Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 33 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 42)
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running to Richmond ahead f him enables him to move this way, if he
does so, turn and attack him in the rear. But I think he should be
engaged long before such point is reached. It is all easy if our troops
Brarch as well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say they cannot do it.
This letter is in no sense an order.

Yours, truly, A. LINCOLN.

Major- General MOCLELLAN.

For over a fortnight longer General McClellan delayed
any attempt to move his army in obedience to the Presi
dent s order. He spent this interval in complaints of inad
equate supplies, and in incessant demands for re-enforce
ments ; and on the 21st inquired whether it was still the
President s wish that he should march upon the enemy at
once, or await the arrival of fresh horses. He was told in
v&pty that the order of the 6th was unchanged, ftd tbul


jrhilethe President did not expect impossibilities, lie was
" very anxious that all this good weather should not be
lasted in inactivity." General McClellan states in his
report that he inferred, from the tenor of this dispatch,
that it was left to his own judgment whether it would be
safe for the army to advance or not ; and he accordingly
fixed upon the first of November as the earliest date at
which the forward movement could be commenced. On
the 25th he complained to the Department of the con
dition of his cavalry, saying that the horses were fatigued
and greatly troubled with sore tongue; whereupon the
President addressed him the following inquiry :


I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongue and fatigued horses.
Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your array have done
since the battle of Antietara that fatigues any thing ?


The General replied that they had been engaged in
making reconnoissances, scouting, and picketing ; to which
the President thus rejoined :


Yours in reply to mine about horses received. Of course you know tho
facts better than I. Still, two considerations remain : Stuart s cavalry
outmarched ours, having certainly done more marked service on the Pen
insula and everywhere since. Secondly: will not a movement of our
army be a relief to the cavalry, compelling the enemy to concentrate in
stead of " foraging " in squads everywhere ? But I am so rejoiced to learn
from your dispatch to General Halleck that you began crossing the riv ar
this morning. A. LINCOLN.

The General replied in a long dispatch, rehearsing in
detail the labors performed by his cavalry, to which he
thought the President had done injustice. This note eli-
ci+ed the following reply :


Yours of yesterday received. Most certainly I intend no injustice to
any, and if I have done any I deeply regret it. To be told, after more
than five weeks total inaction of the army, and during which period we
hau sent to that array every fresh horse we possibly could, amounting ID
tie whole to seven thousand nine hundred aud eighteen, that the cavalry



horses were too much fatigued to move, presented a very cheerless, almost
hopeless, prospect for the future, and it may have forced something of
impatience into my dispatches. If not recruited and rested then, when
could they ever be ? I suppose the river is rising, and I am glad to helieve
you are crossing. A. LINCOLN.

The General next started, as a new topic of discussion,
the extent to which the line of the Potomac should be
guarded after he left it, so as to cover Maryland and Penn
sylvania from farther invasions. He thought strong gar-
risons should be left at certain points, complained that his
forces were inadequate, and made some suggestion con
cerning the position of the rebel army under Bragg, which
led General Halleck in reply to remind him that Bragg
was four hundred miles away, while Lee was but twen ty.
On the 27th the General telegraphed to the President that
it was necessary to " fill up the old regiments of his com
mand before taking them again into action," to wliich the
President thus replied :


Your dispatch of three P. M. to-day, in regard to filling up old regiment*
with drafted men, is received, and the request therein shall be complied
with as far as practicable. And now I ask a distinct answer to the ques
tion, u Is it your purpose not to go into action again till the men no^i being
drafted in the States are incorporated in the old regiments?"


The General, in reply, explained that the language of
the dispatch, which was prepared by one of his aids, had
incorrectly expressed his meaning, and that he should not
postpone the advance until the regiments were filled by
drafted men. The army was gradually crossed over, and
on the 5th of November the General announced to the
President that it was all on the Virginia side. This was
just a month after the order to cross had been given the
enemy meantime having taken possession of all the strong
points, and falling back, at his leisure, towards his base
of operations. These unaccountable delays in the move
ment of the army created the most intense dissatisfaction
in the public mind, and completely exhausted the patience
of the Government. Accordingly, on the 5th of Novera-


ber, an order was issued relieving General McClellan from
the command of the Army of the Potomac, and directing
General Burnside to take his place.

