The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 1865
Author: Various
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One thing not enough reflected on is, that in this transition period between childhood and maturity the heaviest draft and strain of school education occurs. The boy is fitting for the university, the girl going through the studies of the college senior year, and the brain-power, which is working almost to the breaking-point to perfect the physical change, has the additional labor of all the drill and discipline of school.

The girl is growing into a tall and shapely woman, and the poor brain is put to it to find enough phosphate of lime, carbon, and other what not, to build her fair edifice. The bills flow in upon her thick and fast; she pays out hand over hand: if she had only her woman to build, she might get along, but now come in demands for algebra, geometry, music, language, and the poor brain-bank stops payment; some part of the work is shabbily done, and a crooked spine or weakened lungs are the result.

Boarding-schools, both for boys and girls, are for the most part composed of young people in this most delicate, critical portion of their physical, mental, and moral development, whose teachers are expected to put them through one straight, severe course of drill, without the slightest allowance for the great physical facts of their being. No wonder they are difficult to manage, and that so many of them drop, physically, mentally, and morally halt and maimed. It is not the teacher's fault; he but fulfils the parent's requisition, which dooms his child without appeal to a certain course, simply because others have gone through it.

Finally, as my sermon is too long already, let me end with a single reflection. Every human being has some handle by which he may be lifted, some groove in which he was meant to run; and the great work of life, as far as our relations with each other are concerned, is to lift each one by his own proper handle, and run each one in his own proper groove.


The dark jaguar was abroad in the land; His strength and his fierceness what foe could withstand? The breath of his anger was hot on the air, And the white lamb of Peace he had dragged to his lair.

Then up rose the Farmer; he summoned his sons: "Now saddle your horses, now look to your guns!" And he called to his hound, as he sprang from the ground To the back of his black pawing steed with a bound.

Oh, their hearts, at the word, how they tingled and stirred! They followed, all belted and booted and spurred. "Buckle tight, boys!" said he, "for who gallops with me, Such a hunt as was never before he shall see!

"This traitor, we know him! for when he was younger, We flattered him, patted him, fed his fierce hunger: But now far too long we have borne with the wrong, For each morsel we tossed makes him savage and strong."

Then said one, "He must die!" And they took up the cry, "For this last crime of his he must die! he must die!" But the slow eldest-born sauntered sad and forlorn, For his heart was at home on that fair hunting-morn.

"I remember," he said, "how this fine cub we track Has carried me many a time on his back!" And he called to his brothers, "Fight gently! be kind!" And he kept the dread hound, Retribution, behind.

The dark jaguar on a bough in the brake Crouched, silent and wily, and lithe as a snake: They spied not their game, but, as onward they came, Through the dense leafage gleamed two red eyeballs of flame.

Black-spotted, and mottled, and whiskered, and grim, White-bellied, and yellow, he lay on the limb, All so still that you saw but just one tawny paw Lightly reach through the leaves and as softly withdraw.

Then shrilled his fierce cry, as the riders drew nigh, And he shot from the bough like a bolt from the sky: In the foremost he fastened his fangs as he fell, While all the black jungle reechoed his yell.

Oh, then there was carnage by field and by flood! The green sod was crimsoned, the rivers ran blood, The cornfields were trampled, and all in their track The beautiful valley lay blasted and black.

Now the din of the conflict swells deadly and loud, And the dust of the tumult rolls up like a cloud: Then afar down the slope of the Southland recedes The wild rapid clatter of galloping steeds.

With wide nostrils smoking, and flanks dripping gore, The black stallion bore his bold rider before, As onward they thundered through forest and glen, A-hunting the dark jaguar to his den.

In April, sweet April, the chase was begun; It was April again, when the hunting was done: The snows of four winters and four summers green Lay red-streaked and trodden and blighted between.

Then the monster stretched all his grim length on the ground; His life-blood was wasting from many a wound; Ferocious and gory and snarling he lay, Amid heaps of the whitening bones of his prey.

Then up spoke the slow eldest son, and he said, "All he needs now is just to be fostered and fed! Give over the strife! Brothers, put up the knife! We will tame him, reclaim him, but take not his life!"

But the Farmer flung back the false words in his face: "He is none of my race, who gives counsel so base! Now let loose the hound!" And the hound was unbound, And like lightning the heart of the traitor he found.

"So rapine and treason forever shall cease!" And they wash the stained fleece of the pale lamb of Peace; When, lo! a strong angel stands winged and white In a wonderful raiment of ravishing light!

Peace is raised from the dead! In the radiance shed By the halo of glory that shines round her head, Fair gardens shall bloom where the black jungle grew, And all the glad valley shall blossom anew!


In the July (1864) number of this magazine there is an article entitled "The May Campaign in Virginia," which gives an outline of the operations of the Army of the Potomac in its march from its encampment on the Rapidan, through the tangled thickets of the Wilderness, to the bloody fields of Spottsylvania, across the North Anna, to the old battle-ground of Cold Harbor. The closing paragraph of that article is an appropriate introduction to the present. It is as follows:—

"The line of advance taken by General Grant turned the Rebels from Washington. The country over which the two armies marched is a desolation. There is no subsistence remaining. The railroads are destroyed. Lee has no longer the power to invade the North. On the other hand, General Grant can swing upon the James, and isolate the Rebel army from direct communication with the South. That accomplished, and, sooner or later, with Hunter in the Shenandoah, with Union cavalry sweeping down to Wilmington, Weldon, and Danville, and up to the Blue Ridge, cutting railroads, burning bridges, destroying supplies of ammunition and provisions, the question with Lee must be, not one of earthworks and cannon and powder and ball, but of subsistence. Plainly, the day is approaching when the Army of the Potomac, unfortunate at times in the past, derided, ridiculed, but now triumphant through unparalleled hardship, endurance, courage, persistency, will plant its banners on the defences of Richmond, crumble the Rebel army beyond the possibility of future cohesion, and, in conjunction with the forces in other departments, crush out the last vestige of the Rebellion."

So it has proved. The railroads are destroyed, the bridges burned, the supplies of ammunition and provision exhausted; the flag of the Union floats over the city which the Rebels have called their capital; the troops of the Union patrol the streets of Richmond, and occupy all the principal towns of Virginia; Lee's army has melted away, and the power of the Rebellion is broken.

Before entering upon a narration of the campaign of a week which gave us Richmond and the Rebel army at the same time, it will widen our scope of vision to inquire


On the 17th of April, 1861, Virginia in Convention passed an Ordinance of Secession. The Convention, when elected on the 4th of February preceding, was largely Anti-Secession; but the events which had taken place,—the firing on Sumter, its surrender, with the machinations of the leaders of Secession,—their misrepresentations of the North, of what Mr. Lincoln would do,—their promises that there would be no war, that the Yankees would not fight,—their bullyings when they could not cajole, their threatenings when they could not intimidate,—their rejoicings at the bloodless victory won by South Carolina, single-handed, over a starved garrison,—their bonfires and illuminations, their baskets of Champagne and bottles of whiskey,—all of these forces combined were sufficient to carry the Ordinance of Secession through the Convention. But it was hampered by a proviso submitting it to the people for ratification on the Fourth Thursday of May following.

John Letcher was Governor of Virginia. Weak in intellect, grovelling in his tastes, often drunk, rarely sober, at times making such beastly exhibition of himself that the Richmond press pronounced him a public nuisance, he was a fit tool of the Secession conspirators. Ready to do what he could to commit the State to overt acts against the United States Government, on the evening after the passage of the Ordinance he issued orders to the State militia around Winchester to seize the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry,—on his own sole responsibility, and without a shadow of authority from the people of the State, inaugurating civil war, a proceeding which he followed up directly afterwards by proclaiming Virginia a member of the Confederacy, and thus carrying the State at once out of the Union, without awaiting the formality of a popular vote.

Already the intentions of the Confederate Government were manifest.

"I prophesy that the flag which now flaunts the breeze here will float over the old Capitol in Washington before the first of May," said Mr. L.P. Walker, Secretary of War, the evening after the fall of Sumter, to a crazy crowd in Montgomery, then the Rebel capital.

