« PoprzedniaDalej »
in the country and in the State of New York will be a sufficient guarantee for the probity and the ability which will be brought to the service-I ask him to move that a committee be appointed by the House to investigate the doings of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau, and let us see whether a man, however humble he may be, who rises here to denounce what he knows to be a public wrong, is to be shuffled off by newspaper effects, or effects to be produced by sending here to be read such a communication as lies before us. If this man and his trusted agents are innocent he and they should have a full and thorough investigation of all the practices of which they stand accused.
I now yield the floor to my colleague for the I have indicated. purpose
Mr. HULBURD. I presume I shall meet the sense of the House when I say that it has probably devoted as much time as it ought to do to this matter between my colleague, the gentleman from Maine, and the Provost Marshal General. I propose to send to the Chair a resolution asking for the appointment of a select committee of five, because I deem the matter so very grave that it is due to my colleague, due to the Provost Marshal General, and due to the country that the subject shall be further investigated. And in view of the complimentary remarks which my colleague has made, I am confirmed in the of
putting in a disclaimer, which I had intended to do, and asking the Chair, if the House shall order this committee, not to place me upon it, as parliamentary courtesy might otherwise seem to require. I have a sufficient reason for it in the fact that the House has referred for investigation to the Committee on Public Expenditures, of which I am chairman, various important matters connected with customhouses, and the internal revenue service at Boston and elsewhere; and I feel that we shall have as much as we can possibly do to carry out that resolution.
The resolution of Mr. HULBURD was read, as follows:
Mr. THAYER. I rise to a point of order. I do not think the indulgence. granted by the House extended this far. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. BLAINE] asked leave of the House to have a certain letter read from General Fry. Leave was granted, with the tacit understanding that the gentleman from New York [Mr. CONKLING] should have leave to reply.. That he has done. Now, I do not think this matter should take up any further time of the members of this House, either in this House or in committees. And if I have the right, I shall object.
The SPEAKER. The Chair overrules the point of order. The ruling has always been that when the House has permitted a personal explanation to be made, whatever legitimately or naturally grows out of it, in the opinion of the majority of the House, is in order. The Chair, of course, has no knowledge of what the resolution is, except from the remarks of the gentleman from New York, [Mr. HULBURD;] but he supposes it relates to the very question which has been brought in controversy between the gentleman from New York [Mr. CONKLING] and the gentleman from Maine, [Mr. BLAINE.]
Mr. BLAINE. I hope the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. THAYER] will withdraw his objection.
Mr. THAYER. Where a gentleman asks by way of personal explanation to have a paper read, with the understanding that another gentleman should be allowed to make a similar personal explanation, is it in order for any member of the House to introduce business, by resolution or otherwise, if it relates to the subject-matter of the personal explanation?
The SPEAKER. If it relates to that subject it is in order. Therefore the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Ross] was in order when he submitted the motion, which went to the Committee on Printing under the law, that ten thousand extra copies of the communication from General Fry be printed for the use of this House.
Resolved, That a select committee of five members of this House be appointed to investigate the statements and charges made by Hon. RoscOE CONKLING in his place last week against Provost Marshal General Fry: whether any frauds have been perpetrated in his office in connection with recruiting service; also, to examine into the statements made by General Fry in his communication to Hon. Mr. BLAINE, read in the House this day; with power to send for persons and papers.
Mr. CONKLING. I suggest to my colleague [Mr. HULBURD] to modify his resolution so as to provide for the investigation of any charges made against Provost Marshal General Fry and his bureau.
Mr. ROSS. Might it not be well to enlarge the powers of the committee so that they can investigate whether the gentleman from New York [Mr. CONKLING] has received more pay than he was entitled to receive?
Mr. CONKLING. I should like to have that done. I hope the committee will report on that whether it is embraced in the resolution or not.
Mr. HULBURD. That is embraced in the resolution now, it being one of the statements contained in the letter of General Fry. Mr. ROSS. That will do, then.
The question was upon agreeing to the resolution of Mr. HULBURD.
Mr. BLAINE. I do not know that I have anything to say, and I shall not take very long
to say I not happen to possess ubility of the gentleman from the Utica district, [Mr. CoNKLING.] It took him thirty minutes the other day to explain that an alteration in the reporter's notes for the Globe was no alteration at all; and I do not think he convinced the House after all. And it has taken him an hour to-day to explain that while he and General Fry have been at swords' points for a year, there has been no difficulty at all between them. He has said that General Fry is of no consequence, that he is a mere clerk in the War Department. Yet he is a very sensitive clerk, and when he has been accused of all sorts of fraud, he should have a little chance to be heard.
Now, one single word. The gentleman from New York [Mr. CONKLING] has attempted to pass off his appearance in this case as simply the appearance of counsel. I want to read again for the information of the House the appointment under which the gentleman from New York appeared as the prosecutor on the part of the Government. It is as follows:
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, April 3, 1865.
SIR: I am instructed by the Secretary of War to authorize you to investigate all cases of fraud in the provost marshal's department of the western division of New York, and all misdemeanors connected with recruiting. You will from time to time make report to this Department of the progress of your labors, and will apply for any special authority for which you may have occasion. The Judge Advocate General will be instructed to issue to you an appointment as special judge advocate, for the prosecution of any cases that may be brought to trial before a military tribunal. You will also appear in behalf of this Department in any cases that it may be deemed more expedient to bring before the civil tribunals. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. A. DANA. Assistant Secretary of War.
Hon. ROSCOE CONKLING.
Now, sir, I find in Brightly's Digest, page 821, section forty-six, that
"No person who holds or shall hold any office under the Government of the United States whose salary or annual compensation shall amount to the sum of $2,500, shall receive compensation for discharging the duties of any other office."
office in the Army and had taken his seat in this House. I have no suggestions to make about this, except that I consider the point well taken, and that in my view this committee, if appointed, ought to investigate the matter. I do not believe that the gentleman received the money rightfully, though I will say this much of him, if he will permit me, that I have no doubt he will restore it if convinced he has taken it improperly.
