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THE BATTLE AT SPRINGFIELD,
WE illustrate on
THE DEATH OF GENERAL LYON AT THE BATTLE OF SPRINGFIELD, and on page 549 the
REBEL PRISONERS HAULING OFF GENERAL SIEGIEL'S GUNS, after the horses had been
killed. The following account of the battle is furnished by an eye-witness, who
left Springfield on Sunday morning and came through to Rolla on horseback :
Our army marched out of
Springfield on Friday evening only 5500 strong, the Home Guard remaining at that
place. Our forces slept on the prairie a portion of the night, and about sunrise
on Saturday morning drove in the outposts of the enemy, and soon after the
attack became general.
The attack was made in two
columns by Generals Lyon and
General Siegel leading a flanking force of
about one thousand men and four guns on the south of the enemy's camp.
The fight raged from sunrise
until one or two o'clock in the afternoon. The rebels, in overwhelming force,
charged Captain Totten's battery three distinct times, but were repulsed with
General Lyon fell early in the
day. He had been previously wounded in the leg, and had a horse shot from under
The Colonel of one of the Kansas
regiments having become disabled, the boys cried out, "General, you come and
lead us on!" He did so, and at once putting himself in front, and while cheering
the men on to the charge, received a bullet in the left breast, and fell from
his horse. He was asked if he was hurt, and replied, "No, not much," but in a
few minutes he expired without a struggle.
General Siegel had a very severe
struggle, and lost three of his four guns. His artillery horses were shot in
their harness, and the pieces disabled. He endeavored to haul them off with a
number of prisoners he had taken, but was finally compelled to abandon them,
first, however, spiking the guns and disabling the carriages.
About one o'clock the enemy
seemed to be in great disorder, retreating and setting fire to their train of
baggage wagons. Our forces were too much fatigued and cut up to pursue, so the
battle may be considered a drawn one.
The Herald correspondent thus
tells the sad tale of poor Lyon's death:
For two or three days before the
battle General Lyon changed much in appearance. Since it became apparent to him
that he must abandon the Southwest or have his army cut to pieces, he had lost
much of his former energy and decision. To one of his staff he remarked, the
evening before the battle, "I am a man believing in presentiments, and ever
since this night surprise was planned I have had a feeling I can not get rid of
that it would result disastrously. Through the refusal of Government properly to
reinforce me I am obliged to abandon the country. If I leave it without engaging
the enemy the public will call me a coward. If I engage him, I may be defeated
and my command cut to pieces. I am too weak to hold Springfield, and yet the
people will demand that I bring about a battle with the very enemy I can not
keep a town against. How can this result otherwise than against us?"
On the way to the field I
frequently rode near him. He seemed like one bewildered, and often when
addressed failed to give any recognition, and seemed totally unaware that he was
spoken to. On the battle-field he gave his orders promptly, and seemed
solicitous for the welfare of his men, but utterly regardless of his own safety.
While he was standing where bullets flew thickest, just after his favorite horse
was shot from under him, some of his officers interposed and begged that he
would retire from the spot and seek one less exposed. Scarcely raising his eyes
from the enemy he said:
" It is well enough that I stand
here. I am satisfied." While the line was forming for the charge against the
rebels in which he lost his life, General Lyon turned to Major Sturgis, who
stood near him, and remarked:
"I fear that the day is lost; if
Colonel Siegel had been successful he would have joined us before this. I think
I will lead this charge."
He had been wounded in the leg in
an early part of the engagement—a flesh wound merely—from which the blood
fleeted profusely. Major Sturgis during the conversation noticed blood on
General Lyon's hat, and at first supposed he had been touching it with his hand,
which was wet with blood from his leg. A moment after, perceiving that it was
fresh, he removed the General's hat and asked the cause of its appearance. "It
is nothing, Major; nothing but a wound in the head," said General Lyon, turning
away and mounting his horse. Without taking the hat held out to him by Major
Sturgis, he addressed the Iowans he was to command with-
"Forward men! I will lead you!"
Two minutes afterward he lay dead
on the field, killed by a rifle-ball through the breast, just above the heart.
In death his features wore the same troubled and puzzled expression that had
been fixed upon them for the past week. His body was brought to town in the
afternoon, and will be forwarded to his friends in Connecticut for internment.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 1861. LIBERTY OF SPEECH.
THE presentment by the Grand Jury
of the United States Circuit Court of certain New York journals as aiders and
abetters of treason, the suppression of treasonable papers in Missouri, and the
forcible demolition of the offices of similar sheets published in New England,
naturally suggest discussion on the subject of liberty of speech. The journals
assailed or suppressed claim that to interfere with them is to violate liberty
of speech—a privilege emphatically secured to the American people by the
Constitution. It is well worth while to test this claim.
