« PreviousContinue »
War, resigned, in consequence of an expression of their want of confidence in him by the members of the Legislature of his own State, Virginia. He was succeeded by John C. Breckinridge, who, as an officer in the field, had hardly attained a standing commensurate with his former position in civil life. The Rebel Congress, about the 25th of January, finally passed a bill providing for a General-in-Chief to command all the “ Confederate" armies. For this post Robert E. Lee was soon after selected. A resolution was also passed by the same body, recommending the restoration of Johnston to the command of the army from which he had been displaced by Davis, and which was now, so far as still in existence, under the command of Hood. In these, and various other ways-especially in the outspoken criticism of the press—dissatisfaction with the management of Davis was manifested. He was, in fact, rapidly losing his hold upon the people, if he had not already become actually odious. It was all the more necessary, therefore, to inake an effort to improve the occasion of this conference as a means of uniting the South in his support. A large meeting of the people was held at Richmond, by which resolutions were adopted, indignantly spurning the terms of peace proffered by Mr. Lincoln; characterising the proffer as a premeditated insult; and renewing their pledges of devotion to the Rebel cause. Davis violently declaimed against “reconstruction;" predicted the triumph of his cause, and assured his hearers, very solemnly, that " with the Confederacy he would live or die.” No condition but the independence of “the Confederacy,” he affirmed, could ever receive his sanction. « Sooner than submit to re-union, he would willingly yield up everything he had on earth, and if it were possible, he would yield up
his life a thousand times, rather than succumb." A Richmond journal proclaimed : “ It is said that Mr. Stephens will return to Georgia and canvass the State for a vigorous prosecution of the war. He stated to a friend that the only hope now left for the people of the South was in strong arms and stout hearts.” In this manner, everywhere within the narrow " Confede
rate” jurisdiction remaining, was the work of firing the slave. holding breast revived.
Davis himself, as his fortunes grew more desperate, became more tyrannical. He meditated reckless schemes, and delegated agents who, in various places, busied themselves with diabolical enterprises. A legion of demons, of whom Blackburn was but the type, was sent forth on “confidential employment”-whose doings were ere long to astonish the world by the depth of their depravity. The arch-traitor conscripted men and boys heretofore exempt, “ robbing the cradle and the grave." He forced the negro into his service. He appropriated, in a way of his own, means and materials for carrying on his nefarious work. When Lee clearly foresaw and foretold the fatal result of further resistance, Davis only grew more sullenly unyielding. In vain did the more sagacious leaders about him strive to awaken a saner reflection that would avert the madness bent on ruining all. His commissioners at Hampton Roads had evidently other wishes than he permitted them to
. He artfully perverted their mission to strengthen himself in his infatuated policy. Defiantly and persistently, he hastened on to the ignoble end of his self-willed career.
The movements of our armies were attended with a series of brilliant successes, prior to the 4th of March, that left the event no longer doubtful. The Congress which terminated with Mr. Lincoln's first Presidential term had well sustained him in his leading measures for suppressing the great insurrection, and had the gratification of knowing, ere its final adjournment, that the good work was substantially accomplished. The more prominent acts of this Congress have been chiefly indicated, while there remain some others which should not be passed unnoticed.
By an act approved on the 21st of December, 1864, the office of Vice-Admiral in the Navy was created, “whose relative rank with officers of the army shall be that of LieutenantGeneral in the army." To this office, the President appointed Admiral D. G. Farragut. An act to prevent military interference in elections in the States, was approved February 25th, 1865. A voluminous act in amendment of the Internal Rev.
enue laws, designed to give greater efficiency to the system, and to produce a larger income, was approved on the 3d of March, 1865. An act of the same date also modifies the tariff laws, with the like object.
Another important measure, resulting from the bill of Mr. Eliot, of Massachusetts, which passed the House of Representatives at the previous session, was the act to establish, in the War Department, a Bureau for the relief of freedmen and refugees, approved March 3d, 1865. This measure, as originally proposed, for the the benefit of freedmen alone, had received the earnest support of President Lincoln, who called the attention of Congress thereto, at the previous session, in the following special message:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
Herewith I lay before you a letter addressed to myself by a committee of gentlemen representing the Freedmen's Aid Societies in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. The subject of the letter, as indicated above, is one of great importance, and one' which these gentlemen, of known ability and high character, seem to have considered with great attention and care. Not having time to form a mature judyment of my own as to whether the plan they suggest is the best, I submit the whole subject to Congress, deeming that their attention thereto is almost imperatively demanded. December 17, 1863.
