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THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
sand men, of whom between eight and nine thousand were sick or absent. This number was continually increased, until, on the first of March, 1862, when the army was put in motion, its grand total was two hundred and twenty-two thousand, of whom about thirty thousand were sick or absent.' Such was the force with which General McClellan was furnished for the first campaign in Virginia after the Battle of Bull's Run. It was known as the GRAND ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, whose existence was a wonder."
One of the most serious difficulties encountered by the Government, at the beginning of the war, was a lack of arms. We have seen how Secretary Floyd stripped the arsenals and armories in the Free-labor States, and filled those of the Slave-labor States, when preparations were making for rebellion." The armories at Harper's Ferry and Springfield were the principal ones on which the Government could rely for the manufacture of small arms. The former was destroyed in April, and the latter could not supply a tithe of the demand. It was necessary to send to Europe for arms; and Colonel George L. Schuyler was appointed an agent for the purpose," with specific instructions from the Secretary of War. He purchased 116,000
2 July 29, rifles, 10,000 revolvers, 10,000 cavalry carbines, and 21,000 sabers, at an aggregate cost of $2,044,931. It was not long before the private and National armories of the United States were able to meet all demands. The loss of over two thousand cannon at the Gosport Navy Yard' was a serious one; but the foundries of the country soon supplied the Government with all that were required.
Of the “ absent ” soldiers alluded to, more than•two thousand were, at the time in question, in the loathsome prisons of the Confederates, and suffering intensely from cruel treatment and privations of every kind. A large portion of these prisoners were captured at the Battle of Bull's Run. These were taken by railway to Richmond on the 23 and 24th of July. Among the first who arrived there was Alfred Ely, member of Congress from the State of New York, and Calvin Huson, his rival can
"In a " Memorandum" which General McClellan submitted to the President, on the 4th of August, 1861, he said: " For the main army of operations, I urge the following composition :-250 regiments of infantry, say
225,000 men. 100 field batteries, 600 glins....
15,000 23 regiments of cavalry,
25,500 5 regiments engineer roops..
273,000 men." ? " The creation of such an army," said General McClellan, “in so short a time, will hereafter be regarded as ons of the highest glories of the Administration and the nation." In this organization of that ariny, and the discipline which it received during the seven months that it remained at Washington City and in the vicinity, we may fairly look for the groundwork of those sucoesses which it achieved long afterward, to the “* glory of the Administration and the nation."
s See volume I., page 121.
* Colonel Schuyler could not procure arms in England and France on his arrival, and a greater portion of them were purchased Germany. He bought 70,000 rifles in Vienna, and 27,000 in Dresden. Of the “Smallarms Association," in England, he procured 15,000 Enfield ritles. The revolvers were purchased in France and Belgium; also 10,000 cavalry carbines; and the sabers were bought in Germany. Through the interference of Confederate agents in France, the French Government would not allow any arms to be taken, by either party, from its arsenals.-See Report of Colonel Schuyler to the Secretary of War, April 8, 1562.
3 See volume I., page 397.
* Mr. Ely was one of the civilians, mentioned in the first volume of this work (page 605), who went out as a spectator of the Battle of Bull's Rin. He was captured by some South Carolina troops, who ascertained his name and position, and conducted him to their colonel, E. B. C. Cash, of South Carolina. That officer was excited by liquor, and, drawing his pistol, was about to shoot the prisoner, when the others interfered. Mr. Ely
NATIONAL PRISONERS IN RICHMOND.
TOBACOO WAREHOUSE PEISON.
didate for the same office, accompanied by Colonel Michael Corcoran and forty other officers, and a large number of private soldiers. It was at about ten o'clock, on a moonlit evening, when they reached the city, where an immense crowd had assembled. Amid the scoffs and sometimes curses of the populace, they were marched three-fourths of a mile to Harwood's large tobacco factory, on Main Street, near Twenty-fifth Street. It was a brick building, hastily prepared for the occasion. Into it officers and men were thrust, to the number of more than six hundred ;' and they were so closely huddled that it was difficult for any one to lie down. No doubt this was the best arrangement that could be made immediately for the unexpected captives.
On the following morning the officers were waited upon by John H. Winder, a stout, gray-haired man, from Maryland, and lately a lieutenantcolonel, by brevet, in the National Army. He was now a Confederate
brigadier-general, in command of the post at Richmond, and appeared for the first time on the theater of the Rebellion as Commissary-General of prisoners, in which capacity he acted throughout the war, and gained for himself the most unenviable notoriety. He promised the prisoners better quarters, and on that day the officers were removed to an adjoining building, where they had a little more room, light, and air; but neither chair nor bench to sit upon, nor bed to lie upon. For a short time they entertained hopes of a speedy release;" and a con
siderable number of men, somewhat distinguished in the political world, visited Mr. Ely, and made abundant promises of aid, which they never fulfilled." Yet there were a few persons
was compelled to walk to the railway, at Manassas, about seven miles; and near Beauregard's head-quarters, he, with Corcoran and several officers, spent the night in an old barn, from which they were marched to the railway station and sent to Richinond.
