The whole number of men from time to time called into the National
service during the War
was 2,688,523; enlisted as follows:
|For three months||191,985|
|For six months||19,076|
|For nine months||87,558|
|For one year||394,959|
|For two years||43,113|
|For three years||1,950,792|
|For four years||1,040|
As many of these were mustered in twice, and some thrice, while hundreds of thousands deserted who were never under fire, it is probable that not more than 1,500,000 effectively participated in suppressing the Rebellion
The total population whence these were drawn, including the available portion of the Southern Blacks
, can not be computed higher than 25,000,000: so, more than one-tenth of the entire male population of the United States
who were not Rebels must have actively participated in the suppression of the Rebellion
Of the 1,500,000 who fought on our side, 56,000 fell dead on the field, and 35,000 more are recorded as dying in hospital of wounds; while 184,000 perished there by disease.
It is probable that enough more died after their discharge, of diseases or infirmities contracted in the service, to swell our aggregate loss by the War
from 280,420 to 300,000.
Of our Whites enlisted, one-tenth died in the service; of the 180,000 Blacks, 29,298 died, or nearly one in six.
Of these, eight in every nine died in hospital; proving the Blacks either less hardy than Whites, or their exposure far greater.
Probably, their employment to garrison posts in the South-West
, specially subject to miasmatic influences, may have enlarged their bills of mortality; but the comparative idleness of garrison life often proves more fatal than the exposures and hardships of active campaigning.
If we may presume the losses of the Rebels
equal to those of the Unionists (and the percentage of mortality among their wounded was probably greater, because of their inferior hospital service and sanitary arrangements), the actual aggregate loss of life because of the War
is swelled to 600,000.
Add 400,000 crippled or permanently disabled by disease, and the total subtraction from the productive force of our country because of the Rebellion
reaches the stupendous aggregate of 1,000,000 men.
Though the War
for the Union
doubtless exposed the upholders of the National Cause
to extraordinary hardships and sufferings, because of the densely wooded and sparsely peopled regions over which they generally marched and fought, traversed only by roads of an intensity of badness utterly inconceivable by readers of European
experience only, and often submerged by the overflow of the neighboring streams and swamps, it would be black ingratitude to leave unnoticed the mitigations of those hardships through the systematic, gigantic efforts of patriotic generosity.
Of the Soldiers and Sailors who fought for the Union
, all but an inconsiderable fraction were volunteers; and few of these were mustered into service without having received a bounty, varying from $100 up to $1,200 each, but usually between $300 and $800, from his stay-at-home neighbors.
Many of these, as well as some others, were further assured that their families should be shielded from absolute want in their absence by a municipal or volunteered weekly stipend; and these pledges were almost uniformly redeemed.
It must be within the truth to estimate the aggregate thus disbursed at $200,000,000 paid directly as bounties and $100,000,000 more devoted to subsisting the families of soldiers, living or dead, in grateful though partial requital of their heroic patriotism.
But soldiers in the field, still more in the hospital, sorely need comforts and delicacies which no Government does or can provide; and these were supplied to our armies, but especially to their sick and wounded, in a profusion and with a regularity wholly unprecedented.
The Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission were chief among the agencies whereby the willing heart of the Nation went forth to succor and save her sons writhing in agony on the battle-field or tossing on beds of pain in field or camp hospitals.
A single Fair, held in New York City in aid of the Sanitary Commission, realized — mainly through the gifts of her merchants and other citizens — no less than $1,351,27 5, whereof $1,181,506 was clear income.
, and most other cities, held similar fairs with corresponding results: the aggregate of contributions received and disbursed through this channel amounting to about $5,000,000 in cash and $9,000,000 in supplies.
Those of the Christian Commission amounted to $4,500,000. And these are but samples of a work which, beginning with a subscription in April and May, 1861, of $179,500 in New York to form a “Union defense fund” for the equipment and subsistence of Volunteers, was maintained with unflagging spirit to the close of the struggle-Com. Vanderbilt
's magnificent present of the noble steamship Vanderbilt
, valued at $1,000,000, being the largest individual offering; but many a poor widow or girl doing as much, in proportion to her scanty resources.
