The Civil War: Martial Law and the Fourteenth Amendment
On November 9, 1860, the South Carolina militia hoisted the Palmetto flag over the batteries of Charleston harbor. Six weeks later, on December 20, the State voted an ordinance of secession from the Union, repealing its 1788 ratification of the Constitution of the United States, to be effective on December 24th, 1860.
"The first overt act of the war took place in Charleston harbor on January 8, 1861, when a merchant vessel, the Star of the West. arrived with reinforcements for Fort Sumter. To avoid sending a warship General Scott had leased the steamship and put on board 200 soldiers and ammunition. When the ship was within two miles of Fort Sumter a battery on Morris Island fired one shot at it, as also did Fort Moultrie. Then five rounds were fired from Morris Island, and the ship was struck twice. The ship hoisted the United States ensign, but getting no signal from Sumter turned around and headed back to New York."
The Civil War: A One-Volume History
The attempt to bolster the Federal force at Sumter was clearly seen as a provocation -- an hostile act -- and the use of a chartered vessel did not make appearances any better. Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson, a Mississippian who was accused of informing the South Carolinians of the mission of the Star of the West. resigned his office and went home. Senator Jefferson Davis, also from Mississippi, who had served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857), took issue in the Senate, arguing that the Constitution had never contemplated using the U.S. Army against any of the States. Neither the President, nor Congress nor the Judiciary had any authority to order troops of one state to march against another. Receiving no satisfactory response from President Buchanan, who had indeed hardened his stance, the State of Mississippi threw in the towel and seceded from the Union on January 9, 1861. Florida followed suit on January 10th and Alabama on the 11th. A week later, on the 19th, Georgia went into secession and Louisiana followed the week after that, on January 26. On February 1st, 1861, Texas joined in the secession, and this action was ratified in a public referendum that showed a margin of 3:1 in favor.
When Abraham Lincoln was sworn into the Presidency on March 4, 1861, he stepped into an unfolding diplomatic crisis with seven states in secession and, as we shall see, at least eight others on the brink. At the heart of the situation was a deep-rooted Southern suspicion that there was a coup being staged, involving William Seward, Sen. Charles Sumner, Salmon P. Chase, Edwin Stanton and Thurlow Weed among others, all of whom were playing Lincoln for a stooge. As things turned out, they were not far off the mark. Disregarding the advice of his general-in-chief, Winfield Scott, that Fort Sumter and now also Fort Pickens (at Pensacola, Florida) be evacuated, Lincoln ordered yet another vessel to set sail on April 6th, its mission to resupply Fort Sumter, but this time allegedly without troops or munitions aboard. Lincoln maintained that he was pledged to protect the property of the United States, a/k/a the Federal government (District of Columbia).
Acting on the orders of Jefferson Davis, who was now President of the Confederacy, General Pierre G.T. Beauregard delivered an ultimatum on April 11th to Major Robert Anderson, the commander at Fort Sumter. Anderson replied at 3:15 AM on the 12th that he would, "if provided with the proper and necessary means of transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon of the 15th," if he had not received "prior to that time, controlling instructions ... or additional supplies." Beauregard knew that supplies were on the way and, having been granted discretion by the Secretary of War in Montgomery, ordered the batteries to open fire at 4:30 AM. It is this writer's opinion that Beauregard could have prevented resupply for another eighty-one hours, and that the bombardment was therefore unnecessary. (It has been suggested that General Beauregard was himself an Illuminati agent.) On April 13th negotiations between Beauregard and Anderson resumed, and the fort was evacuated on the 14th when Beauregard furnished a steamer to transport the garrison to the Federal fleet that had been waiting outside the harbor. No lives were lost on either side during the bombardment. Before leaving the fort, the garrison had raised the United States flag one last time, fired a salute, and hauled it down. During the salute a gun burst, killing one man.
On April 15th, the day after Fort Sumter was evacuated, President Lincoln called for 75,000 Federal troops to quell the Southern insurrection and to "Preserve the Union". Following this declaration of Federal intent to pursue war, Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861. They understood that, being a border state, their remaining in the Union would bring them under immediate Federal military occupation. They lay directly in the path from Washington (District of Columbia, to Columbia, South Carolina (The first state to secede and the one technically at war). Federal military occupation means the imposition of martial law, with no court of appeal. Two days later (April 19th), responding to Lincoln's call, troops of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment were marching through the streets of Baltimore (Maryland) between train stations. They were set upon by a crowd of angry citizens who resented the presence of foreign troops in their state. In the ensuing clash, the regiment lost four killed and thirty-six wounded, and the Baltimore police reported nine civilians killed and many wounded. This was the first battle of the Civil War, after Fort Sumter, and the first combat casualties, occurring between Federally-marshalled troops and civilians.
The mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland appealed to Lincoln that he send no more Federal troops through Baltimore. This was Lincoln's moment of truth. Should he allow Maryland to follow her sister states into secession, the District of Columbia would be surrounded by hostile States! Lincoln and his cabinet would be forced to flee (assuming they could) to Philadelphia or New York. The Regular army would most likely desert. Suddenly Maryland became the key to whether or not the Civil War would actually occur! Abraham Lincoln responded by placing the entire state under martial law and military occupation:
"Marylanders were similar to Virginians, strongly Southern, but cautious. However, when Lincoln called for troops to coerce the states, Virginia seceded. Immediately, Lincoln moved to secure Maryland. Habeas corpus was suspended and Southern sympathisers arrested in Baltimore. General Banks dissolved the Baltimore police board. Secretary of War Cameron wrote him: "The passage of any act of secession by the legislature of Maryland must be prevented. If necessary all or any part of the members must be arrested." Arrests were sufficient to prevent a vote. The mayor of Baltimore, most of the city government, and newspaper editors were jailed. One of those editors was the grandson of the author of The Star Spangled Banner. Francis Key Howard wrote of his imprisonment [inside Fort McHenry]:
"When I looked out in the morning, I could not help being struck by an odd and not pleasant coincidence. On that same day forty-seven years before, my grandfather, Mr Francis Scott Key, then prisoner on a Britsh ship, had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. When on the following morning the hostile fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular. ... As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed."
"Documents of the period show more than 38,000 political prisoners in northern jails. In The Life of William H. Seward, Bancroft wrote: The person "suspected" of disloyalty was often seized at night, borne off to the nearest fort. ... Month after month many of them were crowded together in gloomy and damp casemates, where even dangerous pirates captured on privateers ought not to have remained long. Many had committed no overt act. There were among them editors and political leaders of character and honour, but whose freedom would be prejudicial to the prosecution of the war."
Nat G. Rudulph
Why America Lost the "Civil War"
It was precisely this brutal disregard for law, the occupation by military force of Maryland, and then Delaware, that precipitated the secession of Arkansas on May 6, 1861, and North Carolina on May 21st. Lincoln and his cabinet had demonstrated utter contempt for the rights even of those citizens in states still loyal to the Union; he had literally put a gun to their heads to prevent them passing ordinances of secession, or even bringing the matter up for discussion. The analogy has long been made between Lincoln's cry for "War to preserve the Union" and a madman's attempt to preserve his marriage by beating his spouse into submission. In this case, it was the Federal government (District of Columbia), ostensibly under Abraham Lincoln's executive authority, that was rampaging out of control. As we shall see, the analogy to rapine is fully appropriate. It was for this reason that Tennessee entered into a military alliance with the Confederacy on May 7, and seceded from the Union by popular vote on June 8. The men of Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee all staked their lives on this point, and they are yet to be vindicated.
On December 31, 1860, almost four months before the Federal seizure of Maryland, the state assembly of Missouri had presented the Federal government with the warning that if it tried to coerce any state by force, Missouri would join forces with the South and "resist the invaders to the last extremity". Missouri was therefore also slated for martial law as fast as federal troops could be mustered there. In the meantime, Francis P. Blair Jr., brother to the Postmaster General (spymaster) in Lincoln's cabinet, organized a coup against the state government to prepare for the occupation force. When Governor Claiborne F. Jackson called a state convention to address the issues of secession, Blair and his forces sucessfully intimidated the delegates so that the issue of secession was never even raised (i.e. whoever would have dared make the motion would have been shot). Meanwhile, Blair's associate, Captain Nathaniel Lyon (as in special forces), was organizing the "Home Guard", a pro-Union paramilitary organization. On May 10, 1861, Captain Lyon launched a sneak attack on Camp Jackson, outside St. Louis, where the state militia was drilling new recruits. As he was marching his prisoners to the Federal Arsenal in St. Louis for internment, an angry mob gathered around Capt. Lyons and his "Home Guard", who opened fire on the civilians, killing 38. Who remembers the St. Louis Massacre?
The next day Brigadier General W. S. Harney, who was in command of the Department of the West, arrived in St. Louis to bring about reconciliation. On May 21 he reached an agreement with Brig. General Sterling Price, who was in command of the state militia, that he would recognize the state government as the agency to keep order so long as the militia did not commence any acts hostile to the Union. This was contrary to the policy of Blair and Lyons, and was promptly reported to Washington. The agreement was repudiated by the War Department, Lyons was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on May 31st, and given temporary command of Missouri.
This rapid promotion, and the fact that General Harney (whose military career seems to have ended at that point) was clearly "out of the loop," is evidence that there was indeed a conspiratorial coup at work. Subsequent events bear this out. No sooner had he consolidated his forces, and General Lyon marched on Jefferson City, the capital, in June of 1861. When the governor and his staff departed for Boonville, Federal forces attacked the state militia and drove them into the southwestern part of the state. In July, Unionists formed a provisional state government with Hamilton R. Gamble as governor, and Major General John C. Fremont took command of the Department of the West in St. Louis. On August 30, 1861, General Fremont officially placed Missouri under martial law. His proclamation ordered "all persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these lines [of military occupation] shall be tried by court martial, and if found guilty will be shot. Real and personal property of those who take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven of having taken an active part with their enemies in the field, is declared confiscated to public use . . ."
"Yankee power was most unrestrained in Missouri. From its initial defiant movement of troops, the Union routinely escalated hostilities. They encouraged atrocities, insidiously veiled behind a facade of inept negligence. They exhibited arrogance and contempt for law, their own constitution, Southerners, and life itself.
