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MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE G. MEADE,
the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, was born of American parents at
Barcelona, Spain, in 1815, and is consequently forty-eight years of age. He
entered West Point from Pennsylvania in 1831, and entered the Third Artillery in
1835. On 26th October, 1836, he resigned his commission and engaged in private
pursuits. In 1842 he was appointed to the United States Topographical Engineers,
and with that corps served in Mexico, winning several brevets for bravery and
good conduct. At the close of the war he was a Captain.
When the rebellion broke out, and
President Lincoln called for three hundred thousand volunteers, the Pennsylvania
Reserve Corps was raised, and placed under the charge of General McCall, as
division commander, and Generals Reynolds, Meade, and Ord, as brigade
commanders. General Meade was then placed in charge of the Second Brigade of
that division, and proceeded to organize it at Tennallytown.
When the Army of the Potomac
began to move upon Manassas during March, 1862, the division in which General
Meade served was attached to the First Corps, then under General McDowell. With
him they remained north of the
Rappahannock until after the battle of Hanover
Station, when they were added to the Army of the Potomac, occupying part of the
right wing, with division head-quarters in the vicinity of
On the 20th of June, 1862, he
took part in the famous
battle of Mechanicsville, where
Jackson made such a terrific dash upon
General McClellan's right wing, and
Generals McCall, Reynolds, and others were taken prisoners. His noble conduct
and bravery on this occasion were particularly noticed.
The next day he was engaged under
General Fitz John Porter in the
battle of Gaines's Mill, and was so
distinguished that he was nominated for a brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel for
distinguished services during that battle. He also took part in some of the
subsequent engagements of the
seven days' fight.
At the battle of New Market Cross
Roads he was severely wounded, but, under skillful treatment, he recovered, and
almost immediately returned to the army, where he took command of the division
until the return of Generals McCall and Reynolds from captivity in
When the rebels invaded
and Pennsylvania, after the defeat of
General Pope's army, General Reynolds, who
had commanded the division, was then detached to organize the Pennsylvania
militia, and General Meade was placed in command of the division of Pennsylvania
reserves. He led these troops during the eventful battles of
South Mountain and
Antietam, and when, at the latter battle,
General Hooker was wounded and had to
leave the field, General Meade for a short time had charge of the Ninth Army
Corps, formerly under
General Burnside had been
placed in charge of the Army of the Potomac, General Reynolds, who formerly
commanded the Pennsylvania reserves, after the retirement of General McCall, was
ordered to command the whole of the First Army Corps, and General Meade was
formally placed in command of the division of Pennsylvania reserves. At the
battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, he greatly distinguished himself,
and his division lost very heavily, the brigade commanders and several field
officers being placed hors du combat during the attack on the rebel right. The
whole loss of the division was 1624, being the greatest division loss during the
whole of that disastrous fight.
On the 15th of December, 1862,
two days after this eventful battle, he was ordered to command the Fifth Army
Corps, formerly under General Fitz John Porter, and more recently under
Butterfield. To enable him properly to hold that position he was appointed by
the President a Major-General of volunteers, and was regularly nominated to the
United States Senate during January, 863.
During the advance upon
Chancellorsville General Meade's corps formed part of the right wing of Hooker's
army. The corps started on its march on the 26th day of April, 1863, and arrived
at Kelly's Ford on the 28th. The next day it crossed the Rappahannock by that
ford and the Rapidan by
Ely's Ford. It then pushed on to Chancellorsville, where
it arrived on the 30th and engaged the skirmishers of the rebels, taking their
rifle-pits and temporary works.
During the fearful contests of
the 2d, 3d, and 4th of May General Meade's corps played its part in the same
noble manner that had characterized the troops under his special command since
the commencement of the war. It bore its part manfully, and in the end covered
the retreat of the whole of Hooker's army.
SATURDAY, JULY 11, 1813.
CHAPTER OF WALL STREET
IN the next generation old men in
Wall Street will illustrate their precepts to their juniors by reference to the
case of Harlem Railway stock in 1863. Many observant readers must have noticed
the fluctuations of this lively stock during the past three months. Few of them,
however, living out of the city, possess the knowledge that is requisite to
understand the principle of these fluctuations. For their benefit, and likewise
in order to afford some modern philosopher with an opportunity of "pointing a
moral," it may be worth while to place on record the history of the Harlem
When, last winter, it became
evident to all discerning observers that a combination of adventurers had bought
up a majority of both branches of the Legislature, and that any Broadway
Railroad Charter which those schemers might think fit to demand would be duly
passed, and would probably be signed in due course by his complaisant Excellency
Governor Seymour, a number of tax-payers, opposed to a railroad in Broadway, set
their wits to work to ascertain if there were no method of defeating, not the
bill before the Legislature, but the Legislature itself.
