Monthly Record of Current Events, June 8.
257are comparatively small, fall reports not having been received in time to be incorporated in the table:
The route through Maryland to Washington, by way of Annapolis, having been secured by the troops under command of General Butler, that officer, on; the 13th of May, sent a strong detachment to Baltimore. They passed through the city without opposition, and took up a position on Federal Hill, about a mile from Fort M 'Henry. The commander issued a proclamation stating that the forces under him had occupied Baltimore for the purpose of enforcing obedience to the laws of the State and of the United States. No loyal citizen would be disturbed, private property would not be interfered with, unless it was used to aid those in rebellion against the Government, in which case it would be seized and confiscated. No assemblages of armed men, except the ordinary police and those organized by the State and acting under the orders of the Governor, would be permitted. The ordinary operations of the authorities would not be interfered with, but would be aided by the military force of the United States. — Governor Hicks, who had before declined to comply with the requisition of the President for a quota of troops, now issued a proclamation stating that the requisition had been made in the spirit of and in pursuance of the law; and as he had received satisfactory assurance that the troops called for would be detailed to serve only within the State, or for the defense of the capital, he therefore called upon the loyal citizens of the State to volunteer to the extent of four regiments for the term of three months, subject to the orders of the Commander-in-chief of the army of the United States. — General Butler, having been promoted to the rank of Major-General, and placed in command of the military department of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, took up his quarters at Fort Monroe, and the command of the forces at Baltimore was given to General Cadwallader, of Pennsylvania. — In Maryland several arrests of prominent persons have been made. Among these was that of John Merryman, who applied to Chief Justice Taney for a writ of habeas corpus. This was granted; and General Cadwallader, in answer, said that the prisoner had been arrested on charge of various acts of treason—of holding a command in a company, having in possession arms belonging to the United States, and of avowing his purpose of armed hostility to the Government of the United States. In such cases General Cadwallader said that he was authorized by the President to suspend the habeas corpus act; he therefore requested Judge Taney to suspend further action until instructions could be had from the President. Judge Taney thereupon issued a writ of attachment against General Cadwallader for contempt of Court. The Marshal, proceeding to Fort M 'Henry to execute the writ, was refused admittance. Judge Taney said that the President had no right to suspend the act, or to authorize others to do so; that military officers had no right to make arrests except in aid of the judicial authority; that persons so arrested must be delivered to the civil authorities, to be dealt with according to law; that the military authority was subordinate to the civil, and under ordinary circumstances it would be the duty of the Marshal to proceed to bring the General into Court; but as in the present case it would be impossible to do so, he should prepare an opinion and forward it to the President, calling upon him to enforce the decision of the Court. This opinion was subsequently prepared, and has been published at length.
General Butler has taken up his head-quarters at Fortress Monroe, which has received large reinforcements of men and munitions. Three fugitive slaves, belonging to the commander of the Virginian troops in the neighborhood, were brought into the fortress while attempting to escape, to avoid being sent southward. Their owner sent a flag of truce, demanding the return of the slaves under the Fugitive Slave Law. General Butler refused to comply on the ground that slaves belonging to insurgents were employed in military service, and were consequently contraband of war. General Butler submitted his action to the consideration of the Government, by whom it was fully sanctioned by the following letter from tha Secretary of War:
"SIR, — Your action in respect to the negroes who came within your lines, from the service of the rebels, is approved. The Department is sensible of the embarrassments which must surround officers conducting military operations in a State by the laws of which slavery is sanctioned. The Government can not recognize the rejection by any State of its federal obligation resting upon itself. Among these federal obligations, however, no one can be more important than that of suppressing and dispersing any combination of the former for the purpose of overthrowing its whole constitutional authority. While, therefore, yon will permit, no interference, by persons under your command, with the relations of persons held to service under the laws of any State, you will on the other hand, so long as any State within which your military operations are conducted, remain under the control of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged masters any persons who come within your lines. You will employ such persons in the services to which they will be best adapted, keeping an account of the labor by them performed, of the value of it, and the expenses of their maintenance. The question of their final disposition will be reserved for future determination."
