blinding smoke, with no hope from friends, the gallant garrison could ask only the mercy of the foes, and it was given willingly—the soldier's privilege of saluting his colors and marching out with the honors of war.
And then the North
awoke in earnest.
In one day the streets of New York city, all seeming apathy the day before, blazed with a sudden burst of color.
The Stars and Stripes were flung to the breeze from every staff and halyard; the hues of the Union
flamed on every breast.
The transformation was a marvel.
There was but one topic on every tongue, but one thought in every heart: The flag had been downed in Charleston Harbor
, the long-threatened secession had begun, the very Capitol
was endangered, the President
at last had spoken, in a demand for seventy-five thousand men.
It was the first call of many to follow—calls that eventually drew 2,300,000 men into the armies of the Union
, but the first was the most thrilling of all, and nowhere was its effect so wonderful as in the city of New York
Not until aroused by the echo of the guns at Sumter
could or would the people believe the South
in deadly earnest.
The press and the prophets had not half prepared them.
Southern sympathizers had been numerous and aggressive, and when the very heads of the Government
were unresentful of repeated violation of Federal rights and authority, what could be expected of a people reared only in the paths of peace?
The military spirit had long been dominant in the South
and correspondingly dormant in the North
The South was full of men accustomed to the saddle and the use of arms; the North
had but a handful.
The South had many soldier schools; the North
, outside of West Point
, had but one worthy the name.
Even as late as the winter of 1860 and 1861, young men in New York, taking counsel of far-seeing elders and assembling for drill, were rebuked by visiting pedagogues who bade them waste no time in ‘silly vanities.’
‘The days of barbaric battle are dead,’ said they.