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men to add ten regiments to the regular army, and 18,000 seamen for blockade service: a total immediate increase of 82,748, swelling the entire military establishment to an army of 156,861 and a navy of 25,000. No express authority of law yet existed for these measures; but President Lincoln took the responsibility of ordering them, trusting that Congress would legalize his acts. His confidence was entirely justified. At the special session which met under his proclamation, on the fourth of July, these acts were declared valid, and he was authorized, moreover, to raise an army of a million men and $250,000,000 in money to carry on the war to suppress the rebellion; while other legislation conferred upon him supplementary authority to meet the emergency. Meanwhile, the first effort of the governors of the loyal States was to furnish their quotas under the first call for militia. This was easy enough as to men. It required only a few days to fill the regiments and forward the
hed between England and France which would lead both governments to take the same course as to recognition, whatever that course might be. Third, that three diplomatic agents of the Confederate States were in London, whom the British minister had not yet seen, but whom he had caused to be informed that he was not unwilling to see unofficially. Under the irritation produced by this hasty and equivocal action of the British government, Mr. Seward wrote a despatch to Mr. Adams under date of May 21, which, had it been sent in the form of the original draft, would scarcely have failed to lead to war between the two nations. While it justly set forth with emphasis and courage what the government of the United States would endure and what it would not endure from foreign powers during the Southern insurrection, its phraseology, written in a heat of indignation, was so blunt and exasperating as to imply intentional disrespect. When Mr. Seward read the document to President Lincoln, t
city as the most important position in a political, and most exposed in a military point of view. The great machine of war, once started, moved, as it always does, by its own inherent energy from arming to concentration, from concentration to skirmish and battle. It was not long before Washington was a military camp. Gradually the hesitation to invade the sacred soil of the South faded out under the stern necessity to forestall an invasion of the equally sacred soil of the North; and on May 24 the Union regiments in Washington crossed the Potomac and planted themselves in a great semicircle of formidable earthworks eighteen miles long on the Virginia shore, from Chain Bridge to Hunting Creek, below Alexandria. Meanwhile, a secondary concentration of force developed itself at Harper's Ferry, forty-nine miles northwest of Washington. When, on April 20, a Union detachment had burned and abandoned the armory at that point, it was at once occupied by a handful of rebel militia; a
nd dishonesty, which could not always be immediately traced to the responsible culprit. It happened in many instances that there were alarming discrepancies between the full paper regiments and brigades reported as ready to start from State capitals, and the actual number of recruits that railroad trains brought to the Washington camps; and Mr. Lincoln several times ironically compared the process to that of a man trying to shovel a bushel of fleas across a barn floor. While the month of May insensibly slipped away amid these preparatory vexations, camps of instruction rapidly grew to small armies at a few principal points, even under such incidental delay and loss; and during June the confronting Union and Confederate forces began to produce the conflicts and casualties of earnest war. As yet they were both few and unimportant: the assassination of Ellsworth when Alexandria was occupied; a slight cavalry skirmish at Fairfax Court House; the rout of a Confederate regiment at Phi
brigades reported as ready to start from State capitals, and the actual number of recruits that railroad trains brought to the Washington camps; and Mr. Lincoln several times ironically compared the process to that of a man trying to shovel a bushel of fleas across a barn floor. While the month of May insensibly slipped away amid these preparatory vexations, camps of instruction rapidly grew to small armies at a few principal points, even under such incidental delay and loss; and during June the confronting Union and Confederate forces began to produce the conflicts and casualties of earnest war. As yet they were both few and unimportant: the assassination of Ellsworth when Alexandria was occupied; a slight cavalry skirmish at Fairfax Court House; the rout of a Confederate regiment at Philippi, West Virginia; the blundering leadership through which two Union detachments fired upon each other in the dark at Big Bethel, Virginia; the ambush of a Union railroad train at Vienna Stati
e latter at once perceived its objectionable tone, and retained it for further reflection. A second reading confirmed his first impression. Thereupon, taking his pen, the frontier lawyer, in a careful revision of the whole despatch, so amended and changed the work of the trained and experienced statesman, as entirely to eliminate its offensive crudeness, and bring it within all the dignity and reserve of the most studied diplomatic courtesy. If, after Mr. Seward's remarkable memorandum of April i, the Secretary of State had needed any further experience to convince him of the President's mastery in both administrative and diplomatic judgment, this second incident afforded him the full evidence. No previous President ever had such a sudden increase of official work devolve upon him as President Lincoln during the early months of his administration. The radical change of parties through which he was elected not only literally filled the White House with applicants for office, bu
r this clamor, because the period of enlistment of the three months regiments was already two thirds gone, and they were not yet all armed and equipped for field service. President Lincoln was fully alive to the need of meeting this popular demand. The special session of Congress was soon to begin, and to it the new administration must look, not only to ratify what had been done, but to authorize a large increase of the military force, and heavy loans for coming expenses of the war. On June 29, therefore, he called his cabinet and principal military officers to a council of war at the Executive Mansion, to discuss a more formidable campaign than had yet been planned. General Scott was opposed to such an undertaking at that time. He preferred waiting until autumn, meanwhile organizing and drilling a large army, with which to move down the Mississippi and end the war with a final battle at New Orleans. Aside from the obvious military objections to this course, such a procrastina
and as to form and term of service by the provisions of the Act of 1795. It needed only a few days to show that this form of enlistment was both cumbrous and inadequate; and the creation of a more powerful army was almost immediately begun. On May 3 a new proclamation was issued, calling into service 42,034 three years volunteers, 22,714 enlisted men to add ten regiments to the regular army, and 18,000 seamen for blockade service: a total immediate increase of 82,748, swelling the entire mil initiated active rebellion, and precipitated the new difficulty of sifting the loyal from the disloyal, and the yet more pressing labor of scrutinizing the organization of the immense new volunteer army called into service by the proclamation of May 3. Mr. Lincoin used often to say at this period, when besieged by claims to appointment, that he felt like a man letting rooms at one end of his house, while the other end was on fire. In addition to this merely routine work was the much more del
ginning of serious civil war. Jefferson Davis's proclamation, on April 17, of intention to issue letters of marque, was met two days later by President Lincoln's counter-proclamation instituting a blockade of the Southern ports, and declaring that privateers would be held amenable to the laws against piracy. His first call for seventy-five thousand three months' militia was dictated as to numbers by the sudden emergency, and as to form and term of service by the provisions of the Act of 1795. It needed only a few days to show that this form of enlistment was both cumbrous and inadequate; and the creation of a more powerful army was almost immediately begun. On May 3 a new proclamation was issued, calling into service 42,034 three years volunteers, 22,714 enlisted men to add ten regiments to the regular army, and 18,000 seamen for blockade service: a total immediate increase of 82,748, swelling the entire military establishment to an army of 156,861 and a navy of 25,000. No
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