The Great Conspiracy, Complete
by John Alexander Logan
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It is now near upon 4 o'clock. Our last effort to recapture the batteries has failed. The Union line of advance has been seriously checked. Some of our own guns in those batteries are turned on us. The Enemy's Infantry make a rush over the blood-soaked brow of the fatal plateau, pouring into our men a deadly fire, as they advance,—while over to our right and rear, at the same moment, are seen the fresh regiments of Early's Brigade coming out of the woods—deploying rapidly in several lines—with Stuart's handful of Rebel Cavalry, while Beckham's guns, in the same quarter, open an oblique enfilading reverse fire upon us, in a lively manner.

At once the minds of the fagged-out Union troops become filled with the dispiriting idea that the exhausting fight which they have made all day long, has been simply with Beauregard's Army of the Potomac, and that these fresh Rebel troops, on the Union right and rear, are the vanguard of Johnston's Army of the Shenandoah! After all the hard marching and fighting they have done during the last thirteen hours,—with empty stomachs, and parched lips, under a scorching sun that still, as it descends in the West, glowers down upon them, through the murky air, like a great, red, glaring eye,—the very thought is terrible!

Without fear, yet equally without hope, the Union troops crumble to groups, and then to individuals. The attempt of McDowell to turn the left of the Enemy's Bull Run line, has failed.

McDowell and his officers heroically but vainly strive, at great personal risk to themselves, to stem the tide of confusion, and disorder. Sykes's battalion of regulars, which has been at our left, now steadily moves obliquely across the field of battle toward our right, to a hill in the midground, which it occupies, and, with the aid of Arnold's Battery and Palmer's Cavalry, holds, while the exhausted and disorganized troops of the Union Army doggedly and slowly retire toward Sudley Ford, their rear covered by an irregular square of Infantry, which, mainly by the exertions of Colonel Corcoran, has been formed to resist a threatened charge of Stuart's Cavalry.

[At the rate of "not more than two, or two and a half, miles an hour," and not "helter-skelter," as some narrators state.]

It is not fear, that has got the better of our Union troops. It is physical exhaustion for one thing; it is thirst for another. Men must drink,—even if they have foolishly thrown away their canteens,—and many have retired to get water. It is the moral effect also—the terrible disappointment—of seeing what they suppose are Johnston's fresh troops from the Shenandoah Valley, without Patterson "on their heels," suddenly appear on their flank and rear. It is not fear; though some of them are panic-stricken, and, as they catch sight of Stuart's mounted men,—no black horse or uniform among them,—raise the cry of "The Black Horse Cavalry!—The Black Horse Cavalry!"

The Union attack has been repulsed, it is true; but the Union soldiers, though disorganized, discouraged, and disappointed, are not dismayed. Their officers not yet having learned how to fight, and themselves lacking the cohesion of discipline, the men have lost their regimental organizations, and owing to the causes mentioned, slowly retire across Sudley Ford of Bull Run, in a condition of disintegration, their retreat being bravely covered by the 27th and 69th New York, (which have rallied and formed there), Sykes's Infantry battalion, Arnold's Battery, and Palmer's Cavalry.

[In his report to Major Barnard, Capt. D. P. Woodbury, of the corps of Engineers, says: "It is not for me to give a history of the battle. The Enemy was driven on our left, from cover to cover, a mile and a half. Our position for renewing the action the next morning was excellent; whence, then, our failure? It will not be out of place, I hope, for me to give my own opinion of the cause of this failure. An old soldier feels safe in the ranks, unsafe out of the ranks, and the greater the danger the more pertinaciously he clings to his place. The volunteer of three months never attains this instinct of discipline. Under danger, and even under mere excitement, he flies away from his ranks, and looks for safety in dispersion. At four o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st, there were more than twelve thousand volunteers on the battle-field of Bull Run, who had entirely lost their regimental organizations. They could no longer be handled as troops, for the officers and men were not together. Men and officers mingled together promiscuously; and it is worthy of remark that this disorganization did not result from defeat or fear, for up to four o'clock we had been uniformly successful. The instinct of discipline, which keeps every man in his place, had not been acquired. We cannot suppose that the troops of the Enemy had attained a higher degree of discipline than our own, but they acted on the defensive, and were not equally exposed to disorganization."]

While the divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman, which came down in the morning across Sudley Ford, are now, with one brigade (Sherman's) of Tyler's Division, retiring again, in this disordered condition, by that ford; two other brigades of Tyler's Division, viz., that of Schenck —which, at 4 o'clock, was just in the act of advancing upon, and across, the Stone Bridge, to join in the Union attack, and of Keyes, which was, at the same time, just succeeding in its effort to turn the right flank of the Enemy's third new line,—are withdrawing from the field, across Bull Run stream, by the Warrenton Pike, and other roads leading them directly toward Centreville. The brigades of both Keyes and Schenck are retiring in good order; that of Keyes, at "an ordinary pace," following close after McDowell, who, with his staff, has ridden across the battlefield and Bull Run; while part of that of Schenck, united with the 2nd Maine (of Keyes' Brigade) and Ayres's Battery, "promptly and effectively" repulses a charge of the Enemy's Cavalry, and covers the rear of Tyler's Division. Both of these brigades reach Centreville, hungry and weary, but otherwise, for the most part, in good shape.

But during this grand all-day attack, by two of McDowell's divisions, directly aided by part of a third, upon the left of the Enemy's original Bull Run line of defense—which attack, while it has failed in its purpose, has also utterly upset and defeated the Enemy's purpose to carry out Beauregard's plan of attacking Centreville that same morning —what has the Left Wing of McDowell's Army been doing? Let us go back to Sunday morning, and ascertain:

All the Army of McDowell, save his Left Wing—which, comprising the two brigades (Blenker's and Davies's) of Miles's Division, and Richardson's Brigade of Tyler's Division that fought the preliminary battle of Blackburn's Ford, is now under the command of Miles,—moved away from Centreville, down the Warrenton Pike, as we have seen, very early in the morning.

Blenker remains with his brigade as a reserve, on the heights a little East of Centreville, to throw up intrenchments; which, however, he does not do, for lack of trenching implements. Richardson and Davies are to make a feint, at Blackburn's Ford, so as to draw the Enemy's troops there, while the heavy blow of McDowell's Right Wing and Centre falls upon the left flank and rear of the Enemy's Bull Run line.

Richardson's Brigade is already down the ridge, in his old position at Blackburn's Ford, when Davies with his brigade reaches it, from Centreville, and, by virtue of seniority, takes command of the two brigades. Leaving Richardson's Brigade and Greene's Battery exactly on the battle-ground of the 18th July, Davies posts two regiments (the 18th and 32nd New York) of his own brigade, with Hunt's Battery, on the brow of a hill, in an open wheat field, some eighty yards to the South-Eastward of Richardson, distant some 1,500 yards from Longstreet's batteries on the Western side of Bull Run,—and commences a rapid fire, upon the Enemy's position at Blackburn's Ford, from both of the Union batteries.

At 10 o'clock, there is a lull in this Union fire. The Artillery ammunition is running short. The demonstration, however, seems, thus far, to be successful—judging by the movement of Rebel troops toward Blackburn's Ford. The lull continues until 11 o'clock. At that time Miles arrives at his front, in a towering rage.

On his way down the ridge, that morning, early, Davies had made a discovery. While passing a roadway, his guide had casually remarked: "There is a road that leads around to the Enemy's camp, direct." "Ah!" —said Davies—"and can they get through that road?" "Oh, yes," replied the guide. Davies had at once halted, and, after posting his 16th and 31st New York Regiments, with two guns of Hunt's Battery, near this road, at its junction with the ridge road running up to Centreville and Black burn's Ford, had proceeded, with the rest of his regiments and guns, to the position where Miles finds him.

But Miles has discovered what Davies has done, in this matter of the flanking roadway; and—without knowing, or apparently caring to know, the reason underlying the posting of the two regiments and two guns in its vicinity,—flies into "a terrible passion" because of it; in "no very measured language," gives Davies "a severe dressing down;" and orders him to bring both regiments and guns down to the front. Davies complies, and says nothing. Miles also orders him to continue the firing from his batteries, without regard to the quantity of ammunition. This order, also, Davies obeys—and the firing proceeds, for two solid hours, until another order comes, about 1 o'clock P.M., to stop firing.

The fact is, that Miles is not at all himself—but is suffering under such a strain of mental excitement, he afterward claims, that he is not responsible.

