Copyright
Morgan Dix.

Memoirs of John Adams Dix; (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 40)
Online LibraryMorgan DixMemoirs of John Adams Dix; (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


imgzmM%%




3?u

c orVv



A





.)



vj



MEMOIRS



OF



JOHN ADAMS DIX



COMPILED BY HIS SOX

MORGAN I3IX



Mnstxata



IN TWO VOLUMES.-Vol. II.



i. '







> > , J

* I r ) J ) J



NEW YORK
HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE

1883



THE NEW VORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY

526093

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDES FOUNDATIONS.

R 1911 L



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 18S3, by



MORGAN DIX



In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



A U rights reserved.



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.



IX.
THE WAR FOR THE UNION.

PAGE

New York. Baltimore. Virginia (a. d. 1861-1865) 1



u.v.



AT HOME AND ABROAD.

Union Pacific Railroad. The Mission to France. The Erie
Railroad (a.d. 1865-1872) 123

XL

GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.
A.D. 1873-1875 169

XII.

THE LAST FOUR YEARS.
A.D. 1875-1879 199



XIII.

CONCLUSION.

The Honors to the Dead. The Obssqlies and Burial .... 283







APPENDIX.

I. Mr. Calhoun and the Presidential Campaign of 1824 . . 309

II. Letters Relating to the Canadian Rebellion in 1837 . . 314

III. Mr. Gallatin's Project of a Treaty with Mexico . . .321



IV CONTEXTS.

PAGE

IV. Correspondence Relating to the Charge op Abolitionism 328

V. Letter to the Hon. Howell Cobb 335

VI. The Election in Maryland in 1861 338

VII. Letter to the Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War . 341

VIII. On the Right of the Government to Make a Draft . . 343

IX. Letter from Francis Lieber 353



t



X. Communication Transmittlng a Report from the Comp-
troller in Regard to the Sinking Funds 354



XI. The Case of William Foster 361

XII. How Fort Wadsworth Got its Name 366

XIII. Refutation of Charges against Trinity Church Corpo-

ration 367

XIV. The Two Versions of the ' ' Dies Irje " 371

XV. Communication from the Hon. John A. Dix to the Select
Committee of the Senate on the Report of Trinity
Church 373

XVI. General Dix on Social and Political Evils 387

XVII. Services of General Dix in Connection with the Ele-

vated Railroad System 406

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL CATALOGUE 409



INDEX 411



ILLUSTRATIONS VOL. II.



John A. Dix, Major-general Commanding the Department of the East,

1864 Frontispiece.

(Sled PlaU.)

Catharine M. Dix (from a Picture Taken in Paris, 1S6S) .... faces 152

(Steel Plate.)

John A. Dix (from a Portrait by Daniel Huntington, in the Collection

of the New York Historical Society) faces 26S

(Steel Plate.)

The Drawing-room of the House in Town " 156

"Seafield," the Country Home at West Hampton " 2*76

"Seafield" an Interior View " 278



IX.

THE WAR FOR THE UNION.

NEW YORK. -BALTIMORE. -VIRGINIA.

A. 13. 18Q1-1S65.



Letters from President Buchanan. Fort Sumter. Correspondence with
Major Anderson. Opening of the War. March of the Sixth Massa-
chusetts. Union Defence Committee. Great Meeting in Union Square.
New York Major-generals. Commission as Major-general in United
States Service. " On to Richmond." Intrigues at Washington. Plan
of a Campaign. Bull Run. Ordered to Baltimore. Critical Condi-
tion of Maryland. Life at Fort Mcllenry. Suppression of Newspa-
pers. Arrest of Legislature. A Sentinel may Shoot his Commanding
Officer. Expedition to Accomac and Northampton. Special Com-
mission for Prisoners of State. Transfer to Fortress Monroe. Expe-
dition against Richmond. Draft Riots in New York. General Dix
Ordered to that City. Fall Elections of 1804. The Forged Proclama-
tion. Great Fair for t lie Sanitary Commission. Canada. Raid at
St. Alban's. Assassination of President Lincoln. End of the War.
Visit to Montreal. Close of Army Life.



MEMOIRS



OF



JOHN ADAMS DIX.



IX.

Although relieved for a time from the cares of office, Gen-
eral Dix was in constant communication with the govern-
ment, and with prominent statesmen throughout the country.
He was invited to "Washington more than once, by members
of President Lincoln's Cabinet or by the Cabinet in council,
to give advice on questions of state. Of the many letters of
that period the following are specimens :

" Pvivcttc

"Wheatland, March 18, 1861.

