Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
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Robert E. Lee
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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) It is a political organization for specified purposes. They are
not fighting for the Union merely because it is a Union, for it might exist for
inhuman and nefarious ends. The combination of pirate vessels into a pirate
fleet is a union by which more money might be made than by the separate ships;
but it would be a union more despicable and dangerous in the exact degree that
it was larger and stronger. The great multitude of citizens are fighting to the
death for this Union because they believe with all their hearts in the objects
it was founded to secure and in the certainty of its securing them. And the
great end of that Union is to give every man the fairest possible chance. In its
formation it supposed and intended that by this time all artificial distinctions
would have been removed, and that the general equality of opportunity would have
secured the general welfare.
To ask, therefore, whether you
would not extend Slavery all over the land to save the Union is to ask the
supremely silly question whether you would not put out your eyes to save your
sight. Remember that the Union is so priceless because by its lawful operation
it secures to every man the largest liberty of thought, speech, and action. And
it is because the only privileged class in the country saw that the lawful
working of the Union was going to secure more liberty than they thought
compatible with their continued monopoly of the Government that they are now
trying so hard to dissolve the Union. Let us say to them that we will willingly
extend Slavery to save it and they will clasp us to their hearts. They say and
believe that they are our natural masters. They will be entirely justified in
saying so when Bat speaks for the country.
ENERGY NOT CRUELTY.
"You call for severity," says
some doubting you ; "but was it ever found that a system of fire and sword in
war was a wise system? Is there not common sense in war as in every thing else;
and may you not conduct it so savagely as to drive the enemy into desperation,
when a more moderate method would have induced them to surrender?"
Certainly you may. But does any
Jeff Davis and
John Bull insinuate that the Government has
waged this war savagely? Read any account of the treatment of our
prisoners in Richmond, Salisbury, Montgomery,
Charleston, and the filth, the poison,
the foul food, the sickening inhumanity of treatment are revolting. On the other
hand, do you suppose that the rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas, on Delaware
Island, or elsewhere, suffer? Do you suppose Soule is stifled in indescribable
nastiness at Fort Lafayette? Do you not know that our own captains were turned
out of their comfortable quarters at Fort Warren to accommodate the wretched old
Mason and Slidell; and that the Baltimore
prisoners in the same fort received every luxury from people in Boston? Have we
boiled bones and carved skulls? Have we hung men of rebellious sympathies?
No: no man will charge upon the
Government any undue harshness in the conduct of the war hitherto. It began by
declaring privateersmen to be pirates, but its roaring was that of a sucking
dove. It has taken thousands of prisoners—many, like Buckner, aggravated
traitors. Did it try even that man, that, if found guilty, there might be an
example? No; it has exchanged him. With the exception of some guerrillas shot
upon the spot like other noxious vermin, has there been any solitary instance of
rebel life taken except upon the battle-field? None; none at all.
Nor does any one ask for an
inhuman or savage policy now. All that is asked is that we understand that we
are at war, and that we use every lawful means of warfare. Having found that
tufts of grass and twigs lightly thrown will not drive the enemy away, let us
try stones. Having been forced to rely upon war, let us show those who have
invoked it that we are more terrible in its use than they; that if they hit, we
shall hit harder; that if we bleed, they shall bleed more copiously; that if we
suffer, they shall endure anguish.
The severity that drives an enemy
to despair is wanton cruelty. It is the conduct of the
British in India and China, a conduct in war
which makes them the most hated of nations. But British brutality stands alone.
The magnanimous Britons alone blow men from the cannon's mouth because they do
not side with heartless foreigners against their own country. They alone deliver
young wives, nearly mothers, to the disemboweling knife of barbarians. The
energy in the prosecution of this war which is demanded by all loyal men is
neither torture nor wanton suffering, but the sternest use of every weapon of
NO FIGS FROM THISTLES.
THERE has been some question
General Pope's order for our troops to live upon the enemy,
and not to guard the property of rebels, is not an abandonment of the country to
the rapine of our own soldiers. Several letters have been printed from the
seat of war in Virginia apprehending the
demoralizing effect of the order upon our own men, and fearing that all
discipline would be destroyed.
