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  • The American Civil War From Sumter to Surrender at Appomattox, Abraham Lincoln, House Divided Speech
    latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind the principle for which he declares he has suffered much and is ready to suffer to the end And well may he cling to that principle If he has any parental feeling well may he cling to it That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine Under the Dred Scott decision squatter sovereignty squatted out of existence tumbled down like temporary scaffolding like the mould at the foundry served through one blast and fell back into loose sand helped to carry an election and then was kicked to the winds His late joint struggle with the Republicans against the Lecompton Constitution involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine That struggle was made on a point the right of a people to make their own constitution upon which he and the Republicans have never differed The several points of the Dred Scott decision in connection with Senator Douglas s care not policy constitute the piece of machinery in its present state of advancement This was the third point gained The working points of that machinery are First that no negro slave imported as such from Africa and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States This point is made in order to deprive the negro in every possible event of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution which declares that The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States Second that subject to the Constitution of the United States neither Congress nor a Territorial legislature can exclude slavery from any United States Territory This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the Territories with slaves without danger of losing them as property and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future Third that whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a free State makes him free as against the holder the United States courts will not decide but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave State the negro may be forced into by the master This point is made not to be pressed immediately but if acquiesced in for a while and apparently indorsed by the people at an election then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott s master might lawfully do with Dred Scott in the free State of Illinois every other master may lawfully do with any other one or one thousand slaves in Illinois or in any other free State Auxiliary to all this and working hand in hand with it the Nebraska doctrine or what is left of it is to educate and mold public opinion at least Northern public opinion not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up This shows exactly where we now are and partially also whither we are tending It will throw additional light on the latter to go back and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring The people were to be left perfectly free subject only to the Constitution What the Constitution had to do with it outsiders could not then see Plainly enough now it was an exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in and declare the perfect free freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all Why was the amendment expressly declaring the right of the people voted down Plainly enough now the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision Why was the court decision held up Why even a Senator s individual opinion withheld till after the presidential election Plainly enough now the speaking out then would have damaged the perfectly free argument upon which the election was to be carried Why the outgoing President s felicitation on the indorsement Why the delay of a re argument Why the incoming President s advance exhortation in favor of the decision These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall And why the hasty after indorsement of the decision by the President and others We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert But when we see a lot of framed timbers different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen Stephen Franklin Roger and James for instance and when we see these timbers joined together and see they exactly matte the frame of a house or a mill all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting and all the lengths and proportions of the different l pieces exactly adapted to their respective places and not a piece too many or too few not omitting even scaffolding or if a single piece be lacking we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck It should not be overlooked that by the Nebraska Bill the people of a

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/house_divided_speech.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Main Lincoln Page
    mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save I pray that our Heavenly Father may

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/lincolnbixby.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Main Lincoln Page
    the nation little that is new could be presented The progress of our arms upon which all else chiefly depends is as well known to the public as to myself and it is I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all With high hope for the future no prediction in regard to it is ventured On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war All dreaded it all sought to avert it While the inaugeral sic address was being delivered from this place devoted altogether to saving the Union without war insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war seeking to dissole sic the Union and divide effects by negotiation Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive and the other would accept war rather than let it perish And the war came One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the Union but localized in the Southern part of it These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war To strengthen perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes His

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/second_inaugural_address.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Jefferson Davis Inaugural
    may require An agricultural people whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country our true policy is peace and the freest trade which our necessities will permit It is alike our interest and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities There can be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community such as the northeastern States of the American Union It must follow therefore that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices If however passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States we must prepare to meet the emergency and to maintain by the final arbitrament of the sword the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth We have entered upon the career of independence and it must be inflexibly pursued Through many years of controversy with our late associates the Northern States we have vainly endeavored to secure tranquillity and to obtain respect for the rights to which we are entitled As a necessity not a choice we have resorted to the remedy of separation and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs and the perpetuity of the Confederacy which we have formed If a just perception of mutual interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled but if this be denied to us and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be assailed it will but remain for us with firm resolve to appeal to arms and invoke the blessings of Providence on a just cause As a consequence of our new condition and with a view to meet anticipated wants it will be necessary to provide for the speedy and efficient organization of branches of the Executive Department having special charge of foreign intercourse finance military affairs and the postal service For purposes of defense the Confederate States may under ordinary circumstances rely mainly upon the militia but it is deemed advisable in the present condition of affairs that there should be a well instructed and disciplined army more numerous than would usually be required on a peace establishment I also suggest that for the protection of our harbors and commerce on the high seas a navy adapted to those objects will be required These necessities have doubtless engaged the attention of Congress With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their well known intent freed from the sectional conflicts which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare it is not unreasonable to expect that States from which we have recently parted may seek to unite their fortunes with ours under the Government which we have instituted For this your Constitution makes

