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but for some cause failed to advance promptly to the ridge beyond. Had they done this, I have every reason to believe that Petersburg would have fallen. Other troops were immediately pushed forward, but the time consumed in getting them up enabled the enemy to rally from his surprise (which had been complete), and get forces to this point for its defence. The captured line thus held being untenable, and of no advantage to us, the troops were withdrawn, but not without heavy loss. Thus terminated in disaster what promised to be the most successful assault'of the campaign."*

This last attempt on our part having met with so lamentable a failure, matters resumed their usual course in carrying on the siege against Petersburg. Grant learning by reports from various sources that Lee had detached a large body of troops to reinforce Early in the Shenandoah Valley, availed himself of the occasion to order a force to threaten Richmond from the north side of the James, in order to prevent Lee from sending off troops, and if possible to draw back those which had been sent. Accordingly, on the night of August 13th, Gregg's cavalry division and Birney's corps crossed the river on the pontoon bridge and joined Foster's brigade in its old position at Deep Bottom, while, at the same time, Hancock's corps, which had been ostentatiously sent down the river on transports, was secretly brought back and united with this force. The next day, August 14th,

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* Gen. Grant's "Report," p. 25. See also, on the subject of the mine at Petersburg, Coppee's " Grant and his Campaigns,' pp. 364-373.

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an oppressively hot day, both corps were engaged in a forward movement upon the enemy's entrenchments covering the road to Richmond immediately in their front. Birney was partially successful; but Hancock was repulsed in an advance upon an advantageous position of the enemy, our loss of the day being estimated at least at 1,000. On the following day, there was some heavy cavalry skirmishing on the right where Gregg's division, guarding the flank, reached the Charles City road. On Tuesday, the 16th of August, the weather still continuing oppressively hot, fighting was renewed. The enemy's line was carried; but having rallied, it was again retaken by them, the contest continuing until evening. On the night of the 18th of August, Birney's line was attacked by the rebel? in heavy force: but after half an hour's fighting, they were repulsed with great loss. Gen. Miles, with two brigades, took part in the fight, attacking the enemy on his right flank. Two days later, Hancock returned, by way of Bermuda Hundred, to his old camp before Petersburg. Our loss in this movement was estimated to exceed 1,500 men. The principal advantage was, the keep ing back troops under orders to march for the Valley: and the capturing six pieces of artillery and several hundred prisoners.*

The rebel commander, having withdrawn largely from Petersburg, in order

* About this date, August 10th, to the north of the James River a strong working party was presently engaged, under cover of our advanced batteries on that side, in digging a canal across the peninsula at Dutch Gap, for the sake of securing a nearer base of opera tions against Richmond.

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to resist the movement above narrated, Grant determined to strike out on the> left flank, which now rested within three miles of the Weldon Railroad. On the morning of August 18th, Warren moved from camp towards the Weldon Road, which he struck about noon at Six-mile Station. While Griffin's division remained there breaking up the road, Ayer's, with Crawford's and Cutter's divisions, advanced several miles beyond, and took up a position to the right and left of the railroad. Lee, aware of the vast importance of this road for his communications, ordered a determined assault to be made, and our men to be driven off. Hill's corps advanced, and charged with impetuous confidence. . At first, they were successful in the assault, but afterwards were repulsed. Again and again they renewed the assault; but were in each instance driven back; and at the close of the day, Warren was in possession i of the road. Resolved to hold the important advantage thus gained, Warren at night threw up entrenchments in a heavy rain. The next day, while the new line was being strengthened and reinforcsd to connect with the old position before the city on the right, it was again assailed in the afternoon in the midst of a heavy rainstorm by A P. Hill, and the two right divisions of Warren's corps were driven in, and a number of prisoners captured. Wilcox's and White's commands—about 2,000 in all—of the 9th corps,* coming

* Gen. Burnside, after the disaster above detailed, was relieved from command of the Oth corps, on the 13th of August. He returned to Providence, R. I., and was not called again into active service during the I war.

up at the opportune moment, and the artillery being effectively employed, the enemy was driven from the field, and the- Union lines re-established. Another desperate attempt was made by the enemy on the 21st of August, to break up the line now firmly established across the railroad. An attack was made in two heavy columns, both of which were repulsed, the enemy suffering fearfully from their exposure to the fire from our works. The loss of officers on the field was large. The aggregate loss sustained by Warren in these actions was, in killed, wounded, and missing, about 4,500. .

