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the monument erected to commemorate his heroic virtues, and those of his compatriots, we have assembled to usher into existence the permanent government of the Confederate States. Through this instrumentality, under the favor of Divine Providence, we hope to perpetuate the principles of our revolutionary fathers. The day, the memory, and the purpose seem fitly associated When a
long course of class legislation, directed not to the general welfare, but to the aggrandizement of the northern section of the Union, culminated in a warfare on the domestic institutions of the southern states—when the dogmas of a sectional party, substituted for the provisions of the constitutional compact, threatened to destroy the sovereign rights of the states, six of those states, withdrawing from the Union, confederated together, to exercise the right and perform the duty of instituting a government which would better secure the liberties for the preservation of which that Union was established. Whatever of hope some may have entertained, that a returning sense of justice would remove the danger with which our rights were threatened, and render it possible to preserve the Union of the Constitution, must have been dispelled by the malignity and barbarity of the northern states in the prosecution of the existing war.
u Although the tide for the moment is against us, the final result in our favor is not doubtful. The period is near at hand when our foes must sink under the immense load of debt which they have incurred; a debt which, in their effort
to subjugate us, has already attained such fearful dimensions as will subject them to burthens which must continue to oppress them for generations to come.
"Never has a people evinced a more determined spirit than that now animating men, women, and children in every part of our country. Upon the first call men fly to arms; and wives and mothers send their husbands and sons to battle without a murmur of regret.
"We are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our fathers made to the holy cause of constitutional liberty. At the darkest hour of our struggle the provisional gives place to the permanent government. After a series of successes and victories, which covered our arms with glory, we have recently met with serious disasters. But, in the heart of a people resolved to be free, these disasters tend but to stimulate to increased resistance."
In his message to the Confederate Congress (see p. 100), Davis admitted that "events have demonstrated that the government had attempted more than it had power successfully to achieve. Hence, in the effort to protect, by our arms, the whole territory of the Confederate States, seaboard and inland, We have been so exposed as recently to encounter serious disasters." His allusion was to the losses of Fort Donelson, Roanoke Island, etc.; but, not deeming it possible "that anything so insane as a persistent attempt to subjugate these states could be made," he did not disguise the strong probability, "that the war will be continued through a series of years." Without undertak
DAVIS'S INAUGURAL AND MESSAGE.
ing to present "an accurate statement" of the confederate military strength, he said that it was some 400 regiments of infantry, with a proportionate force of cavalry and artillery, making in all about half a million of men. In regard to finances, Davis spoke in highly congratulatory terms, asserting that the expenditure for the past year was only $170,000,000, and that the enemy had wasted three times as much in vainly striving to conquer the confederacy.
With such sentiments as these, making such representations as the above, and well understanding that the struggle was no light one in which he was engaged, Davis tried to sustain his own hopes and to infuse additional life and
activity into the "Confederacy." It was now a matter of life or death. It was evident that the loyal states were resolutely determined to crush the rebellion at any cost; and that Davis and those who worked with him were equally determined not to submit, so long as they were able io make any resistance whatsoever. Terrible alternative! There was no help for it; the battle had to be fought out, even to the bitter end; and the awful responsibility for shedding of blood, for carnage, cruelty, suffering, distress, and the thousand evils attendant upon war, must rest upon the men who, without any just or reasonable cause, began the rebellion of 1861, and persevered in it for four weary, desolating years.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN VIRGINIA: THE MERRIMAC AND THE MONITOR.
Genera. McClellan's preparations—Delays — War order for the campaign — McClellan's plan—Army corps ordered — Jackson's attack on our troops at Hancock— Lander's success — CoL Geary's march—Winchester evacuated — Rebels fall back — Manassas abandoned — Our troops occupy it — Public feeling — McClellan relieved of command-inc-hief — New departments formed — McClellan's address to the troops — Advance by way of Fortress Monroe determined on — Importance of,the contest between the Merrimac and the Monitor — The arming of the Merrimac—Inactivity of the navy department — Merrimac's attack on our ships — Success—Fearful blow of the ram—The Cumberland sunk, colors flying—The Congress surrenders — Set on fire and blown up — The Minnesota not attacked that day — Gloomy Saturday night — The Monitor arrives — Peculiarity of build, etc. — Reappearance of the Merrimac, Sunday morning — The Monitor meets her — The encounter — The victory — Gen. Shields's success over Jackson at Winchester — Troops embarked for the Peninsula — McClellan's expectations as to his force — Disappointment — His plan in general — Movements—McDowell's corps detached — McClellan's views — Question as to number of the troops —Siege of Yorktown — President's letter to McClellan — Gen. W. F. Smith's exploit — Fredericksburg taken — New Market also— Rebels determine to evacuate Yorktown, and retire in safety.
Gen. Mcclellan, in following the plans which he had adopted in regard to often-ive operations in Virginia, was
engaged, as we have seen (page 92-3), in making vast and extensive preparations for a campaign early in 1862.
