Joseph Warren Keifer.

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Produced by Ed Ferris

Transcriber's note:

Footnotes are at the end of each chapter, except at the end of
each section in Chapter I. Duplicate notes were on adjacent pages
in the book.

Right-hand-page heads are omitted.

Names have been corrected (except possibly "Hurlburt").

LoC call number: E470.K18







G. P. Putnam's Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press

Copyright, 1900


The Knickerbocker Press, New York

To the

memory of the dead and as a tribute of esteem to the living officers
and soldiers who served immediately with and under the author in
battles and campaigns of the great American rebellion

This Book is Dedicated


The writer of this book was a volunteer officer in the Union army
throughout the war of the Great Rebellion, and his service was in
the field.

The book, having been written while the author was engaged in a
somewhat active professional life, lacks that literary finish which
results from much pruning and painstaking. He, however, offers no
excuse for writing it, nor for its completion; he has presumed to
nothing but the privilege of telling his own story in his own way.
He has been at no time forgetful of the fact that he was a subordinate
in a great conflict, and that other soldiers discharged their duties
as faithfully as himself; and while no special favors are asked,
he nevertheless opes that what he has written may be accepted as
the testimony of one who entertains a justifiable pride in having
been connected with large armies and a participant in important
campaigns and great battles.

He flatters himself that his summary of the political history of
slavery in the United States, and of the important political events
occurring upon the firing on Fort Sumter, and the account he has
given of the several attempts to negotiate a peace before the final
overthrow of the Confederate armies, will be of special interest
to students of American history.

Slavery bred the doctrine of State-rights, which led, inevitably,
to secession and rebellion. The story of slavery and its abolition
in the United States is the most tragic one in the world's annals.
The "Confederate States of America" is the only government ever
attempted to be formed, avowedly to perpetuate _human slavery_.
A history of the Rebellion without that of slavery is but a recital
of brave deeds without reference to the motive which prompted their

The chapter on slavery narrates its history in the United States
from the earliest times; its status prior to the war; its effect
on political parties and statesmen; its aggressions, and attempts
at universal domination if not extension over the whole Republic;
its inexorable demands on the friends of freedom, and its plan of
perpetually establishing itself through secession and the formation
of a slave nation. It includes a history of the secession of eleven
Southern States, and the formation of "The Confederate States of
America"; also what the North did to try to avert the Rebellion.
It was written to show why and how the Civil War came, what the
conquered lost, and what the victors won.

In other chapters the author has taken the liberty, for the sake
of continuity, of going beyond the conventional limits of a personal
_memoir_, but in doing this he has touched on no topic not connected
with the war.

The war campaigns cover the first one in Western Virginia, 1861;
others in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, 1862; in
West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, 1863; and in
Virginia, 1864; ending with the capture of Richmond and Petersburg,
the battles of Five Forks and Sailor's Creek, and the surrender of
Lee to Grant at Appomattox, 1865. A chapter on the New York riots
of 1863, also one on the "Peace Negotiations," will be found, each
in its proper place.

Personal mention and descriptions of many officers known to the
writer are given; also war incidents deemed to be of interest to
the reader.

But few generalizations are indulged in either as to events,
principles, or the character of men; instead, facts are given from
which generalizations may be formed.

The author is indebted to his friends, General George D. Ruggles
(General Meade's Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac,
late Adjutant-General, U.S.A.), for important data furnished from
the War Department, and to his particular friends, both in peace
and war, General John Beatty and Colonel Wm. S. Furay of Columbus,
Ohio, for valuable suggestions.

