Page images
PDF
EPUB

Maryland. The Governor repeatedly protested against landing troops at Annapolis, the capital of the State, and the military occupation of the railroad which connects that city with Washington, inasmach as he had convened the legislature to meet, and the occupancy of the road would prevent the members from arriving. On the 25th of April a new military department was formed, called the Department of Annapolis, with head-quarters in that city. It included twenty miles on each side of the railroad to Washington, as far as Bladensburgh; BrigadierGeneral Benjamin F. Butler in command. The General replied to the protest of the Governor, that his troops were in Maryland to maintain the laws and préserve peace; and that he had taken possession of the road because threats had been made to destroy it, in case troops passed over it. He said, also, that there were rumored apprehensions of a negro insurrection, and offered his services to suppress it. The Governor replied, that the citizens could take care of themselves. The occupation of Annapolis by the troops induced the legislature to meet at Frederick, on the 26th of April. The Governor, in his message, advised neutrality, so that Maryland might not be the scene of war. The action of the legislature was less moderate, however; although it decided by a unanimous vote in the Senate, and by fifty-three to thirteen in the House, not to secede. A bill was introduced in the Senate investing the military power of the State in a board of public safety, of which the majority were in favor of secession. This movement not being entirely popular, the bill was recommitted. A committee of the legislature was also appointed to visit the President, and a series of resolutions was adopted by the House of Delegates, protesting against the war on behalf of the State, imploring the President to make peace with the seceded States, and affirming that the "State of Maryland desires the peaceful and immediate recognition of the Confederate States." To cap the climax of their folly, the legislature sent a committee to Jefferson Davis to assure him of the sympathy of the people of Maryland with the Confederate States. The Federal Government, scarcely able to look after its own security, was for the present powerless to repress these treasonable demonstrations.

. Even:s, however, made rapid progress, and as sober second thoughts began to replace the recent mad excitement, the tone of Baltimore grew more conservative, while at Frederick, Hagerstown, and elsewhere the Union element became decidedly uppermost. Meanwhile troops from all quarters continued to accumulate at Annapolis, under General Butler. On the 5th of May, he advanced and occupied the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, planting eight howitzers on the viaduct, and investing the entire neighborhood. This being the point of junction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with the Washington branch, it commands the road to the West. On the 9th transports arrived at Locust Point from Perryville with Sherman's battery, six pieces, and twelve hundred men, who were placed in the cars, and went off without disturbance. On the following day, an attempt was made to send a steamgun, by Mr. Ross Winans, of Baltimore, to Harper's Ferry; but the gun, and those in charge of it, were arrested by order of General Butler. Order was now so far restored, that travel was resumed

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

through Baltimore. On Monday, May 13th, a train from Philadelphia passed through with the National flag displayed, and numbers were hung out from stores and dwellings. On the following day, the First Pennsylvania regiment passed through Baltimore fully equipped. In the afternoon of the same day, a train from the Relay House arrived with the Sixth Massachussetts, and the Eighth New York regiments, with a battery. They marched through South Baltimore and took possession of Federal Hill, a high point commanding both the city and Fort McHenry, which is east of it, one mile distant. Here General Butler fixed his head-quarters, and issued a proclamation intended to soothe the conquered citizens of Baltimore. He also demanded the delivery of a quantity of arms stored in the city, which was acceded to, and the Federal authority became fully established. On the 15th of May, the Star-spangled banner was raised once more over the post-office and custom-house.

CHAPTER V.

Confederate Congress.-Davis's Message.-Virginia.-Beauregard's Proclamation.Border States' Convention.-Western Virginia.--State Re-orgaization.

ACCORDING to the proclamation of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate Congress met at Montgomery, Alabama, April 29th, and Mr. Davis delivered a message, which opened with assurances that the constitution framed for the estab ishment of a permanent government for the Confederate States had been ratified by conventions in each of those States to which it was referred. To inaugurate the Government in its full proportions and upon its own substantial basis of the popular will, it only remained that elections should be held for the designation of the officers to administer it.

He stated that the declaration of war against the Confederacy by the President of the United States, in his proclamation of April 15th, made it necessary to convene the Congress at the earliest possible moment. He reviewed the events that, from the formation of the Government, had been gradually producing the present state of affairs, and recounted the circumstances that attended the mission of commissioners to Washington. The reply of the Federal Government, rendered only on April 8th, although dated March 15th, had, he said, been withheld, while assurances calculated to inspire hope in the success of the mission had been made.

