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the attempt to overthrow this government, which was ouilt upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively upon the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the action of our disloyal citizens, the working men of Europe have been subjected to severe trial, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age, or in any country.
* I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation; and, on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people.”
In a letter written August twenty-sixth, to James C. Conkling, in reply to an invitation to attend a mass meeting of "unconditional Union men,” to be held at his old home in Springfield, Illinois, it is evident that Mr. Lincoln was hopeful and confident of results. In this letter he treated again of the subject of emancipation; and handled the clamorer for peace, the enemies of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the advocates of compromise, with most admirable skill. The closing paragraphs are peculiarly keen, clear and sparkling:
" You say
that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union. I issued the Proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes. I thought that, in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest
motive, even the promise of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.
“The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.
Thanks to the great Northwest for it; nor yet wholly to them. Three hundred miles up they met New England, Empire, Keystone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The sunny South, too, in more colors than one, also lent a helping hand. On the spot, their part of the history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great national one; and let none be slighted who bore an honorable part in it. And while those who have cleared the great river may well be proud, even that is not all. It is hard to say that anything has been more bravely and well done than at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and on many fields of less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's webfeet be forgotten. At all the watery margins they have been present, not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp they have been and made their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great Republic--for the principle it lives by and keeps alive-for man's vast future-thanks to all.
“Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And there will be some black men who can remember that with silent tongue, and clinched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while I fear there will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven to hinder it.”
The military events of the year were of great importance, and, on the whole, well calculated to give hope, not only to Mr. Lincoln, but to the loyal people of the whole country. After the battle of Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, the army of the Potomac did nothing for several months. Late in April—General Burnside having meantime been relieved, and General Hooker placed in command-a movement was made across the river, and the battle of Chancellorsville was fought, which resulted in the retreat of our army, and a loss of eighteen thousand men. It was a sad beginning of the year's operations, and was followed by the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the whole of General Lee's forces.
The invasion took place in June; and it was accomplished so quickly, so easily, and by so great a force, that the whole country became terribly excited. The President issued a proclamation calling for one hundred thousand militia to assist in driving back the foe. The army under Hooker crossed the Potomac at about the same time with the army of Lee, and both entered Maryland together. Here General Hooker was relieved, and General Meade placed in command, who, finding the enemy advancing toward and into Pennsylvania, pushed forward with his army to dispute the movement. On the first of July, the battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania began; and it raged with terrific energy for three days. It was one of the most brilliant and terrible battles of the war, On the fifth of July, the enemy, who had been terribly punished, and saw that his invasion was a failure, retreated, and was pursued by our weary forces back to the old position on the Rappahannock. At the close of the fighting on the third, it was evident that the enemy was whipped; and the President announced the fact on the fourth, by a dispatch sent over the whole country, stating that the news was such as to cover the army with the highest honor, and to promise a great success to the cause of the Union. With characteristic reverence, he closed by expressing his desire that on that day—the anniversary of the national independence—“He whose will, not ours, should ever be done, be everywhere remembered, and reverenced with profoundest gratitude.” Our losses in this battle, in killed, wounded and missing, amounted to twenty-three thousand men, while those of the enemy were much greater, leaving, indeed, fourteen thousand prisoners in our hands. The state of Pennsylvania, with considerate liberality, subsequently purchased a piece of land adjoining the cemetery
of the town, where much severe fighting took place, as a burial ground for the loyal dead of the great battle. This place was dedicated on the succeeding nineteenth of November, in the presence of Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet, Hon. Edward Everett delivering the formal address of the occasion. The brief remarks of Mr. Lincoln, though brought into immediate com
parison with the elaborate eloquence of the venerable Massa-
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this
Did Mr. Everett say more or better in all his pages than Mr. Lincoln said in these lines? Yet they were written after he left Washington, and during a brief interval of leisure.
The Fourth of July was further rendered memorable by the surrender of the city of Vicksburg--the stronghold of the Mississippi River—by General Pemberton to General Grant, with all his defenses and his army of thirty thousand men. After various unsuccessful operations, beginning with the year, contemplating the capture of this city, General Grant ran by the batteries with his transports, and landed far down the river, to attempt the approach of the city from the rear. Fighting all the way, and winning every battle, he reached Jackson, and then advanced westward, directly upon the doomed town. General Pemberton, in the endeavor to dispute his progress, lost at Baker's Creek four thousand men and twenty-nine
pieces of artillery. On the banks of the Big Black, the enemy gave battle again, and was again defeated, with a loss of nearly three thousand men, and seventeen pieces of artillery. Then Pemberton fell back behind his defenses, which he did not leave till, on the national anniversary, he and his army marched forth as prisoners of war, leaving behind them more than two hundred cannon, and seventy thousand stand of small-arms. Four days later, Port Hudson, which had been closely besieged by an army advancing from the south, under General Banks, surrendered with seven thousand prisoners and fifty cannon.
Thus was the confederacy cut in twain; and from that hour its cause was doomed. Not a life was lost afterwards that was not lost in the destruction and defense of a hopeless
“The Father of Waters," wrote Mr. Lincoln, in glad and poetic mood, to Mr. Conkling, “ again goes unvexed to the sea.” It was a great event, and one which might well fill the heart of the President with exultation.
These victories gave great encouragement to the loyal people of the country; and, from the day of their occurrence, there was but little doubt among them of the final triumph of the national cause. In Washington, there were great rejoicings; and of course there was a popular call upon Mr. Lincoln, who, in response to a serenade, came out, and made a brief speech. These calls were not occasions in which he delighted, and it was honest and characteristic for him to say, in beginning: “I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call; but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called.”
Another very characteristic utterance of Mr. Lincoln, in connection with these events, was a letter written to General Grant, July thirteenth, in which he took occasion to acknowledge that results had confirmed the General's judgment rather than his own:
“My Dear General: I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost