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JEFF. DAVIS AND REBELDOM.
debt, as exhibited on the books of the register of the treasury, on the 1st of October, 1864, was $1,147,970,208, of which $539,840,090 were funded debt, bearing interest; $283,880,150 were treasury notes of the new issue, and the remainder consisted of the former issue of treasury notes, about to be converted into other forms of debt. In this statement, it was added, "the foreign debt is omitted. It consists only of the unpaid balance of the loan known as the cotton loan. This balance is but £2,200,000, and is adequately provided for by about 250,000 bales of cotton owned by the government, even if the cotton be rated as worth but sixpence per pound." The great depreciation of the treasury notes, or paper currency, was admitted, and attributed to two causes, "redundancy in amount, and want of confidence in ultimate redemption." To remedy this pressing difficulty, it was proposed, 1st, That the faith of the government be pledged that the notes shall ever remain exempt from taxation. 2d, That no issue shall be made beyond that which is already authorized by law. 3d, That a certain fixed portion of the annual receipts from taxation during the war, shall be set apart specially for the gradual extinction of the outstanding amount, until it shall have been reduced to $150,000,000; and 4th, The pledge and appropriation of such proportion of the tax in kind, and for such number of years after the return of peace, as shall be sufficient for the final redemption of the entire circulation."
Various other matters were discussed at length by the rebel president,
among which was the question as to the policy of a general arming of the slaves to serve in the ranks. Neither Davis nor his Congress could bring their minds to the conviction that it was best to adopt this course, although it was advocated by some of the prominent men engaged in the rebellion.
On the whole, despite the haughty words of Jeff. Davis, the condition of affairs, at the close of the year 1864, was gloomy enough for the rebels. They were groaning under a central military despotism Conscription, which was carried to its extremest extent, was odious everywhere, and was everywhere evaded without scraple. Direct taxes were laid in defiance of the rebel theory of government. The vast floods of paper money had rendered it almost valueless. The holders of this paper money were compelled to fund it, or lose one-third. The government seized all the railroads, destroying some and building others. Property was impressed at government prices, and paid for in government money. The government monopolized the export trade of the cotton and great staples of the country. The habeas corpus was suspended, and a passport system established. And, added to all these, the military reverses were numerous and severe; yet the traitors and conspirators against the Union, with whom it was a matter of life or death, held on in their evil course, and determined to persist in efforts to uphold a rebellion now drawing near its end.
The Thirty-eighth Congress commenced its second session on the 5th of December, 1864. The president's message, which was sent in the next day, was of moderate length, and discussed the subjects requiring his attention, in a clear, straightforward manner.* The condition of our foreign relations was pronounced to be "reasonably satisfactory," as was evinced in a brief resume. "It is possible," Mr. Lincoln said, "that if it were a new and open question, the maritime powers, with the lights they now enjoy, would not concede the privileges of a naval belligerent to the insurgents of the United States, destitute, as they are, and always have been, equally of lg64 ships of war and of ports and harbors. Disloyal emissaries have been neither less assiduous nor more successful during the last year than they were before that time in their efforts, under favor of that privilege, to embroil our country in foreign wars. The desire and determination of the governments of the maritime states to defeat that design are believed to be as sincere as, and cannot be more earnest than, our own. Nevertheless, unforeseen political difficulties have arisen, especially in Brazilian and British ports, and on the northern boundary of the United States, which have required, and are likely to continue to require,
* Several changes in the cabinet took place during the year. Mr. Chase resigned in June, and Mr. W. P. Fessenden was appointed secretary of the treasury. Mr. M. Blair resigned the postmaster-general's office in September, and Mr. W. Dennison was placed in the vacant office. On the 1st of December, the attorneygeneral, Mr. Bates, resigned, and his post was afterwards filled by James Speed, of Kentucky. We may also put on record here, the death of Chief-j ustice Taney, which occurred on the 12th of October. This important position was filled, December 6th, by the appointment of the late secretary of the treasury, Salmon P. Chase.
the practice of constant vigilance, and a just and conciliatory spirit on the part of the United States, as well as of the nations concerned and their governments."
