« ZurückWeiter »
dred and fifty thousand small-arms of the most approved modern pattern and the best in the world.
The government at Washington rapidly collected in that city a vast and motley army. Baltimore had been subdued; the route through it was restored, and such were the facilities of Northern transportation, that it was estimated that not less than four or five thousand volunteers were transported through the former Thermopylæ of Baltimore in a single day. The first evidences of the despotic purposes of the Lincoln government were exhibited in Maryland, and the characteristics of the war that it had commenced on the South were first displayed in the crushing weight of tyranny and oppression it laid upon a State which submitted before it was conquered.
The Legislature of Maryland did nothing practical. It was unable to arm the State, and it made no attempt to improve the spirit of the people; or to make preparations for any future opportunity of action. It assented to the attitude of submission indefinitely. It passed resolutions protesting against the military occupation of the State by the Federal government, and indicating sympathy with the South, but concluding with the declaration : “under existing circumstances, it is inexpedient to call a sovereign Convention of the State at this time, or take any measures for the immediate organization or arming of the militia.” The government of Abraham Lincoln was not a government to spare submission or to be moved to magna nimity by the helplessness of a supposed enemy. The submission of Maryland was the signal for its persecution. By the middle of May, her territory was occupied by thirty thousand Federal troops; her quota of troops to the war was demanded at Washington, and was urged by a requisition of her obsequi ous governor; the city of Baltimore was invested by General Butler of Massachusetts, houses and stores, searched for concealed arms, and the liberties of the people violated, with every possible addition of mortification and insult.
In a few weeks the rapid and aggravated progression of acts of despotism on the part of the Lincoln government reached its height in Maryland. The authority of the mayor and police board of the city of Baltimore was superseded, and their persons seized and imprisoned in a military fortress; the writ of habeas corpus was suspended by the single and unconstitu
tional authority of the President; the houses of suspected citizens were searched, and they themselves arrested by military force, in jurisdictions where the Federal courts were in uninterrupted operation ; blank warrants were issued for domiciliary visits; and the sanctity of private correspondence was violated by seizing the dispatches preserved for years in the telegraph offices of the North, and making them the subject of inquisition for the purpose of discovering and punishing as traitors men who had dared to reproach the Northern government for an unnatural war, or had not sympathized with its rancor and excesses.
Such was the inauguration of “the strong government” of Abraham Lincoln in Maryland, and the repetition of its acts was threatened upon the “rebel” States of the South, with the addition that their cities were to be laid in ashes, their soil sown with blood, the slaves freed and carried in battalions against their masters, and “the rebels” doomed, after their subjection, to return home to find their wives and children in rags, and gaunt Famine sitting at their firesides.
Confidence of tce North.-Characteristic Boasts.—" Crushing out the Rebellion."Volunteering in the Northern Cities.—The New York “Invincibles.”—Misrepresentations of the Government at Washington.-Mr. Seward's Letter to the French Government.-Another Call for Federal Volunteers.-Opening Movements of the Campaign.The Federal Occupation of Alexandria.-Death of Col. Ellsworth.--Fortress Monroe.The BATTLE OF BETHEL.--Results of this Battle.-Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.—The Upper Potomac.-Evacuation and Destruction of Harper's Ferry.—The Movements in the Upper Portion of the Valley of Virginia.—Northwestern Virginia.—The BATTLE OF Rich MOUNTAIN.—Carrock's Ford.—The Retreat of the Confederates.-General MoClellan.--Meeting of the Federal Congress.Mr. Lincoln's Message.-Kentucky.Western Virginia.-Large Requisitions for Men and Money by the Federal Government.--Its Financial Condition.-Financial Measures of the Southern Confederacy.Contrast between the Ideas of the Rival Governments.-Conservatism of the Southern Revolution.-Despotic Excesses of the Government at Washington,
NOTHING could exceed the boastful and unlimited expressions of confidence on the part of the Northern people, in the speedy
crushing out of the rebellion," and of contempt for the means and resources of the South to carry on any thing like a formidable war.
In the light of subsequent events, these expressions and vaunts give a grotesque illustration of the ideas with which the Northern people entered upon the war.
The New York people derided the rebellion. The Tribune declared that it was nothing “more or less than the natural recourse of all mean-spirited and defeated tyrannies to rule or ruin, making, of course, a wide distinction between the will and power, for the hanging of traitors is sure to begin before one month is over.” “The nations of Europe,” it continued,
may rest assured that Jeff. Davis & Co. will be swinging from the battlements at Washington, at least; by the 4th of July. We spit upon a later and longer deferred justice."
