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General Patterson, and was marching to join Beauregard, President Lincoln suggested to General Scott, the propriety of delaying until Patterson's corps could co-operate with the Union army at Centreville. General Cameron, Secretary of War, returned from the field on Saturday before the battle, and urged the sending of re-inforcements; and five regiments were started towards Bull Run but did not reach there in time to participate in the engagement.
The disaster of Bull Run, mortified the National vanity and pride, but aroused also the National spirit and courage. The morning following the defeat, witnessed dispatches flashing over the wires to every part of the North, authorizing the reception of the eager regiments, ready to enter the service and retrieve the results of the battle. The Administration and the people, immediately they learned of the loss of this battle, set themselves vigorously to increase and re-organize the army. Grave and thoughtful men left their private pursuits and organized regiments, and offered them to the Government. None were now refused.
The popular feeling through the loyal States again rose to an extent even greater and deeper than that which followed the attack upon Fort Sumter.
Perhaps there is no more striking and curious exhibition of it, than was shown in the devices and inscriptions upon the envelopes of letters passing through the post-office, among the masses of the people and the soldiers. Every envelope had engraved upon it, in rude wood-cuts or steel, some patriotic emblem, motto, or the head of some popular leader or General. · The heads most frequently thus honored, at this time, were those of Washington, Scott, Lincoln, Lyon, Ellsworth, Douglas, McClellan, Anderson, Foote, Grant, Fremont, Rosecrans and Dix. The Flag, the Eagle, the National Arms, Liberty, the Temple of Freedom, the Capitol, and Mt. Vernon, were among the emblems engraved. Mottoes expressing devotion to the Union, to liberty, to loyalty, were almost universally printed on the envelopes : such as “Liberty or death;” “ Liberty and Union;" “We have beat our
“ last retreat;" "Victory or death;” “Death to Traitors;" “Strike till the last armed foe expires;” “One people and
POPULAR FEELING AFTER BULL RUN.
one Government from ocean to ocean, from the Lakes to the Gulf;" Remember Ellsworth;" "Not a star shall fall;" “ Our hearts are with the heroes who defend our glorious flag;” “Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shiell, and thy exceeding great reward;” “ Death to Slavery;” “Down with the slave-holders;”
“We are coming, Father Abraham,
These, and hundreds of others gave expression to the deep and all pervading feelings of the people.
Expeditions were organized and sent to the south, and Fort Hatteras was surrendered to the Union troops on the 28th August. On the 31st of October Port Royal came into possession of the Union army. The rebels were driven out of West Virginia, and General George B. McClellan, who had been in command there, and who was believed at the time, to possess military ability of a high order, was called to command the armies again gathering in vast numbers around the Capital. In October, General Scott retired on account of age and infirmity, and General McClellan was appointed to the command. The policy governing the Administration as announced on the close of the special session of Congress by the Secretary of War, was to receive all fugitive slaves, as well from loyal as disloyal masters, and employ them in the service of the United States, under such“ organizations” and in such “ OCCUpations” as might be most convenient. The troops, however, were not permitted to interfere with the servants of peaceful citizens, nor were they to be permitted to encourage such servants to leave their masters, nor was the army to prevent the voluntary return of slaves. Slavery was still tenderly treated. The superstitious regard for it, which pervaded the Nation, as if the Union was in some mysterious way, bound up with the institution, still lingered. The question was not, as in stern war, how can most destruction be dealt to the slave holder, as the enemy of the Country? but rather, how can the country carry on war, and do the institution the least harm? But war is a stern and rapid teacher, and these long cherished notions, were fast disappearing before the roar of rebel guns and the flash of rebel swords.
John C. Fremont was abroad, at Paris, at the breaking out of the rebellion. This ardent soldier, whose adventures, in tracing a route across the Continent for the Pacific Railway, had given him the name of the “Path-finder,” had long been the object of romantic admiration, on the part of the American people. He had been the candidate of the Republicans for the Presidency in 1856, and he was, for a time, a popular idol among a large portion of the people. He hastened home and offered his sword to the Government. He was immediately appointed a Major General, and given command of the Western Department, embracing Missouri and a part of Kentucky. On the 31st of August, he issued an order declaring martial law throughout the State of Missouri, and declaring that the property, real and personal, of all persons in that State, who should take up arms against the United States, or who should be proved to have taken an active part with their enemies in the field, “is declared confiscated to the public use, and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free.”
