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Sheridan and Grant.
The Military Situation.
the entrance to its harbor, in connection with which one Major-General was made and another unmade_whether the latter result was brought about with or without the coöperation of the commander of the naval part of the expedition, it boots not here to inquire.
Whither Sherman would flounder next became to all rebeldom a question of the very deepest interest. Davis having been compelled by his Congress to assign the discarded Johnston to a command, and Lee to the command of all the rebel armies, Johnston was dispatched to head Sherman off, should he be insane enough to attempt to move any nearer Richmond-a species of insanity to which, it must be confessed, he had shown a marked tendency.
Sheridan, too, having chased Early up and out of the Shenandoah Valley—that Early the one of whom his troops were wont to remark, that his principal business seemed to be "to trade Confederate cannon for Yankee whiskey"—had been raiding around Richmond in whatsoever direction he listed, severing communications, gobbling up supplies, and creating a general consternation.
And still the bull-dog's teeth were firmly fastened in his victim. Not twistings, nor squirmings, nor strugglings, nor counterbites could do more than to defer-and that but for a short time-the inevitable.
The rebel congress, at the very last moment of its last session, had squeezed through a bill for arming the slaves, and Davis had grimly wished them a safe and pleasant journey to their respective homes. It was too late, both for the slaves and the homes.
Meantime, on Saturday, March 4th-a day which opened unpropitiously, so far as the elements were concerned, but which redeemed itself before noontide, becoming bright and cheerful at the hour appointed, the oath of office was for the second time administered to Mr. Lincoln-not, however, by the same Chief Justice, for Roger B. Taney slept with his
fathers, and in his place stood Salmon P. Chase-after which, on a staging erected at the eastern portico of the Capitol, he read in a clear, distinct voice, his second inaugural, occupying not more than ten minutes in the act:
"FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN :-At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have constantly. been called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.
"The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avoid it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it, without war; seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotiation.
"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. "One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but located in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would
rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease, even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing his bread from the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not, that we be not judged.
"The prayer of both should not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him?
"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bond man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
"With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's
A Remarkable Production.
wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Of this address-which was of course made the subject for the coarsest comments of those who enjoyed nought so much as aiding the pack that hounded Mr. Lincoln while livingan English journal, second to none in ability and judgment, and leader of the better class of thinkers in that country, thus spoke:
"It is the most remarkable thing of the sort, ever pronounced by any President of the United States from the first day until now. Its Alpha and its Omega is Almighty God, the God of justice and the Father of mercies, who is working out the purposes of his love. It is invested with a dignity and pathos, which lift it high above every thing of the kind, whether in the Old World or the New. The whole thing puts us in mind of the best men of the English Commonwealth; there is, in fact, much of the old prophet about it.”
On the 16th of March, in accordance with an Act of Congress, grace was extended to deserters by the following proclamation:
"WHEREAS, The twenty-first section of the act of Congress, approved on the 3d instant, entitled 'an act to amend the several acts heretofore passed to provide for the enrolling and calling out of the National forces, and for other purposes,' requires that, in addition to the other lawful penalties of the crime of desertion from the military or naval service, 'all persons who have deserted the military or naval service of the United States, who shall not return to the said service or report themselves to a provost-marshal within sixty days. after the proclamation hereinafter mentioned, shall be deemed and taken to have voluntarily relinquished and forfeited their
Proclamation to Deserters.
Penalties for continued Absence.
rights to become citizens; and such deserters shall be forever incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under the United States, or of exercising any rights of citizens thereof; and all persons who shall hereafter desert the military or naval service, and all persons who, being duly enrolled, shall depart the jurisdiction of the district in which he is enrolled, or go beyond the limits of the United States, with the intent to avoid any draft into the military or naval service duly ordered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section. And the President is hereby authorized and required forthwith, on the passage of this act, to issue his proclamation setting forth the provisions of this section, in which proclamation the President is requested to notify all deserters returning within sixty days, as aforesaid, that they shall be pardoned on condition of returning to their regiments and companies, or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to, unless they shall have served for a period of time, equal to their original term of enlistment'
"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation, as required by said act, ordering and requiring all deserters to return to their proper posts, and I do hereby notify them that all deserters who shall within sixty days from the date of this proclamation, viz.: on or before the tenth day of May, 1865, return to service, or report themselves to a provost-marshal, shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regiments and companies or such other organizations as they may be assigned to, and serve the remainder of their original terms of enlistment, and, in addition thereto, a period equal to the time lost by desertion.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
"Done at the city of Washington, this eleventh day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred