Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

made a vigorous canvass against the Jackson resolutions through out the whole State, marked by extraordinary ability and bitterness towards their author and principal supporters. The sixth resolution, which pledged Missouri to “co-operate with her sister States in any measures they might adopt,” to defend their rights against the encroachments of the North, was the object of his special denunciation and his most determined opposition. He denounced it as the essence of nullification, and ransacked the vocabulary of billingsgate for coarse and vulgar epithets to apply to its author and advocates. But his herculean efforts to procure the repeal of the resolutions proved abortive. Colonel Benton was defeated for the Senate the next year by a combination of Democrats and State Rights Whigs; and the Jackson resolutions remain on the statute book unrepealed to this day. Their author is governor of the State; their principal supporters are fighting to drive myrmidons of Abolitionism from the soil of Missouri ; and how nobly the State has redeemed her pledge to “co-operate with her sister States,” the glorious deeds of her hardy sons, who have fought her battles almost single-handed, who have struggled on through neglect and hardship and suffering without ever dreaming of defeat, afford the most incontestible evidence.

In the canvass of 1852, the Anti-Benton Democrats put forward Gen. Sterling Price as their choice for the office of governor, and the Bentonites supported Gen. Thomas L. Price, at that time lieutenant-governor, and now a member of Lincoln's Congress and a brigadier-general in Lincoln's army. The Anti-Bentonites triumphed, and the nomination fell on Gen. Sterling Price, who, receiving the vote of the whole Democratic party, was elected by a large majority over an eloquent and' popular whig, Colonel Winston, a grandson of Patrick Henry.

The administration of Gov. Price was distinguished for an earnest devotion to the material interests of Missouri. At the expiration of his term of office, he received a large vote in the Democratic cancus for the nomination for United States senator, but the choice fell on Mr. James Green.

In the Presidential election of 1860, in common with Major Jackson, who was the Democratic candidate for governor, and a number of other leading men of his party, Ex-Governor

Price supported Mr. Douglas for the Presidency, on the ground that he was the regular nominee of the Democratic party. He moreover considered Mr. Douglas true to the institutions of the South, and believed him to be the only one of the candidates who could prevent the election of the Black Republican candidate. The influence of these men carried Missouri for Douglas.

Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Border States were unwilling to rush into dissolution until every hope of a peaceful settlement of the question had vanished. This was the position of Missouri, to whose Convention not a single Secessionist was elected. Governor Price was elected from his district as a Union man, without opposition, and, on the assembling of the Convention, was chosen its President. The Convention had not been in session many weeks before the radicalism of the Black Republican administration, and its hostility to the institutions of the South, became manifest to every unprejudiced mind. The perfidy and brutality of its officers in Missouri were particularly observable, and soon opened the eyes of the people to the true objects of the Black Republican party. The State authorities decided upon resistance to the Federal government; the Governor issued his proclamation for volunteers; and of the forces raised under this call, who were denominated the Missouri State Guard, Governor Price was appointed major-general, and took the field.

The period of history has scarcely yet arrived for a full appreciation of the heroic virtues of the campaign in Missouri, especially as illustrated in the character of the chieftain whom no personal jealousies could distract or unmerited slights turn from the single course of duty and devotion to his country. He had given the government at Richmond a valuable, but distasteful lesson in the conduct of the war. He did not settle down complacently into one kind of policy, refusing to advance because he was on the defensive, but he sought the enemy wherever he could find him, fought him when ready, and retreated out of his way when not prepared. His policy was both offensive and defensive, and he used the one which might be demanded by the exigencies of his situation. He was something better than a pupil of West Point-he was a general by nature, a beloved commander, a man who illustrated the Ro.

man simplicity of character in the nineteenth century. His troops not only loved him, they were wildly and enthusiastically devoted to him. His figure in the battle-field, clothed in a common brown linen coat, with his white hair streaming in the wind, was the signal for wild and passionate cheers, and there was not one of his soldiers, it was said, but who was willing to die, if he could only fall within sight of his commander.