Liberty of speech, like every
other kind of liberty, is not absolute, but conditional. It is subject to the
condition that individuals shall not be libeled, and that the public morals or
welfare shall not be directly and flagrantly assailed. The assault must be
clear, and the injury obvious and gross. A journal may censure the policy of the
Government with almost any severity of language, or assail the opinions of a
majority of the people with any degree of violence, and yet be entitled to
protection against assault. But it can not pretend that liberty of the press
justifies the publication of statements or opinions which are directly and
obviously destructive of the morals, or the welfare, or the safety of the
people. For the liberty of the press, like all other kinds of liberty, is
limited by the essential restriction that its exercise shall not be injurious to
The question, therefore, involved
in the case of the journals to which we have alluded is simply—did they confine
themselves within the
limits of a fair opposition to
the measures of Government and to the opinions of the majority of the people, or
was their course directly and obviously destructive of the welfare or safety of
the nation ? If the latter alternative be true, then it would clearly seem that
they were nuisances which not only required abatement at the hands of the
officers of the law, but which might be abated by any citizen or party of
citizens without legal formality of any kind.
We presume that it will not be
denied that these journals were hostile to the Government, and friendly to the
rebels who are in arms endeavoring to destroy it ; that they advocated measures
which would paralyze our armies; that they did their best to damp the military
spirit of the people and to injure the credit of the Government ; that they
excused the treason of the traitors, and blamed each successive step taken by
loyal people ; that the general tendency of their articles upon the mind of
persons not otherwise informed must have been to create a feeling of disloyalty
and opposition to the national policy at the present crisis. That some of the
editors were sincere in the expression of these views is very possible. But that
the views themselves were pernicious, mischievous, and calculated to do great
public injury at a time of extreme peril, there can be no doubt.
This, however, is not the worst.
The chief harm which these journals have done has been in deceiving the South
with regard to Northern sentiment. No rebellion would ever have taken place had
not Northern journals deluded the South into the belief that, in the hour of
battle, a large party at the North would stand by them. Even now the South is
encouraged to persevere in the war by the delusive notion that a few more weeks'
fighting will compel the North to yield. This notion rests entirely upon false
statements contained in Northern rebel journals. The
Memphis papers teem with articles from these sheets which are calculated to
induce ignorant readers to believe that a peace party is about to spring up at
the North, that the Government and the people are tired of the war, that Mr.
Lincoln has neither men nor money, and that in a few weeks the independence of
the Southern Confederacy will be acknowledged at Washington. Of course the rebel
leaders know better than this, but their followers do not, and hence they
persevere in their rebellion. It is impossible to exaggerate the mischief thus
done. Union men in Kentucky declare that two of these journals, both published
in New York, gave them more trouble than Magoffin, Breckinridge, and all the
other native traitors. And this can easily be understood. When a wavering
Southerner reads in a New York paper—the only one he sees —that
Mr. Lincoln is
about to give way, and the North to surrender, the temptation to join what seems
the winning side must be almost irresistible.
If a newspaper can inflict upon
the public and the nation a greater injury than this, it can not readily be
conceived. Infidel or immoral or indecent publications are far less mischievous.
The deserter who conveys information to the enemy, and is hung or shot without
scruple if he is caught, does far less harm than the publisher of a paper which
by false statements deludes a whole people into persevering in a fatal war.
Whether it can be said that such
a paper is so obviously and directly destructive of the public welfare or safety
as to be a common nuisance requiring abatement, the public and the Courts of
Justice must decide.
BRITISH OPINION ON THE WAR.
DISAPPOINTMENT has been felt in
this country at the universal complacency with which our troubles are regarded
in England. Many persons had expected that Englishmen, whose antislavery
teachings had largely aided the spread of abolitionism here, would hold fast to
their principles when slavery made war upon the United States. The event has not
justified these expectations. And in the light of experience they must be
For they ignore the essential
characteristic of the British temper—which is blind selfishness. All nations are
in a measure selfish—that is to say, they prefer their own interest to that of
others. But no nation but Great Britain is so wholly wrapped in considerations
of narrow self-interest as to be utterly indifferent to the well-being of every
foreign people. No nation but the English systematically rejoice over the
misfortunes of their neighbors, from the mean idea that they are rivals, and
that their losses are England's gain. No people but Englishmen carry selfishness
to such an extent as to be incapable of feeling pleasure at any one's prosperity
but their own, or of feeling sorrow at any misfortunes which do not strike
directly at their own pockets.
The uniform, consistent policy of
the British nation has been ever based on hostility to every other nation in the
world. Englishmen seem to have aimed at being Ishmaels and pariahs—and to have
succeeded. At home and abroad, they hate every body, and are hated in return. No
spark of generosity, or sympathy, or kindly interest in other people's welfare
British foreign policy, or the
foreign articles of the leading British journals. Other nations can feel for
foreigners : Frenchmen helped to free Italy; Russians are cordial to Germany.
Spaniards, Portuguese, Turks, Swedes, Asiatics—all evince occasional sympathy
for nations beyond their own border. Englishmen never for an instant waver in
their enmity to all foreigners.
Nothing but the most exemplary
forbearance on the part of the rulers of France has prevented the French
resenting the uniform hostility which England has shown to every French
Government from the Restoration to the present empire, and to every great
measure of French policy. Spain, absorbed in the task of national regeneration,
has been worried at every step in her path by the captious and aimless cavils of
England. Italy, after being goaded to war by British taunts, conquered her
independence in the teeth of British threats and British protests. The leading
organ of German opinion gives fair expression to German sentiment when it calls
the English the nuisances of the 19th century. Hatred is a feeble term to
describe the feelings with which Englishmen are regarded in Russia and the
Scandinavian kingdoms. And throughout Asia and South America, where England has
played the bully, the oppressor, and the robber for a couple of centuries, every
foreigner is welcome but an Englishman. Could we fairly expect to escape the
ill-will of every body's foe ?
Englishmen possess great
qualities : energy, perseverance, enterprise, business capacity, honesty. No one
will deny them these. Yet wherever they go, despite the undoubted benefit these
qualities confer upon the place of their residence, they contrive to win the
dislike of the people with whom they live. Out of England, there is not a town
in the world where Englishmen are not avoided by the educated classes, and hated
by the masses of the people. They would be inconsistent and unnatural if they
failed to improve the present crisis by conciliating the dislike and courting
the antipathy of Americans.
WHEN the Government was forced to
take up arms, it did so to defend its own integrity, not to destroy slavery. Of
course a great many thoughtful persons then saw, as the great body of citizens
now see, that one of the results of the war thrust by slavery upon the country
will be emancipation. In other words, the interest of slave property as the
dominant political interest in the Government will be overthrown, and when that
happens slavery will disappear. But in what precise way that result will be
reached no man can say.
It is equally clear that as the
rebels still persist, and the war proceeds and is removed to the Gulf States,
there will be danger of slave-insurrections. They are always the dangerous
contingency of wars in populous
slave regions. No sane man desires them ; but
every fool can see the danger. Who is responsible for them if they occur ? The
men who insisted upon war, by forcibly withstanding and outraging the
Government, or the Government, which, even after war was theoretically begun,
still hoped that it might he practically avoided ?
The slaveholders, with sad and
habitual inconsistency, at one moment execrate those whom they suspect of
exciting insurrections, and at the next declaim upon the sleek satisfaction of
the slaves whom nothing could induce to rise. Why then—pertinently asks
Russell—why then, if they are so happy, keep telling me that they are so ? And
he adds that his impression does not justify what be hears.
No : that wretched delusion has
gone forever. We have always been told how contented and happy they are. But
have we forgotten how Virginia quivered and reeled with terror before the pike
of one gray old man asking the slaves to come to him ? Have we forgotten what
John Randolph said about the fire-bell in Richmond that never sounded at night
but every mother clasped her child in vague horror to her breast, lest it might
mean insurrection ? Have we forgotten all the laws of all the slave States? Have
we forgotten the patrol, the restless supervision, not against police offenses,
but against a nameless and universal fear ? Have we forgotten the awful fate
that has overtaken any one who was suspected of telling these happy creatures
that there was even a greater happiness than their condition? Have we forgotten
that the word freedom has been the most dangerous word to utter in the
slave-section ? Have we forgotten history and human nature ?
No, no: that horrible, hackneyed
humbug about the content of slaves is forever dissipated. Individual affection
of course there is. Touissant l'Ouverture, the chief of the Saint Domingo
revolt, so loved his master and his family that he saved their lives. On the
other hand, the slaves upon the plantation of M. Gallifet had been so kindly
treated that their happiness was proverbial. But the sanguinary scene of the
insurrection upon that plantation is not less so. " So much for happy negroes
and contented slaves!" bitterly exclaims a mulatto author describing the revolt.
Why should we thrust our heads
into the sand? The Government of the United States neither desires nor incites
slave insurrections. But it is engaged in war with an enemy who inhabit a region
overflowing with slaves. Is the Government to surrender lest they should rise?
