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of this movement felt that the hearts of the people were not with them. The proclamation of the President calling for seventy-five thousand volunteer troops, is commonly relied upon to justify the ordinance of secession. That proclamation was issued on the 15th of April, 1861. It must not, however, be overlooked that on the 6th of March, 1861, the pretended Congress at Montgomery, provided by law for calling into the field a force of one hundred thousand volunteers; and that on the 12th of April, the Secretary of War of the Confederate States, publicly announced that war was commenced, and that the Capitol at Washington would be captured before the first of May. The intention to capture the Capital of the Union was repeatedly proclaimed in influential papers at Richmond and other Southern cities, before the 15th of April. It was, in fact, long a cherished object of the leaders in this great conspiracy. Did they expect the President of the nation to yield the Capital and retir
eyond danger, should it become necessary; but, in doing this, he was warned to take to steps that could give needless alarm. The steam frigate Merrimack could, it was believed, were here machinery in order, he made available in this emergency, not only to extricate herself, but the other shipping in the harbor. Not knowing, however, who could be confided in to take charge of her, a commander and two engineers were detailed to proceed to Norfolk for that purpose. Two days after, on the 12th of April, the Department directed that the Merrimack should be prepared to proceed to Philadelphia with the utmost despatch. It was stated that to repair the engine and put it in working condition would require four weeks. Discrediting this report, the engineer-in-chief was ordered to proceed forthwith in person, and attend to the necessary preparations. On the 16th of April the commandant was directed to lose no time in placing armament on board the Merrimack, to get the Plymouth and Dolphin