"The authorities entered private homes without warrant or provocation, seizing arms and other properties. They required written permits for travel . . . Citizens were fined, jailed, banished, and even executed for as little as expressing dissent, or upon the accusation of a government informer. Authorities called citizens to their door in the middle of the night and shot them or took them away. Amnesty was promised to partisans, but many who attempted to surrender were executed. Men like Frank and Jesse James witnessed these things and vowed never to accept a pardon from such a government.
"September 1862 brought executions for refusing to swear allegiance to the U.S. In October at Palmyra, Missouri, ten political prisoners [who were legally] POWs were executed because a Union informer disappeared. Soon afterwards, Lincoln promoted to brigadier-general the man responsible.
"Senator Jim Lane, known as 'the grim chieftain of Kansas,' ravaged Missouri. Halleck wrote McClellan: "I receive almost daily complaints of outrages committed by these men in the name of the United States, and the evidence is so conclusive as to leave no doubt of their correctness . . . Lane has been made a brigadier-general. I cannot conceive of a more injudicious appointment . . . offering a premium for rascality and robbing." McClellan gave the letter to Lincoln. After reading it, Lincoln turned it over and wrote on the back, "An excellent letter, though I am sorry General Halleck is so unfavourably impressed with General Lane."
"In 1863 General Ewing imprisoned as many wives, mothers, and sisters of Quantrill's Confederate partisan band as could be found. The building housing most of them collapsed in August, killing many. Ewing had been warned that the building was in danger of collapse, and the guerrillas believed that it had been deliberate. In retaliation Quantrill sacked and burned Lawrence, Kansas. Ewing then issued an order forcing all persons in four counties of western Missouri living more than a mile from a military base to leave the state. They were forced from their homes at gunpoint and escorted away. Then all property was destroyed. Cass County, which had a population of 10,000 was reduced to 600 by this "ethnic cleansing." Union Colonel Lazear wrote his wife that the ensuing arson was so thorough that only stone chimneys could be seen for hundreds of miles. "It is heart sickening to see what I have seen since I have been back here. A desolated country, men, women and children, some of them almost naked. Some on foot and some in wagons. Oh God."
"Loyalty oaths and bonds were required of all citizens. If guerrillas attacked, property in the area was confiscated and sold at auction. Suspects were imprisoned and by 1864 the mortality rate of Union-held prisoners had reached fifty percent. Union surgeon Gorge Rex reported: Undergoing the confinement in these crowded and insufficiently ventilated quarters are many citizen prisoners, against whom the charges are of a very trivial character, or perhaps upon investigation . . . no charges at all are sustained.
"The Union implemented Sherman's philosophy of war against civilians. He wrote: "To the petulant and persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. . . . There is a class of people . . . who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order." To General Sheridan, Sherman wrote: ". . . the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright rather than in conquest of territory . . . a great deal of it yet remains to be done, therefore, I shall expect you on any and all occasions to make bloody results." To General Kilpatrick he wrote: "It is petty nonsense for Wheeler and Beauregard and such vain heroes to talk of our warring against women and children. If they claim to be men they should defend their women and children and prevent us reaching their homes." In a moment of candour he wrote Grant: "You and I and every commander must go through the war justly chargeable with crimes."
contributed by Nat G. Rudulph, of Selma, Alabama
Why America Lost the "Civil War"
Maryland, Delaware and Missouri were not the only Union states to suffer military aggression and occupation. An "Iron Curtain" was being drawn across the North as fast as the Federal armies could be marshalled. The battles around Manassas and Harpers Ferry, culminating in Bull Run on July 21, 1861, are recounted as the "first" military operations of the Civil War only because they represent the first occasion when the Federal onslaught was halted and turned back. The military operations began on April 15 with Abraham Lincoln's call for 75,000 Federal troops. The actual mobilization far exceeded that number, for on July 4, 1861, Congress authorized the the War Department to enlist 500,000 men into the Federal armies, an astounding number for that time. The initial objective of this mobilization was to secure the Northern states and consolidate key regions under martial law.
Most of Appalachia at the time was inaccessible and sparsely populated, but just across the mountains from Harpers Ferry lay the critical Ohio Valley, which was the major link to the Western States and Territories. The mountains from Pennsylvania to the Cumberland Gap had to be secured. They were quickly and efficiently placed under military occupation, organized through the (federalized) Pennsylvania militia of "volunteers"; and two years later the area was formed into the state of West Virginia (1863). Despite the rampant house-burning and other acts of Federal terrorism, the mountain people were never fully subdued, and some of the bloodiest fighting of the war took place in the Shenandoah Valley.
In Kansas there had been a strong Abolitionist presence dating back to the days of John Brown, and the organization which had been established and financed by the Secret Six was quickly made a junta under protection of the military governors. Another Union army was deployed in Kentucky, which forms the southern flank of the Ohio Valley, to subdue that state. This was done ostensibly to protect Kentucky's "neutrality," which had been tentatively agreed to between Lincoln and the state leaders. It was clear that Kentucky, like Maryland and Missouri, would not be allowed to vote on an ordinance of secession. The states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana were also quickly secured by the Federal War Department, which placed the railroads and waterways under the Corps of Engineers for transport and construction projects. This action cloaked a more sinister military occupation. Dissent could not be tolerated in any areas critical to communication and supply.