Affairs in the several departments of the treasury, the war, and the navy, were spoken of in encouraging and cheering terms, and various objects of philanthropy and justice were commended to the attention of Congress. In reference to the proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery forever, (p. 465) Mr. Lincoln expressed himself frankly: "At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the Constitution, abolishing slavery throughout the United States, passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session. Of course, the abstract question is not changed; but an intervening election shows, almost certainly, that the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the states for their action; and as it is to go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their votes, any further than, as an additional element to be considered, their judgment may be affected by it. It is the Ch. XVII.]
voice of the people now, for the first time, heard upon the question. In a great national crisis like ours, unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is very desirable, almost indispensable; and yet no approach to such unanimity is attainable, unless some deference shall be paid to the will of the majority. In this case the common end is the maintenance of the Union, and among the means to secure that end, such will, through the election, is most clearly declared in favor of such constitutional amendment."
Having shown, by some statistics, that the loyal states had more men for duty at this date than when the war began; that "the national resources were unexhausted and inexhaustible;" and that the war must be prosecuted to the complete demolition of the rebel power and pretension, he concluded his message with saying, that, while he should not retract or modify his emancipation proclamation, still, when the insurgents abandoned armed resistance, the war would end. "In stating a single condition of peace, I mean to say that the war will cease on the part of the government whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it."
The reports accompanying the president's message gave full particulars in connection with the various departments of the government. Our limits do not admit of details, and we must refer the reader to the documents themselves.* The whole debt of the nation
* The annual report of the secretary of war, deferred through the exigencies of the public service, was presented at the close of the session, in March, I860. Its statement of the army material furnished within the preceding twelve months, exhibits the gigantic pro
at the beginning of the fiscal year in July, was stated to be $1,740,690,489 49, an increase during the year of over $618,000,000. The prospective debt on the 1st of July, 1865 was estimated at $2,223,064,677 51. The expenditure for the war department was set down at about $963,000,000; for the navy, about $43,000,000; and for interest on the public debt, over $90,000,000. The secretary of the navy, in a long and elaborate presentation of the state and condition of the navy, reported a total of 671 vessels afloat or in process of construction, mounting 4,610 guns and registering 510,396 tons, being an actual addition to the navy, during the year, of 109 vessels and 313 guns. From this latter estimate, however, were to be deducted twenty-six vessels lost by shipwreck, in battle, capture, etc., during that period. Of this huge array of naval vessels, nearly one-fifth in number and more than onefourth in guns and tonnage, were screw steamers, especially constructed for the service; fifty-two were paddle-wheel steamers, and seventy-one iron-clad vessels of various descriptions. The total number of men in the service at this date was 6,000 officers and 45,000 men* The action of Congress during this, its
portions which the war assumed at its height. The ordnance supplies furnished to the military service during the fiscal year, included 1,441 pieces of ordnance, 1,896 artillery carriages and caissons, 455,910 small arms, 502,044 sets of accoutrements and harness, 1,913,753 projectiles for cannon, 7,624,685 pounds of bullets and lead, 464,549 rounds of artillery ammunition, 152,067 sets of horse equipments, 112,087,553 cartridges for small arms, 7,544,044 pounds of powder.
* For full and interesting .details respecting the Army of the United States, amounting, at this date, to about 700,000 mon, see Appleton's "American Annual Cydopcedia " for 1864, pp. 32-40.
second session, we shall note on a subsequent page.
Although of no particular moment in its bearing on the final result of the war, the invasion of Missouri, by the rebel Gen. Price, may here be placed on record. Having gathered about 10,000 men, Price reached Jacksonport, at the close of August, on his Way to make an inroad into and ravage that state in which he had already done vast mischief. Rosecrans was in command in the department (p. 383), and in order to strengthen his force, Grant ordered Gen. A. J. Smith with his command, and a cavalrv force under Col. Winslow from Memphis, to join Rosecrans. This made his forces superior to those of Price, and, as Grant said, "no doubt was entertained he would be able to check Price and drive him back, while the forces under Gen. Steele, in Arkansas, would cut off his retreat." Price crossed the southern frontier by way of Pocahontas and Poplar Bluff, and plundering the farmers of horses to mount his men, and impressing all he could lay hands upon, he prepared to strike at the centre of the state.
