Valley of the Shadow
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Speech of Hon. Horatio Seymour

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The Contest in Maryland

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"Pale and bloody faces are everywhere upturned. They are sad and terrible, but there is nothing which makes one's heart beat so quickly as the imploring look of sorely wounded men who beckon wearily for help which you cannot stay to give."

Full Text of Article

Great Battle of Wednesday--Graphic and Interesting Particulars--Terrible Manslaughters--Desperation of the Rebels--Heroic Determination of our Troops--Fighting Joe Hooker Glorious Again--Gallantry of Officers and Men--The Union Army Victorious in Each Day's Fight--Accounts of our Losses.

The Tribune has the following despatch, dated:

Battle-Field of Sharpsburg, Wednesday evening Sept. 17, 1862--Fierce and desperate battle between 200,000 men has raged since daylight, yet night closes on an uncertain field. It is the greatest fight since Waterloo; all over the field contested with an obstinacy equal even to Waterloo. If not wholly a victory tonight, I believe it is the prelude to a victory to-morrow. But what can be foretold of the future of a fight in which from five in the morning till seven at night the best troops of the continent have fought without decisive result.

I have no time for speculation; no time even to gather details of the battle, only time to state its broadest features, then mount and spur for New York.

After the brilliant victory near Middletown, General McClellan pushed forward his army rapidly, and reached Keedysville with three corps on Monday night. That march has already been described. On the day following the two armies faced each other idly, until night. Artillery was busy at intervals, once in the morning opening with spirit, and continuing for half an hour with vigor, till the Rebel battery, as usual, was silenced.

McClellan was on the hill where Benjamin's battery was stationed, and found himself suddenly under a rather heavy fire. It was still uncertain whether the Rebels were retreating or reinforcing; their batteries would remain in position to either case, and as they had withdrawn nearly all their troops from view there was only the doubtful indication of columns of dust to the rear.

On the evening of Tuesday Hooker was ordered to cross the Antietam creek with his corps, and, feeling the left of the enemy, to be ready to attack next morning. During the day of apparent inactivity McClellan had been maturing his plan of battle, of which Hooker's movement was one development.

The position on either side was peculiar--When Richardson advanced on Monday he found the enemy deployed and displayed in force on a crescent-shaped ridge, the outline of which followed, more or less exactly, the course of Antietam creek. Their lines were then forming and the revelation of force in front of the ground which they really intended to hold was probably meant to delay our attack until their arrangements to receive it were complete.

During the day they kept their troops exposed, and did not move them to avoid the artillery fire, which must have been occasionally annoying. Next morning the lines and columns which had darkened cornfields and hill crests had been withdrawn. Broken and wooded ground behind the sheltering hills concealed the Rebel masses. What from our front looked like only a narrow summit fringed with woods, was a broad table-land of forest and ravine, cover for troops everywhere, nowhere easy access for an enemy. The smoothly sloping surface in front and the sweeping crescents os [sic] slowly mingling lines was all a delusion. It was all a Rebel stronghold beyond.

Under the base of the hills runs the deep stream called Antietam Creek, fordable only at distant points. Three bridges cross it--one on the Hagerstown road, one on the Sharpsburg pike; and one to the left, in a deep recess of sleepy falling hills. Hooker passed the first to reach the ford by which he crossed, and it was held by Pleasanton with a reserve of cavalry during the battle. The second was close under the Rebel centre, and no way important to yesterday's fight. At the third, Burnside attacked and finally crossed. Between the first and third lay the battle lines. They stretched four miles from right to left.

Unaided attack in front was impossible. McClellan's forces lay behind low, disconnected ridges, in front of the Rebel summits, all or nearly all unwooded. They gave some cover for artillery, and guns were, therefore, massed on the centre. The enemy had the Shepherdstown road and the Hagerstown and Williamsport road both open to him in rear for retreat. Along one or the other, if beaten, he must fly. This, among other reasons, determined, perhaps, the plan of battle which McClellan finally resolved on.

The plan was generally as follows: Hooker was to cross on the right, establish himself on the enemy's left if possible, flanking his position, and to open the fight. Sumner, Franklin and Mansfield were to send their forces also to the right, co-operating with and sustaining Hooker's attack, while advancing also nearer the centre. The heavy work in the centre was left mostly to the batteries. Porter massing his infantry support in the hollows. On the left Burnside was to carry the bridge already referred to, advancing then by a road which enters the pike at Sharpsburg, turning at once the Rebel flank and destroying his line of retreat. Porter and Sykes were held in reserve. It is obvious that the complete success of a plan contemplating widely divergent movements of separate corps, must largely depend on accurate timing, that the attack should be simultaneous and not successive.

