Page images

may have been arrested and are now held to answer upon such charges only, shall be forth with released. But it is expressly declared that nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to bar or interfere with any of the usual and regular proceedings of the established courts and statutes and orders made and provided for such offences.

2. All peaceably-disposed citizens, who may have been driven from their homes because of their political opinions, or who may have left them from fear of force and violence, are hereby advised and permitted to return, upon the faith of our positive assurances that while so returning they shall receive protection from both armies in the field, whenever it can be given.

3. All bodies of armed men acting without the authority or recognition of the Major-Gen. before named, and not legitimately connected with the armies in the field, are hereby ordered at once to disband.

4. Any violation of either of the foregoing articles shall subject the offender to the penalty of military law, according to the nature of the offence.

This done and agreed at Springfield, Missouri, this first day of November, 1861. By order of MAJOR-GENERAL FREMONT.




Here was a distinct and honourable pledge made by the enemy to conduct the war in Missouri on principles of humanity, and to forego all persecution for opinion's sake. How was it fulfilled, when Price's army was compelled to retire from the State, and the enemy's audacity was unbridled, and his true temper allowed to run its course? The flagitious story of his behaviour in Virginia and in the Valley of Mississippi, obtained new additions and surpassing illustrations of cruelty in the distant State of Missouri, and in the obscure departments of authority, where despotism ran riot almost without the chance of being discovered, or the risk of being called to account. No bob red tape" embarrassed the enemy's power here; no settled rules limited and contained it; the Federal authority and its partisans did what they pleased. The unhappy State was torn by crimes and excesses which no pen can describe. The habeas corpus was suspended; denunciations and arrests became the weapons of private malignity; Union men plundered and destroyed the homes of those whom they chose to denounce; arson, murder, confiscation, exile, were the penalties dealt out against men, women, and children, by vigilance committees; the assassin's dagger was unsheathed and held at the throat of every one who dared to sympathize with the South, or to protest against the worst excesses of despotic authority. Such was the realization to Missouri of a war which the enemy had solemnly engaged to conduct only against armies in the field, and for the exclusive object of the restoration of the Union.

It was not until near the close of the war, that Gen. Price made his last desperate attempt to save Missouri, to relieve her from the reign of terrour, and to “chase the Union army from the State.” It failed. It commenced with a brilliant inroad; and in the last days of September, 1864, Price's little and adventurous army, under the command of Shelby, Marmaduke, and Fagan, had advanced towards Pilot Knob, and was moving north to the Missouri River. But the enemy was too numerous; and while Rosecrans pressed his rear, a body of 8,000 cavalry fell upon Price, who found it impossible to extricate himself without a battle, delivered against overwhelming odds. On the 23d October he was attacked, and defeated with great loss—Gens. Marmaduke and Cabell being taken prisoners, besides many officers and men. The following day Price was again attacked, near Fort Scott, and obliged hurriedly to retreat into Kansas. He then turned down to the south, and crossed the Arkansas River, above Fort Smith, in the Indian Territory. On the 8th December, 1864, his headquarters were at Washington, in the south part of Arkansas, his troops at that time greatly suffering from the weather, and sadly diminished by a campaign in which the casualties had been many, and the desertions yet more numerous.

This event may be said to have terminated Gen. Price's military career. At the close of the war he was included in Kirby Smith's surrender; and preferring exile to the lot of submission

[ocr errors]

that the war had determined, he shortly thereafter left the country, and found refuge in Mexico. There he was for some time engaged in a scheme of colonization under the auspices of the Imperial Government, which, however, it is generally believed, proved a feeble and unsatisfactory enterprise.

In the character of Gen. Price, as illustrated in our brief sketch, we remark simplicity, the charm of great earnestness, and a commanding influence over men. As a military man, he was apt, resourceful, and not without some strategic genius. But no commander--not even Stonewall Jackson-ever fought his troops more fiercely and in closer quarters with the enemy. Like the great warriour of Virginia, he cared but little for works of defence, and sought the contact of the bayonet. It is said that shortly after he had joined the Confederate army, then at Corinth, Gen. Beauregard conducted him around the lines of the camp, and with a good deal of pride exhibited and explained the strength of his fortifications. "What do you think of these works, Gen. Price?" “Why, General," answered Price, " to tell you the truth, I never saw but two of the kind before, and that was after our boys had taken them.”