At this time, the contest in Kentucky, between the traitors and Unionists, was of doubtful result. The order went far beyond the act of Congress, which, up to this time, freed such slaves only as were used for insurrectionary purposes, or in aid of the rebellion. It was not in accordance with the instructions of the Secretary of War. It was clearly competent for the President, under the war power, and independent of the act of Congress, to issue such an order; but he was not prepared as yet to take such a step, and it was more proper, when taken, that it should emanate from the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, than from a subordinate, and apply, generally, throughout the States in rebellion. The order, however, was hailed with enthusiastic delight by impulsive and ardent patriots throughout the Union. Even the New York Ilerald approved it. But it tended seriously to embarrass the Executive, in his efforts to retain Maryland and Kentucky in the Union. The spirit in which it was received in Kentucky, appears from a letter of Hon. Joseph Holt to the President. After pointing out the violation of the act of Congress, he says:
JOSEPH HOLT TO THE PRESIDENT.
“ You may judge of the alarm and condemnation with which the Union loving citizens of Kentucky have received this proclamation. The hope is earnestly indulged by them, as it is by myself, that this paper was issued under the pressure of military necessity, which General Fremont believed justified the step; but that in the particulars specified, it has not your approbation, and will not be enforced in derogation of law. The magnitude of the interest at stake, and my extreme desire that by no misapprehension of your sentiments or purposes, shall the power and fervor of the loyalty of Kentucky be at this moment abated or chilled, must be my apology for the frankness with which I have addressed you, and for the request I venture to make, of an expression of your views upon the points of General Fremont's proclamation, on which I have commented.
The President, after mature deliberation, requested General Fremont to modify this order ; but on the General's expressing a preferenee that the President should himself do 80, Mr. Lincoln issued an order, modifying the proclamation of Fremont so far as to make it conform to the act of Congress.
Even this modification, subjected the President to much censure; but his own explanation of his modification of this order contains a complete vindication of his conduct. He says:
When, early in the war, General Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not think it an indispensable necessity. When a little later, General Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity. When still later, General Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come. When, in March and May and July, 1862, I made earnest, and successive appeals to the border States, to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation, and arming the blacks, would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition, and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it the Constitution, or of laying strong hands upon the colored element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss, but of this I was not entirely confident. More than a year of trial now shows no loss hy it in our foreign relations, none in our home popular sentiment, none in our white military force - no loss by it anyhow or anywhere. On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be no caviling. We have the men, and we could not have had them without the measure.
And now, let any Union man who complains of this measure, test himself by writing down in one line, that he is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms; and in the next, that he is for taking these one hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and placing them where they would be best for the measure he condemns. If he cannot face his case so stated, it is only because he cannot face the truth.
I add a word which was not in the verbal conversation. In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly, that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the Nation's condition is not what either party or any man desired or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new causes to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.
From this time, strenuous efforts were being constantly made to induce the President to abandon what was called the “border State poliey,” and to proclaim universal emancipation of all the slaves, and also to arm and employ them as soldiers against the rebellion.
A step towards this policy, and another step towards emancipation was taken October 14, 1861, by the orders issued by General Cameron, as Secretary of War, to General Sherman, then about to assume command in South Carolina.
The following extract shows its character:
You will however, in general, avail yourself of the services of any persons, whether fugitives from labor or not,who may offer themselves to the National Gov. ernment. You will employ such persons in such services as they may be fitted for, either as ordinary employees, or, if. “special” (the word special interlined by President Lincoln, and in his own handwriting,] circumstances seem to require it, in any other capacity, with such organization in squads, companies or other. wise, as you may deem most beneficial to the service. ("This however not to mean a general arming of them for military service."*] You will assure all loyal masters, that Congress will provide just compensation to them for the loss of the services of the persons so employed. And you will assure all persons held to in voluntary labor, who may be thus received into the service of the Government, that they will, under no circumstances, be again reduced to their former condition, unless at the expiration of their respective terms of service, they freely choose to return to the service of their foriner masters.
It is believed that the course thus indicated, will best secure the substantial rights of loyal masters, and the proper benefits to the United States, of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while it will avoid all interference with the social systems or local institutions of every State, beyond that which insurrection makes unavoidable, and which a restoration of peaceful relations to the Union under the Constitution, will immediately remove.f
This was the first authority conferred upon any commander to avail himself of the services of fugitives from labor, and authorizing their organization into “squads, companies or otherwise, as might be most beneficial to the service.”
* This sentence interlined by the President.
*Taken from the original draft, with the President's interlineation, in possession of Mr. Canneron.