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| tive slave law of 1850. The committee of investigation was engaged in looking after disloyal persons employed as
I clerks, etc., in public offices. Further debates were had early in the new year. in favor of conducting the war so as to destroy slavery, root and branch; a course which the majority were much disposed to pursue in regard to the question at issue.
In the Senate, Dec. 4th, Mr. Saulsbury, of Maryland, made a motion to appoint commissioners to meet gentlemen who might be named by the confederate authorities, so as to adjust existing difficulties peaceably, without fighting; but it was laid on the table; the day had passed for any such mode of settlement. The next day, Mr. Trumbull introduced a bill "for the connsca
| ( tion of the property of rebels, and giving freedom to the persons they held in slavery;" it was referred to the committee on the judiciary. A resolution was offered, Dec. 16th, to inquire into arrests made by the government, the habeas corpus being suspended; this was also referred to the committee on the judiciary. Papers, certifying that Mr. B. F. Stark of Oregon, was appointed to take the place vacated by the death of Col. Baker, were presented and read, Jan. 6th, 1862; objections were made by several senators on the ground of Mr. Stark's disloyalty; he was, however, permitted to take his seat for
the balance of the present session.*
* The Senate took measures, early in the session, to purifv that body by removing several unworthy occupants. J. C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, was expelled, Dec. 4th, 18C1; W. P. Johnston and Trusten Polk, of Missouri, were expelled, Jan. 10th, 1862; and J. D. Bright, of Indiana, was expelled, Feb. 6th, 1862. VOL. IV.—14.
Deferring for the present the further consideration of the proceedings of Congress, it may be well to take a brief review of the state and condition of affairs at the close of the year 1861. Such a review is not only interesting in itself considered, but, if duly weighed, will prove instructive in a high degree. The people of the loyal states, for the most part, entertained confident expectations in regard to the active, energetic and successful prosecution of the war for the Union. In general, excepting the few serious reverses at Bull Bun, Ball's Bluff, etc., our military success was decidedly encouraging; and the brilliant exploits of the navy cheered and animated all hearts. Western Virginia was almost wholly in our hands. The prospects in the West were growing brighter. The people at large were ready and willing to any extent to furnish means, as well as men, for putting down effectually this vficicu rebellion; and there was such self-reliant strength in the Union, that no resort was had to foreign aid in taking our national loans, or in finding recruits for the army and navy. The army was steadily on the increase; discipline was becoming more and more complete; and our men were growing stronger, day by day, and better fitted for the work before them. Gen. McClellan was engaged in making preparations on a scale of magnitude which showed that he meant to sweep everything out of his path, when he deemed it best to set the Army of the Potomac in motion.
The drawback m McClellan's case seemed to be, and it provoked abundant criticism, that he was waiting quite too long before making a forward movement, and that something ought to be done during the autumn ot winter; and it was charged that the re :>els, who had proved themselves most skilful in deceiving our generals and other officers in regard to their numbers, had imposed on McClellan also, making him believe that they had from 120,000 to 150,000 in East Virginia, while Gen. Wadsworth affirmed confidently, from information gained from "contrabands" and deserters, that 60,000 was the highest number they ever had encamped in front of the Army of the Potomac (see p. 94). The autumn passed away with its fine weather; the winter settled down, and "all quiet on the Potomac" was the regular response to inquiry as to our grand army and its doings.* The army was waiting at the end of the year, exposed in tents to winter's discomforts and severe trials; yet it was waiting in hope of soon being called on to move for its appointed work.
ACTION IN .CONGRESS.
One question had proved perplexing and annoying in the early part of the rebellion, we mean that relating to prisoners and what to do with them. Naturally, the government was reluctant to admit, even in appearance, any belligerent right as due to the rebels by exchanging prisoners with them; yet, under the circumstances, there was no help for it, and the government can hardly be said to have acted wisely in
• Mr. Swinton points out clearly and forcibly tho mistake of Gen. McClellan in delaying his movements, and giving so little satisfaction to the universal call for activity and energy against tho rebels. Seo "Army qfthe Potomac" Ot. 68-74.
