« AnteriorContinuar »
the draft to proceed in all the districts, drawing, however, at first from each of the four districts—to wit, the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Eighthonly, 2,200 being the average quota of the other class. After this drawing, these four districts, and also the Seventeenth and Twenty-ninth, shall be carefully re-enrolled; and, if you please, agents of yours may witness every step of the process. Any deficiency which may appear by the new enrolment will be supplied by a special draft for that object, allowing due credit for volunteers who may be obtained from these districts respectively during the interval; and at all points, so far as consistent with practical convenience, due credits shall be given for volunteers, and your Excellency shall be notified of the time fixed for commencing a draft in each district.
I do not object to abide a decision of the United States Supreme Court, or of the Judges thereof, on the constitutionality of the draft law. In fact, I should be willing to facilitate the obtaining of it. But I cannot consent to lose the time while it is being obtained. We are contending with an enemy who, as I understand, drives every able-bodied man he can reach into his ranks, very much as a butcher drives bullocks into a slaughter-pen. No time is wasted, no argument is used. This produces an army which will soon turn upon our now victorious soldiers already in the field, if they shall not be sustained by recruits as they should be. It produces an army with a rapidity not to be matched on our side, if we first waste time to re-experiment with the volunteer system, already deemed by Congress, and palpably, in fact, so far exhausted as to be inadequate; and then more time to obtain a Court decision as to whether a law is constitutional which requires a part of those not now in the service to go to the aid of those who are already in it; and still more time to determine with absolute certainty that we get those who are to go in the precisely legal proportion to those who are not to go. My purpose is to be in my action just and constitutional, and yet practical, in performing the imporLant duty with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity and the free principles of our common country. Your obedient servant,
On the 8th Governor Seymour replied, reasserting the unfairness and injustice of the enrolments, and expressing his regret at the President's refusal to postpone the draft. He also sent a voluminous statement, prepared by Judge. Advocate Waterbury, designed to sustain the position he had previously assumed. To this the President thus replied :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASNIxGTO», August 11, 1963. His Excellency Horatio SEYMOUR,
Governor of New York: Yours of the 8th, with Judge-Advocate General Waterbury's report, was received to-day.
Asking you to remember that I consider time as being very important, both to the general canse of the country and to the soldiers in the field, I beg to remind you that I waited, at your request, from the 1st until the 6th inst., to receive your communication dated the 3d. In view of its great length, and the known time and apparent care taken in its preparation, I did not doubt that it contained your full case as you desired to present it. It contained the figures for twelve districts, omitting the other nineteen, as I suppose, because you found nothing to complain of as to them. I answered accordingly. In doing so I laid down the principle to which I purpose adhering, which is to proceed with the draft, at tho same time employing infallible means to avoid any great wrong. With the communication received to-day you send figures for twenty-eight districts, including the twelve sent before, and still omitting three, for which I suppose the enrolments are not yet received. In looking over the fuller list of twenty-eight districts, I find that the quotas for sixteen of them aro above 2,000 and below 2,700, while, of the rest, six are above 2,700 and six are below 2,000. Applying the principle to these new facts, the Fifth and Seventh Districts must be added to the four in which the quotas have already been reduced to 2,200 for the first draft; and with these four others must be added to those to be re-enrolled. The correct case will then stand: the quotas of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Districts fixed at 2,200 for the first draft. The Provost-Marshal General informs me that the drawing is already completed in the Six teenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-second, Twenty-fourth, Twentysixth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirtieth Districts. In the others, except the three outstanding, the drawing will be made upon the quotas as now fixed. After the first draft, the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Twentyfirst, Twenty-fifth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirty-first will be enrolled for the purpose, and in the manner stated in my letter of the 7th inst. The same principle will be applied to the now outstanding districts when they shall come in. No part of my former letter is repudiated by reason of not being restated in this, or for any other cause.
Your obedient servant,
The draft in New York was resumed on the 19th of Au. gust, and as ample preparations had been made for the preservation of the public peace, it encountered no further
opposition. In every other part of the country the proceedings were conducted and completed without resist ance.