"From the mountain-tops and valleys to the shores of the sea, there is one wild shout of fierce resolve to capture Washington City at all and every human hazard. That filthy cage of unclean birds must and will assuredly be purified by fire," shouted John Mitchell, through the "Richmond Examiner," on the 23d of April.

"Washington City will soon be too hot to hold Abraham Lincoln and his Government," wrote the editor of the "Raleigh Standard" on the 24th.

"We are in lively hope, that, before three months roll by, the Government, Congress, Departments and all, will have been removed to the present Federal capital," wrote the Montgomery correspondent of the "Charleston Courier" on the 28th of the same month.

"We are not in the secrets of our authorities enough to specify the day on which Jeff Davis will dine at the White House, and Ben McCullough take his siesta in General Sickles's gilded tent. We should not like to produce any disappointment by naming too soon or too early a day; but it will save trouble, if the gentlemen will keep themselves in readiness to dislodge at a moment's notice," said the "Richmond Whig" on the 22d of May.

The Rebel Congress had already adjourned, and was on its way to Richmond. Not only Congress, but all the Departments, were on the move, intending to tarry at Richmond but a day or two, till General Scott, and Abraham Lincoln, and the Yankees, who were swarming into Washington, were driven out. Thus Richmond became, though only temporarily, as all hands in the South supposed, the capital of the Confederacy.

A week later Jeff Davis was welcomed to Richmond by the people, says Pollard, the author of the "Southern History of the War," an implacable hater of the North, "with a burst of genuine joy and enthusiasm to which none of the military pageants of the North could furnish a parallel." President Davis, in response to the call of the populace, made a speech, in which he said,—

"When the time and occasion serve, we shall smite the smiter with manly arms, as did our fathers before us, and as becomes their sons. To the enemy we leave the base acts of the assassin and incendiary; to them we leave it to insult helpless women: to us belongs vengeance upon men. We will make the battle-fields in Virginia another Buena Vista, drenched with more precious blood than flowed there."

But Colonel Robert E. Lee, who was in command of the Rebel forces in Virginia, was not quite ready to take Washington; and so the Rebel Congress commenced its sessions in the State capital. Mr. Memminger set up his printing-presses, and issued his promises to pay the debts of the Confederacy two years after the treaty of peace with the United States; Mr. Mallory began to consider how to construct rams; while Mr. Toombs, and his successor, Mr. Benjamin, wrote letters of instruction from the State Department to Rebel agents in Europe, and looked longingly and expectantly for immediate recognition of the Confederacy as an independent power among the nations.

The sleepy city awoke to a new life. Regiments of infantry came pouring in, not only from the hills and valleys of the Old Dominion, but from every nook and corner of the Confederate States,—the Palmetto Guards, Marion Rifles, Jeff-Davis Grays, Whippy-Swamp Grenadiers, Chickasaw Braves, Tigers, Dare-Devils, and Yankee-Butchers,—fired with patriotism and whiskey, proud to be in Richmond, to march through its streets, beneath the flags wrought by the fair ladies of the sunny South, for whom each man had sworn to kill a Yankee! Lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, and generals, glittering with golden stars, with clanking sabres, and twinkling spurs, thronged the hotels in all the pomp of modern chivalry. With the marching of troops, and the gathering of men from every precinct of the Confederacy in search of official position in the bureaus or to obtain contracts from Government,—with the rush and whirl of business, and the inflation of prices of all commodities,—with the stream of gayety and fashion attendant upon the Confederate court, where Mrs. Jefferson Davis was queen-regnant,—with its gilded drinking-saloons and gambling-hells,—Richmond became a Babylon.


It was a natural cry, that slogan of the North in the early months of the war; for, in ordinary warfare, to capture an enemy's capital is equivalent to conquering a peace. It was thought that the taking of Richmond would be the end of the Rebellion. Time has disabused us of this idea. To have taken Richmond in 1861 would only have been the repacking of the Department trunks for Montgomery or some other convenient Southern city. The vitality of the Rebellion existed not in cities, towns, or capitals, but in that which could die only by annihilation,—Human Slavery. That was and is the "original sin" of the Rebellion,—the total depravity and innate heinousness, to use theological terminology, without which there could not have been treason, secession, and rebellion.

But forgetting all this,—looking constantly at effect, without searching for cause,—hearing only the drum-beat of the armed legions of the South mustering for the overthrow of the nation,—wilfully shutting our ears to the clanking of the chains of the slave-coffle,—deaf to the prayer, "How long, O Lord?" uttered morning, noon, and night by men and women who were turned back to bondage from our lines,—forgetting that Justice and Right are the foundations of the throne of God,—the army of General McDowell marched confidently out to Bull Run on its way to Richmond, and returned to Washington defeated, routed, disorganized, humiliated. And yet we now see that to the South the victory which set the whole Confederacy on flame was a defeat, and to the North that which seemed an overwhelming disaster was a triumph; for so God changes the warp and woof of human events. The Southern leaders became over-confident. They could have taken Washington, but did not make the attempt to do so till the golden moment had passed, never to return. "We have let Washington slip through our fingers," was the bitter lamentation of the "Richmond Examiner," a few days after the Battle of Bull Run,—after the second uprising of the people to save the Union.

When God takes a proud and wayward nation in hand, and instructs it by the hard lessons of adversity,—by plans overthrown, ambition checked, pride humiliated, and hopes disappointed, which wring tears from the eyes of widows and orphans, and by which men in the prime of life are bowed down to the grave with grief for sons slain in battle,—He does it for a great purpose. But the nation was blind to the moral of the terrible lesson. We are slow to receive and accept eternal truths. And so, instead of aiming at Slavery as the life of the Rebellion, McClellan marched up the Peninsula through the mud to capture Richmond, and conquer a peace simply by taking the Rebel capital. He was learned in military lore, had visited Europe, and made war after the European pattern. But in a war of ideas and principles, the mere taking of an enemy's capital cannot end the contest. In such a strife there is the war of invisible forces,—the marshalling of Cherubim and Seraphim against rebellious hosts,—the old contest of the heavenly fields renewed on earth.

The nation was long in awaking to the consciousness that driving Lee out of Richmond would not end the Rebellion. It was more than this: it was a casting-out of prejudice, a discarding of political chicanery and a time-serving policy, and a recognition of Justice, Right, and Freedom as the true elements of political economy. There was an increasing desire on the part of the people to root out Slavery from American soil.

It will be for the future historian to trace the providential dealings of God with the nation, and to show how far and in what degree the failure of Burnside at Fredericksburg and of Hooker at Chancellorsville was affected by the want of moral perceptions on the part of the army and of the people at that stage of the war: for there were thousands of officers and soldiers at that time who were not willing to fight by the side of a negro. We have not advanced far enough even now to allow the colored man full privileges of citizenship. We are willing that he should be a soldier, carry a gun, and fire a bullet at the enemy; but are we willing that he should march up to the ballot-box, and fire a peaceful ballot against the same enemy? Strange incongruity!

The colored men of Richmond, of Charleston, of Savannah, of all the South, have been and are now the true Union men of the seceded States. When or where have they raised their hands against the Union? They have fought for the flag of the Union, and have earned by their patriotism and valor a name and a place in history. Citizenship is theirs by natural right; besides, they have earned it. Make the freedman a voter, a land-owner, a tax-payer, permit him to sue and be sued, give him in every respect free franchise, and the recompense will be security, peace, and prosperity. Anything less than absolute right will sooner or later bring trouble in its train. Now, in this day of settlement, this reconstruction of the nation, this renewal of life, it is the privilege of America to become the world's great teacher and benefactor.

After the disaster at Chancellorsville, there came a season of sober reflection, and men began to understand that this is God's war. Then there came a commander who believed that the power of the Rebellion lay not in Richmond, but in the Rebel army, and that the taking of Richmond was altogether a secondary consideration,—that the only way of subduing the Rebellion was to fight it down. He was ready to employ soldiers of every hue. This brings us to consider


General Grant, fresh from his great success at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, having shown that he had military genius of a high order, was created Lieutenant-General, and appointed to the command of all the armies of the Union in the field. It was the beginning of a new regime. Up to that time there had been little concert of action between commanders. The armies lacked a head. The President, General Halleck, Secretary Stanton, had ideas of their own upon the best methods and plans for conducting the war. Department commanders worked at cross purposes. Each officer in the field naturally looked upon his sphere of action as the most important of all, and each had his own plan of operations to lay before the Secretary of War. A million men were tugging manfully at the Car of Freedom, which was at a stand-still, or moved only by inches, because they had no head. But when the President appointed General Grant to the command, he gave up his own plans, while General Halleck became a subordinate. The department commanders found all their plans set aside. There was not merely concert of action, but unity of action, under the controlling force of an imperial will.