Now, sir, I leave it for the House to decide whether the gentleman can get off under the technical plea that he was not a judge advoHe cannot deny that he discharged the duties of judge advocate under the special commission which I have read, and he was paid for the discharge of those duties. The case falls under the same law as that of the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. SCHENCK,] who, being elected a Representative in Congress while yet a major general, declined to receive any pay as a member until he had resigned his
Now, Mr. Speaker, all I have to say further in connection with this matter is, that what I stated the other day has, as I conceive, been fully, entirely, and emphatically vindicated by the record. I believe I have shown the members of this House that I am incapable of stating anything here for which I am not respon sible-not exactly "here or elsewhere"-but responsible as a gentleman and as a Representative.
Mr. THAYER. I move that this resolution Be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Mr. CONKLING. Mr. Speaker, I sought the floor again to say this, which possibly I omitted to state before: that no commission was ever issued to me by the Judge Advocate General. For fear that I omitted to state it, I beg leave to say that no commission, paper, or authority whatever was ever issued to me except the letter of retainer which has been read, employing me to act, according to its language,
before military courts and before other tribu nals.
Mr. BLAINE. Mr. SpeakerThe SPEAKER. Does the gentleman from New York yield to the gentleman from Maine?
Mr. CONKLING. No. sir. I do not wish to have anything to do with the member from Maine, not even so much as to yield him the floor.
Mr. BLAINE. All right.
Mr. CONKLING. I only want to say that the only authority under which I acted was that which has been read, and that I acted as counsel for the United States; and the business of counsel in that particular case I tried, as the case was tried before a military tribunal, was, of course, of the same general character that would have been done by a judge advocate, had there been a judge advocate for the court, just as in the trial of the conspirators, the distinguished gentleman who sits before me [Mr. BINGHAM] performed the same line of professional employment that a regular judge advocate would have performed had he been there.
Now, Mr. Speaker, one thing further: if the member from Maine had the least idea how profoundly indifferent I am to his opinion upon the subject which he has been discussing, or upon any other subject personal to me, I think he would hardly take the trouble to rise here and express his opinion. And as it is a matter of entire indifference to me what that opinion may be, I certainly will not detain the House by discussing the question whether it is well or ill founded, or by noticing what he says. I submit the whole matter to the members of the House, making as I do an apology (for I feel that it is due to the House) for the length of time which I have occupied in consequence of being drawn into explanations, originally by an interruption which I pronounced the other day ungentlemanly and impertinent, and having nothing whatever to do with the question.
Mr. ROSS. I rise to a point of order. I submit that the defense of the gentleman from New York should be made before this commit. tee and not before the House.
The SPEAKER. That is scarcely a point
Mr. BLAINE. It is hardly worth while to pursue this controversy further; but still the gentleman from New York cannot get off on the technicality which he has suggested. He says that a commission never was issued to him. I understand him to admit that if a commission had been issued to him he could not have taken pay for both offices. Now,
entitled 'An act to encourage immigration,'
And then, on motion of Mr. ROSS, (at five
every one knows that those preliminary authorizations are the things on which half the business arising out of the war has been done. Men have fought at the head of battalions and divisions and Army corps without having received their formal commissions. The gentleman was just as much bound to respect the law under that appointment as though it had been a formal commission with the signature of the Secretary of War.
As to the gentleman's cruel sarcasm, I hope he will not be too severe. The contempt of that large-minded gentleman is so wilting; his haughty disdain, his grandiloquent swell, his majestic, supereminent, overpowering, turkeygobbler strut has been so crushing to myself and all the members of this House that I know it was an act of the greatest temerity for me to venture upon a controversy with him. But, sir, I know who is responsible for all this. I know that within the last five weeks, as members of the House will recollect, an extra strut has characterized the gentleman's bearing. It is not his fault. It is the fault of another. That gifted and satirical writer, Theodore Tilton, of the New York Independent, spent some weeks recently in this city. His letters published in that paper embraced, with many serious statements, a little jocose satire, a part of which was the statement that the mantle of the late Winter Davis had fallen upon the member from New York. The gentleman took it seriously, and it has given his strut additional pomposity. The resemblance is great. It is striking. Hyperion to a satyr, Thersites to Hercules, mud to marble, dunghill to diamond, a singed cat to a Bengal tiger, a whining puppy to a roaring lion. Shade of the mighty Davis, forgive the almost profanation of that jocose satire!
The SPEAKER. The Chair will state at the conclusion of these personal remarks that, as the House had granted unanimous consent for a personal explanation, and it was presumed, of course, personalities would be indulged in, he has refrained from calling gentlemen to order. If any member had called to order, the Chair would at once have strictly enforced the rule.
Mr. CONKLING. I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. THAYER] to withdraw the motion to refer to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Mr. SCHENCK. That committee has now as much as it can attend to, and beside that, the gentleman from Maine is on that committee.
Mr. BLAINE. I hope the gentleman will withdraw his motion. I am a member of the Committee on Military Affairs and the reference would be wholly improper.
Mr. HENDERSON. I move to lay the
The previous question was seconded and the main question ordered; and under the operation thereof the resolution was adopted.
Mr. CONKLING moved to reconsider the vote by which the resolution was adopted; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.
The latter motion was agreed to.
MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. FoORNEY, its Secretary, informed the House that the Senate had passed an act (S. No. 236) to authorize the construction of certain bridges and to establish post roads, in which he was directed to ask the concurrence of the House.
REGULATION OF IMMIGRATION.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, demanded the regular order of business.
The following petitions, &c., were presented under the rule and referred to the appropriate commit
The SPEAKER stated the regular order of business to be the consideration of House bill No. 481, entitled "An act to amend an act
By Mr. CONKLING: The petition of Mrs. Butts, and 65 other women of Hopedale, Massachusetts, asking an amendment of the Constitution prohibiting the States from disfranchising citizens on the ground of sex.
