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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
BURNSIDE AND DEPARTMENT OP THE OHIO: MORGAN'S DARING RAID: EAST TENNESSEE.
General state of affairs — Relative position and tone of the rebels and the people of the loyal states — Views as to peace, etc. — Burnside in command of the department of the Ohio — State of the department — Burnside's fitness for the post — General Order, No. 38 — Case of C. L. Vallandingham — His arrest, trial, sentence, etc. — Newspapers brought under the order — Burnside's force — Inadequate to the wants of the department— Rebel notions and policy as to invasion of the free states — Morgan's famous raid into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio — Details of his wanton destruction of property, and of the steps taken to cut him off — Exciting race — Morgan caught at last — Escapes afterwards from prison — Burnside's preparations for advance into East Tennessee — Leaves Lexington, August 16th — By unfrequented roads crosses the Cumberland Mountains — Entrance into Knoxville, Tennessee — Joy and enthusiasm of the inhabitants at release from rebel despotism and cruelty — Public property seized by Burnside — De Courcy sent against Cumberland Gap — Other force sent — Burnside demands the surrender — The Gap given up to him — The loss severely felt by the rebels — Davis's complaints—Burnside's further movements to September 14th, 1863.
The tremendous blows inflicted upon the rebels at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Port Hudson, of "which we have given an account in preceding chapters, "changed all the aspects of the war (according to a zealous secession writer) and brought the South from an unequalled exaltation of hope to the very brink of despair." In similar wise, the government and people of the loyal states indulged in the pleasing pros
pect of a speedy dying out of the rebel power and capability of continuing the war, and of the consequent return of peace, with its manifold blessings and privileges. It was deemed hardly credible that the leaders of the rebellion could either persuade or compel those over whom they exercised dominion, to go on with the struggle; and if any one had predicted that they would be able for two years to withstand the
force brought to bear against them, and to sustain the trials of want and well nigh famine, and the gradual but sure approach of final and complete defeat, he would have been considered a very lugubrious prophet. Nevertheless, the stern logic of facts showed clearly that, as the arch traitors at Richmond had resolved to venture all upon the cast of a die, that as with them success was everything, even though they brought ruin and misery upon all around them, so these disasters to the secession cause were not allowed, if they could hinder it, to produce any permanent discontent. There was no lowering of the haughty tone assumed by the rebels. They claimed great elasticity and power of rising superior to misfortune. They swallowed their mortification, and talked as if the cutting the " Confederacy" in twain, and the ignominious results of invasion of the North, were rather to be rejoiced over than otherwise. Davis had the assurance, a few days after the defeat of Lee, to declare that a victorious peace, with proper exertions, was yet immediately within his grasp. It is true, that popular confidence in Davis and his co-workers in the management of affairs, was very considerably diminished; but this did not prevent the rebellion from going on. The leaders were determined it should go on to the death, and numbers of others, however little they thought of Davis and the Richmond officials, had got their pride aroused to its highest pitch, so that they, too, resolved to fight to the end for the cause in which they had imperilled their all.
Both the rebel leaders and the government and people of the loyal states seemed at this time to have some uncertain, shadowy idea that the war was nearly finished; both gave credence to the notion that one or the other would soon be wearied or worn out; but both lay under a mistake. The rebels were in no humor to give it up as yet; they meant to hold out, even though affairs might speedily become desperate, and certain defeat was ultimately befc re them. On the other hand, while few perhaps believed that the rebel capability of resistance was so great as it proved to be, it was simply impossible for loyal men ever to submit to the rending of the country in pieces, as secession proposed. The supporters of the Union, having never wavered from their determination to put down the rebellion and preserve the integrity of the Republic, could not be wearied into a yielding to the demands of traitors, even if it should take ten years or twice ten years to bring the war to an end. As time rolled on this mistake was corrected; the rebels saw the folly of imagining that the North would ever lay aside its settled purpose; and the loyal people only wondered, but were never discouraged, at the persistency of the rebels in their wicked designs.
Henceforth, too, it began to be better understood than at an earlier date that, so long as the leaders in this unnatural struggle could maintain organized military forces, just so long the rebellion would be able to continue its existence, and necessitate military and naval operations on our part. Of course, more money and more men were need
ed; b )th were readily to be obtained; both were obtained; and despite more or less of factious opposition, and sympathizing with secession and its destructive purposes, the work went bravely on. Conscious of rectitude and of the perfect justice of their cause, the people, as a body, never wavered, never admitted a thought of giving up, never faltered in urging forward the war to its conclusion.
