Chapter 24: the called session of Congress.--foreign relations.--benevolent organizations.--the opposing armies.
- Congress and its duties, 561.
-- organization of the House
-- the President's Message, 562.
-- reports of the Cabinet ministers, 564.
-- importance of prompt action
-- foreign Affairs, 565.
-- erroneous opinions abroad
-- instructions to ministers, 566.
-- relations with great Britain, 567.
-- the duty and interest of great Britain, 568.
-- the Queen's proclamation of neutrality, 569.
-- attitude of Continental sovereigns, 570.
-- War measures in Congress
-- opposers of the War measures, 571.
-- loan bill passed
-- expulsion of disloyal, members, 572.
-- Peace propositions
-- Crittenden's Joint resolution, 573.
-- the Army and the people--“forward to Richmond!”
-- benevolent organizations, 575.
-- noble work of a woman
-- benevolent women in Philadelphia, 576.
-- Philadelphia Refreshment saloons, 577.
-- firemen's Ambulance system
-- the Union Army near Washington City, 579.
-- position of the Union forces, 581.
-- position of the Confederate forces, 582.
-- the Army of the Shenandoah, 583.
On Thursday, the 4th of July, 1861, which was the eighty-fourth anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence
of the United States
, the Thirty-seventh Congress assembled in the Capitol
at Washington City
, in extraordinary session, in compliance with the call of the President
No Congress since the First--by which the policy of the new government in its domestic and foreign relations had to be determined, the practical foundations of the Nation established, and the machinery of law put in motion — had been burdened with such momentous duties and such grave responsibilities as this.
The delicate and difficult task of preserving, by the strong arm of absolute power, the life of the Nation, imperiled by internal foes, without usurping the constitutional prerogatives of the people, was imposed upon it. Its members were elected when the country seemed to be in a state of profound peace and great prosperity; they now came together, a few months later, to legislate, when the country was rent by violence and its industrial energies were paralyzed — when the fires of civil war were madly blazing over an area of more than three-quarters of a million of square miles of the Republic
, and were, in a special manner, menacing the seat of government and the national archives with utter desolation.
Large armies, destined for the overthrow of the Government
, were within the sound of cannon of the Capital
; and secret assassins, it is believed, intrusted with errands of deadliest mischief by conspirators, were prowling about the halls of Congress and the house of the Chief Magistrate
At such a time, the representatives of the people went up to the National Capital
, charged with the duty of preserving the Republic
from harm; and, as we shall observe, the great majority of them wisely, patriotically, and efficiently performed that duty.
In the Senate, twenty-three States, and in the House of Representatives, twenty-two States and one Territory were represented.
There were forty senators and one hundred and fifty-four representatives present on the first day of the session.
Ten States, in which the politicians had adopted ordinances of secession, were not represented.1
In both houses, there was a large majority of Unionists
The proceedings of the Senate, over which Hannibal Hamlin
, the Vice-President
of the United States
, presided, were opened by prayer by the Rev. Byron Sunderland, D. D.
, and those of the House of Representatives by the Rev. T. H. Stockton
, chaplain of the last House.2
This was the first session of this Congress, and the House of Representatives was organized by the election of Galusha A. Grow
, of Pennsylvania
, to be speaker or presiding officer.
On the second day of the session, President Lincoln
sent into Congress, by the hands of his private secretary, J. G. Nicolay
, a message, devoted almost exclusively to the consideration of the important subject which occasioned the assembling of that body in extraordinary session.
the many and grave offenses of the conspirators, such as the seizure and appropriation of public property, the preparations for war, and the seeking of recognition by foreign powers, as an independent nation; and then he gave an outline history of events connected with Fort Sumter
, already recorded in this volume.
Speaking of the assault on that work, he said that it was in “no sense a matter of self-defense upon the part of the assailants,” 3
for they “knew that the garrison in the fort could by no possibility commit aggression upon them.”
By the affair at Fort Sumter
, he said, “the assailants of the Government
began the conflict of arms, without a gun in sight or in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the fort, sent to that harbor years before for their own protection, and still ready to give that protection in whatever was lawful.
In this act, discarding all else, they have forced upon the country the distinct issue, ‘immediate dissolution or blood.’
And this issue embraces more than these United States
It presents to the whole family of man the question, whether a constitutional republic or democracy — a government of the people by the same people — can or can not maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.
It presents the question, whether discontented individuals, too few in number to control administration according to organic law, in any case, can always, upon the pretenses made in this case, or on any other pretenses, or arbitrarily,
without any pretense, break up their government, and thus practically put an end to free government upon the earth.
It forces us to ask, ‘ Is there in all republics this inherent and fatal weakness?
Must a government, of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?’
So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the war-power of the Government
, and so to resist force employed for its destruction by force for its preservation.”