By Mr. DARLING: The petition of Brevet Colonel
Also, resolutions of the Legislature of the State of
By Mr. DAWSON: Joint resolution of the Legisla-
Also, the petition of 38 citizens of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 67 citizens of Indiana county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 32 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 116 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 51 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 31 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 81 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 61 citizens of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, praying for an increase of the duty on imported wool.
Also, the petition of 42 citizens of Fayette county,
By Mr. GRISWOLD: The petition of flax-grow-
Also, the petition of physicians, of Salem, Fort
on free list.
Also, a remonstrance, of lawyers of the city of
By Mr. HENDERSON: A petition of the wool-
Also, a petition from hospital Army stewards, for increase of pay.
By Mr. HOTCHKISS: The petition of citizens of the State of New York, for the amendment of the Constitution changing the basis of representation.
Also, the petition of soldiers and citizens of Tompkins county, New York, for the equalization of bounties.
By Mr, INGERSOLL: The petition of citizens of Galesburg and Oneida, Knox county, Illinois, praying for a law regulating inter-State insurances of all kinds.
By Mr. LAFLIN: Concurrent resolutions of the Legislature of the State of New York, in favor of equalization of bounties.
Also, the petition of P. M. Latimer. and others, citizens of Darien, Walworth county, Wisconsin, for
Also, the petition of H. Weatherwax, and others, citizens of Darien, Walworth county, Wisconsin, for
Also, the petition of John Utter, and others, citi-
signed by 63 citizens of Elba, Genesee county, New York, asking an increase of duty on wool.
Also, a remonstrance against a reorganization of the Federal judiciary.
By Mr. WARD: The resolutions of the Legislature of the State of New York, in favor of the cqualization of bounties.
PETITIONS AND MEMORIALS.
Mr. MORRILL presented the memorial of Nathan Webster, praying for compensation for property belonging to him taken during the war and used by the Government; which was referred to the Committee on Claims.
resolution on the table.
The motion was disagreed to.
Mr. TRUMBULL presented the petition of C. M. Roy, W. S. Wortman, and others, citizens of Macomb county, in the State of Illinois,
The question then recurred on Mr. THAYER'S motion to refer to the Committee on Military Affairs; and it was also disagreed to. Mr. CONKLING demanded the previous Alstine, and others, citizens of Delavan, Walworth praying for the enactment of equal and just question.
By Mr. PAINE: The petition of Richard Van
county, Wisconsin, for increase of duties on foreign
laws for the regulation of inter-State insur-
He also presented a petition of citizens of Macomb county, in the State of Illinois, praying for the establishment of a national Insurance Bureau; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce.
By Mr. THAYER: Two petitions from citizens of
By Mr. VAN HORN, of New York: A petition,
By Mr. WOODBRIDGE: The remonstrance of M. Da Costa, and 50 others, members of the bar in the city of New York, practicing in the Federal courts. against the passage of Senate bill to reorganize the Federal judiciary.
Also, the petition of Hon. John Gregory, and 10 others, assistant assessors of the first congressional district of Vermont, praying that the pay of assistant assessors may be increased to five dollars per day.
Also, the petition of Dr. Sydney Houghton, and others, citizens of Rutland county, Vermont, praying that medicines may be exempted from taxation.
Also, the petition of E. S. Newell, of Shoreham, Vermont, for a reduction of the tax on agricultural implements.
Also, the petition of Joel Colvin, and 11 others, of Danby, Vermont, asking an equalization of taxation on agricultural productions,
TUESDAY, May 1, 1866.
Prayer by the Chaplain, Rev. E. H. GRAY. The Journal of yesterday was read and approved.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore laid before the Senate a communication from the Secretary of War, transmitting, in answer to a reso lution of the Senate of the 24th ultimo, a report from the Adjutant General covering all the evidence upon which the award of the commission appointed to examine the different claims to the reward offered for the apprehension of Jefferson Davis was based, including copies of the report of Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Pritchard, of the fourth Michigan cavalry, the first Wisconsin cavalry, and stating that no and of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Haruden, of orders were on record in the War Department under which those officers acted.
Mr. WILSON. I move the reference of that communication to the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia.
The motion was agreed to.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore also laid before the Senate a report of the Secretary of the Navy, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 24th ultimo, calling for copies of orders of that Department which deprive officers of the Navy, who are not on duty, of cer tain privileges of citizens; which was referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs, and ordered to be printed.
By Mr. RANDALL, of Kentucky: The petition of
tucky volunteers, that the members of that regimenting
By Mr. SAWYER: The petition of L. B. Chitten-
Also, the petition of W. P. McAllister, and 45 others, citizens of Winnebago county, Wisconsin, praying for the enactment of equal laws for the regulation of inter-State insurances,
By Mr. SCHENCK: Sundry petitions of citizens of Ohio, for an equalization of bounties.
Mr. TRUMBULL. I have also a petition from one hundred and six citizens of Staunton, Augusta county, in the State of Virginia, statthat United States troops have recently been withdrawn, not only from that county, but from most of the surrounding counties in that section of the Shenandoah valley; and in view of the fact that threats are being made from various quarters against the lives and property of loyal men, and that, in their judgment, no protection or justice can be had through the civil courts or at the hands of the civil officers of the law, the petitioners pray that troops may be immediately forwarded to that locality, and that such measures be adopted as will insure to them justice in all matters of claims, and all
of Columbia, South Carolina, asking compensation for the destruction of his house by the Federal Army in February, 1865, had been presented to the Senate, accompanied by a letter from Major General Sherman. In this letter General Sherman uses the following language: They (the citizens of Columbia] set fire to thousands of bales of cotton rolled out into the streets and which were burning before we entered Columbia. I myself was in the city as early as noon, and I saw their fires and knew that efforts were made to extinguish them; but a high and strong wind kept them alive. I gave no order for the burning of your city, but on the contrary, the reverse, and I believe the conflagration resulted from the great imprudence of cutting the cotton bales, whereby the contents were spread to the winds so that it became an impossibility to arrest the fire. I saw in your Columbia newspapers the printed order of General Wade Hampton, that on the approach of the Yankee army all the cotton should thus be burned, and from what I saw myself, I have no hesitation in saying that he was the cause of the destruction of your city.""
other matters relating to them, in a military court, or in any other manner deemed advisable by Congress. The names of these petitioners are attached to the petition, together with an affidavit, stating that the parties who have signed it are personally known to the affiant, that they are citizens of said county of Augusta, and that the affiant verily believes the persons therein named are good and loyal citizens to the Government of the United States, and were such during the late war. I move that the petition be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia, as the parties seek military protection.