"My dear Sir, Many thanks for your kind letter of the 14th in-
stant. I shall ever recollect with pleasure and satisfaction your brief
sojourn with us at the "White House and with gratitude the able and
successful manner in which you performed the duties of your arduous
and responsible office.

"You might envy me the quiet of Wheatland were my thoughts not
constantly disturbed by the unfortunate condition of our country. The
question of the withdrawal of the troops from Fort Sumter at first agi-
tated the public mind in this vicinity, but my impression is that the
people are now becoming gradually reconciled to it. There is a general
desire for peace. As a military movement General Scott's name will go
far to sustain Mr. Lincoln. After Major Anderson's letter received on
the 4th of March it was very doubtful whether he could be re-enforced
by all the means within the power of the government. The only alter-



4 MEMOIRS OF JOHN ADAMS DIX.

native would have been to let the Confederate States commence the war
on him, and if the force had been so superior as to render successful re-
sistance impossible after the honor of the flag had been maintained, then
to authorize him to capitulate. Indeed, I presume, such or nearly such
was the purport of our instructions.

" It is possible an attempt will be made, as you suggest, to rest the re-
sponsibility on me. But I always refused to surrender the fort, and was
ever ready to send re-enforcements on the request of Major Anderson. I
thank God that the revolution has as yet been bloodless; notwithstand-
ing, my duty as prescribed in my Annual Message has been performed
as far as this was practicable.

" With my kindest regards to Mrs. Dix, I remain always, sincerely and
respectfully, your friend, James Buchanan.

"General Dix."

" Washington, April 8, 18C1.

"Dear Sir, I am as much in the dark as yourself in regard to the
actions and designs of the present administration.

" This city has been in a great state of excitement about the military
and naval movements of the last few days, and no one but the officers
of government know their purpose. In this respect they have a great
advantage over the last administration, because the Secessionists have
now no representative in the Cabinet or kitchen. I saw Mr. Holt last
evening, and he is also ignorant of the object of the active preparations
going on. He made, however, this suggestion, that the Confederate Gov-
ernment refuses to allow a simple evacuation of Fort Sumter, but re-
quires an ignominious surrender. That the administration will fight be-
fore submitting to such a condition. If this be the reason, I am with the
administration on that point. And although Mr. Holt says he knows
nothing about it, the shrewdness of the guess leads me to think he has
received some information. So far as Chase is concerned, I do not think
there has been anything unfair or concealed in his action. The loan
turned out better than I expected, and had I been Secretary, I would
have taken the whole eight millions on the terms offered, rather than
risk the chances of the times. I have no doubt there has been a settled
purpose to evacuate Sumter, and that the delay has arisen from the
terms required by the Confederates. The country would stand war,
rather than see Anderson a captive, or required to haul down his flag.
The administration will also hold on to Pickens, and aid Houston in
Texas.

"I do not think peaceful relations will continue much longer; nor
do I think hostilities will be so great an evil as many apprehend. A



1861-1365.] PRESIDENT BUCHANAN TO GENERAL BIX. 5

round or two often serves to restore harmony ; and the vast consump-
tion required by a state of hostilities "will enrich rather than impoverish
the North.

" The best joke I have known lately is a note from Twiggs to Holt
in respect to the epithets contained in his order of dismissal. Twiggs
don't like them. How would he relish the original order ? I have not
heard from Wheatland since you were here. Mrs. Stanton and your
juvenile friend are well. Mrs. S. and L. shall visit New York in a few
weeks, unless Ben McCullough should capture us before long.

" The herds of office-seekers still throng the city.

" With sincere regards, I remain, yours truly,

"Edwin M. Stanton.
"Hon. John A. Dix."

"Wheatland, near Lancaster, April 19, 1861.

" My dear General, I need scarcely say I was much gratified with
your letter to Major Anderson, as well as with his answer. You placed
in an eloquent and striking light before him the infamous conduct of
General Twiggs and others. His response was manly and loyal. By-the-
bye, I some time since received an insulting letter from General Twiggs,
dated in Mississippi, on the 30th ultimo. Its conclusion is as follows :
'Your usurped right to dismiss me from the army might be acquiesced
in, but you had no right to brand me as a traitor : this was personal, and
I shall treat it as such not through the papers, but in person. I shall
most assuredly pay a visit to Lancaster for the sole purpose of a personal
interview with you. So, Sir, prepare yourself. I am well assured that
public opinion will sanction any course I may take with you.'

