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Attitude of Great


The Position of


by consanguinity, by treaty, / ters of the United States to
by social ties, by commerce, European courts, in which

by affinity of tastes and la- the following language was bor, by anti-Slavery and religious sympathy, used : to enter at once and suddenly upon a crusade • The reasons set forth in the President's Message of disparaging criticism, of fault-finding, of in- at the opening of the present session of Congress, vective, of misrepresentation, and, finally, of in support of his opinion that the States have no downright falsification-all to palliate the constitutional power to secede from the Union, are openly expressed sympathy at length bestow- able. The grounds upon which they have attempted

still unanswered, and are believed to be unanswer. ed upon the cause of Slavery and to prepare to justify the revolutionary act of severing the bonds the way for the recognition of the Pro-Slav- which connect them with their sister States are reery Confederacy, certainly presents a spec- garded as wholly insufficient. This Government has tacle calculated to inspire a want of confi- not relinquished its jurisdiction within the Territory dence in human nature. Yet England (we of those States, and does not desire to do so. purposely omit Ireland and Scotland, for the " It must be very evident that it is the right of Irish and Scotch people were steadfast in this Government to ask of all foreign powers that their hopes for the cause of the North) pre- the latter shall take no steps which may tend to ensented that anomaly; and future writers on

courage the revolutionary movement of the Seceding

States, or increase the danger of disaffection in those the philosophy of history will find in her case significant data for new speculations in poli- that the Government of the Emperor will not do

which still remain loyal. The President feels assured tics and morals. The greatest of her intel- anything in these afairs inconsistent with the friendlects has been characterized as “the wisest and ship which this Government has always heretofore the meanest of mankind;" it is now to be experienced from him and his ancestors. If the inproven that the aphorism should not at- dependence of the Confederated States should be tach to her living controlling classes in- acknowledged by the great powers of Europe, it stead of to a dead man.

would tend to disturb the friendly relations, diploThe position of France, matic and commercial, now existing between those from the earliest moment powers and the United States." of our difficulties, gave the

These instructions Mr. Faulkner immeFederal Government less concern than the diately laid before the French Emperor suspicious trimming and bracing of their Bri- through his Foreign Minister, M. Thouvenel, tish ally. Judge Black, Secretary of State and afterwards repeated them in person to in Mr. Buchanan's cabinet, had addressed a

Louis Napoleon. Writing to Mr. Black,* Circular (February 28th, 1861) to all minis- under date of March 19th, the American Min

ister said : * The press of England, with only one or two ex

“ I have no hesitation in expressing it as my opin ceptions, was adverse to the principles and cause

ion, founded upon frequent general interviews with of the Secessionists, up to March, [see pages 492–95, the Emperor, although in no instance touching this Vol. 1.] From the date of the establishment of the particular point, that France will act upon this deliblockade, when English commerce and manufac

cate question when it shall be presented to her contures first began to experience the effects of the sideration in the spirit of a most friendly power; war, the change of opinion commenced; until, by that she will be the last of the great States of Ea. Maich, 1862, those journals which supported the

rope to give a hasty encouragement to the dismem. cause of the North were the exception! These berment of the Union, or to afford to the Govern. honorable exceptions included the Daily News, the

ment of the United States, in the contingency t) Morning Star, the Spectator, &c. Among those most

which you refer, any just cause of complaint. The vicious in their defamation of the North were the unhappy divisions which have afflicted our country Times, Herald, Review and Economist--all organs of

have attracted the Emperor's earnest attention since the aristocracy or of trade interests. The Times be the first of January last, and he has never, but upon came exceedingly virulent and defamatory; but, its animosity seemed directed less toward the North * Not having then been officially informed of Mr. than toward the United States as a power, which it Black's retirement from office, the Minister of course sincerely desired to see humiliated and reduced to still addressed his letters to him as Secretsry of a subordinate position in the family of nations. State,

