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

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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 12 of 41)
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gradually gave way, even in the slaveholding States, to a
more just estimate of the necessities of the emergency and
the capacities of the negro race. And what was of still more
importance to the welfare of the country, the people of the
slaveholding States took up the question of slavery for dis-
cussion and practical action, as one in which their own well-
being, present and prospective, was deeply involved. The
Union party in every Southern State favored the abolition
of slavery, and in Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, and
Arkansas, measures were speedily taken for the overthrow
of an institution which had proved so detrimental to their
interests, and so menacing to the unity of the nation and the
stability of republican institutions.

In all of them Constitutional Conventions were held, and
clauses inserted in the constitutions which were adopted,
utterly abolishing slavery; and these constitutions were all
submitted to the popular vote, with the following results : —

For. Against.

Maryland 30,174 29,799

Louisiana 6.836 1,566

Arkansas 12,177 226

Missouri 43,670 4i>&&

In the latter State, the Constitution adopted in 1864 was,
by a new Convention, held in January, 1865, revised and
amended, and submitted to the popular vote on June 6, 1865,
and ratified as above.




OF 1864.

Battle of Olustee. — Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond. — The Red River
Expedition. — The Fort Pillow Massacre. — Rebel Atrocities. — Gen-
eral Grant's Advance upon Richmond. — Battles in May. — Sher-
man's March to Atlanta. — Rebel Raids in Maryland and Kentucky.
— Siege of Petersburg. — Martial Law in Kentucky. — Draft for
500,000 Men. — Capture of Mobile and Atlanta,

The position of the two great armies of the United States
at the opening of the year 1864 plainly indicated that the
main interest of the military movements of the year was to
be with the Army of the Potomac, which lay around Cul-
pepper Court-House, still looking towards Richmond with
unfaltering determination ; and with the great Army of the
West, which was gathering around Chattanooga for its long
and perilous southward march. During the month of Janu-
ary little was done anywhere except to prepare for the
coming campaign. Neither of the grand armies made any
movement during February or March, but some smaller
expeditions were set on foot.

As early as the 15th of December, 1863, General Gill-
more, commanding the Department of the South, had ap-
plied to the Government for permission to send an expedi-
tion into Florida, for the purpose of cutting off supplies of
the enemy; and in January, in urging the matter still
further upon the attention of General Halleck, he suggested
that measures might be also inaugurated for restoring the
State of Florida to her allegiance under the terms of the
President's Proclamation. General Gillmore was authorized
to take such action in the matter as he should deem proper;
and he accordingly organized an expedition, which left Port
Royal on the 5th of February, under General Seymour, and
was followed soon afterwards by General Gillmore himself—


to whom, on the 13th of January, the President had ad-
dressed the following letter: —

Executive Mansion, Washington, January 13, 1864.
Major-General Gillmore:

I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to
reconstruct a legal State Government in Florida. Florida is in your
Department, and it is not unlikely you may be there in person. I
have given Mr. Hay a commission of major, and sent him to you,
with some blank-books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction.
He will explain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my
general views on the subject. It is desirable for all to co-operate,
but if irreconcilable differences of opinion shall arise, you are master.
I wish the thing done in the most speedy way, so that when done
it be within the range of the late proclamation on the subject. The
detail labor will, of course, have to be done by others; but I will
be greatly obliged if you will give it such general supervision as you
can find consistent with your more strictly military duties.

Abraham Lincoln.

The advance portion of the expedition reached Jackson-
ville on the 8th of February. General Gillmore returned
to Port Royal on the 16th, leaving the command of the ex-
pedition to General Seymour. The first operations were
successful. Near Jacksonville one hundred prisoners, with
eight pieces of serviceable artillery, fell into our hands, and
expeditions were pushed forward into the interior, by which
large amounts of stores and supplies were destroyed. On
the 17th, General Seymour, with five thousand men, was on
the Florida Central Railroad, about forty-five miles from
Jacksonville. Here they remained until the 20th, when the
preparations for a movement towards Lake City were com-
pleted. The enemy was found in force, a little before
reaching Lake City, at Olustee, a small station on the rail-
road. The engagement was commenced between the enemy's
skirmishers and our advance. The fire directed against our
men was so hot that they were compelled to fall back; then
we brought two batteries to bear on the enemy, and our
whole force became engaged with more than twice their
number of the rebels, who occupied a strong position, flanked
by a marsh. Again we retreated, taking another position;
but it was impossible to contend with a force so greatly
superior, and, after a battle of three hours and a half, Gen-
eral Seymour retired, leaving his dead and severely wounded


on the field. Five guns were lost, and about a thousand men I
killed, wounded, and missing.

