progress of Secession.
the Convention of Virginia, whereof a great majority had been elected as Unionists
, was, nevertheless, bullied, as we have seen, at the hight of the Southern
frenzy which followed the reduction of Fort Sumter
, into voting their State out of the Union
In order to achieve this end, it was found necessary to consent to a submission of the ordinance to a popular vote; and the 23d of May was appointed for the election.
But, in utter mockery of this concession, the conspirators proceeded forthwith to act upon the assumption that the vote of the Convention
was conclusive, and the State
already definitively and absolutely out of the Union
Within twenty-four hours after the vote of the Convention
to secede, and while that vote was still covered by an injunction of secrecy, they had set on foot expeditions for the capture of the Federal Arsenal
, arms and munitions, at Harper's Ferry
, as also for that of the Norfolk Navy Yard
So early as the night of the 16th, the channel of Elizabeth River
, leading up from Hampton Roads
, was partially obstructed in their interest by sinking two small vessels therein, with intent to preclude the passage, either way, of Federal ships of war. The number appears to have been increased during the following nights; while a hastily collected military force, under Gen. Taliaferro
--a Virginia brigadier who reached Norfolk
on the 18th--was reported to be preparing to seize the Navy Yard
and Federal vessels during the night of Saturday, the 20th.
The Southern officers of the Yard
, having done the cause of the Union
all the harm they could do under the mask of loyalty, resigned and disappeared in the course of that day. The Navy Yard
was in charge of Capt. McCauley
, a loyal2
officer, but a good deal past the prime of life.
A young Decatur
or Paul Jones
would have easily held it a week against all the Virginian Militia
that could have been brought within range of its guns, and would never have dreamed of abandoning it while his cartridges held out. No man fit to command a sloop of war would have thought of skulking away from a possession so precious and important, until he had, at least, seen the whites of an enemy's eyes.
For here were the powerful forty-gun steam frigate Merrimac
, richly worth a million dollars even in time of peace, with the Cumberland
, the Germantown
, the Plymouth
, the Raritan
, the Columbia
, and the Dolphin
, beside the huge old three-decker Pennsylvania
, the dismantled seventy-fours Delaware
, with nearly two thousand3
cannon, some thousand
stand of arms, and immense quantities of munitions, naval stores, timber, etc.; the whole having cost, in peace, more than ten millions of dollars, while its value at this time was absolutely incalculable.
Federal magazine, just below Norfolk
, apparently left without a guard, had been broken open the night before by the Rebels
, and robbed of
over four thousand kegs of powder.
, with all these formidable ships of war, cannon, and munitions, had several hundred good and true men under his command.
He had received, some days before, express orders to send the Merrimac
forthwith to Philadelphia
, and had had her fitted out for the voyage, under the direction of Chief Engineer Isherwood
, who was sent thither from Washington
on purpose; but, when she was reported all ready but her guns, he declined to order them on board — or, rather, gave the order, but very soon countermanded it — excusing his vacillation or perplexity by his dread of exasperating the Rebels
, and referring to the reported obstructions sunk in the channel, which the Merrimac
, properly handled, would have crushed like an eggshell, and thus passed over without a check to her progress.
Finally, on the evening of the 20th, he gave orders to scuttle all the ships but the Cumberland
, preparatory to flight — as if this were not the very course to preserve them for the future use of the Rebels
The steam frigate Pawnee
, Capt. Hiram Paulding
, left Washington
on the evening of the 19th, and arrived, at 4 P. M. of the 20th, abreast of Fortress Monroe
Here she took on board Col. Wardrop
's regiment of Massachusetts volunteers, 450 strong, raising her fighting force to some six hundred men. She now steamed cautiously and slowly up the river to the Navy Yard
, which she reached soon after 8 o'clock. Capt. Paulding
had instructions from the Secretary of the Navy
, directing him to take command at Norfolk
, on his arrival there, and to act as circumstances should dictate; but, at all events, to save the public property from falling into the hands of traitors.
He found the guns in the Navy Yard
rendered useless by Capt. McCauley
's orders, and nearly all the ships of war disabled — several of them already sinking.
Among the scuttled was the Merrimac
— alone worth all the rest — barely the Cumberland
having been reserved to bear away the expectant fugitives.
Still, Capt. Paulding
might have held his position a week against all the traitors yet developed in Virginia
; and that week would have brought at least 30,000 men to his aid. But, without awaiting the firing of a shot, or even the appearance of a foe, he proceeded at once to transfer, with the utmost haste, books, papers, money, and some other of the most portable portions of the public property, to the Pawnee
and the Cumberland
; not even saving the small arms, of which his Government stood in urgent need.