" I have paid no attention to this note, and entertain but little appre-
hension from the threats of this hoary-headed rebel. My fate, however,
is in some respects hard. After my Annual Message of the 3d of Decem-
ber, in which I made as able an argument as I could against secession,
and indicated my purpose to collect the revenue and defend the Federal
forts in South Carolina, etc., etc., the Southern friends of the administra-
tion fell away from it. From the line prescribed in this Message I am
not conscious that I have departed a hair's breadtli so far as it was prac-
ticable to pursue it. I was ready and willing at all times to attempt
to collect the revenue, and, as a necessary preliminary, I nominated a
Collector to the Senate. You know the result.

"After my explosition (sic) with the Commissioners of South Carolina
at the end of December, the Southern Senators denounced me on the
floor of the Senate ; but after my Message to Congress of the 8th of Jan-
uary, one of them at least abused me in terms which I would not repeat.



G MEMOIRS OF JOHN ADAMS BIX.

In that Message I declared that 'the right and the duty to use military
force defensively against those who resist the Federal officers in the ex-
ecution of their loyal functions, and against those who assail the prop-
erty of the Federal Government, is clear and undeniable ' and more to
the same purpose.

" Warning was repeatedly given that if the authorities of South Car-
olina should assail Fort Sumter this would be the commencement of a
civil war, and they would be responsible for the consequences. The
last and most emphatic warning of this character is contained in the
concluding sentence of Mr. Holt's final and admirable answer to Mr.
Hayne of the 6th of February. It is as follows: 'If, with all the mul-
tiplied proofs which exist of the President's anxiety for peace, and of
the earnestness with which he has pursued it, the authorities of that
State shall assault Fort Sumter and peril the lives of the handful of
brave and loyal men shut up within its walls, and thus plunge our com-
mon country into the horrors of civil war, then upon them and those
they represent must rest the responsibility.' This letter has been pub-
lished, but seems to have been forgotten. I perceive that you are to be
President of the great Union meeting. "Would it not be well, in por-
traying the conduct of Soutli Carolina in assailing Fort Sumter, to state
that tins had been done under the most solemn warnings of the conse-
quences, and refer to this letter of Mr. Holt ? Nobody seems to under-
stand the course pursued by the late administration. A quotation from
Holt's letter would strengthen the hands of the present administration.
You were a member of the Cabinet at its date, and I believe it received
your warm approbation. Hence it would come from you with peculiar
propriety.

" Had I known you were about to visit "Washington on the business of
the Treasury, I should have urged you to call at "Wheatland on your return.
You would then, as you will at all times, be a most welcome visitor.

"They talk about keeping secrets. Nobody seems to have suspected
the existence of an expedition to rc-enforce and supply Fort Sumter at
the close of our administration.

"The present administration had no alternative but to accept the war
initiated by South Carolina or the Southern Confederacy. The North
will sustain the administration almost to a man: and it ought to be
sustained at all hazards.

"Miss Hetty feels very much indebted to you, and you are frequently

the subject of kindly remembrance in our small family circle. Please to

present my kind regards to Mrs. Dix.

"From your friend always,

" James Bucuanan.
"General John A. Dix."



1861-1885.] TEE COUNTRY IN TERRIBLE SUSPENSE. 7

No one who lived in those days can forget with what sus-
pense the country watched the course of events at Charles-
ton. Fort Sumter was the focus of all eyes, South and
North. Neither side dared to stir. The new administra-
tion appeared, for the time, to have no settled policy ; it was
waiting to see to what length the Secessionists would pro-
ceed. The general impression was that Fort Sumter would
be evacuated ; it had become next to impossible to re-en-
force it. The government could not have re -enforced it
without appearing to strike the first blow ; it dared not do
that. The Southern Confederacy were also procrastinating
perhaps with a view to perfect their plans on Virginia and
Maryland, including the occupation of the national capital by
a coup de main. At this time the following correspondence
took place between General Dix and Major Anderson, to
which reference is made in the foregoing letter from Mr.
Buchanan, of April 19 :

11 Washington, March 4, 1861.

"My dear Major, I have just come from the inauguration of Mr.
Lincoln, and in a day or two more I expect to be relieved from my duties
as Secretary of the Treasury and return to my family, after my short, but
laborious and responsible, term of official service. I shall send you, by
the same mail which takes this note, an answer to a call made upon me
by the House of Representatives for information in regard to certain
transactions in the extreme Southern States. It discloses demoralization
in all that concerns the faithful discharge of official duty which, if it had
pleased God, I could have wished never to have lived to see. The cow-
ardice and treachery of General Twiggs is more disheartening than all
that has transpired since this disgraceful career of disloyalty to the gov-
ernment commenced. No man can help feeling that he is himself stain-
ed in reputation by this national degradation. I can hardly realize
that I am living in the age in which I was born and educated.

