Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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but the carnage was dreadfhl. Bayonets
were used, muskets clubbed, and men were
felled with brawny fists. Our noble fellows
were victors, but at sickening cost Of
the 260 of the splendid 63d, 125 lay there
on the field, wounded, dead, or dying. The
last final struggle terminated with a howl
of rage and dismay. The foe flung away
their arms and fled like frightened stags to
the abatis and forests. The batteries were

still Yomiting destruction. With the enemr
plunging in upon him, brave Robinett with
his faithful gunners of the Ist United States
Artillery, had double-shotted his guns and
belched death upon the infuriate enemy ; and
now he sent the iron hail after the fiigitives
with relentless fury. The abatis was full of
them, but they were subdued. Directly,
they began to wave their handkerchiefii
upon sticks in token of submission, shout-
ing to spare them * for God's sake.' Over
two hundred of them were taken within an
area of a hundred yards, and more than two
hundred of them fell in that frightful assault
upon Fort Robinett Fifty- six dead Reb-
els were heaped up together in front of
that redoubt most of whom were of the
2d Texas and 4th Mississippi. They were
buried in one pit ; but their brave General
sleeps alone: our own noble fellows tes-
tifying their respect by rounding his grave
smoothly and mai'king his resting-place.

** A great shout went up all over Corinth.
The battle was a shock. It really began at
half-past 9 o'clock, and pursuit was com-
menced at 11 o'clock. The pursuit of the
beaten foe was terrible. Sheets of flame
blazed through the forest. Ruse trunka
were shattered by crashing shells. You
may track the flying conflict for miles by
scarified trees, broken branches, twisted gun-
barrels and shattered stocks, blood-stained
garments and mats of human hair, which lie
on the ground where men died; hillocks
which mark ditches where dead Rebels were
covered, and smoothly rounded graves where
slaughtered patriots were tenderly buried."

Gen. EosecraDB'B official report

"When Price's left bore down on our
center in gallant style, their force was so
overpowering that our wearied and Jaded
troops yielded and fell back, scattering
amon^ the houses. I had the personal mor-
tification of witnessing this untoward and
untimely stampede.

" Riddled and scattered, the ragged head
of Price's right storming columns advanc^ed
to near the house, north side of the square,
in front of C^n. Halleok's former headquar-
ters; when it was 'greeted by a storm of
grape from a section of Immell's battery,
soon rSenforced by the 10th Ohio, which
sent them whirling back, pursued by the 5th
Minnesota, which advanced on them from
their position near the d^p^t

"Gen. Sullivan was ordered and promptly
advanced to support Gen. Davies's center.
His right rallied and retook battery Powell,
into which a few of the stormhig column '
had penetrated; while Hamilton, having
played upon the Rebels on his right, over

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the open space effectivelj swept by his ar-
tillery, adyanced on them, and they fled«
The battle was over on the right.

^^ During all this, the skirmishers of the
left were moving in our front A line of
battle was formed on the ridge. About
twenty minutes after the attack on the
right, the enemy advanced in four columns
on battery Robinett, and were treated to
grape and canister until within fifty yards ;
when the Ohio brigade arose and gave them
a murderous fire of musketry, before which
they reeled and fell back to the woods.
They, however, gallantly reformed and ad-
yanced again to the charge, led by Col.
Bogers, of the 2d Texas. This time, they
reached the edge of the ditch ; but tbe dead-
ly musketry fire of the Ohio brigade again
broke them; and, at the word charge, the
11th Missouri and 27th Ohio sprang up and
fprward at them, chasing their broken frag-
ments back to the woods. Thus by noon
ended the battle of the 4th of October."

In his testimony before the Com-
mittee on the Conduct of the War,
he sa js :

*^ Between 8^ and 4 o^clock a. m., the enemy
<q>ened his batteries furiously from a point
in front of battery Robinett; but in the
course of an hour he was silenced and driv-
en from his position. Our troops, thus
aroused from their brief rest, which could
•carcely be called slumber, nerved them-
selves for the coming fight ; the brunt of
which came on about 10 o^clock, when, the
enemy charging our right center, Davies's
^vision gave way, but speedily rallied, and,
with the aid of Hamilton's division and a
oross-fire from battery Kobinett, poured in
a fire so destructive that the enemy were
thrown into confusion and finally driven
from this part of the field ; at the same time,
he also charged battery Robinett ; but was
thoroughly repulsed, after two or three ef-
fbrts, and retired to the woods. "With our
inferior numbers of exhausted troops, we
stood on the defensive, sending skirmishers
to the front and expecting another charge
fixMn the eneqiy, till about 8 o'clock p. m. ;
when, finding that their skirmishers yielded
to ours, we began to push them, and by 4
o^clock became satisfied that they intended
to retire from our immediate front; but so
superior was their strength that I could not
believe they would altogether abandon the
operation. By p. m., our skirmishers had
poshed tib^frs back five miles.*'

