On the continent of Europe sympathy begins to be unsettled, unsteady. As independence is to-day the watchword in Europe, so the cause of the rebels acquires a plausible justification. Various are the reasons of this new counter current. Prominent among them is the vacillating, and by Europeans considered to be INHUMAN, policy of Mr. Lincoln in regard to slavery, the opaqueness of our strategy, and the brilliancy of the tactics of the rebel generals, and, finally, the incapacity of our agents to enlighten European public opinion, and to explain the true and horrible character of the rebellion. Repeatedly I warned Mr. Seward, telling him that the tide of public opinion was rising against us in Europe, and I explained to him the causes; but of course it was useless, as his agents say the contrary, and say it for reasons easily to be understood.
McClellan's army landed, and he is to be in command of all the troops. I congratulate all therein concerned about this new victory. Bleed, oh bleed, American people! Mr. Lincoln and consortes insisted that McClellan remain in command. SISTE TANDEM CARNIFEX!
Mr. Roebuck, M. P., the gentleman! About thirty years ago, when entering his public career as a member for Bath, Mr. Roebuck was publicly slapped in the face during the going on of the election. A few years ago Mr. Roebuck went to Vienna in the interests of some lucrative railroad or Lloyd speculation, and returned to England a fervent and devoted admirer of the Hapsburgs, and a reviler of all that once was sacred to the disciple of Jeremy Bentham.
General Halleck may become the savior of the country. I hope and ardently wish that it may be so, although his qualifications for it are of a rather doubtful nature. Gen. Halleck wrote a book on military science, as he wrote one on international laws, and both are laborious compilations of other people's labors and ideas. But perhaps Halleck, if not inspired, may become a regular, methodical captain. Such was Moreau.
Also, Gen. Halleck is not to take the field in person. I am told that it was so decided by Mr. Lincoln, against Halleck's wish. What an anomalous position of a commander of armies, who is not to see a field of battle! Such a position is a genuine, new American invention, but it ought not to be patented, at least not for the use of other nations. It is impossible to understand it, and it will puzzle every one having sound common sense.
Gen. Butler commits a mistake in taunting and teasing the French population and the French consul in New Orleans. When Butler was going there, Mr. Seward ought to have instructed him concerning our friendly relations with Louis Napoleon, and concerning the character of the French consul in New Orleans, who was not partial to secesh. There may be some secesh French, but the bulk, if well managed, would never take a decided position against us as long as we were on friendly terms with Louis Napoleon.
The President is indefatigable in his efforts to—save slavery, and to uphold the policy of the New York Herald.
It is said that General Hunter is recalled, and so was General Phelps from New Orleans; General Phelps could not coolly witness the sacrilegious massacre of the slaves. The inconceivable partiality of the President for McClellan may, after all, be possibly explained by the fact that Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward see in McClellan a—savior of slavery.
During two days' terrible fighting at Manassas, at Bull Run, and all around, Pope cut his way through, but the reinforcements from McClellan's army in Alexandria are slow in coming. McClellan and his few pets among the generals may not object to see Pope worsted. Such things happened in other armies, even almost under the eyes of Napoleon, as in the campaign on the Elbe, in 1813. Any one worth the name of a general, when he has no special position to guard, and hears the roar of cannon, by forced marches runs to the field of battle. Not any special orders, but the roar of cannon, attracted and directed Desaix to Marengo, and Mac Mahon to Magenta. The roar of cannon shook the air between Bull Run and Alexandria, and —— General McClellan and others had positive orders to run to the rescue of Pope.
I should not wonder if the President, enthusiasmed by this new exploit of McClellan, were to nominate him for his, the President's, eventual successor; Mr. Blair will back the nomination.
It is said that during these last weeks, Wallach, the editor of the unwashed Evening Star, is in continual intercourse with the President. Arcades ambo.
McClellan reduced in command; only when the life of the nation was almost breathing its last. This concession was extorted from Mr. Lincoln! What will Mr. Seward say to it?
Consummatum est! — Will the outraged people avenge itself? — McClellan satisfies the President — After a year! — The truth will be throttled — Public opinion in Europe begins to abandon us — The country marching to its tomb — Hooker, Kearney, Heintzelman, Sigel, brave and true men — Supremacy of mind over matter — Stanton the last Roman — Inauguration of the pretorian regime — Pope accuses three generals — Investigation prevented by McClellan — McDowell sacrificed — The country inundated with lies — The demoralized army declares for McClellan — The pretorians will soon finish with liberty — Wilkes sent to the West Indian waters — Russia — Mediation — Invasion of Maryland — Strange story about Stanton — Richmond never invested — McClellan in search of the enemy — Thirty miles in six days — The telegrams — Wadsworth — Capitulation of Harper's Ferry — Five days' fighting — Brave Hooker wounded — No results — No reports from McClellan — Tactics of the Maryland campaign — Nobody hurt in the staff — Charmed lives — Wadsworth, Judge Conway, Wade, Boutwell, Andrew — This most intelligent people become the laughing-stock of the world! — The proclamation of emancipation — Seward to the Paisley Association — Future complications — If Hooker had not been wounded! — The military situation — Sigel persecuted by West Point — Three cheers for the carriage and six! — How the great captain was to catch the rebel army — Interview with the Chicago deputation — Winter quarters — The conspiracy against Sigel — Numbers of the rebel army — Letters of marque.
The intrigues, the insubordination of McClellan's pets, have almost exclusively brought about the disasters at Manassas and at Bull Run, and brought the country to the verge of the grave. But the people are not to know the truth.
CONSUMMATUM EST! The people's honor is stained—the country's cause on the verge of the grave. Will this outraged people avenge itself on the four or five diggers?
Old as I am, I feel a more rending pain now than I felt thirty years ago when Poland was entombed. Here are at stake the highest interests of humanity, of progress, of civilization. I find no words to utter my feelings; my mind staggers. It is filled with darkness, pain, and blood.
Mr. Lincoln is the standard-bearer of the policy of the New York Herald. So, before him, were Pierce and Buchanan.
It is said that General McClellan fully satisfied the President of his (the General's) complete innocence as to the delays which exclusively generated the last disasters; also Gen. McClellan has justified himself on military grounds. I wish the verdict of innocence may be uttered by a court-martial of European generals. At any rate, the country was thrown into an abyss.
After a year!—One hundred thousand of the best, bravest, the most devoted men slaughtered; hundreds and hundreds of millions squandered; the army again in the entrenchments of Washington; everywhere the defensive and losses; the enemy on the Potomac, perhaps to invade the free States; but McClellan is in command, his headquarters as brilliant and as numerous as a year ago; the mean flunkeys at their post; only the country's life-blood pours in streams; but—that is of no account.
No acids are so dissolving and so corrosive as is the air of Washington on patriotism. How few resist its action! Among the few are Stanton, Chase (a passive patriot), Wadsworth, Dahlgren, and those grouping around Stanton; so is Welles; likewise Fox; but they are powerless. Washington is likewise the greatest garroter of truth; and I am sure that the truth about the last battles will be throttled and never elucidated.
September 3.—The Cabinets of France and of England will have a very hard stand to resist the pressure of public opinion, carried away by the skill and by the plausible heroism of the rebels. Public opinion will be clamorous that something be done in favor of the rebels. Happily, nothing else can be done but a war, and this saves us. But if the rebels succeed without Europe, the more glory for their chiefs, the more ignominy for ours. Public opinion begins to abandon us in Europe. Already I have explained some of the reasons for it.
The country is marching to its tomb, but the grave-diggers will not confess their crime and their utter incapacity to save it. This their stubbornness is even a greater crime. Will Halleck warn the country against McClellan's incapacity?
We have such generals as Hooker, Heintzelman, Kearney, etc., who fought continually, and with odds against them, and who never were worsted. Those three, among the best of the army, fought under Pope and mutineered not. In any other country such men would receive large, even the superior command; here the palm belongs to the incapable, the slow, and to the flatterer. The same with Sigel. His corps is reduced to 6,000 men; common sense shows that he ought to have at least 25,000 under him. Sigel begged the President to have more men; the President sent him to Halleck and McClellan, who both snubbed him off. By my prayer Sigel, although disheartened, went to Stanton, who received him friendly and warmly, and promised to do his utmost. Stanton will keep his word, if only the West Point envy will not prevent him.
Hooker, Kearney, and Heintzelman were not in favor at the headquarters in the Peninsula, and their commands have been continually disorganized in favor of the pets of the Commander-in-Chief. The country knows what the three braves did since Yorktown down to the last day—the country knows that at the last disasters at Bull Run these heroic generals did their fullest duty. But not even their advice is asked at the double headquarters. Stanton alone cannot do everything. Rats may devour a Hercules.
It seems certain that the rebel generals have various foreign officers in their respective staffs. The rebels wish to assure the success of their cause; here many have only in view their personal success. The President, although not a Blucher, may make a Gneisenau out of Sigel, who has in view only the success of the cause, and no prospects towards the White House. Sigel would understand how to organize a genuine staff.
