Progress of the war.
From our latest Northern files we make the following interesting extracts:
In his rejoinder to old granny Scott
, ex-President Buchanan
thus alludes to the charge that Secretary Floyd
had stoles arms from the United States Government in preparation for the rebellion:
I should have nothing more to add had General Scott
, in his rejoinder, confined himself to the topics embraced in his original letter.
He has extended them, and now for the first time, in a sarcastic and no kindly spirit, refers to the alleged stealing of public arms by Secretary Floyd
and their transportation to the South
in anticipation of the rebellion.
The most conclusive answer to this allegation is that, notwithstanding the boasting of Mr. Floyd
, evidently with the view of conciliating his new allies, cited by the General
as his authority, no public arms were ever stolen.
This fact is established by the report of the Committee-on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, now before me, made by Mr. Stanton
, of Ohio
, their Chairman
, on the 18th of February, 1861, and to be found in the second volume of the Reports of Committees of the House
for the session of 1860-61.
This report, and the testimony before the Committee
1. That the Southern States
received in 1860 less instead of more than the quota of arms to which they were entitled by law; and that three of them--N. Carolina Mississippi
, and Kentucky
--received no arms whatever, and this simply because they did not ask for them.
Well may Mr. Stanton
have said in the House
, ‘"that there are a good deal of rumors and speculations and misapprehensions as to the true state of facts in regard to this matter." ’
2. Secretary Floyd
, under suspicious circumstances on the 22d December, 1860, and but a few days before he left the Department, had, without the knowledge of the President
, ordered 113 columbiads and 11 32 po nders to be transported from Pittsburg
to Ship island
, in Mississippi
This fact was brought to the knowledge of the President
by a communication from Pittsburg
; and Secretary Holt
immediately thereafter countermanded the order of his predecessor, and the cannon were never sent.
The promptitude with which we acted elicited a vote of thanks, dated the 4th of January, 1861, from the Select and Common Councils of that city ‘"to the President
the Attorney General
, and the Acting Secretary of War
. "’ (Mr. Holt
After this statement how shall we account for the explicit declaration of Gen Scott
that, ‘ "accidentally hearing early in March that under this posthumous order (that of Mr. Floyd
of the 22d December,) the shipment of these guns had commenced I communicated the fact to Secretary Holt
, acting for Secretary Cameron
) just in time to do that the robbery ?"’ And this is the same Secretary
who had countermanded ‘"the posthumous order"’ in the previous December And, strange to say, these guns, but for the alleged interposition of Gen. Scott
, were about to be sent so late as March from the loyal States into those over which Jefferson Davis
had then for some time presided.
Had Gen. Scott
reflected for a moment he could not have fallen into this blunder.
It is quite man he was ‘"without a printed document and my (his) own official papers."’
3. The Government had on hand, in the year 1859, about 500,000 old muskets, which had been condemned ‘"as unsuitable for public service,"’ under the act of the 3d of March, 1825. They were of such a character that, although offered both at public and private sale at $2.50 each, purchasers could not be obtained at that rate, except for a comparatively small number.
On the 30th of November 1859, Secretary Floyd
ordered about one fifth of the whole number (105,000) to be sent from the Springfield armory
where they had been accumulated, to five Southern arsenals, ‘ "in proportion to their respective means of proper storage."’ This order carried into effect by the Ordnance Bureau, in the usual course of administration, and without reference to the President
It is but justice to say that from the testimony before the Committee
, there is no reason to suspect that Secretary Floyd
issued this order from any sinister motive its date was months before Mr. Lincoln
's nomination for the Presidency, and nearly a year before his election, and while the Secretary
was still an avowed opponent of secession.
Indeed the testimony of Col. Craig
Mayna of the Ordnance, before the Committee
, is wholly inconsistent with any evil intention on his part.
And yet these ‘"condemned muskets,"’ with a few thousand ancient rifles of a calibre than no longer used, are transformed by Gen. Scott
into ‘"115,000 extra muskets and rifles, with all their implements and ammunition"’ This is the first true I have heard — certainly there was nothing of the kind before the Committee
— that ammunition was sent with these condemned and inferior arms to their places of storage — just as though they had been intended, not for sale, but for immediate use in the field.
The truth is, that it is impossible to steal arms and transport them from one depository to another without the knowledge and active participation of the officers of the Ordnance Bureau, both in Washington
and at those depositories.
It may be observed that Col. Craig
, the head of the Bureau
at this period, was as correct an officer and as loyal and as honest a man as exists in the country.
Concentration of force the great Necessity.
The New York Times
, of Wednesday last, contains the following editorial:
Do we mean to kill this rebellion or not?
If we do, why this hacking at the extremities?
Why this skin deep scarifying of the sides?
Why this mere pricking at the vitals?
Why don't we drive our lance, with might and main, straight into the heart of the monster?
Will it be said it has no heart?
It has. A heart is an essential of all life whether natural or civil.
Every organization — the body politic as well as any other — must have its central seat of vitality and energy.
is the heart of the Confederacy
Penetrate it, and the whole power of the rebellion reels and collapses.
Will it be said we have not means strong enough?
We have With nearly a million of men now under arms, we can, if necessary, devote half of that force to this object.
Such an army, if well directed, could overthrow any place on this Continent.
Our Government and people have too long deluded themselves with the notion that the conquest of the Port Royals
, and the Newberns, and the Pensacola
, and the New Orleans, and the Galveston
of the Confederacy
, are so many advances toward its final annihilation.
So indeed they would be, if we had years before us, through which to carry on the same piecemeal style of operation.
But we have not years.
The limits of our financial resources, and the limits, too, of foreign forbearance, give us but months.
It is authentically and morally certain that unless we bring this rebellion to the dust soon, we shall be disabled from doing it at all. Our conduct has, in truth been much like that of a beleaguering army, which should content itself with operating at its leisure upon the outposts, leaving the main citadel unharmed, when it was known that the garrison had not long to hold out to be effectually relieved.
These outer successes, which have pleased us so much, ought really to count for little or nothing, insomuch as such a rate of progress for another eighteen months must inevitably ruin us.
The idea then, of a new expedition of any sort of character, ought not for a moment to be entertained until Richmond
is beset with armies of a magnitude that should make its quick surrender sure.
Concentration upon Richmond
should be our order of the day. The rebels have already made it theirs.
They full well understand its tremendous importance to themselves.
Their armies, with all the rapidity possible, are gathering for the protection of their capital.
A hundred and fifty thousand of the best bayonets of the Confederacy
will be bristling in that defence before December opens.
Who knows if Burnside
has an equal force?
Even if he has, can our Government intend to set him against the enemy on equal terms?
Is our immense superiority in military numbers to be henceforth profitless, as it has been heretofore?
Must we, the invaders, still meet the enemy in their chosen positions with only half our proper strength?
We say, concentrate.
Be not content with simply pitting an upper against a nother millstone — The rebellion cannot be so crushed.
It is the preponderance of the avalanche we look for. It is that alone which can make the short work the emergency demands.
We have the material and we must make the most of it.
The difficulty lies in effectively handling such an immense single body.
We care not concentration
is still the word Bring great forces to bear upon Richmond
on the South Masses in many directions, if need be. This matters comparatively little if so be that the rebel capital is still the centre towards which every-movement converges.
If it end in the literal investment of Richmond
, so much the better.
The siege with all our prodigious superiority in heavy guns, would not be long, at longest; and the result would be a surrender.
We should thereby bag an army — an achievement often attempted in this war, but seldom realized — Probably the entire defending force would pass into our hands, and the best portion of all the Confederate
troops be thus put, on the instant, hors de combat
The capture of Richmond
at all must be fatal to the rebellion; but the fate would be the more immediate if with it we can destroy the army that defends it.
Let us, then, strike with our utmost force upon the rebel capital, as Napoleon
did upon Moscow
, and the Allies upon Paris
, Not a soldier should be moved in a different direction until the numbers here are mighty enough to put this supreme, this vital success, beyond all contingency.
This third attempt will, in all human probability, be the last one.
At least the foreign Powers will consider it the sovereign test.
Wo to the Republic
if it fails, and a triple wo to the Administration through whose short-coming such failure can alone come, if it come at all.
The Perseverance of the Yankees.
A correspondent of the New York Times
gives an account of the rebuilding of the Richmonds Fredericksburg
and Potomac railroad from Aquia Creek
, and the wharf there.
On Monday of this week the first troops were landed, consisting of several companies of the Engineer brigade.
On Tuesday a large force of mechanics and laborers arrived, and also several rafts and barges of assorted lumber that had been provided by Gen. Haupt
in anticipation of such an emergency, long before the change of base had been determined upon.
On Wednesday the work of reconstruction was commenced under the immediate supervision of Wm. W. Wright
, Superintendent and Engineer of railroad construction, and Capts Pitkins
, of the Quartermaster's department.
So far from any neglect having been exhibited on the part of the railroad department, as has been charge!, a considerable amount of the lumber provided for railroad construction was loaned to other parties who were without material to work upon.
With the first supply of lumber several small cars were sent to Aquia Creek
, and on-Thursday morning a party of track-layers and bridge-carpenters, with an escort of about 50 engineer soldiers, taking with them tents, rations, tools, and materials, started over the road.
It was necessary to proceed on foot, pushing the cars by hand.
About a mile of track was found torn up, which the party relaid, then proceeded to achakeck Bridge, which was found to be so nearly destroyed that but little of the old material could be used Without oxen, mules, horses, or any other facilities for procuring timber, logs were cut in the woods, dragged carried, and rolled by the men, and the bridge is this evening (Friday) ready for the track timbers; the Superintendent
of Bridge Construction, R. C. Smeed
, having just arrived on foot with two or three little cars to beg a few sticks from Mr. Wright
to finish off. Mr. Smeed
reports also that a party is at work at Potomac Run Bridge, but that the damage there is more serious than was previously represented.
At the present time a great length of wharf has been reconstructed — possibly 800 feet--and to morrow it is reported that the track will reach the extreme end, when engine and cars will be landed and transportation commenced as far as Potomac Run
All this work has been done in less than three days, in the midst of a soaking rain all the time, and a fog so thick that boats could only run at intervals.
The grounds about Aquia Creek
present an expanse of liquid mud. Neither officers or men have any shelter except tents, and only an insufficient supply of them.
A repair shop for cars and engines is being extemporized by erecting shafting for driving lathes and other tools with a portable engine, while as yet there is no roof or building over them.
Never before, perhaps, since the war commenced, has so much been accomplished in so short a time, and under such unfavorable circumstances; and yet the parties who are doing the work are censured for neglect by some sapient correspondent.