Our soldiers, haying now been
marching and fighting acnne 48 hours,

with very little rest, G^en. Bofiecrant
ordered all but those on the skirmish
line to lie down^ while five days'
rations should be issued to them, and
that they should start in pursuit of the
enemy early next morning ; but, just
before sunset, Gen. McPherson ar-
rived, with five fresh regiments from
Gen. Grant, and was given the ad-
vance on the trail of the flying
enemy, whom he followed 15 miles
next day ; " having a skirmish with
his rear-guard that night.

Meantime, another division, which
Gen. Grant had pushed forward from
Bolivar, at 3 a. m. of the eventfiil
4th, under Gen. Hurlbut, to the re-
lief of Corinth, had struck the head
of the enemy's retreating forces and
skirmished with it considerably dxuN
ing the afternoon. Hurlbut was
joined and ranked, next morning, by
Ord. The Rebel advance, having
crossed the Hatchie river at Davis's
bridge, were encountered by Ord and
driven back so precipitately that they
were unable to bum the bridge, los-
ing 2 batteries and 300 prisoners.
Ord, being in inferior numbers, did
not pursue across the river, but
gathered up 900 small arms which
the Rebels had tlirown away. He
reports that his losses in killed and
wounded during that day's pursuit
were several hundreds — ^probably ex-
ceeding those of the enemy, who
fought only under dense cover, with
every advantage of ground, compel-
ling our men to advance across open
fields and up hills against them.
G«n. Veatch was among our wounded.

Yan Dom crossed the Hatchie
that night at Crumm's Mill, 12 miles
farther south, burning the bridge bo-
hind him. McPherson rebuilt the


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Inridge and croesed next day ; ^ con-
tinuing the pursnit to Eipley, fol-
lowed by Bosecrans with most of his
army, gathering np deBerters and
stra^lers by the way. Eosecranfl
was anidously eager to continue the
pnrsuit, and tdiegnqphed to Grant for
permisBion to do bo,** believing the
Sebel army utterly demoralized and
incapable of resistance ; but he was
directed to desist and retnm to
Corinth. Kine days after his return,
he was relieved firom his command at
Oorinth, and ordered to report at
Cincinnati; where he found a dis-
patch directing him to supersede
Gen. Buell in command of the Army
of the Ohio and Department of the
Cumberland, including all of Tennes-
see east of the Tennessee river.

Gen. Bosecrans reports his total
loss at Corinth and in the pursuit at
3,359_315 tiUod, 1,812 wounded,
and 232 missing ; and says that the
Bebel loss in killed alone was 1,423,

with 2,248 prisoners.^ He estimated
their loss in woimded at 5,692. He
says the prisoners represented 63 regi-
ments of infantry, 16 of cavalry, 13
batteries, and 7 battalions ; and that
their numbers engaged were nearly
double his own,*' which he makes less
than 20,000 in all.** Among his tat>*
phies were 14 flags, 2 guns, 3,300
small arms, &o. ; while the Beheld, in
their retreat, blew up many ammu-
nition and other wagons, and left the
ground strewn with tents, accouteiv
ments, &c. Among onr killed were
Gen. Pleasant A. Hackleman,** CoL
Thomas Kilby Smith, 43d Ohio, and
Cols. Thrush, Baker, and Miles;
while Oteiu Bichard J. Oglesby,**
Adjt-Gen. Clark, of Bosecrans'a
staff, and Col. Mower, 11th Missouri^
were among the severely wounded.
On the Bebel side. Acting Brigadiers
Bogers, Johnston, and Martin were
killed, and Cols. Pritchard, Daily,
and McQain were wounded.

"Oct 6.