But this fear arises from a
misunderstanding. The order of living upon the enemy does not mean allowing
robbery and ravage of every kind. It means simply that all property within our
lines is to be occupied by the military authorities, and appropriated to our use
under military regulations, and that when we move all that can not be of service
to us shall be destroyed, that it may not serve the rebels. To secure this
result it must, of course, be guarded. But instead of guarding it for the enemy,
it will be held by ourselves for ourselves. The object of the order is to
prevent the protection of property intended to help the overthrow of the
Government. The result of it will be the necessity of every man's deciding
whether he will take the chance of safety under our Government or under the
Two soldiers of our
Virginia came to a farm-house and begged for some water. The
virago in charge said that if
they were Confederates they might drink and welcome; if not, they might go hang.
Finding the chance hopeless the soldiers went off. The next day the woman sent
to our Commanding General for a guard to protect her house and property against
stragglers! So when we went into Maryland, the secession disunionists were
overrun with a vast crowd of customers, who paid for what otherwise would have
had no sale at all, and paid in gold, which was immediately converted into shot
and shell to kill loyal men and destroy the Government.
General Pope's order is
intended to make such absurdity impossible. To expect to make Union men out of
Secessionists by showing them that they may rebel in perfect safety, is as wise
as to try to extract sun-beams from cucumbers. It is an alchemy in which General
Pope does not believe.
There is one argument, and one
only, which will make Union men, and that is the lesson of hard experience that
the Government is overwhelmingly powerful and superior, and respects itself
enough to make its enemies suffer.
IT is an interesting inquiry why
Mr. Soule is shut up in Fort Lafayette and Mr. Vallandigham is not. Mr.
Vallandigham urges people to do what Mr. Soule has done. Engaged in a mortal
struggle for its existence, the Government is straining every nerve, and Mr.
Vallandigham exhorts citizens to resist it passively. The friend of the rebel
leaders, conspicuous in his subservience to every nod of the aristocratic
faction which has brought all the desolation of this war upon the country, Mr.
Vallandigham now virtually counsels surrender to their infamous insurrection.
If it be asked if he has not a
right to his opinion and to the expression of it, the reply is, that the
necessities of war supersede the privileges of peace. The right of absolutely
free discussion upon the rights and wrongs of secession was allowed down to the
beginning of hostilities by the rebels. The very day after the capture of
Sumter, even, there were voices in this city in favor of yielding to the
But when war began debate ended.
Open justification of the rebels became, under the changed circumstances, an act
of rebellion. Words were things. Orators who tried to deaden public ardor,
newspapers which strove to paralyze the national arm by every kind of appeal to
ignorance and prejudice, were dealt with, and justly, as conspirators aiding and
abetting. The man who endeavors to turn aside the officer who is upon the track
of an accomplice, actually committing a murder, is not less criminal than the
murderer. So the man who, by tongue or pen, aims to weaken the public mind in
such a solemn and critical moment as this—and as the whole last year has been—is
not less criminal than if he fought against us with arms.
If Mr. Vallandigham were detected
in sending to Jeff Davis an accurate account of the number, distribution, and
purpose of Pope's army, should he be sheltered from punishment by the plea that,
as an American citizen, he had a perfect right to get and use information of
public matters as he chose? The reply would be, whoever chooses to help our
enemies does it at his peril. So, when he tries to persuade men not to support
the Government against the rebellion, he helps our enemies; and he should do it
at his peril.
Criticism of the causes of the
war, or of its conduct, if they are made in an evident and sincere spirit of
loyalty, however sharp they may be, are tolerable, for they assume the justice
of the cause. But a man who thinks the war wrong, the Government tyrannical, the
rebels right, even if a little irregular, is a man who ought not to be allowed
to help them by his words in the desperate moment of the struggle.
This is the temporary denial of
free speech. Of course it is. It is a temporary suspension of individual freedom
that the very guarantee of all permanent freedom may be secured. It is the
denial of the privilege to the private soldier of trying to raise a mutiny in
the ranks on the very battlefield. This is the temporary limitation of free
speech to which every true lover of liberty in the land gladly submits, and of
which only rebels and rebel sympathizers complain. If Mr. Vallandigham thinks
the rebels right, let him hold his tongue. If he says so, when their hand is on
our throat, let his tongue be held.
The Lounger most cordially
sympathizes with the suggestion of his correspondent:
"DEAR MR. LOUNGER,—Since the war
began you have been so serious in your columns that I have not dared to write to
you; but I have something to say now, which I think you will listen to.
