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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 11, 1864

The Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American History, and nothing can explain the important events of the war better than original newspapers printed during the war. We have made our extensive collection of these historical documents available online on this site.

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General Warren

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Baltimore Convention

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Radical Republican

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Belle Plain

Bell Plain, Virginia

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Spotsylvania Court House


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Lee Cartoon

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JUNE 11, 1864.]



(Previous Page) vencing with his crew of cut-throats and fire-raisers, to burn and sack the city in which he has been. an honored though unworthy guest, he experienced Virginia's other style of receiving visitors, and will have an opportunity of comparing the Libey with the Ballard. This SHALER, however, has at least kept himself quiet, and has in silence laid up all these things in his mind, and pondered them in his heart."

This is not the manner in which men talk who are sure either of themselves or of their cause.


WE have attempted to do our share in exposing the relation to our own situation of the French conquest of Mexico. That it is essentially an unfriendly act ; that it was begun because our Government was supposed to be ruined; and that our ruin is a cardinal condition of its ultimate success, no man who has considered the subject will deny. What our policy should be is, therefore, a very grave question.

Yet, situated as this country is, there is always one infallible test of every great measure proposed. It is that which NAPOLEON gave to his marshal: "Find out exactly what the enemy wishes you to do, and then with all your might don't do it." The heart of every rebel in the land would leap for joy if we should declare war against France. Is it worth while then to do it?

If not, there is henceforth but one dignified attitude for us until we are ready to demand explanations, and to make war if they are not satisfactory, and that is, silence. Congress, by its Resolution, and the Secretary of State upon several occasions, have declared the invincible repugnance of this country to the project of erecting an Austrian empire by French bayonets upon the ruins of the Mexican republic. We do not here discuss the manner in which the Secretary has done it. But no words can add force to that simple declaration. The substance of the Monroe doctrine is unquestionably a fixed principle of American political faith. Steadily opposed to such a bald iniquity as the French conquest of Mexico, our action in regard to it must be governed by circumstances. If, therefore, Mr. WINTER DAVIS, who is Chairman of the House Committee upon foreign relations, thinks a war with France wise, we hope he will frankly propose it, that the question may be fully discussed. If, however, he is merely making a political demonstration against the general conduct of our foreign policy, we hope he will see that, to stand making faces and doubling up fists and threatening, without striking, is not a dignified attitude for the United States.


THE confidence of the people in their cause and their Government is shown in nothing more significantly than in the unflagging ardor with which the Government loans are taken. They give every man who invests a direct personal interest in the maintenance of the Government in which he thus becomes a stockholder. The subscriptions to the 10-40 loan reported at the Treasury up to the 28th of May amounted to a hundred and sixty millions of dollars. Could there be a more desirable or safer investment ? It is to be redeemed in coin, and although the rate of interest is only five per cent. in gold, it is now equal to nine per cent. in currency. It is exempt also from State or local taxation, which may be reckoned to add two or three per cent. more to its annual value, making a productive security which might satisfy even Shylock himself. It continues to be taken at the rate of nearly a million a day.

The argument of an overpowering and unmanageable debt drawn from the history of other countries does not apply to this. The power of producing wealth upon this continent is almost infinite. It can be measured only by our resources, and they are incalculable. After some centuries, said MACAULAY, when your population is as numerous as ours, you may know something of our perplexities and troubles. But it is well for us that our great and costly struggle occurs in the very vigor and flush of our youth, with an exhaustless continent subject to an indomitable energy.


THIS is the title of a daily paper lately established in Louisville, Kentucky, as the organ of the genuine Union sentiment of the State. Its publisher, Mr. L. A. CIVILL, is known to us as a gentleman of high character and admirable capacity, and the numbers of the paper which we have seen are an earnest of the skill and ability with which it is to be edited. The Union Press is unconditionally Union. It belongs to no party but that of intelligent loyal men who understand that the United States are a nation, not a league or a confederacy, and that consequently the doctrine of supreme State sovereignty is a treasonable chimera. It believes that slavery is the real cause of the rebellion, and that, as the conspirators have used slavery as a means of destroying the nation, the nation is rightfully destroying slavery to save itself. The Union Press is full of good matter, neatly printed, and we cordially commend it as an illustration of that Border-State fidelity which was thought by many hardly to exist. It will be for that reason a valuable visitor in any household in the country.



