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unteers, was presented to Governor Morton in front of the National Hotel on the 17th of March. A large crowd was in attendance. Governor Morton made a brief speech, in which he congratulated his auditors on the speedily approaching end of the rebellion, and concluded by introducing President Lincoln, whose purity and patriotism were confessed, he said, by all, even among the most violent of his opponents. His Administration would be recognized as the most important epoch of history. It had struck the death-blow to slavery, and clothed the Republic with a power it never before possessed. If he had done nothing more than put his name to the Emancipation Proclamation, that act alone would have made his name immortal.
The President addressed the assembly substantially as follows:
FELLOW-CITIZENS:- It will be but a very few words that I shall andertake to say. I was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and lived in Illinois; and now I am here, where it is my business to care equally for the good people of all the States. I am glad to see an Indiana regiment on this day able to present the captured flag to the Governor of Indiana. I am not disposed, in saying this, to make a distinction between the States, for all have done equally well.
There are but few views or aspects of this great war upon which I have not said or written something whereby my own opinions might be known. But there is one—the recent attempt of our erring brethren, as they are sometimes called, to employ the negro to fight for them. I have neither written nor made a speech on that subject, because that was their business, not mine, and if I had a wish upon the subject, I bad not the power to introduce it, or make it effective. The great question with them was whether the negro, being put into the army, will fight for them. I do not know, and therefore cannot decide. They ought to know better than me. I have in my lifetime heard many arguments why the negroes ought to be slaves; but if they fight for those who would keep them in slavery, it will be a better argument than any I have yet heard. He who will fight for that, ought to be a slave. They have concluded, at last, to take one ont of four of the slaves and pat them in the army, and that one out of the four who will fight to keep the others in slavery, ought to be a slave himself, unless he is killed in a fight. While I have often said that all men ought to be free, yet would I allow those colored persons to be slaves who want to be, and next to then; those white people who argue in favor of making other peoplo slares. I am in favor of giving an appointment to such white men tu
try it on for these slaves. I will say one thing in regard to the negroes being employed to fight for them. I do know he cannot fight and stay at homo and make bread too. And as one is about as important as the other to them, I don't care which they do. I am rather in favor of having them try them as soldiers. They lack one vote of doing that, and I wish I could send my vote over the river so that I might cast it in favor of allowing the negro to fight. But they cannot fight and work both. We must now see the bottom of the enemy's resources. They will stand out as long as they can, and if the negro will fight for them they must allow him to fight. They have drawn upon their last branch of resources, and we can now see the bottom. I am glad to see the end so near at hand. I have said now more than I intended, and will therefore bid you good-by.
But even the culminating interest of affairs before Richmond did not absorb exclusively the President's attention. On the 17th he issued the following proclamation against persons furnishing arms to the hostile Indians in the West, who, stirred up by emissaries from the rebels, or coming to the conclusion from their own judgment, that while the white men were thus fighting each other, it was surely a good time for the red man to strike, had, on more than one occasion, since the rebellion broke out, spread terror and destruction over the Northwest.
Whereas, Reliable information has been received that hostile Indians within the limits of the United States have been furnished with arms and munitions of war by persons dwelling in foreign territory, and are thereby enabled to prosecute their 'savage warfare upon the exposed and sparse settlements of the frontier: Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abrabam Lincoln, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim and direct that all persons engaged in that nefarious traffic shall be arrested and tried by court-martial, at the nearest military post, and if convicted, shall receive the punishment due to their deserts.
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 17th day of March, in the (L. 8.1 year of our Lord 1865, and of the independence of the United
States of America the eighty-ninth.. By the President:
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Wm. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State,
Two days afterwards the following orders were issued by the State Department, directed against blockade-runners, a class who had been treated too long with leniency and allowed too many facilities for carrying on their traffic, which had greatly prolonged the war and increased its burdens and difficulties :
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, March 19, 1665. The President directs that all persons who now are or hereafter shall be found within the United States, and who have been engaged in hold. ing intercourse or trade with the insurgents by sea, if they are citizens of the United States or domiciled aliens, be arrested and held as prisoner's of war till the war shall close ; subject, nevertheless, to prosecution, trial, and conviction for any offence conmitted by them, as spies or otherwise, against the laws of war.