We cannot fail to observe a defect in Gen. Price's military career, in the want of discipline in his command, painfully apparent in his last invasion of Missouri; but this appears to have been so common and inherent an affliction in all the armies of the Confederacy, and to have proceeded from so many causes beyond control—the individuality of the Southern soldier, the necessity of conciliating him in the peculiar circumstances of a service where there were so many hardships, so many appeals to return to suffering families, so many opportunities to desert in wild and impassable countries, where it was impossible to reclaim him--that it is scarcely to be urged personally against any commander, and cast as censure at his doors.* Price's men loved him, and never failed

* An article in a recent review contains the following just remarks on the organi. zation and spirit of the Southern armies :

“The army of the late 'Confederate States of America' was an eclectic, or excerpted system from the high military models of Austria, Prussia, France, and the United States. It was a beautiful and complete model of thorough scientific organization, full of interest and instruction to those who wish to learn how to make war terrible and destructive, and, above all things else that sprang from the master hand him for want of affection and confidence. Many of them asserted that “they would rather die under his command than fight with any other.” They had a number of familiar affectionate names by which their commander was designated, such as "Pap,” “Dad," “The Old Tycoon," etc. There can be no better indication of popularity than the rude nicknames of the camp. Gen. Price had the charm of being accessible alike to all—the officer and the private; and was always ready with a kind and respectful word for

of that directing and all-informing mind that stood at the head of the Southern revolution, attested its commanding genius. From Austria was taken the admirable organization of the grand field-staff; from Prussia, the firm and compact general military anatomy; from France, the model of its field ordnance, and scientific artillery theory and practice; and from the United States, its tactical economy, its infan. try equipment and drill, its army regulations, and its theory of military maneuvre and strategic practice.

“The organization of the Confederate army was a finished piece of military mechanism, methodical, harmonious, composite, in all pertaining to its exteriour, practical arrangement; but there was a fatal defect in its interiour, vital economy, a morbid, organic derangement, that defeated every hope of healthy bodily action, preyed upon every one. And yet he was fierce and energetic, with unlimited influence over his men.

of a rigid discipline. If it had possessed this one important quality, the battle of Sharpsburg would have declared the independence of the South. Gen. Lee crossed over into Maryland, a fortnight before the happening of that battle, with eighty thonsand troops; but on that field he could only put his hand on thirty-five thousand of that number. Not that this more than moiety of his army had wilfully deserted their colours; but allured from their commands by the profuse hospitality of the people of Maryland, they lingered behind the advancing army, thinking to rejoin it in time to share in its laurels. Such conduct the systems of Frederick and Napoleon pronounced desertion, and inflexibly punished with death. The great body of the rank and file of the Southern army was composed of a social element that in the armies of other countries is seen only in positions of command and authority; and the officers elected from among themselves, and often their social and intellectual inferiours, left matters of authority and subordination to take care of themselves, while their only care was to make their reports correspond, from day to day. Under such a general relaxation of authority, discipline was impossible; and the Southern army was nothing more than an association of patriotic gentlemen, animated by the enthusiasm of a common cause, and regarding army regulations and discipline as designed only for a race of slaves. When once in battle, they fought with a dash, spirit, resolution, and desperation of valour such as has never been excelled by any soldiery in the world, ancient or modern. This idea is most forcibly illnstrated by a remark that is said to have fallen from the lips of that rugged old hero, Gen. D. H. Hill, after the battle of Antietam, when, in speaking of the behaviour of his troops in that engagement, he said, he had but one fault to find of his Mississippians, and that was, each man acted as if he thought himself a brigadier. In the European sense of the word, there was no such thing known to the Confederate army as discipline.".

Of the hero in exile, an eloquent writer, from whom we have already drawn some incidents of Gen. Price's career, thus well and nobly discourses : Gen. Price has gone to Mexico, if reports are true, with the purpose of making it his home and country-nay, not his country, for we hold it impossible that any man, with his brain and affections, can shake off both educated and natural patriotism. He cannot do it. His heart, like every great or brave heart, in the land we love, yet yearns for the glory and prosperity of the great nation from which he is said to have expatriated himself.

A poor, unmanly melancholy, sprang from change of fortune,' cannot so afflict his noble nature. Disappointed in his hopes he may be distrustful of his reception by former friends and neighbours, yea, doubtful of his pardon by the General Government. We do not so regard the prospect. Gen. Price bas honestly and well taken a leading part in the great revolution the entire South stood so manfully to achieve. He has forfeited the respect of no one, save the blind partisan, or the bloodthirsty puritan. On the contrary be has won upon their sympathy and regard; for duty performed commends itself to the heart of every well-regulated child of Adam. He has committed no outrage, no act of his life can bring the blush of shame to his cheek, or disturb the most extravagant conscience. We differ with all those who look for refuge to another land, another nationality. The South staked her all upon the issue just decided. She lost. She is willing to pay the penalty, has paid it, and is still paying it. She has nearly resumed her old place in the government, and her soldiers have determined, under the wise policy of President Johnson, to accept, in loyal faith, his generous amnesty, faithfully to serve the United States, and strive to promote all solid ends of government, as freely, as fully, as manfully, as during the past four years they fought for separation. So we speak and feel, and so shall we act. Now is the day and the hour when such manhood as Gen. Price possesses this nation needs, in carrying out her new policy. Let him return. Let him go cheerfully to his old home, with form erect, that face blooming with honest pride, and, like Lee and Johnson, strike again for the national and social progress of his own, his native land.

« PreviousContinue »