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

. (page 34 of 46)
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 34 of 46)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

beaten to death, mutilated, and hung; building after building
was sacked and burned ; gangs of desperadoes patrolled the
streets, levying contributions, and ordering places of business
to be closed. A Colored Orphan Asylum, sheltering some
hundreds of children, was sacked and burned. After the first
day the riot, which was at first directed against the draft, took
a new turn. The entire mass of scoundrelism in the city


seemed to have been let loose for indiscriminate plunder.
Women, half-grown boys, and children, were foremost in the
work of robbery, and no man felt safe from attack. The
police force did their duty manfully, aided at first by the few
troops at the disposal of the authorities, and subsequently by
the regiments who began to return from Pennsylvania. In
the street fights which occurred many of the defenders of law
and order lost their lives, while a far larger number of the
rioters were killed. The bands of rioters were finally dispersed,
and the peace of the city was restored.

During these occurrences the draft was necessarily suspend
ed ; and on the 3d of August, Governor Seymour addressed a
long letter to the President, asking that further proceedings
under the draft might be postponed until it should be seen
whether the number required from the State of New York
could not be raised by volunteering, and also until the con
stitutionality of the law could be tested in the judicial tribunals
of the country. The Governor pointed out an alleged in
justice in the application of the law, by which, in four districts
of the State of New York a far higher quota in proportion to
the population was required than in the other districts of the
State; and this was urged as an additional reason for post
poning the further execution of the law.

To this appeal the President, on the 7th of August, made
the following reply :

His Excellency, HORATIO SEYMOUR,

Governor of New York, Albany, N. Y. :

Your communication of the 3d inst., has been received and attentively
considered. I cannot consent to suspend the draft in New York, as you
request, because, among other reasons, TIME is too important. By the
figures you send, which I presume are correct, the twelve districts repre
sented fall in two classes of eight and four respectively.

The disparity of the quotas for the draft in these two classes is certainly
very striking, being the difference between an average of 2,200 in one
class, and 4,864 in the other. Assuming that the districts are equal, one


to another, in entire population, as required by the plan on which they
were made, this disparity is such as to require attention. Much of it,
however, I suppose will be accounted for by the fact that so many mor.
persons fit for soldiers are in the city than are in the country, who have
too recently arrived from other parts of the United States and from Europe
to be either included in the census of I860, or to have voted m 1?
Still makin^ due allowance for this, I am yet unwilling to stand upon it
as an entirely sufficient explanation of the great disparity. I shall direct
the draft to proceed in all the districts, drawing, however, at first from
each of the four districts-to wit, the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth
only 2 200, bein" the average quota of the other class. After this
drawing, these four districts, and also the Seventeenth and Twenty-ninth,
sh-ill be carefully re-enrolled ; and, if you please, agents of yours may
witness every step of the process. Any deficiency which may appear by
the new enrolment will be supplied by a special draft for that object,
allowin^ due credit for volunteers who may be obtained from these dis
tricts respectively during the interval; and at all points, so far as consist
ent with practical convenience, due credits shall be given for volunteers,
and your Excellency shall be notified of the time fixed for commencing
a draft in each district.

I do not object to abide a decision of the United States Supreme Court,
or. of the Judges thereof, on the constitutionality of the draft law. In
fact I should be willing to facilitate the obtaining of it. But I cannot
consent to lose the time while it is being obtained. We are contenclii
with an enemy who, as I understand, drives every able-bodied man 1
can reach into his ranks, very much as a butcher drives bullocks into a
slaughter-pen. No time is wasted, no argument is used. This produces
an army which will soon turn upon our now victorious soldiers already
in the field, if they shall not be sustained by recruits as they should be.
It produces an army with a rapidity not to be matched on our side, if
we first waste time to re-experiment with the volunteer system, already
deemed by Congress, and palpably, in fact, so far exhausted as to be
adequate- and then more time to obtain a Court decision as to whether
a law is constitutional which requires a part of those not now in the service
to go to the aid of those who are already in it; and still more time 1
determine with absolute certainty that we get those who are to go in the
precisely legal proportion to those who are not to go. My purpos
be in my action just and constitutional, and yet practical, in performing
the important duty with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity and
the free principles of our common country. Your c lent serv mt,

On the 8th Governor Seymour replied, reasserting the uiitair-


ness and injustice of the enrolments, and expressing liis regret at
the President s refusal to postpone the draft. He also sent a
voluminous statement prepared by Judge-Advocate Water-
bury, designed to sustain the position he had previously as
sumed. To this the President thus replied :

WASHINGTON, August 11, 18G3. j
Governor of New York:

Yours of the 8th, with Judge-Advocate General TVaterbury s report,
was received to-day.

