Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 41)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 41)
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The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant







Volume II



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The Battles at Fredericksburg.— Rebel Raid into Pennsylvania.—
Results at Gettysburg. — Vicksburg and Port Hudson Captured. —
Public Rejoicings. — The President's Speech. — Thanksgiving for
Victories. — Battle of Chattanooga. — Thanksgiving Proclamation.

The military events of 1863, though of very great im-
portance, 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 Mc-
Clellan in command of the Army of the Potomac, on the
7th of November, 1862, that army was at Warrenton, the
rebel forces falling back before it towards Richmond.
Deeming it impossible to force the enemy to a decisive bat-
tle, 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 Rappa-
hannock, intending to cross the river, take possession of
Fredericksburg, and march upon Richmond from that point.
The advance division, under General Sumner, arrived op-,
posite 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 Freder-
icksburg. 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 nth and 12th


his army was crossed over, and on the 13th attacked the
enemy — 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 se-
verely, 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 one thou-
sand one hundred and thirty-eight killed, nine thousand one
hundred and five wounded, two thousand and seventy-eight
missing; total, twelve thousand three hundred and twenty-

The army remained quiet until the 20th of January, when
General Burnside again issued orders for an advance, in-
tending to cross the river some six or eight miles above
Fredericksburg, 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 forbidding 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 theii
receiving re-enforcements from Richmond — General Hook-
er'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 divis-
ion only, being left opposite Fredericksburg. On the 2d of
May, the left wing of the rebel army, under General Jack-
son, 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 advant-
age remained with the enemy. General Sedgwick, meantime,


had crossed the river and occupied the heights of Freder-
icksburg, but was driven from them and compelled to retreat
on the night of the 4th. On the morning of the 5th a heavy-
rain-storm set in, and in the night of that day General
Hooker withdrew his army on the north bank of the Rappa-
hannock, having lost not far from eighteen thousand men in
the movement.

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 ad-
vance 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 advanced upon Hagerstown, Maryland, with
the evident purpose of invading Pennsylvania. The move-
ment created the most intense excitement throughout the
country. President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling
for one hundred thousand militia from the States most di-
rectly menaced, to serve for six months, and New York was
summoned to send twenty thousand also. On the 27th the
main body of the rebel army crossed the Potomac at Wil-
liamsport,' and General Lee took up his headquarters 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 Hagerstown, 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 Pennsyl-
vania. On that day General Hooker was relieved from com-
mand 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 indecisive 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, connecting 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 prolongation 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 reserve.

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 firmness, until is 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 succeeded to the command, though urged 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 success, 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 Stannard's Brigade of the First Corps. This
repulse of the centre terminated the battle. On the morning
of the 4th, a reconnoissance 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 morning it was ascertained that he was
in full retreat. The Sixth Corps, with all disposable cavalry,
were at once sent in pursuit ; 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 suc-
coring 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 Williamsport.
The next day was devoted to an examination of the posi-
tion; but on advancing for an attack on the 14th, it was dis-
covered that the enemy had succeeded in crossing by the
bridge at Falling Waters and the fort at Williamsport. The
pursuit was continued still further, but the enemy, though
greatly harassed and subjected to severe losses, succeeded
in gaining the line of the Rapidan, and our forces again oc-
cupied 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 Declara-
tion of Independence, the President issued the following: —

Washington, July 4, 10.30 a. m.

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 gal-
lant fallen; and that for this he especially desires that on this day,
He, whose will, not ours, should ever be done, be everywhere re-
membered 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 fourteen thousand prisoners, and twenty-five
thousand small arms collected on the battle-field. Our own
losses were very severe, amounting to two thousand eight
hundred and thirty-four killed, thirteen thousand seven hun-
dred and nine wounded, and six thousand six hundred and
forty-three missing — in all twenty-three thousand one hun-
dred and eighty-six.