One important appropriation bill was lost by the dictatorial action of Mr. Davis, of Maryland, who wished to compel Congress to enact into a law the views in regard to “military arrests,” to which he had become an ardent convert. While he thus signalized the close of his career in Congress, by factiously insisting that irrelevant legislation (already rejected) should be linked with the appropriation, or the latter defeated which he was able to accomplish under the rules-none of the more essential operations of the Government were thereby materially hindered.
Just preceding the time of counting the electoral votes, Congress adopted a joint resolution, the preamble of which sets forth that “the inhabitants and local authorities of the States
แ of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennesseo, rebelled against the Government of the United States, and were in such condition on the 8th day of November. 1864—that no valid election for electors of President and VicePresident of the United States, according to the Constitution and laws thereof, was held therein on said day;" and which enacts, therefore, that the aforesaid States shall be excluded from representation at this time in the Electoral College for the choice of President and Vice-President. This resolution was sent to Mr. Lincoln, who gave it his signature on the 8th of February, and returned it with the following special message: To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives :
The joint resolution, entitled “Joint resolution, declaring certain States not entitled to representation in the Electoral College, "'has been signed by the Executive in deference to the view of Congress implied in its passage and presentation to him. In his own view, however, the two Houses of Congress, convened under the twelfth article of the Constitution, have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal; and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct that power by a veto, as would be the case if his action were at all essential in the matter. He disclaims all right of the Executive to interfere in any way in the matter of canvassing or counting electoral votes; and he also disclaims that, by signing said resolution, he has expressed any opinion on the recitals of the preamble, or any judgment of his own upon the subject of the resolution.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 8, 1865.
The close of the session, at noon on the 4th of March, 1865, found the state of the country in marked contrast to that at the beginning of this Presidential. term. Then, unknown storms were pending in the darkened clouds of the future. Now, the storm had mainly expended its fury, and the sunshine of peace—for four years hidden-began once more to appear. During the last three months, the triumphs of our arms-to be noticed in the ensuing chapter-had secured an effective pacification, and the second term of Mr. Lincoln was about to open with joyous omens.
Winter Campaigns of 1864-5.-Movement of Sherman from Atlanta
to Savannah.–Fort McAllister Carried by Assault. Communication Opened with Admiral Dahlgren's Fleet.–Savannah Occupied by Sherman.--Movements of Hood and Beauregard.--Campaign in Tennessee.-Battle of Franklin.-The Armies Before Nasbville... Raid of Stoneman and Burbridge.- Battle of Nashville.Defeat and Rout of Hood's Army.--Movements Against Wilmington.Failure of the First Attack on Fort Fisber.-Suocess of the Second Expedition.--Fort Fisher Captured by Terry and Porter.—Movements of the Army Before Petersburg.--Sherman's Campaign in the Carolinas ---Capture of Charleston and Wilmington.-Advance of Schofield and Terry on Goldsboro-Battles of Averysboro and Bentonville.-Occupation of Goldsboro and Union of the Three Armies in North Carolina.--Movements in Virginia.--Conference at City Point.
HAVING swept the army of Hood from the Atlanta and Chattanooga road into the wilds of North-eastern Alabama, Gen. Sherman made energetic preparations for a new campaign. The climate of Georgia permitted winter operations with little interruption, and no time was to be lost in following up the decided advantage everywhere gained. Gen. Thomas was left with an ample force in Tennessee to look after Hood, while the remainder of the army set forward on its “march to the sea.” On the 12th of November, Gen. Sherman left Kingston, where his headquarters had been since his return from the pursuit of the enemy northward, and advanced to Atlanta. He had already caused the inhabitants of this place to remove-an act of some severity, which he justified as necessary to the execution of his military purposes. The depots and public property in the city were now destroyed, as well as the railroad between Atlanta and Kingston, and trains of supplies were in readiness for a long march-abandoning his base, to seek a new one on the Atlantic coast. This launching of a “movable column.'