J. W. K.
December, 1899.


Slavery: Its Political History in the United States,
(I.) Introductory - (II.) Introduction of Slavery into the Colonies
- (III.) Declaration of Independence - (IV.) Continental Congress:
Articles of Confederation - (V.) Ordinance of 1787 - (VI.) Constitution
of the United States - (VII.) Causes of Growth of Slavery - (VIII.)
Fugitive-Slave Law, 1793 - (IX.) Slave Trade Abolished - (X.) Louisiana
Purchase - (XI.) Florida - (XII.) Missouri Compromise - (XIII.)
Nullification - (XIV.) Texas - (XV.) Mexican War, Acquisition of
California and New Mexico - (XVI.) Compromise Measures, 1850 - (XVII.)
Nebraska Act - (XVIII.) Kansas Struggle for Freedom - (XIX.) Dred
Scott Case - (XX.) John Brown Raid - (XXI.) Presidential Elections,
1856-1860 - (XXII.) Dissolution of the Union - (XXIII.) Secession of
States - (XXIV.) Action of Religious Denominations - (XXV.) Proposed
Concessions to Slavery - (XXVI.) Peace Conference - (XXVII.) District
of Columbia - (XXVIII.) Slavery Prohibited in Territories - (XXIX.)
Benton's Summary - (XXX.) Prophecy as to Slavery and Disunion.

Sumter Fired on - Seizure by Confederates of Arms, Arsenals, and
Forts - Disloyalty of Army and Navy Officers - Proclamation of Lincoln
for 75,000 Militia, and Preparation for War on Both Sides

Personal Mention - Occupancy of Western Virginia under McClellan
(1861) - Campaign and Battle of Rich Mountain, and Incidents

Repulse of General Lee and Affairs of Cheat Mountain and in Tygart's
Valley (September, 1861) - Killing of John A. Washington, and
Incidents - and Formation of State of West Virginia

Union Occupancy of Kentucky - Affair at Green River - Defeat of
Humphrey Marshall - Battles of Mill Springs, Forts Henry and Donelson
- Capture of Bowling Green and Nashville, and Other Matters

Battle of Shiloh - Capture of Island No. 10 - Halleck's Advance on
Corinth, and Other Events

Mitchel's Campaign to Northern Alabama - Andrews' Raid into Georgia,
and Capture of a Locomotive - Affair at Bridgeport - Sacking of
Athens, Alabama, and Court-Martial of Colonel Turchin - Burning of
Paint Rock by Colonel Beatty - Other Incidents and Personal Mention
- Mitchel Relieved

Confederate Invasion of Kentucky (1862) - Cincinnati Threatened,
and "Squirrel Hunters" Called Out - Battles of Iuka, Corinth, and
Hatchie Bridge - Movements of Confederate Armies of Bragg and Kirby
Smith - Retirement of Buell's Army to Louisville - Battle of Perryville,
with Personal and Other Incidents

Commissioned Colonel of 110th Ohio Volunteers - Campaigns in West
Virginia under General Milroy, 1862-1863 - Emancipation of Slaves
in the Shenandoah Valley, and Incidents


J. Warren Keifer

Andrew H. Reeder, first governor of Kansas Territory, Flight in
Disguise, 1855 [From a painting in Coates' House, Kansas City,

Abraham Lincoln

Map of the United States, 1860 [Showing free and slave States and

General Ulysses S. Grant, U.S.A. [From a photograph taken 1865.]

Confederate Silver Half-Dollar

John Beatty, Brigadier-General of Volunteers [From a photograph
taken 1863.]

Rich Mountain and Cheat Mountain Country, W. Va.

General William T. Sherman, U.S.A. [From a photograph taken 1881.]

Major-General O. M. Mitchel [From a photograph taken 1862.]

Brevet Brigadier-General Wm. H. Ball [From a photograph taken 1864.]

Rev. William T. Meloy, D. D., Lieutenant 122d Ohio Volunteers [From
a photograph taken 1896.]

Major-General Robert H. Milroy [From a photograph taken 1863.]

Lieutenant James A. Fox, 110th Ohio Volunteers [From a photograph
taken 1863.]

Map of Shenandoah valley [From Major W. F. Tiemann's _History of
the 159th New York_.]

Rev. Milton J. Miller, Chaplain 110th Ohio Volunteers [From a
photograph taken 1865.]

Rev. Charles C. McCabe, D. D., Bishop M. E. Church, Chaplain 122d
Ohio Volunteers [From a photograph taken 1868.]