1 In the Appendix to Mr. Ely's Journal, kept during his imprisonment, may be found a complete list of all the Bull's Run prisoners who were confined with him.
? On the day after his arrival in Richmond, Mr. Ely, at the request of his fellow-prisoners, prepared a petition to the President, requesting immediate steps to be taken by the Government for their release. It was signed by the officers, and was forwarded.
3 Among these were Messrs. Keitt and Boyce, of South Carolina, and Pryor and Bocock, of Virginia, who were Mr Ely's fellow-members in the Thirty-sixth Congress, and were now occupying seats in the so-called Confederate Congress.
THE ACTION OF CONGRESS.
in Richmond who did not only promise, but afforded all the aid in their power to the Union prisoners, at this time and ever afterwards.'
The prisoners in Richmond were soon convinced that the tobacco warehouse would be their home for some time. As the days wore wearily away, their sufferings increased, for their treatment became less humane. Yet they did not yield to melancholy. There were some irrepressibly buoyant spirits among them, and every thing possible to be done to render their situation endurable, was employed. They formed a club called The Richmond Prison Association, of which Mr. Ely was made President, and at their
4 July 26, first meeting, held on the day of organization, they were enlivened by speeches, songs, and toasts. This was the more agreeable beginning of that terrible prison-life to which tens of thousands of the National troops were exposed during the war, of which more will be recorded hereafter.
The Thirty-seventh Congress had been in session more than a fortnight when the battle of Bull's Run was fought, and they had already made several enactments preparatory to the vigorous prosecution of the war. Yet they were not unmindful of their obligations to humanity, to endeavor to secure peace by any just and honorable means. As we have observed,' a resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives, by Mr. Crit
6 July 19. tenden, declaring the sole object of the Government in waging war to be the preservation of the Union and the vindication of the National authority.
“ laid over until Monday,” the 22d, and in the mean time the battle at Bull's Run was fought. Notwithstanding the National Capital was filled with fugitives from a shattered army, and it
1 Distinguished among these benefactors were Mrs. John Van Lew and her daughter. Mrs. Van Lew was an aged and wealthy widow, who lived in a fine mansion on Church Hill. Warinly devoted to the Union, and ani. mated by the most generous impulses of hunanity, these women continued, throughout the war, merciful ministrations for the comfort of the National soldiers starving and freezing in Libby prison and on Belle Isle. They suffered the most withering social proscription, and received the most vulgar abuse from the politicians and the press of Richmond. They were branded as “ Southern women with Northern sympathies;" and one of the Richmond papers, with characteristic coarseness and ill-breeding, said: “ If such people do not wish to be exposed and dealt with as alien enemies to their country, they would do well to cut stick while they can do so with safety to their worthless carcasses." In the same paper was a eulo:y of Southern chivalry and refinement.” On the lips of many a dying prisoner lingered a blessing for those “ honorable women."
2 For a full account of prison-life in this Richmond tobacco warehouse, sce Ely's Journal; Lieutenant Harris's Prison Life in Richmond; Five Months in Rebeldom, or Notes from the Diary of a Bull's Run Prixoner; and General Corcorun's Captirity. Among the early prisoners was Lientenant Isaac W. Hart, of Indians, whose praise was on the lips of all his fellow-captives, because of his overtlowing spirits, vivacity, and wit. He told funny stories and sung good songs. One composed by himsell, always provoked hopeful feelings when he sang it. It was entitled “ Tho Prisoner's Song," and its burden was the prospect of a speedy exchange. Its concluding words were:-
" And when we arrive in the Land of the Free,
DAMNEDIO that time. It may here be mentioned that Mr. Huson, who experienced the kind hospitality of Mrs. Van Lew and her family, died while in prison. Mr. Ely was afterward exchanged for Charles James Faulkner, who was the resident Minister of the Republic at the French Court when Buchanan retired from office, and who, on his return to the United States, was arrested and imprisoned under a charge PRISON ASSOCIATION BRAL of complicity in the schemes of the conspirators.
? See chapter xxiv., volume I. * See volume I, page 573.
VIGOROUS MEASURES PROPOSED IN CONGRESS.
was believed by many that the seat of Government was at the mercy
of its enemies, Congress, on Monday, deliberated as calmly as if assured of perfect safety. Mr. Crittenden's resolution was adopted by a vote of 117 to 2; and
two days afterwards, one identical with it passed the Senate by a July 24,
a vote almost as decisive. It was such a solemn declaration of the
Government that the conspirators were speaking falsely when charging that Government with waging war for the subjugation of the Southern States, the emancipation of the slaves, and the confiscation of property, that it was not allowed to be published within the bounds of the Confederacy. The writer was so informed by Southern men of intelligence, and that they never heard of the resolution until the war had ceased; also that, had its declarations been known, multitudes would have paused in their rebellious career, and the terrible desolation of the South might have been prevented. This was what the conspirators, who had resolved on rule or ruin, justly feared.