In the article entitled "The May Campaign in Virginia," the movements of the Army of the Potomac, from the Rapidan to Cold Harbor, are given. It is not intended in the present article to dwell in detail upon all the subsequent movements of that army and its allies, the Armies of the James and the Shenandoah. Volumes are needed to narrate the operations around Petersburg,—the battles fought on the 18th and 19th of June east of that city,—the struggles for the Weldon Railroad,—the movements between the James and the Appomattox, and north of the James,—the failure in the springing of the mine,—the march of the Fifth Corps to Stony Creek,—the battles between the Weldon Road and Hatcher's Run,—the many contests, sharp, fierce, and bloody, between the opposing lines, whenever an attempt was made by either army to erect new works,—the fights on Hatcher's Run,—the attack upon Fort Harrison, north of the James,—the successive attempts of each commander to break the lines of the other, ending with the Fort Stedman affair, the last offensive effort of General Lee. The new campaign which was inaugurated the next day after the attack on Fort Stedman compelled the Rebel chief to stand wholly on the defensive.

The appointment of General Grant to the command of all the armies was not only the beginning of a new regime, but the adoption of a new idea,—that Lee's army was the objective point, rather than the city of Richmond.

"The power of the Rebellion lies in the Rebel army," said General Grant to the writer one evening in June last. We had been conversing upon Fort Donelson and Pittsburg Landing. One by one his staff officers dropped off to their own tents, and we were alone. It was a quiet, starlit night. The Lieutenant-General was enjoying his fragrant Havana cigar, and was in a mood for conversation, not upon what he was going to do, but upon what had been done. He is always wisely reticent upon the present and future, but agreeably communicative upon what has passed into history.

"I have lost a good many men since the army left the Rapidan, but there was no help for it. The Rebel army must be destroyed before we can put down the Rebellion," he continued.[I]

There was a disposition at that time on the part of the disloyal press of the North to bring General Grant into bad odor. He was called "The Butcher." Even some Republican Congressmen were ready to demand his removal. General Grant alluded to it and said,—

"God knows I don't want to see men slaughtered; but we have appealed to arms, and we have got to fight it out."

He had already given public utterance to the expression,—"I intend to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer."

Referring to the successive flank movements which had been made, from the Rapidan to the Wilderness, to Spottsylvania, to the North Anna, to the Chickahominy, to Petersburg, he said,—

"My object has been to get between Lee and his southern communications."

At that time the Weldon Road was in the hands of the enemy, and Early was on a march down the Valley, towards Washington. This movement was designed to frighten Grant and send him back by steamboat to defend the capital; but the Sixth Corps only was sent, while the troops remaining still kept pressing on in a series of flank movements, which resulted in the seizure of the Weldon Road. That was the most damaging blow which Lee had received. He made desperate efforts to recover what had been lost, but in vain. It was the beginning of the end. Then the public generally could see the meaning of General Grant's strategy,—that the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and all the terrible battles which had been fought, were according to a plan, which, if carried out, must end in victory. The Richmond newspapers, which had ridiculed the campaign, and had found an echo in the disloyal press of the North, began to discuss the question of supplies; and to keep their courage up, they indulged in boastful declarations that the Southside Railroad never could be taken.

The march of Sherman from Atlanta to Savannah and through South Carolina, destroying railroads and supplies,—the taking of Wilmington,—Sheridan's movement from Winchester up the Valley of the Shenandoah, striking the James River Canal and the Central Railroad, and then the transfer of his whole force from the White House to the left flank of the Army of the Potomac,—were parts of a well matured design to weaken Lee's army.

Everything was ready for the final blow. The forces of General Grant were disposed as follows. The Army of the James, composed of the Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth Corps, and commanded by General Ord, was north of the James River, its right flank resting near the old battle-field of Glendale, and its left flank on the Appomattox. The Ninth Army Corps—the right wing of the Army of the Potomac—was next in line, then the Sixth, and then the Second, its left resting on Hatcher's Run. The Fifth was in rear of the Second. The line thus held was nearly forty miles in length, defended on the front and rear by strong earthworks and abatis.

General Grant's entire force could not have been much less than a hundred and thirty thousand, including Sheridan's cavalry, the force at City Point, and the provisional brigade at Fort Powhatan. Lee's whole force was not far from seventy thousand,—or seventy-five thousand, including the militia of Richmond and Petersburg; but he was upon the defensive, and held an interior and shorter line.

The work which General Grant had in hand was the seizure of the Southside Railroad by an extension of his left flank. He had attempted it once with the Fifth Corps, at Dabney's Mill, and had failed; but that attempt had been of value: he had gained a knowledge of the country. His engineers had mapped it, the roads, the streams, the houses. The fight at Dabney's Mill was a random stroke,—a "feeling of the position," to use a term common in camp,—which enabled him to detect the weak point of Lee's lines. To comprehend the movement, it is necessary to understand the geographical and topographical features of the country, which are somewhat peculiar. Hatcher's Run is a branch of the Nottoway River, which has its rise in a swamp about four miles from the Appomattox and twenty southwest of Petersburg. The Southside Railroad runs southwest from Petersburg, along the ridge of land between the Appomattox and the head-waters of the Nottoway, protected by the swamp of Hatcher's Run and by the swamp of Stony Creek, another tributary of the Nottoway.

The point aimed at by General Grant is known as the "Five Forks," a place where five roads meet, on the table-land between the head-waters of Hatcher's Run and Stony Creek. It was the most accessible gateway leading to the railroad. If he could break through at that point, he would turn Lee's flank, deprive him of the protection of the swamps, use them for his own cover, and seize the railroad. To take the Five Forks was to take all; for the long and terrible conflict had become so shorn of its outside proportions, so reduced to simple elements, that, if Lee lost that position, all was lost,—Petersburg, Richmond, his army, and the Confederacy.

Surprise is expressed that the Rebellion went down so suddenly, in a night, at one blow, toppling over like a child's house of cards, imposing to look upon, yet of very little substance; but the calculations of General Grant were to give a finishing stroke.

If, by massing the main body of his troops upon the extreme left of his line, he succeeded in carrying the position of the Five Forks, it would compel Lee to evacuate Richmond. Lee's line of retreat must necessarily be towards Danville; but Grant, at the Five Forks, would be nearer Danville by several miles than Lee; and he would thus, instead of the exterior line, have the interior, with the power to push Lee at every step farther from his direct line of retreat. That Grant saw all this, and executed his plan, is evidence of great military ability. The plan involved not merely the carrying of the Five Forks, but great activity afterwards. The capture of Lee was a forethought, not an afterthought.

"Commissaries will prepare twelve days' rations," was his order, which meant a long march, and the annihilation of Lee's army. An ordinary commander might have been satisfied with merely breaking down the door, and seizing the railroad, knowing that it would be the beginning of dissolution to the Rebel army; but Grant's plan went farther,—the routing of the burglar from his house, and dispatching him on the spot. Perhaps Lee saw what the end would be, and did the best he could with his troops; but inasmuch as he did not issue the order for the transfer of a division from Richmond to the south side till Saturday night, after the Five Forks were lost, it may be presumed that he did not fully comprehend the importance of holding that gateway. If he had seen that Richmond must be eventually evacuated, he might have saved his army by a sudden withdrawal from both Richmond and Petersburg on Friday night, pushing down the Southside Road, and throwing his whole force on Sheridan and the Fifth Corps, which would have enabled him to reach Danville. Not doing that, he lost all.

It is not intended in this article to give the details of the attack at the Five Forks and along the line, but merely to show how the forces were wielded in that last magnificent, annihilating blow.

On the 25th of March, the Twenty-Fourth Corps was transferred from the north side of the James to Hatcher's Run, taking the position of the Second Corps.