Hooker moved Tuesday afternoon at four crossing the creek at a ford above the creek and well to the right, without opposition. Fronting southwest his line advanced not quite on the Rebel flank, but overlapping and threatening it. Turning of[f] from the road after passing the stream, he sent forth cavalry skirmishers straight into the woods and over the field beyond. Rebel pickets withdrew slowly before them, firing scattering and harmless shots. Turning again to the left, the cavalry went down on the Rebel flank, coming suddenly close to a battery which met them with unexpected grape and canister. It being the motive of cavalry to retire before the batteries, this company loyalty followed the law of its being and came swiftly back without pursuit.

Artillery was sent to the front, infantry was rapidly deployed, and skirmishers went out in front and on either flank. The corps moved forward compactly, Hooker, as usual, reconnoitering in person. They came at last to an open grass-sown field included on two sides with woods; protected on the right of the hill, and entered through a corn-field in the rear. Skirmishers entering these woods were immediately met by rebel shots, but held their ground, and as soon, supported, advanced and cleared the timber. Beyond, on the left and in front, volleys of musketry opened heavily, and a battle seemed to have begun a little sooner than it was expected.

General Hooker formed his lines with precision and without hesitation. Ricketts' division went into the woods on the left in force. Meade, with the Pennsylvania Reserves, formed in the centre. Doubleday was sent out on the right, planting his batteries on the hill, and opening at once on a rebel battery that began to enfilade the central line. It was already dark, and the rebel position could only be discovered by the flashes of their guns. They pushed forward boldly on the right, after losing ground on the other flank, but made no attempt to regain their hold on the woods. The fight flashed, and glimmered, and faded and finally went out in the dark.

Hooker had found out what he wanted to know. When the firing ceased the hostile lines lay close to each other, their pickets so near that six rebels were captured during the night. It was inevitable that the fight should recommence at daylight. Neither side had suffered considerable loss; it was a skirmish, not a battle. "We are through for the night," remarked the General, "but to-morrow we fight the battle that will decide the fate of the republic."

Not long after the firing ceased it sprang up again on the left. General Hooker, who had taken up his head-quarters in a barn, which had been nearly the focus of the rebel artillery, was out at once. First came rapid and unusual picket shots, then several heavy volleys. The General listened a moment and smiled grimly.

"We have no troops there. The troops are shooting each other. It is Fair Oaks over again." So everybody lay down again, but all the night through there were frequent alarms.

McClellan had been informed of the night's work, and of the certainties awaiting the dawn. Sumner was ordered to move his corps at once, and was expected to be on the ground at day-light. From the extent of the rebel lines developed in the evening, it was plain that they had gathered their whole army behind the heights and were waiting for the shock.

The battle began with the dawn. Morning found both armies just as they had slept, almost close enough to look into each other's eyes. The left of Meade's Reserves and the right of Rickett's line became engaged at nearly the same moment, one with artillery, the other with infantry. A battery was almost immediately pushed forward beyond the central woods, over a plowed field, near the top of the slope where the cornfield began. On the open field, in the corn beyond and in the woods which stepped forward into the broad fields, like a promontory into the ocean, was the hardest and deadliest struggle of the day.

For half an hour after the battle had grown to its full strength, the line of fire swayed neither way. Hooker's men were fully up to their work. They saw their General everywhere in front, never away from the fire, and all the troops believed in their commander, and fought with a will. Two-thirds of them were the same men who, under MacDowell, had broken at Manassas.

The half hour passed, the Rebels began to give way a little, only a little, but at the first indication of a receding fire, Forward, was the word, and on went the line with a cheer and a rush. Back across the cornfield, leaving dead and wounded behind them, over the fence, and across the road, and then back again into the dark woods which closed around them, went the retreating Rebels.

Meade and his Pennsylvanians followed hard and fast--followed till they came within easy range of the woods, among which they saw their beaten enemy disappearing--followed still, with another cheer, and flung themselves against the cover.

But out of those gloomy woods came, suddenly and heavily, terrible volleys--volleys which smote, and bent and broke, in a moment, that eager front, and hurled them swiftly back for half the distance they had won. Not swiftly, nor in panic, any further. Closing up their shattered lines, they came slowly away--a regiment where a brigade had been hardly a brigade where a whole division had been victorious. They had met from the woods the first volleys of musketry from fresh troops--had met them and returned them till their line had yielded and gone down before the weight of fire, and till their ammunition was exhausted.

In ten minutes the fortune of the day seemed to have changed--it was the Rebels now who were advancing, pouring out of the woods in endless lines, sweeping through the corn-field from which their comrades just fled. Hooker sent in his nearest brigade to meet them, but it could not do the work. He called for another. There was nothing close enough unless he took it from his right. His right might be in danger if it was weakened, but his centre was already threatened with annihilation. Not hesitating one moment, he sent to Doubleday: "Give me your best brigade instantly."

