« PreviousContinue »
loyal heart; all manner of vague fears seized the people; Washington would be captured; the cause was lost.
It was but for an instant, however. The rebound came. Washington, which might easily have been captured and sacked, had the rebels known how to improve their success, was securely fortified and amply garrisoned. One did not then comprehend what now the most concede-that Bull Run was a necessary discipline-a school in which all learned somewhat-though, unfortunately, not all of us as much as we should. That came later.
Bull Run Needed.
CLOSE O F 1 8 6 1.
Elation of the Rebels-Davis's boast-McClellan appointed Commander of Potomac Army -Proclamation of a National Fast-Intercourse with rebels forbidden-Fugitive slaves -Gen. Butler's views-Gen. MClellan's letter from Secretary Cameron-Act of August 6th. 1861-Gen. Fremont's order-Letter of the President modifying the sameInstructions to Gen. Sherman-Ball's Bluff-Gen. Scott's retirement-Army of the Potomac.
The victory of the conspirators at Bull Run, as was to have been expected, elated them no little. Their President in his message was supercilious and confident. Lauding the prowess and determination of his confederates, he said:
To speak of subjugating such a people, so united and determined, is to speak in a language incomprehensible to them to resist attack on their rights or their liberties is with them an instinct. Whether this war shall last one, or three, or five years, is a problem they leave to be solved by the enemy alone. It will last till the enemy shall have withdrawn from their borders; till their political rights, their altars, and their homes are freed from invasion. Then, and then only, will they rest from this struggle to enjoy in peace,
Gen. McClellan's Appointment.
Proclamation for Fast
the blessings which, with the favor of Providence, they have secured by the aid of their own strong hearts and steady arms." On the 25th, of July, a new commander was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, upon the warm recommendation of Gen. Scott; George B. McClellan, who had already become favorably known from his conducting a successful campaigu in Western Virginia. With the extravagance so characteristic of the American people, this commander-whose laurels were yet to be won-was hailed as a young Napoleon, lauded to the skies, and failure under him regarded as an utter impossibility.
And the General betook himself to the organizing, disciplining, and supplying his army, to which large accessions were continually making from week to week.
On the 12th day of August was issued the following proclamation:
"WHEREAS, A joint committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States, and requested him to recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States. with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these. States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration. of peace.'
"AND WHEREAS, It is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions, in the fuil conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action.
"AND WHEREAS, When our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us
Proclamation for Fast.
to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and, in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation, and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy-to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence ;
"Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion, of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day, according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility, and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.
"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th day of August, A. D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth.
"By the President;
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
And four days later the following:
"WHEREAS, On the 15th day of April, the President of the United States, in view of an insurrection against the laws, Constitution, and Government of the United States, which bad broken out within the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and in
Non Intercourse Proclamation.
pursuance of the provisions of an act entitled an act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions, and to repeal the act now in force for that purpose, approved February 28th, 1795, did call forth the militia to suppress said insurrection and cause the laws of the Union to be duly executed—and the insurgents have failed to disperse by the time directed by the President; AND WHEREAS, such insurrection has since broken out and yet exists within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; AND WHEREAS, the insurgents in all the said States claim to act under authority thereof, and such claim is not discarded or repudiated by the persons exercising the functions of government in such State or States, or in the part or parts thereof, in which such combinations exist, nor has such insurrection been suppressed by said States.
"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in pursuance of the Act of Congress approved July 13th, 1861, do hereby declare that the inhabitants of the said States of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, except the inhabitants of that part of the State of Virginia lying west of the Allegheny Mountains, and of such other parts of that State and the other States herein before named as may maintain a loyal adhesion to the Union and the Constitution, or may be, from time to time occupied and controlled by the forces of the United States engaged in the dispersion of said insurgents, are in a state of insurrection against the United States, and that all commercial intercourse between the same and the inhabitants thereof, with the exception aforesaid, and the citizens of other States and other parts of the United States, is unlawful, and will remain unlawful until such insurrection shall cease or has been suppressed; that all goods and chattels, wares and merchandise, coming from any of the said States, with the exceptions aforesaid, into other parts of the United States, without the special license and permission of
Dealing with Slaves.
the President, through the Secretary of the Treasury, or proceeding to any of the said States, with the exception aforesaid, by land or water, together with the vessel or vehicle conveying the same, or conveying persons to and from the said States, with the said exceptions, will be forfeited to the United States; and that, from and after fifteen days from the issuing of this proclamation, all ships and vessels belonging, in whole or in part, to any citizen or inhabitant of any of the said States, with the said exceptions, found at sea in any part of the United States, will be forfeited to the United States; and I hereby enjoin upon all District Attorneys, Marshals, and officers of the revenue of the military and naval forces of the United States, to be vigilant in the execution of the said act, and in the enforcement of the penalties and forfeitures imposed or declared by it, leaving any party who may think himself aggrieved thereby, to his application to the Secretary of the Treasury for the remission of any penalty or forfeiture, which the said Secretary is authorized by law to grant, if in his judgment, the special circumstances of any case shall require such a remission.
"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
"Done in the City of Washington, this, the 16th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth.
"By the President:
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
The question as to the disposition to be made of the slaves of rebel masters presented itself early in the contest, and it was at once perceived that its settlement would be attended with no little embarrassment.