Chapter 14: the great Uprising of the people.
- Excitement throughout the country, 335.
-- the President calls for troops to put down the insurrection
-- extraordinary session of Congress called, 336.
-- requisition of the Secretary of War
-- replies of disloyal Governors, 337.
-- some newspapers on the call for troops, 338.
-- the “Conservatives”
-- the conspirators at Montgomery, 339.
-- utterances of the disloyal press, 341.
-- how a “United South” was produced
-- boastings of the loyal press, 342.
-- providence favors both sides
-- flags and letter envelopes attest the loyalty of the people, 343.
-- Uprising in the Slave-labor States
-- the writer in New Orleans, 344.
-- excitement in New Orleans, 345.--“on to Fort Pickens!”
-- a Sunday in New Orleans, 346.
-- effects of the President's proclamation
-- Unionists silenced, 347.
-- journey northward
-- Experiences in Mississippi and Tennessee, 348.
-- treason of General Pillow, 349.
-- alarming rumors, 350.
-- first glad tidings
-- conspirators in Council, 351.
-- scenes on a journey through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, 352.
-- attitude of New York City, 354.
-- great War meeting at Union Square, New York, 355.
-- speeches of representative Democrats elsewhere, 357.
-- Impressions of an intelligent Englishman among the citizens of New York.
-- resolutions of the great meeting, 360.
The attack on Fort Sumter
had been looked for, and yet, tidings of the fact fell on the ears of the loyal people of the country as an amazing surprise.
It was too incredible for belief.
It was thought to be a “sensation story” of the newspapers.
The story was true; and when the telegraph declared that the old flag had been dishonored, and that “a banner, with a strange device,” was floating over that fortress, which everybody thought was impregnable, and the story was believed, the latent patriotism of the nation was instantly and powerfully aroused.
It seemed as if a mighty thunderbolt had been launched from the hand of the Omnipotent, and sent crashing, with fearful destructiveness, through every party platform — every partition wall between political and religious sects — every bastile of prejudice in which free thoughts and free speech had been restrained, demolishing them utterly, and opening a way instantly for the unity of all hearts in the bond of patriotism, and of all hands mailed for great and holy deeds.
Heart throbbed to heart; lip spoke to lip, with a oneness of feeling that seemed like a Divine inspiration; and the burden of thought was,
Stand by the Flag!
all doubt and treason scorning,
Believe, with courage firm and faith sublime,
That it will float until the eternal morning
Pales, in its glories, all the lights of Time!
The Sabbath day on which Anderson
and his men went out of Fort Sumter
was a day of wild excitement throughout the Union
Loyalists and disloyalists were equally stirred by the event — the former by indignation, the latter by exultation.
The streets of cities and villages, every place of public resort, and even the churches, were filled with crowds of people, anxious to obtain an answer to the question in every mind — What next?
That question was not long unanswered.
Within twenty-four hours from the time when the Stripes and Stars were lowered in Charleston harbor
, the President
of the United States
had filled every loyal heart in the land with joy and patriotic fervor, by a call for troops to put down the rising rebellion.
That call answered the question.
In a proclamation issued on the 15th,
declared that the laws of the Republic
had been for some time, and were then, opposed in the States of South Carolina
, 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;” and he therefore, by virtue of the power in him vested by the Constitution
and the laws, called forth the militia of the several States of the Union
, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress those combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The President appealed 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.”
He deemed it proper to say, that the first service assigned to the forces thereby called forth would probably be “to repossess the forts, places, and property which had been seized from the Union
;” and he assured the people that in every event the utmost care would be observed, consistently with the objects stated, to “avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country.”
He commanded the persons composing the combinations mentioned to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from the date of his proclamation.1
Impressed with the conviction that the then condition of public affairs demanded an extraordinary session of the Congress
, he, in the same proclamation, summoned the Senators
to assemble at their respective chambers in Washington City
, at noon on Thursday, the 4th day of July next ensuing, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety might seem to demand.
Simultaneously with the President
's Proclamation, the Secretary of War
, under the authority of an Act of Congress, approved in February, 1795,2
issued a telegraphic dispatch to the Governors
of all the States of the Union
, excepting those mentioned in the proclamation, requesting each of them to cause to be immediately detailed from the militia of his State the quota designated in a table, which he appended, to serve as infantry or riflemen for a period of three months (the extent allowed by law3
), unless sooner
He requested each to inform him of the time when his quota might be expected at its rendezvous, as it would be there met, as soon as practicable, by an officer or officers, to muster it into the service and pay of the United States
He directed that the oath of fidelity to. the United States
should be administered to every officer and man; and none were to be received under the rank of a commissioned officer who was apparently under eighteen, or over forty-five years of age, and not in physical health and vigor.
He ordered that each regiment should consist, on an aggregate of officers and men, of seven hundred and eighty, which would make a total, under the call, of seventy-three thousand three hundred and ninety-one.
The remainder of the seventy-five thousand called for was to be composed of troops in the District of Columbia.5
The President's Proclamation, and the requisition of the Secretary of War
, were received with unbounded favor and enthusiasm in the Free-labor States; while in six of the eight Slave-labor States included in the call, they were treated by the authorities with words of scorn and defiance.
The exceptions were Maryland
In the other States disloyal Governors held the reins of power.
“I have only to say,” replied Governor Letcher
, of Virginia
, “that the militia of this State 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 province 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 it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited toward the South
, of North Carolina
, answered :--“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
, of Kentucky
, replied:--“Your dispatch is received.
I say emphatically that Kentucky
will furnish no troops for the wicked pure pose of subduing her sister Southern States.”
, of Tennessee
will not furnish a single man for coercion, but fifty thousand, if necessary, for the defense of our rights, or those of our Southern brethren.”
, of Arkansas
, replied:--“In answer
to your requisition for troops from Arkansas
to subjugate the Southern States
, I have to say that none will be furnished.
The demand is only adding insult to injury.
The people of this Commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend, to the last extremity, their honor, their lives, and property, against Northern mendacity and usurpation.”