Miles, however, returns to Centreville about noon; and no sooner is he gone, than Davies at once sends back pioneers to obstruct that road which would bring the Enemy around his left flank and rear, to Centreville. These, work so industriously, that they cut down a quarter of a mile of trees, and block the road up completely. Davies also posts a few pickets there, in case of accidents. It is well he does so. It is not long before the Enemy makes an attempt to get around to his rear, by that road; but, finding it both obstructed and picketed, retires again. Davies does not see the Rebels making that attempt, but catches sight of them on their return, and gives them a severe shelling for their pains.

Davies keeps up his firing, more or less-according to the condition of the Enemy and of his own ammunition—until 4 o'clock, when the firing occasioned by the Union flanking movement, six miles to his right, ceases. Then there reaches him a note from Richardson, so badly penciled that he can only make out the one word "beaten,"—but cannot, for the life of him, make out, whether the beaten one is our Right Wing, or the Enemy!

Of what followed, he tells the story himself,—under oath, before the Committee on the Conduct of the War—so graphically, that the temptation to give it, in his own words, is irresistible. "I saw unmistakable evidence," said he, "that we were going to be attacked on our Left Wing. I got all ready for the attack, but did not change my front.

"About 5 o'clock, I think, the Rebels made their appearance back upon this very road up which they had gone before; but instead of keeping up the road, they turned past a farm-house, went through the farm-yard, and came down and formed right in front of me, in a hollow, out of my sight. Well, I let them all come down there, keeping a watch upon their movements. I told the Artillery not to fire any shot at them until they saw the rear column go down, so as to get them all down in the little hollow or basin, there. There was a little basin there, probably a quarter of a mile every way. I should think that, maybe, 3,000 men filed down, before I changed front.

"We lay there, with two regiments back, and the Artillery in front, facing Bull Run. As soon as about 3,000 of the Enemy got down in this basin, I changed the front of the Artillery around to the left, in face of the Enemy, and put a company of Infantry between each of the pieces of Artillery, and then deployed the balance of the regiments right and left, and made my line-of-battle.

"I gave directions to the Infantry not to fire a shot, under any circumstances, until they got the word of command from me. I furthermore said I would shoot the first man that fired a shot before I gave the command to do so.

"I gave them orders all to lie down on their faces. They, (the Rebels) were just over the brow of the hill, so that, if they came up in front of us, they could not hit a man.

"As soon as I saw the rear column, I told * * * Lieutenant Benjamin to fire. * * * He fired the first shot when the rear column presented itself. It just went over their heads, and hit a horse and rider in their rear. As soon as the first shot was fired, I gave the order for the whole six pieces of Artillery to open with grape and canister. The effect was terrible. They were all there, right before us, about 450 yards off, and had not suspected that we were going to fire at all, though they did not know what the reason was. Hunt's Battery (belonging to Richardson—who had by mistake got Greene's) performed so well, that, in thirty minutes, we dispersed every one of them!

"I do not know how many were killed, but we so crippled their entire force that they never came after us an inch. A man, who saw the effect of the firing, in the valley, said it was just like firing into a wheat field; the column gave way at once, before the grape and canister; they were just within available distance. I knew very well that if they but got into that basin, the first fire would cut them all to pieces; and it did. We continued to fire for thirty minutes, when there was nothing more to fire at, and no more shots were returned."

At a later hour—while remaining victorious at their well defended position, with the Enemy at their front, dispersed and silenced,—these two brigades of the Left Wing, receive orders to fall back on Centreville, and encamp. With the brigade of Richardson, and Greene's Battery in advance, Davies's own brigade and Hunt's Battery following, they fall back on the heights of Centreville "without the least confusion and in perfect order"—reaching them at 7 P.M.

Meantime Miles has been relieved from command, and McDowell has ordered Blenker's Brigade to take position a mile or more in advance of Centreville, toward Bull Run, on both sides of the Warrenton Pike, to protect the retreat, now being made, in "a few collected bodies," but mainly in great disorder—owing partly to the baggage-wagons choking the road, along which both venturesome civilians and fagged-out troops are retreating upon Centreville. This confused retreat passes through Blenker's lines until 9 o'clock P.M.—and then, all is secure.

At midnight, McDowell has decided to make no stand at Centreville, but to retire upon the defensive works at Washington. The order to retreat, is given, and, with the rear well guarded by Richardson's and Blenker's Brigades, is carried out, the van of the retreat, with no Enemy pursuing, degenerating finally into a "mob," which carries more or less panic into Washington itself, as well as terrible disappointment and chagrin to all the Loyal States of the Union.

Knowing what we now do, concerning the Battle of Bull Run, it is somewhat surprising, at this day, to read the dispatches sent by McDowell to General Scott's headquarters at Washington, immediately after it. They are in these words:

"CENTREVILLE, July 21, 1861—5:45 P.M.

"We passed Bull Run, engaged the Enemy, who, it seems, had just been re-enforced by General Johnston. We drove them for several hours, and finally routed them."

["No one who did not share in the sad experience will be able to realize the consternation which the news of this discomfiture —grossly exaggerated—diffused over the loyal portion of our Country. Only the tidings which had reached Washington up to four o'clock—all presaging certain and decisive victory—were permitted to go North by telegraph that day and evening; so that, on Monday morning, when the crowd of fugitives from our grand Army was pouring into Washington, a heedless, harmless, worthless mob, the Loyal States were exulting over accounts of a decisive triumph. But a few hours brought different advices; and these were as much worse than the truth as the former had been better: our Army had been utterly destroyed-cut to pieces, with a loss of twenty-five to thirty thousand men, besides all its artillery and munitions, and Washington lay at the mercy of the Enemy, who were soon to advance to the capture and sack of our great commercial cities. Never before had so black a day as that black Monday lowered upon the loyal hearts of the North; and the leaden, weeping skies reflected and heightened, while they seemed to sympathize with, the general gloom. It would have been easy, with ordinary effort and care, to have gathered and remanded to their camps or forts around Alexandria or Arlington, all the wretched stragglers to whom fear had lent wings, and who, throwing away their arms and equipments, and abandoning all semblance of Military order or discipline, had rushed to the Capital to hide therein their shame, behind a cloud of exaggerations and falsehoods. The still effective batteries, the solid battalions, that were then wending their way slowly back to their old encampments along the South bank of the Potomac, depressed but unshaken, dauntless and utterly unassailed, were unseen and unheard from; while the panic-stricken racers filled and distended the general ear with their tales of impregnable intrenchments and masked batteries, of regiments slaughtered, brigades utterly cut to pieces, etc., making out their miserable selves to be about all that was left of the Army. That these men were allowed thus to straggle into Washington, instead of being peremptorily stopped at the bridges and sent back to the encampments of their several regiments, is only to be accounted for on the hypothesis that the reason of our Military magnates had been temporarily dethroned, so as to divest them of all moral responsibility," Greeley's Am. Conflict, pp. 552-53., vol. I.]

"They rallied and repulsed us, but only to give us again the victory, which seemed complete. But our men, exhausted with fatigue and thirst, and confused by firing into each other, were attacked by the Enemy's reserves, and driven from the position we had gained, overlooking Manassas. After this, the men could not be rallied, but slowly left the field. In the meantime the Enemy outflanked Richardson at Blackburn's Ford, and we have now to hold Centreville till our men can get behind it. Miles's Division is holding the town. It is reported that Colonel Cameron is killed, Hunter and Heintzelman wounded, neither dangerously. "IRWIN MCDOWELL, "Brigadier-General, Commanding.

"Lieutenant-Colonel TOWNSEND."

"FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE, July 21, 1861.

"The men having thrown away their haversacks in the battle, and left them behind, they are without food; have eaten nothing since breakfast. We are without artillery ammunition. The larger part of the men are a confused mob, entirely demoralized. It was the opinion of all the commanders that no stand could be made this side of the Potomac. We will, however, make the attempt at Fairfax Court House. From a prisoner we learn that 20,000 from Johnston joined last night, and they march on us to-night. "IRWIN MCDOWELL.

"Colonel TOWNSEND"

"FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE, [July] 22, 1861.

"Many of the volunteers did not wait for authority to proceed to the Potomac, but left on their own decision. They are now pouring through this place in a state of utter disorganization. They could not be prepared for action by to-morrow morning even were they willing. I learn from prisoners that we are to be pressed here to-night and tomorrow morning, as the Enemy's force is very large, and they are elated. I think we heard cannon on our rear-guard. I think now, as all of my commanders thought at Centreville, there is no alternative but to fall back to the Potomac, and I shall proceed to do so with as much regularity as possible. "IRWIN MCDOWELL.

