Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

September 5.—Major E. W. Stephens, with a portion of the First West-Virginia volunteer infantry, was surprised in his camp at Moorefleld, Va., by a party of rebels under the command of Imboden and Jones.—(Doc. 141.)

—Forts Wagner and Gregg, in Charleston harbor, were furiously bombarded by the National fleet and land batteries, under the command of Admiral Dahlgren and General Gillmore. The firing began at daylight and continued until dark. —{See Supplement.)

—The Charleston Mercury of this date contained the following:

“Although carefully covered over with the mantle of secresy by Congress, enough has been disclosed by stern realities to show the total incompetency of President Davis to govern the affairs of the Confederacy. He has lost the confidence of both the army and the people; and if an election to-morrow was to come off for the Presidency, we believe that he would not get the vote of a single State in the Confederacy. Yet, if the Provisional Congress had done its duty — if the present Congress would do its duty—President Davis could readily be driven into a course of efficiency. He is President of the confederate States for six years. The constitution has not been proved to be inadequate to rectify his imbecilities. He can be controlled and directed, as the King of Great Britain is. That government is a constitutional monarchy, having coordinate branches. In Great Britain, no policy of the government, no cabinet advisers, can stand against the expressed opinion of the House of Commons. Are the people less potent in the confederate States through their representatives in Congress, than the people of Great Britain in Parliament? We do not believe it. Parliament has no power, like that of Congress, to pass a law in spite of the King’s veto; yet no King, since 1688, has dared to veto a bill passed by Parliament. No King has dared to defy public opinion in the appointment of the national counsellors and the commanders of the armies, setting up personal favoritism and partisanship above efficiency.

“. . . . The legislative power which Congress possesses, as to measures and men, can control the government and force efficiency into the administration whether in the appointment of cabinet officers, commanders of armies and bureau officers, or in the management of our diplomacy, our finances, our military operations, our naval preparations, and the efficiency of our bureaus of conscription, commissary stores and quartermaster stores. But this can never be done by those who look upon President Davis as ‘our Moses.’ Congress must assume its duties under the constitution, as an independent element of power. It must abandon the idea that it is only a secret body for registering the will of the President. It must be the people, standing forth in the light of day, clothed with the whole legislative power of the government, and with their agent, the President, instrumental for their deliverance. That our cause will ultimately triumph we do not doubt, in spite of the incompetency of President Davis and his silly and most disastrous policy, by which the confederate States have been deluged with blood, and covered over with suffering and misery. His inefficiency and Yankee efficiency will both be overcome.

“But if President Davis is to be treated as ‘our Moses’ we really do not see the use of Congress. If the people, through their representatives in Congress, are to exercise no power but at the bidding of the executive, Congress is a nonentity. It is worse; it is a tool of the executive, by which the constitution is practically overthrown and a military dictatorship established in its stead; characterized by a base assumption of power on the part of the executive, and a baser betrayal of trust on the part of Congress.”

—The United States troops encamped within the city of New-York for the preservation of order during the draft, were removed by order of Brigadier-General Canby.—R. R. Belshaw, in a letter to Earl Russell, sets forth a series of outrages committed upon himself and other British subjects, by the rebel government in the States of Alabama and Tennessee, and asks for redress.—Six privates and one of the telegraph operators, belonging to the army of General Rosecrans, were captured at Running Water Bridge, near Chattanooga.—A fight occurred in Dacotah Territory, near the battle-ground of White Stone Hill, between a party of hostile Indians and the Second regiment of Nebraska volunteers, belonging to the command of General Sully.—(Doc. 161.)

Previous post:

Next post: