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
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) have protested with all his
ROBERT E. LEE offered his sword.
From that moment he has been an
active soldier. His military skill has been much overrated.
his Lieutenant, achieved his most famous successes, and LEE'S two aggressive
campaigns were ignominious failures. No man can be held guilty of a want of
genius. But will those who are so eager in extolling General LEE inform us why
this Christian hero had not a word to say in regard to the atrocious treatment
of our prisoners in rebel hands, especially at
Belle Isle, under his eyes ? Will
the flatterers of this Virginian gentleman explain why his reports of operations
in the field were so unfair and deceptive ? Will the friends of this simple
hearted soldier say why he tried a trick of words in his final correspondence
with General GRANT ?
There is no act known to us
during his long career as a rebel in arms which should favorably signalize
ROBERT E. LEE among hundreds of his fellow rebels. Why does not JOHNSTON, or
EWELL, or LONGSTREET, or HILL deserve the same praise ? What excellence of
character or excuse for conduct has he which they had not ? Do those who speak
so softly of his crimes feel as gently about JEFFERSON DAVIS ? Yet DAVIS at
least heartily believed in his cause, and it was LEE, at the head of the army,
who made DAVIS'S crime so prolonged and bloody.
We have no emotion of vengeance
against General LEE. We would not hang him not because he has not deserved
hanging, but from motives of state policy. Neither are we inaccessible to
admiration for a foe. Major ANDRE we can pity, but General ARNOLD we despise.
ROBERT E. LEE was an American citizen educated by his country, who, from a
mistaken sense of duty, deserted his flag. Had his story ended there it would
have been sorrowful. But he drew his sword against that flag not because of any
oppression or outrage, but because by peaceful and lawful means it bade fair to
become the symbol of justice and equal rights; and he drew it, thank God ! in
vain. There his story ends, and it is infamous.
IN this hour of high patriotic
exultation our thoughts naturally reach across the sea and with the profoundest
gratitude to our friends abroad who have steadily maintained our cause and their
faith in its final triumph, and maintained it against the doubts and hostility
and ignorance of the ruling class. They will now feel that their faith in the
strength of a purely popular government is fully justified. The remark of the
British Chancellor of the Exchequer that Davis had "created a nation," and of
the British Foreign Minister, that the United States Government was fighting for
dominion, sprang from their conviction that their own Government could not
subdue so formidable a rebellion, and from their total ignorance of the capacity
of a free popular system. We can forgive them ; but the result proves that the
finest political sagacity is with the liberal and not the aristocratic party in
In France the members of the
Government have been more reticent, but their acts have spoken plainly ; and the
unfriendly feeling of the court circles has been apparent. The Emperor, a
student of history, has wisely refrained from committing himself, and his wisdom
will now have its reward.
But to us now, and to all
faithful Americans hereafter, the names of JOHN BRIGHT, and RICHARD COBDEN, and
GOLDWIN SMITH, and JOHN
ELIOT CAIRNES, and WILLIAM E.
FORSTER, and NEWMAN HALL, with their friends in England; and of HENRI MARTIN,
LABOULAYE, LAUGEL, and others in France, will be always honorable and precious.
Shall the events of the last four years not teach us that all believers in a
true popular government, enlightened and just, whether they advocate its claims
by eloquent tongues or vindicate its power by irresistible arms, and in whatever
country they live, form the great liberal party of the world, to which the
interests of civil order and peaceful progress are intrusted?
