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 Civil War Diaries

These papers were found in the white bureau in the basement of 17 Cushing Road. The handwriting seems to be that of John Rogers, 1800 - 1884. He was the son of Daniel Dennison Rogers and the father of Clara Rogers Purdon.

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South Carolina has contemplated secession for many years and her leading men have been endeavoring to persuade the other cotton states that it was for their interest and advantage to separate themselves from the Union, and form an independent government composed of Slave states exclusively all of them if possible, but if this were not possible - all of the states of which cotton is the chief staple of production.
After the election of Lincoln in 1860, the purpose of secession, so long intended, was carried into effect, seven states declaring themselves out of the Union. The South claiming that they have the right to secede on the ground that they are denied the equal right under the Constitution, and that this justifies their taking themselves out, and setting up for themselves. They proceeded to seize the unacceptable forts being within their limits, the arsenals, arms, and the public property wherever it could be found, and even mints, and money that belonged to the U.S...... and finally commenced open warfare by firing on Fort Sumpter and compelling the withdrawal of its garrison. The first overact of war was by the South and it was justified on the ground that they have the right to set up a separate government if they see fit, and having established one with a President at its head, they have a right to the possession of all property within their limits, subject to such a claim as the other states of the Union may have upon the same. Each state having its share, and they (the cotton states) with the rest. How much the new Confederacy are to pay for that portion of the value of the property seized, which belongs to other states, to be settled hereafter.
This claimed right of secession, the general government resist. The Union being part of a perpetual partnership and no member having the right to withdraw without the consent of the other partners. Secession is disunion and disunion if not destruction, is a weakening of a government and that cannot be allowed.
No purpose of taking coeverse measures against the seceded states, other than keeping possession of the forts, arsenals and public property within their limits and enforcing the collection of taxes was contemplated by the general government, unless resistance took place. Aggressive means on the part of the South took place, has been stated, by the attack on Fort Sumpter, and war between the seceded states and the Federal Government exists. The wish of the south undoubtedly was peacefully to secede, and proceeded accordingly through the treachery of their Secretary of War Floyd, and Cobb, Secretary of Treasury, to secure large supplies of arms and money belonging to the Federal Government, these supplies being ordered into southern states before any suspicion was excited at the North, for whatever purpose it was done. War was openly declared against the Federal Government by President Davis and the threat given out that the flag of the Confederacy should spoon wave from the Capital at Washington. President Lincoln’s policy, as announced in his inaugural address, had been eminently a consolatory one, now issued a proclamation calling 75000 volunteers for 3 months to put down the rebellion and enforce the execution of the laws. The call was responded to with the utmost alacrity and within 48 hours after the reception of the orders from Washington, troops were on their way to the defense of the Capital.
The election of Abraham Lincoln by 190 out of 303 votes cast, constitutionally elected, and by so large a majority of the people, is offensive to some portions of the south, and if never spoken statements can be believed, will not be submitted to. except under compulsion. The papers are filled with accounts of public meetings in Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and other cities, where speeches were made by prominent men of the most excited character and advising secession from the Union as the only remedy of evils which they suffer, and the greater ones they imagine to come. Other states Georgia, Alabama, Florida are expected to sympathize with Carolina, and a combined secession of the cotton states from the Union is talked of by declaimers in Charleston as likely to take place. Senators Thurmond and Cheslaut of South Carolina and Toombs of Georgia have tendered their resignations and conventions of the people in South Carolina and Georgia, to see what shall be done, have been called. These threatening movements in the south have had an effect to create quite a panic and of course to lower very materially the value of stocks on the market, and the operations of the trade stocks have fallen from 10-15 percent. The banks are very sparing of any discounts, loans are being called in, and money in New York, Phila, and the southern states is becoming somewhat tight. New York Central that recently sold as high as 85 is quoted today Nov. 14 at 74 . Burlington of Quincy has fallen from 90 to 71, Michigan Central from 65 to 531/2. Manufacturing stocks are also much affected in price. Opinions differ as to what will be the result. The general impression is that the excitement in the south will generally abate, that better councils will prevail, and that before secession is resolved upon, the people will determine to wait to see what the Republican Government will propose to do after they come into power. The south think that the feeling in favor of secession is too strong in South Carolina to be withstood and that it is sure to take place.
Michigan Central went down yesterday at New York to 45, New York Central 72, C B and Quincy 61 , and money here being very tight, the best names being done at 2% per month. It is said today that New York Banks have agreed to purchase through a committee $ 2,500,000 of Sterling exchange and to extend their loans to 5% beyond their receipts in order to afford relief to the shippers of cotton produce vast quantities of which are going forward, but the bills for which, owing to the panic it has been impossible to negotiate. Large orders from the south for the purpose of arms and ammunition are being filled at New York and Hartford. Many northern men have been expelled from southern cities and villages, simply because they are from the north, andfrequent causes of extreme hardship and cruelty, in the expulsion of these individuals,innocent of any offence except belonging to free states is related in the papers. No eastern man can go into the slave states now without danger of his life. The vigilance committees so called are said to be composed of drinkers, lawless individuals, over whom the better portion of the people, even if they are so disposed, have no control.
NOVEMBER 22 1860
Today, the report is that the Baltimore banks have suspended. The rate for money here continues at 2% per month and even higher for the best notes. The banks refuse all discounts. The special balance is drawn very low and fears are entertained that even our Boston banks may not be able to sustain themselves without suspension. This condition of things is most extraordinary, unprecedented, in the suddenness with which it has come upon us, and in the circumstances under which it has occurred. With immense crops of grain for export as well as cotton, money abundant at 5%, importation of foreign goods smaller in the amount of last year, the manufacturers are doing a thriving business, our ships getting good freights, exchange low, the west fast paying its indebtedness to the east and beginning to recover from the long depression in the state of its affairs, in the prosperous condition of the country, a panic occurs. It began in the stock market in New York, a few days before the Presidential election as it was supposed by speculators and others by a view of affecting the vote of New York - in the hope of preventing a majority in favor of Lincoln, the state, however went for Lincoln, and that question, being decided, many supposed that the panic would subside and that the stocks would resume their previous values. However such was not the case. News of the election of the Lincoln electors in all the free states produced such an outburst of feeling, with the threats of secession in Charleston, Savannah, and Mobile and other portions of the cotton states that the panic continued. Stocks went lower and lower, fear of the results of the south, produced distrust. Banks refused loans, money became tight, in consequence, produce could not be shipped for the want of purchases for the bills drawn on the shipment. The banks of Charleston which had been unreasonably extended in the rage of speculation in land and Negroes in the south, threatened to suspend, and could not purchase as was usual, bills at 30-60 days of the planters, but must have them at sight. The appearance of these sight bills in New York instead of the 30 - 60 day ones of course increased the demand for money, and added not a little to the panic which prevailed and the present and singular and distressing condition of affairs had been brought about, The main causes seem to have been: 1st - The threats of the south of disunion
2nd - The insolvent conditions of the southern banks
3rd - The fears and distrust, which the two latter have naturally excited, and chiefly the later
No one can foresee now what is going to happen, whether secession will take place, and if so how many states will it embrace. What the general government will do in this matter and what may be the effect on what they do or may not do upon the value of property, and the welfare of the people. All is uncertainty, only God knows.
One of the papers today ascribes the present conditions of business affairs to the gross mismanagement and blunder of the New York banks in calling $2, 5000.000 in one week just at the time that every facility of the bank accommodation was needed to forward the immense accumulation of the produce to Europe. The error is now seen and by mutual agreement entered into by the leading banks to execute their loans to an amount, which it is believed will afford a great relief to the community. The banks of Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia have said now to have suspended. More trouble in Kansas is now reported. Montgomery with Lane 300 men well aroused is said to have invades the border towns of Missouri, committed several murders and threatened to liberate all slaves from that part of the country. Not much truth may be in this story, only time will tell. It is very unfortunate that anything of this sort just now, in the midst of so much excitement upon the subject of slavery should have taken place.
Money matters are much easier since the banks have concluded to increase their loans, but not withstanding, stocks have advanced $3 to $5 a share on Saturday last, yesterday receded to a point beyond the previous gain, showing a great distrust for the future. In Boston the banks began to extend their loans on the 25th and the effect was sensibly felt in the price of stocks yesterday. Sales are few and small, especially of manufacturing stocks which perhaps are more affected by the prospect of the times not withstanding the large profit that they have made, more than any other. No important failures among businessmen have yet occurred. All accounts agree that secession in the part of South Carolina as least is determined on by the people of classes and conditions. Nothing now can prevent it. They wish the other cotton growing states to go with them, but whether they will or not South Carolina will withdraw from the Union. Now can she? What will the Government do if she does? What is to be the end of it? These are questions that no one feels competent to answer. To use force to bring her back will only attract sympathy and enlist the aid of the other southern states, and bring about civil war, and to allow South Carolina peacefully to withdraw from the Union and allow her to set up for herself, will establish a precedent to be availed of by any other state which fancies itself aggrieved by any measure of the Federal Government.
No change for the better in either the financial or political condition of affairs has yet occurred through the possibility of some plan of compromise is now suggests from some quarters in the paper and leading Republicans and Southerners are said to diligently employed in New York and in Washington endeavoring to agree on some plan which shall be acceptable to the south and the North and be the means to quieting the excitement in the cotton states, which seem to be rapidly tending toward a dissolution of the Union. Money matters remain much the same. Good notes can hardly be cashed at less than 1 % per month. Stocks, except some leading railroads are unsaleable. Many shares can hardly be sold, except at a great reduction of prices as they were a month ago. Exchange on London (60 day bills) range from 99 to 104 only.
The Presidents message has been read, and opinions are various respecting it. He denies the right of any state to secede, but says the Constitution gives him no right to coerce. The Marshall and all the Federal officers in South Carolina have resigned except the collector of the Port of Charleston, the laws cannot be enforced for the want of agents through whom they can be made to act and he refers the matter to congress to decide what matters in this emergency shall be taken.
The purpose to secede from the Union seems still to be maintained by South Carolina in all events, and leading men in other cotton growing states profess the same intention, and say that nothing can be done to prevent such a result. A disposition not to hurry the catastrophe so much, as was the case a week or two ago, seems to show itself even in Carolina and the hope is entertained by some and if time is taken for deliberation, and for the action of the Conservative portion of the people in the southern states, they will all (except South Carolina) will abandon the idea of secession and attempt to redress their grievances, whether fanciful or real, within the Union rather than out of it.— Gold is beginning to come from England, and the price of stocks through money is yet very tight have somewhat advanced.
No important change for the better (except that money is a trifle easier where undoubted security is offered.) has yet occurred. The Cotton States still make a determined show of setting up for themselves to take place before the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln and leading men seem to regard with great indifference, concession on the part of the North. A southern confederacy composed of the cotton growing states which shall which shall have the power to extend its territory into (west) and into Central America and to open again the slave trade, with free trade with all the world is said to be their purpose and desire. Separate from the Union, they think that their condition will be greatly improved, and of course they want no inducements offered them to remain, The Secretary of the Treasury (Cobb) and Secretary of State (Cass) have both resigned. The former because he favored the secession of his nation (native state Georgia), the measures which had been adopted in regards to the forts and public property in the harbor of Charleston. Cass insisting that a competent force shall be sent to protect them from seizure and the President to order any troops, for that their appearance would bring about a collision with the people of Charleston, and be the commencement of a civil war. So he trusts the promise of the Charlestonians that no severance shall take place during his administration and is willing that his successor in office shall encounter the difficulty as best he may which his neglect of duty will have so greatly enhanced.
Anxiety and fear as to the future prevail in most mens minds and most and none are able to foretell with any confidence what will be the condition of the country three months hence. At present general mistrust prevails and the consequence is, money is scarce, trade is stagnant, manufacturers are losing production and discharging their hands and multitudes in all parts of the country will seeking employment, and much distress prevail. And all this discouraging condition of affairs has come up in the midst of unusual prosperity. Less than 60 days ago, money was abundant, there was a demand in Europe for grain of the west, and ships were in request at high rates to carry it to England. Specific shipments had ceased, and the exports of the country were in excess of the imports by several millions. The railroads and factories were making large profits and their stocks sold at high rates. In the midst of all this prosperous condition of affairs, What a change has come over us! and what has it brought about. I suppose the success of the Republican Party. The south sees that the rule of the country has passed from their hands where it has so long rested in those of the free states and their policy they know will be to limit the institution of slavery to its present boundaries (where slaves have greatly increased in numbers and cotton fields become exhausted ) become less and less profitable and finally die out. The slaveholders must of course take some measures if possible to prevent this result. A secession of cotton growing states from the Union forming a confederacy by themselves with free trade with all the world and the reopening of the slave trade and the opportunity of indefinite extension of Mexico and Central America is held up by leading and ambitious men as the panacea of all their troubles. They think or try to make people think, that such a confederacy would possess all elements of growth and power and their inhabitants would be able in peace and quietness to enjoy their peculiar institution
South Carolina yesterday by an ordinance of the state convention declared herself put of the Union and Mr. Rhett, representative from that state tendered his resignation. The Steamer ‘Persia" with 3,000,000 in gold is in New York. There is an indication of a disposition even on the part of those who have heretofore advocated hasty secession to take a little time to deliberate before actually taking such a step. Senator Wade of Ohio and Senator Johnson of Tennessee have made speeches in favor of maintaining the Union, which is said to have produced quite an impression on the southern members of congress. —Money today is worth 1% per month on the best notes but will soon be plenty again at 6% unless political affairs change for the better very soon.
Several millions in gold have arrived from England and California and money matters are becoming comparatively easy. Great frauds in the Treasury Department are being exposed. I should have said in the Department of Interior in which Secretary Floyd is implicated. Bonds of sundry southern states in which funds belonging to the Indian Department had been invested to the amount of $830.000 were found missing from the vaults where they had been deposited. The confession of Clerk Bailey showed that they had been given to Russell, through Government contractors to enable to raise money on certain drafts which the Secretary of Treasury had been in the habit of accepting and issuing to Russell too, as they were called for, but which drafts they found it difficult, owing to the financial difficulties of the times, to negotiate. The bonds were hypothecated by Russell to raise money, with the intention on their part, as is supposed that they shall be redeemed and replaced. This however, the scarcity of money, occasioned by the panic, prevented, and hence the discovery of the transaction, by the public.
Yesterday came the news of the evacuation of Fort Moultrie in in Charleston harbor by Major Anderson and his company of soldiers and his retreat to Fort Sumpter. The move has been made apparently for safety sake, his force being small and Fort Sumpter being father from land, much stronger and more easily defended. His position now with a but with a small reinforcement of troops, is considered impregnable by any force, which it is in the power of the Carolinians to bring against it. Great excitement was produced amongst the people of Charleston by this move of Major Anderson. Whether or not it was done on the order of the Government or on Major Anderson's responsibility, is not yet known, but through the collection of duties (not withstanding the ordinance of the state convention just passed, ordering the duties to be paid into the State Treasury) will be enforced seems possible. The discussions of the committees in Congress do not seem thus far to have resulted in any approach to an agreement upon any propositions of a settlement of difficulties between the North and the south. The latter insisting upon the recognition of slaves as property and the equal right of carrying slaves into, and having them recognized as property in the territories. This the Republicans can not, will not (without the foundation upon which their platform stands) assent to. And so there seems to be no present prospect of any arrangement being made to prevent of other southern states following the example of South Carolina and seeding from the Union.
JANUARY 2 1861
Gov. Floyd, the Secretary of War has resigned, the reason assigned being the refusal of the President to order the return of Major Anderson to Fort Moultaire it having been promised to the Charleston authorities by Floyd that no movements shall be made by Anderson till the commissions from Carolina had had time to arrange at Washington the terms of secession, and Anderson having evacuated Fort Moultaire and occupied Fort Sumpter on his own responsibility and this act being in direct violation of his superiors. Public opinion bore so hard upon the president that he dared not to give this order which Floyd required and the consequence was the resignation of the Secretary, its acceptance by the President, and the appointment of Mr. Cott, the Postmaster General in his place for the unexpired term of Buchanan administration.
Today the report is that a collector for the port of Charleston has been appointed and the determination of the Government is to take active measures to enforce the collections of revenues at that place. Reinforcements are being sent and ships of war are ordered to hold themselves to sail at short notice.