The first actual movement of the forces of the United States into the hostile territory took place on the morning of the 24th of May. Shortly after midnight the New York Fireman's Zouaves, under the command of Colonel Ellsworth, embarked on steamers from the Navy-yard at Washington for Alexandria. Other regiments, from New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, were simultaneously sent over the long bridge which unites the District with Virginia. The Zouaves landed without opposition shortly after dawn, and proceeded to remove the rails from the road leading into the interior. Colonel Ellsworth, with two or three men, passing a public house, from the roof of which floated a secession flag, entered for the purpose of removing it. Coming down, with the flag in his possession, he was met in a passage-way by the proprietor of the house, James T. Jackson, and shot through the heart. At almost the same instant Jackson was killed by Francis E. Brownell, one of the Zouaves. Alexandria and its neighborhood were occupied by
258the Federal troops, and a company of Virginia cavalry were captured; after a detention of some days they were released upon taking the oath of allegiance to the United States. Intrenchments were thrown up around Alexandria, and upon Arlington Heights, which command a portion of the capital. Bodies of troops were pushed forward toward the Manassas Junction, with the object of interrupting the communication between Richmond and Harper's Ferry. On the 1st of June a company of cavalry set out on a scouting expedition to Fairfax Court House, about 20 miles beyond the outposts. Some hundreds of Virginia troops were stationed here, and a sharp skirmish ensued. About twenty of the Virginiana are reported to have been killed, one of the United States troops was killed, four or five wounded, among whom was the commander, Lieutenant Tompkins. The cavalry withdrew, having made five prisoners, and leaving two of their own number as prisoners. On the following day the same cavalry company made, another dash to Fairfax, and rescued their comrades which had been left behind.
On the 27th of May the United States volunteers stationed at Wheeling, Virginia, marched toward Grafton, an important station on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On the same day two Ohio regiments crossed into Western Virginia. This portion of the State is strongly loyal to the United States, as is manifested by the vote on the ordinance of secession. Before the Ohio troops advanced, General M 'Clellan, commander of the Department of Ohio, issued a proclamation saying that the Government had abstained from sending forces across the Ohio until after the State election had been held, in order that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort had been made to influence a free expression of opinion. The proclamation concludes:
"It determined to await the result of the State election, desirous that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort, had been made from this side to influence the free expression of your opinions, although the many agencies brought to bear upon you by the rebels were well known. You have now shown under the most adverse circumstances that the great mass of the people of Western Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Government under which we and our fathers have lived so long. As soon as the result of the election was known, the traitors commenced their work of destruction. The General Government can not close its ears to the demand you have made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the river. They come as your friends and brothers; as enemies only to armed rebels who are preying upon you. Your homes, your families, and your property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously respected. Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to believe our advent among you will be signalized by an interference with your slaves, understand one thing clearly: Not only will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part. Now that we are in your midst, I call upon you to fly to arms and support the General Government; sever the connection that binds you to traitors; proclaim to the world that the faith and loyalty so long boasted by the Old Dominion are still preserved in Western Virginia, and that you remain true to the Stars and Stripes."
On the 2d of June two columns, consisting of Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana troops, set out from Grafton for Philippi, about 25 miles distant, where a body of 2000 Secession troops were posted. The march was made through a drenching rain. The columns reached their destination just at daybreak. The enemy were taken by surprise, and fled after a brief struggle, leaving behind their arms and equipments. Fifteen or twenty are reported to have been killed. Colonel Kelly, the commander of the loyal Virginia volunteers, was severely wounded. — Several indecisive engagements have taken place between the United States vessels and the Confederate batteries erected upon the shores of the Potomac.
It is impossible to gain any reliable information of the number of the Confederate troops now in Virginia. It is known, however, that, in addition to those of the State, the whole disposable force of the Confederation has been pushed northward. The estimates made vary from 75,000 to 150,000. They occupy a long irregular line from Harper's Ferry on the north to Norfolk on the South. Strong detachments are stationed at Richmond, Lynchburg, and Petersburg; while advance forces are posted in numbers at Manassas Junction almost directly west of Washington. Here, or at Harper's Ferry, it seems probable that the first serious encounter will take place. President Davis, with a portion of his cabinet, arrived at Richmond early in June, for the purpose of taking the command of the Confederate forces.