The President then reviewed the conduct of the Virginia
conspirators and secessionists after the attack on Fort Sumter
, and condemned the policy of “armed neutrality” proposed in some of the Border Slave-labor States, as a policy that recognized “no fidelity to the Constitution
, no obligation to maintain the Union
He then noticed the call for troops to put down the insurrection, and the wonderful response; the action of the executive government in the matter of the writ of habeas corpus;
the attitude of foreign nations toward the Government
, and the necessity for vindicating its power; and then said, “It is now recommended, that you give the legal means for making this contest a short and decisive one; that you place at the control of the Government
, for the work, at least four hundred thousand men and four hundred millions of dollars.5
. . . A right result, at this time, will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money.
The evidence reaching us from the country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction, and the hand of the Executive
to give it practical shape and efficiency.
In other words, the people will save their Government, if the Government
itself will do its part only indifferently well.”
The President spoke of the methods used by the conspirators to stir up the people to revolt, already noticed,6
and then argued, at considerable length, against the existence of State Sovereignty and the right of a State to secede ;7
and he questioned whether, at that time, there was a majority of the legally qualified voters of any State, excepting South Carolina
, who were in favor of disunion.
“This is essentially a people's contest,” he said; and he was happy in the belief that the “plain people” comprehended it as such.
He then noticed the remarkable fact, that while large numbers of the officers of the Army and Navy had proved themselves unfaithful, “not one common soldier or common sailor is known to have
deserted his flag. . . . This is the patriotic instinct of plain people.
They understand, without an argument, that the destroying of the Government
which was made by Washington
means no good to them.”
The President concluded by assuring the people that it was with the deepest regret that he found himself compelled to employ the war-power in defense of the Government
, and that the sole object of its exercise should be the maintenance of the National
authority and the salvation of the life of the Republic
“And having so chosen our course, without guile and with pure motives,” he said to Congress, after expressing a hope that the views of that body were coincident with his own, “let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”
The President's Message was accompanied by important reports from heads of Executive Departments.
, the Secretary of War
, recommended the enlistment of men for three years, with a bounty of one hundred dollars for the additional regiments of the regular Army; that appropriations be made for the construction, equipment, and current expenses of railways and telegraphs for the use of the Government
; also, for the furnishing of a more liberal supply of approved arms for the militia of the several States and Territories, and other measures necessary in a state of war. He also recommended the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of War
, and an increase of the clerical force of his department.
, the Secretary of the Treasury
, whose management of the financial affairs of the country during a greater portion of the period of the war was considered eminently wise and efficient, asked for two hundred and forty millions of dollars for war purposes, and eighty millions of dollars to meet the ordinary demands for the fiscal year ending on the 30th of June, 1862.
He proposed to raise the eighty millions, in addition to the sum of nearly sixty-six millions of dollars already appropriated, by levying increased duties on specified articles, and also by
certain internal revenues, or by the direct taxation of real and personal property.
To raise the amount asked for war purposes, he proposed a National loan of not less than one hundred millions of dollars, to be issued in the form of treasury notes, bearing an annual interest of seven and three-tenths per centum, or one cent a day on fifty dollars, in sums from fifty dollars to five thousand dollars. He proposed to issue bonds, or certificates of debt, in the event of the National
loan proving to be insufficient, to the amount of not exceeding one hundred millions of dollars, to be made redeemable at the pleasure of the Government
, after a period not exceeding thirty years, and bearing an interest not exceeding seven per cent. He further recommended, for the supply of the full amount, the issue of another class of treasury notes, not exceeding in the aggregate fifty millions of dollars (some of small denominations), bearing an interest of three and sixty-five one-hundredths
per cent., and exchangeable at the will of the holders for the treasury notes of the first-named issue.
The Secretary of the Navy
, who had been compelled to employ extraordinary measures to meet the demands imposed by treason, asked Congress to sanction his acts, and recommended various measures for the increase of the efficiency of his department.
He also recommended the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of the Navy
; an increase of the clerical force of the department; and the appointment of commissioners to inquire into the expediency of iron-clad steamers or floating batteries.
With the President
's Message and the reports of Cabinet ministers before it, Congress prepared to enter upon its solemn and important duties with industry and vigor, after disposing of several claims for seats in dispute in the House of Representatives.
And in that chamber, one of the first acts was to provide for checking irrelevant discussion, by the adoption of a resolution that only bills relating to the military, naval, and financial affairs of the Government
at that crisis should be considered, and that all other business should be referred to appropriate committees, to be acted upon at the next regular session.
It was very important that Congress should confine its efforts to the one great object of furnishing the Executive
with ample powers for suppressing the rebellion speedily, for its magnitude and promises of success were so great and hopeful, that a recognition of the independence of the “Confederate States
,” and armed interference in their favor by powerful foreign governments, seemed to be not only possible but probable.
From the time when South Carolinians declared their State withdrawn from the Union
there had been observed in most of the European courts
, and in the public journals in their interest, an unfriendliness of spirit toward the National Government
, and a willingness to encourage its enemies in their revolutionary measures.
At these courts, and at the ear of these journals, emissaries of the conspirators had already been engaged in magnifying the strength of the Slave-labor States; in promising great benefits to European
friends and helpers; and in misrepresenting the character, temper, and resources of the National Government
And at the powerful French court, the source of much of the political opinion of the ruling classes of Continental Europe
, Charles J. Faulkner
, of Virginia
, the American Minister Plenipotentiary
, it was believed, was an efficient accomplice of the conspirators in the work of misrepresenting their Government, and maturing plans for securing the recognition of the independence of the “Seceded” States.