Business is very much at a standstill, though money every day is getting easier. The exports of cotton and grain from New York are large and the imports of foreign goods are smaller by 3 to 4 million than last year for the same period and nothing would prevent a prosperous condition of the general business of the country if political matters could up. As long as so much uncertainty hangs over the future as to what is to be the result of the secession of South Carolina and the threats from the other cotton states, and perhaps other border states, whether we shall have war, and if so, with how many states and what new confederacies may be formed. —Confidence may be lacking, and without that business cannot prosper.
The nomination for the collector of Charleston has not been acted upon by the Senate, and it is thought to be that the nomination cannot be carried. A steamer with troops and supplies for Major Anderson sailed Sunday last and much anxiety is felt to know how she was received, The telegraph being controlled by the Charleston authorities, communications are irregular. But little if any progress has yet been made by the committees of Congress toward any compromise likely to be acceptable to the two extremes of the country. Secretary Thompson of the Interior who favors the secessionists has resigned and the President is now rid of the traitorous counselors in his cabinet. Secretary Cott in connection with General Scott is taking vigorous measures to secure some of the forts most exposed and to secure the Capital which has been threaten by Governor Wise and others. Indeed a conspiracy to seize Washington, Fortress Monroe, the Navy yard with a view to the secession of all the stave states, in which case the Capital would be on their side. Lincoln’s election prevented, and matters left in their own hands — has been discovered by the timely —of General Scott is concentrating troops in the neighborhood, happily we hope counter acted.
News has just been received that the steamer " Star of the West " with reinforcements and supplies for Sumpter arrived in Charleston and it is now at anchor in the harbor. The President yesterday sent a message to Congress in which he insists that the laws of the country must be enforced. It was at once referenda to a committee of five to consider and report what measure shall be taken.
The " Star of the West " it now appears was fired upon by the Charlestonians from Fort Moultaire and also from Morris Island. Two or three shots took effect and she put about, and stood off again, so the seceders have been the first in an act of aggression and war may be said to have actually to have commenced. The sloop of war " Brooklyn " sailed from New York immediately upon receipt of the news, and a fight between the forts and the ship will undoubtedly take place.
The ‘ Star of the West " it now appears was fired upon by the Charlestonians from Fort Moultaire and also from Morris Island. Two or three shots took effect and she put about, and stood off again. So the seceders have been the first in the act of aggression and war may be said to have actually commenced. The Sloop of war " Brooklyn * sailed from New York immediately upon receipt of the news, and a fight between the forts and the ship will undoubtedly take place.
The " Star of the West " has returned to New York and landed her troops. It is now stated that her going to Carolina was not intended. Orders directing her to go there had been issued merely as a blind to the public, to be countermanded an hour before sailing, the telegram did not reach the Commander before sailing and therefore he went as before ordered to Carolina. The " Brooklyn " was departed to intercept the " Star of the West " but not in season to meet her at all, and hence the unfortunate result of the expedition - unfortunate as it seems now, but perhaps not to prove so in the end. Several forts, arsenals in Georgia, Mississippi have been reported to have been seized by volunteer troops and the secession is every day extending. Where or how it will end the wisest cannot foresee. The statement is now that the government have abandoned the idea of coercion and will confine their efforts to protecting public property, especially at Washington and guarding against all attempts to interfere with the peace of the Capital, and leave the seceding states to act out their mad schemes believing that a reaction of feeling will take place before long in those states a and convinced by trial of expediency of setting up for themselves, they will give it up as a bad job, and return to the Union from whence they went out.
There seems to be no evidence yet that any compromise respecting slavery in the territories satisfactory to the North and the South will be contrived. The extreme South openly announced that they want no compromise, all they wish is to be allowed to go off peacefully from the Union and establish a Southern Confederacy. And this they are determined to effect at the expense of war if necessary, with the Federal Government. The case is different with the Border States, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia etc. They say they will not submit to the policy of the Republicans, and be prevented from going with their states into the territories, they claim as they say, equal rights with the people of the free states. The territories belong to the United States, they are part of the United States, and no power shall prevent them from enjoying them and having the same rights in them as others do. Some even go farther and insist that slavery shall be protected wherever it may go and even within the free states themselves, wherever the slavemaster may go, for instance, he travels through the free states, his slaves shall be secure to him as though he was in the South, but this demand is not generally insisted upon. But equal rights and the protection of slavery in the territories is what may be considered the demand of the people of the Border States, which if not accorded by the free states, a separation must take place. As to the Cotton states, it is generally conceded that they will for better or worse, withdraw and set up for themselves and there is no use trying to prevent them. But if anything can be done to satisfy the border states and make them adhere to the Union anything short of abandoning altogether the foundations of the Republican party within the limitation of slavery to its present boundaries - may say - do it. Rather than have a separation and a Civil War which inevitability would follow. Let us yield somewhat, allow slavery within the limits of the Union which fixes the old compromise line of 36.30 as the limit of slavery northward but allows it to go as it pleases south of that line, even into the new territories that may hereafter be acquired, has been rejected by Congress, but it is to be called up for reconsideration next week, and backed as it will be by a multitude of petitions in its favor, it is thought by many may pass. But is it desirable that it should be accepted? It seems to me not and for the reason (besides the one clearly stated that it yields, and more than yields, the very point on which the Republican Party has contended via the restriction of Slavery to its present limits) that it leaves the question of slavery an open one to be quarreled about as long as space remains, or may be acquired by annexation in which it may be desirable to carry slaves - in which slave labor may be profitable. If Grittendau’s proposition proposed an amendment to the Constitution which should ever forbid the extension of slavery beyond the present boundaries of the United States, whatever acquisitions of territory may hereafter be made. The settling of the extension of slavery, as certainly as it can be, forever, I for one would vote for its acceptance, but as it is I could not. It is an altogether one-sided bargain yielding nothing and taking everything.
A committee of citizens has gone to Washington carrying a petition signed by some 15,000 of the people of Boston, asking Congress to agree if possible on some compromise of the present political difficulties of the country which shall be acceptable to the free states and the border slave states, as to the cotton states, it would be of no avail to attempt offering any terms of conciliation to them and no one thinks of it. They have taken themselves out of the Union, and it is hoped that they will stay out. till they have well punished themselves for their folly, by the means of loss of trade, increase of expenses, and consequently heavy taxation and internal discord until their pride has been humbled and they sue to be taken under the protection of the Union again. Yesterday, The Antislavery Committee held a meeting at Tremont Temple, which became during the day a very riotous one, in consequence of the presence of a multitude of rowdies and fellows of the lesser sort who went to the meeting for the purpose of creating a disturbance and having a row. The result was that the police had to come in and clear the galleries, and in the evening it was intended to hold an adjourned meeting, the doors were closed and all entrance was forbidden by order of the Mayor. The conduct of the Mayor in neglecting to have a police force present to keep order and to prevent interruption of the business of the meeting in general, condemned by persons of all parties, much as it may be, is abused by the Abolitionist must be maintained and that nothing will be gained by the opponents of abolitionism by trying to choke off the utterances of their friends that cause, in the way that it was attempted to be done at the meeting in question.
But little if any progress has been made by Congress upon towards a compromise upon the subject of the territories (whether slavery shall be allowed in them or not) likely to meet the views of the Northern states and the free states. Petitions in favor of Grittenden’s - which allows slaves to go everywhere south of the 36/30 yielding everything that the Republicans have contended for, upon that subject, are going in from various parts of the country but as yet members of that side of the House, stand firmly opposed to them. Mr. Adams proposition to admit New Mexico as a state with the right of slavery, if the inhabitants choose, is said to gain friends daily. But much discouragement exists to the prospect of any arrangement being made and many think that war will inevitably come. Threats continue to be made of an attack against Fort Sumpter by the Charlestonians, and every day we expect that the siege has commenced. The eyes of the whole country are upon Major Anderson and his handful of men shut up within the walls of Fort Sumpter. He has the sympathy of all and nothing would so move the hearts of the people and stir their indignation to such a degree as his fall, aweing as it would be, should it happen, to the inefficiency or timidity, of the President in not sending re-enforcements when it might have been done without any difficulty and should have been done at all costs.
