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By another executive order from the maintain itself. Some reverses, which War Department, dated February 14th, perhaps were unavoidable, suffered by the political prisoners held under arrest newly-levied and insufficient forces, disat Fort Lafayette, and elsewhere, were couraged the loyal, and gave new hope generally directed to be released on their to the insurgents. Voluntary enlistment simple parole. The order set forth the seemed to cease, and desertions composition in which the rebellion had found menced. Parties speculated upon the the nation, and the circumstances under question, whether the conscription had which the arrests had been made. “Every not become necessary to fill up the ardepartment of the government was para- mies of the United States. In this emerlyzed by treason;" when “the Capitol gency, the President felt it his duty to was beleagured and its connection with employ with energy the extraordinary all the States cut off ;' when, “even in powers which the constitution confides to the portions of the country which were him in cases of insurrection. He called most loyal, political combinations and into the field such military and naval secret societies were found furthering the forces authorized by existing laws as work of disunion ; while from motives of seemed necessary. He directed meadisloyalty or cupidity, or from excited sures to prevent the use of the post-office passions or perverted sympathies, indi- for treasonable correspondence. He subviduals were found furnishing men, jected passengers to and from foreign money, materials of war, and supplies countries to new passport regulations ; to the insurgents' military and naval and he instituted a blockade ; suspended force. Armies, ships, fortifications, navy- the habeas corpus in various places, and yards, arsenals, military posts, and garri- caused persons who were represented to sons, one after another, were betrayed him as being engaged, or about to engage or abandoned to the insurgents."
in disloyal and treasonable practices, to The situation was unprecedented, and be arrested by special civil, as well as little or no provision had been made, or military agencies, and detained in miliwas in working operation for its require- tary custody, when necessary, to prevent ments. “Congress had not anticipated, them, and deter others from such pracand so had not provided for the emer- tices. Examinations of such cases were gency. The municipal authorities were instituted, and some of the persons so powerless and inactive. The judiciary arrested have been discharged from time machinery seemed as if it had been de- to time, under circumstances or upon signed not to sustain the government, but conditions compatible, as was thought, to embarrass and betray it. Foreign with the public safety." intervention was openly invited, and in- From this explanation of the course dustriously instigated by the abettors of which had been pursued, the Secretary, the insurrection, and it became imminent, turning to the indications of safety at the and has only been prevented by the present time, proceeded to set forth the practice of strict and impartial justice, motives for the relaxation of the previous with the most perfect moderation in our rigor, and the terms proposed by the intercourse with other nations. The government for the opening of the prison public mind was alarmed and apprehen- doors. “Meantime, a favorable change sive, though, fortunately, not distracted of public opinion has occurred. The line or disheartened. It seemed to be doubt- between loyalty and disloyolty is plainly ful, whether the National Government, defined. The whole structure of the which one year ago had been thought a government is firm and stable. Appremodel worthy of universal acceptance, hensions of public danger, and facilities had indeed the ability to defend and for treasonable practices, have diminished ARMIES OF THE POTOMAC.
with the passions which prompted the after from receiving information by teleheedless persons to adopt them. The graph, or from transmitting their papers insurrection is believed to have culmi- by railroad.". nated, and to be declining. The Presi- Military operations in January and dent, in view of these facts, and anxious February were chiefly confined to the to favor a return to the normal course navy and the forces in the West. The of the administration, as far as a regard great army on the Potomac, under the to faith and the public welfare will allow, command of General McClellan, remained directs that all political prisoners, or in the vicinity of the forts before WashState's prisoners, now held in military ington, exercised in drills and parade, custody, be released on their subscribing gathering its enormous equipments, waita parole engaging them to render no aid ing the signal for an advance upon the or comfort to enemies in hostility to the enemy, who were in force at Manassas, United States. The Secretary of War with their outposts extending to within a will, however, in his discretion, except few miles of Washington. While they from the effect of this order, any persons held this advanced position their batterdetained as spies in the service of the ies were erected at commanding points insurgents, or others whose release at the below, along the Potomac, seriously inpresent moment may be deemed incom-terfering with the navigation of the river. patible with the public safety. To all So adroitly were their counsels kept thąt persons who shall be so released, and little was known of the actual numbers shall keep their parole, the President of the army confronting Washington. grants an amnesty for any past offences The greatest exaggeration prevailed on of treason or disloyalty, which they may the subject, raising the estimate to two have committed. Extraordinary arrests or three hundred thousand, when eighty will, hereafter, be made under the direc- thousand, at any time, would probably tion of the military authorities alone." have been a very liberal calculation.
