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that, as martial law had not been proclaimed in Ohio, whatever offences might have been committed by civilians should have been brought under the examination of the civil authorities, and the civil courts; that the principles of freedom of speech and of the press were too precious, and too firmly established by the struggles and sacrifices which they had cost, to become the object of a military commission, which, in such case, would be mere despotism; and that the loyal cause was too strong and too just to be placed permanently in danger by , the frenzied utterances of a demoralized press, or the insane appeals of inflamed public orators. On the other hand, it was replied, that if civilians committed offences against public order, which were detrimental to the success of our armies in the field, by attempting to create a public sentiment hostile to the prosecution of the war, by the discouragement of enlistments, and by actual hindrance of military operations, such civilians were giving aid and comfort to the public enemy, and were justly answerable to the swift process of military tribunals; that when freedom of speech and the press degenerated into licentiousness, it was an abuse of the principle which could not be too speedily corrected, a nuisance in a loyal community which could not be too soon abated, a crime even in a season of civil war, which could not be too promptly and severely punished; and that no cause was so strong as not to be liable to be undermined and defeated by that meanest kind of craft which is the characteristic of traitors in disguise. General Burnside thought that the time had arrived when the military necessity required that the lines should be strictly drawn between those who were faithful to the national cause and those who were disposed to betray it. He determined to affix the stigma of treason upon the disloyal opponents of the government. He acted not as a politician. He had no personal feelings to gratify. He had no ill will against his prisoner, or the friends or partizans of the culprit. But he conceived that it was his duty, as commander of a Department in which an offence against good taste, good order, good morals and good
government had been committed, to take cognizance of it, and to provide against its recurrence. He judged it to be his duty, as a loyal servant of the government, to see that the Republic should receive no injury from the action of its internal enemies, or from his own negligence. Especially he believed that it was necessary for him, as a sincere patriot, to strip off the speciousness of the disguise with which such men as those whom he proscribed cloaked their nefarious designs, and to hold them up, in all their ugliness and deformity, to the scorn of his countrymen and of mankind, as TRAITORS. The brand of treason—basest of all crimes—was to be forever fixed upon these offenders. When this was once done, and the practice of speaking and acting against the government was made infamous in public estimation, the hour of danger to the Republic would have passed.
Certainly if success is allowed to justify a measure of the kind which General Burnside adopted, he has been amply rewarded. The change of affairs and character in the Department of the Ohio was decidedly marked for the better. The treason that on his arrival was ripening into notoriety-expressing itself both in private and public, in the drinking of sentiments and toasts to the success of the rebel cause, in the loud proclamation of sympathy with the rebels, on the street corners, in the shops, in the hotels, in social intercourse, in public assemblies, in the columns of the press—suddenly felt that a master hand was laid upon it. The fate of Mr. Vallandigham was a significant and serious warning not to be overlooked or despised. There was a healthier public sentiment at once, loyal men breathed more freely, treason sank back abashed and was remanded into silence, and the authority of the Government was established more firmly than ever throughout the entire North West.
A few public journals, however, were indisposed to let the subject drop, and discussed the matter in the most acrimonious terms. Foremost among these were the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Chicago Times, and the New York World—all of which
had long pursued a course which was aiding the cause of the rebels. The editor of the first, after being warned, proposed to General Burnside to submit his articles to inspection before they were printed. But General Burnside declined this, with the understanding on both sides, that for the future the tone of the paper was to be loyal. The second was suppressed and a military guard placed in possession of the office. The circulation of the third within the limits of the Department was prohibited. These acts of justice were performed in the latter part of May, but early in June the President disapproved them, and the papers in question were once more allowed to distil their venom. But a salutary warning had been given, and a more moderate tone was perceptible in their criticisms. The stigma of treason could not be removed. The line had been drawn. The President, the Cabinet, the public sentiment of the country pronounced its approval of General Burnside's course.
