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THE PUBLIC DEBT.

449

It had increased at the rate of two and a haif million dollars a day since he took charge of the Treasury Department.

From what revenues we are to establish a sinking fund to pay off this enormous debt, it does not yet appear. Of course when the tax for paying the interest, now levied on the North, shall be distributed in proper proportion over the South, the burden will be lightened; but this generation, we fear, will look in vain for any material diminution of the debt. Still, returning prosperity may develop resources of which we are now ignorant.

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CHAPTER XXXII.

JULY-AUGUST, 1864.

ALARM PRODUCED BY EARLY'S INVASION_SIGEL'S RETREAT_WEBER ABAN

DONS HARPER'S FERRY-THE PIRATE FLORIDA ON OUR COAST-THE REBELS CROSS THE POTOMAC AND OCCUPY HAGERSTOWN-HEGIRA OF THE PEOPLEMILITIA CALLED OUT-GENERAL WALLACE GIVES BATTLE AT MONOCACY

RETREATS-ALARM IN BALTIMORE-RAILROAD CUT BETWEEN BALTIMORE AND

PHILADELPHIA-GENERAL FRANKLIN TAKEN PRISONEE-GOVERNOR BRADFORD'S HOUSE BURNED-THE MAIN ARMY MOVES ON WASHINGTON-SKIR

MISHING IN FRONT OF FORT STEVENS-ARRIVAL OF THE NINETEENTH AND

SIXTH CORPS-THE REBELS RETREAT-PURSUIT BY WRIGHT-ESCAPE OF THE

INVADERS-AVERILL AND CROOK AND DUFFIE ENGAGE A PORTION OF THE

ENEMY-COMPELLED TO RETREAT ACROSS THE POTOMAC-THE REBEL MC

CAUSLAND ADVANCES TO CHAMBERSBURG AND BURNS IT-ATTACKED IN HIS

RETREAT AND HIS FORCES SCATTERED AMONG THE MOUNTAINS-EARLY PRE

PARES TO REMAIN IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY-GRANT VISITS HUNTER

HIS LETTER OF INSTRUCTIONS-SHERIDAN PUT IN HIS PLACE-POLITICAL EVENTS-FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TROOPS CALLED FOR PEACE NEGOTIA

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TIONS-JACQUES AND KIRK-GREELY, JEWETT, SANDERS AND OTHERS-
WHOM IT MAY CONCERN 'ABSURDITY OF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.

LTHOUGH the months of May and June, both West

and East, had been crowded with events of a magnitude and national interest, hitherto unknown in our history, yet the month of July saw Washington in a state of excitement scarcely equaled since the disastrous battle of Bull Run in July, 1861; while in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the alarm and consternation of the year before, on the invasion of Lee, were repeated over again.

The disappearance of Hunter from the Valley of the Shenandoah, as before remarked, was the signal for a new inva. sion of Maryland. On the 2nd, it was announced that the

EARLY'S INVASION.

451

enemy was approaching Martinsburg, on his way to the Potomac. On the 3rd, Sigel, in command ihere, retreated across the river, at Shepardstown, with his immense trains, and Weber, in command of Harper's Ferry, also crossed over and occupied Maryland Heights. Frederick City was thrown into consternation, the public stores were removed, and the streets thronged with people bearing their goods with them, fleeing to a place of safety. On the 6th, Hagerstown was occupied by the enemy, who was found not to be on a mere raid, for his force was altogether too large for such a purpose. The roads were now thronged with refugees, some with vehicles of every kind pressed into service, to carry their little possessions toward Baltimore; others, on foot, driving their cattle before them-all filled with terror, and circulating the most extravagant reports of the number and blood-thirstiness of the enemy. The region around Hagerstown became depopulated, and a universal hegira of the inhabitants seemed about to take place.