"In the midst of these evidences of degeneracy in the face of the
humiliating spectacle of base intrigues to overthrow the government by
those who are living upon its bounty, and of a pusillanimous or perfidi-
ous surrender of the trusts confided to them the country turns with a
feeling of relief, which you cannot understand, to the noble example of
fidelity and courage presented by you and your gallant associates. God
knows how ardently I wish you a safe deliverance ! But let the issue



S MEMOIRS OF JOHN ADAMS I) IX.

be what it may, you will connect with your name the fame of historical
recollections, with which life itself can enter into no comparison. One
of the most grateful of my remembrances will be that I was once your
commanding officer.

" I write in haste, but from the heart, and can only add, may God
preserve you and carry you in triumph through the perils of your posi-
tion ! I have never doubted, if you Avere assailed, that the honor of the
country would be gloriously vindicated, and the disgrace cast upon it by
others would be signally rebuked by your courage and constancy.
"I am, my dear Major, faithfully your friend,

"John A. Dix.

" Major Robt. Anderson.

" P.S. It is gratifiyiug to know that your State remains faithful to
the Union.

" My kind regards to Lieutenant Hall."

" Fort Sumter, S. C, March 7, 1861.

"Hon. General John A. Dix, Washington, D. C, Thank you many
thanks to you for your whole-souled letter of March 4. One such letter
is enough to make amends for a life of trial and of discomfort.

"I regret that the change of administration deprives the country of
your services and of those of Mr. Holt. I felt, while you two were mem-
bers of the Cabinet, that, whenever I should need assistance, it would be
sent promptly and in full force

"My position is not a very enviable one; but still, when T consider
how God has blessed me at every Btep I have taken here, I have not the
least fear of the result. I have written to the department very fully,
and the administration now know my opinion, and the opinion of each
individual officer of this command, of the strength of the force necessary
for forcing an entrance into this harbor.

"You speak of the disgraceful incidents developed in your report to
Congress. I hail already read some of your correspondence, and was
shocked at the developments they made. The faithful historian of the
present period will have to present a record which will sadden and sur-
prise. It would seem that a sirocco, charged with treachery, cunning,
dishonesty, and bail faith, had tainted the moral atmosphere of portions
of our land. And, alas! how many have been prostrated by its blast!

U I hope that, ere long, we shall see symptoms of restoration, and that
a healthier wind will recover some of those who have given way to the
blast. A long life of honest devotion to every duty, moral and social,
may cause their course to be forgiven, but it cannot be forgotten.

"The South Carolinian- are on the qui rice to-night why. we know



1861-1865.] THE " WAR-HOUNDS UNLEASHED:' 9

not. They have four guard-boats in the stream instead of the usual num-
ber of late two. I cannot believe, though, that General Beauregard,
lately of the Engineer Corps, would make an attack without having
given formal notice of his intention to do so. My rule is, though, al-
ways to keep a bright lookout.

" With many thanks, my dear General, for your most kind and welcome
letter, I am, as ever, your sincere friend, Robert Anderson. 1 '

On Sunday, April 14, the fact became known that Fort
Sumter had surrendered. The excitement created by the
bombardment of that fortress and its magnificent defence
by Anderson was prodigious. The outrage on the Govern-
ment of the United States thus perpetrated by the authori-
ties of South Carolina sealed the fate of the new-born Confed-
eracy and the institution of slavery. Intelligent Southerners
at the North were well aware of the consequences which must
follow. In the city of New York a number of prominent
gentlemen devoted to the interests of the South, and desirous
to obtain a bloodless dissolution of the Union, were seated to-
gether in anxious conference, studying with intense solicitude
the means of preserving the peace. A messenger entered the
room in breathless haste with the news : " General Beauregard
has opened fire on Fort Sumter !" The persons whom he thus
addressed remained a while in dead silence, looking into each
other's pale faces; then one of them, with uplifted hands,
cried, in a voice of anguish, " My God, we are ruined I"

The North rose as one man. The question had been asked
by those who were watching events, " How will New York
go 2" There were sinister hopes in certain quarters of a strong
sympathy with the secession movements ; dreams that New
York might decide on cutting off from the rest of the country
and becoming a free-city. These hopes and dreams vanished
in a day. The reply to the question how New York would go
was given with an energy worthy of herself.