The force designed for the attack upon the Five Forks was composed of the Fifth Corps and Sheridan's Cavalry,—the whole under command of Sheridan. The Second Corps was massed across Hatcher's Run, and kept in position to frustrate any attempt which might be made to cut Sheridan off from the support of the main army.

Sheridan found a large force in front of him, along Chamberlain's Creek, three miles west of Dinwiddie Court-House. He had hard fighting, and was repulsed. There was want of cooperation on the part of Warren, commanding the Fifth Corps, who was relieved of his command the next morning, General Griffin succeeding him. A heavy rain-storm came on. Wagons went hub-deep in the mud. The swamps were overflowed. The army came to a stand-still. The soldiers were without tents. Thousands had thrown away their blankets. There was gloom and discouragement throughout the camp. But all the axes and shovels were brought into requisition, and the men went to work building corduroy roads. It was much better for the morale of the army than to sit by bivouac-fires waiting for sunny skies. The week passed away. The Richmond papers were confident and boastful of final success.

"We are very hopeful of the campaign which is opening, and trust that we are to reap a large advantage from the operations evidently near at hand.... We have only to resolve that we will never surrender, and it will be impossible that we shall ever be taken," said the "Sentinel," in its issue of Saturday morning, April 1st, the last paper ever issued from that office. The editor was not aware of the fact, that on Friday evening, while he was penning this paragraph, Sheridan was bursting open the door at the Five Forks and had the Rebellion by the throat. Lee attempted to retrieve the disaster on Saturday by depleting his left and centre to reinforce his right. Then came the order from Grant, "Attack vigorously all along the line." How splendidly it was executed! The Ninth, the Sixth, the Second, the Twenty-Fourth Corps, all went tumbling in upon the enemy's works, like breakers upon the beach, tearing away chevaux-de-frise, rushing into the ditches, sweeping over the embankments, and dashing through the embrasures of the forts. In an hour the C. S. A.,—the Confederate Slave Argosy,—the Ship of State launched but four years ago, which went proudly sailing, with the death's-head and cross-bones at her truck, on a cruise against Civilization and Christianity, hailed as a rightful belligerent, furnished with guns, ammunition, provisions, and all needful supplies, by England and France, was thrown a helpless wreck upon the shores of Time!

It would be interesting to follow the troops in their victorious advance upon Petersburg, their closing in upon Lee, the magnificent tactics of the pursuit, and the scenes of the surrender; but in this article we have space only to glance at


"My line is broken in three places, and Richmond must be evacuated," was Lee's despatch to Davis, received by the arch-traitor at eleven and a half o'clock in St. Paul's Church. He read it with blanched cheeks, and left the church in haste.

Davis had robbed the banks of Virginia a few days before, seizing the bullion in the name of the Confederacy; and his first thought was how to secure the treasure.

He hurried to the executive mansion, passed up the winding stairway to his business apartment, seated himself at a small table, wrote an order for the removal of the coin to Danville, and for the evacuation of the city.

There was no evening service in the churches on that Sunday. Ministers and congregations were otherwise employed. The Reverend Mr. Hoge, ablest of the Presbyterian pastors, fiercest advocate of them all for Slavery as a divine missionary institution, bitterest hater of the North, packed his carpet-bag and took a long Sabbath-day's journey towards the South. The Reverend Mr. Duncan, of the Methodist Church, did the same work of necessity. Lumpkin, who for many years has kept a slave-trader's jail, also had a work of necessity on hand,—fifty men, women, and children, who must be saved to the missionary institution for the future enlightenment of Africa. Although it was the Lord's day, (perhaps he was comforted by the thought, that, the better the day, the better the deed,) the coffle-gang was made up in the jail-yard, within pistol-shot of Davis's parlor-window, within a stone's throw of the Monumental Church, and a sad and weeping throng, chained two and two, the last slave-coffle that shall ever tread the streets of Richmond, were hurried to the Danville Depot. Slavery being the corner-stone of the Confederacy, it was fitting that this gang, keeping step to the music of their clanking chains, should accompany Jeff Davis's secretaries, Benjamin and Trenholm, and the Reverend Messrs. Hoge and Duncan, in their flight. The whole Rebel Government was on the move, and all Richmond desired to be. No thoughts of taking Washington now, or of the flag of the Confederacy flaunting in the breeze over the old Capitol! Hundreds of officials were at the depot, to get away from the doomed city. Public documents, the archives of the Confederacy, were hastily gathered up, tumbled into boxes and barrels, and taken to the trains, or carried into the streets and set on fire. Coaches, carriages, wagons, carts, wheelbarrows, everything in the shape of a vehicle was brought into use. There was a jumble of boxes, chests, trunks, valises, carpet-bags,—a crowd of excited men sweating as they never sweat before,—women with dishevelled hair, unmindful of their wardrobes, wringing their hands,—children crying in the crowd,—sentinels guarding each entrance to the train, pushing back at the point of the bayonet the panic-stricken multitude, giving precedence to Davis and the high officials, and informing Mr. Lumpkin that his niggers could not be taken. Oh, what a loss was there! It would have been fifty thousand dollars out of somebody's pocket in 1861, but millions now of Confederate promises to pay, which the hurrying multitude and that coffled gang were treading under foot,—literally trampling the bonds of the Confederate States of America in the mire, as they marched to the station; for the streets were as thickly strown with four per cents, six per cents, eight per cents as the forest with last year's leaves.

"The faith of the Confederate States is pledged to provide and establish sufficient revenues for the regular payment of the interest, and for the redemption of the principal," read the bonds; but there was a sudden eclipse of faith, and not merely an eclipse, but a collapse, a shrivelling up, like a parched scroll, of the entire Confederacy, which, like its bonds, notes, and certificates of indebtedness, was old rags!

In the Sabbath evening twilight, the trains, with the fugitive Government, its stolen bullion, and its Doctors of Divinity on board, moved out from the city.

At the same hour, the Governor of Virginia, William Smith, and the Assembly, were embarked in a canal-boat, on the James River and Kanawha Canal, moving for Lynchburg. On all the roads were men, women, and children, in carriages of every description, with multitudes on horseback and on foot, fleeing from the Rebel capital. Men who could not get away were secretly at work, during those night-hours, burying plate and money in gardens; ladies secreted their jewels, barred and bolted their doors, and passed a sleepless night, fearful of the morrow, which would bring the hated, despised, Vandal horde of Yankee ruffians: for such were the epithets which they had persistently applied to the soldiers of the Union throughout the war.

But before the entrance of the Union army they had an experience from their friends. Following the example of the Government, which had robbed the banks, the soldiers pillaged the city, breaking open stores, and helping themselves to whatever suited their convenience and taste, of clothing, fancy goods, eatables, and drinkables.

But the Government itself was not quite through with its operations in Richmond. The Secretary of War, John C. Breckinridge, with General Ewell, remained till daylight on Monday morning to clear up things,—not to burn public archives in order to destroy evidence of Confederate villany, but to commit more crime, so deep, damning, that the stanchest friends of the Confederacy recoil with horror from the act.

To prevent the United States from obtaining possession of a few thousand hogsheads of tobacco, a thousand houses were destroyed by fire, the heart of the city was eaten out,—all of the business portions, all the banks and insurance-offices, half of the newspapers, mills, depots, bridges, foundries, workshops, dwellings, churches, thirty squares in all, swept clean by the devouring flames. It was the work of the Confederate Government. And not only this, but human life was remorselessly sacrificed.

In the outskirts of the city, on the Mechanicsville road, was the almshouse, filled with the lame, the blind, the halt, the bedridden, the sick, and the poor. Ten rods distant was a magazine containing fifteen or twenty kegs of powder, of little value to a victorious army with full supplies of ammunition. They could have been rolled into the creek near at hand; but the order of Jeff Davis was to blow up the magazines, and the order must be executed.

"We give you fifteen minutes to get out of the way," was the sole notice to that crowd of helpless creatures lying in their cots, at three o'clock in the morning. Men and women begged for mercy. In vain their cries. The officer in charge of the matter was inexorable. Clotheless and shoeless, the inmates of the almshouse ran in terror from the spot to seek shelter in the ravines. But there were those who could not run, who, while the train was laying, rent the air with shrieks of terror. The train was fired at the expiration of the allotted time. The whole side of the house went in with a crash, as if it were no more than pasteboard. Windows flew into minutest particles. Bricks, stones, timbers, beams, and boards went whirling through the air. Trees were wrenched off as though a giant had twisted them into withes. The city rocked as if upheaved by an earthquake. The dozen poor wretches remaining in the almshouse were torn to pieces. Their bodies were but blackened masses of flesh, when the fugitives who had sought shelter in the fields returned to the shattered ruins.

