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guns to reply to a courage so adventurous. The New York Times wrote in this strain: "There is no drawback to our jubilation. The universal Yankee nation is getting decidedly awake. As for Capt. Wilkes and his command, let the handsome thing be done. Consecrate another Fourth of July to him; load him down with services of plate, and swords of the cunningest and costliest art. Let us encourage the happy inspiration that achieved such a victory."
But while the "universal Yankee nation" was thus astir, and in a rage of vanity, the South watched the progress of the Trent question with a keen and eager anxiety. It was naturally supposed, looking at the determination of England on the one side and the unbounded enthusiasm in the Northern States in maintaining their side of the question, that war would ensue between the parties. It was already imagined in the South that such a war would break the naval power of the North, distract her means, and easily confer independence on the Southern Confederacy. There were orators in Richmond who already declared that the key of the blockade had been lost in the trough of the Atlantic. If the North stood to the issue, the prospect was clear. Gov. Letcher of Virginia addressed a public meeting in Virginia, and, in characteristic language, declared that he prayed nightly that in this matter, "Lincoln's backbone might not give way.' The one condition of war between England and the North, was that the latter would keep its position, and sustain the high tone with which it had avowed the act of Capt. Wilkes.
But this condition was to fail suddenly, signally; and the whole world was to be amused by a diplomatic collapse, such as is scarcely to be found in the records of modern times. When the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell was first made known at Washington, Secretary Seward had written to the Federal minister in London, advising him to decline any explanations, and suggesting that the grounds taken by the British Government should first be made known, and the argument commence with it. But the British Government entered into no discussion; it disdained the argument of any law question in the matter; and with singular dignity made the naked and imperative demand for the surrender of the commissioners and their secretaries. Mr. Seward wrote back a letter, which must ever remain a curiosity in diplomacy. He volunteered the argument for the surrender of the parties; he promised that they should be "cheerfully" liberated; he declared that he did it in accordance with "the most cherished principles " of American statesmanship; but in the close of this remarkable letter he could not resist the last resort of demagogueism in mentioning the captured commissioners, who had for weeks been paraded as equal to the fruits of a victory in the field, as persons of no importance, and saying: “If the safety of this Union required the detention of the captured persons, it would be the right and duty of this Government to
detain them." If there was anything wanting to complete the shame of this collapse, it was the shallow show of alacrity at concession, and the attempt to substitute a sense of justice for what all men of common discernment knew was the alarm of cowardice.
The concession of Mr. Seward was a blow to the hopes of the Southern people. The contemplation of the spectacle of their enemy's humiliation in it was but little compensation for their disappointment of a European complication in the war. Indeed, the conclusion of the Trent affair gave a sharp check to the long cherished imagination of the interference of England in the war, at least to the extent of her disputing the blockade, which had begun to tell on the war-power and general condition of the Confederacy. The Trent correspondence was followed by declarations, on the Government side in the British Parliament, too plain to be mistaken. In the early part of February, 1862, Earl Russell had declared that the blockade of the American ports had been effective from the 15th of August, in the face of the facts that the despatches of Mr. Bunch, the English consul at Charleston, said that it was not so; and that authentic accounts and letters of merchants showed that any ships, leaving for the South, could be insured by a premium of seven and a half to fifteen per cent. But in the House of Commons, Mr. Gregory disputed the minister's statement, mentioned the evidence we have referred to, and asserted that England's non-observation of the Treaty of Paris was a deception for the Confederate States, and an ambuscade for the interests of commerce throughout the world.
* The Richmond Examiner had the following to say of the attitude of the enemy in the matter : Never, since the humiliation of the Doge and Senate of Genoa before the footstool of Louis XIV., has any nation consented to a degradation so deep. If Lincoln and Seward intended to give them up at a menace, why, their people will ask, did they ever capture the ambassadours? Why the exultant hurrah over the event, that went up from nineteen millions of throats? Why the glorification of Wilkes? Why the cowardly insults to two unarmed gentlemen, their close imprisonment, and the bloodthirsty movements of Congress in their regard? But, most of all, why did the Government of Lincoln indulge a full Cabinet with an unanimous resolution that, under no circumstances, should the United States surrender Messrs. Slidell and Mason? Why did they encourage the popular sentiment to a similar position? The United States Government and people swore the great oath to stand on the ground they had taken; the American eagle was brought out; he screeched his loudest screech of defiance-then
'Dropt like a craven cock his conquered wing'
at the first growl of the lion. This is the attitude of the enemy."
GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE MILITARY EVENTS OF THE YEAR 1862.—THE CONFEDERATE SITU-
THE year 1862 is a remarkable one in one the history of the war. It opened with a fearful train of disasters to the Confederacy that brought it
THE BATTLE OF FISHING CREEK.
almost to the brink of despair, and then was suddenly illuminated by successes that placed it on the highest pinnacle of hope, and put it even in instant expectation of its independence.
In the latter part of 1861, while the Confederacy was but little active, the North was sending into camp, from her great population, regiments numbered by hundreds; was drilling her men, heaping up ammunition and provisions, building gunboats for the western rivers, and war-ships for the coast, casting mortars and moulding cannon. She was preparing, with the opening of the next campaign, to strike those heavy blows in Tennessee and Louisiana under which the Confederate States reeled and staggered almost to fainting, and from which they recovered by a series of successes in Virginia, the most important of the war, and the most brilliant in the martial annals of any people.
We enter first upon the story of disaster. Despite the victory of Belmont, the Confederate situation in Kentucky was one of extreme weakness. Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston had assumed command of the Confederate forces in the Western department. He had occupied Bowling Green in Kentucky, an admirably selected position, with Green River along his front, and railway communication to Nashville and the whole South. Had he simply to contend with an enemy advancing from Louisville, he would have had but little to fear; but Grant had command of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, and while he might thus advance with his gunboats and transports upon Nashville, Buell, the other Federal commander, was prepared to attack in front.
BATTLE OF FISHING CREEK.
Having failed, as we have seen, at Columbus, the next movement of the enemy in Kentucky was to be made against the Confederate right at Mill Springs, on the upper waters of the Cumberland. Brig.-Gen. Zollicoffer had been reinforced and superseded by Maj.-Gen. Crittenden, and a small but gallant army had been collected for the defense of the mountains. The position of the Confederates was advanced across the Cumberland to Camp Beech Grove; and the camp was fortified with earth-works.
The Federal army in Eastern Kentucky occupied Somerset and Columbia, towns to the north of, but in the vicinity of the upper part of the Cumberland River. Two strong columns of the enemy were thus advancing upon Gen. Crittenden; and he formed the determination to fall upon the nearest column, that under Thomas advancing from Columbia, before the arrival of the troops under General Schoepf from Somerset.
But there were other reasons which determined Crittenden with his small army of about four thousand men to risk a battle against Thomas'
column, which consisted of two brigades of infantry, and was greatly his superiour in artillery. His troops had been in an almost starving condition for some time. For several weeks bare existence in the camp was very precarious, from want of provisions and forage. Regiments frequently subsisted on one third rations, and this very frequently of bread alone. Wayne County, which was alone productive in this region of Kentucky, had been exhausted, and the neighbouring counties of Tennessee could furnish nothing to the support of the army. The condition of the roads and the poverty of the intervening section rendered it impossible to transport from Knoxville, a distance of one hundred and thirty miles. The enemy from Columbia commanded the Cumberland River, and only one boat was enabled to come up with supplies from Nashville. With the channel of communication closed, the position became untenable without attack. Only corn could be obtained for the horses and mules, and this in such small quantities that often cavalry companies were sent out on unshod horses which had eaten nothing for two days.
On the afternoon of the 18th of January a council of war was called. The position of the enemy was unchanged; Fishing Creek, a tributary of the Cumberland, was swollen by recent rains; the force of the enemy at Somerset was cut off by this stream, and could not be expected to join Thomas' column moving from Columbia, until the freshet had subsided. It was unanimously agreed to attack Thomas, before the Somerset brigade could unite with him.
The march began at midnight. The first column, commanded by Gen. Zollicoffer, consisted of four regiments of infantry and four guns; the second, under Gen. Carroll, in support, of three regiments and two guns, the reserve of one regiment and two battalions of cavalry. The Confederates were poorly supplied with artillery; but happily the undulating and wooded surface of the country presented but little opportunity for the use of that arm.
As the morning of the 19th January broke, the firing of the enemy's pickets made a brisk prelude to the contest, and by eight o'clock the battle opened with great fury. Zollicoffer's brigade pushed ahead, and drove the Federals some distance through the woods, and were endeavouring to force their way to the summit of a hill which fully commanded the whole field. · He was ascending the hill when the heaviest firing told where the battle raged. He sent for reinforcements, and the brigade of Gen. Carroll was ordered up. When, in another moment, it was announced that he was killed, a sudden gloom pervaded the field and depressed the army. He had fallen on the crest of the hill-the stronghold of the enemy, which he had almost driven them from, and which once gained, the day was The enemy in front of him in the woods, after a few moments' cessation of firing and some movements, was taken by him to be a regiment