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placed our feet on the sun-crowned heights of victory. The granite shatt may commemorate their deeds. Our American Valhalla may be crowded with the statues of our heroes. But our debt of gratitude to them can never be paid while time shall last and the history of a rescued nation shall endure.

“ If my voice, from this Representative Hall, could be heard throughout the land, I would adjure all who love the Republic to preserve this obligation ever fresh in grateful hearts. The dead, who have fallen in these struggles to prevent an alien tlag from waving over the ashes of Washington, or over the graves where sleep the great and patriotic rivals of the last generation, the hero of New Orleans and the illustrious Commoner of Kentucky, cannot return to us. On Shiloh's plain and Carolina's sandy shores, before Richmond, and above the clouds at Lookout Mountain, the patriot martyrs of constitutional liberty sleep in their bloody shrouds till the morning of resurrection. But the living are left behind. And if the Sacred Record appropriately commends the poor, who are ever with us, to our benefactions and regards, may I not remind you that the widow and the fatherless, the maimed and the wounded, the diseased and the suffering, whose anguish springs from this great contest, have claims on all of us, heightened immeasurably by the sacred cause for which they have given so much? Thus, and thus alone, by pouring the oil of consolation into the wounds that wicked treason has made, can we prove our devotion to our fatherland and our affectionate gratitude toward its defenders.

“And, rejoicing over the bow of promise we already see arching the storm-cloud of war, giving assurance that no deluge of secession shall again overwhelm or endanger our nation, we can join, with heart and soul, sincerely and trustingly, in the poet's prayer:

•Now. Father, lay thy healing hand
In mercy on our stricken land;
Land all its wanderers to the fold,
And be their Shepherd, as of old.

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So shall our nation's song ascend
To thee, our Ruler, Father, Friend;
While heaven's wide arch resounds again

With ‘Peace on earth, good will to men.'' “We go hence with our official labors ended, to the Senate Chamber and the portico of the Capitol, there, with the statue of the Goddess of Liberty looking down for the first time from her lofty pedestal on such a scene, to witness and participate in the inauguration of the Elect of the American people.

“And now, thanking you most truly for the approbation of my official conduct which you have recorded on your Journals, I declare the House of Representatives of the Thirty-eighth Congress of the United States adjourned sine die.

NOTE.-The following incident is so characteristic of Speaker Colfax, and so well illustrates that goodness of heart, and sweetness of dispositlon, for which he is distinguished, that, although perhaps out of place here, I cannot omit it. The last days of this session were, as such days always are, full of cares and perplexities, everything and everybody hurried, and impatient, yet through all, Colfax retained his amiability. On the last night of the Session, when going into the Speaker's Room, I saw a basket of most beautiful flowers, marked: “Mrs. G., with the kind regards of Mr. Colfax.” This lady was the wife of an officer of the House, who was very ill. This kind consideration, that did not forget the wife of a subordinate even in that last hurried night of the session, shows an unselfish heart somewhat too rare among politicians,








HE armies of the Republic were not idle during the winter

of 1864-5. Indeed, some of them had progressed so far South as to make the winter the most favorable period for a campaign. At Christmas, as has been stated, Sherman, with his confident, victorious army, was at Savannah. The remnants of Hood's discomfited and broken columns had been driven towards the Gulf by the well-organized, and triumphant army of Thomas. Grant, with the Grand Army of the Potomac, was tightening his grasp around Petersburg and Richmond, holding Lee with all his force, and ready to take advantage of any diminution of troops in his front.

The military operations of 1865 began with an expedition by a land and naval force combined, to reduce Fort Fisher, situated near the mouth of Cape Fear River, and which commanded the approach to Wilmington, North Carolina. This port had been a principal place of blockade running, and foreign trade, by the rebels during the war. After the

fall of Savannah, it became the principal gate through which supplies from abroad could be passed to the Confederates. The almost invulnerable works of the fort were strongly garrisoned, for the enemy appreciated the importance of holding this position; nevertheless, General Grant determined to reduce it. On the 13th of December a force of about 6,500 men, under General Butler, started from Fortress Monroe, to operate in conjunction with the naval force under Admiral Porter against Fort Fisher.