The Union Refreshment Saloons, wherein Philadelphia
was honorably conspicuous, for the supply of free meals, baths, &c., to each passing regiment and soldier, and the State Relief
agencies, whereby the “boys in blue” were sheltered, lodged, and fed, in every great city, on their way to or from the seat of War, were among the most judicious of the many arrangements to mitigate the inevitable hardships of the soldier's lot. Very rarely had the thunders of battle been stilled ere the agents and ambulances of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions were at hand, with bounteous provision of ice, stimulants, delicacies, &c., for the wounded; while every hospital and camp was irradiated by their active presence and activity.
That thousands of precious lives were thus saved, and the anguish of tens of thousands soothed and mitigated, is well known; but the sources of these rivers of beneficence were in the far distant rural neighborhoods, where a few women and girls gathered weekly to spend some hours in preparing lint, clothing, preserves, cordials, &c., &c., for the use and comfort of our soldiers in the field.
It would be quite within the truth to estimate the aggregate value of free — will offerings in aid of the National
cause at Five Hundred Millions of Dollars-equal to $100 for each family inhabiting the loyal States of the Union
Nor would our survey of the great struggle be complete without a recognition of the fact that the spirit evinced by the women of the South
, while even more intense and vehement, prompted them to efforts and sacrifices equally practical and beneficent.
Their means were limited, and they unaccustomed to persistent labor; but they gave to their brothers and sons, in field and hospital, every solace for their hardships and sufferings which affection could devise and unwearying devotion provide.
True, they did not (as had often been threatened) seize the arms that dropped from the hands of their vanquished kinsmen and renew the strife; but they did whatever they could to mitigate the hardships of the soldier's lot and insure the triumph of the Rebellion
The treatment and exchange of prisoners during our great struggle deserves a fuller elucidation than is given in the preceding pages, or than I am enabled as yet to proffer.
Each belligerent vehemently charged the other with violating the cartel which, at an early stage of the war, provided for regular and prompt exchanges at Richmond
in the East
and at Vicksburg
in the West
, and at these points only.
The Confederates never admitted that Negroes came within the purview of this arrangement; and this of itself must have incited a serious collision.
Having enrolled and called out Blacks as well as Whites for its defense, our Government could not recognize the right of the Confederates
to treat our Black soldiers as fugitives from slavery — which some of them were, while others were not. Judicial proceedings under State law in Virginia
in 1866 established beyond question the fact that at least one
Black Union soldier, born free in Ohio
and regularly enlisted into the National
service, having been taken prisoner by the Rebels
, was sold into slavery in Virginia
, and held as a slave till months after the collapse of the Rebellion
; when, having resisted and killed his “master,” he was arraigned, tried, and executed therefor.
And, while it is unquestionable that the Confederate
authorities were more than willing, were even anxious, to effect a general exchange of prisoners during the last year of the contest, I lack proof that they ever offered to produce and hand over the Blacks whom they had captured and treated as culprits and fugitives rather than as soldiers.
When, in 1863, Gen. Lee
had crossed the Potomac
and was advancing into Pennsylvania
, an order was issued on our side that such Union soldiers as he might capture should not give paroles, thereby relieving the enemy of the burden of guarding and depriving us of the chance of recapturing them.
It was added that paroles so given would not be deemed valid on our side.
The fortunes of war having, soon after, given us many thousands of prisoners, the Rebel
authorities regarded the above order as justifying them in repudiating the paroles given by their soldiers captured at Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
; and it was charged that thousands of those soldiers, still unexchanged, were found fighting again in the Confederate
ranks at Chickamauga
Hence paroles fell into discredit and disuse not long after exchanges had been discontinued.
That our War Department regarded this with complacency is intrinsically probable.
Every Confederate soldier was conscripted to fight to the end; and, being released from captivity, was at once returned to the ranks; while our men, being exchanged, were often found to have served out their term of enlistment, or, at all events, to be so near its end that it was not advisable to return them to their respective regiments.
Thus, an exchange of twenty thousand men on either side would add far more to both the positive and the relative strength of the Confederate
than of the Union
Hence, the, Rebel authorities became at last by far the more anxious to effect a general exchange; and it is alleged that they at one time offered to parole and release generally our men in their hands, requiring only a pledge that they should be put to no military use until regularly exchanged.
It is not stated, however, that the Blacks were included in this offer, especially those whom they had sold into slavery.