While Warren was strengthening his position before Petersburg, a considerable body of infantry, with cavalry supports, was engaged in the destruction of the railroad below. They had been reinforced in this work in the vicinity of Ream's Station by the 2d corps, when, on the 25th of August, the enemy made a fierce and determined attack on Hancock's men. Twice the rebels were repulsed, but as A. P. Hill resolved to carry the position at all hazards, the attack was renewed about 5.30 P.m. "The enemy," says Hancock, in his report of Ream's Station, u formed in the woods, placed their artillery in position, opened a heavy cannonade, lasting about fifteen minutes, and then assaulted Miles's force. He resisted tenaciously, but the enemy broke his line. Some of Gibbons's troops were hurried over to repair the damage, and the enemy only gained a slight foothold. The fighting was continuous un til dark, the enemy being held in check by artillery, dismounted cavalry and

skirmishers. At dark we withdrew to a line in the rear and left of the station. .... This is acknowledged to have been one of the most determined and desperate fights of the war, resembling Spottsylvania in its character, though the number engaged gives less importance to it. A few more good troops

would have given a victory of considerable importance." Hancock's loss numbered 2,400 in killed, wounded, and missing, out of his small command of 8,000 infantry and cavalry. Five pieces of artillery were also lost. The rebel loss is not known in numbers, but it is known that it was very severe

CHAPTER XII.

864.

POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY: ACTION OF CONGRESS.

Condition of the country— Preparations for the presidential election —Apprehensions— Trials to be encountered— The Republican party at this date — Cleveland Convention, in May—Platform — Fremont and Cochrane nominated — The Union and Republican Convention at Baltimore, in June — Resolutions and platform — Lincoln and Johnson nominated—The Arguelles case — The forged proclamation — Journal of Commerce and World offices seized — Gen. Dix arrested — The Niagara Falls Conference — Longing desire for peace— Greeley and his efforts — The president's course in the matter — Raymond's remarks — Democratic Convention in Chicago, in August — Its platform — McClellan and Pendleton nominated — Action of the Thirty eighth Congress — Appropriations, loans, internal revenue, taxation, etc.—New enrollment bill — Proposed constitutional amendment — Fugitive slave law repealed — Reconstruction of states in rebellion — Provisions of the bill — Not signed by Mr. Lincoln — His reasons, as given in a proclamation — Protest of Messrs. Wade and Davis — Day of fasting, humiliation and prayer appointed by the president.

In the history of every country where war has been prevailing for a length of time, details of military movements, and their various ramifications, necessarily occupy the larger space, and it is apt to be forgotten that the narrative of military and naval operations, important as these may be and are, affords but a partial and imperfect view of the history of the nation, in the comprehensive and proper sense of the term. The American people were now going through other trials than those of the camp and the tented

1904.

field, and the discipline to which they were subjected, in God's Providence, was testing them, in various ways, and teaching them to understand and appreciate, better than ever, the blessings and privileges of freedom under the Constitution and laws of the land. We shall, then, before resuming the narrative of the further progress of the war, take this opportunity of turning aside for a while, and of devoting a chapter to some other matters than the ensanguined battle-field, matters which, although not free from connection, more

Cu. XII.]

or less direct, with war and its terrors, are of historical importance and needful to be placed on record.

It was one of the severe trials at this period in our country's history, that the time had arrived when it was necessary to go through the proper preliminaries, and then for the people, by their suffrages, to make choice of him who was to be the president of the United States from and after the 4th of March, 1865. Mr. Lincoln's term of office would expire at that date; and it was now to

! .be determined whether he should be reelected to carry on to its completion the present policy of the government, or whether some other citizen should be placed in this most responsible and difficult position. That such an election, always abundantly exciting, had become necessary in the midst of a civil war, when men's passions were ronsed to a fearful extent, was a strain upon

i the American system of government which foreboded dangerous and pos. sibly fatal consequences. It was an entirely new thing in our history; wise and thoughtful men looked uneasily at the state of public affairs, and feared even more than they hoped; and many a dark cloud hung over the political horizon. "The public debt was steadily and rapidly increasing. Under the resistless pressure of military necessity, the government, availing itself of the permission of the Constitution, had suspended the great safeguard of civil freedom, and dealt with individuals, whom it deemed dangerous to the public safety, with as absolute and relentless severity as the most absolute monarchies had ever shown. Taxes were

