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THE

AMERICAN

TEN YEARS' WAR

1855-1865



BY

DENTON J. SNIDER



ST. LOUIS

SIGMA PUBLISHING CO.

210 PINE STREET

For Sale by A. C. McClorg & Co., Booksellers, CnioAyo, Ills.






LIBRARY if CONGRESS

Two Copies Received

SEP 2 J iPOfi

€ijr.t Entry
:f7.f9oc

C OPY e. '



Copyright bt
D. J. SNIDER, 1906



NIXON-JONES PTQ. CO. 215 PINE ST., ST. LOUIS.



Contents



PAGE.

Part I. The Border War (1855-8).

Chapter I. — The Opening Conflict
(1855-6) 5

The First Invasion 5

The Second Invasion 55

The Third Invasion 82

Chapter II. — The Presidential Year
(1856-7) 92

Presidential Nominations. ... 98
Presidential Campaign . . . .119
Outlook 134

Chapter III. — The Struggle Re-
newed (1857-8) 137

Washington 148

Kansas 154

The People 169

Retrospect . .179

(3)



4 coy TENTS.

Part II. The Union DisuiMted ( 1858-61) 185

Chapter I. — The North 194

Abraham Lincoln 201

John Brown 219

Simeon Bushnell 244

Chapter II. — The South 262

The Slaveholders 290

The Non-Slaveholders .... 303

The Slaves . . . " 315

Chapter III. — The Process of Seces-
sion 3?0

The First Alignment 337

The Second Alignment .... 350

The Third Alignment 365

Retrospect 425

Part III. — The Union Reunited

(1861-5) 435

The Winning of the Unseceded

Slave-States (1861-2) .... 485

The Winning of the Seceded Slave-
States (New), 1862-3 .... 499

The Winning of the Seceded Slave-
States (Old), 1864-5 .... 508

Retrospect 521



PART FIRST.— THE BORDER WAR.

CHAPTER I. THE OPENING CONFLICT

(1855-6).

^be ifirst llnvaeion*

During the last days of March, 1855, a small
army, some 5,000 men as the account runs,
marched from the State of Missouri over its
western boundary into the neighboring Territory
of Kansas. There was no open proclamation of
war, and the country generally supposed itself to
be in possession of peace at home and abroad.
Still here was a military organization in
semblance, belonging to no State legally nor to
the United States, commanded by Generals and
Colonels and Captains, and accompanied by a train
of wagons containing supplies of food and liquor
and ammunition. The men were armed with guns
and pistols; many of them showed their dis-
tinctive weapon in a unicjue way : bowie-knives

(5)



6 THE TEX YEARS' WAB.

protruding fi*oin the tops of their boots. They
had been recruited chiefly from the western
counties of Missouri, which also contributed the
main expenses of the expedition, deeming them-
selves the vanguard of Southern civilization in
the great conflict manifestly approaching and
ready to break out on their border. Mighty was
the enthusiasm, overflowing into multitudinous
streams of oratory from the leaders, who were
mostly politicians in line of promotion, and who
had the power of evoking in their hearers volley
after volley of profanity discharged against the
Abolitionists over in Kansas and in the North.

War in peace, then, we behold on the Kansas-
Missouri border during these fair spring days;
what does it portend? Such a mass of men
could not have been gathered, drilled and
organized without money and much previous
effort. It is now known that they were
members of a secret oath-bound society called
the Blue Lodge mainly, though other names of
it were current. A fixed, persistent purpose lies
back of it, an idea, we must believe ; it bodes
some struggle impending, whereof this is the first
little, distant outbreak, the harbinger of might-
ier events coming on. So these Missourians
march across the border, totally unconscious of
the colossal, world-historical drama whose first
scene they are enacting.