On the 26th of September, Price assaulted Pilot Knob, where Gen. Ewing was in command, with a garrison of about 1,000 men. On the second day, Ewing evacuated the place and retreated, skirmishing along his march to Harrison and thence to Rolla. Price moved north to the Missouri River, and continued up that river towards Kansas. Gen. Curtis, who was in command in Kansas, immediately collected such forces as were within reach to repel the invasion of the state, while the cavalry
of Rosecrans, under Pleasanton, was operating in Price's rear.
Pleasanton having reached Jefferson city on the 8 th of October, sent Gen. Sanborn, with all the available cavalry force, in pursuit of the invaders. Sanborn, with inferior numbers, harassed the enemy and attacked them at Booneville, whence Price moved to Marshall and Lexington, freely plundering by the way. Pleasan ton, having now efficiently organized his cavalry force in four brigades, under Gens. Brown, McNeil, Sanborn, and Col. Winslow, promptly took the offensive. Prior was driven from Lexinsrton on the 20th, and two days after out of Independence, where there was some severe fighting. The pursuit was vigorously kept up to the Big Blue River at Byron's Ford, where Price was defeated, with a loss of nearly all his artillery and trains, and a large number ol prisoners. Energetically pursued by Pleasanton, aided by Blunt's command from Kansas, Price was forced to make a hasty retreat with his broken and dispirited forces into Northern Arkansas.
Rosecrans, in November, congratulated the army on its brilliant success in this campaign; but the lieutenantgeneral, in his report, expresses himself rather tartly on the subject: "The impunity with which Price was enabled to roam over the state of Missouri for a long time, and the incalculable mischief done by him, show to how little purpose a superior force may be used There is no reason why Gen. Rosecrans should not have concentrated his forces, and beaten and driven Price before the latter reached Pilot Knob."
REBEL BARBARITIES TO PRISONERS.
The sufferings of our men, who were prisoners in the hands of the rebels, had long been known to be very great and trying; they have before been alluded to (pp. 391, 406); but the actual extent of the horrible exposure and destitution to which the defenders of the country were subjected, was not at all appreciated, or even dreamed of, by the people of the loyal states, until there was furnished incontestable, detailed evidence of the facts, from various sources, especially from the report of the United States Sanitary Commission, in September of this year. This admirable organization which, since the beginning of the war, had been engaged in the noble work of charity, in mitigating, as far as lay in their power, the sufferings and anguish of war, among the sick, the wounded, and the dying, appointed a committee of their body, in May, to inquire into and investigate, patiently and fully, the truth of the rumors and statements as to rebel cruelty and barbarity practised towards our unfortunate men who had fallen into the enemy's hands. Six gentlemen, of high ability and undoubted integrity, composed this committee, viz: Dr. Ellerslie Wallace, the Hon. J. L Clark Hare, and the Rev. Treadwell Walden, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Valentine Mott, Dr. Edward Delafield, and Gouverneur M. Wilkins, of New York. The committee employed several months in their inquiry, visiting the hospitals where the returned prisoners had been received in Annapolis, Baltimore, and elsewhere, examining carefully into their condition, and taking the depositions of officers and men as to the treatment
they had received. A mass of testimony was collected concerning the barbarities practised at Richmond, at the Libby Prison, and more particularly in the camp in its vicinity at Belle Isle. It is impossible to read their testimony without a cold chill of horror, and an oppressive sense of its being almost an impossibility that there should be in human form, creatures so soulless, and so like incarnate demons, as these rebel agents and authorities proved themselves to be. We cannot go into details; the documents are before the world; the projectors and willing instruments in this devilish work are stamped with infamy of the deepest dye; and the reader must ponder the lesson which all this teaches. A paragraph or two at the close of the report may not inaptly be quoted:
"The immensity and variety of that system of abuse to which our soldiers are subjected are too general, too uniform, and too simultaneous to be otherwise than the result of a great arrangement. One prison station is like another—one hospital resembles another hospital. This has been made especially apparent by intelligence that has reached the public just as this investigation is closing, and this report is being written. The remote prison at Tyler, Texas, sends out a tale of suffering identical with that described in these pages. It was only a few weeks ago, that the streets of New Orleans beheld a regiment of half starved and half naked men, who had just been released from that station. Still more heart-rending is the later account, given in a memorial to the president, from