"Colonel TOWNSEND."

"ARLINGTON, July 22, 1861.

"I avail myself of the re-establishing of telegraph to report my arrival. When I left the forks of the Little River turnpike and Columbia turnpike, where I had been for a couple of hours turning stragglers and parties of regiments upon this place and Alexandria, I received intelligence that the rear-guard, under Colonel Richardson, had left Fairfax Court House, and was getting along well. Had not been attacked. I am now trying to get matters a little organized over here. "IRWIN MCDOWELL. "Brigadier-General. "E. D. TOWNSEND."

McDowell had unquestionably been repulsed, in his main attack, with his Right Wing, and much of his Army was badly demoralized; but, on the other hand, it may be well to repeat that the Enemy's plan of attack that same morning had been frustrated, and most of his forces so badly shattered and demoralized that he dared not follow up the advantage which, more by our own blunders than by his prowess, he had gained.

If the Union forces—or at least the Right Wing of them—were whipped, the Enemy also was whipped. Jackson himself confesses that while he had, at the last moment, broken our centre, our forces had turned both of his flanks. The Enemy was, in fact, so badly used up, that he not only dared not pursue us to Washington—as he would have down had he been able—but he was absolutely afraid McDowell would resume the attack, on the right of the original Bull Run line, that very night! For, in a letter to General Beauregard; dated Richmond, Virginia, August 4, 1861, Jefferson Davis,—who was on the ground at Bull Run, July 21st,—alluding to the Battle of Bull Run, and Beauregard's excuses for not pursuing the Union troops, says:

"I think you are unjust to yourself in putting your failure to pursue the Enemy to Washington, to the account of short supplies of subsistence and transportation. Under the circumstances of our Army, and in the absence of the knowledge since acquired—if, indeed, the statements be true—it would have been extremely hazardous to have done more than was performed. You will not fail to remember that, so far from knowing that the Enemy was routed, a large part of our forces was moved by you, in the night of the 21st, to repel a supposed attack upon our right, and the next day's operations did not fully reveal what has since been reported of the Enemy's panic."

And Jefferson Davis's statement is corroborated by the Report of Colonel Withers, of the 18th Virginia, who, after starting with other regiments, in an attempt to cut off the Union retreat, was recalled to the Stone Bridge,—and who says: "Before reaching the point we designed to occupy (near the Stone Bridge) we were met by another order to march immediately to Manassas Junction, as an attack was apprehended that night. Although it was now after sunset, and my men had had no food all day, when the command to march to Manassas was given, they cheerfully took the route to that place."

Colonel Davies, who, as we have seen, commanded McDowell's stubborn Left Wing, was after all, not far wrong, when, in his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, he declared, touching the story of the Bull Run Battle: "It ought to have read that we were victorious with the 13,000 troops of the Left Wing, and defeated in the 18,000 of the Right Wing. That is all that Bull Run amounts to."

In point of fact, the Battle of Bull Run—the first pitched battle of the War—was a drawn battle.

War was now fully inaugurated—Civil War—a stupendous War between two great Sections of one common Country; those of our People, on the one side, fighting for the dissolution of the Union—and incidentally for Free Trade, and for Slavery; those on the other side, fighting for the preservation of the Union—and incidentally for Protection to our Free Industries, and for the Freedom of the Slave.

As soon as the Republican Party controlled both Houses of Congress it provided Protection to our Free Industries, and to the Free Labor engaged in them, by the Morill Tariff Act of 1860—the foundation Act of all subsequent enactments on the subject. In subsequent pages of this work we shall see how the Freedom of the Slave was also accomplished by the same great Party.



When the first gun was fired at Fort Sumter, its sullen echoes sounded the funeral knell of Slavery. Years before, it had been foretold, and now it was to happen. Years before, it had been declared, by competent authority, that among the implications of the Constitution was that of the power of the General Government to Emancipate the Slaves, as a War measure. Hence, in thus commencing the War of the Rebellion, the South marched with open eyes upon this, as among other of the legitimate and logical results of such a War.

Patrick Henry, in opposing the ratification by Virginia of the Federal Constitution, had declared to the Slaveholders of that State that "Among ten thousand implied powers" which Congress may assume, "they may, if we be engaged in War, liberate every one of your Slaves, if they please, * * * Have they not power to provide for the General Defense and Welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of Slavery? May they not pronounce all Slaves Free? and will they not be warranted by that power? * * * They have the power, in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it."

So, too, in his great speech of May 25, 1836, in the House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams had declared that in "the last great conflict which must be fought between Slavery and Emancipation," Congress "must and will interfere" with Slavery, "and they will not only possess the Constitutional power so to interfere, but they will be bound in duty to do it, by the express provisions of the Constitution itself." And he followed this declaration with the equally emphatic words: "From the instant that your Slave-holding States become the theatre of War —civil, servile, or foreign—from that instant, the War powers of Congress extend to interference with the Institution of Slavery in every Way by which it can be interfered with."

The position thus announced by these expounders of the Constitution—the one from Virginia, the other from Massachusetts—was not to be shaken even by the unanimous adoption, February 11, 1861, by the House of Representatives on roll call, of the resolution of Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, in these words:

"Resolved, That neither the Congress of the United States nor the people or governments of the non-Slaveholding States have the Constitutional right to legislate upon or interfere with Slavery in any of the Slaveholding States in the Union."

Ex-President J. Q. Adams's cogent exposition of the Constitution, twenty-five years before, in that same House, demonstrating not only that Congress had the right but the Constitutional power to so interfere—and his further demonstration April 15, 1842, of his statement that under the laws of War, "when a Country is invaded, and two hostile armies are set in martial array, the Commanders of both Armies have power to Emancipate all the Slaves in the invaded territory"—as not to be overcome by a mere vote of one House, however unanimous. For the time being, however, it contributed, with other circumstances, to confuse the public mind and conscience. Indeed as early as May of 1861, the attitude of our Government and its troops toward Negro Slaves owned or used by Rebels in rebellious States, began to perturb the public, bother the Administration, and worry the Military officers.

For instance, in Major-General McClellan's proclamation to the Union men of West Virginia, issued May 26, 1861, he said:

"The General Government cannot close its ears to the demand you have made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the river. They come as your friends and brothers—as enemies only to armed Rebels, who are preying upon you; your homes, your families, and your property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously respected, notwithstanding all that has been said by the Traitors to induce you to believe our advent among you will be signalized by an interference with your Slaves. Understand one thing clearly: not only will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand crush any attempt at insurrection on their part."

On the other hand, the very next day, May 27, 1861, Major-General Butler, in command of the "Department of A Virginia," wrote to Lieutenant-General Scott as follows:

"Since I wrote my last dispatch the question in regard to Slave property is becoming one of very serious magnitude. The inhabitants of Virginia are using their Negroes in the batteries, and are preparing to send the women and children South. The escapes from them are very numerous, and a squad has come in this morning to my pickets bringing their women and children. Of course these cannot be dealt with upon the theory on which I designed to treat the services of able-bodied men and women who might come within my lines, and of which I gave you a detailed account in my last dispatch. I am in the utmost doubt what to do with this species of Property.

"Up to this time I have had come within my lines men and women with their children, entire families, each family belonging to the same owner. I have, therefore, determined to employ, as I can do very profitably, the able-bodied persons in the party, issuing proper food for the support of all, and charging against their services the expense of care and sustenance of the non-laborers, keeping a strict and accurate account as well of the services as of the expenditure, having the worth of the services, and the cost of the expenditure, determined by a Board of Survey, to be hereafter detailed. I know of no other manner in which to dispose of this subject and the questions connected therewith.

"As a matter of Property to the Insurgents, it will be of very great moment, the number that I now have amounting, as I am informed, to what, in good times, would be of the value of sixty thousand dollars. Twelve of these Negroes, I am informed, have escaped from the batteries on Sewall's Point, which, this morning, fired upon my expedition as it passed by out of range. As a means of offense, therefore, in the Enemy's hands, these Negroes, when able-bodied, are of the last importance. Without them the batteries could not have been erected, at least for many weeks.