Thus closed a most remarkable chapter in the history of
the war. For over fifteen months General McClellan had
commanded the Army of the Potomac, the largest and most
powerful army ever marshalled till then upon this con-
;nont consisting of one hundred and sixty thousand
:ien, and furnished, in lavish profusion, with everything
requisite for effective service. Throughout the whole of
this long period that army had been restrained by its com
mander from attacking the enemy. Except in the single
instance of Antietam, where, moreover, there was no pos
sibility of avoiding an engagement, every battle which it
fought was on the defensive. According to the sworn
testimony of his own commanders, General McClellan
might have overwhelmed the rebel forces arrayed against
him at Manassas, at York town, after William sburg, Fair
Oaks, Malvern Hill, and Antietam ; but on every one of
these occasions he carefully forbore to avail himself of the
superiority of his position, and gave the enemy ample
time to prepare for more complete and effective resistance.
It is no part of our present purpose to inquire into the
causes of this most extraordinary conduct on the part of
a commander to whom, more completely than to any other,
were intrusted the destinies of the Nation during one
of the most critical periods. Whether he acted from
an innate disability, or upon a political theory whether
lie intentionally avoided a decisive engagement in order
to accomplish certain political results which he and his
secret advisers deemed desirable, or whether he was, by
the native constitution of his mind, unable to meet the
gigantic responsibilities of his position when the critical
moment of trial arrived, are points which the public and
posterity will decide from an unbiased study of the evi
dence which his acts and his words afford. As the record
we have given shows, President Lincoln lost no oppor
tunity of urging upon him more prompt and decisive


action, while in no instance did lie "withhold from him any
aid which it was in the power of the Government to give.
Nothing can show more clearly the disposition of the
President to sustain him to the utmost, and to protect him
from the rapidly nsing tide of public censure and discon
tent with his ruinous and inexplicable delays, than the
following remarks made by him at a war meeting held at
Washington on the 6th of August, after the retreat to the
James River, and just before the withdrawal of the army
from the Peninsula :-

FELLOW-CITIZENS : I believe there is no precedent for my appearing
before yon on tliis occasion, but it is also true that there is no precedent
for your being here yourselves, and I offer, in justification of myself and
of you, that, upon examination, I have found nothing in the Constitution
against it. 1, however, have an impression that there are younger gentle
men who will entertain you better, and better address your understanding
than I will or could, and therefore I propose but to detain you a moment

I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope
to produce some good by it. The only thing I think of just now not
likely to be better said by some one else, is a matter in which we have
heard some other persons blamed for what I did myself. There lias been
a very wide-spread attempt to have a quarrel between General McClellau
and the Secretary of War. Now, I occupy a position that enables me to
observe, that these two gentlemen are not nearly so deep in the quarrel as
some pretending to be their friends. General McClellan s attitude is such
that, in the very selfishness of his nature, he cannot but wish to be suc
cessful, and I hope he will and the Secretary of War is in precisely the
same situation. If the military commanders in the field cannot be success
ful, not only the Secretary of War, but myself, for the time being the
master of them both, cannot but be failures. I know General McClcllan
wishes to be successful, and I know he does not wish it any more than 1 1
Secretary of War for him, and both of them together no moic than i \vi
it. Sometimes we have a dispute about how many men General McCK
Ian has had, and those who would disparage him say that he has hud a
very large number, and those who would disparage the Secretary of "\\ ;tr
insist that General McClellan has had a very small number. The basis
for this is, there is always a wide difference, and on this occasion, perhaps
a wider one than usual, between the grand total on McClellan s rolls and
the men actually fit for duty ; and those who would disparage him talk of the
grand total on paper, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War
talk of those at present fit for di ty. General McClellan has sometimes
asked for things that the Secretary of War did not give him. General


McClellan is not to blame for asking what he wanted and needed, and the
Secretary of AVar is not to blame for not giving when lie had none to give.
And I say here, as far as I know, the Secretary of War has withheld no
one thing at any time in my power to give him. I have no accusation
against him. I believe he is a brave and able man, and I stand here as
justice requires me to do, to take upon myself what has been charged on
the Secretary of War, as withholding from him.

I have talked longer than I expected to do. and now I avail myself of
my privilege of saying no more.





IN every other section of the country, except in East
ern Virginia, the military operations of the year 1862
were marked by promptitude and vigor, and attended by
success to the National arms. Early in February, a lodg
ment had been effected by the expedition under General
Burnside on the coast of North Carolina ; and, on the
19th of January, the victory of Mill Springs had released
Western Kentucky from rebel rule, and opened a path
for the armies of the Union into East Tennessee. The
President s order of January 27th, for an advance of all
the forces of the Government on the 22d of February, had
been promptly followed by the capture of Forts Henry
and Donelson on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers,
which led to the evacuation of Bowling Green, the surren-j
der of Nashville, and the fall of Columbus, the rebel strong
hold on the Mississippi. Fort Pulaski, which guarded the
entrance to Savannah, was taken, after eighteen hours
bombardment, on the 12th of April, and the whole west
coast of Florida had been occupied by our forces. By
the skilful strategy of General Halleck, commanding the
Western Department, seconded by the vigorous activity
of General Curtis, the rebel commander in Missouri, Gen
eral Price, had been forced to retreat, leaving the whole
of that State in our hands ; and he was badly beaten in a
subsequent engagement at Sugar Creek in Arkansas. On
the 14th, Island No. 10, commanding the passage of the