No doubt could be entertained concerninof



PART I. — THE FIE ST INVASION. 7

their immediate object, for it was openly pro-
claimed by all; they intended to vote in Kansas,
though non-residents, and to elect a Territorial
Legislature, which would transform it into a
Shive-State. Their scheme was to seize hold of
the law-making power by violence, and then
render their illegal acts legal. A curious mental
condition was this of the Missourians, yet their
leaders upheld it by argument as well as by fervid
appeals to conscience and to eternal justice, in-
voking even the God of battles. March 30th
the election took place. In a voting population
of about 3,000, according to a census taken a few
weeks before the election, 6,300 votes were
cast, nearly four-fifths of them by Missourians
who took possession of most of the polling-
places, ousted any recalcitrant judges, and pro-
ceeded to accept their own ballots for their own
candidates. The result was a complete triumph
of Missourians choosing themselves for Kansas
legislators, who were 39 in number. The Gov-
ernor, Reeder, had to canvass the returns, and,
though an appointee of the Democratic Adminis-
tration, did not relish the Missouri method of
undoing the ballot through the ballot. Still he
gave certificates of election to all but seven, look-
ing into the muzzles of cocked pistols, it is said,
which had also a significant power of speech,
saying to him: We shall spit fire if you go be-
hind the returns. In the seven districts where



8 THE TEN YEARS' WAR.

ballots were thrown out on account of infor-
malities too brazen, a new election took place
which resulted in the choice of seven Kansas
legislators for Kansas, who, however, were soon
unseated by the Missouri members, as usurpers
of the sacred rights of Missourians.

Contemplating these events we have to ask
ourselves : Is here a mere local trouble, a border
foray of outlaws, or is this spirit getting to be
general in the South? Is the ballot, the great
Anglo-Saxon instrumentality for obviating vio-
lence, to be set aside by violence? Is the ma-
jority no longer to rule in this country? If so,
war must come, since the means of all peaceful
settlement between contending parties is broken
into fragments and scattered to the winds.
Ominous of 1861 is already 1855 in Kansas.

The Missourians declared undisguisedly that
their purpose was to make Kansas a Slave-
State without any regard for the wishes of
her people. To that end they had now
seized the legislative power of the Territory,
which rightfully belonged to its actual settlers.
Already the Missourians supposed that they
had both the executive and the judicial branches
of the Territorial organization. The Gover-
nor and other administrative officials were
appointed by the President, Franklin Pierce,
who was dominated by the shive power of
which the head was already Jefferson Davis,



PABT I. — THE FIRST INVASION. 9

Secretary of War at Washington, The Judi-
ciary of the Territory likewise was a Presi-
dential appointment, and would not fail to co-
operate with the Missourians, as time showed.
The scheme of the invaders, accordingly, was
to get control of the Legislature, preventing the
inhabitants from governing themselves, since
they were manifesting a decided tendency toward
wheeling Kansas into the company of the Free-
States, from which most of them had come.
Unfortunately Governor Reeder had legalized in
form the illegal act of the invaders, through
his certificates of election. Thus illegality was
made legal and was enthroned not only as law,
but as the law-making power of Kansas. Reeder
will repent of his action, and will valiantly battle
against the consequences of his own mistake,
showing his deepest worth by making undone
his own ill-doing, as far as lies in his power.

Such is the fierce contradiction in the institu-
tional order of Kansas, rending to pieces her
ethical life and making her truly a perverted
world. The established authority is used to dis-
establish the foundation of authority, the con-
sent of the governed ; the three powers of gov-
ernment, legislative, executive, and judicial, are
in the hands of those who intend to employ
them for undermining their source, the will of
the people. The forms of free institutions are
turned into destroyers of freedom, and the law



10 THE TEN YEARS' WAR.

is driven to the point of stabbing itself and let-
ting its own heart's blood. In such a perverted
institutional world man cannot live in peace.
How can he be even legal when illegality makes
the law? Still he must remain law-abiding till
he can somehow re-make the law by which he
abides.

Over all these occurrences gleams the ques-
tion : Was the act of the Missourians represen-
tative? Did it reach beyond their State even to
the Atlantic? Did it reveal the spirit and the
rising purpose of the South? Many and loud
were the exultations in the newspapers from
Westport in Missouri to Charleston in South
Carolina; the event was hailed as the certain
triumph of Slavery. On the whole the
Southerners made this deed of their borderland
their own, approving it and setting it up for
imitation. Still there were protests, some of
them pronounced but most of them suppressed.
The extremists were in the saddle and were bent
on riding at the top of their speed. The con-
servatives were carried along in the fateful sweep
of the time, even when they feaw the stream
plunging toward a Niagara cataract.