THE following striking portrait
of the President we find in the Northern Whig of Belfast, in Ireland ; and we
can hardly be mistaken in attributing it to Professor JOHN ELIOT CAIRNES, of
Queens College, Galway, the author of one of the most valuable books upon our
history ever written, " The Slave Power," and one of our most effective foreign
friends. In the earlier months of the war Professor CAIRNES, in a series of most
trenchant and unanswerable articles under his own name in the London Daily News,
utterly demolished several of the Southern secession leaders who tried to argue
with him the question of the war in its economical and political aspects :
"Mr. LINCOLN is one of those
historic characters whom CARLYLE, in the better days of his earlier and saner
genius, would have loved to sketch. Among the men who have been summoned from
the unambitious pursuits of everyday life to save and guide nations in their
hour of trial, the uncouth and yet not undignified figure of the Illinois rail
splitter and village lawyer 'mean white' of
Keutucky by birth will hold by no
means the lowest
place. But for the migration of
his father across the Ohio ABRAHAM LINCOLN, it is strange to think, might now be
risking the worthless life of a ' cracker' or 'sand hiller' in the armies of
JEFFERSON DAVIS. If it were not for Mr. CARLYLE'S adhesion to the principle of '
hiring servants for life' as one of the forms of the rule of the strongest, it
is easy to see to which of the two leaders in the civil war his sympathies would
turn. JEFFERSON DAVIS is a type of the professional politician practiced in the
conventions of government a master of those arts of national 'palaver' and
diplomatic 'having the honor to be,' which excite, even in an unreasonable
degree, Mr. CARLYLE'S dislike and contempt. He is an American statesman with a
European varnish. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, on the either hand, with his genius for
silence, and its correlative, occasional felicitous speech, struggling with the
difficulties of an imperfect early education the fine spirit in the rough garb
blending firm purpose with humane heart a deep religion, with a genuine, if
homely, humor seems made for CARLYLE'S pen. The formal, decorous, courtly figure
el the founder of the Union will contrast strangely with the ungainly and
unpolished figure of (we trust) its destined restorer. But history will
recognize one thing common to GEORGE WASHINGTON and ABRAHAM LINCOLN a pure
honesty void of all self seeking. When the heats of party passion and
international jealousy have abated, when detraction has spent its malice and the
scandalous gossip of the day goes the way of all lies, the place of ABRAHAM
LINCOLN, in the grateful affection of his countrymen and in the respect of the
world, will be second only, if it be second, to that of WASHINGTON himself."
LAST OFFICIAL ACT OF
A FRIEND in Illinois sends a
story of Senator, late Governor, YATES of that State, which should become
historical in his honor.
By the " black laws" of Illinois,
lately repealed, free negroes, or, as the law expressed it, " free people of
color" when found in the State were liable to arrest and sale. Under this law
two persons were arrested about two years since, and convicted of the crime of
being " people of color." They were sold, one for fifty-five and the other for
ninety-nine years. A prominent lawyer in the town (the names are given us)
believing the law to be unconstitutional appealed the case, becoming security
for costs, to the Supreme Court, which declared the law, constitutional, and
that the convicted persons who had been temporarily released by the lawyer's
action should be returned to the buyers. The offenders, however, had meanwhile
left the State, and the lawyer found himself liable for a large sum.
He reflected for some time, and
finally repaired to Governor YATES, who was about vacating the chair. The lawyer
presented his case to the Governor's sagacity and humanity, and at the close of
the interview emerged with a radiant face. Meeting a fellow lawyer who was
familiar with the circumstances, he said to him, cheerfully,
"Well, it's finished."
" How finished?"
" The men are pardoned," said the
lawyer. " How pardoned ?" asked his friend.
The lawyer looked at him for a
moment while a grim smile passed over his face, and then answered,
" Pardoned for being black."
This was the last official act of
Governor YATES, and Illinois has done wisely in bidding him go up higher.
THE tumultuous excitement of
these closing days of the war has prevented attention to an act which, in the
more tranquil times of the future, will be estimated with all the honor it
deserves. Mr. EZRA CORNELL, Senator from the Twenty-fourth District, in this
State, proposes to give five hundred thousand dollars immediately to found a
university, worthy the name, at Ithaca. Mr. WHITE, Senator from the Onondaga
District, one of our most excellent scholars and most efficient public men, has
introduced a bill into the Senate establishing the University, and appropriating
to it the income of the sale of public lands granted to this State by Congress
by the act of July, 1862.