Most of the foreigners who came to serve here came with the intention to fight for the sacred principle of freedom, and without any further views whatever of career and aggrandizement. In this respect Americans are not just towards these foreigners, and the great men at headquarters will prefer to see all go to pieces than to use the capacity of foreigners, above all in the artillery and for the staff duties.
The mind—that is, Jeff. Davis, Jackson, Lee, etc.—has the best of the matter—that is, Lincoln, McClellan, Blair, and Seward; however, these positions are reversed when one considers the masses on both sides. But on our side the matter commands and presses down the mind; on the rebel side the mind of the chiefs vivifies, exalts, attracts, and directs the matter. And the results thereof are, that not the rebellion, but the North, is shaking.
As a, not only as the President, Mr. Lincoln represents nothing beyond the unavoidable constitutional formula. For all other purposes, as an acting, directing, inspiring, or combining power or agency, Mr. Lincoln becomes a myth. His reality is only manifested by preserving slavery, by sticking to McClellan, by distributing offices, by receiving inspirations from Mr. Seward, and by digging the country's grave. So it is from March 4, 1861, up to this, September 5th, 1862. What else Mr. Lincoln may eventually incarnate is not now perceptible.
Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward piloted the country among breakers and rocks, from which to extricate the country requires a man who is to be the burning focus of the whole people's soul.
Other nations at times reached the bottom of an abyss, and they came up again when from the tempest rending them emerged such a savior. But here the formula may render impossible the appearance of such a savior. The formula is the nation's hearse. The formula has neutralized the best men in Congress, the best men in the Cabinet, as is Stanton.
The people have decided not, propter vitam vivendi perdere causas; but the various formulas, the schemers, the grave-diggers, and the aspirants for the White House, think differently.
The almost daily changes made by Mr. Lincoln in the command of the forces are the best evidences of his good-intentioned—debility.
Harmony belongs to the primordial laws of nature; it is the same for human societies. But here no harmony exists between the purest, the noblest, and the most patriotic portion of the people, and the official exponent of the people's will, and of its higher and purer aspirations. So here all jars dissonantly; all is confusion, because avenged must be every violation of nature's law.
I cannot believe that at this deadly crisis the salvation can come from Washington. The best man here has not his free action. And the rest of them are the country's curse. Mr. Lincoln, with McClellan, Seward, Blair, Halleck, and scores of such, are as able to cope with this crisis as to stop the revolution of our planet.
Up to this day, from among those foremost, the only man whose hands remain unstained with the country's, his mother's, and his brethren's blood, the last Roman, is Stanton.
September 7.—During last night troops marched to meet the enemy, saluting with deafening shouts and cheers the residence of McClellan; spit-lickers as a Kennedy, giving the sign by waving his hat. Such shouts would cheer up the mind but for the fact that they were mostly raised for the victory over those who demanded an investigation of the causes of slowness and insubordination,—those exclusive causes of the defeat of Pope's army. Those shouts were thrown out as defiance to justice, to truth, and to law. Those shouts marked the inauguration of the pretorian regime. General McClellan and other generals have forced the President to postpone the investigation into the conduct of the slow and of the insubordinate generals, all three special favorites of McClellan. General McClellan appeared before the soldiers surrounded by his old identical staff, by a tross of flatterers, and, Oh heavens! in the cortege Senator Wilson! Oh, sancta not simplicitas, but —— Oh, clear-sighted Republican!
Subsequently, I learned that Senator Wilson was present for a moment, and only by a pure accident, at that ovation.
Laeszt Dich dem Teufel bey'm Haare packen, so hat Er Dich bey'm Kopfe, says Lessing, and so it may become here with this first success of the pretorians, or even worse than pretorians; these here are Yanitschars of a Sultan.
Pope and his army accuse three generals of insubordination and mutiny on the field of battle. McClellan prevents investigation; the brutal rule of Yanitschars is inaugurated, thanks to you, Messrs. Seward and Blair.
McDowell sacrificed to the Yanitschars; he is the scapegoat and the victim to popular fallacy, to the imbecility of the press, and, above all, to the intriguers and to the conspiracy of the mutinous pets of McClellan. Weeks and weeks ago, I foretold to McDowell that such would be his fate, and that only in after-times history will be just towards him.
The country begins to be inundated and opinion poisoned by all kinds of the most glaring lies, invented and spread by the staffs, and the imbecile, blind partisans of McClellan. Here are some from among the lies.
In January (oh hear, oh hear!) General McClellan with 50,000 men intended to make a flying (oh hear, oh hear!) expedition to Richmond, but Lincoln and Stanton opposed it. This lie divides itself into two points. 1st lie. In January, nobody opposed General McClellan's will, and, besides, he was sick. 2d lie. If he was so pugnacious in January, why has he not made with the same number of men a flying expedition only to Centreville, right under his nose?
Emanating from the staff, such a lie is sufficient to show the military capacity of those who concocted it.
Second lie. That the expedition to Yorktown and the Peninsula strategy were forced upon McClellan. I hope that the Americans have enough memory left, and enough self-respect to recollect the truth.
Further, the above staff asserts that, when the truth will be known about the campaign, and the fightings in the Chickahominy, then justice will be done to McClellan.
Always and everywhere lost battles, bad and ignorant generalship, require explanations, justifications, and commentaries. Well-fought battles are justified on the spot, the same day, and by results. No one asks or makes comments upon the fighting of Jackson. Austerlitz, Jena, were commented on, explained, some of the chiefs were justified, but—by Austrian and Prussian commentators.
Until to-day French writers discuss, analyze, and comment upon the fatal battle of Waterloo. At Waterloo Napoleon was in the square of his heroic guards; but during the seven days' fighting on the Chickahominy, what regiment, not to say a square, saw in its midst the American Napoleon?
A thousand others, similar to the above-mentioned lies, will be or are already circulated; the mass of the people will use its common sense, and the lies must perish.
On September 7th, Gen. McClellan gave his word to the President to start to the army at 12 o'clock, but started at 4 P. M. with a long train of well-packed wagons for himself and for his staff. To be sure, Lee, Jackson, and all the other rebel chiefs together, have not such a train; if they had, they would not be to-day on the Potomac and in Maryland. Most certainly those quick-moving rebels start at least an hour earlier than they are expected to do.
September 9.—Up to this day Mr. Lincoln ought to have discovered whose advice transformed him into a standard-bearer of the policy of the New York Herald, and made him push the country to the verge of the grave; and, nevertheless, Mr. Lincoln is deaf to the voice of all true and pure patriots who point out the malefactors.
Secondary events; as a lost battle, etc., depend upon material causes; but such primordial events as is the thorough miscarriage of Mr. Lincoln's anti-rebellion policy,—such events are generated by moral causes.
Jefferson Davis, Lee, Jackson, and all the generals down to the last Southern bush-whacker, incarnate the violent and hideous passion of slavery, now all-powerful throughout the South. Here, Lincoln, Seward, McClellan, Blair, Halleck, etc., incarnate the negation of the purest and noblest aspirations of the North. Stanton alone is inspired by a national patriotic idea. No unity, no harmony between the people and the leaders; this discord must generate disasters.
All over the country the lie is spread that the army demanded the reappointment of McClellan. First, the three mutinous generals did it; but not a Kearney, the Bayard of America; very likely not Hooker and Heintzelman—all of them soldiers, patriots, and men of honor; nor very likely was it demanded by Keyes. I do not know positively what was the conduct of Gen. Sumner. Gen. Burnside owes what he is, glory and all, to McClellan. Burnside's honest gratitude and honest want of judgment have contributed more than anything else to inaugurate the regime of the pretorians, to justify mutiny. Halleck's conduct in all this is veiled in mystery; it is so at least for the present; and as truth will be kept out of sight, the country may never know the truth about those shameful proceedings.
I learn that Heintzelman, against his own judgment, agreed in the McClellan movement. Well, if this is true, then, of course, the army, for a long time misled by uninterrupted intrigues, misled by papers such as the New York Herald and the Times,—the army or the soldiers mightily contributed to bring about this fatal crisis. An army composed of intelligent Americans, blinded, stultified by intriguers, declares for a general who never, up to this day, covered with glory his or the army's name. After this nothing more is to be expected, and no disaster on the field of battle, no dissolution of a national principle, can astonish my mind. Cursed be those who thus demoralized the sound judgment of the soldiers! Cursed be my personal experience of men and of things which makes me despair! But when an army or soldiers become intellectually brought down to such a standard, then the holiest cause will always be lost. Oh for a man to save the cause of humanity! But if even such a man should appear, these pretorians will turn against him.
The pretorians, with the New York Herald as their flag, will soon finish with liberty at home. McClellan, Barlow, the brothers Wood, and Bennett, may very soon be at the helm, with the 100,000 pretorians for support. Similia similibus; and here disgrace is to cure disgrace.
These helpless grave-diggers, above all, Seward, are on the way to pick a quarrel with England, sending a flying gunboat fleet under Wilkes into the West Indian waters. At this precise moment it were better to be very cautious, and rather watch strongly our coasts with the same gunboats.