This suspicion of Mr. Faulkner
was unfounded in truth.
When, during the month of January, the politicians of several of the Slave-labor States declared those States separated from the Union
, and, early in February, proceeded to form a League of so-called Seceded States, Europe
was prepared to accept the hopeless dissolution of the Republic
as a fact accomplished.
This belief was strengthened by the dispatches of most of the foreign ministers at Washington
to their respective governments, early in February, who announced the practical dissolution of the Union
; and some affected to be amazed at the folly of Congress in legislating concerning the tariff and other National measures, when the Nation was hopelessly expiring!
It is not to be wondered at that foreign governments and publicists should have made this grave mistake.
They had been for a quarter of a century taught by a certain class of leading politicians, in all parts of the Union
, that the States were sovereign, and formed only a league by compact, without having more than a few dissenting opinions from the expounders of the Constitution
in Congress and out of it; and the practical conclusion was, what some of the conspirators boldly asserted, that secession was a “reserved right” of the States.
When, therefore, the positive and irrevocable dissolution of the Union
, by the secession of several States, was announced on the floor of Congress and in leading newspapers, by men of every portion of the Union
, what other conclusion could ill-informed or misinformed foreigners arrive at than that the war was unrighteous, and that, instead of being waged by the National Government
in vindication of its own rightful and supreme authority over all the States, and for the preservation of its integrity, it was a war of sections — a war of States against States?
This fundamental error prevailed during the entire period of the war, and was for a long time a stumbling-block in the way of many earnest friends of our Government abroad.
So early as the close of February, Mr. Black
, the Secretary of State
under Mr. Buchanan
a circular letter to the American
ministers abroad, informing them of the state of public affairs at home, directing them to endeavor to counteract the efforts of the agents of the conspirators at foreign courts, and assuring them that the Government
had not “relinquished its constitutional jurisdiction within the States” wherein rebellion existed, and did “not desire to do so.”
This was followed, a few days afterward,
by a circular letter from Mr. Seward
, the Secretary of State
under Mr. Lincoln
, conjuring them to use all diligence to “prevent the designs of those who would invoke foreign intervention to embarrass and overthrow the Republic
More than a month later, when Jefferson Davis
had offered commissions for depredating on the commerce of the United States
, and Mr. Lincoln
had declared that such depredators should be treated as pirates,9 Mr. Seward
addressed another circular to American ministers at the principal European
courts, in which he reviewed recent measures tending to the abolition of the practice of privateering, and instructed the American
minister at the British court to seek an early opportunity to propose to that government an agreement on the subject, on the basis of the declarations of the Congress
, in 1856, with an additional agreement that should secure from seizure on the high seas, under all circumstances, private property not contraband of war. Charles Francis Adams
, a son of John Quincy Adams
, had just been appointed to fill the station of minister at the court of St. James,10
which had been held by his father and grandfather; and to him the proposed negotiation was intrusted.
had already been instructed11
concerning the manner in which he should oppose the efforts of the agents of the conspirators.
He was directed to acknowledge the appreciation of the American
people and Government of the late expressions of good — will by the Queen
and her ministers ;12
at the same time, he was warned not to “rely upon any mere sympathies or national kindness,” 13
but to stand up manfully as the representative of his whole
country, and that as a powerful nation, asking no favors of others.14
The high position taken by Mr. Seward
, in the name of his Government, in that able letter of instructions to Mr. Adams
, was doubtless one of the most efficient causes, together with the friendly attitude assumed by Russia
toward the United States
, of the fortunate delay of Great Britain
in the matter of recognizing the independence of the Confederates
, until the strength and resources of the Republic
were made so manifest that common prudence
compelled all foreign powers unfriendly to that Republic to act with great circumspection.
But whilst it seemed inexpedient for the British
crown to formally recognize the independence of the Confederates
, the ministry, evidently sympathizing most thoroughly with the political objects of the conspirators, procured in their behalf the powerful assistance of a Proclamation of Neutrality by the Queen
by which a Confederate Government, as existing, was acknowledged, and belligerent rights were accorded to the insurgents.15
Already an understanding existed between the British Government
and the French Emperor
, that they were to act together in regard to American affairs.
They had even gone so far as to
apprise other European
governments of this understanding, with the expectation that they would concur with them, and follow their example, whatever it might be.16
Thus, at this early stage of our difficulties, these two professedly friendly powers had clandestinely entered into a combination for arraying all Europe
on the side of the insurgents, and giving them moral, if not material aid, in their efforts to destroy our Republic.
This action of a professedly friendly power, from whom the American
people felt that they had reason to expect the kindest consideration on all occasions, seemed almost inexplicable to them, for they had been taught by British statesmen, orators, and publicists, that Great Britain
felt deeply the wrongs of Slavery, and could have no sympathy with men rebelling against a humane Government for the avowed purpose of perpetuating those wrongs.
They were loth to believe that these professions of philanthropy were not sincere.