"The other morning I wanted a few
spools of thread and a piece of tape, and put on my bonnet and ran to
Haberdasher & Co.'s to get them. It was a warm day and there were not many
people in the street, and when I got into the shop I was quite confused by the
number of young men who came politely forward and asked to serve me with what I
wished. They were not the foolish, simpering fellows of whom there are so many
pictures and so much fun in Punch; but they seemed to be quick, intelligent, and
"I bought my thread and tape, and
as I sauntered home, thinking of my brother Ned, who is with Pope in Virginia, I
saw upon a pile of bricks a poster headed 'Recruits wanted.' Of course we all
know that they are wanted. We know how much is left undone for the want of men.
Yes, Mr. Lounger, and I know that if women would answer it would be left undone
"Now we women are as much
interested in the war as you men. The Southern women, indeed, are said to be the
main-stay of the rebellion, and the Northern women have been the chief solace
and cure of our wounded soldiers. How they have worked in every way that women
can, to help the great cause! And yet there is one other way. It is this. Let
some of us do the work of Haberdasher & Co.'s clerks, and let them go to the
war. At the Sanitary Commission rooms, and the hospitals, etc., there are as
many women as can be made useful. But I—and I am sure there are plenty like
me—would willingly take the places of these young men until they return. We
can sell thread and measure
ribbon and do up tape, perhaps not as well as they, but well enough for the
"Of course there are many of them
who have mothers and sisters and families dependent upon them who could not
easily go. But they ought to remember that business will revive only with peace,
and if the war continues they must, many of them, lose their places. Then there
are a great many who have nobody but themselves to look after, and they might
"I write to you, hoping that you
will print my letter, and that they may see it. If they do, I hope they will
think seriously of what I say. I can not put it in pretty language, but it means
just the same. It means that I, for one, do not believe that a man hasn't a soul
above buttons merely because he sells them; and I don't believe that a man can
not handle a rifle skillfully because he is nimble with the yard-stick. At
least, let's try, Mr. Lounger.
"Your faithful friend and
HUMORS OF THE DAY.
A POEM TO PATTI.
OH CHARMING ADELINA!
How sweet is thy Amina!
How bewitching thy Zerlina!
How seldom has there been a
More tunable Norina!
And have I ever seen a
More enjoyable Rosina?
But to tell the praise I mean a-
Las! there should have been a
Score more rhymes to ADELINA.
THE WEATHER AGAIN.—Heine said
(exulting in the cool gloom of a cathedral in a real July) that Roman
Catholicism was a very good religion for the summer. If so, no wonder the Pope
feels discouraged this year.
Charles Incledon was proverbial
for the coolness with which he regarded the turbulence of an audience. He always
listened to the "storm" with the utmost nonchalance, and occasionally addressed
the noisy tenants of Olympus. One evening he was prevented from singing by a
dire conflict in the most classical part of the house; and after pacing the
stage for some time, "nursing his wrath to keep it warm," he pulled his watch
deliberately from his fob, and thus addressed them: "Ladies and gentlemen, if
you would contrive to finish this row in a quarter of an hour, I would esteem it
as a particular favor. I'm engaged to sup with a friend at half past eleven, and
I have very little time to spare." This good-humored rebuke had the desired
effect, and the belligerent parties "grounded arms" immediately.
Ask a lady her age, and the
information contained in her reply will probably not be reliable; but inquire
the age of her dearest friend, and the answer may be implicitly believed.
A spiteful old bachelor says of
the new style of bonnets: "Their only redeeming feature is, they afford room for
a small conservatory on the top of the head."
A Scotch paper tells the story of
a dairy farmer who, after the burial of his wife, drove a hard bargain with the
grave-digger, who, bringing his hand down on his shovel, exclaims, "Down wi'
anither shillin', or up she comes!"
A boarding-house keeper
advertises "Board for two gentlemen with gas."
The law is a pretty bird, and has
charming wings. 'Twould be quite a bird of Paradise if it didn't carry such a
Peace can do a good deal toward
making a gentleman, but war is more likely to finish him.
following is considered rather a good specimen of an Irish advertisement: "If
the gentleman who keeps a shoe-shop with a red head will return the umbrella
which he borrowed of a young lady with an ivory handle, he will hear of
something to her advantage."
