Table of Contents:
Extracts from the Northern Press.[From the New York Evening Post.] The people are responding with alacrity to the call of the President for more men. * * * But the process of collecting a volunteer force is necessarily slow in comparison with the present necessities of the army. It is certain that if Richmond could be at once attacked by an adequate force it must fall. The enemy suffered very severely in the recent battles; he is for the moment prostrated; he needs time to prepare himself for another conflict; and he will use, with the utmost energy, every hour we give him. To reap, therefore, the fruits of the conflicts of last week, we need to place at once in the field, and put in active operation, and army sufficient to fall upon the weakened and suffering forces of the enemy and destroy them. To do this in time we must resort to a draft. In this way each State can fill up at once the thinned regiments it has now in the field, and the new recruits, placed among the veterans of the campaign, will be immediately turned into soldiers. We hear of many regiments which have but one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty men left. But these are inexperienced soldiers; they and their companions, now in the hospitals, or left dead on the field, have earned for these regiments a fame which the fresh recruits, who should fill out their ranks, would have a pride in sustaining. Thus a spirit of emulation is bred in the young soldier which he will not so readily have if he is surrounded only by men as new to war as himself. Moreover, in this way the brave fellows who have so unflinchingly borne the brunt of the recent battles on the Peninsula, and have distinguished themselves in the ranks, would have a chance for that promotion which the soldier looks forward to as the highest reward, and which gives to the private in the ranks the ambition to do daring deeds against the enemy. But above all, we repeat, a draft to fill up the old regiments, and even to form immediately new regiments, would, without loss of time, and with the slightest preliminary drill and preparation, put an effective army into the field. It is no matter for surprise that the Confederates have many men. They draft. Officers of General Fremont's army report that they found scarcely an able-bodied man in the houses of the Shenandoah Valley. All but the old men had been taken for the Confederate armies. Nor will they stop now. They have still fresh fields from which to draw soldiers; and doubtless by this time new companies and regiments are moving over the Southern railroads towards Richmond. An advantage in making a draft for the new forces which are so urgently needed will be only that the best men will be accepted by the recruiting officers; whereas, under the present system of enlistments, the inspections are too often lax, and men gathered at random by officers who must bring a certain number in order to secure their own commissions, are admitted without due care to see that they are all really able-bodied and efficient. In consequence, many are afterwards discharged, after having been a source of expense to the Government. In another article on the same subject, the Post says: ‘ One of the most rapid and complete enrollments of the militia of this State which was ever made has just been completed by the military authorities. In the interior, the canvass occupied four weeks; in this city but ten days. The work was entrusted to skilful agents, consisting in many cases of those accustomed to similar duty, and it was completed before the public generally was aware that it was in progress. Two hundred men were employed. The result was entirely successful; the names and residences of nearly three hundred thousand men, believed to be subject to military duty, have been obtained; and of these a quarter of a million are undoubtedly competent to bear arms, and may be officially called on at any time. We may state, incidentally, that the enrollment was not very popular in some of our city tenement-houses, and that the agents became enrolling officers in a double sense — they were tumbled down stairs. ’ The Commercial confesses that the war now stretches out before it in ‘ "unknown duration,"’ (no more about ‘"putting it down in ninety days,"’) and goes on to say: ‘ "The blunder committed by our Government in arresting recruiting three months since is by no means irreparable, but the machinery, rusted by disuse, has first to be overhauled and put in working order. The patriotism of the people is by no means exhausted, and they are as eager now to defend their Government, and as earnest in its behalf, as at any former time. This will be manifest as soon as active operations in the way of enlistments are engaged in. The season is unpropitious, as harvest labor is about commencing in all the rural districts; but there are hosts of able-bodied men for whom the war and the motives for entering the army will have a fascination not to be resisted." ’
Drafting necessary at once.If, as we fear, the country must abandon all hope that Mr. Lincoln will make a change in his Cabinet; if this proof of the adoption of a more vigorous war policy, with new men and new measures for the crushing out of the rebellion, is denied to the people whose interests and all whose earthly hopes are at stake; if the President has, after full deliberation, finally determined to give no such response to the all but unanimous voice of the people, pronouncing their profound discontent with the present conduct of affairs, then it behooves us to consider what is the next best or necessary thing to be done. The decision of the President will be submitted to, if its wisdom cannot be seen. This is no mob government. It is constitutional monarchies which in this century have been at the mercy of mobs.