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< CORRESPONDENCE OF THE CONFEDERATE STATE DEPARTMENT.
Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Sliddl.
Department or State,
Sir: Since my No 5, of 19th July, I am without any communication from you, with the exception of your No. 2, of 26th February last, which was brought to the department on the 26th of this month by Mr. Chamberlyn, to whom you had intrusted it. This gentleman has thus consumed seven months in discharging the trust confided to him.
Your Nos. 1,3,4,5, and 6 are still missing, and for the regularity of the archives of the department, I beg you to forward duplicates of them.
Events of startling importance have been crowded so rapidly into the short period which has elapsed since my last despatch that any attempt to give them in detail would swell this communication into a volume. I shall endeavor to send you herewith our files of newspapers, which will furnish details, and confine myself to a statement of the present condition of affairs.
On the 19th July the remnant of McClellan's defeated army was still encamped at Harrison's Landing, on James river, fortified in a very strong position and protected by a formidable fleet of gunboats. His defeat has been followed by an order of President Lincoln investing Major General Halleck with the command-in-chief of all the armies of the United States, headquarters at Washington. Major General Pope was assigned to the command of the army of the Potomac, which was composed of the shattered remnants of the armies of Fremont, Milroy, and Banks, after their rout by General Jackson in the battles of the valley, to which were added the several armies of McDowell, who occupied Fredericksburg; of Burnside, who was recalled from North Carolina; and of Hunter and Stevens, who were recalled from South Carolina. This army was also increased by troops withdrawn from Norfolk and Fortress Monroe, and replaced at those points by raw levies. This accumulated force amounted probably to about ninety thousand effective men, and the old cry of "on to Richmond" was renewed with the usual accompaniment of extravagant boasting by the northern journals.
General Lee first despatched General Jackson with a corps d'armee of about twenty-five thousand men to check Pope's advance, and having satisfied himself that a small force would be sufficient to watch McClellan, (whose army was demoralized and dispirited by the result of the battles of the Chickahominy, and was being fast worn down by sickness,) proceeded with the main body of the army as rapidly as possible to join General Jackson; but the movement was not accomplished as 6peedily as was desirable in consequence of our deficiency in means of transportation. General Lee had hoped with his united forces, which were nearly equal in number to Pope's, to crueh the army of that general before McClellan could come to its relief if such a movement were attempted. The plan was on the eve of succesbful accomplishment when a sudden rain-ttorm so swelled the Rapid Ann river that it was necessary to wait some days before crossing it, and Pope, in the mean time, taking the alarm, retired rapidly behind the Rappahannock, thus bringing himself within supporting distance of McClellan, who had been ordered round to join him in accordance with the anticipations of General Lee. The combined forces of McClellan and Pope were, however, met by General Lee in a series of successful battles on the plains of Manassas on the 28th, 29th, and 30th August, and the total rout of the enemy was followed by the withdrawal of their entire forces into the fortifications around Washington ; by the disgrace of Pope, who has been banished to an insignificant command in Minnesota; and by the appointment of McClellan to the command of the army collected "for the defence of Washington." General Lee, amusing the enemy by feigned demonstrations of attack on his lines at Arlington Heights, succeeded in withdrawing his entire army from their front and entered Maryland by the fords at Edwards's Ferry, in the neighborhood of Leesburg, without opposition, and established his headquarters at Frederick.
