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 28 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 28 of 41)
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destruction over the Northwest.

Whereas, Reliable information has been received that hostile In-
dians within the limits of the United States have been furnished with
arms and munitions of war by persons dwelling in foreign territory,
and are thereby enabled to prosecute their savage warfare upon the
exposed and sparse settlements of the frontier : Now, therefore, be
it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim and direct that all persons engaged in
that nefarious traffic shall be arrested and tried by court-martial, at the
nearest military post, and if convicted, shall receive the punishment
due to their deserts.

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

Done at the City of Washington, this 17th day of March, in the
[l. s.] year of our Lord 1865, and of the independence of the United
States of America the eighty-ninth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln.

Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Two days afterwards the following orders were issued by
the State Department, directed against blockade-runners, a
class who had been treated too long with leniency and allowed
too many facilities for carrying on their traffic, which had
greatly prolonged the war and increased its burdens and
difficulties : —

Department of State, Washington, March 19, 1865.

The President directs that all persons who now are or hereafter
shall be found within the United States, and who have been engaged
in holding intercourse or trade with the insurgents by sea, if they
are citizens of the United States or domiciled aliens, be arrested and
held as prisoners of war till the war shall close; subject, neverthe-
less, to prosecution, trial, and conviction for any offence committed
by them, as spies or otherwise, against the laws of war.

The President further directs that all non-resident foreigners who
now are or hereafter shall be found in the United States, and who
have been or shall have been engaged in violating the blockade of
the insurgent ports, shall leave the United States within twelve days
from the publication of this order, or from their subsequent arrival
in the United States if on the Atlantic side, and forty days if on the
Pacific side of the country. And such persons shall not return to
the United States during the continuance of war.

Provost-Marshals and Marshals of the United States will arrest and
commit to military custody all such offenders as shall disregard this
order, whether they have passports or not, and they will be detained
in such custody until the end of the war, or until discharged by sub-
sequent order of the President. Wm. H. Seward,

Secretary of State.


There was some little talk during the first part of the
month about negotiations for peace. The rebels seem to
have thought that, having failed so utterly in their con-
ference with the President and Mr. Seward, they might do
better if they could succeed in opening negotiations directly
with General Grant. The President, however, again defeated
them by sending the following order: —

Washington, March 3, 1865 — 12 p. m.
Lieutenant-General Grant :

The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have
no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of
General Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter.
He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss or confer
upon any political question. Such questions the President holds in
his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or
conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military
advantages. Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War.

The official duties which devolved upon the President were
very heavy after his inauguration. The coming in of a
new Administration, though there was so little change,
called forth a swarm of office-seekers, and the President's
time and strength were severely taxed. He was for a time
quite ill, and about the 24th of March took refuge in a visit
to the Army of the Potomac. On the 25th, General Lee
had made a sudden and desperate attack upon Fort Stedman,
an important position on the right of our lines before Peters-
burg, commanding our communications with City Point. By
a surprise, the rebels carried the fort and took some pris-
oners. But the neighboring fortifications turned a terrible
fire upon it, and our troops, by a gallant assault, drove the
rebels out with great loss, so that the day, which began with
their success, was turned into a disastrous defeat for them.
An attack was also made by our forces on our left, and im-
portant advantages were gained in that quarter. The
President was visiting the army at the time, and arrived on
the field in time to witness the retreat of the rebels, and- to
learn the story of their attack and repulse from General
Parke, whose brave fellows of the Ninth Corps had retaken
Fort Stedman. The Presidential party continued on their
route to the extreme right, going within six miles of Rich-
mond. On their ride they witnessed the crossing to the


south side of the James of General Sheridan's cavalry, with
which, after having' raided in the early part of the month
to the west of Richmond, defeated General Early utterly at
Waynesboro', and destroyed the James River Canal, and the
Lynchburg Railroad, and done inestimable damage to the
rebels, he had come back by way of the White House, on the
Pamunkey, and was now crossing to the south side of the
James to take a prominent part in the approaching decisive
assault upon the army of General Lee.