, of Missouri
, responded:--“There can be, I apprehend, no doubt that these men are intended to make war upon the seceded States.
Your requisition, in my judgment, is illegal, unconstitutional, and revolutionary in its objects, inhuman and diabolical, and cannot be complied with.
Not one man will the State of Missouri
furnish to carry on such an unholy crusade.”
There is such a coincidence of sentiment and language in the responses of the disloyal governors, that the conviction is pressed upon the reader that the conclave of conspirators at Montgomery
was the common source of their inspiration.
, of Maryland
, appalled by the presence of great dangers, and sorely pressed by the secessionists on every side, hastened, in a proclamation, to assure the people of his State that no troops would be sent from Maryland
unless it might be for the defense of the National Capital
, and that they (the people) would, 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.”
, of Delaware
, made no response until the 26th, when he informed the President
that he had no authority to comply with his requisition.
At the same time he recommended the formation of volunteer companies for the protection of the citizens and property of Delaware
, and not for the preservation of the Union
The Governor would thereby control a large militia force.
How he would have employed it, had occasion required, was manifested by his steady refusal, while in office, to assist the National Government
in its struggle with its enemies.
In the seven excepted Slave-labor States in which insurrection prevailed, the proclamation and the requisition produced hot indignation, and were assailed with the bitterest scorn.
Not in these States alone, but in the border Slave-labor States, and even in the Free-labor States, there were vehement opposers of the war policy of the Government
from its inception.6
One of the most influential newspapers printed west of the Alleghanies
, which had opposed secession valiantly, step by step, with the keen cimeter of wit and the solid shot of argument, and professed to be then, and throughout the war, devoted to the cause of the Union
, hurled back the proclamation,
to the great delight and encouragement of the conspirators, and the dismay of the friends of American nationality, in the following words:--
“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 only of a statesman, but of a man. It is a policy utterly hare-brained and ruinous.
If Mr. Lincoln
contemplated this policy in his Inaugural Address, he is a guilty dissembler; if he 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.”
Thus spoke the organ of the “Conservatives” of the great and influential State of Kentucky
and, indeed, of the great Valley of the Mississippi below the Ohio
Its voice was potential, because it represented the feelings of the dominant class in the Border Slave-labor States.
From that hour the politicians of Kentucky
, with few exceptions, endeavored to hold the people to a neutral attitude as between the National Government
and the insurgents.
They were successful until the rank perfidy of the conspirators and the destructive invasions of the insurgent armies taught them that their only salvation from utter ruin was to be found in taking up arms in support of the Government
The effect of that neutral policy, which, in a degree, was patriotic, because it seemed necessary to prevent the State
from being properly ranked with the “seceding” States, will be observed hereafter.
There seemed to be calmness only at Montgomery
, the Headquarters of the conspirators.
These men were intoxicated with apparent success at Charleston
In profound ignorance of the patriotism, strength, courage, temper, and resources of the people of the Free-labor States, and in their pride and arrogance, created by their sudden possession of immense power which they had wrested from the people, they coolly defied the National Government
, whose reins of control they expected soon to hold.
Already the so-called Secretary of War
of the confederated conspirators (L. P. Walker
) had revealed that expectation, in a speech from the balcony of the Exchange Hotel
, in response to a serenade given to Davis
and himself, on the evening of the day on which Fort Sumter
“No man,” he said, “can tell when the war this day commenced9
will end; but I will prophesy that the flag which
now flaunts the breeze here will float over the dome of the old Capitol
before the first of May.
Let them try Southern chivalry and test the extent of Southern resources, and it may float eventually over Faneuil Hall in Boston
, the Secretary
of the Montgomery Convention,11
had replied to the question of the agent of the Associated Press
, “What is the feeling there?”
Davis answers, rough and curt,
With mortar, Paixhan, and petard;
“Sumter is ours and nobody hurt.
We tender Old Abe our Beau-regard.”
Already General Pillow
, of Tennessee
, had hastened to Montgomery
and offered the Confederate Government ten thousand volunteers from his
Street view in Montgomery in 1861.--the State House.|
State; and assurances had come by scores from all parts of the “Confederacy,” and of the Border Slave-labor States, that ample aid in men and money would be given to the “Southern cause.”
And an adroit knave named Sanders
, who had been a conspicuous politician of the baser sort in the North
, and who was in Montgomery
as the self-constituted representative of the “Northern Democracy,” “drinking with the President
[Davis], shaking hands and conversing with crowds at the hotels, and having long
talks with the Cabinet
had assured Davis
and his associates that his party would “stand by the South
at all hazards,” and that there would be such a “divided North,” that war would be impossible.14
Thus surrounded by an atmosphere of sophistry and adulation, which conveyed to their ears few accents of truth or reason; confident of the support of kings, and queens, and emperors of the Old World, who would rejoice if a great calamity should overtake the menacing Republic of the West
, and sitting complacently at the feet of “King Cotton,”
The mightiest monarch of all,
these men received the President
's Proclamation with “derisive laughter,” 15
and for the moment treated the whole affair as a solemn farce.16
The press in the so-called “Confederate States
,” inspired by the key-note at Montgomery
, in dissonance with which they dared not be heard, more vehemently than ever, and without stint ridiculed the “Yankees,” as they called the people of the Free-labor States.
They were spoken of as cowards, ingrates, fawning sycophants; a race unworthy of a place in the society of “Southern gentlemen ;” infidels to God, religion, and morality; mercenary to the last degree, and so lacking in personal and moral courage, that “one Southron could whip five of them easily, and ten of them at a pinch.”
most absurd stories were told concerning starvation, riots, and anarchy in the Free-labor States, by the brawling politicians, the newspapers, and the men in public office who were under the absolute control of the conspirators ;18
and every thing calculated to inflame the prejudices and passions and inflate the pride of the people — inspire an overweening confidence in their own prowess and the resources of their so-called government — and to fill them with contempt and hatred for “the North
,” was used with great prodigality.
A military despotism was suddenly erected.
It was supreme in power and inexorable in practice; more withering to true manhood and more destructive of national prosperity than any written about by historians.
It prevailed from this time until the close of the terrible war that ensued.
