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Under various dilatory pleas, this peremptory order was effectually disregarded. After fifteen days, during which various supplies were asked and furnished, and an appearance of being on the eve of moving was kept up, McClellan sent Gen. Halleck a dispatch, on the 21st, complaining of a want of horses, as an excuse for further delay, and begging “leave to ask whether the President desires” him “to march at once, or to await the reception of the new horses, every possible step having been taken to insure their prompt arrival.” The General-in-chief immediately replied: “Your telegram of 12 M. has been submitted to the President. He directs me to say that he has no change to make in his order of the 6th inst. . . . The President does not expect impossibilities; but he is very anxious that all this good weather should not be wasted in inactivity.” A full investigation of the facts is believed to have justified the following conclusion, stated by Gen. Halleck to the Secretary of War, on the 28th of October: “In my opinion, there has been no such want of supplies in the army under Gen. McClellan as to prevent his compliance with my order to advance against the enemy. Had he moved his army to the south side of the Potomac, he could have received his supplies almost as readily as by remaining inactive on the north side.”
During the last days of October and the earlier days of November, the Army of the Potomac was put in motion. After weeks of fine weather had passed unimproved, it is not surprising that “heavy rains delayed the movement considerably in the beginning.” The army advanced along the southern base of the Blue Ridge, by Lovettsville, Snicker's Gap, and Rectortown, until the several corps were massed in the vicinity of Warrenton. The main army of Lee at the same time fell back on Gordonsville.
On the night of the 7th, a dispatch from President Lincoln reached Gen. McClellan, at his headquarters near Rectortown, relieving him from the command of the Army of the Potomac. Maj.-Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside was designated as his successor. This transfer of the command was promptly carried into effect, and Gen. McClellan, on the 10th, took his final leave of the army.
0 HAPTER IX.
A New Era Inaugurated.—Emancipation.—Message of the Presi dent.—Last Session of the Thirty-seventh Congress.
THE elections, prior to the autumn of 1862, had shown large majorities for the Administration. Brilliant successes had been won by its armies in the West, until, in June, the tide of victory paused before Wicksburg. In the East, military inefficiency had culminated on the Peninsula and before Washington. Lee had invaded Maryland, and leisurely retired, unpursued. Political defeat followed military disaster. Ohio and Pennsylvania gave small majorities against the Administration in October. New York, in the next month, followed the example. The lower House of the next Congress was already claimed as secured by the Opposition. Popular discontent and despondency were every-where manifest. Opposition politicians held the President responsible before the people for the non-action of their favorite General, whom they did not cease to lament when removed. Peace Democrats rallied behind banners inscribed, “For a more vigorous prosecution of the war;” yet their repre entative man was the one who, evading orders of the Administration, and thwarting the President's wishes, had wasted lavish preparations and abundant military forces, during a whole year, in organizing failure.
Long before this disheartening epoch, however, President Lincoln, as seen in previous pages, had earnestly directed his thoughts to the proper mode of dealing with slavery, in its necessary relations to the war. His final speech to the Border State men on compensated emancipation, as we have seen, plainly indicated that, as early as July, his mind was made up to wrest this element of military power from the support of the Rebellion.
In the month of May, 1862, Gen. Hunter, then commanding the Department of the South, issued an unauthorized order, in
which he attempted, by logical deduction from the promise of Secession, to establish the conclusion that, in his military department, all slaves had become manumitted. As a result of this logical exercise, he declared such persons to be “forever free.” This order, like the rhapsody on Slavery and Romanism, issued by Gen. Phelps, in his proclamation at Ship Island, might have been suffered to pass without public notice by the Executive, had it not emanated from a commanding general in whose department were two of the States in which slaves were the most numerous, and had it not the appearance of an authentic announcement of a new policy, which Gen. Hunter had lately been sent out to put in operation. The President felt constrained to set aside this order, which he did in the following well-considered proclamation:
WHEREAs, There appears in the public prints what purports to be a proclamation of Major General Hunter, in the words and figures following, to wit: HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT of THE SouTH, HILTON HEAD, S. C., May 9, #2} General Orders No. 11.]
The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising the Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the twenty-fifth day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three States, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.
DAvid HUNTER, Major General Commanding. Official: E.D. W. SMITH, Acting Assistant Adjutant General.
AND WHEREAs, The same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding,
Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare that the Government of the United States had no knowledge or belief of an intention, on the part of Gen. Hunter, to issue such a proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the document is genuine; and, further, that neither Gen. Hunter nor any other coinmander, or
g." has been authorized by the Government of the United tates to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any State free, and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such declaration. I further make known that, whether it be competent for me, as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, to declare the slaves of any State or States free, and whether, at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I can not feel justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field. These are totally different questions from those of police regulations in armies and camps. On the sixth day of March last, by a special message, 1 recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be substantially as follows: “Resolved, That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State in its discretion to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.” y The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branches ..} Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite, and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people most immediately interested in the subject matter. To the people of these 3. I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue; I beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You can not, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by one effort in all past time, as, in the Providence of God, it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it. 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 nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixtytwo, and of the Independence of the United States the eightysixth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 413
The policy on which the Government had been acting, in the Slave districts, was substantially that repeated in an Executive order, under date of July 22, 1862:
That military and naval commanders shall employ 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.
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.
In August, Mr. Greeley, of New York, published in his journal, the Tribune, an editorial article on this subject, in the form of a letter addressed to the President, severely criticising his action, and complaining, in no very gentle terms, of various matters, wherein the Administration had, in his opinion, fallen short of the just expectations of “twenty millions” of loyal people. The whole letter proceeded from the mistaken assumption that the President had not, all along, reflected as earnestly, and felt as deeply, in regard to the question of emancipation, as any man living. It was written in ignorance of the fact that the President had already fully matured and resolved upon a definite policy in regard to Slavery, and was only awaiting the fitting moment for its announcement.
Mr. Lincoln thought proper to address Mr. Greeley the following letter, in reply to his complaints:
ExECUTIVE MANsion, WASHINGTON,
Hon. HoRACE GREELEY-Dear Sir: I have just read yours of the 19th, addressed to myself through the New York Tribune. If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial