« PreviousContinue »
His Answer to Kentuckians.
earnest and successive appeals to the Border States to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition, and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss ; but of this I was not entirely confident. More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it, in our foreign relations; none in our home popular sentiment; none in our white military force—no loss by it anyhow or anywhere. On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be no caviling. We have the men, and we could not have had them without the measure.
“And now, let any Union man who complains of the measure, test himself, by writing down in one line that he is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms, and in the next that he is for taking these one hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and placing them where they would be, but for the measure he condemns. If he can not face his cause so stated, it is only because he can not face the truth.
"I add a word, which was not in the verbal conversation. In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the Nation's condition is not what either party or any man devised or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending, seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find
Employing Negro Soldiers.
therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.
The results of the employment of negro soldiers-a measure which, at the time it was first announced, caused no little commotion among the over-sensitive in the loyal States, and was looked upon with disfavor by many white soldiers, as well -as shown in the above letter, precluded further arguments upon the question.
The Davis combination at Richmond, having announced that none of the immunities recognized under the laws of war would be granted to colored soldiers or their officers, General Orders No. 100, under date of April 24, 1863, "previously approved by the President,” promulgating general instructions for the government of our armies, was issued, containing the following:
“The law of nations knows of no distinction of color; and if an enemy of the United States should enslave and sell any captured persons of their army, it would be a case for the severest retaliation, if not redressed upon complaint. The United States cannot retaliate by enslavement; therefore, death must be the retaliation for this crime against the law of nations.
"All troops of the enemy known or discovered to give no quarter in general, or to any portion of the army, will receive
The following order of the President, issued by him as Commander-in-chief, and communicated to the entire army, deals with this subject alone :
" Executive Mansion, Washington, July 30, 1863. “It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citizens, of whatever class, color or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations, and the usages and cus
The Flag Protects.
Kird of Retaliation.
toms of war, as carried on by civilized powers, prohibit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color, and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civilization of the age.
“The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
" It is therefore ordered, that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed ; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until the one shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.
Lieut. Gen. Grant-His Military Record-Continued Movements-Correspondence with the
President--Across the Rapidan-Richmond Invested-President's Letter to a Grant Meeting-Meeting of Republican National Convention-The Platform-The Nomination -Mr. Lincoln's Reply to the Committee of Notification-Remarks to Union League Committee-Speech at a Serenade-Speech to Ohio Troops.
In 1864, those grand military combinations were planned, and had their commencement which were to give the quietus to that gigantic rebellion, which, as we had been gravely and repeatedly assured by patronizing foreigners and ill-wishers of the Republic here at home, could never be subdued—to which, they being judges, the United States would eventually be forced to succumb.
Lieut. Gen. Grant.
What he has Done.
On the 2nd of March, the President approved a bill, passed by Congress on the 26th of February, reviving the grade of Lieutenant-General in the Army, to which position he at once nominated, and the Senate unanimously confirmed, Ulysses S. Grant, then Major-General. Like the President, Gen. Grant sprang from
“plain people ;” arose from humble circumstances, and had none of those advantages of birth, or family connections, or large estate, which have so often furnished such material leverage for men who have attained distinction. Entering the army as Colonel of an Illinois regiment, on the point of being disbanded, which within a month he had made noticeable for its discipline and character, even when compared with those noteworthy regiments wbich Illinois has furnished; promoted to the grade of Brigadier-General; preventing, by the battle of Belmontcriticised at the time, but, like many other engagements, little understood—the reinforcement of the rebels in Southern Missouri by troops from Columbus; seizing, with a strong force, which he had quietly gathered near Smithland, almost at one fell swoop, Forts Henry and Donelson--a rebel army, with artillery, and material, being captured in each; starting the till then defiant rebels on a run from Kentucky and Tennessee, which did not end until they reached Corinth ; next fighting the battle of Shiloh, a critical point of the war, with Sherman as Chief Lieutenant-Shiloh, of which he said, at the close of the first day's fight, when every thing seemed against us, “Tough work to-day, but we'll beat them to-morrow;"? superseded by Buell, patiently sitting at the long, unprofitable siege of Corinth, until he was transferred to Vicksburg, which in due time greeted him with the surrender of another rebel army, reopening the Father of Waters to navigation; then Chattanooga, which he ordered Thomas to hold fast, and not to give up, if he starved—and it was not given up, and East Tennessee was freed from rebels; these had been the prominent points of Grant's military career during the rebellion up
Grant made Lieutenant-General.
to the time when he was summoned to the command of all the armies then engaged in its suppression.
On the 9th of March, being upon official business at Washington, the General was invited to the White House, and addressed as follows by the President, who handed him his commission :
« GENERAL GRANT :--The expression of the nation's approbation of what you have already done, and its reliance on you for what remains to do in the existing great struggle, is now presented with this commission, constituting you LieutenantGeneral of the Army of the United States.
“With this high honor devolves on you an additional responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need add, that with what I here speak for the country, goes my own hearty personal concurrence."
Sherman having been left in command in the south-west, with instructions to capture Atlanta, the vital point in Georgia, commenced that grand series of flanking movements, which, for a time, seemed to occasion intense satisfaction to the rebels, whose commander, Johnston, upon all occasions had Sherman exactly where he wished him ; while Granttaciturn, cool, and collected, with no set speeches, no flourish of reviews-proceeded with the difficult task which he had taken in hand the annihilation or capture of Lee's army, the mainstay of the rebels' military resources, and the occupation of Richmond.
On the 30th of April, the President addressed the following letter to the new Commander :
“ LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT :-Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plan I neither know, nor seek to know. You are vigilant