"As a Military question it would seem to be a measure of necessity to deprive their masters of their services. How can this be done? As a political question and a question of humanity, can I receive the services of a father and mother, and not take the children? Of the humanitarian aspect I have no doubt. Of the political one I have no right to judge. I therefore submit all this to your better judgment, and as the questions have a political aspect, I have ventured, and I trust I am not wrong in so doing, to duplicate the parts of my dispatch relating to this subject, and forward them to the Secretary of War."

In reply to the duplicate copy of this letter received by him, Secretary Cameron thus answered:

"WASHINGTON, May 30, 1861.

"SIR: Your action in respect to the Negroes who came within your lines from the service of the Rebels is approved. The Department is sensible of the embarrassments which must surround officers conducting Military operations in a State by the laws of which Slavery is sanctioned.

"The Government cannot recognize the rejection by any State of the Federal obligations, nor can it refuse the performance of the Federal obligations resting upon itself. Among these Federal obligations, however, none can be more important than that of suppressing and dispersing armed combinations formed for the purpose of overthrowing its whole Constitutional authority.

"While, therefore, you will permit no interference by the persons under your command, with the relations of Persons held to Service under the laws of any State, you will, on the other hand, so long as any State, within which your Military operations are conducted, is under the control of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged masters any Person who may come within your lines.

"You will employ such Persons in the services to which they may be best adapted, keeping an account of the labor by them performed, of the value of it, and the expenses of their maintenance. The question of their final disposition will be reserved for future determination.

"SIMON CAMERON, "Secretary of War.

"To Major General BUTLER."

Great tenderness, however, was exhibited by many of the Union Generals for the doomed Institution. On June 3, 1861, from Chambersburg, Pa., a proclamation signed "By order of Major General Patterson, F. J. Porter, Asst. Adj. General," was issued from "Headquarters Department of Pennsylvania," "To the United States troops of this Department," in which they are admonished "that, in the coming campaign in Virginia, while it is your duty to punish Sedition, you must protect the Loyal, and, should the occasion offer, at once suppress Servile Insurrection."

"General Orders No. 33," issued from "Headquarters Department of Washington," July 17, 1861, "By command of Brigadier General Mansfield, Theo. Talbot, Assistant Adjutant General," were to this effect: "Fugitive Slaves will under no pretext whatever, be permitted to reside, or be in any way harbored, in the quarters or camps of the troops serving in this Department. Neither will such Slaves be allowed to accompany troops on the march. Commanders of troops will be held responsible for a strict observance of this order." And early in August a Military order was issued at Washington "that no Negroes, without sufficient evidence of their being Free or of their right to travel, are permitted to leave the city upon the cars."

But Bull Run did much to settle the Military as well as public mind in proper grooves on this subject.

Besides employing Negro Slaves to aid Rebellion, by the digging of ditches, the throwing up of intrenchments, and the erection of batteries, their Rebel masters placed in their hands arms with which to shoot down Union soldiers at the Battle of Bull Run, which, as we have seen, occurred on Sunday, July 21, 1861—and resulted in a check to the Union Cause.

The terror and confusion and excitement already referred to, that prevailed in Washington all that night and the next day, as the panic-stricken crowd of soldiers and civilians poured over the Long Bridge, footsore with running, faint with weariness, weak with hunger, and parched with thirst and the dust of the rout, can hardly be described.

But, however panicky the general condition of the inhabitants of the National Capital, the Congress bravely maintained its equanimity.

In the Senate, on the day following the disaster, a bill touching the Confiscation of Property used for insurrectionary purposes being up for consideration, the following amendment was offered to it:

"And be it further enacted, That whenever any person claiming to be entitled to the Service or Labor of any other Person under the laws of any State, shall employ such Person in aiding or promoting any Insurrection, or in resisting the Laws of the United States, or shall permit him to be so employed, he shall forfeit all right to such Service or Labor, and the Person whose Labor or Service is thus claimed shall be thenceforth discharged therefrom, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."

This amendment, emancipating Slaves employed by their masters to aid Rebellion, was adopted by 33 yeas to 6 nays.

As showing the feeling expressed right upon the very heels of what seemed to be a great disaster, and when rumor, at any rate, placed the victorious Enemy at the very gates of the Capital City, a few lines from the debate may be interesting.

Mr. Trumbull said: "I am glad the yeas and nays have been called to let us see who is willing to vote that the Traitorous owner of a Negro shall employ him to shoot down the Union men of the Country, and yet insist upon restoring him to the Traitor that owns him. I understand that Negroes were in the fight which has recently occurred. I take it that Negroes who are used to destroy the Union, and to shoot down the Union men by the consent of Traitorous masters, ought not to be restored to them. If the Senator from Kentucky is in favor of restoring them, let him vote against the amendment."

Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, said: "I shall vote with more heart than I vote for ordinary measures, for this proposition. I hope the Senate and the House of Representatives will sustain it, and that this Government will carry it out with an inflexibility that knows no change. The idea that men who are in arms destroying their Country shall be permitted to use others for that purpose, and that we shall stand by and issue orders to our Commanders, that we should disgrace our Cause and our Country, by returning such men to their Traitorous masters, ought not longer to be entertained. The time has come for that to cease; and, by the blessing of God, so far as I am concerned, I mean it shall cease.

"If there is anybody in this Chamber that chooses to take the other path, let him do it; let him know what our purpose is. Our purpose is to save this Government and save this Country, and to put down Treason; and if Traitors use bondsmen to destroy this Country, my doctrine is that the Government shall at once convert these bondsmen into men that cannot be used to destroy our Country. I have no apologies to make for this position, I take it proudly.

"I think the time has come when this Government, and the men who are in arms under the Government, should cease to return to Traitors their Fugitive Slaves, whom they are using to erect batteries to murder brave men who are fighting under the flag of their Country. The time has come when we should deal with the men who are organizing Negro companies, and teaching them to shoot down loyal men for the only offence of upholding the flag of their Country.

"I hope further, Sir, that there is a public sentiment in this Country that will blast men who will rise, in the Senate or out it, to make apologies for Treason, or to defend or to maintain the doctrine that this Government is bound to protect Traitors in converting their Slaves into tools for the destruction of the Republic."

Senator McDougall, of California, said: "I regard this as a Confiscation for Treason, and I am for the proposition."

Mr. Ten Eyck, said: "No longer ago than Saturday last I voted in the Judiciary Committee against this amendment, for two reasons: First, I did not believe that persons in Rebellion against this Government would make use of such means as the employment of Persons held to Labor or Service, in their Armies; secondly, because I did not know what was to become of these poor wretches if they were discharged. God knows we do not want them in our Section of the Union. But, Sir, having learned and believing that these persons have been employed with arms in their hands to shed the blood of the Union-loving men of this Country, I shall now vote in favor of that amendment with less regard to what may become of these people than I had on Saturday. I will merely instance that there is a precedent for this. If I recollect history aright, General Jackson, in the Seminole War, declared that every Slave who was taken in arms against the United States should be set Free."

So, too, in the House of Representatives, the retrograde of a badly demoralized Army, its routed fragments still coming in with alarming stories of a pursuing Enemy almost at the gates of the city, had no terrors for our legislators; and there was something of Roman dignity, patriotism, and courage, in the adoption, on that painfully memorable Blue Monday, (the first—[Offered by Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky]—with only two dissenting votes, on a yea and nay vote; and, the second —[Offered by Mr. Vandever, of Iowa.]—with entire unanimity) of the following Resolutions:

"Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, That the present deplorable Civil War has been forced upon the Country by the Disunionists of the Southern States, now in arms against the Constitutional Government, and in arms around the Capital; that in this National emergency, Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole Country; that this War is not waged on their part in any spirit of oppression, or for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, or purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established Institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished, the War ought to cease."

"Resolved, That the maintenance of the Constitution, the preservation of the Union, and the enforcement of the Laws, are sacred trusts which must be executed; that no disaster shall discourage us from the most ample performance of this high duty; and that we pledge to the Country and the World, the employment of every resource, National and individual, for the suppression, overthrow, and punishment of Rebels in arms."

The first of these Resolutions was intended to calm the fears of the Border States—excited by Rebel emissaries; the second, to restore confidence and courage to the patriot hearts of Union-men, everywhere. Both were effectual.

And here it will hardly be amiss to glance, for an instant, toward the Senate Chamber; and especially at one characteristic incident. It was the afternoon of August the 1st, 1861,—scarce ten days since the check to the Union arms at Bull Run; and Breckinridge, of Kentucky, not yet expelled from the United States Senate, was making in that Body his great speech against the "Insurrection and Sedition Bill," and upon "the sanctity of the Constitution."

