« AnteriorContinuar »
MAJOR LOTHAR LIPPERT.
on the Saline River, on a raid to Batesville, on White River, in
posed of the 13th Illinois and the 2d Missouri cavalry. He performed his difficult task with his usual successful celerity and fidelity, but was hardly alive when he returned to Little Rock, on the 14th of October, 1863, carried in an ambulance. He died of malignant fever and chronic diarrhea, on the 18th of October-a priceless victim of his exhaustless devotion to his adopted country. He was a thorough soldier and a firm friend to his men and officers, and would surely have achieved higher military honors but for his untimely death. An only son, nine years of age, survives him, his widow having died in 1865.
EARLY LIFE-POLITICAL CAREER-COLONEL-BRIGADIER IN KENTUCKY-HIS ADMIN
ISTRATION--SUSTAINED BY THE PRESIDENT.
MTAJOR-GENERAL JOHN M. PALMER stands among the
U foremost of the volunteer officers of the war for the Union, and has been among the most statesmanlike. The grand results of our struggle could never have been attained had our armies been solely under professional military men. It was a war of ideas, a conflict of principles, and the presence at the head of our armies of citizen soldiers was needed.
General Palmer was born in Christian County, Kentucky, September 13, 1817. In 1832, he became a citizen of Illinois, and, seven years later, became a resident of Carlinville. His early education had been meager, but he overcame its disadvantages, as far as possible, by constant reading, and, after removing to Carlinville, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1840. He was married to Miss Neely in 1842.
In 1847, his political career began in an election to the State Constitutional Convention. In 1852, he was elected to a seat in the State Senate, in which he remained until 1855. In 1856, he was a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Philadelphia, and, in 1860, was delegate at large to the Convention which gave Abraham Lincoln his first nomination. He was one of the five Commissioners to the Conference Convention which met in Washington, February 4, 1861, in pursuance to the request of the Virginia Legis. lature.
In 1861, he was chosen Colonel of the 14th regiment Illinois Volunteers, and entered active service. In the campaigns of 1861, he was in Missouri. In December of that year he was commissioned Brigadier-General, and placed under General Pope at Commerce. He was at the capture of New Madrid and Island No. 10, and on the march to Corinth. He commanded the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the Army of the Mississippi at the battle of Farmington. He commanded the brigade, under Grant, until placed in command of a division. He was early commissioned Major-General. His soldierly qualities were seen to be of a high order; collected, shrewd, prompt in decision, and unfaltering in execution, brave as a lion, his promotion to a high rank came no sooner than the army and the country felt it was merited.
He commanded the 14th Army Corps in General Sherman's march to the sea, and fought with distinction at Kenesaw and Peach Tree Creek, receiving high encomiums. He was relieved from the command of the corps at bis own request, and assigned to other duty.
Hereafter we find him in the discharge of new and perplexing duties.
We are now to see him in a novel position-one demanding military firmness and statesmanship of a high order--in which he was to settle some grave questions, and shape national policy.
In February, 1865, he was assigned to the command of the Federal forces in Kentucky, where there was much restlessness. The Unionists were some of them sorely chafed by the loss of their slaves, while there was a large element of the population in full sympathy with rebellion, little less than 20,000 Kentuckians having enlisted in the rebel armies. Guerrillas were active; the question of emancipation was unsettled; the negroes were restless, for they were neither free nor slave; and the society was one great troubled cauldron.
General Palmer moved deliberately but strongly, and it was soon seen that he was not to be managed by crafty men. On the 29th of April he issued his first celebrated order. It instructed military officers in the duty of arrests. Foolish people were not to be seized for a foolish word. There was no armed enemy to the Government within the department, and all persons patrolling the State, in violation of law, were to be treated as robbers and guerrillas, and not permitted to surrender for trial. The remaining paragraphs of the
“The people of this department are to be protected without regard to color or
ing the benefit of the amnesty oath and the act of Congress freeing the slaves of all persons who have been in rebellion against the Government of the United States, and have aided or given any comfort to those in rebellion, and the joint resolution freeing the wives and children of enlisted men and others who have acquired the right, under the laws, the executive proclamation and military orders.
“All such persons are under the protection of the Government. Colored people, within the laws, resolutions, proclamations and orders referred to, are free ; and, whether free or not, are to be protected from cruelty and oppression, in all cases.
“When the state of the country, and the organization and rules of civil tribunals will permit them to enforce justice, offenders against the local laws will be handed over to them for trial.
“In no case, however, will any person or court be allowed to deprive any one of his or her liberty under the acts, resolutions, proclamations and orders above referred to, or to harass, by persecution or otherwise, those who may desert the enemy in earning a support or maintaining their rights."
This caused an outburst of indignation that the military was coercing the courts. Subsequent military events modified the force of the order, but that it was right in spirit and as conservative in tone, as was possible, can hardly be disputed.
His general order of March 10th had asserted the freedom of the wives and children of all colored men who enlisted in the Federal army, and loyal men in Kentucky were urged to encourage their enlistment. Thus it was bitterly complained that more than 22,000 valuable slaves were enlisted and their families freed, and that from three to five hundred daily were being emancipated. The State Legislature refused to approve the Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, and the contest went on. .
At a Union convention, held in Frankfort, General Palmer delivered an address, and pledged the whole power of the Government to protect Union men and free speech, yet added, in hearing of not a few ex-rebels, “The time has passed in this country, when free speech is to be understood as the liberty of mouthing treason. If I desired an inscription upon my monument after I have passed from earth, it should be, 'Here lies the champion of free speech.'
But that free speech does not imply that the traducer of the Government, and the defamer of the principles upon which it is founded shall be protected in his lying utterances. My idea is, that no man has a right to utter treason, not believing it, or to utter treason, believing it. In the one case he is simply a liar, and in the other he is a traitor."
The approach of the annual election called out Order No. 51, declaring the continued existence of martial law, and forbidding the exercise of suffrage to all guerrillas, all rebel scouts and spies, and persons who by act or word gave aid or comfort to persons in rebellion; all deserters from the United States military service, who had not returned under provisions of specified orders; “all persons who were or have been, directly or indirectly, engaged in the civil service of the so-called Confederate Government, or of the so-called Provisional Government of Kentucky, or who have in any way voluntarily submitted to the pretended governments; all agents or contractors for either of said governments, &c.”
Complaints were made of undue military interference with elections, and indictments of military officers were common.
To assist colored people in going where they could find employment, the General set aside by military the statutes forbidding them transportation on lines of transit. He suspended the execution of barbarous statutes, and informed municipal authorities that they could not and should not molest persons made free by authority of the Government.
The President was besought to remove General Palmer. Proslaveryism was upon its knees pleading for his disgrace, but the administration sustained him. A suit was commenced against him, in the name of the State, for aiding slaves to escape, but Judge Johnston dismissed it, on the ground that the requisite number of states had adopted the Constitutional amendment before the indictment was found, and that, therefore, all criminal and penal acts of the Legislature of Kentucky relating to slavery were of no avail. Thus a Kentucky court gave the first judicial recognition of the amendment.
A general order followed, proclaiming the abolition of slavery, and advising people of color to claim their right to travel at the bar