SENATE.—May 25. The House bill making an appropriation of $928,000 as an award for damages from the depredations of the Sioux Indians was passed.—An amendment of the Tax bill, making the tax on a barrel of lager beer, ale, beer, or other fermented liquors, $125 instead of $1 50, was agreed to.—May 26. Mr. Johnson offered a resolution calling upon the President for information as to the delivery of Senor Arguelles to the Spanish authorities.—Mr. Powell offered a resolution characterizing the act of the Administration in suppressing the publication of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce as a violation of the Constitution.---May 27. Mr. Sumner submitted a resolution "That a State pretending to secede from the Union, and battling against the National Government to maintain their position, must be regarded as a rebel State, subject to military occupation, and without representation on this floor until it has been readmitted by a vote of both Houses of Congress and the Senate will decline to entertain any application from any such rebel State until after such a vote of both Houses." This resolution was intimated by Mr. Sumner to have reference to the case of Mr. Fishback, of Arkansas, who claims to have been elected United States Senator from that State. Mr. Fishback was formerly an avowed Secessionist.—Mr. Wade's bill to amend the act to enable the people of Colorado to form a Constitution and State Government was passed. It changes the time for holding the election authorized under the provisions of the bill.---May 28. The joint resolution to amend the charter of the city of Washington in regard to the registration of voters was passed, the Senate rejecting the amendment allowing persons to be registered as voters who have heretofore borne arms, without distinction of color.—Mr. Doolittle introduced a joint resolution voting the thanks of Congress to Colonel Bailey, of the Nineteenth Army Corps, and directing that a gold medal be prepared for presentation to him, under the direction of the President of the United States, as a recognition of the invaluable engineering ability displayed by him in devising and constructing works which enabled Admiral Porter's fleet to pass over the falls of Red River. —Subsequently, in executive session, a communication was received from the President nominating Colonel Bailey for Brevet Brigadier-General.—The Senate struck out from the Internal Revenue bill the clause taxing domestic spirits on hand.---May 30. The Tax bill was discussed without any conclusive action. - May 31. Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, submitted a preamble and resolution charging against General Butler complicity with the rebellion in its incipient stages, and calling for a committee to investigate the charges.—The Internal Revenue bill was then taken up, and a number of amendments and provisions were acted upon. A proposed amendment of Mr. Powell, in effect abolishing the bounties paid by the Government to the Eastern fishermen, caused a long and very animated discussion, in which the character and virtues of New England, her people and institutions, were assailed by Messrs. Powell and Davis, and defended by Messrs. Morrill, Fessenden, Howe, M'Dougall, and Wilkinson. A vote was finally taken on Mr. Powell's amendment, and it was defeated. House—May 25. The joint resolution that the undistributed portion of books and documents purchased by each House previous to the Thirty-seventh Congress be distributed to the present members and delegates was passed.—The Speaker laid before the House the reply of President Lincoln to the resolution adopted yesterday, inclosing the correspondence between Secretary Seward and Mr. Dayton relative to the resolution adopted by the House against the invasion of Mexico by France. Mr. Seward says that it is practically an Executive question; that it does not belong to Congress to take action in the premises, and that while the President receives the unanimous declaration of the House with the profound respect to which it is entitled, he directs Mr. Dayton to inform the French Government that he does not intend to depart from our heretofore enunciated policy concerning the French occupation of Mexico.—A report from the Committee of Conference on the Army bill was made, and a long debate followed on the equalization of the pay of soldiers. The House insisted upon its action that there shall be no distinction in pay in consequence of color.—May 26. The Reciprocity question was disposed of. After rejecting a substitute proposing a commission to negotiate a new treaty, and another authorizing the President to give the stipulated notice for the termination of the present treaty, the House, by a vote of 78 to 72, postponed the consideration of the whole subject until the second Tuesday of December.—The Senate bill providing for the payment of claims of Peruvian citizens under the Convention with Peru was passed.—May 27. The Senate bill modifying the existing law so that documents and letters may be sent to Government officers without the prepayment of postage was passed.--May 30. A bill appropriating $250,000 for the repair and preservation of the works for the benefit of commerce on the lakes, and $100,000 for similar purposes on the sea-board, was passed.—A bill was also passed extending the time fixed in the act of June, 1856, for commencing the construction of the Marquette and Ontonagon Railroad, in Michigan, for which the public lands were at that period appropriated.—The House, resuming the consideration of the Kentucky contested election case cf M'Henry against Yeaman, by a vote of 96 yeas against 26 nays, adopted the resolution declaring Mr. Yeaman entitled to retain his seat.—The Committee on Military Affairs was instructed to inquire by what authority and under whose direction the rebels are interspersed with the National soldiers throughout the various hospitals of Washington, and as to the comparative treatment of the rebel and Union soldiers in the hospitals.—Mr. Lazear offered a long preamble, concluding with a resolution that the President be required to adopt measures for the suspension of hostilities between the North and South and an armistice, in order that in the mean time a Convention may be called of all the States, with a view to the restoration of the Union with their Constitutional rights. Objection was made, when Mr. Lazear moved a suspension of the rules, pending which the House adjourned.—May 31. A bill to carry into effect consular conventions with France, England, and other nations was passed. It provides that consul-generals, consuls, and commercial agents shall have jurisdiction over the officers and crews of the vessels of their respective countries in foreign waters, in cases of controversy respecting wages and other subjects.—The bill authorizing the President to construct a military railroad from the Ohio Valley to East Tennessee was passed, after a brief discussion, by a vote of 64 against 56.—The bill incorporating the People's Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Company, and giving alternate sections of laud toward the construction of the line, which is to extend from Lake Superior to Puget's Sound, was also passed by a vote of 74 against 50.