September 11.—A military genius at once finds out the point where blows are to be struck, and strikes them with lightning-like speed. The rebels act in this manner; but what point was found out, what blows were ever dealt by McClellan?
Individuals similar to McClellan were idolized by the Roman pretorians, and this idolatry marks the epoch of the utmost demoralization and degradation of the Roman empire. Witnessing such a phenomenon in an army of American volunteers, one must give up in despair any confidence in manhood and in common sense.
The Journal of St. Petersburg of August 6th semi-officially refutes the insinuations that Russia intends to recognize the South, or to unite with France and England for any such purpose, or for mediation. The language of the article is noble and friendly, as is all which up to this day has been done by Alexander II. Mr. Stoeckl, the Russian minister here, considerably contributes that such sound and friendly views on the condition of our affairs are entertained by the Russian Cabinet.
September 11.—Imbeciles agitate the question of mediation. European cabinets will not offer it now, and nobody, not even the rebels, would accept. No possible terms and basis exist for any mediation. A Solomon could not find them out. If Jackson and Lee were to shell Washington, then only the foreign ministers may be requested to step in and to settle the terms of a capitulation or of an evacuation. The foreign ministers here could act as mediators only if asked; not otherwise. I am sure it will come out that the invasion of Maryland by the rebels is made under the pressure exercised in Richmond by the Maryland chivalry in the service of the rebellion. These runaways probably promised an insurrection in Maryland, provided a rebel force crosses the Potomac. (Wrote it to England.)
All around helplessness and confusion. Conscientiously I make all possible efforts to record what I believe to be true, and then truth will take care of herself.
After the study of the campaigns of Frederick II., above all, after the study of those marvellous campaigns, combinations, manoeuvres of Napoleon, to witness every day the combinations of McClellan is more disgusting, more nauseous for the mind, than can be for the stomach the strongest dose of emetic.
The last catastrophe at Bull Run and at Manassas has a slight resemblance with the catastrophe at Waterloo. The conduct of the mutinous generals here is similar to the conduct of some of the French generals during the battle of Ligny and Quatre-Bras. But here was mutiny, and there demoralization produced by general and deeply rooted and fatally unavoidable causes. The demoralization of the French generals came at the end of a terrible epoch of struggles and sacrifices, of material exhaustion, when the faith in the destinies of Napoleon was extinct; here mutiny and demoralization seize upon the newly-born era.
September 13.—What a good-natured people are the Americans! A regiment of Pennsylvania infantry quartered for the night on the sidewalk of the streets; officers, of course, absent; the poor soldiers stretched on the stones, when so many empty large buildings, when the empty (intellectually and materially empty) White House could have given to the soldiers comfortable night quarters. It can give an idea how they treat the soldiers in the field, if here in Washington they care so little for them. But McClellan has forty wagons for his staff, and forty ambulances—no danger for the latter to be used. In European armies aristocratic officers would not dare to treat soldiers in this way—to throw them on the pavement without any necessity.
More than once in my life, after heavy fighting, I laid down the knapsack for a cushion, snow for a mattrass and for a blanket; but by the side of the soldiers, the generals, the staffs, and the officers shared similar bedsteads.
I hear strange stories about Stanton, and about his having ruefully fallen in McClellan's lap. If so, then one more man, one more illusion, and one more creed in manhood gone overboard, drowned in meanness, in moral cowardice, and subserviency.
The worshippers of strategy and of Gen. McClellan try to make the public swallow, that the investment of Richmond by him was a magnificent display of science, and would have been a success but for 50,000 more men under his command.
To invest any place whatever is to cut that place from the principal, if not from all communications with the country around, and thus prevent, or make dangerous or difficult, the arrival of provisions, of support, etc.
Our gunboats, etc., in the York and the James rivers have virtually invested Richmond on the eastern side; but that part of the Peninsula did not constitute the great source of life for the rebel army. The principal life-arteries for Richmond ran through four-fifths of a circle, beginning from the southern banks of the James river and running to the southern banks of the Rapidan and of the Rappahannock. Through that region men, material, provisions poured into Richmond from the whole South, and that whole region around Richmond was left perfectly open; but strategy concentrated its wisdom on the comparatively indifferent eastern side of the Chickahominy marshes, and cut off the rebels from—nothing at all.
September 13.—General McClellan, in search of the enemy, during the first six days makes thirty miles! Finds the enemy near Hagerstown. No more time for strategy.
September 14.—General McClellan telegraphs to General Halleck (meliores ambo) that he, McClellan, has "the most reliable information that the enemy is 190,000 strong in Maryland and in Pennsylvania, besides 70,000 on the other side of the Potomac." (The same bosh about the numbers as in the Peninsula.)
The Generals Burnside, Hooker, Sumner, Reno, fought the battle at Hagerstown, and drove the enemy before them. General McClellan reports a victory, but expects the enemy to renew the fighting next day in a considerable force—(as at Williamsburg). McClellan telegraphs to Halleck, "Look for an attack on Washington." The enemy retreats to recross the Potomac!
September 15.—General Wadsworth suggested to the President one of those bold movements by which campaigns are terminated by one blow: "To send Heintzelman and him, Wadsworth, with some 25,000 men, to Gordonsville (here and in Baltimore about 90,000 men), and thus cut off the enemy from Richmond, and prevent him from rallying his forces." But General Halleck opposes such a Murat's dash, on account of McClellan's "looked-for attack on Washington"—by his, McClellan's, imagination.
September 17.—When I wrote the above about Wadsworth and Heintzelman, I was under the impression that the victory announced by McClellan, Sept. 14, was more decisive; that as he had fresh the whole corps of Fitz John Porter, and the greatest part of that of Franklin, and other supports sent him from Washington, he would give no respite to the enemy, and push him into the Potomac. It turned out differently.
The loss by capitulation of Harper's Ferry. It is a blow to us, and very likely a disgraceful affair, not for the soldiers, but for the commanders.
September 19.—Five days' fighting. Our brave Hooker wounded; tremendous loss of life on both sides, and no decisive results. These last battles, and those on the Chickahominy, that of Shiloh, in one word all the fightings protracted throughout several consecutive days, are almost unexampled in history. These horrible episodes establish the bravery, the endurance of the soldiers, the bravery and the ability of some among the commanders of the corps, of the divisions, etc., and the absence of any generalship in the commander.
September 20.—Until this day Gen. McClellan has not published one single detailed report about any of his operations since the evacuation of Manassas in March. Thus much for the staff of the army of the Potomac. We shall see what detailed report he will publish of the campaign in Maryland. McClellan's bulletins from Maryland are twins to his bulletins from the Peninsula; and there may be very little difference between the gained victories. To-day he is ignorant of the movements of the enemy, and has more than 30,000 fresh troops in hand.
As in the Peninsula, so in Maryland. Although having nearly one-third more men than the enemy, General McClellan never forced the enemy to engage at once its whole force, never attacked the rebels on their whole line, and never had any positive notion about the number and the position of the opposing forces.
The rebels had the Potomac in their rear; our army pressed them in front, and—the rebels escaped.
I appeal to such military heroes as Hooker; I appeal to thousands of our brave soldiers, from generals down to the rank and file, and further I appeal to all women with hearts and brains here and in Europe.
September 20.—Gen. Mansfield killed at the head of his brigade. I ask his forgiveness for all the criticism made upon him in this diary. Last year, at the beginning of the war, Gen. Mansfield acted under the orders of Gen. Scott. This explains all.
As in the slaughters of the Chickahominy, so in the Maryland slaughters, nobody hurt in McClellan's numerous staff. Thank Heaven! Not only his life is charmed, but the charm extends over all who surround him,—men and beasts.
A malediction sticks to our cause. Hooker badly, very badly wounded. Hooker fought the greatest number of fights,—was never worsted in the Peninsula, nor in the August disasters, and he alone has the supreme honor of a nick-name, by the troopers' baptism: the Fighting Joe. Hooker, not McClellan, ought to command the army. But no pestilential Washington clique, none of the West-Pointers, back him, and the pets, the pretorians, may have refused to obey his orders.
After the escape of the rebels from Manassas in March, and after the evacuation of Yorktown, all the intriguers and traitors grouped around the New York Herald, and the imbeciles around the New York Times, prized high the masterly strategy and its bloodless victories. Now, in dead, by powder and disease, in crippled, etc., McClellan destroyed about 100,000 men, and the country's honor is bleeding, the country's cause is on the verge of a precipice.
How rare are men of civic heroism, of fearless civic courage; men of the creed: perisse mon nom mais que la patrie soit sauvee.
General Wadsworth feels more deeply and more painfully the disasters, nay, the disgrace, of the country, than do almost all with whom I meet here. During the Congress, similar were the feelings of Senator Wade, Judge Potter, and of many other Congressmen in both the Houses. So feel Boutwell, Andrew, the Governor of Massachusetts, and I am sure many, many over the country. But the sensation-men and preachers, lecturers, etc., all are to be * * * *
September 22.—By Mr. Seward's policy and by McClellan's strategy and war-bulletins the bravest and the most intelligent people became the laughing-stock of Europe and of the world. And thus is witnessed the hitherto in history unexampled phenomenon of a devoted and brave people of twenty millions, mastering all the wealth and the resources of modern civilization, worsted and kept at bay by four to five million rebels, likewise brave, but almost beggared, and cut off from all external communications.