During the ensuing season, a piece of ground, seventeen
and a half acres in extent, adjoining the town cemetery, and
forming an important part of the battle-field, was purchased
by the State of Pennsylvania, to be used as a national bury-
ing-ground for the loyal soldiers who fell in that great en-
gagement. It was dedicated, with solemn and impressive
ceremonies, 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 dig-
nity to the occasion. Hon. Edward Everett delivered the
formal address and President Lincoln made the following
remarks : —

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in
a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so con-
ceived 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 altogether fitting and proper that we
should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot
consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The 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 re-
member, 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 un-
finished 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 cause for which they gave the last full measure of
devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have
died in vain; that this nation, under 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 earth.

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
commerce of the United States, General N. P. Banks, who
succeeded General Butler in command of the military de-
partment of Louisiana, reached New Orleans, sustained by a
formidable expedition from New York, and assumed com-
mand on the 15th of December, 1862, and at once took pos-
session 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 fighting 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, General McClernand arrived and took command,
and the attack upon Vicksburg was for the time abandoned
as hopeless. The capture of Arkansas Post, however, re-
lieved the failure in some degree. On February 2d, General
Grant having been put in command, the attack upon Vicks-
burg was renewed. Various plans were undertaken, now to
get in the rear of the place through bayous, and now to cut
a canal across a bend of the Mississippi, and thus command
the river above and below. All these failing, vessels were
boldly run by the rebel batteries ; and, on the 30th of April,
General Grant crossed the river at Bruinsburg, sixty-five
miles below Vicksburg, and immediately advanced upon
Port Gibson, where he was opposed by the rebel General
Bowen, who was defeated, with a loss in killed, wounded,
and prisoners, of one thousand five hundred men. At Grand
Gulf, ten miles above Bruinsburg, the enemy had begun to
erect strong fortifications. These had been fired upon by
our gunboats a few days before, under cover of which the
fleet had run past. Grant having now gained the rear of his
strong post, Admiral Porter, two days after the fight at Port
Gibson, returned to Grand Gulf and found it abandoned.
Grant's army then marched upward towards Vicksburg, and
on the 12th of May encountered the enemy again at Ray-
mond, not far from Jackson, the capital of the State of Mis-
sissippi, and again defeated them with a loss of eight hun-
dred. Two days after, May 14, they were opposed by a
corps of the enemy under General Joseph E. Johnston, for-
merly the commander-in-chief of the Confederate army, who
had been assigned to the command of the Department of
the Mississippi. Johnston was defeated, and the city of
Jackson fell into our hands, with seventeen pieces of artil-
lery and large stores of supplies. Grant then turned to the
west, directly upon the rear of Vicksburg. General Pem-
berton, the commander at that point, advanced with the
hope of checking him, but was defeated, on the 16th, at
Baker's Creek, losing four thousand men and twenty-nine


pieces of artillery. On the next day the same force was'
encountered and defeated at Big Black River Bridge, ten
miles from Vicksburg, with a. loss of two thousand six hun-
dred men, and seventeen pieces of artillery. On the 18th,
Vicksburg was closely invested, and the enemy were shut up
within their works, which were found to be very strong. An
attempt to carry them by storm was unsuccessful, and regu-
lar siege was at once laid to the city by the land forces, the
gunboats on the river co-operating. Our approaches were
pushed forward with vigorous perseverance; our works, in
spite of the most strenuous opposition of the garrison under
General Pemberton, drawing nearer every day and the gun-
boats in the river keeping up an almost constant bombard-
ment. The enemy, it was known, were greatly straitened by
want of supplies and ammunition, and their only hope of
relief was that General Johnston would be able to collect
an army sufficient to raise the siege by attacking Grant in
his rear. This had been so strongly defended that a force
of fifty thousand men would have been required to make the
attempt with any hope of success, and Johnston was not
able to concentrate half that number. General Pemberton,
therefore, proposed to surrender Vicksburg on the morning
of the. 4th of July, on condition that his troops should be
permitted to march out. Grant refused, demanding an abso-
lute surrender of the garrison as prisoners of war. Upon
consultation with his officers, Pemberton acceded to these
terms. By this surrender about thirty-one thousand pris-
oners, two hundred and twenty cannon, and seventy thou-
sand stand of small arms fell into our hands. The prisoners
were at once released on parole. The entire loss of the
enemy during the campaign which was thus closed by the
surrender of Vicksburg, was nearly forty thousand; ours
was not far from seven thousand.