Baker, of Oregon,—who, as Sumner afterward said: "with a zeal that never tired, after recruiting men drawn by the attraction of his name, in New York and Philadelphia and elsewhere, held his Brigade in camp, near the Capitol, so that he passed easily from one to the other, and thus alternated the duties of a Senator and a General," having reached the Capitol, direct from his Brigade-camp, entered the Senate Chamber, in his uniform, while Breckinridge was speaking.

When the Kentucky Senator "with Treason in his heart, if not on his lips," resumed his seat, the gray-haired soldier-Senator at once rose to reply. "He began,"—said Charles Sumner, in alluding to the incident —"simply and calmly; but as he proceeded, his fervid soul broke forth in words of surpassing power. As on a former occasion he had presented the well-ripened fruits of study, so now he spoke with the spontaneous utterance of his own mature and exuberant eloquence—meeting the polished Traitor at every point with weapons keener and brighter than his own."

After demolishing Breckinridge's position touching the alleged Unconstitutionality of the measure, and characterizing his other utterances as "reproof, malediction, and prediction combined," the Patriot from the Far-West turned with rising voice and flashing eye upon the gloomy Kentuckian:

"I would ask him," said he, "what would you have us do now—a Confederate Army within twenty miles of us, advancing, or threatening to advance, to overwhelm your Government; to shake the pillars of the Union, to bring it around your head, if you stay here, in ruins? Are we to stop and talk about an uprising sentiment in the North against the War? Are we to predict evil, and retire from what we predict? Is it not the manly part to go on as we have begun, to raise money, and levy Armies, to organize them, to prepare to advance; when we do advance, to regulate that advance by all the laws and regulations that civilization and humanity will allow in time of battle? Can we do anything more? To talk to us about stopping, is idle; we will never stop. Will the Senator yield to Rebellion? Will he shrink from armed Insurrection? Will his State justify it? Will its better public opinion allow it? Shall we send a flag of Truce? What would he have? Or would he conduct this War so feebly, that the whole World would smile at us in derision?"

And then cried the orator-his voice rising to a higher key, penetrating, yet musical as the blast from a silver trumpet: "What would he have? These speeches of his, sown broadcast over the Land, what clear distinct meaning have they? Are they not intended for disorganization in our very midst? Are they not intended to dull our weapons? Are they not intended to destroy our zeal? Are they not intended to animate our enemies? Sir, are they not words of brilliant, polished Treason, even in the very Capitol of the Nation?

"What would have been thought, if, in another Capitol, in another Republic, in a yet more martial age, a Senator as grave, not more eloquent or dignified than the Senator from Kentucky, yet with the Roman purple flowing over his shoulder, had risen in his place, surrounded by all the illustrations of Roman glory, and declared that the cause of advancing Hannibal was just, and that Carthage ought to be dealt with in terms of peace? What would have been thought if, after the battle of Cannae, a Senator there had risen in his place and denounced every levy of the Roman People, every expenditure of its treasure, and every appeal to the old recollections and the old glories?"

The speaker paused. The sudden and intent silence was broken by another voice: "He would have been hurled from the Tarpeian rock."

"Sir," continued the soldier-orator, "a Senator, himself learned far more than myself in such lore, [Mr. Fessenden,] tells me, in a voice that I am glad is audible, that he would have been hurled from the Tarpeian Rock! It is a grand commentary upon the American Constitution that we permit these words [Senator Breckinridge's] to be uttered.

"I ask the Senator to recollect, too, what, save to send aid and comfort to the Enemy, do these predictions of his amount to? Every word thus uttered falls as a note of inspiration upon every Confederate ear. Every sound thus uttered is a word, (and, falling from his lips, a mighty word) of kindling and triumph to a Foe that determines to advance.

"For me, I have no such word as a Senator, to utter. For me"—and here his eyes flashed again while his martial voice rang like a clarion-call to battle—"amid temporary defeat, disaster, disgrace, it seems that my duty calls me to utter another word, and that word is, bold, sudden, forward, determined, WAR, according to the laws of War, by Armies, by Military Commanders clothed with full power, advancing with all the past glories of the Republic urging them on to conquest!

* * * * * *

"I tell the Senator," continued the inspired Patriot, "that his predictions, sometimes for the South, sometimes for the Middle States, sometimes for the North-East, and then wandering away in airy visions out to the Far Pacific, about the dread of our people, as for loss of blood and treasure, provoking them to Disloyalty, are false in sentiment, false in fact, and false in Loyalty. The Senator from Kentucky is mistaken in them all.

"Five hundred million dollars! What then? Great Britain gave more than two thousand million in the great Battle for Constitutional Liberty which she led at one time almost single-handed against the World. Five hundred thousand men! What then? We have them; they are ours; they are the children of the Country; they belong to the whole Country; they are our sons; our kinsmen; and there are many of us who will give them all up before we will abate one word of our just demand, or will retreat one inch from the line which divides right from wrong.

"Sir, it is not a question of men or of money in that sense. All the money, all the men, are, in our judgment, well bestowed in such a cause. When we give them, we know their value. Knowing their value well, we give them with the more pride and the, more joy. Sir, how can we retreat? Sir, how can we make Peace? Who shall treat? What Commissioners? Who would go? Upon what terms? Where is to be your boundary line? Where the end of the principles we shall have to give up? What will become of Constitutional Government? What will become of public Liberty? What of past glories? What of future hopes?

"Shall we sink into the insignificance of the grave—a degraded, defeated, emasculated People, frightened by the results of one battle, and scared at the visions raised by the imagination of the Senator from Kentucky on this floor? No, Sir! a thousand times, no, Sir! We will rally—if, indeed, our words be necessary—we will rally the People, the Loyal People, of the whole Country. They will pour forth their treasure, their money, their men, without stint, without measure. The most peaceable man in this body may stamp his foot upon this Senate Chamber floor, as of old a warrior and a Senator did, and from that single tramp there will spring forth armed Legions.

"Shall one battle determine the fate of empire, or a dozen?—the loss of one thousand men, or twenty thousand? or one hundred million or five hundred million dollars? In a year's Peace—in ten years, at most, of peaceful progress—we can restore them all. There will be some graves reeking with blood, watered by the tears of affection. There will be some privation; there will be some loss of luxury; there will be somewhat more need for labor to procure the necessaries of life. When that is said, all is said. If we have the Country, the whole Country, the Union, the Constitution, Free Government—with these there will return all the blessings of well-ordered civilization; the path of the Country will be a career of greatness and of glory such as, in the olden time, our Fathers saw in the dim visions of years yet to come, and such as would have been ours now, to-day, if it had not been for the Treason for which the Senator too often seeks to apologize."

This remarkable speech was the last utterance of that glorious and courageous soul, in the National Senate. Within three months, his lifeless body, riddled by Rebel rifle balls, was borne away from the fatal field of Ball's Bluff—away, amid the lamentations of a Nation —away, across land and ocean—to lie beside his brave friend Broderick, on that Lone Mountain whose solemn front looks out upon the calm Pacific.

He had not lived in vain. In his great speech at the American Theatre in San Francisco, after his election by Oregon (1860) to represent her in the United States Senate, he had aroused the people to a sense of shame, that, as he said: "Here, in a land of written Constitutional Liberty it is reserved for us to teach the World that, under the American Stars and Stripes, Slavery marches in solemn procession; that, under the American flag, Slavery is protected to the utmost verge of acquired territory; that under the American banner, the name of Freedom is to be faintly heard, the songs of Freedom faintly sung; that, while Garibaldi, Victor Emanuel, every great and good man in the World, strives, struggles, fights, prays, suffers and dies, sometimes on the scaffold, sometimes in the dungeon, often on the field of battle, rendered immortal by his blood and his valor; that, while this triumphal procession marches on through the arches of Freedom—we, in this land, of all the World, shrink back trembling when Freedom is but mentioned!"

And never was a shamed people more suddenly lifted up from that shame into a grand frenzy of patriotic devotion than were his auditors, when, with the inspiration of his matchless genius, he continued:

"As for me, I dare not, will not, be false to Freedom. Where the feet of my youth were planted, there, by Freedom, my feet shall ever stand. I will walk beneath her banner. I will glory in her strength. I have watched her in history struck down on an hundred chosen fields of battle. I have seen her friends fly from her; her foes gather around her. I have seen her bound to the stake; I have seen them give her ashes to the winds. But when they turned to exult, I have seen her again meet them face to face, resplendent in complete steel, brandishing in her strong right hand a flaming sword, red with Insufferable light! I take courage. The People gather around her. The genius of America will, at last, lead her sons to Freedom."