On the 3d of February, General Sherman, with a strong
force, set out from Vicksburg, in light marching order, and
moved eastward. Shortly after, a cavalry expedition, under
General Smith, set out from Memphis, to work its way
southeastward, and join Sherman somewhere on the borders
of Mississippi and Alabama. By the 18th, Smith had accom-
plished nearly one-half of his proposed march, but soon
after found the enemy concentrated in superior force in his
front. Finding it impossible to proceed, he fell back, de-
stroying the bridges on the Memphis and Ohio Railroad in
his retreat. There was continual skirmishing, but no de-
cisive battle, during the retreat, which lasted until the 25th,
when the expedition accomplished its return to Memphis.
Much damage was done to the enemy by the destruction of
property, but the main object of making a junction with
Sherman failed. Sherman went as far east as Meridian,
almost on the borders of Mississippi and Alabama, and after
destroying large quantities of rebel stores, and breaking
their lines of communication, he returned to Vicksburg.

Another enterprise was a raid upon Richmond, made by
a large cavalry force under General Kilpatrick. Leaving
his camp on the 28th of February, he crossed the Rapidan,
gained the rear of Lee's army without being discovered, and
pushed rapidly on in the direction of Richmond. A detach-
ment under Colonel Dahlgren was sent from the main body
to Frederick's Hall, on the Virginia Central Railroad. The
load was torn up for some distance; then the James River
Canal was struck, and six grist-mills, which formed one of
the main sources of supply for the Confederate army, were
destroyed. Several locks on the canal were blown up, and
other damage done. Dahlgren's main body then pressed
onward towards Richmond, and came within three miles of
the city, when, encountering a Confederate force, it was
compelled to withdraw, Dahlgren himself being killed, and
a large part of his force captured. Kilpatrick, meanwhile,
pressed onward to Spottsylvania Court-House, and thence
to Beaver Dam, near where the two lines of railway from
Richmond, those running to Gordonsville and Fredericks-
burg, cross. Here the railway was torn up, and the tele-



graph line cut, and the cavalry pushed straight on towards
Richmond. They reached the outer line of fortifications at
a little past ten on the morning of the 1st of March, about
three and a half miles from the city. These were fairly
passed, and the second line, a mile nearer, was reached, and
a desultory fire was kept up for some hours. Towards
evening Kilpatrick withdrew, and encamped six miles from
the city. In the night an artillery attack was made upon the
camp, and our troops retired still farther, and on the follow-
ing morning took up their line of march down the Peninsula
towards Williamsburg. Several miles of railway connection
of great importance to the enemy were interrupted, stores to
the value of several millions of dollars were destroyed, and
some hundreds of prisoners were captured, as the result of
this expedition.

In the early part of March, General Banks organized an
expedition with all the available force of the army and navy,
in his department, to move up the Red River as far as
Shreveport, where the rebels had large supplies, and where
it was intended that he should be joined by General Steele,
with the forces which he could collect in Arkansas, when
the combined armies would be powerful enough to sweep
away all rebel opposition in that part of the State, if not in

A force of about ten thousand men, under command of
General A. J. Smith, left Vicksburg on the loth of March
in twenty transports, and, having joined the fleet, proceeded
up the Red River. This portion of the expedition met with
a decided success in the capture of Fort De Russey by
storm, with but little loss, by which capture the river was
opened to the fleet as far as Alexandria, where the whole
expedition was united under command of General Banks.
| On the 26th of March they moved forward, meeting with
uninterrupted success, as far as Natchitoches, some eighty
miles above Alexandria. But at Sabine Cross-Roads, about
twenty miles farther up, they found the rebel army posted,
under the command of General Dick Taylor. This resistance
had not been anticipated : the army was not marching com-
pactly, nor could the gunboats be of any assistance, on
account of the distance of the river from the road.

The consequence was, that the Thirteenth Corps of our


army, being too far in advance to receive proper support,
was attacked by the rebels in superior force and driven back
upon the Nineteenth Corps, which had formed in line of
battle, and which repulsed the advancing enemy with great
slaughter. This battle was fought on the 8th of April.
That night General Banks determined to fall back to Pleas-
ant Hill, at which point two other divisions, under General
A. J. Smith, had arrived. Here our forces were attacked,
about five o'clock in the afternoon of the next day. The
rebels at first gained some advantage, pressing the Nine-
teenth Corps back up a hill, behind the crest of which lay
General Smith's troops, by whose unexpected and destructive
fire the rebel lines of battle, as they came over the crest,
were suddenly arrested. A rapid charge of the Union troops
put the rebels entirely to flight, with a loss of several thou-
sand killed and wounded, many hundred prisoners, and some
guns, most of which, however, had been taken from us by
the rebels the day before.

