At Perkins Landing, Louisiana, a small number of Union troops find themselves cut off and surrounded by Confederates; the U.S.S. Carondelet would arrive, shelling the woods to prevent a Confederate advance until the troops were rescued.
A speech given by Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson on Memorial Day 50 years ago (May 30, 1963), at Gettysburg:
On this hallowed ground, heroic deeds were performed and eloquent words were spoken a century ago.
We, the living, have not forgotten—and the world will never forget—the deeds or the words of Gettysburg. We honor them now as we join on this Memorial Day of 1963 in a prayer for permanent peace of the world and fulfillment of our hopes for universal freedom and justice.
We are called to honor our own words of reverent prayer with resolution in the deeds we must perform to preserve peace and the hope of freedom.
We keep a vigil of peace around the world.
Until the world knows no aggressors, until the arms of tyranny have been laid down, until freedom has risen up in every land, we shall maintain our vigil to make sure our sons who died on foreign fields shall not have died in vain.
As we maintain the vigil of peace, we must remember that justice is a vigil, too—a vigil we must keep in our own streets and schools and among the lives of all our people–so that those who died here on their native soil shall not have died in vain.
One hundred years ago, the slave was freed.
One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin.
The Negro today asks justice.
We do not answer him—we do not answer those who lie beneath this soil—when we reply to the Negro by asking, “Patience.”
It is empty to plead that the solution to the dilemmas of the present rests on the hands of the clock. The solution is in our hands. Unless we are willing to yield up our destiny of greatness among the civilizations of history, Americans—white and Negro together—must be about the business of resolving the challenge which confronts us now.
Our nation found its soul in honor on these fields of Gettysburg one hundred years ago. We must not lose that soul in dishonor now on the fields of hate.
To ask for patience from the Negro is to ask him to give more of what he has already given enough. But to fail to ask of him—and of all Americans—perseverance within the processes of a free and responsible society would be to fail to ask what the national interest requires of all its citizens.
The law cannot save those who deny it but neither can the law serve any who do not use it. The history of injustice and inequality is a history of disuse of the law. Law has not failed—and is not failing. We as a nation have failed ourselves by not trusting the law and by not using the law to gain sooner the ends of justice which law alone serves.
If the white over-estimates what he has done for the Negro without the law, the Negro may under-estimate what he is doing and can do for himself with the law.
If it is empty to ask Negro or white for patience, it is not empty—it is merely honest—to ask perseverance. Men may build barricades—and others may hurl themselves against those barricades—but what would happen at the barricades would yield no answers. The answers will only be wrought by our perseverance together. It is deceit to promise more as it would be cowardice to demand less.
In this hour, it is not our respective races which are at stake–it is our nation. Let those who care for their country come forward, North and South, white and Negro, to lead the way through this moment of challenge and decision.
The Negro says, “Now.” Others say, “Never.” The voice of responsible Americans—the voice of those who died here and the great man who spoke here—their voices say, “Together.” There is no other way.
Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. To the extent that the proclamation of emancipation is not fulfilled in fact, to that extent we shall have fallen short of assuring freedom to the free.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee completes a restructuring of the Army of Northern Virginia, creating three corps under Lieutenant Generals Longstreet, Ewell, and A. P. Hill.
About Changing the Object of the War.
The way to put down the rebellion is by defeating and destroying the rebel armies. Upon this all who make any pretense of loyalty agree. How are military organisations, which comprise half a million of soldiers, and virtually every able bodied man in the South, to be defeated and destroyed? The undertaking is a war as great as any Government ever had on its hands, and it demands every means of war. So far we may proceed without meeting dispute. But what has the Government done in carrying on the war that is not justified by the usages, rules and rights of war? If anything, let it be specified, and, if shown to be in violation or excess of these, we will grant that it should be modified, and brought within these limits. If the means the Government has used are within the rights of war, will any one say, in the face of the destruction and perils of this terrible war, that the Government should have refrained from using them?
The Government has resolved to use to some extent the black inhabitants of the rebel districts, to aid in the war, and to deprive the rebellion of that resource. The only question in the matter is a military one. The first is, will these blacks be an assistance to us in destroying the rebel armies, whether in fighting them, or cutting off their supplies? No one doubts that they may be a powerful assistance; and the attempt of the rebels to prevent it by proclaiming savage penalties on the blacks, and on our officers who encourage, arm or command them, shows how they regard it.—second, is the acceptance, protection and use of the slaves of the rebels in carrying on the war against them, justifiable by the rules and rights of war? We doubt if any will pretend that it is not. We have pictures of the horrors of servile insurrection, and of the massacre of women and children, but we have no argument to show that the killing of men in battle is not as proper for blacks as whites; and at this time there are too many horrors of a white insurrection, and too much slaughter of strong, vigorous young men—the very life blood of communities—to permit us to waste any sympathies on purely imaginary horrors.
