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rection against the Federal Government, to which you have again directed my attention, in your letter of July 20, has received my most attentive consideration. It is the desire of the President that all existing rights in all the States be fully respected and maintained. The war now prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a war for the Union, for the preservation of all the constitutional rights of the States and the citizens of the States in the Union; hence no question can arise as to fugitives from service within the States and Terri. tories in which the authority of the Union is fully acknowl edged. The ordinary forms of judicial proceedings must be respected by the military and civil authorities alike for the enforcement of legal forms. But in the States wholly or in part under insurrectionary control, where the laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they can not be effectually enforced, it is obvious that the rights dependent upon the execution of these laws must temporarily fail, and it is equally obvious that the rights dependent on the laws of the States within which military operations are conducted must necessarily be subordinate to the military exigences created by the insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable con. duct of the parties claiming them. To this the general rule of the right to service forms an exception. The act of Congress approved Aug. 6, 1861, declares that if persons held to service shall be employed in hostility to the United States, the right to their services shall be discharged therefrom. It follows of necessity that no claim can be recognized by the military authority of the Union to the services of such persons when fugitives.
A more difficult question is presented in respect to persons escaping from the service of loyal masters. It is quite appar. ent that the laws of the State under which only the services of such fugitives can be claimed must needs be wholly or almost wholly superseded, as to the remedies, by the insurrection and the military measures necessitated by it; and it is equally apparent that the substitution of military for judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be attended by great inconvenience, embarrassments and injuries. Under these circumstances, it seems quite clear that the substantial rights of loyal masters are still best protected by receiving such fugitives - as well as fugitives from disloyal masters, into the service of
the United States, and employing them under such organizations and in such occupations as circumstances may suggest or require. Of course a record should be kept showing the names and descriptions of the fugitives, the names and characters, as Loyal or disloyal, of their masters, and such facts as may be
necessary to a correct understanding of the circumstances of each case.
After tranquillity shall have been restored upon the return of peace, Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the persons thus received into the service of the Union, and for a just compensation to loyal masters. In this way only, it would seem, can the duty and safety of the Government and just rights of all be fully reconciled and harmonized. You will, therefore, consider yourself ir structed to govern your future action in respect to fugitives from service by the premises herein stated, and will report from time to time, and at least twice in each month, your action in the premises to this Department. You will, however, neither authorize nor permit any interference by the troops under your command with the servants of peaceable citizens in a house or field, nor will you in any manner encourage such citizens to leave the lawful seryice of their masters, nor will you, except in cases where the public good may seem to require it, prevent the voluntary return of any fugitive to the service from which he may have escaped. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of War. T. MAJ. GEN. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of Virginia, Fortress Monroe.
On the 6th of November, a force under Gens. Grant and McClernand left Cairo on transports for the purpose of breaking up a Rebel camp on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river, nearly opposite Columbus, the headquarters of Gen. Polk. The whole number of men engaged in this expedition, including a Chicago battery and two companies of cavalry, was about 3,500. The gunboats Tyler and Lexington accompanied them. The troops effected a landing and were formed in line of battle about eight o'clock the following morning, and at once advanced upon the Rebel works. The Rebels, under Gen. Cheatham, met this attack, but were driven back over the wooded field, fighting from tree to tree, into and through their camp. Twelve guns were captured from the Rebels, their camp burned, and baggage, horses, and many prisoners were taken. Reënforcements from Columbus subsequently crossed to Belmont, compelling the Union forces to return to their transports, under cover of the gunboats. Though a decided success in
the early part of the day, the engagement terminated less favorably, and victory was claimed by the Rebels.
About the same time, it is worthy of note, a gunboat reconnoissance was made to Fort Donelson. The movement at Belmont, made by order of Gen. Fremont, perhaps aided another ere long to be undertaken in the latter direction, as well as the advance into Southwestern Missouri, then in progress.
issouri, then in progresso anahit A large force, under Gen. W. T. Sherman, had meanwhile advanced as far as Bowling Green, to meet an invasion of Kentucky under the Rebel Gen. Brage, while on the left of Sherman, Gen. William Nelson, on the 8th, gained a decisive victory over the Rebels, under Col. Williams, clearing the northeastern part of the State of invaders. Thus the prompt occupation of Paducah by Gen. Grant, the advance of Sherman, and the energy of Nelson, had defeated a well-devised plan of the Rebels for overrunning and subjugating Kentucky. Gen. Buckner, not long after his interview with McClellan at Cincinnati, in June, had thrown off the mask, and was zealously engaged in an attempt to draw Kentucky into the Secession gulf-stream, and to gather a large force of Kentuckians for the Rebel Army. In the latter purpose he was not without success.
On the 10th of November, Gen. H. W. Halleck was appointed to the command of the Department of the West, in the place of Gen. Fremont. At the same date Gen. W. T. Sherman, having lately resigned his command in Kentucky, Gen. D. C. Buell took that General's place.
During the Summer and Autumn, the Navy Department had manifested great energy in collecting the before scattered navy, and in fitting out, equipping and manning for service on the seas and navigable rivers, where available, an adequate force of war vessels, gunboats and transports. A blockade of remarkable stringency, under circumstances so adverse, had been maintained along our immense sea-coast, and numerous prizes had rewarded the vigilance of our naval commanders and seamen. Blockade-running, though frequently attempted, and sometimes too successful, had become hazardous, and communication with foreign countries was but casual. and attended with constant peril. The capture of the forts at Hatteras Inlet