Again making deceptive demonstrations of an intention to march, at one time into Pennsylvania and at another time against Baltimore,, General Lee disposed his army iu such manner that by a rapid movement he enveloped the whole federal force of over eleven thousand men stationed at Harper's Ferry, and forced it into an unconditional surrender. The fruits of this movement were over eleven thousand prisoners, including more than four hundred officers, twelve thousand stands of arms, ninety pieces of artillery, and an enormous quantity of stores, principally munitions of war, together with two hundred wagons, &o. General McClellan, becoming aware too late of the danger, moved from Washington in great haste with a view to relieve the troops invested at Harper's Ferry, and on the day before their surrender attacked with his whole force of eighty thousand men General D. H. Hill, who, with a rear guard of fifteen thousand men, had been left to resist his advance, and who held his position with unconquerable firmness, but was finally compelled to give way for a fhort distance, under the stress of those overwhelming odds, until Generals Lee and Longstreet, arriving with re-enforcemenU, re-establifhed his lines, and repulsed (he enemy. The rapid arrival of re-enforcements for General McClellan induced General Lea to withdraw his troops to Sharpsburg, for the purpose of effecting a junction with the corps of Generals Jackson and A P. Hill, who had not yet returned from the capture of Harper's Ferry. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 16th and 17th instant, General McClellan, with his entire army, amounting probably to one hundred and fifty thousand men, attacked General Lee with great fury, while the latter was still separated from the corps of Jackson and Hill, and bad not more than forty thousand men to meet the assault. Incredible as it may appear, our unconquerable soldiers met the shock with unyielding firmness, fought with desperation, althongh terribly outflanked on both wings, and, slowly retiring, maintained an unbroken front, until the arrival of Jackson at noon, followed by that of A. P. Hill at four p. m , enabled them to turn the tide, to drive back the advancing columns of the enemy, and to regain their first position, when the approach of night put an end to the most desperate conflict of the war, each party sleeping on its anna in the respective positions occupied by them when the battle began. General Lee prepared to renew the engagement next morning, but the enemy had disappeared from his front, and left him the master of the field.
After occupying the day in providing for his wounded and the burial of the dead, General Lee withdrew his army across the river to Shepherdstown for rest, and for the p.irpose of gathering a large number of stragglers yet on the road from Richmond; and no sooner was this fact known than General McClellan claimed a victory, and was tempted by the frantic exultation of the northern papers into what he called a pursuit of the flying foe. His temerity met with severe punishment. On the 21st instant a division of his army, in attempting to cross the river, was decoyed by a feigned retreat of Jackson until they were too far advanced for retreat, and were routed with appalling slaughter. The river was choked with their deai, who fell by thousands; and out of one regiment of about fifteen hundred men who attempted the passage, but about one hundred and fifty are believed to have escaped. General Lee, at the last accounts, was about to recross into Maryland at Williatnsport, and has probably already established his headquarters at that point.
General Loring, in Western Virginia, has just concluded a perfectly succes-ftil campaign, (with the aid of General Jenkins,) by which the enemy, after being beaten in a series of battles, with heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, had reached in their flight the lower waters of the Kanawha, and the remnant of their forces is probably by this time on the other side of the Ohio river, thus leaving Western Virginia perfectly free from any other invading force than some small parties in the extreme northwest in the neighborhood of Wheeling.
Signal triumphs have illustrated our arms in the valley of the Mississippi. My last despatch announced that General Bragg had commenced a movement which was expected to liberate Tennessee from the presence of the invaders. After a long and laborious march of over 400 miles he crossed, uninterrupted by the enemy, from Tupelo, in Mississippi, to Chattanooga, in Tennessee. Cavalry expeditions, under the daring leadership of Colonel Morgan and General Forrest, were despatched into Kentucky and Tennessee, which attacked the enemy at their different encampments and depots of supplies. Their communications were intercepted, railroad bridges burned, tunnels destroyed, camps captured, and several thousand of their troops made prisoners. The enemy's army at Cumberland Gap. about 10,000 strong, was closely invested, its supplies cut off. and they were forced to abandon their position in the night, and are now fleeing through Kentucky, hotly pursued by our forces under General Carter btevenson, who is capturing their straggling bands as fast as he can reach tbem. This army of the enemy may be considered as nearly annihilated. Major General Kirby Smith, in the mean time, advanced rapidly into Kentucky, reached Richmond, defeated and utterly routed an army of 10,000 men under General Nelson on the 30th August, (the very diiy of General Lee's grand victory at Manassas.) The enemy's army was absolutely destroyed, not more than two or three thousand fugitives escaping from the battle-field. The whole of the arms taken in this battle were used to arm the Kentuckians who are joining us in mass, and no doubt is entertained that that great State is at last permanently joined to our confederacy. General Bragg advanced into Kentucky by another line, and leaving Nashville and Bowling Green to his left arrived at Mumfordsville, where he forced a body of 5,000 men to a capitulation, thuB providing arms for further re-enforcements of Kentuckians. Thi-se operations, by cutting off General Buell from his base, have forced tbat officer to evacuate Nashville, and thus not only is the whole State of Tennessee restored to our possession, with the exception of a small district around Memphis, but the seat of war has been removed from the line of the Memphis and Charleston railroad to the banks of the Ohio. We are in daily expectation of the news of the capture of LouUville.