The week has developed some important events in General Grant's campaign. Our record closed with the retreat of Lee beyond the North Anna River, our forces vigorously pursuing. On Monday, 23d, the Second and Fifth corps, having crossed that river, pushed steadily forward, closely followed by the Sixth and Ninth, driving the enemy before them, until Lee took up a strong position some two miles beyond the river. In crossing the river, on the extreme left of our position, the Second corps assaulted and carried, without any considerable opposition, several formidable lines of works. Birney's Division, which, on the night previous, carried the rebel rifle-pits on the north side of the river, led the crossing, capturing about fifty of the enemy's riflemen. On the right, opposite Duck's Mills Ford, Warren advanced in the morning, cutting the Virginia Central Railroad, and establishing himself in position at Noel's Station. Our total loss on Tuesday, in all the engagements, did not exceed 150. On Monday we lost between 500 and 600. About 1200 prisoners were taken from the enemy. Our troops, during Tuesday and Wednesday, tore up and destroyed nearly six miles of track on the Virginia Central Railroad west of Sexton's Junction, on the Richmond and Fredericksburg road, and our cavalry seriously damaged the rebel communications in other directions.

During Thursday night General Grant suddenly with drew his army to the north side of the North Anna River, and moved rapidly in a southeasterly direction to Hanovertown on the Pamunkey River. Hanovertown is some

twenty-five miles from the point at which Grant crossed the North Anna, and is only sixteen miles from Richmond. In the forward movement the cavalry led the advance, the First and Second divisions taking possession of Hanover Ferry and Hanovertown at nine o'clock on Friday morning, and capturing seventy-five men who were stationed at that point. The Sixth Corps came up soon after, and by Saturday noon the entire army had crossed the Pamunkey, having thus, in thirty-six hours, marched nearly thirty miles, crossed two rivers, and reached a position far on the flank of the enemy.

General Grant, having crossed his army, at once advanced and took up a position three miles south of the Pamunkey, awaiting the development of the strength and position of the enemy. During the same day (Saturday) two divisions of our cavalry engaged the enemy, driving him about a mile. Our loss was 54 killed and 300 wounded. Most of the killed of the enemy and many of his wounded fell into our hands.