Gov. Seward and Mr. Adams of Mass. have each made speeches in Congress which commanded earnest attention, and are said to have made a favorable impression upon the border states, showing as they think a disposition to yield somewhat in favor of any reasonable terms of compromise, rather than to accept the alternative of a dissolution of the Union, and civil war. Mr. Adams is willing that New Mexico (which is all the territory that remains to quarrel about, and where slavery already exists) shall be admitted as a slave state, if the inhabitants prefer, with equal rights, with all other slave states, but will not consent that the Government shall obligate itself to recognize, and protect slavery in any other and all territory (whether in Central America, Cuba or elsewhere, which may by conquest or purchase, be hereafter acquired.) This he considers a most unreasonable claim, which cannot for one moment be thought of, and which seems to me must be resisted by every true patriot.
No new aggressions on the part of the slave states (except the quiet possession of the U.S. Mint in New Orleans, which is first reported) have been made within the week past. The raising and drilling of troops is actively going on in most if not all slave states and attacks on Fort Sumpter and Pickens are every day threatened. Witnesses have been examined by a committee of Congress to ascertain if possible the reports of intended invasion and seizure of the Capital. No reliable plans of such plans were however elicited. The apprehension of an attack during the present month is sharply entertained by General Scott, and it is believed that he has positive information that he cannot divulge but satisfactory to his own mind, of a conspiracy, for that purpose, widely spread, and which he is doing all in his power to counteract. A considerable force of troops is already assembled in Washington for the protection of that city, and every effort will no doubt be made by the government to secure public property and to insure a peaceful inauguration of the new President. Delegates from several states assemble today in Washington to consult together and to devise if possible some plan of conciliation to prevent the northern slave states from joining their brethren in the south in secession. None have yet gone from Mass, but it is expected that the Legislative will agree today to send to send them to a meeting of citizens favorable to Grittendeu’s Resolution is now (FEB. 5) being held in Fanniel Hall and a petition praying them to adopt these resolutions as a basis of compromise has been got up and is being forwarded immediately. The report came yesterday that Fort Sumpter has been re-enforced during the night and that an attack has commenced, but the story is today contradicted. Fort Pickens it is now said will not be attacked, it being considered too strong to have any chance of an invading force without ships of war.
All business is at a standstill and heavy failures have occurred and many must take place if the political affairs of the country are not changed for the better, very soon. No one is wise enough to foresee what the next three months will bring about, and therefore businessmen are greatly embarrassed and know not what to do. Money is abundant with Capitalists and with those who have good securities to pledge, but hard to get by those who are not so fortunate as to have the facilities of this kind. Stocks generally (except two or three of our leading railroads) have a downward tendency. Real Estate is flat, and merchandise of all kinds, if sold at all must submit to lower prices. The cotton factories have done an excellent business this year past, made good dividends and have large reserves left and most of the principal are in full operation still. But their gains will no doubt be greatly reduced and some of them will be met with heavy losses from heavy debt, if the present state of things continue. Large shipments of cotton goods are being made in China, which it is thought will now afford a market for manufactures in competition with the English. The Governor yesterday appointed Commissioners under the invitation of Virginia to attend a meeting of Commissioners from other states at Washington to consult and agree if possible upon some settlement of differences which may be acceptable to the border states, and prevent their joining the cotton states, which profess already to be out of the Union, and desire to have the Northern slave states keep them company. Small hopes are entertained that the meeting will accomplish anything so much beyond any former demands and now the claims of the south in favor of slavery, requiring as the Grittendeu propositions do, that all territory south of 36.30 that is now or hereafter acquired that slavery shall be protected by the Government and this be incorporated in the Constitution of the United States and furthermore that no person having a tinge of black blood in his veins shall ever have the right to vote in the National, State or Municipal affairs. Can the descendants of the Revolutionary fathers, Can any Patriot, any lover of his country be crazy enough to agree to conditions as these!!
General Scott it is said thinks that the safeties of the city of Washington secure against any mob, which may interrupt the counting of electoral votes, or prevent the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln. He has some 1000 to 1200 troops posted and a considerable force in the forts of the Chesapeake to be used in case of need, if however Virginia and Maryland should determine to secede and join their brethren of the cotton states, an attempt to secure the Capital with its archives and public buildings and treasure would be made. The Governors of the neighboring states have accordingly tendered their services of their militia to the President, in case of such an emergency and active measures are being taken to have a portion of our Mass troops in readiness for the call of the President.
Counting the electoral votes proceeded in the way prescribed by law without interruption and on the 13th a committee appointed to announce the result to the President and the Vice President. President left home on the 11th for Washington and everywhere on his way through the western states, being received with demonstrations of popular enthusiasm. No apprehension is now being entertained of any attempt being made to prevent the inauguration of March 4. The Capital being too well guarded by Federal troops to afford any chance of success were any people foolish enough to make it.
The probability of an agreement of the Peace Congress at Washington upon any compromise acceptable to both sides seems now very slight. It is said that President Tyler returned home very disheartened. What Virginia and some other northern slave states will do remains to be seen. There are two parties in each state, one for the Union and one for secession, which will prevail no one, can tell.
South Carolina, according to Mr. Davis, address to his constituents assumed to go out of the Union December 20th 1860 - Mississippi January, 9 1861 - Florida and Alabama on January 11th - Georgia on the 18th and Louisiana on the 26th - Texas on
The new Government under President Lincoln has gone into operation, but all that is yet known of the measures they intend to pursue is what may be gathered from the inaugural address of the President which is interpreted differently by the public journals, some insisting that his public policy there laid down is a warlike one, while others intend that if war comes, it will be a result of aggression of the south and will not be the consequence of any coerce measure on the part of the General Government. No more states have yet gone out of the Union, now there is much apprehension of any further movement in that direction, except it may be by Virginia - which still threatens continually to leave, and will probably do so, and very likely of the other Northern slaveholding states should aggressive measures be undertaken by the President. He and his Cabinet may have many great difficulties to contend with requiring great skill and prudence on their part to overcome successfully, which if they accomplish, will secure for them the admiration and gratitude of the civilized world.
MARCH 12th
Nothing has yet been done by the new government by which to judge what its new policy will be. Report says it will be specific, that no coercive measures toward the seceding states will be taken. It is even said that Fort Sumpter and Pickens will be evacuated and for reasons that cannot be revealed, at this late day without the use of more force than the Government can command, and without a great loss of life, and civil war between the slave states and the free states must inevitably be the result of this attempt. If the forts are given up, mortifying as such surrender will be, as bad as such a confession of weakness on the part of out government will be, in its effect upon our standing with foreign powers, it will be better, all things considered, than civil war, the end and consequences, which none can foresee. But as yet we only have rumors, as published in the daily newspapers. What the government really intended to do, we shall soon know, the statement being that the garrison at Fort Sumpter have provisions for only a few days more.
As yet it has not been made public, that orders have gone out from Washington for the evacuation of Sumpter, but no doubt is entertained that the government will issue such an order and the people generally have made up their minds, humiliating to the pride of the nation as everyone feels it to be, to accept the humiliation and make the most of it, as the only thing which under the circumstances can be done in this case. An army of hungry office seekers are said to besiege the different departments at Washington now. Multitudes more than there are offices to bestow and very many must of course be disappointed. The President it is said allows himself to be annoyed by applicants from morn till night and fears are entertained by his friends that his health will break down in consequence.
Since the last entry, the newspapers have had something to say every day about Fort Sumpter and the public excitement has been constantly maintained by statements (made one day, contradicted the next) that the government has given orders for its evacuation - then that had determined to reinforced it, that provisions and men had been introduced during the night - now that Anderson has provisions for 4 months and then that he only had a few days supply. The last report is that provisions are to be thrown in at all costs and one of the objects of the sailing of the steamers and others from New York in a few days with provisions and men is understood to be to make that attempt. If this is to be true, we may expect to hear a terrible cannonade and a great loss of life, and what other results, time will show. At no other period since the commencement of secession move have people felt more gloomy than now. The passage of the tariff by the last congress (which increases the duty on many articles so much as to be almost prohibitory) and the southern tariff being lower will encourage importations through southern ports and tempt to a great deal of smuggling, which is not wanted by the manufactors of the North East and is odious to the Middle and Western states (except Pennsylvania) and offensive to England and France. This tariff is another cause of complaint by Virginia which state seems by the action of disappointed leaders, on the point of being precipitated into secession, and that state going, it is supposed, all remaining slave states will follow. Business, under the state of things is almost at a standstill. Few orders for dry goods are sent out and former ones have been said to be countermanded. Money of course is very plenty and the rate of interest falling. Many stores in New York and Boston are for rent, and must remain shut up until business revives.