General Sherman effected a junction with the forces under
General Terry's command, at Goldboro', N. C., on the 19th
of March.

There were not Vanting those who thought that his march
into North Carolina was a march into danger. Said one of
these persons to the President cne day : —

Mr. Lincoln, as Sherman's army advances, the rebel forces neces-
sarily concentrate and increase in number. Before long Sherman will
drive the columns of Johnston, Bragg, Hoke, and others, within a
few days' march of Lee's main army. May not Lee suddenly march
south with the bulk of his army, form a junction with Johnston's
troops, and before Grant can follow any considerable distance, strike
Sherman's column with superior force, break his lines, defeat his
army, and drive his broken fragments back to the coast, and with
his whole army give battle to Grant and perhaps defeat him?

"And perhaps not." replied the President. "Napoleon tried the
same game on the British and Prussians, in 1815. He concentrated
his forces and fell suddenly on Blucher, and won an indecisive vic-
tory. He then whirled round and attacked the British, and met his
Waterloo. Bonaparte was hardly inferior to Lee in military talents
or experience.

"But are you sure that Lee's forces, united with Johnston's could
beat Sherman's army? Could he gain his Ligny, before meeting with
his Waterloo when he attacks Grant? I tell you, gentlemen, there is
a heap of fight in one hundred thousand Western veterans. They
are a good deal like old Zach. Taylor at Buena Vista— they don't
know when they are whipped."

The President's judgment was better, his hopefulness
better founded, than the misgivings of his questioner.

Upon General Sherman's arrival at Goldsboro, he made
a journey to City Point, where he and General Grant held
consultation together, and with the President, as to the cam-
paign now about to commence. General Sherman imme-
diately returned to his command, and on the 30th the de-
cisive final movement of the war was begun, by General


Sheridan, who moved his cavalry towards the south and the
left of our army. It had been the plan that he should make
a raid upon the Southside Railroad, but when he had gone
as far as Dinwiddie Court-House, he was ordered by Gen-
eral Grant to abandon the raid, and, in concert with the in-
fantry under his own immediate command, endeavor to turn
Lee's right flank.

There was heavy righting in that part of the lines on
the 30th and the 31st of March, for Lee knew that where
Sheridan was he must have a strong front to meet him, and
the rebel troops were thrown out in that part of the lines
in heavy force. The President remained at City Point, and
at 3 p. m. sent the following telegram to the Secretarv of

At 12 130 p. m. to-day, General Grant telegraphed me as follows :

There has been much hard fighting this morning. The enemy drove
our left from near Dabney's house back well towards the Boydton
Plankroad. We are now about to take the offensive at that point,
and I hope will more than recover the lost ground.

Later he telegraphed again as follows :

Our troops, after being driven back to the Boydton Plankroad,
turned and drove the enemy in turn, and took the White Oak road,
which we now have. This gives us the ground occupied by the
enemy this morning. I will send you a rebel flag captured by our
troops in driving the enemy back. There have been four flags cap-
tured to-day.

Judging by the two points from which General Grant telegraphs,
I infer that he moved his head-quarters about one mile since he sent
the first of the two dispatches. A. Lincoln.

On the 1st of April, General Sheridan's plans and the
valor of the troops proved successful. The rebels being
flanked by the Fifth Corps, which had been placed under his
command, and vigorously attacked in front by the cavalry,
were thoroughly routed, with a loss of five or six thousand
prisoners, besides killed and wounded.

The only dispatch received from the President on this day
was one sent before the final success was achieved, which
was not till late in the afternoon.

The rebel right wing having been thus crushed, General
Grant not only threw his indomitable left forward, but
ordered a general attack all along the lines at daylight next
morning, which proved everywhere successful.

