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where the loyal sentiment largely prevailed, mass meetings were held at once, and a convention of nearly SOU delegates assembled early in May, declared the secession ordinance null and void, and recommended that, in case the ordinance should be ratified by the popular vote, on the 28th of May, au election of delegates be made on the 4th if June, from all the counties of Virginia, to meet in general convention, and provide, as might seem best, for the rights and welfare of the people. At the election in May, Virginia seceded, and the convention, as recommended, met at Wheeling, on the 11th of June.
The ground assumed at this convention was, that the various offices of the state government were vacated, in consequence of those who held them having joined the rebellion. Steps were accordingly taken to fill these offices and re-organize the government of the entire state, which was done as speedily as possible. On the 20th of August, 1801, the convention passed an ordinance to "provide for the formation of a new state out of a portion of the territory of this state." In accordance with its provisions, delegates were elected to a constitutional convention, which met at Wheeling, November 26th, and proceeded to draft a constitution for the state of West Virginia, which was submitted to the people of West Virginia, ou the 3rd of April, 1862. The vote in its favor was 18,862, against 514.
Governor Pierpout, appointed by the convention of June, 1861, issued a proclamation convening an extra ses
sion of the legislature, which had beeD' organized under the same authority which filled the state offices, and which met on the 6th of May, 1862. An act was passed, giving the consent of the legislature to the formation of a new state within the state of Virginia, and making application to Congress for its admission into the Union. When the j j matter came up in Congress, the ad mis- \ sion was opposed by several members of the republican party, as well as others; but, on the 14th of July, the Senate passed the bill for admission by a vote of 23 to 17, and the House passed the same at the opening of the next session, December 10th, by a vote of 96 to 57. The president's approval i was given on the last day of the year 1862.
The act of Congress just referred to, j recited the proceedings of the popular convention at Wheeling, November, JI 1861, their ratification by the people at , a general election in the following May, and the concurrent action of the recognized legislature of Virginia. Until ■ [ the next general census, West Virginia was declared to be entitled to three members in the House of Representa- ;i fives. The people within its limits, i .desirous of freeing the state from slavery and its incumbrance, was allowed to incorporate provisions to that effect in the constitution, when ratified by a popular vote; whereupon the president was to issue his proclamation stating , [ the fact, and upon the expiration of sixty days thereafter, the admission of! the state was to be complete.
These conditions having heen complied with, the president, on the 20th.!; Ch. XXVI.]
of April, 1863, issued his proclamation accordingly; and on the 20th of the following June, Arthur J. Boreman, who had been elected Gov. Pierpont's successor, was duly inaugurated at Wheeling. The new governor, in addressing the Senate and House of Delegates, expressed his determination to do all in his power to sustain the government and suppress the rebellion.
The territory of the new state included forty-eight counties, irregularly bounded by the Ohio on the west, and by a zigzag line on the east, following the chain of the Alleghanies, from Kentucky to the Potomac, in the vicinity of Williamsport. The white population, in 1860, was about 335,000~ the number of slaves about 13,000. In agricultural and mineral resources, and the facility of river communication, West Virginia promised the most inviting rewards to her citizens, and there was and is every reason to expect that, in due time, she will assume a prominent place among her sister states.
The position in which the leaders in the rebellion had involved themselves and their followers, during the year just past, was anything but comfortable or satisfactory, and offered but little encouragement for the future. The Masons, Slidells, Yanceys, etc., had failed utterly in obtaining recognition abroad, or any promise looking in that direction; the blockade, though not perfect, was maintained with a vigor and effectiveness which told in a marked manner upon the condition of affairs; cotton was found to be no longer the "king" which it was supposed'to be, and the rebels destroyed it to a large
extent, rather than suffer it to fall into Union hands; the measure adopted by the government for emancipating the slaves was tremendous in its effects upon the rebel states; their finances were almost hopelessly involved, and were fast approaching insolvency and bankruptcy; the conscript acts were exhausting all the strength of the socalled "Confederacy;" the Union armies were gradually and surely hemming the rebels in, always retaining important positions when once gained; and though Jeff. Davis begged and pleaded for further devotion, and for men to hasten forward, in order to keep possession of Vicksburg and Port Hudson on the Mississippi; though Stephens cried out lustily, "never give it up!" though he exclaimed energetically, "let the world know, and history record the fact, if such should be our unhappy fate, that though our country may be invaded, our land laid waste, our cities sacked, our property destroyed, the people of the South could die in defence of their rights, but they could never be conquered;" still it was evident that the rebel cause was by no means in a very hopeful condition, and that the loyal states were as ready as they were willing to put forth their utmost efforts in their settled determination to crush it utterly.