The Congress of the Confederate States adjourned on the 20th of May, to meet at Richmond, Virginia, on the 20th of July, unless some public emergency should arise which in the judgment of the President should render it impolitic to meet at that place, in which case he is to call the Congress together at some other convenient place, to be selected by him. — On the 6th of May an act was passed "recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods." The preamble says that the efforts made to establish friendly relations between the Government of the United States and that of the Confederate States have proved unavailing; the President of the United States has issued proclamations calling for troops to recapture the forts within the Confederate States, and setting on foot a blockade of their ports; and the State of Virginia having seceded, and formed an alliance with the Confederate States; and the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri having refused, and it being believed that Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona, New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas would refuse to co-operate with the Government of the United States: Therefore the President of the Confederate States is authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the Confederacy to meet the war thus commenced, and to issue letters of marque and reprisal against the vessels and property of the United States, and those of their citizens, with the exception of the States and Territories above named. The general provisions for privateers are the same as those indicated in the proclamation of Mr. Davis noted in our last Record. It is further provided that the proceeds of all prizes shall be distributed among the owners, officers, and crews of the capturing vessels according to any written agreement between them; in the absence of any written agreement, half goes to the officers and crew, and half to the owners. Prizes, before breaking bulk, must be carried into some port of the Confederate States, or of some friendly State, to be proceeded against before some competent tribunal, which may make restitution, or decree damages, in case the capture shall have been made without probable cause. All persons found on board of any captured vessel are to be placed in charge of the authorities of the Confederation, who are to take charge of their safe-keeping and support. A bounty of twenty dollars is to be paid for every person on board of any armed vessel of the United States which shall be destroyed by any vessel of equal or inferior force, and twenty-five dollars for every prisoner brought to port, and delivered
259up. Upon all goods captured by any private armed ship and brought into the Confederacy a deduction of one-third is to be made in the duties imposed by law. Five per cent. upon the value of all prizes is to be retained by the Government as a fund for the support of those who have been disabled in action, and for the families of those who have been killed. — An Act was passed prohibiting the export of cotton or cotton yarn from any of the Confederate States, except through the sea-ports, under penalty of the forfeiture of all exported or attempted to be exported, and a fine of not exceeding five thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than six months. Every steamboat or railroad car used, with the consent of the owner or person in charge, for the violation of this Act, is to be forfeited. Any person giving information of any such violation is entitled to half the proceeds of the forfeited goods. This Act, which is to continue in force so long as any ports of the Confederate States are blockaded by the United States, does not apply to the exportation by land of cotton to Mexico. — It was proposed in Congress that the cotton planters should be invited to put their crops into the hands of the Government, receiving bonds for its value, the Government to dispose of it in Europe for cash. — The Postmaster-General, on the 1st of June took charge of the transmission of the mails in the Confederate States; and the Postmaster-General of the United States announced that on that day postal communication would close with the seceding States, with the exception of some counties in Western Virginia. All letters for these States are sent to the Dead. Letter Office at Washington.
Two more States — Arkansas and North Carolina — have formally seceded from the Union, and joined the Confederate States. In Arkansas the State Convention, on the 18th of April, had passed an ordinance submitting the question of secession to the people, at an election to be held on the 3d of August, and making other provisions, as noted in our Record for May. When the requisition of President Lincoln was received, Governor Rector, on the 22d of April, replied to the Secretary of War, " In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas to subjugate the Southern States, I have to say that none will be furnished the demand is only adding insult to injury. The people of this Commonwealth are freemen and not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity their honor, lives, and property against Northern mendacity and usurpation." On the same day the Governor gave orders for the seizure at Napoleon of a large quantity of military supplies belonging to the United States. On the 6th of May, the Convention, which had reassembled, unanimously passed an ordinance of secession. The preamble says:
Whereas. In addition to the well-founded causes of complaint set forth by this Convention in resolutions adopted on the 11th March, A. D., 1861, against the sectional party now in power at Washington City, headed by Abraham Lincoln, he has, in the face of resolutions passed by this Convention, pledging the State of Arkansas to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that seceded from the old Union, proclaimed to the world that war should be waged against such States, until they should be compelled to submit to their rule, and large forces to accomplish this have by this same power been called out, and are now being marshaled to carry out this inhuman design, any longer to submit to such rule or remain in the old Union of the United States would be disgraceful and ruinous to the State of Arkansas.
The ordinance then goes on to repeal the ordinance and laws by which Arkansas became a member of the Federal Union. — In North Carolina the ordinance of secession, and one ratifying the Provisional Government of the Confederate States, was passed on the 21st of May, by unanimous votes of the Convention; a proposition to submit the matter to the people having been defeated by a vote of 73 to 34, — Tennessee has also virtually, though not in form, joined the Southern Confederacy. The Legislature has passed a Declaration of Independence, which is to be submitted to the people on the day (June 8) upon which we close this month's Record. Meanwhile a military league has been formed with the Confederate Government, in virtue of which the forces of Tennessee are to be employed to aid the Confederate States.
In Kentucky a determined effort is still made to preserve a strict neutrality. Governor Magoffin, as before noted, refused peremptorily to comply with the President's requisition for troops. On the 20th of May he issued a proclamation declaring that every indication of public sentiment in Kentucky showed a fixed determination of the people to take neither side, but to maintain a posture of self-defense, forbidding the quartering upon her soil of troops from either section, in the hope that the State might yet become a mediator between the parties. He therefore warns all States, whether separate or united, and especially the Confederate and the United States, against making any occupation within the State of Kentucky, without the permission of the Legislature and Executive authorities. All citizens of Kentucky are forbidden to make any demonstration against either of the sovereignties, but are directed to make prompt and efficient preparations for the defense of the State. — Of similar purport are the proceedings of the "Border States Convention," held at Frankfort. Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas, having joined the Southern Confederacy, of course sent no delegates; none appeared from Maryland, and only one from Tennessee, and four from Missouri. The remainder were from Kentucky. Senator Crittenden was chosen President. Two addresses, one to the People of the United States, and the other to the People of Kentucky, were adopted. The essential point in the first address is the recommendation that Congress shall propose such Constitutional amendments as will secure the legal rights of slaveholders; and if this should fail to bring about a pacification, that a Convention be called composed of delegates from all the States, to devise measures of peaceable adjustment.
