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Coutinued and well-directed fire of the Confederates kept them iruin crossing the river, and twice the enemy was driven back some distance from the ford. They again, however, came up with a heavy force and renewed the fight. The fire of their artillery was entirely ineffective, although their shot and shell were thrown very rapidly, but they all flew over the heads of the Confederate troops, without any damage except bringing the limbs of the trees down upon them.
After continuing the fight until nearly every cartridge had been expended, and until the artillery had been withdrawn by General Garnett's orders, and as no part of his command was within sight or supporting distance, as far as could be discov. ered, or, as was afterwards ascertained, within four miles of the ford, Col. Taliaferro, after having sustained a loss of about thirty killed and wounded, ordered the regiment to retire -the officers and men manifesting decided reluctance at being withdrawn.
The loss to the enemy in this gallant little affair must have been quite considerable, as they had, from their own account, three regiments engaged. The people in the neighborhood re ported a heavy loss, which they stated the enemy endeavored to conceal by transporting the dead and wounded to Bealington in covered wagons, permitting no one to approach them.
At the second ford, about half past one o'clock in the day, Gen. Garnett was killed by almost the last fire of the enemy. On reaching at this ford the opposite bank of the stream, Gen. Garnett desired one company from the 23d Virginia regiment to be formed behind some high drift wood. He stated that he would in person take charge of them, and did so—the company being the Richmond Sharpshooters, Capt. Tompkins. In a few minutes, Capt. Tompkins and all his men, but ten, came up to the regiment, stating that Gen. Garnett only wanted ten men. The inference was palpable-he had taken an extreme near position to the enemy. Very soon the firing commenced in the rear where Gen. Garnett was, and immediately the horse of the general came galloping past without a rider. He fell just as he gave the order to the skirmishers to retire, and one of them was killed by his side.
At the second ford, where Gen Garnett was killed, the ziemy abandoned the pursuit, and the command under lol
Ramsey reached Monterey and formed a junction with Gen Jackson.
The actual reverses of the retreat consisted of some thirtyodd killed and wounded, a number missing, many of whom afterwards reached the command, and the loss of its baggage a portion of which was used in blocking the road against the enemy's artillery. The conflict and the retreat, the hunger and fatigue of the men, many of whom dropped from the ranks from sheer exhaustion, were unequalled by any thing that had yet occurred in the war. Its success appeared as extraordinary as its hardships and privations. Surrounded by an army of twenty thousand men, without supplies, in a strange country, and in the midst of continuous and drenching rains, it was a wonder that the little army of three thousand men should have escaped annihilation. The command had marched sixty hours, resting only five hours, and had endured a march through the forest without food for men or horses.
Gen. McClellan announced to the government at Washington a signal victory. He summed up the results of the battle on the mountain and his pursuit of the retreating army as two hundred killed and wounded, a thousand taken prisoners, the baggage of the entire command captured, and seven guns taken. “Our success,” he wrote to Washington, " is complete, "nd Secession is killed in this country.”
The affair of Rich Mountain was certainly a serious disaster; It involved the surrender of an important portion of Northwestern Virginia; but with respect to the courage and discipline of our troops, it had exhibited all that could be desired, and the successful retreat was one of the most remarkable in history. It is certain that the unskilful disposition of our troops, as well as their inadequate numbers, had contributed to the success of the enemy, and doubts are admissible whether more advantage might not have been taken of the position at Carrock's Ford, with proper supports, considering its extraordinary advantages of defence, and how long it had been held against the forces of the pursuing enemy by a single regiment.
A feeling of deep sympatlıy, however, was felt for the unfor. tunate commander, whose courage, patriotic ardor, and generus, because unnecessary, exposure of his person to the bulletv
of the enemy, commended his memory to the hearts of his conntrymen.
Whatever might have been the depression of the public mind of the South by the Rich Mountain disaster, it was more than recovered by news from other quarters. The same day that the unfavorable intelligence from Rich Mountain reached the government at Richmond, the telegraph brought, by a devious route, the news of the battle of Carthage in Missouri. The blow given to the enemy at this distant point, was the first of the brilliant exploits which afterwards made the Missouri campaign one of the most brilliant episodes of the war. It had gone far to retrieve the fortunes of an empire that was hereafter to be added to the Southern Confederacy, and assure the promise that had been made in the proclamation of the gallant Gen. Price of that State" a million of such people as the citizens of Missouri were never yet subjugated, and, if attempted, let no apprehension be felt for the result.” But of this hereafter.