The best brigade came down the hill to the right on the run, went through the timber in front through a storm of shot and bursting shell and crashing limbs, over the open field beyond, and straight into the corn field, passing as they went the fragments of three brigadges [sic], shattered by the Rebel fire, and streaming to the rear. They passed by Hooker, whose eyes lighted as he saw these veteran troops led by a soldier whom he knew he could trust. "I think they will hold it," he said.

Gen. Hartsuff took his troops very steadily but now that they were under fire, not hurriedly, up the hill from which the corn field begins to descend and formed them on the crest. Not a man who was not in full view--not one, who bent before the storm. Firing at first in over the corn-field. There was a broad interval between him and the nearest division, and he saw that if the Rebel line were complete his own division was in immediate danger of being flanked. But his orders were to advance, and those are orders which a soldier--and Sedgwick is every inch a soldier--loves best to hear.

To extend his own front as far as possible, he ordered the twenty-fourth New York to move by the left flank. The manoeuvre was attempted under a fire of the greatest intensity; and the regiment broke. At the same moment, the enemy perceiving their advantage, came round on the flank. Crawford was obliged to give on the right, and his troops pouring in confusion through the ranks of Sedgwick's advance brigade, threw it into disorder and back on the second and third lines. The enemy advanced, their fire increasing.

General Sedgwick was three times wounded, in the shoulder, leg and wrist, but he persisted in remaining on the field so long as there was a chance of saving it. His Adjutant General, Major Sedewick, bravely rallying and trying to reform the troops, was shot through the body, the bullet lodging in the spine, and fell from his horse. Severe as the wound is, it is probably not mortal. Lieutenant Howe, of General Sedgwick's Staff, endeavored vainly to rally the Thirty-fourth New York. They were badly cut up and would not stand. Half their officers were killed or wounded, their colors shot to pieces, the Color Sergeant killed, every one of the color-guard wounded. Only thirty-two were afterwards got together.

The Fifteenth Massachusetts went into action with 17 officers and nearly 600 men. Nine officers were killed or wounded, and some of the latter are prisoners. Capt. Simons, Capt. Samples, of the Sharp shooters, Lieut. Darley and Lieut. Berry are killed. Capt. Bartlett and Capt. Jocelyn, Lieut. Spurr, Lieut. Gale and Lieut. Bradley are wounded. One hundred and thirty four men were the only remains that could be collected of this splendid regiment.

General Dana was wounded, Gen. Howard who took command of the division after Gen. Sedgwick was disabled, exerted himself to restore order, but it could not be done there. Gen. Sumner ordered the line to be reformed under the fire. The test was too severe for volunteer troops under such a fire. Sumner himself attempted to arrest the disorder, but to little purpose. Lieutenant-Colonel Revere and Captain Audenreid, of his staff, were wounded severely, but not dangerously. It was impossible to hold the position. General Sumner withdrew the division to the rear, and once more the cornfield was abandoned to the enemy.

French sent word he could hold his ground. Richardson, while gallantly leading a regiment under a heavy fire, was severely wounded in the shoulder. Gen. Meagher was wounded at the head of his brigade. The loss in general officers was becoming frightful.

At one o'clock affairs on the right had a gloomy look. Hooker's troops were greatly exhausted, and their General away from the field. Mansfield's were no better. Sumner's command had lost heavily, but two of his divisions were still comparatively fresh. Artillery was yet playing vigorously in front, though the ammunition of many of the batteries was entirely exhausted, and they had been compelled to retire.

Doubleday held the right inflexibly. Sumner's headquarters were now in the narrow field where the right before Hooker, had begun the fight. All that had been gained in front had been lost! The enemy's batteries, which, if advanced and served vigorously, might have made sad work with the closely-massed troops, were, fortunately, either partially disabled or short of ammunition. Sumner was confident that he could hold his own; but another advance was out of the question. The enemy, on the other hand, seemed to be too much exhausted to attack.

At this crises Franklin came up with fresh troops, and one division of the corps, formed on the left. Slocum was sent forward along the slopes lying under the first ranges of the division of Rebel hills, while Smith was ordered to retake the cornfield and woods which all day had been so hotly contested. It was done in the handsomest style. His Maine and Vermont Regiments and the rest went forward on the run, and, cheering as they went, swept like an avalanche through the cornfields, fell upon the woods, cleared them in ten minutes, and had them. They were not again retaken.

The field and its ghastly harvest which the reaper had gathered in those fatal hours remained finally with us. Four times it had been lost and won. The dead are strewn so thickly that as you ride over it you cannot guide your horse's steps too carefully. Pale and bloody faces are everywhere upturned. They are sad and terrible, but there is nothing which makes one's heart beat so quickly as the imploring look of sorely wounded men who beckon wearily for help which you cannot stay to give.

