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CAPTURE OF MAJOR SIBLEY'S TROOPS.
They were too patriotic to be seduced, or even to listen patiently to his wicked overtures.
At about the time when Van Dorn appeared, seven companies of National troops, under Major Sibley, were at Indianola, on Matagorda Bay, preparing to embark on the Star of the West, which had been ruthlessly expelled from Charleston harbor in January. This vessel had been sent, with twenty thousand rations and other supplies, under convoy of the gunboat Mohawk, to bear away the troops. Supposing the vessel to be at the mouth of the harbor, Sibley embarked the troops on two small steam lighters, and proceeded down the bay. He had suspected treasonable designs concerning his command. His suspicions were confirmed by the absence of the Star of the West and its convoy, and he resolved to go on in the lighters to Tampico, in Mexico. A lack of provisions and coal compelled him to turn back. His troops were disembarked, and, on the following day, Lieutenant Whipple gave him proof of hostile designs against his troops, by reporting the exist ence of a small battery at Saluria, some distance down the bay. Whipple was ordered to capture it, but when he and his little party approached the place, the cannon were not there.
As speedily as possible, Major Sibley re-embarked his troops on two schooners, and these, towed by the steam lighters, proceeded toward the Gulf. Heavy easterly winds were sweeping the sea, and no pilots were to be Darkness came on before they reached the entrance to the bay, and they anchored within it. There they lay a greater part of two days and two nights, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Star of the West and Mohawk. At ten o'clock, when the darkness was profound, and the storm heavy, thick volumes of smoke were discerned above the schooners. At daylight three steamers lay near, with side-barricades of cotton-bales; and, a little later, a larger steamship than either of these, armed with heavy cannon, came over the bar and anchored near the schooners. The four vessels bore about fifteen hundred well-armed Texans, under Van Dorn. He sent commissioners to demand the surrender of the troops on the schooners. Sibley called a council of war. It was unanimously agreed that resistance to such a heavy
and active force would be madness, and Sibley surrendered." The April 24, spoils, besides the seven companies made prisoners of war, four hundred and fifty in number, were over three hundred fine rifles and the camp equipage of the whole party of captured troops. Many of these men wept because they had not an opportunity to fight, and threw their arms overboard. At about the same time, a party of volunteers from Galveston boarded the Star of the West off Indianola, and captured her, with all her stores."
⚫ April 17.
⚫ April 28.
On the day preceding this surrender near Saluria, Colonel Waite, with his staff and all of the officers on duty at San Antonio, were made prisoners, under most aggravating circumstances. When Colonel Waite pointed to the plighted faith of the self-constituted Texan authorities with whom Twiggs had treated, and argued that the present act was in violation of a solemn covenant, he was given to understand that no arguments would be heard-that he and his officers were prisoners, and, if they were not quiet, physical force would be used to compel them to keep silence. One of the most insolent of these representatives of "authority"
SURRENDER OF REESE'S TROOPS.
273 was a Major Maclin, of Arkansas, who until a short time before had held the office of paymaster in the Regular Army.
At this time, seven companies of the Eighth Regiment, three hundred and thirty-six strong, under Colonel Reese, were making their way from the interior, slowly and wearily, toward the coast, along El Paso Road. On reaching Middle Texas, Colonel Reese found, all the supplies necessary for the subsistence of his troops in the hands of the insurgents; and at the ranche of Mr. Adams, near San Lucas Springs, twenty miles west from San Antonio, on the Castroville Road, he was confronted by Van Dorn, who had full fifteen hundred men and two splendid batteries of 12-pounders, one of them under Captain Edgar, the traitor who seized the Alamo.' Van Dorn sent Captains Wilcox and Major to demand an unconditional surrender. Reese refused, until he should be convinced that Van Dorn had a sufficient force to sustain, his demand. Van Dorn allowed him to send an officer (Lieutenant Bliss) to observe the insurgent strength. The report convinced. Reese that his force was greatly outnumbered, and he surrendered unconditionally, giving his word of honor that he would report a May 9, at Van Dorn's camp, on the Leon, at six o'clock that evening.
The little column of Colonel Reese comprised all of the National troops remaining in Texas, and these were held close prisoners at San Antonio, whilst Colonel Waite and his fellow-captives, and Major Sibley's command, were paroled. The men were compelled to take an oath that they would not bear arms against the insurgents. Embarking soon afterward, they reached New York in safety, after a voyage of thirty days. Texas was now completely prostrated beneath the heel of that grinding and infernal despotism whose central force was at Montgomery; and that commonwealth, as we have already observed, soon became an important member of the revolutionary league called THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA.