On the 24th of December, Admiral Porter attacked the fort, without waiting for the arrival of the land forces; but, after a bombardment of five hours duration, the Admiral withdrew his fleet. During the following night, General Butler's forces arrived, and on the 25th about 2,200 of the men were landed. The attack by the naval force was renewed. General Weitzel, who had the immediate command of the force on shore, captured two batteries, and some prisoners; but, after a careful examination of the ground and defences, he reported against the expediency of attempting to carry the place by assault. In the evening General Butler ordered the trooops to reëmbark, and notified Admiral Porter that he should sail for Hampton Roads. General Grant, the administration, and the public, were greatly disappointed at the result of this expedition. But there was not a hearty coöperation between the land and naval force.

It was not usual for Grant to abandon an object deemed important, until it was accomplished. Learning that the fleet was still off Fort Fisher, he advised Admiral Porter to hold on, and that he would make another attempt to take the place. He selected General A. H. Terry to command the expedition, and about 1,500 men were added to those who made the former attempt. The expedition reached its destination on the evening of the 12th. The troops disembarked on the 13th of January; on the 16th the fort was assaulted, and after several hours' desperate fighting was captured with its garrison and armament. The Union force soon acquired entire control of Cape Fear River. For this gallant exploit, General Terry was made a Major General.

At the request of General Grant, Butler was relieved from command, and Major General Ord assigned to the department of Virginia and North Carolina. *

During the winter of 1865, there were unofficial and unanthorized movements looking towards peace. Before Mr. Blair's visit to Richmond, an earnest friend of peace—honest, perhaps, but mistaken — approached Mr. Lincoln, and said in substance: “Assuming that Grant is baffled and delayed in his efforts to take Richmond, will it not be better to accept peace on favorable terms than to prolong the war? Have not nearly four years of war demonstrated that, as against a divided North, a united South can make a successful defence? The South is a unit, made so, it is conceded, by despotic power. We of the North cannot afford to secure unity by giving up our constitutional government; we cannot secure unity without despotism." The rebels, said this advocate for peace, “ will fill up their exhausted armies

, “ by 300,000 negroes; these negroes, under the training and discipline of white officers, and with freedom as their reward, will fight for them. The Union armies will be very greatly reduced next year by the expiration of the term of service of many of the men. How will you fill up the ranks? The people are divided; one-third or more, as the elections show, are positively and unalterably against the war; one-third or more positively and unalterably for carrying it on until the rebellion is thoroughly subjugated; the remainder of the people—when the clouds gather black and threatening again, when another draft comes, and increased taxation, the peace men, and the timid, facile, doubtful men, will go over to the opposition and make it a majority. You can now secure any terms you please, by granting to the rebels recognition. You can fix your own boundary. You can hold all within your lines—the Mississippi River, and all west of it, and Louisiana. You can retain Maryland, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Take this — make peace.

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* When the intelligence of the capture of Fort Fisher reached Washington, General Butler was being examined by the committee on the conduct of the war, in regard to the failure of his expedition. When the news was announced, " Thank God for that," exclaimed he.

Is not this as much territory, which was formerly slave territory, as the Republic can digest and assimilate to freedom at once ? Make this a homogeneous country-make it free, and then improve and develop the mighty empire you have left. If you succeed in subduing the entire territory in rebellion, can the nation assimilate it, and make it homogeneous ? Are the people in the Gulf States sufficiently intelligent to make freedom a blessing? You can people, educate, and bring up to the capability of self-government the territory you have within your lines, but taking it all — with its people accustomed to slavery, with the ignorance and vice resulting therefrom, is it clear that it is worth the blood and treasure it may cost ?”

The President was unmoved by these representations, His reply was brief, and emphatic: “ There are,” said he, “just two indispensable conditions to peace-national unity, and national liberty. The national authority must be restored through all the States, and I will never recede from the position I have taken on the slavery question."* “The people," said he, “ have the courage, self-denial, the persistence, to go through, and before another year goes by, it is reasonably certain, we shall bring all the rebel territory within our lines. We are neither exhausted, nor in process of exhaustion. We are really stronger than when we began the war. The purpose of the people to maintain the integrity of the Republic has never been shaken.”

Mr. Lincoln justly regarded the November election as deciding that there should be no peace without union; no peace until the supremacy of the national authority should be everywhere recognized; no peace without liberty to all.

For the purpose of learning the views of the Confederate leaders, F. P. Blair, sen., a private citizen, but a man of large political experience, and great influence with many family and personal friends among the rebels, on the 28th day of December, 1864, obtained from the President permission to pass through the military lines South, and return. The President was informed that he intended to use the

pass as a means of getting to Richmond, but no authority to

*See Mr. Lincoln's instructions to Mr. Seward, when sent to meet Stephens and Hunter at Fortress Monroe.

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