They were unwilling to believe that the assertion of Montesquieu
, made more than a hundred years before, that England
, unlike all other countries, allowed commerce to regulate its politics,17
was still so true, that its government and people would be willing to sacrifice a great principle, and falsify the most solemn and abounding professions of Christian benevolence, for the sake of securing the advantages of free trade, so largely promised by the agents of the conspirators, as their most costly and coveted bribe ;18
and they were disposed to regard the famous epigram of the London
as a good-natured slander, uttered for the sake of the wit.19
Only a few months before, the people of the Free-labor States, who were loyal to their Government, had shown the most cordial good — will toward the British Queen
, in the almost affectionate attentions which they gave to her son, the Crown Prince
of the realm, on the occasion of his visit to the United States
, and thereby certified their friendship for the English
Thinking of this, and of the. heritage of the two nations in common, of historic traditions, language, literature, and laws, and the intimate relations of their commerce, they were amazed at the unseemly haste displayed in the recognition of the insurgents as belligerents, for the Queen
's Proclamation appeared before the representative of the assailed Republic, under the new Administration, had been formally received at Court.
It was a proceeding so “precipitate and unprecedented,” as Mr. Adams
that it made a most unfavorable impression upon right-minded statesmen and philanthropic Christians everywhere.22
The Proclamation of the Queen
was followed in the British Parliament, and in most of the newspapers in the interest of the government, and the ruling classes in Great Britain
and her colonies, by the most dogmatic assertions that the Republic
of the West
was hopelessly crumbling into ruins, and was unworthy of respectful consideration.
In addition to affected indifference to the fate of the Nation, British legislators, orators, publicists, and journalists were lavish of causeless abuse, not only of the Government
, but of the people of the Free-labor States who were loyal to that Government.
That abuse was often expressed in phrases so unmanly and ungenerous, and even coarse and vulgar at times, that high-minded Englishmen blushed with shame.
Only here and there throughout the kingdom, for a long time, was heard a voice of real sympathy for a great and enlightened nation struggling for existence, which had, in a measure, sprung from the loins, as it were, of the English
Those few voices were pleasant to the ears of the earnest champions of the Republic
and universal freedom, during the conflict; and the memory of the utterers will be ever cherished in the heart of hearts of a grateful and generous people, who can, with the magnanimity of true nobility, forgive the arrogant and the misinformed in other lands, who, failing to comprehend the dignity of the cause for which the loyal Americans
were contending, treated them unkindly in the hour of their greatest distress.
How powerfully the conspirators were aided by the British Government
subjects, under the overshadowing wing of the Queen
's Proclamation of Neutrality, and so prolonged the war at least two years, will be observed hereafter.
The French Emperor
, to whose court William L. Dayton
, of New Jersey
, was sent, by the new Administration, to succeed Faulkner
, of Virginia
was cautious and astute.
While expressing the most friendly feelings, toward the Government
and people of the United States
, he followed the British Queen
in according belligerent rights to the insurgents, by a decree issued on the 11th of June;
and, as we shall observe hereafter, he entered into political combinations and military enterprises, at about the same time, for the aggrandizement of his empire, and the propagation of imperialism on the
American Continent, with the belief that the days of the Great Republic were numbered, and its democratic forces hopelessly paralyzed.
also hastened to proclaim the neutrality of her government,
and to combine with the French Emperor
in replanting the seeds of monarchical institutions in the New World, now that the menacing Republic was expiring.
the insurgents as belligerents; but the enlightened Emperor
, who was about to strike the shackles from almost forty millions of slaves in his own dominions,24
instructed his chief
minister to say to the imperial representative at Washington
, “In every event, the American Nation
may count upon the most cordial sympathy on the part of our august master during the important crisis which it is passing through at present.”
The Russian Emperor
kept his word; and the powers of Western Europe
, regarding him as a promised ally of the Republic
, in case of need, behaved prudently.
Congress followed the President
's suggestions with prompt action.
On the first day of the session, Mr. Wilson
of the Committee
on Military Affairs of the Senate, gave notice that on the following day he should ask leave to introduce six bills, having for their object the suppression of the rebellion.26
These, and others originating in the Lower House
, were soon brought to the consideration of Congress, and elicited much debate.
It was manifest at the outset of the session, that there were a few among the Opposition, in Congress, whose sympathies were with the secessionists,
and who were disposed to withhold from the Executive
the means necessary for the preservation of the Republic
The leader of this faction in the Senate was the late Vice-President
, John C. Breckinridge
, of Kentucky
, who, soon after the close of the session, entered the military service of the conspirators; and, in the House of Representatives, Clement L. Vallandigham
, of Ohio
, was regarded as the ablest opponent of the war-measures.
When, on the 10th of July, a loan-bill, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury
to borrow two hundred and fifty millions of dollars, for the support of the Government
and to prosecute the war, was before the House of Representatives, Vallandigham
made an elaborate speech against the measure, and the entire policy of “coercion” --in other words, the vindication of the National
authority by force of arms, if necessary.