The importance of Mr. CORNELL'S
gift to all the higher interests of the State is so apparent that the Board of
Regents appointed a committee to visit the People's College at Havana, to which
the proceeds of the grant had been previously appropriated, for the purpose of
ascertaining whether that college did now conform, or was likely within the
limited time of five years to conform, to the conditions of the grant. The
committee visited the People's College, made a careful investigation of its
condition through the testimony of its officers and neighboring friends, and
reported that it did not now conform to the requirements of the law. They
further submitted the testimony from which it could readily be inferred whether
it was likely to conform to them within the time.
No candid man can read the
testimony with out seeing that there is no reason whatever to believe it can do
so. The People's College is apparently a small institution with no other
prospects than such as may arise from the fund under the act of 1862. It
consists of a college building and a hundred acres of land ; furniture to the
amount of a thousand dollars, and a library of two thousand volumes, made up of
Congressional documents, Pacific Railroad reports, and documents of the State of
New York. It has no philosophical or chemical apparatus, nor shops, tools,
machinery, nor farm buildings, farming implements or stock, although the ex-
pressed intention of the United
States grant was the fostering of practical mechanics and agriculture.
Instruction in the collegiate department has not begun, and there are about a
hundred and fifty students in the preparatory school.
Whoever has the interests of the
most generous education at heart can not doubt that the union of the grant of
the United States with the gift of Mr. CORNELL will secure a foundation for a
university worthy of the State ; and that the advantage of one comprehensive,
amply equipped institution is greater than that of a dozen smaller and
staggering schools. In such a movement concentration is power. The character of
a truly noble university attracts the most eminent men to its chairs, and they
in turn attract the multitude of students. Who can estimate the value of
AGASSIZ, for instance, to the University at Cambridge ? Yet only an institution
so liberally endowed could secure the services of a savant so eminent against
the imperial competition of Europe. In every way the increase of resources
increases the opportunity and the usefulness of a college, and we can see no
public reason whatever in the interest of education, why the grant under the law
of Congress should not be transferred to the Cornell University.
To be praised by GIBBON, says
THACKERAY, is like having your name written upon the dome of St. Peter's ; and
if any man, however unworthy, had been so lucky, he would not fail to mention it
to his friends. We have been reminded of THACKERAY'S remark by the approbation
which the course of Harper's Weekly during the War has elicited from the North
American Review for April, 1865, the able, brilliant, and scholarly organ of the
truest American conservatism ; and we can not forbear repeating it with pride
and pleasure to our readers :
"It has been one of the most
powerful of the organs of public opinion. Its vast circulation, deservedly
secured and maintained by the excellence and variety of its illustrations of the
scenes and events of the war, as well as by the spirit and tone of its
editorials, has carried it far and wide. It has been read in city parlors, in
the log hut of the pioneer, by every camp fire of our armies, in she wards of
our hospitals, in the trenches before Petersburg, and in the ruins of
Charleston; and wherever it has gone it has kindled a warmer glow of patriotism,
it has neared the hearts and strengthened the arms of the people, and it has
done its full part in the furtherance of the great cause of Union, of Freedom,
and of Law. Whoever believes in his country and its constant progress in
developing human liberty will understand that he has an ally in Harper's Weekly.
" The articles upon public
questions which appear in the paper from week to week form a remarkable series
of brief political essays. They are distinguished by clear and pointed
statement, by good common sense, by independence and breadth of view. They are
the expressions of mature conviction, high principle, and strong feeling, and
take their place among the best newspaper writing of the time. They are a
running commentary upon events, and are themselves an important expression of
that public opinion which they help to mould and to direct.
" Our historical societies and
public libraries through out the country should secure a complete set of the
volumes of Harper's Weekly, for every year will add to their value as an
illustrated record of the times; and as long as the paper is edited as it now
is, and maintains the public cause with such vigor, independence, and effect, it
will be one of the most trust worthy and important exponents of the better
political opinions of the times."
TELEGRAPH AND THE TREE.
THERE is an old, old tree
a-dozing by my door;
Not a leaf upon it grew for four
long years and more; Nor came there ever bird, or butterfly, or bee, To revel in
the branches of the old, old tree.
Among its topmost twigs, that so
closely interlace, Run the wire-cords that harness the steeds of time and space
The telegraphic runners that
From north and south and east and
west, the tidings of the day.