A merchant in Burlington having
sunk his shop floor a few feet, announces that, "in consequence of recent
improvements, goods will be sold much lower than formerly."
Old fools are more foolish than
young ones; they have had much longer practice.
The farmer is a conqueror who
wins victories upon important fields—at the point of the plow-share.
A man under sentence of death by
hanging asked the sheriff, the evening previous to the execution, "I say, Mr.
Sheriff, at what hour is that little affair of mine coming off?"
A sound discretion is not so much
indicated by never making a mistake as by never repeating one.
FOR an account of the
Cedar Mountain and the attack on Baton Rouge see
pages 558 and 559.
ORDER RESPECTING VOLUNTEERS AND
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON Aug.
Ordered—First—That after the 15th
day of this month bounty and advance pay shall not be paid to volunteers for any
new regiments, but only to volunteers for regiments now in the field and
volunteers to fill up new regiments now organizing, but not yet full.
Second—Volunteers to fill up new
regiments now organizing will be received and paid the bounty and advance pay
until the 22d day of this month; and, if not completed by that time, the
incomplete regiments will be consolidated and superfluous officers mustered out.
Third—Volunteers to fill up the
old regiments will be received and paid the bounty and advance pay until the 1st
day of September.
Fourth—The draft for three
hundred thousand militia, called for by the President, will be made on
Wednesday, the 3d day of September, between the hours of nine o'clock A.M. and
five o'clock P.M., and continue from day to day, between the same hours, until
Fifth—If the old regiments should
not be filled up by volunteers before the 1st day of September a special draft
will be ordered for the deficiency.
Sixth—The exigencies of the
service require that officers now in the field should remain with their
commands, and no officer now in the field, in the regular or volunteer service,
will, under any circumstances, be detailed to accept a new command.
By order of the PRESIDENT.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of
HOW TO ENROLL AND DRAFT MILITIA.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, Aug.
14, 1862. Ordered—Eighth—That in filling all requisitions for militia the quotas
of the several States will be apportioned by the Governors among the several
counties, and, where practicable, among the subdivisions of counties, so that
allowance shall be made to such counties and subdivisions for all volunteers
heretofore furnished by them and mustered into the service of the United States,
and whose stipulated term of service shall not have expired.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of
EVACUATION OF HARRISON'S LANDING.
The news from
army is very important. The whole force has been removed from Harrison's
the loss of a single man or any of the Government property. The movement has
been most successfully carried out, even in the face of a subtle foe.
THE ARMY OF VIRGINIA.
Major Fifield has succeeded in
capturing several hundred bags of flour belonging to the rebel States, amounting
to about 12,000 pounds. Contrabands report that
Jackson's army has been
considerably reinforced from
Richmond. The Union army now occupies the line of
the Rapidan from Raccoon Ford to Cave's Ford, with pickets beyond. General
Siegel, who is in the advance, has driven back that part of the enemy's force
which attempted to cross the river on the morning of the 16th inst. Late
dispatches state that a general advance toward the Rapidan was made on 17th. All
was quiet up to one o'clock in the afternoon, the rebels not disputing the
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE
UNITED STATES GUN-BOAT
OFF BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA,
August 6, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of
SIR,—On the evening of the 4th
inst. I was informed by General Williams, commanding the United States forces at
this port, that the enemy, in considerable strength, was moving on this place.
rebel ram Arkansas, with two
gun-boats from the Red River—the Webb and Music—were also in the vicinity of the
city to support the attack of the rebel army.
I made such a disposition of the
naval force under my command as I thought would give the most aid to our small
force on shore.
On the morning of the 5th inst.,
at one o'clock, the enemy made an attack on our land forces, and drove in the
left wing of our army, killing General Williams. Our men retreating, I opened
fire from the Essex with shot and shell over them on the advancing enemy, and
turned them back with considerable loss. It was doubtless the intention of the
enemy to make a simultaneous attack by land and water, but the fire of the Essex
driving the rebels back evidently disconcerted their plans.
Though not making her appearance,
I had information of the vicinity of the ram Arkansas about four miles above my
anchorage on the river, and this morning I determined to steam up the river,
attack her, and, if possible, prevent her rendering further assistance to the
land forces she was co-operating with. At ten A.M. I came in sight of her at
about the distance of half a mile, and immediately opened fire. After an action
of about twenty minutes I succeeded in setting her on fire, and at meridian she
blew up with a tremendous explosion.