Sept. 23.—Proclamation conditionally abolishing slavery from 1863. The conditional is the last desperate effort made by Mr. Lincoln and by Mr. Seward to save slavery. Poor Mr. Lincoln was obliged to strike such a blow at his mammy! The two statesmen found out that it was dangerous longer to resist the decided, authoritative will of the masses. The words "resign," "depose," "impeach," were more and more distinct in the popular murmur, and the proclamation was issued.
Very little, if any, credit is due to Mr. Lincoln or to Mr. Seward for having thus late and reluctantly legalized the stern will of the immense majority of the American people. For the sake of sacred truth and justice I protest before civilization, humanity, and posterity, that Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward intrinsically are wholly innocent of this great satisfaction given to the right, and to national honor.
The absurdity of colonization is preserved in the proclamation. How could it have been otherwise?
But if the rebellion is crushed before January 1st, 1863, what then? If the rebels turn loyal before that term? Then the people of the North will be cheated. Happily for humanity and for national honor, Mr. Lincoln's and Mr. Seward's benevolent expectations will be baffled; the rebels will spurn the tenderly proffered leniency; these rebels are so ungrateful towards those who "cover the weakness of the insurgents," &c. (See the celebrated, and by the American press much admired, despatch in May or June, 1862, Seward to Adams.)
The proclamation is written in the meanest and the most dry routine style; not a word to evoke a generous thrill, not a word reflecting the warm and lofty comprehension and feelings of the immense majority of the people on this question of emancipation. Nothing for humanity, nothing to humanity. Whoever drew it, be he Mr. Lincoln or Mr. Seward, it is clear that the writer was not in it either with his heart or with his soul; it is clear that it was done under moral duress, under the throttling pressure of events. How differently Stanton would have spoken!
General Wadsworth truly says, that never a noble subject was more belittled by the form in which it was uttered.
Brazilian m——s are much disturbed by the proclamation.
Sept. 23.—In his answer to the Paisley Parliamentary Reform Association, Mr. Seward complains that the sympathy of Europe turns now for secession.
O Mr. Seward, Mr. Seward, who is it that contributed to turn the current against the cause of right and of humanity? Months ago I and others warned you; the premonitory signs and the reasons of this change have been pointed out to you. Now you slander Europe, of which you know as little as of the inhabitants of the moon. The generous populations of the whole of Europe expected and waited for a positive, unhesitating, clear recognition of human rights; day after day the generous European minds expected to see some positive, authoritative fact confirm that lofty conception which, at the start of this rebellion, they had of the cause of the North. But the pure, generous tendencies of the American people became officially, authoritatively misrepresented; the public opinion in Europe became stuffed with empty generalizations, with official but unfulfilled prophecies, and with cold declamations. Those official generalizations, prophecies, and declamations, the supineness shown by the administration in the recognition of human rights, all this began to be considered in Europe as being sanctioned by the whole American people; and generous European hearts and minds began to avert in disgust from the misrepresented cause of the North.
Two issues are before history, before the philosophy of history, and before the social progress of our race. The first issue is the struggle between the pure democratic spirit embodied in the Free States, and the fetid remains of the worst part of humanity embodied in the South. The second issue is between the perennial vitality of the principle of self-government in the people, and the transient and accidental results of the self-government as manifested in Mr. Lincoln, in Mr. Seward, and their followers. I hope that this Diary will throw some light on the second issue, and vindicate the perennial against the transient and the accidental.
Sept. 24.—If the events of this war should progress as they are foreshadowed in the proclamation of September 22, then the application of this proclamation may create inextricable complications. Not only in one and the same State, but in one and the same district, nay, even in the same township, after January 1st, 1863, may be found Africo-Americans, portions of whom are emancipated, the others in bondage. But the stern logic of events will save the illogical, pusillanimous, confused half-measure, as it now is. (O Steffens!)
General McClellan confesses that if Hooker had not been wounded, then the road, by which the retreat of the rebels might have been cut off, would have been taken. Such a declaration is the most emphatic recognition of Hooker's superior military capacity. Seldom, however, has the loss of a general commanding only en second, or a wing, as did Hooker, decided the fortunes of the day. Why did not McClellan take the road himself, after Hooker was obliged to leave the field? When Desaix, Bessieres, and Lannes fell, Napoleon nevertheless won the respective battles.
Sept. 25.—The military position of the rebels in Winchester seems to me one of the best they ever held in this war. Winchester is the centre of which Washington, Harper's Ferry, Williamsport, nay, even Wheeling, seem to be the circumference. Our army under McClellan is almost beyond the circle, crosses not the Potomac, and is now only to watch the enemy. So much for the great McClellan's victory. Truly, the enemy may be taken in the rear, its communications with Richmond, &c., cut off and destroyed; but we are safe on the Potomac, and this is sufficient. McClellan is the man of large conceptions and rapid execution. The best generals are hors de combat; as to Halleck, O, it is not to think, not to speak. Well, I may be mistaken, but I clearly see all this on the map of Virginia.
Sept. 25.—The West Point spirit persecutes Sigel with the utmost rage. The West Point spirit seemingly wishes to have Sigel dishonored, defeated, even if the country be thereby destroyed. The Hallecks, &c., keep him in a subordinate position; three days ago his corps was a little over seven thousand, almost no cavalry, and most of the artillery without horses, and he in front.
The more I scrutinize the President's thus called emancipation proclamation, the more cunning and less good will and sincerity I find therein. I hope I am mistaken. But the proclamation is only an act of the military power,—is evoked by military necessity,—and not a civil, social, humane act of justice and equity.
The only good to be derived from this proclamation is, that for the first time the word freedom, and a general comprehension of "emancipation," appear in an official act under the sanction of the formula, and are inaugurated into the official, the constitutional life of the nation. In itself it is therefore a great event for a people so strictly attached to legality and to formulas.
I do not recollect to have read in the history of any great, or even of a small captain,—above all of such a one when between thirty-four and thirty-six years old,—that he followed the army under his command in a travelling carriage and six, when the field of operations extended from fifty to seventy miles. Three cheers for McClellan, for his carriage and six!
HOW THE GREAT CAPTAIN WAS TO CATCH THE WHOLE REBEL ARMY IN MANASSAS, IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH, A. D. 1862.
It was to have been done by a brilliant and unsurpassable stroke of combined strategy, tactics, manoeuvres, marches, and swimmings; also on land and water. (O, hear! O, hear!)
As every body knows, the rebels were encamped in the so fearful strongholds of Centreville and Manassas, all the time fooling the commander-in-chief of the federal army in relation to their immense numbers. To attack the rebels in front, or to surround them by the Occoquan and Brentsville, would have been a too—simple operation; by a special, an immense, space-embracing anaconda strategy, the rebel army was to be cut off from the whole of rebeldom, and forced to surrender en masse to the inventor of (the not yet patented, I hope) bloodless victories. To accomplish such an immense result, a fleet of transports was already ordered to be gathered at Annapolis. On them in ten or fifteen days (O, hear!) an army of fifty to sixty thousand, most completely equipped, was to be embarked, plus forty thousand in Washington, all this to sail under the personal command of the general-in-chief, and sail towards Richmond. Richmond taken, the rebel army at Manassas would have been cut off, and obliged to surrender on any terms.
The above splendid conception was, and still is, peddled among the army and among the nation by the admirers of, and the devotees of, anaconda strategy.
The expedition was to land at the mouth of the Tappahannock, a small port, or rather a creek, used for shipping of a small quantity of tobacco. As the port or creek has only some small attempts at wharves, the landing of such an enormous army, with parks of artillery, with cavalry, pontoons, and material for constructing bridges,—the landing would not have been executed in weeks, if in months; but the projector of the plan, perfectly losing the notion of time, calculated for ten days. From that port the flying expedition was to march directly on Richmond through a country having only common field and dirt roads, and this in a season when all roads generally are in an impassable condition, through a country intersected by marshy streams, principal among them the Matapony and the Pamunkey—to march towards Richmond and the Chickahominy marshes. It seems that Chickahominy exercised an attractive, Armida-like charm on the great strategian. An army loaded with such immense trains would have sufficiently destroyed all the roads, and rendered them impassable for itself; and the flying expedition would at once have been transformed into an expedition sticking in the mud, similar to that subsequent in the peninsula. The enemy was in possession of Fredericksburg and of the railroad to Hanover Court House on one flank, and of all the best roads north of and through Chickahominy marshes on the other flank. The flying expedition would have had for base Tappahannock and a dirt road. O strategy! O stuff!
The much-persecuted General McDowell exposed the worse than crudity of the brilliant conception. By doing this, McDowell saved the country, the administration, and the strategian from immense losses and from a nameless shame. It is due to the people that the administration lay before the public the scheme and the refutation. A look on the map of Virginia must convince even the simplest mind of the brilliancy of this conception.