Other Union forces were stationed in the territories of Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California to "protect" the residents from Indians and guerrillas, a euphemism for keeping the citizenry at gunpoint. This tactic was used throughout the war. There was no such thing as "freedom of information," and government propaganda dominated both press and pulpit. The "civil rights" of free speech and public assembly were suspended throughout the Union, but especially in the border occupation zones. Elsewhere it was more intermittant, but effective. Any person who dared, in public, to criticize Abraham Lincoln or the Federal government was liable to face imprisonment, without the courtesy of formal charges or public trial, and for whatever length of time the military governor deemed necessary. Any person who dared advocate armistice, a cease-fire or process of negotiation could be brought before a military tribunal and charged with sedition. There is no jury trial and no court of appeal. Anyone protesting the military occupation, or its policies, or caught harassing military personnel in the course of their duties, was subject to the same. This is what the suspension of Habeas Corpus entails.
Events followed swiftly. "Reconstruction" had already begun as early as April 29, 1862 with the capture of New Orleans virtually intact by Federal forces. It was a decisive blow; had Admiral Farragut and Commander Porter delayed even two weeks in their assault, the Confederate ironclad Louisiana would have been operational, and it probably could have prevented their running the forts. But lacking its screw, the ship was useless except as a floating battery. Under the military occupation of General Benjamin Butler, and at the instigation of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, the Federal military government set about bringing the region's cotton plantations immediately back into production, and the port back into commercial operation. New Orleans, now under Union control, resumed its role as the center of the cotton trade, and now also for war-profiteering: the shipping of cotton, tobacco, contraband and booty stolen from the South. Historians tend to overlook the extensive looting that occurred in the wake of the advancing Federal armies, nor do they fully explain why the negro camp followers were called contrabands. Military governors tended to look the other way, and corruption was rampant in the Union army, especially around the supply depots. Many fortunes were made pawning loot, smuggling contraband and levying excise, supplying much of the silverware, artwork, books, mirrors and furnishings that graced the drawing-rooms of wealthy shippers in San Francisco, New York, Baltimore and New England.
[Incidentally, it was General Butler who issued the notorious order that any woman who "insulted" a Federal soldier (as in not yielding the sidewalk when a negro troop brushed by) should be treated as a whore plying her trade, implying that rape would be tolerated. On another occasion, he ordered General Weitzel to compel the negroes of La Fourche Parish, Louisiana, to murder the white people of the parish. In reply to this order, general Weitzel wrote, "The idea of my inciting a negro insurrection is heart-rending. I will resign my command rather than induce negroes to outrage and murder the helpless whites."]
As the Federal fleet moved up the Mississippi River into Louisiana, the Department of the Mississipi Valley under General Thomas was merged with the Department of the Gulf, under Butler. The Bureau of Free Labor was organized by George Hicks to force planters to begin paying for access to labor. Negro and carpetbag opportunists began pouring into New Orleans hoping to obtain management contracts for the Federally-operated plantations. When the 37th Congress reconvened in the fall of 1862, it placed the Mississippi Valley under the authority of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury (as in the Secret Service), who saw contraband as an important source of specie to finance the war effort, now costing the Federal government $2 million a day. He established the Western Sanitary Commission under General James Wadsworth to oversee the distribution of profitable plantation leases to select negroes. This was the beginning of the famous "40 acres and a mule" hoax. The federal-occupied Louisiana parishes were then specifically exempted in the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, together with the Virginia ports that had been secured during McClellan's summer Penninsular Campaign.
Elsewhere, the Federal offensive of 1862 had stalled. After overrunning Tennessee in a hard-driving winter campaign, Ulysses Grant had been stopped by Johnston at Shiloh in mid-April, and Halleck took over the Federal command in order to complete the organization of the armies of the West. Following the Second Manassas in late August, Robert E. Lee led the ragged Confederate army into Maryland, hoping to bring that State over, but he was stopped by McClellan at Antietam on September 15th, the bloodiest day of the war. There were over 23,000 casualties between the two armies that day. Both sides were by then exhausted, and it was clear to those who knew the casualty figures that this had become a war of attrition, the most horrifying, devastating kind of warfare known to exist. And what did Lincoln do? He imposed censorship on the news, arrested more political prisoners, and announced (on November 9, five days after the election) that he would proclaim Emancipation. What a skilled, and totally unscrupulous, politician!
During the elections of November 4, 1862, Abraham Lincoln (as Commander-in-Chief) and the Republican Party used Federal troops to influence the election results in several states. In Delaware the military interference was so blatant that the state General Assembly appointed a committee to conduct an investigation.
"Willard Saulsbury (1820-1892) was a United States Senator from Delaware, 1859-73, and in his politics he well-represented the sentiments of a border state. He strongly defended the institution of slavery, but was as equally opposed to secession [an example of political-correctness on a tightrope, --G.S.]. He was exceedingly critical of arrests in Delaware for alleged disloyalty to the Union and opposed military and naval interference in elections and the President's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. On January 29, 1862, he gave this speech in the Senate against the resolution to expel Senator Jesse Bright of Indiana for alleged treason. Bright was accused of treason for having written a letter of introduction to Jefferson Davis in 1861. The debate over his expulsion lasted twenty days, but he was ultimately expelled on February 5, 1862 by a vote of 32 to 14."