One of them, some ferreting
lawyer, discovered an old Act of the Legislature, passed in 1832, which, after
reciting that the city had empowered the Harlem Railroad Company to run city
cars down to the foot of "the Park," and that the Company had bound itself to
use the privilege, conceded to the Company the exclusive right of running city
cars in any street, or streets, or avenues in which the City Council might deem
it advisable to have such vehicles.
To understand this Act, it must
be borne in mind that, when it was passed, city rail-cars were an experiment,
and no one could tell whether the Harlem would not lose money by its large
outlay for rails in Fourth Avenue and Bowery. The additional privilege was given
to the Harlem stockholders as a sort of bonus to induce them to make the
experiment and to risk the outlay.
Twenty years had elapsed since
the passage of this Act. In that time, the feasibility and lucrativeness of city
rail-cars had been demonstrated. It was clear that if the Common Council could
be got to declare that a city railroad was required in Broadway, the Harlem
Company would be entitled, under the Act of 1832, to build it, and would enjoy
the right to the exclusion of all rival claimants. Upon this foundation the
opponents of the Albany scheme for a Broadway Railroad went to work.
The Common Council was sounded,
and it was found, as expected, that members were willing to do any thing if
"matters were made pleasant." Allusion was made to the passage in the Gospel
which states that the laborer is worthy of his hire. If members were to labor
they must have their hire.
After some negotiation all
difficulties on this score were adjusted. A sum was mutually settled upon—shall
we say $100,000, besides an interest of 20,000 shares of Harlem stock? We don't
pretend to know exactly.
Suddenly, at 4 P.M. on an
unexpected day, both Boards of the Common Council were called together. The
uninitiated had no idea why they met. People who were in the secret whispered
that before they rose the Harlem Railroad Company would be authorized to lay
rails in Broadway. But the event put them to shame. Both Boards adjourned
without even alluding to a railroad in Broadway. There were quarters, however,
where it was whispered that the Harlem people had not "put up" the money, and
Aldermen and Councilmen were too wary to do business on credit.
Next day, at 1 P.M., the Council
met again, and this time the Harlem folks were confident of an ordinance. But
again an adjournment was carried; and this time, a little bird said that the
friends of the Council required the money to be deposited in the hands of a
notorious gambling-house keeper—whom the Harlem people would not trust—while the
friends of the Harlem were ready to deposit the money with a leading banker,
whom the Aldermen would not trust.
There was another brief session
that day at 5 P.M., which adjourned to 9 P.M. without making progress. Before
nightfall, however, the Harlem operators became aware that delay was dangerous;
that the Albany schemers were aroused, and that injunctions had been applied
for. Like wise men, they waived their scruples, and the little bird whispered
that the money was "put up" in the hands of the gambling-house keeper. At 9 P.M.
the Council met. The Sheriff and Deputy-Sheriff were on hand with injunctions
obtained by the rascally Albany rogues, who saw their prey escaping them. They
served some members, but not a quorum. They served the Clerk of the Aldermen,
but that body, knowing that the money had been deposited with their chosen
stake-holder, removed the official, and appointed a Clerk pro tem. The
Deputy-Sheriffs tried to force their way into the Council Board, but were
unceremoniously ejected by the door-keeper, assisted by a chosen party of
shoulder-hitters. And so, at half past nine at night, when the tax-payers and
parties interested were in sweet unconsciousness, the ordinance was passed
granting to the Harlem Company the right to lay rails in Broadway, Fulton, and
It is presumed that the laborers,
whether worthy or not, received their hire. Besides the cash in hand, which was
fairly paid over by their stake-holder, they did well on their purchases of
Harlem stock. On the evening on which the ordinance was passed the stock sold at
58; the next day it commanded 70; and it rose steadily from that point to 118.
So large profits overset the
reason of the friends of the Common Council. In comparison with the thousands
thus made in a day or two, street-cleaning schemes, by which a few hundreds were
filched, or the sale of votes at $100
a piece, seemed petty and
contemptible. The City Fathers had tasted of the waters of Pactolus, and longed
for another draught.
