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Conference. Military Order
Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to many whose support the country can not afford to lose. And this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask you can relieve me, and, much more, can relieve the country in this important point.
“Upon these considerations, I have again begged your attention to the Message of March last. Before leaving the Capitol, consider and discuss it among yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in no wise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government saved to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that happiness, and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names there with forever.”
On the twenty-second of July, the following order was issued : “WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, July 22d, 1862.
“First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Wirginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an ordinary manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice.
“Second. That military and naval commanders shall em
THE SLAVERY QUESTION. 181
ploy as laborers, within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor. “Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several departments of this government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts toward the execution of these orders. “By order of the President. “EDw1N M. STANTON, Secretary of War.”
And on the twenty-fifth of July, by proclamation, the Predent warned all persons to cease participating in aiding, countenancing, or abetting the rebellion, and to return to their allegiance, under penalty of the forfeitures and seizures provided by an act “to suppress insurrections, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes,” approved July 17th, 1862.
THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN.
President's War Order—Reason for the same—Results in West and South-west—Army of the Potomac-Presidential Orders—Letter to McClellan–Order for Army Corps—The
. Issue of the Campaign—Unfortunate Circumstances—President's Speech at Union Meet. ing—Comments—Operations in Virginia and Maryland–In the West and South-west.
EARLY in 1862 appeared the following: “Eacecutive Mansion, Washington, January 27th, 1862 (President's General War Order, No. 1.] “ORDERED, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.
Military Successes. Army of the Potomac.
“That especially the Army at and about Fortress Monroe, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the Army near Mumfordsville, Kentucky, the Army and Flotilla at Cairo, and a Naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement on that day.
“That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given.
“That the Heads of Departments, and especially the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the General-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.
In thus resuming whatever of his constitutional duties as Commander-in-chief of the army and navy might have been temporarily devolved upon others, and directing immediate and energetic aggressive measures, the President only acted as the exponent of the popular feeling, which had become manifest, of dissatisfaction at the apparently inexcusable want of action in military affairs. In the West and South-west followed the successful battle at Mill Spring, Kentucky; the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, compelling the evacuation of Nashville, and ridding Kentucky of any organized rebel force; the hardly contested, but successful battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, relieving Missouri, in a great degree; victory for our arms wrested from the jaws of defeat at Shiloh; and the occupation of New Orleans, giving control of the Mouth of the Mississippi. What at the East 7–Roanoke Island. Touching the movements of the Army of the Potomac, to which the country looked so expectantly for grand results, efficiently officered, thoroughly disciplined, and splendidly equipped as it was known or supposed to be, the first diffi
President's Order. Letter to McClellan,
culty was to fix upon a plan. For the purpose of leading the attention of its General to something like a definite decision however, the order of January 27th was succeeded by the following:
“Executive Mansion, Washington, January 31st, 1862. “ORDERED, That all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac, after providing safely for the defence of Washington, be formed into an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad south-westward of what is known as Manassas Junction; all details to be in the discretion of the Commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before, or on the twenty-second day of Feb
General McClellan objecting to this movement and earnestly urging a plan of advance upon Richmond by the Lower Rappahannock with Urbana as a base, the President addressed him the following letter:
“Eacecutive Mansion, Washington, February 3d, 1862. “MY DEAR SIR:—You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac ; yours to be done by the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the railroad on the York river; mine to move directly to a point on the railroad southwest of Manassas. “If you will give satisfactory answers to the following questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours: “First. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expen diture of time and money than mine 7 “Second, Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine 7 “Third. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine 7 “Fourth. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this;
that it would break no great line of the enemy's communications, while mine would 7 “Fifth. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more difficult by your plan than mine * “Yours, truly, A. LINCOLN. “MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN.”
Which plain, practical questions were never directly answered.
This army being without any organization into Army Corps, the President, on the 8th of March, as a movement was about to be made toward Manassas, issued a peremptory order to the Commanding General to attend forthwith to such organization, naming the Corps and their Commanders, according to seniority of rank.
On the same day, the President, who had, against his own judgment, yielded the plan for an advance upon Richmond which should at the same time cover Washington, wise through experience, issued the following:
“Eacecutive Mansion, Washington, March 8th, 1862. “ORDERED. That no change of the base of operations of the Army of the Potomac shall be made without leaving in and about Washington such a force as, in the opinion of the General-in-chief and the commanders of Army Corps, shall
leave said city entirely secure.
“That no more than two Army Corps (about fifty thousand troops) of said Army of the Potomac shall be moved en route or a new base of operations until the navigation of the Potomac, from Washington to the Chesapeake Bay, shall be . freed from the enemy's batteries, and other obstructions, or
until the President shall hereafter give express permission. “That any movement as aforesaid, en route for a new base of operations, which may be ordered by the General-in-chief, and which may be intended to move upon Chesapeake Bay, shall begin to move upon the bay as early as the 18th of