See Gopher: Speech of Hon. Willard Saulsbury, of Delaware, on the Resolution Proposing to Expel the Hon. Jesse D. Bright. Washington City: Henry Polkinhorn, 1862.
"In the general election of 1862, out of a desire to preserve order in a state that had much strong feeling on both sides of the secession issue, and where many accusations of disloyalty were raised and arrests made, federal troops were ordered to Delaware, where some were stationed at the polls. Democrats decried the use of the military at the polls as coercion and Willard complained that "Peaceable, quiet citizens, saying not a word, on their way to the polls and before they had got to the election ground, were arrested and dragged out of their wagons [and] carried away," and that others were "assaulted at the poll." In the presidential election year of 1864, in which Saulsbury himself was facing reelection, he delivered this speech opposing military interference with elections and supporting a bill to prevent the army and navy from doing so."
See Gopher: Military Interference with Elections: Speech of Hon. Willard Saulsbury of Delaware,
Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 24 and 25, 1864. Washington, D.C.:
Office of the "Constitutional Union," 1864.
Meanwhile, another crisis had been unfolding, drowned out in the clamor for War: on the last business day of 1861, the New York City exchange banks had announced that they would have to cease making payments of the national debt in specie -- gold and silver coin. The specie was running short, and the United States (District of Columbia) was on the brink of default on its international debt! The interest payments were coming due on the huge amount already borrowed (courtesy of J. & W. Seligman & Co., head underwriter) to finance the massive Federal troop mobilization, railroad construction, and war-related industry. Because most of these debts were payable to foreign investors (precursors to the IMF), payment in specie would deplete the Union of coinage, resulting in a massive deflation. This, in turn, would cause a nationwide credit failure, even as the national debt was mushrooming.
An agreement was reached with the bankers, through the friendly offices of Salmon P. Chase (of Cincinnati-Rothschild connections), that a special issue of U.S. Treasury notes would be recognized as legal tender, bearing 5.20 percent interest to be paid in specie, and issued in the amount of $500 million. In other words, gold and silver coin would indeed disappear from the Union (into the pockets of the international financiers), to be replaced temporarily with "Greenbacks" (Treasury Notes) until the Federal government (District of Columbia) could find itself a fresh supply of gold and silver for mintage. In the meantime, the interest payments were to be secured by a duty on imports (but pillage from the South would remain duty-free, to Mr. Gump's satisfaction, and the war-profiteering rings became tax-free monopolies). Settlement of principal was to be negotiated at a later date (the "Greenbacks" were eventually retired at par for gold after the Reconstruction period, but that is another story). This was all authorized by Congress in the Treasury Acts of 1862 and 1863; and this is the occasion for Mr. Lincoln's famous statement about the "Money Powers". Interestingly, as Mr. Chase later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he would opinion that the "Greenbacks" had been unconstitutional!
So much for Abraham Lincoln's solemn duty to protect the property of the United States: his ambition was clearly to preserve the Federal government (District of Columbia) at whatever cost, be it all the gold and silver in the land, and under it as well, plus the earning power of all future generations. And yet to this day, I can't believe that Lincoln really understood what he was doing. He ranks among the greatest dupes of all time, or the greatest of scoundrels!
"Throughout his presidency, Abraham Lincoln faced serious opposition to his political and wartime policies. Even in the North, the Civil War was so divisive and consumed so many lives and resources that it could hardly have been otherwise.
"Opposition to Lincoln naturally coalesced in the Democratic Party, whose candidate, Stephen Douglas, had won 44 percent of the free states' popular vote in the 1860 election.
"The strength of the opposition generally rose and fell in proportion to the North's effectiveness on the battlefield. The first manifestation of dissatisfaction with the war effort -- and by extension Lincoln -- came not from the Democrats, however, but from the Congress, which formed the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War in December 1861 to investigate the poor Union showing at Bull Run and Ball's Bluff. Dominated by radical Republicans, the Joint Committee pushed the Lincoln administration toward a more aggressive engagement of the war, as well as toward emancipation.
"As might be expected from the party of "popular sovereignty," some Democrats believed that full-scale war to reinstate the Union was unjustified. This group came to be known as the Peace Democrats. Their more extreme elements were called "Copperheads."
"Whether of the "war" or "peace" faction, few Democrats believed the emancipation of the slaves was worth shedding Northern blood. Indeed, opposition to emancipation had long been party policy. In 1862, for example, virtually every Democrat in Congress voted against eliminating slavery in the District of Columbia and prohibiting it in the territories.
"Much of the opposition to emancipation came from the working poor, particularly Irish and German Catholic immigrants, who feared a massive migration of newly freed blacks to the North. Spurred by such sentiments, race riots erupted in several Northern cities in 1862.
"With the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, Lincoln clearly added the abolition of slavery to his war aims. This was far from universally accepted in the North. In both Indiana and Illinois, for example, the state legislatures passed laws calling for peace with the Confederacy and retraction of the "wicked, inhuman and unholy" proclamation.