The Position of







The Position of


The Position of


one occasion of our meeting “M. Thouvenel, in reply, said
since, failed to make them the that no application had yet been

subject of friendly inquiry, and made to him by the Confedeoften of comment. He looks upon the dismember rated States, in any form, for the recognition of their ment of the American Confederacy with no pleasure, independence; that the French Government was not but as a calamity to be deplored by every enlight in the habit of acting hastily upon such questions, ened friend of human progress. And he would act, as might be seen by its tardiness in recognizing the not only in conflict with sentiments often expressed, new kingdom of Italy ; that he believed the maintebut in opposition to the well-understood feelings of nance of the Federal Union, in its integrity, was to the French people, if he should precipitately adopt be desired for the benefit of the people North and any step whatever tending to give force and efficacy South, as well as for the interests of France, and the to those movements of separation, so long as a rea

Government of the United States might rest well sonable hope remains that the Federal authority assured that no hasty or precipitate action would be can or should be maintained over the seceding taken on that subject by the Emperor. But whilst States.

he gave utterance to these views, he was equally “The Emperor Napoleon has no selfish purpose bound to say that the practice and usage of the preto accomplish by the dismemberment of the Amer- sent century had fully established the right of de iean Union. As he has apon more than one occa- facto Governments to recognition when a proper tion said to me: There are no points of collision case was made out for the decision of foreign between France and the United States; their inter. powers." ests are harmonious, and they point to one policy,

Mr. Seward's instructions to Mr. Dayton, althe closest friendship and the freest commercial in. ready referred to, (see pages 186–87,] will intercourse.' He knows full well that the greatness form the reader of the decision expressed, at of ou: Republic cannot endanger the stability of his the start, by Mr. Lincoln's administration, throne, or cast a shadow over the glory of France. regarding foreign recognition of the ConfedRe would rather see us united and powerful than erate States and of interference with Amerdi-severed and weak. He is too enlightened to mis- ican affairs by foreign Governments. Mr. apprehend the spirit of conciliation which now actuates the conduct of the Federal authorities. He Dayton held a long audience with M. Thouknows that appeals to the public judgment perform

venel, líay 16th, which resulted in a thorough that function in our Republic which is elsewhere only canvassing of the entire question of relations accomplished by brute force. And if armies have between the two Governments. The French not been marshaled, as they would have been ere

Minister demanded the right of the Southern this in Europe, to give effect to the Federal author- States to be treated as belligerents, “ applyity, he is aware that it is not because the General | ing," as Mr. Dayton said, “the same doctrine Government disclaims authority over the seceding to them as always had been upheld by the States, or is destitute of the means and resources United States.” The blockade would be reof war, but from an enlightened conviction on its

spected. To fit out letters-of-marque in part that time and reflection will be more eficacious French ports, or even to shelter them except than arms in re-establishing the Federal authority, in stress, was forbidden by the Imperial Govand restoring that sentiment of loyalty to the Union

ernment; nor would it allow the bringing in, which was oace the pride of every American heart.

or sale of, prizes at French ports. An inter“ I have not, so far, heard that any commissioners have been sent by the seceding States to France. view was held with the Emperor on the 19th Should they, as you anticipate, arrive shortly, I of May, on which occasion Louis Napoleon think I am not mistaken in saying that they will find repeated his kindly expressions toward the that the Imperial Government is not yet prepared United States Government, and also added u look favorably upon the object of their mission.": that he had been, and still was, ready to offer

In answer to Mr. Seward's first Circular his services to the contending parties, if such (March 9th) to our Ministers abroad, inclos- offer would be mutually agreeable, &c. The ing copies of the President's Inaugural Mes- interview with the Empress also was well sage, and recurring to the policy which would calculated to reassure the American Minister govern the new Administration, Mr. Faulk- of the disposition of the French Government ner, under date of April 15th, 1861, stated to act openly and candidly in its dealings the substance of his interview with the French with the Federal Government. Minister-among other things saying:

This reassurance was welcome because our

Want of Confidence in
British Good Faith.

Want of Confidence in
British Good Faith.