(I.) Introductory - (II.) Introduction of Slavery into the Colonies
- (III.) Declaration of Independence - (IV.) Continental Congress:
Articles of Confederation - (V.) Ordinance of 1787 - (VI.) Constitution
of the United States - (VII.) Causes of Growth of Slavery - (VIII.)
Fugitive-Slave Law, 1793 - (IX.) Slave Trade Abolished - (X.) Louisiana
Purchase - (XI.) Florida - (XII.) Missouri Compromise - (XIII.)
Nullification - (XIV.) Texas - (XV.) Mexican War, Acquisition of
California and New Mexico - (XVI.) Compromise Measures, 1850 - (XVII.)
Nebraska Act - (XVIII.) Kansas Struggle for Freedom - (XIX.) Dred
Scott Case - (XX.) John Brown Raid - (XXI.) Presidential Elections,
1856-1860 - (XXII.) Dissolution of the Union - (XXIII.) Secession of
States - (XXIV.) Action of Religious Denominations - (XXV.) Proposed
Concessions to Slavery - (XXVI.) Peace Conference - (XXVII.) District
of Columbia - (XXVIII.) Slavery Prohibited in Territories - (XXIX.)
Benton's Summary - (XXX.) Prophecy as to Slavery and Disunion.


Slavery is older than tradition - older than authentic history, and
doubtless antedates any organized form of human government. It
had its origin in barbaric times. Uncivilized man never voluntarily
performed labor even for his own comfort; he only struggled to gain
a bare subsistence. He did not till the soil, but killed wild
animals for food and to secure a scant covering for his body; and
cannibalism was common. Tribes were formed for defence, and thus
wars came, all, however, to maintain mere savage existence. Through
primitive wars captives were taken, and such as were not slain were
compelled to labor for their captors. In time these slaves were
used to domesticate useful animals and, later, were forced to
cultivate the soil and build rude structures for the comfort and
protection of their masters. Thus it was that mankind was first
forced to toil and ultimately came to enjoy labor and its incident
fruits, and thus human slavery became a first step from barbarism
towards the ultimate civilization of mankind.

White slavery existed in the English-American colonies antecedent
to black or African slavery, though at first only intended to be
conditional and not to extend to offspring. English, Scotch, and
Irish alike, regardless of ancestry or religious faith, were, for
political offenses, sold and transported to the dependent American
colonies. They were such persons as had participated in insurrections
against the Crown; many of them being prisoners taken on the battle-
field, as were the Scots taken on the field of Dunbar, the royalist
prisoners from the field of Worcester; likewise the great leaders
of the Penruddoc rebellion, and many who were taken in the insurrection
of Monmouth.

Of these, many were first sold in England to be afterwards re-sold
on shipboard to the colonies, as men sell horses, to the highest

There was also, in some of the colonies, a conditional servitude,
under indentures, for servants, debtors, convicts, and perhaps
others. These forms of slavery made the introduction of negro and
perpetual slavery easy.

Australasia alone, of all inhabited parts of the globe, has the
honor, so far as history records, of never having a slave

Egyptian history tells us of human bondage; the patriarch Abraham,
the founder of the Hebrew nation, owned and dealt in slaves. That
the law delivered to Moses from Mt. Sinai justified and tolerated
human slavery was the boast of modern slaveholders.

Moses, from "Nebo's heights," saw the "land of promise," where
flowed "milk and honey" in abundance, and where slavery existed.
The Hebrew people, but forty years themselves out of bondage,
possessed this land and maintained slavery therein.

The advocates of slavery and the slave trade exultingly quoted:

"And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hands of
the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to
a people far off; for the Lord hath spoken it." - Joel iii, 8.

They likewise claimed that St. Paul, while he preached the gospel
to slaveholders and slaves alike in Rome, yet used his calling to
enable him to return to slavery an escaped human being - Onesimus.( 1)

The advocates of domestic slavery justified it as of scriptural
and divine origin.

From the Old Testament they quoted other texts, not only to justify
the holding of slaves in perpetual bondage, but the continuance of
the slave trade with all its cruelties.

"And he said, I am Abraham's servant." - Gen. xxiv., 34.

"And there was of the house of Saul a _servant_ whose name was
Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the King said unto
him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. . . .

"Then the King called to Ziba, Saul's _servant_, and said unto him,
I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and
to all his house.

"Thou, therefore, and thy sons, and they servants shall till the
land for him, and thou shalt bring in _the fruits_, that thy master's
son may have food to eat," etc. "Now Ziba had fifteen sons and
_twenty servants_." - 2 Samuel ix., 2, 9-10.