On Monday dispositions for an attack were made by General Grant, Wilson's cavalry being ordered meanwhile to destroy the railroad bridges over the Little River and South Anna, and break up both roads from these rivers to two miles southwest of Hawes's Shop, where the head quarters of our army were established. On Monday evening the enemy attacked our position, but were repulsed. General Grant, in a dispatch dated Tuesday morning, says: " The enemy came over on our left last evening and attacked. They were easily repulsed, and with very considerable slaughter. To relieve General Warren, who was on the left, speedily, General Meade ordered an attack by the rest of our lines. General Hancock was the only one who received the order in time to make the attack before dark. He drove the enemy from his intrenched skirmish line, and still holds it. I have no report of our losses, but suppose them to be light."

Other official dispatches, not from General Grant, give more details. They are as follows, the first being dated Monday, May 30, at eight o'clock P.M:

'"In the course of the afternoon Warren had pushed down on our left, until his flank division, under Crawford, reached a point abreast of Shady Grove Church. Crawford having got detached from the rest of the corps, was attacked and crowded back a little. The enemy then threw a force, which appears to have consisted of Ewell's corps, upon Warren's left, attempting to turn it, but were repulsed. The engagement was short, sharp, and decisive.

"Warren holds his ground at a distance of seven miles from Richmond. He reports that he has taken a considerable number of prisoners, and that there are many rebel dead on the field. Of his own losses he has not yet made report. His latest dispatch says the enemy are moving troops to his left, apparently to cover the approach to Richmond in that direction. On our right an active conflict has been raging ever since dark, but has just closed. As soon as the enemy attacked the left of Warren, Wright and Hancock were ordered to pitch in, but do not seem to have got ready until after nightfall."

The other dispatch above referred to is dated at six o'clock Tuesday morning, and states that, on Hancock's attack last night, Colonel Brooks drove the enemy out of a strongly-intrenched skirmish line, and holds it. The losses are not reported. Burnside's whole corps got across the Tolopatomoy Creek last evening, and is in full connection with Warren's. The left of Hancock's rests upon this side of the Creek. The Sixth Corps is upon Hancock's right, and threatens the left flank of the enemy. Sheridan, with Gregg's and Torbert's divisions of cavalry, is on our left flank. Wilson is on the right and rear, for purposes named above. The country thereabout is thickly wooded with pines, with few good openings. The latest indications are that the enemy has fallen back south of the Chickahominy.


Upon the advance of General Grant's army, preparations were at once made for the evacuation of Fredericksburg and Aquia Creek, and by the close of last week all our sick and wounded, together with our army material and supplies, had been removed, and the country was abandoned to guerrillas. Our outpost troops, guarding the railroads and stations in front of Washington, were also drawn in for service elsewhere ; this gave the Mosby rough-riders a fine opportunity to exhibit their destructive proclivities, and they accordingly set to work to destroy all the buildings from Union Mills down to the Rapidan, consisting of block-houses, warehouses, etc., which they accomplished most effectually by firing them. As General Grant now has his base on York River he is not at all incommoded by the raids. For a few days supplies were sent by way of Port Royal, on the Rappahannock, but Grant's passage of the Pumunkey made that river and the York the natural channels of communication with his army.

On the 30th General Hunter, who is moving down the Shenandoah Valley, had reached Edinburg, where he found the enemy, 4000 strong, in his front. Edinburg is about fifty miles northwest of Gordonsville, which is probably his objective point. His first office, however, is to guard the Shenandoah Valley.


On Tuesday, May 24, General Fitzhugh Lee, with about 2000 cavalry, and some infantry and artillery, attacked our garrison at Wilson's Landing, on the north side of the dames River, below Powhatan. The garrison consisted of two negro regiments under General Wild. Before the attack Lee sent a flag, stating that he had force enough to take the place, demanded its surrender, and in that case the garrison should be turned over to the authorities at Richmond as prisoners of war; but if this proposition was rejected he would not be answerable for the consequences when he took the place. General Wild replied, " We will try that." The enemy, after desperate fighting, were repulsed and driven back in disorder, leaving between 200 and 300 in killed and wounded on the field. Our loss was 40 wounded and 7 killed. One rebel Major was killed, a rebel Colonel was made prisoner, and 10 privates were also captured. On the same day General Gillmore went on a reconnoissance from our intrenched position, met the enemy, and after a fight of an hour and a half defeated them, with very slight loss on our side.