* He gives these reasons for his eagerness,
in his testimony before the Ootnmittee on the
Conduct of the War:

" Mississippi was in our hands. The enemy
bad concentrated all his available force for an
oflbnsive movement, had been thoroughly beaten
at Ck>rinth, and had then retreated, blowing up
his ammunition wagons and caissons ; their men
throwing away their camp and gamson equi-
page in the flight The weather was cool ; the
roads were dry, and likely to be so for a month
to come. Com was ripe, and, as yet, untouched.
We had 3,000,000 of rations in Corinth, and
ammunition for six months. There was but one
bridge injured on the Mobile and Ohio road; and
it could be put in running order by a regiment
in half a day. The enemy were so alarmed that,
when Hamilton sent a reconnoissanoe to Black-
land, they vacated Tupelo, burning even the
bacon whidi they could not take away on the
first train. I had eigfa^ wagon-loads of as-
sorted rations which had reached me that night
a* Ripley, and had ordered the 30,000 from
CbflEinaU to Haribuk"^

^ Pollard — who rarely or never finds the Beb-
el losses the greater— says:

" Our loss in all the three days* engagements
was probably quite donUe that of the enemy.
In killed and wounded, it ezoeeded 3,000 ; and
it was estimated, beside, that we had left mose
than 1|500 priscmefs in the hands of the ena-

^ He says, in his official report :

"We fought the combined Rebel force of
Mississippi, commanded by Van Dom, Price,
Lovell, Yillipigue, and Rust in person; number*
ing, aooording to their own authority, 38,000

^ He says, hi his testimony before the Ooni*
mittee on the Conduct of the War:

"Our own force in the fight was about 15,T0O
influitry and artilleryi and about 2,600 efibctive

^Repeatedly a Whig candidate for Congress
hi the FianUin district, Indiana.

^ Sinoe tleoted Gofenior oflUiBois.

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Thb Federal Canstitutioii was
framed in Qeneral Gonyention, and
carried in the Beveral State Conven-
tions, by the aid of adroit and politic
evasions and reserves on the part of
its framers and champions. The
existing necessity for a stronger cen-
tral anthority, which had been devel-
oped daring the painfdl experiences
of onr preceding years of indepen-
dence, were most keenly felt by the
mercantile and mechanical or manu-
facturing classes, who were conse-
quently zealous advocates of a ^^ more
perfect Union/* The rural districts,
on the other hand, were far less
seriously affected by commercial em-
barrassment and currency dilapida-
tion, and were natur&lly jealous of a
distant and unfamiliar power. Hence
the reticence, if not ambiguity, of the
tiext with r^ard to what has recently
been termed " coercion," or the right
of the Federal Government to subdue
by arms the forcible resistance of a
State, or of several States, to its legit-
imate authority — a reticence which
was imitated by the most prominent
advocates of ratification, whether in
The Federalist or in the several State
Conventions. So with regard to
Slavery as well It is plain that the
General Convention would have
utterly and instantly prohibited the
Foreign Slave-Trade, but for the pro-
claimed fact that this would insure
the rejection of their handiwork by
the still slave-hungry States of South
Carolina and Georgia, if not of North
Carolina also; though Yirginia was
among the most earnest advocates of

the prohibition. Hence, when the
State Conventions were assembled to
ratify or reject it, with such eminent
Bevolutionary patriots as Patrick
Henry, John Hancock, Samuel
Adams, George Clinton, and Luther
Martin, leading in the opposition,
the clauses affecting Slavery were
vigilantly, and not unsuccessfiiUy,
scrutinized for grounds of attack—
the provision concerning the African
Slave-Trade being assailed in some
States from the side of Slavery, in
others from that of anti-Slavery, with
vigor and effect. In the North,
these assaults were parried by point-
ing to the power conferred on Con-
gress to abolish the traffic after twen-
ty years, as so much clear gain : to
reject the Constitution would not
arrest the traffic now, but would
destroy the power to prohibit it here-
after. On the other hand, the Fed-
eralists in the Southern Conventions
met their adversaries by pointing to
the privilege secured to the slav^
holders of hunting their fugitive
chattels in other States than their
own — a privil^e hitherto non-exist-
ent — and asked them what was to be
gained by rejecting that In fact,
the Constitution was essentially a
matter of compromise and mutual
concession — ^a proceeding wherein
Thrift is apt to gain at the cost of
Principle. Perhaps the majority in
no State obtained exactly what they
wanted, but were satisfied that, on
the whole, they were better with^e
Constitution than without it. *