General Smith's attack was so sudden that his success was accomplished with no great loss. He had gained a point however, which compelled him to expect every moment an attack, and to hold which, if the enemy again brought up reserves would take his best energies and best troops. But the long strife, the heavy losses, incessant fighting over the same repeatedly lost and won inch by inch, and more than all, perhaps, the fear of Burnside on the left and Porter in front, held the enemy in check. For two or three hours there was a lull even in the cannonade on the right, which hitherto had been incessant. McClellan had been over on the field after Sumner's repulse, but had speedily returned to his head quarters. Sumner again sent word that he was able to hold his position, but could not advance with his own corps.

Meantime w[h]ere was Burnside, and what was he doing? On the right w[h]ere I had spent the day until two o'clock, little was known of the general fortunes of the field. We had heard Porter guns in the centre, but nothing from Burnside on the left. The distance was too great to distinguish the sound of his artillery from Porters left. There was no immediate prospect of more fighting on the right, and I left the field, which, all day long, had seen the most obstinate contest of the war, and rode over to McClellan's head-quarters. The different battle-fields were shut out from each other's view, but all partially visible from the central hill which General McClellan had occupied during the day. But I was more than ever impressed, on returning with the completely deceitful appearance of the ground the Rebels had chosen when viewed from the front.

Hooker's and Sumner's struggle had been carried on over an uneven and wooded surface, their own line of battle extending in a semi-circle not less than a mile and a half. Perhaps a better notion of their position can be got by considering their right centre and left, as forming three sides of a square. So long therefore as either wing was driven back the centre became exposed to a very dangerous enfilading fire, and the further the centre advanced the worse off it was, unless the lines on its side and rear were firmly held. This formation resulted originally from the efforts of the enemy to turn both flanks. Hooker, at the very onset, threw his column so far into the centre of the Rebel lines that were compelled to threaten him on the flank to secure their own centre.

Nothing of all this was perceptible from the hills in front. Some directions of the Rebel lines had been disclosed by the stroke of their guns, but the whole interior formation of the country beyond the hills was completely concealed. When McClellan arranged his order of battle, it must have been upon information, or have been left to his corps and division commanders to discover for themselves.

Up to three o'clock Burnside had made little progress. His attack on the bridge had been successful, but the delay had been so great that to the observer it appeared as if McClellan's plans must have been seriously disarranged. It is impossible not to suppose that the attacks on the right and left were meant in a measure to correspond, for otherwise the enemy had only to repel Hooker on the one hand, then transfer his troops and push them against Burnside.

Here was the differences between Smith and Burnside. The former did his work at once, and lost all his men at once--that is, all whom he lost at all; Burnside seems to have attacked cautiously, in order to save his men, and sending successively insufficient forces against a position of strength, distributed his loss over a greater period of time, but yet lost none the less in the end.

Finally, at 4 o'clock, McClellan sent simultaneously orders to Burnside and Franklin; to the former to advance and carry the batteries in his front at all hazards and any cost; to the latter to carry the woods next in front of him to the left, which the Rebels still held. The order to Franklin, however, was practically countermanded, in consequence of a message from Gen. Sumner that, if Franklin went on and was repulsed, his own corps was not yet sufficiently reorganized to be depended on as a reserve.

Franklin, thereupon, was directed to run no risk of losing his present position, and, instead of sending his infantry into the woods, contented himself with advancing his batteries over the breadth of the fields in front, supporting them with heavy columns of infantry, and attacking with energy the Rebel batteries immediately opposed to him. His movement was a success so far as it went, the batteries maintaining their new ground, and sensibly affecting the steadiness of the Rebel fire. That being once accomplished, and all hazard of the right being a forced back having been dispelled, the movement of Burnside became at once the turning point of success, and the fate of the day depended on him.

How extraordinary the situation was may be judged from a moment's consideration of the facts. It is understood that from the outset Burnside's attack was expected to be decisive, as it certainly must have been if things went well elsewhere, and if he succeeded in establishing himself on the Sharpsburg road in the Rebel rear.

Gens. Hooker, Sumner and Franklin, and Mansfield, were all sent to the right three miles away, while Porter seems to have done double duty with his single corps in front, both supporting the batteries and holding himself in reserve. With all this immense force on the right, but 10,000 men were given to Burnside for the decisive moment of the day.

Still more unfortunate in its results was the total failure of these separate attacks on the right and left to sustain, or in any manner to co-operate with each other. Burnside hesitated for hours in front of the bridge which should have been carried at once by a 'coup de main.' Meantime, Hooker had been fighting for four hours with various fortune, but final success. Sumner had come up too late to join in the decisive attack which his earlier arrival would probably have turned into a complete success; and Franklin reached the scence [sic] only when Sumner had been repulsed. Probably before his arrival the Rebels had transferred a considerable number of troops to their right to meet the attack of Burnside, the direction of which was then suspected or developed.

