Pictures and Illustrations.
Monthly Record of Current Events, June 5.
When our last Record closed the Army of the Potomac, under General Hooker, having crossed the Rappahannock, was engaged with the Confederate forces under General Lee. The failure of this movement to accomplish the results which were aimed at is known. For the details we must rely wholly upon the accounts of newspaper correspondents, no full official reports having been published. The design of this movement is evident. Instead of attacking the enemy in his intrenehments near Fredericksburg, as General Burnside had done, Hooker proposed to turn these works, gain their rear, interpose between them and Richmond, and thus compel Lee to retreat or to fight outside of his intrenehments. To do this he was obliged to advance into a country with the topography of which he was imperfectly acquainted, while it was thoroughly known to the enemy. The preliminary steps were successful. Deceiving the enemy by feints of a crossing at points three or four miles below Fredericksburg, General Hooker pushed three divisions of his army to Kellys Ford, twenty-five miles up the river, where they crossed without opposition, then wheeled to the south, and reached Chancellorsville, a solitary mansion near a cross-roads, five or six miles southwest of Fredericksbrug. A strong cavalry force, under General Stoneman had been in the mean while dispatched to make a wide detour and destroy the railroad leading from Richmond to Fredericksburg, so as to prevent reinforcements from reaching the army of Lee. Of this expedition we shall speak hereafter. Soon after the crossing at Kellys Ford the other divisions of the army passed the Rappahannock at points lower down, but still above Fredericksburg, the attention of the enemy being diverted by the feints made at crossings below that city. These divisions joined their comrades near Chancellorsville, none of them having met with serious opposition. Thus, on the 30th of April, the entire Army of the Potomac, with the exception of a single division under General Sedgwick, which was left behind at the former position near Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, had crossed the Rappahannock, and, having turned the left of the enemy, had gained his rear, and were massed near ChancellorsviIle. At this time General Hooker issued his order, noted in our last Record, to the effect that the "enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him."
Thus far the object of the movement had been attained. The Confederate intrenehments, from the front of which Burnside had been driven back, were turned. Our forces were behind them, and Lee was forced to come down from his fortified heights and meet Hooker upon open ground. The forces in the field can only be roughly estimated. They were probably between 60,000 and 80,000 on either side, ours rather outnumbering theirs. The action, or series of actions which ensued, commenced on Saturday, May 2. Our line of battle was drawn up facing the northeast, looking toward the intrenehments behind Fredericksburg. The enemys left overlapped our right, and on this point the attack was made. A strong force under General Jackson, one of the ablest and by far the most popular leader in the Confederate army, dashed upon the Eleventh Division which had been posted here, routed it at once, and drove it in confusion from the field. The rout of this Division was only prevented from becoming a serious disaster by the bravery of the Second Division, formerly under the immediate command of General Hooker, but now led by General Berry, who checked the advance of the enemy. The Confederate General Jackson, familiarly known as "Stonewall Jackson," was fatally wounded on the evening of this day. He had gone with his staff beyond the line of the Confederate skirmishers, and on returning, the party being mistaken for a body of our cavalry, was fired upon by his own men. He was struck by three balls, two of which passed through the left arm, the other through the right hand. The left arm was amputated, but he died eight days after. With the possible exceptions of Jefferson Davis and General Lee there was no other man whose loss would have been so severely felt in the Southern Confederacy. During the night of Saturday an attack was made by our forces upon Jacksons Division, who were forced back from the position which they had gained. Taking advantage of this success, General Hooker made such changes in the position of his troops as were rendered necessary by the events which had occurred, and awaited the assault of the enemy on the following day. The attack was made on our left early in the morning, and after a severe action, which lasted six hours, the enemy gained possession of the plank road leading past Chancellorsville to Fredericksburg, and our forces were drawn back and concentrated nearer to the Chancellor house. The enemy had thus won some ground in this action, but had gained no important advantage and suffered severely.
