Thursday, April 25, 2013

Treason In High Life

If the war for the Union fails its failure will probably be caused more by treason than by force of arms.  There is every reason to believe that the success of the rebellion hitherto has been secured almost wholly by treasonable communications from trusted men in our own ranks or employed in the management of military affairs.  Many such communications are known to have been made and many more are suspected to have been made, ever since the beginning of the war.  Again and again the Confederates have boasted of their previous knowledge of all the movements of our armies and many facts have proved their boasts true.  We have just learned a most astounding circumstance which may well make every patriot’s heart sink in dismay, and almost in despair.

An officer of high character has informed us that to his knowledge, on the day when the Pensacola ran the gauntlets of the rebel batteries and before the usual hour of her communicating the countersign of the day to our pickets opposite one of those batteries, the rebel pickets boastfully shouted the correct countersign across the river, and added: “The Pensacola is coming down to-night!”  What does this fact prove?  It appears that the countersigns which are sent from the War Department to our camps are made known to the rebels by traitors in confidential positions in or near that Department and that other information in reference to contemplated movements of our naval forces is likewise communicated to the enemy!  What is to be the end of all this?  Can there not be some purification of the Departments so as to save our country from the destruction that must otherwise result from such fearful treachery?  The depressing fact is known that preference for the Southern rebellion or base corruption, has led officers of Government to carry on unsuspected correspondence with the rebels to an extent unknown and undiscoverable.

Shall no effort be made to unmask these vile traitors?  If discovered shall we “swear them and let them go” or shall we rather hang them to the first lamp post?  If ever a crime deserved summary and extreme punishment, surely such a base betrayal of confidence as is shown by such acts should be most promptly and severely visited with the law’s heaviest penalties. – Whether prompted by love of the rebellion or by bribes offered by the enemy, or by a mercenary wish to prolong the war and profit by plundering the Government and the poor soldiers such treason – aggravated a thousand fold by the confidence reposed in the traitors – merits everlasting shame and contempt, and should receive such punishment – torture even – as will make the boldest forever shrink from following the base example. –{Washington Globe.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 1, 1862, p. 3

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