He charged the President
with usurpation, in calling out and increasing the military and naval forces of the country, blockading ports, suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
, and other acts which the safety of the Government
had required him to perform, and all these without the authority of Congress.
He declared that the first projects for disunion were found in.New England
, at the beginning of the century ;27
and that the civil war in which the country
was involved, had been brought about by the “violent and long-continued denunciations of Slavery and the Slave-holders, especially since 1835,” by the Abolitionists.28
He reviewed the conduct of the Republicans in the last Congress, as indicating the determination of the party to have war instead of peace; denounced the revenue law known as the Morrill Tariff
, as injurious to the cotton-growers; charged the Administration with having adopted a war policy merely for party purposes; and declared that in the train of usurpations already enacted would follow a host of others, such as the denial of the right of petition, and the freedom of religion, whose holy temples had been already defiled, and “its white robes of a former innocency tram pled under the polluting hoofs of an ambitious and faithless or fanatical clergy.”
This was the first trumpet-blast, clear and distinct, for the marshaling of the hosts for battle of the great Peace Party, which soon became a power in the land, and played a most important part in the drama of the civil war, but touched no sympathizing chord in the hearts of the great body of the people.
The loan-bill was passed under the previous question, on the 10th;30
and on the following day an Army appropriation bill was acted upon, when Vallandigham
moved to add a proviso, that “no part of the money hereby appropriated shall be employed in subjugating, or holding as a conquered province, any sovereign State, now, or lately, one of the United States
; nor in abolishing or interfering with African Slavery in any of the States.”
This proviso was rejected, and the bill, appropriating one hundred and sixty-one millions of dollars, was passed.
Already a resolution had been adopted in the same House,
that it was “no part of the duty of the soldiers of the United States
to capture and return fugitive slaves.”
The Senate took measures at an early day to purge itself of treasonable members.
On the 10th,
on motion of Mr. Clark
, of New Hampshire
, it expelled ten Senators
who were named,32
because of their being engaged “in a conspiracy for the destruction of the Union
and the Government
The resolution for expulsion received the required vote of two-thirds of the Senate (thirty-two against ten); and, on the 13th,
the places of Hunter
were filled by John S. Carlile
and Waitman T. Willey
who appeared with proper credentials.
On the same day John B. Clark
, of Missouri
, was, on motion of F. P. Blair
, expelled from the House of Representatives as a traitor.
When a bill providing for the calling out half a million of men for the war was under consideration, on the 13th, Vallandigham
offered a proviso that the President
, before he should have the right to summon any more troops to the field, should appoint seven commissioners, who should accompany the army in its marches, with authority to receive from Jefferson Davis
proposals looking to an armistice, or obedience to the National Government
The proviso was rejected, and the bill was passed.
Two days afterward, Benjamin Wood
, of New York, proposed that Congress should take measures for the assembling of a convention of all the States, at Louisville, Kentucky
, in September following, to devise measures for restoring peace to the country.
It as tabled, and on the same day, Allen
, of Ohio
(opposition), moved that when “the States now in rebellion” should desist, it was the duty of the Government
to suspend the further prosecution of the war; and that it was not the object of the war to interfere with Slavery.
This was ruled out of order, when Vallandigham
offered a long series of resolutions, in tenor like his speech on the 10th, condemning nearly every important act of the President
, in resisting the conspirators, as unconstitutional.
These were tabled, and a bill, introduced by Hickman
, of Pennsylvania
, for defining and punishing conspiracies against the United States
, was passed, with only seven dissenting voices.
On motion of McClernand
, of Illinois
(opposition), the House
to vote for any amount of money, and any number of men, which might be necessary for the speedy suppression of the rebellion.
This was passed with only five dissenting voices.34
A spirited and able debate arose in the Senate, on the 18th,
by an addition to the bill providing for the reorganization of the Army, offered by Powell
, of Kentucky
, which declared, that no part of the Army or Navy should be employed in “subjecting or holding as a conquered province any sovereign State now, or lately, one of the United States
, of Ohio
, offered as a substitute a clause, declaring that the purposes of the military establishment provided for in the Act were “to preserve the Union
, to defend the property, and .to maintain the constitutional authority of the Government
.” , This was adopted, with only four dissenting voices;35
moved as an additional amendment the substance of Powell
's proposition, and the words, “or to abolish Slavery therein” --that is, in any State “lately one of the United States
This was rejected; and the bill, as it came from the Committee of the Whole, was adopted.
On the following day the venerable John J. Crittenden
, who was now a member of the House of Representatives, offered a joint resolution, “That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the Disunionists of the Southern States
now in revolt against the constitutional
Government, and in arms around the Capital
; that in this National emergency, Congress, banishing all feeling of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to its country; that this war is not waged, on our part, in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor 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 as soon as these objects are accomplished, the war ought to cease.”
This resolution, so consonant with the feelings of the great body of the loyal inhabitants of the Republic
, was laid over until Monday, the 22d.
During that interval, momentous events had occurred.
The first great battle of the war had been fought, within thirty miles of the Capital
, which is known in history as the battle of Bull's Run
Let us see how it was brought about.