In the mean while General Sedgwick, who had been left behind at Falmouth, perceiving that the enemy had withdrawn nearly all his forces from Fredericksburg, crossed the river, stormed the heights from which Burnside had been repulsed, and then, on Sunday evening, advanced some distance toward Chancellorsville, along the plank road, where he encountered a strong force of the enemy, who lay directly between him and Hookers divisions. On Monday the enemy, abandoning the attack upon Hooker, turned in force upon the corps of Sedgwick, and drove him back upon and out of the fortifications which he had captured, and compelled him to recross the river. The crossing was effected during the night of Monday.
Early on the morning of Tuesday a severe rainstorm set in. The rivers began to rise rapidly, threatening to cut Hooker off from his supplies. Apprehending that his position would become untenable, he resolved to retreat to his old position on the other side of the Rappahannock. The order was given on Tuesday morning. Roads were cut to the fords, and at 10 o'clock in the night the retreat was commenced, apparently without being suspected by the enemy. By daylight the whole army with all its trains and artillery was safely across the river. General Hooker issued an order "tendering to the army his congratulations on its achievements of the last seven days. If it has not accomplished," he
270says, "all that was expected, the reasons are well known to the army. It is sufficient to say they were of a character not to be foreseen or prevented by human sagacity or resources. In withdrawing from the south bank of the Rappahannock before delivering a general battle to our adversaries, the army has given renewed evidence of its confidence in itself. In fighting at a disadvantage we would have been recreant to our trust. Profoundly loyal and conscious of its strength the Army of the Potomac will give or decline battle whenever its interest or honor may demand. By our celerity and secrecy of movement our advance and passage of the rivers were undisputed, and on our withdrawal not a rebel returned to follow. We have made long marches, crossed rivers, surprised the enemy in his intrenchments, and whenever we have fought we have inflicted heavier blows than we have received. We have taken from the enemy five thousand prisoners, and fifteen colors, captured and brought off seven pieces of artillery, and placed hors de combat eighteen thousand of his chosen troops. We have destroyed his depots filled with vast amounts of stores, damaged his communications, captured prisoners within the fortifications of his capital, and filled his country with fear and consternation." — The enemy, however, claim a decided victory in the whole scries of operations. General Lee, in his congratulatory address to his army says: "Under trying vicissitudes of heat and storm, you attacked the enemy strongly intrenched in the depths of a tangled wilderness, and again on the hills of Fredericksburg, fifteen miles distant, and, by the valor that has triumphed on so many fields, forced him once more to seek safety beyond the Rappahannock." — Of the losses in men and material on either side no accurate estimate can be formed. It is affirmed by the Secretary of War that only one-third of our forces were actually engaged in the battles, and against these the whole force of the enemy was hurled in solid masses. As they gained no solid advantage except their first one in the rout of the Eleventh Division, their loss at other points apparently exceeded ours; here, ours probably exceeded theirs. The enemy claim to have taken a large number of prisoners, and immense quantities of small-arms and supplies, besides many cannon. We find nothing to confirm this statement; and as Jackson was soon checked in his success against the Eleventh, and the guns which he had captured were retaken, and as the retreat was wholly unmolested, the trains being sent in advance, it would seem that these claims are unfounded. A statement compiled as far as possible from official reports makes our losses in the battles of Chancellorsville, or "the Wilderness," as they are named by the enemy, to have been killed 1512, wounded 9518 — in all 11,030, to which are to be added about 2500 missing, who are probably prisoners. A great proportion of those set down as wounded were only slightly injured, and were soon capable of service. The incidental statements contained in the Southern journals confirm the opinion which was formed on other grounds, that their loss in killed and wounded was at least equal to our own, while in prisoners it was certainly greater. General Hookers statement that they had 18,000 men put hors de combat is probably nearly correct. To our loss, as above estimated, of 13,500 men at Chancellorsville is, we presume, to be added that of Sedgwick, which was severe. Upon the whole, it may be concluded that, while the prestige of victory remains with the enemy, the actual loss on each side was about equally divided.
