First Report from Gettysburg
[JULY 18, 1863.
GRANDLY the army wrought, on the murderous field of battle;
It has wiped the stain of defeat from every soldier's brow:
Mid the clash of steel on steel, and shouts, and the harsh death-rattle,
The Army of the Potomac has won a victory now!
Honor to ye brave men, from the battle wounded and gory!
Honor to ye brave men, whom the angel of death passed by!
Ages on ages hence shall others rehearse your story,
And pray that when duty calls like you they may live or die.
Though your worldly lives be obscured in the light of freedom's dawning,
Though the very graves ye rest in be marked with dimness and doubt,
Angel voices shall call to your resurrection morning—
God Himself is your Captain, and He will leave no man out!
Ye, who for weary months have suffered loss and disaster,
Going from love and home to scenes of hatred and pain,
Gaze on your flag with pride, and press toward the enemy faster!
Deck every brow with laurel, and lift up your heads again!
Then kneel reverently and call on the name of Jesus.
Be every head uncovered—each heart in silence adore.
He has crowned us with His love—He has blessed His erring creatures!
His be the power and glory forever and evermore!
SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1863.
THE GOOD NEWS.
AFTER a long period of gloom and discouragement, we can again congratulate our readers upon the good news. On 3d July, at 5 P.M., the broken masses of Lee's rebel army, recoiling from the shock of Meade's veterans, were flying to the mountains, throwing aside their guns and cartridge-boxes, and strewing the plains of Southern Pennsylvania with the material of war; while on the one side the Army of the Potomac, flushed with victory and believing in its commander, was hotly pressing the fugitives in their retreat Northward; and on the other, the yeomen of New York and Pennsylvania, under Couch, fresh from peaceful pursuits, but as steady as veterans, were pressing down on their flank, and converting their attempted retreat into a rout. Not only did the rebels leave dead and wounded in our hands. The skulkers and stragglers from Lee's army—who fill every farm-house and thicket in Southern Pennsylvania and Maryland—are alone said to number one-fourth of the effective force with which he entered Maryland. Of the guns lost by the rebels, and taken by us, the reports are thus far so conflicting that we do not care to repeat them. It is evident, however, that Lee must have lost in his hasty and disorderly retreat a great portion of his artillery; and if, as is reported, Meade came up with him at or near Williamsport on 7th, and engaged him while he was preparing to cross into Virginia, his loss of guns will probably prove irreparable. Men may ford the river even in its present swollen condition, but guns can not; and without an adequate artillery force Lee's forces will never get back to Richmond as an army.
Within twelve hours after the defeat of the rebels under Lee the garrison of Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant. We have as yet no details of the event—nothing, we may say, but a very brief dispatch from Admiral Porter to Secretary Welles. On this account the authenticity of the news has been questioned by some rebel sympathizers. We can see no good reason, however, for assuming its incorrectness. On the contrary, the last letters from Vicksburg, dated up to 28th ult., all foreshadow the early surrender of the place, partly from the effect of our bombardment and mining operations, and partly from the want of provisions. Before these lines are read all doubts will be removed by the receipt of fuller intelligence, and we take for granted that that intelligence will confirm the present belief that we have taken Vicksburg with all its garrison and artillery.
It is assumed by some of our papers and many of our people that the defeat of Lee's army and the fall of Vicksburg involve the collapse of the rebellion. This may be so in one sense, inasmuch as the reopening of the Mississippi which follows as a matter of course from the capture of Vicksburg, and the overwhelming defeat of the rebel army in Northern Virginia, render the further prosecution of the contest by the pro-slavery insurgents absolutely hopeless. The capture of Vicksburg secures the capture of Port Hudson, bisects the rebel
country, and leaves General Grant's army free to operate in conjunction with Banks against Mobile, or, in conjunction with Rosecrans, against Chattanooga—the geographical and strategical centre of the Confederacy; while on the other hand, the defeat of Lee uncovers Richmond, and the railroad system of Virginia, and, if properly turned to account by our people, will compel the so-called Government of the Confederacy to seek refuge in North Carolina—where, according to last accounts, they are not very likely to be welcome. In this point of view, the news which we have, if confirmed, may be said to involve, sooner or later, the collapse of the pro-slavery insurrection, and the restoration of the authority of the United States Government over the whole of the territory of the United States.