During all this time spent in such masterly operations, the rebel army in Manassas was to quietly look on, to wait, and not move, not retreat on Richmond. Early in March, at once the rebel army, always undisturbed, quietly disappeared from Manassas; and this is the best evidence of the depth of that brilliant combination, peddled under the name of the flying expedition to Richmond, projected for January, February, or March. I appeal to the verdict of sound reason; the parties are, common sense versus anaconda strategy and bloodless victories.
Sept. 27.—The proclamation issued by the war power of the President is not yet officially notified to those who alone are to execute it—the armies and their respective commanders. Who is to be taken in? The papers publish a detailed account of an interview between the President and an anti-slavery deputation from Chicago. The deputation asked for stringent measures in the spirit of the law of Congress, which orders the emancipation of the slaves held by the rebels. The President combated the reasons alleged by the deputation, and tried to establish the danger and the inefficiency of the measure. A few days after the above-mentioned debate, the President issued the proclamation of September 22. Are his heart, his soul, and his convictions to be looked for in the debate, or in the proclamation?
The immense majority of the people, from the inmost of its heart, greets the proclamation—a proof how deeply and ardently was felt its necessity. The gratitude shown to Mr. Lincoln for having thus executed the will of his master,—this gratitude is the best evidence how this whole people is better, has a loftier comprehension of right and duty, than have its elected servants.
McClellan already speaks that the campaign is finished, and the army is to go into winter quarters. If the people, if the administration, and if the army will stand this, then they will justly deserve the scorn of the whole civilized and uncivilized world. But with such civil and military chiefs all is possible, all may be expected to be included in their programme of—vigorous operations.
Sept. 28.—For some weeks I watch a conspiracy of the West Pointers, of the commanders-in-chief, of the staffs, and of the double know-nothing cliques united against Sigel. The aim seems to be to put Sigel and his purposely-reduced and disorganized forces in such a condition and position that he may be worsted or destroyed by the enemy. To avoid dishonoring the forces under him, to avoid exposing them to slaughter, and to avoid being thus himself dishonored, Sigel ought to resign, and make public the reasons of his resignation. A few days ago, I wrote and warned the Evening Post; but—but—
The Richmond papers confirm what I supposed concerning the motives which pushed the rebel army across the Potomac. As the Marylanders rose not in arms, and joined not the rebel army, the invaders had nothing else to do but to retreat and to recross the Potomac. McClellan ought to have thrown them into the river, which Hooker, if not wounded, would have done, or if he had the command of our army.
The rebels would have retreated into Virginia, even without being attacked by McClellan, even if he only followed them, say at one day's distance. Not having destroyed the rebels, McClellan, in reality, and from the military stand point, accomplished very little—near to nothing. Hooker estimates the rebel force, at the utmost, at eighty thousand men, and that is all that they could have. McClellan had about one hundred and twenty thousand. And—and he is to be considered the savior of Maryland and of Pennsylvania. O, good American people! The genuine Napoleon won all his great battles against armies which considerably outnumbered his.
Mr. Seward menaces England with issuing letters of marque against the Southern privateers. The menace is ridiculous, because it will not be carried out, and, if carried out, it will become still more ridiculous; it would be a very poor compliment to the navy to use the whole power of private enterprise against a few rovers, and it would be an official recognition of the rebels in the condition of belligerents. Quousque tandem—O SEWARD—abutere patientiam nostram?
Sept. 30.—Nearly three weeks after the battle of Antietam, General McClellan publishes what he and they call a report of his operations in Maryland; in all not twenty lines, and devoted principally to establish—on probabilities—the numerical losses of the enemy. The report is a fit pendant to his bulletins; is excellent for bunkum, and to make other people justly laugh at us.
Costly Infatuation — The do-nothing strategy — Cavalry on lame horses — Bayonet charges — Antietam — Effect of the proclamation — Disasters in the West — The abolitionists not originally hostile to McClellan — Helplessness in the War Department — Devotedness of the people — McClellan and the proclamation — Wilkes — Colonel Key — Routine engineers — Rebel raid into Pennsylvania — Stanton's sincerity — O, unfighting strategians! — The administration a success — De gustibus — Stuart's raid — West Point — St. Domingo — The President's letter to McClellan — Broad church — The elections — The Republican party gone — The remedy at the polls — McClellan wants to be relieved — Mediation — Compromise — The rhetors. — The optimists — The foreigners — Scott and Buchanan — Gladstone — Foreign opinion and action — Both the extremes to be put down — Spain — Fremont's campaign against Jackson — Seward's circular — General Scott's gift — "O, could I go to a camp!" — McClellan crosses the Potomac — Prays for rain — Fevers decimate the regiments — Martindale and Fitz John Porter — The political balance to be preserved — New regiments — O, poor country!
With what a bloody sacrifice of men this people pays for its infatuation in McClellan, for the moral cowardice of its official leaders, and the intrigues and the imbecility of the regulars, of some among the West Pointers, of traitors led by the New York Herald, by the World, and by certain Unionists on the outside, and secessionists at heart! All these combined nourish the infatuation. All things compared, Napoleon cost not so much to the French people, and at least Napoleon paid it in glory. Mind and heart sicken to witness all this here. The question to-day is, not to strengthen other generals, as Heintzelman and Sigel, and to take the enemy in the rear, but to give a chance to McClellan to win the ever-expected, and not yet by him won, great battle. McClellan continually calls for more men; all the vital forces of the people are absorbed by him; and when he has large numbers, he is incapable of using and handling them; so it was at the Chickahominy, so it was at Antietam. In the way that McClellan acts now, he may use up all the available forces of the people, if nobody has the courage to speak out; besides, any warning voice is drowned in the treacherous intrigues of the clique, in imbecility and infatuation.
At the meeting of the governors, at the various public conventions, in the thus called public resolutions—platforms, in one word—wherever, in any way. North, West, and East, the public life of the people has made its voice heard: a vigorous prosecution of the war was, and is, earnestly recommended to the administration. All this will be of no avail. By this time, by bloody and bitter experience, the American people ought to have learned it. With his civil and military aids and lieutenants, as the McClellans, the Hallecks, the Sewards, Mr. Lincoln has been at work; and at the best, they have shown their utter incapacity, if not ill-will, to carry the war on vigorously and upon strictly military principles. Many persons in Washington know that Mr. Seward last winter firmly backed the do-nothing strategy, in the firm belief that the rebels would be worried out, and submit without fighting. To those statesmen and Napoleons, Carnots, &c., it is as impossible to manoeuvre with rapidity, to strike boldly and decidedly, as to dance on their well-furnished heads. Only such a good-natured people as the Americans can expect something from that whole caterva. To expect from Mr. Lincoln's Napoleons, Carnots, &c., vigorous and rapid military operations, is the same as to mount cavalry on thoroughly lame horses, and order it to charge a fond de train.
The worshippers of McClellan peddle that the Antietam victory became neutralized because the enemy fell back on its second and third line. Whatever may be in this falling back on lines, and accepting all as it is represented, one thing is certain, that when commanders win victories, generally they give no time to the enemy to fall back in order on its second and third lines. But every thing gets a new stamp under the new Napoleon. A few hours after the Antietam battle, General McClellan telegraphed that he "knew not if the enemy retreated into the interior or to the Potomac." O, O!
Many from among the European officers here have some experience of the manoeuvring of large bodies—experience acquired on fields of battle, and on reviews, and those camp manoeuvres annually practised all over Europe. In this way the European officers, more or less, have the coup d'oeil for space and for the terrain, so necessary when an army is to be put in positions on a field of battle, and which coup d'oeil few young American officers had the occasion to acquire. If judiciously selected for the duties of the staffs, such European officers would be of use and support to generals but for jealousy and the West Point cliques.
During this whole war I hear every body, but above all the West Point wiseacres and strategians, assert that charges with the bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting are exceedingly rare occurrences in the course of any campaign. It is useless to speak to all those great judges of experience and of history.
In the account of the battles of Ligny and of Waterloo, Thiers mentions four charges with the bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting at Ligny, and nine at Waterloo, wherein one was made by the English, one was made by Prussians and by French, and one by the French with bayonet against English cavalry. In 1831 the Poles used the bayonet more than it was used in any one campaign known in history. O, West Point!
It deserves to be noticed that the conspirators against Pope and McDowell, and the pet pretorians of September 6 and 7, distinguished themselves not very much in the battle of Antietam. Hooker commanded McDowell's corps.
To the number of evils inflicted upon this country by the McClellan infatuation, must be added the fact that many young men, with otherwise sound intellects, have been taken in, stultified, poisoned beyond cure, by high-sounding words, as strategy, all-embracing scientific combinations, &c.—words identified with incapacity, defeats, and intrigue.
