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On this subject the north was

as you let the cause remain. much divided, and it was plain it would cause the President more trouble and vexation than all other things put together. What should be his line of policy under the circumstances, was a most serious and perplexing question, and one which would become more embarrassing at every step of the progress of the war. He would be between the upper and nether millstones, and vast and untold evils lay dimly shadowed in the future. He was, however, steadily rising in the confidence of all classes, exhibiting grander proportions of character than even his warmest admirers had ever claimed for him; but how long he would be able to hold a steady helm in the turbulent sea through which the vessel of state was dashing, no one knew. Events were crowding fearful responsibilities upon his shoulders, and it seemed more than likely before another year came round, on him alone would turn the destiny of the nation.

The Union border men trembled for their own states, as they saw the tendency of things, and tried in various ways to prevent the evil they feared. The most extraordinary proposition made, perhaps, was one by Mr. Saulsbury, senator from Delaware, in the latter part of this month: that a certain number of commissioners should be appointed, among them Messrs. Fillmore and Everett, to meet a similar number from the south, for the purpose of agreeing on some basis of settlement by which the divided states could come together once more in peace. But the question, "Shall there be war or not?" had long since passed, the momentous one now was; on what principles shall it be conducted? and to what end shall it be pushed? The abolitionists and one wing of the republican party demanded that universal freedom should keep pace with the army, while the more conservative insisted that the war should look only to the restoration of the states to their old status. One

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declared that rebellion cancelled all the obligations enforced by the original compact, and the other replied that a war waged on this basis would be a war of conquest, and could end only in ruin to the Republic. The former asserted that the rebellion could be crushed in no other way except by the destruction of slavery,-the latter said that neither Congress nor the President had any more right or power, except tyrannical, to abolish slavery in the states than slavery in India; and if they had, sudden emancipation would as effectually destroy the states, as a part of the Federal Union, as though they were physically cut off.

These opposing views necessarily more or less distracted the administration, and threatened a serious division in the north. The President was troubled, and felt that the people were making a grievous mistake in quarreling over the question of slavery, while the whole thought and energy of the country should be given to the defeat of the rebel armies in the field. Fortunately for the nation, he was not swayed by any fanciful theories, but took a practical view of the subject, and endeavored so to shape his policy as not to distract the country, but unite it. In this he showed a remarkable penetration, and a capacity and force of character that elevated him still more in the estimation of the people. He wished to crush the rebel armies first and dispose of the question of slavery afterwards, but some of his friends seemed determined that he should make an effort to settle this first, and take the chances of its effect on the rebellion.


JANUARY, 1862.




HE new year opened with comparative quiet around Washington, and indeed all along the great line of defense that crossed half the continent. Even at Richmond, the rebel capital, more than usual gaiety prevailed; but far off, on the southern coast, the thunder of cannon heralded it in with ceremonies more becoming the terrible scenes of carnage that were to mark its passage.


On new year's morning, a small rebel steamer was observed from fort Pickens, making her way towards Pensacola navy yard, waving a secession flag in a defiant manner. As she drew near the fort, it opened a fire on her, sending the shot and shell so thickly around her that she beat a hasty retreat. The rebel batteries on shore immediately replied, and a terrific artillery fight commenced which lasted all day. Both sides had been so long occupied in obtaining the accurate range of each other, that the firing was characterized by great precision. Shells fell like hail stones within the fort, and thundered incessantly on its massive walls, while its own heavy guns hurled a terrible storm of iron on the opposing batteries.



The sun went down on the fight and darkness fell over land and water, yet the heavy cannonading was kept up. The fort, however, confined itself chiefly to its thirteen-inch mortars, but the enemy kept all its batteries in full play. As night deepened, the scene became indescribably grand. Every shell could be traced in its course by its burning fuse, till it burst in flame on the shore. The screaming missiles crossed each other in their flight, weaving a strange tracery in the gloom, and lighting up as by incessant flashes of lightning, that dark structure and the resounding shores and distant shipping. During the night the navy yard was set on fire by our shells, and burst into fierce conflagration, casting a lurid glare on the heavens, and shedding a strange, weird light on island, stream, and forest. Its reflection was seen forty miles at sea. The heavy thunder, however, gradually died away, and when the dull gray light of morning broke over the desolate scene, the useless bombardment ceased. But little damage was done on either side, and if there had been, no important result would have been gained, for neither was in a condition to take advantage of any success it might achieve. Bragg, commanding the rebels, if he had effected a breach, would not have dared to storm the works, while Brown, commanding the fort, even if he had dismounted every battery, had no force with which to seize and hold the place.

On this same new year's morning, a combined attack of the land and naval forces at Port Royal, was made on the enemy who had concentrated in large numbers in the vicinity, with the intention of driving our army out of Beaufort. Rodgers commanded the naval force, which was to protect the debarkation of a part of the troops under Steven's, at Haywood's landing, and to cover the route of the column to Adams' plantation, and then protect the landing of the rest. The rebels were driven from their battery, at



Port Royal ferry, and our troops took possession of it. The former made a feeble resistance, and our total loss out of a force of some three thousand men, was only ten or twelve killed and wounded. The movement was well planned and skilfully carried out. The enemy's works were destroyed, themselves driven five miles into the interior, and the navigation of Broad and Coosaw rivers which it was their intention to close, permanently opened to our transports and gun boats. The night before new year's, an expedition, composed of seven hundred men and thirty-eight cavalry, all under command of Major Webster, was sent by Milroy, in Western Virginia, to destroy a quantity of rebel stores known to be accumulated at Huntersville, in Pocahontas county, about forty miles from Staunton. New year's morning was freezing cold, and the wintry wind from the snow-clad mountains swept in fierce gusts across the open valley where the detachment had encamped. The bugle that summoned them to the march at daylight, had any thing but a cheerful sound in the howling blast, but the men left their blazing fires with alacrity, and marched twelve miles to the foot of Elk mountain, and encamped in a pine grove whose dark arcades were soon all aglow with the roaring camp fires. Here they found the road so blockaded by fallen trees, that they were compelled to leave behind their ambulances and wagons, and take a mountain trail which led to the summit. Keeping on their way, they at length came in sight of the enemy at a bridge over Green Brier river, about six miles from Huntersville. The rebels retreated, and the detachment followed in pursuit till it came within two miles of the town, when it again encountered them. A skirmish followed, and the rebels again fell back, while the cheers and shouts that followed them made the mountains ring. At length their cavalry drew up in imposing force on a level plain as if about to charge, but as the excited little band dashed toward them

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