Imágenes de páginas

alluded to the efforts he had made in relation to emancipation, and also in relation to colonizing the emancipated blacks; and proposed articles amendatory of the Constitution, granting compensation to loyal owners for emancipated slaves in the course of thirty-seven years, and appropriations for the colonizing of blacks; and urged that if the plan were adopted, the emancipation of slaves would follow in some of the States. The message proceeded to argue the matter at some length. The plan he stated was proposed as a permanent constitutional amendment, which cannot be passed without the concurrence of threefourths of the States. The plan, however, did not interfere with the following proclamation, which was issued January 1, 1863



"Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintan the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any effort they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people therein respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.'

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana-except the parishes of St. Bernard, Placquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans-Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia-except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation was not issued.

"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

"And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

"And upon this, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

"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 first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President:

"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."


During the summer of 1862, Congress passed an additional article of war, which prohibits all military officers from returning any fugitive slaves to their masters, under pain of dismissal from the service; also a law, July 17, 1862, authorizing the President to call out the militia of the States for nine months. Under this act three hundred thousand men were called out, in addition to three hundred thousand three years men. The waste of life continued, however, and at the second session of Congress new means were deemed advisable to fill the ranks of the army. These were finally adopted in the Conscrip tion Law brought in by Mr. Wilson, chairman of the Senate Military Committee, that every man drafted might furnish a substitute, or pay a sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, in money, for the procuration of one. This law placed all the arms-bearing citizens in all the States within the control of the President. After some months of delay, the necessary machinery was organized, and the draft put in force.

In looking back upon the proceedings of the Thirty-seventh Congress, which expired March 4th, 1863, the most gigantic results are observable. It had inaugurated legal tender paper money, and a comprehensive national banking system, besides passing a tax law embracing an excise upon all articles of productive industry, a stamp tax upon all documents, and a tax of three per cent. upon all incomes over six hundred dollars; while the tariff upon imported goods had been raised to the highest rates. In addition to all this, it had amply provided for the needs of Government, and under its authority more than a million of men had been put into the field.

The navy had been reorganized, the grade of rear-admirals had been created, and nine appointed, with sixteen commodores, thirty-nine captains, and ninety commanders. There were two hundred and eighty-two steam-vessels, carrying fifteen hundred and thirty-seven guns. Of these, fifty-three are iron-clad, and thirteen rams; and one hundred and two sailing, vessels, carrying fourteen hundred and fifty guns. Total, three hundred and eighty-four sea-going vessels, with two thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven guns.

All this treasure, material, and men had been voted to the service of the Government, in perfect accordance with public opinion. There were no murmurs heard from the loyal population at the extent of the armies, or at the lavish expenditure of money. On the other hand, the only clamors heard were for a more vigorous prosecution of the

war, as if no possible action of Congress could keep up with the fierce impatience of the public to have the war brought to a successful end.


Expedition of General Butler.-New Orleans.-Its Defences.-Passage of the Forts by Farragut.--Capture of City.-Butler's Administration.-Baton Rouge.-Vicksburg. Ram Arkansas.-Her Destruction.

THE expedition of General Butler against New Orleans, which had been so long in preparation, finally reached Ship Island on the 20th March, 1862, but, owing to the weather, did not land until the 23d. The defence of New Orleans had been intrusted to Major-General M. Lovell, a graduate of West Point, and connected with Generals Quitman and G. W. Smith in the Cuban fillibustering expeditions. When he took charge of New Orleans in October, 1861, he found the city comparatively defenceless. The troops of that section had gone north in the Confederate service, and the Mississippi was blockaded. The most active preparations were immediately commenced for defence; guns and munitions were manufactured; troops organized and drilled; forts placed in a position to resist, and with persevering efforts a system of formidable works gradually grew up. The lower river was commanded by Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, which had been seized by the Confederates. The former, situated on the west bank of the river, seventy miles below New Orleans, had cost the United States over one million dollars; it was a casemated fort, intended to mount one hundred and fifty guns, and hold six hundred men; opposite, on the east bank of the river, St. Philip mounted one hundred and fifty guns; it is also a very strong fort. These two forts completely commanded the river, and it was judged impossible to pass them. The Confederates had, however, twice placed obstructions in the river, but these were swept away by the rising flood. There were five or six other forts which commanded the approaches to New Orleans by way of Lake Borgne. As an additional defence, sixteen vessels had been prepared and armed on the river; of these, eight defended the upper river, and the remainder, including two iron-clad rams, were destined to support the forts below. Both forts were commanded by General J. K. Duncan, a native of Pennsylvania, and a graduate of West Point. He had been connected with the Lopez expedition to Cuba, and also with Walker, in Nicaragua, and was considered the best artillerist in the Confederate service. Colonel Higgins, formerly of the United States navy, and considered a skilful officer, had the immediate command of Fort Jackson. A large proportion of the forces inside the forts were Northern men, and included many foreigners. The party that seized the fort, early in 1861, was a company of German Yagers. The Northern men were mostly sent down at an early stage of the war, and it was asserted that most of them volunteered, hoping in that way to avoid suspicion, and, perhaps, not have to fight against the Govern

ment after all. A chain had been placed across the river, threequarters of a mile below the forts, and was a formidable obstacle. It was supported by heavy logs, thirty feet long, and only a few feet apart, to the under side of which the chain was pinned near the up-stream end. In a few months a raft formed on the upper side of this chain which reached up to the forts, and its weight swept away the whole obstruction and went to sea, carrying the buoys with it. It was then replaced by a lighter chain, buoyed by the hulks of eleven schooners. There were also fire-rafts and boats above, prepared to descend the river with the current and destroy any ascending fleet. The whole system of defence was such that the place was considered entirely impregnable. No uneasiness was felt either in Richmond or New Orleans when it was announced that the attack had commenced.

