« AnteriorContinuar »
The provisionals were enlisted for the space of twelve months, to go wherever ordered. Most of the forces belonged to this class, which was generally made up of volunteer State militia. Their uniform varied like that of the Northern State militia, and their pay was eleven dollars per month. The services of all volunteers who offered themselves were accepted, if they passed inspection. The regulars were enlisted for three years. These were composed of the lowest class of the white population, gathered up from the levees of New Orleans, Mobile, and other seaports. Placards, announcing large bounties in advance, were extensively circulated in the different cities throughout the whole Southern country, and recruiting offices were established in Mobile, Montgomery, New Orleans, and other towns in the South-west. Their pay was only seven dollars per month.
The number of men raised was very large for the population. This was the more practicable because, the blacks being employed in all domestic labor, the whites were left free to enlist, and the excitement was so great that almost all the able-bodied white population was drawn off to the army in the Border States. The projected increase required a proportionately large number of generals. Mr. Toombs resigned as Secretary of State, and received the appointment of brigadier-general, retaining his seat in the Congress. This was permitted by the constitution, which allowed members to hold appointments from the Confederate Government. In this the provisional constitution differed from the old United States Constitution, which forbids members to hold offices of emolument. From the month of September, 1861, the favorable aspect of affairs in the Confederate States began to decline. Their currency rapidly depreciated, and it became difficult to supply their soldiers with the necessary equipments and rations. Extraordinary exertions were made, and, in many instances, as remarkable sacrifices, to furnish what was needed; but under the discomforts which were the lot of the private soldier, volunteers were not readily procured, and the Confederate leaders began to talk of drafting early in the autumn. The army in the field did not at any time before January, 1862, exceed two hunded and ninety thousand
The Confederate Senate confirmed General Beauregard full general, the highest grade in the Confederate service, with commission dating from July 21st, 1861, the date of the Bull Run victory. BrigadierGeneral Robert E. Lee, formerly of the United States army, was about the same time commissioned a general, and B. F. Cheatham, of Nashville, and Felix R. Zollicoffer, of Nashville, formerly member of Congress, brigadier-generals in the Confederate army.
The finances of the Confederate Congress were by no means in a flourishing condition. The seceding States had, for many years past, exported by far the greater part of their agricultural products, their exports of cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco amounting, annually, on an average of the five years ending June 30th, 1860, to about $213,000,000, out of a total export from the United States of about $400,000,000. The greater part of this amount was expended either in the Northern cities, for manufactured goods, or in travel at the North or in Europe.
The goods bought at the North were usually purchased on a year's credit, so that the proceeds of the produce exported were anticipated. The blockade, by preventing the shipment of the cotton, rice, sugar, &c., rendered these products almost valueless, and speedily induced a financial panic. The banks of the seceded States held, on the 1st of January, 1861, $25,821,993 in specie, and had an outstanding circulation of $55,223,960. This amount of specie was considerably increased during the next five months by their drawing whatever balances stood to their credit from the New York banks, and by a passage of an act of the Confederate Congress, May 21st, 1861, prohibiting all debtors owing money to Northern creditors from paying them, and requiring the payment of the amount into the Confederate treasury either in specie or treasury notes, for which they were to receive a certificate of the payment, bearing interest, and redeemable at the close of the war. The payment of the interest on the bonds of the several States was also ordered to be made only in the Confederate States, and the strictest scrutiny was instituted to prevent the payment of such interest to any person or the agent of any person who was not a citizen of the Southern Confederacy, or if an alien, at least a well-wisher to that Confederacy. The banks of the seceding States held a convention at Atlanta, Georgia, on the 3d of June, 1861, at which they resolved to issue their notes to the Confederate Government on the deposit of its eight per cent. twenty-year bonds, of which the issue of $100,000,000 had been authorized, and recommended the taking of Confederate treasury notes by railroad companies, tax collectors, &c. The banks had been authorized to suspend specie payments, by the several States, in the winter previous, and the treasury notes, which were payable six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace with the United States, as well as the bank notes, soon began to depreciate seriously. In August, gold and silver were at fifteen per cent. premium, and before January 1st, 1862, two paper dollars would only buy one in specie, while the tendency of the currency was still downward. In some of the States the Confederate scrip stood very far below the bank notes, and was regarded as almost valueless; but the stringent laws passed by the Confederate Government, punishing the refusal to receive it with imprisonment, and if persisted in, with death, led to its general reception, but occasioned an enormous inflation of the prices of every article of merchandise. Boots, shoes, clothing of all kinds, thread, needles, cotton and woollen goods, tea, coffee, sugar, molasses, salt, &c., were held at from ten to fifty times their ordinary value.