We have called these invaders Missourians,
since they were chiefly recruited from North-
western Missouri, whose wind-lands, containiusf
the finest soil in the United States accordinir to
a competent observer, were occupied at an early



PART I. — THE FIRST INVASION. H

day by slaveholders, who became slavery's
strongest partisans. But Missouri is a large
State, and as a whole hardly approved of these
border invasions instigated from the Platte Pur-
chase. This inference may be reasonably drawn
from Missouri's vote for Douglas and his Popu-
lar Sovereignty in 1860, after his breach with
the South just on this Kansas question. More-
over Missouri had during these years (1856-60)
an active minority in favor of making it a Free
State.

The question of questions, then, looming up
over the Border is, Shall this new Territory be
tilled with the labor of slaves or of freemen?
The conflict has opened on the dividing line
between the settled and the unsettled lands of
the national domain, on the boundary between
States already in the Union and those which are
hereafter to come into the Union. We may well
regard it as the visible demarcation of the
present from the future ; indeed we shall soon
see it transformed into a battle-line between the
old and the new order, between the outgoing and
the incoming civilization. The struggle will
reach far beyond the confines of Kansas, will
involve the whole United States, and will have
an abiding influence upon the destiny of both
Americas and of the entire world. So it must
be said that in this remote border-land is enacted
a scene in the grand drama of Universal History,



12 THE TEN YEARS' WAR.

and that Kansas for a brief period rises to the
point of making herself world-historical.

Such a mighty birth lies ensconced in this
seemingly insignificant border foray of a lawless
horde — an event which otherwise would not be
worthy of the record. But the years will
speedily show it to have a meaning more than
local or even national, and so the historic Muse,
sitting at the inner shrine of Time's occurrences
and watching their hidden movement, will dip
her pen afresh for their deeper and more
pregnant portrayal. Before the tribunal of all
History, then, have appeared the two contestants
with their pressing question : Shall this Kansas
be a Slave-State or a Free-State? And under-
neath yet along with it lurks another profounder
interrogation : Shall this Federal Union hereafter
brinff forth Slave-States or Free-States? And
still more deeply may we catch a gleam of the
oracle flashing fitfully upon the night of the
future an affirmative response to the question
whether or not the Free-State is to be
universal.

But limiting our vision to a smaller and more
definite round of events, we can say that the
American Civil War has now started, and it is not
going to stop till the right and complete thing be
done. On the Missouri-Kansas border during
the vernal tide of March-April, 1855, with the
coming. of the invaders the whirlwind rose, or, in



PART I. — THE FIE ST INVASION. 13

Kansas phrase, " the bhzzard broke loose,"
strangely refusing to blow itself out into noth-
ingness and be pacified till a great historic cycle
had evolved itself into completeness. For its con-
clusion we must look through ten years and note
what is taking place during these same spring
days in 1865. Sheridan is at Five Forks, Eich-
mond falls, the Southern Confederacy collapses,
and on April the 9tli is Lee's surrender at Ap-
pomattox. The border blizzard has swollen up
to an all-embracing national cyclone of war ; start-
ing from its little spot in the distant West, it has
swept through Missouri and down the Mississippi
Valley, overwhelming all the new Slave-States
and then all the old Slave-States, really the origin
of the whole trouble, and burning up slavery root
and branch along its furious path. Such is the
end lurking in and unfolding out of this tiny
starting-point, and interlinking with it in a kind
of circular chain of events, which form one of
the most important processes of the World's
History. Let the reader note here at the be-
ginning, its inner propulsion to get around to its
primal source in the Eastern States, its cyclical
tendency to come back to its origin and to trans-
form that.

A new Ten Years' War we witness on our
Western Continent, not altogether unhke the
far-famed Trojan one ending in the destruction
of Ilium and the restoration of Helen. Again



14 THE TEN YEARS' WAR.

every community will muster its contingent of
soldiers and send them forth to the war under
its leading man or hero, to fight for the great
cause, which meant in the olden time that Hellas
and not Troy was to determine the civilization
of the future. But now a restoration is to take
place far deeper than the Grecian or that of
Helen ; the mighty struggle is now not for the
ideal of beauty but for the ideal of freedom,
though its bearer be not the most beautiful
woman of the world but the homeliest mortal of
God's creation, the black African, most un-
Grecian as to nose and feature and foot and
form. No Iliad singing rhythmic harmonies and
moving with Olympian lines into plastic shapes
of Heroes and Gods, can ever be born of such
an ideal. No hexametral roll attuned to the
sweep of sea and mountain and echoing the
subtle concordance of nature and soul in the
thousandfold play of its cadences can be evoked
out of the prairie-speech uttered by the chief
actors in this conflict. And yet an Iliad we may
call the action, deepened and widened by the
stream of the World's History down the Ages,
with its tale of terrible but purifying expe-
riences sent upon the Nation by the Divine
Order. As the Greek during his whole national
existence never could get rid of the eternal
pother over Helen, but had to re-enact her
and hers in his art, in his poetry, even in his