Is it necessary to repeat, then, what all candid men know, that the party which
brought this Administration
into power have always held, in
common with all loyal citizens of the land, that every political difference in
this country, however vital to the interest of any part of it, is soluble under
the Constitution. The secessionists think differently. They mean, if they can,
to settle the question over the Constitution. They live among slaves, and have
taken up arms. The rebellion of the slaves is the natural consequence. If they
do rebel, how long is the insurrection of the masters likely to last?
THE Breckinridge State Committee
is of the opinion of the Newark Evening Journal, that " our enemies are fighting
for their liberties." The liberty, namely, of breaking up the Government of the
United States. The same Committee has also expelled a member upon the express
ground that he is loyal to the Government of his country.
Fortunately the people of the
State of New York are not the property of Mr. Gideon Tucker's Committee, nor yet
of Mr. Dean Richmond's Committee. They are probably of the opinion, and will
make the fact appear in November, that the Government of the people of the
United States, when it is maintaining its constitutional authority by the hands
and hearts and money of all loyal citizens, is properly "coercing" rebels to
obey the laws. The people of this State will probably " resolve" next November,
in reply to Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Cagger, and Mr. Richmond, and Mr. Ben. Wood, and
Mr. Jeff Davis, and Mr. Breckinridge, and Mr. Floyd, and Mr. Claiborne F.
Jackson, not forgetting Mr. Vallandigham, something substantially like this :
Resolved, The Right Reverend
Major-General Leonidas Polk to the contrary notwithstanding, that the primary
and unqualified political allegiance of every citizen of the United States is to
the National Government, and not to the Government of the State in which be may
be born or chance to reside ; and that the doctrine of secession, or the right
of any citizen, or any number of citizens, forcibly to resist the National
Government, or to seize the national property, under the plea of State
sovereignty—a doctrine which is maintained with arms by Mr. Jefferson Davis, and
Mr. Toombs, and
General Toutant de Beauregard; and is equally maintained, with
excuses and sympathy and deprecations, and by all means short of arms, by Mr.
Breckinridge, and Mr. Ben Wood, and Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Cagger, and Mr.
Richmond, and Mr. Vallandigham, and Company—is a doctrine subversive of all
civil order ; having no foundation or justification in the Constitution, and
utterly at variance with the facts of history, with the traditions of the
nation, and with the dictates of common sense.
When the people of the Empire
State thunder that out hundreds of thousands strong, the worthy gentlemen who
think the only way to deal with thieves is to ask them what else they will be
pleased to take, will have no other consolation left than what may be gathered
from the judicious observation in Mr. Dean Richmond's letter of the 8th August :
" It is of little importance what men or what party occupy public positions, if
of honor and emolument, but of the utmost moment that citizens of common
principles should unite at this time in support of the Government and in
vindication of the Constitution and Union."
There is but one principle common
to loyal citizens at this time, and that is, that the Government can not be
supported by saying to citizens in arms, " If you will only tell its what you
want, you shall have it."
PAUL DILLINGHAM, of Waterbury, in
Vermont, was recently nominated by a Democratic State Convention for Governor,
and James T. Thurston and Stephen Thomas for Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer
of Vermont. They have all declined the nomination, upon the sole ground that at
this time there can be but two parties, one for maintaining the Government
unconditionally, and the other for overthrowing it.
"We must for the time," says Mr.
Dillingham, " forget whether we be Republicans or Democrats. In such a union
there will be strength and efficiency, and if we differ hereafter, let it be to
settle the question who did most for his country. Let us act together, act
honestly, efficiently, and let him wear honors who fairly wins them. I feel very
confident that a great number—I hope a majority —of all the old parties in this
State feel and judge as I do, and that they will rise above party as such and
stand for their country, one and indivisible, now and forever. With such I mean
to act, whether their number be few or many, till this most wicked rebellion is
crushed out; and wishing that my opinions and acts may be in harmony, I have
felt called upon to decline the nomination so honorably tendered to me."
The other gentlemen say : "In
reply we have to say that we are of the opinion that, until the present
rebellion and treason shall be overcome, it is the duty of every true and loyal
citizen to sustain the spirit and strengthen the arm of his country by every
means in his power; that party names and differences should be entirely laid
aside, and not be permitted to divide loyal citizens or deter any man from
yielding a full and enthusiastic support to the men and measures upon which we
must rely for the victory of the Government and the Constitution over Disunion."
To these sentiments every loyal
heart in the land, Democratic, Republican, or whatever, will cry amen. This is
the Democracy of the Green Mountains, and it is pure patriotism. How does it
compare with the "Democracy" of Mr. Dean Richmond's letter and the Breckinridge
THE POINT OF THE CASE.
THERE is no question whatsoever
of the unanimous desire and of the sufficient pecuniary and military resources
of the local citizens of the country (Next