When Congress met, at. the beginning of July, there were about three hundred thousand Union troops enrolled.
About fifty thousand of these were in arms in the vicinity of the Potomac River
, designed for the defense of the Capital
, or an attack upon the Confederates
as circumstance might require.
The enthusiasm of the people was at fever-heat.
In their patriotic zeal for the overthrow of the rebellion, they did not stop to consider the necessity for military discipline and thorough organization; and because the troops lingered along the line of the Potomac
week after week, in seeming inactivity, they became impatient.
There was a burning desire for the seizure and occupation of Richmond
by the National
forces before the so-called Confederate Government should be established there, on the 20th of July; and because the President
and his Cabinet and the General-in-chief
were still holding back the army when Congress met, they were censured without stint, and the loyalty of General Scott
, who was born in Virginia
, was actually questioned.
In public speeches, in the newspapers, and everywhere among the people, there was a mad cry of Forward to Richmond
! which finally impelled the General-in-chief
to order the army to move in that direction.37
In the mean time the loyal people at home — men, women, and children — had been making earnest preparations for assisting the soldiers in the field, and alleviating their sufferings when in hospitals.
The call for troops, on the 15th of April, electrified the women of the land; and individuals and small groups might be seen every day, in thousands and tens of thousands of house-holds — women and children — with busy fingers preparing lint and bandages for wounds, and hospital garments for the sick and maimed, and shelters for the heads and necks of the soldiers, when marching in the hot sun, known as havelocks
The movement was spontaneous and universal.
for some systematic plan for the collection and distribution of these products of busy fingers was immediately apparent; and at a meeting of fifty or sixty women, in the city of New York
, on the 25th of April,
a Central Relief Association was suggested.
A plan was formed, and the women of New York were addressed by a committee, and invited to assemble in council, at the Cooper Institute, on the morning of the 29th.
The response sponse was ample.
The Havelook. |
gathering of women had ever been seen in this country.
David Dudley Field presided, and the object of the meeting was explained by H. W. Bellows, D. D.
, when the assemblage was addressed by Mr. Hamlin
of the United States
, and others.
Then a benevolent organization was effected, under the title of The Women's Central Association for Relief
, with the late venerable Dr. Valentine Mott
, Dr. Bellows
, G. F. Allen
, and Howard Potter
Auxiliary associations of women were formed in all parts of the Free-labor States; and when wounds and sickness appealed for relief, a few weeks later, a general system for the purpose was so well organized that all demands were, at first, promptly met. It was soon discovered, however, that a more perfect system, to have an official connection with the Medical Department of the Government
, and under the sanction of the War Department, was needed, and, after much effort, the United States Sanitary commission was organized, and entered upon its great and beneficent labors.
A fuller history of the organization and labors of this Commission, and also of its kindred society, the sturdy offspring of the Young Men's Christian Association, called the United States
Christian commission, will be found in another part of this work.
Before any of these propositions or efforts for giving aid to the sick and wounded were publicly made, a woman who for many years, Howard-like, had been laboring unceasingly for the poor, the unfortunate, and the afflicted, had obtained the sanction of the War Department for the organization of military hospitals, and the furnishing of nurses for them.
That woman was Miss Dorothea L. Dix
, whose name was familiar to the people throughout the land.
She offered her services gratuitously to the Government
, and they were accepted.
So early as the 23d of April, or only eight days after the President
called for troops to
put down the rebellion, the Secretary of War
issued a proclamation, announcing the fact of such acceptance;39
and on the 1st of May, the Surgeon-General
(R. C. Wood
), “cheerfully and thankfully
recognizing the ability and energy of Miss D. L. Dix
in her arrangements for the comfort and welfare of the sick soldiers in the present exigency,” requested all women who offered their services as nurses to report to her. Like an angel of mercy, this self-sacrificing woman labored day and night throughout the entire war for the relief of the suffering soldiers, without expecting or receiving any pecuniary reward.
She went from battle-field to battle-field, when the carnage was-over; from camp to camp; and from hospital to hospital, superintending the operations of the nurses, and administering with her own hands physical comforts to the suffering, and soothing the troubled spirits of the invalid or dying soldier with a voice low, musical, and attractive, and always burdened with words of heart-felt sympathy and religious consolation.
The amount of happiness that resulted from the services of this woman of delicate frame, which seemed to be incapable of enduring the physical labor required of it, can never be estimated.
The true record is only in the great Book of Remembrance.
Yet she was not the only sister of charity engaged in works of mercy.
She had hundreds of devoted, earnest, self-sacrificing co-workers of the gentler sex all over the land, serving with equal zeal in the camps and hospitals of the National
and Confederate armies; and no greater heroism was displayed by soldiers in the field than was exhibited by these American women everywhere.
Working in grand harmony with those more extended organizations for the relief of the soldiers, were houses of refreshment and temporary hospital accommodations furnished by the citizens of Philadelphia
. ú That city lay in the channel of the great stream of volunteers from New England
, New York, and New Jersey
, that commenced flowing abundantly early in May.
