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credible that the experts at the Ministry of Marine, or the officials who inspected the guns, were deceived as to the character of the ships, or that they ever thought such powerful armaments could have been intended for defence against Chinese pirates in the year 1863.
It will now, I think, be admitted that the fall of Vicksburgh, by which the Mississipi was opened throughout its whole course to the United States gunboats, and the Confederate States severed in twain, and the nearly simultaneous repulse of General Lee at Gettysburgh, were the turning-points of the war. Up to the date of those events the South was able in the main to beat back invasion, and sometimes, by a supreme effort, to assume the offensive. But by that time the drain of battle and disease had greatly diminished her fighting population, and the stringency of the blockade had become so great, that it was impossible to supply the reduced numbers in the field with effective arms and ammunition, and all other necessary supplies could only be obtained at uncertain intervals and in insufficient quantities.
During the last advance upon Richmond the Confederate troops fought with their accustomed intrepidity, and by unflinching courage in resistance, and patient endurance in the lines around Petersburgh, they prolonged the last fatal campaign for a whole year-say from the battle of the Wilderness' to the surrender at Appomatox Court-house. But it was manifest that the power of the country was overstrained ; and while the struggle and the resistance of the Confederate forces at all points after the disaster at Gettysburgh was an effort which in future history will place the Southern people among those nations who are most notable for military aptitude and prowess, it was nevertheless a contest that gave but little promise of final success. As the South
grew weaker, the chief European States became more and more rigid and discriminating in their neutrality, until finally they practically prohibited that branch of trade which was most likely to afford sufficient succour to the overmatched Confederacy, and left untrammelled the traffic in those articles which were most needed and most easily obtained by the United States.
It is not my wish or purpose to revive the memory of past disappointments, or to arouse a feeling of enmity against those countries whose deceptive neutrality contributed to the defeat of the South. The history of the naval enterprises of the Confederate States which were organized abroad would, however, be very incomplete, and the disparity between the hopes entertained by the people of the South and the results accomplished would not be capable of explanation, unless the whole of the facts and circumstances are fully stated. The South has accepted the result of the war, business and social relations are again intermingling the people of the two sections on terms of friendship and intimacy, and the great majority on both sides can now recur to the events of the war and discuss them as historical incidents, and not as subjects for strife and recrimination. One of the chief purposes of this narrative is to acquaint the Southern people and others who may be interested in the great Civil War with some of the transactions which
appear to be but little known ; and I wish to deal with the occurrences purely as historical facts, and to point out the natural and reasonable inferences without bias or exaggeration.
COPY OF FRENCH MINISTER OF MARINE'S LETTER
GRANTING AUTHORITY TO ARM THE FOUR COR-
A Monsieur Arman, Deputé au Corps Législatif, Rue Godot de
Ministère de la Marine et des Colonies, 2me Directoire Personnel,
Paris, le 6 Juin, 1863. MONSIEUR, —
Je m'empresse de vous faire connaitre, en réponse à votre lettre au 1re de ce mois, que je vous autorise volontiers à pouvoir d'un armement de douze à quatorze canons de trente les quatre batiments à vapeur en bois et en fer qui se construisent en ce moment à Bordeaux et à Nantes.
Je vous prie de vouloir bien m'informer en temps utile de l'époque à laquelle ces navires seront prêts à prendre la mer afin que je donne les instructions necessaires à MM. les chefs du service de la Marine dans ces deux ports. Recevez, monsieur, l'assurance de ma haute consideration, Le Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat de la Marine et des Colonies,
(Signé) CHASSELOUP LAUBAT. Pour copie conforme,
(Signé) J. VORUZ, aîné.
It will hardly be thought by anyone that if the purpose had been to conceal from the French Government the true destination of ships so wholly fit for war, and so manifestly unfitted for commerce, the attempt to deceive would have been made through the transparent pretence that they were designed for a line of packets between San Francisco and China.
Misconception by the United States of the attitude of the English
and French Governments. -Repurchase of the Sphinx from Denmark.-Precarious condition of the Confederate Cause at that period.-Correspondence concerning the despatch of the Stonewall (Sphinx) from Copenhagen in conjunction with the City of Richmond from London.— The Stonewall's challenge to the United States ships Niagara and Sacramento.-Surrender of the Stonewall to the Cuban Government at the end of the War.-Her subsequent delivery to the United States.
From the contents of the preceding chapter, it will be perceived that the French Imperial Government wholly changed its attitude of tacit encouragement to the Confederate States just at the time when the secret pledges were ripe for effective fulfilment, and when the possession of the ships built under cover of official connivance might have supplied a great and pressing need, and would have measurably increased the power of the Southern States to continue the unequal contest.
One of the strangest features in the retrospect of these Confederate operations in Europe is the evidence we have of the misapprehension of the United States in regard to the feeling of the two great maritime PowersEngland and France—towards the American belligerents. In the diplomatic correspondence of the United States during the war there often appear commendatory acknowledgments of the friendly neutrality of France and other Continental Powers, and in the Case of the United States' presented to the Tribunal of Arbitration at Geneva, “the proceedings against M. Arman's vessels' are cited as a proof of the fidelity with which the Imperial Government maintained the neutrality which it imposed upon its subjects.' Her Britannic Majesty's Government, on the contrary, is denounced by Mr. Seward for its partiality to the Confederate States, and is charged in both the official despatches and in the Case' with the gravest offences against international law and neutral duties, and the complaints and insinuations were often expressed in such offensive language, and were sometimes so personal, that in reading them now it is impossible to suppress a feeling of surprise that they were borne so meekly, and answered with so much forbearance.
Whether the Government of the United States ever suspected the secret encouragement which the Emperor of the French gave to the South, does not appear in the printed correspondence, and cannot be now known. What Mr. Seward and the compiler of 'the Case' commended, was the prompt, energetic action of the Imperial Government at the critical moment, and they probably cared very little about the original promises or intimations to Mr. Slidell, even if those promises were known to them. The indignation, one might even say the contempt, with which they speak of the British Government of that date, appears to have been the outcome, not of animosity against Great Britain, but of irritation produced by the vacillation of her Majesty's Ministers.
If General Lee had won the battle of Gettysburgh and had been able to hold the line of the Potomac through the winter of 1863-64, and if, meanwhile, affairs had