"The North's difficulties in prosecuting the war led Lincoln, in September 1862, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and impose martial law on those who interfered with recruitment or gave aid and comfort to the rebels. This breech of civil law, although constitutionally justified during times of crisis, gave the Democrats another opportunity to criticize Lincoln. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton enforced martial law vigorously, and many thousands -- most of them Southern sympathizers or Democrats -- were arrested.
"The Union's need for manpower led to the first compulsory draft in U.S. history. Enacted in 1863 to "encourage" enlistment, the draft further alienated many. Opposition was particularly strong among the Copperheads of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, where federal troops had to be called out to enforce compliance with it.
"It must be noted that a man who was drafted could buy his way out for $300, about the equivalent of an unskilled laborer's annual income at that time. This feature added to the impression -- strongly held in parts of the Confederacy as well -- that this was a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight."
"The most significant resistance to the draft took place in New York City in the summer of 1863. A Democratic Party stronghold, New York had already seen several draft officials killed that year. In July a group of blacks were brought into the city, under police protection, to replace striking Irish longshoremen. At the same time, officials held a lottery drawing for the unpopular draft. The conjunction of the two events led to a four-day riot in which a number of black neighborhoods, draft offices and Protestant churches were destroyed and at least 105 people killed. It was not until several Union regiments arrived from Gettysburg that order could be restored.
"The most celebrated civil case of the Civil War also took place that year. It concerned Clement Vallandigham, an aspiring Democratic candidate for the governorship of Ohio. Apparently seeking to bolster his candidacy, Vallandigham defied a local military ban against "treasonous activities" and attacked Lincoln's policies, calling for negotiations to end the war and terming it "a war for the freedom of the blacks and the enslavement of the whites." Union soldiers subsequently broke into his house and arrested him.
"The legality of Vallandigham's arrest was immediately challenged by the Democrats and, indeed, some Republicans as well. Lincoln's response was to have him sent behind Confederate lines, where Vallandigham won the nomination. Making his way to Canada, he then carried out a boisterous, but unsuccessful, campaign."
Peace Democrats, Copperheads and Draft Riots
An Outline of American History (1994)
The Enrollment Act of March 3rd, 1863 (12 Stat. 731, et seq.) was a watershed event in American history. Prior to this, the Federal government never had, and never had claimed, the power to draft "citizens" directly into the regular army. It had only the power to requisition forces from the States' militias, and even this authority has never, to our knowledge, been tested outside of the Civil War (i.e. what would happen if a State refused?). The power to draft is based upon a presumption of citizenship, together with the definition of allegiance. By usurping the power to draft, the Federal government was, in effect, assuming the power to declare citizenship, even if that person should wish to decline. This power was never spelled out in the Constitution, at lease not until pronouncement of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the power can only be inferred (albeit weakly) from the Power to Raise and Support Armies (Article I, Sec. 8 ), which is somewhat contradicted by paragraphs  and  of the same Section. Is it any wonder there were draft riots?
The Federal usurpation of this power to bestow -- to declare -- citizenship was the biggest plum of the Civil War. Taken together, the Enrollment Act and the Fourteenth Amendment represent the power to define the Republic (see William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator: "Our Country is the World, our Nation is Mankind."); it represents the power to create whole new populations, to manipulate the demography of any given region, village, county, or state. It put Federal troops at the doors to our schoolhouses and polling places. It brought cheap migrant labor to our shores and threw open our gates to irredentism. This was the beginning of the "Melting Pot" -- the Cup of Babylon -- and of death by amalgamation for our race. It was precisely to orchestrate this seizure of power that the Civil War had been instigated in the first place, to wrest it by force, because the conspirators knew that a free people would never willingly give up such authority.
The first germ of the idea had been implanted in the Constitution itself -- the Power to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization (Article I, Section 8) -- a wedge so tiny and insignificant it was easily overlooked. The regulation of slavery, the head tax, the Fugitive Slave Act, the Dred Scott decision ... all these events were little hooks that served to expand Federal authority over appeals and last resort on all questions regarding not only slavery, but citizenship itself. All the while, this is what the conspirators had been after -- the power to regulate demography. Under duress of war, we were brought under the Enrollment Act and the Emancipation Proclamation, followed by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments (and later the 19th and 26th), which opened the door to the Civil Rights Acts, the Freedmen's Bureau and the Union Leagues. The questions of immigration and amalgamation have never been brought before the American people in referendum, for the simple reason that we would have rejected them. The conspirators knew exactly what they were doing.
The Enrollment Act completely altered the relationship between the Federal government and the states. Prior to the war, the courts had always ruled that the allegiance which the people owe to the Federal government was derived from their State Citizenship; henceforth, it would be claimed that the people owe complete, direct and immediate allegiance to the Federal government first, and that State citizenship is secondary.
Prior to the war, the Federal government had never possessed rights of eminent domain; it was viewed as a foreign power with respect to any of the States, and could enter the territory of a State only to execute the few powers granted. If the Federal government wanted a parcel of land, the State had first to acquire that parcel under its own power of eminent domain and then transfer ownership to the United States. Neither could the Federal government transfer its ownership of any parcel within a State to any foreign power. The Federal government usurped that power of eminent domain during the Civil War, seizing property, buildings, plantations and commercial interests, making land grants of State territory directly to railroad companies, and establishing military districts under martial law. These Federal powers were never legally granted, as by Constitutional amendment, nor were they rescinded after the war.