Mississippi, was taken by General Pope ; and, 01 the
4th of June, Forts Pillow and Randolph, still lower
down, were occupied by our forces. On the 6th, the
city of Memphis was surrendered by the rebels. Soon
after the fall of Nashville, a formidable expedition had
ascended the Tennessee River, and, being joined by all
the available Union forces in that vicinity, the whole,
Tinder command of General Halleck, prepared to give
battle to the rebel army, which, swelled by large re-
enforcements from every quarter, was posted in the vicin
ity of Corinth, ninety miles east of Memphis, intending
by a sudden attack to break the force of the Union army,
which was sweeping steadily down upon them from the
field of its recent conquests. The rebels opened the
attack with great fury and effect, on the morning of the
6th of April, at Pittsburg Landing, three miles in ad
vance of Corinth. The fight lasted nearly all day, the
rebels having decidedly the advantage ; but in their final
onset they were driven back, and the next day our army,
strengthened by the opportune arrival of General Buell,
completed what proved to be a signal and most im
portant victory. When news of it reached Washing
ton, President Lincoln issued the following proclama
tion :

It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe signal victories to the land
and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion, and at the
*ame time to avert from our country the dangers of foreign intervention
ind invasion.

It is therefore recommended to the people of the United States, that at

-ir next weekly assemblages in their accustomed places of public wor-
.lp which shall occur after the notice of this Proclamation shall hav*
been received, they especially acknowledge and render thanks to our
Heavenly Father for these inestimable blessings ; that they then and then?
implore spiritual consolation in behalf of all those who have been brought
into affliction by the casualties and calamities of sedition and civil war;
and that they reverently invoke the Divine guidance for our national
counsels, to the end that they may speedily result in the restoration of
peace, harmony, and unity throughout our borders, and hasten the estab
lishment of fraternal relations among all the countries of the earth.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal
sf the TjLited States to be affixed.


Done at the City of Washington, this tenth vlay of April, in th
[L. .] year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty -two,
and of the independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

By the President:

WM. H. SEWAED, Secretary of State.

On the 28th of May the rebels evacuated Corinth, and
were pushed southward by our pursuing forces for Home
twenty -five or thirty miles. General Mitchell, by a :
daring and most gallant enterprise in the latter part of
April, took possession of Huntsville in Alabama. Li
February a formidable naval expedition had been fitted
out under Commodore Farragut for the capture of New
Orleans ; and on the 18th of April the attack commenced
upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip, by which the passage
of the Mississippi below the city is guarded. After six
days bombardment, the whole fleet passed the forts on
the night of the 23d, under a terrible fire from both ; and
on the 25th the rebel General Lovell, who had command
of the military defences of the city, withdrew, and Com
modore Farragut took possession of the town, which he
retained until the arrival of General Butler on the 1st of
May, who thereupon entered upon the discharge of his
duties as commander of that Department.

During the summer, a powerful rebel army, undei
General Bragg, invaded Kentucky for the double pur
pose of obtaining supplies and affording a rallying point
for what they believed to be the secession sentiment of
the State. In the accomplishment of the former objec^.
they were successful, but not in the latter. They lost
more while in the State from desertions than they gained
by recruits ; and after a battle at Perryville, on the 7th
of October, they began their retreat. On the 5th of Oc
tober a severe battle was fought at Corinth, from which a
powerful rebel army attempted to drive our troops under
General Rosecrans, but they w r ere repulsed with very
heavy losses, and the campaign in Kentucky and Ten
nessee was virtually at an end. A final effort of the
enemy in that region led to a severe engagement at Mur-


freeslboro on the 31st of December, which resulted in
the defeat of the rebel forces, and in relieving Tennessee
from the presence of the rebel armies.

