« PreviousContinue »
White House itself, the building which House of Representatives calling for inhad given name to the locality, and the formation on the subject. This brought occupation of which had occasioned no out a correspondence between the Secreinconsiderable discussion, was, with the tary of War and General McClellan, in rest, committed to the flames. A popu- which the latter stated the motive that lar notion had prevailed that this edifice had dictated his order, and showed that had been occupied by General Washing- the place was really of less value for hoston for a time after his marriage, and a pital purposes than had been representcertain romantic and patriotic association ed. It was finally, however, at the rewas thus connected with it. It was, quest of Secretary Stanton, turned over however, an earlier house on the same to this use, and at the time of the evacsite, owned by Mrs. Custis, which was uation was occupied as the private quarentitled to this distinction, the present ters of those beneficent attendants upon White House being of recent erection. human misery in many lands, the Roman It was a small and commonplace wooden Catholic Sisters of Charity. * structure, surrounded by a field shaded More cheering news from the army of by locust trees, on the banks of the Pa- the Potomac for the celebration of the munkey. The ownership of the property 4th of July, might have been desired still remaining in the Custis family, it than the broken details of the Seven was now held by the wife of the rebel Days' Battles, which were that day General Lee, the heir of the late G. W. spread over the northern newspapers, P. Custis, the grandson of Mrs. Washing- with those sad inventories of killed and ton, and had been of late occupied by a wounded, long bulletins of death in solid son of General Lee, also in the Confed- columns of closely printed small type, erate army. On the arrival of the Union with which the country was so sadly troops, General McClellan, with the familiar. Disappointment throughout the punctilious regard for private property North and West, undoubtedly, chilled which was chivalrously observed in the the accustomed fervor of the hour, as the advance of the army of the Potomac, nation, roused by the call of the Presiordered that the house and yard should dent for a new army of 300,000 men, not be occupied by his men. “I have seriously looked into the future. Yet taken,” he wrote “every precaution to there was no great depression. The secure from injury this house where country, inured to the struggle, and conWashington passed the first portion of fident of the final result, was learning to his married life. I neither occupy it accept good and evil fortune with equanmyself, nor permit others to occupy it or imity. the grounds in immediate vicinity.” So On the banks of the James, General far as the memory of Washington was McClellan embraced the occasion of the concerned, there was nothing to be said national anniversary to address to his against this special act of protection ; troops now beginning to recover their but, as the property of a rebel in arms, shattered strength in their secure enthere was some dissatisfaction with the campment at Harrison's Landing, with order of the general, who, especially words of encouragement and promise ; when it was bruited about that the ac- speaking for the whole land when he ascommodation was wanted for hospital sured his followers of a final triumph :purposes, was held to account in the "Soldiers of the army of the Potomac! newspapers for overscrupulous tenderness to the property of rebels. The sub
* Letter of Mr. B. J. Lossing to the New York Evening ject even engaged the attention of Con- Post
, July 2, 1862. Correspondence of Secretary Stanton gress, and a resolution was passed in the and General McClellan, submitted to Congress, July 9,
Your achievements of the last ten days reward of their long toils in coveted indehave illustrated the valor and endurance pendence : "To the army in Eastern of the American soldier, attacked by su- Virginia-Soldiers : I congratulate you perior forces, and without hope of rein- on the series of brilliant victories which, forcements. You have succeeded in under the favor of Divine Providence, changing your base of operations by a you have lately won, and, as the Presiflank movement, always regarded as the dent of the Confederate States, do heartmost hazardous of military experiments. ily tender to you the thanks of the counYou have saved all your material, all try, whose just cause you have so skillyour trains, and all your guns, except a fully and heroically served. Ten days few lost in battle, taking, in return, guns ago, an invading army vastly superior and colors from the enemy. Upon your to you in numbers, and in the material march you have been assailed day after of war, closely beleaguered your capital, day with desperate fury by men of the and vauntingly proclaimed its speedy same race and nation skillfully massed conquest ; you marched to attack the and led. Under every disadvantage of enemy in his entrenchments ; with wellnumber, and, necessarily, of position also, directed movements and death-defying you have in every conflict beaten back valor you charged upon him in his posiyour foes with
enormous slaughter. tions, drove bim from field to field over Your conduct ranks you among the cele- a distance of more than thirty-five miles, brated armies of history. No one will and, despite his reinforcements, compelnow question that each of you may led him to seek shelter under the cover always with pride say: 'I belong to the of his gunboats, where he now lies, cowarmy of the Potomac.' You have reach- ering before the army he so lately deed the new base complete in organiza- rided and threatened with entire subjution and unimpaired in spirit. The en- gation. The fortitude with which you emy may at any time attack you. We have borne toil and privation, the galare prepared to meet them. I have per- lantry with which you have entered in sonally established your lines. Let them each successive battle, must have been come, and we will convert their repulse witnessed to be fully appreciated ; but a into a final defeat. Your goveryment is grateful people will not fail to recognize strengthening you with the resources of you, and to bear you in loved remema great people. On this, your nation's brance. Well may it be said of you, birthday, we declare to our foes, who are that you have done enough for glory; rebels against the best interests of man- but duty to a suffering country, and to kind, that this army shall enter the cap- the cause of constitutional liberty, claims ital of the so-called Confederacy; that from you a yet further effort. Let it be our National Constitution shall prevail ; your pride to relax in nothing which can and that the Union, which can alone in- promote your future efficiency; your sure internal peace and external security one grand object being to drive the into each State, must and shall be pre- vader from your soil, and carrying your served,' cost what it may, in time, trea- standards beyond the outer bounds of sure, and blood.”
