Monthly Record of Current Events, May 10.
Before the middle of March it was evident that the Confederate capital must be abandoned. It was merely a question of time — a few days more or less. Lee's vigorous attack upon Fort Steadman, on the 25th, was less an effort to avoid this necessity than a movement to mask its execution. The disastrous failure of this attempt determined Grant to strike the enemy on his retreat. Sheridan was therefore dispatched, by a wide detour, to strike Lee's right. The series of actions which ensued during the last days of March and the first days of April were noted in our last Record, together with our occupation of Petersburg and Richmond. On Sunday, April 2, Davis, while at church, received tidings from Lee that his lines had been pierced, and that his position was no longer tenable. He left the church, and before night he and his cabinet departed from Richmond, taking with them such specie as they were able to gather from the banks. They left by the Danville Railroad for North Carolina. From Danville, on the 5th of April, Davis issued a proclamation, of which the following are the most important passages:
"The General-in-Chief found it necessary to make such movements of his troops as to uncover the capital. It would be unwise to conceal the moral and material injury to our cause resulting from the occupation of our capital by the enemy. For many months the largest and finest army of the Confederacy, under command of a lender whose presence inspires equal confidence in the troops and the people, has been greatly trammeled by the necessity of keeping constant watch over the approaches to the capital, and has thus been forced to forego more than one opportunity for promising enterprise. We have now entered upon a new phase of the struggle. Relieved from the necessity of guarding particular points, our army will be free to move from point to point to strike the enemy in detail far from his base. Let us but will it and we are free. I announce to you, fellow-countrymen, that it is my purpose to maintain your cause with my whole heart and soul; that I will never consent to abandon, to the enemy one foot of the soil of any one of the States of the Confederacy; that Virginia, with the help of the people and by the blessing of Providence, shall be held and defended, and no peace ever be made with the infamous invaders of her territory. If by the stress of numbers we should ever be compelled to a temporary withdrawal from her limits, or those of any other Border State, again and again will we return, until the baffled and exhausted enemy shall abandon in despair his endless and impossible task of making slaves of a people resolved to be free."
Proceeding to North Carolina, Davis remained for three weeks in the neighborhood of Raleigh, awaiting the course of events. These proving wholly disastrous, he again set off southward. At the latest intelligence Stoneman's cavalry were hard upon his track.
The army of Lee, abandoning Petersburg and Richmond, struck almost due south, with the apparent purpose of gaining Lynchburg, which had been strongly intrenched, and where were large supplies of stores. Before abandoning Richmond, the city was set on fire; the damage done was much greater than was indicated in our last Record. General Ewell, in a published letter, affirms that the conflagration was caused by a mob, against which the city authorities had ample time to make provision by the organization of a competent police force, since they were forewarned that the city would be abandoned; but there seems to be abundant evidence that the place was fired by the rear-guard of the army — whether acting with or without orders may still be considered a. matter of doubt. Lee's retreat was made by several roads; and Grant pushed forward his forces in pursuit. The retreat though somewat disorderly, was still far from an absolute rout. There was great demoralization and much desertion in the rear and on the flanks; but there was always a solid central core, which opposed a stout resistance whenever assailed. It is yet too early, in the absence of official reports, to undertake to give a detail of the movements of the three days which followed the abandonment of Richmond, or to assign to each officer and division of the army the credit to which they are entitled. The main object of the movements on both sides is, however, evident: Lee wished to gain Lynchburg, and Sheridan wished to intercept him, Lynchburg lies 116 miles almost due west from Richmond. On the morning of the 5th the main body of the Confederate army was gathered near Amelia Court House, 47 miles on its way; while Sheridan, by a wide detour, had reached Burkesville, about 15 miles further west, and directly in the way to Lynchburg. Sheridan
122then sent a brigade, which made a sharp and successful attack upon the enemy's flank; several corps of Meade's army were close at hand; and in the middle of the afternoon Sheridan wrote to Grant, "I wish you were here yourself. I feel confident of capturing the army of Northern Virginia if we exert ourselves. I see no escape for Lee." Meade, having ascertained the precise position of Lee, on the morning of the 6th moved the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps upon his retreating columns. The Fifth made a long march, but its position prevented it from striking the enemy until he had passed. The Second and the Sixth struck the Confederates near Deatonville, and, after the most severe encounter of the retreat, routed them completely, capturing several thousand prisoners, among whom were Generals Ewell, Kershaw, and Custis Lee. Lee's position was now desperate. His army, reduced by more than a half, was fairly surrounded. Grant, acting upon Sheridan's desire, had come to the front. He saw the state of affairs at once, and knew that it must be equally apparent to Lee. On the 7th he addressed the following letter to Lee:
"GENERAL, — The result of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the C. S. army known as the Army of Northern Virginia."