The Election of 1860 had been a coup engineered by the powers behind the Republican Party, taking advantage of a 3-way split in the Democratic Party that was allegedly orchestrated by August Belmont, Democratic Party Treasurer and an admitted Rothschild agent. The Election of 1862 was a mockery, with Federal troops interfering at the polls. The election of 1864 was a votescam, a combination of ballot-stuffing, military interference and voter intimidation.
"On August 23, , six days before the Democratic convention met, President Lincoln wrote a brief note on how he expected the election to go; without disclosing its contents he asked the cabinet members to sign it. It showed how anxious he was about the outcome. Lincoln had written: 'This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to co-operate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.'."
The Civil War: A One-Volume History
Lincoln's Democratic opponent in the 1864 Election was George B. McClellan, former commander of the Army of the Potomac, and probably the most maligned general of the Civil War. McClellan was the best loved by his troops, and it had been his sudden appearance (having been temporarily relieved of his command by Lincoln) that rallied the Army and prevented its defeat at the Second Manassas from becoming a rout. It was under his leadership that the Army then stood up to the hail of fire at Antietam, stopped General Lee and saved Maryland for the Union. McClellan understood (as did Lee and Grant) that this was a war of attrition, and there could be no "decisive victory" on any battlefield; not until both sides had been ground into dust. The soldiers knew this, too. They also knew that McClellan, more than any of the others, disliked throwing lives away in futile charges, and would do his best to give his men favorable odds. Even Lee, at Malvern and Gettysburg, was not loath to send his men to certain death in frontal assaults against artillery & dug-in troops. It is frequently overlooked that throughout the abortive Penninsular Campaign, it was the Confederates who suffered the greater losses in every engagement; McClellan held the Army together throughout its extraction, and also managed to secure Norfolk and Portsmouth, together with the destruction of the Merrimac (the Confederate ironclad Virginia). A great deal of Lincoln's famous problems that he allegedly experienced with his generals was so much sound and fury, a political sideshow staged for the press, to drown out the reality of the staggering casualties that were piling up on the battlefields and in the military hospitals and prisons. It was not until the Battle of Gettysburg that the people of the North had direct experience of this kind of carnage, and that is why Abraham Lincoln was so afraid he might lose.
"... The [1864 Democratic] platform alleged interference by the military authority in elections in Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and Delaware; subversion of civil by military law in states not in insurrection; arbitrary military arrest, imprisonment, trial, and sentence of American citizens in states where civil law existed in full force; suppression of freedom of speech and of the press; denial of the right of asylum; open and avowed disregard of state rights; the employment of unusual test-oaths; and interference with and the denial of the right of the people to bear arms. It condemned the "shameful disregard" by the Administration of the suffering of the prisoners of war."
The Civil War: A One-Volume History
Abraham Lincoln was proclaimed victorious with a "landslide" one-tenth plurality. Apparently pleased with their military governors and bootleg graft, (!) the states under military occupation showed the largest plurality for President Lincoln, Commander-in-Chief. By way of contrast, according to the "revised" figures, Lincoln carried New York State by only 6,749 out of over 730,000 votes cast (less than 1%). Ninety thousand soldiers from seven states -- Massachusetts, Rhode island, New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois and California -- were not permitted by the states (political machines) to vote away from home. Men who lived in the territories, or who served in the Army from those areas, were not allowed to vote. And yet, despite the secession of eleven states, the total of votes cast in 1864 was nearly as high as it had been in 1860 with no states in secession! (As though someone had cast votes for the dead of all ages.)
So long as wartime conditions prevailed, the Republican Party was able to hold power through control of the military occupation zones. But one cannot rig elections forever, and sooner or later the war would end. Once the Southern states were readmitted to the Union, the radical Republicans would be crushed. The conspirators understood that, in order to maintain their control of government, they would have to do two things: organize the negroes, both North and South, into a body of solid political support, and then give them the right to vote.
The Abolitionist George Luther Stearns, as we have noted, had been appointed Assistant Adjutant-General under the Quartermaster (Army Supply Corps) for the Enlistment of Colored Troops. It has been claimed that upwards of 175,000 negroes had been enlisted into the Federal Armies over the course of the war, but very few of these ever saw battle. For the most part, they were used as garrison troops covering the supply lines and occupation zones. Working as laborers and sentries under the Quartermaster and Corps of Engineers, the negro troops were the perfect stooges to facilitate the looting, contraband and war-profiteering rings that operated through the Supply Corps. These were later to become the backbone of the negro militia that served the military governors during Reconstruction.
While there was some military justification for this deployment of negroes to the rear rather than at the front, this also provided the nexus for organizing the contraband camps -- runaway negro slaves and camp followers who gathered around Federal supply depots -- into Union Leagues and Freedman Bureaus. Even today, most of the inner-city negro slums in the South are located near the dockyards and railway terminals because they began as contraband camps during the Civil War. During the Reconstruction Era, these camps were the political base for scalawag and carpetbag rule.
