from The Webster Times, Aug 2, 1862 (Volume IV # 21), 
Does The Government Mean War?

John Spaulding, Editor

Since the outbreak of this rebellion , and the inauguration of hostilities designed for its overthrow, the armies of National Union have met with occasional disastrous reverses. The first of these was at Bull Run; another was at Ball’s Bluff; the third was the first day at Pittsburg landing; and the last has been before Richmond. It has been a feature of President Lincoln’s policy, at each successive disaster to declare his intentions to commence at once “a more vigorous policy;” until now that expression has become a by-word upon everybody’s tongue.

Precisely what might be understood by the term, we were at a loss at first to determine, but the general idea was that we were to improve by past experience in the increasing severity with which the rebellion should be treated. Trusting to the wisdom and sagacity of those in authority, nobody cared what agents were to be employed, so that the end should be accomplished. So implicit has been our faith, that whatever the president called for, whether men, money, material or time, has been unflinchingly furnished. and the great mass of the loyal of the loyal North have hardly stopped to think that possibly the results of their patriotism and generosity might be worse than thrown away.

Until now each successive reverse has tended to strengthen our determination to conquer, and increased our efforts to place at the disposal of the government such aid as the exigencies of the occasion seemed to demand. But with the disaster to McClellan’s army on the Peninsula, a change has seemed to come over the people. Instead of the impetuosity of former times, there seems to be a hesitation, and the shadow of doubt seems to settle everywhere, doubt of the compete, or the motive , or the will of somebody, no one is really ready to say whom.

The late call for three hundred thousand additional troops has not been responded to with alacrity for this reason. Thinking people turn the subject over, and look upon all side of it, consider its utility, instead of rushing to arms as heretofore. “ The call originated with the Governors of a few States,” they say; “does not the President and his Cabinet know what aid the occasion demands better than these governors could, and if now the government is so eager to get the new levy at once, when they did not originally see the necessity for so vast an addition to our forces, does not the fact demonstrate incapacity or disinclination on the part of those who control our national affairs?”

Since our recent retreat before the rebel army at Richmond, the president has renewed his promise of “a more vigorous policy,” and as tending in that direction he has promulgated sundry orders respecting the property of disloyal citizens, the employment and disposition of slaves, ect., which were intended apparently for satisfying the loyal North, without offending the doubtful loyalty of the border slave states. But the decided ambiguity of the presidents language fails to meet the unqualified approbation of those who really desire to se the rebellion crushed, while in Kentucky and some other of the border States it is construed into a direct attack upon that “conservatism,” a due deference to which alone secures to him that tithe of loyalty which he evidently considers so important to preserve.

The great body of loyalists in the North and West, those upon whom our government has relied and is henceforth to rely on for men and means with which to carry the present war to a successful issue, desires a plain, outspoken, flat-footed expression, by which it may be known positively and beyond quibble, that the rebellion is to be crushed at all hazards and by the active employment of all means which may tend to directly or indirectly to that result.

They wish to know that eighteen populous and powerful states, comprising the wealth, the intelligence, and the loyalty of the nation, are not to be sacrificed for the bare possibility of conciliating half a dozen border states, whose inhabitants do not hesitate to declare their preference for slavery without Union rather than a Union which recognizes universal liberty. In short they wish the lord to be served without any regard whatever for the pleasure of the devil. If this is the policy that is to control our president, they wish to know it; for them they will be heart, soul, body and pocket with him, through thick and thin, to the happy or the bitter end.

The affairs of this country have reached that point where a half way policy can obtain no longer. “God or Mammon;” :Christ or Belial,” “freedom or slavery,” war to the knife or an inglorious humiliation, must now be the portion of this country; and the sooner the choice is made the better. Life and treasure enough have been sacrificed in a fruitless, compromising struggle; and if the controlling features of the past are to govern in the future, peace at almost any sacrifice of national pride cannot come to soon.

The country is waiting for President Lincoln to speak the magic word which shall give freedom to a nation, imperishable honor to his name and memory, and victory, glorious victory to our arms. Shall it be spoken? 

Volume IV # 21 Webster Times August 2, 1862

Webster’s Quota 

We are able to announce a most satisfactory addition to the number of recruits reported last week; indeed our quota is about as good as full; for more than the requisite number have volunteered, although but thirty-two have been accepted. Only two recruits remain to be obtained, and these will doubtless come forward within twenty-four hours. We have been furnished with the names of those who have been accepted, which are given below. All but the very last named individual have been sworn into service and twelve of the thirty-two have received each his one hundred dollar bounty.

Solomon Pippin, Chas. N. Shumway, Charles G. Foster, Samuel Marsh,

Patrick Coffee, Edward Farral, William Mitchel, Joseph D. Schofield,

Paul Labraux, Abram Sargent, F. N. Davis,

Joseph Dupra, Albert Dupra, Alfred Tourtellotte,

Dennis Breen, Stephen W. Russell, George A. Tanner,

Robert Robinson, James F. Chadwick, W. F. Harding, 

H. G. O. Bacon, William N. Leavens, Martin Grady,

Michael Mahar, Samuel Emerson, Edward Capu,

Michael Powers, John C. Raymond, Peter Agnew,

Malaka Ryan, Augustus Benway, John Pendigrass,

Webster has now furnished for the was an aggregate of two hundred and three men. We have a voting population of about seven hundred, so that our town has now one soldier to three voters. The question now is who shall add their name to the list, and take the only two hundred dollars remaining at the disposal of the selectmen as bounty money.

Since the rousing mass meeting of last Friday, recruiting has been quite lively. The patriotic speeches on that occasion were not without effect. Gen. Woodman, Col. Ward and others spoke in a style well calculated to arouse the sympathy of every loyal man. It would give us great pleasure to report the speeches, but circumstances render it impossible.


15th Massachusetts VI