the course which was pursued. It would not do to hang or shoot those taken on land or sea, because there were so many of our men in the hands of the rebels after the battle of Bull Run, that they could, as no doubt they would, have retaliated to the fullest extent. The government, on its part, seemed disposed to ignore the matter, leaving exchange to be agreed upon and conducted by the commanders and officers as they deemed best. Quite a number were discharged informally on both sides, on parole. Early in September, Colonel Wallace exchanged some prisoners with Gen. Polk. A month later, this rebel general proposed to Gen. Grant to exchange prisoners with him on the same basis. Grant replied that he was not authorized to do anything of the kind, as he neither knew nor recognized any such thing as a "Southern Confederacy." Three prisoners were sent by Gen. McClernard from Cairo to Columbus; Polk sent back sixteen to McClernard. On the 8th of November, after the battle of Belmont, Grant and Polk had further correspondence on this subject, but without any additional result as to settling the point. Gen. Fremont (as noted, p. 88) established, November 1st, an agreement with Price in regard to exchanges; but it was repudiated by Gen. Hunter. At the close of the year, and early in the new year, in compliance with public opinion and action in Congress, the secretary of war, Mr. Stanton, appointed two commissioners to proceed to the confederate states and inquire into the condition of Union prisoners there; 107
AFFAIRS AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.
but they were refused admission into Richmond; and the subject remained, at the end of 1861, unsettled as before, so far as any clear, defined principles were concerned.*
Our foreign policy was ably conducted, and we stood, at this date, in such relation to the principal powers of Europe that there was little or no danger of direct intervention in our affairs on their part. The giving up of Mason and Slidell, and the settling the Trent difficulty on terms acceptable to England, showed the good sense as well as statesmanship of our government; and the secretary of state made '■ it so plain, that there was no misunderstanding it, viz., that the rebellion was purely a domestic matter, and that no outside interference would be permitted for a moment.
As for the rebels, they were only too glad to maintain the appearance of a sort of siege of Washington, and to give the impression of their great and powerful numbers, and of the immense risk to be run in attacking them. They had not yet enforced a general conscription, as was soon after found necessary in
* We may mention here, as most convenient for the leader, that the rebel authorities were desirous to arrange some terms for a general exchange of prisoners. Two persons were sent to Norfolk, and an agreement was entered into with our commissioners for an equal exchange. Gen. Wool, at Fortress Monroe, Feb. 14th, 1862, informed Gen. Huger at Norfolk, that he was charged with full authority to settle upon terms of proposed exchange. Our government agreed to regard privateersmen as prisoners of war. Howell Cobb met Gen. Wool and terms were arranged. Exchange went on for a while j but March 18th, Davis charged the U. S. government with " infamous and reckless breach of good faith," with regard to the privateersmen, and the prisoners taken at Fort Donelson. So 'far as appears, our goverament carried out its agreement hon irably and fairly; it released 3,000 on parole,
the rebel states; and though they helped along volunteering in a rather forcible way oftentimes, still they were in reality weaker than was supposed, and were growing weaker, while our armies were improving and becoming stronger. They were but poorly supplied with various needful articles, and the blockade, much as it was abused on the score of inefficiency, cut them off from obtaining aught but casual and unreliable help from abroad.
Two causes, according to Pollard, conspired to reduce the southern cause to a critical condition of apathy: viz., "the overweening confidence of the South in the superior valor of its people, induced by the unfortunate victory of Manassas (or Bull Run), and the vain delusion, continued from month to month, that European interference was certain, and that peace was near at hand." No gun boats, we are told, were built for interior navigation and service; the privateers proved almost a failure, and did not, as was predicted, cut up or destroy the commerce of the United States; no naval preparations were made, though they had the best
taken at Roanoke Island, but refused to do the same with the Fort Donelson prisoners. Much disputing took place, and ill feeling in abundance, with crimination and recrimination, %vas manifested In the latter part of July, Gen. Dix and Gen. D. H. Hill arranged an agreement for exchange, based on the cartel of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain. Exchanges again commenced, and were carried forward for some time; but new troubles arose, and fierce threats of retaliation were made by Davis, outlawing Gens. Hunter and Pope, and all officers concerned in helping to arm the negroes. The whole subject was complicated and perplexing; and all through the war there was much of annoyance and trouble with regard to prisoners. For a fuller account of this subject, with documents, see Appleton's "American Annual Cyilopodia" for 1862, pp. 710-716.