The address to the people of Kentucky defends the action of the Executive in refusing troops to the Federal Government, as called for by the peculiar circumstances in which the State was placed. "In all things," says the address, "she is as loyal as ever to the constitutional administration of the Government. She will follow the stars and the stripes to the utmost regions of the earth, and defend it from foreign insult. She refuses alliance with any who would destroy the Union. All she asks is permission to keep out of this unnatural strife. She has announced her intention to refrain from agression upon others, and she must protest against her soil being made the theatre of military operations by any belligerent." The address goes on to censure the conduct of the States who have withdrawn from the Union, affirming that there was in the Constitution a remedy for every wrong, and provisions to check every encroachment by the majority upon the minority. In withdrawing the States committed "a great wrong, for which they must answer to posterity. But Kentucky remained true to herself, contending with all her might for what were
260considered to be the rights of the people, and although one after another of the States that should have been by her side ungenerously deserted her, leaving her almost alone in the field, yet she did not surrender her rights under the Constitution, and never will surrender them. She will appear again in the Congress of the United States, not having conceded the least atom of power to the Government that had not heretofore been granted, and retaining every power she had reserved. She will insist upon her constitutional rights in the Union, and not out of it." The address goes on to say that if the war is transferred to Kentucky, it will matter little to her which party succeeds; her destruction will be the inevitable result;" and even the institution to preserve or control which this wretched war was undertaken, will be exterminated in the general ruin."
In Virginia the vote upon Secession has resulted in a large majority in its favor. In the northwestern part of the State the vote was largely in favor of the Union. A Convention of the Western Counties convened at Wheeling on the 13th of May, at which resolutions were passed pronouncing the ordinance of secession null and void. The Convention adjourned to meet on the 11th of June.
The position of Missouri is similar to that of Kentucky. The State endeavors to avoid taking part in the war. Troops had been organized with hostile designs against the Government. These were forced to surrender by Captain Lyon (since appointed General). At St. Louis an attack was made by the populace, on the 10th of May, upon the United States volunteers, they returned the fire, killing some twenty; an émeute on the next day resulted in the loss of several lives. General Harney, who had been put in command of this district, entered into an agreement with the State authorities, which seems to have been disapproved, as he has been relieved from the command, which has been given to General Lyon.
which says that, "Whereas hostilities have unhappily commenced between the United States of America and certain States styling themselves the Confederate States of America, and whereas we being at peace with the Government of the United States, have declared our royal determination to maintain a strict neutrality in the contest between the said contending parties, we therefore have thought fit to issue this our royal proclamation." The proclamation then goes on to forbid all British subjects from taking part in any way in the contest, by enlisting in the army or navy of either party; by fitting out or arming any vessel; by breaking any lawfully established blockade; by carrying to either troops or any articles contraband of war. All subjects violating any of the provisions of this proclamation are warned that they will incur the penalties provided by law, and will moreover do so at their own peril, forfeiting any protection from any liabilities or penal consequences. — This proclamation, taken in connection with the explanations of the Ministers and the speeches in Parliament, has an unfriendly aspect toward the United States, recognizing, as it does, the Confederate States, as belligerents, and, by implication, entitled equally to the right of carrying prizes into the ports of Great Britain. — In the House of Commons, Lord John Russell said that the character of belligerency was not so much a principle as a fact; that a certain amount of force and consistency acquired by any mass of-population engaged in war entitled them to be treated as a belligerent. A power or a community which was at war with another, and which covered the sea with its cruisers, must either be acknowledged as a belligerent or dealt with as a pirate. The Government had come to the opinion that the Southern Confederacy, according to those principles which were considered just, must be treated as a belligerent. — In reply to questions in the House of Lords, the Earl of Granville said that a lawful blockade must be maintained by a force sufficient to make ingress or egress not indeed strictly impossible, but certainly extremely difficult. With respect to what articles were contraband of war, he said that in many cases this depended upon contingencies which could only be decided by a prize Court. — The Earl of Derby said that there were two points on which it was desirable that an understanding should be had with the United States. It had proclaimed a blockade of the whole Southern coast, which it could not maintain. It had also declared that it should treat privateers as pirates; but it could not do so by the law of nations; and it was desirable that it should be declared that the infliction of such a penalty on British subjects would not be viewed with indifference by England. Lord Campbell said that a subject of another Power, holding letters of marque, was not guilty of piracy. Lord Kingsdown said that the United States might hold the people of the Southern States to be rebels, and guilty of high treason; but this would not apply to the subjects of other Powers who had become privateers. — The French Government has not yet denned its position.