Attacking first with one regiment, then with two, and delaying both for artillery, Burnside was not over the bridge before two o'clock--perhaps not till three. He advanced slowly up the slopes in his front, his batteries in rear covering, to some extent, the movements of the infantry. A desperate fight was going on in a deep ravine on his right, the Rebel batteries were in full play, and, apparently, very annoying and destructive, while heavy columns of Rebel troops were plainly visible, advancing, as if careless of concealment, along the road and over the hills in the direction of Burnside's forces. It was at this point of time that McClellan sent him the order above given.

Burnside obeyed it most gallantly. Getting his troops well in hand, and sending a portion of artillery to the front, he advanced them with rapidity and the most determined vigor, straight up the hill in front, on top of which the Rebels had maintained their most dangerous battery. The movement was in plain view of McClellan's position, and as Franklin on the other side, sent his batteries into the field about the same time, the battle seemed to open in all directions with greater activity than ever.

The fight in the ravine was in full progress, the batteries which Porter supported were firing with new vigor, Franklin was biting away on the right and hill-top ridge and woods along the whole line was crested and veiled with white clouds of smoke. All day had been clear and bright since the early cloudy morning, and now this whole magnificent, unequalled [sic] scene shone with the splendor of an afternoon September sun. Four miles of battle, its glory all visible, its horrors all hidden, the life of the Republic hanging on the hour--could any one be insensible of its grandeur?

There are two hills on the left of the road, the farthest and lowest. The Rebels have batteries on both. Burnside is ordered to carry the nearest to him, which is the farthest from the road. His guns opening first from this new position in front, more entirely controlled and silenced the enemy's artillery. The infantry came on at once, moving rapidly and steadily up long dark lanes, and broad, dark recesses, being plainly visible without a glass as they moved over the green hillside.

The next moment, the road in which the Rebel battery was planted was canopied with clouds of dust swiftly descending into the valley. Underneath was a tumult of wagons, guns, horses, and men flying at speed down the road. Blue flashes of smoke burst now and then among them, a horse or a man or half dozen went down, and then the whirl wind swept on.

The hill was carried, but could it be held? The Rebel columns, before seen moving to the left, increased their pace. The guns, on the hill above, send an angry tempest of shell down among Burnside's guns and men. He had formed his columns apparently in near angles of two fields bordering the road, high ground about them everywhere except in rear.

In another moment a Rebel battle-line appears on the brow of the ridge above them moves swiftly down in the most perfect order and though met by incessant discharges of musketry, of which we plainly see the flashes, does not fire a gun. White spaces show w[h]ere men are falling, but they close up instantly, and still the line advances. The brigades of Burnside are in heavy column: they will not give way before a bayonet charge in line. The Rebels think twice before they dash into these hostile masses.

There is a halt: the Rebel left gives way and scatters over the field; the rest stand fast and fire. More infantry comes up. Burnside is outnumbered, flanked, compelled to yield the hill he took so bravely. His position is no longer one of attack. He defends himself with unfaltering firmness, but he sends to McClellan for help. McClellan's glass, for the last half hour, has seldom been turned away from the left.

He sees clearly enough that Burnside is pressed; needs no messenger to tell him that. His face grows darker with anxious thought. Looking down into the valley where 15,000 troops are lying, he turns a half-questioning look on Fitz John Porter, who stands by his side gravely scanning the field. They are Porters troops below; are fresh and only impatient to share in this fight. But Porter slowly shakes his head, and one may believe that the same thought is passing through the minds of both Generals. "They are the only reserves of the army; they cannot be spared."

McClellan remounts his horse, and with Porter and a dozen officers of his staff rides away to the left in Burnside's direction. Sykes meets them on the road; a good soldier, whose opinion is worth taking. The three Generals talk briefly together. It is easy to say that the moment has come when everything may turn on one order given or withheld, when the history of the battle is only to be written in thoughts and purposes and words of the General.

Burnside's messenger rode up. His message is, "I want troops and guns. If you do not send them I cannot hold my position for half an hour." McClellan's only answer for the moment is a glance at the western sky. Then he turns and speaks very slowly: "Tell General Burnside that this is the battle of the war. He must hold his ground till dark at any cost. I will send him Millers battery. I can do nothing more. I nave no infantry.

Then, as the messenger was riding away, he called him back. "Tell him if he cannot hold his ground, the bridge, to the last! always the bridge! If the bridge is lost, all is lost."

The sun is already down; not half an hour of daylight is left. Till Burnside's message came it had seemed plain to every one that the battle could not be finished to-day. None suspected how near was the peril of defeat, of sudden attack on exhausted forces; how vital to the safety of the army and the nation was those fifteen thousand waiting troops of Fitz John Porter's in the hollow. But the Rebels halted instead of pushing on ; their vindictive cannonade died away as the light faded. Before it was quite dark the battle was over. Only a solitary gun of Burnside's thundered against the enemy, and presently this also ceased and the field was still.

