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manded by General Evans, reported their loss at one hundred and fifty-five.
While these events were taking place, General Stone was preparing to cross at Edwards's Ferry, but desisted on news arriving of the death of Colonel Baker, and the retreat of his troops. Orders were then received from General McClellan to hold the island and Virginia shore at Edwards's Ferry at all hazards. General Gorman proceeded to strengthen his position, and re-enforcements came forward until there were four thousand infanty, with Ricketts's battery, and a detachment of cavalry, on the Virginia shore, behind five hundred feet of intrenchments. Further information caused a change of purpose, and the whole returned to the Maryland shore. The main causes of this disaster were a badly-chosen spot to cross, insufficient means of transportation, and want of a definite object in venturing into a position where retreat was nearly impossible, without positive knowledge of the enemy to be contended with.
The Confederates now extended their batteries down the Potomac, the success at Ball's Bluff having caused a great increase of activity among them, as well as among their sympathizers in and about Washington; for which reason, on the 23d of October, the President suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the District of Columbia.
The greatly advanced age and increasing infirmities of General Scott, and the growing complications of the war, led to his retirement on the first of November from the position of commander-inchief, when he was placed on the retired list, without reduction of pay and emoluments. Major-General George B. McClellan assumed command of the armies of the United States in his place by direction of the President. On the 2d of November McClellan was presented with a sword by the City Council of Philadelphia, and in the course of his reply remarked:—
"It is for the future to determine whether I shall realize the expectations and hopes that have been centred in me. I trust and feel that the day is not far distant when I shall return to the place dearest of all others to me, there to spend the balance of my life among the people from whom I have received this beautiful gift. The war cannot last long. It may be desperate. I ask in the future, forbearance, patience, and contidence. With these we can accomplish all."
At the same time the Confederate army in Virginia was reorgan ized. The State was constituted a department, comprising the three armies of the Potomac, the Valley, and Aquia, under the chief command of General Johnston. General Beauregard commanded the Army of the Potomac, General Thomas J. Jackson that of the Valley, and General Holmes that of Aquia. With these new disposi tions, the Union army being under command of General McClellan, and the Confederate army more efficiently organized, the opposing forces continued to face each other during many months of comparative inaction. On the 20th of December, however, quite a sharp action was fought at Dranesville. General McCall having ordered General Ord to proceed on the Leesburg pike, in the direction of Dranesville, to drive in the pickets of the enemy and procure forage, the Federal forces, numbering about four thousand men, encountered a some
what smaller body of rebels under General J. E. B. Stuart, whom they drove in confusion through Dranesville. The rebel loss was two hundred and thirty, that of the Federals sixty-nine. The winter passed away without the occurrence of any thing else of importance, in a military point of view, in that department.
It had been the intention, when all the armies and expeditions were organized, and at their respective positions, that the whole should make a simultaneous movement upon the enemy. The President, with this view, issued the following proclamation:
THE PRESIDENT'S GENERAL WAR ORDER, No. 1.
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 27, 1862. "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.
"The army at and about Fortress Monroe,
"The Army of the Potomac,
"The Army of Western Virginia,
"The army near Munfordsville, Ky.,
"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 Generel-in-Chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of the land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.
The effects of these orders in Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as in Missouri, were apparent in the successes which, during the latter part of February, virtually restored those States to the Union. The Army of the Potomac was not, however, in the opinion of its commander, in a condition to move, not so much by reason of its own want of efficiency, as in consequence of the state of the roads in Virginia. The mud, it was said, was so deep, that it was impossible to pass a large army in face of an active and strongly intrenched enemy. There were days, indeed, in which the frost hardened the ground, and made it passable for artillery, but the continuance of this frost could not be depended upon. A sudden thaw might leave the army in an exposed condition. Such were the arguments which, in the early days of the war, were employed to excuse the "masterly inactivity" deemed essential to success. Grant had just demonstrated that troops could march and bivouac and fight in the most inclement season of the year. But McClellan, with forces far outnumbering those of his adversary, lingered in his camps, and the winter wore away without any movement undertaken by the Army of the Potomac.
On January 14th, 1862, Simon Cameron resigned the office of Secretary of War, and was succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton, who had held the office of United States Attorney-General during the last few months of Mr. Buchanan's Administration, and in that capacity had exhibited ability and uncompromising loyalty.
Foreign Mission of the Confederates.-Mr. Seward's Letter of Instructions.-Earl Russell and the Confederates.-France Recognizes de facto Governments.-Foreign Recognition of the Belligerent Rights of the South.-Mr. Seward's Reply-Spain. -Mexico.-Monroe Doctrine.-The Trent Affair.
WHEN, early in 1861, it had become apparent that the attempted formation of a Southern Confederacy was inevitable, it was obvious that the first efforts of the leaders in the movement would be directed towards obtaining the aid and countenance of foreign nations, and that those efforts would be based upon the advantages which the South might have to offer to those who might first come forward to their assistance. To counteract these probable attempts, Mr. Black, Secretary of State under Mr. Buchanan, addressed, February 28th, a circular to all the ministers of the United States abroad. In this circular he stated that the election of the preceding November resulted in the choice of Mr. Abraham Lincoln, who was the candidate of the Republican or anti-slavery party; that every Northern State cast its whole electoral vote (except three in New Jersey) for Mr. Lincoln, while in the whole South the popular sentiment against him was almost absolutely universal. Some of the Southern States immediately after the election took measures for separating themselves from the Union, and others soon followed their example. The result of the movement was the formation of what was styled the "Confederate States of America." He then proceeded to say that it was not improbable that persons claiming to represent those States would seek a recognition of foreign powers, and enjoined the ministers to exert themselves to the utmost to prevent the success of the application. "The reasons," he continues, "set forth in the President's message at the opening of the present session of Congress, in support of his opinion that the States have no constitutional power to secede from the Union, are yet unanswered, and are believed to be unanswerable. The grounds upon which they have attempted to justify the revolutionary act of severing the bonds which connect them with their sister States, are regarded as wholly insufficient. This Government has not relinquished its constitutional jurisdiction within the territory of those States, and does not desire to do so.”
