to inflame the passions of the people at home and excite the sympathies of those abroad. In this work Confederate clergymen were not ashamed to appear conspicuous. Ninety-six per sons of that class signed an “Address to Christians throughout the World,” which was sent out from Richmond in April, 1863, in which, after asserting that the Union could not be restored, said they considered the President's proclamation of freedom to the slaves a “suitable occasion for a solemn protest on the part of the people of God, throughout the world.” Then, without a shadow of truth, they, like the chief Conspirator, charged Mr. Lincoln with intending to produce a general insurrection of the slaves, and solemnly declared that such insurrection "would make it absolutely necessary for the public safety that the slaves be slaughtered.”
The advice of more sagacious men in Confederate councils was heeded, through fear of consequences; and threats of vengeance and retaliation were seldom executed. The most serious result, in this regard, of the President's Proclamation, was the suspension, for a time, of the exchange of captives, in consequence of the Confederate authorities refusing to recognize Negro soldiers as legitimate and exchangeable prisoners of war. The Government took the just ground, that it would give equal protection to all its soldiers, and, at the close of July,' the President issued an order to that effect, in which he declared, in allusion to a threat to reduce negro captives to bondage, that if the Confederates should sell or enslave any Union captive, in consequence of his color, the offense should be punished by retaliation upon the prisoners of the enemy. The sad consequences of
but two eggs and a slice of cold baker's bread, and a glass of water." She added, in a postscript, that Jefferson Davis looked " care-worn and troubled." • He is very thin," she said, "and looks feeble and bent. Ile prays aloud in church, and is a devout Episcopalian,"
1 See page 97.
9 The portion of Davis's “ Message" relating to retaliation was referred to the “ Committee on Ways and Means." That committee reported to the “ House" joint resolutions, which were adopted, by which full power was given to Davis to use retaliatory measures "in such manner and to such an extent as he might think proper." It was resolved that every commissioned white officer, who should be engaged in disciplining and leading freed, men as soldiers in fighting the Confederates, or in inciting slaves to rebel, should, if captured, “ be put to death, or otherwise punished;" and that all negroes engaged in war or taken in arms, or known to give "aid and comfort to the eneiny, should be delivered to State authorities," and dealt with in accordance with the sanguinary slave codes“ of the State in which the offender should be caught." There were propositions to sell into slavery all frec negroes who should be caught with arms in their hands, and to butcher all slaves guilty of such offense; but the more sensible inembers of the “Congress," plainly perceiving that such measures would be a two-edged sword that would cut both ways, ook ground against them, and prevented the passage of many mischievous laws on that subject.
3 See note 1, page 82.
4 The Richmond Examiner revealed the secret reasons for refusing to treat negro soldiers as regular prisoners of war, when it said: “If we were insane enough to yield this point, to treat black men as the equals of white, and insurgent slaves as equivalent to our brave soldiers, the very foundations of Slavery would be fatally wounded."
5* It is therefore ordered," said the President, “ that for every soldier of the United States killed in viola