It took the place of civil government everywhere, permitting only the skeleton of the latter to exist.
Press, pulpit, courts of law, were all overshadowed by its black wing; and its fiat produced that “united South” about which the conspirators and their friends prated continually.
It raised great armies, that fought great battles so valiantly, that American citizens everywhere contemplate with honest pride their courage and endurance, while loathing the usurpers who, by force and fraud, compelled the many to combat for wrong for the benefit of the few.
The foolish boastings of the newspaper press in the Slave-labor States were imitated by many of the leading journals in the Free-labor States.
“The nations of Europe
,” said one,19
“may rest assured that Jeff. Davis
& Co. will be swinging from the battlements at Washington
at least by the 4th of July.
We spit upon a later and longer deferred justice.” --“Let us make quick work,” said another.20
“The ‘rebellion,’ as some people designate it, is an unborn tadpole.
Let us not fall into the delusion, noted by Hallam
, of mistaking a ‘ local commotion’ for a revolution.
A strong, active ‘pull together’ will do our work effectually in thirty days.”
said that “no man of sense could for a moment doubt that this much-ado-about-nothing would end in a month,” and declared that “the Northern
people are simply invincible.
The rebels — a mere band of ragamuffins — will fly like chaff before the wind on our approach.”
A Chicago newspaper22
said :--“Let the East
get out of the way; this is a war of the West
We can fight the battle, and successfully, within two or three months at the furthest.
can whip the South
We insist on the matter being turned over to us.”
in the West
said:--“The rebellion will be crushed out before the assemblage of Congress.”
There were misapprehensions, fatal misapprehensions, in both sections.
Neither believed that the other would fight.
It was a sad mistake.
appealed to the Almighty to witness the rectitude of its intentions, and each was quick to discover coincident omens of Heaven's approval.
“God and justice are with us,” said the loyalists, “for we contend for union, nationality, and universal freedom.” --“God is equally with us,” said the insurgents, “for we contend for rightful separation, the supreme sovereignty of our respective States, and the perpetuation of the Divine institution of Slavery.”
And when, on the Sunday after the promulgation of the President
's summons for troops to put down rising rebellion, the first Lesson in the Morning Service
of the Protestant Episcopal Churches
of the land was found to contain this battle-call of the Prophet:--“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong,” 24
the loyalists said: “See how revelation summons us to the conflict!”
and the insurgents answered, “It is equally a call for us;” adding, “See how specially we are promised victory in another Lesson of the same Church!--‘ I will remove far off from you the Northern army
, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea. . . Fear not, O land!
be glad and rejoice: for the Lord
will do great things.’
In this temper multitudes of the people of the Republic
, filled with intelligent convictions of the righteousness of the cause they had respectively espoused, left their peaceful pursuits in the pleasant springtime, and the alluring ease of abounding prosperity, and prepared for war, with a feeling that it would be short, and little more than an exciting though somewhat dangerous holiday pastime.
No one seemed to think that it was the beginning of a sanguinary war that might cost the Nation a vast amount of blood and treasure.
The uprising of the people of the Free-labor States in defense of Nationality was a sublime spectacle.
Nothing like it had been seen on the earth since the preaching of Peter the Hermit and of Pope Urban
the Second filled all Christian Europe
with religious zeal, and sent armed hosts, with the cry of “God wills it!
God wills it!”
to rescue the sepulcher of Jesus from the hands of the infidel.
Men, women, and children felt the enthusiasm alike; and, as if by concerted arrangement, the National
flag was every — where displayed, even from the spires of churches and cathedrals.
In cities, in villages, and by wayside taverns all over the country, it was unfurled from lofty poles in the presence of large assemblages of the people, who were addressed frequently by some of the most eminent orators in the land.
It adorned the halls of justice and the sanctuaries of religion; and the “Red
, and Blue
,” the colors of the flag in combination, became a common ornament of women and a token of the loyalty of men. Every thing that might indicate attachment to the Union
was employed; and in less than a fortnight after the President
's Proclamation went forth, the post-offices were made gay with letter envelopes bearing every kind of device, in brilliant colors, illustrative of love of country and hatred of rebellion.
The use of these became a passion.
It was a phenomenon of the times.
Not less than
four thousand different kinds of Union envelopes were produced in the course of a few weeks.
Sets of these now find a careful depository in the cabinets of the curious.
The uprising in the Slave-labor States at this time, though less general and enthusiastic, was nevertheless marvelous.
The heresy of State Supremacy, which Calhoun
and his followers adroitly called State rights
, because the latter is a sacred thing cherished by all, was a political tenet generally accepted as orthodox.
It had been inculcated in every conceivable form and on every conceivable occasion;27
and men who loved the Union
and deprecated secession were in agreement with the conspirators on that point.
Hence it was that in the tornado of passion then sweeping over the South
, where reason was discarded, thousands of intelligent men, deceived by the grossest misrepresentations respecting the temper, character, and intentions of the people of the Free-labor States, flew to arms, well satisfied that they were in the right, because resisting what they believed to be usurpation, and an unconstitutional attempt at the subjugation of a free people, on the part of the National Government
The writer was in New Orleans at the time of the attack on Fort Sumter
, in quest of knowledge respecting the stirring military events that occurred in that vicinity at the close of the year 1814 and the beginning of 1815.
He was accompanied by a young kinswoman.
We arrived there on the 10th,
having traveled all night on the railway from Grand Junction, in Tennessee
, and other places, we heard rumors of an expected attack on the fort.
These were brought to us by a physician, who had been a member of the Secession Convention
--a man of sense, moderation, and courtesy, who was our pleasant traveling companion from Decatur
, in Northern Alabama
, to Magnolia, in Mississippi
, where we parted with him at breakfast.
In the same car we met a Doctor Billings
, of Vicksburg
, who had been for several years a surgeon in the Mexican
army, and was then returning to the city of Mexico
, to carry out the preliminaries of a scheme of leading men in the Southwest
for, seizing some of the richest portions of Mexico
Wine or something stronger had put his caution asleep, and he communicated his plans freely.