Our own army, however, was so shattered in the two
battles, that General Banks ordered a retreat of the entire
force to Grand Ecore, some forty miles below. The water
in the Red River being unusually low, and falling, it was
found necessary to remove the fleet, and with it the army,
still farther down the river to Alexandria. On the way
down, the gunboat Eastport having got aground, had to be
abandoned, and was blown up.

General Steele, in consequence of the retreat of General
Banks, was himself compelled to fall back to Little Rock,
which he reached without much fighting, but with the loss of
a good deal of material.

The water in the Red River continued to fall until it
was found that there was not water enough on the falls
at Alexandria to allow the gunboats to pass over. The
rebels were enabled to throw forces below, so as to impede
the communication with the army by the river, and as it
became evident that the army must retreat still farther, the
gravest apprehensions were felt lest the whole fleet of twelve
gunboats should be of necessity, abandoned to the rebels,
or blown up. In this extremity, a plan was devised b4
Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, of the'Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry,
Acting Engineer of the Nineteenth Corps, of building a


series of dams on the falls, by which to raise the water suffi-
ciently to allow the gunboats to pass over. The plan was
ridiculed by some of the best engineers ; but under the ap-
proval of Commodore Porter, who commanded the fleet,
and General Banks, it was tried, with perfect success. The
dams were built within ten days, and all the gunboats
brought safely over. Commodore Porter, in his report,
says, "Words are inadequate to express the admiration I feel
for Colonel Bailey. * * * Leaving out his ability as an
engineer and the credit he has conferred upon the country,
he has saved the Union a valuable fleet, worth nearly
$2,000,000, and has deprived the enemy of a triumph which
would have emboldened them to carry on this war a year
or two longer." Colonel Bailey was at once appointed by
the President a brigadier-general for these distinguished

After this escape, the fleet and the army retreated down
the river. The fleet lost two small gunboats by rebel bat-
teries on the way down; but the army, though attacked
several times, repulsed the rebels with considerable loss, and
crossed the Atchafalaya in safety, on the 19th of May.

About the time of the check which General Banks re-
ceived at Sabine Cross-Roads, the arms of the Union met
with reverses in two other quarters. One of these was the
capture of Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi, on the 12th of
April, by a rebel force under General Forrest, a capture
marked in the history of the war by the atrocious butchery
of the garrison after the surrender of the place. The garri-
son was composed of about six hundred men under com-
mand of Major Boyd, who was killed near the close of the
fight. Of these six hundred about three hundred and fifty
were colored troops. The attack was commenced in the
early morning, and the garrison were driven from some out-
works into the fort itself, which they defended with the
assistance of a gunboat, till about four p. m., when the rebels
made a final charge upon the fort from positions which they
had occupied by taking advantage of a flag of truce sent to
the fort to demand its surrender, and carried its defences by
storm. The garrison thereupon threw down their arms
and surrendered, but were shot down in cold blood until
but few were left alive. Some were forced to stand up in


line and were then shot. Some were shot when lying
wounded on the ground. Women and children were shot
or cut to pieces. The huts in which the sick and wounded
had taken refuge were fired over their heads, and there were
stories of even darker cruelties than these. Of the white
officers who commanded the colored troops, but two were
left alive, and these were wounded. Of the garrison there
were left thirty-six white men and twenty-one negroes, and
forty were carried off as prisoners. Some of the negroes
saved their lives by feigning death and digging out from
the thin covering of earth which the rebels had thrown over
their victims.

The news of this atrocity excited the deepest horror
throughout the country, and there was a general call for
retaliation. In order to have an authentic statement of the
facts, Congress passed resolutions directing the Committee
on the Conduct of the War to investigate the matter. The
committee sent 'two of its members, Senator Wade and Mr.
Gooch, to the spot. They examined many witnesses, and
on the 5th of May made their report, with the testimony
which they had taken. The report showed that this pro-
ceeding of the rebels was in pursuance of a policy deliberately
adopted, in the expectation of driving from the ranks of the
Union armies not only the negroes, but also the "home-
made Yankees," as they termed the loyal Southerners.

The massacre was referred to by the President in his
speech at the opening of the Sanitary Commission Fair, in
Baltimore, while it was still under investigation, and he
then said that if the massacre was proved to have been com-
mitted, retribution should surely come; nor was this the
first time that the question of retaliation had been brought
to his attention. In fact, as early as July, 1863, the subject
had been considered, and the conclusion which was then
arrived at was announced in the following General Order: — ■

Executive Mansion, Washington, July 30, 1863.

It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citi-
zens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those
who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law
of nations and the usages and customs of war, as carried on by civil-
ized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of
prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured
person, on account of his color and for no offence against the 1.3WS


of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civiliza-
tion of the age.