In all the military operations of this year, especial care
had been taken by the generals in command of the several
departments, acting under the general direction of the
Government, to cause it to be distinctly understood that
the object of the war was the preservation of the Union
and the restoration of the authority of the Constitution.
The rebel authorities, both civil and military, lost na
opportunity of exciting the fears and resentments of the
people of the Southern States, by ascribing to the Nation
al Government designs of the most ruthless and implaca
ble hostility to their institutions and their persons. It
was strenuously represented that the object of the war
was to rob the Southern people of their rights and their
property, and especially to set free their slaves. The
Government did every thing in its power to allay the
apprehensions and hostilities which these statements were
calculated to produce. General Garfield, while in Ken
tucky, just before the victory of Mill Springs, issued on
the 16th of January an address to the citizens of that
section of the State, exhorting them to return to their
allegiance to the Federal Government, which had never
made itself injuriously felt by any one among them, and
promising them full protection for their persons and their
>roperty, and full reparation for any wrongs they might
iave sustained. After the battle of Mill Springs, lie
Secretary of War, under the direction of the President,
issued an order of thanks to the soldiers engaged in it, in
which he again announced that the " purpose of the war
was to attack, pursue, and destroy a rebellious enemy,
and to deliver the country from danger menaced by
traitors." On the 20th of November, 1861, General
Halleck, commanding the Department of the Missouri, on
the eve of the advance into Tennessee, issued an order
enjoining upon the troops the necessity of discipline and
of order, and calling on them to prove by their acts that
they came " to restore, not to violate the Constitution and


tlie laws," and that the people of the South under the
flag of the Union should "enjoy the same protection of
life and property as in former days." "It does not
belong to the military," said this order, "to decide upon
the relation of master and slave. Such questions must be
settled by the civil courts. No fugitive slave will, there
fore, be admitted within our lines or camps except wLen
specially ordered by the General commanding."* So
also General Burnside, when about to land on the soil of
North Carolina, issued an order, February 3d, 1862, call
ing upon the soldiers of his army to remember that they
were there "to support the Constitution and the laws, to
put down rebellion, and to protect the persons and prop
erty of the loyal and peaceable citizens of the State."
And on the 18th of the same month, after Fort Henry and
Roanoke Island had fallen into our hands, Commodore
Goldsborough and General Burnside issued a joint proc
tarnation, denouncing as false and slanderous the attempt
of the rebel leaders to impose on the credulity of the
Southern people by telling them of "our desire to de
stroy their freedom, demolish their property, and liberate
their slaves," and declaring that the Government asked
only that its authority might be recognized, and that "in
no way or manner did it desire to interfere with their
laws, constitutionally established, their institutions of any
kind whatever, their property of any sort, or their usages
in any respect." And, on the 1st of March, Gener
Curtis, in Arkansas, had addressed a proclamation to Ui

* In regard to this order, which was afterwards severely criticised in Congress,
General Halleck wrote the following letter of explanation :


ST. Louis, December 8, 1861. \

MY DBAB COLONEL : Yours of the 4th instant is just received. Order No. 3 was, in my mind,
clearly a military necessity. Unauthorized persons, black or white, free or slaves, must he kept
out of our camps, unless we are willing to publish to the enemy every thing we do or intend to
do. It was a military and not a political order.

I am ready to carry out any lawful instructions in regard to fugitive slaves which my supe
liorB may give me, and to enforce any law which Congress may pass. But I caunot make law,
nd will not violate it You know my private opinion on the policy of confiscating the slave
property of the rebels in arms. If Congress shall pass it, you may be certain that I shall enforce
It Perhaps my policy as to the treatment of rebels and their property is as well set out la Or
i*r No. IS, issued the day your letter was written, as I could now dee. dbe it
Hon. F. P. BLAIR, Washing too.


people of that State, denouncing as false and calumnious
the statements widely circulated of the designs and sen
timents of the Union armies, and declaring that they
sought only "to put down rebellion "by making war
against those in arms, their aiders and abettors" and
that they came to 4i vindicate the Constitution, and to
preserve and perpetuate civil and religious liberty under
a flag that was embalmed in the blood of our Revolution
ary fathers." In all this the Government adhered, with
just and rigorous fidelity, to the principles it had adopt
ed for its conduct at the outset of the war ; and in its
anxiety to avoid all cause of complaint and all appear
ance of justification for those who were in arms against its
authority, it incurred the distrust and even the denuncia
tion of the more zealous and vehement among its own
friends and supporters in the Northern States.

On the 22d of July, in order to secure unity of action
among the commanders of the several military departments,
upon the general use to be made of rebel property, the
President directed the issue of the following order :


First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia,
Norch Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas,
and Arkansas, in an orderly manner seize and use any property, real or
personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several com
mands, for supplies, or for other military purposes ; and that while prop
erty 1 iay be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed,
ic wantonness or malice.

Second. That military and naval commanders shall employ as laborers,
within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can
be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reason
able wages for their labor.

Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent,
accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quan
tities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall
have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper
cases ; and the several departments of this Government shall attend to and

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 42)