"I got me servants and maidens and had servants born in my house;
also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all
that were in Jerusalem before me." - Eccles. ii., 7.

"And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence comest thou? and she
said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

"And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress,
and submit thyself to her hands." - Gen. xvi., 8, 9.

"A servant will not be corrected by words; for though he understand,
he will not answer." - Prov. xxix., 19.

And from the New Testament they triumphantly quoted:

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it; but if thou mayest
be made free, use it rather." - I Cor., vii., 20-22.

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to
the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart,
as unto Christ," etc.

"And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening:
knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect
of persons with him." - Eph., vi., 5-9.

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh,
not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart,
fearing God." - Col. iii., 22.

"Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal;
knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." - Col. iv., 1.

"Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters
worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrines be not
blasphemed," etc. - I Tim., vi., 1, 2.

"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to
please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining,
but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of
God our Saviour in all things." - Titus ii., 9, 10.

"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to
the good and gentle, but also to the froward." - I. Pet. ii, 18.

The advocates of slavery maintained that Christ approved the calling
as a slaveholder as well as the faith of the Roman centurion, whose
servant, "sick of a palsy," Christ miraculously healed by saying:
"_I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel_." - Matt.
viii., 10.

They also cited Dr. Adam Clark, the great Bible commentator; Dr.
Neander's work, entitled _Planting and Training the Church_, and
Dr. Mosheim's _Church History_, as evidence that the Bible not only
sanctioned slavery but authorized its perpetuation through all
time.( 2) In other words, pro-slavery advocates in effect affirmed
that these great writers:

"Torture the hollowed pages of the Bible,
To sanction crime, and robbery, and blood,
And, in oppression's hateful service, libel
Both man and God."

While the teachings of neither the Old nor the New Testament, nor
of the _Master_, were to overthrow or to establish political
conditions as established by the temporal powers of the then age,
yet it must be admitted that large numbers of people, of much
learning and a high civilization, believed human slavery was
sanctioned by divine authority.

The deductions made from the texts quoted were unwarranted. The
principles of justice and mercy, on which the Christian religion
is founded, cannot be tortured into even a toleration (as, possibly,
could the law of Moses) of the existence of the unnatural and
barbaric institution of slavery, or the slave trade.

Slavery was wrong _per se;_ wholly unjustifiable on the plainest
principles of humanity and justice; and the consciences of all
unprejudiced, enlightened, civilized people led them in time to
believe that it had no warrant from God and ought to have no warrant
from man to exist on the face of the earth.

The friends of freedom and those who believed slavery sinful never
for a moment assented to the claim that it was sanctioned by Holy
Writ, or that it was justified by early and long-continued existence
through barbaric or semi-barbaric times. They denied that it could
thus even be sanctified into a moral right; that time ever converted
cruelty into a blessing, or a wrong into a right; that any human
law could give it legal existence, or rightfully perpetuate it
against natural justice; they maintained that a Higher Law, written
in God's immutable decrees of mercy, was paramount to all human
law or practice, however long continuing; that the lessons taught
by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount and in all his life and
teachings were a condemnation of it; and that an enlightened,
progressive civilization demanded its final overthrow.

In America: Slavery is _dead_. We return to its history.

Greece had her slaves before tradition blended into history, though,
four centuries before Christ, Alcidamas proclaimed: "_God has sent
forth all men free: Nature has made no man slave_."

Alexander, the mighty Macedonian (fourth century B.C.), sold captives
taken at Tyre and Gaza, the most accomplished people of that time,
into slavery.( 3)

Rome had her slaves; and her slave-marts were open at her principal
ports for traffic in men and women of all nationalities, especially
Christians and captives taken in war.

The German nations of the shores of the Baltic carried on the
desolating traffic. Russia recognized slavery and carried on a
slave trade through her merchantmen.

The Turks forbade the enslaving of Mussulmans, but sold Christian
and other captives into slavery. Christian and Moor, for seven
hundred years in the doubtful struggle in Western Europe, respectively,
doomed their captives to slavery.