The capture of Vicksburg was immediately followed by
that of Port Hudson, which was surrendered on the 8th of
July to General Banks, together with about seven thousand
prisoners, fifty cannon, and a considerable number of small
arms. The whole course of the Mississippi, from its source
to its mouth, was thus opened, and the Confederacy virtually
separated into two parts, neither capable of rendering any
effective assistance to the other.


The great victories, by which the Fourth of July had been
so signally and so gloriously commemorated, called forth the
most enthusiastic rejoicings in every section of the country.
Public meetings were held in nearly all the -cities and prin-
cipal towns, at which eloquent speeches and earnest resolu-
tions expressed the joy of the people, and testified their un-
flinching purpose to prosecute the war until the rebellion
should be extinguished. A large concourse of the citizens
of Washington, preceded by a band of music, visited the
residence of the President, and the members of his Cabinet-
giving them, in succession, the honors of a serenade — which
the President acknowledged in the following remarks : —

Fellow- Citizens : — I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and
yet I will not say I thank you, for this call; but I do most sincerely
thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. How
long ago is it? — eighty odd years since, on the Fourth of July, for
the first time, in the history of the world, a nation, by its representa-
tives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth, "that all men
are created equal." That was the birthday of the United States of
America. Since then the Fourth of July has had several very pecu-
liar recognitions. The two men most distinguished in the framing
and support of the Declaration were Thomas Jefferson and John
Adams — the one having penned it, and the other sustained it the
most forcibly in debate — the only two of the fifty-five who signed it,
and were elected Presidents of the United States. Precisely fifty
years after they put their hands to the paper, it pleased Almighty
God to take both from this stage of action. This was indeed an
extraordinary and remarkable, event in our history. Another Presi-
dent, five years after, was called from this stage of existence on the
same day and month of the year; and now on this last Fourth of
July, just passed, when we have a gigantic rebellion, at the bottom
of which ts an effort to overthrow the principle that all men were
created equal, we have the surrender of a most powerful position
and army on that very day. And not only so, but in a succession of
battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly
fought that they might be called one great battle, on the first, second,
and third of the month of July; and on the fourth the cohorts of
those who opposed the Declaration that all men are created equal,
"turned tail" and run. (Long-continued cheers.) Gentlemen, this
is a glorious theme, and the occasion for a speech, but I am not
prepared to make one worthy of the occasion. I would like to
speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers
who have fought in the cause of the Union and liberties of their
country from the beginning of the war. These are trying occasions,
not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention
the name of one single officer, lest I might do wrong to those I
might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and partic-


ularly prominent ones; but these I will not mention. Having said
this much, I will now take the music.

The President, a few days afterwards, wrote to General
Grant the following letter : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, July 13, 1863.
Major-General Grant:

My Dear General: — I do not remember that you and I ever met
personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the
almost inestimable service you have done the country. I write to
say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicks-
burg, I thought you should do what you finally did— march the troops
across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go
below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you
knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like,
could succeed. When you got below, and took Port Gibson, Grand
Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join
General Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the Big
Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal
acknowledgment, that you were right and I was wrong.

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

These victories, together with others, both numerous and
important, which were achieved in other sections of the
country, gave such strong grounds of encouragement and
hope for the speedy overthrow of the rebellion, that, on the
15th of July, the President issued the following proclamation
for a day of National Thanksgiving: —

By the President of the United States of America.


It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and
prayers of an afflicted people, and to vouchsafe to the Army and the
Navy of the United States, on the land and on the sea, victories so
signal and so effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for aug-

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 41)