It is not improbable that had General Price been supported after the battle of Lexington, he would have wrung the State of Missouri from the possession of the enemy. He was forced by untoward circumstances, already referred to, to turn back in a career just as it approached the zenith of success, and he could have given no higher proof of his magnanimity than that he did so without an expression of bitterness or a word of recrimination. He bore the cold neglect of the government at Richmond and the insulting proposition which President Davis was compelled by popular indignation to abandon, to place over him, as major-general in his department, a pupil of West Point his inferior in rank, with philosophic patience and without any subtraction from his zeal for his country. When his officers expressed resentment for the injustice done him by the government, he invariably checked them: stating that there should be no controversies of this kind while the war lasted, and that he was confident that posterity would do him justice. He was more than right; for the great majority of his living countrymen did him justice, despite the detractions of jealousy in Richmond.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

The Campaign in Western Virginia.-General Wise's Command. - Politica Influences in Western Virginia.— The Affair of Scary Creek.-General Wise's Retreat to Lewisburg.-General Floyd's Brigade.—The Affair at Cross Lanes.—Movements on the Gauley.--The Affair of Carnifax Ferry.-Disagreement between Generals Floyd and Wise. The Tyrees.-A Patriotic Woman.-Movements in Northwestern Virginia.-General Lee.-The Enemy intrenched on Cheat Mountain.-General Rosecrans.-Failure of General Lee's Plan of Attack.–He removes to the Kanawha Region.- The Opportunity of a Decisive Battle lost.-Retreat of Rosecrans.General H. R. Jackson's Affair on the Greenbrier.-The Approach of Winter. - The Campaign in Western Virginia abandoned.—The Affair on the Alleghany.--General Floyd at Cotton Hill. --His masterly Retreat.-Review of the Campaign in Western Virginia.Some of its Incidents.-Its Failure and unfortunate Results.-Other Movements in Virginis.—The Potomac Line.-The BATTLE OF LEESBURG.--Overweening Confidence of the South.

We must return here to the narrative of the campaign in Virginia. The campaign in the western portion of the State was scarcely more than a series of local adventures, compared with other events of the war. It was a failure from the beginning--owing to the improvidence of the government, the want of troops, the hostile character of the country itself, and a singular military policy, to which we shall have occasion hereafter to refer.

General Wise, of Virginia, was appointed a brigadier-general without an army. He rallied around him at Richmond a number of devoted friends, and explained to them his views and purposes. Co

Cordially favoring his plans, they went into the country, and called upon the people to rally to the standard of General Wise, and enable him to prevent the approach of the enemy into the Kanawha Valley.

About the first of June, General Wise left Richmond for the western portion of the State, accompanied by a portion of his staff. At Lewisburg, he was joined by several companies raised and organized in that region. From this point, he proceeded to Charleston, in the Kanawha Valley, where he undertook, with his rare and characteristic enthusiasm, to rally the people to the support of the State. A number of them joined his command; but the masses "continued apathetic, owing to a

number of adverse influences, prominent among which was the political position of George W. Summers, the most influentiai politician of Western Virginia, the leader of the “ Union” men in the State Convention, and a prominent delegate to the Peace Conference at Washington. This

person threw the weight of his great influence in opposition to the uprising of the people. He advised them to a strict neutrality between the public enemy and the supporters of the Confederate government. Notwithstanding all the appeals made to his patriotism, he maintained an attitude of indifference, and, by reason of the high estimation in which he was generally held by the community in which he lived, as a wise and sagacious man, he succeeded in neutralizing the greater portion of Kanawha and the adjoining counties.

Despite, however, the obstacles in his way, General Wise succeeded in raising a brigade of two thousand five hundred infantry, seven hundred cavalry, and three battalions of artillery. Of this force, western Virginia furnished about threefifths and the east about two-fifths. On his arrival at Charles ton, General Wise found C. G. Tompkins in command of a number of companies, chiefly from Kanawha and the adjacent. counties. These forces, combined with those of the Wise Legion, amounted to about four thousand men.

General Wise, anxious to give an assurance of support to the strong Southern sentiment reported to exist in Gilmer and Calhoun, sent an expedition into those counties to repress the excesses of the Union men. In the mean time, the enemy had landed considerable forces at Parkersburg and Point Pleasant on the Ohio river, and had military possession of the neighboring country. His superior facilities for raising troops in the populous States of Ohio and Indiana, and his ample means of transportation by railroad through those States, and by the navigation of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, enabled him, in a short space of time, to concentrate a large force, with adequate supplies and munitions of war, in the lower part of the Kanawha Valley.

About the middle of July, the enemy advanced up the river into the county of Putnam, and, on the 17th, Captain Patton (afterwards Colonel Patton), with a small force, met and re pulsed three regiments of the enemy at Scary Creek, in Put

« ZurückWeiter »