In all probability, Hooker alone, when he fought, had a fixed plan at the Antietam battle. As for a general plan, aiming either to throw the enemy into the river, or to cut him from the river, or to accomplish something final and decisive, seemingly no such plan existed. It looks as if they had ignored, at the headquarters, what kind of positions were occupied by the enemy; and the only purpose seems to have been to fight, but without having any preconceived plan. This, at least, is the conclusion from the manner in which the battle was fought. If any plan had existed, the brave army would have executed it; but the enemy retreated in order, and rather unmolested. As always, so this time, the bravery of the army did every thing; and, as a matter of course, the generalship did—nothing.
Oct. 4.—The proclamation of September 22 may not produce in Europe the effect and the enthusiasm which it might have evoked if issued a year ago, as an act of justice and of self-conscientious force, as an utterance of the lofty, pure, and ardent aspirations and will of a high-minded people. Europe may see now in the proclamation an action of despair made in the duress of events; (and so it is in reality for Mr. Lincoln, Seward, and their squad.) And in this way, a noble deed, outpouring from the soul of the people, is reduced to pygmy and mean proportions by ——. The name is on every body's lips.
But it was impossible to issue this proclamation last year; at that time the master-spirit of Mr. Lincoln's administration emphatically assured the diplomats that the Union will be preserved, were slavery—to rule in Boston.
The continued disasters in the West can easily be explained by the fact, that those rotten skeletons, Crittenden, Davis, and Wickliffe control the operations of the generals.
Among the countless lies peddled by McClellan's worshippers, the most enormous and the most impudent is that one by which they attempt to explain, what in their lingo they call, the hostility of the abolitionists towards McClellan. Concerning this matter, I can speak with perfect knowledge of almost all the circumstances.
Not one abolitionist of whatever hue, not one republican whatever, was in any way troubled or thought about the political convictions of General McClellan at the time when he was put at the head of the army. All the abolitionists and republicans, who then earnestly wished, and now wish, to have the rebellion crushed, expected General McClellan to do it by quick, decisive, soldier-like, military operations, manoeuvres, and fights. Senators Wade, Chandler, Trumbull, &c., in October, 1861, principally aided McClellan to become independent of General Scott. When, however, weeks and months elapsed without any soldier-like action, manifestation, or enterprise whatever, all those who were in earnest began to feel uneasy, began to murmur, not in reference to any political opinions, whatever, held by General McClellan, but solely and exclusively on account of his military supineness. All those who ardently wished, and wish, that neither slaveholders nor slavery be hurt in any way, such ones early grouped themselves around General McClellan, believing to have found in him the man after their own heart. That cesspool of all infamies, the New York Herald, became the mouthpiece of all the like hypocrites. They and the Herald were the first to pervert and to misrepresent the indignation evoked by the do-nothing or nobody-hurt strategy, and to call it the abolition outcry against their fetish.
Scarcely will it be believed what disorder, what helplessness, and what incapacity rule paramount in the expedition of any current business in the strictly military part of the War Department. It is worse than any imaginable red-tape and circumlocution. And all this, being considered a speciality and a technicality, is in the exclusive hands of the adjutant general, a master spirit among the West Pointers. Generally, all relating to the thus celebrated organization of the army is an exclusive work of the West Point wisdom—is handled by West Pointers; and, nevertheless, the general comprehension of all details in relation to an army, how it is to be handled, all the military details of responsibility, of higher discipline, &c., all this is confusion, and strikes with horror any one either familiar with such matters or using freely his sound sense. A narrow routine which may have been innocuous with an army of sixteen thousand with General Scott and in peace, became highly mischievous when the army increased more than fifty times, and the war raged furiously. All this confusion is specially produced by the wiseacres and doctors of routine. Undoubtedly it reacts on the army, and shows of what use for the country is, and was, that whole old nursery.
Wherever one turns his eyes, every where a deep line separates the patriotic activity of the people from the official activity. With the people all is sacrifice, devotion, grandeur, and purity of purpose, by great and small, by rich and poor, and with the poor, if possible, even more than with the rich. With the highest and higher officials it is either weakness, or egotism, or coolness, or intrigue, or ignorance, or helplessness. The exceptions are few, and have been repeatedly pointed out.
Oct. 8.—General McClellan's order to the army concerning the President's proclamation shows up the man. Not a word about the object in the proclamation, but rather unveiled insinuations that the army is dissatisfied with emancipation, and that it may mutiny. The army ought to feel highly honored by such insinuations in that lengthy disquisition about his (McClellan's) position and the duties of the army. For the honor of the brave, armed citizen-patriots it can be emphatically asserted that the patriotic volunteers better know their duties than do those who preach to them. Some suspect that Mr. Seward drew the paper for McClellan, but I am sure this cannot be. It may have been done by Bennett or some other of the Herald, or by Barlow. If this order is the result of Mr. Lincoln's visit to the camp, and of a transaction with Mac-Napoleon, then the President has not thereby increased the dignity of his presidential character.
Wilkes's Spirit of the Times incommensurably towers above the New York Press by its dauntless patriotism; by its clear, broad, and deep comprehension of the condition of the country.
Colonel Key's disclosures concerning the McClellan-Halleck programme, not to destroy the rebels and the rebellion until the next presidential election, are throttled by the dismissal of the colonel. But what he said, if put by the side of the words of the order to the army, that "the remedy for political errors, if any are committed, is to be found only in the action of the people at the polls,"—all this ought to open even the most obtuse intellects.
Poor (Carlyle fashion) old Greeley hurrahs for McClellan and for the order No. 163 to the army. O for new and young men to swim among new and young events!
Oct. 11.—Will any body in this country have the patriotic courage to reform the army? that is, to dismiss from the service the West Point clique in Washington and in the army of the Potomac. Such a proof of strong will cannot be expected from the President; but perhaps Congress may show it. Those first and second scholars or graduates from West Point are all routine engineers; and who ever heard of whole armies commanded, moved, and manoeuvred by engineers? American invention; but not to be patented for Europe.
Oct. 11.—The rebel raid into Pennsylvania, under the nose of McClellan. Is there any thing in the world capable of opening this people's eyes?
I doubt if at any time, and in the life of any great or small people, there existed such a galaxy of civil and military rulers, chiefs, and leaders, stripped of nobler manhood, as are the great men here. The blush of honor never burned their cheeks! O, the low politicians! Some persons doubt Stanton's sincerity in his dealings with individuals. I am not a judge thereof; but were it so, it can easily be forgiven if he only remains sincere and true to the cause.
One is amazed and even aghast at the impudence of the McClellan and West Point cliques. In their lingo, heroes like Kearney, like Hooker and Heintzelman, all such are superciliously mentioned as only fighting generals. O, unfighting strategians!
Stuart's brilliant raid was executed the day of McClellan's bombastic proclamation about his having cleared Pennsylvania and Maryland of the enemy. On the same day McClellan and other generals straggled about the country, visiting cities hundreds of miles distant from the camp. And such generals complain of straggling! Make the army fight! inspire with confidence the soldier—then he will not straggle.
The Evening Post, October 13, demonstrates that up to this day Mr. Lincoln's administration is "a grand and brilliant success." Well, de gustibus non est disputandum. Others may rightly think that the achievements enumerated by the Evening Post are exclusively due to the people; that by the people they were forced upon the administration, (Stanton and the navy excepted;) and that the numerous failures, the waste of human life, of money, and of time, are to be logically and directly traced to the administration. O, subserviency!
The McClellanites are indignant against the Pennsylvanians for not having caught Stuart and his three thousand horses. Bravo! And what is the army for? and, above all, what are the so expensive commander and his staff for?
It is perhaps natural that many from among the republican leaders attempt to prop up the reputation of Mr. Lincoln's administrative capacity, to kindle a halo around his name, and to sponge the waste of blood, of means, and of time, from the tracks of his Seward-Scott-Blair administration; but stern historical justice shall not, and cannot, do it.
Whatever be the high military and scientific prowess shown by the first West Point graduates and scholars, all this in no way compensates for the summum of perverted notions which are reared there, and for the mock, sham, and clownish aristocracy by which a high-toned West Pointer is easily recognized. Of course many and many are the exceptions; many West Point pupils are animated by the noblest and purest American spirit; but the genuine West Point spirit consists in sneering and looking down with contempt at the mother and nurse; that is, at the purely republican, purely democratic political institutions, at the broad political and intellectual freedom to which those clown-aristocrats owe their rearing, their little bit of information, and those shoulder-stripes by which they are so mightily inflated.
What silly talk, to compare the St. Domingo insurrection with the eventual results of emancipation in the South! In St. Domingo the slaves were obliged to tear their liberty from the slaveholding planter, and from a government siding with the oppressor. Here the lawful government gives liberty to a peaceful laborer, and the planter is an outlawed traitor. But the genuine pro-slavery democrat is stupidly obtuse.
Oct. 18.—A few days ago the President wrote a letter to McClellan, with ability and lucidity, exposing to view the military urgency of a movement on the enemy with an army of one hundred and forty thousand men, as has now McClellan at Harper's Ferry. But the letter ends by saying that all that it contains is not to be considered by McNapoleon as being an order. Of course Mac obeys—the last injunction of the letter. Mr. Lincoln wishes not to hurt the great Napoleon's feelings; as for hurting the country, the people, the cause, this is of—no consequence! Ah! to witness all this is to be chained, and to die of thirst within the reach of the purest water.