Never were grander utterances delivered by man in all the ages; never was there exhibited a more sublime faith; never a truer spirit of prophecy; never a more heroic spirit.

He was then on his way to Washington; on his way to perform the last acts in the drama of his own career—on his way to death. He knew the time had come, of which, ten years before, he had prophetically spoken in the House of Representatives, when he said: "I have only to say that, if the time should come when Disunion rules the hour, and discord is to reign supreme, I shall again be ready to give the best blood in my veins to my Country's Cause. I shall be prepared to meet all antagonists with lance in rest, to do battle in every land, in defense of the Constitution of the Country which I have sworn to support, to the last extremity, against Disunionists, and all its Enemies, whether of the South or North; to meet them everywhere, at all times, with speech or hand, with word or blow, until thought and being shall be no longer mine." And right nobly did he fulfil in all respects his promise; so that at the end—as was afterward well said of him by Mr. Colfax—he had mounted so high, that, "doubly crowned, as statesman, and as warrior—

'From the top of Fame's ladder he stepped to the Sky!'"

[This orator and hero was a naturalized Englishman, and commanded an American regiment in the Mexican War.]



On the day following Baker's great reply to Breckinridge, another notable speech was made, in the House of Representatives—notable, especially, in that it foreshadowed Emancipation, and, coming so soon after Bull Run, seemed to accentuate a new departure in political thought as an outgrowth of that Military reverse. It was upon the Confiscation Act, and it was Thaddeus Stevens who made it. Said he:

"If we are justified in taking property from the Enemy in War, when you have rescued an oppressed People from the oppression of that Enemy, by what principle of the Law of Nations, by what principle of philanthropy, can you return them to the bondage from which you have delivered them, and again rivet the chains you have once broken? It is a disgrace to the Party which advocates it. It is against the principle of the Law of Nations. It is against every principle of philanthropy. I for one, shall never shrink from saying when these Slaves are once conquered by us, 'Go and be Free.' God forbid that I should ever agree that they should be returned again to their masters! I do not say that this War is made for that purpose. Ask those who made the War, what is its object. Do not ask us. * * * Our object is to subdue the Rebels.

"But," continued he, "it is said that if we hold out this thing, they will never submit—that we cannot conquer them—that they will suffer themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste. Sir, War is a grievous thing at best, and Civil War more than any other; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to; if their whole country must be laid waste, and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen than to see them perpetrate the destruction of this People through our agency. I do not say that it is time to resort to such means, and I do not know when the time will come; but I never fear to express my sentiments. It is not a question with me of policy, but a question of principle.

"If this War is continued long, and is bloody, I do not believe that the free people of the North will stand by and see their sons and brothers and neighbors slaughtered by thousands and tens of thousands by Rebels, with arms in their hands, and forbear to call upon their enemies to be our friends, and to help us in subduing them; I for one, if it continues long, and has the consequences mentioned, shall be ready to go for it, let it horrify the gentleman from New York (Mr. Diven) or anybody else. That is my doctrine, and that will be the doctrine of the whole free people of the North before two years roll round, if this War continues.

"As to the end of the War, until the Rebels are subdued, no man in the North thinks of it. If the Government are equal to the People, and I believe they are, there will be no bargaining, there will be no negotiation, there will be no truces with the Rebels, except to bury the dead, until every man shall have laid down his arms, disbanded his organization, submitted himself to the Government, and sued for mercy. And, Sir, if those who have the control of the Government are not fit for this task and have not the nerve and mind for it, the People will take care that there are others who are—although, Sir, I have not a bit of fear of the present Administration, or of the present Executive.

"I have spoken more freely, perhaps, than gentlemen within my hearing might think politic, but I have spoken just what I felt. I have spoken what I believe will be the result; and I warn Southern gentlemen, that if this War is to continue, there will be a time when my friend from New York (Mr. Diven) will see it declared by this free Nation, that every bondman in the South—belonging to a Rebel, recollect; I confine it to them—shall be called upon to aid us in War against their masters, and to restore this Union."

The following letter of instruction from Secretary Cameron, touching the Fugitive Slave question, dated seven days after Thaddeus Stevens' speech, had also an interesting bearing on the subject:

"WASHINGTON, August 8, 1861.

"GENERAL: The important question of the proper disposition to be made of Fugitives from Service in States in Insurrection against the Federal Government, to which you have again directed my attention in your letter of July 30, has received my most attentive consideration.

"It is the desire of the President that all existing rights, in all the States, be fully respected and maintained. The War now prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a War for the Union, and for the preservation of all Constitutional rights of States, and the citizens of the States, in the Union. Hence, no question can arise as to Fugitives from Service within the States and Territories in which the authority of the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of Judicial proceeding, which must be respected by Military and Civil authorities alike, will suffice for the enforcement of all legal claims.

"But in States wholly or partially under Insurrectionary control, where the Laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they cannot be effectually enforced, it is obvious that rights dependent on the execution of those laws must, temporarily, fail; and it is equally obvious that rights dependent on the laws of the States within which Military operations are conducted must be necessarily subordinated to the Military exigences created by the Insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by the Treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this general rule, rights to Services can form no exception.

"The Act of Congress, approved August 6, 1861, declares that if Persons held to Service shall be employed in hostility to the United States, the right to their services shall be forfeited, and such Persons shall be discharged therefrom. It follows, of necessity, that no claim can be recognized by the Military authorities of the Union to the services of such Persons when fugitives.

"A more difficult question is presented in respect to Persons escaping from the Service of Loyal masters. It is quite apparent that the laws of the State, under which only the services of such fugitives can be claimed, must needs be wholly, or almost wholly, suspended, as to remedies, by the Insurrection and the Military measures necessitated by it. And it is equally apparent that the substitution of Military for Judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be attended by great inconveniences, embarrassments, and injuries.

"Under these circumstances it seems quite clear that the substantial rights of Loyal masters will be best protected by receiving such fugitives, as well as fugitives from Disloyal masters, into the service of the United States, and employing them under such organizations and in such occupations as circumstances may suggest or require.

"Of course a record should be kept showing the name and description of the fugitives, the name and the character, as Loyal or Disloyal, of the master, and such facts as may be necessary to a correct understanding of the circumstances of each case after tranquillity shall have been restored. Upon the return of Peace, Congress will, doubtless, properly provide for all the persons thus received into the service of the Union, and for just compensation to Loyal masters. In this way only, it would seem, can the duty and safety of the Government and the just rights of all be fully reconciled and harmonized.

"You will therefore consider yourself as instructed to govern your future action, in respect to Fugitives from Service, by the principles here stated, and will report from time to time, and at least twice in each month, your action in the premises to this Department.

"You will, however, neither authorize, nor permit any interference, by the troops under your command, with the servants of peaceful citizens in house or field; nor will you, in any way, encourage such servants to leave the lawful Service of their masters; nor will you, except in cases where the Public Safety may seem to require, prevent the voluntary return of any Fugitive, to the Service from which he may have escaped."

"I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"SIMON CAMERON, "Secretary of War.

"Major-General B. F. BUTLER, "Commanding Department of Virginia, "Fortress Monroe."

Whether or not inspired by the prophetic speech of Thaddeus Stevens, aforesaid, the month of August was hardly out before its prophecy seemed in a fair way of immediate fulfilment. Major-General John Charles Fremont at that time commanded the Eastern Department—comprising the States of Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Kentucky-and he startled the Country by issuing the following Emancipation proclamation:


"St. Louis, August 30, 1861.

"Circumstances, in my judgment, of sufficient urgency, render it necessary that the commanding general of this Department should assume the administrative powers of the State. Its disorganized condition, the helplessness of the civil authority, the total insecurity of life, and the devastation of property by bands of murderers and marauders, who infest nearly every county of the State, and avail themselves of the public misfortunes and the vicinity of a hostile force to gratify private and neighborhood vengeance, and who find an enemy wherever they find plunder, finally demand the severest measures to repress the daily increasing crimes and outrages which are driving off the inhabitants and ruining the State.

"In this condition, the public safety and the success of our arms require unity of purpose, without let or hinderance, to the prompt administration of affairs.