The motion was agreed to.
Mr. HOWE presented a petition of citizens of Menomonee, in the State of Wisconsin, praying for an appropriation for the improvement of the harbor at the mouth of Fox river, in that State; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce.
Mr. MORGAN presented additional papers relating to the claim of the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company, of New York, for the issuance to them of $8,000 in legal-tender notes in lieu of notes which they allege were lost in the United States mails by the sinking of the steamer Quincy; which were referred to the Committee on Claims.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas, presented the petition of Charles and Henry W. Spencer, of St. Louis, Missouri, praying for relief for an alleged illegal seizure of their trading boat, O. K; which was referred to the Committee on Claims.
Mr. ANTHONY presented the petition of Ethan Ray Clarke and Samuel Ward Clarke, praying for the confirmation to them of the title to certain lands purchased of John Underwood by their grandfather, under a grant from the Spanish Government; which was referred to the Committee on Private Land Claims.
Mr. JOHNSON. I present the petition of W. M. Langhorn, and some forty-eight other persons, citizens of the city and neighborhood of Lynchburg, in Virginia, stating that by an act passed in 1861 by the Legislature of Virginia, some of the petitioners were incorporated into a body-politic and corporate for the education of the deaf and dumb and blind, and among others the deaf and dumb and blind negroes who were then in the State of Virginia. They state that emancipation has increased the number calling for such education very much; that they propose to teach them some art or handicraft, but find it impossible to accomplish the object they have in view if they are subjected to State and Federal taxation; and they pray that Congress may exempt them from the taxation of the United States. I move the reference of the petition to the Committee on Finance.|| The motion was agreed to.
Mr. HOWE. Yesterday, while I was attempt ing to make a personal explanation of a dispatch found in the columns of the New York Herald, I was understood by the reporter of the Associated Press to quote a remark from the Postmaster General. The Globe will show
that the quotation I made was from the First Assistant Postmaster General. I hope the reporter for the Associated Press will make the correction, as it is due to the Postmaster General that it should be made and as widely disseminated as the mistake was. It was undoubtedly a mistake.
BURNING OF COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA. Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I received yesterday a note, dated the 21st of April, from General Wade Hampton, who is known to the members of the Senate as having actively participated in the war of the rebellion, sending me a formal letter dated on the same day, in which he complains that injustice has been done him by a letter from General Sherman in relation to the burning of the town of Columbia, South Carolina. I can better make the writer understood by reading that portion of the letter, and I proceed to do so:
"A few days ago I saw in the published proceedings of Congress that a petition from Benjamin Rawls,
That ends the quotation from General Sherman, and then General Hampton proceeds to say:
"This grave charge made against me by General Sherman having been brought before the Senate of the United States. I am naturally most solicitous to vindicate myself before the same tribunal. But my State has no representation in that body." And therefore he writes to me.
Mr. SHERMAN. Read it all.
"Those who should be her constitutional representatives and exponents there are debarred the right of entrance. In those Halls there are none who have the right to speak for the South; none to participate in the legislation which governs her; none to impose the taxes she is called on to pay; and none to defend her or to vindicate her sons from misrepresentation, injustice, or slander. Under these circumstances I appeal to you in the confident hope that you will use every effort to see that justice is done in this matter. I deny emphatically that any cotton was fired in Columbia by my order; I deny that the citizens set fire to thousands of bales rolled out into the strects; I deny that any cotton was on fire when the Federal troops entered the city. And I most respectfully ask Congress to appoint a committee, charged with the duty of ascertaining and reporting all the facts connected with the destruction of Columbia, and thus fixing upon the proper author of that enormous crime the infamy he so richly deserves. I am willing to submit her case to any honest tribunal. Before any such, I pledge myself to prove that I gave positive orders, by direction of General Beauregard, that no cotton should be fired; that not one bale was on fire when Sherman's troops took possession of the city; that he promised protection to the city, and that in spite of this solemn promise his soldiers burned it to the ground, deliberately, systematically, and atrociously. I therefore most earnestly request that Congress may take prompt and efficient measures to investigate this matter fully. Not only is this due to themselves and to the reputation of the United States Army, but also to justice and to truth. Trusting that you will pardon me for troubling you, "I am, very respectfully...
WADE HAMPTON." Mr. President, I need not say that I have not the slightest suspicion, even, that the charge which the writer of this letter supposes General Sherman to be subjected to is true. There must be a mistake somewhere. It is equally impossible to those who know General Sherman to suppose that he did not believe everything that he stated in the communication informed, or whether General Hampton was which is here quoted. Whether he was mismisinformed. I know not. It is due, however, to an acquaintance with General Hampton, commenced long before this rebellion broke out, that I should say that in point of private high as General Sherman can stand now; and character, in point of veracity. he stood as that is giving him as much praise as can be bestowed upon him. I know not how his object that the letter be referred to the Committee on can be accomplished, and I will therefore ask Military Affairs. I do not suppose that the Senate would be willing to appoint a special committee to investigate the subject.
Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. PresidentMr. FESSENDEN. If the Senator will excuse me for a moment, I desire to say a word.
Mr. SHERMAN. I merely wish to make a suggestion that it may be put on record.
