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152

MR. LINCOLN'S PLAN

States, binding them to “abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court;" also “all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court.” The exceptions comprised amongst others, “ all who have engaged in any way in treating coloured persons, or white persons in charge of such,” being in the service of the United States, “ otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war,”-the Confederate authorities having proclaimed that all coloured soldiers of the United States, or their officers, were to receive no quarter. Mr. Lincoln then provided that any number of persons, not less than onetenth in number of the votes cast in the ten States of the original secession in 1860, having taken and kept the oath of loyalty, and being qualified voters under their respective State laws

OF RECONSTRUCTION.

153

before secession, might re-establish a State Government in conformity with the oath ; adding that any provision to be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State, which should “recognise and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education,” and might “ yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a labouring, landless, and homeless class,” would not be objected to by the National Executive.”

Among the measures of Congress passed this session, I will only mention the establishment of a “ Bureau of Freedmen's Affairs," to determine all questions relating to the coloured people, and regulate their employment and proper treatment. A proposed amendment of the constitution abolishing slavery absolutely was adopted by the Senate, and by a majority of the House of Representatives, but did not obtain in the latter the two-thirds vote required by the Constitution.

The military operations of the early part of

154

BANKS'S REVERSE ON THE RED RIVER.

1864 were unsuccessful or unimportant. An expedition into the heart of Florida, one of the main sources of supply to the Confederates, led to the Federal defeat of Olustee (20th February, 1864). Sherman marched Eastward from Vicksburg (3rd February), and reached Meridian, almost on the border of Alabama; but a cavalry force from Memphis having failed to join him, he retreated. A dashing cavalry raid by General Kilpatrick, in the rear of Lee's army, led the Federals through the outer line of the fortifications of Richmond, and up to the second line, two and a half miles from the city (1st March, 1864); but part of the force under Colonel Dahlgren was defeated and captured, himself killed, and the rest withdrew, having thus failed in the attempt to surprise Richmond or deliver the Federal prisoners (whose maltreatment by the Confederate authorities had created deep indignation throughout the North). Lastly, a serious disaster befel the Federals in the West, on an advance up the valley of the Red River, one of the great westerly affluents of the Mis

THE FORT PILLOW MASSACRE.

155

sissippi (March); General Banks being completely defeated by General Kirby Smith, and having to fall back with a loss of 16,000 men, whilst a flotilla of gunboats was only saved by engineering ingenuity. Banks was speedily relieved of his command. Lastly, Fort Pillow on the Mississippi was captured by Forrest's Confederates, and a frightful massacre of the Federal soldiers (chiefly coloured) perpetrated after their surrender (12th April); and a few days later the capture by the Confederates of Plymouth (North Carolina), was followed by a similar massacre on a smaller scale (April 20th). Still, most of these movements had for effect to cut

up

Confederate railway lines, destroy their supplies, and show the Federal flag and uniform in quarters where they had not been seen since the secession. Kilpatrick's raid in particular (coupled with a wonderful 500 miles' ride during the previous year of Colonel Grierson and his men, from Memphis to New Orleans, through a tract of country still almost entirely in Confederate hands), helped to raise the confidence of the Federal cavalry, at first

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156

MR. LINCOLN'S REPLY TO

greatly outshone by the Confederate, under its dashing leader, J. E. B. (familiarly called Jeb) Stuart.

Among the public utterances of the President at this period, may be noted his reply (21st March, 1864) to an address from the “Working Men's Association of New York,” requesting permission to enrol him an honorary member of the association. The association, he said, comprehended “that the existing rebellion means more and tends to do more than the perpetuation of African slavery--that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people.

“ None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudices, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer, was the hanging of some working people by some other working people. It should never be

The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people of all nations, and

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