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/jefferson_davis_inaugural.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, John B. Gordon, Antietam
    opposite slope crossed the little stream Antietam and formed in my front an assaulting column four lines deep The front line came to a charge Page 85 bayonets the other lines to a right shoulder shift The brave Union commander superbly mounted placed himself in front while his band in rear cheered them with martial music It was a thrilling spectacle The entire force I concluded was composed of fresh troops from Washington or some camp of instruction So far as I could see every soldier wore white gaiters around his ankles The banners above them had apparently never been discolored by the smoke and dust of battle Their gleaming bayonets flashed like burnished silver in the sunlight With the precision of step and perfect alignment of a holiday parade this magnificent array moved to the charge every step keeping time to the tap of the deep sounding drum As we stood looking upon that brilliant pageant I thought if I did not say What a pity to spoil with bullets such a scene of martial beauty But there was nothing else to do Mars is not an aesthetic god and he was directing every part of this game in which giants were the contestants On every preceding field where I had been engaged it had been my fortune to lead or direct charges and not to receive them or else to move as the tides of battle swayed in the one direction or the other Now my duty was to move neither to the front nor to the rear but to stand fast holding that centre under whatever pressure and against any odds Every act and movement of the Union commander in my front clearly indicated his purpose to discard bullets and depend upon bayonets He essayed to break through Lee s centre by the crushing weight and momentum of his solid column It was my business to prevent this and how to do it with my single line was the tremendous problem which had to be solved and solved quickly for the column was coming As I saw this solid mass of men moving upon me with determined step and front of steel every conceivable plan of meeting Page 86 and repelling it was rapidly considered To oppose man against man and strength against strength was impossible for there were four lines of blue to my one of gray My first impulse was to open fire upon the compact mass as soon as it came within reach of my rifles and to pour into its front an incessant hail storm of bullets during its entire advances across the broad open plain but after a moment s reflection that plan was also discarded It was rejected because during the few minutes required for the column to reach my line I could not hope to kill and disable a sufficient number of the enemy to reduce his strength to an equality with mine The only remaining plan was one which I had never tried but in the efficacy of which I had the utmost faith It was to hold my fire until the advancing Federals were almost upon my lines and then turn loose a sheet of flame and lead into their faces I did not believe that any troops on earth with empty guns in their hands could withstand so sudden a shock and withering a fire The programme was fixed in my own mind all horses were sent to the rear and my men were at once directed to lie down upon the grass and clover They were quickly made to understand through my aides and line officers that the Federals were coming upon them with unloaded guns that not a shot would be fired at them and that not one of our rifles was to be discharged until my voice should be heard from the centre commanding Fire They were carefully instructed in the details They were notified that I would stand at the centre watching the advance while they were lying upon their breasts with rifles pressed to their shoulders and that they were not to expect my order to fire until the Federals were so close upon us that every Confederate bullet would take effect There was not artillery at this point upon either side and not a rifle was discharged The stillness was literally Page 87 oppressive as in close order with the commander still riding in front this column of Union infantry moved majestically in the charge In a few minutes they were within easy range of our rifles and some of my impatient men asked permission to fire Not yet I replied Wait for the order Soon they were so close that we might have seen the eagles on their buttons but my brave and eager boys still waited for the order Now the front rank was within a few rods of where I stood It would not do to wait another second and with all my lung power I shouted Fire My rifles flamed and roared in the Federals faces like a blinding blaze of lightning accompanied by the quick and deadly thunderbolt The effect was appalling The entire front line with few exceptions went down in the consuming blast The gallant commander and his horse fell in a heap near where I stood the horse dead the rider unhurt Before his rear lines could recover from the terrific shock my exultant men were on their feet devouring them with successive volleys Even then these stubborn blue lines retreated in fairly good order My front had been cleared Lee s centre had been saved and yet not a drop of blood had been lost by my men The result however of this first effort to penetrate the Confederate centre did not satisfy the intrepid Union commander Beyond the range of my rifles he reformed his men into three lines and on foot led them to the second charge still with unloaded