Mr. FESSENDEN. I only desire to say that this practice of reading in the Senate private letters, with reference to complaints and difficulties between gentlemen out of doors, and calling the attention of the Senate to them, is a practice which has grown up lately, which is very wrong, and which takes up a great deal of our time, and is very improper. Here is a
question of veracity, or something of the sort, between two gentlemen, neither of whom is a member of this body, one a general in our Army and one a general in the rebel army. This is not the place to settle those questions. The practice that has grown up even in public speeches, or speeches addressed to the Senate, of reading private letters without signatures, or at least not reading the signatures, or even with the signatures, is only calculated to take up time; it has nothing to do in reality with the business of Congress. More especially is it objectionable to bring up matters in reference to gentlemen out of doors and calling on the Senate or the House of Representatives to hear their differences and settle them. If they ask any action of Congress, let them address a memorial to this body or the other House in proper shape and call for action.
I, of course, do not wish to blame my friend from Maryland; he is only following the example of others in relation to the matter; but I wish to enter my protest against the whole thing, and in future I give notice that I shall object to the reading of any of these letters with reference to out-of-door matters with which we really have nothing to do. We are not a tribunal, or an arbitration, or referees to settle these difficulties between gentlemen out of doors, whatever may be their position and however high. We have nothing to do with them. It only interrupts the proceedings of this body and takes up time which should be devoted to other things, in my judgment.
Mr. SHERMAN." I cannot allow the charge of this most impudent rebel against the whole of an army to be entered upon the records of the Senate without a prompt answer, and I think it will be a very complete one. The honorable Senator from Maryland vouches for the previous good character of General Wade Hampton prior to this rebellion. Perhaps he would not be willing to vouch for it if he knew the entire history of Wade Hampton during this war.
The charge made by General Sherman was made in the course of his official duties in an official report. A citizen of Columbia, South Carolina, by the name of Benjamin Rawls, believing himself to be aggrieved, sent a petition to this body, and asked me to present it, claiming damages for property alleged to have been destroyed by our army in the burning of Columbia. In presenting that petition, I stated to the Senate the reasons, which in my judgment were sufficient, why it should not be granted; and read a statement from General Sherman, showing that the burning of Columbia was really caused by the previous policy of Wade Hampton. General Sherman did not allege that Wade Hampton set fire to the city of Columbia, or that his rebel army set fire to the city of Columbia, or that he ordered it to be done; but simply, that his previous orders were the inducing cause of the burning of Columbia. I asserted that citizens or inhabitants of Columbia itself did set fire to Columbia, and that the scattering of cotton in the open streets and squares spread the fire that destroyed it; and therefore Benjamin Rawls must look to his neighbors or to General Wade Hampton, who scattered this cotton, for his loss.
Now, sir, this letter does not deny the real assertion made by General Sherman. I have the papers now before me showing conclusively from official records that General Sherman's assertion was true, and that he was justified in saying that General Wade Hampton was the cause of the burning of Columbia. He commanded the rear guard of the rebels, and, indeed, made but little opposition to the march of General Sherman through the vaunted State of South Carolina, except the burning of cotton. This was the only resistance our army met in all its march through South Carolina, unless it would be probably the skirmish at the Salkahatchie. In other States General Sherman found an enemy, but in that pestilent State General Hampton resisted him by burning cotton. I have here upon this very point the official record of General Howard, who certainly for veracity would stand against
and North Carolina march, I find that I was quite explicit in my account of the burning of Columbia. My impression then was that the fire was set originally by the enemy. At Midway I protected the houses, including Simms's library, as long as we halted at that place. General Blair furnished the guards.
"I did not see Wade Hampton's orders for burning cotton, but know that his forces did burn cotton in our front constantly. Wheeler's letter to me, which you received and answered, shows that the burning had official sanction."
Wade Hampton or any of his set. On the 16th of February of last year General Howard in his official report said:
"The mounted infantry crossed the Saluda first, supported by some infantry of Genera! Hazen's division, and pushed on rapidly, driving the enemy across the Broad river. The attempt was to save the bridge, but it failed, since the bridge had been covered with rosin and light-wood in such manner as to burst instantaneously into a flame; and this occurred even before all the rebel cavalry had crossed over. The remnant escaped northward."
"About 10 a. m., February 17, the mayor of Columbia, with a flag of truce, met Colonel Stone, and formally surrendered the city to him. The generalin-chief had instructed me to destroy certain public buildings, but to spare institutions of learning, asylums, and private dwellings.
"I transmitted these instructions to Major General John A. Logan, whose troops were to have charge of the city.
Ile directed Major General Woods to place suitable guards. As soon as the bridge was completed, I crossed with General Sherman, and rode to the town with him, a distance of about three miles. The ground was dry, the wind blowing hard, so that the dust almost blinded us. As we entered the city the negroes and many white people collected at the corners of thestreets, and greeted the general with loud cheering.
"In the main street was a large quantity of cotton partially consumed by fire. Some men were at work trying to extinguish the fire with a very poor engine. We remarked that the loose cotton was blown about in every direction, and the shade trees were so completely covered with bits of cotton as to remind me of a grove in Maine after a snow storm.
"The guards were carefully established in different streets, and seemed to be attending to their duty very faithfully.
"I noticed a few men under the influence of liquor, and immediately directed that they should be placed under guard. I have been thus particular in narrating these preliminary incidents, because there followed one of the most terrific scenes that I have ever witnessed, and we are charged by the rebels' with its inception. Thinking everything was very orderly and the city police in the best of hands. I selected a house and hoped to get a little rest. But it was hardly dark before a fire broke out in the vicinity of Main street and spread rapidly. I learned, moreover, that quantities of liquor had been given to the soldiers by certain people, who hoped in this manner to conciliate them and get their protection. And it is certainly true that many of our men and some of our officers were too much under the influence of drink to allow them to properly discharge their duty. Strenuous efforts, however, were made to arrest the flames. General Woods sent in a fresh brigade, and afterward General Hazen still another. "During the night, I met Generals Logan, Woods, and other general officers, and they were taking every possible measure to stop the fire, and prevent disorder. 'Nevertheless, some escaped prisoners, convicts from the penitentiary, just broken open, army-followers, and drunken soldiers, ran through house after house, and were doubtless guilty of all manner of villainics; and it is these men that I presume set new fires further and further to the windward in the northern part of the city.