"That these assurances were given, has been virtually confessed by the Government of the United States by its sending a messenger to Charleston to give notice of its purpose to use force, if opposed in its intention of supplying Fort Sumter. No more striking proof of the absence of good faith in the conduct of the Government of the United States towards this Confederacy can be required, than is contained in the cir cumstances which accompanied this notice. According to the usual course of navigation, the vessels composing the expedition designed for the relief of Fort Sumter, might be

"

expected to reach Charleston Harbor on the 9th of April; yet with our commissioners actually in Washington, detained under assurances that notice should be given of any military movement, the notice was not addressed to them, but a messenger was sent to Charleston, to give notice to the Governor of South Carolina, and the notice was so given at a late hour on the 8th of April, the eve of the very day on which the fleet might be expected to arrive. That this manoeuvre failed in its purpose was not the fault of those who contrived it. A heavy tempest delayed the arrival of the expedition, and gave time to the commander of our forces at Charleston to ask and receive the instructions of this Government. Even then, under all the provocation incident to the contemptuous refusal to listen to our commissioners, and the tortuous course of the Government of the United States, I was sincerely anxious to avoid the effusion of blood, and directed a proposal to be made to the commander of Fort Sumter, who had avowed himself to be nearly out of provisions, that we would abstain from directing our fire on Fort Sumter, if he would promise not to fire upon our forces unless first attacked. This proposal he refused, and the conclusion was reached that the design of the United States was to place the besieging force of Charleston between the simultaneous fire of the fleet and the fort. There remained, therefore, no alternative but to direct that the fort should at once be reduced."

Mr. Davis then proceeded to recount the contents of the proclamation of President Lincoln, and the mandates of that document were received with "shouts of laughter."

"Apparently contradictory," said Mr. Davis, "as are the terms of this singular document, one point was unmistakably evident. The President of the United States called for an army of seventy-five thousand men, whose first service was to be the capture of our forts. It was a plin declaration of war which I was not at liberty to disregard, because of my knowledge that under the Constitution of the United States, the Presi dent was usurping a power granted exclusively to Congress."

Ile advised the immediate passage of a law authorizing the acceptance of proposals for privateers. He denounced the proclamation of the United States in relation to Southern ports, as a mere paper blockale. He stated, that under the law authorizing a loan of five million dollars, a call was promptly answered by offers of more than eight million dollars at par, and the whole was accepted. Mr. Davis said that a much larger amount was now become necessary to defray the expenses of the war.

"here are now in the field at Charleston, Pensacola, Forts Morgan, Jackson, St. Philip, and Pulaski, nineteen thousand men, and sixteen thousand are now en route for Virginia. It is proposed to organize and hold in readiness for instant action, in view of the present exigencies of the country, an army of one hundred thousand men."

In the Confederate army there was but one grade of general-that of brigadier-gener 1, but in the State organization there were majorgenerals, and Mr. Davis advised the equalizing the rank. He concluded⚫

"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice, save that of honor and independence; we seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from t e States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be left alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms. his we will, this we must resist to the direst extremity. Te moment that this pretension is abandoned, the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to enter into treaties of amity and commerce that cannot but be mutually beneficial. So long as this pretension is maintained, with a firm reliance on that Divine Power which covers with its protection the just cause, we will continue to struggle for our inherent right to freedom, independence, and self-government,"

[ocr errors]

The military resources of the Confederacy were mostly those which had been derived from the Federal Government. Each State had seized the forts, arsenals, and munitions of war that were within its limits. The forts situated within the limits of the slave States were as follows:

Where located.

*Fort McHenry, Baltimore.

*Fort Carroll, Baltimore....

*Fort Delaware, Delaware River, Del..
*Fort Madison, Annapolis, Md....
*Fort Severn, Maryland...

*Fort Washington, Potomac River, Md.
*Fortress Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Va...
Fort Calhoun, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Va..
Fort Macon, Beaufort, N. C.

Fort Johnson, Cape Fear, Wilmington, N. C...

Fort Caswell, Oak Island, N. C... .

Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C..
Castle Pinckney, Charleston, S. C....
Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C....
Fort Pulaski, Savannah, Ga..
Fort Jackson, Savannah, Ga...
Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Fla.
*Fort Taylor, Key West.
*Fort Jefferson, Tortugas..
Fort Barrancas, Pensacola.
Redoubt, Pensacola....
*Fort Pickens, Pensacola.
Fort McRae, Pensacola.
Fort Morgan, Mobile...
Fort St. Philip, Mississippi River..
Fort Jackson, Mississippi River..
Fort Pike, Rigolets, La.....
Fort Macomb, Chef Menteur, La..
Fort Livingston, Barataria Bay, La.

