Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 20 of 46)
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sand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any
States or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in
rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and
forever free ; and the Executive Government of the United States, in
cluding the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and
maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to re
press such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for
their actual freedom.

That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by
proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which
the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the
United States ; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall
on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United
States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of
the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the
absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evi
dence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion
against the United States.

Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States,
by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief of the Army
and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against
the authority and Government of the United States, and as a fit and


necessary -war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly pro
claimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first
above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States
wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against
the United States, the following, to wit :

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, Ste. Marie, St. Martin, and
Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Flor
ida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the
forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties
of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess
Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and
which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proc
lamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order
and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States
and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free ; and that the
Executive Government of the United States, including the military and
naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of
said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain
from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence ; and I recommend to
them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable

And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable
condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States
to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man ves
sels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, war
ranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the con
siderate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name, and caused the
seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in the year
P , of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of

the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh,
, By the President : ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Secretary of State.





THE repulse of the national forces at the battle of Bull Run
in July, 1861, aroused the people of the loyal States to a sense
of the magnitude of the contest which had been forced upon
them. It stimulated to intoxication the pride and ambition of
the rebels, and gave infinite encouragement to their efforts to
raise fresh troops, and increase the military resources of their
Confederation. Nor did the reverse the national cause had sus
tained for an instant damp the ardor, or check the determina
tion, of the Government and people of the loyal States. Gen
eral McDowell, the able and accomplished officer who com
manded the army of the United States in that engagement,
conducted the operations of the day with signal ability ; and
his defeat was due, as subsequent disclosures have clearly
shown, far more to accidents for which others were responsible,
than to any lack of skill in planning the battle, or of courage
arid generalship on the field. But it was the first considerable
engagement of the war, and its loss was a serious and startling
disappointment to the sanguine expectations of the people : it
was deemed necessary, therefore, to place a new commander at
the head of the army in front of Washington. General McClel-
lan, who had been charged, at the outset of the war, with opera
tions in the department of the Ohio, and who had achieved
marked success in clearing Western Virginia of the rebel
troops, was summoned to Washington on the 22d of July, and
on the 27th assumed command of the Army of the Potomac.


Although then in command only of a department, General Mc-
Clellan,with an ambition and a presumption natural, perhaps, to
Jiis age and the circumstances of his advancement, addressed his
attention to the general conduct of the war in all sections of the
country, and favored the Government and Lieutenant-General
Scott with several elaborate and meritorious letters of advice, as
to the method most proper to be pursued for the suppression of
the rebellion. He soon, however, found it necessary to attend
to the preparation of the army under his command for an im
mediate resumption of hostilities. Fresh troops in great num
bers speedily poured in from the Northern States, and were
organized and disciplined for prompt and effective service.
The number of troops in and about the capital when General
McClellan assumed command, was a little over 50,000, and the
brigade organization of General McDowell formed the basis
for the distribution of these new forces. By the middle of
October this army had been raised to over 150,000 men, with
an artillery force of nearly 500 pieces all in a state of excel
lent discipline, under skilful officers, and animated by a zealous
and impatient eagerness to renew the contest for the preserva
tion of the Constitution and Government of the United States.
The President and Secretary of War had urged the division of
the army inW corps cTarmec, for the purpose of more effective
service; but General McClellan had discouraged and thwarted
their endeavors in this direction, mainlv on the ground that
there were not officers enough of tried ability in the army to
be intrusted with such high commands as this division would

On the 22d of October, a portion of our forces which had
been ordered to cross the Potomac above Washington, in the
direction of Leesburgh, were rn^t by a heavy force of the
enemy at Ball s Bluff, repulsed with severe loss, and compelled
to return. The circumstances of this disaster excited a great
deal of dissatisfaction in the public mind, and this was still