"Old men, women, and children, with everything they could get out, were herded together in the streets. At some places we found officers and kindhearted soldiers protecting families from the insults and roughness of the careless. Meanwhile the flames made fearful ravages, and magnificent residences and churches were consumed in a very few minutes.
After about two thirds of the city, all the business part of the town, including the old State House, had been destroyed, the wind shifted to the east, and the fire was stayed.
"The next morning showed very little of Columbia, except a blackened surface peopled with numerous chimneys, and an occasional house that had been spared, as if by miracle.
"I believe that the rebels who blew up the depot, scattered the cotton over the city and set fire to it, and took no reasonable precaution to prevent the destruction of Columbia, are responsible for the suffering of the people.
"Neither the general-in-chief, nor any of his lieutenants, have ever sanctioned any conduct so evidently against the dictates of humanity.
"The seventeenth corps followed the fifteenth across the Saluda and Broad, and encamped outside of the city to the northeast. The fifteenth corps encamped to the east and south, except the garrison of the city."
Such is the testimony of General Howard, who marched in with the advance of the army, with the general-in-chief. And it shows clearly that when our army entered Columbia the rebels under Hampton had prepared the city for conflagration, and that its own inhabitants, including negroes and escaped convicts, were maddening themselves with liquor, and that General Sherman and all under him did all they could to save the city from the destruction prepared for it by escaping rebels.
I have here also a private letter, written recently, since Wade Hampton denied this charge, by General Howard to General Sherman, from which I will read a short paragraph:
"On examining my report for the South Carolina
I now add to the testimony of General Howard the statement of General Charles R. Woods, of a recent date, and after he had seen in the papers the recent statement of Hampton. It is clear and explicit. It is from the general in immediate command, and who must have known the facts much better than Wade Hampton, then at a safe distance.
HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA, MOBILE, ALABAMA, April 7, 1866. DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 2d instant has just reached me, and I hasten to reply as you request.
My official report of the campaign in South Carolina does state in general terms the facts as to the burning of Columbia in nearly the same language, and to the same purport as you claim. I will, however, further state in detail, that at the time of the capture of Columbia, South Carolina, I commanded the first division, fifteenth Army corps, and that the third brigade of that division was the first body of Federal troops that entered and took possession of the city.
The place was formally surrendered to my command through the mayor, but when the troops marched in considerable skirmishing was necessary to drive out the rear guard of General Wade Hampton's command, and the numerous stragglers left from the rebel forces.
I was among the first to enter the city after its occupation, and found the guards and patrols established by the commanding officer of the advance brigade well posted, and in the earnest and vigilant performance of their duty. But the streets were full of halfdrunken citizens and negroes, and escaped or released convicts, who seemed to me to have been intentionally turned loose for the purpose of sacking the city, and thereby throwing odium upon the Federal occupation. I was also informed, and was satisfied, that many of the worst disposed of our own men were met by such citizens and negroes, furnished with intoxicating liquors, and every effort made to induce them to join in the work of destruction. I am bound to assert that every effort was made by my officers and myself to prevent such outrages, and I believe those efforts were generally successful. The streets in many portions of the city were filled with long rows or piles of cotton which had been set on fire, and prompt orders were given and earnest endeavors made by the troops to extinguish the flames, to save as far as possible all private property, and protect it from pillage. My belief is that the retiring rebel forces under command, as I am informed. of General Wade Hampton. intended to destroy all cotton left in the city, to save it from Federal possession, but that they did not intend to burn the city. No proper precautions, however, were taken, and we found the city actually in the hands of the reckless and irresponsible stragglers, both white and black, that I have before spoken of.
What outrages, robberies, or incendiary acts they may have committed I cannot state, but I do know that every effort was made to check them.
The burning cotton, exposed to a fearful wind blowing across the city, was not to be extinguished by human effort. As the bales burst large masses of flaming material were lifted by the wind and sent on and over roofs, in windows and doors, and against fences; and as water was very scarce no efforts of the troops proved of any avail until the fire nearly reached the State House.
I am satisfied that everything saved was owing to the energy of our men, and that nothing more could have been done. I was personally present in the city and am personally cognizant of the fact that my officers and men did their duty faithfully and well in saving and not in destroying property, either public or private.
The third brigade of my division was composed entirely of Iown troops, and were among the best disciplined and best disposed soldiers of the Army, and were commanded by Colonel George A. Stone, of the twenty-fifth Iowa volunteers, an officer and a gentleman well known to me as a strict disciplinarian and an excellent soldier.
About nine o'clock at night, when the fire was at its height, I sent in another brigade of nearly two thousand men, under command of Brevet Brigadier General William B. Woods, with orders to do everything in their power to extinguish the flames. These men worked hard all night, and until the fire was extinguished.
I repeat that the destruction of the best business portion of Columbia was the perhaps unexpected result of the attempt of the rebel forces to prevent cotton falling into the hands of the Government of the United States, and must have so far received the sanction or order of the commanding officer of those forces, who I am informed and believe was General Wade Hampton.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, CHARLES R. WOODS, Brevet Major General, Commanding. Major General W. T. SHERMAN, U. S. A., Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Missouri,
I now present to the Senate a letter written to me by General Slocum, probably in conse quence of what was said here on a previous occasion. It may not bear upon the specific charge of the burning of Columbia, for General Slocum's army did not enter that city, but it shows very clearly the conduct of the rebel army, commanded in part by this man who now arraigns our army for barbarity:
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, April 10, 1866.
MY DEAR SIR: I see that it is charged that our troops were guilty of great barbarity and cruelty on our campaign through South Carolina. While I am willing to admit that there were some bad men in every corps, and that isolated cases of a violation of the rules of war occurred, yet, in view of all the circumstances, I think the behavior of the army was as good as could have been anticipated.