General Butler, after a consultation with Flag-officer Farragut, embarked his force at Ship Island and proceeded to the passes of the Mississippi to await the action of the fleet. This was the largest that had then ever been assembled under the stars and stripes. It consisted of eight steamships, sixteen gunboats, and twenty-one mortar schooners-in all forty-six sail, carrying two hundred and eighty-six guns. The mortar vessels were under Commodore D. D. Porter. The fleet ascended the river twenty-five miles to the forts, and on the 18th of April began a furious bombardment, which lasted six days. The firerafts proved ineffectual. During this bombardment the fort was so much shaken that it was feared the casemates would come down about the ears of the defenders. It was observed that the bombs that fell in the ditch, close to the walls of the fort, and exploded there, shook the fort much more severely than any of those that buried themselves in the solid ground.

During the bombardment the only guns of the fort that were much used were the rifled guns, of which there were three, and the columbiad and Dahlgren guns, eight in number. The mortars fired occasionally. One of the rifled guns mounted on the fort proper before the bombardment, was sent, two days before the fire opened, to Island Number Ten. General Duncan telegraphed that the forts were safe, as the firing did not lead to results. Believing that the reduction of the forts by bombardment would prove a tedious operation, Farragut finally determined to pass the forts. Before daylight of the 24th, the squadron was formed in two columns, of which one, under Captain Bailey, second in command, was composed of the following vessels, leading to the attack of Fort St. Philip: Cayuga, Pensacola, Mississippi, Oneida, Varuna, Katahdin, Kineo, Wissahickon; while Flagofficer Farragut led the Hartford, Brooklyn, Richmond, Scioto, Iro quois, Pinola, Winona, Itasca, and Kennebec, forming the left column, which was to attack Fort Jackson. The steamers belonging to the mortar flotilla were to enfilade the water battery commanding the approaches to the forts.

The vessels were rather late in getting under way and into line, and were not fairly started until half-past three A. M. In an hour and ten minutes the fleet had passed the forts under a furious fire; the chain across the river having previously been shifted sufficiently to permit

the vessels to penetrate the obstructions. It was alleged by the enemy that the raft had not been closed since a storm had rent a chasm in it; that, by some fatality, the signals of both fleets were the same on that night; that orders of General Lovell, to keep the river lighted with fire-rafts, had been disobeyed; that the person in charge of the signals had neglected to throw up rockets on the approach of the fleet. In consequence of all these mishaps, the ships got abreast of the forts before they were discovered. When they were seen, however, all the guns opened upon the devoted ships with extraordinary fury, and this danger once surmounted, they were obliged to encounter the enemy's fleet, of seventeen vessels, eight of which were armed. The Varuna, Captain Charles Boggs, led the right column, and was attacked by the enemy's vessels on all sides. Although badly cut up, she drove off four of the enemy. A steam ram then attacked her, staving her side and setting her on fire. The flames were with difficulty extinguished. The enemy was so crippled in the encounter that he drew off, when another ram struck the Varuna, crushing in her side. Although then run ashore in a sinking condition, she delivered her fire as she went down so effectually, that her enemy suffered great damage. The Brooklyn followed the Varuna. She was in the darkness butted by the ram Manassas without much damage. She proceeded, receiving a fire from a steamer and from Fort St. Philip as she passed, returning them with marked effect. She then encountered the fleet of the enemy, and was under fire an hour and a half, losing eight men killed and twenty-six wounded, and was much cut up. The steam rams impelled a fire-raft on board the flag-ship Hartford, running her ashore. Commodore Farragut then drew off, and the fire was extinguished, but the Hartford was much injured. The Manassas drifted ashore in flames, and was deserted by her crew. The forts having been thus passed and the fleet of the enemy captured or sunk, as was supposed, the Union vessels proceeded to New Orleans without encountering serious obstacles. On the 28th the forts, which Generals Butler and Phelps had begun to invest from the land side, surrendered to Commodore Porter. General Duncan alleged that he was compelled to yield in consequence of a mutiny in the garrison, to quell which he had been obliged to turn guns upon his own men, when he found that they were spiked. The rebel naval officers, meantime, placed all their munitions of war on board the Louisiana, a powerful floating battery, lying under the guns of Fort Jackson, and she blew up opposite Fort St. Philip. The forts were found to be well supplied with provisions and ammunition.

There were around the city of New Orleans a number of vessels loaded with cotton and tobacco. These, to the estimated value of several millions, were destroyed by fire by order of General Lovell, who withdrew his forces from the city in order not to subject it to bombardment. The real reason of the evacuation was probably the fact that a single frigate anchored at Kenner's plantation, ten miles above the city, would effectually prevent any troops from leaving it. On the 26th April the following correspondence took place:

« AnteriorContinuar »