On the same day the House of Representatives, by an alınost 6 July 22.
unanimous vote, anticipated. the wishes of the loyal people by declaring that “the maintenance of the Constitution, the preservation of the Union, and the enforcement of the laws are sacred trusts which must be executed; that no disaster shall discourage us from the most ample performance of this high duty; and that we pledge to the country and the world the employment of every resource, national and individual, for the suppression, overthrow, and punishment of Rebels in arms."
On the same sad day a bill, reported by the Judiciary Committee on the 20th, providing for the confiscation of property used for insurrectionary purposes, was considered in the Senate, to which Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, the chairman of that committee, offered an amendment, providing that the master of any slave who should employ him for such purpose should forfeit all right to his service or labor thereafter. It was adopted by a vote of 33 against 6. When this bill reached the Lower House, on the 2d of August, it met with strenuous opposition, especially Trumbull's amendment, from Crittenden and Burnet, of Kentucky, Vallandigham, Pendleton, and Cox, of Ohio, and Diven, of New York, chiefly on the ground that it would confirm the belief of the slaveholders that the war was waged for the emancipation of their slaves, and, as a consequence, would produce great exasperation, and increase the rigors of war without increasing the means for the success of the army. Mr. Crittenden was opposed to the passage of any penal laws. “Shall we send forward to the field,” he asked, “a whole catalogue of penal laws to fight this battle with ? Arms more impotent were never resorted to. They are beneath the dignity of our great cause. They are outside of the policy which ought to control this Government, and lead us on to success in the war we are now fighting. If
your enemies this cloud of penal laws, they will say, 'War is better than peace: war is comparative repose.' They will say when they are subdued, or if they choose now to submit, “What next? Have we peace, or is this new army
1 The negatives were Breckinridge and Powell, of Kentucky; Johnson and Polk, of Missouri; and Trumbull, of Illinois. The latter opposed it because of the particular wording of the first clause, and said, "the revolt was occasioned, in my opinion, by people who are not here, nor in this vicinity. It was started in South Carolina. I think the resolution limits it to a class of persons (those in arms around the Capital') who were not the originators of this Rebellion."
CONFISCATION, EMANCIPATION, AND PEACE.
of penal laws then to come into action ? Are these penal laws to inflict upon us a long agony of prosecution and forfeiture?' No, gentlemen, it is not by such means that we are to achieve the great object of establishing our Union and reuniting the country. Sir, these laws will have no efficacy in war. Their only effect will be to stimulate your adversaries to still more desperate measures. That will be the effect of this army of penal laws.”
Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, strenuously advocated the bill, and especially Mr. Trumbull's amendment concerning the freedom of slaves employed for insurrectionary purposes; and, in reply to the assertions that the insurgents would never submit, that they could not be conquered, that they would “suffer themselves to be slaughtered and their whole country to be laid waste,” he said, “Sir, war is a grievous thing at best, and civil war more than any other; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to, if their whole country must be laid waste and made a desert in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be peopled by a band of freemen than to see them perpetrate the destruction of this people through our agency. .... I warn Southern gentlemen that if this war is to continue, there will be a time when my friend from New York [Mr. Diven will see it declared by this free nation that every bondsman in the South-belonging to a rebel, recollect; I confine it to them-shall be called upon to aid us in war against their masters, and to restore this Union." The bill was recommitted to the Committee on the Judiciary, and on the following day it was reported back with Trumbull's amendment so modified as to include only those slaves whose labor for insurrectionary purposes was employed in "any military or naval service against the Government and authority of the United States.” With the amendment so modified, the bill was passed by a vote of 60 against 48. When it was returned to the Senate, it was concurred in, on motion of Mr. Trumbull, and was passed by a vote of 24 against 11. The President's signature to it made it law on the same day. This was the first act of Congress, after the beginning of the war, concerning the emancipation of slaves and the confiscation of property.
We have already observed the peace propositions of Vallandigham, of Ohio, and Wood, of New York. These were followed, later in the session, after Clarke, of New Hampshire, had asked and obtained leave of the Senate to offer a joint resolution declaratory of the determination of Congress to maintain the supremacy of the Government and integrity of the Union, by propositions for securing peace and reconciliation by friendly measures. One of these, offered in the House of Representatives by S. S. Cox, of Ohio, proposed the appointment of a committee, composed of one member of Congress from each State, who should report to the House, at the next session, such amendments to the National Constitution as should “assuage all grievances and bring about a reconstruction of the national unity;" also the appointment of a committee for the purpose of preparing such adjustment, and a conference
. Aug. 3,
6 Aug. 6.
I Congressional Globe, Aug. 2, 1861; Hintory of the Anti-slavery Measures of the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses, by Senator Henry Wilson, chapter I.
? Volume I., page 573.