How stirring the events of that morning! Lee retreating, Grant pursuing; Davis a fugitive; the Governor and Legislature of Virginia seeking safety in a canal-boat; Doctors of Divinity fleeing from the wrath to come; the troops of the Union marching up the streets; the old flag waving over the Capitol; Rebel iron-clads blowing up; Richmond in flames; the fiery billows rolling on from house to house, from block to block, from square to square, unopposed in their progress by the panic-stricken, stupefied, bewildered crowd; and the Northern Vandals laying aside their arms, manning the engines, putting out the fire, and saving the city from total destruction! Through the terrible day, all through the succeeding night, the smoke of its torment went up to heaven. Strange, weird, the scenes of that Monday night,—the glimmering flames, the clouds of smoke hanging like a funeral pall above the ruins, the crowd of woe-begone, houseless, homeless creatures wandering through the streets:—

"Such resting found the soles of unblest feet!"


Among the memorable events of the week was the visit of President Lincoln to the city of Richmond. He had been tarrying at City Point, holding daily consultations with General Grant, visiting the army and the iron-clads at Aiken's Landing,—thus avoiding the swarm of place-hunters that darkened the doors of the executive mansion.

On Tuesday noon a tug-boat belonging to the navy was seen steaming up the James, regardless of torpedoes and obstructions. A mile below the city, where the water becomes shoal, President Lincoln, accompanied by Admiral Porter, Captain Adams of the navy, Captain Penrose of the army, and Lieutenant Clemmens of the Signal Corps, put off from the tug in a launch manned by twelve sailors, whose long, steady oar-strokes quickly carried the party to the landing-place,—a square above Libby Prison.

There was no committee of reception, no guard of honor, no grand display of troops, no assembling of an eager multitude to welcome him.

He entered the city unheralded; six sailors, armed with carbines, stepped upon the shore, followed by the President, who held his little son by the hand, and Admiral Porter; the officers followed, and six more sailors brought up the rear. The writer of this article was there upon the spot, and, joining the party, became an observer of the memorable event.

There were forty or fifty freedmen, who had been sole possessors of themselves for twenty-four hours, at work on the bank of the canal, securing some floating timber, under the direction of a Lieutenant. Somehow they obtained the information that the man who was head and shoulders taller than all others around him, with features large and irregular, with a mild eye and pleasant countenance, was President Lincoln.

"God bless you, Sah!" said one, taking off his cap and bowing very low.

"Hurrah! hurrah! President Linkum hab come!" was the shout which rang through the street.

The Lieutenant found himself without a command. What cared those freedmen, fresh from the house of bondage, for floating timber or military commands? Their deliverer had come,—he who, next to the Lord Jesus, was their best friend! It was not an hurrah that they gave, but a wild, jubilant cry of inexpressible joy.

They gathered round the President, ran ahead, hovered upon the flanks of the little company, and hung like a dark cloud upon the rear. Men, women, and children joined the constantly increasing throng. They came from all the by-streets, running in breathless haste, shouting and hallooing and dancing with delight. The men threw up their hats, the women waved their bonnets and handkerchiefs, clapped their hands, and sang, "Glory to God! glory! glory! glory!"—rendering all the praise to God, who had heard their wailings in the past, their meanings for wives, husbands, children, and friends sold out of their sight, had given them freedom, and, after long years of waiting, had permitted them thus unexpectedly to behold the face of their great benefactor.

"I thank you, dear Jesus, that I behold President Linkum!" was the exclamation of a woman who stood upon the threshold of her humble home, and with streaming eyes and clasped hands gave thanks aloud to the Saviour of men.

Another, more demonstrative in her joy, was jumping and striking her hands with all her might, crying,—"Bless de Lord! Bless de Lord! Bless de Lord!" as if there could be no end of her thanksgiving.

The air rang with a tumultuous chorus of voices. The street became almost impassable on account of the increasing multitude. Soldiers were summoned to clear the way. How strange the event! The President of the United States—he who had been hated, despised, maligned above all other men living, to whom the vilest epithets had been applied by the people of Richmond—was walking their streets, receiving thanksgivings, blessings, and praises from thousands who hailed him as the ally of the Messiah! How bitter the reflections of that moment to some who beheld him!—memory running back, perhaps, to that day in May, 1861, when Jefferson Davis, their President, entered the city,—the pageant of that hour, his speech, his promise to smite the smiter, to drench the fields of Virginia with richer blood than that shed at Buena Vista! How that part of the promise had been kept!—how their sons, brothers, and friends had fallen!—how all else predicted had failed!—how the land had been filled with mourning!—how the State had become a desolation!—how their property, their hoarded wealth, had disappeared! They had been invited to a gorgeous banquet; the fruit was fair to the eye, of golden hue and beautiful; but it had turned to ashes. They had been promised a place among the nations, a position of commanding influence and fame. Cotton was the king of kings, and England, France, and the whole civilized world would bow in humble submission to his Majesty. That was the promise; but now their king was dethroned, their government overthrown, their President and his cabinet vagrants, driven from house and home to be wanderers upon the earth. They had been promised affluence, Richmond was to be the metropolis of the Confederacy, and Virginia the all-powerful State of the new nation. How terrible the cheat! Their thousand-dollar bonds were not worth a penny. A million dollars would not purchase a dinner. Their money was valueless, their slaves were freemen, the heart of their city was eaten out. They had been cheated in everything. Those whom they had trusted had given the unkindest cut of all,—adding arson and robbery to their other crimes. Thus had they fallen from highest anticipation of bliss to deepest actual woe. The language of the Arch-Rebel of the universe, in "Paradise Lost," was most appropriate to them:—

"'Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,' Said then the lost Archangel, 'this the seat, That we must change for heaven, this mournful gloom For that celestial light?'"

Abraham Lincoln was walking their streets; and, worst of all, that plain, honest-hearted man was recognizing the "niggers" as human beings by returning their salutations! The walk was long, and the President halted a moment to rest. "May de good Lord bless you, President Linkum!" said an old negro, removing his hat, and bowing with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. The President removed his own hat, and bowed in silence; but it was a bow which upset the forms, laws, customs, and ceremonies of centuries. It was a death-shock to chivalry, and a mortal wound to caste. Recognize a nigger! Faugh! A woman in an adjoining house beheld it, and turned from the scene in unspeakable disgust. There were men in the crowd who had daggers in their eyes; but the chosen assassin was not there, the hour for the damning work had not come, and that great-hearted man passed on to the executive mansion of the late Confederacy.

Want of space compels us to pass over other scenes,—the visit of the President to the State-House,—the jubilant shouts of the crowd,—the rush of freedmen into the Capitol grounds, where, till the appearance of their deliverer, they had never been permitted to enter,—the ride of the President through the streets,—his visit to Libby Prison,—the distribution of bread to the destitute,—the groups of heartbroken men amid the ruins, who beheld nought but ruins,—a ruined city, a ruined State, a ruined Confederacy, a ruined people,—ruined in hopes and expectations,—ruined for the past, the present, and the future,—without power, influence, or means of beginning life anew,—deceived, subjugated, humiliated,—poverty-stricken in everything. All that they had possessed was irretrievably lost, and they had nothing to show for it. All their heroism, valor, courage, hardship, suffering, expenditure of treasure, and sacrifice of blood had availed them nothing. There could be no comfort in their mourning, no alleviation to their sorrow.

Forgetting that Justice is the mightiest power of the universe, that Righteousness is eternal, and that anything short of it is transitory, they planned a gorgeous edifice with Slavery for its corner-stone; but suddenly, and in an hour, their superstructure and foundation, crumbled. They grasped at dominion, and sank in perdition.


[I] I write from memory, not pretending to give the exact words uttered during the conversation.