the Confederacy, to wring from an unNor should we forget the parallel ad scrupulous foe the recognition of your dress of President Davis at Richmond, birthright, community, independence." in which he also promised his army the
ADJOURNMENT OF THE NATIONAL CONGRESS, JULY 17, 1862.
In a previous chapter* we chronicled | perusal of its two hundred “Public the important communications made at Acts,” will show the rapid progress the the opening of the session by the Presi- nation was making at this time in the dent and heads of departments, repre- formation of opinions, strengthened, on senting the political, military, and finan- the instant, into resolutions, and corrobcial condition of the country at the close orated by the performance of serious and of the year 1861. It was the turning onerous duties. point in the history of the war, when it The sensitiveness of both houses was to be decided whether the nation, was shown in the consideration, on disappointed of its hopes of a speedy several occasions, of the alleged dissuppression of the rebellion, would gird loyal acts or expressions of members. itself, at whatever sacrifices it might cost, In the preceding extra session, it will be for a mighty and portentous struggle in remembered, the expulsion of Mason, the future in .maintaining against half a Hunter, and other absentee senators in continent in arms the cause of the Union, open rebellion against the nation, had not with all that it involves of moral and passed without serious debate. An unmaterial well-being. The answer to this willingness was shown to wound the question was given in the affirmative. reputation of men compelled, perhaps, by Of the necessity which led to it, of the State necessity, to take part against the method by which the problem was solved government to which they had pledged there can be no more instructive com- allegiance.* There was less hesitation mentary than the debates of the second of this kind now. One of the earliest session of the 37th Congress. For nearly acts of the Senate, on the 4th of Decemeight months in the Senate and the House, ber, was to expel the "traitor," as he the war, in one or other of its aspects, was branded in the resolution, John C was the main subject of discussion ; how Breckinridge, who, after the expiration best to carry it on ; the patriotic demands of his term as Vice President, had been of the time upon public men; the new elected to that body, and occupied his exigencies of statesmanship; the new seat in the previous session. The predemands upon generals in the field ; the amble stated that “he bad joined the new relations of slavery to the govern- enemies of his country, and is now in ment :—these and other topics were con- arms against the government he had tinually debated; what could not be sworn to support.” He had sent no relearned within doors, from argument, signation to the Senate, but in an adwas taught by rapid experience in the dress "to the people of Kentucky” in great march of events in the field. When October, dated at Bowling Green, had, the Congress met there was considerable as he expressed it
, "returned his trust uncertainty on many important points ; into their hands," with the declaration when it adjourned they were practically that he "exchanged with proud satisfacdetermined by its legislation. A glance tion, a term of six years in the United at its debates, a few minutes spent in the States Senate for the musket of a solChapter L., ante pages 186-200.
* Ante Vol. I., pp. 498–9.
BRIGHT OF INDIANA CALLED TO ACCOUNT IN THE SENATE.
dier.” In other words, the late Vice to the United States Senate. An able President of the United States had open- member of his party, he was an ultra ly joined the Confederacy, and been ap- pro-slavery Democrat in his politics, and pointed a general in the rebel service. had supported Breckinridge in the recent In like manner, the two senators from presidential election. Missouri, Waldo P. Johnson, and Trus- On the 13th of January, 1862, Mr. ten Polk, having publicly taken part Cowan (Rep.), of Pennsylvania, reportwith the secession cause, and gone overed on behalf of the Committeee that the to the enemy, were, on the 10th of Jan- facts were not sufficient, and that the uary, also expelled. These men were resolution do not pass. It was then open in their support of the rebellion. made a special order for debate. The There were other cases brought forward subject was taken up on the 20th. Wilof more nicety, in the effort to purge the kinson, in a few words, denounced the Senate of disaffection. One, in particu- act as treason, and Bright as a sympalar, elicited no little discussion, and by thizer with the enemy. The Fitch letter, the action which was taken became an he said, only made the matter worse. important precedent.
Bayard, of Delaware, spoke in an apoloOn the 16th of December, the atten- getic way, going out of the record to astion of the Senate was called, by Mr. sert “He did not believe that the war Wilkinson (Republican), from Minnesota, would effect the restoration of the Union.” to the fact that one of the members, Morrill (Rep.), of Maine, contended that Jesse D. Bright, of Indiana, had, on the at the time the letter was written, we 1st of March previous written a letter, were actually in a state of civil war, in addressed " To his Excellency, Jefferson whicn he was sustained by Trumbull Davis, President of the Confederate (Rep.), of Illinois, and opposed by
introducing a certain Mr. Thos. Pearce (Am.), of Maryland. The debate D. Lincoln, as having an improvement-in was resumed the next day by Sumner, of fire arms.