Then if the use which the Government has made of the blacks, and the policy it has adopted toward them, brings us aid in carrying out what all agree is the only true war policy—the destruction of the rebel armies; and if, as none can successfully dispute, it is within the rights of war, what right has any one to declare that by using the blacks as a military resource the Government has changed the object of the war? Suppose that this war shall destroy Slavery, is that any reason for charging the Government with making war on Slavery, instead of on the rebellion. It might with just as much reason be said that because the operations of our armies destroy and consume property, the Government has changed the purpose of the war, to a raid on property.
Rebellion made the war. The Government could have no other object than to put it down. so long as it declares its purpose to subdue the rebellion and preserve the Nation, and so long as it uses only such means as will aid in carrying on the war against the rebel armies, or which give reasonable promise of aid, no person has a right to say that it has changed the object of the war; and while the rebel armies threaten the national existence, no one but a traitor will say this. If a householder’s roof were in flames, and as he was about to ascend with a bucket of water, a bystander should call on the people to seize the householder, and pinion his arms, on the charge that he had changed the object of his exertions, and was carrying water more to disturb the neighborhood than to put out the fire, he would be set down as the incendiary or an accomplice. so we may justly set down as accomplices of the rebels those who, in this conflagration of the Nation, raise the clamor that the Government has changed the object of the war, and is waging it, not to put down the rebellion, but to destroy slavery.
So persons itinerate the country, like our Representative—so called because he represents nothing here—Mr. Pendleton, stirring up the seditious elements, clamoring that the war if prosecuted to success will destroy the sovereignty, as they call it, of the States, and therefore the “Union of the States will be gone forever,” and in the place of that we shall have “unity of territory” and “unmitigated despotism.” By what right does Mr. Pendleton declare that success in destroying the rebel armies will be the destruction of State rights, or State sovereignty, or by whatever name he may designate the State organizations? Is rebellion a State right? Does the preservation of the States hang on the success of the rebel armies? If Mr. Pendleton thinks so, why is he on this side of the lines? If he thinks so, what right has he to go about haranguing the people in the rear of our armies? If he does not think that the preservation of the States, of the Constitution and of our liberties hangs on the success of the rebel armies, how can he declare that their destruction will destroy all these and lead to unmitigated despotism?
There is a short and easy logical process used in this business of accusing the Government of having diverted the war against rebellion to a war on Slavery and on the Constitution, which is as honest and as constantly repeated as the patent safe trick, and it is fit for persons of the same mental capacity as those who are captivated by that device. The formula is that whereas under the Constitution the National Government has no power to interfere with Slavery in the States; therefore, any disturbance of Slavery by the war is a violation of the Constitution, and is changing the purpose of the war from putting down the rebellion to a war on the Constitution.
There is no wonderful workmanship in a brain capable of such a reasoning process. Yet there are some well meaning persons who, by means of mechanical facilities to print what they write, regard themselves as holding the “palladium of our liberties,” and the control of human destinies, who are unable to get over this logical demonstration, and among traitors it is the text of all speeches. So it might be argued, that whereas the Constitution declares that no person shall be deprived of life without trial by jury, and whereas the President has ordered the armies into the field to kill men, therefore he has violated the Constitution, and has changed the object of the war to murder men and overthrow the Constitution.
None but they who desire the success of the rebellion and the destruction of the nation can have fears of dangers any greater than these present ones, nor in the face of these can entertain any lesser fears. None but they who desire the success of the enemy can have any fears of the consequences of our success in the war. None who desire the rebellion put down will be hostile to the use of any means within the rights of war to put it down. If the enforcement of the Constitution and laws against rebellion is constitutional, all the rights and means of war are constitutional. Is the rebellion so light a thing that any will say the Government may safely neglect to use any means that may aid to overcome it? Are the means we have brought against it so greatly beyond the requirement that their excess should excite fears that they are intended for some other purpose.
The very seditious partisans who are clamoring that the Government has changed the object of the war, and is not waging it to put down rebellion, do not pretend to believe that the Government has any surplus force to be diverted from the object.—On the contrary, they declare that we can never put down the rebellion by force. The same treacherous partisans in the earlier stages of the war opposed the use of the assistance of the blacks, because, they magnanimously argued, twenty millions of whites were sufficient without the aid of blacks. In pursuance of the same double tongued treachery now they declare that the military power of the Government, which is inadequate to put down the Southern rebellion, is dangerous to the liberties of the people of the North.—[Cin. Gaz.
Major-General Ambrose Burnside offers his resignation over the Clement Vallandigham affair; Abraham Lincoln would reject this offer.
The 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment, one of the earliest official and best-known colored regiments, leaves Boston, en route to the south.
An engagement between the U.S.S. Cincinnati and the Vicksburg batteries takes place.
The back of the postcard reads:
Big Round Top, Gettysburg, Pa.
Considerable importance is given to the famous Round Tops at Gettysburg. Round Top, overlooking Little Round Top, although higher, was of less importance during the battle. The observation tower at the top permits of a beautiful view of the fields of battle which surround it.