Patrick Henry alone, in opposing

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ntifieation, aaudled the Constitation
as a measnre of thorough, undis-
guised, all-abBorbing consolidation,
and, though himself a professed con-
temner of Slavery, sought to arouse
the fears of the Virginia slaveholders
as follows :

*^ Among ten thousand implied powers
which thejr may assume, they may, if we be
engaged in war, liberate every one of your
•lares, if lixey please; and this mnst and
will be done by men, a nugority of whom
have not a common interest with. yon.
They will, therefore, have no feeling of your
interests. It has been repeatedly sud here,
that the great object of a National Govern-
ment was national defense. That power,
which is said to be intended for secarity
and safety, may be rendered detestable and
oppressive. If they give power to the
General Government to provide for the
general defense, the means must be com-
mensurate to the end. All the means in the
possession of the people must be given to
the Government wnich is intrusted with the
public defense. In this State, there are
886,000 Blacks; and there are many in
several other States : but there are few or
none in the Northern States; and yet, if the
Northern States shall be of opinion that our
slaves are numberless, they may call forth
every national resource. May Congress not
■ay that every Black man must fight t Bid
we not see a little of this last war ? We
were not so hard pushed as to make eman-
cipation general; but acts of Assembly
passed, that every slave who would go to
the army should b^ free. Another thing
will oontribute to bring this event about:
Slavery is detested ; we feel its fatal effects ;
we deplore it with all the pity of humanity.
Let all these considerations, at some future
period, press with full force on the minds of
Congress — let that urbanity, which I trust
will distinguish America, and the necessity
of nationd defense — let all these things
operate on their minds: they will search
that paper, and see if they have the power of
manumission. And have they not. Sir?
Have they not power to provide for the
general defense and welfare? May they
not think that these call for the abolition of
Slavery? May they not pronounce all
slaves free ? and will they not be warranted

by that power? There is no ambiguoiua
implication or logical deduction. The
paper speaks to the point They have the
power, m clear, unequivocal terms, and wiQ
clearly and certainly exercise it. As much
as I deplore Slavery, I see that prudence
forbids its abolition. I deny that the
General Government ought to set them
free, because a decided minority of the
States have not the ties of sympathy and
fellow-feeling for those whose interest
would be aflfbcted by their emancipation. ^
The minority of Congress is to the North,
and the slaves are to the South." •

Gov. Edmund Randolph — ^who be-
came Washington's Attorney-Gene-
ral — answered Mr. Henry : denying
most strenuously that there is any
power of abolition given to Congress
by the Constitution ; but not alluding
to what Henry had urged with re-
gard to the War power and the right
of Congress to sununon every slave
to the military defense of the (coun-
try. Nor do^ this view of the sub-
ject appear to have attracted much '
attention elsewhere — at least, it does
not appear to have been anywhere

In 1836/ Mr. John Quincy Adams,

having been required to vote Yea or

Nay, in the House, on a proposition

reported by Mr. H. L. Pinckney, of

South Carolina, in these words —

^^Beaolved^ That Congress possesses no
constitutional power to interfere inanywof
with the institution of Slavery in any of
the States of this confederacy" —

voted Nay, in company with but
eight others ; and, obtaining the floor
in Committee soon afterward, on a
proposition that rations be distributed
from the public stores to citizens of j
Georgia and Alabama who have been |
driven from their homes by Indian i

-* In cloeing the argument in favor of ratifying
the Federal Constitution, Mr. Zachariah John-

**They teU us that they see a progressive
danger of bringing about emandpaUon. The
prixtciple has twgon smoe the Bevolution. Let

us do what we will, it will come around. Slav-
ery has been the foundation of that impiety and
dissipation, which have been so much dissemin*
ated among our countrymen. If it were iotaUj
abolished, it would do much good."


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dqppedationfl, proceeded to show that
Buch distribtttion (which he advocat-
ed) was jufltifiable only under the con-
Btitutional power of Congress " to pro-
mote the general welfare,'' which
Bonthem statesmen habitaallj repu-
diated, or under the still more sweep-
ing War power. In the course of
his argument, he said :