They were not long in doubt. If
they could create, could they not also destroy? Could not he who had given
likewise take away? As the Herald beautifully remarked, in justifying the
transaction afterward from the point of view of an opponent of a Broadway
Railroad, what would become of us if a legislative body could not repeal an act
passed in error, or under misapprehension? What, indeed!
Some friends of the Common
Council waited upon Commodore Vanderbilt, and gravely informed him that they
feared a mistake had been made in granting the franchise to the Company of which
he is President. They feared the grant would have to be repealed.
What the Commodore's reply was
this chronicler is not prepared to state. He believes, however, that in the
course of an unusually long and unusually warlike career, the Commodore has
never once allowed himself or any concern under his control to be black-mailed.
Under these circumstances, the Common Council delegates may possibly not have
been met with a spirit of compromise or even Christian forbearance.
One thing they may have been
told, and that was that, if they undertook any — rogueries, it might cost them
all the money they had previously made by their connection with this affair.
But the City Hall junta, like
many other men, are smart in their own sphere, but children out of it. They
reasoned that if the passage of the ordinance had put Harlem up from 58 to 118,
the repeal of that ordinance would put it down from par to 50. So, in a sweetly
innocent way, they "sold Harlem short" all the way from 85—to which point the
Commodore had let it drop—to 72.
Now there are 80,000 shares of
Harlem. Of these 80,000 the Commodore is supposed to have held 50,000 when this
contest commenced, and his confidential friends, knowing the man, may have taken
15,000 more. In charming ignorance of these little facts, the smart schemers of
the City Hall sold, for future delivery, at prices ranging from 85 to 72, some
50,000 shares more. Any arithmetician can figure the inevitable result. From
80,000 deduct 65,000, and the balance is 15,000. This was all the stock
available for the Common Council deliveries of 50,000. In other words, these
smart schemers, these shameless black-mailers, these wretched thieves, who had
done so well by passing the grant, and now wanted to do still better by
threatening to repeal it, had, in their blind avarice, contracted to deliver
35,000 shares of stock which they could not possibly get except from the very
parties whom they were conspiring to rob.
But of this they knew nothing. On
25th, at 5 P.M., extraordinary meetings of the Common Council were held, and
both boards went through the farce of repealing the grant to the Harlem Company.
Next morning the Commodore went
to work. At an early hour his brokers had orders to take all the Harlem that was
offered. From 73 the stock rose steadily, in the face of the ordinance of the
Common Council, to 97. Next day it went to 106. A roan who had sold 1000 shares
on 25th at 72, found himself a loser on 27th of $17,500. Never did fierce March
sun melt snow quicker than did the rise in Harlem dissipate the ill-gotten gains
of the City Hall junta. They lost thousands in an hour; each minute cost them
With sensations akin to those of
a thief when he feels the handcuffs click on his wrists they went to the
Commodore to beg for mercy. The veteran received them graciously. He was not
aware that he had had any transactions with them. Having an unusually large
balance at his banker's he had invested it in Harlem stock, of which he
entertained a good opinion. He knew not who had sold the stock he had bought. If
the gentlemen present were the sellers, he feared they had parted with valuable
property at a low price. For his part he didn't see that he had had, or was
likely to have, any dealings with them; and wished them a very good-morning.
Foiled, exasperated, and
sickened, the rogues slunk back to Wall Street to find that Harlem had gone up 2
per cent. more while they had been suing for mercy. Nor was loss of money their
only sorrow. The public had come to understand the game, and fairly reveled in
delight at seeing knaves so beautifully caught. No member of the City Hall party
could show himself in public without exciting a roar of laughter.
There is no saying how far things
might have gone, and how much money the freak might have cost, had it not
occurred to some calm and shrewd observers that it was dangerous to provoke the
Common Councilmen too far: that if they were "cleaned out" the result would
inevitably be that they would replenish their purses, somehow or other, at the
expense of the tax-payers. This suggestion was laid before the Commodore by a
disinterested third party.
The victor was disposed to be
"Let matters be placed in statu
quo," said he; "and then I will see what I can do with the outstanding
Accordingly at 1 P.M., on 29th,
the Aldermen met. The following is the official report of their action as
printed in the Herald:
BOARD OF ALDERMEN.
This Board met at one o'clock
P.M. yesterday, President Walsh in the chair.
At a former meeting of the Board
a resolution was passed rescinding the grant made to the Harlem Railroad Company
which permitted them to extend their line through Broadway.