He was a Knight of the Golden Circle
, and was charged with the duty of procuring from the Mexican Congress permission for American citizens to construct a railway from the Rio Grande
, through Chihuahua
, to the Gulf
He intended to get permission to commence the work immediately, with five thousand men, armed ostensibly for defense against the Indians.
Once in the country, these men would seize and hold possession of those States until sufficiently re-enforced to make the occupation permanent.
This was to be the end of the railway enterprise.
It was to be a movement, in co-operation with the secessionists of Texas
, to open the way for the extension toward Central America
of that grand empire to be established on the foundation of Slavery, whose political nucleus was at Montgomery
left New Orleans for Mexico
a few days afterward.
His scheme failed.
We found much excitement in New Orleans.
The politicians were giving out ominous hints of great events near at hand.
was at the St. Charles Hotel
, having arrived on the 6th, and was much of the time in consultation with the leading secessionists.
was also there.
I called on some of the active a politicians for local information, but found them too intently engaged in matters of immediate and pressing importance to listen or reply to many questions.
On the following morning, intelligence that Fort Sumter
had been attacked was brought by the telegraph.
The absorbing occupation of the politicians was explained.
They foreknew the event.
All day long the spaces around the bulletin-boards were crowded by an excited multitude, as dispatch after dispatch came announcing the progress of the conflict.
At an early hour on Saturday, we left the city in a barouche for Jackson
We passed the Headquarters of the celebrated Washington Artillery,31
who were afterward in the battle at Bull's Run
They were on parade, in the uniform in which they afterward appeared on the field.
We rode down the levee as far as Villere
's, where Pakenham
and other British officers had their Headquarters in 1815; and returning, stopped to visit and sketch the remains of the famous old battle.
ground. At a little past two o'clock in the afternoon, while sitting on the base of the unfinished monument commemorative of the conflict, making a drawing of the plain of Chalmette
, where it occurred, we heard seven discharges of heavy guns at the city — the number of the States in the Confederacy
is doubtless gone,” I said to my companion.
It was so. The news had reached the city at that hour, and under the direction of Hatch
, the disloyal Collector of the port of New Orleans,32
the guns of the McClelland
, which the insurgents had seized, were fired in honor of the event.
On our return to the city, at five o'clock in the evening, we found it alive with excitement.
The Washington Artillery were just marching by the statue of Henry Clay
, on Canal Street, and members of many other corps, some of them in the brilliant and picturesque Zouave uniform, were hurrying, singly or in squads, to their respective places of rendezvous.
The cry in all that region then was: “On to Fort Pickens
The seizure of that stronghold was of infinite importance to the insurgents; and to that end the conspirators at Montgomery
called the military power of the Confederacy
to hasten to Pensacola
before Fort Pickens
should be re-enforced.
The next day was Sunday.
The bulletin-boards were covered with the most exciting telegraphic placards early in the morning.
Among others seen on that of the Delta
, was one purporting to be a copy of a dispatch from Richmond
, saying substantially that “Ben. McCulloch
, with ten thousand men, was marching on Washington
I had seen the chief editor
of the Delta
on the previous evening.
Another declared that General Scott
had resigned, and had offered his services to his native State, Virginia
Many similar misrepresentations were posted, calculated to inspire the people with hope and enthusiasm and to promote enlistments, while they justified the charge of the Union
men, that those pretended dispatches, and a host of others, originated in New Orleans.
Around the bulletin-boards were exultant crowds, sometimes huzzaing loudly; and at the usual hour for Divine Service, the solemn music of the church bells tolling was mingled with the lively melody of the fife and drum.33
Many citizens were seen wearing the secession rosette and badge; and small secession flags fluttered from many a window.
The banner of the so-called Southern Confederacy--the “Stars and bars” 34
everywhere seen, but nowhere the flag of the Union
The latter would not be tolerated.
The reign of terror had commenced in earnest.
The voices of Union men were silenced; and the fact of a revolution accomplished seemed painfully apparent when we saw these strange banners, and heard, in a Protestant Episcopal Church, a prayer for “the President
of the Confederate States of America
On Monday, the President
's call for seventy-five thousand men was placarded on the bulletin-boards.
That proclamation was unexpected.
It exhibited an unsuspected resoluteness in the Government
that threatened trouble for the insurgents.
The effect . was marked.
The groups around the placards were no longer jubilant.
There was visible uneasiness in the mind of every looker-on, and all turned away thoughtful.
There was a menace of war, and war would ruin the business of New Orleans.
Even the marching of troops through the streets when they departed for Pensacola
failed to excite much enthusiasm; and when, on the 17th, the subscription-books for the fifteen millions of dollars loan, authorized by the Convention
of conspirators at Montgomery
were opened, there were very few bona-fide
bids for large amounts.
But .that proclamation gave heart-felt satisfaction to the Union
men of New Orleans, and they were counted by thousands among the best citizens.
These were silent then.
The editor of the True Delta
, a Union journal, had
Secession rosette and badge.36|
been compelled to fling out the secession flag, to prevent the demolition of his office by a mob. “No one dares to speak out now,” said the venerable Jacob Barker
, the banker, as he stealthily placed in the writer's hand a broadside, which he had had printed on his eighty-first birthday,
as a gift of good for his countrymen, containing a series of argumentative letters against secession, first published in a Natchez newspaper.
“If,” said another, one of the oldest citizens of New Orleans, “the Northern
people shall respond to that call, and the United States
shall ‘repossess and hold’ the forts and other public property — if the power of the Government
shall pull down the detested secession flags now flaunting in our faces over our Mint and Custom House, and show that it has power to maintain the old banner in their places,37
men in the South
will take Kentucky
hemp, and hang every traitor between the Gulf
and the Ohio
We left New Orleans for the North
on the morning of Wednesday, the 17th,
and spent that night at the little village of Canton, in Mississippi
We went out in search of a resident of the place, whom we had met at Niagara Falls
the previous summer.
He was absent.
A war-meeting was gathering in the Court House
, on the village green, when we passed, and a bugle was there pouring forth upon the evening air the tune of the Marseillaise Hymn
of the French Revolution
We had observed that every National air which hitherto had stirred the blood of all Americans
was discarded throughout the “Confederacy,” and that the performance of any of them was presumptive evidence of treason to the traitors.
We felt great desire to respond to the bugle with Yankee Doodle
or Star-spangled Banner,39
but prudence counseled silence.
We went on to Grand Junction
the next morning, where we were detained thirty-six hours, in consequence of our luggage having been carried to Jackson, in Tennessee
All along the road, we had seen recruiting-officers gathering up men here and there from the sparse population, to swell the ranks of the insurgents assembling at Pensacola
under General Bragg
, who had abandoned the old flag.
The negroes were quietly at work in the fields, planting cotton, little dreaming of their redemption from Slavery being so nigh.
The landlord of the “Percey House” at Grand Junction
was kind and obliging, and made our involuntary sojourn there as agreeable as possible.
We were impatient to go forward, for exasperation against Northern men was waxing hot. We amused ourselves nearly half a day, “assisting,” as the French
say, at the raising of a secession flag upon a high pole.
It was our first and last experience of that kind.
After almost five hours of alternate labor, rest, and consultation, during which time the pole was dug up, prostrated, and re-erected, because of defective halliards, the flag was “flung to the breeze,” and was saluted by the discharge of a pocket-pistol in the hands of a small boy. This was followed by another significant amusement at which we “assisted.”
At Grand Junction
, four railway trains, traveling respectively on the New Orleans and Jackson
and the Charleston
and Memphis roads, which here intersect, met twice a day, and the aggregation of passengers usually formed a considerable crowd.
On one of these occasions we heard two or three huzzas, and went out to ascertain the cause.
A man of
middling stature, with dark hair, and whiskers slightly sprinkled with white, apparently fifty years of age, was standing on a bale of cotton, haranguing the listeners:--“Every thing dear to you, fellow-citizens,” he exclaimed, “is in peril, and it is your duty to arm immediately in aid of the holy Southern cause.
The Northern Goths and Vandals — offscourings of the Yankee
cities--two hundred thousand strong, are gathering north of the Ohio
to invade your State, to liberate your slaves or incite them to insurrection, to ravish your daughters, to sack your cities and villages, to lay waste your plantations, to plunder and burn your dwellings, and to make you slaves to the vilest people on the face of the earth.”
He had spoken in this strain about three minutes, when the conductor's summons, “All aboard!”
dispersed the audience, and the speaker entered a car going westward to i Memphis
The orator was General Gideon J. Pillow
, who played an inglorious part in the war that ensued.
He had just come from the presence of Jefferson Davis
Although his State (Tennessee
) had lately, by an overwhelming vote, pronounced for Union, this weak but mischievous man, the owner of hundreds of acres of cotton lands in the Gulf
States, and scores of slaves, was working with all his might, with the traitorous Governor of the Commonwealth
), to excite the people to revolt, by such false utterances as we have just noticed.40
He was ambitious of military fame, and had already, as we have observed, offered to Jefferson Davis
the services of ten thousand Tennessee
soldiers, without the least shadow of
Inquiring of a leading Nashville
secessionist, on the evening after hearing Pillow
's harangue, what authority the General
had for his magnificent offer, he smiled and said, in a manner, indicative of the disesteem in which the conspirator was held in his own State, “The authority of Gid
In the course of the war that ensued, which this disloyal Tennessean strove so hard to kindle, the hand of retributive justice fell upon him, as upon all of his co-workers in iniquity, with crushing force.
Our detention at Grand Junction
was fortunate for us. We intended to travel eastward through East Tennessee
, and homeward by way of Washington
The car in which we left our place of detention was full of passengers, many of them from the North
, and all of them excited by the news in the Memphis
pagers of that morning.
The telegraphic dispatches from the East
were alarming and distressing, and the tone of the papers containing them was exultant and defiant.
It was asserted that on the day before,
eight hundred Massachusetts
troops had been captured, and more than one hundred killed, while trying to pass through Baltimore
The annunciation was accompanied by a rude wood-cut, made for the occasion, representing the National
flag tattered and humbled beneath the secession banner, that was waving over a cannon discharging.42
It was also announced that Harper
's Ferry had been seized and was occupied by the insurgents; that the New York
Wood-out from a Memphis newspaper.|
Seventh Regiment, in a fight with Marylanders, had been defeated with great loss; that Norfolk
would doubtless be in the hands of the insurgents in a day or two; that General Scott
had certainly resigned his commission and offered his services to Virginia
and that President Lincoln
was about to follow his
we were met by still more alarming rumors, underlying which there was evidently some truth, and we thought it prudent to turn our faces northward.
Had we not been detained at Grand Junction
, we should then have been in Virginia
, possibly in Washington
, subjected to the annoyances of that distressing week when the National Capital
was cut off from all communication with the States north and east of it. We spent Sunday in Columbia, Tennessee
; Monday, at Nashville
; and at four o'clock on Tuesday morning,
departed for Louisville
we received the first glad tidings since we left New Orleans.
There we met a bulletin from the Nashville Union and American
, containing news of the great uprising in the Free-labor States--the rush of men to arms, and the munificent offers of money from city corporations, banking institutions, and private citizens, all over the country.
Our faith in the patriotism of the people was amazingly strengthened; and when, on the following day, at Franklin
and one or two other places, Pillow
, who was our fellow-passenger, repeated his disreputable harangue at Grand Junction
, and talked of the poverty, the perfidy, the acquisitiveness, and the cowardice, of the “Northern hordes of Goths and Vandals,” he seemed like a mere harlequin, with cap and bells, trying to amuse the people with cunning antics.
And so the people seemed to think, for at Franklin
, where there was quite a large gathering, there was not a single response to his foolish speech.
Nobody seemed to be deceived by it.
was again our fellow-passenger on Tuesday morning, when we left Nashville
We had been introduced to him the day before, and he was our traveling-companion, courteous and polite, all the way to Louisville
When we crossed the magnificent railway bridge that then spanned the Green River
at Mumfordsville, in Kentucky
, he leaned out of the car window and viewed it with great earnestness.
