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any possible event? You prefer that the constitutional relations of the States to the nation shall be practically restored without disturbance of the institution; and, if this were done, my whole duty in this respect, under the Constitution and my oath of office, would be performed. But it is not done, and we are trying to accomplish it by war. The incidents of the war can not be avoided. If the war continues long, as it must if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion-by the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once shortens the war, and secures substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wholly lost in any other event! How much better to thus save the money which else we sink forever in the war I How much better to do it while we can, lest the war, ere long, render us pecuniarily unable to do it! How much better for you, as seller, and the nation, as buyer, to sell out and buy out that without which the war could never have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and the price of it, in cutting one another's throats!
I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance, and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go.
I am pressed with a difficulty not yet mentioned-one which threatens division among those who, united, are none too strong. An instance of it is known to you. General Hunter is an honest man. He was, and I hope still is, my friend. I valued him none the less for his agreeing with me in the general wish that all men every-where could be freed. He proclaimed all men free within certain States, and I repudiated the proclamation. He expected more good and less harm from the measure than I could believe would follow. Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offense, to many whose support the country can not afford to lose. And this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask you can relieve me, and, much more, can relieve the country in this important point.
Upon these considerations, I have again begged your attention to the Message of March last. Before leaving the Capitol, consider and discuss it among vourselves. You are patriots
and statesmen, and as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in no wise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the world; its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that happiness, and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever.
Twenty of the Senators and Representatives thus addressed replied in respectful, but decidedly unfavorable, terms. Nine only made friendly and approving responses.
Military Events.-Inaction on the Potomac.-Western Campaigns.— Capture of New Orleans.
THE summary of political events in the preceding chapter has somewhat outrun the course of military operations. Gen. McClellan, as General-in-chief of the entire army, had nominally assumed control alike over Gen. Halleck, commanding in the Department of the West, over Gen. Burnside and Gen. T. W. Sherman in North and South Carolina, and over the vast Army of the Potomac. During the two months succeeding the retirement of Lieut. Gen. Scott, every day's delay, while calm skies and dry roads invited to action, adied new weight to the impatience of the people. But at length wintry weather put an end to all immediate hope of action. Opinions as to the General-in-chief were divided. Ready excuses on the part of those immediately about him as to still needed preparations, and lavish promises as to results when the time of action should come, with frequent intimations of an early movement, satisfied many who would otherwise have been despondent. To the President himself, Gen. McClellan, while reticent as to details, preserved an air of earnest determination, and held out the prospect of effective action at no remote day. An engagement near Dranesville, Md., under Gen. Ord, favorable to our arms, yet animportant in results, had, on the 20th of December, awakened only to disappoint an expiring hope of some decisive action before another season. Some occasional collisions between detachments of the opposing armies were all that occurred in the Eastern Departments after the successful landing of the Southern expedition until the opening of spring.
The contrast between this inaction in the East, and the energetic and decisive movements in the West during the same period, was marked. Neither this fact, nor the customary mode of
stating the plan of the General-in-chief-which was one of simultaneous movement on all sides-would seem consistent with the supposition that affairs in the West were under any real control of the nominal military head at Washington. His actual relation to these events will in due time appear.
Early in January, Col. Garfield again cleared the eastern border of Kentucky of Rebels, defeating an invading force under Humphrey Marshall, at Middle Creek, near Prestonburg, on the 10th. Gen. George B. Crittenden, at the head of another Rebel force, about 12,000 strong, had issued his proclamation to the people of Kentucky on the 6th, from his headquarters at Mill Spring, a point near the south bank of the Tennessee river, where that stream, making a wide sweep, bends farthest northward into the State. It was in this vicinity that a brilliant victory was gained on the 19th of January, by our forces under command of Gen. George H. Thomas. This achievement, utterly routing the rebel force, with severe loss, including that of Gen. Zollicoffer, killed, and penetrating the extended line of the Rebels opposed to Gen. Buell, was hailed as the promise of more stirring days. On the occasion of receiving this news, the Secretary of War issued the following order:
WAR DEPARTMENT, January 22, 1862.
The President, Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, has received information of a brilliant victory achieved by the United States forces over a large body of armed traitors and rebels at Mill Spring, in the State of Kentucky.
He returns thanks to the gallant officers and soldiers who won that victory, and when the official reports shall be received, the military skill and personal valor displayed in battle will be acknowledged and rewarded in a fitting manner.
The courage that encountered and vanquished the greatly superior numbers of the Rebel force, pursued and attacked them in their intrenchments, and paused not until the enemy was completely routed, merits and receives commendation.
The purpose of this war is to attack, pursue and destroy a rebellious enemy, and to deliver the country from danger menaced by traitors. Alacrity, daring, courageous spirit and patriotic zeal, on all occasions and under every circumstance, are expected from the Army of the United States.
In the prompt and spirited movements and daring battle of Mill Spring, the nation will realize its hopes, and the people of the United States will rejoice to honor every soldier and officer who proves his courage by charging with the bayonet and storming intrenchments, or in the blaze of the enemy's fire.
By order of the President.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
These words of cheer, following acts so successful, reassured despondent hearts, and turned all eyes toward new scenes of hope.
The Rebel line from Columbus, on the Mississippi, to Bowling Green, on Green river, as will be seen from a map of that region, was penetrated by the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, running in a northerly and nearly parallel direction, about ten miles apart, from the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee, into the Ohio river, cutting off a triangle comprising seven or eight counties in the south-western part of the former State. To secure their line against the gunboats, which were now making their appearance on the Western rivers, the Rebels had constructed a fort near the State line, on the Tennessee, in the immediate vicinity of Panther Island, called Fort Henry. At a point nearly on the same parallel, on the Cumberland, eastward, near Dover, in Tennessee, was another work named Fort Donelson. These points are about ninety miles distant from the mouths of the respective rivers.
Gen. Grant, almost simultaneously with the movement on Mill Spring, had planned an attack on Fort Henry, with a coöperating gunboat fleet under Com. Foote. This movement was authorized by Gen. Halleck, there being signs of intended reënforcements to the rebel left. Although the roads were in very bad condition, and movements of infantry and artillery were difficult, the high water in the Tennessee was specially favorable for the execution of that portion of the movement under the charge of Com. Foote.
On the 6th of February, the gunboats Essex, Carondelet, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Conestoga, Tyler and Lexington, advanced to the attack on Fort Henry, opening a rapid and