On the 4th of March, the new Administration came into power with a new President and a new cabinet, none of the members of which had ever before held such positions. Almost simultaneously with their advent to power the Confederate commissioners, Messrs. Yancey, Mann, and Rest, delegated to England, France, Russia, and Belgium, were appointed, and sailed for their destinations, to ask the recogni tion of the Confederate States as a member of the family of nations, and to make with each of those powers treaties of amity and com
merce. They at once proceeded on their mission by way of Havana. On the 9th of March, Mr. Seward addressed a circular to all the foreign ministers, in which he alluded to the instructions of his predecessor, and stated that the President renewed those injunctions, and relied upon the exercise of the greatest possible diligence and fidelity on their part to counteract the designs of those who would invoke foreign intervention to embarrass or overthrow the Republic. They were instructed to urge upon the Governments to which they were accredited that "the present disturbances had their origin only in popular passions excited under novel circumstances of a very transient character; and that while not one person of well-balanced mind has attempted to show that dismemberment of the Union would be permanently conducive to the safety and welfare of even his own State or section, much less of all the States and sections of our country, the people themselves still retain and cherish a profound confidence in our happy Constitution, together with a veneration and affection for it such as no other form of government ever received at the hands of those for whom it was established." Mr. Dallas, the American minister, having submitted to Lord John Russell the representations contained in Mr. Seward's general circular, the minister replied, that the Queen's Government would he highly gratified if the difficulties could be settled, and that the time was not ripe for a decision in respect to doing any thing to encourage the hopes of the Confederates, whose commissioners were in London. On the 2d of May Mr. Dallas writes that Lord John Russell had remarked that although he had not seen the commissioners, he was not unwilling to do so unofficially. The fact that the English minister was willing under any circumstances to grant an interview to the Confederate commissioners was very distasteful to the American Government, since intercourse of any kind with these men was liable to be construed as a recognition; and, moreover, unofficial intercourse was the most injurious, since it left no means of information to the Government as to the points discussed. Mr. Adams, who replaced Mr. Dallas in May, was therefore instructed to desist from any intercourse whatever with the British Government as long as it should hold communications with the domestic enemies of this country.
The negotiations with France tended to the same point. Mr. Faulkner, the American minister in Paris, in replying to the letter of Mr. Black, of February 28th, stated, that the French Government fully sympathized with the North, and regarded the proposed dismemberment with no pleasure, and was not prepared to look favorably upon the Confederacy. The French minister, M. Thouvenel, stated that the French Government would not act hastily in the matter, that the maintenance of the Union was required by the best interests of France, but, at the same time, the practice and usage of the present century was to recognize a de facto Government when a proper case was made out. The minister, in conversation with Mr. Dayton, who succeeded Mr. Faulkner, stated, "that historical precedents were in favor of treating Southern vessels as those of a belligerent, and of applying the same doctrine to them as had always been upheld by
the United States." He dwelt upon the fact that during the American Revolution Great Britain did not treat the privateers as pirates. He stated that an effective blockade would be fully recognized. On the 30th of May Mr. Seward instructed Mr. Dayton to protest against any communication, official or otherwise, between the French Government and the Southern commissioners, and to declare that the United States would not rest content to have the Confederate States recognized as a belligerent power by any foreign state or states; also, that measures were preparing which "will terminate the unhappy contest at an early day, and be followed by benefits to ourselves and to all nations, greater and better assured than those which have hitherto attended our national progress."
Meantime, Earl Russell, the British Foreign Secretary, had, on the 4th of May, held an interview with the Confederate agents. They urged that the ground of the present difficulty with the North was not slavery, but the high tariffs the South was compelled to pay. on imported goods as a protection to New England interests, to the impoverishment of the South; that the new Confederate Government had abolished the slave-trade forever, and had reduced all import duties, while the North had greatly increased the duties on imported goods. The Governments of France and England meanwhile came to an understanding that they would act together in regard to American affairs, and the other European States, being apprised of the agreement, were expected to concur in it. Following these events, on the 13th of May the Queen's proclamation appeared. This was on the day of the arrival of Mr. Adams, the new American minister, in London, and the proclamation was made without a previous interview with him. That document, in proclaiming the neutrality of the British Government, recognized the South as a belligerent power, and as consequently having the right to issue letters of marque and to authorize privateers. The other powers took the same course. On the 15th of June, the British and French ministers at Washington had an interview with Mr. Seward, and proposed to read to him the instructions which they had received from their Governments. Mr. Seward declined to listen to them officially, until he should first know the nature of their contents. They were left for his perusal, when it appeared that they contained a decision, at which the British Government had arrived, to the effect that the country is divided into two belligerent parties, of which the United States Government is one, and that Great Britain assumes the attitude of a neutral power between them. Mr. Seward, consequently, declined to receive the papers officially, and in writing to Mr. Adams on the subject, remarked, in effect, that the Government held that although a state of internal commotion existed, such as had frequently been the case in other nations, the United States were still solely and exclusively sovereign within their own territories; that the law of nations and existing treaties have the same force now as before; that Great Britain could neither rightfully qualify the sovereignty of the United States, nor concede nor recognize any rights, or interests, or power of any party, State, or section, in contravention to the unbroken sover