--Neither Wendell Phillips nor the Satanic Press will persuade American citizens to play the Cromwell role. That was possible in England; it is not possible here. England was also mobbed into the Trent war craze. In America public opinion was all one way. But Secretary Seward's dispatch, and its opposite judgment, had prompt and universal acquiescence. There was no mob government. Partially enlightened public opinion and a strong public feeling even did not govern. It was the Government which governed, and that was what it was made and its officers were elected to do. So now, though Mr. Lincoln has never hitherto thus tried the patience nor so overruled the fixed judgment of the people, his high office is respected and his decision stands. Upon him rests the responsibility. None can decide for him. He alone can pronounce the word which would give new heart and life to the nation in this hour and crisis of its fate. Either he does not perceive the crisis or another remedy seems to him wisest. Then let his judgment stand. That we do not so conceive the situation, so understand the nation's peril, or judge of the mode of deliverance, it is needless to deny. Our distrust in the future, it must be admitted, is profound, without new men and new measures to work the ship of State. God grant that coming events may prove us blind and mistaken, or that His overruling care may so order our disasters as to work out such beneficent results for us as human eyes cannot foresee. But we have no factious words to utter. Others may not be content to rest their advocacy for other men and other measures, where we believe it should rest — with the final decision of the President. To us it seems equally the dictate of patriotism and of common sense to accept his decision, and to proceed to that which is next best and most necessary to be done. What, then, is the situation? The fact stares us in the face that the people believe their blood and treasure to have been wasted. They believe that the mismanagement of the Treasury Department has cost the nation as much as the expenses of the war, and that it will cost us more. They believe that the feebleness of the Navy Department not only crippled our Navy and our commerce, but, by leaving Charleston in the hands of the Confederates, reinforced their armies with money and the munitions of war, which have augmented their victories and lightened their defeats, and sustained to this hour an otherwise almost hopeless cause. They believe that the blunders of the War Department have crippled our Generals, botched their campaigns, and insured us disaster. They see to-day such danger of foreign intervention as has never before dared to menace us, and fear that they may be asked to rally to arms against a foreign foe, powerful on sea and land against perhaps a foreign alliance which might defy the world beside in arms, by the men who have been unable to conquer our feebler foe at home. In the face of these facts, in face of the need for men to reap the peaceful harvests of our fields, in face of the need for workmen to supply the places of those who have gone to wield in the battle field the scythe of war, the country is asked for three hundred thousand more volunteers. The three hundred thousand may be called, but they will not come. At least enlistments will not be sufficiently numerous or prompt to insure the nation's success or safety. The result thus far proves it. The result of the next ten days recruiting will make it so palpable that none can fail to see it. This fact must be looked at. It is of no use to blind our eyes. The people may consent to acquiesce in the decision of the President. They will not consent to shut their eyes to its results. It would be sheer folly not to foresee what is inevitable. Their determination that the rebellion shall be put down is as unalterable to-day as it was one year ago. What, then, is to be done? Without reinforcing our armies promptly — without making a speedy conquest of the Confederate Capital, (to say nothing of the prolongation of the war, its miseries, and its expense,) we shall, in all those objects which we hope to accomplish by the war, fail. The failure of our army to take Richmond must be retrieved by its prompt capture, or the danger of foreign intervention doubles daily. The failure to hold the seacoast which we have taken and occupied, the failure to possess and occupy the channels through which free communication and valuable supplies from abroad are still had by the Confederates; the failure to occupy every Southern seaport, will give to intervention its sharpest sting and its most disastrous practical effect.--We can check mate the plans of our enemies abroad and conquer the enemy at home only by an immediate and generous reinforcement of our armies. The call for volunteers under present circumstances will not accomplish this end. But the end must be reached — if not in one way, then in another. There is no other way but to resort to drafting, and the sooner this is done the better. Let the Government not hesitate a single week. Let it not consider the question whether we can afford to let things remain in statu quo till the warm weather is over. Let the President believe that even though foreign Powers tolerate the delay, the American people will not. There must be no interruption in the prosecution of the war. We cannot wage it at Richmond against an army which more than doubles our own. We must reinforce, and there is no way to reinforce with sufficient promptitude except by drafting. The President does not need the Governors to tell him this. He need not aggravate his voice in telling it to the people. Let him rely upon the people. They will sustain him if he deals with them honestly and tells them the whole truth. This is the people's war. Their hearts are in it.--And although six months ago a million volunteers might have been had, they will not to-day complain if three hundred thousand are selected by draft.