This morn o'er the old tree I saw
a change had come: The bursting forth of green leaves; the insect's joyful hum ;
And the warbling of the spring
birds that gladness brought again
To the boughs that long were
moaning in the wind and the rain.
What can thus have stirred the
heart of the dry old tree? The little birds that sing there now have whispered
it to me:
'Twas the singing of the wires
with such glorious news alive,
In the dawning of the glad days
of April, 'Sixty-five.
IN HARPER'S WEEKLY will be
commenced immediately a new Serial Story, entitled
HALF A MILLION OF MONEY,
BY AMELIA B. EDWARDS,
Author of "BARBARA'S HISTORY," &c.
"Barbara's History" is a very
graceful and charming book, with a well-managed story, clearly cut characters,
and sentiments expressed with an exquisite elocution. The dialogues especially
sparkle with repartee. It is a book which the world will like, and which those
who commence it will care to finish. This is high praise of a work of art, and
so we intend it. From the London Times.
SURRENDER OF LEE'S ARMY.
UPON the evacuation of Richmond
and Petersburg Lee's army moved westward toward Burkesville. This army was
thoroughly demoralized, and the line of retreat was strewn with muskets,
knapsacks, and artillery caissons.
General Grant distinguished himself in the
pursuit no less
notably than in the defeat of the rebels. Moving his own army westward, he
kept pushing Lee northward, keeping him to the north bank of the Appomattox. Lee
finally succeeded in crossing the river, and concentrated his army in the region
of Amelia Court House. But in the mean while, by the night of Tuesday, April 4,
Sheridan and the
Fifth Corps had, by a march of
thirty six miles, gained a position west of Lee, near Jettersville, on the road
to Burkesville. This movement resulted the next day in the capture of a train of
three hundred wagons, with five cannon and a thousand prisoners.
Grant, on Wednesday, with the
Twenty-fourth Corps, had reached Nottoway Court House, and here learned by a
Sheridan that Lee had been intercepted. On Thursday Grant had
brought his army up to Sheridan's support, and with the Second, Fifth, and Sixth
Corps lay in line of battle at Burke's Station, facing to the north and east,
and cutting Lee off from Danville. Lee then tried to move on toward Lynchburg,
by taking a circuitous route by way of Deatonsville, toward the Appomattox,
which he hoped to cross, and, with the river between him and Grant, secure his
retreat. But Grant's movements were too rapid to permit of this. Lee was
compelled to fight at Deatonsville, where he was defeated, his loss amounting to
thirteen thousand prisoners, including Lieutenant-General Ewell and
Major-Generals Custis Lee, Kershaw, Cone, De Barry, Anderson, Hunton, and
Barton. Fourteen cannon were taken, and several hundred wagons.
This battle was fought on
Thursday, April 6. The next day General Grant wrote to Lee asking him to
surrender "that portion of the Confederate States army known as the Army of
Northern Virginia." He said: "The result of last week must convince you of the
hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia
in this struggle." Lee replied the same day, saying that though he was not
entirely of Grant's opinion as to the hopelessness of further resistance, he
reciprocated the desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and asked upon what
terms Grant would accept the surrender. On the 8th Grant again wrote declaring
that he should insist upon but one condition, viz. : "That the men surrendered
shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the
United States until properly exchanged." To this Lee replied that he did not
think the emergency had arisen to call for the surrender, but desired an
interview at 10 A.M. the next day on the old stage road to Richmond in respect
to the restoration of peace. On the 9th Grant wrote that he had no authority to
grant such an interview. He said, " The terms upon which peace can be had are
well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most
desirable event, save thousands of human lives and hundreds of millions of
property not yet destroyed."
