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Xxix. The call to arms.

  • Virginia sends envoys to Washington
  • -- the President's response to them -- he calls for 75,000 Militia -- comments of the Press -- response of the Border State Governors -- Baltimore in a ferment -- attack on the 6th Massachusetts -- do. On Pennsylvanians -- the Rebels uppermost -- railroads and telegraphs broken up -- Mayor Brown and the young Christians visit Washington to demand that no more Northern troops enter Baltimore -- their success -- General Butler lands at Annapolis and recovers Maryland -- her traitorous Legislature.

whether the bombardment and reduction of Fort Sumter shall or shall not be justified by posterity, it is clear that the Confederacy had no alternative but its own dissolution. Five months had elapsed since the Secession movement was formally inaugurated--five months of turmoil, uncertainty, and business stagnation, throughout the seceded States. That section was deeply in debt to the merchants and manufacturers of the Northern cities, as well as to the slave-breeders and slave-traders of the Border States; and, while many creditors were naturally urgent for their pay, few desired or consented to extend their credits in that quarter. Secession had been almost every — where followed, if not preceded, by [450] a suspension of specie payments by the Banks; and, though the lawyers in most places patriotically refused to receive Northern claims for collection, a load of debt weighed heavily on the planting1 and trading classes of the entire South, of whom thousands had rushed into political convulsion for relief from the intolerable pressure. Industry, save on the plantations, was nearly at a stand; never before were there so many whites vainly seeking employment. The North, of course, sympathized with these embarrassments through the falling off in its trade, especially with the South, and through the paucity of remittances; but our currency was still sound, while Southern debts had always been slow, and paid substantially at the convenience of the debtors, when paid at all. Still, the feeling that the existing suspense and apprehension were intolerable, and that almost any change would be an improvement, was by no means confined to the South.

Secession, as we have seen, had been initiated by the aid of the most positive assurances that, once fairly in progress, every Slave State would speedily and surely unite in it; yet, up to this time, but seven of the fifteen Slave States, having a decided minority of the population, and a still more decided minority of the white inhabitants, of that “section,” had justified the sanguine promise. On the contrary, the so-called “Border States,” with Tennessee and Arkansas, had voted not to secede, and most of them by overwhelming majorities; save that Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, had scarcely deigned to take the matter into consideration. And, despite Vice-President Stephens's glowing rhetoric, it was plain that the seceded States did not and could not suffice to form a nation. Already, the talk in their aristocratic circles of Protectorates and imported Princes2 betrayed their own consciousness of this. Either to attack the Union, and thus provoke [451] a war, or to sink gradually but surely out of existence beneath a general appreciation of weakness, insecurity, and intolerable burdens, was the only choice left to the plotters and upholders of Secession.

And, though signally beaten in the recent elections of the non-seceded Slave States, they had yet a very strong party in most of those States--stronger in wealth, in social standing, and in political activity and influence, than in numbers. A majority of these had been able to bring the Conventions or the Legislatures of their respective States to say, with tolerable unanimity, “If the Black Republicans attempt to coerce the seceded States, we will join them in armed resistance.” It was indispensable, therefore, to their mutual purposes, that there should be “ coercion.”

So late as April 4th--a month after the return of her ‘Commissioners’ from the abortive Peace Conference--Virginia, through her Convention, by the decisive vote of 89 to 45, refused to pass an Ordinance of Secession. Still, her conspirators worked on, like those of the other “Border States,” and claimed, not without plausible grounds, that they were making headway. Richmond was the focus of their intrigues, as it was of her Slave-trade; but it was boasted that, whereas two of her three delegates to the Convention were chosen as Unionists, she would now give a decided majority for Secession. The Richmond Whig,3 the time-honored organ of her Whig “Conservatives,” [452] who had secured her vote for Bell and Everett, had been changed — by purchase, it was said — and was now as zealous for Secession as hitherto against it. Finally, her Convention resolved, on the 4th aforesaid, to send new Commissioners to wait on President Lincoln, and appointed Messrs. William Ballard Preston, Alex. H. H. Stuart, and George W. Randolph (of whom the last only was formerly a Democrat, and was chosen as a Secessionist), to proceed to Washington on this errand. They did not obtain their formal audience until the 13th--the day of Fort Sumter's surrender — when its bombardment, if not its capture also, was already known in that city — and there was a grim jocosity in their appearance at such an hour to set before the harassed President such a missive as this:

Whereas, in the opinion of the Convention, the uncertainty which prevails in the public mind as to the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue toward the seceded States is extremely injurious to the industrial and commercial interests of the country, tends to keep up an excitement which is unfavorable to the adjustment of the pending difficulties, and threatens a disturbance of the public peace: therefore,

Resolhed, That a Committee of three delegates be appointed to wait on the President of the United States, present to him this preamble, and respectfully ask him to communicate to this Convention the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate States.

To this overture, after duly acknowledging its reception, Mr. Lincoln replied as follows:

In answer, I have to say that, having, at the beginning of my official term, expressed my intended policy as plainly as I was able, it is with deep regret add mortification I now learn that there is a great and injurious uncertainty in the public mind as to what that policy is, and what course I intend to pursue. Not having, as yet, seen occasion to change, it is now my purpose to pursue the course marked out in that Inaugural Address. I commend a careful consideration of the document as the best expression I can give to my purposes. As I then and therein said, I now repeat, “The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess, property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties on imports; but, beyond what is necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” By the words “property and places belonging to the Government,” I chiefly allude to the military posts and property which were in possession of the Government when it came into my hands. But if, as now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked assault has been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself at liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which had been seized before the Government was devolved upon me; and, in any event, I shall, to the best of my ability, repel force by force. In case it proves true that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United States mails to be withdrawn from all the States which claim to have seceded, believing that the commencement of actual war against the Government justifies and, possibly, demands it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military posts and property, situated within the States which claim to have seceded, as yet belonging to the United States as much as they did before the supposed secession. Whatever else I may do for the purpose, I shall not attempt to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the country; not meaning by this, however, that I may not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a fort on the border of the country. From the fact that I have quoted a portion of the Inaugural Address, it must not be inferred that I repudiate any other part, the whole of which I reaffirm, except so far as what I now say of the mails may be regarded as a modification.

With this answer, the Commissioners retired; and the next important news from Virginia reached Washington via Montgomery and New Orleans, which cities had been exhilarated to the point of cheering and cannon-firing, by dispatches from Richmond, announcing the fact that the Convention had, in secret, taken their State out of the Union, and united her fortunes with those of the [453] Confederacy.4 The vote by which this result was achieved stood 88 to 55--the majority greatly strengthened, doubtless, if not secured, by an act of the Confederate Congress forbidding the importation of slaves from States out of the Confederacy — an act which, so long as Virginia adhered to the Union, struck a staggering blow at the most important and productive branch of her industry. And, while the fact of her secession was still unproclaimed, her authorities at once set whatever military forces they could muster in motion to seize the Federal Navy Yard at Norfolk (Portsmouth) and the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

As the news of the attack on Sumter flashed over the country, an intense and universal excitement was aroused in the Free as well as the Slave States. Indignation was paramount in the former; exultation ruled throughout the latter.5 Many at the North obstinately refused to credit the tidings; and, when news of the surrender of the fort so speedily followed, the number of the incredulous was even increased. All doubt, however, was dispelled when the journals of Monday morning, April 15th, displayed conspicuously the following


whereas, the laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are, opposed. and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law: now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth the Militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.

The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.6 I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid, this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence, of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular Government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the [454] utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from this late.

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at 12 o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the 4th day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this 15th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

Abraham Lincoln. By the President: Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

This Proclamation was received throughout the Free States with very general and enthusiastic approval. Nearly all of them on this side of the Rocky Mountains had Republican Governors and Legislatures, who vied with each other in proffers of men, money, munitions, and everything that could be needed to vindicate the authority and maintain the integrity of the Union. The only7 Governor not elected as a Republican was William Sprague, of Rhode Island--an independent “conservative” --who not merely raised promptly the quota required of him, but volunteered to lead it to Washington, or wherever its services might be required. No State was more prompt and thorough in her response, and none sent her troops into the field more completely armed and serviceably equipped, than did Rhode Island. Among the privates in her first regiment was one worth a million dollars, who destroyed the passage-ticket he had bought for a voyage to Europe, on a tour of observation and pleasure, to shoulder his musket in defense of his country and her laws.

Hitherto, the Democrats and other ‘conservatives’ of the Free States had seemed8 to sympathize rather with “the South” than with the new Administration, in so far as they were at variance, though not usually to the extent of justifying Secession. Now, public meetings, addresses, enlistments, the mustering of companies and of regiments on all sides, seemed for a time to indicate an almost unbroken unanimity in support of the Government. The spirit of the hour is very fairly exhibited in the leading article of The New York Tribune of April 15th, as follows:

Fort Sumter is lost, but freedom is saved. There is no more thought of bribing or coaxing the traitors who have dared to aim their cannon-balls at the flag of the Union, and those who gave their lives to defend it. It seems but yesterday that at least two-thirds of the journals of this city were the virtual allies of the Secessionists, their apologists, their champions. The roar of the great circle of batteries pouring their iron hail upon devoted Sumter has struck them all dumb. It is as if one had made a brilliant and effective speech, setting forth the innocence of murder, and, having just bidden adieu to the cheers and the gas-lights, were to be confronted by the gory form and staring eyes of a victim of assassination, the first fruit of his oratorical success.

For months before the late Presidential election, a majority of our journals predicted forcible resistance to the Government as the natural and necessary result of a Republican triumph; for months since, they have been cherishing and encouraging the Slaveholders' Rebellion, as if it were a very natural [455] and proper proceeding. Their object was purely partisan — they wished to bully the Republican Administration into shameful recreancy to Republican principle, and then call upon the people to expel from power a party so profligate and so cowardly. They did not succeed in this; they have succeeded in enticing their Southern proteges and some-time allies into flagrant treason. * * *

Most of our journals lately parading the pranks of the Secessionists with scarcely disguised exultation, have been suddenly sobered by tile culmination of the slaveholding conspiracy. They would evidently like to justify and encourage the traitors further, but they dare not; so the Amen sticks in their throat. The aspect of the people appalls them. Democrat as well as Republican, Conservative and Radical, instinctively feel that the guns fired at Sumter were aimed at the heart of the American Republic. Not even in the lowest groggery of our city would it be safe to propose cheers for Beauregard and Gov. Pickens. The Tories of the Revolution were relatively ten times as numerous here as are the open sympathizers with the Palmetto Rebels. It is hard to lose Sumter; it is a consolation to know that in losing it we have gained a united people. Henceforth, the loyal States are a unit in uncompromising hostility to treason, wherever plotted, however justified. Fort Sumter is temporarily lost, but the country is saved. Live the Republic!

Dissent from this view did, indeed, seem for the moment almost, but not entirely, silenced. The opposite conception was temperately set forth, on the evening of that day, by The New York Express, as follows:

The “irrepressible conflict” started by Mr. Seward and indorsed by the Republican party, has at length attained to its logical, foreseen result. That conflict, undertaken “for the sake of humanity,” culminates now in inhumanity itself, and exhibits the afflicting spectacle of brother shedding brother's blood.

Refusing the ballot before the bullet, these men, flushed with the power and patronage of the Federal Government, have madly rushed into a civil war, which will probably drive the remaining Slave States into the arms of the Southern Confederacy, and dash to pieces the last hope for a reconstruction of the Union.

To the gallant men who are so nobly defending their flag within the walls of Fort Sumter, the nation owes a debt of eternal gratitude — not less than to the equally gallant and patriotic spirits, who, in like obedience to the demands of duty, are periling their lives and shedding their blood in the heroic, but, as yet, unsuccessful endeavor to afford them succor. But, to the cold-blooded, heartless demagogues who started this civil war — themselves magnanimously keeping out of the reach of bodily harm — we can only say, You must find your account, if not at the hands of an indignant people, then in the tears of widows and orphans. The people of the United States, it must be borne in mind, petitioned, begged, and implored these men, who are become their accidental masters, to give then an opportunity to be heard before this unnatural strife was pushed to a bloody extreme; but their petitions were all spurned with contempt; and now the bullet comes in to decide the issue!

In another editorial, The Express said:

The great fact is upon us. Civil war has commenced. Where it will end, is known only to that Higher Power “that shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will.” Of one thing, however, we are thoroughly convinced — the South can never be subjugated by the North, nor can any marked successes be achieved against them. They have us at every advantage. They fight upon their own soil, in behalf of their dearest rights--for their public institutions, their homes, and their property. They are abundantly supplied with all the means and appliances for the contest; are commanded by officers who have fought and won battles by the side of those against whom they are now arrayed, with ranks filled by men as intelligent, patriotic, and brave, as e'er faced a foe, and a determination never to be defeated. * * *

The South, in self-preservation, has been driven to the wall, and forced to proclaim its independence. A servile insurrection and wholesale slaughter of the whites will alone satisfy the murderous designs of the Abolitionists. The Administration, egged on by the halloo of the Black Republican journals of this city, has sent its mercenary forces to pick a quarrel and initiate the work of desolation and ruin. A call is made for an army of volunteers, under the pretense that an invasion is apprehended of the Federal capital; and the next step will be to summon the slave population to revolt and massacre.

The Utica [N. Y.] Observer more pointedly said:

Of all the wars which have disgraced the human race, it has been reserved for our own enlightened nation to be involved in the most [456] useless and foolish one. What advantage can possibly accrue to any one from this war, however prolonged it might be? Does any suppose that millions of free white Americans in the Southern States, who will soon be arrayed against us, can be conquered by any efforts which can be brought against them? Brave men, fighting on their own soil, and, as they believe, for their freedom and dearest rights, can never be subjugated. The war may be prolonged until we are ourselves exhausted, and become an easy prey to military despotism or equally fatal anarchy; but we can never conquer the South. Admit, if you please, that they are rebels and traitors: they are beyond our reach. Why should we destroy ourselves in injuring them?

Who are to fight the battles of sectional hatred in this sad strife? The Seceders will fight; but will the Abolitionists, who have combined with them to overthrow the Union, make themselves food for powder? If this could be so — if ten thousand picked fire-eaters of either side could be arrayed against each other, and would fight until, like the Kilkenny cats, all were destroyed — the country would be the better for it. But, while the Secessionist defends himself, the Abolitionist will sneak in the back-ground, leaving those to do the fighting who have no interest in the bloody strife, no hatred against their brethren. The best we can hope is, that, at the end of a fearful struggle, when the country becomes tired of gratifying a spirit of fanaticism, we shall have peace through a treaty in which both sides must make sacrifices, but each must agree to respect the rights of the other. How much better to make such a treaty now, before further bloodshed, before worse hatreds are engendered!

The Bangor Union (Maine) still more boldly said:

Democrats of Maine! the loyal sons of the South have gathered around Charleston, as your fathers of old gathered about Boston, in defense of the same sacred principles of liberty — principles which you have ever upheld and defended with your vote, your voice, and your strong right arm. Your sympathies are with the defenders of the truth and the right. Those who have inaugurated this unholy and unjustifiable war are no friends of yours — no friends of Democratic Liberty. Will you aid them in their work of subjugation and tyranny?

When the Government at Washington calls for volunteers or recruits to carry on the work of subjugation and tyranny under the specious phrase of “enforcing the laws,” “retaking and protecting the public property,” and “ collecting the revenue,” let every Democrat fold his arms, and bid the minions of Tory despotism do a Tory despot's work. Say to them fearlessly and boldly, in the language of England's great Lord, the Earl of Chatham, whose bold words in behalf of the struggling colonies of America, in the dark hours of the Revolution, have enshrined his name in the heart of every friend of freedom and immortalized his fame wherever the name of liberty is known — say, in his thrilling language: “If I were a Southerner, as I am a Northerner, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms--never, never, never!”

The Albany Argyus more cautiously and guardedly said:

The first gun of civil war is heard, whose reverberations are yet to echo through the civilized world — the signal of events of which no man can tell tile end. A fearful responsibility is due to those who have brought this crisis upon the country. War is not the least of calamities. If the Federal Government were about to sacrifice its treasures and fleets and armies to rebuke the Spanish usurpation in Saint Domingo — if this armament were intended to repel Mexican aggression, or to assert our right to San Juan against English pretension — every citizen would gladly rally to the support of the Government. But it is between the States of the Union that the war is to be declared; and its provocations are to be found in the aggressions of section against section, and the defiance of constitutional guarantees. It is a civil war that opens — a war whose successes are without glory, whose noblest deeds are without honor, for they are won in fratricidal conflict, and their cost is fratricidal blood. If this were even a natural, intelligent assertion of Government authority, it would appeal to the moral sentiment of the country. If its object and result were to restore the Union and reestablish the Constitution over these States. it might be worth all the sacrifices it imposed. For ourselves, we should place no impediments in its way, but bid it God speed to its end. Every Democrat in the North would take the same position. But it cannot, in any event, have this effect. It cannot restore; it can only destroy. There are those who believe that it is the deliberate purpose of the Administration to terminate, in a war in which sectional passions shall be aroused to the utmost hight, the connection between the North and the South, and to cut off all possible hope of reconstruction. If this is the purpose of the Administration, they have lost no time in its execution. The [457] deed of separation is sealed in the first blood shed in this conflict.