The fate of Fort Sumpter is at last determined. After a cannonade from confederate batteries of 48 hours continuance the effect of which was (as reported) to set on fire to the officers quarters and burn them to the ground and reduce the fort to a pile of ruins. Major Anderson surrendered and no further defiance being possible to his men, being utterly exhausted. The ships with supplies and reinforcements, were in sight, outside the harbor, but for some cause, not yet understood did not render any assistance.
The war has now commenced - and by the south. The first shot was by the confederates and from Fort Moultaire; not to mention one fired upon the "Star of the West" by a battery at Cummings Point. Great has been the forbearance of the Federal Government. They forbear until all over the country people cried out against their apparent inefficiency. The conduct of the President has been that of a kind and indulgent parent toward a perverse and rebellious child, and what has initiated war at last, has not been any act of aggression on his part, but simply an avowal of a purpose not to surrender Fort Sumpter, but to send a small vessel with provisions to keep its garrison forces from starving and to keep possession of the Fort as property of the United States. The attack was made before the vessel arrived so the responsibility of the beginning of the war rests beyond all question with the people of the south. Civil war may be now said to be upon us, and God only knows what may be the end of it. Whether Virginia and other border states will side with the extreme south is yet to be determined, though great exertions are being made leading men to accomplish that object and the tendency seems to be in that way. Should the Border States secede and make common cause with the cotton states, the war will be long and bloody. The President has called for 75,000 volunteers. The war spirit is raised and troops are being offered from every free state. 1200 to 1500 men from this state are to assemble today, prepared to go wherever the War Department may direct. Washington it is expected will be the first point of attack and every precaution is being taken by General Scott to secure it from surprise.
In consequence of the refusal of the Border States to answer the call of the President for volunteers, two more regiments, making four in all are ordered from Mass. And they will be immediately furnished. The enthusiasm of the people of New England is unbounded. People of all parties feel now that the Government must be sustained. The question is between a vigorous support of the Federal Government by means of men and money or dissolution of all Government and anarchy as a consequence. No one sees any other alternative and therefore all ( with no exceptions) are for war. It is forced upon us by the madness of the south and no terms can be made with them till they have been taught (as they will be, I think) that there is some pluck and courage, and a sufficiency of strength in the North and they can bully us no longer. This is a lesson they must be taught and the sooner they learn it the better for them and for us too.
Virginia it is said by a large vote in the convention has decided to join the southern confederacy and probably the other Border States will follow her example. Three Mass. Regiments have now gone one of them to the Fortress Monroe, the other two to Washington and will be the first to arrive there. The enthusiasm of the people is unbounded, all are of one mind and offers of men and money are unlimited. The support of the new Government or the submission to the south, all feel are the only alternatives and the determination to fight it out and settle the matter forever, slaveholders or freemen in this country is finally made in everyone’s mind.
News came yesterday evening that the 6th regiment in passing through Baltimore was attacked with paving stones and firearms and two were killed and several wounded, one of the killed said to be from Boston. The troops finally succeeded in reaching Washington. The other regiment from Boston and the 7th from New York City were to leave New York yesterday by the same route, but will probably not continue past Philadelphia, the Governor of Maryland having given notice that no more troops will be allowed through Baltimore. The distressing news is probably but the — of worse to come. The excitement in the community is intense.
The last regiment ordered from Mass left Boston Sunday morning and went on board a steamer from New York yesterday. Boston, now that the troops are gone is relatively quiet but the enthusiasm of its people and their determination to put down treason and sustain the government of the Union is unabated. New Regiments and companies are everywhere forming, and liberal sums of money are constantly offering, and the ladies in every town are busily at work making up shirts and drawers and other articles of comfort for the soldiers. Could the people of the South be made aware of the unanimity and enthusiasm, also the overwhelming power (under the circumstances) of their brethren of the North and West? They would, one would think how desperate be their chances of success in this wicked attempt to destroy the Government of the Great Republic, but unfortunately they have been deceived, and are kept in ignorance but the traitors that are leading them to their destruction, and they will only learn after they have been overwhelmed, what folly they have been guilty of.
The passage through Baltimore has been interrupted since the attack on the Mass troops and communication with Washington is irregular. But the Capital is to be believed yet safe and so many troops have now arrived that a successful attack is not apprehended. The burning of Harpers Ferry Arsenal with 15,000 stand is supposed to have discontinued the plans of secessionists whom for but this occurrence would not have so long delayed their advance on the Capital.
The Government property at the Navy Yard at Norfolk, is said to have been destroyed, to prevent it from falling into the secessionists. There is a rumor of a successful attack on Fort Pickens by southern troops but it needs confirmation.
There is no confirmation of the rumor just mentioned. No attack has yet been made upon Washington. Troops are rapidly being concentrated there. Two more regiments are said to be called upon from Mass. The praises of Mass for the promptness with which soldiers have been sent forward and the discipline and efficiency of her troops are sounded far and wide. Fort Independence in Boston Harbor was yesterday occupied by two companies of city troops and two more are to take possession of Fort Warren tomorrow.
All is quiet yet at Washington. Some 12,000 troops are said to be present there -Sufficient to make the Capital quite secure and there are signs that whatever may have been the designs of Virginia upon Washington, an attack upon the city will not be made from there.
MAY 21
Since the last entry the Government has continued to collect troops at Washington and at other points, but no invasion of the southern territory, south of the Potomac has yet been made. Troops now pass through Baltimore without molestation and all Maryland is now to be considered on the side of the Union and railroad communication with the Capital by means of Wilmington and Washington roads is uninterrupted. A very large force is collecting at Fortress Monroe and to all appearance, with a view to the recovery of the Norfolk Navy Yard. But the designs of General Scott are in his own keeping, and no one knows it is said, where he intends to strike, all however have confidence, that when he gets ready, he will strike with effect. Chesapeake Bay and the mouths of the Virginia rivers are carefully watched by ships of war and in the course of a very few days all southern ports will be closely blockaded. England it is said has ordered a powerful fleet to the southern coast of America, but not with the intention it is said to interfere with the blockade. What course will England take to respect the privateers and letters of marque issued by the southern confederacy does not yet appear.
MAY 29
The Queens proclamation lately issued warns her subjects in taking part in any way with either party in the contest now going on, and vows her purpose to maintain a position of strict neutrality. Alexandria has been taken without much fighting and is now held by Federal troops who are fortifying their position in expectation of an attack from the rebels. The death of Col. Ellsworth who commanded a regiment and was assassinated by a hotelkeeper by the name of Jackson is greatly laminated in all parts of the country.
This morning the telegraph announced the rebels in full retreat from their batteries at Bulls Run and our army followed them to Mannasses Junction. But later dispatches told a different story. Instead of a retreat of the enemy, it seemed that a whole army had been repulsed and were on the backward march to Washington. From 2500 to 3000 were said to have been killed and several batteries including Shermans and the famous Rhode Island taken with a large number of wagons loaded with provisions and ammunition. The account is very likely exaggerated, but the fact of the retreat, to the great humiliation of the people must stand. It would be disastrous in its effect undoubtedly upon Kentucky and Tennessee encouraging those states in their disposition to take part with the rebels, and intend to increase disloyalty in other portions of the country.
Accounts from Washington have diminished to some degree to the despondency of the people. The disaster of the retreat was not so great as they were yesterday represented. Instead of 2000 to 3000 killed, the number is now reduced to 500. The troops are said to have returned in good order to their former encampments and Shermans battery with them. But no official accounts have yet been received, but little is known respecting the battle or retreat.
This is sometimes called an abolition war. Is it so? Are the Abolitionists properly so called, those who have advocated the ablution of slavery, in this country, by the interference of government - are answerable for the existence of the present war? I think they are in part, but only in part. The writings and speakers have served to keep alive and increase very much the prejudice which has always existed in the south towards the North and of late years, formed it into a degree of bitterness and hate, towards the people of it. England especially, which words can hardly describe. The feeling that leading men in the south have taken advantage of, to bring about a war, but the real cause of the war lies back of this. It exists in the incompatibility of two institutions, slavery and freedom. Many years ago Calhoun and other statesmen concocted secession, and plans to bring about a separation of the cotton growing states have been maturing ever since. It was the loss of political power by the south, owing to an increase of the free states and a division of the Democratic party in 1860 resulting in the election of a Republican president (which seemed to cut off all hopes of recovery) which was the immediate cause of the present war. The south have lost political power in the Union and they aspire to recover it under an independent government. This is what has brought about this unhappy contest.
The south did not want war. They wanted to be "let alone" to set up for themselves and they accordingly adopted a plan of secession asserting the right of each state to take itself out of the Union, regardless of the consequences of these states who do not go with them. These states which seceded, of course take with them not only the territory which formed a portion of the common property of the nation - in some cases being purchased with National funds, but also the forts, arsenals and arms provided for National defence and seized upon money belonging to the Public Treasury, wherever it was found within its limits. They denied the right of the slave states to dissolve the Union. If we could be rid of you - they might have said - without injury to ourselves, we would bid be gone and thank you for going. But this was impossible. The integrity of the Union must be maintained. The North could not risk the danger of a foreign power getting possession of the slave states, in case of a separation. There is no safe boundary line this side of the sea coast, either on the Atlantic or the Gulf shore, therefore the North and the south must hold together. South Carolina, however has resolved upon effecting the object which, she especially has so long contemplated. She was determined to take herself out of the Union, at all hands, even if no other states went with her, and so by firing upon Fort Sumpter which was garrisoned by U.S. troops, she commenced war. The armies of the south and North are now in actual conflict. , The one to be established thro confederate states as an independent power with slavery as its foundation regardless of the evil consequences to the free states — such a rupture of the Union and then the other, to reestablish the Union, and the power of the Federal Government over every portion of the territory embraced within the limits of what was the United States. The President in his inaugural address distinctly disavowed all intentions to make war upon the south, with any purpose of conquest, or interference in any way with slavery in those states. To restore the country to its original condition, under the Constitution, to repossess himself of all the forts, arsenals seized by the rebellious states and to establish peace and tranquillity through this land was all which he intended to do/ and this policy has been prevented to the present time. Great care has certainly been taken to convince the people of the south, that this is no antislavery war, and that the Government is determined to respect their rights under the Constitution, with respect to their slaves. Slaves have been sent back to their masters in many cases, when they have come within our lines, and the services of slaves belonging to so-called Union men, it is advertised by the Post will be paid for slaves belonging to rebels, when actively employed against the Government only are made liable to confiscation. This line of policy the Democratic Party sustains. But there is a growing public sentiment in opposition. It is said that slavery is the cause of all troubles, out of which has come this dreadful war, and until slavery is removed, though in some way the war may be ended, our troubles will not cease, many go for emancipation freedom to the slaves everywhere to be proclaimed by the Government. Others say no, emancipation will come as a natural result of war, the Government will have no power under the Constitution to decree it, and it will come of itself. Slaves they say are either property or they are persons, if they are the former, they should be confiscated whenever they come within our power, like other property of the rebels, if they are persons, why should they not be made use of as laborers and soldiers in the service of the Government and help put down this unrighteous rebellion, accomplish their own deliverance.
No news has yet come of the arrival of the Naval expedition at its destination, which is probably Brunswick or Bulls Bay, but no doubt it is entertained of its arrival in safety, as it has been reported near the latter place. Another expedition is said to follow to reinforce the one already gone on land somewhere else.
NOVEMBER 15 Rebel reports of the landing of the expedition at Port Royal South Carolina are now confirmed by detailed accounts of the commanding officer, by which it appears, that with the exception of three or four transports, the whole fleet, after being dispersed by successive gales on the passage out, arrived at Port Royal on the 7th, and the next day Friday the 8th, the war vessels of the fleet, led by the Wabash, entered the harbor engaged the forts, one of which, after several hours of fighting was evacuated by the enemy and during the night the other, both of which were taken possession of by the troops, the rebels retreating from the island in such haste as to leave everything they had behind them. This brilliant victory, for such it is, the forts being strongly built, well armed and abundantly garrisoned. So credible to the Navy, by which it was accomplished and so immensely important in the results, which must follow, it has filled the whole country with rejoicing and put a new face upon the prospects of war.
An important battle is also reported in eastern Kentucky. General Nelson having defeated the rebels and taken 2000 prisoners.
News came Saturday, as gratifying as any could have been recorded, was that Mason and Slidell (who escaped from Charleston and went to Cuba some weeks since) are captured by the steamer San Lacinto from on board a British Mail steamer with their dispatches etc. on their way as Ministers to England and France, and will shortly take up their residence in Fort Lafayette or Fort George till the termination of the war. Fears are entertained by some that the matter may get us into trouble with England, but those conversant with international law have no such apprehensions. Carrying Ambassadors and dispatches from a belligerent in a neutral vessel is clearly forbidden and subjects the vessel to the risk of capture. In the case of the Captain of the British steamer was fully aware of the character of the persons that he had taken on board, and knowingly assumed the risk. Besides Great Britain has in repeated instances has done the same thing and cannot complain of us for following her example. So perhaps with some angry discussion in the newspapers, the matter will be passed over and Mason and Slidell compelled to postpone their trip to Europe until after the end of the war. The story of the defeat of the rebels in Kentucky by General Nelson and taking some 2000 - 3000 prisoners is said to be untrue, and whether any battle was fought is by no means certain.
Opinion is now fast changing in favor of adopting a new principle in the mode of conducting war. The plan of the administration has been simply to reinstate or restore the condition of things, in respect to the rights and institutions of the revolted states as far as possible to the condition in which they were before the war commenced. The purpose of the President seemed to be to deal of the rebellious states headstrong and deluded children who had revolted against the present government, who to be sure must be punished, but no more than necessary to make them sorry and to return and come under preventive rule again. As much liency as possible was to be used towards them and the institution of slavery carefully guarded from interference as far as practicable on our part. His design was used to avoid any appearance of making the war an antislavery or emancipation war, hoping then to avoid making enemies of some Union men amongst the rebels who if their property were in danger of being sacrificed by the war would fight in its defence, but if they believed their slave property secure, would take the part of the Government or at all events remain neutral in the contest. The benefits of the Presidents plan however have not been apparent and difficulties have arisen in determining the cause to be pursued in regard to the slaves which have been captured or have voluntarily come within our lines, sometimes belonging to a master in open rebellion against our Government and sometimes to what are called Union men, which have been very embarrassing. The consequence has been much discussed in the newspapers and periodicals, what should be done with the slaves? Shall they be used by the Government to put down the rebellion as laborers or soldiers or shall they be sent back to their masters when they escape to our lines? Shall they be confiscated like other property belonging to the rebels or shall compensation be made to their owners for any labor they may perform. Mr. Brownden in an article in his Catholic Review comes out boldly and distinctly in favor of making the war an antislavery war. He says that slavery is the cause of the war and the best and only way to end the war and prevent civil war hereafter is to remove the cause in other words to destroy the institution. Slaves, he says are either men or else property, If they are men, they should be used as men, to help put down the rebellion, and if they are property, they should be Confiscated like any other property belonging to the rebels. A Col. in the New York regiment lately made a speech in which he advocated in the plainest terms, the service and employment of slaves wherever our armies go and if the occasion requires, putting arms in their hands, to be used in obtaining their freedom and extinguishing rebellion. We owe it to the slaves, he says, to help them improve this opportunity to secure their freedom. Secretary Cameron was present upon this occasion and said he approved every word said by the Colonel, and that in the orders that he had been given by the Naval expedition which had taken possession of Port Royal, authority is explicitly given to granted to employ all persons who have come within their power either in squads or companies and in case of slaves so employed, if belonging to loyal masters to compensate them for their services. Full authority is understood to be given, to use the slaves as soldiers or laborers, as may be found expedient in the prosecution of the war, now carried into the heart of the enemy country.