The last sentence quoted from General Hookers congratulatory order refers especially to a brilliant expedition accomplished by a body of cavalry under General Stoneman. The object in view was to cut off the communications between Richmond and Fredericksburg, and thus prevent Lee from receiving reinforcements. But owing to continuous rains, which prevented the passage of the rivers, the expedition set out too late to attain this — the great body of the enemys forces around and beyond Richmond having been already sent forward. The expedition, 2700 strong, crossed the Rappahannock simultaneously with the passage by Hookers army, and without serious opposition gained the rear of Lees position at Fredericksburg, and then separated into three divisions, each directed against a particular line of communication. All of these effected their object more or less completely, damaging the railroads and destroying much property. The main body, having reunited, commenced their return on the 2d of May, by nearly the same route on which they advanced. and with little loss rejoined the main army, from which they had had no intelligence, on the north side of the Rappahannock. They had moved for nine days within the enemys lines, cut the canal which was his main source of supply, torn up bridges and portions of the railways, and inflicted great damage by destroying large amounts of commissary stores. Still, as General Hooker had no information of the success of this expedition, and had abandoned his position on the south of the Rappahannock, it has little permanent effect upon the issue of the campaign, beyond showing that the entire force of the Confederate Army of Virginia was massed under Lee at Fredericksburg. The most dashing exploit during this expedition was accomplished by a regiment of the Ira Harris Light Cavalry, under command of Colonel Kilpatrick. Leaving the main body at Louisa Court House on the 3d of May, he reached the Fredericksburg Railroad the next morning, destroyed the depot, and tore up the rails fur miles" then pushed on to within two miles of Richmond, and captured prisoners within the line of fortifications" then turned to the Chickahominy, burned a bridge, ran one train of cars into the river, and burned another loaded with provisions. Resuming his route on the 5th, he surprised a cavalry force of 300 men, captured 35 men, burned a wagon-train with 20,000 barrels of grain and large amounts of stores, eluded a superior force of the enemys cavalry who were in pursuit, destroying in the mean time a third wagon-train of the enemy, and on the morning of the 7th readied our lines at Gloucester Point. The march of 200 miles around the enemys army was accomplished in less than five days, with a loss of one officer and 37 men, while of the enemy more than 300 were captured and paroled.
A still more brilliant expedition has been accomplished in the extreme south by a corps of Illinois cavalry, under the command of Colonel Grieson. Leaving Lagrange in Tennessee, near the border of Mississippi, on the 17th of April, they traversed almost the entire length of the latter State, riding a distance of 800 miles through the heart of the enemys country, in fourteen days, and arrived at Baton Rouge, in Louisiana, on the 2d of May. In this expedition over 1000 prisoners and 1200 horses were captured, miles of rails on two important railroads were torn up, and stores to the value of four millions of dollars were destroyed. The map upon the following page shows the region passed through by this expedition.
The operations of the Army of the Potomac during the month are exceeded in importance by those of our army and navy on the Mississippi, which are still in progress.
On the 30th of April General Grant landed his forces at Bruinsburg, 65 miles below Vicksburg, and immediately advanced upon Port Gibson, where he was opposed by the Confederate General Bowen, who was defeated, with a loss, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, of 1500 men. At Grand Gulf, 10 miles above Bruinsburg, the enemy had begun to erect strong fortifications. These had been fired upon by our gun-boats a few days before, under cover of which the fleet had run past. Grant having now gained the rear of this post, Admiral Porter, two days after the fight at Port Gibson, returned to Grand Gulf and found it abandoned. He reports it to have been the strongest place on the Mississippi; had the enemy succeeded in finishing the fortifications no fleet could have taken them. Grants army then marched upward toward Vicksburg, and on the 12th of May encountered the enemy again at Raymond, not far from Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and again defeated them with a loss of 800. Two days after, May 14, they were opposed by a corps of the enemy under General Joseph E.