The Journal of Commerce (New York) said:

We will not undertake, at this moment, to apportion the measure of folly and crime, on either side, which has led to the present catastrophe. No doubt it has been precipitated by the sending of a fleet with troops, by the United States Government, for the relief (as was understood) of Sumter. And, on the other hand, it may be said that this action of the United States Government was occasioned by tile cutting off of supplies from Fort Sumter by the Confederate authorities, which rendered it necessary to send them from New York or some other point. To this, again, it may be replied, that the cutting off of supplies by the Confederate authorities was caused by the long continued delay of the United States authorities to take or consent to any measures of adjustment of the pending differences, thus leaving the Confederate authorities subject to the necessity of maintaining a large military force at Charleston for an indefinite period, or abandoning their claims altogether. The Confederate authorities must, however, bear the responsibility (and it is a heavy one) of commencing the actual firing.

The Boston Post still more mildly said:

The people must speak in their primary capacity, if they would save their country from a miserable destiny — if they would secure to their families and themselves peace and safety. This should be done in a legal manner. An Extra Session of Congress should be called at once. And, if that body prove incompetent to the duty required. then a National Convention should be convened; and, if all measures for a satisfactory adjustment fail, after full hearing and answers to statements of discontent, and a portion of our country declare its determination, at all events, to dissolve its association with another portion, let it depart in peace, if possible; but, if it be not possible, then we shall feel that we have done all that Christianity, reason, and patriotism could demand, and be prepared to meet the last dreadful issue with a sustaining conscience.9

The New York Herald of the 15th put forth a “leader,” whereof the drift is exhibited in the following extracts:

Earnestly laboring in behalf of peace, from the beginning of these sectional troubles down to this day, and for the maintenance of the Union through mutual concessions, we do not, even yet, utterly despair of arresting this civil war before it shall have passed beyond tie reach of reason. In any event, the people of this metropolis owe it to themselves, to their material and political interests, to their social security and to the country at large, to make a solemn and imposing effort in behalf of peace. To this end, we again call upon our fellow-citizens of this island, irrespective of creed or party, to meet together in an earnest consultation upon the ways and means of peace. The Government at Washington and that at Montgomery, confronted with the horrors of civil war, may yet recoil from them.

The conservative city of New York, guiltless of any agency in precipitating upon the two sections of this great country this causeless and senseless appeal to arms, has the right, and has some power, to speak to the North and the South in behalf of peace.

The Herald of the next day contained a leading article in substantial accordance with the new drift of public sentiment, even among “ conservatives:” saying:

The measures that have been adopted, within the last few days, by the Government of Mr. Lincoln, entirely change the aspect of public affairs. Had a similar course been pursued five months go, the last would have been heard of Secession before now. Not the firing of a gun would have been [458] needed; the fortifications upon the coast would have been rendered impregnable against local attacks; and, with the exception of South Carolina, no State would have withdrawn from the Union. Such a policy was strongly recommended to Mr. Buchanan's Administration, at the time, by The New York Herald; but treason in his Cabinet, and the atrocious perfidy of many others who surrounded him, prevented his acts from corresponding with the exigencies of the period. It is better, however, late than never.

* * * The time has passed for such public peace meetings, in the North, as were advocated, and might have effected some beneficial result, a few weeks since. War will make the Northern people a unit. Republicans look upon it as inevitable, and Democrats have been gradually becoming disgusted at the neglect and ingratitude with which they have been treated by a section for which they have faithfully borne the heat and burden of conflict for so many years. Fire-eaters have accustomed themselves to adopt an indiscriminate tone of hostility toward citizens of the non-slaveholding States, which would have, long ago, alienated their friends, but that the party attachment of the latter has been founded upon principles, not recklessly to be abandoned.

The policy adopted by Mr. Lincoln, as set forth in his Proclamation and his speech to the Virginia Commissioners, is, on the whole, approved by the masses of the community. It cannot harm the North eventually; and, if the damage it may inflict upon the South is to be regretted. it will be none the less well, if it secures final peace to the country.

That those who for years had zealously maintained that a simple adherence to the policy of Jefferson with regard to the exclusion of Slavery from the territories was an unwarranted and unjustifiable war upon “ the South,” impelled by “ fanaticism” and “sectional” hate, should, by the mere crashing of a few balls against the walls of a Federal fortress, be converted to an entirely different view of the past and present attitude of the combatants, was not to be expected. That the hated ‘Abolitionists’ were the real, responsible, culpable authors of the long foreseen and deeply deplored collision, was doubtless still the belief of thousands who saw no adequate reason for insisting on it at this juncture, and in whose minds indignation at the Secessionists, not only as factious and unpatriotic, but as untrue and ungrateful to their “ conservative” friends in the Free States, for the moment overbore all countervailing considerations. But, despite this undertone of demur and dissatisfaction, it is certain that the North had never before seemed so nearly and enthusiastically unanimous and determined as in devotion to the maintenance of the Union for the month or two succeeding the reduction of Fort Sumter.

Very different was the impression made on the public mind of the South by the same occurrences — strikingly diverse was the reception there accorded to the President's Proclamation.

On the evening of April 12th, the Confederates congregated at their capital, Montgomery, held high carnival over the tidings that Beauregard had, by order, opened fire that morning on Fort Sumter. As was natural, their Secretary of War, Mr. Leroy Pope Walker, was called out for a speech, and, in his response, predicted that the Confederate flag would float, before the 1st of May, over Washington City,10 as it might, ultimately, over Faneuil Hall itself. [459] This declaration was, very naturally, at once flashed over tho whole country; and it was well known that a portion of the Confederate forces were dispatched northward from Charleston directly after the fall of Sumter.11 Yet, in the face of these notorious facts, Gov. Letcher responded to the President's call on Virginia for Militia to defend the capital in the following terms:

I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States; and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the Act of 1795--will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war; and, having done so, we will meet you in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited toward the South.

To the same effect, Gov. Ellis, of North Carolina--who had long been thoroughly in the interest and counsels of the plotters of Disunion — responded to the call as follows:

Raleigh, April 15, 1861.
Honorable Simon Cameron, Secretary of War:
Your dispatch is received, and, if genuine — which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt — I have to say in reply, that I regard the levy of troops made by the Administration for the purpose of subjugating the States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution, and a usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when your call is received by mail. John W. Ellis,

Governor of North Carolina.

Gov. Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee--likewise a thorough sympathizer with South Carolina--responded as follows:

Tennessee will not furnish a single man for coercion, but fifty thousand, if necessary, for the defense of our rights and those of our brethren.


From Union-loving Kentucky, this reply was rendered:

Frankfort, April 16, 1861.
Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War:
Your dispatch is received. In answer, I say emphatically that Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States.

B. Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky.

Four days prior to the date of this exhibition of Kentucky loyalty, the following telegram had flown all over the country:

Louisville, Ky., April 12, 1861.
Dispatches have come here to hold the Kentucky volunteer regiment in readiness to move at a moment's notice from the War Department at Montgomery.

This formal order from the Confederate Government to the Kentuckians enlisted for its service does not seem to have evoked a remonstrance from her Governor. It was only the call for Kentuckians to maintain the integrity of the Republic and enforce the authority of its Government that aroused his abhorrence of its “wicked purpose.”

The Louisville Journal--chief oracle of Bell-Everett “conservatism” in Kentucky--then, as before and since, professedly devoted to the Union--thus responded to the President's call:

The President's Proclamation has reached us. We are struck with mingled amazement and indignation. The policy announced in the Proclamation deserves the unqualified condemnation of every American citizen. It is unworthy not merely of a statesman but of a man. It is a policy utterly harebrained and ruinous. If Mr. Lincoln contemplated this policy in his Inaugural Address, he is a guilty dissembler; if lie has conceived it under the excitement aroused by the seizure of Fort Sumter, he is a guilty Hotspur. In either case, he is miserably unfit for the exalted position in which the enemies of the country have placed him. Let the people instantly take him and his Administration into their own hands, if they would rescue the land from bloodshed, and the Union from sudden and irretrievable destruction.12

Few or no journals issued in the Slave States--save a portion of those of St. Louis and Knoxville — gave the call a more cordial greeting than this.

Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson,13 of Missouri, gave these among his reasons for disregarding and defying the President's call:

It is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical, and cannot be complied with.

He added:

Not one man will the State of Missouri furnish to carry on so unholy a crusade.

Gov. Burton, of Delaware, deferred his response to the 26th, and then stated that “the laws of this State do not confer upon the Executive any authority allowing him to comply with such requisition.” He proceeded, however, formally and officially, to

recommend the formation of volunteer companies for the protection of the lives and property of tile citizens of this State against violence of any sort to which they may be exposed. For these purposes, such companies, when formed, will be under the control of the State authorities, though not subject to be ordered by the Executive into the United States service — the law not vesting in him such authority. They will, however, have the option of offering their services to the General Government for the defense of its Capital and the support of the Constitution and laws of the country.