The peril came very near, but it has passed, and in spite of the peril, at the close the day was partly a success; not a victory, but an advantage had been gained. Hooker, Sumner and Franklin held all the ground they had gained, and Burnside still held the bridge and his position beyond. Everything was favorable for a renewal of the fight in the morning. If the plan of the battle is sound there is every reason why McClellan should win it. He may choose to postpone the battle to await his reinforcements.

The Rebels choose to retire while it is possible. Fatigue on both sides might delay the deciding battle, yet if the enemy means to fight at all, he cannot afford to delay. His reinforcements may be coming, but where are his supplies? His losses are enormous. His troops have been massed in woods and hollows, where artillery has had its most terrific effect.

Ours have been deployed and scattered. From infantry fire there is less difference.

It is hard to estimate losses on a field of such extent, but I think ours cannot be less than six thousand killed and wounded--it may be much greater. Prisoners have been captured from the enemy; I hear of a regiment captured entire, but I doubt it. All the prisoners whom I saw agree in saying that the whole array is there. Hill and Longstreet are either killed or prisoners.

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The President's Proclamation

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"President Lincoln, with one stroke of the pen, violates the plighted faith of the Government, and says to the whole southern people, that the Union men were wrong and the Secessionists were right.... We have no doubt that Jefferson Davis would have given the last dollar in the Confederate Treasury to have just such a proclamation made from the President of the United States."

Full Text of Article

The great agony of the radicals is over. They clamored for a proclamation until they succeeded. They besieged the President on all sides, and waged an incessant war upon him for months, until at last he succumbed to the "pressure" and issued a proclamation proclaiming unconditional freedom to all the slaves in the seceded States after the first day of January next. Where the President pretends to find his authority for issuing such a proclamation, he does not deign to inform us. This new policy is to be the great panacea for all our ills, and is to kill the rebellion at one blow. We shall soon see the fruits of the policy and know from practical experience, what abolition philosophy is worth. In the meantime we must be permitted to hold the same views we have ever held on this subject, until we are convinced to the contrary by practical results.

The conservative men of the country have been greatly disappointed in this action of the President. They had been persuaded that he was a man of honest intentions and desired to do what was best for his country. They hoped, even sometimes against hope, that he would eventually see the true ground of his position, discard the mad counsels and revolutionary teachings of the radical men of his party, plant himself firmly upon the pillars of the Constitution, and make an earnest effort to save the country. They caught at every exhibition of conservatism in the President to strengthen this opinion, and were prompt in commending and endorsing every act of his tending to strengthen and promote the great cause in which the country is engaged, where the abolitionists who are now in ecstacies [sic] over his recent proclamation, either treated him with silent contempt or broke out in open murmurs of discontent and opposition. Yet in the face of these facts the President has given way to their clamor, and thrown himself, body and soul, into the hands of the radical abolition faction, who have been seeking the ruin of the country for many years, and who have pronounced the Constitution a "league with death and a covenant with hell," and the honest and conservative masses of the free States and the loyal Union men of the Slave States, have been shamefully deceived, and the nation been made to bleed afresh at every pore through the weakness and imbecility of its chief executive officer.

A word as to the effect of this Proclamation. Practically it is not worth the paper it is written on. If the administration is unable to enforce the legitimate and Constitutional laws of the country, in the seceded States, how is this unconstitutional and foolish paper proclamation to be enforced? The President himself told the Chicago Delegation that it would be inoperative, and could not free a single slave. The proposition is too absurd for a moment's serious consideration.

But there is another aspect in which this subject is all important, that of its bearing upon the loyal Union men of the slave States. They have suffered long and much for the sacred cause of the Union in their respective States. They persistently denied the allegations of the Secessionists that this was war on the part of the Government for the abolition of Slavery. This was the great argument of the Secessionists by which they were enabled to carry the people with them. The Union men planted themselves upon the broad principles of the Constitution, and bravely contended for the old Union and the old flag, with danger and death oftentimes staring them in the face, trusting in the good faith of the administration to sustain them. How have they been sustained. Alas! how! President Lincoln, with one stroke of the pen, violates the plighted faith of the Government, and says to the whole southern people, that the Union men were wrong and the Secessionists were right. In no other way could Abraham Lincoln have done so much to strengthen and consolidate the rebellion. We have no doubt that Jefferson Davis would have given the last dollar in the Confederate Treasury to have just such a proclamation emanate from the President of the United States.

Gen. McClellan and his Enemies

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"Neddy" McPherson

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Freedom of Political Action

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Correspondence from "the Army of the Potomac"

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"For some inexplicable reason, masterly inactivity again seems to rule the hour."

Full Text of Article

Correspondence of the Valley Spirit.