The following dispatches were sent by the President dur-



ing the day, and give a succinct account of the battle and
its results : —

City Point, Virginia, April 2, 1865 — 8.30 a. m.
Honorable E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:

Last night General Grant telegraphed that General Sheridan, with
his cavalry and the Fifth Corps, had captured three brigades of in-
fantry, a train of wagons, and several batteries; the prisoners amount-
ing to several thousand.

This morning General Grant, having ordered an attack along the
whole line, telegraphs as follows:

Both Wright and Parke got through the enemy's lines. The battle
now rages furiously. General Sheridan, with his cavalry, the Fifth
Corps, and Miles's Division of the Second Corps, which was sent to
him this morning, is now sweeping down from the west.

All now looks highly favorable. General Ord is engaged, but 1
have not yet heard the result in his front. A. Lincoln.

City Point, ii a. m., April 2.
Dispatches are frequently coming in. All is going on finely. Gen-
erals Parke, Wright, and Ord's lines are extending from the Appo
mattox to Hatcher's Run. They have all broken through the en
emy's intrenched lines, taking some forts, guns, and prisoners.

Sheridan, with his own cavalry, the Fifth Corps, and part of the
Second, is coming in from the west on the enemy's flank. Wright k
already tearing up the Southside Railroad.

A. Lincoln.

City Point, Virginia, April 2, 2 p. m.
At 10.45 A. M. General Grant telegraphs as follows: —
Everything has been carried from the left of the Ninth_ Corps. Thc-
Sixth Corps alone captured more than three thousand prisoners. Tht
Second and Twenty-fourth Corps captured forts, guns, and prisoner*,
from the enemy, but I cannot tell the numbers. We are now closing
around the works of the line immediately enveloping Petersburg. All
looks remarkable well. I have not yet heard from Sheridan. His
head-quarters have been moved up to Banks's House, near the Boyd-
ton road, about three miles southwest of Petersburg.

A. Lincoln.

City Point, Virginia, April 2, 8:30 p. m.
At 4.30 p. M. to-day General Grant telegraphs as follows : —
We are now up and have a continuous line of troops, and in a few
hours will be intrenched from the Appomattox below Petersburg
to the river above. The whole captures since the army started out
will not amount to less than twelve thousand men, and probably fiftv
pieces of artillery. I do not know the number of men and guns ac-
curately, however. A portion of Foster's Division, Twenty-fourth
Corps; made a most gallant charge this aftenoon, and captured a very
important fort from the enemy, with its entire garrison.
All seems well with us, and everything is quiet just now.

A. Lincoln,


The results of the fighting of this 2d of April were so dis-
astrous to the rebels, that General Lee saw at once that he
must evacuate Petersburg, and Richmond also. His dis-
patch announcing the necessity was handed to Mr. Davis
while at church. He immediately left the church, and, mak-
ing a hasty preparation for departure, left that night by the
Danville Railroad. Richmond and Petersburg were both
abandoned during the night. At half-past eight the Presi-
dent sent the following dispatch to Secretary Stanton :—

This morning Lieutenant-General Grant reports Petersburg evacu-
ated and he is confident that Richmond also is.

He is pushing forward to cut off, if possible, the retreating rebel
army. A. Lincoln.

Fifteen minutes before this dispatch was sent, Richmond
had been occupied by our troops. The second brigade of
the Third Division of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, under
Major-General Weitzel, were the first to enter the city. They
found that the rebel authorities had not only carried off
whatever they could, but had set fire to tobacco warehouses,
Government workshops, and other buildings, till there was
great danger that the whole city would be consumed. Gen-
eral Weitzel at once set the men to work to put out the fires,
and re-established as much order as was possible.

The President, immediately after sending the above dis-
patch, went to the front, where all things had changed at
once from the terrors of the fierce assault to the exultation
of eager pursuit. General Grant's objective in the whole
campaign had been, not Richmond, but Lee's army; and
for that he pushed forward, regardless of the captured cities
which lay behind him, showing himself as relentless in pur-
suit as he had been undaunted in attack.