But it will probably prove a mistake to expect the actual surrender of the rebels, so long as Bragg, Beauregard, and Johnston have armies under their control. By falling back into the uplands of the Carolinas and Georgia; by concentrating their forces and their supplies; by increasing their cavalry force and devoting their energies to cavalry raids into the North, and the destruction of the long lines of communication which we shall have to maintain with our armies in the heart of the South; by distributing guerrillas and partisan companies along the banks of the Mississippi and the other great rivers of the Confederacy; a contest may be carried on even for years which, though hopeless and ineffectual to produce any good result, may yet avail to prevent our being able to claim that the rebellion has been crushed or peace restored. This, we take it, will be the policy of the rebel leaders. They are not the kind of men who "give up." They know that they have nothing to gain by penitence. Disgrace and exile are the mildest reward they can expect. A halter from their own outraged people will be a more likely end to their career. The authors of the greatest rebellion in history—a rebellion equally remarkable as being a rebellion not only against the government of their country, but against the plainest principles of truth and justice and Almighty God himself—they will not, they can not sue for terms as other vanquished combatants might. They will fight to the bitter end: fight so long as they can persuade a single deluded white man or wretched negro to shoulder a musket in their cause.
If the news received within the past two days be confirmed, the second act of the rebellion is ended. The power of the Government of the United States to maintain its authority is demonstrated, and the capacity of the rebels to establish an independent government is disproved.
It now remains to accomplish the work by suppressing the bands of rebels who, for some time to come, may be expected to infest the country in which the war has been waged, by hunting down guerrillas on the Mississippi and bands of organized insurgents in Virginia; by destroying the fortresses built to resist the authority of the Government, and studding the rebel country with other forts garrisoned by loyal black men, whose business it shall be to keep down the traitors who were their masters; by shattering every semblance of an army which the remaining insurgents may muster; and, finally, by administering to the rising generation at the South a practical and thorough lesson of the cost and inconvenience of war.
This is the work now before us. Though less arduous than the work we have accomplished, it will still task our energies severely.
THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1863.
OUR great national day broke this year in clouds and storm. The public mind had never been sadder or more excited. It was known that the decisive battle of the campaign, if not of the rebellion, was already engaged. The news that reached the city was conflicting and doubtful. That our brave brothers in the field were fighting as heroes fight was clear, but that their blood would avail to victory was yet to be known. The field of battle just a year before was upon the peninsula of Virginia. It was now in Pennsylvania. Defeat must be disastrous. Washington would be then in extreme danger, and the war would have been transferred to our soil. The banner of Meade's army was the flag of civil order, constitutional liberty, and the Union as their security. Between him and the Lakes there was a hardy people enrolled as militia, but neither trained nor massed as an army. They could not hope to withstand the furious onset of triumphant rebels; and Lee's success would be the mortal peril of free, popular, democratic institutions.
So dawned the day, with this solemn consciousness in the breast of every loyal American citizen. The historical Fourth of July, 1776, was not a day more precious to this country, and therefore to mankind. It brought this year—under the circumstances it could bring with it—but one supreme, overpowering, religious, and patriotic duty. The whole land should ring with the chorus of sympathy, encouragement, and resolution for the army. On this day that army was America. It was the Government, the Union, the democratic principle. It stood for all that we love and believe as Americans; our glory in the past, our hope in the future.
That glorious army was on this day the van of human civilization.
And on this day a body of people who call themselves "the Democracy" held a mass meeting in the Academy of Music, in New York, under the auspices of a political society known as the Democratic Young Men's Association, which is the Copperhead club before which Vallandigham, James, Brooks, G. Ticknor Curtis, and their associates, have furiously denounced the war, or craftily undermined public confidence in the national cause. The building was filled. The crowd was enthusiastic, after the manner of crowds upon the Fourth. The speakers were chiefly Governor Seymour of New York and Mr. Seymour who is not Governor of Connecticut. They made long and emphatic harangues. The New York Seymour, who says that he will let the Union go rather than slavery, complained that we give a dull assent to the doctrine of human equality set forth in the Declaration, and therefore we ought to let men who rebel in arms to perpetuate slavery have their own way. He informed us that our national authorities are despots and tyrants; that the fundamental principles of our Government, all our securities, all our rights, are in mortal danger from—the Government of the United States. The arrest of Vallandigham was the sure sign of the loss of all things precious to an American citizen, and every man must rouse himself to oppose the Government, for anarchy and military despotism were at hand. Mr. Seymour of Connecticut said, as usual, that we are beaten; and even if we were not, we could not hope to beat a gallant race of gentlemen who whip the mothers of their infants and sell their own children. We must make peace by asking them what they wanted, and doing precisely what they said. Mr. O'Gorman followed by declaring the Government of the United States a despotism like that of the Bourbons in France and the Stuarts in England. Fort Lafayette was a Bastile. The war was wicked. He had opposed it always, but since the enemy was in a neighboring State they must be put out, and then his voice was for giving them the victory.