In this position of affairs, and actuated by these principles and views of duty, the government steadily sought to render the army and navy as efficient as possible, and through the able and energetic officers and men to attack and subdue the rebel strongholds, and places occupied by them, so soon as the work could be accomplished.
Burnside, who had been succeeded by Hooker in command of the Army of the Potomac, at the close of January, 1863, (see p. 244), was put in charge of the department of the Ohio, on the 26th of March following. This department comprised the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Western Virginia, and Kentucky east of the Tennessee River, including Cumberland Gap, with headquarters at Cincinnati. The position was an important one, and by no means easy to fill. It required nerve, decision, and activity, all of which Burnside was thought to possess. The southern borders of Kentucky were alive with those pests of the war, the guerrillas, and the state itself was again seriously threatened with invasion. There were, too, in this department, considerable disaffection and lukewarmness towards the govern
ment; and certain noisy politicians and sympathizers with secession were doing all in their power to annoy, and vex, and hinder the efforts which were being put forth to break down the rebellion. These were comparatively few in number, it is true, but they were bold, loud-mouthed, and unscrupulous; and it was deemed a matter of duty to apply the proper remedy.
On the 13th of April, Burnside issued his general order, No. 38, which was expressed in very decided terms: "The commanding general publishes for the information of all concerned, that hereafter, all persons found within our lines, who commit acts for the benefit of the enemies of our country, will be tried as spies or traitors, and, if convicted, will suffer death. . . . The habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy will not be allowed in this department. Persons committing such offences will be at once arrested, with a view to being tried as above stated, or sent beyond our lines into the lines of their friends. It must be distinctly understood that treason, expressed or implied, will not be tolerated in this department; all officers and soldiers are strictly charged with the execution of this order."
The warning contained in the docu ment just given was significant, and clearly evinced the determination of the government. An opportunity for the application of Burnside's order speedily occurred. There was in Ohio, at this date, a number of gentlemen who were styled, or styled themselves, "peace democracy." Prominent among these was C. L. Vail and ingham, a member of Congress from Ohio. He had made himself conspicuous at Washington for persistent efforts to hinder, obstruct, and carp at the proceedings and views of the government in regard to measures for suppressing the rebellion; and being now at home he indulged himself in public speaking in various parts of Ohio. He was one of those who, under claim of privilege fairly to discuss and review public proceedings, took occasion to denounce the government in unmeasured terms; he declared, in a public speech, that the war was "wicked, cruel, and unnecessary," "not being waged for the preservation of the Union," but "for the purpose of crushing out liberty and erecting a despotism;" characterizing Burnside's order, No. 38, as "a base usurpation of arbitrary authority," and inviting resistance to it by saying, "the flooner the people inform the minions of usurped power that they will not submit to such restrictions upon their liberties the better."
This course of conduct was held to be so inexcusable, and so injurious to the effective prosecution of the war against the rebels, with whom Vallandingham evidently strongly sympathized, and whose traitorous designs he certainly favored, that Burnside took steps at once for his arrest. The speech referred to above was made on the 1st of May, at Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio, and, on the night of the 4th of May, he was arrested by order of Burnside, at his residence at Dayton, carried to Cincinnati, and imprisoned. The next day, Vallandingham applied, through his counsel, Senator Pugh, to
the Circuit Court of the United Stato9 for the writ of habeas corpus. A letter from Burnside was read in court, setting forth the considerations which led him to make the arrest, after which Vallandingham's counsel made a long and able argument on the case. The writ was refused, and Burnside's course was justified on the ground of military necessity.
On the 16th of May, the military commission, of which Gen. R. B. Potter was president, found Vallandingham guilty of the charge brought against him, and sentenced him to close confinement till the end of the war. Mr. Lincoln changed the sentence to transportation through the Union lines Vallandingham was handed over to the rebels under Bragg, and finally made his way to Canada.*
In the further carrying out the repressive policy in his department, Burnside, on the 1st of June, prohibit ed the circulation, within the limits of his jurisdiction, of certain newspapers, which, in his judgment, were quite as active in doing mischief, and quite as necessary to be restrained, as popular speakers like Vallandingham and others.f Prominent among these was the New York World, whose articles and opinions, it was alleged, tended "to cast reproach upon the government, and to
* We may state, in this connection, that Vallandingham was nominated by his political friends for governor of Ohio, and much use was made, in his behalf, of charges of cruelty, usurpation, etc., on the part of the government. At the election, however, in October, John Brough was elected over Vallandingham by 100," 000 majority. In June, 1864, Vallandingham was allowed to return to Ohio without hindrance.
f See Woodbury's "Burnside and the Ifinth Amy Corps," pp. 265—277.