The cannon he abandoned were (or had been) partially spiked; but so inefficiently, with nails, etc., that they were promptly and easily restored by the Rebels
to a serviceable condition.
The muskets, revolvers, etc., were broken, and, with great quantities of shot and shell, thrown into the water.
Several hours were spent in this work — the marine barracks, in the center of the Yard
, being set on fire, about midnight, to give light for its continuance.
Lieut. H. A. Wise4
had accompanied Capt. Paulding
, and was detailed by him, on or before their arrival, to board the Merrimac
and bring her out, if possible; and he was accordingly on her
deck at the earliest moment.
He found her partially filled with water, and rapidly filling — a block, which he threw from her lower deck into her hold, indicating by the splash that the water was already over her orlop deck.
He returned immediately, and reported the fact to Capt. Paulding
, who thereupon decided to desist from further attempts to save her, but to mutilate the guns in the Yard
, fire the vessels, ship-houses, and other structures, and blow up the (stone) dry dock.
Some of the old and relatively worthless guns were dismantled by knocking off their trunnions; but the new Dahlgren
guns proved so tough that not one of them was or could thus be rendered useless.
now recalled the order he had given Lieut. Wise
to blow up the dry dock, and ordered trains to be laid instead, so that, at a signal, the ships might be fired.
This was accordingly done; but the previous partial submersion of the ships, under Capt. McCauley
's unaccountable order to scuttle them, of course prevented their destruction.
Thus, when the Plymouth
was reached in its turn by Lieut. Wise
, she had sunk below her upper deck, so flooding the train that it could not be fired.
, who narrowly escaped with a scorching from the inconceivably rapid combustion of the upper portion of the Merrimac
, when he fired his train while on board of her, pulled down the channel in his small boat after the escaping vessels, and got on board the Pawnee
below Craney Island
, when seven or eight miles on her way. The Pawnee
, towing the Cumberland
, moved slowly down the river at 4 A. M. (high tide), brilliantly lighted on their course by the remaining vessels and all the combustible property left behind.
, drawing seventeen feet of water, grounded in passing one of the vessels sunk in the channel, but was got off, an hour or two afterward, uninjured.
No molestation was offered them by the Rebels
, who, very naturally, thought themselves fortunate in so easily obtaining possession of what was left behind.
Most of the vessels were destroyed; but the Merrimac
, the best of them all, though badly burned above the water-line, was saved by the Rebels
, and, in due time, metamorphosed into the iron-clad Virginia
, with which such memorable havoc was wrought in Hampton Roads
A crowd from Norfolk
burst into the Yard
, so soon as our ships had fairly departed, and saved for the uses of treason whatever they could, including the dry dock, which had been mined, but not fired, and was readily filled with water.
At 6 o'clock, a volunteer company had taken formal possession in the name of Virginia
, and raised her flag over the ruins.
By 7, the work of unspiking cannon had commenced; and, by 9, several guns had been planted along the dock, where they might serve in resisting the return of the Yankees
under some more intrepid leader than he who had just slunk away.
It was said that Gen. Taliaferro
was drunk throughout the night, and was with difficulty aroused at 6 in the morning to hear that all was over.
Two officers of the Pawnee
, who were left to fire the Navy Yard
, were cut off or bewildered by the rapid spread of the conflagration, and compelled to cross, by skiff, to Norfolk
, where they were instantly taken prisoners.
No lives were lost.
Thus ended the most shameful, cowardly, disastrous performance that stains the annals of the American Navy
Many, perhaps most, of the Union
delegates to the Virginia Convention left it directly after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, feeling that they had no longer any business in such company.
The residue proceeded, in utter contempt of their own vote directing the submission of the act to the people, to adopt and ratify the Confederate Constitution
; and to enter6
into a convention with the Confederacy
, through A. H. Stephens
, whereby all the public property, naval stores, munitions of war, etc., acquired by their State at Norfolk
and elsewhere, from the United States
, were turned over to said Confederacy; and it was agreed that
the whole military force and military operations, offensive and defensive, of said Commonwealth, in the impending conflict with the United States, shall be under the chief control and direction of the President of said Confederate States, upon the same principles, basis, and footing, as if said Commonwealth were now, and during the interval, a member of said Confederacy.
This agreement was approved and ratified by the Convention
on the 25th; although, so early as April 20th, the movement of Confederate troops, from Alabama
, and South Carolina
, to Richmond
, had commenced.
