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[122] Holladay Hicks, had advised that the State should occupy for the present a position of “neutrality;” and while he amused the country with this absurd piece of demagogueism, and very plainly suggested that in the approaching election of congressmen, the people of Maryland might determine their position, it is equally certain that he gave verbal assurances to Mr. Lincoln that the State would supply her quota of troops, and give him military support.

The indications of sentiment in the Border States soon ripened into open avowals. Tennessee seceded from the Union on the 6th of May; on the 18th day of May the State of Arkansas was formally admitted into the Southern Confederacy; and on the 21st of the same month, the sovereign Convention of North Carolina, by a unanimous vote, passed an ordinance of secession. This latter State, although slow to secede and accomplish formally her separation from the Union, had acted with singular spirit in giving early and valuable evidence of sympathy with the Southern cause. Under the orders of her Governor, Fort Macon, near Beaufort, was seized on the 15th of April, and promptly garrisoned by volunteers from Greensborough and other places. Fort Caswell was also taken, and on the 19th the Arsenal of Fayetteville was captured without bloodshed, thus securing to the State and the South sixty-five thousand stand of arms, of which twenty-eight thousand were of tile most approved modern construction.

Virginia had taken the decisive step, and passed her ordinance of secession on the 17th day of April. It became an immediate concern to secure for the State all the arms, munitions, ships, war stores, and military posts within her borders, which there was power to seize. Two points were of special importance: one was the Navy Yard, at Gosport, with its magnificent dry-dock-its huge ship-houses, shops, forges, ware-rooms, rope-walks, seasoned timber for ships, masts, cordage, boats, ammunition, small arms, and cannon. Besides all these treasures, it had lying in its waters several vessels of war. The other point was Harper's Ferry on the Potomac River, with its armory and arsenal, containing about ten thousand muskets and five thousand rifles, with machinery for the purpose of manufacturing arms, capable with a sufficient force of workmen, of turning out twenty-five thousand muskets a year.

Movements to secure these places and their advantages were only partially successful. In two days a large force of volunteers had collected at Harper's Ferry. The small Federal force there requested a parley; this was granted; but in a short time flames were seen to burst from the armory and arsenal; the garrison had set fire to the arms and buildings, and escaped across the railroad bridge into Maryland. The Virginia troops instantly rushed into the buildings. A large number of the arms were consumed, but about five thousand improved muskets in complete order, and three thousand unfinished small arms, were saved. The retreating

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