« AnteriorContinuar »
CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.
While the armies of the West had fought all the way from Illinois, down the Valley of the Mississippi, from Cairo to Corinth, capturing Forts Henry and Donelson, New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Nashville; while they had fought the battles of Belmont, Mill Spring, Pea Ridge, and the great battle of Shiloh ; had rescued and reclaimed from the enemy Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Arkansas, and were holding points of Mississippi and Alabama, where was the Army of the Potomac and what had it done? Where were its trophies, where the prisoners, guns, forts it had captured, and the States it had subjugated ? Is it not now clear, that if General McClellan had been equally active, and had done as much fighting and with equal success as the armies which operated at the West, the rebellion would have been crushed and the Confederate States subjugated in 1862 ? But General McClellan never adopted the tactics of Grant, of attacking every assailable point of the rebellion at the same time; but he so managed, while in supreme command, that the rebels, being on the inner and shorter line of defense, could transfer their troops from point to point wherever most needed.
The city of New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi, was early the object of the anxious consideration of President Lincoln. Having passed his life in the great Valley of the West- knowing it as one who had in early life, as a flatboatman, urged his boat over its majestic waters- he had lived to see it, and its thousands of miles of tributary streams, covered with steamers, carrying to tidewater, the vast agricultural products of a delta more productive than that of the Nile. He fully sympathized with the declaration of the gallant Illinois soldier who declared that the hardy Western settler, turning his plough-share into the sword, would “llor his way to the sea !” No place in the Union had been more associated with National pride than the city of New Orleans. The victory of General Jackson at that place had always been justly regarded as one of the most brilliant military achievements on record. This city, over which the lilies of France had floated, was the metropolis of the vast Southwest. By the treason of Twiggs, it had fallen an unresisting victim into the toils of the traitors. Lincoln early determined to restore this city to the National government.
In the Autumn of 1861, a great expedition, under the command of Captain Farragut and General B. F. Butler, was organized. To Captain Farragut has been assigned, by the common consent of his gallant and able comrades, the first position among the naval heroes of the war. A native of Tennessee, he is a hearty, bluff, honest, downright sailor, who knows no such word as fail. Full of resources,
. confident in himself and in those he knew how to command, he is one of those men who command success. General Butler's forces landed at Ship Island in December, 1861, and January, 1862.
Captain Farragut sailed with his fleet to attack the forts on the 3d of February. After bombarding Forts St. Philip and Jackson, which guarded the mouth of the Mississippi, for six days without reducing them, with the inspiration of genius, he determined to pass these forts, and sail up the Mississippi. The difficulty, and the apparent temerity of this will appear, when it is recollected that the Forts St. Philip and Jackson mounted 126 guns, many of them of very heavy caliber; that the river was obstructed by sunken hulks and an iron chain of immense strength was stretched across the channel; that he would encounter thirteen gun-boats, in addition to the powerful iron-clad battery Louisiana. The authorities of New Orleans were perfectly confident.
“Our only fear,” said the city press, “is that the Northern invaders may not appear.” If they had known Farragut, they would not have expressed any such apprehension. If they did in fact entertain such fears, he soon relieved them. On the 24th of April, amidst a storm of shot and shell, the night illuminated by the mingled fires of ships, and forts, and burning vessels, he passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip; he crushed through the boom, he destroyed the rams and gun-boats sent down to oppose him, and steaming past the batteries, he ascended the majestic Mississippi, and squared his yards, and opened his broadsides upon the proud city of the Southwest.
CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.
The city of 150,000 surrendered, and the stars and stripes once more floated over the Custom-House, Post-Office and other public buildings of the crescent city. The flag never again to be hauled down from that position, for, as it was grimly said by a Confederate General on the fall of Richmond, “it had never been the policy of the rebels to retake the cities and posts captured by the Union forces.”
THE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MCCLELLAN — THE CAMPAIGN
THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC — MCCLELLAN'S INACTION PLAN
THE CAMPAIGN-THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC— YORKTOWN -WILLIAMSBURG—THE CHICKAHOMINY—THE PRESIDENT URGES ACTION — NORFOLK TAKEN — McDOWELL AT FREDERICKSBURGSTONEWALL Jackson's CAMPAIGN DOWN THE VALLEY — BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS—LEE IN COMMAND--MECHANICSVILLE-GAINE'S MILLS, ETC.—TO THE JAMES — VALVERN HILL HARRISON'S LANDING.
IT will be remembered, that the President, on the 27th of
, January, 1862, had issued an order that active operations, and a general advance of all the armies should begin on the 22d of February. That order contemplated active movements, and in concert, by all the forces in the field. Lincoln appreciated and anticipated the common-sense views subsequently acted upon by Grant, of attacking the enemy at all points at the same time.
On the 31st of January, he had ordered that all the disprigo able forces should be organized into an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point on the railroad southwest of Manassas Junction.
Early in March, MeClellan, with his splendid army, marched on Centerville, to find it evacuated, and wooden gums in position on the works, behind which the rebels had so long remained unassailed. Addressing his vast army at Fairfax Court House, the young general said: “ The Army of the Potomac is now a real army. Magnificent in material, admirable in discipline and instruction, excellently equipped and armed, your commanders are all that I could wish.” The
last division of the Confederates left Centreville on the 9th of March. On the 10th, McClellan started for the already abandoned position. The army of McClellan was over 100,000 strong, with 350 pieces of artillery. Great dissatisfaction had prevailed throughout the country at the long continued inactivity and tardy movements of this General. President Lincoln was very slow to withdraw his confidence when it had been once given, and was noted for the unflinching fidelity with which he stood by those in whom he trusted. He had long stood by McClellan, and sustained him against a very large majority of the most earnest Union men of the Nation. The Committee on the Conduct of the War, the stern and fiery War Secretary, Mr. Stanton, and many others chafed and struggled during the long Winter of 1862, against McClellan's inactivity. They were not satisfied, and the confidence of the President began to be seriously shaken. It is clear that McClellan was a good organizer. He was an admirable engineer, and he had performed the great work of organizing and drilling a magnificent army-an army equal to any which had ever inet an enemy. Could that magnificent army, at the moment it struck its tents around Washington, have been transferred to the command of the impetuous, rapid, indefatigable, clastie Sheridan, or to the brilliant hero of Atlanta and “the grand march,” or the imperturbable, unflinching, iron will of Grant, it would have marehed into Richmond long before McClellan reached the Chickahominy. It is now but too clear that McClellan lacked the energy, decision and boldness for aggressive movements. It is not clear but that his inactivity was, to some extent attributable to an indisposition to inflict great injury upon the rebels; and it is believed that he indulged the hope of a restoration of the Union by a show of power, rather than by the exercise of it in intlicting hard blows.
Celerity formed no part in the military movements of McClellan. The Prince de Joinville, attached to his staff during his campaign, has made a criticism upon the American character, which was as true of General McClellan, as it was mistaken in regard to the American people. "I here