The letter had fallen into the Massachusetts, who urged the expulsion. hands of the government on the arrest of Lane, of Indiana, also spoke in favor of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio for treasonable com- the measure. Bright sought to defend munication with the enemy. It was set himself. He reminded the Senate that forth that such a letter was evidence of he had been twenty-seven years in the disloyalty, and it was moved that the public service of Indiana, and seventeen writer be expelled. The resolution was years in his present seat, and had done met by a few remarks from Mr. Bright nothing inconsistent with his position as justifying and taking the responsibility a Senator. Lincoln was an old friend to of the act, in which he presented a letter whom he was under obligations, he had which he had written, explanatory of the given him the letter when he did not other, to a Mr. Fitch (Sept. 7, 1861), in dream of war, and when arms were being which he remarked that he was opposed sent to the South. Fessenden, of Maine, to the Abolitionists, but had always been asked the pertinent question, why, if he for the preservation and integrity of the thought there should be no war, what Union
; moreover, that he was opposed occasion he had to suppose Davis wanted to the coercive policy of the government. an improvement in firearms. Davis, of The resolution was then referred to the Kentucky, the successor of the expelled Judiciary Committee. Mr. Bright, a na- Breckenridge, on the 22d made a stirring tive of New York, had lived in Kentucky appeal for the expulsion, breaking off
, and afterwards removed to Indiana, however, on resuming the discussion the where he was chosen Lieutenant-Gover- next day, into a defence of Kentuckian nor, and whence he had thrice been sent slavery, and a deprecation of interfering
with the institution in the conduct of the not to be judged now for what he did war, to which Harlan, of Iowa, firmly then--an illogical argument, based on a replied. Harris, of New York, on the true enough statement of facts. He cited 24th pronounced his opinion that it would the war speeches in the Senate, of Wigbe establishing a dangerous precedent to fall and Toombs, previous to their retireinsist on the expulsion ; he thought that ment, and the patient manner in which there was a want of sufficient evidence they were borne by their fellow memof the treasonable offence charged. Ten bers. Nobody, he said, believed in war Eyck (Rep.), of New Jersey, for a similar at the date of Mr. Bright's alleged ofl'eason, would vote against the measure. fence. If he was to be condemned other Clark (Rep.), of New Hampshire, in an senators were guilty for not arresting the indignant speech, was resolute for con- seceding traitors of their body. Mr. demnation. “We owe it,” said he,“ to the Saulsbury, of Delaware, also a democrat, country," and with a pertinent allusion to talked of proscription and persecution, the battle of Somerset, in Kentncky, the and violently assailed the administration. details of which were just received, “The senator from Massachusetts" brought home by the reflection that the (Sumner), he said, “ had assailed the senfallen victors were from Bright's own ator from Indiana, and the names of CatState, "we owe it, above all, to the pa- iline and Arnold seemed less hateful now triotic State of Indiana. Even now the because they had received his (Sumner's) telegraph flashes the news that her 10th censure, and their future fame would regiment has been nearly decimated. shine more brightly because they had Her sons lie dead upon the ground, slain not received his praise.” The Repubin defence of their country; and shall licans, Howe, of Wisconsin, and Wilmot, we retain here a senator who would aid of Pennsylvania, thought that if the parto furnish the rebellion with arms that ticular offence was not treason, there was are to kill and destroy her own citizens ?" evidence of disloyalty, and that the SenOf the fact of war at the time the ob- ate should be purged of all taint of it, a noxious letter was written, he said, sentiment powerfully enforced the next "The 1st day of March, 1861, was an day (31st) by Johnson, of Tennessee, who eventful day. On that day the Secre- maintained the right and duty of the tary of War struck the name of General Senate to decide upon the fitness of its Twiggs, who had surrendered the army own members for their office. He dwelt in Texas, from the roll of the army. On upon Mr. Bright's assertion in the letter that same day the gallant Anderson to Fitch, of his opposition to the whole wrote that he could not hold out much policy of coercion. "If the Senate," longer, and on that same day the senator was the language of the indignant Johnfrom Indiana wrote a letter to Jeff. Davis son, “ had not moral, physical, and polittelling him that Mr. Lincoln had an im- ical courage enough to expel those who portant improvement in firearms to are unsafe depositaries of the public trust sell !”
and power, then they were not fit to reThe debate was resumed the next main there themselves. He did not say week--the topic apparently affording a these things in any spirit of unkindness, welcome stimulant for leisurely senatorial but for the sake of constitutional liberty, oratory, when no business of more im- and for the sake of his own wife and portance was on hand. Mr. Latham children. By the failure of the govern(Dem.), of California, contended that pub- ment to enforce the laws, his wife and lic opinion of March, 1861, was very dif- children had been turned into the street, ferent from the public opinion of Jan- and his house made into a barrack. He uary, 1862, and that the senator was had two sons-in-law--one was in prison,