The New York Times gave its opinion in the following vigorous and confident spirit: “Let us make quick work. The rebellion,' as some people designate it, is an unborn tadpole. Let us not fall into the delusion, noted by Hallam, of mistaking a local commotion for a revolution. A strong active 'pull together' will do our work effectually in thirty days. We have only to send a column of 25,000 men across
the Potomac to Richmond, and burn out the rats there; another column of 25,000 to Cairo, seizing the cotton ports of the Mississippi; and retaining the remaining 25,000, included in Mr. Lincoln's call for 75,000 men, at Washington, not because there is need for them there, but because we do not require their services elsewhere."
The Philadelphia Press declared that “no man of sense could, for a moment, doubt that this much-ado-about-nothing would end in a month.” The Northern people were “simply invincible.” “The rebels,” it prophesied, “a mere band of ragamuffins, will fly, like chaff before the wind, on our approach."
The West was as violent as the North or the East. In the States of Iowa and Wisconsin, among the infidel Dutch, no rein was drawn upon the wild fanaticism. In Illinois, too, there was a fever of morbid violence. The Chicago Tribune insisted on its demand that the West be allowed to fight the battle through, since she was probably the most interested in the suppression of the rebellion and the free navigation of the Mississippi. “Let the East,” demanded this valorous sheet, "get out of the way; this is a war of the West. We can fight the battle, and successfully, within two or three months at the furthest. Illinois can whip the South by herself. We insist on the matter being turned over to us.”
The Cincinnati Commercial, in commenting upon the claims of the West, remarked that “the West ought to be made the vanguard of the war”_and proceeded : “We are akin, by trade and geography, with Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and in sentiment to the noble Union patriots who have a majority of three to one in all these States. An Ohio
would be received with joy in Nashville, and welcomed in a speech of congratulation by Andrew Johnson. Crittenden and Frank Blair are keeping Kentucky and Missouri all right. The rebellion will be crushed out before the assemblage of Congress -no doubt of it.”
Not a paper of influence in the North, at that time, had the remotest idea of the conflict; not a journalist who rose to the emergencies of the occasion--all was passion, rant, and bombast.
In the Northern cities, going to the war for “three months,"
the tern of the enlistment of volunteers, was looked upon almost as a holiday recreation. In New York and Philadelphia, the recruiting offices were besieged by firemen, rowdies, and men fished from the purlieus of vice, and every sink of degradation. There appeared to be no serious realization of the war.
If a man ventured the opinion that a hundred thousand Southern troops might be gathered in Virginia, he was laughed at, or answered with stories about the Adirondack sharpshooters and the New York “roughs.” The newspapers declared that the most terrible and invincible army that ever enacted deeds of war might be gathered from the “roughs” of the Northern cities. Nothing could compete with their desperate courage, and nothing could withstand their furious onslaught. A regiment of firemen and congenial spirits was raised in New York, and put under command of Colonel Ellsworth, of Chicago, a youth, who had some time ago exhibited through the country a company of young men drilled in the manual and exercises of the French Zouaves, who had made himself a favorite with the ladies at the Astor House and Willard's Hotel, by his long hair, gymnastic grace, and red uniform, and who boasted of a great deal of political influence as the pet and protégé of President Lincoln. To the standard of this young man, and also to that of a notorious bully and marauder, by the name of Billy Wilson, flocked all the vagrant and unruly classes of the great and vicious metropolis of New York. The latter boasted, that when his regiment was moved off, it would be found that not a thief, highwayman, or pickpocket would be left in the city. The people of New York and Washington were strangely enraptured with the spectacle of these terrible and ruthless crusaders, who were to strike terror to the hearts of the Southern people. Anecdotes of their rude and desperate disposition, their brutal speeches and their exploits of rowdyism, were told with glee and devoured with unnatural satisfaction. In Washington, people were delighted by anecdotes that Ellsworth's Zouaves made a practice of knocking their officers down; that their usual address to the sentinels was, “Say, fellow, I am agoin' to leave this ranch; that on rainy days they seized umbrellas from citizens on th streets, and knocked them in the gutter if they remonstrated; that, “in the most entire good humor,” they levied contribu