Prisoners of war are apt to complain of harsh treatment, and not without reason; and such complaint was made by Rebel prisoners against our officers who held them in custody, especially at ‘Camp Douglas
), and on Rock Island
, in the Mississippi
— the former having been the focus of repeated conspiracies to overpower their guards, break out, and, in conjunction with secret allies outside, cut their way back to the Confederacy
, liberating other prisoners by the way. In Missouri
, Gen. John McNeil
was charged with cruelty in shooting ten prisoners (bushwhackers), in retaliation for the secret taking off of one Unionist, who suddenly disappeared.
On the other hand, the treatment of Union prisoners by the Confederates
, in the matter of food and shelter, was quite generally and unreasonably harsh.
The Rebel soldiers, save in their fitful butchery of Blacks, deserve no part of this reproach.
captives were usually treated by them considerately, and even chivalrously.
But the Rebels
' prison-camps were mainly and inexcusably devoid of the comforts to which even captives are justly entitled.
It was scarcely their fault that their prisoners were coarsely and scantily fed during the last year or more wherein their armies were on half rations, and when no one willingly gave grain or meat for their currency; but they at no time lacked either eligible sites or timber; and there is no excuse for their failure to provide ample and commodious shelter, with abundance of pure water and fuel; so that the horrors of Andersonville
and many a subordinate but kindred Golgotha
are utterly without excuse.
Here, mainly unsheltered from drenching rain, or torrid sun, or chilling night-dews, thousands of our captive brothers were huddled in an open stockade surrounded by woods, dying constantly and rapidly of diseases engendered by privation, exp<*>sure, filth, and vermin, when they might have lived to return to their friends if treated with common humanity.
The returns kept in our War Department show that 220,000 Rebels in all were captured by our armies during the War
, of whom 26,436 died of wounds or of disease during their captivity; while of our men but 126,940 are there recorded as captured, of whom 22,576 died while prisoners.
These latter numbers are of course far too low. Probably the aggregate of Union soldiers captured was little less than 200,000, of whom those who died in captivity can hardly have fallen short of 40,000.
The subject of Reconstruction (or Restoration) being, so far as possible, purposely avoided in this work, it is deemed proper to embody herein only that one among the many terse avowals of sentiment by Mr. Johnson
, directly after his accession to the Presidency, which relates mainly to the Rebellion
and the War
. Being waited on and addressed, when such visits were in vogue, by a delegation of citizens of New Hampshire
sojourning or casually in Washington
, the new President
I have now, as always, an abiding faith in the ultimate triumph of justice and right; and I shall seek the inspiration and guidance of this faith, in the assured belief that the present struggle will result in the permanent establishment of our Government, and in making us a free, united, and happy people.
This Government is now passing through a fiery and, let us hope, its last ordeal--one that will test its powers of endurance, and determine whether it can do what its enemies have denied — suppress and punish treason.
This is the trial through which we are now passing; and, if we are true to ourselves and the principles upon which the Constitution was framed, who can doubt that the Government will settle down upon a more enduring basis than its friends have dared to hope for it?
In entering upon the discharge of the grave duties before me, it has been suggested, and even urged, by friends whose good opinions I value, and whose judgment I respect, that I shall foreshadow the policy that would guide me, in some formal public manifesto.
But who could have foretold the events of the past four years? Who was wise enough to indicate, beforehand, a line of policy adapted to all the changing emergencies of that period?
It is not in the wisdom and foresight of man to prescribe a course of action in advance for such disturbed and perilous conditions as now distract public affairs.
I believe I may say that my past life is known to the country, especially that part connected with the Rebellion.
The country must accept, then, my past course as an index of what my future will be. I think the people understand and appreciate my position.
I know it is easy, gentlemen, for any one who is so disposed, to acquire a reputation for clemency and mercy.
But.the public good imperatively requires a just discrimination in the exercise of these qualities.
What is clemency?
What is mercy?
It may be considered merciful to relieve an individual from pain and suffering; but to relieve one from the penalty of crime may be productive of national disaster.
The American people must be taught to know and understand that treason is a crime.
Arson and murder are crimes, the punishment of which is the loss of liberty and life.
If, then, it is right in the sight of God to take away human life for such crimes, what punishment, let me ask you, should be inflicted upon him who is guilty of the atrocious crime of assassinating the