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McClellan is not to blame for asking what he wanted and needed, and the Secretary of War is not to blame for not giving when he had none to give. And I say here, as far as I know, the Secretary of War has withheld no one thing at any tiine in my power to give him. I have no accusation against him. I believe he is a brave and able man, and I stand here, as justice requires me to do, to take upon myself what has been charged on the Secretary of War, as withholding from him.
I have talked longer than I expected to do, and now I avail myself of my privilege of saying no more.
GENERAL CONDUCT OF THE ADMINISTRATION IN 1862.
SUCCESSES IN THE SOUTIWEST.-RECOGNIZED OBJECTS OF TIE WAR.“
RelatioNS OF THE WAR TO SLAVERY.-Our FOREIGN RELATIONS.— PROPOSED MediaTION OF THE FRENCH EMPEROR. --Reply TO THE French PROPOSAL.-SECRETARY Seward's DisPATCH.-THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER TO FERNANDO WOOD.-OBSERVANCE OP THE SABBATH.
In every other section of the country, except in Eastern Virginia, the military operations of the year 1862 were marked by promptitude and vigor, and attended by success to the National arms. Early in February, a lodgment had been effected by the expedition under General Burnside on the coast of North Carolina ; and, on the 19th of January, the victory of Mill Springs had released Western Kentucky from rebel rule, and opened a path for the armies of the Union into East Tennessee. The President's order of January 27th, for an advance of all the forces of the Government on the 22d of February, had been promptly followed by the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, which led to the evacuation of Bowling Green, the surrender of Nashville, and the fall of Columbus, the rebel strong. hold on the Mississippi. Fort Pulaski, which guarded the entrance to Savannah, was taken, after eighteen hours' bombardment, on the 12th of April, and the whole west coast of Florida had been occupied by our forces. By the skilful strategy of General Halleck, commanding the Western Department, seconded by the vigorous activity of General Curtis, the rebel commander in Missouri, General Price, had been forced to retreat, leaving the whole of that State in our hands; and he was badly beaten in a subsequent engagement at Sugar Creek in Arkansas. On the 14th, Island No. 10, commanding the passage of the Mississippi, was taken by General Pope; and, on the 4th of June, Forts Pillow and Randolph, still lower down, were occupied by our forces. On the 6th, the city of Memphis was surrendered by the rebels. Soon after the fall of Nashville, a formidable expedition had ascended the Tennessee River, and, being joined by all the available Union forces in that vicinity, the whole, under command of General Halleck, prepared to give battle to the rebel army, which, swelled by large reenforcements from every quarter, was posted in the vicinity of Corinth, ninety miles east of Memphis, intending by a sudden attack to break the force of the Union army, which was sweeping steadily down upon them from the field of its recent conquests. The rebels opened the attack with great fury and effect, on the morning of the 6th of April, at Pittsburg Landing, three miles in advance of Corinth. The fight lasted nearly all day, the rebels having decidedly the advantage ; but in their final onset they were driven back, and the next day our army, strengthened by the opportune arrival of General Buell, completed what proved to be a signal and most important. victory. When news of it reached Washington, President Lincoln issued the following proclama tion :
It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe signal victories to the land and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion, and at the samo timo to avert from our country the dangers of foreign intervention and invasion.
It is therefore recommended to the people of the United States, that at their next weekly assemblages in their accustomed places of public worship which shall occur after the notice of this Proclamation shall have been received, they especially acknowledge and render thanks to our Heavenly Father for these inestimable blessings; that they then and there implore spiritual consolation in behalf of all those who bave been brought into affliction by the casualties and calamities of sedition and civil war; and that they reverently invoke the Divine guidance for our national counsels, to the end that they may speedily result in the restoration of peace, harmony, and unity throughout our borders, and hasten the establisbinent of fraternal relations among all the countries of the earth.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of April, in the (L. B.] year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the independence of the United States the eiglity-sixth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:
Wm. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
On the 28th of May the rebels evacuated Corinth, and were pushed southward by our pursuing forces for some twenty-five or thirty miles. General Mitchell, by a daring and most gallant enterprise in the latter part of April, took possession of Huntsville in Alabama. In February a formidable naval expedition had been fitted out under Commodore Farragut for the capture of New Orleans; and on the 18th of April the attack commenced upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip, by which the passage of the Mississippi below the city is guarded. After six days' bombardment, the whole fleet passed the forts on the nignt of the 23d, under a terrible fire from both ; and on the 25th the rebel General Lovell, who had command of the military defences of the city, withdrew, and Commudore Farragut took possession of the town, which he retained until the arrival of General Butler on the 1st of May, who thereupon entered upon the discharge of his duties as commander of that Department.
During the summer, a powerful rebel army, under General Bragg, invaded Kentucky for the double purpose of obtaining supplies and affording a rallying point for what they believed to be the secession sentiment of the State. In the accomplishment of the former object they were successful, but not in the latter. They lost more while in the State from desertions than they gained by recruits; and after a battle at Perryville, on the 7th
; of October, they began their retreat. On the 5th of October a severe battle was fought at Corinth, from which a powerful rebel army attempted to drive our troops under General Rc secrans, but they were repulsed with very heavy losses, and the campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee was virtually at an end. A final effort of the enemy in that region led to a severe engagement at Murfreesboro' on the 31st of December, which resulted in the defeat of the rebel forces, and in relieving Tennessee from the presence of the rebel armies.
In all the military operations of this year, especial care had been taken by the generals in command of the several departments, acting under the general direction of the Government, to cause it to be distinctly understood that the object of the war was the preservation of the Union and the restoration of the authority of the Constitution. The rebel authorities, both civil and military, lost no opportunity of exciting the fears and resentments of the people of the Southern States, by ascribing to the National Government designs of the most ruthless and implacable hostility to their institutions and their persons. It was strenuously represented that the object of the war was to rob the Southern people of their rights and their property, and especially to set free their slaves. The Government did every thing in its power to allay the apprehensions and hostilities which these statements were calculated to produce. General Garfield, while in Ken
, tucky, just before the victory of Mill Springs, issued on the 16th of January an address to the citizens of that section of the State, exhorting them to return to their allegiance to the Federal Government, which had never made itself injuriously felt by any one among them, and promising them full protection for their persons and their property, and full reparation for any wrongs they might have sustained. After the battle of Mill Springs, the Secretary of War, under the direction of the President, issued an order of thanks to the soldiers engaged in it, in which he again announced that the “purpose of the war was to attack, pursue, and destroy a rebellious enemy, and to deliver the country from danger menaced by traitors.' On the 20th of November, 1861, General Halleck, commanding the Department of the Missouri, on the eve of the advance into Tennessee, issued an order enjoining upon the troops the necessity of discipline and of order, and calling on them to prove by their acts that they came “to restore, not to violate the Constitution and