While these speeches were making, while this knot of politicians was scolding at the summary arrest of men whose sole hope and effort are to help the enemy, while they were vociferously applauded by the men whom rebel successes delight, far away at Gettysburg, and Vicksburg, and Port Hudson the air was thick with battle smoke, the ground was soaked with heroic blood; charge upon charge was making; advancing and recoiling in sweat and agony. Firm as rocks against fiendish rebel assaults stood the strong lines of men who live by their own labor and respect the rights of other men, dashing into bloody fragments the bands that struck at law, order, humanity, and the country. It was the day, the moment, of glorious death, of sharp agony in the field, to thousands of our brothers—of unutterable woe to the hearts and homes of their kindred all around us—and in all this snarling, peevish, partisan haranguing, in all this contempt heaped upon the Government of the United States and the cause of the country, by the Messrs. Seymour and Company, there was not a solitary word of sympathy, of cheer, of faith, of hope, or of gratitude for the dead and dying soldiers. Not one word spoken at the Academy would have brought solace to any wounded soldier lying in the trenches before Port Hudson or Vicksburg; not one would have soothed with friendly recognition the falling hero dying for his country.
By their works and their words ye shall know them. These are the mousing party hacks who affect so nice a sensitiveness for the security of the rights of citizens, invaded, as they insist, by the Government, but who see no danger to those rights, so far as appears from their speeches, in the bloody and perjured hands of Davis and his confederates. These orators forget the soldiers who are dying for the rights of all the people, in their eagerness to howl over the wrongs of a man summarily arrested for helping the murderers of those soldiers. Thank Heaven that the Fourth of July, 1863, disgraced by the speeches of men who call themselves Democrats, has been immortalized by the heroism of those who prove themselves Democrats, or the titre friends of human equality and a just government, by defeating in the field the foe to which the talkers sigh to surrender. Between the deadly earnest of a true Democracy, which subordinates every law to the public safety and the national salvation, and the false mask of Democracy which, with Horatio Seymour, is willing that the Union should perish rather than slavery should be touched, the people of this country will decide, and decide forever.
"HAIL! KING THAT" WOULD "BE!"
THE record of the present Governor of New York is plain. It is not useless nor untimely to recall it, for whenever he speaks what he says must be interpreted by the light of what he has uniformly professed. When the rebellion menaced the country, Mr. Seymour declared that the rebels had been provoked. When the rebellion began in war against the Government and the constitutional authority of the people, he fell silent. When at length he spoke, it was to say that "If it is true that slavery must be abolished to save this Union, then the people of the South should be allowed to withdraw themselves from that Government which can not give them the protection guaranteed by its terms." If the question is between slavery and the Union, says Horatio Seymour, let the Union slide!
Nominated for Governor by the consent of Fernando Wood, Mr. Seymour spoke again. His speech was an elaborate assault upon the principles of human liberty, upon the Government established to extend and confirm it, and upon the war waged by that Government against the frantic effort of slavery to overthrow the Union. It was a speech heartily applauded by the rebel journals, and entirely in the interest of the rebellion. But admonished by shrewder friends that, although the non-voting of the soldiers and the public discontent
with the slow progress of the war, were facts most favorable to his election, yet that the State of New York was still as sound as ever upon the great question of Union and Liberty, Mr. Seymour spoke once more in Brooklyn. This time his said that the war must continue, but constitutionally. His halting, languid, protesting expression of interest in the mortal peril of the country, while every man knew his sympathies, will not be forgotten by the historian of these times.