The treaty of offensive and defensive alliance negotiated by Vice-President Stephens
did not, therefore, inaugurate that movement: it could but regulate and perhaps augment it.
A complete reign of terror had, by this time, been established throughout Eastern or Old Virginia.
Immigrants from Free States were hunted out on suspicion of Unionism, unless they chose to enlist at once in the Rebel
army; and only the most violent and obstreperous sympathy with Secession could save them from personal outrage.
Appeals from those who had formerly figured as inflexible Unionists
were circulated through the journals, calling upon all true Virginians
to stand by the action of their State, and thereby preserve her from the horrors of an intestine war. Thus, Mr. A. H. H. Stuart
--a leading Whig of other days, an eminent member of Congress, afterward Secretary of the Interior
under President Fillmore
--who had been elected to the Convention
as a Unionist from the strong Whig county of Augusta
, and had opposed Secession to the last, now wrote a letter to The Staunton Spectator
, maintaining this position:
In my judgment, it is the duty of all good citizens to stand by the action of the State. It is no time for crimination or recrimination.
We cannot stop now to inquire who brought the troubles upon us, or why. It is enough to know that they are upon us; and we must meet them like men. We must stand shoulder to shoulder.
Our State is threatened with invasion, and we must repel it as best we can. The only way to preserve peace is to present a united front.
If we show divisions among ourselves, the enemy will be encouraged by them, and may make them the pretext for sending armies into our borders for the purpose of sustaining the hands of the disaffected.
Our true policy, then, is to stand together as one man in the hour of danger, and leave our family feuds to be adjusted after the contest is over.
To the same effect, but a little more boldly, Mr. James M. Mason
, late a Senator of the United States
, wrote as follows:
Under the influence of such inculcations, backed by corresponding action, the more conspicuous Unionists
being hunted out, and the greater number silenced and paralyzed, the election was a perfect farce,7
throughout both Eastern and South
— always, hitherto, strongly Union--gave but 106 Union votes to over 900 Secession; while in lower Virginia
scarcely a Union vote was polled.
Thus, when the conspirators came to announce the result, they reported that, including the votes taken in camp, 125,950 had been cast for Secession to 20,373 for the Union
; but they significantly added that this did not include the vote of several Western counties, which were in such a state of confusion that no returns therefrom had been received!
, including more than a third of the geographical area of the State
, with from one-fifth to one-fourth of its white population, had for many years, chafed under the sway of the slaveholding oligarchy in the East
Repeated struggles respecting bases of legislative apportionment, of taxation, etc., and on questions of internal improvement, had clearly indicated that the antagonism between the East
and the West
was founded in natural causes, and could not be compromised nor overcome.
When opportunity presented, the West
had repeatedly protested against the perpetuation of Slavery, but still more earnestly against the subordination of all her interests and rights to the incessant exactions of the Slave Power
; though her ruling politicians and presses were usually held in subjection to the dominant interest by the preponderating power of the East
Her people had but to look across the Ohio
, whereto their streams tended and their surplus produce was sent, to convince them that their connection with the Old Dominion was unfortunate and injurious.
Ten years prior to this, Muscoe R. H. Garnett
a leading politician of Old Virginia, writing privately to his friend and compatriot, William H. Trescott
of South Carolina
, who had sounded him with regard to the aid to be expected from Virginia
, in case South Carolina
should then secede from the Union
, had responded10
I believe thoroughly in our own theories, and that, if Charleston did not grow quite so fast in her trade with other States, yet the relief from Federal taxation would vastly
stimulate your prosperity.
If so, the prestige of the Union would be destroyed, and you would be the nucleus for a Southern confederation at no distant day. But I do not doubt, from all I have been able to learn, that the Federal Government would use force, beginning with the form most embarrassing to you, and least calculated to excite sympathy: I mean a naval blockade.
In that event, could you withstand the reaction of feeling which the suffering commerce of Charleston would probably manifest?
Would you not lose that in which your strength consists, the union of your people?
I do not mean to imply an opinion; I only.
ask the question.
If you force this blockade, and bring the Government to direct force, the feeling in Virginia would be very great.
I trust in God it would bring her to your aid. But it would be wrong in me to deceive you by speaking certainly.
I cannot express the deep mortification I have felt at her course this winter.
But I do not believe that the course of the Legislature is a fair expression of the popular feeling.
In the East, at least, the great majority believe in the right of Secession, and feel the deepest sympathy with Carolina in opposition to measures which they regard as she does.
But the west-Western Virginia--there is the rub!