While General Burnside was thus engaged in securing his rear, he was by no means negligent in pushing forward his
preparations for a movement in front. The enemy was somewhat disposed to alarm, and if possible, break through our attenuated lines. The Blue Grass Region of Kentucky was too fertile a country and too tempting in its abundance of supplies to be left in complete security from disturbance by the rebel forces. Predatory bands issued from the fastnesses of East Tennessee and South Western Virginia, and crossing the mountains, sought to harass and plunder the neighboring section. The lines of communication, upon which General Rosecrans relied for his means of offensive warfare, ran through General Burnside's department, and it became an object of some importance, on the part of the enemy to disturb them, and on the part of our own forces to prevent such disturbance. At different times during the months of April and May, the rebel partizans, Morgan, Wheeler, Pegram, and Clute, attempted to ravage central Kentucky, and to interfere with the lines of General Rosecrans. The affairs were not of much consequence in themselves, being scarcely more than skirmishes. But they
served to keep our troops constantly on the alert, and subjected them to considerable annoyance, without permitting the accomplishment of any great result. In all cases, the roving bands of the enemy were met, checked and driven back, and their incursions rendered ineffectual. The people of Kentucky were made secure and General Rosecrans's communications were not interrupted for a day.
On the 27th of April, the War Department issued an order, directing “that the troops in Kentucky not belonging to the Ninth Army Corps, be organized into the twenty-third army corps, to be commanded by Major General G. L. Hartsuff.” Measures were immediately taken to carry this order into effect, and on the 22d of May, General Burnside had completed the organization of the force, and the twenty-third army corpscomposed of troops from Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan-came into existence as a constituent part of the Army of the Ohio. With the two corps, it was hoped that the contemplated movement upon East Tennessee might be made. General Burnside had repeatedly asked that General Getty's division should be sent out to him to fill up the Ninth Corps to its complement, but the request had been as repeatedly evaded or refused. With the two divisions, therefore, under General Willcox and the twenty-third corps under General Hartsuff, hastily organized as the latter had been, the enterprise must be undertaken. General Burnside submitted to General Rosecrans a plan for a coöperative movement upon East Tennessee. With the advice of General Thomas it was accepted and preparations were accordingly made by the two commanders. The troops were properly concentrated for the movement, and on the 2d day of June, General Burnside left his headquarters at Cincinnati, and proceeded to Lexington to take the field. The time was ripe for the operation, and officers and men were eager for the service. The Ninth Corps, strengthened by a division under General Carter, was to march directly into East Tennessee by way of Monticello. General Hartsuff was to follow in support. General Rosecrans was to advance upon Chattanooga.
THE CAMPAIGN IN MISSISSIPPI.
THE Ninth Corps was not to have the honor of expelling
the foe from the beautiful region which he had so long oppressed. On the very eve of marching, the destination was changed, and a more arduous duty was demanded. The deliverance of East Tennessee must be postponed. A more imperative necessity existed. A more important enterprise must first be brought to a successful conclusion. Just before leaving Cincinnati General Burnside had received a despatch from Washington inquiring if any troops could be spared from the Department of the Ohio to assist General Grant in the siege of Vicksburg. The despatch seemed ominous. Preparations were made for any exigency. Baggage of officers and men was cut down to the lowest amount, and nothing was wanting but the order to move. The order came, reaching General Burnside at Lexington on the 3d of June. General Grant must be reënforced with eight thousand men. It was like cutting off General Burnside's right arm. But it was obeyed on the instant. On the 4th, the Ninth Corps, with General Parke in command, was put en route for Vicksburg. The 12th Rhode Island, Colonel George H. Browne, did not accompany the Corps in its Mississippi campaign. This regiment was raised for nine months' service, and joined the Corps a short time previous to the battle of Fredericksburg, where Colonel Browne distinguished himself for his gallantry and the regiment suffered severely. It went west with the Corps, but as the expiration of its term of service was at hand, it was retained in Kentucky for a time and was at Cincinnati for a few days dur