farseeing enough to foretell with any degree of accuracy its probable duration, much less its extent and magnitude.
A general impression prevailed that it would not extend beyond the year in which it commenced.
The utmost limit assigned to it by Secretary Seward
was ninety days; and the Secretary of War
, Mr. Cameron
, was equally at fault in his calculation.
On the 15th of May, only one month from the time the first call was made by the President
for troops, that gentleman positively refused, in a letter addressed to Governor Andrew
, to accept from Massachusetts
more than six regiments of three-years volunteers, although ten were already organized, and anxious for orders to march.
In this remarkable letter, Mr. Cameron
says: ‘It is important to reduce
rather than to enlarge this number (six regiments), and in no event to exceed it
. Let me earnestly recommend to you therefore to call for no more than eight
of which six only are to serve for three years, or during the war, and if more are already called for to reduce the number by discharge
It was not until the 17th of June succeeding, that Governor Andrew
, with all his knowledge and ability, could prevail upon the Secretary
to accept the four additional regiments which had been organized, and were in camp, expecting their services would be accepted.
We mention these facts to show how gentlemen in the highest official positions, and possessing the best means of information upon which to form an accurate judgment, were mistaken in their estimate of the crisis precipitated upon the country in April, 1861, and the duration of its existence.
It was not until after the first battle of Bull Run
in July, that the Washington
authorities began fully to comprehend the real magnitude of affairs, and to adopt measures in correspondence with them.
We believe that these pages will show that in ‘the little councils of the interior towns’ there was a more comprehensive view of the situation entertained and expressed, from the very beginning of hostilities, than in the higher walks of general statesmanship.
Many of the votes passed, and resolutions