The Arkansas had a crew of one
hundred and eighty men and mounted ten guns—six 8-inch and four 50-pounder
rifled cannon. This vessel—the Essex—mounts seven guns, and had only forty men
on duty at the time of our going into action. My First Master, Mr. R. K. Riley,
was in the sick hospital, and his place was supplied by Second Master David
Porter Rosenmiller, who conducted himself to my entire satisfaction.
I have the honor to be, very
respectfully, your obedient servant, W. D. PORTER, Commanding Division of
Flotilla in Western Waters.
PURGING KENTUCKY OF TRAITORS.
John F. Fiske has resigned the
Speakership of the Kentucky Legislature, and James F. Robinson, a well-known
Union man, has been elected in his stead. Governor Magoffin has also resigned
his office, and Robinson, therefore, becomes Governor de facto for the remainder
of Magoffin's unexpired term. M. Johnson, of Lexington, also a Union man, has
been elected Secretary of State. These resignations and elections virtually
restore Kentucky entirely to the Union, as by the resignation of J. B. Temple,
Acting-Governor Robinson becomes President of the Military Board.
UNION PRISONERS IN CLOSE
A number of Union prisoners from
General Pope's army had arrived in Richmond. They were put "in solitary
confinement, in conformity with instructions, and the rule, as enforced, will
not be departed from under any consideration whatever." Among the prisoners was
Brigadier-General Prince and thirty-four officers.
MAKING TRAITORS PAY.
General Butler, in
is determined to carry out the order of making the rebels pay some of the
expenses of the war. He has taken a list of all those who subscribed to aid the
Southern Confederacy. These merchants and others agreed to pay the amount of a
million and a quarter of dollars to that cause. He has therefore taxed them, and
all the cotton brokers who advised the planters not to bring down their cotton
so as to secure foreign intervention, to the tune of over three hundred and
forty thousand dollars to help maintain the poor of New Orleans.
ARCHBISHOP HUGHES ON THE WAR.
Archbishop Hughes delivered a
most important and patriotic sermon on 17th, in St. Patrick's Cathedral. After
reciting his course of action in Europe, he calls upon tho whole North to come
out in its strength, for "volunteering to continue and for a draft to be made."
He said that if three hundred thousand men were not enough, to call out another
three hundred thousand. "The people should insist on being drafted, and so bring
this unnatural strife to a close" by strength of might alone.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH REBEL
The papers publish a
correspondence between the rebel commander and the General-in-Chief relative to
repudiation of paroles and oaths of allegiance. The language of the rebel
General Lee's communications is considered by
General Halleck to be "couched in
language exceedingly insulting to the Government of the United States," and he
has therefore "declined to receive them." They were, therefore, returned
unanswered, except as above quoted.
ELECTION IN NORTH CAROLINA,
The election in North Carolina
has turned out to be a victory for the moderate men who are accused of Unionism.
The ultra secesh candidates for every office have been defeated by an
overwhelming majority, and Vance (Union) has carried the State for Governor
against Johnson (Rebel) by a surplus of forty thousand votes.
THE QUEEN ON NEUTRALITY.
THE Queen, in a speech proroguing
Parliament, says: "Civil war, which for some time has been raging in America,
has unfortunately continued in unabated intensity, and the evils with which it
has been attended have not been confined to the American continent; but her
Majesty, having from the outset determined to take no part in the contest, has
seen no reason to depart from the neutrality which she has steadily adhered to."
THE CONFEDERATES IN THE HOUSE OF
In the House of Lords Earl
Stratheden moved for the correspondence with Mr. Mason relative to the
acknowledgment of the Southern States. Earl Russell said it was not expedient to
produce papers. The agent of the Confederate States was not recognized, and all
communications were unofficial. Correspondence had taken place with Messrs.
Seward, but the British Government replied as before. He stated that
no communication had been received from any foreign Power relative to the
recognition of the Southern States. Earl Malmesbury suggested that the
Government should communicate with other Powers, with a view of offering
mediation If a favorable opportunity arises, to which Earl Russell agreed that
if mediation is offered all Powers should join in it. The motion was finally
COTTON IN ALGERIA.
It is reported that the French
Council of State are trying to devise means to render France independent of
America for cotton.