To carry this order into effect a spe- Schooled in hardships, and encouraged cial commission was appointed, consist- by the memories of Bull Run, they ing of Major-General John A. Dix, com- would doubtless, however, acting on the manding in Baltimore, and the Hon. Ed. defensive, have proved themselves forwards Pierrepont of New York, who midable antagonists to superior numbers were authorized to examine the cases of of assailants. The farewell address of the state prisoners, and summarily de- General Beauregard, from his camp near termine whether “ they should be dis- Centreville, on taking leave of his comcharged, or remain in military custody, mand, on the 30th of January, previous or be remitted to the civil tribunals for to his departure to the Southwest, was trial.” .
confident and spirited :"Soldiers of the By the side of this order appeared an- First Corps, Army of the Potomac, My other, announcing that, “on and after duty calls me away, and to a temporary the 26th of February, the President, by separation from you. I hope, however, to virtue of the act of Congress, takes mili- be with you again, to share your labors tary possession of all the telegraph lines and your perils, and in defence of your in the United States. All telegraphic homes and our rights, to lead you to new communications in regard to military op- battles, to be crowned with signal victoerations, not expressly authorized by the ries. You are now undergoing the severWar Department, or the proper officers, est trial of a soldier's life : the one by were absolutely forbidden, and newspa- which his discipline and capacity for enpers publishing intelligence in violation durance are thoroughly tested. My faith of the regulation, were excluded there-l in your patriotism, your devotion and determination, and in your high soldierly which the Union troops entered by a qualities, is so great that I shall rest as-spirited movement, putting its defenders sured you will pass through the ordeal to rapid flight. One rebel was killed resolutely, triumphantly. Still, I cannot and seven wounded, including a captain. quit you without deep emotion, without One only of the attacking party was even deep anxiety, in the moment of our wounded. Four hundred cavalry and country's trials and dangers. Above all, two companies of infantry abandoned I am anxious that my brave countrymen, the town. Having set fire to several here in arms, fronting the haughty array large buildings filled with ample stores and muster of Northern mercenaries, of provisions, Major Webster brought should thoroughly appreciate the exi- his force off in safety before the enemy gency, and hence comprehend that this could bring up reinforcements to interis no time for the Army of the Potomac rupt their return.* —the men of Manassas—to stack their The same day an attack, a counterpart arms and quit, even for a brief period, I of the affair just described, was made in the standards they have made glorious force by the Confederate General “Stoneby their manhood. All must understand wall” Jackson upon the Union outposts this, and feel the magnitude of the conflict in Morgan county, Virginia, guarding the impending, the universal personal sacri- | Baltimore and Ohio railroad. The party fices this war has entailed, and our duty left Winchester on the 1st of January, to meet them as promptly and unblench- and after a march of universal hardships ingly as you have met the enemy in line in the severe cold, without protection of of battle.”