The Government had formed several plans of finance; the first by taxation. The Secretary of the Treasury issued the following ciocular. to the States' officers:
"CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, "RICHMOND, June 26th, 1861.
"Hon. E. W. CAVE, Treasurer of State of Texas, Austin, Texas:
"SIR: I have as yet been unable to obtain from your State the information required by Congress, with a view to its legislation at the ensuing session. Permit me to solicit any information in your possession upon the following points as to your State:
1. The assessed value of real estate, and whether assessed at the market value.
"2. The same information as to personal estate, and what general items constitute the personal estate.
"3. The amount of money at interest.
"4. The amount of banking and railroad and other stock. "5. The number of slaves, and the value per head.
"6. The amount and rate of the last tax in your State. "7. The population.
"C. G. MEMMINGER, "Secretary of the Treasury."
A war tax was then levied upon real estate, including all lands and estates therein, with ferries, bridges, and mines; slaves of all ages; merchandise of all kinds for sale, except agricultural products of the country; bank stock, except such as may be retained by the banks; railroad and other stock; money at interest, including bills, and alĺ notes and securities bearing interest, except Confederate bonds; cash on hand or deposit, in bank or elsewhere; cattle, horses, mules, raised or held for sale; gold watches; gold and silver plate, pianos, and pleasure carriages.
The plan of a produce loan was projected, and met with some success. The mode seemed complicated, but was, in fact, simply a loan of money to the Government. It was called a produce loan, because the sales of produce form the only means of the planter. When he sent his produce to his factor for sale, he sent an order with it to pay over to the Government, in exchange for its bonds, bearing eight per cent. interest in specie, a certain portion of it, such as he might deem expedient. The difficulty of selling the crop cramped both parties, the Government as well as the planters, and produced great distress. The treasury notes of the Government that had become the general currency were greatly depreciated, although receivable for the war taxes. They were also fundable in eight per cent. bonds.
There was also paper money issued, not only by the Confederate Government, but by the States, cities, and individuals. The merchants and others, early foreseeing the difficulties, sold their goods for coin, and hoarded it. Hence the whole metallic currency speedily disappeared. Its price, therefore, rose in the double ratio of the flood of paper money and the disappearance of gold. The currency was speedily ruined, and the most frightful evils followed in its train. The supplies of produce and food were large because the crops were fair, and a much greater breadth of land than usual was put into crops. The difficulties suffered by the South in this emergency were very similar to those encountered by the colonies in the Revolutionary war, and also by the United States in 1812, from a deficiency of home manufactures. The great distress of the Northern States from 1809 to 1814 had been productive of great good, however, since it called into being manufactures, which took root and subsequently flourished, but which might not, perhaps, in many years have been undertaken, had the capital of the country continned peacefully employed in agriculture and in commerce. The South had hitherto employed all its capital in the production of tobacco, sugar, and raw materials. The blockade compelled attention to other pursuits, and the Slave States began to develop a manufacturing industry. The production
HISTORY OF THE GREAT REBELLION.
of cotton, however, has probably been but momentarily checked, even if the dream which has occupied the English imagination for sixty years, of raising cotton in India, should prove true, since the wants of the civilized world in that particular far outrun the capacity of the South to supply. The development of manufactures in the Southern States will serve to keep at home an immense capital, to reproduce itself through the labor of that portion of the white race which has hitherto not added much to the Southern wealth,
Meeting of Congress.-President's Message.-Naval and Military Affairs.-Estimates for Year.-Senators Expelled.-Acts passed.-Confiscation.-Operations of the Treasury. The Different Loans authorized.-Difficulties of the Government.Habeas Corpus.-The Press.-Newspapers Suppressed.