The contrast between our present, condition and that which existed ninety days ago seems almost magical. Instead of having the invader in the heart of our country, with our capital closely invested by an arrogant and confident foe, our entire frontier, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, with a few insignificant exceptions, is reposing in peace behind the protection of our victorious forces. The cry of "On to Richmond" and of "waning proportions of the rebellion" is changed into a discordant clamor for protection arising from Ohio and Pennsylvania, and terror and confusion reign in Cincinnati, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia. No greater or more striking proof of the change of spirit at the mirth can be presented than is shown in the official despatch of General McClellan, in which, after falsely claiming a victory on the 17th instant, he actually felicitates his government that "Pennsylvania is safe!" The newspapers of New York, too, are demanding the transfer of the mint of the United States to tbat city, on the ground that it is exposed to capture in Philadelphia!
Herewith you will receive the President's message and accompanying documents, including the measures taken for the repression of the enormities threatened by the enemy, under the command of General Pope. I am gratified to inform you that some seventy of General Pope's officei8, including General Prince, were captured by General Jackson at the battle of Cedar Run, soon after the issue of the President's retaliatory order, and were excepted out of the exchange of prisoners of war and held in close custody. This wholesome severity produced the desired effect, and on official assurances received from the enemy that General Pope's order was no longer in force, and that he had been removed from his command, the captured officers were paroled for exchange. As I have observed in some of the English journals the facts have been strangely perverted and the acts of the President censured as wanting in humanity, it is desirable that some proper means be adopted by you for giving publicity to the facts. The confinement of the officers, notwithstanding the threat of great rigor, was the same as that of all the other prisoners of war, and no other severity was exercised towards them than a refusal to parole them for exchange till Pope's murderous orders were set aside.
It may not be improper to call your attention, for such use as may occur, to the enormous losses suffered by the enemy during the present campaign, and to which history furnishes uo parallel except the disastrous retreat from Moscow. I give you the following estimate, which, without any pretension to exact accuracy, is reduced much below what is believed to be the real state of the case, from sources of information derived mainly from the enemy's own confessions. The list includes not only the killed, wounded, and prisoners, but the losses of the enemy by sickness (which was truly terrible) and desertion:
1st. McClellan's army lost 100,000
(He landed on the Peninsula with nearly 100,000 men, was afterwards re-enforced to 158,000, and left with a remnant of about 55,000 men.)
2d. Pope's army in the battles of Cedar Run and of Manassas Plains 30, 000
3d. The armies of Banks, Milroy, McDowell, Shields, and Fr6mont, in the battles of the valley of Virginia 30, 000
4th. Halleck's army in the west, originally 220,000, was reduced by battles, at Shiloh and elsewhere, by sickness and desertion, to less than 100,000 men, but
let the loss be stated at only . -- 100,000
5th. On the coasts of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana,
principally by sickness and desertion, at least 10,000
6th. In north and southwestern Virginia 6, 000
7th. In the battle of Boonsboro' and Sharpsburg 15,000
8th. In the surrender at Harper's Ferry , 11,000
9th. In the battle at Boteler's Mills 2,500
10th. In the army of General Morgan, at Cumberland Gap ..... 6,000
11th. In the battle of Richmond, Kentucky 7,000
12th. In the surrender at Mumfordsville 5,000
13th. In the campaigns of Morgan and Forrest, and other partisan leaders in
Kentucky and Tennessee 4,000
14th. In the trans-Mississippi campaign, including partisan warfare in Missouri
and Arkansas ... . . 25,000
In this enormous number I am not now able to state what general officers were included, but in the single battle of Sharpsburg, on the 16th and 17th instant, eleven generals of the enemy were killed or wounded, among them four major generals.
