Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
Civil War 1862
Civil War 1863
Civil War 1864
Civil War 1865
Civil War Battles
Robert E. Lee
Civil War Medicine
Civil War Links
Civil War Art
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
WELCOMING BACK THE FLAG.
I PASSED two years—long, weary
years--Amid the traitor band That trampled on our glorious Flag
Down in the Southern land.
I herd d the shouts, as State by
So madly fell away--
Fell, as the stars from heaven
shall fall When comes the Judgment-Day
Fell, as the rebel angels fell
Who lost their thrones of light,
And now the sentence dread await
To everlasting night.
I saw the traitors' banner rise,
Our own flag in the dust;
And whispered to my beating
" Be patient, God is just!" I saw
the scornful rebel host
March by in all their pride;
And when I heard their boasts my
Almost within me died.
I saw that host come back again,
An army now no more,
But flying, scattered as the
chaff Of autumn's thrashing-floor.
Then, pressing on the fleeing
There soon burst on my view A
column strong of riders bold,
All clad in loyal blue.
Each foot the stirrup firmly
pressed, Each flashing blade was out,
I heard them shout : "Hurrah!
As victors only shout.
But nobler sight than flashing
Than steeds or stalwart men,
I saw—and oh ! I wept for joy
My Country's Flag again.
Near Bunker Hill I first drew
breath : Then how could I forget
The lessons learned so near the
With Warren's blood once wet ? A
woman—yet I waved my hand,
And "Welcome! welcome !" cried,
And felt, if need were, for that Flag
I freely could have died.
My dark-eyed boys were by me, and
Through all life's weary track
They never will forget the day
We saw the Flag come back.
Oh! there are many in that land
Where float the rebel "Bars" ,
Who mourn the sad eclipse, yet know
That heaven still holds the
Stars. Between them and those shining worlds
The war-cloud rises black;
But peace will soon the cloud
disperse, And all the Stars come back.
God speed the day ! for when it
comes The tears will fall like rain,
And thousands in the South will
hail The Old Flag back again.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1864.
THE campaign of
General SHERMAN is striking and daring, but not
more so than his advance from Chattanooga, of which it is a continuation. At
Atlanta, with a slender line of railroad nearly
two hundred miles long, exposed to the forays of the
rebel cavalry, his position was uncertain. The
advantages were not balanced by the risks. He has therefore made it useless for
either party, and destroying as he goes, he carries a line of fire straight
across the surface of the rebel section, cutting a terrible swath to the sea.
General SHERMAN does not play at
war. " War is cruelty," he says, " and you can not refine it," and he believes
that they who have brought war upon the country will justly feel its sharpest
edge. Yet he only is wise who sees in SHERMAN'S flashing sword the true olive
branch. When the deluded Southern people feel that the Government is strong
enough to pierce their section where it will ; that the national armies can
march and countermarch at their pleasure ; that the shrewdest plans of their own
Generals are outwitted and baffled ; and those
Generals perceive that they have lost their
supreme military advantage of interior lines, a moral victory is won.
It may be true, as the rebels
say, that the march of SHERMAN'S army is merely like the flight of an arrow
which can not wound the air through which it passes. The rebel army may close in
behind him. The territory he crosses may still own the rebel sway ; and he may
hold only the ground upon which he actually stands. But the first victory of
such a campaign is not visible. Not a rebel soldier may fall before him, but the
hearts of a host faint within them. Not a field may be permanently held by him,
but the rebel owner knows that the tenure of his own possession is loosened. The
arrow may not wound the air, but when you have learned that the air which you
deemed impervious has been pierced by an arrow, you will hear a hurtling all the
SHERMAN'S campaign is one of
great difficulties and dangers. The conviction of the rebels that, if they could
embarrass or defeat him, their prestige would be regained, and their terrible
disasters of the last year condoned, will incite them to the utmost effort of
desperation to destroy him. It is the duty of all sensible Union
men not to exult, not to be
transported wits excessive expectation, but to watch and hope and pray. All the
circumstances—the absence of noon's army, the blithe courage of SHERMAN'S men,
his own indomitable energy and great genius—favor our noble General. We may
justly believe that he will keep his Christmas by the sea. But we ought to guard
against the possible consequence of undue elation. If, forgetting the chances of
war, we insist that there is nothing but absolute success to be expected at
every step of SHERMAN'S movement, we may find ourselves paying the penalty of
our own folly in a depressing and overpowering reaction of feeling.