272Johnston, formerly the Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate army, who had been assigned to the command of the Department of the Mississippi. Johnston was defeated, and the city of Jackson fell into our hands, with 17 pieces of artillery and large stores of supplies. Grant then turned to the west directly upon the rear of Vicksburg. General Pemberton, the commander at that point, advanced with the hope of checking Grant, but was defeated on the 16th at Bakers Creek, losing 4000 men and 29 pieces
273of artillery. On the next day the same force was encountered and defeated at Black River Bridge ten miles from Vicksburg, with a loss of 2600 men and 17 pieces of artillery. On the 18th Vicksburg was closely invested, and the enemy were shut up within their works, which were found to be very strong. An attempt to carry them by storm was unsuccessful, and regular siege has been laid to the city by the land forces, the gun-boats in the river co-operating. The gun-boat Cincinnati was sunk by the enemys fire on the 26th of May; of those on board 25 were killed and wounded, and 15 missing, supposed to have been drowned. The latest reliable accounts from Vicksburg come down to May 29. At this date the city was closely besieged; but Genenal Johnston was collecting all the scattered troops in the region in order to raise the siege. It is as yet impossible to ascertain whether he has received, or is likely to receive, reinforcements from the Confederate armies in Virginia and Tennessee. Upon this uncertainty depends the result of this renewed attack upon the Confederate strong-hold. If it succeeds, the whole course of the Mississippi will be at once opened from source to mouth; for the capture of Port Hudson, the only remaining point of obstruction, must in any case follow that of Vicksburg. The map on the preceding page shows the seat of war on the Mississippi. The river runs nearly north and south: the top of the map as placed on our page is therefore west instead of north, as is customary; the bottom east instead of south.
Clement L. Vallandigham, a prominent member of Congress from Ohio, was arrested at Dayton by order of General Burnside, on the 5th of May, brought before a military commission, and convicted of "publicly expressing, in violation of General Order No. 38 from Head-quarters of the Department of Ohio, sympathy for those in arms against the Government of the United States, and declaring disloyal sentiments and opinions, with the object and purpose of weakening the power of the Government in its efforts to suppress an unlawful rebellion. — The following is the specification of which he was found guilty:
"That the said Clement L. Vallandigham, a citizen of the State of Ohio, on or about the 1st day of May, 1863, at Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, did publicly address a large meeting of citizens, and did utter sentiments in words or in effect as follows: Declaring the present war a wicked, cruel, and unnecessary war; a war not being waged for the preservation of the Union; a war for the purpose of crushing out liberty and erecting a despotism; a war for the freedom of the blacks, and the enslavement of the whites; stating that if the Administration had so wished, the war could have been honorably terminated months ago; that peace might have been honorably obtained by listening to the proposed intermediation of France; charging that the Government of the United States was about to appoint Military Marshals in every district to restrain the people of their liberties, to deprive them of their rights and privileges; characterizing General Order No. 38, from Head-quarters Department of Ohio, as a base usurpation of arbitrary authority; inviting his hearers to resist the same, by saying, the sooner the people inform the minions of usurped power that they will not submit to such restrictions upon their liberties the batter; declaring that he was, at all times and upon all occasions, resolved to do what he could to defeat the attempts now being made to build up a monarchy upon the ruins of our free Government. All of which opinions and seentiments, he well knew, did aid, comfort, and encourage those in arms against the Government, and could but induce in his hearers a distrust of their own Government, sympathy for those in arms against it, and a disposition to resist the laws of the land."