Government felt that French promises would | while they lay, for weeks, in English harbors. be respected; and, when M. Thouvenel stated No act of the English Government could exhis purpose to allow the Confederate Com- ceed the baseness and bad faith of allowing missioners no official status, nor to grant the its commerce, through many months, to supuse of French ports to Southern privateers, ply our enemies with all the necessaries of an it was regarded at Washington as satisfac- effective resistance. Had the American Govtory. The recognition, in conjunction with ernment connived at a full the British Government, of the belligerent supply of arms to the Serights of the Southern States, was grounded poys, to assist them in murupon what was by France considered a settled dering their British rulers, the act would have provision of the laws of nations, and was been less reprehensible, because the Sepoys not regarded by M. Thouvenel as a source had been robbed of their heritage—their coun. of aid or comfort to the enemy, with the re- try their all, by British arms, and their strictions of neutrality rigidly enforced, and stroke was for freedom from British chains. with the denial of ports of entry or harbor Whatever reputation may attach to the to Southern privateers, strictly carried out. French Emperor for ambitious designs, Amer

Our confidence in Eng- ica has less to charge to his sins than to the lish good faith was want- duplicity of British Ministers and the malig

ing from the first, and with nity of the leading British press. French good reason—her neutrality was the merest honor and integrity were un questioned by mockery. Hardly had the blockade been the Federal Government; British honor and established ere English fast-sailing vessels integrity not only were questioned but were and steamers sought to break it.' An Eng- the subject of scorn by our people if not by lish island near our coast (New Providence) | our Government. Whatever may come forth, became an open and recognized rendezvous in the future, to qualify and direct the relafor this illegal commerce. Thither English tions between the United States and the two vessels, with no attempt at concealment, powers named, one thing is assured: not for transported cargoes of arms, munitions, cloth- two generations, in this country, will there ing and goods—everything needed by the exist for Great Britain anything more than Confederates to conduct their war with vigor. a formal friendship. There rankles in the From Nassau harbor the vessels would dash heart of the Northern people a dislike which into any Southern port from which the block- bodes no good to the future relations of the ading squadron might be temporarily absent, two great Anglo-Saxon powers. We clironor which it had not yet been able to close. | icle the existence of this feeling as a fact from Thus the Confederates received, during the which great events may spring---not that it summer and fall months of 1861, immense is a just resentment for indignities received. supplies of those things most useful and need- Public like private resentments should be ful in aiding the insurgents. What an impu- tempered with charity; and, though we may dent mockery was that “neutrality !” The deplore the animosity toward the English infamous character of the proceeding was not Government which unquestionably exists heightened when English guns covered aıd among us, we are not blind enough to believe protected the privateers Sumter and Nashville it portends a future of peace.







MAJOR - General Butler river, overlooking much of Disposition of Forces.

Disposition of Forces. and staff arrived at Fort- the Hampton Roads anress Monroe Wednesday afternoon, May 22d. chorage. This point was circumvallated, and His promotion to leading rank in the regular a heavy battery mounted on the bluff facing service, with orders to assume command at the water. The object of this occupation the Fortress, indicated extensive operations was not 'then, and is not now, apparent. It at and from that point. The enemy, antici- was too far away from Yorktown or Warwick pating this, had occupied the best positions to menace those places, or to afford a base commanding the avenues of communication of operations which the Fortress and Hampwith their Capital and with the South. ton did not offer. It was too exposed for a Yorktown and Gloucester Point were pro camp of instruction. It divided a command vided with earthworks and guns of an impos- at no time too strong, and weakened operaing nature. Colonel Magruder--late Colonel tions by compelling the troops to stand on in the U. S. service, and an officer of much the defensive-thus inaugurating a policy distinction as an obstinate combatant—was at once fatal to the spirit of the troops and placed in command (rebel) of the Peninsula. to the success of our arms. Butler acted unNorfolk Bay and Peninsula were strongly for- der superior orders in the disposition. titied by batteries at several points, and a The second camp on the Peninsula, comlarge number of troops were centered there posed of Colonel Duryea's Zouaves and Colounder command of General Huger-also late nel Carr's (Troy) regiment N. Y. volunteers, of the U. S. service. At Willoughby Point, was located one mile north-west of the FortSewall's Point, Craney Island and Pig Point, ress, just beyond the dyke leading to the imposing earthworks were thrown up. The main land, on the farm of Colonel Segar. Gosport Navy Yard was drawn upon for ar- Hampton Village, near by, was deserted by tillery and munitions to mount and supply ail its inhabitants, soon after Butler's arrival. of these defenses. Confederate troops to the i His several dashing reconnoissances, and the number of about twelve thousand were gath- advance of his troops, convinced the Secesered in Norfolk and vicinity, by June 1st. sionists of the necessity of leaving his neighThey hastened forward rapidly, after the at- borhood, and, by June 1st, the village was tack on the Sewell's Point Battery by the quite deserted—not one hundred of its one C. S. gunboat Star, on the 19th of May. thousand inhabitants remaining. When Butler entered upon the “campaign Troops rapidly poured into Butler's departof the Peninsula,” he found his surroundings ment, and he soon found himself in a condifairly bristling with ordnance which bad tion to act on the offensive. Magruder's munagement of Federal agents had placed in scouts and cavalry greatly annoyed the two the enemy's hands. (See page 114.]