Reverend Dr. Unitarian Sensation's broad church, admirer of the Southern gentleman, and a Jeremy Diddler.
Oct. 18.—The elections in several of the States evidence the deep imprint upon the country of Lincoln-Seward disorganizing, because from the first day vacillating, undecided, both-ways policy. The elections reverberate the moral, the political, and the belligerent condition in which the country is dragged and thrown by those two master spirits. No decided principle inspires them and their administration, and no principle leads and has a decided majority in the elections; neither the democrats nor the republicans prevail; neither freedom nor submission is the watchword; and finally, neither the North nor the South is decidedly the master on the fields of battle. All is confusion!
Scarcely one genuine republican was, or is, in the cabinet; the republican party is completely on the wane—and perhaps beyond redemption; all this is a logical result, and was easily to be foreseen by any body,—only not by the wiseacres of the party, not by the republican papers in New York, as the Times, the Tribune, and the Evening Post, only not by the Sumners, Doolittles, and many of the like leaders, all of whom, when, about a year ago, warned against such a cataclysm, self-confidently smiled; but who soon will cry more bitter tears than did the daughters of Judah over the ruins of Jerusalem.
And now likewise the phrase in McClellan's order No. 163, about "the remedy at the polls," the disclosures made by Colonel Key, receive their fullest, but ominous and cursed, signification; and now the blind can see that it is policy, and not altogether incapacity, in McClellan to have made a war to preserve slavery and the rebels. And thus McClellan outwitted Mr. Lincoln.
In general, human nature is passionately attracted, nay, is subdued, by energy, above all by civic intrepidity. It would have been so easy for Mr. Lincoln to carry the masses, and to avoid those disasters at the polls! But stubbornness is not energy.
From a very reliable source I learn that a few days after the battle of Antietam, General McClellan, or at least General or Colonel Marcy, of McClellan's staff, insinuated to the President that General McClellan would wish to be relieved from the command of the army, and be assigned to quiet duties in Washington—very likely to supersede Halleck. And the President seized not by the hairs the occasion to get rid of the nation's nightmare, together with the pets of the commander of the army of the Potomac. McClellan acted honestly in making the above insinuation; he is now, in part at least, irresponsible for any future disaster and blood.
Oct. 20.—I have strong indications that European powers, as England and France, are very sanguine to mediate, but would do it only if, and when, asked by our government. Those two governments, or some other half-friendly, may, semi-officially, insinuate to Mr. Seward to make such a demand. A few months ago, already Mr. Dayton wrote from Paris something about such a step. Mr. Seward is desperate, downcast, and may believe he can serve his country by committing the cabinet to some such combination. I must warn Stanton and others.
In the Express and in the World the New York Herald found its masters in ignominy.
More or less mean, contemptible ambition among the helmsmen, but patriotism, patriotic ambition are below zero—here in Washington. For the sake and honor of human nature, I pray to destiny Stanton may not fail, and still count among the Wadsworths, the Wades, and the like pure patriots.
The democratic elections and majorities united to Mr. Seward may enforce a compromise, and God knows if Mr. Lincoln will oppose it to the last. Then the only seeming salvation of the north will be the indomitable decision of the rebels not to accept any terms except a full recognition.
Oct. 22.—The incapacity of the military wiseacres borders on idiotism, if not on something worse. To do nothing McClellan absorbs every man, and keeps one hundred and forty thousand men on the Maryland side of the Potomac. Sigel has only a small command of twelve thousand men, in a position where, with one quarter of what is useless under McClellan, with his skill, his activity, and the truly patriotic devotion of his troops, of his officers, and of the commanders under him, Sigel would force the rebels to retreat from Winchester, and otherwise damage them far more than will or can do such McClellans, Hallecks, and all this c——e.
One of the greatest misfortunes for the American people is to have considered as statesmen the rhetors, the petty politicians, and the speech-makers. Now, those rhetors, petty politicians, and speech-makers are at the helm, are in the Senate, and—ruin the country.
The optimists and the subservients still console themselves and confuse the people by asserting that Mr. Lincoln will yet come out as a man and a statesman. Previous to such a happy change the country's honor and the country's political and material vitality will run out.
More than a year ago Mr. Seward said to the Prince Salm and to me, that this war ought to be fought out by foreigners; that the Americans fought the revolutionary war, but now they are devoted to peaceful pursuits; and that it is the duty of Europeans to save this refuge from the thraldoms in the old world.
Now, I see that Mr. Seward was right, although in a sense different from that in which he uttered the above sentence.
The Irish excepted, all the other foreign-born Americans, but preeminently the Germans, are more in communion with the lofty, pure, and humane element in the thus called American principle, are therefore more in communion with the creed of the immense majority of Americans, than are they, the present dabblers in politics, the would-be leaders, (civil and military,) the would-be statesmen, all of whom are eaten up by the admixture into what is vital and perennial in the signification of America, of all that in itself is local, muddy, petty, accidental, and transient.
Oct. 23.—The recent publication of General Scott's letter, and of a writing to President Buchanan, confirms my opinion that "the highest military authority in the land" faltered after March 4, 1861, and inaugurated that defensive warfare wherein we stick on the Potomac until this day.
Pseudo-liberal right-honorable Gladstone asserts that Jeff. Davis "has made the South a nation;" then Abraham Lincoln, with W. H. Seward and G. B. McClellan, have destroyed a noble and generous nation.
England may now recognize the South, France may join in it, but other great European powers, as Russia, Spain, Prussia, Austria, will not follow in such a wake. The recognition will not materially improve the condition of the rebels, nor raise the blockade. But as soon as recognized, Jeff. D. may ask for a mediation, which the people—if not Mr. Seward—will spurn. An armed mediation remains to be applied, wherein, likewise, the other European powers will not concur. An armed mediation between the two principles will be the summum of infamy to which English aristocracy and English mercantilism can degrade itself; if Louis Napoleon joins therein, then his crown is not worth two years lease, provided the Orleans have ——
If we should succumb under the united efforts of imbecility, of pro-slavery treason, of Anglo-Franco-European and of American perjury, then
Ultima coelestis terram Astraea reliquit.
Oct. 25.—Only two or three days ago, in a conversation with a diplomat, Mr. Seward asserted that both the extreme parties will be mastered—that is, the secessionists and the abolitionists. So Mr. Seward confesses the credo and the gospel of the New York Herald, the World, the Journal of Commerce, the National Intelligencer, and other similar organs of secession.
Notwithstanding the numerous complications naturally generated by the vicinity of Cuba to Secessia, the Spanish government, Count Serrano, the captain-general of Cuba, and Tassara, the Spanish minister here, all have maintained the most loyal relations towards the Federal government. It were to be very much regretted if a drunkard or a brute, as in the affair of the Montgomery, should disturb such relations.
Oct. 26.—McClellan-Blair-Seward tactics are crowned with splendid success. By his simplicity Mr. Lincoln aided therein as much as he could. The bad season is in; any successful campaign impossible. The rebels will be safe, and Gladstone justified.
It is so difficult to find out the truth concerning Fremont's campaign against Jackson, that some generalship may, after all, be credited to him. At any rate Fremont is a better general than McClellan and the pets in command under him, and Fremont is with his heart and soul in the cause, of which the McClellanites cannot be accused, all of them, their fetish included, having no heart and no soul.
Old Europe, and, above all, official Europe, and even the Gladstones, must be vindicated. Official Europe generally appreciates nations by their leaders. Europe demands from such leaders actions and proofs of statesmanship, of high capacity, if not of heroism. The attempt to astonish Europe by speeches, by oratory, and, still worse, by second-rate legal arguments, by what is called papers here, and in Europe diplomatic circulars and despatches, is the same as the attempt to eclipse bright sunlight with a burning candle. But our orators, and, above all, Mr. Seward, flooded the European and the English statesmen with their, at the best, indifferent productions. Official Europe was favored with a shower of three various editions of papers relating to foreign relations in 1862, issued by the State Department, together with the Sanfords, the Weeds, the Hugheses, et hoc genus omne. Undoubtedly, the traitor Mason shows in England more of fire than does the cold, stiff, prickly, and dignified son and grandson of Presidents; and then the average of our press! O, Jemima!
In his circular, September 22, to our agents in Europe, Mr. Seward belies not himself. The emancipation is rather coldly announced, and it is visible that neither Mr. Seward's heart nor soul is in it.
The President has now the most reliable information that when Corinth was invested by Halleck, the rebel troops were wholly demoralized, and the enemy was astonished not to be attacked, as very little resistance would have been made. So much for General Scott's gift in Halleck.
The almost daily occurrences here long ago would have exasperated the hot-headed and warm-hearted nations in Europe, and treason would have become their watchword. O American people! thou art warm-hearted, but of unparallelled endurance!
No European nation, not even the Turks, would patiently bear such a condition of affairs. Every where the sovereign would have been forced to change, or to modify, the personnel of his ministers and advisers; and Mr. Lincoln is in the hands of Messrs. Seward and Blair, both worse even than McClellan, and—cannot shake them off.