In other words: Gov. Burton called for an organization of the Militia of Delaware, not in obedience to the requisition of the President, nor in support of the integrity and authority of the Union, but to be wielded by himself, as circumstances should eventually dictate. And, in consistency with this, neither the Governor nor tile great body of his political adherents rendered any aid or encouragement whatever to the Government down to the close of his official life, which happily terminated with the year 1862.

Gov. Hicks, of Maryland, made at first no direct, but several indirect, responses to the President's call. He issued, on the 18th, a Proclamation, assuring the people of Maryland of his desire to preserve “the honor and integrity of the State,” and to maintain “within her limits, that peace so earnestly desired by all good citizens.” lie exhorted them to “abstain from all heated controversy upon the subject,” and pledged them that “all powers vested in the Governor will be strenuously exerted to preserve the peace and maintain inviolable the honor and integrity of Maryland;” adding his assurance that “no troops will be sent from Maryland, unless it may be for the defense of the National capital” --that being the express purpose for which the President had required them. Finally, this model Southern Unionist apprised them that

The people of this State will, in a short time, have the opportunity afforded them, in a special election for Members of the Congress of the United States, to express their devotion to the Union, or their desire to see it broken up.

In other words: Maryland might, at any time, relieve herself of all her engagements and obligations to her sister States in the Union by giving a Disunion majority on her vote for Members of Congress! Surely, no Secessionist could go further or ask more than that! Yet this was the response of the only Governor of a Slave State who had claimed votes for his party in the late Presidential canvass on the ground of its especial and unflinching devotion to “the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws.”

Mayor Brown, of Baltimore — being thoroughly in the confidence as well as the interest of the Disunionists — was but too happy to indorse and reiterate these sentiments. In a Proclamation of even date with tile foregoing, he “heartily concurs” in the Governor's views aforesaid, “and will earnestly cooperate with his efforts to maintain peace and order in the city of Baltimore;” but he more especially approves and takes delight in the Governor's assurance that “no troops shall be sent from Maryland to the soil of any other State.” Of course, he responds to the Governor's suggestion that, at the approaching election, the people of Maryland may vote themselves out of the Union, if a majority shall see fit to do so. He is sure that, if the Governor's counsels shall be heeded, “the storm of war which now threatens the country will, at least, pass over our beloved State and leave it unharmed; but, if they shall be disregarded, a fearful and fratricidal strife may at once burst forth in our midst.”

These hints and covert menaces were destined to receive a prompt and tragical explication. [462]

The President's call was issued on the morning of the 15th; and, on the evening of the 16th, several companies from Pennsylvania had reached Washington and reported for duty. In the afternoon of the 17th, the Sixth Massachusetts--the first full regiment that responded to the call — started from Boston by rail, leaving the Fourth all but ready to follow. On the 18th, more Pennsylvania Volunteers, including an artillery company, reported at Washington, having that day passed through Baltimore — mauger the Governor's and Mayor's Proclamations aforesaid — without objection or impediment. The Sixth Massachusetts--one thousand strong — enjoyed that day a magnificent ovation in New York, and passed on southward at night, reaching Baltimore by train about noon on the 19th, utterly unsuspecting and unprepared for the reception that awaited them.

But the Secessionists of Baltimore had been intensely excited, on the 18th, by the arrival of emissaries from Charlestown, Va., instructed to exact not only pledges but guarantees from the managers of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that no Federal troops should be permitted to pass over their main line, and that no munitions should be removed thereon from the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry! In case of their refusal, their great bridge over the Potomac at that point should be blown up. Hereupon, an immense meeting of “The National volunteer Association” was held at evening in Monument Square — T. Parkin Scott presiding; he, with Wilson C. N. Carr and William Burns (President of said Association) being the speakers. All these were rank Disunionists, and the Association was organized in the interest of Secession. None of the speakers directly advocated attacks on the Northern troops about to pass through the city; but each was open in his hostility to “coercion,” and ardently exhorted his hearers to organize, arm, and drill, for the conflict now inevitable. Carr said:

I do not care how many Federal troops are sent to Washington; they will soon find themselves surrounded by such an army from Virginia and Maryland that escape to their homes will be impossible; and when the 75,000 who are intended to invade the South shall have polluted that soil with their touch, the South will exterminate and sweep them from the earth. [Frantic cheering and yelling.]

The meeting broke up with stentorian cheers for “the South” and for “ President Davis.”

To add fuel to the raging flames, news arrived next morning that Lieut. Jones, who was in charge of the Federal Arsenal and other property at Harper's Ferry, with barely forty-five regulars, learning that a force of 2,500 Virginia Militia was advancing to seize that post, had evacuated it during the night, after endeavoring, in the face of a suddenly gathered force of Virginians, to destroy by fire the National property, including fifteen thousand Springfield muskets there deposited. These were somewhat injured; but the Confederates are understood to have ultimately repaired and used most of them. Lieut. Jones fled across the thin western strip of Maryland to Chambersburg, Pa., losing three of his men. He left the Ferry at 10 o'clock, P. M., and reached Hagerstown, Md., thirty miles distant, next morning; having blown up and destroyed the public property so far as [463] possible, but saving none of it to the Government.

At the hight of the frenzied excitement created by these tidings, the Massachusetts Sixth, with ten companies of tile Philadelphia Washington brigade, under Gen. Small, having left Philadelphia at 3 A. M., of the 19th, reached Baltimore, in a train of seventeen passenger cars, containing over two thousand persons, mainly soldiers. The train stopped at the Camden station, on the east side of the city, a little before noon. The five foremost cars, containing, a portion of the Massachusetts men, were here detached, and drawn singly through the city by four horses each. There being no horses for the remainder, the residue of the regiment, of whom but a small portion were armed, left the cars and formed in the street, waiting the arrival of horses. None came; for the Secession mob who filled the streets had covered the track, immediately behind the five cars aforesaid, with heavy anchors, timber, stones, and other obstructions — piled, in one instance, to a hight of fifteen feet--and, by the help of these, were prepared to prevent the passage of any more cars. Meantime, the residue of the regiment, as they formed, were assailed by showers of stones and other missiles, hurled from the streets and the house-tops, whereby several of them were knocked down and otherwise badly injured. In the confusion thus created among the raw, unarmed soldiers, a rioter came behind the last platoon, seized the musket of one of the volunteers, and shot him dead. Hereupon, the soldiers were ordered to fire; and those who had guns and ammunition did so, with some effect. This caused the mob to recoil; and the soldiers, learning that the track had been obstructed, closed their ranks, and commenced their march of two miles and a half through the streets of the city to the Washington depot, surrounded and followed by the howling, pelting mob. Mayor Brown and a strong detachment of police marched at the head of the troops, opening a way before them through the vast and angry crowd. Missiles still poured upon them from every quarter; and, in some cases, heavy pieces of iron were cast out of second and third-story windows upon their heads. One man was crushed down by one of these iron billets. The front of the column received little injury; but the rioters closed in upon and. attempted to cut off a portion of the rear, which, being hardly pressed, was at length ordered to fire; and the order was obeyed. Several volleys were fired by a small portion of the regiment, whereby eleven of the mob were killed, and four severely wounded. Of the soldiers, three were slain, and eight seriously injured. Most of the remaining volunteers reached the Washington d[pacute]ôt and crowded into the cars, which were dispatched, so soon as possible, for Washington. Fifteen of the soldiers who went on with their comrades were so injured by the missiles that, on reaching the capital, they were sent to the hospital. The train was repeatedly fired at from the hills and woods along the route, but at too great distance to do harm. At the Jackson bridge, it was stopped by the removal of several rails, which were promptly relaid, under the protection of the troops.

The Pennsylvanians were left behind; [464] and, being entirely unarmed, Gen. Small decided that they should not proceed. lie attempted to have the cars in which they remained drawn back out of the city, but without immediate success. Soon, a portion of the mob, desisting from the pursuit of the Massachusetts men, turned upon these, and commenced a violent stoning of the cars, whereby the windows were broken and several men severely injured. The Pennsylvanians sprang from the cars, and engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with their assailants, being aided to some extent by Baltimore Unionists. An irregular fight was here kept up for nearly two hours, during which ten or twelve soldiers were badly hurt, and one or two killed. Finally, Police Marshal Kane appeared on the ground, and, being very influential with the Secessionists, soon stopped the fight; when the Pennsylvanians, returning to the cars, were started on the back track to Philadelphia, where they arrived late that night.