(APRIL, 1965)

Yard-Arm to yard-arm we lie Alongside the Ship of Hell; And still, through the sulphury sky, The terrible clang goes high,— Broadside and battle-cry, And the pirates' maddened yell!

Our Captain's cold on the deck; Our brave Lieutenant's a wreck,— He lies in the hold there, hearing The storm of fight going on overhead, Tramp and thunder to wake the dead, The great guns jumping overhead, And the whole ship's company cheering!

Four hours the Death-Fight has roared, (Gun-deck and berth-deck blood-wet!) Her mainmast's gone by the board, Down come topsail and jib! We're smashing her, rib by rib, And the pirate yells grow weak,— But the Black Flag flies there yet, The Death's Head grinning apeak!

Long has she haunted the seas, Terror of sun and breeze; Her deck has echoed with groans; Her hold is a horrid den, Piled to the orlop with bones Of starved and of murdered men! They swarm 'mid her shrouds in hosts, The smoke is murky with ghosts!

But to-day her cruise shall be short! She's bound to the Port she cleared from, She's nearing the Light she steered from,— Ah, the Horror sees her fate! Heeling heavy to port, She strikes, but all too late! Down with her cursed crew, Down with her damned freight, To the bottom of the Blue, Ten thousand fathom deep! With God's glad sun o'erhead,— That is the way to weep, So will we mourn our dead!


The funeral procession of the late President of the United States has passed through the land from Washington to his final resting-place in the heart of the Prairies. Along the line of more than fifteen hundred miles his remains were borne, as it were, through continued lines of the people; and the number of mourners and the sincerity and unanimity of grief were such as never before attended the obsequies of a human being; so that the terrible catastrophe of his end hardly struck more awe than the majestic sorrow of the people. The thought of the individual was effaced; and men's minds were drawn to the station which he filled, to his public career, to the principles he represented, to his martyrdom. There was at first impatience at the escape of his murderer, mixed with contempt for the wretch who was guilty of the crime; and there was relief in the consideration, that one whose personal insignificance was in such a contrast with the greatness of his crime had met with a sudden and ignoble death. No one stopped to remark on the personal qualities of Abraham Lincoln, except to wonder that his gentleness of nature had not saved him from the designs of assassins. It was thought then, and the event is still so recent it is thought now, that the analysis and graphic portraiture of his personal character and habits should be deferred to less excited times; as yet the attempt would wear the aspect of cruel indifference or levity, inconsistent with the sanctity of the occasion. Men ask one another only, Why has the President been struck down, and why do the people mourn? We think we pay the best tribute to his memory and the most fitting respect to his name, if we ask after the relation in which he stands to the history of his country and his fellow-man.

Before the end of 1865, it will have been two hundred and forty-six years since the first negro slaves were landed in Virginia from a Dutch trading-vessel, two hundred and twenty-eight since a Massachusetts vessel returned from the Bahamas with negro slaves for a part of its cargo, two hundred and twenty years since men of Boston introduced them directly from Guinea. Slavery in the United States had not its origin in British policy: it sprung up among Americans themselves, who in that respect acquiesced in the customs and morals of the age. But at a later day the importation of slaves was insisted upon by the government of the mother country, under the influence of mercantile avarice, with the further purpose of weakening the rising Colonies, and impeding the establishment among them of branches of industry that might compete with the productions of England. Climate and the logical consequences of the principles of the Puritans checked the increase of slaves in Massachusetts, from which it gradually disappeared without the necessity of any special act of manumission; in Virginia, the country within the reach of tide-water was crowded with negroes, and the marts were supplied by continuous importations, which the Colony was not suffered to prohibit or restrain.

The middle of the eighteenth century was marked by a rising of opinion in favor of freedom. The statesmen of Massachusetts read the great work of Montesquieu on the Spirit of Laws; and in bearing their first very remarkable testimony against slavery, they simply adopted his words, repeated without passion,—for they had no dread of the increase of slavery within their own borders, and never doubted of its speedy and natural decay. The great men of Virginia, on the contrary, were struck with terror as they contemplated its social condition; they drew their lessons, not from France, not from abroad, but from themselves and the scenes around them; and half in the hope of rescuing that ancient Commonwealth from the corrupting element of slavery, and half in the agony of despair, they went in advance of all the world in their reprobation of the slave-trade and of slavery, and of the dangerous condition of the white man as the master of bondmen. In the years preceding the war of the Revolution, the Ancient Dominion rocked with the strife of contending parties: the King with all his officers and many great slaveholders on the one side, against a hardy people in the back country and the best of the slaveholders themselves. On the side of liberty many were conspicuous,—among them Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe, Jefferson, who from his youth was the pride of Virginia; but all were feeble in comparison with the enthusiastic fervor and prophetic instincts of George Mason. They reasoned, that slavery was inconsistent with Christianity, was in conflict with the rights of man; that it was a slow poison, daily contaminating the minds and morals of their people; that, by reducing a part of their own species to abject inferiority, they lost the idea of the dignity of man, which the hand of Nature had implanted within them for great and useful purposes; that, by the habit from infancy of trampling on the rights of human nature, every liberal sentiment was extinguished or enfeebled; that every gentleman was born a petty tyrant, and by the practice of cruelty and despotism became callous to the finer dictates of the soul; that in such an infernal school were to be educated the future legislators and rulers of Virginia. And before the war broke out, the House of Burgesses of Virginia was warned of the choice that lay before them: either the Constitution must by degrees work itself clear by its own innate strength and the virtue and resolution of the community, or the laws of impartial Providence would avenge on their posterity the injury done to a class of unhappy men debased by their injustice.

At the opening of the war of the Revolution, the Narragansett country of Rhode Island, the Southern part of Long Island, New York City and the counties on the Hudson, and East New Jersey had in their population about as large a proportion of slaves as Missouri four years ago. In all the Colonies collectively the black men were to the white men as five to twenty-one. The British authorities unanimously held that the master lost his claim to his slave by the act of rebellion. In Virginia a system of emancipation was inaugurated; and the emancipation of slaves by success in arms Jefferson pronounced to be right. But the system of emancipation took no large proportions: partly because the invaders in the beginning of the war were driven from the Chesapeake; partly because the large slaveholders of South Carolina, on the subjugation of the low country in that State, renewed their allegiance to the Crown; and partly because British officers chose to ship slaves of rebels to the markets of the West Indies. Yet the continued occupation of Rhode Island, Long Island, and New York City, and the exodus of slaves with other refugees at the time of peace, facilitated the movements in Rhode Island and New York for the abrogation of slavery. At the end of the war the proportion of free people to slaves was greatly increased; and, whatever wilful blindness may assert, the free black had the privileges of a citizen.

Here, then, was an opening for relieving the body politic from the great anomaly of bondage in the midst of freedom. But though divine justice never slumbers, the opportunity was but partially seized. The diminution of the number of laborers at the South revived the importation of slaves. The first Congress had agreed not to tolerate that traffic; the Confederacy left its encouragement or prohibition to the pleasure of each State; and the Constitution continued that liberty for twenty years. At the same time slavery was excluded from the whole of the territory of the United States. The vote of New Jersey only was wanting to have sustained the proposition of Jefferson, by which it would have been excluded not only from all the territory then in their possession, but from all that they might gain.

The jealousy of the Southern States of the power of the North may be traced through the annals of Congress from the first, which assembled in 1774. The old notions of the independence and sovereignty of each separate State, though the Constitution was framed for the express purpose of modifying them, clung to life with tenacity. When John Adams was elected President, before any overt act, before any other cause of alarm than his election, the Legislature of Virginia took steps for an armed organization of the State, and old and long-cherished sentiments adverse to Union were renewed. The continuance of the Union was in peril. It was then that the great Virginia statesman, now perfectly satisfied with the amended Constitution, came to the rescue. By the simple force of ideas, embodying in one system all the conquests of the eighteenth century in behalf of human rights, the freedom of conscience, speech, and the press, he ruled the willing minds of the people. The South, where his great strength lay with the poor whites, and where he was known as the champion of human freedom, trusted in his zeal for individual liberty and for the adjusted liberty of the States; the North heard from him sincere and consistent denunciations of slavery, such as had never been surpassed, except by George Mason. The thought never crossed the mind of Jefferson that the General Government had not proper powers of coercion. On taking the office of President, his watchword was, "We are all Federalists, we are all Republicans"; and the two principles of universal freedom and equality, and the right of each State to regulate its own internal domestic affairs, became not so much the doctrine of a party as the accepted creed of the nation. In his administration of affairs, Jefferson did not suffer one power of the General Government to be weakened. No one man did so much as he towards consolidating the Union.