The rebel Congress, which had adjourned in October, 1862, met again, early in January, 1863, and endeavored to do something towards bearing up the fortunes of the rebellion. As most of the proceedings were in closed session, but little is known as to what really took place during the meetings. Jeff 1863.
PROSPECTS OF THE REBEL CAUSE.
Davis sent in a message, on the 12th of January, in which he used words of confidence in regard to the state of affairs, and uttered his "assurance of ability to meet and repulse the utmost efforts of the enemy, in spite of the magnitude of their preparations for attack." His anticipations of being able to establish permanently the rebel government and power were earnestly expressed, and he avowed the conviction that if they only continued to exhibit the courage and steadfastness of the past, there was " every reason to expect that this would be the closing year of the war. The war," he went on to say, " which, in its inception, was waged for forcing us back into the Union, having failed to accomplish that purpose, passed into a second stage, in which it was attempted to conquer and rule these states as dependent provinces. Defeated in this second design, our enemies have evidently entered upon another. which can have no other purpose than revenge, and thirst for blood, and plunder of private property. But however implacable they may be, they can have neither the spirit nor the resources required for a fourth year of a struggle uncheered by any hope of success, kept alive solely for the indulgence of mercenary and wicked passions, and demanding so exhausting an expenditure of blood and money as has hitherto been imposed on their people. The advent of peace will be hailed with joy; our desire for it has never been concealed; our efforts to avoid the war, forced on us as it was by the lust of conquest and the insane passions of our foes, are known to mankind. But, ear
nest as has been our wish for peace, and great as have been our sacrifices and sufferings during the war, the determi nation of this people has, with eacl succeeding month, become more unalterably fixed to endure any sufferings and continue any sacrifices, however prolonged, until their right to self-government and the sovereignty and independence of these states shall have been trinmphantly vindicated and firmly established."
Davis also entered upon a long, and in many respects bitter complaint against various European powers, who had re. cognized the blockade, and had done nothing for the benefit of the privateering interests of the rebellion. But, in his judgment, "the proudly self-reliant Confederacy" superior, as he claimed, in all respects, to its enemies, had no need to regret the lack of outside help. He branded McNeil, Milroy and Butler as guilty " of every conceivable atrocity, and as stamped with indelible infamy ;"* and spoke of President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation with especial virulence and vindictiveness. On the whole, if one might believe his words, he was rather glad than otherwise that Mr. Lincoln had taken this step, since he thought it would open the eyes of
* A few days before sending in his message. Davis made a speech at Richmond, in which he indulged in language and evidences of temper strangely inconsistent with the tone of piety in his public documents. "It is true," he said, "you have a cause which binds you together more firmly than your lathers were. They fought to be free from the usurpations ot the British crown, but they fought against a manly foe; you fight against the offscourings of the earth. ... By showing themselves so utterly disgraced, that if the question was proposed to you whether you would combine with hyenas or Yankees, I trust that every Virginian would say,' Oite me the hyenai.''"
Europe, and render any reconstruction or restitution of the Union ''for ever impossible." Davis concluded his long message with urging attention to financial necessities, with congratulations on the benefits arising out of "the harmony, energy, and unity of the states," and with boastful statements of what the confederacy had done in supplying its wants of every kind. u The injuries resulting from the interruption of foreign commerce have received compensation by the developments of our internal resources. Cannon crown our fortresses that were cast from the proceeds of mines opened and furnaces built during the war. Our mountain caves yield much of the nitre for the manufacture of powder, and promise increase of product. From our own foundries and laboratories, from our own armories and work-shops we derive, in a great measure, the warlike material, the ordnance and ordnance stores which are expended so profusely in the numerous and desperate engagements that rapidly succeed each other. Cotton and woollen fabrics, shoes and harness, wagons and gun-carriages, are produced in daily increasing quantities by the factories springing into existence. Our fields, no longer whitened by cotton that cannot be exported, are devoted to the production of cereals and the growth of stock formerly purchased with the proceeds of cotton."