Estimating the rebel forces at 150,000, I and supposing them to be well discipI lined and thoroughly entrenched and supplied with artillery (see p. 94), McClellau was unwilling to advance upon Manassas during the early part of the winter, notwithstanding severe censure was cast upon him for delay and inI explicable tardiness. The president did not pretend to know much, if anything, about military science, and the secretary of war, though bred to the law and full of zeal and spirit, was not probably better able to judge than Mr. Lincoln of the reasons which weighed so strongly with the general-in-chief against what he considered to be prej mature, unprepared action.
Although the roads previously had been good, yet towards the close of December, 1861, they became unfavorable, and grew more and more so as the season advanced. Early in February, McClellan, affirming that he could "fix no definite time for an advance," declared that "the roads have gone from bad to worse; nothing like their present condition was ever known here before; they are impassable at present." About the middle of January, McClellan recovered from a severe illness, and soon learned how anxious the government was for an immediate movement. The general-inchief wished to attack Richmond by the Lower Chesapeake; which, however, Mr. Lincoln did not approve, and issued a special war order, January 31st, directing that a point on the railroad southwest of Manassas Junction be seized and occupied, the troops to move on or before February 2 2d. Vol. rv.—17.
The president put various queries to McClellan in regard to the comparative values of the two plans, his and McClellan's; to which the general-in-chief answered in a lengthy paper, February 3d, given in his Report, urging strongly that the base of operations by the Lower Chesapeake " afforded the shortest possible route to Richmond, and struck directly at the heart of the enemy's power in the east." A majority of the general officers, who met at McClellan's headquarters, approved of his plans to move by the Chesapeake and Rappahannock, ascending to Urbana on the Rappahannock, and thence crossing to Richmond, between forty and fifty miles westwardly.
Mr. Lincoln, at one time convinced by interviews with McClellan that the plans of the latter were the best, at another quite confident that his own and his secretary's were preferable, hesitated in his action, and seemed to assent with reluctance to any of the propositions of the general-in-chief. On the 8th of March, the president issued his "General War Order No. 2 ;" by which it was directed that the Army of the Potomac be organized into four army corps. The first, consisting of four divisions, was assigned to Gen. McDowell ; the second, consisting of three divisions, to Gen. Sumner; the third and the fourth, consisting each of three divisions, to Gens. Heintzelman and Keyes. Gen. Wadsworth was placed in command of the troops for the defence of Washington ; and a fifth army corps, consisting of two divisions, was assigned to Gen. Banks* On the same
* Gen. McClellan complains, in his Report, that this day, a third war order was issued, requiring that no operations be entered upon without leaving Washington entirely secure, and without clearing the navigation of the Potomac from the enemy's batteries and other obstructions. The mo vement xipon the Chesapeake, as McClellan wished, was also ordered to move, as early as the 18th of March, or earlier, if possible.
Meanwhile, events, some of them of great importance, had occurred at various points in Virginia, since the beginning of the war. These may properly here be noted, as having, to a considerable extent, modified Gen. McClellan's plan of the campaign.
Early in January, the rebel Gen. Jackson, who had been purposing for some time to move from Winchester to the northwest, left that place, and advanced towards Hancock, some forty miles distant. Arriving at Bath, through a pitiless storm of snow and hail, he drove out four companies of our troops, who retreated to Hancock, across the Potomac, and made a stand on receiving reinforcements there. Jackson followed and demanded the surrender of the town; but Gen. Lander, who was in command, refused peremptorily. Firing across the river was tried by both parties, but to little purpose. Jackson moved westwardly, and Lander made his preparations to cross into Virginia soon after. Colonel
order was issued hastily, without consultation at all with him. He affirms that he had always been in favor of the principle of organization into army corps, but he did not think that the time had come as yet for this. "These views had been frequently expressed by mo to the president and members of the cabinet; it was therefore with as much regret as surprise that I learned the existence of this order."
Dunning, at Romney, made an attack on the enemy stationed at Blue's Gap, a j strong position, sixteen miles distant, i on the road to Winchester, and routed! them completely. Lander joined Kelly I at Cumberland, and went thence to i j Romney; but finding that Jackson had j I nearly surrounded him with a large J i force, he marched all night to Spring- j | field. Jackson did not follow him, but |1 retired to Winchester. Subsequently, [! Moorfield was captured; and by a spirit- \ ed dash upon the rebel position at Bloomery Gap, Lander took the enemy completely by surprise, several officers and men, in all seventy-five, being made prisoners. On the 11th of February, I j Lander telegraphed to McClellan that the district was cleared of the enemy. 11 The war department (February 17th) 1I acknowledged the activity and valuable services of Gen. Lander; but he was i compelled to resign on account of ill j i health, and died on the 2d of March.
On the 24th of February, Colonel Geary (of Banks's command,) crossed 1 the Potomac, and took possession of Harper's Ferry, which, half-burned aud I, plundered by the rebels, was mostly I deserted by its inhabitants. The j heights being secured, a strong force oc- j i cupied Charlestown on the 28th, on the | advance to Winchester. Martinsburg, j ( an important town on the Baltimore; and Ohio Railroad, was occupied on' the 3d of March, and Smithfield on the j 6th. The enemy, in the direction of I' Winchester, were evidently falling | [ back ; and it was expected that a stand J would be made at that place by Jack- ', son. Geary, meanwhile, advanced with j his force and occupied Lovettsville, and I