Camp Near Sharpsburg, MD.
September 27th, 1862.

Messrs. Editors: For some inexplicable reason, masterly inactivity again seems to rule the hour. Our vast army is still lying on this side of the Potomac, seemingly resting on the laurels so nobly won last week. The right wing now rests at Williamsport, while the left runs as far up as Harper's Ferry. General Fitz John Porter's corps of which we form a part now holds the centre. Of course we have no more idea of the cause of the delay than you have, though speculations and rumors are rife. A recent reconnoisance [sic] across the river developed the fact that there is no considerable force of the enemy for several miles into the interior; though it is now ascertained that a large body did advance towards the river, about the middle of the week; where they have gone, no one seems to know.

Opposite Williamsport, it is said, the enemy are in force. Their pickets are plainly seen from the Maryland shore. What the near future will develope [sic] it is impossible even to conjecture. It is intimated, occassionally [sic], by the "higher powers," that another invasion of Maryland is even expected, which is to prove far more formidable than the first; but this may be merely to stimulate the men to more vigilance on their picket posts or more promptness in the discharge of their duties. Of one fact there can be but little doubt, that whoever will take the aggressive, another desperate battle must be fought, in this vicinity before winter sets in; and on the issue of this battle the speedy termination or prolongation of the war most undoubtedly depends.

I regret to announce that the effort to secure the reinstatement of Major Austin has failed; and justice compels me to say that this is a particularly hard case, as will be seen by the ensuing statement, voluntarily submitted to the War Department, by Brig. Gen'l Tyler and the field and line officers of the regiment.

The following is submitted as an impartial statement of the facts in regard to so much of General Order, No. 125, as relates to the dismissal of Major James C. Austin, of the 126th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, from the service of the United States.

On the 28th day of August last, Major Austin received a certificate from the Surgeon of the Regiment, setting forth that owing to serious illness he was rendered temporarily unfit for duty, and that his condition demanded a removal from camp. This certificate was based upon an application for leave of absence, which was approved by both Col Elder commanding the Regiment and Brigadier General Tyler commanding the Brigade.

On the day following, he proceeded to Washington, D.C., to obtain the further approval of the War Department. On account of some informality in the application, this was withheld, but no such decision was made known to Major Austin until his disease had assumed such increased violence as to make his immediate return to his post a physical impossibility. This fact he immediately communicated to Elder and Gen. Tyler, and remained in Washington under medical treatment until the 3d of September, following, when he promptly returned to duty.

His extreme illness not only justified him in this, but the fact that the General Order, No.--"prohibiting officers from visiting Washington," had not been published in his Regiment, completely vindicates him from the charge of absence without leave, knowingly and intentionally, implied in the order publishing his dismissal.

Such are the facts of this case as they have come to the knowledge of the undersigned, who will cheerfully bare testimony to the strict attention Maj. Austin has given to his duties, since his entrance into the service, and who honestly believe that to enforce the order of his dismissal will work great injustice to a good soldier and loyal man.


E.B. Tyler, Brigadier General, Jas. G. Elder, Colonel, 126 Reg., P.V., D.W. Rowe, Lieut. Col., " S.J. Niccols, Chaplain, " J. Stewart, Adjutant, " John Doebler, Captain, " W.H. Davison, " " R.S. Brownson, " " W.W. Walker, " " J.H. Reed, " " John P. Wharton, " " Gen. L. Miles, " " John H. Walker, " " A.H. Martin, " " A.R. Davision, " "

Lieut. Geo. W. Welsh has been promoted to the first lieutenancy of Company A; and William McLenegan has just been commissioned, by the Governor, second lieutenant in the same company.

Privates John Oaks, Jas. R. Gilmore, Sam'l S. Shryock, Geo. W. Watson and Thos. Lee of Company A; Brinton of Company D; and Hollar and Parker of Company K. have been detailed to the Provost Guard at General Porter's Head Quarters. They are now located about half a mile from us. Their address for the present is: "Care provost Marshal, Gen'l F. J. Porter's HeadQuarters, Fifth Army Corps, Army of Potomac, Washington, D.C."