navy yard on the continent; "King Cotton" was little tetter than a sham, and did not, as it was confidently said it would, "bring Europe to its knees;" and the political measures of the South amounted to almost nothing. "They are justly described as weak and halting responses to the really vigorous acts of the northern government, in its heartless but strong and effective prosecution of the war. While the Washington government protected itself against disaffected persons and spies by a system of military police, extending over the whole North, the provisional Congress at Richmond was satisfied to pass a law for the deportation of'alien enemies,' the execution of which afforded facilities to the egress of innumerable spies. The Washington government had passed a law for the confiscation of the property of rebels. The Congress at Richmond replied, after a weak hesitation, by a law sequestrating the property of alien enemies in the South. The Washington government was actually collecting an army of half a million of men. The Richmond Congress replied to the threat of numbers, by increasing its army, on paper, to four hundred thousand men; and the Confederate government, in the midst of a revolution that threatened its existence, continued to rely on the wretched shift of twelve months' volunteers and raw militia, with a population that, by the operation of conscription, could have been
embodied and drilled into an invincible army, competent not only to oppose m vasion at every point of our frontier, but to conquer peace in the dominions of the enemy."
Bitter complaint also is made by Pollard, as to "the policy of monotonous defence," and the leaving the Union army to arrange and perfect its plans without hindrance. Added to all this, he notes various abuses and defects existing in the management of southern affairs; and altogether gives a discouraging view of the prospects of the socalled "Confederate States of America."
The result of our review, brief as it is, seems to be this much at least,—that the position of the government and people was such as to lead to cheering hope and expectation* that the war would speedily be brought to a close, especially as Gen. McClellan said, more than once, that when he did strike, he meant to strike at "the heart," and crush the rebellion entirely thereby. How it happened that these bright forecastings of the future were doomed to disappointment, and the rebellion was able to drag out a lengthened existence, will be made plain to the reader who watches the progress of events, as detailed in subsequent pages of our history.
* The financial condition of the government, it must be noted, however, was not sa isfactory. More or less distrust prevailed as to pul'ic credit; and on the last day of the year 1861, tin banks suspended specia payments.
OPERATIONS IN THE WEST: MILL SPRINGS, FORTS HENRY AND D0NELS0N, ETC.
Gen. Buell in Kentucky — Johnston, the rebel commander, and his plans — Affair at Munfordsville—Gurfiol: pursues Marshall and routs his forces near Prestonburg — Zollicoffer and Crittenden at Mill Springs — Gen Thomas advances — Defeat of the rebels — Value of this victory — The iron-clad gun boats on the Missistipp
— Mortar boats — Commodore Foote in command — President's general war order — Footo and Grunt ad vance against Fort Henry — Bombardment and capture by the gun boats — Lieut. Phelps' expedition up the Tennessee—Union sentiments — Fort Donelson — Its strength and importance — Pillow in command — The fort invested by Grant — Severity of the weather—Attack by the gun boats unsuccessful — Rebels attempt to cut their way out — Length and severity of the battle — Floyd and Pillow' decamp — Buckner surrenders to Grant — Large number of prisoners — Chagrin of Davis and company — Bowling Green evacuated — Commodore Foote ascends the Cumberland — Nashville taken possession of—Panic of the inhabitants
— Andrew Johnson military governor — His course — Columbus abandoned by the rebels — Gen. Halleck's order — Alarm in the South, and extreme measures — Gen. Curtis in Missouri — Price retreats from Spring field — Pursued into Arkansas — Poisoned food — Gen. Curtis's address to the people of tho South-west — Price reinforced largely — Amount of force on each side — The enemy begin the attack — Three days' battle
— Defeat of the rebels — Employment of Indians by the rebels — Southern view of the result of tho battle of Pea Ridge, or Elk Horn.
The year 1862 opened with various encouraging evidences of activity and energy, in the West especially. The forces under McClellan were maintaining their position undisturbed, and continued to do so for some time after the year began; but, in Kentucky, our army was more actively employed. Gen. Buell, an able and energetic officer, was in command in this department, having succeeded Gen. W. T. Sherman, in Nov., 1861. The rebels were commanded by Gen. A. S. Johnston, formerly an officer in the United States army. He, having got together bodies of troops from various quarters, strengthened Bowling Green—a point of great importance in Kentucky—by Hardee's division, from South-eastern
Missouri. Polk also received additions to his force, which was already large; while Zollicoffer (see p. 39), having secured the pass at Cumberland Gap, was taking up an important position in the midst of the rich mineral and agricultural district on the upper waters of the Cumberland. Johnston, in the latter part of December, issued a proclamation to the people of South-eastern Kentucky, in which, with considerable flourish of rhetoric, he declared that he was come to repel "those armed northern hordes who were attempting the subjugation of a sister southern state." He asserted, also, though he himself knew that it was a slander, that the avowed object of the North was to eet the slaves at liberty, and to put arms in