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tered their mules for food. They patiently endured the inevitable hardships of their position; and their daily newspaper, printed on scraps of such paper as men cover their walls with, continued to the end to make light of their sufferings, and to breathe defiance against General Grant. But all was vain. On the 4th of July — the anniversary of Independence – Vicksburg was surrendered with her garrison of twenty-three thousand men, much enfeebled by hunger and fatigue.
The fall of Vicksburg was the heaviest blow which the Confederacy had yet sustained. Nearly one-half of the rebellious territory lay beyond the Mississippi. That river was now firmly held by the Federals. The revolted States were cut in two, and no help could pass from one section to the other. There was deep joy in the Northern heart. The President thanked General Grant for the almost inestimable service" which he had done the country.
But long before Grant's triumph at Vicksburg another humiliation had fallen upon the Federal arms in Virginia.
Soon after the disaster at Fredericksburg, the modest Burnside had asked to be relieved of his command. General Hooker took his place. The new chief was familiarly known to his countrymen as ' fighting Joe Hooker,” a title which sufficiently indicated his dashing, spirited character. Hooker entered on his command with high hopes. “By the blessing of God,” he said to the army,
we will contribute something to the renown of our arms and the success of our cause."
After three months of preparation, General Hooker announced that his army was irresistible.
The Northern cry was still, “On to Richmond !” The dearest wish of the Northern people was to possess the hostile capital. Hooker marched southward, nothing doubting that he was to fulfil the long-frustrated desire of his countrymen.
His confidence seemed not to be unwarranted; for he had under
Death of “Stonewall” Jackson.
his command a magnificent army, which greatly outnumbered that opposed to him. But, unhappily for Hooker, the hostile forces were led by General Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
On the ist of May, Hooker was presence of the enemy on the line of the Rappahannock. Lee was too weak to give or accept battle ; but he was able to occupy. Hooker with a series of sham attacks. All the while Jackson was hasting to assail his flank. His march was through the Wilderness, a wild country thick with ill-grown oaks and a dense undergrowth, where surprise was easy.. Towards evening, on the 2d, Jackson's soldiers burst upon the unexpectant Federals. The fury of the attack bore all before it. The Federal line fell back in confusion and with heavy loss.
In the twilight Jackson rode forward with his staff to examine the enemy's position. As he returned, a North Carolina regiment, seeing a party of horsemen approach, presumed it was a charge of Federal cavalry. They fired, and Jackson fell from his horse, with two bullets in his left arm and one through his right hand. They placed him on a litter to carry him from the field. One of the bearers was shot down by the enemy, and the wounded general fell heavily to the ground. The sound of musketry wakened the Federal artillery, and for some time Jackson lay helpless on ground swept by the cannon of the enemy. When his men learned the situation of their beloved commander, they rushed in and carried him from the danger.
Jackson sunk under his wounds. He bore patiently his great suffering. “If I live, it will be for the best," he said ; “and if I die, it will be for the best. God knows and directs all things for the best.” He died eight days after the battle, to the deep sorrow of his countrymen. He was a great soldier; and although he died fighting for a wrong cause, he was a true-hearted Christian man.
During two days after Jackson fell, the battle continued at Chancellorsville. Lee's superior skill in command more than compensated for his inferior numbers. He attacked Hooker, and always at the point of conflict he was found to be stronger. Hooker discovered that he must retreat, lest a worse thing should befall him. After three days' fighting he crossed the river in a tempest of wind and rain, and along the muddy Virginian roads carried his disheartened troops back to their old positions. He had been baffled by a force certainly not more than one-half his own. The splendid military genius of Lee was perhaps never more conspicuous than in the defeat of that great army which General Hooker himself regarded as invincible.
But Emancipation had already turned the scale of the war, and the victory in the West was soon to lead to a series of decisive victories.
GETTYSBURG AND RICHMOND.
THE Confederate government had always been eager to carry the contest into Northern territory. It was satisfying to the natural pride of the South, and it was thought that some experience of the evils of war might incline the Northern mind to peace. Lee was ordered to march into Pennsylvania. He gathered all the troops at his disposal, and with seventy-five thousand men he crossed the Potomac, and was once more prepared to face the enemy on his own soil. The rich cities of the North trembled. It was not unlikely that he would possess himself of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Could he once again defeat Hooker's army, as he had often done before, no further resistance was possible. Pennsylvania and New York were at his mercy.
Lee advanced to the little Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg. Hooker, after marching his army northward, had been relieved of the command. A battle was near; and in face of the enemy a new commander had to be chosen. Two days before the hostile armies met, General Meade was appointed. Meade was an experienced soldier, who had filled with honor the various positions assigned to him. It was seemingly a hopeless task which he was now asked to perform. With an oft-defeated army of sixty thousand to seventy thousand men, to whom he was a stranger, he had to meet Lee with his victorious seventy-five thousand. Meade quietly undertook the work appointed to him, and did it, too, like a brave, prudent, unpretending man.
The battle lasted for three days. On the first day the Confederates had some advantage. Their attack broke and scattered a Federal division with considerable loss. But that night the careful Meade took up a strong position on a crescent-shaped line of heights near the little town.
Next day Lee attempted to dislodge the enemy. The key of the Federal position was Cemetery Hill, and there the utmost strength of the Confederate attack was put forth. Nor was it in vain. Part of the Federal line was broken. At one point an important position had been taken by the Confederates. Lee might fairly hope that another day's fighting would complete his success and give him undisputed possession of the wealthiest Northern States. His loss had been small, while the Federals had been seriously weakened.
Perhaps no hours of deeper gloom were ever passed in the North than the hours of that summer evening when the telegraph flashed over the country the news of Lee's suc
The lavish sacrifice of blood and treasure seemed in vain. A million of men were in arms to defend the Union, and yet the northward progress of the enemy could not be withstood. Should Lee be victorious on the morrow, the most hopeful must despond.
The day on which so much of the destiny of America hung opened bright and warm and still. The morning was occupied by Lee in preparations for a crushing attack upon the centre of the Federal position ; by Meade, in carefully strengthening his power of resistance at the point where he was to win or to lose this decisive battle. About noon all was completed. Over both armies there fell a marvellous still