THE plot to burn the hotels and
create universal confusion utterly and even ludicrously failed. It might have
been a destruction of life and property as terrible as it was wanton. It was
quite sufficient, however, to show the spirit of the whole rebellion. The "chivalry"
Union prisoners to death, and suffers them to
fall a prey to filth and vermin, consistently attempts to burn innocent women
The enterprise is another
illustration of the delights of State sovereignty which the rebellion
professedly seeks to assert. We have, in the attempt of Friday night last, a
fair intimation of what we are to expect when New Jersey and Vermont and
Pennsylvania are independent powers between which and the independent empire of
New York a quarrel chances to arise. And yet not quite so in the cases we
suppose. If either of those States were a nation at war with another, war would
not be conducted exactly in this " chivalric" method. It requires the imbruting
of the spirit of a whole community by the custom of holding men and women as
slaves before such fiendish malignity is developed.
But we can see in this plot the
agreeable consequences of a possible war with " the Southern Confederacy," if
that name should ever become a thing. The peace apostles, who incite massacre
and sigh over war, will perhaps inform us how much blood and sorrow would be
saved by patching up a truce with men capable of these things, instead of
showing them that neither by such crimes, nor by the great wanton war which they
have forced upon the country, can they succeed. The inevitable consequence of
the plot will be a firmer purpose and a more unhesitating hand in striking at
the heart of rebellion.
Richmond Examiner, speaking of the significance
of our late election, says : " It is at last plain that we must defend ourselves
with all our force, or else sink into serfs ; and we must stand together, or
else sink together with out a hope of redemption."
This is an illustration of the
method by which the Southern mind is fired, to use YANCEY'S phrase. The " South"
is vaguely called by the rebel leaders " our country," and submission to the
equal laws of the United States is sinking into serfdom. Are all those who
politically differ from the Administration—in other words, are the
constitutional minority in this country serfs? If they are so now, they were so
always ; and down to 1860 the rebel chiefs controlled this Government. Is it
then so very unfair that, having by their own interpretation so long held the
rest of their fellow citizens as serfs, they should now take their turn ?
But nothing is more amusingly
false than such an assertion. It is merely a fierce appeal to prejudice and
passion. In the year 1745 there was the last STUART rebellion against the
British Government. It was suppressed by arms, and the authority of the
Government was restored. Were the Scots who took part in that movement or are
their descendants serfs ? The Whisky insurrection was put down by WASHINGTON.
Are the Western Pennsylvanians serfs?
SHAYS' rebellion was overpowered and tranquillity restored. Are the people of central Massachusetts serfs ? The
attempt at forcible nullification in South Carolina was repressed. Have the
South Carolinians been serfs ever since ? If so, why have they regularly taken
part in every election until they, with their friends, were defeated? Are we to
understand that PRESTON BROOKS was a serf raising his hand against his master ?
Have the men who lead the rebellion been until the year 1861 what Gurth was in "
Ivanhoe," born thralls of Cedric the Saxon ?
The folly of such talk is
transparent. If they were not serfs in the year 1859, when they acknowledged the
government of the common country, how will they become such when they again
acknowledge it? If a man resists the law, and the law is too strong for him, and
he yields, when the penalty of the law is satisfied, and he returns to his equal
allegiance with all other citizens, he is no more a serf than they. If JEFFERSON
DAVIS was not a serf when he was Secretary of War under this Government, he can
not be a serf when he is a simple citizen under it ; no, and he does not become
a serf should he be executed for capital crime against it. Are the "
Confederates" who are punished for offenses against " the Confederacy" serfs?