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/gordon%20antm.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, John B. Gordon, Chancellorsville
    was my pleasure to meet and to know well after the war was one of the brilliant soldiers of the Union army He was afterward hailed as the hero of the Battle of the Clouds at Lookout Mountain and whatever may be said of the small force which he met in the fight upon that mountain s sides and top the conception was a bold one It is most improbable that General Hooker was informed as to the number of Confederates he was to meet in the effort to capture the high and rugged Point Lookout which commanded a perfect view of the city of Chattanooga and the entire field of operations around it His movement through the dense underbrush up the rocky steeps and over the limestone cliffs was executed with a celerity and dash which reflected high credit upon both the commander and his men Among these men by the way was one of those merrymakers those dispensers of good cheer found in both the Confederate and Union armies who were veritable fountains of good humor whose spirits glowed and sparkled in all situations whether in the camp on the march or under fire The special rôle of this one was to entertain his comrades with song and as Hooker s men were struggling Page 98 up the sides of Lookout Mountain climbing over the huge rocks and being picked off them by the Confederate sharpshooters this frolicsome soldier amused and amazed his comrades by singing in stentorian tones his droll camp song the refrain of which was Big pig little pig root hog or die The singer was H S Cooper now a prominent physician of Colorado But to return to the consideration of General Jackson s character Every right minded citizen as well as every knightly soldier whatever the color of his uniform will appreciate the beauty of the tribute paid by General Lee to General Jackson when he received the latter s message announcing the loss of his left arm Go tell General Jackson said Lee that his loss is small compared to mine for while he loses his left arm I lose the right arm of my army No prouder or juster tribute was ever paid by a great commander to a soldier under him But a truth of more importance than anything I have yet said of Jackson may be compassed I think in the observation that he added to a marvellous genius for war a character as man and Christian which was absolutely without blemish His childlike trust and faith the simplicity sincerity and constancy of his unostentatious piety did not come with the war nor was it changed by the trials and dangers of war If the war affected him at all in this particular it only intensified his religious devotion because of the tremendous responsibilities which it imposed but long before his religious thought and word and example were leading to the higher life young men intrusted to his care at the Virginia Military Institute In the army nothing deterred or diverted him from the discharge of his religious duties nor deprived him of the solace resulting from his unaffected trust A deep rooted belief in God in His word and His providence was under him and over him and through him permeating every fibre of his being Page 99 dominating his every thought controlling his every action Wherever he went and whatever he did whether he was dispensing light and joy in the family circle imparting lessons of lofty thought to his pupils in the schoolroom at Lexington planning masterful strategy in his tent praying in the woods for Heaven s guidance or riding like the incarnate spirit of war through the storm of battle as his resistless legions swept the field of carnage with the fury of a tornado Stonewall Jackson was the faithful disciple of his Divine Master He died as he had lived with his ever active and then fevered brain working out the problems to which his duty called him and even with the chill of death upon him his loving heart prompted the message to his weary soldiers Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees That his own spirit will eternally rest in the shade of the Tree of Life none who knew him can for one moment doubt An incident during this battle illustrates the bounding spirits of that great cavalry leader General Jeb Stuart After Jackson s fall Stuart was designated to lead Jackson s troops in the final charge The soul of this brilliant cavalry commander was as full of sentiment as it was of the spirit of self sacrifice He was as musical as he was brave He sang as he fought Placing himself at the head of Jackson s advancing lines and shouting to them Forward he at once led off in that song Won t you come out of the wilderness He changed the words to suit the occasion Through the dense woodland blending in strange harmony with the rattle of rifles could be distinctly heard that song and words Now Joe Hooker won t you come out of the wilderness This dashing Confederate lost his life later in battle near Richmond While the battle was progressing at Chancellorsville near which point Lee s left rested his right extended to Page 100 or near Fredericksburg Early s division held this position and my brigade the right of that division and it was determined that General Early should attempt near sunrise to retake the fort on Marye s Heights from which the Confederates had been driven the day before I was ordered to move with this new brigade with which I had never been in battle and to lead in that assault at least such was my interpretation of the order as it reached me Whether it was my fault or the fault of the wording of the order itself I am

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/gordon%20chance.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War From Sumter to Surrender at Appomattox, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Hold The Line at All Costs
    said with a voice of awe as if translating the tables of the eternal law I place you here This is the left of the Union line You understand You are to hold this ground at all costs I did understand full well but had more to learn about costs The regiment coming up right in front was put in position by a quite uncommon order on the right by

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/hold_the_line_at_all_costs.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Joshua Chamberlain
    shore two struck just over my head in a tree Sometimes our own shells would explode right over our head scare the men dreadfully No sooner had we got over in line than we were ordered to recross The General sent Col Ames with six companies to defend the ford by lying behind the bank of the canal me with four companies to support the batteries on the heights We had four wounded not seriously At dusk we were sent out as pickets we have been lying here all night the whole Regt crouching along the banks of the river The rebels firing every time they saw a head we doing the same for them The river is narrow At about mid night I rode softly along examining our pickets whenever the horse stumbled whiz would come a bullet in the dark All this morning at least as often as every three words I have written a bullet or a shell has hissed over my head either from our own sharpshooters or the rebels 5 in that last line I am lying in a hollow where I am not much exposed really not at all disturbed Glancing down at this moment I see a rebel ball that had struck right by my side but I suppose before I came I hope to be relieved soon get somewhere where I can live like a civilized being Our eating drinking sleeping arrangements are not remarkable for comfort I can see plenty of dead wounded men lying around from where I sit As soon as it can be done we are going to rescue some wounded who are calling to us from the rebel shore Our Regt has not done much yet but we feel as if we could I am very well

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/letter%20to%20fanny%20shaprsburg.htm (2016-02-11)
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