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increasing; new diafts of men, to fill the ranks of new armies, were impend ing; the democratic party, from the very beginning hostile to the war, and largely imbued with devotion to the principle of state sovereignty on which the rebellion rested, and with toleration for slavery, out of which it grew, was watching eagerly for every means of arousing popular hatred against the government, that they might secure the transfer to their own hands; and the losses, the agonies, the desolations of the war, were beginning, apparently, to make themselves felt injuriously upon the spirit, the endurance, the hopeful resolution of the people throughout the loyal states." * Yet the duty was to be performed; it cculd not be evaded; and the people entered upon the work before them with a profound sense of the magnitude of the interests involved, and of the obligations resting upon them to see that the Republic suffered no harm through their negligence or lack of patriotic effort.

Preparations for the nomination of candidates were begun in the spring of 1864. For a time, there was considerable hesitation as to the course to be pursued. A portion of the party, which placed Mr. Lincoln in the presidential chair, was strongly opposed to his continuance in office. The radical and sweeping anti-slavery leaders deemed Mr. Lincoln too slow and uncertain for their wishes; active and ambitious men were dissatisfied with the president for not giving them the opportunity to advance their own as well as their country's interests; and office seekers,

* Raymond's " Life of Abraham Lincoln," p 547.

THE COMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

in no small number, resented the lack of discrimination at Washington in not placing them in positions of trust and emolument. As it was impossible for Mr. Lincoln to please ever}- body among his supporters, even under the most favorable circumstances, so he offended numbers in the republican party, by declining to act upon their advice, or by determining upon great and critical measures in a way which they did not approve. It was no wonder, then, that, under the pressure of various motives and causes, efforts should be made to bring forward other prominent men, such as Secretary Chase, Gen. Grant, Gen. Fremont, etc., and to obtain for some of these the nomination in place of Mr. Lincoln.

The earliest movement of a direct kind for nominating candidates for the presidency was made.by a convention which assembled at Cleveland, Ohio, on the 31st of May. Some 350 representatives or delegates met at the time I appointed, having come from fifteen of : the different states, and the District of Columbia. Gen. John Cochrane of New York presided. Resolutions were adopted, asserting that "the Constitution and laws of the United States must be maintained ;" that " rights of free speech, free press, and the habeas corpus be held inviolate, save in districts where martial law has been proclaimed;" that the rebellion has destroyed slavery, and the Federal Constitution should be amended to prohibit its re-establishment and to secure to all m n absolute equality before the law; that "the national policy, known as 'The Monroe Doctrine,' has become a

recognized principle; and that the es tablishment of an anti-republican government on this continent by any foreign power cannot be tolerated." The question of '* the reconstruction of the rebellious states" was pronounced to y "belong to the people through their representatives in Congress, and not to the executive;" and it was declared, "that the confiscation of the lands of the rebels, and their distribution among the soldiers and actual settlers, is a measure of justice." Having passed these, among other resolutions, the convention nominated Major-General John C. Fremont for president of the United States, and Gen. John Cochrane for vice president. Fremont's letter of acceptance was dated, New York, June 4th, in reply to the letter of the nominating committee of the convention, in which he was styled " the standard bearer of the radical democracy of the country." He expressed himself strongly in hostility to the policy of President Lincoln, and approved of the platform of the convention, except the proposed confiscation. He also expressed himself ready to withdraw from the field, if the Baltimore convention should "nominate any man whose past life justified a well grounded con- j j fidence in his fidelity to our cardinal principles." *

The Union and Republican convention met at Baltimore on the 7th of

* According to Mr. Raymond's statements, " the con vention, the nomination, and the letter of acceptance I, fell dead upon the popular feeling. . . . The posi | tion which Fremont had here taken at once separated him from those who had been his truest friends," etc.— ( "Life of Abraham Lincoln," p. 552. For the proceed j inga of tho Cleveland convention, the documents etc, . In full, see McPherson's " ffittory of the Rebellion " )ip 410-414.

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