On the anniversary of the Fourth of July, the Federal Congress met at Washington. Galusha A. Grow, a Pennsylvania Abolitionist, and an uncompromising advocate of the war, was elected Speaker of the House. The meeting of this Congress affords a suitable period for a statement of the posture of political affairs, and of the spirit which animated the North, with respect to existing hostilities.
In his message, Mr. Lincoln denounced the idea of any of the States preserving an armed nentrality in the war, having , particular reference to the continued efforts of Governor Magoflin, of Kentucky, to maintain a condition of neutrality on the part of that State. Mr. Lincoln declared that if armed neutrality were permitted on the part of any of the States, it would soon ripen into disunion; that it would build impassable walls along the line of separation; and it would tie tho hands of the Unionists, while it would free those of the Insurrectionists, by taking all the trouble from Secession, except that which might be expected from the external blockade. Neutrality, he said, gave to malcontents disunion without its risks, and was not to be tolerated, since it recognized no fidelity to the Constitution or obligation to the Union.
Kentucky was not unreasonably accounted a part of the Northern government. But with an outrage of the plainest doctrines of the government, and a practical denial not only of every thing like the rights of States, but even of their territorial integrity, the Northwestern portion of Virginia, which had rebelled against its State government, was taken into the membership of the Federal Union as itself a State, with the absurd and childish addition of giving to the rebellious counties the name of “ Virginia.” A Convention of the disaffected Northwestern counties of Virginia had been held at Wheeling, on the 13th day of May, and after a session of three days, decided to call another Convention, to meet on the 11th of June, subsequent to the vote of the State on the Ordinance of Secession. The Convention reorganized the counties as a member of the Federal Union: F. W. Pierpont was elected governor ; and W. T. Willie and the notorious John S. Carlile, both of whom had already signalized their treason to their State by their course in the Convention at Richmond, were sent as representatives of " Virginia” to the United States Senate, in which absurd capacity they were readily received.
The message of the President gave indications of a determined and increased prosecution of hostilities. It called for an army of four hundred thousand men, and a loan of four hundred millions of dollars. This call was a curious commentary upon the spirit and resources of the people, who it had been thought in the North would be crushed out by the three months' levies before the Federal Congress met in July to decide upon what disposition should be made of the conquered States.
The statements of Mr. Lincoln's fiscal secretary were alarming enough; they showed a state of the treasury unable en
even to meet the ordinary expenditures of the government, and its resources were now to be taxed to the last point of ingenuity to inake for the next fiscal year the necessary provision of four aundred and eighty millions of dollars, out of an actual revenue the first quarter of which had not exceeded five millions. The ordinary expenditures of the Federal government for the fisca) year ending June 30th, 1862, were estimated at eighty millions of dollars; the extraordinary expenditures, on the basis of increased military operations, at four hundred millions. To meer these large demands of the civil and war service, Secretary
Chase confessed to a receipt of but five millions per quarter from the “Morrill” tariff, showing that at this rate of the receipt of customs, the income of the government would be twenty millions per year against nearly tive hundred millions of prospective ontlay.
It was proposed in this financial exigency to levy specific duties of about thirty-three per cent. on coffee, tea, sugar, molasses, and syrup, which might yield twenty millions a year; it was loped by some modification of the Morrill tariff, with respect to other articles, to increase its productiveness from twenty to thirty-seven millions; the revenue from the sale of public lands was estimated at three millions; and it was timidly proposed that a tax should be levied upon real property of one-third or one-fifth of one per cent., to produce twenty millions additional. Thus by means of The Tariff,......
.$37,000,000 Tea, Sugar, and Coffee,...
20,000,000 Public Lands,
3,000,000 Direct Taxes,..
Producing a total of.......
.$80,000,000 The Northern government proposed to eke out the means of meeting its ordinary expenses, leaving the monstrous balance of four hundred millions of dollars to be raised by a sale of bonds.
The financial complications of the government of Mr. Lincoln were in striking contrast with the abundant and easy means which the Southern Confederacy had, at least so far, been able to carry on the war. The latter had been reduced to a paper enrrency, but it had for the basis of its currency the great staple of cotton,* which in the shape of a produce loan wae practically pledged to the redemption of the public debt.
* The whole cotton crop of America, in 1860, was 4,675,770 bales and of this, 3,697,727 bales were exported, and 978,043 bales used at home. England alone took 2,582,000 bales, which amounted to about four-fifths of her entire consumption. The cotton-fields of the Southern States embrace an area of 500,000 square miles, and the capital invested in the cultivation of the plant Amounts to $900,000,000. Seventy years ago, the exports of our cotton were only 420 bales-not one-tenth of the amount furnished by several countries to England. Now, the South furnishes five-sevenths of the surplus cotton product of the entire world