more than four years. The hope of Major Beauregard
was, that he might be permanently stationed in Louisiana
, with all the sea-coast of which, and the approaches to the city of New Orleans
, he was known to be so thoroughly familiar; irrespective of his very natural wish to be able, in case of need, to fight in and for his native State.
It must be admitted, however, that, just at that time, few persons in either section of the country really believed that the issues would be settled by force of arms.
The South ‘will not be rash enough to attempt to retire from the Union
,’ was the general opinion entertained at the North
The North ‘will not make war to drag the Southern States
unwillingly back,’ was the prevailing sentiment in the South
This delusion is easily accounted for when we consider, not merely the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence
, and the voluntary formation of the Union
, by the States, but also the views expressed by many of the most prominent men of the North
We do not allude to the extravagant expressions repeated for many years by leaders in the abolition phalanx, professing hatred of the Union
; nor even to the sentiments of disregard for it, uttered, during the same period, by influential members in the Republican party, even on the floor of Congress; but to the immediate declarations of that time, such as the sober statement in the New York Tribune
, then the principal organ of the dominant party at the North
, that the revolution of the Colonies was a precedent for the secession of the States, and that both stood equally on the same principle of the right of a people to self-government.
Even General Scott
, as one of the alternatives of action, had counselled the mild measure of allowing ‘the erring sisters’ to ‘go in peace.’
It was not surprising, therefore, that many persons could not be made to believe in such a war, until, after their eyes had seen the flashes and their ears had heard the sounds of the guns fired at Sumter
, the United States government called for 75,000 troops with which to reduce the Southern
people to obedience.
arrived at Montgomery
on the 26th of February, and on the same day called on the Secretary of War
. ‘Just in time,’ said the latter, while courteously extending his hand, ‘to assist me out of a great dilemma.’
He was estimating the weight and cost of pieces of ordnance of different calibers,