Only 60,000 slaves to 494,000 whites.11 When I consider this fact, and the kind of argument which we have heard in this body,12 I cannot but regard with the greatest fear, the question whether Virginia would assist Carolina in such an issue.
had clearly and truly foreseen that Western Virginia
must necessarily constitute a formidable obstacle to the triumph of Secession.
The forty-two counties which now compose the State of West Virginia
, had, in 1860, a free population of 349,642, with only 12,771 slaves, or but one slave to nearly thirty white persons; and even this small number of slaves were, in good part, held in the counties of Greenbrier
, lying on the southern verge of the new State, and, for the most part, adhering to old Virginia
in the struggle for Disunion.
In the nature of things, this people were not, and could not be, disposed to divide the Republic
, and place themselves on the most exposed and defenseless frontier of a far smaller and weaker nation, in the interest, and for the supposed benefit, of human Slavery.
And yet this enormous sacrifice was required of them by the slaveholding conspiracy, which, since it could not hope to win them by persuasion, was preparing to subject them to its sway by force of arms: and it was a secret condition of the adhesion of Virginia
to the Confederacy
that her territorial area was, in no case, to be curtailed by any treaty of peace that might ultimately be made with the Union
On the other hand, the accession of Virginia
to the Confederacy
had rendered a peaceful concession of Southern independence a moral, and well nigh a geographical, impossibility.
--but more especially that long, narrow strip, strangely interposed between Pennsylvania
, (locally designated “The Panhandle,” ) could not be surrendered by the Union
without involving the necessity of still further national disintegration.
For this “Panhandle” stretches northerly to within a hundred miles of Lake Erie
, nearly severing the old from the new Free States, and becoming, in the event of its possession by a foreign and hostile power, a means of easily interposing a military force so as to cut off all communication between them.
If the people of the Free States
could have consented to surrender their brethren of West Virginia
to their common foes, they could not have relinquished their territory without
consenting to their own ultimate disruption and ruin.
was thus the true key-stone of the Union
The Legislature of Tennessee
, which assembled at Nashville
January 7th, 1861, and elected Breckinridge Democrats for officers in both Houses, had, on the 19th, decided to call a State Convention, subject to a vote of the people.
That vote was taken early in March; and, on the 10th, the result was officially proclaimed as follows: for the Union
91,803; for Disunion 24,749; Union majority 67,054.
Several counties did not render their returns; and it was said that their vote would reduce the Union
majority to something over 50,000; but the defeat of the Secessionists was admitted to be complete and overwhelming.
Still, the conspirators for Disunion kept actively plotting and mining; and, by means of secret societies, and all the machinery of aristocratic sedition, believed themselves steadily gaining.
They had no hope, however, of hurling their State into the vortex of treason, save on the back of an excitement raised by actual collision and bloodshed.
Up to the hour of the bombardment of Sumter
, though the Governor
and a majority of the Legislature were fully in their interest, they remained a powerless minority of the people.
When the news of that bombardment was received, and the excitement created by it was at its hight, the leaders of the “conservative” or Union party were beguiled into a fatal error.
On the 18th, they issued from Nashville
an address to the people of Tennessee
, wherein, after glancing at the leading events which had just occurred on the seaboard, they proceeded to say:
Tennessee is called upon by the President to furnish two regiments; and the State has, through her Executive, refused to comply with the call.
This refusal of our State we fully approve. We commend the wisdom, the justice, and the humanity, of the refusal.
We unqualifiedly disapprove of secession, both as a constitutional right, and as a remedy for existing evils; we equally condemn the policy of the Administration in reference to the seceded States.
But, while we, without qualification, condemn the policy of coercion, as calculated to dissolve the Union forever, and to dissolve it in the blood of our fellow-citizens, and regard it as sufficient to justify the State in refusing her aid to the Government, in its attempt to suppress the revolution in the seceded States, we do not think it our duty, considering her position in the Union, and in view of the great question of the peace of our distracted country, to take sides against the Government.
Tennessee has wronged no State nor citizen of this Union.
She has violated the rights of no State, north or south.
She has been loyal to all where loyalty was due. She has not brought on this war by any act of hers.
She has tried every means in her power to prevent it. She now stands ready to do any thing within her reach to stop it. And she ought, as we think, to decline joining either party. For, in so doing, she would at once terminate her grand mission as peace-maker between the States of the South and the General Government.
Nay, more: the almost inevitable result would be the transfer of the war within her own borders; the defeat of all hopes of reconciliation; and the deluging of the State with the blood of her own people.
The present duty of Tennessee is to maintain a position of independence — taking sides with the Union and the peace of the country against all assailants, whether from the North or the South.