Some difficulty was experienced in Chicago, and the Mayor and Comptroller of that city addressed the Presi: dent on the subject of alleged frauds in the enrolment, and received the following dispatch in reply :
WASHINGTON, August 27, 1863. F, O. SHERMAN, Mayor; J. S. Hays, Comptroller:
Yours of the 24th, in relation to the draft, is received. It seems to me the Government here will be overwhelmed if it undertakes to conduct these matters with the authorities of cities and counties. They must be conducted with the Governors of States, who will, of course, represent their cities and counties. Meanwhile, you need not be uneasy until you again hear from here.
Subsequently, in reply to further representations on the subject, the same gentlemen received the following :
WASHINGTON, September 7, 1863. Yours of August 29th just received. I suppose it was intended by Con. gress that this Government should execute the act in question without dependence upon any other Government, State, City, or County. It is, however, within the range of practical convenience to confer with tho Governments of States, while it is quite beyond that range to have correspondence on the subject with counties and cities. They are too nu
As instances, I have corresponded with Governor Seymour, but not with Mayor Opdyke; with Governor Curtin, but not with Mayor Henry.
MILITARY EVENTS OF 1863.--THE REBEL DEFEAT AT GETTYS.
BURG.-FALL OF VICKSBURG AND PORT HUDSON.
THE BATTLES AT FREDERICKSBURG.-REBEL RAID INTO PENNSYLVANIA.
Results AT GETTYSBURG.-VICKSBURG AND Port Hudson Captured.-
The military events of 1863, though of very great importance, are much less closely connected with the direct action of the President than those which occurred in 1862; we shall not attempt, therefore, to narrate them as much in detail. When General Burnside succeeded General McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac, on the 7th of November, 1862, that army was at Warrenton, the rebel forces falling back before it towards Richmond. Deeming it impossible to force the enemy to a decisive battle, and unsafe to follow him to Richmond on a line which must make it very difficult to keep up his communications, General Burnside, on the 15th, turned his army towards Fredericksburg—-marching on the north bank of the Rappahannock, intending to cross the river, take possession of Fredericksburg, and march upon Richmond from that point. The advance division, under General Sumner, arrived opposite Fredericksburg on the 19th ; but a pontoon train, which had been ordered and was expected to be there at the same time, had not come -so that crossing at the moment was impossible. The delay that thus became unavoidable enabled General Lee to bring up a strong force from the rebel army, and possess himself of the heights of Fredericksburg. On the night of the 10th of December, General Burnside threw a bridge of pontoons across the river, and the next day constructed four bridges, under cover of a terrific bombardment of the town. On the 11th and 12th his army was crossed over, and on the 13th attacked the enemy-General Sum
ner commanding in front, and General Franklin having command of a powerful flanking movement against the rebel right. The rebels, however, were too strongly posted to be dislodged. Our forces suffered severely, and were unable to advance. On the night of the 15th, they were therefore withdrawn to the opposite bank of the riyer. Our losses in this engagement were one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight killed, nine thousand one hundred and five wounded, two thousand and seventyeight missing; total, twelve thousand three hundred and twenty-one.
The army remained quiet until the 20th of January, when General Burnside again issued orders for an advance, intending to cross the river some six or eight miles above Fredericksburg, and make a flank attack upon the left wing of the rebel army. The whole army was moved to the place of crossing early in the morning, but a heavy storm on the preceding night had so damaged the roads as to make it impossible to bring up artillery and pontoons with the promptness essential to success. On the 24th, General Burnside was relieved from command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Hooker appointed in his place. Three months were passed in inaction, the season forbidding any movement; but on the 27th of April, General Hooker pushed three divisions of his army to Kelley's Ford, twenty-five miles above Fredericksburg, and by the 30th had crossed the river, and turning south, had reached Chancellorsville-five or six miles southwest of that town. A strong cavalry force, under General Stoneman, had been sent to cut the railroad in the rear of the rebel army, so as to prevent their receiving re-enforcements from Richmond--General Hooker's design being to attack the enemy in flank and rear. The other divi. sions of his army had crossed and joined his main force at Chancellorsville, General Sedgwick, with one division only, being left opposite Fredericksburg. On the ad of May, the left wing of the rebel army, under General Jackson, attacked our right, and gained a decided advantage of position, which was recovered, however, before the