At 4 P. M. of that day — the soldiers from the Free States having all departed — a great meeting of the triumphant rioters, under a Maryland flag, was held in Monument Square. After a rebel speech by Dr. A. C. Robinson, Mayor Brown harangued the multitude in favor of peace and order, which was received with evident disrelish; but, when he added that he disapproved of the President's call, and would not have responded to it, had he been Governor, the rioters recognized their friend. He told them that he had conferred with Gov. Hicks, who had united with him in telegraphing to Washington and to Philadelphia that no more Northern troops must be sent through Maryland, and had received assurances from the President of the Philadelphia and Baltimore railroad that he would send none without further consultation and concert with the authorities of Baltimore and Maryland. Gov. Hicks further concurred with him in the opinion that it is folly and madness for one portion of this great nation to attempt the subjugation of another portion. It can never be done. [Cheers.] A deputation was sent for the Governor, who duly appeared, and, standing under the Maryland flag, addressed the assemblage. He said:

I coincide in the sentiment of your worthy Mayor. After three conferences, we have agreed; and I bow in submission to the people. I am a Marylander; I love my State, and I love the Union; but I will suffer my right arm to be torn from my body before I will raise it to strike a sister State.

Hereupon, the meeting adjourned.

That night, Baltimore, and, in fact, nearly all Maryland, were completely in the hands of the Secessionists. The Unionists were terrified, paralyzed, silenced, and they generally shrank from observation. The rebel mob — partially armed from the gunstores — paraded the streets of Baltimore unopposed, broke in the doors and windows of the President-street railroad depot, and demanded the muskets which they insisted were in the building, and were allowed to appoint a Committee to search it, and report. The Committee examined it, was satisfied, and reported that there were no arms; so they left. Ex-Gov. Louis E. Lowe harangued the mob, under the Maryland flag, from the portico of Barnum's Hotel; pledging them ample assistance from his [Frederick] county. With the full assent, if not by express direction, of Mayor Brown [465] and Police Marshal Kane, the telegraph wires connecting Baltimore with the Free States were cut, and the railroad bridges northward and north-eastward from Baltimore, on the railroads to Philadelphia and Harrisburg, burned; thus shutting off Washington and the Government from all communication with the Northern, as Gov. Letcher and his backers had just excluded them from all intercourse with the Southern, States. The telegraphic communication westward was preserved, to enable the master-spirits to dispatch to their confederates in Western Maryland such messages as this to one at Frederick, who soon after joined the Confederate army:

Thank you for your offer. Bring your men by the first train, and we will arrange with the railroad afterward. Streets red with Maryland blood.

Send expresses over the mountains and valleys of Maryland and Virginia for the riflemen to come without delay. Further hordes [of Union volunteers] will be down upon us to-morrow [the 20th]. We will fight them, and whip them, or die.

Mayor Brown sent three envoys to the President, bearing a dispatch indorsed by Gov. Hicks, wherein he says:

The people are exasperated to the highest degree by the passage of troops, and the citizens are unusually decided in the opinion that no more troops should be ordered to come.

The authorities of the city did their best to-day to protect both strangers and citizens, and to prevent a collision, but in vain; and, but for their great efforts, a fearful slaughter would have occurred.

Under these circumstances, it is my solemn duty to inform you that it is not possible for more soldiers to pass through Baltimore, unless they fight their way at every step. I, therefore, hope and trust, and most earnestly request, that no more troops be permitted or ordered by the Government to pass through the city. If they should attempt it, the responsibility for the bloodshed will not rest upon me.

The Committee telegraphed back the following message:

Washington, April 20, 1861.
To Mayor Brown, Baltimore: We have seen the President and Gen. Scott. We bear from the former a letter to the Mayor and Governor, declaring that no troops shall be brought through Baltimore, if, in a military point of view, without opposition, they can be marched around Baltimore.

The President of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad had already responded to a similar message as follows:

gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, in which you advise that the troops now here be sent back to the “borders of Maryland.” Most cordially approving this advice, I have just telegraphed the same to the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore railroad company, and this company will act in accordance therewith.

J. W. Garrett, President.

Gov. Andrew, of Massachusetts, having telegraphed to Mayor Brown as follows:

I pray you to cause the bodies of our Massachusetts soldiers, dead in Baltimore, to be laid out, preserved in ice, and tenderly sent forward by express to me. All expenses will be paid by the Commonwealth :

Mayor Brown responded as follows:

Sir: No one deplores the sad events of yesterday in this city more deeply than myself, but they were inevitable. Our people viewed the passage of armed troops of another State, through the streets, as an invasion of our soil, and could not be restrained. The authorities exerted themselves to the best of their ability, but with only partial success. Gov. Hicks was present, and concurs in all my views as to the proceedings now necessary for our protection. When are these scenes to cease? Are we to have a war of sections? God forbid! The bodies of the Massachusetts soldiers could not be sent on to Boston, as you requested, all communication between this city and Philadelphia by railroad, and with Boston by steamers, having ceased; but they have been placed in cemented coffins, and will be placed with proper funeral ceremonies in the mausoleum of Green Mount Cemetery, where [466] they shall be retained until further directions are received from you. The wounded are tenderly cared for. I appreciate your offer; but Baltimore will claim it as her right to pay all expenses incurred.

Gov. Andrew promptly rejoined:

dear Sir: I appreciate your kind attention to our wounded and our dead, and trust that, at the earliest moment, the remains of our fallen will return to us. I am overwhelmed with surprise that a peaceful march of American citizens over the highway to the defense of our common capital should be deemed aggressive to Baltimoreans. Through New York, the march was triumphal.

At 3 A. M., on Sunday, April 21st, Mayor Brown received a message from the President, requesting Gov. Hicks and himself to proceed immediately to Washington for consultation. Gov. Hicks being no longer in the city, Mayor Brown, on further conference, went without him, taking three friends — whereof, at least two were ardent Secessionists — to bear him company. They reached Washington at 10 A. M., and were admitted to an immediate interview with the President, attended by the Cabinet and Gen. Scott. Mr. Lincoln urged, with abundant reason, that he had no choice between bringing troops through Maryland and surrendering the capital to armed treason. He finally appealed to Gen. Scott, who gave his military opinion that troops might be brought through Maryland by way of Annapolis or the Relay House, without passing through Baltimore. The Mayor dilated on the fearful excitement of the Baltimoreans, and the impossibility of his answering for the consequences, if more Northern troops should appear in that city. He adroitly added that his jurisdiction was confined to the city, and that he could make no promises as to the behavior of the Marylanders on either side of it. In his official report of the interview, Mr. Brown says:

The Mayor and his companions availed themselves of the President's full discussion of the questions of the day to urge upon him respectfully, but in the most earnest manner, a course of policy which would give peace to the country, and especially the withdrawal of all orders contemplating the passage of troops through any part of Maryland.

On returning to the cars, the Mayor received a dispatch from railroad President Garrett, announcing the approach of troops (Pennsylvanians) by railroad from Harrisburg to Cockeysville, a few miles north of Baltimore, and that the city was greatly excited thereby; whereupon, Messrs. Brown & Co. returned to the President, and demanded a further audience, which was granted. The dispatch was submitted; and the President and Gen. Scott agreed that the Pennsylvania soldiers, who had thus unwittingly profaned the soil of Maryland by daring to advance over it to the defense of the National Metropolis, should be turned back to Harrisburg.

There is not much more of this nature to be recorded; but, among the Baltimoreans who, next day, visited Washington to second the demands of Messrs. Brown & Co., and confirm the impression which it was hoped they had made, was a Committee from the Young Men's Christian Association, who modestly petitioned that the President should put an end to the unnatural conflict now imminent by yielding to the demands of the South. To this end, they advised that the Federal forces already in Washington should be disbanded; but, at all events, that no more should be marched across the territory of [467] Maryland. The President, in reply, called their attention to the fact that the capital was imminently threatened; that he was informed that Rebel batteries were being erected on the Virginia bank of the Potomac to command the passage of that river; that the Rebel Government had determined to establish forthwith its headquarters in the house where this interview was held; and that the only effect of yielding to their prayers would be the destruction of the Government as well as his own death or captivity. The Young Christians, of course, disclaimed any purpose to produce such a catastrophe; to which the President replied that their intent mattered little, since the effect of the course demanded by Baltimore could be no other than this. To a similar but more formal representation from Gov. Hicks, objecting to the passage of Northern troops across any portion of Maryland, Gov. Seward returned the following most moderate and conciliatory answer:

Department of State, April 22, 1861.
His Excellency Thos. H. Hicks, Governor of Maryland:
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your communication of this morning, in which you inform me that you have felt it to be your duty to advise the President of the United States to order elsewhere the troops then off Annapolis, and also that no more may be sent through Maryland; and that you have further suggested that Lord Lyons be requested to act as mediator between the contending parties in our country, to prevent the effusion of blood.

The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt of that communication, and to assure you that he has weighed the counsels which it contains with the respect which he habitually cherishes for the Chief Magistrates of the several States, and especially for yourself. lie regrets, as deeply as any magistrate or citizen of the country can, that demonstrations against the safety of the United States, with very extensive preparations for the effusion of blood, have made it his duty to call out the force to which you allude.