[blocks in formation]

In addition to these were incomplete works at Ship Island, Missis⚫ sippi Sound; Georgetown, South Carolina; Port Royal Roads, South Carolina; Tybee Island, Savannah; Galveston, Brazos Santiago, and Matagorda Bay, Texas.

Hampton Roads is the great naval dépôt station and rendezvous of the Southern coasts, and the only good roadstead on the Atlantic, south of the Delaware.

Pensacola is very strong, and the only good harbor for vessels of war, and the only naval dépôt, on the gulf.

The fortresses at Key West and Tortugas, on the southern point of Florida, are among the most powerful in the world; and every vessel that crosses the gulf passes in sight of both.

With the exception of Fort McHenry, Fort Pickens, and others marked, (*) all these had passed into the possession of the Confederates. Each State in succession, by ordinance, turned over to the Confederate Government the fortifications within its limits. The Confederate Government had thus at its disposal all that in those States had belonged to the United States. After the proclamation of President Lincoln, calling for troops, an effort was made to force the Border States into

secession, and the rebel leaders began to send troops into those States. On the 6th of May an act was passed by the Confederate Congress, recognizing the existence of war with the United States, and authoriz ing the President of the Confederate States to use the whole land and naval forces, and to issue letters of marque, and prescribing regulations for the conduct of privateers. Another act prohibited the export of cotton or cotton yarn from any of the Confederate States except through their seaports, under penalty of a forfeiture of the cotton, a fine of $5,000, and six months' imprisonment. This did not apply to exports through Mexico. The act was to continue in force as long as the blockade should last. This Congress also proposed that the planters should be invited to put their crops into the hands of the Government, receiving bonds for their value. Meantime the Confederate troops continued to pour into Virginia, until in May considerably more than 50,000 had been collected at various points. Of these General Robert E. Lee* was on May 10th placed in command.

On the other hand, the Federal troops were not idle, and an advance into Virginia, which took place on the 23d of May, caused an immense excitement at the South. In Virginia, particularly, the influx of troops was hastened in consequence, and from all quarters they began to concentrate to defend Manassas Junction and the other approaches to Richmond. Brigadier-General Beauregard assumed command in the Department of Alexandria, and on the 1st of June issued the following remarkable proclamation:

A PROCLAMATION TO THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTIES OF LOUDON,
FAIRFAX, AND PRINCE WILLIAM.

"HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, }

"A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil. Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all moral, legal, and constitutional restraints, has thrown his abolition hosts among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to humanity to be enumerated.

"All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned, and they proclaim by their acts, if not on their banners, that their war-cry is 'Beauty and Booty. All that is dear to manyour honor, and that of your wives and daughters-your fortunes and your lives, are involved in this momentous contest.

"In the name, therefore, of the constituted authorities of the Confederate States-in the sacred cause of constitutional liberty and self-government, for which we are contend. ing-in behalf of civilization itself, I, G. T. Beauregard, Brigadier-General of the Confederate States, commanding at Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, do make this my proclamation, and invite and enjoin you by every consideration dear to the hearts of freemen and patriots, by the name and memory of your revolutionary fathers, and by the purity and sanctity of your domestic firesides, to rally to the standard of your State

Robert Edmund Lee is the son of General Harry Lee, of revolutionary fame, and was born in Virginia, about 1808. He was graduated at West Point, second in his class, in 1829, entered the Engineer Corps, became captain in 1838, and served in the Mexican war as chief engineer; was brevetted major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel for gallant conduct at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec; superintendent of West Point Academy 1852-55; lieutenant-colonel of Second Cavalry 1855, and colonel of First Cavalry, March 16th, 1861; resigned his commission

April 25, 1861, and joined the Southern Confedera
cy: was made general, and after holding commands
in Western Virginia, and on the coast, succeeded
General Johnson in command of the rebel army
in Richmond, June, 1862; led the invasion into
Maryland, and was defeated at Antietam, Septem-
ber, 1862; commander-in-chief in the campaigns
of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg,
Petersburg, and Richmond, 1862-65; appointed
general-in-chief of the rebel army, January 81,
1865; capitulated to General Grant April 9, 1865.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »