Page images



en per cent. He also recommended the issue of other treasury notes, not exceeding $50,000,000, bearing interest of 365 per cent., exchangeable for the first-named notes at the will of the holder.



The House of Representatives, with a view to the exAction of the House pediting of business, and limiting its action of Representatives. to the purposes for which the extra session had been called, passed a resolution that it would consider only bills relating to the military, naval, and financial affairs of the government, referring all other matters to the appropriate committees, without debate, for action at the next regular session of Congress.

The temper of the House of Representatives was manifested by the adoption of a resolution of

It pledges itself to


the suppression of fered by Mr. McClernand, a Democrat of Illinois: "This house hereby pledges itself to vote for any amount of money and any number of men which may be necessary to insure a speedy and effectual suppression of the rebellion, and the permanent restoration of the Federal authority every where within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States." It passed by a vote of 121 to 5.

Resistance of the

In the discussions arising on the various measures before the two houses, every exertion was slave interest. made by the remnant of the slave interest and its party allies to embarrass and procrastinate legislation, or divert it in favor of the insurrection. It was, however, one of the benefits that accrued to the nation from its great disaster at Bull Run, which happened while these discussions were in progress, that a powerful public sentiment was aroused which greatly restrained these proceedings-a determination to tolerate nothing that stood in opposition to the safety of the republic.

Lincoln was spared the difficulty which so often ob




structs representative governments, that for

Congress thorough


ly sustains the gov- every measure adopted an opposing formula can be produced. Congress at once rose to the height of the occasion, and, recognizing that the safety of the republic is the supreme law, with Roman firmness legalized whatever was needful for that end. It ac cepted, in all its subsequent action, the idea expressed by one of its members, "Tax, fight, emancipate."


Senator Baker, who a few weeks later fell at the disAction in the Sen- aster of Ball's Bluff, thoroughly represented the roused spirit of the nation when he declared in the Senate, "I propose to put the whole power of this country, arms, men, money, into the hands of the President. He has asked for four hundred millions of dollars-we will give him five hundred millions; he has asked for four hundred thousand men-we will give him five hundred thousand."

After a session of thirty-three days Congress had acResumé of the acts complished its work. It had approved and of the extra session. legalized the acts and orders of the Presi dent; it had authorized him to accept half a million of volunteers; it had added eleven regiments to the regular army; it had raised the pay of the soldier to thirteen dollars a month, with a bounty of one hundred acres of land at the close of the war; it had authorized the purchase or building and arming of as many ships as might be found requisite; it had appointed a committee to take charge of the construction of iron-clads and floating batteries; it had facilitated the importing of arms from abroad by the loyal states, voted ten millions of dollars for the purchase of arms, and undertaken to indemnify the states for all expenses they might incur in raising, paying, subsisting, and transporting troops. It had authorized the President to close the ports of entry at his discretion, to declare any community to be in a state of




insurrection, and to prohibit commercial intercourse with it. It had provided that, after proclamation by him, all property used or intended to be used in aid of the insur surrection should be seized and confiscated; and specially that if the owner of any slave should require or permit such slave to be in any way employed in military or naval service against the United States, all claim to him or his services should be forfeited by such owner. It had appropriated two hundred and twenty-eight millions of dollars ($227,938,000) for the army, and forty-three millions ($42,938,000) for the navy. It had made provision for these appropriations by imposts and taxation, and authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to borrow two hundred and fifty millions ($250,000,000).

of the

But these and other important measures were not carried without encountering a most strenuous position they had opposition. The rear-guard of slavery in Congress fought the battle to the last. The House resolution, "That, in the judgment of this house, it is no part of the duty of the soldiers of the United States to capture and return fugitive slaves," was carried by a vote in which all the affirmatives were Republicans. The resolution in the Senate expelling from that body Messrs. Mason, Clingman, Wigfall, and others, who were openly attempting the overthrow of the government, was in like manner resisted.. An attempt was made to attach to the army appropriation bill the proviso" that no part of the money hereby appropriated shall be employed in subjugating or holding as a conquered province any sovereign state now or lately one of the United States, nor in abolishing or interfering with African slavery in any of the states." Resolutions were offered condemning as unconstitutional the increase of the army, the blockade of the Southern ports, the seizure of telegraphic dispatches, the arrest of persons suspected of treason. As had been



the case in the House in the instance just referred to, so in the Senate on the occasion of the bill for reorganizing the army, an amendment was proposed "that the army and navy shall not be employed for the purpose of subjugating any state, or reducing it to the condition of a territory or province, or to abolish slavery therein." This was by Mr. Breckinridge, recently Vice-President of the United States, and shortly to be a general in the Confederate service. When the bill freeing slaves who had been used in aid of the insurrection was before the Senate, it met with earnest opposition because "it will inflame suspicions which have had much to do with producing our present evils; it will disturb those who are now calm and quiet, inflame those who are restless, irritate numbers who would not be exasperated by any thing else, and will, in all probability, produce no other effect than these. It is therefore useless, unnecessary, irritating, unwise."

With a firmness which recalls the action of the Roman Senate, on the day after the disastrous battle of Bull Run, while the demoralized wreck of the national army was filling the streets of Washington, and the victorious Confederate troops were momentarily expected, the House of Repre sentatives resolved "that the maintenance of the Constitution, the preservation of the Union, and the enforcement of the laws are sacred trusts which must be executed; that no disaster shall discourage us from the most ample performance of this high duty; and that we pledge to the country and the world the employment of every resource, national and individual, for the suppression, overthrow, and punishment of rebels in arms."

A few days later (July 29th) the Senate passed a res olution to the same effect.

The pledge of Congress to suppress the rebellion.




The national government, after the battle of Bull Run, commenced the organization of those great armies which eventually attained a strength of more than a million of men.

The process of collecting, officering, and arming the troops.
Organization and development of the Army of the Potomac under General McClel-
lan. For this army the most abundant provision was made.
The Western armies were less perfectly supplied.

Remarks on the ostensible and working strength of the armies during the Civil

To create, command, and disband a great army are among the most difficult acts of a free government.

At the period of the inauguration of Lincoln, the United States were really without an army. The insignificant force which had formerly passed under that name had been dissipated by the perfidy of Floyd, the Secretary of War; the most important portion of it had been disarmed and destroyed in Texas by the treason of General Twiggs.

At the close of the war the army numbered about 1,050,000 men. Such was its strength when and at its close. it was disbanded. Enthusiasm furnished in the beginning what seemed to be an adequate supply of volunteers. But enthusiasm can not be relied upon as a steady principle of national action. It is quickly excited, and, under the influence of adversity, as quickly subsides. Men were next obtained by the allurement of bounties, and that eventually failing of its purpose, they were taken by draft.

The national military force at the beginning of the


Modes by which troops were obtained.

« PreviousContinue »