Her position should be to maintain the sanctity of her soil from the hostile tread of any party.
We do not pretend to foretell the future of Tennessee, in connection with the other States, or in reference to the Federal Government.
We do not pretend to be able to tell the future purposes of the President and Cabinet in reference to the impending war. But, should a purpose be developed by the Government of overrunning and subjugating our brethren of the seceded States, we say, unequivocally, that it will be the duty of the State to resist at all hazards, at any cost, and by arms, any such purpose or attempt.
And, to meet any and all emergencies, she ought to be fully armed; and we would respectfully call upon the authorities of the State to proceed at once to the accomplishment of this object.
Let Tennessee, then, prepare thoroughly and efficiently for coming events.
In the mean time, let her, as speedily as she can, hold a conference with her sister slaveholding States yet in the Union, for the purpose of devising plans for the preservation of the peace of the land.
Fellow-citizens of Tennessee!
we entreat you to bring yourselves up to the magnitude of the crisis.
Look in the face impending calamities!
Civil war — what is it?
The bloodiest and darkest pages of history answer this question.
To avert this, who would not give his time, his talents, his untiring energy — his all?
There may be yet time to accomplish every thing.
Let us not despair.
The Border Slave States may prevent this civil war: and why shall they not do it?
Of course, these gentlemen were, though unconsciously, on the high road to open treason, whither they all arrived ere the lapse of many weeks.
How they saved their State from the woes of civil war, and preserved her soil from the tread of hostile armies, is already well known.
Of the many who weakly, culpably allowed themselves to be beguiled or hurled into complicity in the crime of dividing and destroying their country, there is no name whereon will rest a deeper, darker stigma than that of John Bell
Conservatism having thus bound itself hand and foot, and cast its fettered and helpless form at the feet of rampant, aggressive treason, the result was inevitable.
An emissary from the Confederate
traitors, in the person of Henry W. Hilliard
, forthwith appeared upon the scene.
The Legislature secretly adopted14
a resolve that the Governor
might or should appoint “three Commissioners on the part of Tennessee
to enter into a military league with the authorities of the Confederate States
, and with the authorities of such other slaveholding States as may wish to enter into it; having in view the protection and defense of the entire South
against the war which is now being carried on against it.”
The Governor appointed as such Commissioners Messrs. Gustavus A. Henry
, Archibald O. W. Totten
, and Washington Barrow
; who lost no time in framing a Convention “between the State of Tennessee
and the Confederate States of America
,” whereof the vital provisions are as follows:
First: Until the said State shall become a member of said Confederacy, according to the Constitutions of both powers, the whole military force and military operations, offensive and defensive, of said State, in the impending conflict with the United States, shall be under the chief control and direction of the Confederate States, upon the same basis, principles and footing, as if said State were now and during the interval a member of said Confederacy.
Said force, together with those of the Confederate States, is to be employed for the common defense.
Second: The State of Tennessee will, upon becoming a member of said Confederacy, under the permanent Constitution of said Confederate States, if the same shall occur, turn over to said Confederate States all the public property, naval stores and munitions of war, of which she may then be in possession, acquired from the United States, on the same terms and in the same manner as the other States of said Confederacy have done in like cases.
This convention — concluded on the 7th--was submitted to the Legislature, still in secret session, and ratified: in Senate, Yeas 14; Nays 6; absent or not voting, 5.
In the House
, Yeas 43; Nays 15; absent or not voting, 18.
This Legislature had, on the preceding day, passed an ordinance of Secession, whereof the first two, and most essential, articles are as follows:
First: We, the people of the State of
Tennessee, waiving an expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all obligations on our part be withdrawn therefrom; and we do hereby resume all the rights, functions and powers, which, by any of said laws and ordinances, were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints and duties, incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign and independent State.
Second: We, furthermore, declare and ordain that Article 10, sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, which requires members of the General Assembly, and all officers, civil and military, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, be, and the same are hereby, abrogated and annulled, and all parts of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee making citizenship of the United States a qualification for office, and recognizing the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of this State, are, in like manner, abrogated and annulled.