After the adoption of the permanent Constitution at Montgomery, and the establishment of the so-called "Confederation," or plan of "permanent Federal Government," that Constitution was submitted to the revolutionary conventions of the several States named in the league, for ratification or rejection. The Convention of Alabamians, who reassembled on the 4th of March, ratified it on the 13th, by a vote of eighty-seven against five. That of Georgians reassembled on the 7th of March, and on the 16th ratified it by unanimous vote, saying that the State of Georgia acted "in its sovereign and independent character." That of Louisianians, which reassembled on the 4th of March, ratified the Constitution on the 21st of the same month, by a vote of one hundred and seven against seven. The South Carolina politicians reassembled their Convention on the 26th of March, and on the 3d day of April that assembly relinquished the boasted sovereignty of the State, by giving a vote of one hundred and forty against twenty-nine for the Constitution of the new "Confederacy." The Convention of Mississippians
See page 267.
* See the closing pages of Chapter VII.
* R. Barnwell Rhett made strennous opposition to the Constitution. On the 27th of March, he submitted an ordinance for consideration, which provided for the calling a Convention in South Carolina, in the event of a Free-libor State being admitted into the new Confederacy. And on the 2d of April, he offered a resolution that the Convention should expressly declare that in ratifying and adopting the above Constitution, they suppose that it establishes a Confederacy of Slaveholding States; and this State does not consider herself bound VOL. I.-18
• March 26, 1861.
HOW THE "CONFEDERACY" WAS ESTABLISHED.
reassembled on the 25th of March. There were able men among them, who contended that the people and not that Convention should decide whether or not the new Constitution should be the supreme law of their land. These democratic ideas were scouted as heterodox, and the Convention proceeded to act as the embodied sovereignty of the State, by adopting the new plan of government by a vote of seventy-eight against seven." Such was the method by which a few arrogant politicians in seven of the States of the Union, usurping the rights and powers of the people, formed a league against the rightful and beneficent Government of that people, and in their name plunged their peaceful and highly prosperous country into a civil war unparalleled in the history of mankind in its extent, energy, and waste of life and treasure. The confiding, misled, and betrayed people had given them leave to meet in conventions, only to consider alleged grievances, and to deliberate upon the subject of their relations to the Union. From that time, the politicians acted as if there were no people to consult or to serve as if they, and they alone, constituted the State. Their constituents were never allowed to express their opinions by vote concerning the Ordinances of Secession, excepting in Texas, and the proceedings there were fraudulent and outrageous. And when seven of the revolutionary conventions, transcending the powers delegated to them by the people, appointed from among themselves commissioners to meet in General Convention at Montgomery, and that Convention assumed the right to found a new empire, the people were not only not consulted, and not allowed to express their views, by ballot, on a subject of such infinite gravity to themselves and their posterity, but, under the reign of a terrible military despotism, unequaled in rigor, lawlessness, and barbarity, they were not allowed to utter a dissenting word ever so privately, without danger of being relentlessly persecuted. Davis, the head of that despotism, had said (and his words applied equally to the people of the South, the North, and the world):-"Whoever opposes us, shall smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel."
While Jefferson Davis was on his way from his home in Mississippi to the city of Montgomery, near the Southern extremity of the Republic, there to be inaugurated leader of a band of conspirators and the chief minister of a despotism, Abraham Lincoln was journeying from his home in Springfield, Illinois, hundreds of miles farther north, on his way toward the National Capital, there to be installed in office as Chief Magistrate of a nation. The contrast in the characters and political relations of the two men was most remarkable. One was a usurper, prepared to uphold Wrong by violence and the exercise of the gravest crimes; the other was a modest servant of the people, appointed by them to execute their will, and anxious to uphold Right by the majesty and power of law and the exercise of virtue and justice.
Mr. Lincoln was an eminent representative American, and in his own career illustrated in a most conspicuous and distinguished manner the
to enter or continue in confederation with any State not tolerating the institution within its limits by fundamental law." Rhett and his friends seemed fully determined on revolutionary measures, if the new Confederacy did not act in accordance with their views. See Journal of the Conventions of the People of South Curolina, pages 199 and 229.