further aggravated by the fact that the rebels had obtained,
and been allowed to hold, complete control of the Potomac
below Washington, so as to establish a virtual and effective,
blockade of the capital from that direction. Special efforts
were repeatedly made by the President and the Navy Depart
ment to clear the banks of the river of the rebel forces, known
to be small in number, which held them, but it was found im
possible to induce General McClellan to take any steps to aid
in the accomplishment of this result. In October he had
promised that on a day named, 4,000 troops should be ready
to proceed down the river to co-operate with the Potomac
flotilla under Captain Craven ; but at the time appointed the
troops did not arrive, and General McClellan alleged, as H
reason for having changed his mind, that his engineers had in
formed him that so large a body of troops could not be landed,
The Secretary of the Navy replied that the landing of the
troops was a matter of which that department assumed the
responsibility ; and it was then agreed that the troops should
be sent down the next night. They were not sent, however
cither then or at any other time, for which General McClellan
assigned as a reason the fear that such an attempt might bring
on a general engagement. Captain Craven upoi~ this threw
up his command, and the Potomac remained closed to the
vessels and transports of the United States until it was opened
in March of the next year by the voluntary withdrawal of the
rebel forces.

On the 1st of November, General McClellan was appointed
by the President to succeed General Scott in the command
of all the armies of the Union, remaining in personal com
mand of the Army of the Potomac. His attention was then
of necessity turned to the defection of army movements, and
to the conduct of political affairs, so far as they came under
military control, in the more distant sections of the country
But no movement took place in the Army of the Potomac


The season had been unusually favorable for military opera
tions the troops were admirably organized and disciplined,
and in the highest state of efficiency in numbers they were
known to be far superior to those of the rebels opposed to
them, who were nevertheless permitted steadily to push their
approaches towards Washington, while from the highest offi
cer to the humblest private our forces were all animated with an
eager desire to be led against the enemies of their country.
As winter approached without any indications of an intended
movement of our armies, the public impatience rose to the
highest point of discontent. The Administration was every
where held responsible for these unaccountable delays, and
was freely charged by its opponents with a design to protract
the war for selfish political purposes of its own : and at the
fall election the public dissatisfaction made itself manifest by
adverse votes in every considerable State where elections were

Unable longer to endure this state of things, President Lin
coln put an end to it on the 27th of January, 1862, by issuing
the following order :

Ordered, That the twenty-second dar of February, x 8 6 2, be the day
for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United
States against the insurgent forces. That especially the army at and
about Fortress Monroe, the army of the Potomac, the army of Western
Virginia, the army near Munfordsville, Kentucky, the army and flotilla
at Cairo, and a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on
that day.

* That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective com
manders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey addi
tional orders when duly given-

^ That the heads of departments, and especially the Secretaries of War
and of the Xavy, with all their subordinates, and the General-in-Chief,
with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces,
will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for prompt
execution of tb : s order. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


This order, which applied to all the armies of the United
States, was followed four days afterwards by the following
special order directed to General McClellan :

Ordered, That all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac,
after providing safely for the defence of Washington, be formed into an
expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point up
on the railroad southwestward of what is known as Manassas Junc
tion, all details to be in the discretion of the Commander-inChief, and
the expedition to move before or on the twenty-second day of February

The object of this order was to engage the rebel army in
front of Washington by a flank attack, and by its defeat re
lieve the capital, put Richmond at our mercy, and break the
main strength of the rebellion by destroying the principal
army arrayed in its support. Instead of obeying it, General
McClellan remonstrated against its execution, and urged the
adoption of a different plan of attack, which was to me -e
upon Richmond by way of the Chesapeake Bay, the Rappahan-
nock River, and a land march across the country from Urban a,
leaving "the rebel forces in position at Manassas to be held in
check, if they should attempt a forward movement, only by
the troops in the fortifications around Washington. As the
result of several conferences with the President, he obtained
permission to state in writing his objections to his plan the
President meantime sending him the following letter of inquiry :

MY DEAR SIR: You and I have distinct and different plans for a
movement of the Army of the Potomac ; yours to be done by the Chesa
peake, up the Eappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the ter
minus of the railroad on the York River ; mine to move directly to a
point on the railroad southwest of Manassas.

If you will give satisfactory answers to the following questions, I
shall gladly yield my plan to yours : Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of tim&
r.nd money than mine ?


2d. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?

3d. "Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine ?

4th. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this : that it would break
no great line of the enemy s communications, while mine would?

5th. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more difficult by your
plan than mine ?

Yours, truly, ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Major-General McC/LELLAN.

General McClellan sent to the Secretary of War, under date
of February 3d, a very long letter, presenting strongly the ad
vantage possessed by the rebels in holding a central defensive
position, from which they could with a small force resist any
attack on either flank, concentrating their main strength upon
the other for a decisive action. The uncertainties of the
weather, the necessity of having long lines of communication,
and the probable indecisiveness even of a victory, if one should
be gained, were urged against the President s plan. So
strongly was General McClellan in favor of his own plan of
operations, that he said he " should prefer the move from For
tress Monroe as a base, to an attack upon Manassas." The
President was by no means convinced by General McClellan s
reasoning ; but in consequence of his steady resistance and un
willingness to enter upon the execution of any other plan, he as
sented to a submission of the matter to a council of twelve
officers held late in February, at head-quarters. The result of
that council was, a decision in favor of moving by way of the
lower Chesapeake and the Rappahannock seven of the Gen
erals present, viz., Fitz-John Porter, Franklin, W. F. Smith,
McCall, Blenker, Andrew Porter, and Naglee, voting in favor of
it, as did Keyes also, with the qualification that the army should
not move until the rebels were driven from the Potomac, and
Generals McDowell, Sumner, Heintzelman, and Barnard, voting
against it.

In this decision the President acquiesced, and on the 8th
of March, issued two general war orders, the first directing


the Major-General commanding the Army of nne Potomac to
proceed forthwith to organize that part of said army destined
to enter upon active operations into four army corps, to bo
commanded, the first by General McDowell, the second by
General Sumner, the third by General Heintzelman, and the
fourth by General Keyes. General Banks was assigned to the
command of a fifth corps. It also appointed General Wads-
worth Military Governor of Washington, and dvre v ,ed the
order to be " executed with such promptness and dispatch as
not to delay the commencement of the operations already
directed to be undertaken by the Army of the Potomac."
The second of these orders was as follows:


Ordered, That no change of the base of operations of the Army of
the Potomac shall bo made without leaving in and about Washington
such a force as, in the opinion of the General-in-Chief and the com
manders of army corps, shall leave said city entirely secure.

That no more than two army corps (about fifty thousand troops) of
said Army of the Potomac shall be moved en route for a new base of opera
tions until the navigation of the Potomac, from Washington to the
Chesapeake Bay, shall be freed from the enemy s batteries, and other
obstructions, or until the President shall hereafter give express per

That any movement as aforesaid, en route for a now base of operations,
which may be ordered by the General-in-Chief, and which may be in
tended to move upon the Chesapeake Bay, shall begin to move upon the
bay as early as the eighteenth March instant, and the General-in-Chief
shall be responsible that it moves as early as that day.

Ordered, That the army and navy co-operate in an immediate effort
to capture the enemy s batteries upon the Potomac between Washing
ton and the Chesapeake Bay.


L. THOMAS, Adjutant- General.

This order was issued on the 8th of March. On the 9th, in
formation was received by General McClellan, at Washington,


that the enemy had abandoned his position in front of that
city. lie at once crossed the Potomac, and on the same
night issued orders for an immediate advance of the whole army
towards Manassas, not with any intention, as he has since
explained, of pursuing the rebels, and taking advantage of their
retreat, but to " get rid of superfluous baggage and other im
pediments which accumulate so easily around an army en
camped for a long time in one locality" to give the troops
" some experience on the march and bivouac preparatory to
the campaign," and to afford them also a " good intermediate
step between the quiet and comparative comfort of the camps
around Washington and the vigor of active operations."* These
objects, in General McClellan s opinion, were sufficiently ac
complished by what the Prince de Joinville, of his staff, styles
a " promenade " of the army to Manassas, where they learned,
from personal inspection, that the rebels had actually evacu
ated that position; and on the 15th, orders were issued for a
return of the forces to Alexandria.