Asking you to remember that I consider time as being very import
ant, both to the general cause of the country arid to the soldiers in the
field, I beg to remind you that I waited, at your request, from the 1st
until the 6th inst. to receive your communication dated the 3d. In view
of its great length, and the known time and apparent care taken in its
preparation, I did not doubt that it contained your full case as you
desired to present it. It contained the figures for twelve districts,
omitting the other nineteen, as I supposed, because you found nothing
to complain of as to them. I answered accordingly. In doing so I
laid down the principle to which I purpose adhering, which is to pro
ceed with the draft, at the same time employing infallible means to
avoid any great wrong. With the communication received to-day you
send figures for twenty-eight districts, including the twelve sent before,
and still omitting three, for which I suppose the enrolments are not
yet received. In looking over the fuller list of twenty-eight districts, I
find that the quotas for sixteen of them are above 2,000 and below
2,700, while of the rest, six are above 2,700 and six are below 2,000.
Applying the principle to these new facts, the Fifth and Seventh Dis
tricts must be added to the four in which the quotas have already been
reduced to 2,200 for the first draft; and with these four others must
be added to those to be re-enrolled. The correct case will then stand :
the quotas of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and P^ighth
Districts fixed at 2,200 for the first draft. The Provost-Marshal Gene
ral informs me that the drawing is already completed in the Sixteenth,
Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-Second, T wenty -Fourth, Twenty-
Sixth, Twenty-Seventh, Twenty-Eighth, Twenty-Ninth, and Thirtieth
Districts. In the others, except the three outstanding, the drawing
will be made upon the quotas as now fixed. After the first draft, tho


Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth,
Twenty-First, Twenty-Fifth, Twenty-Ninth, and Thirty-First will be
enrolled for the purpose, and in the manner stated in my letter of the
7th mst. The same principle will be applied to the now outstanding
districts when they shall come in. No part of my former letter is
repudiated by reason of not being restated in this, or for any other cause.

Your obedient servant,


The draft in New York was resumed on the 19th of August,
and as ample preparations had been made for the preservation
of the public peace, it encountered no further opposition. In
every other part of the country the proceedings were con
ducted and completed without resistance.

Some difficulty was experienced in Chicago, and the Mayor
and Comptroller of that city addressed the President on the
subject of alleged frauds in the enrolment, and received the
following dispatch in reply :

WASHINGTON, August 27, 1863.
F. C. SHERMAN, Mayor ; J. S. HAYS, Comptroller :

Yours of the 24th, in relation to the draft, is received. It seems to
me the government here will be overwhelmed if it undertakes to conduct
these matters with the authorities of cities and counties. They must be
conducted with the Governors of States, who will, of course, represent
their cities and counties. Meanwhile, you need not be uneasy until you
again hear from here. A. LINCOLN.

Subsequently, in reply to further representations on the
subject, the same gentlemen received the following :

"WASHINGTON, August 7, 1863.

Yours of August 29th just received. I suppose it was intended by
Congress that this Court should execute the act in question without de
pendence upon any other Government, State, City, or County. It is,
however, within the range of practical convenience to confer with the
Governments of States, while it is quite beyond that range to have
correspondence on the subject with counties and cities. They are too
numerous. As instances, I have corresponded with Gov. Seymour, but
not with Mayor Opdyke ; with Gov. Curtin, but not with Mayor Henry.





THE military events of 1863, though of very great impor
tance, are much less closely connected with the direct action
of the President than those which occurred in 1862; we
shall not attempt, therefore, to narrate them as much in detail.
When General Burnside succeeded General McClellan in com
mand of the Army of the Potomac, on the 7th of November,
1 862, that army was at Warrenton, the rebel forces falling
back before it towards Richmond. Deeming it impossible to
force the enemy to a decisive battle, and unsafe to follow him
to Richmond on a line which must make it very difficult to
keep up his communications, General Burnside, on the 15th,
turned his army towards Fredericksburg marching on the
north bank of the Rappahannock, intending to cross the
river, take possession of Fredericksburg, and march upon
Richmond from that point. The advance division, under
General Sumner, arrived opposite Fredericksburg on the
19th ; but a pontoon train, which had been ordered and was
expected to be there at the same time, had not come so that
crossing at the moment was impossible. The delay that thus
became unavoidable, enabled General Lee to bring up a strong
force from the rebel army, and possess himself of the heights
of Fredericksburg. On the night of the 10th of December,
General Burnside threw a bridge of pontoons across the river,
and the next day constructed four bridges, under cover of a
terrific bombardment of the town. On the llth and 12th
his army was crossed over, and on the 13th attacked the ene-


m y General Sumner commanding in front, and General
Franklin having command of a powerful flanking movement
against the rebel right. The rebels; however, were too strongly
posted to- be dislodged. Our forces suffered severely, and
were unable to advance. On the night of the 15th, they were
therefore withdrawn to the opposite bank of the river. Our
losses in this engagement were 1,138 killed, 9,105 wounded,
2,078 missing; total, 12,321.