camps mentioned. They had, also, seizer Simultaneously with the advance over the several Union men, These raids became so Potomac, the Federal troops pushed out to frequent and annoying that a night attack occupy Newport News Point, on the James I was concerted upon their positions at Little

Bethel and Big Bethel--the We state these orders explicitly that the The Expedition

latter, near the north branch commanding General who ordered the expeAgainst the Bethels.

of Back River, where it was dition may have their benefit in a decision as understood Magruder's outposts were throw to the responsibility for the disgraceful dising up strong works. Brigadier-General aster which followed. Pierce, of the Massachusetts troops, was The troops were all put

The Federal Troons detailed to command the expedition. Dur- in motion as ordered. The

fire on one another. yca's Zouaves were pushed over Hampton beautiful night, clear with Creek shortly after midnight, with orders to the light of stars, rendered every movement “march by the road up to Newmarket bridge, casy. The regiments passed to their several then crossing the bridge, to go by a by-road, designated positions — Duryea's in the ad. and thus put the regiment in the rear of the vance and Lieutenant-Colonel Washburne enemy, and between Big Bethel and Little with the Newport News troops close at hand. Bethel, in part for the purpose of cutting him Townsend's regiment, coming up, was within off, and then to make an attack upon Little a few yards of the rendezvous, when suddenly Bethel.” This regiment was to be supported a furious fire opened upon his ranks. This by Colonel Townsend's regiment (Third New fire, supposed to proceed from an ambuscade York volunteers) at Hampton, which was to of the enemy, was returned, while the assailtake up its line of march at two o'clock. ed regiment left the road and took the cover Colonel Phelps, at Newport News, was order- of a ridge in the rear. Not until several ed to send forward “such companies of the rounds had been discharged and two of regiments under his command as he thought Townsend's men killed and eight wounded best, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel | did the assailants (who proved to be a porWashburne, in time to make a demonstration tion of Colonel Bendix's regiment of German apon Little Bethel in front, and to have him riflemen, together with a few companies of supported by Colonel Bendix's regiment, Massachusetts and Vermont men) discover with two field pieces.” Bendix and Town- their grievous mistake. send were to form a junction at the forks of Meanwhile, Duryea and Washburne, hearthe roads leading from Hampton and New-ing the firing, supposed the supporting regiport News, about a mile and a half from Lit- ments to be engaged with the enemy-in which tle Bethel.

event they were completely flanked. They These movements were so arranged that therefore fell back, although the enemy's the attack upon Little Bethel was to be made pickets had been driven in and five of them at daybreak; when, the enemy being re- captured. The alarm thus given prevented pulsed, Duryea's Zouaves and one of the New- the contemplated surprise of the enemy. port News regiments was to “ follow upon When the forces again moved forward to the heels of the flying rebels and attack the the attack, it was to find Little Bethel debattery on the road to Big Bethel, while cov- serted. A conference was then called and an ered by the fugitives, or, if it was thought assault of Big Bethel resolved upon-Duryea expedient by General Pierce, failing to sur- to lead the advance. Butler was informed, prise the camp at Little Bethel, they should by messenger, of the state of affairs, and sent attempt to take the work at Big Bethel. To forward Colonel Allen's regiment as a reserve, prevent the possibility of mistake in the to await orders at Hampton. darkness, Butler directed that no attack Approaching the enemy's position at Big should be made until the watchword was Bethel, it was found that their guns comshouted by the attacking regiment; and, in manded all points of approach. The road case that, by any mistake in the march, the leading up to the bridge over the creek was regiments to make the junction should unex- swept by their artillery. A thick woods to pectedly meet and be unknown to each other, the left of the road afforded some protection it was directed that the members of Colonel to the Federal left. An open field on the Townsend's regiment should be known, if in riglit of the approach only offered a house daylight,by something white worn on the arm.”) and out-buildings as a cover.


The enemy

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