On the llth of March, the President issued another order,
stating that " Major-General McClellan having personally taken
the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until other
wise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other
military departments, retaining command of the department of
the Potomac." Major-General Halleck was assigned to the
command of the derailment of the Mississippi, and the Moun
tain department was created for Major-General Fremont. All
the commanders of departments were also required to report
directly to the Secretary of War.

On the 13th of March, a council of war was held at head
quarters, then at Fairfax Court-House, by which it was decided
that, as the enemy had retreated behind the Rappahannock,
operations against Richmond could best be conducted from
Fortress Monroe, provided :

* See General McClellan s Report, dated August 4, 1863.


1st. That the enemy s vessel, Merrimac, can be neutralized.

2d. That the means of transportation, sufficient for an immediate
transfer of the force to its new base, can be ready at Washington and
Alexandria to move down the Potomac ; and,

3d. That a naval auxiliary force can be had to silence, or aid in
silencing, the enemy s batteries on the York River.

4th. That the force to be left to cover Washington shall be such as to
give an entire feeling of security for its safety from menace.

XOTE. That with the forts on the right bank of the Potomac fully
garrisoned, and those on the left bank occupied, a covering force in front
of the Virginia line of twenty-five thousand men would suffice. (Keyes,
Ileiutzelman, and McDowell.)

A total of forty thousand men for the defence of the city would
suffice. (Sumner.)

Upon receiving a report of this decision, the following com
munication was at once addressed to the commanding general :

WAR DEPARTMENT, March 13, 1862.

The President having considered the plan of operations agreed upon
by yourself and the commanders of army corps, makes no objection to
the same, but gives the following directions as to its execution :

1. Leave such force at Manassas Junction as shall make it entirely
certain that the enemy shall not repossess himself of that position and
line of communication.

2. Leave Washington entirely secure.

3. Move the remainder of the force down the Potomac, choosing a
new base at Fortress Monroe, or anywhere between here and there,
or, at all events, move such remainder of the army at once in pursuit of the
enemy by some route.


Secretary of War.

It will readily be seen, from these successive orders, that
the President, in common with the whole country, had been
greatly pained by the long delay of the Army of the Potomac
to move against the enemy while encamped at Manassas, and
that this feeling was converted into chagrin and mortification


when the rebels were allowed to withdraw from that position
without the slightest molestation, and without their design
being even suspected until it had been carried into complete
and successful execution. He was impatiently anxious, there
fore, that no more time should be lost in delays. In reply to
the Secretary of War, General McClellan, before embarking for
the Peninsula, communicated his intention of reaching, without
loss of time, the field of what he believed would be a decisive
battle, which he expected to fight between West Point and
Richmond. On the 31st of March, the President, out of
deference to the importunities of General Fremont and his
friends, and from a belief that "this officer could make good use
of a larger force than he then had at his command in the
mountain department, ordered General Blenker s division to
leave the Army of the Potomac and join him, a decision which
he announced to General McClellan in the following letter :


WASHINGTON, March 31, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR: This morning I felt constrained to order Blenker s

division to Fremont, and I write this to assure you that I did so with

great pain, understanding that you would wish it otherwise. If you

could know the full pressure of the case, I am confident that you would

justify it, even beyond a mere acknowledgment that the Commander-in-

Chief may order what he pleases.

Tours, very truly, A. LINCOLN.

Major-General MCCLELLAN.

General Banks, who had at first been ordered by General
McClellan to occupy Manassas, and thus cover Washington,
was directed by him, on the 1st of April, to throw the rebel
General Jackson well back from Winchester, and then move
on Staunton at a time " nearly coincident with his own move
on Richmond ;" though General McClellan expressed the fear
that General Banks " could not be ready in time" for that


movement. The four corps of the Army of the Potomac, des
tined for active operations by way of the Peninsula, were or
dered to embark, and forwarded as rapidly as possible to Fortress
Monroe. On the 1st of April, General McClellan wrote to the
Secretary of War, giving a report of the dispositions he had
made for the defence of Washington ; and on the 2d, General
Wadsworth submitted a statement of the forces under his
command, which he regarded as entirely inadequate to the

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 20 of 46)