I spoke of the beauty and strength of the structure, when he replied: “I am looking at it with a military eye, to see how we may destroy it, to prevent Northern troops from invading Tennessee
He seemed to be persuaded that a vast host were mustering on the Ohio
He was evidently on his way to Louisville
to confer, doubtless by appointment, with leading secessionists of Kentucky
, on the subject of armed rebellion.
The register of the “Galt House”
in that city showed that Pillow
, Governor Magoffin
, Simon B. Buckner
, and other secessionists were at that house on that evening.45
We did not stop at Louisville
, but immediately crossed the Ohio River
, and took passage in a car for Cincinnati
The change was wonderful.
For nearly three weeks we had not seen a National flag, nor heard a National air, nor scarcely felt a thrill produced by a loyal sentiment audibly uttered; now the Stars and Stripes were seen everywhere, National melodies were heard on every hand, and the air was resonant with the shouts
of loyal men. Banners were streaming from windows, floating over housetops, and fluttering from rude poles by the waysides.
Little children waved them with tiny huzzas, as our train passed by, crowded to its utmost capacity with young men hastening to enroll themselves for the great Union Army then forming.
was fairly iridescent with the Red
, and Blue
From the point of the spire of white cut stone of the Roman Catholic Cathedral
, two hundred and twenty-five feet in the air, the loyal Archbishop Purcell
had caused to be unfurled, with “imposing ceremonies,” it was said, a magnificent National flag, ninety feet in length ;46
and on the day of our visit, it seemed as if the whole population were on the streets, cheering the soldiers
as they passed through the city.47
There was no sign of doubt or lukewarmness.
The Queen City
gave ample tokens that the mighty Northwest, whose soil had been consecrated to freedom forever by a solemn act of the Congress
of the old Confederation,48
was fully aroused to a sense of the perils that threatened the Republic
, and was sternly determined to defend it at all hazards.
How lavishly that great Northwest poured out its blood and treasure for the preservation of the Union
will be observed hereafter.
As we journeyed eastward through Ohio
, by way of Columbus
, and Steubenville
, to Pittsburg
, the magnitude and significance of the great
uprising became hourly more and more apparent.
The whole country seemed to have responded to the call:--
Lay down the ax, fling by the spade;
Leave in its track the toiling plow:
The rifle and the bayonet-blade
For arms like yours were fitter now;
And let the hands that ply the pen
Quit the light task, and learn to wield
The horseman's crooked brand, and rein
The charger on the battle-field.
In the evening we saw groups drilling in military maneuvers in the dim moonlight, with sticks and every kind of substitute for a musket.
Men were crowding the railway cars and other vehicles, as they pressed toward designated places of rendezvous; and at every station, tearful women and children were showering kisses, and farewells, and blessings upon their loved ones, who cheered them with assurances of speedy return.
, with its smoke and forges, was bright with banners, and more noisy with the drum than with the tilt-hammer.
All the way over the great Alleghany
range, and down through the beautiful valleys of the Juniata
, we observed the people moving to “the music of the Union
— staid and peaceful Philadelphia
— the Quaker City
— was gay and brilliant with the ensigns of war. Her streets were filled with resident and passing soldiery, and her great warm heart was throbbing audibly with patriotic emotions, such as stirred her more than fourscore years before, when the Declaration of Independence
went out from her venerated State House.
) had just said:--“By the grace of Almighty God, treason shall never rear its head or have a foothold in Philadelphia
I call upon you as American citizens to stand by your flag, and protect it at all hazards.”
The people said Amen!
and no city in the Union
has a brighter record of patriotism and benevolence than Philadelphia
was also aroused.
, and Jersey City
, through which we passed, were alive with enthusiasm.
And when we had crossed the Hudson River
, and entered the great city of New York
with its almost a million of inhabitants, it seemed as if we were in a vast military camp.
The streets were swarming with soldiers.
Among the stately trees at the Battery
, at its lower extremity, white tents were standing.
Before its iron gates sentinels were passing.
Rude barracks, filled with men, were covering portions of the City Hall Park
; and heavy cannon were arranged in line near the fountain, surrounded by hundreds of soldiers, many of them in the gay costume of the Zouave
Already thousands of volunteers had gone out from among the citizens, or had passed through the town from other parts of the State
, and from New England
; and already the commercial metropolis of the Republic
, whose disloyal Mayor
, less than four months before, had argued officially in favor of its raising the standard of secession and
had spoken out for the Union
in a monster meeting of men of all political and religious creeds, gathered around the statue of Washington
, at Union Square,
where all party feeling was kept in abeyance, and only one sentiment — the Union
shall be preserved — was the burden of all the oratory.
That New York meeting the type of others all over the land, had a peculiar significance, and a vast and salutary influence.
That city had been regarded as eminently “conservative” and friendly to “the South
,” on account of the many ties of commercial interest.
Politically it was opposed to the Administration by thirty thousand majority.
voice of the metropolis, at such a crisis was therefore listened for with the most anxious solicitude.
It could not keep silence.
Already the insurgents had commenced their movements for the seizure of the seat of Government.
and the Gosport Navy Yard
were just passing into the hands of rebellious men. Already the blood of Union soldiers had been spilt in Baltimore
, and the cry had come up from below the Roanoke
: “Press on toward Washington
Already the politicians of Virginia
had passed an Ordinance of Secession,
and were inviting the troops from the Gulf
States to their soil.
The secessionists of Maryland
were active, and the National Capitol
, with its archives, was in imminent peril of seizure by the insurgents.
It was under such a condition of public affairs that the meeting had assembled, on the 20th of April.
Places of business were closed, that all might participate in the proceedings.
It was estimated, that at least one hundred thousand persons were in attendance during the afternoon.
Four stands were erected at points equidistant around Union Square; and the soiled and tattered flag that Anderson
had brought away from Fort Sumter
, was mounted on a fragment of its staff, and placed in the hands of the statue of Washington
The meeting was organized by the appointment of a President at each of the four stands, with a large number of assistants;52
and it was addressed by representative men of all political parties, who,
as we have observed, were in perfect agreement on this occasion, in a determination to support the Government
in maintaining its authority.53
John A. Dix
, a life-long Democrat, and lately a member of Buchanan
's Cabinet, presided at the principal stand, near the statue of Washington
The meeting was then opened by prayer by the venerable Gardiner Spring, D. D.