To this Lee replied, that while he was not entirely of Grant's opinion of the "hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia," he reciprocated the desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and asked the terms which would be offered on condition of surrender. Grant replied, on the 8th, that peace being his first desire, he should insist upon only one condition: "That the men surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged." He offered to meet any officer appointed by Lee for the purpose of definitely arranging the terms of surrender. Lee rejoined that he did not intend to propose to surrender his army, for he "did not think the emergency had arisen to call for surrender;" he had merely asked the terms of Grant's proposition; "but," he added, "as the restoration of peace should be sole object of all, I desire to know whether your proposals will tend to that end." He could not, he said, meet him with a view to surrender; but so far as Grant's propositions might affect the Confederate forces under his own command, and lead to a restoration of peace, he should be pleased to meet him at a designated place. Grant rejoined that he had no authority to treat on the subject of peace, and so a meeting for that special object could do no good. The whole North desired peace, and "the terms on which it can be had were well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives and hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed. I sincerely hope that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of another life." Lee then requested an interview, in accordance with the offer contained in this letter. The meeting took place on the 9th, when Grant proposed his terms, which were accepted. The negotiation, though conducted verbally, took the formal shape of a written proposition and reply. Grant wrote:
"In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, on the following terms, to wit:
"Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officers as you may designate.
"The officers to give their individual paroles not to take arms against the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands.
"The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage.
"This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in fores where they may reside."
"I have received your letter of this date, containing the terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you; as they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to cany the stipulations into effect."
The personal parole given by the officers was in these words:
"We, the undersigned, prisoners of war belonging to the Army of Northern Virginia, having been this day surrendered by General R. E. Lee, commanding said army, to Lieutenant-General Grant, commanding the armies of the United States, do hereby give our solemn parole of honor that we will not hereafter serve in the armies of the Confederate States, or in any military capacity whatever, against the United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities."
Each officer also signed a parole, in nearly the same words, attached to a list of the men under his command. These paroles then received a countersign that the persons embraced in them "will not be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they reside." The number of men embraced in the various rolls is unofficially stated at something more than 26,000. The entire number of prisoners captured from the army of Lee in the various operations from March 25 to April 8 is estimated at about 30,000, and their loss in killed and wounded is put down at fully 10,000; besides these there were some thousands of stragglers during the retreat. The army of Lee, at the close of March, therefore probably numbered from 70,000 to 80,000, all of whom were actually brought into action. Grant's entire force is roughly estimated at twice the number, of which probably not more than half was brought into actual conflict, though the dispositions were such that in case of need the whole might have been employed.
Our last Record left Sherman in possession of the real point aimed at in his long march from Savannah. This was Goldsborough, North Carolina, 51 miles from Raleigh, and almost in the centre of the State. Two railroads running from this place to Wilmington and Beaufort afforded ample facilities for conveying full supplies to his army. Sherman thought it important to have an interview with the General-in-Chief. Leaving Schofield in command he set off for Grant's head-quarters, near Richmond, which he reached on the 27th. Here he found not only Grant, Meade, and the other leaders of the Army of the Potomac, but the President. His stay was brief: a single day was sufficient to acquaint him with the state of affairs in the region beyond the sphere of his own action, from a knowledge of which he had been in a great measure cut off since January, and to concert future operations. On the
12330th he was again at Goldsborough, finding that full supplies of food and clothing had been brought to his army. On the 10th of April his army set out for Raleigh, which was reached on the 13th, and occupied after a slight skirmish, Johnston falling back northwest toward Hillsborough. Sherman was informed on the 12th of the surrender of Lee; he announced it to his army, adding, "All honor to our comrades in arms, to whom we are now marching. A little more labor, a little more toil on our part and the great race is won, and our Government stands regenerated after its four years of bloody war." Vance, the Governor of North Carolina, was captured on the 13th. It is said that he had been dispatched by Johnston to surrender the State, but the order had been countermanded by Davis, who had by this time reached Hillsborough. There could, however, be no doubt that Johnston would surrender upon the same terms that had been accepted by Lee; and a meeting was appointed to be held on the 15th to make definite arrangements. Before these were completed tidings readied Sherman and Johnston that the President of the United States had been assassinated in a theatre at Washington, by a disreputable actor named John Wilkes Booth.