Alderman Farley now moved to
reconsider that action, and to refer the matter to the Committee on Railroads.
City Inspector Boole (honorary member of the Board) was in favor of Alderman
Farley's motion, and could give many reasons why the matter should be referred.
They should act legally. The Board had passed a resolution giving the Company
the charter. It is true they have not put down any rails, and that they were not
liable for any damage; but the Harlem Company have purchased all the rails
necessary; and the Common Council, having granted the charter, should be very
cautious before they violated their agreement.
Alderman Hardy did not think that
the Common Council could rescind their grant to the Company; they were bound by
every feeling of good faith to maintain their grant, and for that reason he
voted at the last meeting against the resolution to rescind it.
Alderman Jeremiah asked if this
grant was to be perpetual.
Alderman Hardy answered that it
was perpetual, and the Board, if they had had any objection, should have
considered the matter before they granted permission for the extension of the
railroad. He believed that they could not violate their first action in the
The previous action of the Board
was accordingly reconsidered, and the whole matter referred to the Committee on
Railroads (i. e., the tomb of the Capulets).
So the Aldermen ate the leek.
Reporters say they grinned in a ghastly manner over it. The Councilmen may
possibly he spared the ignominy of a direct square back down, as, without the
concurrence of the Aldermen, their action goes for nothing.
But every one understands that
both branches of the Common Council deliberately attempted to black-mail the
Harlem Railroad Company; that they were foiled, and severely punished in purse
and prestige; and that finally, to save themselves from utter ruin, they
acknowledged themselves black-mailers, and ate dirt in the face of the people.
After this let no man complain of
the pede claudo of Justice.
NEW REBEL POLICY.
JEFFERSON Davis has evidently
been persuaded to try a policy which he has always disapproved. He has been
constantly and. bitterly assailed by a party among the rebels for persisting in
a policy of defense instead of offense. At the time of
his inauguration under an
umbrella in Richmond he declared that the rebellion had been trying to defend
too extensive a border, and that the truly wise course was a retirement from
such outstretched lines.
That this policy was the best for
the success of an insurrection like his is undoubtedly true. "Let us alone," is
the most captivating cry the rebels can utter, for it provokes the reply from
foreign powers, "Why not?" and conciliates sympathy in advance. Besides, in a
sparely-settled country such a policy concentrates strength, binds the
population together, and inspires them with the consciousness that they are
fighting upon their own soil for their own homes. To take the offensive and
advance, is to risk their communications, to expose their rear, to unite their
enemy, and to arouse an overwhelming population to fly to arms and to deploy
most effectively all their immense resources. It is to take from themselves and
give to the enemy the heroic inspiration that springs from actual invasion.
The party which favors this
policy has at length prevailed. Nor is their success in procuring its adoption
surprising. For, notwithstanding the partial success of the rebel armies in the
field, the rebel cause itself did not prosper. The stringency of the blockade;
the passivity of Europe; the adaptation of trade to the less of cotton; the
acquiescence of the loyal States is in long war; their prosperity while it
raged; the steady ripening of public sentiment in the matter of conscription and
emancipation; the constant improvement in military skill and invention; and the
gradual but sure reduction of the area of the rebellion, have at length made it
palpable to the rebel chiefs that their only hope of prolonging the struggle
lies in adopting a policy of offense. And they have opened their offensive
campaign all along the line from Portland to Pittsburg.
The movement is not to lie
deprecated by us. It is the surest test they could have applied to the loyalty
of the land. It reveals the situation to us and to the world plainly. It puts us
to the trial of our veracity. It proves our patriotism. It strips off masks and
silences rhetoric. It says to us, "If you mean fight, fight." And who does not
wish to know exactly where we stand? Who is not glad that now we shall see
whether we mean what we say, and what doubtless we sincerely think we mean? If
it affect the whole country with paralysis instead of indignant inspiration, we
shall know that we are conquered. If it brings the whole loyal land to its feet,
demanding that the Government of the United States shall summon every United
States citizen to arms, and to see that he is drilled every week, it will do
what we believe it will, and secure a unity such as we have not had, and a peace
such as good men pray for.
LESSON OF THE HOUR.
The invasion of Pennsylvania is
mortifying. A march of the rebels upon Philadelphia would be disastrous. But it
will not be without its advantages, if it teaches us that we call make war only
in a warlike way. Every lesson that we have (Next