, when the President
addressed a few sentences to the multitude, in which he spoke of the rebellion being without provocation on the part of the Government
, and said:--“I regard the pending contest with the secessionists as a death-struggle for constitutional liberty and law — a contest which, if successful on their part, could only end in the establishment of a despotic government, and blot out, whenever they were in the ascendant, every vestige of national freedom. . . . We stand before the statue of the Father
of his Country.
The flag of the Union
which floats over it, hung above him when he presided over the Convention
by. which the Constitution
The great work of his life has been rejected, and the banner by which his labors were consecrated has been trampled in the
Union Square, New Yorl, on the 20th of April, 1861.|
If the inanimate bronze, in which the sculptor has shaped his image, could be changed for the living form which led the armies of the Revolution to victory, he would command us, in the name of the hosts of patriots and political martyrs who have gone before, to strike for the defense of the Union
and the Constitution
Daniel S. Dickinson
, a venerable leader of the Democratic party, said:--“We are called upon to act
. This is no time for hesitation or indecision — no time for haste or excitement.
It is a time when the people should rise in the majesty of their might, stretch forth their strong arm, and silence the angry waves of tumult.
It is a question between Union and Anarchy — between law and disorder.”
, of Oregon
, a leading member of Congress, who afterward gave his life for his country at Ball's Bluff, made an eloquent speech.
“Young men of New York,” he said--
Young men of the United States--you
are told this is not to be a war of aggression.
In one sense, that is true; in another, not. We have committed aggression upon no man. In all the broad land, in their rebel nest, in their traitor's camp, no truthful man can rise and say that he has ever been disturbed, though it be but for a single moment, in life, liberty, estate, character, or honor.
The day they began this unnatural, false, wicked, rebellious warfare, their lives were more secure, their property more secure by us — not by themselves, but by us — guarded far more securely than any people ever have had their lives and property secured, from the beginning of the world.
We have committed no oppression, have broken no compact, have exercised no unholy power; have been loyal, moderate, constitutional, and just.
We are a majority of the Union, and we will govern our own Union, within our own Constitution, in our own way. We are all Democrats.
We are all Republicans.
We acknowledge the sovereignty of the people within the rule of the Constitution; and under that Constitution, and beneath that flag, let traitors beware. . . . I propose that the people of this Union dictate to these rebels the terms of peace.
It may take thirty millions; it may take three hundred millions.
We have it. Loyally, nobly, grandly do the merchants of New York respond to the appeal of the Government.
It may cost us seven thousand men; it may cost us seventy-five thousand men in battle; it may cost us even seven hundred and fifty thousand men. What then?
We have them.
The blood of every loyal citizen of this Government is dear to me. My sons, my kinsmen, the young men who have grown up beneath my eye and beneath my care, they are all dear to me; but if the country's destiny, glory, tradition, greatness, freedom, government — written Constitutional Government — the only hope of a free people — demand it, let them all go. I am not here now to speak timorous words of peace, but to kindle the spirit of manly, determined war.... I say my mission here to-day is, to kindle the heart of New York for war. The Seventh Regiment is gone.
Let seventy and seven more follow.... Civil War, for the best of reasons upon one side, and the worst upon the other, is always dangerous to liberty — always fearful, always bloody; but, fellow-citizens, there are yet worse things than fear, than doubt and dread, and danger and blood.
Dishonor is worse.
Perpetual anarchy is worse.
States forever commingling and forever severing is worse.
Traitors and secessionists are worse.
To have star after star blotted out — to have stripe after stripe obscured — to have glory after glory dimmed — to have our women weep and our men blush for shame throughout generations yet to come; that and these are infinitely worse than blood.
The President himself,
continued the eloquent speaker,
a hero without knowing it — and I speak from knowledge, having known him from boyhood — the President says, “There are wrongs to be redressed, already long enough endured.”
And we march to battle and to victory, because we do not choose to endure these wrongs any longer.
They are wrongs not merely against us; not against you, Mr. President; not against me, but against our sons and against our grandsons that surround us. They are wrongs against our ensign; they are wrongs against our Union; they are wrongs against our Constitution; they are wrongs against human hope and human freedom. . . While I speak, following in the wake of men so eloquent, so conservative, so eminent, so loyal, so well known — even while I speak, the object of your
meeting is accomplished.
Upon the wings of the lightning it goes out throughout the world that New York, the very heart of a great State, with her crowded thoroughfares, her merchants, her manufacturers, her artists — that New York, by one hundred thousand of her people, declares to the country and to the world, that she will sustain the Government to the last dollar in her treasury — to the last drop of your blood.
The National banners leaning from ten thousand windows in your city to-day, proclaim your affection and reverence for the Union.
Robert J. Walker
, of Mississippi
, who was Secretary of the Treasury
in the Democratic Administration
of President Polk
, denounced secession as a crime, and said :--“Much as I love my party, I love my country infinitely more, and must and will sustain it, at all hazards.
Indeed, it is due to the great occasion here frankly to declare that, notwithstanding my earnest opposition to the election of Mr. Lincoln
, and my disposition most closely to scrutinize all his acts, I see, thus far, nothing to condemn in his efforts to save the Union
. . . . And now let me say, that this Union must, will, and shall be perpetuated; that not a star shall be dimmed or a stripe erased from our banner; that the integrity of the Government
shall be preserved, and that from the Atlantic
to the Pacific
, from the lakes of the North
to the Gulf of Mexico
, never shall be surrendered a single acre of our soil or a drop of its waters.”
David S. Coddington
, an influential member of the Democratic party, gave a scathing review of the efforts of disunionists recorded in our history, and said:--“Shall I tell you what secession means?
It means ambition in the Southern leaders and misapprehension in the Southern people.