The Government of the United States will give the same protec-
tion to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any
one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation
upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.

It is # therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States
killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel shall be executed; and
for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel
soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and con-
tinued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the
treatment due to a prisoner of war.

Abraham Lincoln.

But whether from the President's tenderness of heart,
which made it very hard for him to order the execution
of a rebel soldier who had himself done no special wrong,
even in retaliation for such barbarities as this at Fort Pil-
low, or from some other cause, the first part of this order
was never executed. The latter part of it was once carried
into effect with excellent results by General Butler during
the siege of Petersburg. Having learned that some of our
colored troops, who had been taken prisoners, were not
treated as prisoners of war, but were made to work by the
rebels on their fortifications, he at once took a number of
rebel officers and set them at work upon the canal, which
he was digging at Dutch Gap, where they were constantly
exposed to the heavy fire which the rebels kept up to check
the progress of the work. This treatment proved speedily
effectual. Our colored soldiers were relieved from their
work on the fortifications, and the rebel officers were with-
drawn from their exposed position and their weary labors.

Another similar action led to a similar result. The rebels
at Charleston, desirous of checking the fire of the "swamp
angel" and other guns, which were making the city unin-
habitable, placed some of our officers within reach of the
shells, and notified our forces that they had done so. On
our part a number of rebel officers of equal rank were imme-
diately taken thither and also placed under fire. The only
result was the exchange of the officers, and the rebels did not
undertake again to defend themselves in that way.

Fort Pillow was not the only case of such atrocities on
the part of the rebels. A somewhat similar affair took place
on the 20th of April in North Carolina, on the capture of


Plymouth on the Roanoke River, where a company of loyal
North Carolinians and some negro troops were also mur-
dered in cold blood after the surrender. The capture was
mainly effected by the success of a rebel iron-clad, the Albe-
marle, which was able to destroy some of our gunboats, and
drive others down the river, the commander of the Miami,
Lieutenant Flusser, being killed by the rebound of a shell,
which he had himself fired against the iron sides of the
rebel vessel. Our fleet being driven down the river, com-
munication with our garrison in Plymouth was cut off, and
the place, being attacked by a heavy rebel force, was sur-
rendered, after a gallant defence for four days, by its com-
mander, General Wessels, with its garrison of fifteen
hundred men and twenty-five guns. The effect of this
success was to render the withdrawal of our troops from
other places in North Carolina inevitable. The Albemarle
had for a time complete control of the river, but coming
down into the Sound, she was attacked by three of our
wooden gunboats, and in a gallant fight was so injured as
to be compelled to betake herself up the river again to
Plymouth, which she never left afterwards', being sunk at
her moorings, on the night of the 27th of October following,
by a torpedo-boat, commanded by Lieutenant Cushing.

In these smaller affairs, the rebels had been able to gain
some successes, owing to the policy adopted by General
Grant, of concentrating our forces from all quarters to
strengthen the two great armies whose movements were to
grind the Confederacy to powder.

General Grant, having been appointed to the command
of the armies of the United States, went to Nashville, where
he issued an order announcing his assumption of the com-
mand. After making what arrangements were necessary
with reference to the Western army, which he left under
the command of General Sherman, he came eastward, to
conduct in person the campaign against General Lee. The
preparations for the coming campaign took time, and it
was not till the third day of May that all things were ready
for the forward movement. The Army of the Potomac re-
mained under the special command of General Meade, and
lay about Culpepper Court-House. General Burnside had
been collecting a strong force, in good part colored troops,


at Annapolis. Another strong force was under the com-
mand of General Butler and General Smith, at Yorktown,
and yet another, not so strong, under General Sigel, at
Winchester. Burnside's troops were put in motion, and
passed through Washington on the 23d of April to a position
whence they could follow the Army of the Potomac at a
short distance — and all things were thus now ready for the
great advance. At this time the following correspondence
passed between the President and General Grant : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, April 30, 1864.

Lieut.-General Grant:

Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish
to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have
done up to this time, so far as I understand it.

The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know.
You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not
to obtrude any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very
anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in great num-
ber shall be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to escape
your attention than they would be mine. If there be anything want-
ing which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it.

And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you.
Yours very truly. A. Lincoln.


Headquarters Armies of the United States,
Culpepper Court-House, May 1, 1864.
The President:

Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence
you express for the future and satisfaction for the past, in my mili-
tary administration, is acknowledged with pride. It shall be my
earnest endeavor that you and the country shall not be disappointed.
From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to
the present day, I have never had cause of complaint; have never
expressed or implied a complaint against the Administration, or the
Secretary of War, for throwing any embarrassment in the way of
my vigorously prosecuting what appeared to be my duty.

Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command of all

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 12 of 41)