"In order, therefore, to suppress disorder, to maintain as far as now practicable the public peace, and to give security and protection to the persons and property of loyal citizens, I do hereby extend and declare established Martial Law throughout the State of Missouri.

"The lines of the Army of Occupation in this State are for the present declared to extend from Leavenworth by way of the posts of Jefferson City, Rolla, and Ironton, to Cape Girardeau, on the Mississippi river.

"All persons who shall betaken with arms in their hands within these lines shall be tried by Court-Martial, and if found guilty will be shot.

"The property, real and personal, of all persons, in the State of Missouri, who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven to have taken an active part with their Enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use, and their Slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared Free men.

"All persons who shall be proven to have destroyed, after the publication of this order, railroad tracks, bridges, or telegraphs, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.

"All persons engaged in Treasonable correspondence, in giving or procuring aid to the Enemies of the United States, in fomenting tumults, in disturbing the public tranquillity by creating and circulating false reports or incendiary documents, are in their own interests warned that they are exposing themselves to sudden and severe punishment.

"All persons who have been led away from their allegiance, are required to return to their homes forthwith; any such absence, without sufficient cause, will be held to be presumptive evidence against them.

"The object of this declaration is to place in the hands of the Military authorities the power to give instantaneous effect to existing laws, and to supply such deficiencies as the conditions of War demand. But this is not intended to suspend the ordinary Tribunals of the Country, where the Law will be administered by the Civil officers in the usual manner, and with their customary authority, while the same can be peaceably exercised.

"The commanding general will labor vigilantly for the public Welfare, and in his efforts for their safety hopes to obtain not only the acquiescence, but the active support of the Loyal People of the Country.

"J. C. FREMONT, "Major-General Commanding."

Fremont's Proclamation of Confiscation and Emancipation, was hailed with joy by some Patriots in the North, but was by others looked upon as rash and premature and inexpedient; while it bitterly stirred the anger of the Rebels everywhere.

The Rebel Jeff. Thompson, then in command of the Rebel forces about St. Louis, at once issued the following savage proclamation of retaliation:


'St. Louis, August 31, 1861.

"To all whom it may concern:

"Whereas Major-General John C. Fremont, commanding the minions of Abraham Lincoln in the State of Missouri, has seen fit to declare Martial Law throughout the whole State, and has threatened to shoot any citizen-soldier found in arms within certain limits; also, to Confiscate the property and Free the Negroes belonging to the members of the Missouri State Guard:

"Therefore, know ye, that I, M. Jeff. Thompson, Brigadier-General of the First Military District of Missouri, having not only the Military authority of Brigadier-General, but certain police powers granted by Acting-Governor Thomas C. Reynolds, and confirmed afterward by Governor Jackson, do most solemnly promise that for every member of the Missouri State Guard, or soldier of our allies, the Armies of the Confederate States, who shall be put to death in pursuance of the said order of General Fremont, I will hang, draw, and quarter a minion of said Abraham Lincoln.

"While I am anxious that this unfortunate War shall be conducted, if possible, upon the most liberal principles of civilized warfare—and every order that I have issued has been with that object—yet, if this rule is to be adopted (and it must first be done by our Enemies) I intend to exceed General Fremont in his excesses, and will make all tories that come within my reach rue the day that a different policy was adopted by their leaders.

"Already mills, barns, warehouses, and other private property have been wastefully and wantonly destroyed by the Enemy in this district, while we have taken nothing except articles strictly contraband or absolutely necessary. Should these things be repeated, I will retaliate ten-fold, so help me God!"

"M. JEFF. THOMPSON, "Brigadier-General Commanding."

"President Lincoln, greatly embarrassed by the precipitate action of his subordinate, lost no time in suggesting to General Fremont certain modifications of his Emancipation proclamation-as follows:

"[PRIVATE.] "WASHINGTON, D. C., September 2, 1861.

"MY DEAR SIR: Two points in your proclamation of August 30th give me some anxiety:

"First. Should you shoot a man according to the proclamation, the Confederates would very certainly shoot our best man in their hands, in retaliation; and so, man for man, indefinitely. It is, therefore, my order that you allow no man to be shot under the proclamation without first having my approbation or consent.

"Second. I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in relation to the Confiscation of Property, and the liberating Slaves of Traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends, and turn them against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky.

"Allow me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion, modify that paragraph so as to conform to the first and fourth sections of the Act of Congress entitled, 'An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary purposes,' approved August 6, 1861, a copy of which Act I herewith send you.

"This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure.

"I send it by a special messenger, in that it may certainly and speedily reach you. "Yours very truly, "A. LINCOLN.

"Major-General FREMONT."

General Fremont replied to President Lincoln's suggestions, as follows:

"HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, "St. Louis, September 8, 1861.

"MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the second, by special messenger, I know to have been written before you had received my letter, and before my telegraphic dispatches and the rapid developments of critical conditions here had informed you of affairs in this quarter. I had not written to you fully and frequently, first, because in the incessant change of affairs I would be exposed to give you contradictory accounts; and secondly, because the amount of the subjects to be laid before you would demand too much of your time.

"Trusting to have your confidence, I have been leaving it to events themselves to show you whether or not I was shaping affairs here according to your ideas. The shortest communication between Washington and St. Louis generally involves two days, and the employment of two days, in time of War, goes largely toward success or disaster. I therefore went along according to my own judgment, leaving the result of my movement to justify me with you.

"And so in regard to my proclamation of the thirtieth. Between the Rebel Armies, the Provisional Government, and the home Traitors, I felt the position bad, and saw danger. In the night I decided upon the proclamation and the form of it—I wrote it the next morning and printed it the same day. I did it without consultation or advice with any one, acting solely with my best judgment to serve the Country and yourself, and perfectly willing to receive the amount of censure which should be thought due, if I had made a false movement.

"This is as much a movement in the War, as a battle, and, in going into these, I shall have to act according to my judgment of the ground before me, as I did on this occasion. If upon reflection, your better judgment still decides that I am wrong in the article respecting the Liberation of Slaves, I have to ask that you will openly direct me to make the correction. The implied censure will be received as a soldier always should the reprimand of his chief.

"If I were to retract of my own accord, it would imply that I myself thought it wrong, and that I had acted without the reflection which the gravity of the point demanded. But I did not. I acted with full deliberation, and upon the certain conviction that it was a measure right and necessary, and I think so still.

"In regard to the other point of the proclamation to which you refer, I desire to say that I do not think the Enemy can either misconstrue or urge anything against it, or undertake to make unusual retaliation. The shooting of men who shall rise in arms against an Army in the Military occupation of a Country, is merely a necessary measure of defense, and entirely according to the usages of civilized warfare. The article does not at all refer to prisoners of war, and certainly our Enemies have no grounds for requiring that we should waive in their benefit any of the ordinary advantages which the usages of War allow to us.

"As promptitude is itself an advantage in War, I have also to ask that you will permit me to carry out upon the spot the provisions of the proclamation in this respect.

"Looking at affairs from this point of view, I am satisfied that strong and vigorous measures have now become necessary to the success of our Arms; and hoping that my views may have the honor to meet your approval,

"I am, with respect and regard, very truly yours, "J. C. FREMONT.


President Lincoln subsequently rejoined, ordering a modification of the proclamation. His letter ran thus:

"WASHINGTON, September 11, 1861.

"SIR: Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of the 2d instant, is just received. Assuming that you, upon the ground, could better judge of the necessities of your position than I could at this distance, on seeing your Proclamation of August 30th, I perceived no general objection to it.

"The particular clause, however, in relation to the Confiscation of Property and the Liberation of Slaves, appeared to me to be objectionable in its non-conformity to the Act of Congress, passed the 6th of last August, upon the same subjects; and hence I wrote you expressing my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly.

"Your answer, just received, expresses the preference, on your part, that I should make an open order for the modification, which I very cheerfully do.

"It is therefore Ordered, that the said clause of said proclamation be so modified, held, and construed as to conform to, and not to transcend, the provisions on the same subject contained in the Act of Congress entitled, 'An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary Purposes,' approved August 6, 1861, and that said Act be published at length with this Order.

"Your obedient servant, "A. LINCOLN.

"Major-General JOHN C. FREMONT."

In consequence, however, of the agitation on the subject, the extreme delicacy with which it was thought advisable in the earliest stages of the Rebellion to treat it, and the confusion of ideas among Military men with regard to it, the War Department issued the following General Instructions on the occasion of the departure of the Port Royal Expedition, commanded by General T. W. Sherman:

"WAR DEPARTMENT, October 14, 1861.