THE Thirty-seventh Federal Congress assembled at Washington in extra session, July 4th, pursuant to the call of the President. There were present forty-three senators at the opening of the session; of whom nine represented Border States: Delaware, Messrs. Bayard and Saulsbury; Kentucky, Messrs. Breckinridge and Powell; Maryland, Messrs. Kennedy and Pearce; Missouri, Messrs. Polk and Johnson; Tennessee, Mr. Johnson.
The senators from Kansas also appeared: Mr. Pomeroy, for the long term, and Lane, for the short term; from California, Mr. McDougall; and from Illinois, Mr. Browning, in place of Senator Douglas, deceased. In the course of the session appeared also Messrs. W. S. Willey and J. S. Carlile, from the loyal legislature of Virginia, and were admitted
to seats as senators.
In the House of Representatives, there were present one hundred and fifty-nine members, including five who were elected from Western Virginia, and were admitted as members. The clerk of the House called the roll for all the States, including the Southern seceded States, but of course from them none were present. Mr. G. A. Grow, of Pennsylvania, was elected speaker, and Hon. Emerson Etheridge, late member from Tennessee, was elected clerk. The message of the President was brief, and confined mostly to the public exigency for the consideration of which Congress was assembled. The President restated the position of affairs on his accession to the Government, the functions of which had been suspended in six States, where a new government had been organized, which was seeking foreign recognition. It was incumbent upon the new Administration to prevent a dissolution. The inaugural address had indicated the policy to be pursued. The proceedings relating to Fort Sumter were alluded to, and the desire of the Government to maintain possession of it. ejection of the United States troops left no recourse but to call out the war power of the Government. He thought that he had done nothing
which it was beyond the power of Congress to sanction; and he anticipated a full endorsement of his acts. He then asked for four hundred thousand men, and four hundred million dollars in money, to "make the contest a short and decisive one." The message also argued against the right of a State to secede, and stated what was to be the course of the Government towards the Southern States after the rebellion shall have been suppressed.
The message met with approbation from the loyal citizens of the Union, who saw in it evidence of the determination of the President to take care, as his oath had bound him to do, "that the laws were faithfully executed," and that the Republic suffered no detriment from any hesitation or half-measures on his part. The exigencies of his position were without a precedent in the history of the country, and while he had called Congress together for an extra session at as early a date as it could be convened, owing to the fact that in some of the States the election of members of Congress did not take place till June, he had in the mean time been compelled to take upon himself great responsibilities, which his message, as well as his own character for integrity, demonstrated that he had used wisely and well. The people felt that his acts, committed under such necessity, should be cordially sanctioned by Congress, wherever there was any doubt as to their validity, which only existed in regard to the enrolling of volunteers for the war, since the militia act of 1795 fully authorized his course in calling out the militia.
The Secretary of War in his report recounted the seizures of public property that had taken place on the part of the Confederates previous to the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, and stated the results of the proclamation calling for troops, as follows:
Regulars and volunteers for three months, and for the war.......
For the maintenance of this force, and supplying of the necessary ordinance, arms, and reserve stores, in addition to the ordinary appropriation, $185,296,397 was required. The Secretary stated that the new regular regiments would be officered one-half from the regular army, and one-half from civil life. The civilians appointed to regimental commands were all either West Point graduates, or had before served with distinction in the field, and many of the second-lieutenants were created by the promotion of meritorious sergeants from the regular service. He alluded, also, to the large disaffection of army officers with whom State allegiance was paramount to Federal duty.
The report of the Secretary of the Navy furnished a complete abstract of the condition of the navy. On the 4th of March, the total number of vessels of all classes was ninety, designed to carry two thousand four hundred and fifteen guns. Of these, the available force was sixty