My command (the left wing) crossed the Savannah river at Sister's ferry, and the men, upon entering the State of South Carolina, found their road filled with torpedoes so arranged that it was impossible to avoid them; and men saw their comrades mangled, and in many instances killed, in this barbarous manner, while they were quietly marching in column. Is it surprising that, under such circumstances, officers found it difficult to prevent their men from committing some acts in re aliation? I think not; yet I never found any difficulty in preserving order on entering a city or a large village, where guards could be placed.
On our approach to Winnsboro, South Carolina, we found the place on fire. I was informed by citizens that the fire was the work of a negro woman. The citizens appeared panic-stricken, and were doing little to save the place. My soldiers cheerfully and zealously worked to extinguish the fire, and the most perfect order was preserved while we remained in the town. When we left the leading citizens were very profuse in expressions of gratitude for the kind treatment they had received.
In passing judgment upon the officers and men of Sherman's army on this campaign it should not be forgotten that the events which led to the war were familiar to every soldier of that army. The boast made by some of the leading citizens of South Carolina at the commencement of the war, that they had labored thirty years to destroy the Union, their indignant denials that the people of South Carolina were of the same race as the hated Yankees, and their advocacy of "raising the black flag," were matters as well understood in Sherman's army as they were in the city of Charleston. This knowledge, on the part of the soldiers, together with the violation of the rules of war by the people of the State in planting torpedoes in places remote from any fortification or city rendered the duty devolving upon the officers a very difficult one.
I claim that the conduct of my command was not such as to justify the charges brought against the
H. W. SLOCUM.
Hon. JOHN SHERMAN,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
I have also here a report from General Logan, whose report in almost every particular confirms that of General Howard. I have also the report of General Stone, the gentleman who was met three miles from the city by the mayor and the authorities of the city. It seems that General Stone got into a carriage to ride in with those authorities, and on the way they saw a portion of Wade Hampton's cavalry driving our advanced guards back; and Colonel, now General, Stone, left the carriage and went at the head of a small force of a certain regiment of Iowa troops and drove Wade Hampton's cavalry into the city, and followed them into the city; and he states that while he was on the road to the mayor's office to receive the formal surrender of the city, and there to raise the national flag, whisky and liquors of various kinds were freely distributed to and by the negroes and citizens of Columbia before a single American soldier arrived there, and that then the cotton was scattered all over the city; and I have no doubt that probably these escaped convicts, or the negroes maddened by liquor, rejoicing at their liberation, might by accident, or perhaps for reason, for enmity, have set fire to the city and caused the subsequent destruction; but when Wade Hampton, who had taken care to retreat before this occurred, charges our soldiers with this infamy of burning private houses he makes a charge that cannot be sustained.
He says that
"About eight o'clock the city was fired in a number of places by some of our escaped prisoners and citizens, (I am satisfied I can prove this,) and as some of the fire originated in basements stored full of cotton it was impossible to extinguish it,
"The fire-engines were ordered out, but the flames could not be stopped, the buildings were old, nearly all wooden ones, and the wind blowing almost a gale.
stand me. I did not apply that portion of my remarks to him particularly; but that has been practiced here, and I think the practice is very objectionable. It has grown up recently. I think it is equally objectionable to read a letter not addressed to the Senate, and to call for the Senate's attention, and take up the Senate's time in relation to it. Congress is to be addressed in a certain form; private matters are entirely out of place; and before I sit down I ask the Chair, what question is now before the Senate?
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the reference of the letter offered by the Senator from Maryland to the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia.
Mr. JOHNSON. I thought I had the floor. Mr. FESSENDEN. Undoubtedly; but I had a right to ask that question.
Mr. JOHNSON. The letter which I have presented to the Senate was not presented on my own judgment alone. I showed it to the honorable member from Ohio, and he advised me to present it.
Mr. FESSENDEN. Bad advice, I think. Mr. SHERMAN. I thought that the letter might as well be presented and the statement which I have made made in connection with it.
"At half past eight p. m. I received orders that I was relieved by Brevet Brigadier General Woods, and I sent the brigade to camp about one mile out of town, but remained in the city myself working all night to assist in extinguishing the fire."
Such, Mr. President, is the evidence I present to the Senate to show that the statements made by General Sherman were justified by the facts. And, sir, I could add the express order of General Wheeler, under which Wade Hampton acted, requiring all cotton in the line of General Sherman's march to be burnt, and that it in fact was burnt. In the light of these facts what shall be said of this letter? He is an unpardoned rebel, living only by the mercy of this Government which he struggled to overthrow, cursed with treason, and responsible for the lives of thousands of the people of his own State, a fit sample of an army which converted bones of human beings into wearing ornaments, and which starved thousands and tens of thousands of brave men whose misfortune it was to fall prisoners into their hands.
Examine his letter. He says he did not order this cotton to be set on fire, but he ordered or allowed cotton bales to be cut in the public square, and thus scattered the cotton all over the city, and made it so combustible that a negro, or a citizen, or an escaped convict, or any-accident might set fire to the city of Columbia, and thus destroy the city. I then repeat that Wade Hampton and his associates did, in their insane desire to destroy cotton to prevent it from falling into our hands, cause the burning of the city of Columbia. But he says he did not order it to be burnt in Columbia. In this letter, which is written rather like a politician than a candid man, as I supposed Wade Hampton was, he says he did not order the burning of the cotton in Columbia. He does not deny that he ordered it to be burnt everywhere else. In Columbia probably it was not set fire to by his order, but he scattered it in such way that the accident which followed destroyed the capital of the State of South Carolina. I must confess that I do not shed many tears over the result, but in fixing the guilt of this charge I wish to fix it on the men who were themselves the cause of it.