"SIR: In conducting Military Operations within States declared by the Proclamation of the President to be in a State of Insurrection, you will govern yourself, so far as Persons held to Service under the laws of such States are concerned, by the principles of the letters addressed by me to Major-General Butler on the 30th of May and the 8th of August, copies of which are herewith furnished to you.

"As special directions, adapted to special circumstances, cannot be given, much must be referred to your own discretion as Commanding General of the Expedition. You will, however, in general avail yourself of the services of any Persons, whether Fugitives from Labor or not, who may offer them to the National Government; you will employ such Persons in such services as they may be fitted for, either as ordinary employees, or, if special circumstances seem to require it, in any other capacity with such organization, in squads, companies, or otherwise, as you deem most beneficial to the service. This, however, not to mean a general arming of them for Military service.

"You will assure all Loyal masters that Congress will provide just compensation to them for the loss of the services of the Persons so employed.

"It is believed that the course thus indicated will best secure the substantial rights of Loyal masters, and the benefits to the United States of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while it avoids all interference with the social systems or local Institutions of every State, beyond that which Insurrection makes unavoidable and which a restoration of peaceful relations to the Union, under the Constitution, will immediately remove. "Respectfully, "SIMON CAMERON, "Secretary of War.

"Brigadier-General T. W. SHERMAN, "Commanding Expedition to the Southern Coast."

Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman, acting upon his own interpretation of these instructions, issued a proclamation to the people of South Carolina, upon occupying the Forts at Port Royal, in which he said:

"In obedience to the orders of the President of these United States of America, I have landed on your shores with a small force of National troops. The dictates of a duty which, under these circumstances, I owe to a great sovereign State, and to a proud and hospitable people, among whom I have passed some of the pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to proclaim that we have come amongst you with no feelings of personal animosity, no desire to harm your citizens, destroy your property, or interfere with any of your lawful rights or your social or local Institutions, beyond what the causes herein alluded to may render unavoidable."

Major-General Wool, at Fortress Monroe, where he had succeeded General Butler, likewise issued a Special Order on the subject of Contrabands, as follows:

"HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, "FORT MONROE, October 14, 1861. "[Special Orders No. 72.]

"All Colored Persons called Contrabands, employed as servants by officers and others residing within Fort Monroe, or outside of the Fort at Camp Hamilton and Camp Butler, will be furnished with their subsistence and at least eight dollars per month for males, and four dollars per month for females, by the officers or others thus employing them.

"So much of the above-named sums, as may be necessary to furnish clothing, to be decided by the Chief Quartermaster of the Department, will be applied to that purpose, and the remainder will be paid into his hands to create a fund for the support of those Contrabands who are unable to work for their own support.

"All able-bodied Colored Persons who are under the protection of the troops of this Department, and who are not employed as servants, will be immediately put to work in either the Engineer's or Quartermaster's Department.

"By command of Major-General Wool:

"[Signed] WILLIAM D. WHIPPLE, "Assistant Adjutant General."

He subsequently also issued the following General Order:

"HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, "FORT MONROE, November 1, 1861. "[General Orders No. 34.]

"The following pay and allowances will constitute the valuation of the Labor of the Contrabands at work in the Engineer, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Commissary, and Medical Departments at this Post, to be paid as hereinafter mentioned;

"Class 1st.—Negro man over eighteen years of age, and able-bodied, ten dollars per month, one ration and the necessary amount of clothing.

"Class 2d.—Negro boys from 12 to 18 years of age, and sickly and infirm Negro men, five dollars per month, one ration, and the necessary amount of clothing.

"The Quartermaster will furnish all the clothing. The Department employing these men will furnish the subsistence specified above, and as an incentive to good behavior (to be withheld at the direction of the chiefs of the departments respectively), each individual of the first class will receive $2 per month, and each individual of the second class $1 per month, for their own use. The remainder of the money valuation of their Labor, will be turned over to the Quartermaster, who will deduct from it the cost of the clothing issued to them; the balance will constitute a fund to be expended by the Quartermaster under the direction of the Commanding officer of the Department of Virginia for the support of the women and children and those that are unable to work.

"For any unusual amount of Labor performed, they may receive extra pay, varying in amount from fifty cents to one dollar, this to be paid by the departments employing them, to the men themselves, and to be for their own use.

"Should any man be prevented from working, on account of sickness, for six consecutive days, or ten days in any one month, one-half of the money value will be paid. For being prevented from laboring for a longer period than ten days in any one month all pay and allowances cease.

"By command of Major-General Wool:

"[Signed] "WILLIAM D. WHIPPLE, "Assistant Adjutant General."

On November 13, 1861, Major-General Dix, in a proclamation addressed to the people of Accomac and Northampton Counties, Va., ordered the repulsion of Fugitive Slaves seeking to enter the Union lines, in these words:

"The Military Forces of the United States are about to enter your Counties as a part of the Union. They will go among you as friends, and with the earnest hope that they may not, by your own acts, be forced to become your enemies. They will invade no rights of person or property. On the contrary, your Laws, your Institutions, your Usages, will be scrupulously respected. There need be no fear that the quietude of any fireside will be disturbed, unless the disturbance is caused by yourselves.

"Special directions have been given not to interfere with the condition of any Person held to domestic service; and, in order that there may be no ground for mistake or pretext for misrepresent action, Commanders of Regiments and Corps have been instructed not to permit any such Persons to come within their lines."

On the 20th of November, 1861, Major General Halleck issued the following Genera., Order—which went even further, in that it expelled, as well as repelled Fugitive Slaves from our lines:

"HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF MISSOURI, "St. Louis, November 20, 1861. "[General Orders No. 3.]

"I. It has been represented that important information respecting the number and condition of our Forces, is conveyed to the Enemy by means of Fugitive Slaves who are admitted within our lines. In order to remedy this evil, it is directed that no such Persons be hereafter permitted to enter the lines of any camp, or of any forces on the march; and that any now within such lines be immediately excluded therefrom."

This Order was subsequently explained in a letter, of December 8, 1861, from General Halleck to Hon. F. P. Blair, in which he said:

" * * * Order No. 3 was in my mind, clearly a Military necessity. Unauthorized persons, black or white, Free or Slaves, must be kept out of our camps, unless we are willing to publish to the Enemy everything we do or intend to do. It was a Military and not a political order. I am ready to carry out any lawful instructions in regard to Fugitive Slaves which my superiors may give me, and to enforce any law which Congress may pass. But I cannot make law, and will not violate it. You know my private opinion on the policy of Confiscating the Slave Property of Rebels in Arms. If Congress shall pass it, you may be certain that I shall enforce it. Perhaps my policy as to the treatment of Rebels and their property is as well set out in Order No. 13, issued the day (December 4, 1861), your letter was written, as I could now describe it."

It may be well also to add here, as belonging to this period of doubtfulness touching the status of escaped Slaves, the following communication sent by Secretary Seward to General McClellan, touching "Contrabands" in the District of Columbia:


"To Major-General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Washington:

"GENERAL: I am directed by the President to call your attention to the following subject:

"Persons claimed to be held to Service or Labor under the laws of the State of Virginia, and actually employed in hostile service against the Government of the United States, frequently escape from the lines of the Enemy's Forces and are received within the lines of the Army of the Potomac.

"This Department understands that such Persons afterward coming into the city of Washington are liable to be arrested by the city police, upon the presumption, arising from color, that they are Fugitives from Service or Labor.

"By the 4th section of the Act of Congress approved August 6, 1861, entitled, 'An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary purposes,' such hostile employment is made a full and sufficient answer to any further claim to Service or Labor. Persons thus employed and escaping are received into the Military protection of the United States, and their arrest as Fugitives from Service or Labor should be immediately followed by the Military arrest of the parties making the seizure.

"Copies of this communication will be sent to the Mayor of the city of Washington and to the Marshal of the District of Columbia, that any collision between the Civil and Military authorities may be avoided.

"I am, General, your very obedient,




Thus far the reader's eye has been able to review in their successive order some of the many difficulties and perplexities which beset the pathway of President Lincoln as he felt his way in the dark, as it were, toward Emancipation. It must seem pretty evident now, however, that his chief concern was for the preservation of the Union, even though all other things—Emancipation with them—had to be temporarily sacrificed.

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