The force now sought to be brought through Maryland is intended for nothing but the defense of this capital. The President has necessarily confided the choice of the national highway which that force shall take in coming to this city to the Lieutenant-General commanding the Army of the United States, who, like his only predecessor, is not less distinguished for his humanity than for his loyalty, patriotism, and distinguished public services. The President instructs me to add that the national highway thus selected by the Lieutenant-General has been chosen by him, upon consultation with prominent magistrates and citizens of Maryland, as the one which, while a route is absolutely necessary, is furthest removed from the populous cities of the State, and with the expectation that it would, therefore, be the least objectionable one.

The President cannot but remember that there has been a time in the history of our country, when a General of the American Union, with forces designed for the defense of its Capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in the State of Maryland, and certainly not at Annapolis, then, as now, the capital of that patriotic State, and then, also, one of the capitals of the Union.

If eighty years could have obliterated all the other noble sentiments of that age in Maryland, the President would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is one that would forever remain there and everywhere. That sentiment is that no domestic contention whatever, that may arise among the parties of this Republic, ought in any case to be referred to any foreign arbitrament — least of all to the arbitrament of an European monarchy.

I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, your Excellency's most obedient servant,

The spirit in which these negotiations were regarded throughout the loyal States is very fairly exhibited in the following letter:

New York, April 25, 1861.
To the President of the United States:
Sir: The people of the Free States have now been for some time cut off from communication with the capital of their country by a mob in the city of Baltimore. The troops of the General Government have been attacked and shot down by the mob in their passage through that city, in pursuance to the orders of the Government. The lines of communication have been destroyed, and the authority of the General Government has been set at defiance. This state of [468] things has been permitted to continue for nearly a week; and our troops going to the capital have been delayed, and have had to find their way by irregular and circuitous routes, very much to their inconvenience. Citizens of the Free States have either been prevented altogether from visiting the capital or from returning thence to their homes, or have been compelled to run the gauntlet, been subjected to all sorts of insult and danger, and have had to resort to the most circuitous routes by private conveyance and at exorbitant expense. All facilities by mail and telegraph have been cut off by the same unlawful assemblage in Baltimore and other parts of Maryland, at a time when free communication is so much required between the Free States and Washington.

The public mind is already excited to the highest point that this state of things has been so long tolerated; and the people are determined that free and uninterrupted communication with the seat of Government shall be immediately established, not by circuitous routes, but by the direct lines of communication that they have heretofore traveled over. And it is demanded of the Government that they at once take measures to open and establish those lines of communication, and that they protect and preserve them from any further interruption. Unless this is done, the people will be compelled to take it into their own hands, let the consequences be what they may, and let them fall where they will. It is certainly desirable that this be done through the regularly constituted authorities at Washington; and the Government is earnestly desired to act without delay.

There is entire unanimity on the part of the people of the Free States to sustain the Government and maintain the Union.

I trust, Mr. President, that this letter will not be received unkindly; as, in writing it, I simply do what I feel it to be my duty as a citizen to do in this extraordinary state of things.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

Maryland, as we have seen, was practically, on the morning of the 20th of April, a member of the Southern Confederacy. Her Governor spoke and acted the bidding of a cabal of the ablest and most envenomed traitors. At their instance, he summoned the Legislature to meet in extra session at Annapolis on the 26th; while it was notorious that a majority of that body would probably vote her immediately out of the Union, and would, at best, proclaim her neutral in the struggle now opening — would forbid the passage of Federal troops across her soil; and not only forbid, but resist it. Baltimore was a Secession volcano in full eruption; while the counties south of that city were overwhelmingly in sympathy with the Slaveholders' Rebellion, and their few determined Unionists completely overawed and silenced. The counties near Baltimore, between that city and the Susquehanna, were actively cooperating with the Rebellion, or terrified into dumb submission to its behests. The great populous counties of Frederick, Washington, and Alleghany, composing Western Maryland--having few slaves — were preponderantly loyal; but they were overawed and paralyzed by the attitude of the rest of the State, and still more by the large force of rebel Virginians — said to be 5,000 strong — who had been suddenly pushed forward to Harper's Ferry, and who, though not in season to secure the arms and munitions there deposited, threatened Western Maryland from that commanding position. Thus, only the county of Cecil, in the extreme north-east, remained fully and openly loyal to the Union; that county lying this side of the Susquehanna, and being connected with the Free States by railroad and telegraph.

The Eighth Massachusetts, under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, reached Perryville, on the east bank of the Susquehanna, on the 20th, and found its progress here arrested by burned bridges, and the want of cars on the other side. But Gen. Butler was not a man to be stopped by such impediments. [469] Seizing the spacious and commodious railroad ferry steamer Maryland, he embarked his men thereof, and appeared with them early next morning before Annapolis, the political capital of Maryland, thirty miles south of Baltimore, and about equidistant with that city from Washington, wherewith it is connected by a branch or feeder of the Baltimore road. He found this city virtually in rebellion, with its branch railroad aforesaid dismantled, and partially taken up, in the interest of Secession. Here, too, were the Naval Academy and the noble old frigate Constitution; the latter without a crew, and in danger of falling, at any moment, into the hands of the enemy. He at once secured the frigate, landed next day unopposed, took possession of the city, and was soon reinforced by the famous Seventh regiment, composed of the flower of the young chivalry of. New York City, which had been transported from Philadelphia direct by the steamboat Boston. The Maryland returned forthwith to Perryville for still further reenforcements, munitions, and supplies — no one in Annapolis choosing, or daring, for some time, to sell anything to the Union soldiers. Gen. Butler was met at Annapolis by a formal protest from Gov. Hicks against his landing at that place, or at any other point in Maryland; the specific objection to his occupying Annapolis being that the Legislature had been called to meet there that week. Gen. Butler, in reply, suggested that, if he could obtain means of transportation to Washington, he would gladly “vacate the capital prior to the sitting of the Legislature, and not be under the painful necessity of incommoding your beautiful city while the Legislature is in session.”

On the morning of the 24th--several other regiments having meantime arrived--Gen. Butler put his column in motion, the Massachusetts Eighth in advance, closely followed by the New York Seventh. They kept the line of the railroad, repairing it as they advanced. A dismantled engine, which they found on the way, was refitted and put to use. The day proved intensely hot. Many of the men had had little or nothing to eat for a day or two, and had scarcely slept since they left Philadelphia. Some fell asleep as they marched; others fell out of the ranks, utterly exhausted; one was sunstruck, and had to be sent back, permanently disabled. The people whose houses they passed generally fled in terror at the first sight of the Northern Goths, who, they had been told, had come to ravage and desolate the South. Nothing to eat could be bought; and, as they did not choose to take without buying, they hungrily marched, building bridges and laying rails by turns, throughout the day and the following night. The Seventy-first New York followed the next day, and passed, four miles out, the camp of Gov. Sprague's Rhode Island regiment, by whom they were generously supplied with provisions. Arrived at the Annapolis Junction, the soldiers were met by cars from Washington, in which they proceeded on the 25th--the New York Seventh in the advance — to that city, and were hailed with rapture by its loyal denizens, who composed, perhaps, one-half of its entire population. Washington had, for a week, been isolated from the North, while surrounded [470] and threatened by malignant foes. A spirited body of volunteers — temporary sojourners at or casual visitors to the capital — under Cassius M. Clay as Colonel, had stood on guard during those dark days14 and darker nights; and these, in addition to the small force of regulars commanded by Gen. Scott, had constituted, up to this time, the entire defensive force of the Federal metropolis.

The Legislature of Maryland convened in extra session, in accordance with Gov. Hicks's call, not at Annapolis, but at Frederick — far from any Union force, but within easy striking distance of the Confederates at Harper's Ferry. Gov. Hicks, in his Message (April 27th), recapitulated most of the facts just related, adding that Gen. Butler, before landing at Annapolis, asked permission to do so, but was refused. He said: “The people of Annapolis, though greatly exasperated, acting under counsel of the most prudent citizens, refrained from molesting or obstructing the passage of the troops through the city.” Again:

Notwithstanding the fact that our most learned and intelligent citizens admit the right of the Government to transport its troops across our soil, it is evident that a portion of the people of Maryland are opposed to the exercise of that right. I have done all in my power to protect the citizens of Maryland, and to preserve peace within our borders.

Gov. Hicks admits that he has been somewhat swerved from his true course by “the excitement prevailing among our people during the last few days;” but he restates his deliberate and well-considered position, as follows:

It is of no consequence now to discuss the causes which have induced our troubles. Let us look to our distressing present and to our portentous future. The fate of Maryland, and, perhaps, of her sister border Slave States, will undoubtedly be seriously affected by the action of your honorable body. Therefore should every good citizen bend his energies to the task before us; and therefore should the animosities and bickerings of the past be forgotten, and all strike hands in the bold cause of restoring peace to our State and to our country. I honestly and most earnestly entertain the conviction that the only safety of Maryland lies in maintaining a neutral position between our brethren of the North [471] and of the South. We have violated no right of either section. We have been loyal to the Union. The unhappy contest between the two sections has not been commenced or encouraged by us, although we have suffered from it in the past. The impending war has not come by any act or wish of ours. We have done all we could to avert it. We have hoped that Maryland and other Border Slave States, by their conservative position and love for the Union, might have acted as mediators between the extremes of both sections, and thus have prevented the terrible evils of a prolonged civil war. Entertaining these views, I cannot counsel Maryland to take sides against the General Government, until it shall commit outrages upon us which would justify us in resisting its authority. As a consequence, I can give no other counsel than that we shall array ourselves for Union and peace, and thus preserve our soil from being polluted with the blood of brethren. Thus, if war must be between the North and South, we may force the contending parties to transfer the field of battle from our soil, so that our lives and property may be secure.

The Legislature, thus instructed, decided not to secede from the Union--unanimously in the Senate--53 to 13 in the House; but proceeded to pass an act to provide for the public safety, constituting a “ State Board” of seven, whereof all were rank Secessionists but Gov. Hicks; which Board was to have full control over the organization and direction of the military forces of Maryland; appointing all officers above the rank of captain. This Board was to have full power to adopt measures for the safety, peace and defense of the State; and was directed to proscribe no officer for “his political opinions.” Its oath of office included no promise of allegiance to the Federal Constitution or Government. The purpose of this measure was more fully developed by a report from the Committee on Federal Relations, in which the President was charged with acts of tyranny and schemes of subjugation; and the attempt to bring the State, step by step, into collision with the Federal Government clearly revealed. But by this time the strength and resolution of the Free States had been demonstrated, and the sober second thought of Maryland began to assert its ascendency. The violence and preternatural activity of the Secessionists had, for a time, concealed the paucity of their numbers; but it was now evident that they were scarcely a third of the entire white population, and less than a fourth in all that major portion of the State lying north and west of Baltimore.

A Home Guard of Unionists was organized in Frederick, comprising her most substantial citizens. A great Union meeting was held in Baltimore on the evening of May 4th; whereat the creation of the Board of Public Safety, and all kindred measures, were unsparingly denounced. Next day, Gen. Butler pushed forward two regiments from the Annapolis Junction to the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, and controlling the communications between that city and Frederick. On the 9th, a force of 1,300 men from Perryville debarked at Locust Point, Baltimore, under cover of the guns of the Harriet Lane, and quietly opened the railroad route through that city to the Relay House and Washington, encountering no opposition. Gen. Butler took permanent military possession of the city on the 13th, while a force of Pennsylvanians from Harrisburg advanced to Cockeysville, reopening the Northern Central railroad. The Legislature adopted, on the 10th, the following:

Whereas, The war against the Confederate States is unconstitutional and repugnant to civilization, and will result in a bloody [472] and shameful overthrow of our institutions; and, while recognizing the obligations of Maryland to the Union, we sympathize with the South in the struggle for their rights — for the sake of humanity, we are for peace and reconciliation, and solemnly protest against this war, and will take no part in it.

Resolved, That Maryland implores the President, in the name of God, to cease this unholy war, at least until Congress assembles; that Maryland desires and consents to the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. The military occupation of Maryland is unconstitutional, and she protests against it, though the violent interference with the transit of Federal troops is discountenanced; that the vindication of her rights be left to time and reason, and that a Convention, under existing circumstances, is inexpedient.

The Federal authority having been fully reestablished in Baltimore, and the Union troops within or upon her borders decidedly outnumbering the Confederate, the Secession fever in the veins of her people subsided as rapidly as it had risen. Having been accustomed from time immemorial to acquiesce in whatever the slaveholding interest proposed, and seeing that interest thoroughly affiliated with the plotters of Disunion, the great majority had consulted what seemed the dictates of prudence and personal safety by flocking to what appeared, in view of the temporary weakness and paralysis of the Federal Government, the strong side — the side whereon were evinced confidence, energy, and decision. Under like influences, Maryland would have been voted out of the Union as promptly, and by as decisive a majority, as Virginia or Tennessee was. Another week's exhibition of the spirit in which Mayor Brown and the Young Christians were allowed to press their impudent demands at the White House, and to return thence to Baltimore not even arrested, would have thrown her headlong into the arms of treason.

Her Legislature finally adjourned on the 14th, after having sent an embassy to Montgomery in quest of “peace;” which was so received and answered by Davis as to convey to the South the impression that Maryland was in sympathy with the Rebellion. On the 14th, also, Gov. Hicks issued an official Proclamation, calling for four regiments of volunteers, in answer to the President's requisition. The route through Baltimore being fully reopened, and communication restored between the Free States and Washington, the safety of the capital was secured; regiment after regiment pouring into it by almost every train, until, by the end of May, not less than fifty thousand men — raw and undisciplined, indeed, but mainly of the best material for soldiers — held the line of the Potomac, or guarded the approaches to the capital. And still, from every side, the people of the loyal States were urging more regiments upon the Government, and begging permission to swell the ranks of the Union armies, so as to overmatch any conceivable strength of the rebels.

Baltimore was still, and was destined, for years, to remain, the focus and hiding-place of much active though covert treason; her Confederates maintaining constant communication with Richmond, and continually sending men, as well as medicines, percussion caps, and other pressingly needed supplies, to the Rebel armies, mainly across the lower Potomac, through the southern counties of the State; which, being thoroughly “patriarchal” in their social and industrial polity, preponderantly and ardently sympathized with the Rebel cause.

1 The following private letter from a South Carolina planter to an old friend settled in Texas, gives a fair idea of the situation:

Abbeville C. H. S. C., Jan. 24, 1861.
dear Sir:--I desire you to procure for me, and send by mail, a Texas Almanac. Six months since, I felt perfectly willing to remain in South Carolina; but I can remain here no longer. At the election of Lincoln, we all felt that we must resist. In this move, I placed myself among the foremost, and am yet determined to resist him to the bitter end. I had my misgivings, at first, of the idea of separate Secession; but thought it would be but for a short time, and at small cost. In this manner, together with thousands of other Carolinians, we have been mistaken. Everything is in the wildest commotion. My bottom land on Long Cone, for which I could have gotten thirty dollars per acre, I now cannot sell at any price. All our young men, nearly, are in and around Charleston. Thither we have sent many hundreds of our negroes (I have sent twenty) to work. Crops were very short last year; and it does now seem that nothing will be planted this coming season. All are excited to the highest pitch, and not a thought of the future is taken. Messengers are running here and there, with and without the Governor's orders. We have no money. A forced tax is levied upon every man. I have furnished the last surplus dollar I have. I had about $27,000 in the bank. At first, I gave a check for $10,000; then $5,000; then the remainder. It is now estimated that we are spending $25,000 per day, and no prospect of getting over these times. It was our full understanding, when we went out of the Union, that we would have a new Government of all the Southern States. Our object was to bring about a collision with the authorities at Washington, which all thought would make all join us. Although we have sought such collision in every way, we have not yet got a fight, and the prospect is very distant. I want the Almanac to see what part of Texas may suit me. I want to raise cotton principally, but must raise corn enough to do me. I cannot live here, and must get away. Many are leaving now; at least 10,000 negroes have left already; and, before long, one-third of the wealth of South Carolina will be in the West. I desire you to look around and help me to get a home.

As ever yours,

2 Wm. H. Russell, of The London Times, in his “Diary, North and South,” writing at Charleston, April 18, 1861, says:

These tall, thin, fine-faced Carolinians are great materialists. Slavery, perhaps, has aggravated the tendency to look at all the world through parapets of cotton-bales and rice-bags; and, though more stately and less vulgar, the worshipers here are not less prostrate before the “almighty dollar” than the Northerners. Again, cropping out of the dead level of hate to the Yankee, grows its climax in the profession, from nearly every one of the guests, that he would prefer a return to British rule to any reunion with New England. * * * They affect the agricultural faith and the belief of a landed gentry. It is not only over the wine-glass — why call it cup?--that they ask for a Prince to reign over them. I have heard the wish repeatedly expressed within the last two days that we could spare them one of our young Princes, but never in jest or in any frivolous manner.

Mr. Russell's letters from Charleston to The Times are to the same effect, but more explicit and circumstantial.

