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[163] people of this country were in a position unlike those of any other nation. They did not feel directly the control of the General Government. They paid no government taxes; such as were raised were indirect. In no way was the hand of the General Government openly laid upon them or visible. So far, then, as their immediate interests were concerned, everything tended to give the people a sense of security, and the remotest thought was of a possible war. When, then, war was actually declared by the South, by firing on the flag of the country at Fort Sumter, on the 14th of April, 1861, the thrill that went through every nerve of the people of the North was a startling sensation. It wakened them up to a new fact-the struggle of ideas had commenced; war was inevitable. Whatever of secret hostility there might have been in certain quarters to the success of the North, was forbidden expression. The first gun fired at Sumter cemented the North. The thrill that awoke the people of this country to a realization of the fact of war, woke up with it their patriotism as founded upon education, religious teaching, moral principles, and the innate love of country. The education of the people enabled them to understand the issues made, with the probable consequences of any possible result, and as they thought, their minds grew and developed until they felt that the responsibility of the future of this great continent was upon them; that the great test of the democratic form of government was placed in their hands to determine. This sense of responsibility was shared by all classes, and the voice of the people of the North was so unanimous that to oppose it was at the risk of personal safety. There was then no hesitation as to what to do; but how to do it was the problem.

Here was war upon the people; war by land and by sea. There was entire unpreparedness as to organization in most of the loyal States, and in none less than in Pennsylvania. There were a few of the trained officers who served in the Mexican war available, and some of the ex-officers of the regular army, both those who had resigned after years of service, and graduates of West Point who had served in the army the legal time. Many of these were physically unfitted for duty. Yet when the call was made for 75,000 men-three months men — the eagerness to be accepted showed the feeling of the people, and their confidence in their ability to master the new science. It required but a short experience for the people to learn that a good and reliable soldier is composed of neither hirelings nor vagabonds; but the best material to be found is necessary to constitute an army that will be obedient to orders, and submit to the severe discipline that is required. The old notion that to be a good

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April 14th, 1861 AD (1)
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