The President did not, indeed, follow the army in its
forced march to cut off Lee's retreat, but he did what would
be almost as incredible, if we did not know how difficult he
found it to attribute to others hatred of which he felt no
impulse himself — he went to Richmond on the day after it
was taken.

Nothing could be more characteristic or more striking
than his entrance into the rebel capital. He came up in a
man-of-war, about two p. m., to the land called the Rocketts,
about a mile below the city, and thence, accompanied by


his young son and Admiral Porter, came to the city in a
boat. His coming was unannounced. No roll of drums or
presented arms greeted his approach. He had not even a
military guard. The sailors who had rowed him up accom-
panied him, armed with carbines. He came in no triumphal
car, not even on horseback, to be "the observed of all ob-
servers;" but, like any other citizen, walked up the streets
towards General Weitzel's headquarters, in the house occu-
pied two days before by Jefferson Davis. But the news of
his arrival spread as he walked, and from all sides the colored
people came running together, with cries of intense exulta-
tion, to greet their deliverer. A writer in the Atlantic
Monthly, thus, from personal observation, describes the
scene : —

They gathered round the President, ran ahead, hovered upon the
flanks of the little company, and hung like a dark cloud upon the
rear. Men, women, and children joined the constantly-increasing
throng. They came from all the by-streets, running in breathless
haste, shouting and hallooing, and dancing with delight. The men
threw up their hats, the women waved their bonnets and handker-
chiefs, clapped their hands, and sang, "Glory to God! glory, glory!"
rendering all the praise to God, who had heard their wailings in the
past, their moanings for wives, husbands, children, and friends sold
out of their sight; had given them freedom, and after long years of
waiting, had permitted them thus unexpectedly to behold the face of
their great benefactor.

"I thank you, dear Jesus, that I behold President Linkum!" was the
exclamation of a woman who stood upon the threshold of her humble
home, and with streaming eyes and clasped hands gave thanks aloud
to the Saviour of men.

Another, more demonstrative in her joy, was jumping and striking
her hands with all her might, crying, "Bless de Lord! Bless de
Lord!" as if there could be no end to her thanksgiving.

The air rang with a tumultuous chorus of voices. The street became
almost impassable on account of the increasing multitude, till soldiers
were summoned to clear the way. * * *

The walk was long, and the President halted a moment to rest.
"May de good Lord bless you, President Linkum!" said an old
negro, removing his hat and bowing, with tears of joy rolling down
his cheeks. The President removed his own hat, and bowed in silence ;
but it was a bow which upset the forms, laws, customs, and ceremon-
ies of centuries. It was a death-shock to chivalry and a mortal wound
to caste. Recognize a nigger! Faugh! A woman in an adjoining
house beheld it, and turned from the scene in unspeakable disgust.

Arrived at General Weitzel's headquarters, after a brief
interval the President held a short levee, then took a rapid


drive about the city, and left on bis return at half-past 6 p. m.
On Thursday he again visited Richmond, accompanied by
Mrs. Lincoln, Vice-President Johnson, and several Senators
and others. He held interviews while here with some of
the leading men, who sought to obtain from him something
which should make the submission of the South more easy,
and should save to the rebel leaders as much as possible of
their wealth and power. By them he was urged to issue a
conciliatory proclamation. He did, indeed, go so far as to
send to General Weitzel the following order, allowing the
reassembling of the Virginia Legislature for the purpose
stated in the order : —

Head-Quarters Armies of the United States,
City Point, April 6, 1865.
Major-General Weitzel, Richmond, Va. :

It has been intimated to me that the gentlemen who have acted as
the Legislature of Virginia, in support of the rebellion, may now
desire to assemble at Richmond and take measures to withdraw the
Virginia troops and other support from resistance to the General
Government. If they attempt it, give them permission and protection,
until, if at all, they attempt some action hostile to the United States,
in which case you will notify them, give them reasonable time to
leave, and at the end of which time arrest any who remain. Allow
Judge Campbell to see this, but do not make it public.

Yours, &c, A. Lincoln.