These soldiers, crossing New Jersey
, and the Delaware River
, were landed at the foot of Washington Avenue, where, wearied and hungry, they often vainly sought for sufficient refreshments in the bakeries and groceries in the neighborhood before entering the cars for Washington City
. One morning, the wife of a mechanic living near, commiserating the situation of some soldiers who had just arrived, went out with her coffee-pot
and a cup, and distributed its contents among them.
That generous hint was the germ of a wonderful system of relief for the passing soldiers, which was immediately developed in that city.
Some benevolent women, living in the vicinity of this landing-place of the volunteers, imitated their patriotic sister, and a few of them formed themselves into a Committee40
for the regular distribution of coffee on the arrival of soldiers.
Gentlemen in the neighborhood interested themselves in procuring other supplies, and for a few days these were dispensed under the shade of trees in front of the cooper-shop of William M. Cooper
, on Otsego Street,
near Washington Avenue. Then this shop — generously offered for the purpose by Mr. Cooper
--was used for refreshing the soldiers; and very soon whole regiments were fed there at tables supplied by the contributions of citizens of Philadelphia
, and waited upon by the wives and daughters of those in the neighborhood.
The first of the entire regiments so supplied was Colonel Blenker
's (German Rifles), more than a thousand strong, who partook of a coffee breakfast there on the morning of the 27th of May.
The Cooper-shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Hospital in 1864. |
The cooper-shop was not spacious enough to accommodate the daily increasing number of soldiers, and another place of refreshments was opened on the corner of Washington Avenue and Swanson Street, in a building formerly used as a boat-house and riggers' loft.
Two Volunteer Refreshment Saloon Committees were formed, and known respectively as the “Cooper-shop” and the “Union.”
The former was organized on the 26th and the latter on the 27th of May.41
They worked in harmony and generous rivalry,
all through the period of the war, in doing good.
Both saloons were enlarged as necessity required, and both had temporary hospitals attached to them.
To the immortal honor of the citizens of Philadelphia
it must be recorded, that they liberally supplied these saloons with ample materials to give a bountiful meal, during the four years of the war, to almost twelve hundred thousand Union soldiers.
In the Union Volunteer Saloon
, alone, seven hundred and fifty thousand soldiers were fed; forty thousand were accommodated with a night's lodging; fifteen thousand refugees and freedmen were cared for, and employment found for them; and, in the hospital attached, the wounds of almost twenty thousand soldiers were dressed.
The women who devoted themselves to the service of preparing the meals, and waiting upon this vast host of the
The Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon in 1861. |
defenders of the Union
, deserve the choicest blessings their country can bestow.
At all hours of the day and night, these self-sacrificing heroines, when a little signal-gun, employed for the purpose,42
announced the approach of a regiment or a company, would repair to the saloons, and, with the greatest cheerfulness, dispense the generous bounties of their fellow-citizens.
These saloons, in which such an abounding work of love and patriotism had been displayed, were formally closed in August, 1865, when the sunlight of Peace was reilluminating the land, and the Flag
of the Republic
That floating piece of poetry,
as Dr. Francis Lieber
so appropriately called it in his song, “Our country and flag,” was waving, unmolested, over every acre of its domain.
was also honored by another organization for the good of the volunteers, known as the Firemen
's Ambulance System, which was wholly the work of the firemen of that city, who also contributed largely from their body to the ranks of the Union
When sick and wounded
soldiers began to be brought in transports from camps and battle-fields to Philadelphia
, to be placed in the admirable military hospitals that were established there, the Medical Department found it difficult to procure proper vehicles to convey them from the wharves to their destination.
Delays and inconvenient conveyances caused much distress, which the sympathetic firemen attempted to remedy.
An arrangement was made for the Chief
of the Department to announce the arrival of a transport by a given signal, when the firemen would turn out with wagons, and repair to the landing-place.
Finally, the Northern Liberties Engine Company
had a splendid ambulance constructed.
More than thirty other engine and hose companies followed its example, and the suffering soldiers were conveyed from ship to hospital with the greatest tenderness.
These ambulances cost, in the aggregate, over thirty thousand dollars, all of which sum was contributed by the firemen.
They also gave their personal services freely, unmindful of their private interests.
The number of disabled soldiers who were conveyed in these ambulances, during the period of the war, was estimated at more than one hundred and twenty thousand.
Without disparagement to other cities (for all did noble work), it may, with propriety, be said, that in labors of genuine benevolence and generous giving for the comfort of the soldiers of the great Union Army, the citizens of Philadelphia
While the people at home were working with unceasing diligence for the comfort of the soldiers, and were contributing the means for making the contest, as the President
desired it to be, “short and decisive,” those soldiers were eager for action.
A large portion of those near the Potomac
had enlisted for only three months, and their terms would expire before the close of July.
They were anxious to move against the insurgents at Manassas
, and to win the victory which they felt certain of achieving.
It was important that such movement should be made, for various reasons, before the regiments of early volunteers should be dissolved.