But the question of Slavery was not solved. The purchase of Louisiana increased the States in which slaves were tolerated; the settlement of the Northwest strengthened the power of freedom; but as yet there had been no fracture in public opinion. Missouri asked to be admitted to the Union, and it was found, that, without any party organization, without formal preparation, a majority of the House of Representatives desired to couple its admission with the condition that it should emancipate its slaves. That slavery was evil was still the undivided opinion of the nation; but it was perceived that the friends of freedom had missed the proper moment for action,—that Congress had tolerated slavery in Missouri as a Territory, and were thus inconsistent in claiming to suppress slavery in the State; and they escaped from the difficulty by what was called a Compromise. It was agreed that for the future slavery should never be carried to the north of the southern boundary of Missouri; and this was interpreted by the South as the devoting of all the territory south of that line to the owners of slaves.

From that day Slavery became the foundation of a political party, under the guise of a zeal for the rights of States. It began to be perceptible at the next Presidential election; but Calhoun, who was willing to be considered a candidate for the Presidency, was still as decidedly for the Union as John Quincy Adams or Webster. Walking one day with Seaton of the "Intelligencer" on the banks of the Potomac, Seaton dissuaded him from being at that day a candidate for the Presidency, giving as a reason, that, in case of success and reelection, he would go out of the public service in the vigor of life. "I will, at the end of my second term, go into retirement and write my memoirs," was Calhoun's answer: a proof that at that time Disunion had not crossed his mind.

The younger Adams had been undoubtedly at the South the candidate of the Union party. The incipient opposition to Union threw itself with the intensest heat into the opposition to Adams; and Jackson, who was victorious through his own popularity, was elected by a vast majority. Jackson was honest, patriotic, and brave: he refused his confidence to the oligarchical party, represented by Calhoun and Macduffie; and after passionate struggles, which convulsed the country, he defied their hostility, and told them to their faces, "The Union must be preserved."

The bitterness of disappointed ambition led to the formation and gradual enunciation of new political opinions. In the strife about the practical effects of Nullification, the question was raised by the Nullifiers, whether obedience to the laws of a State was a good plea for resistance to the laws of the United States; and so, for the first time in our history, a political party came to the principle, that primary allegiance was due to the State, a secondary one only to the United States; and this view was taught in schools and colleges and popular meetings. The second theory, that grew up with the first, was, that slavery was a divine institution, best for the black man and best for the white.

At the election which followed the retirement of Jackson, the Democratic party stood by its old tradition of the evil of slavery, and the hope that by the innate vigor of the respective States it would gradually be thrown off; the opposite party likewise held to the same tradition, in the belief that the progress of commerce and domestic industry would in due time quietly remove what all sound political economy condemned. The new party, the party of State Sovereignty and Slavery,—for the two heads sprung from one root,—had not power enough to prevent the election of one who represented the policy of Jackson. But they were full of passionate ardor and of restless activity; and in the next Presidential election they threw themselves upon the Whig party, with which they joined hands. The Whig party was at that day strong enough to have done without them; but the uncontrollable wish for success, which had been long delayed, led to the cry of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and this meant a union of the interests of the North with the interest of Slavery. Harrison had votes enough to elect him without one vote from the Southern oligarchy; but the compact was made; Harrison was elected and died, and the representative of the oligarchy, a man at heart false to the national flag, became President for nearly four years.

His administration is marked by the annexation of Texas to the United States: a measure sure, in the belief of Calhoun, to confirm the empire of Slavery,—sure, as others believed, to prevent the foundation of an adventurous government, that, if left to independence, would have reopened the slave-trade and subdued by force of arms all California and Mexico to the sway of Slavery. The faith of the last proved the true one. Under the administration of Polk, California was annexed, not to independent, slaveholding Texas, but to the Union. This constitutes the turning-point in the series of events; the first emigrants to her borders formed a constitution excluding slavery.

At the next election a change took place, profoundly affecting the Democratic party, and, as a consequence, the country. Hitherto the position of the Northern Democracy had been that of Jefferson, that slavery was altogether evil; and Cass, the Democratic candidate, still expressed his prayer for the final doom of slavery. Against his election a third party was formed; and Van Buren, a former Democratic President, who had been sustained by the South as well as by the North, taking with him one half the Democracy of New York, consented to be the candidate of that party. We judge not his act; but the consequences were sad. To the South his appearance as a candidate on that basis had the aspect of treachery; at the North the Democratic party lost its power to resist the arrogance of the South: for, in the first place, large numbers of its best men had left its ranks; and next, those who remained behind were eager to clear themselves of the charge of sectional narrowness; and those who had gone out and come back, in their zeal to recover the favor of the South, went beyond all bounds in their professions of repentance. The old compromise of Jefferson fell into disrepute; the Democratic party itself was thrown into confusion; the power of any one of its distinguished men to resist the increasing arrogance of the slaveholders was taken away; a word in public for what twenty years before had been the creed of every one was followed by the ban of the majority of the party. So fell one bulwark against slavery.

Still another bulwark against it was destined to fall away. The annexation of California brought with it the question of the admission of California as a State of freemen. The only way to have avoided convulsing the country was to have confined the discussion to the one question of the admission of California. Unhappily, Clay, truly representing a State which halted in its choice between freedom and slavery, proposed a combination of measures. Further, the representation of the Free States had steadily increased from the origin of the Government; the admission of California threatened, at last, to open the way for a corresponding disproportion in the Senate. The country, remembering how Webster, on a great occasion, had greatly resisted the heresy of Nullification, looked to him now to clear away the mists of artful misrepresentations of the Constitution, and show that neither in that Constitution nor in the history of the country at the time of its formation had there been any justification of the demand for such equality of representation. But this time the great orator failed; the passionate desire for being President led him to make a speech intended to conciliate the support of the South. In that he failed miserably at the moment; a few days later, Calhoun, on his death-bed, avowed himself the adviser of a secession of the whole body of the slaveholding States. Still blinded by ambition, Webster, on a tour through New York, as a candidate, formally proposed the establishment of a party representing the property of the country, crystallizing round the slaveholders, and including the commercial and corporate industrial wealth of the North. The effect on his own advancement was absolutely nothing. In due time, as a candidate, he fell stone dead; and it is to his credit that he did so. The South knew that he was a Union man, and would not answer their purpose. As he heard of the slight given by those whom he had courted, his large head fell on his breast, his voice faltered, and big tears trickled down his cheeks. His cheerfulness never returned; he languished and died; but the evil that lived after him was, that the great party to which he had belonged was no more able to stem the rising fury of the South, and broke to pieces.

Thus, by untoward circumstances, the truth that could alone confirm the Union, and which heretofore had been substantially supported by both the great traditional parties of the country, no longer had a clear and commanding exponent in either of them. The result of the next election showed that the old Whig party had lost all power over the public mind. The strife went on, and hope centred in the supreme judicial tribunal of the land, to whose members a secure tenure of office had been given, that they might be above all temptation of serving the time. The politicians of the North were becoming alarmed by the issues which were forced upon them by those of the South with whom they still wished to be friends; they longed to shift the responsibility of the decision upon the Supreme Court. The Court was slow to be swerved. The case of Dred Scott was before them; and the decision of the Court was embodied in an opinion which would have produced no excitement. But the Court was entreated to give their decision another form. They long resisted, and were long divided; but perseverance overcame them; and at last a most reluctant majority, a bare majority, was won to enter the arena of politics, and attempt the suppression of differences of opinion: for, said one of the judges, "the peace and harmony of the country require the settlement of Constitutional principles of the highest importance,"—not knowing that injustice overturns peace and harmony, and that a depraved judiciary portends civil war.