The President further directs that all non-resident foreigners who now are or hereafter shall be found in the United States, and who have been or shall liave been engaged in violating the blockade of the insurgent ports, shall leave the United States within twelve days from the publica. tion of this order, or from their subsequent arrival in the United States if on the Atlantic side, and forty days if on the Pacific side of the country. And such persons shall not return to the United States during the continuance of the war.
Provost-Marshals and Marshals of the United States will arrest and commit to military custody all such offenders as shall disregard this order, whether they have passports or not, and they will be detained in such custody until the end of the war, or until discharged by subsequent order of the President.
WM. H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
There was some little talk during the first part of the month about negotiations for peace. The rebels seem to have thought that, having failed so utterly in their conference with the President and Mr. Seward, they might do better if they could succeed in opening negotiations directly with General Grant. The President, however, again defeated them by sending the following order :
WABUINGTON, March 3, 1865-18 P. X Lieutenant-General GRANT:
The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of General Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter. He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political question. Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.
EDWIN M. Stanton, Sccretary of War.
The official duties which devolved upon the President were very heavy after his inauguration. The coming in of a new Administration, though there was so little change, called forth a swarm of office-seekers, and the President's time and strength were severely taxed. He was for a time quite ill, and about the 24th of March took refuge in a visit to the Army of the Potomac. On the 25th, General Lee had made a sudden and desperate attack upon Fort Stedman, an important position on the right of our lines before Petersburg, commanding our communications with City Point. By a surprise, the rebels carried the fort and took some prisoners. But the neighboring fortifications turned a terrible fire upon it, and our troops, by a gallant assault, drove the rebels out with great loss, so that the day, which began with their success, was turned into a disastrous defeat for them. An attack was also made by our forces on our left, and important advantages were gained in that quarter. The President was visiting the army at the time, and arrived on, the field in time to witness the retreat of the rebels, and to learn the story of their attack and repulse from General Parke, whose brave fellows of the Ninth Corps had retaken Fort Stedman. The Presidential party continued on their route to the extreme right, going within six miles of Richmond. On their ride they witnessed the crossing to the south side of the James of "General Sheridan's cavalry, with which, after having
raided in the early part of the month to the west of Richmond, defeated General Early utterly at Waynesboro', and destroyed the James River Canal, and the Lynchburg Railroad, and done inestimable damage to the rebels, he had come back by way of the White House, on the Pamunkey, and was now crossing to the south side of the James to take a prominent part in the approaching decisive assault upon the army of General Lee.
General Sherman effected a junction with the forces under General Terry's command, at Goldsboro', N. C., on the 19th of March.
There were not wanting those who thought that his march into North Carolina was a march into danger. Said one of these persons to the President one day :
Mr. Lincoln, as Sherman's army advances, the rebel forces necessarily concentrate and increase in number. Before long Sherman will drive tbe columns of Johnston, Bragg, Hoke, and others, within a few days' marca of Lee's main army. May not Lee suddenly march south with the bulk of his army, form a junction with Johnston's troops, and before Grant can follow any considerable distance, strike Sherman's column with superior force, break his lines, defeat his army, and drive his broken fragments back to the coast, and with his whole army give battle to Grant, and perhaps defeat him ?
“And perhaps not," replied the President. “Napoleon tried the same game on the British and Prussians, in 1815. He concentrated his forces and fell suddenly on Blucher, and won an indecisive victory. He then whirled round and attacked the British, and met bis Waterloo. Bonaparte was hardly inferior to Lee in military talents or experience
“But are you sure that Lee's forces, united with Johnston's, could beat Sherman's army? Could be gain his Ligny, before meeting with his Waterloo when he attacks Grant? I tell you, gentlemen, there is a heap of fight in one hundred thousand Western veterang. They are a good deal like old Zach. Taylor at Buena Vista-they don't know when they are whipped."
The President's judgment was better, his hopefulness better founded, than the misgivings of his questioner.
Upon General Sherman's arrival at Goldsboro', he made a journey to City Point, where he and General Grant held consultation together, and with the President, as to the . campaign now about to commence. General Sherman immediately returned to his command, and on the 30th the decisive final movement of the war was begun by General Sheridan, who moved his cavalry towards the south and the left of our army. It had been the plan that he should make a raid upon the Southside Railroad, but when he had gone as far as Dinwiddie Court-House, he was ordered by General Grant to abandon the raid, and, in concert with the infantry under his own immediate command, endeavor to turn Lee's right flank.
There was heavy fighting in that part of the lines on the 30th and the 31st of March, for Lee knew that where Sheridan was he must have a strong front to meet him,