Now, for the first time in my life, I realize why, during the last stages of the dissolution of the Roman empire, honest men escaped into monasteries, or why, at certain epochs of the great French revolution, the best men went to the army.
Ah! to witness here the meanest egotism, imbecility, and intrigue, coolly, one by one, destroy the honor and the future of this noble people. Curse upon my old age! above all, curse upon my obesity! Curse upon my poverty! What a cesspool! what a mire! Only legal slaughterers all around! O, could I go to a camp! but, of course, not to one under McClellan. Sigel's camp. Sigel's men are not soulless; they fight for an idea, without an eye to the White House.
The rhetors, the stump-speakers, the politicians, and the intriguers hold the power, and—humanity and history shudder at the results.
Oct. 29.—McClellan, with his wonted intrepidity and rapidity, crossed the Potomac from all directions, pushes on Winchester, and—will find there wherefrom every animal willingly discharges itself.
A foreign diplomat, one of the most eminent in the whole corps, said yesterday, "No living being so ardently prays for rain as does McClellan; rain will prevent fighting, marching, &c." Such is the estimation of our hero.
Fevers decimated many regiments at Harper's Ferry. If McClellan would have marched only five miles a day, fighting even such battles without any generalship, as he did at Antietam, the army would be healthier, and by this time would be in Richmond.
The decision of the court of inquiry between a patriot and the incarnation of West Point McClellanism, between Martindale and that Fitz-John Porter, ought to open the eyes of any one, but—not those of Mr. Lincoln.
Only two days ago Mr. Lincoln declared, that the reason why McClellan and his pets are not removed is, not any confidence in McClellan's capacity, but to preserve the political balance between the republican and the democratic parties.
If there exist such spiritual creations as providence, genii, or angels watching over the destinies of nations, then, at the sight of Lincoln-Seward-Blair doings, providence, angels, genii avert their faces in despair.
Oct. 30.—New regiments coming in. It cuts into the deepest of the heart to see such noble and devoted fellows going to be again wantonly slaughtered by the combined military and civic inefficiency of McClellan-Lincoln-Seward, and, above all, by their utter heartlessness.
When the rebels invaded Maryland, the fighting generals, as Heintzelman, advised to mass the troops between the rebels and the Potomac, cut them from their bases and communications, push them towards the North without a possibility of escape, instead of throwing them back on the Potomac. Harper's Ferry would have been saved. Every progress made by the rebels in a Northern direction would have assured their ruin; soon their ammunition would have been exhausted, and surrender was inevitable. But this bold plan of a fighting general could not be comprehended by pets and pretorians. Since, daily and daily occasions occur to destroy the rebels; but that is not the game. Instead of cutting the rebels from Gordonsville and Richmond, which could have been done any time during the last five weeks if Heintzelman and Sigel were not so thoroughly weakened by an ignorant, or worse, distribution of troops, McClellan with all his might pushes the rebels back to Richmond, back on their bases and their resources. O, poor country!
Even I feel humiliated to continually ascertain, by various direct and indirect sources from Europe, in what little estimation—if not worse—is held our administration by the principal statesmen and governments of the old world.
Empty rhetoric — The future dark and terrible — Wadsworth defeated — The official bunglers blast every thing they touch — Great and holy day! McClellan gone overboard! — The planters — Burnside — McClellan nominated for President — Awful events approaching — Dictatorship dawns on the horizon — The catastrophe.
O God, O God! to witness how, by the hands of Lincoln-Seward-McClellan, this noblest human structure is crumbled—and, perhaps, soon
Pulvere vix tactae poterunt monstrare ruinae.
May God preserve this people—those noble patriots, of which Wadsworth, Wade, Potter of Wisconsin, Stanton, Governor Andrew, and many others are the types, when the country will be ruined and rended by the firm, Lincoln-Seward-McClellan, to realize the pang,—
Nessun maggior' dolor' che ricordarsi dell tempo felice Nella miseria.
O, I know what it is!
Mr. Seward's letter, October 28, to Messrs. Connover and Palmer, is a display of that empty rhetoric whose dust he is wont to throw into the eyes of the good-natured masses. His plea for united action—of course with him—is the most bitter irony on himself. Mr. Seward's policy and action are at the helm, and he piloted "our noble ship of state" on worse breakers than those "of eighteen months ago."
Mr. Seward's letter is dumb on the object of the Cooper meeting. Of course, Mr. Seward would rather swallow a viper than applaud the abolition of slavery.
Nov. 5.—Lincoln-Seward politically slaughtered the republican party, and with it the country's honor. The future looks dark and terrible. I shudder. Dishonor on all sides. Lincoln will not understand to use the lease of power left to him—or to fall as a man. But to be candid, most of the thus called leaders prepared this defeat, and most of them at the last moment may lack decision and dignity. How repeatedly I warned the Sumners, Wilsons, and other wiseacres, that such will be the end, that the people at large will become exasperated by Lincoln's administration!
The issue brought before the people was all but dignified. It would have been better to make a straightforward issue against the incapacity and the democratic ill-will of McClellan, than to dodge the question, and force honest and noble men to speak against their convictions. The issue, as made, was concocted by journalists, by politicians; but not by statesmen, not by genuine great leaders.
Seward triumphs. His insincerity preeminently contributed to defeat Wadsworth. Mephisto-like, he rejoices in thus having humbled the pure and radical patriots.
At any rate, I shall try to expose Seward. Arrive que pourra. But for him the sacred cause would have been victorious, and now—horror! horror!
The pro-Romanist clergy is more furiously and savagely pro-slavery than are the Rhetts, the Yanceys, in the South; the poor Africo-Americans are, if not the truest Christians in this country, at any rate their Christianity is sublime when compared with the pro-Romanism.
O, for civic intrepidity, or all is lost! High-minded, intrepid, self-forgetful civism and abnegation alone can avert the catastrophe. Such is the mass of the people—but its leaders!
Nov. 8.—Hooker has the military instinct in him which lights the fire, and the inspiration of the god of battles; as Halleck has nothing of the one and of the other, and as Mr. Lincoln is—Mr. Lincoln, so Hooker is not to be put in command of the army. Lincoln and Halleck will find out their man. Similis simili gaudet, or, przywitala sie dupa z wiechciem.
Nov. 9.—The official bunglers have blasted every thing they touched: the people's virgin enthusiasm and unparalleled devotion; they have endangered the country's safety. It is to hope for a miracle to expect any thing for the better at the hands of the bunglers. Will the shallow rhetors, will the would-be leaders in the Congress, be as subservient to the bunglers as they have been up to this hour?
Nov. 9.—Great and holy day! McClellan gone overboard! Better late than never. But this belated act of justice to the country cannot atone for all the deadly disasters, will not remove the fearful responsibility from Lincoln-Seward-Blair, for having so long sustained this horrible vampire. Now is Seward's turn to jump.
It must be acknowledged, in justice to the average of the better class of planters, that the superficial, sociable intercourse with them is more easy, and what is commonly considered more European, than is similar intercourse with any corresponding class in the North. Therein consists the whole attraction exercised by the Southerners on Europeans visiting America—the diplomats included. I, for one, am always uneasy, anxious, as if touching hot iron, when in intercourse here with men with whom I am very intimate, (on the outside,) and who now are in power. I never felt so out of the track when—once—in intercourse with sovereigns, and with eminent men in Europe.
Nov. 11.—General Burnside succeeds to McClellan—gives a military ovation to his predecessor. In his order of the day, Burnside pays homage to McClellan, and thus implicitly condemns the government. Burnside permits McClellan to issue such a parting word as must shake the army and the country.
Nov. 12.—The democrats nominate McClellan for the next presidency. Thus Mr. Lincoln's helplessness, Seward's hatred of the republican creed, the treason, the imbecility, the intrigues of various others, the lack of civic energy in the New York republican press and in the republican politicians, except some repeatedly mentioned in this Diary,—all this combined has built up a pedestal for such a McClellan!
Strange and awful events may occur even before the end of Mr. Lincoln's administration. The democratic leaders are perverse, unprincipled, reckless, daring beyond conception; success is their creed, and no conscience, no honor restrain them; and in the management of the public opinion and of their party the democrats have evidenced a skill far above that of the republican leaders; further, the democrats evoke the vilest, the most brutish passions dormant in the masses; the democrats are supported by all that is brutal, savage, ignorant, and sordid; and, to crown and strengthen all, the democrats, united to Romanist priesthood, rule over the Irishry.
And thus the relentless hatred with which the democrats persecute any elevated, noble, humane aspiration; the helplessness, the incapacity of the official and unofficial leaders of the republican party: both these agencies combined may deal such a blow to the pure and humane republican creed that it may not recover therefrom during the next twenty-five years.
To sum up,—
Dictatorship with McClellan seems to dawn upon the horizon; the smallest disaster—Burnside, ah!—will precipitate the catastrophe. I pray to God (and for the first time) that I may be mistaken.