The only excitement we have now, to break the monotony of camp life, is picket duty, and occasionally it is exciting enough for all practical purposes. The other night when company A was out, when all was as still as death, a bomb exploded in our immediate vicinity, or a round shot was fired over our heads. We were upon the river bank, and you may well imagine it occasioned no little excitement. Every one remained very quietly at his post, not knowing what moment the next shot would be fired, or where it might choose to strike. As we saw no flash, however, or heard no report from the opposite shore, we concluded the report must have been occasioned by the accidental explosion of an old shell in the woods to our rear, as also the scarred trees in the vicinity would seem to indicate. Perhaps some of our Franklin County friends have had a little experience in "picketing" at home. But there is a vast difference between the performance of that duty at Marion or New Franklin, and its faithful discharge along the borders of the enemy's country. For several days there was considerable firing between the pickets of the hostile armies, but it has now been stopped by mutual consent. Yet there is no telling what wiles the foe will resort to. Consequently every one watches, with the most intense anxiety, every movement of a bush or bramble; the slightest unusual sound falls upon his ear like some alarm bell. "Do you hear that noise?" "Listen, it comes nearer." Yes, the rustling of the bushes comes nearer and nearer. "Halt! who comes there!" All is silent! Then again comes still nearer the rustling of the bushes on the river bank. Again, "Halt," and this time "click" goes the musket locks, when peering into the underbrush, a pair of horns and a cow's head is distinctly visible. "That came pretty nearly being a dead cow;" "Well it did;" and then all is quiet for the next hour. Then comes the tread of footsteps, heard distinctly, and more distinctly every moment. You hear the "halt" of your next neighbor, and a few words in an undertone, and on comes the footsteps; soon the bushes, a few paces distant, open and a file of armed men appear. "Halt! who comes there?" Then comes the welcome word "Relief." "Advance, Sergeant of the relief, with the counter sign." The sergeant approaches, gives the countersign, in a low tone, over the point of the guard's bayonet, and then the relief takes your place and you fall into the rear and return to your bivouac for four hours sleep, when your turns comes round again for another tiresome and exciting two hours watch. Such are a few of the incidents attending the most unpleasant and dangerous duty the soldier has to perform.

It becomes the sad duty of your correspondent to record the first death which has yet occurred in our regiment--that of Sergt. David E. Carson, of Mercersburg, who died, of Typhoid fever, after a brief illness, at the residence of his brother, W.K. Carson, in Baltimore city, on the 13th inst. He was a member of company C, (Capt. Brownson's) and, being very unwell, was left in Baltimore, when we passed through. His disease soon assumed a violent type, and he never left his bed after his arrival in Baltimore. He leaves a widow and three small children, and a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his loss. The following just and sincere tribute of respect has been paid him by his immediate companions in arms:

Camp Antietam, Near Sharpsburg, MD.,
September 27th, 1862.

At an adjourned meeting of the Mercersburg Guards, Co. C, 126th Regiment, Penna. Vols., held at the above time and place. In relation to the death of our fellow member, Sergeant David E. Carson, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

WHEREAS, It has pleased an allwise Providence to remove from our midst our esteemed fellow-member, Sergt. David E. Carson, whose association, during the short time he was with us, was that of unity and pleasure, therefore.

Resolved.That in the decease of Sergt. David E. Caison, we have lost a true friend to the cause in which we are engaged; the country has been deprived of the services of a true and faithful soldier, and his family and friends, a loving husband, an indulgent father, a dutiful son, a kind brother and a true friend.

Resolved. That we deeply sympathize and condole the family and friends of the deceased in their bereavement; and that a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family; and that they be published in the Good Intent, Valley Spirit, and Repository and Transcript.

Capt. R. S. Brownson, Chairman.
Sergt. Jas. P. McCullough.
Sergt. Thos D. Metcalf.
Corp. David G. Coyle.
Private Jno. Q.A. Orth.

Good Intent and Transcript will please copy, by request of the Committee.

Crowds of Franklin County friends still continue to visit us daily, as a general thing bringing loads of provisions with them, which have not contributed very much to the health of the regiment. We have not been accustomed to good living lately, and, with such an abundance of the good things of this life, together with our damp and cold nights and foggy mornings, our hospital is full to overflowing. We have now but eight hundred and fifty men fit for duty, in the regiment. Those who send provisions to the army should confine their hospitality to bread, butter, ham and the substantials--vegetables too are in great demand, but keep your sweetmeats at home--they do much more harm than good.


Proclamation of the President

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The Invasion

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"Our town has again resumed its unusual quiet and everything once more moves on as if nothing had occurred to disturb or alarm our community."

Full Text of Article

Our town has again resumed its unusual quiet and everything once more moves on as if nothing had occurred to disturb or alarm our community. The military called here to defend the State from invasion, have all returned to their homes, and we hope it may be long before their services may be again needed for the same purpose. The only tangible evidence of the vicinity of hostile armies and battle fields, in the number of sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals, lately established here. We understand that there are about four hundred patients in the three hospitals. We can say, from personal observation, that they are well attended by the Surgeons in charge, and everything that the kindness of our citizens can suggest, is cheerfully furnished to render their situation comfortable.

Col. Charles T. Campbell

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Terrible Railroad Accident

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And Still Another

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Drafting Postponed

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Hugh Brotherton

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Brigadier General S. W. Crawford

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The Cumberland Valley Railroad

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Rev. Dr. Edwin Dorsey

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Head-Quarters, Pennsylvania Militia

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Chambersburg, September 24, 1862

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