This Ordinance, with a pendant providing for the adoption of the Confederate Constitution
, was nominally submitted to a popular vote of the State
, to be taken on the 8th of June ensuing; but such a submission, after “all the public property, naval stores and munitions of war” and the whole “military operations, offensive and defensive, of the said State,” were placed “under the chief control and direction of the President
of the Confederate States
,” was, of course, a farce.15
The network of railroads checkering the State
, and especially the great line connecting Virginia
, through Knoxville
, with the Cotton States
, was instantly covered with Rebel soldiers, and all freedom of opinion and expression, on the side of the Union
, completely crushed out. Gov. Harris
, on the 24th of June, issued his proclamation, declaring that the vote of the 8th had resulted as follows:
But a Convention of the people of East Tennessee
--a region wherein the immense preponderance of Union sentiment still commanded some degree of freedom for Unionists
— held at Greenville
on the 17th, and wherein thirty-one counties were represented by delegates, adopted a declaration of grievances, wherein they say:
We, the people of East Tennessee, again assembled in a Convention of our delegates, make the following declaration in addition to that heretofore promulgated by us at Knoxville, on the 30th and 31st days of May last:
So far as we can learn, the election held in this State on the 8th day of the present month was free, with but few exceptions, in no part of the State, other than East Tennessee.
In the larger portion of Middle and West Tennessee, no speeches or discussions in favor of the Union were permitted.16 Union papers were not allowed to circulate.
Measures were taken, in some parts of West Tennessee, in defiance of the Constitution and laws, which allow folded tickets, to have
the ballots numbered in such manner as to mark and expose the Union voters.
A Disunion paper, The Nashville Gazette, in urging the people to vote an open ticket, declared that “a thief takes a pocket-book or effects an entrance into forbidden places by stealthy means — a tory, in voting, usually adopts pretty much the same mode of procedure.”
Disunionists, in many places, had charge of the polls; and Union men, when voting, were denounced as Lincolnites and Abolitionists.
The unanimity of the votes in many large counties, where, but a few weeks ago, the Union sentiment was so strong, proves beyond doubt that Union men were overawed by the tyranny of the military law, and the still greater tyranny of a corrupt and subsidized press. * * * Volunteers were allowed to vote in and out of the State, in flagrant violation of the Constitution.
From the moment the election was over, and before any detailed statement of the vote in the different counties had been published, and before it was possible to ascertain the result, it was exultingly proclaimed that Separation had been carried by from fifty to seventy thousand votes.
This was to prepare the public mind, to enable the Secessionists to hold possession of the State, though they should be in a minority.
The final result is to be announced by a Disunion Governor, whose existence depends upon the success of Secession; and no provision is made by law for an examination of the vote by disinterested persons, or even for contesting the election.
For these and other causes, we do not regard the result of the election as expressive of the will of a majority of the freemen of Tennessee.17
The people of East Tennessee
--a mountainous, pastoral region, like New Hampshire
or the Tyrol, wherein Slavery never had and never could have any substantial foothold — she having about one slave to twenty freemen — earnestly petitioned and entreated permission to remain in the Union
; and, if the residue of the State
were resolved to go out, then they asked of it to be set off and quit-claimed, so that they might enjoy “the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we see proper,” which the legislators of their State, in their Ordinance of Secession, had solemnly asserted.
But they were at once given to understand that this could not be granted.
The right aforesaid was recognized by the Confederates
as inhering in all who sought to destroy the Union
, not in those who essayed to preserve or adhere to it. So East Tennessee
--isolated from her natural allies by the shameful neutrality of Kentucky
--was ruthlessly trampled under the iron heel of the Rebellion
Her bolder Unionists
were shot down like wolves, or hung by scores like sheep-stealing dogs; while those more cautious or reticent were outlawed and hunted from their State.
For weary months and years, she lay helpless and bleeding in the grasp of her blood-thirsty foes, while thousands of her sons were torn from their homes by a merciless conscription, and compelled to fight and die for the traitorous cause they abhorred.
The State of North Carolina
, though never deliberately and intelligently hostile to the Union
, became a much easier prey to the conspirators.
Her Democratic Legislature — reconvened at Raleigh
, November 19th, 1860--had refused, a month later, to pass a bill to arm the State
, though visited and entreated to that end by Hon. Jacob Thompson
, then a member of Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet; and had adjourned18
without even calling a Convention.
This, as we have seen, did not prevent Gov. Ellis
taking military possession of the Federal
forts near Beaufort
(January 2d), on the pretext that, if he
did not do it, a mob would!
He proceeded to reconvene the Legislature in extra session, and to worry it into calling a Convention; for which, an election was duly held.19
But the act making this call provided that the people, when electing delegates, might vote that the Convention
should or should not meet.
They profited by the gracious permission, and, while electing a Union Convention by an immense majority, voted — to guard against accidents — that the Convention
meet: their vote — quite a heavy one--standing: For
holding, 46,672; Against
holding, 47,323: majority for No Convention, 651.