PAET I. — THE FIB ST INVASION. 15

history imd religion, with the ever-recurriug con-
flict between Greece and Asia from Troy till
Rome, so the American seemingly cannot bring to
an end the eternal pother over the negro after
hundreds of trials, but has to spend his thought,
his treasure and his blood, till this humblest and
by nature most servile of the races of men be
transformed and regenerated into a free being,
capable of free institutions. Such a task, not
willingly laid upon us by ourselves but by the
Spirit of total Man, persists in lowering over us,
not always to our comfort. Of this task our
Ten Years' War is but a stage already past, and
henceforth to be looked back at and ruminated
upon with profit, and, it is to be hoped, with in-
terest. For History is not merely a line of suc-
cessive and fortuitous occurrences in Time, but
the Soul of all Time, yea, the Soul which makes
Time, uttering itself in the events of the past,
voicing itself in the deeds and thoughts of men.
To hear this voice and to commune with its
meaning, may be regarded as the ultimate
purpose of historic study.



Such was the First Invasion of Kansas by the
Missourians, the beo^inning of woes unnumbered
to both the participants, and not only to them,
but to all their countrymen connected by ties of
sympathy and kinship ramifying through the



16 THE TEN YEARS' WAB.

whole Nation, North aud South. We call it the
first, though there was an earlier foray in the
preceding year (November, 1854) when a band
of Missourians crossed the border and voted for
the Congressional delegate, Whitfield, who, how-
ever, was not opposed by the people of the
Territory. Thus it was a peaceful affair though
a wrong with a nemesis lurking in it, even if for
the present smothered. But now in 1855, the
inhabitants of Kansas want their own Legisla-*
ture, which is their right, and get ready to
resist, whereat Bellona unties her bag of ills,
not to be tied up again for ten weary, desperate
years.

The Invasion was an attempt to steal a right,
the majority's right of determining their insti-
tutions, the right of all others fundamental
and peculiar to America's government, mak-
ing her truly self-governed, and constituting
the very symbol of her spirit, of her self-hood.
Such was the portentous theft committed in
Kansas on that spring-day, really our Ameri-
can Rape of Helen, done by those Missouri
borderers who tried to carry off by violence
beautiful Freedom in the shape of the ballot,
far more beautiful to Americans than beauti-
ful Helen of old Greece, and we believe
more virtuous in spite of many insidious at-
tempts at her prostitution. And yet the fact
must be recorded that these assailants of Free-



PART I. — THE FllitST INVASION. 17

dom's honor were Americans, speaking English,
peculiarly the hinguage of Freedom, just as
those old Trojans, the captors and detainers of
beautiful Helen, were of Hellenic blood, and
spoke Greek, peculiarly the language of Beauty.
So the old and the new, the first and the last,
the Alpha and the Omega of our Occidental
History come together and interlink, rounding
themselves out into that oft-noted cycle of events
which therein are to be seen not merely moving
forward to the end, but also o-oino; backward to the
beginning. Only thus can we behold the present
orbing itself with its own creative past and
completing a great historic process, which, while
it runs with Time on the one side, runs against
Time on the other, returning to its starting-point
and therein revealing that periodicity, which
from hoary Egypt till now has been felt to be a
manifestation of the omnipotent hand control-
ling the World's occurrences.

