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the Interior, as being in every way adapted to the culture of cotton and other tropical products, and as eminently favorable for such an experiment. The Government agreed to pay fifty dollars each for the removal of the consenting emigrants thither—payment to be made on official certificate of their arrival. The contractors fulfilled their portion of the agreement with fidelity, and to the utmost extent of their ability; but after an expenditure of about eighty thousand dollars, it was discovered that the representations of the fertility of the island had been utterly unfounded, and that the enterprise was hopeless. The agent of the company, moreover, through whom the Government had made the original contract, proved to be utterly untrustworthy and incapable, and was removed. The Government at last brought the negroes back to the United States, but incurred no additional expense, as it declined to pay the contractors the stipulated sum for the removal of the emigrants, or to reimburse them any portion of the moneys expended in the enterprise. No further experiments were made in the matter of colonization ; but the disposition and employment of the negroes engaged a good deal of the attention and solicitude of the Government. When the rebellion first broke out there were many persons who insisted upon the instant emancipation of the slaves, and their employment in arms against the rebels of the Southern States. Public sentiment, however, was by no means prepared for the adoption of such a measure. The Administration, upon its advent to power, was compelled to encounter a wide. spread distrust of its general purposes in regard to slavery, and especial pains were taken by the agents and allies of the rebellion to alarm the sensitive apprehensions of the Border States upon this subject. The President, therefore, deemed it necessary, in order to secure that unity of sentiment without which united and effective action against the rebellion was felt to be impossible, to exclude from the contest all issues of a secondary nature, and to fasten the attention and thought of the whole country upon the paramount end and aim of the war—the restoration of the Union and the authority of the Constitution of the United States. How steadily and carefully this policy was pursued, the preceding pages of this record will show.
But as the war went on, and the desperate tenacity of the rebel resistance became more manifest—as the field of operations, both military and political, became enlarged, and the elements of the rebel strength were better understood, the necessity of dealing with the question of slavery forced itself upon the people and the Government. The legislation of Congress, from time to time, represented and embodied these advancing phases of public opinion. At the extra session of 1861 a law was passed, discharging from slavery every slave who should be required or permitted by his master to take up arms against the United States, or to be employed in any military capacity in the rebel service. At the next session the President was authorized to employ persons of African descent in the suppression of the rebellion, “in such manner as he should judge best for the public welfare,” and also to issue a proclamation commanding all persons in rebellion against the United States to lay down their arms and return to their allegiance; and if any persons so warned should be found in rebellion thirty days after the date of such proclamation, the President was authorized to set free their slaves. Under these comprehensive acts the President took such steps on the subject as he believed the necessities of the country required, and as the public sentiment of the country would sustain. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on the 1st of January, 1863, and measures were adopted soon afterwards to provide for the changes which it made inevitable. On the 20th of January, the Secretary of War authorized Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, to enlist volunteers for three years, and to include persons of African descent, organized into a separate corps. In April, negro troops were enlisted by AdjutantGeneral Thomas for service in Arkansas, and on the 15th of that month he issued an order appointing commissioners to superintend the execution of a policy which the Gov. ernment had adopted for committing the protection of the banks of the Mississippi to a negro force. On the 22d of May, orders were issued by the Secretary of War creating a Bureau of the War Department for all matters relating to the organization of colored troops, and establishing rules for their enlistment, and for the appointment of officers to command them. And on the 20th of August, Hon. J. Holt, Judge-Advocate General, sent to the President an official opinion, to the effect that, under the laws of Congress on the subject, he had full authority to enlist slaves for service in the army precisely as he might enlist any other persons—providing for compensation to loyal owners whose property might thus be taken for the public service. These were the initial steps of a movement for the employment of negro troops, which has gone forward steadily ever since, until, as has been seen from the President's Message, over one hundred thousand negro soldiers were already in the army of the United States, contributing largely, by their courage and good conduct, to the suppression of the rebellion, which sought the perpetual enslavement of their race. The popular prejudice against their employment in the army, which was So potent at the beginning, gradually gave way, even in the slaveholding States, to a more just estimate of the necessities of the emergency and the capacities of the negro race. And what was of still more importance to the welfare of the country, the people of the slaveholding States took up the question of slavery for discussion and practical action, as one in which their own wellbeing, present and prospective, was deeply involved. The Union party in every Southern State favored the abolition of slavery, and in Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, and Arkansas, measures were speedily taken for the overthrow of an institution which had proved so detrimental to their interests, and so menacing to the unity of the nation and the stability of republican institutions. In all of them Constitutional Conventions were held, and clauses inserted in the constitutions which were adopted, utterly abolishing slavery ; and these constitutions were all submitted to the popular vote, with the following results:—
In the latter State, the Constitution adopted in 1864 was, by a new Convention, held in January, 1865, revised and amended, and submitted to the popular vote on June 6, 1865, and ratified as above.
CHAPTER XVII. MILITARY EVENTS OF THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 1864.
BATTLE or OlustEE. –Kii PATRick's RAID on Richmond.—The Red River Expedition.—The Fort Pillow MAss Acre.—REBEL ATRocities.-GENERAL GRANT's Advance Upon Richmond.—BATTLES IN MAY-SitekMAN's March to ATLANTA.—REBEL RAIDs is MARYLAND AND KENtucky.—Siege of PETERsburg.—MART1A1. Law IN KENtucky.-D. Art for 500,000 MEN.—CAPTURE of MoBILE AND ATLANTA.
THE position of the two great armies of the United States at the opening of the year 1864 plainly indicated that the main interest of the military movements of the year was to be with the Army of the Potomac, which lay around Culpepper Court-House, still looking towards Richmond with unfaltering determination ; and with the great Army of the West, which was gathering around Chattanooga for its long and perilous southward march. During the month of January little was done anywhere except to prepare for the coming campaign. Neither of the grand armies made any movement during February or March, but some smaller expeditions were set on foot.
As early as the 15th of December, 1863, General Gillmore, commanding the Department of the South, had applied to the Government for permission to send an expedition into Florida, for the purpose of cutting off supplies of the enemy; and in January, in urging the matter still further upon the attention of General Halleck, he suggested that measures might be also inaugurated for restoring the State of Florida to her allegiance under the terms of the President’s Proclamation. General Gillmore Was authorized to take such action in the matter as he should deem proper; and he accordingly organized an expedition, which left Port Royal on the 5th of Feb. ruary, under General Seymour, and was followed soon
afterwards by General Gillmore himself—to whom, on