The rebel congress discussed various measures of a retaliatory character, which were urged as necessary in consequence of Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. A number of stringent resolutions were adopted, in which
were stated the grounds and mode of inflicting punishment on our officers and troops who might in any wise be concerned in "overthrowing the institution of African slavery, and bringing on i a servile war "in the rebel states. Fur ther action was taken in regard to the conscription law; a resolution was adopted, declaring that the navigation of the Mississippi River was free to all who lived on its banks or tributaries; a tax bill was passed, which levied a tax of eight per cent, on the value j of salt, liquors, tobacco, cotton, wool, flour, sugar, etc., and a very heavy tax on farmers, and all kinds of trades and occupations. In addition, an impressment bill was passed, which, with other actions of the rebel congress, showed that the boastful" Confederacy" was not in that flourishing and prosperous condition which Jeff. Davis had represented in his message.
The condition and strength of the United States navy, at the opening of the year, was substantially as follows: | —there were, as reported by the secretary of the navy, 427 vessels, carrying | 3,268 guns—an increase during the year of 123 vessels, carrying 711 guns. Of these, 104, with 1,415 guns, were sailing vessels, and 323, with 1,853 guns, were steam vessels. In the latte. were included fifty-four iron-clad vessels of various constructions, of which twenty-eight were on the seaboard and twenty-six in the Western waters.
In regard to naval operations at the beginning of 1863, we may briefly note here the capture of the Harriet Lane and the fate of the steamer Hatteras. Galveston, in Texas, had been held by Commander Renshaw, since October, 1862, by a small naval and military force at his command, consisting of the Harriet Lane and four other steamers, and less than 300, rank and file, occupying a wharf in the town.
The rebels, under Magruder, fixed upon January 1st, 1863, fpr an attack,
I both by land and water, upon our forces. The attack was begun very early in the morning, the rebels bringing artillery to bear upon the troops on shore, and also making a violent onset upon the Harriet Lane by two heavy steamers. After a severe contest, the Harriet Lane was obliged to succumb to the enemy, about seven A.m. The rebels tried to induce the other steam
j. ers to surrender, promising, in that case, to allow the crews one in which to leave the harbor. Renshaw refused, and ordering Lieut. Law to get the vessels out of port as soon as possible, prepared to blow up his vessel, the Westfield, which was aground. The explosion was premature, and not only Renshaw but several other officers and fifteen of the crew perished. Lieut. Law made his escape in the Owasco, and gave up the blockade for want of
i force to maintain it.
This disaster, at Galveston, was followed soon after by the loss of the United States steamer Hatteras in an encounter off the harbor with Semmes's rebel privateer, the Alabama. On the afternoon of the 11th of January, Lieut. Blake, in command of the Hat
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teras, was ordered to chase a strange sail to the south-eastward. This he did, and just after dark came up with her. At first, she pretended
to be an English war steamer, but speedily avowed herself to be the Alabama, and poured a broadside into the Hatteras. The latter took fire, and was compelled to surrender. Within a few minutes after the officers and crew were taken off, the Hatteras and all she contained went down into the deep.
Just at the close of the session of Congress (p. 203) Senator Harlan of Iowa introduced a resolution, in which he spoke of our countrymen being "encouraged in the day of trouble by the assurances of God's Word to seek Him for succor, according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ ;" and in which also the president was requested to appoint a day of national prayer and abasement before the Most High. Mr. Lincoln very willingly took action upon this resolution, and on the 30th of March, issued a proclamation, in which, among other suitable things, he said:—" We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and muJ tiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preser*" ing grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us,