In a sense it may be said that the ideal of
Freedom has hovered before man since the be-
ginning of History, and that it is, accordingly,
nothing new. Still it has been developing all
the while and is ever taking new and more ad-
equate forms. This last or American form of
the long conflict between Freedom and Slavery
puts its main stress upon the political institution,
and regards the State as genetic or creative, that
is, as productive -of other States. Now this ge-

2



18 THE TEN VEAliS' WAR.

netic State or Federal Uuion, through its constitu-
tion was made to be productive of two kinds of
States, free and shive. This dualism is what is
threatening to break asunder the Federal Union
when the Ten Years' War opens, whose conflict
may, therefore, be said to lie between Free-
Stateisni and Slave-Stateism. And the future
problem, which the popular mind (our American
Folk-Soul) is in deep self-communion turning
over within itself, may be summed up in the
question : Shall henceforth our State-creating
Union be the parent of free States or of slave
States, or still of both? This we might call the
theme or argument of our American Iliad, in
which as in the old Greek one, through countless
ills of both sides the Will of Zeus was accom-
plished.

It is evident that the problem turns upon
Labor, and the two kinds of States ground them-
selves upon the two kinds of Labor, that of the
freeman and that of the bondman. The Free-
State is really the Free-Labor State, and the
Slave-State is the Slave-Labor State, though in
the latter actual slavery was confined to the
black race. Or, to reach down to the depths of
the human soul, to the psychical being of man,
we must conceive that all Labor is auact of Will,
whose freedom it is just the function of the State
to secure through its laws. But now we have a
State which is to secure a Will enslaved, con-



PAIiT T. — THE FlilST I.VVASION 19

tradictiug- therein its owu essence. And the
American Union is to continue bringing forth
such States — or is not — which shall it be?
Such a question the American Folk-Soul has
propounded to itself,, sounding its dee[)est
abysses for an answer. But what oracle dwells
there within to deliver such a response? Truly
that Delphic voice which once spoke at rocky
Pytho the words of the God is no longer audible
on the outside, but has taken up its modern
abode in the Folk-Soul, which receives the divine
impress directly and acts from within, according
to conviction. Such is the new Zeus, not quite
the Homeric one, yet descended from him and
inter-related with him through the successive
ages.

The American Folk-Soul is, then, going to
school and is working at its problem which it
sees but cannot yet solve. Kansas is about to
give the first lesson, the preliminary course-
lasting some three years or more; such was the
discipline for the great coming task. But wlm
prescribes this task? Again we have to go
behind the curtain of the thronging, tumultuous,
distracting events of Time, and gl!mi)sc the
Spirit busied there; call it Civilization, Progress,
World-Spirit, or even Zeus, if you like IIoiium's
poetic way of imagining the divine order wliidi
controls History. For the old Greek bard al>'>
has his two worlds; the lower one of mortals



20 THE TEN YE Alt S' WAR.

around aucl in Tioy, full of war, confusion, and
cnprice; then the upper Olympian one, the
serene abode of the Gods, above whom sits Zeus
Supreme, voicing when at his best not only the
soul of that little speck of Trojan Time, but of
all Time.

In some such way we would fain impress our
reader with the thought that this Kansas conflict
is not a mere bubble on the stream of the
World's History, rising and bursting in the
passing moment, but is that etream itself, the
whole of it, for the present, till it flows else-
whither on its ceaseless sweep to its goal.

II.

Having thus mustered the one side of the
Kansas conflict, and caused it to pass in review,
we must plainly do the same service for the
other side. The assailants with their principle
have been witnessed in their march across the
border; but who are the assailed, aud whence
and for what purpose have they come hither to
the untamed prairie aud wilderness? Some
account of these hardy spirits is next due.

After the passage of the Kansas -Nebraska bill,
the President of the United States had declared
the territory of Kansas open for settlement on
May 30th, 1854. At once emigrants began to
pour in from all parts of the countr}', for the
purpose of occupying the land. By far the



PART I.— THE FIB ST IXVASIOJ^. 2l

largest portion came from the Northern States
of the West, which always had its pioneers
whose nature was to tire of the more tliicklv
settled districts and to o-o forth asjain to the
frontier, as they and their ancestors had done
for generations. As we have seen in more recent
times the large crowds ready to rush across the
border of Oklahoma, when this territory was
thrown open for settlement, so we may conceive
the numbers ready to cross into Kansas in the
spring and summer of 1854.

These early emigrants were largely though not
wholly from the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois
and Iowa. Nearly all of them came singly, or
in small neighborhood groups. It was in no
sense an organized movement. Each man
expected to enter his tract of land and start to
work on his own account and in his own way,
clearing the soil and putting in his crop; then



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