The army remained quiet until the 20th of January, when
General Eurnside again issued orders for an advance, intend
ing to cross the river some six or eight miles above Fredericks-
burg, and make a flank attack upon the left wing of the rebel
army. The whole army was moved to the place of crossing
early in the morning, but a heavy storm on the preceding
night had so damaged the roads as to make it impossible to
bring up artillery and pontoons with the promptness essential
to success. On the 24th, General Burnside was relieved from
command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Hooker
appointed in his place. Three months were passed in inaction,
the season foibidding any movement; but on the 27th of
April, General Hooker pushed three divisions of his army to
Kelley s Ford, twenty-five miles above Fredericksburg, and
by the 30th had crossed the river, and turning south had
reached Chancellorsville five or six miles southwest of that
town. A strong cavalry force, under General Stoneman, had
been sent to cut the railroad in the rear of the rebel army, so
as to prevent their receiving re-enforcements from Richmond,
General Hooker s design being to attack the enemy in flank
and rear. The other divisions of his army had crossed and
joined his main force at Chancellorsville, General Sedgwick,
with one division only, being left opposite Fredericksburg.
On the 2d of May, the left wing of the rebel army, under
General Jackson, attacked our right, and gained a decided
advantage of position, which was recovered, however, before


the day closed. The action was renewed next day, and the
advantage remained with the enemy. General Scdgwick,
meantime, had crossed the river and occupied the heights of
Fredericksburg, but was driven from them and compelled to
retreat on the night of the 4th. On the morning of the 5th
a heavy rainstorm set in, and in the night of that day Gen
eral Hooker withdrew his army to the north bank of the
Kappahannock, having lost not far from 18,000 in the move

Both armies remained inactive until the 9th of June, when
it was discovered that the rebel forces under Lee were leaving
their position near Fredericksburg and moving northwest,
through the valley of the Shenandoah. On the 13th the rebel
General Ewell, with a heavy force, attacked our advance post
of seven thousand men at Winchester under General Milroy,
and not only compelled him to retreat but pursued him so
closely as to convert his retreat into a rout : and on the 14th
of June the rebel army began to cross the Potomac and ad
vanced upon Hagerstown, Maryland, with the evident purpose
of invading Pennsylvania. The movement created the most
intense excitement throughout the country. President Lin
coln issued a proclamation calling for 100,000 militia from
the States most directly menaced, to serve for six months, and
New York was summoned to send 20,000 also. On the 27th
the main body of the rebel army crossed the Potomac at
Williamsport, and General Lee took up his head-quarters at

Meantime, as soon as the movement of the rebel forces
from Fredericksburg was discovered, our army had broken
up its encampment and marched northward, on a line nearly
parallel with that of the enemy, and on the 27th, the same
day that the rebels reached Ilagerstown, the head-quarters
of our army were at Frederick City our whole force being
thus interposed between the rebels and both Baltimore and


Washington, and prepared to follow them into Pennsylvania.
On that day General Hooker was relieved from command of
the army, which was conferred upon General Meade, who at
once ordered an advance into Pennsylvania in the general
direction of Harrisburg towards which the enemy was rapidly
advancing in force. On the 1st of July our advanced corps,
the First and Eleventh, under Generals Reynolds and Howard,
came in contact with the enemy, strongly posted near the
town of Gettysburg, and attacking at once, fought an in
decisive battle ; the enemy being so far superior in numbers as
to compel General Howard, who was in command at the time,
to fall back to Cemetery Hill and wait for re-enforcements.
During the night all the corps of our army were concentrated
and the next day posted around that point. The Eleventh
Corps retained its position on the Cemetery ridge : the First
Corps was on the right of the Eleventh, on a knoll, connect
ing with the ridge extending to the south and east, on which
the Second Corps was placed. The right of the Twelfth
Corps rested on a small stream. The Second and Third
Corps were posted on the left of the Eleventh, on the pro
longation of Cemetery ridge. The Fifth was held in reserve
until the arrival of the Sixth, at 2 p. M. on the 2d, after a
march of thirty-two miles in seventeen hours, when the Fifth
was ordered to the extreme left and the Sixth placed in