He was sentenced by the court "to be placed in close confinement in some fortress of the United States, to be designated by the Commanding Officer of this Department, there to be kept during the continuance of the war. "The sentence was approved by General Burnside, who designated Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor, as the place of confinement. The sentence was modified by the President to deportation to the Confederate States, which was carried into effect. Public meetings to protest against this procedure have been held at various places. One was held at New York, on the 18th of May, before the action of the Government in respect to the case had been taken. To this meeting Governor Seymour addressed a letter, in which he said: The people of this country now wait with the deepest anxiety the decisions of the Administration upon these acts. Having given it a generous support in the conduct of the war, we pause to see what kind of Government it is for which we are asked to pour out our blood and our treasure. The action of the Administration will determine in the minds of more than one half of the people of the loyal States whether the war is waged to put down the rebellion at the South or to destroy free institutions at the North. "To a similar meeting at Albany, two days before, Governor Seymour wrote that the arrest of Mr. Vallandigham was "an act which has brought dishonor upon our country, which is full of danger to our persons and homes, and which bears upon its front a conscious violation of law and justice."
A "Peace Meeting" was held at New York, June 3, under a call signed by several prominent politicians of the Democratic Party of the State. A long Address and a series of Resolutions were presented. The Address declared that the cardinal principles of the Democratic Party were: Opposition to a strong government; strict construction of the Constitution; the entire sovereignty of the States; the limited powers of the Federal authority; close economy in public expenditures, aversion to British power on this continent" the expansion of our territory, in which all the States should hold equal rights; the largest liberty of the citizen consistent with public good; and that the best government is that which governs the least. "The Address went on to argue that the sovereignty of the States was the cornerstone of the party; that no "State can be constitutionally coerced by the other States by force of arms," that "loyalty is due to the United States only so far as the Federal Government acts within the scope of its delegated powers, and no further;" and that "in all other respects loyalty is due to the respective States" that "treason against the Federal Government consists in overt acts against the exercise of its delegated powers of sovereignty, and treason against a State is warring against it in the exercise of its undelegated rights and powers." The Address went on to affirm that the General Government could not constitutionally coerce the States by military power; that Democrats could not consistently support the war; that the people were tired of the war; that we had been beaten throughout; that God intended that we should be beaten, or "he would not have placed in command a Lincoln, with such coadjutors as a Butler or a Burnside. "This address then went on to controvert the declaration made by the Address of the Democratic members of the New York Legislature, "in favor of conducting the war according to the Constitution, maintaining that "the war being unconstitutional, it can not be conducted constitutionally." The Resolutions were of the same tenor as the Address, concluding with the following:
"Resolved, That thus believing there can be no reliable
security to persona or property pending this war, and that by its continuance the Government itself will be utterly and irrevocably subverted, and that the South as well as the North must alike crumble into general ruin and devastation, we recommend, in the name of the people, that there be a suspension of hostilities between the contending armies of the divided sections of our country, and that a Convention of the States composing the Confederate States, and a separate Convention of the States still adhering to the Union, be held to finally settle and determine in what manner and by what mode the contending sections shall be reconciled, and appealing to the Ruler of all for the rectitude of our intentions, we implore those in authority to listen to the voice of reason, of patriotism, and of justice.
The leading speech at this meeting was made by Fernando Wood, formerly Mayor of New York, and a member-elect of the next Congress. He argued that the war should cease: Because it never should have been commenced; because it was now unnecessary, since a settlement could be had on terms of fairness and equality; because even if just at first it had become one for the abolition of slavery; because it had become a pretext for the invasion of private rights; because it was costing so much money; because it was establishing a military despotism: because we have no men capable of conducting it; because it will result in the loss of Southern trade; because men to fight it out can not be had by enlistment or draft, and, in his own words:
"Finally, because experience should admonish us that the overruling power of God is against us. We can not succeed in what we have undertaken. Hence every dollar expended is thrown away — every life lost is little less than murder — every acre of land laid waste is so much toward national impoverishment — and every days continuance of the war places an additional barrier between us and reunion, and drives another nail in the coffin of the republic."
We have given space to the proceedings of these meetings to evince the nature of the doctrines to which some prominent Northern political leaders have fully committed themselves.