The army of the Potomac has as yet held no engagement with the enemy, nor made any important movement in advance of the positions they held a month ago. Washington correspondents are constantly writing that preparations indicating a forward movement are going on and that a great battle is impending. But none but the Commanding General know how soon, or whether at all this winter, one will occur. The navigation of the Potomac is much impeded by the enemies batteries on the Virginia shores, and the rebel forces are Undoubtedly in great strength in or near their old positions opposite ours, the invasion of our troops of the southern coast not having had the effect to diminish these numbers as was expected would be the case. General Sherman at Port Royal has made his position there impregnable to any troops which can be brought against him from the land and has fitted out it is said an expedition for some other place, about which we shall here in a few days no doubt. A formidable expedition under General Burnside, whose destination is a secret will soon sail from the Chesapeake and a portion of that under General Butler has already arrived at Ship Island, preparatory to an attack upon some point, probably in that neighborhood. The public mind is greatly excited upon the subject of a war with England, the happening of which seems more than possible, since the latest news from England, a messenger has arrived with dispatches for Lord Lyons from the British Government bringing (so the report says) a preemptory demand for an apology for the seizure of a rebel ambassador from on board the " Trent " and a surrender of them without delay. The people of England affect to consider the service of a premeditated insult on the part of the American Government. They do not deny that the carrying of agents of belligerent on board a neutral vessel is contrary to International Law but say, the only legal mode of proceeding on our part, in the case in question, was to take possession of the vessel (Trent) and carry her into port and have the case adjudicated by a court of the Admiralty. This forcible seizure of passengers from the deck of one of the ships, they contend is illegal and insulting and cannot be overlooked, notwithstanding, there are several cases within the last 50 years where they have done the same thing themselves. What effect the statement of Capt. Wilkes, of their motives which influenced him in the case, and made him refrain from taking possession of the vessel, preferring to content himself with the taking of the rebel passengers alone, rather than subject the vessel to confiscation and other passengers to detention and loss, considering this the least obnoxious procedure, how tar will this modify public opinion and the action of the government the next arrival will show. It looks now as though England was disposed to quarrel with this country and not at all disinclined to avail of this opportunity to bring about a way and whether the services of the "Trent" and bringing her into port in a legal way would have been regarded with any more favor or less offensive to their pride, may well be doubted.
The recent arrivals from England bring information of a very excited state of feeling among the people upon the seizure of Mason and Slidell from the "Trent". The papers almost without exception are furious about the matter. It is a premeditated incident, undoubtable on the part of our Government, for the very purpose of bringing on a war they say, and they call upon the Government to demand instant restoration of the prisoners and an ample apology for the insult. Immense are stated to be in the making to have ship armaments and troops in readiness in case repatriation such as is demanded, should be refused by our Government. A messenger from the British Government arrived some days ago, and immediately proceeded to Washington with dispatches for Lord Lyons which it now appears contained a demand such as I have above described. And today the correspondence between Secretary Seward and the British minister is published in the newspaper. Mason and Slidell are to be surrendered on the ground that this mode of procedure in their capture was a violation of International Law, in as much as the officer in command Capt. Wilkes undertook personally to decide personally the question of contraband which should have been left to an Admiralty Court to decide. The discussion of the question of Mr. Seward is considered very able and the conclusion to which he has come and with which it is said all Congress agrees will receive the attent in all probability of the majority of the people, the position which England has taken in this case. Mr. Seward as settling forever the question of neutrals and belligerents, in accordance which the U.S. Government have been endeavoring in vain for half a century to bring the Government of Great Britain to consent to.
Mason and Slidell were sent by tugboat yesterday to Provincetown on the cape, where a British gunboat awaited their arrival, which was understood to put them aboard the next steamer to Liverpool. On Monday last (Dec 30) the Bank of New York suspended their payments and of course Phila, and Boston banks followed suit. This measure has been discussed for some days previous, but there being a disagreement of opinion among Bank managers as to the expediency of suspension nothing was done. There was in the mean time being drawn out to the extent some 15 to 20,000,000 it is said and the necessity of suspension seemed so urgent that the measure was resolved upon, and adopted without further delay. And it is now considered to be a wise move, absolutely necessary to prevent a movement in large amounts to England to pay for securities sent to this country for sale under an apprehension of war.
The finances of this country are beginning to feel the embarrassment which naturally arises from the enormous expenses of war and the necessity of the enormous issue of Government, which has been and must continue to be made to support them, unaccomplished as this issue of paper money has been by sufficient resources from which to provide for the prompt payment of the interest. The Customs will furnish but a small part of what is needed for the purpose and nothing remains but taxation, and this the people are willing to submit to in any extent which may be necessary, and the committee of Ways and Means along with the Secretary of Treasury, mustering a plan, which it hopes will meet the views of Congress and be acceptable to the people.
News has just been received of the Burnside expedition (after so many disasters and delays) of the capture of Roanoke Island after a protracted fight with all in its garrison, also the capture and destruction of all rebel gunboats and subsequently the taking possession of Elizabeth City by our forces, which is said to have been burnt by the inhabitants. No further particulars are received.
Between 2000 and 3000 prisoners were taken at Roanoke together with ammunition ammunition, what has been accomplished since the occupation of Elizabeth City, as yet we have no knowledge, but that the expedition has not been idle, we may be confidently assured of. The last few days have brought news of victories of Roanoke Island, Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson, each decisive and very important ones, and consequently most cheering in their effects upon the spirit of the people. Everyone now feels that the conduct of the war is, and has been in good hands. That is has all been well planned and is soon likely to be realized as predicted by General McClellan. He is said to have remarked sometime since, to a somewhat impatient friend, " Only wait and you will soon hear the roar of thunder all around the sky". Every day, almost brings tidings of victories, and every additional success is the assurance of more to come,
Nashville, where it was expected the rebels would make a stand, having evacuated Bowling Green and have driven (those who were not taken prisoners) from Fort Henry and Donaldson is now occupied by our troops under General Buel and — some mites south it is said to be the place where the rebels intend offering battle. An order was issued yesterday by the Secretary of War forbidding publication in the newspapers of any intelligence of movements of the Army, except what might be sanctioned by the authorities at Washington, which is understood to indicate that an early movement of the Army of the Potomac is intended.
MARCH 11 1862
Since the occupation of Nashville by our troops, no further advance in that direction has been made. Intelligence of the evacuation of Columbus, a fortification of immense strength in the Mississippi below Cairo has been received and the retreat of the garrison. We hear today too that the taking possession by our Naval forces of Brunswick and Ferdinand with Fort Clinch in Florida without opposition, and more news comes of the evacuation of Centerville, Fairfax and all batteries on the lower Potomac which have so long impeded the navigation of that river. Winchester is now in the possession of General Banks so that the Potomac is given up by the rebels and they are apparently withdrawing entirely from Virginia with the intention of concentrating all their forces within. The affair of the Merrimack -its attack upon Cumberland and Congress, and their destruction, and the after encounter with the steam battery Monitor, which compelled the Merrimac finally to retreat has produced an excitement in the community which nothing since the Battle of Bull Run has occasioned. It is apparent that but for the opportune arrival of the Monitor at the scene of the action, in the midst of the fight, every vessel of war on our side would have inevitably destroyed and there would be nothing to prevent the bombardment of Washington or any other seaport where the Merrimac might have chosen to go. The loss of some four or five vessels and a large loss of life by the sinking of the Cumberland is greatly laminated, but the disaster will not be without its benefits particularly iron-clad vessels. No more wooden ships of large size for war purposes will hereafter be built, and for harbor defence it would seem that batteries similar to the Monitor will be relied upon in preference to permanent fortifications of the usual construction, as being more effective and less expensive to build.
The statement of the pilot of the Monitor is that the vessel is an excellent sea boat and the only injury done to the Merrimac was to the pilot house, which a 9x12 inch post was nearly broken off by the force of the balls which struck it. No balls however penetrated the armor, nor was the slightest impression made upon the sides of the Monitor though the Merrimac came with a full head of steam, square upon her. It was a fair fight between sea monsters of a description which the world never saw before and with guns larger than ever used before in Naval action and the Merrimac was obliged to retire with her commander and several of her crew killed or wounded and the vessel more or less disabled. No better test of the capabilities of the Monitor could have been had, and she has already saved the country emmense expeditions and loss, and would have saved more, had she arrived at the scene of action a few hours earlier. She is now the only reliance of the Government to fight her powerful antagonist again and prevent her getting out and destroying our wooden ships, Capt. Ericson is very confident she will sink the Merrimac in another encounter.