Mr. Seymour was elected Governor, and sent a message to the Legislature. Was the heart of one loyal citizen, was the hand of one faithful soldier cheered or strengthened by it? It was full of the same bitter denunciation of the Government, the same sneering at the freemen of the North for not preventing a war by renouncing their rights as citizens and their dignity as men, and of the same monstrous mis-statement of history as all his other speeches. His first official act was to summon for trial the Police Commissioners whom Fernando Wood hated. His second was to gaze complacently at a Legislature which Fernando Wood's men were trying to dissolve in anarchy, and politely decline to keep the peace.
The shrewd men stepped in again and warned this aspiring gentleman that the road to the White House did not lie in that direction. Thereupon the proceedings against the Commissioners disappeared from sight. Order grew in the Legislature; and Mr. Fernando Wood, for the present, lost his innings. The Governor was thenceforward not conspicuous until the late invasion. Then he promptly sent off troops, and took measures to organize a force at home in the State, which is an imperative necessity. And finally, having failed to appear at every other meeting at which he was announced to speak, since his election, he made a speech in New York upon the Fourth of July.
This speech is in two parts. In the first he says that, if we had compromised with the rebels before they took up arms, there would have been no war. In the second he says that military necessity is a plea which mobs may urge as well as a government, and therefore his "Republican friends" had better take care how they get the example. To these points the reply is inevitable, that no compromise could have prevented the war, and that none was possible or honorable; and that the second proposition is an absurdity, because every function and power of a lawful government may be simulated or assumed by a mob.
These are the sentiments and speeches, and this, during the mortal struggle of the country for its existence, is the career of a gentleman who proposes, if possible, to be the next President of the United States. In the novel of "Ten Thousand a Year" there is a smooth lawyer whose name is, upon the whole, the best thing in the book. But when that name is mentioned it carries no impression of uprightness, energy, manliness, steadfastness, honest conviction, ability, or generosity. It suggests merely a bland plausibility, a dextrous cunning, a smiling selfishness, a something to be steadily avoided, or to be trusted at your peril. The name, as the gentle reader will remember, is Oily Gammon.
MESSRS. CONWAY AND MASON.
ALTHOUGH Mr. Conway made a great mistake in representing himself as an agent to Mr. Fugitive Slave Bill Mason, who is notorious as the rebel emissary in London—and although his proposition was almost peculiar to himself, for certainly it is not the view of any considerable number of persons in this country—and although, once more, he has done the cause harm, as indiscreet friendship always does, yet he has also done us all and the English people a signal service by showing that the rebel agent will not agree to emancipation as the condition of separation and peace.
Mr. Conway, as every man in England will see, asked Mr. Mason a plain question, and Mr. Mason evaded a direct answer. His evasion was diplomatic and skillful, but it was none the less an evasion, and an evasion is an indirect answer. He declined to answer the question, first, upon the ground that he did not know Mr. Conway's credentials; and second, because he did not choose to, and because the Northern States will never be in a condition to ask the question. Possibly that may be so. But his correspondent was in a condition to ask the question, and asked it. He needed no credentials to authorize him to ask; nor did Mr. Mason need to see them in order to answer. Before entering upon any kind of treaty it would have been right to require the authority. But the point of interest presented by the correspondence to the British mind is—knowing very well that Messrs. Conway and Mason can not negotiate—whether, to secure independence and peace, the rebels will consent to emancipation. Mr. Mason's evasive reply is, distinctly, No.
Ingenuous John Bull may smile at the ardent and sincere young man measuring his fence with the older, craftier hand. But the craft that seems to baffle can not conceal the wound. The ardent adversary has most unskillfully dealt a mortal blow. He has revealed the truth, that slavery is dearer to the rebels, whom England befriends, than independence or peace; and he has thereby unmasked the character and purpose of the rebellion.
FROM A DIARY.
WE sat at the Club the other morning, discussing people, as clubmen sometimes do. B— drove by.
"There goes a man who prefers to crawl on his belly to walking on his feet," exclaimed X—, earnestly.
"That's a strong statement," said Y—.
"It is a true statement," said X—, emphatically; "and I will tell you why it is true. In the early days, before Sumter, when the rebellion was hatching, there was a private meeting of certain gentlemen in this city, some of whom were afterward conspicuous as the Delmonico Copperhead Committee, and others of whom are now and always have been the most faithful and uncompromising friends of the country and the Government. The meeting was held at a house upon the Avenue; and when it was clear that all were present this B—, whom you just saw (Next Page)
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