The man who took the Presidential chair in 1857 had no traditional party against him; he owed his nomination to confidence in his moderation and supposed love of Union. He might have united the whole North and secured a good part of the South. Constitutionally timid, on taking the oath of office, he betrayed his own weakness, and foreshadowed the forthcoming decision of the Supreme Court. Under the wing of the Executive, Chief-Justice Taney gave his famed disquisition. The delivery of that opinion was an act of revolution. The truth of history was scorned; the voice of passion was put forward as the rule of law; doctrines were laid down which, if they are just, give a full sanction to the rebellion which ensued. The country was stung to the quick by the reckless conduct of a body which it needed to trust, and which now was leading the way to the overthrow of the Constitution and the dismemberment of the Republic. At the same time, the President, in selecting the members of his cabinet, chose four of the seven from among those who were prepared to sacrifice the country to the interests of Slavery. In time of peace the finances were wilfully ill-administered, and in the midst of wealth and credit the country was saved from bankruptcy only by the patriotism of the city of New York, against the treacherous intention of the Secretary of the Treasury. Cannon and muskets and military stores were sent in numbers where they could most surely fall into the hands of the coming rebellion; troops of the United States were placed under disloyal officers and put out of the way; the navy was scattered abroad. And then, that nothing might be wanting to increase the agony of the country, an attempt to force the institution of Slavery on the people of Kansas, that refused it, received the encouragement and aid of the President. The conspirators resolved at the next Presidential election to compel the choice of a candidate of their own, or of one against whom they could unite the South; and all the influence of the Administration, through its patronage, was used to confine the election to that issue.

Virginia statesmen, more than ninety years ago, had foretold that each State Constitution must work itself clear of the evil of slavery by its own innate vigor, or await the doom of impartial Providence. Judgment slumbered no longer,—though wise men after the flesh were not chosen as its messengers and avengers.

The position of Abraham Lincoln, on the day of his inauguration, was apparently one of helpless debility. A bark canoe in a tempest on mid-ocean seemed hardly less safe. The vital tradition of the country on Slavery no longer had its adequate expression in either of the two great political parties, and the Supreme Court had uprooted the old landmarks and guides. The men who had chosen him President did not constitute a consolidated party, and did not profess to represent either of the historic parties which had been engaged in the struggles of three quarters of a century. They were a heterogeneous body of men, of the most various political attachments in former years, and on many questions of economy of the most discordant opinions. Scarcely knowing each other, they did not form a numerical majority of the whole country, were in a minority in each branch of Congress except from the wilful absence of members, and they could not be sure of their own continuance as an organized body. They did not know their own position, and were startled by the consequences of their success. The new President himself was, according to his own description, a man of defective education, a lawyer by profession, knowing nothing of administration beyond having been master of a very small post-office, knowing nothing of war but as a captain of volunteers in a raid against an Indian chief, repeatedly a member of the Illinois Legislature, once a member of Congress. He spoke with ease and clearness, but not with eloquence. He wrote concisely and to the point, but was unskilled in the use of the pen. He had no accurate knowledge of the public defences of the country, no exact conception of its foreign relations, no comprehensive perception of his duties. The qualities of his nature were not suited to hardy action. His temper was soft and gentle and yielding; reluctant to refuse anything that presented itself to him as an act of kindness; loving to please and willing to confide; not trained to confine acts of good-will within the stern limits of duty. He was of the temperament called melancholic, scarcely concealed by an exterior of lightness of humor,—having a deep and fixed seriousness, jesting lips, and wanness of heart. And this man was summoned to stand up directly against a power with which Henry Clay had never directly grappled, before which Webster at last had quailed, which no President had offended and yet successfully administered the Government, to which each great political party had made concessions, to which in various measures of compromise the country had repeatedly capitulated, and with which he must now venture a struggle for the life or death of the nation.

The credit of the country had not fully recovered from the shock it had treacherously received in the former administration. A part of the navy-yards were intrusted to incompetent agents or enemies. The social spirit of the city of Washington was against him, and spies and enemies abounded in the circles of fashion. Every executive department swarmed with men of treasonable inclinations, so that it was uncertain where to rest for support. The army officers had been trained in unsound political principles. The chief of staff of the highest of the general officers, wearing the mask of loyalty, was a traitor at heart. The country was ungenerous towards the negro, who in truth was not in the least to blame,—was impatient that such a strife should have grown out of his condition, and wished that he were far away. On the side of prompt decision the advantage was with the Rebels; the President sought how to avoid war without compromising his duty; and the Rebels, who knew their own purpose, won incalculable advantages by the start which they thus gained. The country stood aghast, and would not believe in the full extent of the conspiracy to shatter it in pieces; men were uncertain if there would be a great uprising of the people. The President and his cabinet were in the midst of an enemy's country and in personal danger, and at one time their connections with the North and West were cut off; and that very moment was chosen by the trusted chief of staff of the Lieutenant-General to go over to the enemy.

Every one remembers how this state of suspense was terminated by the uprising of a people who now showed strength and virtues which they were hardly conscious of possessing.

In some respects Abraham Lincoln was peculiarly fitted for his task, in connection with the movement of his countrymen. He was of the Northwest; and this time it was the Mississippi River, the needed outlet for the wealth of the Northwest, that did its part in asserting the necessity of Union. He was one of the mass of the people; he represented them, because he was of them; and the mass of the people, the class that lives and thrives by self-imposed labor, felt that the work which was to be done was a work of their own: the assertion of equality against the pride of oligarchy; of free labor against the lordship over slaves; of the great industrial people against all the expiring aristocracies of which any remnants had tided down from the Middle Age. He was of a religious turn of mind, without superstition; and the unbroken faith of the mass was like his own. As he went along through his difficult journey, sounding his way, he held fast by the hand of the people, and "tracked its footsteps with even feet." "His pulse's beat twinned with their pulses." He committed faults; but the people were resolutely generous, magnanimous, and forgiving; and he in his turn was willing to take instructions from their wisdom.

The measure by which Abraham Lincoln takes his place, not in American history only, but in universal history, is his Proclamation of January 1, 1863, emancipating all slaves within the insurgent States. It was, indeed, a military necessity, and it decided the result of the war. It took from the public enemy one or two millions of bondmen, and placed between one and two hundred thousand brave and gallant troops in arms on the side of the Union. A great deal has been said in time past of the wonderful results of the toil of the enslaved negro in the creation of wealth by the culture of cotton; and now it is in part to the aid of the negro in freedom that the country owes its success in its movement of regeneration,—that the world of mankind owes the continuance of the United States as the example of a Republic. The death of President Lincoln sets the seal to that Proclamation, which must be maintained. It cannot but be maintained. It is the only rod that can safely carry off the thunderbolt. He came to it perhaps reluctantly; he was brought to adopt it, as it were, against his will, but compelled by inevitable necessity. He disclaimed all praise for the act, saying reverently, after it had succeeded, "The nation's condition God alone can claim."

And what a futurity is opened before the country when its institutions become homogeneous! From all the civilized world the nations will send hosts to share the wealth and glory of this people. It will receive all good ideas from abroad; and its great principles of personal equality and freedom—freedom of conscience and mind,—freedom of speech and action,—freedom of government through ever-renewed common consent—will undulate through the world like the rays of light and heat from the sun. With one wing touching the waters of the Atlantic and the other on the Pacific, it will grow into a greatness of which the past has no parallel; and there can be no spot in Europe or in Asia so remote or so secluded as to shut out its influence.


The Refugee. By Herman Melville, Author of "Omoo," etc. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers, 12mo. pp. 286. $2.00.

Three Years in the Army of the Potomac. By Henry N. Blake, late Captain in the Eleventh Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. Boston. Lee & Shepard. 16mo. pp. 319. $1.50.

Too Strange not to be True. A Tale. By Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Three Volumes in One. With Illustrations. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. paper. pp. 274. $1.50

The Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, Bart. By William L. Stone. In Two Volumes. Albany. J. Munsell. 8vo. pp. xvi., 555; xvi., 544. $7.00.

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Lyrical Recreations. By Samuel Ward. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. xvi., 271. $2.00.

Virginia, and Other Poems. By John Henry Vosburg. New York. James Miller. 16mo. pp. 180. $1.25.

High Life in Washington. A True Picture from Life of Real Persons and Characters. By Mrs. N. P. Lasselle. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 396. $2.00.

Trial of John Y. Beall, as a Spy and Guerrillero, by Military Commission. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. paper, pp. 94. 50 cts.


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