I enclose yon, for information, copy of a despatch sent to Mr. Mann on the subject of a recent convention between the Unitei States and the King of Denmark, relative to Africans captured from slavers at sea. It may be well to have an eye to the movements of the enemy in the disposal of slaves captured from our people, and you will perceive, by the instructions to Mr. Mann, what are the president's views on this interesting matter.
I received, on the 29th July, the duplicate of a letter of Mr. Eost, resigning his office, and informing the department that he was about to leave Madrid, and hod confided the books and papers of the legation for safe keeping to Mr. Bauer, the agent and partner of the Rothschilds, in Madrid. This letter is dated on the 28th May, and as nothing is said in it in relation to Mr. Walter Fearn, the secretary of legation, I infer that the original was accompanied by a letter of resignation from Mr. Fearn also, but no such letter has reached the department. You are requested to ascertain whether Mr. Fearn has resigned, and if, contrary to the inference drawn from Judge Rost's letter, he has not done so, the president desires that you intimate to him, in the manner beat adapted to avoid wounding his feelings, that the departure of Mr. Rost, under the circumstances, and his closing up of the legation at Madrid, have put an end to Mr. Fearn's functions as secretary to Madrid, and that his office has thus been vacated.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of State.
Eon. John Slid Ell, See., Sec., let., Paris.
Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Mann.
No. 4.] Department Ov State,
Richmond, August 14, 1862.
Sib: We are informed that an arrangement has been recently concluded between the government of the United States and that of Denmaik for transferring to the Danish colonies iu the West Indies Africans who may be captured from slavers and brought into the United States. We are not informed of the precise terms of this arrangement, and can, of course, have no objection to offer to its execution, if confined to the class of persons above designated, that is, to Africans released by the United States from vessels engaged in the slave trade in violation of laws and treaties.
It has, however, been suggested by the president that under cover of this agreement the United States may impose upon the good faith of the government of Denmark, and make it the unwitting and innocent participant in the war now waged against us. The recent legislation of the Congress of the United States, and the action of its military authorities, betray the design of converting the war into a campaign of indiscriminate robbery and murder. I enclose herewith, a letter of the president to the general commauding-in-chief of our armies, and a general order on the subject of the conduct of Maj. Gen. Pope, now commanding the enemy's forces in northern Virginia, that you may form some faint idea of the atrocities which are threatened. The act of Congress of the United States, (of which a copy is enclosed,) decreeing the confiscation of the property of all persons engaged in what that law terms a rebellion, includes, as you are aware, the entire property of all the citizens of the confederacy. The same law decrees substantially the emancipation of all our slaves; and an executive order of President Lincoln directs the commanders of his armies to employ them as laborers in the military service. It is well known, however, that notwithstanding the restrictive terms of thiB order, several of his generals openly employ the slaves to bear arms against their masters, and have thus inaugurated, as lar as lies in their power, a serTile war of whose horrors mankind has had a shocking example within the memory of many now living, 'the perfidy, vindictiveness, and savage cruelty with which this war is waged against us have had but few parallels in the annals of nations.
The government of the United States, however, finds itself greatly embarrassed in the execution of its schemes by the difficulty of disposing of the slaves seized by its troops and subject to confiscation by its barbarous laws. The prejudice against the negro race in the northern States is so intense and deep-rooted that the migration of our slaves into those States would meet with violent opposition both from their people and local authorities. Already riots are becoming rife in the northern cities, arising out of conflicts and rivalries between their white laboring population and the slaves who have been carried from Virginia by the army of the United States. Yet these slaves are an inappreciable fraction of the negro population of the south. It is thus perceived that the single obstacle presented by the difficulty of disposing of slaves seized for confiscation is of itself sufficient to check in a very great degree the execution of the barbarous policy inaugurated by our enemies.