MR. LINCOLN'S DEPARTURE FOR WASHINGTON.
beneficent and elevating operations of republican government and republican institutions. He was born in comparative obscurity, in the State of Kentucky, early in the year 1809; and when he was inaugurated President, he had just passed his fifty-second birthday. His earlier years had been spent in hard labor with his hands on the farm, in the forest, and on the waters of the Mississippi. His later years had been equally laborious in the profession of the law, a knowledge of which he had acquired by painful study, in the midst of many difficulties. In that profession he had advanced rapidly to distinction, in the State of Illinois, wherein he had settled with his father in the year 1830. His fellow-citizens discovered in him the tokens of statesmanship, and they chose him to represent them in the National Congress. He served them and his country therein with great diligence and ability, and, as we have observed, his countrymen, in the autumn of 1860, chose him to fill the most exalted station in their gift.' How he filled that station during the four terrible years of our history, while the Republic was ravaged by the dragon of civil war, will be recorded on succeeding pages.
On the 11th of February, Mr. Lincoln left his home in Springfield for the seat of the National Government, accompanied by a few friends. At the railway station, a large concourse of his fellow-townsmen had gathered to bid him adieu. He was deeply affected by this exhibition of kindness on the part of his friends and neighbors, and with a sense of the great responsibilities he was about to assume. "My friends," he said, when he was
about to leave, "no one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To
this people I owe all 10 19
that I am. Here I
have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and bere one of them lies buried. A duty devolves upon, me which is, perhaps, greater than that which has devolved
. upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded, except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance without which I cannot succeel, but with which success is certain. Again I bid you farewell."
1 See page 84.
'The following persons accompanied Mr. Lincoln:-J. G. Nicolay, private secretary of the President elect; John Hay; Robert L. Lincoln, Major Hunter, United States Army; Colonel Sumner, United States Army; Colonel E. E. Ellsworth. Hon. John K. Dubys. State Auditor; Colonel W. H. Lamon. Aid to Governor Yates; Judge David Davis, Hon. O. H. Browning, E. L. Baker, editor of the Springfield Journal, Robert Irwin, N. B. Judd, and George Lotham.
* Before Mr. Lincoln left home, J. Young Scammon, member of the Legislature of Illinois, presented to
MR. LINCOLN'S JOURNEY AND WORDS.
We will not follow the President elect through the details of his long travel of hundreds of miles through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. During all that journey, which occupied several days, he was everywhere greeted with demonstrations of the most profound respect; and at a few places he addressed the crowds who came out to see him in plain words, full of kindness and forbearance and tenderness and cheerfulness. "Let us believe," he said, at Tolono, "that behind the cloud the sun is shining." Common prudence counseled him to say but little on the grave affairs of State, the administration of which he was about to assume; yet here and there, on the way, a few words responsive to friendly greetings would sometimes well up to his lips from a full heart, and give such utterances to his thoughts as to foreshadow dimly their general scope. He often alluded to the condition of the country. "It is my intention," he said, "to give this subject all the consideration I possibly can before specially deciding in regard to it, so that when I do speak, it may be as nearly right as possible. I hope I may say nothing in opposition to the spirit of the Constitution, contrary to the integrity of the Union, or which will prove inimical to the liberties of the people or to the peace of the whole country."-"When the time does come for me to speak, I shall then take the ground that I think is right—right for the North, for the South, for the East, for the West, for the whole country."" It was evident that the President elect had no conception of the depth, strength, and malignity of the conspiracy against the life of the Republic which he was so soon afterward called upon to confront.. He had been too long accustomed to the foolish threats of the Oligarchy, whenever their imperious will was opposed, to believe them more in earnest now than they ever had been, or that their angry and boastful menaces, and the treasonable conduct of their representatives in Congress, would ripen into more serious action; and as he went along from city to city, talking familiarly to magistrates, and legislators, and crowds of citizens, he tried to soothe their troubled spirits and allay their apprehensions by honestly given assurances that there was no crisis but an artificial one-none excepting such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians. Keep cool," he said. "If the great American people on both sides of the line will only keep their temper, the troubles will come to an end, just as surely as all other difficulties of a like character which have originated in this Government have been adjusted."
On the 20th of February Mr. Lincoln was received by the municipal authorities of New York, in the City Hall, when the Mayor, who, as we have observed, had recently, in an official communication, set forth the peculiar advantages which that metropolis would secure by seceding from the State
Mr. Lincoln a fine picture of the flag of the Union, with an inscription upon the folds of the same, in Hebrew, being the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth verses of the first chapter of Joshua. The verses are those in which Joshua is commanded to reign over the whole land. The last one is as follows:-"9th. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.'" The picture was surrounded by a gilt frame, and accompanied by a letter to Mr. Scammon from the donor, Abr. Kohn, City Clerk of Chicago.
1 Speech at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, February 15, 1861.
2 Speech at the Astor House, New York, on the evening of the 19th of February. Speech at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, February 15.