At about 3 o clock the battle was opened by a tremendous
onset of the enemy, whose troops were massed along a ridge a
mile or so in our front, upon the Third Corps, which formed
our extreme left and which met the shock with heroic firm
ness, until it was supported by the Third and Fifth. General
Sickles, who commanded the Third Corps, was severely
wounded early in the action, and General Birney, who suc
ceeded to the command, though ur^ed to fall back, was


enabled, by the help of the First and Sixth Corps, to hold his


ground, and at about sunset the enemy retired in confusion.
Another assault was made on our left during the evening,
which was also repulsed. On the morning of the 3d a spirited
assault was made upon the right of our line, but without suc
cess ; and at 1 p. M. the enemy opened an artillery fire upon
our centre and left from one hundred and twenty-five guns,
which continued for over two hours, without reply from our
side, when it was followed by a heavy assault of infantry,
directed mainly against the Second Corps, and repelled with
firmness and success by that Corps, supported by Doubleday s
Division and Stannard s Brigade of the First Corps. This
terminated the battle. On the morning of the 4th a recon-
noissance showed that the enemy had withdrawn his left flank,
maintaining his position in front of our left, with the apparent
purpose of forming a new line of attack ; but the next morn
ing it was ascertained that he was in full retreat. The Sixth
Corps, with all disposable cavalry, were at once sent in pur
suit ; but ascertaining that the enemy had availed himself of
very strong passes which could be held by a small force,
General Meade determined to pursue by a flank movement,
and after burying the dead and succoring the wounded, the
whole army was put in motion for the Potomac. On the
12th it arrived in front of the enemy strongly posted on the
heights, in advance of Williarnsport. The next day was
devoted to an examination of the position ; but on advancing
for an attack on the 14th, it was discovered that the enemy had
succeeded in crossing by the bridge at Falling Waters and the
ford at Williarnsport. The pursuit was continued still further,
but the enemy, though greatly harassed and subjected to severe
losses, succeeding in gaining the line of the Rapidan, and our
forces again occupied their old position on the Rappahannock.
On the morning of the 4th of July, the day celebrated
throughout the country as the anniversary of the Declaration
of Independence, the President issued the following :


"WASHINGTON, July 4, 10.30 A. K

The President announces to the country that news from the Army of
the Potomac, up to 10 p. M. of the 3d, is such as to cover that army with
the highest honor ; to promise a great success to the cause of the Union,
and to claim the condolence of all for the many gallant fallen ; and that
for this he especially desires that on this day, He, whose will, not ours,
should ever be done, be everywhere remembered and reverenced with
profoundest gratitude. A. LINCOLN.

The result of this battle one of the severest and most
sanguinary of the war was of the utmost importance. It
drove the rebels back from their intended invasion of Penn
sylvania and Maryland, and compelled them to evacuate the
upper part of the Valley of the Shenandoah, leaving in our
hands nearly 14,000 prisoners, and 25,000 small arms collected
on the battle-field. Our own losses were very severe, amount
ing to 2,834 killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 missing in all,

During the ensuing season, a piece of ground, seventeen
and a half acres in extent, adjoining the town cemetery, arid
forming an important part of the battle-field, was purchased by
the State of Pennsylvania to be used as a national burying-
ground for the loyal soldiers who fell in that great engage
ment It was dedicated, with solemn and impressive cere
monies, on the 19th of November, 1863, the President and
members of his Cabinet being in attendance, and a very large
and imposing military display adding grace and dignity to
the occasion. Hon. Edward Everett delivered the formal
address, and President Lincoln made the following remarks :

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the pro
position that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great
civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so
dedicated can long endure. "We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for


those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogcth r
fitting an d proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we can
not dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. Tho
brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far
above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long
remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is
rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that can so
for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ; that we here highly
resolve that those dead shall not have died in vain ; that this nation un
der God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of
the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the

The other great military achievement of the year, was the
capture of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and the opening of
the Mississippi river throughout its entire length to the com-
inerce of the United States. General N. P. Banks, who suc
ceeded General Butler in command of the military department
of Louisiana, reached New-Orleans, sustained by a formidable
expedition from New-York, and assumed command on the
15th of December, 1862, and at once took possession of Baton
Rouge. On the 21st, an expedition under General W. T.
Sherman started from Memphis, passed down the Mississippi
to the mouth of the Yazoo, some ten miles above Vicksburg,
and on the 26th ascended that river, landed and commenced
an attack upon the town from the rear. Severe fight
ing continued for three days, during which time our army
pushed within two miles of the city ; but on the 30th they
were repulsed with heavy loss. On the 2d of January, Gene
ral McClernand arrived and took command, and the attack upon
Vicksburg was for the time abandoned as hopeless. Several
forts on the Arkansas and White Rivers were taken, and an
effort was subsequently made to cut a channel across the neck
of land on the extremity of which Vicksburg i s situated, so as


to divert the channel of the Mississippi, and make Vicksbnraj
substantially an inland town. Various attempts upon the place
were made during the succeeding month, but without success.
On the 30th of April, General Grant landed his forces at Bruins-
burg, sixty-five miles below Vicksburg, and immediatelv ad
vanced upon Port Gibson, where he was opposed by the rebel
General Bowen, who was defeated, with a loss in killed, wounded,

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 34 of 46)