tents or blankets, encountering a storm The opening of the new year found of snow, rain, and hail, on the night of General McClellan recovering from an the 3d, reached Bath the next day, and attack of fever, which, though it kept prepared to attack the small body of him from the field, was not suffered to Union troops at Bath, which, with some interfere with his direction of the army. sharp skirmishing, retreated before them, There were some slight movements in crossing the Potomac six miles distant Western Virginia. An expedition, con- at Hancock. This town was then apsisting of portions of an Ohio and Vir- proached by the rebels, and its surrenginia regiment, with a detachment of In- der was demanded on the 5th, by Gendiana cavalry, in all about seven hun-eral Jackson, with a threat of bombarddred and fifty men, under command of ment. This General Lander, who was Major Webster, of the 25th Ohio, was in command, met by opening fire on the sent by General Milroy from his camp enemy's position on the opposite hill. at Huttonsville, in Randolph county, to Firing was kept up for an hour, without attack the enemy in Huntersville, the loss of life on either side, when the ascapital of the neighboring county of Po-sault was abandoned. The rebels concahontas, where there was a depot of tented themselves with burning a bridge supplies. Starting the last day of De- on the Potomac and breaking up a porcember, the force braving the wintry se- tion of the railroad track. verity of the mountain region, traversed On the 8th, a detachment of General the intervening fifty miles, passing over Kelley's command, led by Colonel DunElk Mountain, and coming, on the 4th ing of the 5th Ohio, advancing from of January, upon the outposts of the Romney some thirty miles, surprised an enemy at Greenbrier river, near the inferior force of the enemy at Blue Gap. point of attack. The pickets of the Con- The attack was made with spirit, and refederates were driven in, and a number —
1 * Correspondence of the Cincinnati Commercial, Huttonsof their cavalry pursued to the town, I ville, January 7, 1862.
LANDER'S ATTACK AT BLOOMING GAP.
sulted in the rapid dispersion of the forty miles south of Romney. He has rebels. Two pieces of artillery were captured two hundred and twenty-five taken with a few prisoners. A number beef cattle, and he broke up the guerrilla of killed were found. No loss was suf-haunt there. Two of his men were badfered by the Unionists, who returned ly wounded, but several of the rebels after destroying several houses of the were killed. The enemy has thus been rebel officer Colonel Blue, and others, driven out of this department. I reused for quarters, bringing off consider-spectfully commend Colonel S. S. Carroll able booty of cattle and stores.
to your notice. He is a most efficient The most important of these opera- and gallant officer. Lieutenants H. G. tions in this region of Western Virginia, Armstrong, A. A. G., and Fitz James was a forced reconnoissance, led by Gen- O'Brien, Aid-de-Camp, joined me in the eral Lander, on the night of the 13th of charge, by which the rebel officers were February and following morning, against captured and confidence restored, after the rebel position at Blooming Gap, on the cavalry had been checked. O'Brien the eastern border of Hampshire county. was shot through the breast by a rebel " We ran down and captured,” says he, whilst out scouting.” in his dispatch to General McClellan, The officer last mentioned will be re"seventeen commissioned officers, among membered by our readers as the spirited them colonels, lieutenant-colonels, cap- volunteer, at the opening of the war, tains, etc. We engaged them with four whose animated account of the march to hundred cavalry. Our infantry was not the relief of Washington has been given near enough to support the cavalry, and on a previous page of this work.* On the enemy were retiring. We have in the return of the militia regiment, in all seventy-five prisoners, and killed thir- which he then served, he endeavored to teen of the enemy, and lost two men and raise a company for a volunteer regisix horses at their first fire. I led the ment; and failing in this undertaking, charge in person, and it was a complete sought employment on some general's surprise. Colonel Carroll, commanding staff. General Lander, in January, met the 5th or 8th Ohio, made a very daring this wish by appointing him one of his and successful reconnoissance immediate aids. He then entered on active service ly afterwards to Unger's Store. Major in Virginia. Daring to a fault, he was Frothingham is entitled to great credit foremost with the gallant Lander in enfor building, under my direction, in four countering the foe. “I have not space,” hours, in the dead of night, a complete says the writer of a genial tribute to bridge across the Great Cacapon at an his memory, “to detail the events in unfrequented mountain