On the 25th a slight skirmish took place about three miles from City Point, up the Appomattox River, between pickets. The enemy were routed. The advance of General Grant has an important bearing on General Butler's position, and none but defensive operations have taken place since the 25th. The Eighteenth Army Corps and some regiments of the Tenth Corps were on the 29th brought down the James River from Butler's Army and sent up the York. Of this movement, Secretary Stanton, in a bulletin of the 30th, says: "A portion of General Butter's forces at Bermuda Hundred, not required for defensive operations there, has been transferred, under command of General Smith, to the Army of the Potomac, and is supposed by this time to have formed a junction. No change in the command of the Department of Virginia has been made. General Butler remains in full command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and continues at the head of his force in the field."

On Monday, the 80th, the rebels attacked Butler's position, but every assault was repulsed. On Tuesday morning the rebels again began to make demonstrations against our position at Bermuda, but up to the date of the last dispatch nothing had been effected. It is quite likely that these demonstrations are for the purpose of covering the withdrawal of a large portion of Beauregard's force.

In reference to the rebel losses in the Peninsula campaign, a letter to the New York Herald, dated 26th ult., says : "Late Petersburg papers acknowledge a loss in Beauregard's army, in wounded, so far as they have been admitted to two or three general hospitals, of three thousand and forty. To these must be added the killed, the wounded not sent to hospital, and those who fell into our hands. Adding the number of prisoners in our hands, the enemy's loss up to the 16th inst. was not less than six thou-sand. In the fight of Friday last they acknowledge a loss of over six hundred and fifty. Our losses at the battle of Palmer's Creek and other smaller engagements amount to about three thousand, including both killed and wounded. About three thousand four hundred wounded have been sent to Fortress Monroe; but this number includes all the wounded of General Kautz's and Sheridan's commands, and also the rebel wounded brought in by General Sheridan. These figures may be relied on as correct in every respect."


General Sherman's march is still onward. Our record last week closed with the occupation of Kingston and the line of the Etowah River by our forces on the 19th ult. From that point, on the 24th, having brought up his supplies, General Sherman resumed his march, pushing in a southwesterly direction for Altoona, situated some twenty miles distant, on the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Flanking this position, which is said to be even stronger than Atlanta, the army pressed forward toward Dallas, lying some twenty miles almost directly south of Altoona. Here we came up with the enemy, and on Saturday, the 28th, an engagement took place between them and M'Pherson's corps, in which the rebels were driven back, with a loss to them of 2500 killed and wounded left in our hands, and about 300 prisoners. General M'Pherson's loss was not over 300 in all.

General Sherman's head-quarters were still at Dallas at the latest accounts. Dallas is about thirty-two miles from Atlanta.


General Banks, with a part of his army, arrived at New Orleans on the 21st of May. In moving across the country during his retreat from Alexandria General Banks left the Red River at Fort De Russy, and struck for Semmesport, where he crossed the Atchafalaya, and then marched to Morganza, on the Mississippi. A. J. Smith's command also marched to Semmesport, and there embarked in transports. General Smith had a spirited engagement with Polignac's rebel division on the 8th ult., defeating it, driving it several miles, and capturing 300 prisoners. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded is stated at 500. General Smith's command arrived at Vicksburg in transports on the 24th ult. Late dispatches from General Canby state that he is actively engaged in resupplying the troops brought back by General Steele and General Banks, and organizing the forces of the West Mississippi Division, which now comprehends the Departments of Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Generals Rosecrans, Steele, and Banks remain in command of their respective departments, under the order of General Canby, as Division Commander, his military relations being the same as that formerly exercised by General Grant, and now exercised by General Sherman, over the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee.