There were no troops, or scarcely none, to oppose this sudden invasion. The enormous losses of Grant had caused him to call forward the troops in the neighborhood of Washington and Baltimore, even in the garrisons over the Potomac; and Early, for the time being, had a clear field. On the 6th, he moved a strong column toward Frederick City. General Wallace, with Rickett's division, and such troops as he could gather, most of them new and undisciplined, moved out from Baltimore to arrest his progress, and met him in force, on the Monocacy, near where the railroad bridge crosses it, and gave him battle. After a severe loss, Wallace was compelled to retreat.

In the meantime, the President had called on New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, for their quotas of militia, and the scenes of the Summer previous were enacted over again. Railroads and steamboats groaned under the weight

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452

WASHINGTON THREATENED.

of troops hurrying on toward Washington, and it was feared by many that the consternation there would compel the President to demand the presence of Grant's army around the National Capital, and the war once more be transferred to the neighborhood of the Potomac.

The Mayor of Baltimore called on the citizens to man the fortifications, as the enemy was marching on the city. “Come as leagues, or come in military companies, only come in crowds, and come quickly," he said, and the drum and fife rang through the streets, to call out volunteers to meet the pressing danger. Fortunately, immediately after the failure of the Red River expedition, Grant had ordered home the Nineteenth Army Corps, which now began to arrive at Hampton Roads, and was immediately hurried on to Washington. Hunter, the Commander of the Shenandoah Department, with his army, being unavailable at present, Grant also dispatched the Sixth Army Corps, under Wright, to assist in repelling the invasion, and two divisions followed fast on the heels of the Nineteenth Corps.

Early having swept Wallace from his path, moved rapidly down on Washington, by the Washington and Frederick turnpike. In the meantime, a body of rebel cavalry, under Gillmore, pushed on toward Baltimore, and striking the railroad between that city and Philadelphia, captured a train, and setting it on fire, run it upon Gunpowder bridge, destroying for a time, direct communication between Washington and the North. Major-General Franklin, just from New Orleans, was on board, and being pointed out by a rebel sympathizer, was taken prisoner. He, however, afterward managed to escape while his guard were asleep. A rebel squad boldly pushed to the suburbs of Baltimore, and burned the house of Governor Bradford, in retaliation, they said, for the burning, by our forces, of the dwelling of Governor Letcher, of Virginia. Other detachments wandered hither and thither unmo

RETREAT OF THE REBELS.

453

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lested, collecting forage and supplies for the army, and levy. ing contributions on the inhabitants. The main army, how. ever, which had grown, by popular rumor, from four or five thousand to forty thousand, pressed rapidly toward Washington, hoping to take it by surprise before the weakened garrisons could be reinforced. Five miles from the city and two miles from the fortifications, it drove in, on Sunday night, our pickets, and, next morning, the skirmishers were in rifle-shot of Fort Stevens, three miles from Georgetown, Firing continued here all the forenoon, and, by two o'clock, the sharp-shooters, under cover of the houses, had advanced to within thirty or forty rods.of the fort. During the after- . noon, the main column arrived and showed a strong line in front of it. From appearances, it was conjectured that a general assault would take place next morning. The skirmishing had been heavy the latter part of the day, our loss reaching nearly three hundred,

The Sixth happily arrived just in time to save the fort. The rebels, doubtless, learned of the sudden reinforcement of the garrison, by this veteran Corps, and that night retreated—their chief conquest being some papers taken from the residence of Francis P. Blair in the vicinity.

Grant understanding the exact condition of things, telegraphed to Washington to have General Wright placed in command of all the troops in the field, operating against the enemy, and directed him to move at once outside of his trenches, and "push Early to the last moment.”

With the retreat of the rebel army, the cavalry that had threatened Baltimore, and carried consternation even to Annapolis, began to fall back to the main body.

Although Wright pushed on after Early, the latter was able to cross the Potomac, near Poolesville, with his immense plunder--vast herds of cattle being not the least conspicuous figure in the moving caravan.

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