It seems to me the impudence of this whole proceedings passes all imagination. He writes here to the Senate of the United States that the State of South Carolina is excluded from representation. Why? Because the authorities of the State of South Carolina violated their oaths; their people violated their duty of allegiance to support this Government. They had, for years, been trying to get out of this Government, and now they whine like whipped curs because they cannot come back here the moment they are whipped. It is degrading for a man occupying the position of Wade Hampton and all those leading rebels to beg and whine because they for a time are excluded for their crimes from representation here. They struggled for years to destroy their hateful association with Yankees. Why are they so anxious to resume these relations? The whole letter, not only the facts, but the omissions of fact and the impudence which dictated it, surpass all belief. Is it not strange that men like Wade Hampton, who were the origi- || nal cause of this war, whose foolish bravado excited their people to resist the national Government, when they have felt the power of the national Government, come whining here with such a letter as this. When it is held up and read in the American Senate, it exhibits an amount of impudence that I did not conceive even a South Carolina rebel possessed.
Mr. JOHNSON. The honorable member from Maine would not have supposed that I presented a letter which was intended to be private, to the Senate, for nobody finds more fault with the practice of reading letters, particularly without giving the names of the writers, than I do and have done from the first. The letter which I have presented was sent to me for the purpose of being presented, and I considered it as in the nature of a memorial.
Mr. FESSENDEN. The Senator will under
Mr. JOHNSON. I presented it because the writer requested me to present it. It is not in the form of a memorial, but it is designed to effect the object of a memorial, to get the facts in which he supposes his reputation to be involved inquired into. Now, I am as far from justifying the conduct of General Hampton as the honorable member from Ohio. I think that in connection with all those who participated in the rebellion he sinned very materially against his duty; but it is possible that he may have been under the impression that he was right in what he did because of the peculiar construction which upon a certain subject they gave to the Constitution of the United States.
As I have presented the letter, it is proper, perhaps, that I should say that I think my friend from Ohio does the writer injustice in saying that he is whining over the fact that the representatives of South Carolina are not upon this floor. There is nothing in the letter which can be considered as whining at all, if I understand what whining is. He refers to that fact as a reason for sending to me what he wishes to be presented to the Senate. He states distinctly that he sends the letter to me because his State is not represented here; but that is immaterial.
Nobody can think higher of the gallant general to whom we are indebted so much for the termination of the rebellion than I do; nobody has more absolute confidence in his veracity than I have; nobody thinks higher or has greater confidence in the veracity of General Howard than I have; but it is possible that, notwithstanding General Wade Hampton, against his duty to the United States, engaged in the rebellion, he has not lost that claim to veracity which he had before the rebellion commenced; and he stood before the rebellion commenced as high in that particular as any man that I ever knew. He desires-and it is a natural desire-as the city of Columbia was burned, to clear himself of the charge of having effected that catastrophe. General Sherman's letter states that he saw in a paper printed in Columbia what professed to be an order from General Hampton directing the burning of the cotton. That he denies positively; he says he gave no such order.
But, sir, it is unnecessary, and as the honorable member from Maine intimates, it is unnecessarily trespassing on the time of the Senate, to pursue the matter further. All that I desire is that the paper shall be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs, or allowed to lie on the table, just as may be the determination of the Senate.
Mr. FESSENDEN. I hope neither. The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Does the Senator from Maryland vary his motion so as to move that the letter lie on the table?
Before any specific
motion is made, I desire to say that I think the proper disposition of this matter would be to refuse to consider this letter even by laying it on the table. It has no business here. Neither has it any business before the committee. It is a mere private letter, and Senators ought not to ask action upon it. I hope we shall simply refuse to consider it in any way.
Mr. CONNESS. I only rise to say that I cannot vote to send this letter to any committee of this body for the purpose of vindicating the reputation of Wade Hampton or any of his kind of men; and I am somewhat astonished that the honorable Senator from Ohio should feel bound to controvert his statements here or to vindicate the character of the eminent gen eral bearing his name, or that of the United States Army against the charges of Wade Hampton. A man who undertook to burn and destroy this Government might well be taken to be able to perform the act of burning and destroying a city. There is nothing, and never has been anything, in the fair proportions of the city of Columbia, in South Carolina, that compared with the majestic proportions and great value of this Government to the human race; and yet the man who put himself forward and foremost in the work of destroying the one sends a letter here, and we are asked to vindicate him against the charge of burning and destroying the other. I have nothing to say other than to put it in that light.
As to the complaint denominated "whining," for it comes very near that, that South Carolina is among the States not yet given representation in this body, that complaint comes now from many quarters-quarters from which, had it emanated one year since, it would have caused surprise to every honest person in the land. It is time that the parties who make those complaints had become ashamed to make them and to repeat them. It is of no consequence whether those States were ever out of the Union or whether they are out of the Union now; we know that their people in the mass, under daring and impudent leaders, like the man who sends this letter here, undertook to destroy the Government; and it is our duty to say when they shall be entitled to participation in the Government that they thus undertook to destroy. There is no power in them nor in any representative friends that they can have here or elsewhere which can commend them to representation in the Congress of the United States until the sober judgment of the people shall determine that they are fit for such representation.
I, too, join the honorable Senator from Maine in saying that this letter should not be referred to a committee or laid upon the table. Let those men retire from public gaze and let them perform works meet for repentance for their great crimes before they impudently thrust themselves forward for purposes of represen tation or for the purpose of engaging us in vindicating what is already a reputation so damaged that it never can be vindicated or justified.
Mr. WILSON. I do not see any need of referring this matter; and I hope this paper will be withdrawn by the Senator from Maryland, that thus the question will be ended. I desire to get up a resolution offered by me some days since, and which it is very important should be decided one way or the other. I refer to the resolution to allow this Hall for the use of Mr. Murdoch to give a reading for the benefit of the National Home for the Orphans of Soldiers and Sailors. I will simply say that Mr. Murdoch, since the war commenced, has twice given readings in this Chamber; and on both occasions Mr. Lincoln attended the reading.
Mr. SHERMAN. I move that the morning hour be extended until half past one o'clock, in order that we may conclude the morning business. I hope that that will be done by general consent.
Mr. WADE. Say two o'clock,
Mr. SHERMAN. Very well; but I want to get through with the Post Office appropriation bill to-day.