Brigadier-Generals Gibbon and Dodge have been nominated Major-Generals of Volunteers. General Oglesby has resigned, and General Buell has been mustered out. General Oglesby has tendered his resignation three times, and it is accepted now for the purpose of making a vacancy for General Dodge. General Oglesby has been nominated as the Union candidate for Governor of Illinois. General Buell was mustered out for refusing to accept a command under General Canby.

Generals Beauregard and Forest, and Lieutenant Governor L. G. Harris, have paid the direct tax upon their real estate in Tennessee, through agents or attorneys. This appears from an official letter from the Tax Commissioner of Tennessee.

It appears from the rolls of the Medical Director that 28,000 men have been sent to hospitals from battle fields in the present campaign. About 2000 of the number are not wounded, but sick. A considerable number are rebel wounded. As there was but little artillery used in the engagement between Grant and Lee the proportion of serious cases is unusually small, and a large number of the wounded will be able to return to the field in a few weeks.

The rebel privateer Florida landed at Martinique, May 4, the crew of a bark from Sombrero, guano laden, which she had captured and burned. The bark is supposed to have been the David Lapsley, of and for Philadelphia.

It appears that General J. E. B. Stuart was shot by a private of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, named Dunn. The bullet entered the right side of the rebel officer, and came out at the left. As the General fell, Dunn exclaimed, " Colonel, there is a spread eagle for you!" It was not suspected who the General was.


The Cleveland Radical Convention, which assembled on the 30th ult., on the following day nominated for President General John C. Fremont; and for Vice-President, General John Cochrane. The platform declared for the Union, the Constitution and the laws, the suppression of the rebellion without compromise, the rights of free speech, free press, and habeas corpus, the Constitutional prohibition of Slavery—for integrity and economy, for confiscation, the right of asylum, the Monroe doctrine, the one term policy, etc. A committee of five was appointed to report a plan of party organization, and a name for the party.

The cash receipts of the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair at St. Louis have already reached $325,000.

Joshua R. Giddings died suddenly at Montreal on the 27th ult.

The New Hampshire Union State Convention has declared in favor of the renomination of President Lincoln. An interesting debate took place in the rebel Congress on the 23d, upon a series of resolutions from North Carolina, asking for the appointment of commissioners to obtain an armistice of ninety days from the Union Government, with a view to obtain peace. The resolutions were tabled.

Over 1000 contrabands arrived at Washington on Monday from the region covered by General Grant's operations. The OId-School Presbyterian General Assembly, in session at Newark, New Jersey, has adopted strong antislavery resolutions.

The draft in New Jersey has been nearly completed. In Kentucky it is still in progress. Hundreds of negroes in that State are enlisting.



THE Dano-German Conference had another session in London on the 17th of May, but there is no report of progress toward a peace settlement. On the contrary, it seemed as if the Schleswig-Holstein affair was becoming more complicated, owing to the wily diplomacy of Russia, the peculiar policy of Napoleon, the obstinacy of Prussia, and the very feeble position assumed and maintained by England. It was thought probable that England would on this very subject be dragged into a naval war.—It is said that France urges in the Conference the prolongation of the suspension of hostilities beyond the stipulated period. The Prince of Augustenburg had entered Altona, in Holstein, amidst much enthusiasm, and a manifesto in his favor had been issued, bearing the signatures of more than 1300 members of the representative bodies of the German States.


The Liverpool ship-owners are beginning to exhibit great alarm at the prospect of retaliation for the rebel fleet by means of American privateers preying on English commerce should Great Britain be engaged in a war with any considerable Power. A number of shipping firms in that town united in a memorial to the House of Commons setting forth the danger to which British shipping may be exposed under a state of affairs which permits a belligerent to construct and send to sea vessels of war from neutral ports, as the Alabama and Georgia, and praying that measures be adopted by the Government, in conjunction with that of the United States. and other Powers, to prevent such a state of things.


The French Minister of State, in a recent debate in the Legislative Chambers, declared that the Government, ten days ago, had given orders not to allow certain ships, which were suspected of building in French ports for the rebel service, to leave France till their destination was clearly established. At the same time the Minister gave his reasons for believing that the American Government would not interfere in the settlement of the Mexican question. He thought that the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico would prove of great advantage to the United States.




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