If they are not, neither are the
" Confederates" who yield to the authority of the United States Government.
But they say it is not the
Government of their choice. That may be, but that is not a valid plea for
resistance. The recently elected President was not the preference of the city of
New York. Is the city therefore a congregation of mere serfs because it
peacefully accepts the result of an election in which it took part ? There are
whole sections of Georgia and North Carolina of which Mr. DAVIS is not the
choice for a leader. Does the Examiner consider them serfs because they do not
secede and declare that their " country" will have nothing to do with the DAVIS
tyranny at Richmond ?
It is by this kind of frenzied
and futile talk that the minds of the Southern people are excited. They are
beyond reason now. Nothing remains but to destroy their military force, and to
hold them as a child struggling with rage is held, until he falls exhausted, and
his mind, gradually surmounting blind fury, begins to see the truth.
THE first point is safety. The
road itself built in the best way, of the best materials, should be carefully
and constantly watched, to ascertain when renewals of rails, sleepers, and beds
are necessary, and to guard against accidents of running. There is but one way
in which this care can be secured, and that is by the exaction of the sternest
penalties for every accident.
A railroad is a pecuniary
enterprise, and if imperfect construction and careless superintendence entail
heavy loss there will be adequate completeness and care. If, for instance, the
Legislature of New York were now, in session, and should enact a law that for
every future railroad accident within the State the Company should be liable not
only to the payment of damages in separate individual suits of the passengers,
but should also pay a round sum into the State Treasury, so large that two or
three penalties of the kind during the year would consume the profits of the
road, there would be such a scrutiny of roads, such an organization of
carefulness along the lines, as has never been known in the country, and
railroad stock would ascend to a delightful value as a permanent investment.
When the rigors of the law are so
sure that the mere sight of a doubtful-looking rail or an ancient sleeper
appalls the switchman and the laborer with the fear that if it splits or breaks
or rots their individual pockets will suffer, and when the jerking, jumping
plunge of the train along the rickety track brings the heart of the director and
stockholder into his mouth, not with the fear of losing his life, but his
dividend, we maybe very sure that whatever human skill and foresight can do to
avoid accidents will be done.
No Company, of course, should be
held responsible for what it clearly could not help. For instance, we would not
have it liable for the death of a passenger in the cars from apoplexy. That
might be construed as a super refinement of justice. But a permanent Railway
Commission there should be, which should strictly investigate all the
circumstances of every disaster, large or small. That Commission should bring a
suit against the offending road in the name of the State, and the extreme
penalty should be exacted.
It is only in some such way that
the public safety upon railroads can be secured and public confidence restored.
The universal conviction now is that the roads are becoming daily more
dangerous, and that the Life Insurance Companies will soon excuse themselves
from railroad risks. A stoppage upon the road, or an unusual movement in the
cars, excites the most unpleasant emotions. Certain roads are viewed with
peculiar apprehension, and men breathe more freely when they are safely at the
end of them. The curious old speculations are revived that, according to the
statistics of railway travel, every man who has traveled a certain number of
miles is liable to have his arm broken ; a few more and his leg is in danger ;
and after a certain number of miles traveled his neck may be broken at any
moment to keep the inexorable statistics straight.
Thus we repeat the legend of the
Minotaur, and thus, in the neatest and most becoming traveling dress, we expose
Andromeda to the monster. It is only the form of the horror that changes. Where
is the essential difference between the annual sacrifice of seven fair youths
and seven lovely maids of Athens to the insatiable brute of Crete, and the
annual sacrifice of seven youths and maids of Baltimore, let us say, or New
York, or Chicago, or St. Louis, to the insatiable Greed of Gain ? We plume our
selves at our peril upon our superior civilization, The test of civilization is
respect for human life and liberty.
Railroads are for the convenience
of the people, and the people are fools if they do not take care, by law, that
they shall not be the victims of the railroads. When the Central Road comes to
Albany this winter and asks for favors, let the people grant them only upon fair
and unavoidable, conditions.