A corrupt stooge is infinitely preferable to an honest one, because he is more easily controlled. We should not be surprised that the negro troops and camp-followers were intentionally corrupted. This was a necessary step before giving them the right to vote -- that an organization be constructed that would control that vote. And so the negroes were fed and cared for, and put to work, packing and shipping the contraband, gleaning the countryside for simple articles like crockery, soap, velvet, lace and dress shoes -- things that are easily overlooked by pillaging troops, but which could fetch a high price in the emporiums of San Francisco and Philadelphia.
The first negro votes had been cast in the regular Army as early as 1864, and we should not be surprised that many of these were passed as white by the military election authorities. This is one of the reasons why, in the 1864 Election, President Lincoln enjoyed the largest plurality in those areas under military occupation. As we have seen, many of the most virulent Abolitionists had become Union generals, and some these did not wait for congress to declare negro suffrage as, indeed, this was as much a matter of state constitutional law. But in the Federal occupation zones there was no state government to contend with, the military governor being vested with all civilian authority. Therefore, by the 1866 elections, the negro vote was substantial and significant, and the illiterate negroes all voted the radical ticket, as they were told.
Bolstered by the radical vote, and under the leadership of Thaddeus Stevens (Pennsylvania) and Charles Sumner (Massachusetts), Congress demanded "War Crimes Trials" of Confederate leaders, the disfranchisement of Southern whites, the confiscation of property from wealthy whites who had aided the Confederacy, the enforcement of strong legal protections for blacks, and both state and Federal constitutional amendments granting negro suffrage in order to legitimize the bloc of corrupt Republican negro stooge-votes. The word radical is hardly sufficient to describe what was being put forth:
"I do not believe in battles ending this war. You may plant a fort in every district of the South, you may take possession of her capitals and hold them with your armies, but you have not begun to subdue her people. I know it means something like absolute barbarian conquest, I allow it, but I do not believe that there will be any peace until 347,000 men of the South are either hanged or exiled."
Wendell Phillips, at the pulpit
of Henry Ward Beecher's Church
"If I had the power, I would arm every wolf, panther, catamount and bear in the mountains of America, every crocodile in the swamps of Florida, every negro in the South, every devil in hell, clothe them in the uniform of the Federal army and turn them loose on the rebels of the South and exterminate every man, woman and child south of the Mason and Dixon's line. I would like to see negro troops, under the command of Butler, crowd every rebel into the Gulf of Mexico, and drown them as the devil did the hogs in the Sea of Galilee."
"Parson" Brownlow, ex-governor of Tennessee
at a convention held in New York
"I found the whites a worn-out, effete race, without vigor, mental or physical. On the contrary the negroes are alive, alert, full of energy. I predict in 25 years the negroes of the South will be at the head of all affairs, political, religious, the arts and sciences."
Judge Salmon P. Chase, after the War
returning from a trip to the South
The references to skinny whites and healthy negroes is a reflection of the true conditions of Southern Reconstruction. The Abolitionists and radicals made sure there was enough food, shelter and clothing for the contraband camps. There was money for schools and churches to be built for the blacks, and employment through the supply depots, shipping docks and reorganized municipal governments under occupation. But there was no relief for the white population, who were left on their own. There was no Red Cross, no Union League, no Freedmen's Bureau for whites.
The Conservatives believed that the 13th Amendment was enough. Lincoln's 1863 Plan had been to restore the Union and defer the issue of of negro citizenship (suffrage), which had little popular support in either the North or the South. He asked for amnesty to all Southerners, readmission of Southern states when 10% of voters had taken a loyalty oath, and suffrage for educated and propertied blacks. His plan was based upon the premise that the Southern states had never left the Union.
In 1864, the radical Congress passed the Wade-Davis bill, based upon the premise that the Southern states had forfeited their rights by the act of secession. Wade-Davis called for a provisional governor to be appointed by the president (under military occupation). After 50% of "eligible" voters took loyalty oaths, each state was to hold a constitutional convention. Persons who had fought for the Confederacy were not allowed to vote for delegates, and the new state constitutions were required to prohibit slavery and certify ratification of the 13th Amendment. The Wade-Davis bill was passed by Congress but pocket-vetoed by Lincoln.
In January 1865, following Lincoln's re-election, a self-appointed convention of Unionists met in Nashville, Tennessee. They nominated William G. "Parson" Brownlow for governor, drafted a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery and staged a "referendum" of 25,000 votes (!) to confirm their actions. Tennessee thereby met the conditions then extant for readmission and ratified the 14th Amendment on July 18, 1866.
Following Lincoln's assassination on 14 April 1865, Andrew Johnson became president. He instituted a "Restoration Plan" by executive order in the summer of 1865 when Congress was not in session. His plan was a compromise, biased towards Lincoln's theory that the states had never left the Union, but nevertheless complying with the terms of Wade-Davis. Almost all of the Southern states quickly complied with the program, holding conventions and incorporating the 13th Amendment in their constitutions, but when Congress reconvened in December 1865 it refused to seat the representatives of the reconstructed states. Instead, the radical Republicans established a "Joint Committee on Reconstruction" to investigate Johnson's initiative. Within sixty days a whole new set of demands was placed on the table.