Our troops are now in possession of what is supposed to be their strongholds, Centerville and Manassas, but which rebels, having retreated from them, are now poorly fortified with earth works and not many cannons, and it is a matter of doubt whether there has been a very large force of the enemy at least for some time past. Land complaints are being made by New York papers and it is said also by members of Congress and many others in Washington against the inaction of the Commanding General (McClellan) for suffering the rebel army to escape him and that they should have accomplished a retreat without knowing anything about it on that they contemplated such a move. Time will show whether the policy of McClellan is to be approved or not. Fears have been entertained by some that a rebel army might concentrate and surround and overpower General Burnside, who has been supposed to be somewhere not a great distance from Norfolk. But it now appears as late as 3rd March his army was still at Roanoke Island and then no day had then been fixed for a forward movement, which makes it probable that he has not yet penetrated the country far enough to be in any danger from the enemy.
General Burnside has possession of Newborn and Beaufort and is now laying siege on Fort Macon and his Official report of the Battle of Newborn gives General McClellan credit for the planning of his expedition, all having accomplished in strict conformity with the progress laid down by him. The events are now transpiring and soon to take place, General McClellens friends will demonstrate the cosumnate skill and strategic ability of the Commanding General and will put to rest the questionings of interested and disinterested parties, and compel unprincipled demagogs who have been striven by charges of incompetency and even disloyalty, to shake the confidence of the people in the leader of our Army and persuade the President to displace or induce him to resign. General McClellen is now at the head of our forces before Yorktown (where no doubt a great battle will be fought) and on his way to Richmond, which in all probability will soon be in our possession. In the west Commander Foote is still bombarding Island No. 10
The surrender of Island No. 10 is now announced. Two of Commander Footes gun boats taking advantage of a dark night, ran past the batteries, escaping without injuries, thus enabled General Pope to cross his troops from New Madrid and attack from the rear, the result was their defeat and capture by General Pope of several thousand prisoners and ammunition, heavy guns and the island with the steamer near Manasses and several gun boats belonging to the rebels besides.
Federal victories follow one another in quick succession. Yesterday the telegraph announced a terrible battle of two to three days continuance at Pittsburg landing on the —-- river between our forces and the rebels under General Bourgard. The attack was made by the rebels on the brigade of General Prentiss, by a greatly superior force, the object being to destroy or take prisoners, that portion of our army before the main body under Grant could arrive. Both sides fought with desperation, and the result, till near the close of the second days fighting was doubtful. The arrival of reinforcements changed the face of affairs and the attack of the enemy was converted into a rout, their fleeing columns, it is said being pursued several miles to the rear of their entrenchments at Corinth. Later retorts state that our forces under General Grant were taken by surprise, owning to great carelessness on the part of the commander of our forces, no pickets were posted till just before the attack commenced, and the consequence was that the enemy came into the midst of our camp before our troops knew that they were near, and drove them into confusion with much slaughter, and would have in all probability gained a complete victory, but for the opportune arrival of General Buel with reinforcements and the assistance of two of our gun boats which opened heavy guns on the enemy, causing great slaughter in their ranks. The killed and wounded on both sides were greater than any battle ever before fought on this continent. The siege of Yorktown by the army of the Potomac is still carried on, but it is believed (though little information has been published) with as much success as could reasonably be expected, considering the undertaking, and no doubt is felt that in due time the rebels must retreat or their army will be taken prisoners. General McDowell at last account was at Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock and General Banks near Gordonville, both Generals cautiously approaching the rear of the rebels and threatening a combined attack upon Richmond in due time. The Merrimac it is said is now ready for action again and with the other gun boats at Norfolk, some of which are iron clad are expected, reports say tomorrow - to try their hand in an attack upon our ships of war. No fears are entertained for the result as we have abundant means in our power to defeat them.
The report is now that the officers of the Merrimac have resigned, and it is not supposed that she will venture out again. One of the most important events of the war, the surrender of New Orleans under Commander Farragut took place 26 April last. All the information that we have received that the gun boats after some fighting between the fleet and the forts, managed to pass the forts and arrived before the city, that rebel troops under General Lovell retreated without formind an opposition and the city left without any means of defence was surrendered to our forces. Fort Macon was taken after a bombardment of 30 hours on 20 April.
News arrived yesterday that the rebel army retreated from the fortifications at Yorktown, suddenly during the night of the 3rd, leaving their heavy guns and a large amount of camp equipment and General McClellen with his cavalry and horse artillery in full pursuit.
MAY 7th
The report is today that the rebels are in full retreat from Williamsburg where they showed some fight after leaving Yorktown and McClellen in hot haste to Richmond. The accounts of the taking of New Orleans are not yet received, but the statements made if correct show that the attack upon and the subsequent capture of the city is the most brilliant affair of the war. The forts are said to have been bombarded some five days ago when the chain across the river having been broken by the gun boats, the larger part of the fleet ran the gauntlet, sustaining the rank and file of the two forts, and then encountering the fleet of rebel fleet of 13 steamers one of them iron clad and the ram Manasses and sunk 11 of them including the ram (which was sunk by the Mississippi) and proceeding at once to the city and finding no opposition there took possession, after some parley with the Mayor and continued at last account to hold with a small force of Marines.
Federal victories follow one another in rapid succession. Norfolk on the 10th to General Ward who landed at Willoughby Point at the head of some 5000 men (accompanied by Secretaries Chase and Stanton and the President himself) for the purpose of taking possession of it and the Navy Yard. The rebel force withdrew without offering any defence. But the Public property, buildings, shops at the Navy Yard were entirely destroyed and in the following—the Merrimac, that infamous iron clad monster which proved so destructive to our wooden ships, and since had spread so much alarm at our seaports was blown up by the rebels to prevent her from falling into our hands. James River is now open to our ships (but too late) to our ships, several of which have gone to the assistance of General McClellen who intends on taking the whole rebel army prisoners as he might and would have done but for the interference of the Secretary of War with his plans, is following them in their retreat, and with the report today, is within a few miles of their Capital.
MAY 22
No battle has yet taken place between the forces under General McClellen and the rebels since that at Williarnsburg. Our army, however has been steadily advancing and is now within a very few miles of Richmond, and it is supposed that our gun boats have renewed their attack upon their forts, some 8 miles below the city, from which they were obliged to retire, a few days since, being unable to bring their guns to bear, owning to the great elevation of the ground upon which the forts were built. No progress seems to be made of late. Fort Wright still holds out and General Halleck is not yet ready to attack Beauegard at Corinth.
MAY 26th
The report today is that General Banks has been obliged to retreat before a greatly superior force under General Johnson to Harpers Ferry where he has to be reinforced. The President telegraphed to the Governor to forward immediately to Washington whatever troops could be got ready. And the Governors Proclamation was accordingly issued at once, calling for the companies of the Militia of the state to assemble on the Common prepared to march forthwith. Several have responded to the call.
Some 4000 troops have responded to answer to the call of the Governor, but all of whom today are on their return to their houses, a message having been received from Washington that their services were not required A sufficiency of soldiers for the security having been otherwise provided. This ends the foolish excitement about the danger to Washington and the alarm spread through the country by the Secretary of War, aided here very much by Governor Andrew who by the wording of his proclamation (which represented the enemy actually marching on Washington, when really there was no sign of his doing so) created a great alarm, which carried hundreds to close their business and rush to arms in such an emergency as they believed this to be, willing and ready to leave their business for a short while, but were not prepared when they found no such emergency existed, to enlist for 8 months as the present law of Congress required. The requirements for an infantry and a company of artillery are now being raised in Mass. for three years unless sooner discharged at this quota of the state to make good the losses by sickness and death which are rapidly thinning the ranks of the army and will continue to do so faster and faster as the sickly season advances. The 7th regiment from New York City and several others that have already gone to Washington will probably return when it is found that their services are not required.
The alarm about the attack on Washington lasted but a few hours and was mainly confined it is said to Secretary Mr. Stanton. How many troops went to Washington in consequence to the call or where they are now is not known. Enlisting for the new regiments in Mass. proceed slowly. General McClellen and his entire army are cautiously and slowly approaching Richmond. Reports say that his numbers are greatly inferior to the rebels and in all probability they will fight with desperation. No doubt a bloody battle will be fought wherever our army makes their attack and telegraphic reports are waited with special anxiety.

This seems to  be the end of John Rogers enteries, I am still looking for more.


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