The panic in Gold and silver.With each day the scarcity of change grows greater. Gold has quite disappeared from sight, and brings in the market a premium of sixteen percent. Silver is worth 107 cents on the dollar, and even nickel cents bring a premium of one to two per cent. An application made to the Sub Treasury in this city to-day for a hundred dollars' worth of nickel cents in return for one hundred dollars in Treasury notes was refused, as is gold and silver — because the specie was at a premium. Even the clumsy copper cent is becoming scarce, and will soon demand a premium, while a month ago cents of all kinds were at a discount. A number of restaurant keepers, who at first held out against the inevitable change, have during the past few days, been obliged to practically suspend specie payment, and to offer to their guests shinplasters of paper or pasteboard, good for specified amounts. The barbers have done the same. On the city cars and omnibuses bills are refused, but change is given for specie. Our retail dealers are doing a poor business, because they prefer holding on to their goods rather than sell them at a ruinous discount. In some places notices are posted stating that the purchaser must pay for his change; for instance, if he buys an article priced at 25 cents, he is expected to give 27 cents therefore, if change is made. This thing, however, cannot go on much longer. Regular customers will accept from courtesy shin-plasters from those with whom they deal daily; but this will not suit the general public, which demands not a series of individual notes receivable, but a circulating medium which will be recognized by every one in the vicinity at least where it is issued. Already the operations of trade are seriously embarrassed by the scarcity of change, and there appears to be no adequate relief for annoyed sellers and buyers in the private shinplaster system, even if carried to the furthest extent.
Shall we have a conscription.‘"To Arms!"’ ‘"To Arms!"’ ‘"To Arms!"’ is, today, the almost unbroken cry of the city journals. ‘"McClellan must have reinforcements, "’ says one, ‘"not two or three months hence, but now."’ Another: ‘ "If the men are not forthcoming within a given space of time, we must have a conscription; "’ a third urges public meetings, in town and country, to stir up the people, and to hurry up enlistments. This is no wolf cry. There is reason in it. There is occasion for it. The emergency is, indeed, pressing. Look over the latest telegrams. See Curtis, in Arkansas, in full retreat, and calling for reinforcements in vain, while ‘"the whole country bordering on the White river is in (Confederate) arms."’ See Burnside, compelled to withdraw his little scattered army, on the seacoast of North Carolina, in order to save McClellan. Look at the humiliating condition of affairs in Gen. Hunter's Department; contrast the brilliant achievements of our famous Port Royal expedition, last year, with the beggarly fruits it is now bringing forth,--and, if all that is not enough, think of another panic at Front Royal (Gen. Pope's Department) last Monday: then say whether the demand for a general arming of the loyal men of the North is not the demand alike of duty and necessity.
Ten regiments to be Drafted from Wisconsin.There was a rumor in the city last evening that Gov. Solomon has already received orders from Washington to take measures for drafting ten new regiments from this State to serve during the war. The fact may not be that measures have already been taken for compulsory enlistments. But there is no present evidence that any considerable portion of the three hundred thousand called for will be raised by any other means. Wisconsin's proportion of the whole additional number proposed would be nearly 15,000.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.