Contemporary with the discovery of America, the Moors were driven
from Granada, their last stronghold in Spain, to the north of
Africa; there they became corsairs, privateers, and holders of
Christian slaves. Their freebooter life and cruelty furnished the
pretext, not only to enslave the people of the Moorish dominion,
but of all Africa. The oldest accounts of Africa bear testimony
to the existence of domestic slavery - of negro enslaving negro,
and of caravans of dealers in negro slaves.

Columbus, whose glory as the discoverer of this continent we
proclaim, on a return voyage (1494) carried five hundred native
Americans to Spain, a present to Queen Isabella, and American
Indians were sold into foreign bondage, as "spoils of war," for
two centuries.

The Saxon carried slavery in its most odious form into England,
where, at one time, not half the inhabitants were absolutely free,
and where the price of a man was but four times the price of an ox.

He sold his own kindred into slavery. English slaves were held in
Ireland till the reign of Henry II.

In time, however, the spirit of Christianity, pleading the cause
of humanity, stayed slavery's progress, and checked the slave
traffic by appeals to conscience.

Alexander III, Pope of Rome in the twelfth century, proclaimed
against it, by writing: "_Nature having made no slaves, all men
have an equal right to liberty_."

Efficacious as the Christian religion has been to destroy or mitigate
evil, it has failed to render the so-called Christian slaveholder
better than the pagan, or to improve the condition of the bondsmen.

It may be observed that when slavery seemed to be firmly planted
in the Republic of the United States of America, Egypt, as one of
the powers of the earth, had passed away; her slavery, too, was
gone - only her Pyramids, Sphinx, and Monoliths have been spared by
time and a just judgment. Greece, too, had perished, only her
philosophy and letters survive; Israel's people, though the chosen
of God, had, as a nation, been bodily carried into oriental
Babylonian captivity, and in due time had, in fulfillment of divine
judgment, been dispersed through all lands. God in his mighty
wrath also thundered on Babylon's iniquity, and it, too, passed
away forever, and the prophet gives as a reason for this, that
Babylon dealt in "_slaves and the souls of men_."

Rome, once the mistress of the world, cased as a nation to live;
her greatness and her glory, her slave markets and her slaves, all
gone together and forever.

Germany, France, Spain, and other slave nations renounced slavery
barely in time to escape the general national doom.

Russia, though her mighty Czars possessed absolute power to rule,
trembled before the mighty insurrections of peasant-serfs that
swept over the bodies of slain nobles and slave-masters from remote
regions to the very gates of Moscow. Catherine II., Alexander I.,
Nicholas I., and Alexander II. listened to the threatened doom,
and, to save their empire, put forth decrees to loosen and finally
to break the chains of twenty millions of slaves and serfs. Even
Moorish slavery in Northern Africa in large part passed away.
Mohammedan,( 4) Brahmin, and Buddhist had no sanction for human

England heard the warning cry just in time to save the kingdom from
the impending common destiny of slave nations.

It was not, however, until 1772, that Lord Mansfield, from the
Court of the King's Bench of Great Britain, announced that no slave
could be held under the English Constitution. This decision was
of binding force in her American colonies when the Declaration of
Independence was adopted, and the "Liberty Bell" proclaimed "_Liberty
throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof_."

The argument that the institution of slavery was sanctified by age
ceased, long since, to be satisfying to those who learned justice
and mercy in the light of Christian love, and who could read, not
only that human slavery had existed from the earliest times, but
that it had existed without right, only by the power of might, not
sanctioned by reason and natural justice, and that in its train a
myriad of coincident evils, crimes, and immoralities had taken
birth and flourished, blasting both master and slave and the land
they inhabited, and that God's just and retributive judgment has
universally been visited on all nations and peoples continuing to
maintain and perpetuate it.

Murder has existed in the world since Cain and Abel met by the
altar of God, yet no sane person for that reason justifies it. So
slavery has stalked down the long line of centuries, cursing and
destroying millions with its damning power, but time has not
sanctioned it into a right. The longer it existed the more foul
became the blot upon history's pages, and the deeper the damnation

Online LibraryJoseph Warren KeiferSlavery and Four Years of War, Vol. 1-2 → online text (page 1 of 55)