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CHAPTER XV.

AUTUMN OF 1861.

URING the summer of 1861 Congress was in session, called by

President Lincoln. In his message he said :

“It might seem, at first thought, to be of little difference whether the present move. ment at the South be called 'secession' or 'rebellion.' The movers, however, will understand the difference. They knew that they never could make their treason respectable by any name which implies a violation of law. They knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in and reverence for the history and government of their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people."

President Lincoln used plain words, which everybody could understand, as is seen in the following sentences :

“They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly, they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism is that any State may, consistently with the national Constitution, therefore lawfully and peacefully withdraw from the Union, without the consent of the Union or any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judges of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice. With rebellion thus sugar-coated, they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years.”

In these brief sentences we have the history of Secession.

“ Would it not be better, Mr. President,” said Mr. Defrees, the public printer, “to use some other word a little more dignified than “sugarcoated'in an important State paper which is to go down to all time?"

“Well, Defrees, if you think the time will ever come when the people will not understand whatósugar-coated' means, I'll alter it; otherwise I think I'll let it go,” said Mr. Lincoln, with good-humor in every wrinkle of his face. ()

Ulysses S. Grant presided at a public meeting in Galena, Ill. A

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few days later he accompanied the troops from that town to the capital of the State. He had seen service in Mexico as lieutenant, and was acquainted with military affairs. At Springfield he met Major John Pope.

“ You ought to go into the United States service again,” said Pope; and added, “I am acquainted with the public men of the State, and will get them to recommend you."

“I do not think I will get any indorsement for permission to fight for my country,” replied Grant. He addressed a letter to the adjutantgeneral of the army, offering his services, but received no answer. From Springfield he journeyed to Covington, Ky., and visited his parents. The headquarters of Major-general McClellan being in Cincinnati, he crossed the river to that city, thinking he would apply for a position as staff-officer. Twice he entered the apartments of McClellan for that purpose, but did not meet him. Upon returning to Springfield, he found Governor Yates had appointed him colonel of the Twenty-first (Illinois) Regiment. He was sent to Missouri, and then to Cairo. Without solicitation on his part he was appointed brigadier-general.

A Confederate force under General Leonidas Polk ascended the Mississippi from Memphis and took possession of the high bluffs at Columbus, Ky. The neutrality of the State ended with that act. It had been violated by the Confederates just as President Lincoln expected it would be.

“The Confederates are getting ready to seize Paducah,” said a Union man from Columbus.

If the Confederates were in Kentucky, why should not Union troops be there! Paducah was an important position. Confederate cannon

planted there would prevent steamboats passing that point. Sept. 5.

It was at the mouth of the Tennessee. The party which first gained possession of that town would have great advantage. General Grant informed Fremont what he intended to do, and then proceeded to do it without waiting for orders. (')

The people of Paducah the next morning were greatly astonished to see a fleet of steamboats crowded with Union soldiers moored at the

landing. Most of the citizens were Secessionists, and were exSept. 6.

pecting to welcome a Confederate force under General Thompson. The prompt action of General Grant was of incalculable benefit to the Union cause in Kentucky, and gave great satisfaction to Pres. ident Lincoln. Grant issued a brief address to the people of Paducah. He said:

“I have come among you not as an enemy, but as your friend and fellow-citizen ; not to injure or annoy you, but to respect the rights and enforce the rights of all loyal citizens. An enemy in rebellion against one common Government has taken possession of and planted its guns on the soil of Kentucky and fired upon our flag. Hickman and Columbus are in his hands. He is moving upon your city. I am here to defend you against this enemy, and to assist and maintain the authority and sovereignty of your Government and mine. I have nothing to do with opinion. I shall deal only with armed rebellion and its aiders and abettors.”

"I like that address," said President Lincoln, when he read it. “Its modesty and brevity show that the officer issuing it understands the situation, and is a proper man to command there at this time.” (°)

With the coming of autumn a series of antislavery lectures was given in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. They were attended by the President, who was much pleased with one given by Horace Greeley, editor of the New York “Tribune.”

“That lecture,” he said to Mr. Greeley, “is full of good thoughts, and I would like to take it home with me and read it over next Sunday.”(*)

Mr. Lincoln, as he walked out in the afternoons for exercise, often met a gentleman whose courteous bearing and kindly face arrested his attention.

“May I be so rude as to ask your name?" said the President, extending his hand.

“ Joseph Henry,” the reply.

“I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Mr. Henry. I long have heard of you. Come to the White House. I want to know about the Smithsonian Institute, with which you are connected, and what is going on in the world of science." ()

The acquaintance ripened into one of affectionate intimacy. Professor Henry spent many evenings in the family apartments at the White House. It was a great relief to the President, after the perplexities of the day, to converse with one of the foremost scientists of the age.

Whispers were in the air of a military movement at Edwards Ferry, near Leesburg. I hastened to General McClellan's headquarters, but

aids and clerks had no information for a correspondent. There

was an air of mystery and reticence which usually acts as a stimulant to a journalist. While waiting to obtain an interview with General McClellan, President Lincoln entered the room. He gave me a cordial greeting, but there were signs of intense anxiety on his countenance.

Oct, 21.

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