'* Sir, in the authority given to Congress by
the Constitution of the United States to de-
tlare war^ all the powers incidental to war
are, by necessary implication, conferred upon
tiie Government of the United States. Now,
the powers incidental to war are derived,
not from their interned munieipal source,
hut from the laws and vsages of nations.
* * * There are, then, Mr. Chairman,
tn the authority of Oongress and oi the
Executive, two classes of powers, altogether
diflferent in their nature, and often incom-
patible with each other — the War power
and the Peace power. The Peace power is
limited by regulations, and restricted by
provisions, prescribed within the Constitu-
tion itself. The War power is limited only
by the laws and usages of nations. This
power is tremendous ; it is strictly constitu-
tional ; but it breaks down every barrier so
anxiously erected for the protection of lib-
erty, of property, and of life. This, Sir, is
the power which authorizes you to pass the
resolution now before you ; and, in my opin-
ion, there is no other. * ♦ » There are,
indeed, powers of Peace conferred upon Con-
gress which also come within the scope and
jurisdiction of the laws of nations ; such as
the negotiation of treaties of amity and
commerce ; the interchange of public minis-
ters and consuls ; and all the personal and
social intercourse between the individual
inhabitants of the United States and foreign
nations, and the Indian tribes, which re-

Suire the interposition of any law. But
lie powers of War are all regulated by
the laws of nations, and are subject to no
other limitation. ♦ * * It was upon
this principle that I voted ctgainst the reso-
lution reported by the Slavery Committee,
Hhat Congress possesses no constitutional
authority to interfere, in any tDay^ with the
institution of Slavery in any of the States
of this confederacy;' to which resolution
most of those with wKom I usually concur,
and even my own colleagues in this House,
gave their assent. I do not admit that
tiiere is, even among the Peace powers of
Congress, no such authority ; but in i«ar,
there are many ways by which Congress
not only have the authority, hit ar$ Jmmd^

to hUeifws with ths imUtution ef SloMrf
in the States, The existing law prohibiting
the importation of slaves into the Unitea
States nrom foreign countries is itself an in-
terference with the institution of Slavery in
the States. It was so considered bv the
founders of the Constitution of the United
States, in which it was stipulated that Con-
gress should not interfere, in that way, with
the institution, prior to the year 1808.

" During the war with Great Britain, the
military and navd commanders of that na-
tion issued proclamations inviting the slaves
to repair to their standard, with promises
of freedom and of settlement in some of the
British colonial establishments. This, sure-
ly, was an interference with the institution
of Slavery in the States. By the treaty of
peace. Great Britidn stipulated to evacuate
all the forts and places in the United States^
without carrying away any slaves. If the
Government of the United States had no
power to interfere, in any ioay^ with the
institution of Slavery in the States, they
would not have had the authority to require
this stipulation. It is well known that this
engagement was not fulfilled by the British
naval and military commanders ; that, on
the contrary, they did carry away all the
slaves whom they had induced to join thera ;
and that the British Government inflexibly
refused to restore any of them to their mas-
ters ; that a claim of indemnity was conse-
quently instituted in behalf of the owners
of the slaves, and was successfully main-
tained. All that series of transactions was
an interference by Congress with the insti-
tution of Slavery in the States in one w^
—in the way of protection and support. It
was by the institution of Slavery alone that
the restitution of slaves, enticed by procla-
mations into the British service^ could be
claimed as property. But for the institn-
tion of Slavery, the British commanders
could neither have allured them to their
standard, nor restored them, otherwise than
as liberated prisoners of war. But for the
institutiop of Slavery, there could have been
no stipulation that they should not be carried
away as property, nor any claim of indemni-
ty for the violation of that engagement.

" But the War power of Congress over
the institution of Slavery in the States Is
yet far more extensive. Suppose the case
of a servile war, complicated, to some ex-
tent — as it is even now — with an Indian
war ; suppose Congress were called to raise
armies, to supply money from the whole
Union to suppress a servile insurrection:
would they have no authority to interfere
with the institution of Slavery? The issue
oi a servile war may be disastrous ; it may
become necessary f>r the master of the
slave to reoognixe his emancipation by a

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treaty of peace : can it, for an instant, be
pretended that Congress, in such a contin-
gency, would have no authority to interfere
with the institution of Shivery, in any way,
in the States? Why, it would be equiva-
lent to saying that Congress has no con-
Btitutionfd auUiority to make peace/*

Mr. Adams proceeded to show that
Texas was then [prior to her annex-
ation] the arena of a war concerning
Slavery — a war based on an effort to
reestablish Slavery where it had been
abolished by Mexico; and that onr
country was powerfolly incited to
take part directly therein, on the
side of Slavery; and might yet be
impelled to do so. In view of this

Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 32 of 113)