On the evening of Good Friday, April 14, President Lincoln visited Ford's theatre in Washington. He was accompanied by his wife, Major Henry R. Rathbone, and Miss Clara L. Harris. The box occupied by the party is approached by a narrow passage, with a door opening inward. At the end of this passage is a door opening into the box. The box is about twelve feet above the stage, looking directly upon it. Booth, being well known as an actor, having also performed in the theatre, had free access to all parts of the building at any hour, and was perfectly acquainted with all its arrangements, and the ways of entrance and exit. His preparations were carefully made; whether he was aided by accomplices belonging to the theatre yet remains to be shown. Outside of the theatre, near the private entrance to the stage, he had a horse in waiting, and close by was an accomplice, named Harold, mounted and ready to accompany him after his escape from the theatre. A small hole had been bored in the door opening from the passage into the box, through which any one in the passage could have a complete view of the interior of the box. A stout bar of wood was also placed in the passage, by which the outer door could be fastened. During the early part of the performance Booth was seen by one or two persons who recognized him, although he was not dressed in his usual elegant style. He stood for a few moments near the door of the passage, near which, was no one who knew him. He then went to the door. As he was opening it the sentinel asked if he knew what box he was entering. He coolly replied that he did: it was the box of the President, who wished to see him. He entered the passage and fastened the door behind him. The box-door had been left open, so that the precaution of boring a hole for observation was not needed, and Booth had a full view of the persons within. Whether by accident or design, the chairs had been so arranged that the inmates were in the positions best suited for his purpose. The President was at the end of the box nearest the door; Mrs. Lincoln sat near him; Major Rathbone was at the other end of the box, at a distance of two or three yards. The faces of all were turned to the stage, and directly away from the door. How long the assassin remained in the passage is not certainly known; probably only a few minutes. It was about half past nine. At this time, as Booth knew, the action of the piece (which was The American Cousin) requires the stage to be vacant for a moment. All eyes were turned to the stage, waiting for the entrance of the next actor. At that instant the report of a pistol was heard, and Rathbone turning saw through the smoke a man between the door and the President. He sprang up and grappled him; but the man, making a thrust with a large knife and inflicting a severe wound, wrested himself away and rushed to the front of the box. Rathbone endeavored to seize him again, but only caught hold of his clothes as he leaped over the railings upon the stage. His spur caught in the folds of a flag, and was torn off, and he fell nearly prostrate, receiving, as was afterward discovered, a severe injury. Notwithstanding this he sprung to his feet, brandished his knife, shouted, "Sic semper tyrannis," the motto on the great seal of Virginia, and. rushed through the coulisses, by passages well known to him, to the rear exit from the stage, before the spectators were aware of what had occurred. The man, however, was identified as Booth by several actors who saw him from the wings. The interval between the shot and the leap of Booth to the stage was hardly thirty seconds. But he had done his work thoroughly. Booth was an expert marksman, and at the short distance could hardly fail in his aim. The ball entered just behind the left ear, driving fragments of bone before it, and lodged in the brain. The President was carried to a private house opposite the theatre. He was unconscious from the moment of the shot. He died at twenty-two minutes past seven on the morning of the 10th of April.
Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, had been, some weeks before, thrown from his carriage; an arm was broken, the jaw fractured, and he lay in a very critical condition. Just about the time when the President was assassinated, a man presented himself at his residence, saying that he had brought a prescription from his physician, which he must see administered, in person. Pushing abruptly past the servant, who hesitated, to admit him, he made his way toward the sick-room. Before reaching the room the slight disturbance had aroused several persons in the house. Foremost of these was Frederick Seward, son of the Secretary, himself Assistant Secretary of State. He received a blow from a heavy pistol, which fractured his skull and left him insensible. The man then reached the door of Mr. Seward's room. Within were a daughter of the Secretary and George Robinson, a soldier, who was attending the invalid. Robinson, hearing the disturbance, opened the door and received a passing stab from the assassin, who rushed to the bedside of Mr. Seward and endeavored to strike him with a knife. Robinson grappled with him and a severe struggle ensued. The assailant, a very powerful man, seemed bent upon reaching Mr. Seward. He succeeded in striking him slightly two or three times; but the wounded man managed to roll from the bed to the floor. The struggle had now aroused the house, and the assassin broke away, rushed clown stairs, mounted a horse at the door and made his escape. The whole was the work of a few moments. The Secretary of State received wounds, slight in themselves, but dangerous when added to his former injuries; Frederick Seward was unconscious for days; Robinson was severely wounded, as was also a Mr.
124Hansell, a messenger from the State Department, who happened to be present.
The whole detective force of the Government was at once called into requisition to arrest the assassins and unravel the intricacies of the plot. Various circumstances had led to the belief that the assailant of Mr. Seward was John Suratt, whose mother, a resident of Washington, had made her house a rendezvous for disloyalists. Her house was seized. Before daylight on the morning of the 18th a man dressed as a laborer came to the door and was arrested. He said his name was Payne; that he was a common laborer, born in Virginia, and had been engaged to repair a gutter at the house. His statements were unsatisfactory and contradictory. He was found to be in disguise, his light hair dyed black. He was in the end fully identified as the man who attacked Sir. Seward. His true name and character remain to be developed upon his trial.
Meanwhile the energies of the Government wore directed to the arrest of Booth. Large rewards were offered for him and his accomplices. After many false starts the detectives, under charge of Colonel L. C. Baker, got upon the true scent. It was ascertained that Booth, in leaping from the box to the stage, had fractured a bone in his leg. Still he was able to rush across the stage, escape from the theatre, mount his horse, and ride off, followed by Harold, who was in waiting for him. He rode some thirty miles into a part of Maryland where the inhabitants are notoriously disloyal. His wounded leg was dressed by Doctor Samuel Mudd, who furnished him with a crutch. Crippled as he was, Booth worked his way for ten days, hiding in swamps by day, and more than once narrowly escaping discovery, accompanied all the while by Harold, who appears to be a weak creature, following Booth as a dog does his master. The pair at length got across the Potomac into Virginia; a few miles more would place them under the protection of Mosby's guerrillas. But the pursuers were now on their track. By means of information volunteered by blacks and extorted from whites the fugitives were traced to the house of a man named Garratt, near Bowling Green. The pursuers, 27 in in number, were led by Colonel Conger. Among them was Boston Corbett, a sergeant in the cavalry. Booth and Harold were hidden in a barn. They were called upon to surrender. A long parley ensued, for the pursuers wished to take the fugitives alive. Harold gave himself up and came out; Booth refused; fire was set to the dry straw in the barn. Booth, brought to bay, wished to sell his life dearly. Leaning upon his crutch, he was in the act of aiming at one of his pursuers, when his fire was anticipated by a pistol-shot from Corbett, who had watched his movements through an opening in the boarding. The ball, striking almost in the place where Lincoln had been struck, passed downward, and, instead of piercing the brain, shattered the spinal column, paralyzing all the nerves of motion, but leaving untouched those of sensation. The assassin lived for four hours, body and limbs paralyzed, yet suffering intensely. After his death the corpse was brought to Washington, fully identified, and then disposed of — how and where no one knows except two persons who had it in charge. He was born in Maryland, and died at the age of 26.
There is every reason to believe that the assassination of the President was only a part of a plan to murder all the leading members of the Government. This plot appears to have been formed by persons holding high positions in the Confederacy. So fully convinced is the Government of this fact that on the 2d of May the President issued the following proclamation:
"Whereas, it appears, from evidence in the Bureau of Military Justice, that the atrocious murder of the late President, Abraham Lincoln, and the attempted assassination of Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State, were incited, concerted, and procured by and between Jefferson Davis, late of Richmond, Va., and Jacob Thompson, Clement C. Clay, Beverly Tucker, George N. Sanders, W. C. Cleary, and other rebels and traitors against the Government of the United States, harbored in Canada: Now, therefore, to the end that justice may be done, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do offer and promise for the arrest of said persons, or either of them, within the limits of the United States, so that they can be brought to trial, the following rewards: One hundred thousand dollars for the arrest of Jefferson Davis; Twenty-five thousand dollars for the arrest of Clement C. Clay; Twenty-five thousand dollars for the arrest of Jacob Thompson, late of Mississippi; Twenty-five thousand dollars for the arrest of George N. Sanders; Twenty-five thousand dollars for the arrest of Beverly Tucker; and Ten thousand dollars for the arrest of William C. Cieary, late clerk of Clement C. Clay."
Tucker, Sanders, and Cleary have put forth in the Canadian newspapers a denial that they had any complicity in the assassination. How far they and the others are implicated will be developed upon the trial of the many persons now under arrest. The murder of President Lincoln aroused a feeling of regret deeper than was ever before known in our history. Men and papers who had opposed his policy and vilified him personally, now vied with his adherents and friends in lauding the rare wisdom and goodness which marked his conduct and character. It was decided that his body should be interred at his home in Springfield, Illinois. The long journey was one great funeral procession, lasting from the 21st of April, when the embalmed body left Washington, till the 4th of May, when it was entombed at Springfield. The ceremonies at New York, on the 25th, were by far the most imposing ever known in that city. It was estimated that 60,000 people marched in the procession. The streets through which it passed were shrouded in black. There was hardly a house in the city without an emblem of mourning. By the death of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, elected as Vice-President, became President of the United States, taking the oath of office on the 15th of April.
The news of the assassination reached the army in North Carolina while negotiations were pending between Sherman and Johnston, Mr. Breckinridge, the Confederate Secretary of War, being present. Thereupon the following "basis of agreement" was entered upon:
"First — The contending armies now in the field to maintain their statu quo until notice is given by the commanding General of either one to its opponent, and reasonable time, say forty-eight hours, allowed.
"Second — The Confederate armies now in existence to be disbanded and conducted to the several State capitals, there to deposit their arms and public property in the State arsenal, and each officer and man to execute and file an agreement to cease from acts of war and abide the action of both State and Federal authorities. The number of arms and munitions of war to be reported to the Chief of Ordnance at Washington city, subject to future action of the Congress of the United States, and in the mean time to be used solely to maintain peace and order within the borders of the States respectively.
"Third — the recognition by the Executive of the United States of the several State Governments on their officers and Legislatures taking the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States; and where conflicting State Governments have resulted from the war the legitimacy of all shall be submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States.
"Fourth — The re-establishment of all Federal courts in
the several States, with powers as defined, by the Constitution and laws of Congress.
"Fifth — The people and inhabitants of all States to be guaranteed, so far as the Executive can, their political rights and franchise, as well as their rights of person and property as denned by the Constitution of the United State and of States respectively.
"Sixth — The Executive authority of the Government of the United States not to disturb any of the people by reason of the late war so long as they live in peace and quiet, abstain from acts of armed hostility, and obey laws in existence at any place of their residence.
"Seventh — In general terms, war to cease, a general amnesty, so far as the Executive power of the United States can command, upon condition of disbandment of the confederate armies, and the distribution of arms and resumption of peaceful pursuits by officers and men, as hitherto composing the said armies. Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to fulfill these terms, we individually and officially pledge ourselves to promptly obtain necessary authority, and to carry out the above programme."
This agreement was at once repudiated by the Government for the following reasons: First, It was an exercise of authority not vested in General Sherman; Second, It was a practical acknowledgment of the rebel Government; Third, It undertook to re-establish the rebel State governments, and placed arms and munitions of war in the hands of the rebels at their respective capitals, which might be used as soon as the armies of the United States were disbanded, and used to conquer and subdue the loyal States; Fourth, By the restoration of the rebel authority in their respective States they would be enabled to re-establish slavery; Fifth, It might furnish a ground of responsibility by the Federal Government to pay the rebel debt, and certainly subjects loyal citizens of the rebel States to the debt consummated by the rebels in the name of the State. Sixth, It puts in dispute the existence of loyal State governments, and the new State of Western Virginia; Seventh, It practically abolished the confiscation laws; Eighth, It gave terms that had been delibrately, repeatedly, and solemnly rejected by President Lincoln, and better terms than the rebels had ever asked in their most prosperous condition; Ninth, It formed no basis of true and lasting peace. — Sherman was ordered to give immediate notice of the termination of the truce; the commanders of other departments were notified to regard no truce or order from him respecting hostilities, his action being binding only upon his own command; and Grant hurried on to North Carolina to take charge of matters there. Johnston saw at once that his case was hopeless. He therefore accepted, terms similar in effect to those offered to Lee, the main point of difference being that the paroled prisoners were allowed to retain their horses, except those belonging to artillery, their wagons, and five per cent. of their small-arms, in order to protect themselves on their way home. The surrender was made on the 29th of April. It is supposed that the surrender embraces about 30,000 men. The Union army of North Carolina at ones set out on its return; two corps reaching Richmond on the 8th of May.