The 15th of that month brought President Lincoln's proc-
lamation and the call for 75,000 men a bagatelle, as it
proved, compared with the number required ; but the figures



10 MEMOIRS OF JOHN ADAMS DIX.

seemed enormous to the popular eye, and the demand set the
whole city in a blaze, l^ever to my dying day shall I forget
a scene witnessed on Thursday of that week. A regiment had
arrived from Massachusetts on the way to Washington, via
Baltimore. They came in at night ; and it was understood
that, after breakfasting at the Astor House, the march would
be resumed. By nine o'clock in the morning an immense
crowd had assembled about the hotel : Broadway, from Bar-
clay to Fulton Street, and the lower end of Park Bow, were
occupied by a dense mass of human beings, all watching the
front entrance, at which the regiment was to hie out. From
side to side, from wall to wall, extended that innumerable
host, silent as the grave, expectant, something unspeakable
in the faces. It was the dead, deep hush before the thunder-
storm. At last a low murmur was heard ; it sounded some-
what like a gasp of men in suspense ; and the cause was, that
the soldiers had appeared, their leading files descending the
steps. By the twinkle of their bayonets above the Leads of
the crowd their course could be traced out into the open
street in front. Formed, at last, in column, they stood, the
band at the head; and the word was given, "March!" Still
dead silence prevailed. Then the drums rolled out the time
the regiment was in motion. And then the band, bursting
into full volume, struck up what other tune could the Mas-
sachusetts men have chosen? -"Yankee Doodle." 1 caught
about two bars and a half of the old music, not more. For
instantly there arose a sound such as many a man never
heard in all his life and never will hear; Buch as is never
beard more than once in a lifetime. Not more awful is the
thunder of heaven as. with Budden peal, it smites into silence

all lesser sounds, and. rolling through the vault above us,

tills earth and Bky with the Bhock of its terrible voice. One
terrific roar burst from the multitude, leaving nothing and-
Ible Bave its own reverberation. We Baw the heads of armed
men, the gleam of their weapons, the regimental colors, all
moving on. pageant-like; but naught could we hear save that



1861-1865.] ENTHUSIASTIC UNITY OF FEELING. 11

hoarse, heavy surge one general acclaim, one wild shout of
joy and hope, one endless cheer, rolling up and down, from
side to side, above, below, to right, to left : the voice of ap-
proval, of consent, of unity in act and will. ~No one who saw
and heard could doubt how New York was going.

After that came events the account of which fills volumes
of records of our national history. The ebb of the tide was
over ; the waters were coming in with the steadiness and
momentum of a flood which bears everything before it.

Among the memorable acts of that epoch was the forma-
tion of the Union Defence Committee, on the 20th of the
month. Its objects are stated in a circular, which also gives
the list of the first officers of that association :

" Union Defence Committee of the City of New York,
" No. 30 Pine Street, April 24, 1861.

" Sir, At a meeting of the citizens of New York, held on Saturday,
20tli instant, a committee was appointed to represent the citizens in the
collection of funds, and the transaction of such other business in aid of
the movements of the government as the public interests might require.
" The undersigned have been appointed a Committee of Correspond-
ence, in behalf of the General Committee constituted at the public meet-
ing, and take leave respectfully to say that they will be happy to receive
any communications of information, advice, or suggestion on the subject
of the present state of public affairs, and to convey any information
which they possess or may receive that will advance the public interests.
"With this view they subjoin a copy of the organization of the Union
Defence Committee and the address of each member of the Committee
of Correspondence, and beg that any subject of interest may be commu-
nicated, either by mail or by telegraph, to any member of the General
Committee, and they promise immediate attention thereto.

" They beg to be advised of the organization of any similar committees
of citizens with which they may put themselves in communication.
" With great respect, your obedient servants,
"Hamilton Fish,
William M. Evarts,
Edwards Pierrepont,
James T. Brady,



Online LibraryMorgan DixMemoirs of John Adams Dix; (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 40)