This vote temporarily checked all open, aggressive movements in the interest of Disunion, but did not arrest nor diminish the efforts of its champions.
On the contrary, a great State Rights Convention was assembled at Raleigh
on the 22d of March, and largely attended by leading Disunionists from South Carolina
, and other States.
Its spirit and its demonstrations left no doubt of the fixed resolve of the master-spirits to take their State out of the Union
, even in defiance of a majority of her voters.
But they concluded to await the opportunity which South Carolina
This opportunity was the taking of Fort Sumter
; when Gov. Ellis
proceeded to seize the U. S. Branch Mint at Charlotte20
and the Federal Arsenal
to call an extra session of the Legislature.
This session commenced May 1st, and in a few days thereafter resulted in the passage of the following:
Whereas, By an unwarranted and unprecedented usurpation of power by the Administration at Washington City, the Government of the United States of America has been subverted; and whereas, the honor, dignity, and welfare, of the people of North Carolina imperatively demand that they should resist, at all hazards, such usurpation; and whereas, there is an actual state of revolution existing in North Carolina, and our sister State of Virginia, making common cause with us, is threatened with invasion by the said Administration; now, therefore,
Resolved, That his Excellency, the Governor, be authorized to tender to Virginia, or to the Government of the Confederate States, such portion of our volunteer forces now, or that may be hereafter, under his command, as may not be necessary for the immediate defense of North Carolina.
The Legislature proceeded at once to call a Convention; delegates to be elected on the 13th, and the Convention
to assemble on the 20th.
On that day, the Convention
assembled — having been elected under the influence of the Fort Sumter
effervescence and of such assertions as are contained in the preamble just quoted.
Mr. Thomas L. Clingman
, late of the U. S. Senate, having been delegated by the Legislature to the Confederate Congress at Montgomery
, on the 14th, submitted to that body the following:
By such statements, wholly uncontradicted, the loyalty and patriotism of North Carolina
were, for the moment, utterly paralyzed.
The people, assured by those they had learned to trust that the Federal Government
had been utterly subverted by usurpation, and that a military despotism, headed by Abraham Lincoln
, was making unprovoked war upon them, which their honor and their interests alike required them to resist, were passive, bewildered and helpless instruments in the hands of the conspirators.
The Convention, on the very day of its assembling, passed an Ordinance of Secession by a unanimous vote, and forthwith linked the efforts and fortunes of North Carolina
with those of the traitors, by adopting and ratifying the Confederate Constitution
It has been widely represented, and, to some extent, believed, that the failure of the Peace Conference or Congress, so called, with the refusal of the Republicans to pass the Crittenden Compromise
, backed by President Lincoln
's Inaugural, was generally received throughout the Slave States
as a declaration of war on the South
, and, as such, resented by large and controlling acquisitions to the ranks of the Disunionists in the hitherto unseceded States.
The true view is widely different from this.
We have seen that the Virginia Convention refused, so late as April 4th, by a vote of nearly two to one, to pass an Ordinance of Secession.
The Arkansas Convention assembled about the 1st of March; and, on the 16th, was waited on by William S. Oldham
, a member of the Confederate Congress and a Commissioner from Jefferson Davis
, bearing a message from that potentate, dated March 9th--four days after the adjournment of Congress, and when the contents of Mr. Lincoln
's Inaugural were familiar to the entire South
The Convention listened to Mr. Davis
's letter, wherein he dilated on the identity of institutions and of interests between his Confederacy and the State of Arkansas
, urging the adhesion of the latter to the former; and, after taking two days to deliberate, a majority--39 to 35--voted not
to secede from the Union
The Convention proceeded, however, to resolve that a vote of the people of their State should be taken on the 1st of August ensuing — the ballots reading “Secession” or “Cooperation” --the
Convention to stand adjourned to August 17th; when, if it should appear that Secession had received a majority, this should be regarded as an instruction from their constituents to pass the Ordinance, which they had now rejected; and so, having elected five delegates to a proposed Conference of the Border States, at Frankfort, Ky.
, May 27th, the Convention
Yet this identical Convention was reconvened upon the reception of the news from Fort Sumter
, and proceeded, with little hesitation, to pass an Ordinance of Secession,24
by a vote of 69 to 1.
That Ordinance asserts that this Convention, by resolves adopted March 11th, had pledged “the State of Arkansas
to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that seceded from the old Union.”