3 The Richmond Whig of November 9, 1860, had the following:

Because the Union was created by the voluntary consent of the original States, it does not follow that such consent can be withdrawn at will by any single party to the compact, and its obligations and duties, its burdens and demands, be avoided. A government resting on such a basis would be as unstable as the ever-shifting sands. The sport of every popular excitement, the victim of every conflicting interest, of plotting ambition or momentary impulse, it would afford no guarantee of perpetuity, while the hours bring round the circuit of a single year. To suppose that a single State could withdraw at will, is to brand the statesmen of the Revolution, convinced of the weakness and certain destruction of the old Confederation of States, of laboring to perpetuate the evil they attempted to remedy. The work, which has been the marvel of the world, would be no government at all; the oaths taken to support and maintain it would be bitter mockery of serious obligations; and nothing would exist to invite the confidence of citizens or strangers in its protection.

Less strong would it be than a business partnership of limited time. From this, neither party who has entered into it can escape, except by due course of law. Withdrawal of one member carries no rights of possession of property or control of the affairs of the partnership, unless the injunctions of legal tribunals are invoked to restrain all action until the matter in dispute is settled. A State seceding knows no law to maintain its interest nor vindicate its rights. The right to secede, on the other hand, places the Government more at the mercy of popular whim than the business interest of the least mercantile establishment in the country is placed, by the law of the land.

Such were the just and forcibly stated convictions of a leading journal, which soon after became, and has since remained, a noisy oracle of Secession.

4 The New York Herald of April 13th had a Charleston dispatch of the 12th, which thus correctly expresses the Confederate idea:

The first shot [at Fort Sumter] from Stevens's battery was fired by the venerable Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia. That ball will do more for the cause of Secession in Virginia than volumes of stump speeches.

5 The New York Herald of the 14th had the following:

Richmond, Va., April 13, 1861.
There is great rejoicing here over the news from Charleston.

One hundred guns have been fired to celebrate the surrender of Fort Sumter.

Confederate flags are everywhere displayed; while music and illuminations are the order of the evening.

Gov. Letcher has just been serenaded. He made a non-committal speech.

The streets are crowded with people, and the utmost enthusiasm and excitement prevails.

6 The Circular from the War Department, which was sent to the Governors along with this Proclamation, explained that the call was for regiments of infantry or riflemen only — each regiment to be composed of 780 men — the apportionment of regiments to the several States called on being as follows:

Maine 1
New Hampshire 1
Vermont 1
Massachusetts 2
Rhode Island 1
Connecticut 1
New York 17
New Jersey 4
Pennsylvania 16
Delaware 1
Tennessee 2
Maryland 4
Virginia 3
North Carolina 2
Kentucky 4
Arkansas 1
Missouri 4
Ohio 13
Indiana 6
Illinois 6
Michigan 1
Iowa 1
Minnesota 1
Wisconsin 1

The 94 regiments thus called for would form a total of 73,391 men — the residue of the 75,000 being expected from the Federal District.

7 Those of California and Oregon were exceptions; but, being far away, and not called on for Militia, their views were then undeveloped.

8 See especially pages 355-6, and thenceforward.

9 The True American (Trenton, N. J.), and, so far as can now be traced, every other prominent Democratic journal issued in New Jersey, blamed the Administration and the ‘Black Republicans’ for inciting and provoking “the South” to rebellion. and civil war, in substantial accordance with the foregoing views of The New York Express and The Albany Argus. The Pennsylvanian (Philadelphia), and The Patriot and Union (Harrisburg), with nearly every other leading Democratic journal in Pennsylvania, also treated the war now opening as provoked, if not wantonly commenced, by the “Black Republicans.” So with the ablest and most widely circulated Democratic journals of Connecticut. The Chicago Times, The Detroit Free Press, and Ohio Statesman (Columbus), likewise regarded and treated the conflict as one which the Republicans had unwarrantably commenced, or, at least, incited. Few or none of these, however, counseled acquiescence in Disunion — much less, a surrender of Washington and Maryland.

10 The New York Herald of April 10th, after proclaiming in its “ leader” that “ civil war is close at hand,” and announcing that Lieut. Talbot had been stopped in Charleston on his return from Washington to Major Anderson in Fort Sumter says:

Anticipating, then, the speedy inauguration of civil war at Charleston, at Pensacola, or in Texas, or, perhaps, at all these places, the inquiry is forced upon us, What will be the probable consequences? We apprehend that they will be: first, the secession of Virginia and the other border Slave States, and their union with the Confederate States; secondly, the organization of an army for the removal of the United States ensign and authorities from every fortress or public building within the Confederate States, including the White House, the capitol, and other public buildings at Washington. After the secession of Virginia from the United States, it is not likely that Maryland can be restrained from the same decisive act. She will follow the fortunes of Virginia, and will undoubtedly claim that, in withdrawing from the United States, the District of Columbia reverts into her possession under the supreme right of revolution. Here we have verge and scope enough for a civil war of five, ten. or twenty years duration.

What for? To “show that we have a Government” --to show that the seceded States are still in our Union, and are still subject to its laws and authorities. This is the fatal mistake of Mr. Lincoln, and his Cabinet, and his party. The simple truth — patent to all the world — is, that the seceded States are out of the Union, and are organized under an independent Government of their own. The authority of the United States, within the borders of this independent Confederacy, has been completely superseded, except in a detached fort here and there. We desire to restore this displaced authority in its full integrity. How is this to be done? By entering into a war with the seceded States for the continued occupation of those detached forts? No. A war will only widen the breach, and enlarge and consolidate this Southern Confederacy, on the one hand; while, on the other hand, it will bring ruin upon the commerce, the manufactures, the financial and industrial interests, of our Northern cities and States, and may end in an oppressive military despotism.

How then are we to restore these seceded States to the Union? We can do it only by conciliation and compromise.

11 The Mobile Advertiser about this time, had the following:

We are prepared to fight, and the enemy is not. Now is the time for action, while lie is yet unprepared. Let the life sound “Gray Jackets over the Border,” and let a hundred thousand men, with such arms as they can snatch, get over the border as quickly as they) can. Let a division enter every Northern border State, destroy railroad connection to prevent concentration of the enemy, and the desperate strait of these States, the body of Lincoln's country, will compel him to a peace — or compel his successor, should Virginia not suffer him to escape from his doomed capital. Kentucky and Tennessee are offering to send legions south to our aid. Their route is north. They place themselves at the orders of our Government — and we have not yet heard that our Government has ordered them south.

12 The National Intelligencer--perhaps the only journal of note issued south of Mason and Dixon's line that did not utterly execrate the President's call — thus mildly indicated [April 16th] its dissent from the policy thereby initiated:

For ourselves, we have to express the hope and belief that, until the meeting of Congress, the President will employ the forces of the Government in purely defensive purposes, guarding all points threatened with attack, and awaiting, in the mean time, the counsel and cooperation of the people's representatives, before proceeding to ulterior measures; and upon those representatives, when they are assembled, we shall, without questioning the legal rights of the Government, urge the impolicy of advising and consenting to the recapture of forts and public property, which we do not want in States out of the Union, and which, certainly, cannot be permanently regained to the Union by military force.

13 April 16th.

14 The Richmond Examiner, of April 23d, contained this article:

The capture of Washington City is perfectly within the power of Virginia and Maryland, if Virginia will only make the effort by her constituted authorities; nor is there a single moment to lose. The entire population pant for the onset; there never was half the unanimity among the people before, nor a tithe of the zeal, upon any subject, that is now manifested to take Washington, and drive from it every Black Republican who is a dweller there.

From the mountain-tops and valleys to the shores of the sea, there is one wild shout of fierce resolve to capture Washington City, at all and every human hazard. That filthy cage of unclean birds must and will assuredly be purified by fire. The people are determined upon it, and are clamorous for a leader to conduct them to the onslaught. The leader will assuredly arise; ay, and that right speedily.

It is not to be endured that this flight of Abolition harpies shall come down from the black North for their roosts in the heart of the South, to defile and brutalize the land. They come as our enemies; they act as our most deadly foes; they promise us bloodshed and fire; and this is the only promise they have ever redeemed. The fanatical yell for the immediate subjugation of the whole South is going up hourly from the united voices of all the North; and, for the purpose of making their work sure, they have determined to hold Washington City as the point whence to carry on their brutal warfare.

Our people can take it — they will take it — and Scott, the arch-traitor, and Lincoln, the Beast, combined, cannot prevent it. The just indignation of an outraged and deeply injured people will teach the Illinois Ape to repeat his race and retrace his journey across the borders of the Free negro States still more rapidly than he came; and Scott, the traitor, will be given the opportunity, at the same time, to try the difference between ‘Scott's Tactics’ and the Shanghae Drill for quick movements.

Great cleansing and purification are needed and will be given to that festering sink of iniquity, that wallow of Lincoln and Scott — the desecrated city of Washington; and many indeed will be the carcasses of dogs and caitiffs that will blacken the air upon the gallows before the great work is accomplished. So let it be!

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