Its policy is to imperialize Slavery, and to degrade and destroy the only free republic in the world
. . . . Nothing so disappoints secession as the provoking fidelity of New York to the Constitution
From the vaults of Wall Street, Jefferson Davis
expected to pay his army, and riot in all the streets and in all the towns and cities of the North
, to make their march a triumphant one. Fifty thousand men to-day tread on his fallacy.”
Such was the response of some of the ablest representatives of the venerable Democratic party to the slanderers of that party, such as Sanders
and his like in the South
, and its trading politicians in the North
It was the
unbiased sentiment of the great body of that organization then and through.
out the war, who were truly loyal in sentiment, and formed a strong element of the powerful Union party that faithfully sustained the Government
, in spite of the machinations of demagogues.
That meeting relieved the citizens of the commercial metropolis of the nation from the false position of apparent selfish indifference to the fate of the Republic
, in which they had been placed before Europe
by an able correspondent of the London Times
, who had been utterly misled by a few men among whom he unfortunately fell on his arrival in this country.55
It gave assurance of that heart-felt patriotism of the great body of the citizens of New York, who attested their devotion to the country by giving about one hundred thousand soldiers to the army, and making the sacrifice, it is estimated, in actual expenditures of money, the loss of the labor of their able-bodied men, private and public contributions, taxes, et coetera
, of not less than three hundred millions of dollars in the course of four years. That meeting dismayed and exasperated the conspirators,56
for they, saw that
they had been deceived, and observed that, unlike themselves, their political brethren in the Free-labor States loved their country more than their party — were more patriotic than selfish — and would boldly confront with war, if necessary, every enemy of the Union
and of American nationality.
It also amazingly encouraged and strengthened the President
and his Cabinet in their efforts to suppress the rising rebellion.
In that meeting the profound intellect — the science of the Free-labor States--was represented by Professor O. M. Mitchel
, one of the brightest lights of the century, who also gave his services and his life in defense of the Union
No speech on that occasion thrilled the vast multitude who heard his voice more than that of Professor Mitchel
. “I have been announced to you,” he said, “as a citizen of Kentucky
Once I was, because I was born there.
I love my native State as you love your native State.
I love my adopted State of Ohio
as you love your adopted State, if such you have; but, my friends, I am not a citizen now of any State.
I owe allegiance to no State, and never did, and, God helping me, I never will.
I owe allegiance to the Government of the United States
After referring to his own education at the Military Academy at West Point
, he said:--“My father and my mother were from Old Virginia, and my brothers and sisters from Old Kentucky.
I love them all; I love them dearly.
I have my brothers and friends down in the South
now, united to me by the fondest ties of love and affection.
I would take them in my arms to-day with all the love that God has put into this heart; but, if I found them in arms against my country, I would be compelled to smite them down.
You have found officers of the Army who have been educated by the Government
, who have drawn their support from the Government
for long years, who, when called upon by their country to stand for the Constitution
and for the right, have basely, ignominiously, and traitorously either re-signed.
their commissions or deserted to traitors, and rebels, and enemies.
What means all this?
How can it be possible that men should act in this way?
There is no question but one.
If we ever had a Government and a Constitution, or if we ever lived under such, have we ever recognized the supremacy of right?
I say, in God's name, why not recognize it now?
Why not to-day?
Why not forever?
Suppose those friends of ours from Old Ireland — suppose he who made himself one of us, when a war should break out against his own country, should say, ‘I cannot fight against my own countrymen,’ is he a citizen of the United States
They are countrymen no longer when war breaks out. The rebels and the traitors in the South
we must set aside; they are not our friends.
When they come to their senses, we will receive them with open arms; but till that time, while they are trailing our glorious banner in the dust; when they scorn it,
condemn it, curse it, and trample it under foot, then I must smite.
In God's name I will smite, and, as long as I have strength, I will do it. Oh!
listen to me!
listen to me!
I know these men; I know their courage; I have been among them; I have been with them; I have been reared with them; they have courage; and do not you pretend to think they have not. I tell you what it is, it is no child's play you are entering upon.
They will fight; and with a determination and a power which is irresistible.
Make up your mind to it. Let every man put his life in his hand, and say: ‘There is the altar of
my country; there I will sacrifice my life.’
I, for one, will lay my life down.
It is not mine any longer.
Lead me to the conflict.
Place me where I can do my duty.
There I am ready to go. I care not where it may lead me. I am ready to fight in the ranks or out of the ranks.
Having been educated in the Academy; having been in the Army seven years; having served as commander of a voluntary company for ten years, and having served as an adjutant-general, I feel I am ready for something.
I only ask to be permitted to act, and, in God's name, give me something to do!”
While the speakers at the great meeting illustrated the enthusiasm of the people of the Free-labor States, the resolutions there adopted indicated the calm judgment and unalterable determination that would govern them in the trial before them.
In those resolutions, they averred that the Declaration of Independence
, the war of the Revolution, and the Constitution of the United States
had given origin to our Government, the most equal and beneficent hitherto known among men; that under its protection the wide expansion of our territory, the vast development of our wealth, our population, and our power, had built up a nation able to maintain and defend before the world the principles of liberty and justice upon which it was founded; that by every sentiment of interest, of honor, of affection, and of duty, they were engaged to preserve unbroken for their generation, and to transmit to their posterity, the great heritage they had received from heroic ancestors; that to the maintenance of this sacred trust they would devote whatever they possessed and whatever they could do; and in support of that Government under which they were happy and proud to live, they were prepared to shed their blood and lay down their lives.
In view of future reconciliation, they added:--“That when the authority of the Federal Government
shall have been re-established, and peaceful obedience to the Constitution
and laws prevail, we shall be ready to confer and co-operate with all loyal citizens throughout the Union
, in Congress or in convention, for the consideration of all supposed grievances, the redress of all wrongs, and the protection of every right, yielding ourselves, and expecting all others to yield, to the will of the whole people, as constitutionally and lawfully expressed.”
For many months after this great meeting, and others of its kind in the cities and villages of the land, the Government
had few obstacles thrown in its way by political opponents; and the sword and the purse were placed at its disposal by the people, with a faith touching and sublime.