Among the other important events which have marked the month of April is the capture of Mobile, which was surrendered on the 13th, after a combined naval and military attack, which was commenced upon the outer defenses on the 2d. The defenses were captured after hard fighting. In all, the enemy lost about 1500 men killed and wounded, 6000 prisoners, and 150 guns. Maury, the commander, escaped with about 9000 men. Our entire loss during the siege was about 2000. — General Stoneman, of Thomas's Department of the Cumberland, rode into North Carolina and struck the North Carolina Railroad. The most brilliant operation in this raid of 500 miles was the capture of Salisbury on the 13th, after a short and sharp encounter, with 1400 prisoners, and an immense quantity of provisions and stores, which were destroyed. — General Wilson, also of Thomas's Department, starting from Chickasaw, in Alabama, on the 22d of March, rode for 650 miles through portions of Alabama and Georgia, which the war had hardly touched. Selma, in Alabama, a great depot, was captured on the 2d of April, with 2400 prisoners and more than 100 cannon. Montgomery, the first Confederate capital, was peaceably surrendered on the 12th. Columbus, Georgia, was captured, after a sharp fight, on the 16th, with 2000 prisoners and 70 guns. Macon was approached on the 21st. Here Wilson was met by a nag of truce from Howell Cobb, announcing the armistice between Sherman and Johnston. This stopped military operations, and before orders for their resumption were received Johnston had surrendered. This brilliant raid, in which 6000 prisoners and 200 cannon were taken, and Confederate property estimated at hundreds of millions was destroyed, cost us in all less than 500 men.
General Halleck, who had assumed the command of the Division of the James, under date of May 3, orders that
"All persons, without regard to their rank or employment in the civil or military service of the late rebel Government, will be permitted to take the amnesty oath, and will receive the corresponding certificate. Those excluded from the benefit of such oath can make application for pardon and restoration to civil rights, which applications will be received and forwarded to the proper channels for the action of the President of the United States. The fact that such persons have voluntarily come forward and taken the oath of allegiance will be evidence of their intention to resume the status of loyal citizens, and constitute claim for Executive clemency."
General Schofield, in command of the Department of North Carolina, under date of April 28, thus defines the status of the late slaves:
"To remove a doubt which seems to exist in the minds of some of the people of North Carolina, it is herby declared that by virtue of the Proclamation of the President of the United States, dated January 1, 1853, all persons in this State heretofore held as slaves are now free; and that it is the duty of the army to maintain the freedom of such persons. It is recommended to the former masters of the freedmen to employ them as hired servants at reasonable wages. And it is recommended to the freedmen that, when allowed to do so, they remain with their former masters, and labor faithfully so long as they shall be treated kindly and paid reasonable wages; or that they immediately seek employment elsewhere in the kind of work to which they are accustomed. It is not well for them to congregate about towns or military camps. They will not be supported in idleness."
On the 29th of April the President issued a proclamation removing all restrictions upon commerce, with the exception of articles contraband of war, in such portions of the Southern States lying east of the Mississippi, embraced within the lines of national military occupation. — Another proclamation of May 9 enjoins upon all naval and military officers, now that the rebellion on land is ended, increased diligence in capturing the rebel cruisers afloat; and adds that, after this proclamation shall become known in foreign ports, retaliatory measures will be adopted against the ships of ships nations as extend hospitality to these piratical vessels. — An Executive order of the same date recognizes as the only Government of the State of Virginia (not, of course, including the State of West Virginia) that by which Mr. Pierrepont is Governor, and annuls all the acts of the late rebel State Government.