The repeated instances of shameless perfidy exhibited by the government of the United States during the prosecution of the war justify us in the suspicion that bad faith underlies every act on their part having a bearing, however remote, on the hostilities now pending. When, therefore, the president received at the tame time information of two important facts—one, that the1 United States were suffering grave embarrassment from the presence within their limits of the slaves seized from our citizens ; the other, that the United States had agreed to transfer to Denmark, for transportation to the Danish West Indies, all Africans captured at sea from slave-tradins: vessels, he felt that there was just reason to suspect an intimate connexion between these facts, and that the purpose of our treacherous enemy was to impose on the good failh of a neutral and friendly power by pulming off our own slaves seized for confiscation by the enemy as Africans rescued at sea from slave-traders.
You are specially instructed to observe that the president entertains no apprehension that the government of Denmark would for one moment swerve from the observance of strict neutrality in the war now raging on this continent; still less that it would fail disdainfully to reject any possible complicity, however remote, in the system of confiscation, robbery, and murder which the United States have recently adepted under the sting of defeat in their unjust attempt to subjugate a free people. His only fear is that the cabinet of Copenhagen may (as has happened to ourselves) fail to suspect in others a perfidy of which themselves are incapable. His only purpose in instructing you, as he now does, to communicate the contents of this despatch to the Danish minister of foreign affaire (and if deemed advisable to furnish a copy of it) is to convey the information which has given rise to the suspicions entertained here. The president hopes thus to prevent the possibility of success in any attempt that may be made to deceive the servants of his Danish Majesty by delivering to them for conveyance to the West Indies our slaves seized for confiscation by the enemy, instead of Africans rescued on the high seas
You are requested to proceed to Copenhagen by the earliest practical conveyance, and execute the president's instructions on this subject without unnecessary delay. , I am, &c.,
J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of State.
Hon. A. Dudley Mass, fyc., Sfe., Brussels, Belgium.
Mr. Benjamin to Mr. Slidtll.
No. 7.] Confederate Status Op America,
Department of Stale, Richmond, October 17, 1862.
Sir: Since my No. 6 of 26th ultimo, of which duplicate is herewith forwarded, some circumstances of a very remai kab'e character have come to the knowledge of the president, to which your earnest attention is invited.
Ou the 7th instant the president received from Governor Lubbock, of Texas, a letter, of ■which a copy is annexed, marked A, with enclosures Nos. 1 and 2.
The very singular nature of this correspondence initiated, as you will perceive, by Mr. B. Theron, French consular agent and Spanish vice-consul at Galveston, naturally excited a lively interest, but we had not yet arrived at any satisfactory conclusion as to the nature and extent, nor the source of the intrigue evidently on foot, when, on the 18th instant, the president received from the Hon. W. S. Oldham, senator from Texas, a letter, of which a copy, marked B, is herewith enclosed.
The concurrent action of two French consular officers, at points Bo remote from each other as Galveston and Richmond; the evident understanding which exists between them; the similarity of their views and conduct; the choice of Mr. Oldham as the party to be approached, he being generally considered as identified with the party opposed to the administration, while Mr. Wigfall is its supporter; all concur in satisfying us that there is not only concert of action between these officials, but that their conduct has been dictated by some common superior. In plain language, we feel authorized to infer that the French government has, for some interest of its own, instructed some of its consular agents here to feel the way, and if possible to provoke some movement on the part of the State of Texas which shall result in its withdrawal from the confederacy. It is difficult, if not impossible, on any other hypothesis, to account for the conduct of these agents.
I have, in accordance with the instructions of the president, expelled both Mr. Th ron and Mr. Tabouelle from the confederacy, and have forbidden their return without the previous permission of the government. I enclose yon copies of the orders of expulsion, marked C and D.
In endeavoring to account for such a course of action on the part of the French government, I can only attribute it to one or both of the following causes:
1st. The Emperor of the French has determined to conquer and hold Mexico as a colony, and is desirous of interposing a weak power between his new colony and the Confederate States, in order that he may feel secure against any interference with his designs on Mexico.
2d. The French government is desirous of securing for itself an independent source of