As Lee surrendered the remains of his army to General
Grant on Sunday, April 9, that reason no longer existed ; and,
on the 12th, General Weitzel received a telegram from the
President in Washington to annul the call, as the necessity
for it had passed.

The President returned to Washington on April 9th, his
return having been hastened somewhat by an accident to
Mr. Seward, who had been thrown from his carriage some
days previous, and had broken his right arm and his jaw.
The news of Lee's surrender reached Washington shortly
after Mr. Lincoln arrived, and caused the greatest rejoicing,
not only in Washington, but over the whole country. In
fact, the people had been borne on the top of a lofty wave
of joy ever since Sheridan's victory at the Five Forks, and
this but intensified the universal exultation. A large com-
pany waited on the President on Monday afternoon to con-
gratulate him. In answer to their call, he appeared, merely
to say: —


If the company had assembled by appointment, some mistake had
crept in their understanding. He had appeared before a larger aud-
ience than this one to-day, and he would repeat what he then said,
namely, he supposed owing to the great, good news, there would be
some demonstration. He would prefer to-morrow evening, when
he should be quite willing, and he hoped ready, to say something.
He desired to be particular, because everything he said got into print.
Occupying the position he did, a mistake would produce harm, and
therefore he wanted to be careful not to make a mistake. [A voice,
"You have not made any yet."]

The President was greeted with cheers, and, after bidding
the crowd good-evening, retired.

On the next evening, an immense crowd assembled at
the Executive Mansion, which, as well as the various de-
partments, was illuminated in honor of the occasion. The
city, too, was ablaze with bonfires and waving with flags.

It was under such circumstances of joy, too soon to be !l
changed into grief as deep as this exultation was high, that
Mr. Lincoln delivered this, his last public address, on Tues-
day, the nth of April, as follows: —

Fellow- Citizens : — We meet this evening not in sorrow, but in
gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and
the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a right-
eous and speedy peace, whose joyous expression cannot be restrained.
In the midst of this, however, He from whom all blessings flow
must not be forgotten.

A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be
duly promulgated. Nor must those whose harder part gives us the
cause of rejoicing be overlooked. Their honors must not be parcelled
out with others. I myself was near the front, and had the pleasure
of transmitting much of the good news to you. But no part of the
honor for plan or execution is mine. To General Grant, his skilful
officers, and brave men, all belongs. The gallant navy stood ready,
but was not in reach to take active part. By these recent successes,
the reinauguration of the national authority — reconstruction — which
has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed much more
closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. Un-
like a case of war between independent nations, there is no author-
ized organ for us to treat with — no one man has authority to give
up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must begin with and
mould from disorganized and discordant elements. Nor is it a small
additional embarrassment that we, the loyal people, differ among
ourselves as to the mode, manner, and measure of reconstruction.
As a general rule, I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon
myself, wishing not to be provoked by that to which I cannot prop-
erly offer an answer. In spite of this precaution, however, it comes
to my knowledge that I am much censured for some supposed agency
in setting up and seeking to sustain the new State Government of


Louisiana. In this I have done just so much and no more than the
public knows. In the Annual Message of December, 1863, and the
accompanying proclamation, I presented a plan of reconstruction,
as the phrase goes, which I promised, if adopted by any State, would
be acceptable to and sustained by the Executive Government of the
nation. I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan which
might possibly be acceptable, and I also distinctly protested that the
Executive claimed no right to say when or whether members should
be admitted to seats in Congress from such States. This plan was
in advance submitted to the then Cabinet, and approved by every
member of it. One of them suggested that I should then and in
that connection apply the Emancipation Proclamation to the thereto-
fore excepted parts of Virginia and Louisiana; that I should drop the
suggestion about apprenticeship for freed people, and that I should
omit the protest against my own power in regard to the admission of
members of Congress. But even he approved every part and parcel
of the plan which has since been employed or touched by the action
of Louisiana. The new Constitution of Louisiana, declaring emanci-

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 28 of 41)