A NOBLER, braver, or more
skillful body of men than the police of New York does not exist. This great
restless city lies safe in their protecting care. Firm, courteous, prompt, its
resistible, they are a model band of citizens and officers. Their services in
the draft riots of 1863 are already historical. Their efficiency in the late
incendiary plot is not less memorable.
No men in the country fill more
arduous and responsible positions than President ACTON of the Board of Police
Commissioners and Superintendent KENNEDY, and no men fill them more ably. Indeed
the public knowledge of their singular sagacity and ability, with those of their
associates, inspires a consciousness of security like the presence of an army.
No legislative act was ever more
entirely vindicated by the result than the appointment of the Metropolitan
Police. It should have been enough to satisfy every honest man that it was both
just and desirable, that it was bitterly opposed by the then Mayor of the city.
Not one of the ill consequences predicted has ensued. It has never been a
partisan body or worked to party ends. The city has never been so safe, the
rights of every citizen so secure, the method of police business so exact,
comprehensive, and efficient as since the appointment of the Metropolitan
Police. Their daily service is an incalculable benefit. There is no more
honorable uniform than that they wear.
IT is amusing to see how a man in
a passion lets the truth escape him. The London Times, which has constantly
striven to represent the rebellion as the noble effort of an oppressed people to
recover and defend their liberties, and has with perfect success falsified every
fact in the history of the war, unguardedly tells the naked truth in a late
article written under the consciousness of the extremity of the rebel cause.
It is speaking of the project of
arming the slaves at the South, and the Times
innocently remarks: " The South has no reason to doubt that the negro will fight
just as bravely in support of the cause of slavery, which is the cause of his
master, as he will in the cause of liberty." And it adds of its particular
friends the rebels : " The man who would submit without a murmur to the
impressment of his horses or his crops, may very likely shrink back with a
species of superstitious horror from the attempt of his own Government [at
Richmond] to deprive him of those very slaves for whom he has already fought a
long and desperate war."
This is as it should be. The
Times confesses that this insurrection is an effort to save slavery; and the
paper whose asserted pride it is to defend "fair play"—the representative of the
aristocratic governing class of England deliberately supports as a manly
assertion of an undoubted right the armed effort of a body of men to overthrow a
Government, which they do not pretend has ever wronged them, merely for the sake
of preserving slavery. Does any really intelligent and thoughtful Englishman
wonder that his country is detested by all other nations when he sees that its
leading journal, holding a position which no other paper holds in any other
country, is guilty of such a crime against human nature and civil society?
We do not for a moment forget the
sympathy and generous service of our friends in England who, understanding this
war, truly appreciate and despise the course of the Times and its adherents. But
the fact of which we speak will help explain to them the indignation which they
hear so often breathed against England. They may he very sure that if the mine
owners any where in England should revolt against the British Government for the
sole purpose of more surely imbruting the unhappy miners, no American statesman
in office would applaud their insurrection as the founding of a nation, as Mr.
GLADSTONE said of this rebellion ; and if any leading newspaper here, clearly
recognizing the object of the insurrection, vehemently supported it, it would be
overwhelmed with the derision and wrath of the great body of the people.
BENEDICT ARNOLD REDIVIVIUS.
THE following extract, from a
late number of a violently partisan journal, is in the style and spirit of
BENEDICT ARNOLD'S sneers and the old Tory flings in the Revolution
" Does any one suppose that a war
which, with every fluctuation, brings money to the cabal that conducts it, whose
very disasters are turned to profit, and the bloodshed of defeat ' coined into
drachmas' by it, will be given up? No; it will be clung to just so long as it
can be worked with profit by its speculating managers."
The people of this country have
just decided, by an immense majority and in almost every loyal State, to
maintain their Government and the Union, and this extract represents the war to
that end as conducted by a " cabal." It implies, moreover, that the war is both
unnecessary and mercenary. The terms in which it describes a bloody struggle,
forced upon the people of the United States by rebels who seized the national
property, fired upon the national flag, and defied the national authority,
reveal a total want (Next