This note was received by Lee on
the spot which he had designated for the interview. He immediately replied,
stating that he had received the note on the picket line, whither he had come to
meet Grant and ascertain definitely the terms on which the army could be
surrendered. He seemed to have forgotten that he had said most distinctly in his
letter requesting the interview that he could not meet Grant with a view to
surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. He now fell back upon Grant's original
offer, and requested an interview for the specification of the terms of
surrender. This letter reached Grant on the Farmville and Lynchburg Road. He
immediately hastened to the front to meet Lee. At Appomattox Court House General
Grant stipulated that rolls of all the officers and men should be made in
duplicate; that both officers and men should give their parole not to take arms
against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged; that all
the arms, artillery, and public property should be turned over, excepting the
side arms, horses, and private baggage of the officers; that each officer and
man should be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by the United
States authorities so long as they should observe their parole and the laws in
force where they may reside. General Lee replied in the following terms:
GENERAL, I have received your
letter of this date, containing the terms of surrender of the Army of Northern
Virginia by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your
letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the
proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.
Very respectfully your obedient
R. E. LEE, General.
OPERATIONS AGAINST MOBILE.
On the 17th of March the
Thirteenth and Sixteenth Corps invested the Spanish Fort, one of the principal
defenses of the city of Mobile, on the east side of the bay. On the 29th the
national troops were intrenched within seventy yards of the enemy's rifle pits.
Up to the 31st the Union loss was about 800. Two national iron-clads, the
Monitors Milwaukee and Osage, were blown up in Mobile bay on the 28th and 29th
ult., by rebel torpedoes, killing four men and wounding seven. As the vessels
sunk in shallow water it is thought they can be raised.
The column of national troops
under General Steele, which left Pensacola, Fla., on the 20th of March, arrived
in Front of Mobile, opened communication with General Canby's force, and
commenced hostilities on the 29th. On his march General Steele had considerable
skirmishing, but met with no serious opposition. At one point on the route the
rebel cavalry were found drawn up as if determined on desperate work ; but at
the first charge from the national troops they broke in confusion. Some of them
fled instantly, others surrendered without firing a shot, while many threw down
their arms and begged for mercy. Altogether General Steele's captures were one
brigadier-general, twenty-two other officers, four hundred men, and four hundred
and fifty horses. At another point on his march General Steele's men cut the
Mobile and Montgomery Railroad, and captured two wagon trains.
The President issued an important
proclamation on the 11th, claiming that our vessels of war in foreign ports
shall no longer be subjected to restrictions as at present, but shall have the
same rights and hospitalities which are extended to foreign men-of-war in the
ports of the United States, and declaring that hereafter the cruisers of every
nation shall receive the same treatment which in their ports they accord to
Admiral Porter reports that the
rebels blew up the following vessels in the James : Virginia, flag ship, 4 guns
iron-clad Richmond, 4 guns ; iron-clad Fredericksburg, 4 guns; iron-clad
Nansemond, 2 guns ; wooden ship Hampton, 2 guns ; wooden ship Roanoke, 1 gun ;
and the wooden torpedo tender Sherapne.
A paper at Paducah, Kentucky, has
a report that Wilson's cavalry has completely routed Forrest's forces near
Refugees from Danville, as late
as April 5, state positively that Stoneman's column, which was last heard from
at Boone, Watauga County, North Carolina, reached the Danville Road on Tuesday
last, and commenced tearing up the new track between Danville and Greensborongh.
Among the war material captured
last week by Sheridan were five guns of the Armstrong pattern, said to have been
a present from the English Government to the Confederates, and had not yet been
used. They are beautiful specimens of manufacture.
It is announced that Garibaldi's
daughter, Teresita, has just given birth at Caprera to a boy, who, by his
grandfather's desire, has been christened Lincoln, in honor of the " American
President who has abolished slavery."
ACCORDING to Paris advices the
rebel ram Stonewall left Ferrol March 21, accompanied to sea by a Spanish
frigate. The United States frigates Niagara and Sacramento immediately followed,
and the Stonewall returned to port.
It is expected that before July
20 telegraphic communication will be established between Europe and America.
Captain James Anderson, of the Cunard steamer China, has been appointed to
command the Great Eastern during the laying of the cable. That vessel will sail
from Valencia, Ireland, about the 1st of July, and by the middle of that month
will be due at Heart's Content, Trinity Bay.
The war in Uruguay still goes on.
At the latest advices hostilities had commenced on the 9th of February before
Montevideo. Flores had offered the port of Buena to the foreign residents as a
place of refuge.