These volunteers would be so disheartened by the inglorious and almost inactive campaign in which they had been engaged, that they would be tardy in volunteering for the war. Those who might fill their places would be almost wholly ignorant of discipline and the rudiments of the military art which the first had acquired; and in the confusion incident to the substitution of new recruits for the three-months' men, the well-organized and well-officered insurgents might, by a sudden and concentrated movement, overwhelm the Union
forces, seize the Capital
, and, with the prestige
thus obtained, secure for the Confederacy
the recognition of its independence by foreign governments.
This real danger was before the mind of the people and their representatives, and intensified the cry of “Forward to Richmond
while the earlier troops had yet some time to serve.
That cry found a sympathetic response in the Army and in Congress; and at the middle of July, the General-in-chief
gave orders for a forward movement upon the foe at Manassas
had been fixed upon for the beginning of the movement, but the new regiments came in so slowly that it was not deemed safe to break camp before the 15th.
was too infirm to take command of the Army in the field.
He was afflicted with dropsy and vertigo; and for four months he had not been able to mount a horse.
He chose Brigadier-General Irvin McDowell
for that responsible position.
That officer was a native of Ohio
; a graduate
of the Military Academy at West Point
; an excellent soldier, who had seen service under General Wool
, in Mexico
, and was then in the prime of life.
He had been appointed
to the command of thy Department of Virginia, with his Headquarters at Arlington House, as we have observed;43
and for several weeks he had been actively engaged in the reception of materials for, and the organization of,
what was afterward known as the Army of the Potomac.
This work was but imperfectly accomplished, when public opinion bore upon the authorities with such fearful pressure, that the Army, such as it was, was moved forward, with McDowell
as its chief.44
The relative position of the forces now to be brought into contact, each
of which was divided, was as follows: The main body of the National
army, under McDowell
, about forty-five thousand in number, occupied a line, with the Potomac
at its back, extending from Alexandria
, nine miles below Washington City
, almost to the Chain Bridge
, about six miles above the Capital
The remainder, under General Patterson
, about eighteen thousand strong, was at Martinsburg
, beyond the Blue Ridge
, also with the Potomac
at its back, as we have observed.45
There were three important bridges spanning the Potomac
in the vicinity of Washington City
, which were well guarded.
The Upper, or Chain Bridge, where the banks of the
Chain Bridge.46 |
river are high and precipitous, was beyond the Union
lines at that time, on the Virginia
side, but on the Maryland
, or District side, it was well guarded by two batteries-one at the bridge, and the other on the high bank above it-and both thoroughly commanding it. In addition to these batteries, a heavy two-leaved gate was constructed at the center of the bridge, which was covered on the Virginia
side with heavy iron plates, and was pierced for musketry.
was the Aqueduct Bridge
which was well guarded by Fort Corcoran and block-houses on Arlington Hights, and a battery on Georgetown Hights, north of the city.
At Washington City
, at the junction of Maryland Avenue and Fourteenth Street, was the Long Bridge
, a mile in length, whose Virginia
end was commanded by three forts, named, respectively, Jackson
, and Albany
Gate on Chain Bridge. |
built chiefly of earth.
was close by the river, with heavy pickets and picket-gate crossing the railway which there passes over the Long Bridge
, and connects Washington
City with Alexandria
Other fortifications, as we have observed, extended along the line of Arlington Hights, and guarded every approach to positions which commanded the National Capital
The main Confederate army, under the command of Beauregard
, supposed to have been a little less than McDowell
's in number (forty-five thousand), was at and near Manassas Junction
, then considered one of the strongest military positions for offense or defense between Washington
It is about half way between the eastern range of the Blue Ridge
and the Potomac
, and was connected by railway with Richmond
and the fertile Shenandoah Valley, as we have observed.
The main portion of the army was on an elevated plateau in the crotch formed by the Occoquan River
and its main tributary, Bull's Run
The bed of each stream, canal-like, was cut through horizontal strata of red stone, making it difficult for an attacking army to approach the Confederate
A succession of broken, wooded hills around the plateau, composed strong natural fortifications; and Beauregard
's engineers had cast up formidable artificial ones there.
Among these, the most noted was the Naval Battery, composed of the heaviest Dahlgren
which the insurgents seized at the Gosport Navy Yard
, and manned by seamen, commanded by officers of the National Navy
who had abandoned their flag.
's force was mostly composed of Virginians
, South Carolinians, Alabamians, Mississippians, and Louisianians.
Another Confederate army, about as strong in numbers as Beauregard
's actually was, was in the Shenandoah Valley, under General Johnston
, his superior in rank, whose Headquarters were at Winchester
, around which he had caused to be cast up heavy intrenchments, under the directions of Major W. H. C. Whiting
, his Chief
was charged with the duty, as we have observed, of checking the advance of Patterson
, and preventing the junction of the troops under that officer with those under McClellan
among the Alleghany
Among the most active of his infantry force was a corps of Tennessee
riflemen or “sharpshooters.”
These had been raised in West Tennessee
, where the people were mostly disloyal.
They were among the earliest of the troops of that State who made their way into
, after the treaty was concluded for the annexation of that Commonwealth to the Confederacy
and the control of its military affairs was placed in the hands of Jefferson Davis
were well represented in the Army of the Shenandoah.
Tail-piece — Hauling cannon.|