road. "Two col- O'Brien's brief but glorious career as a umns of two thousand men each marched soldier ; how, in the brilliant skirmish at thirty-two miles, and one column forty Blooming Gap, Lander, O'Brien, and two three miles, since four P. M. yesterday, soldiers dashed upon an ambuscade and besides bridging the river. The papers captured three officers and eight men :taken and my own reconnoissance to the how O'Brien retained the sword and acsouth prove the country clear, and that coutrements of the rebel captain as tro. Jackson and Loring are at Winchester. | phies—the same trophies which were so We made a move and occupied the soon to be borne upon his own coffin : Blooming Gap and Point Hill, on the how, two days later, February 16th, belier, by information obtained from de- | O'Brien headed a body of cavalry which serters, that General Casson's brigade encountered a superior force of the enewas there. General Dunning has just my; how he met the rebel leader, when arrived at New Creek from Moorfield,
* Ante vol. i. p. 168
two simultaneous shots were heard ; the In about a fortnight after the action just one fired by O'Brien carried instant described he died in the camp at Paw death; that which he received pierced Paw, whence he dated his last dispatch his shoulder ; but he still rallied his of victory. A generous tribute was paid men, and brought off all, save himself, to his memory by his friend and companunharmed."* The wound, which was ion in arms, General McClellan, in the not at first thought dangerous, grew following General Order, of the 6th of worse ; amputation became necessary; March : “ The Major-General commandthe operation was performed, and was ing, with deep regret, announces to the succeeded by lock-jaw, which terminated army of the Potomac the loss of Brigain death, April 6th. The remains of the dier-General Frederick W. Lander, the deceased were brought to the city of New commander of one of its divisions, who York, and interred at Greenwood, with died at Camp Chase, on the Upper Potomilitary honors, by his old comrades of mac, on the afternoon of the 2d instant, the 7th regiment.
from the effects of a wound received in The brilliant affair at Blooming Gap the affair with the rebels at Edwards' was made the text of a special bulletin Ferry on the 22d of October, 1861. from the War Department. It was felt The public services of the deceased, then that the brilliant services of General known as Colonel Lander, in connection Lander, who had shown so much spirit with the overland route to the Pacific, in his command, though suffering from had made his name fainiliar to the Amerithe effects of a wound received in a re- can people. At the commencement of connoissance at Ball's Bluff the day after this unhappy rebellion, he was among the the unfortunate engagement at that place, first who volunteered to support with his made some particular tribute to his gal-life the Constitution and laws of his counlantry appropriate ; wbile any evidence try. From the beginning of the military of energy in Virginia was eagerly ac-operations which have restored Western cepted in earnest of the future. "The Virginia to the Union—from the origiPresident,” wrote Secretary Stanton, on nal movement upon Phillippa, where his the 17th of February, in this official bul qualities as a leader of troops were strikletin to General Lander, “directs me to ingly displayed—to the complete expulsay that he has observed with pleasure sion of the rebels from his department, the activity and enterprise manifested by in which he exhausted his fading eneryourself and the officers and soldiers of gies, his conduct has elicited the admirayour command. You have shown how tion of his countrymen. His invaluable much may be done in the worst weather services at Rich Mountain were recogand worst roads by a spirited officer at nized by the Government in his appointthe head of a small force of brave men, ment as a Brigadier-General, and his last unwilling to waste life in camp when efforts were rewarded by the official apthe enemies of their country are within proval and thanks of the President. Tall reach. Your brilliant success is a hap- of stature, and of great strength and acpy presage of what may be expected tivity, with a countenance expressive of when the army of the Potomac shall be intelligence, courage and sensibility, Genled to the field by their gallant general.” eral Lander's presence was commanding Having cleared bis department of the and attractive. As a military leader, he enemy, General Lander, unable, from combined a spirit of the most daring enhis ill health, to perform active service, terprise with clearness of judgment in asked to be relieved from duty. The the adaptation of means to results. As request, from such a man, was ominous. a man, his devotion to his country, his
* Obituary notice, Harper's Weekly. April 26, 1862. loyalty to affection and friendship, his