The Ordinance proceeds to set forth that the Legislature of Arkansas
had, on the 18th of October, 1836, by virtue of authority vested therein by the Convention
which framed the State Constitution
, adopted certain propositions made to that State by Congress, which propositions “were freely accepted, ratified, and irrevocably confirmed, as articles of compact and union between the State of Arkansas
and the United States
;” which irrevocable
compact this Convention proceeded formally to revoke
and annul, and to declare “repealed, abrogated, and fully set aside,” by the identical act which withdraws Arkansas
from the Union
and absolves its citizens from all allegiance to its Government!
The meaning of this may not be understood without explanation.
The soil or public lands of Arkansas
, before there was any such State or Territory, had belonged fully and absolutely to the Union
, having been acquired by it in the purchase of Louisiana
To that soil, thus purchased and paid for, and the Indian
title thereto at a still further cost extinguished, Congress had not chosen either to alienate or imperil its title by the creation and admission of the State of Arkansas
As a prerequisite, therefore, of such admission, said State was required to enter into an irrevocable compact never to claim nor exercise ownership of said public lands, until that title should be ceded and conveyed, upon due consideration, by the Union
, to individual or other purchasers.
Having thus become a State and been admitted into the Union
by virtue of this irrevocable compact, Arkansas
proceeds to revoke the compact and seize the lands!
The ‘conservatives’ in the Convention
— that is, those who were opposed to Secession at its earlier meeting — now issued an address, justifying their change of position by the fact that the Federal Government
had determined to use force against the seceded States, and adding:
The South is “our country;” and, while we are satisfied that, up to the moment when the Government committed the folly and wickedness of making war upon the seceded States, the conservative party in Arkansas was largely in the ascendant, we cannot believe that her soil is polluted by a being base and cowardly enough to stop to consider, in casting his lot in the unequal struggle in which she is engaged, whether she is “right or wrong.”
The “conservatism” of these gentlemen, it seems, had not been shocked by the military seizure by Secessionists,
two weeks previous, of the Federal
arsenal at Napoleon
containing 12,000 Springfield
muskets and a large amount of munitions and stores; nor by that of Fort Smith
also containing valuable deposits of arms, munitions, and Indian goods.
These, and many kindred acts of violence and outrage on the side of disunion, had been committed without a shadow of disguise, and with no other excuse than the treason of the perpetrators — Solon Borland
, late U. S. Senator
, having led the party that captured Fort Smith
. “Coercion” was abhorred and execrated only when exercised in defense of the Union
was found in a most anomalous condition on the breaking out of the great struggle, destined so severely to try her integrity, as well as that of the nation.
Though her slaves were less than a tenth of her total population, and her real interests were bound up in the triumph of Free Labor and the maintenance of the Union
, yet her managing politicians, of the Calhoun
or extreme pro-slavery school, had contrived for years to wield and enjoy her power and patronage, by keeping a firm and skillful hold on the machinery of the Democratic party.
They had thus succeeded, through a long and bitter canvass,in hunting Col. Thomas H. Benton
--once the autocrat of the State
--out of the Senate, and, ultimately, out of public life.
In accordance with their settled policy, the most of them had professed to support Senator Douglas
in 1860; and, on the strength of their regularity as Democrats, had elected Claiborne F. Jackson
as Governor, Thomas C. Reynolds
as Lieut. Governor
, and a Legislature either thoroughly committed or easily molded to their ultimate schemes.
Of this Legislature, the Senate had instructed27
its Committee on Federal Relations to report a bill calling a State Convention, which, in due time, became a law.28
The Convention was accordingly chosen and held; but, when it came to assemble, not one avowed Disunionist was found among its members.
Even Sterling Price
, a Democratic ex-Governor, who in due time became one of the ablest and most successful of Rebel Generals
, had secured his election only by a profession of Unionism.
Its Committee on Federal Relations, through its Chairman
, Judge H. R. Gamble
reported at length, on the 9th of March--four days after Mr. Lincoln
's Inaugural had been read all over the country — in pointed opposition to the views of the Disunionists.
After discussing the questions which agitated the country from a Southern point of view, with the usual complaints of Northern fanaticism, intermeddling, and aggression, condemning coercion, whether employed by or against the seceded States, and warmly indorsing the Crittenden Compromise
, the Convention
, on the report of this Committee,
Resolved, That at present, there is no adequate cause to impel Missouri to dissolve her connection with the Federal Union; but, on the contrary, she will labor for such an adjustment of the existing troubles as will secure peace, rights, and equality, to all the States.
Resolved, That the people of this State are devotedly attached to the institutions of our country, and earnestly desire that, by a fair and amicable adjustment, the present causes of disagreement may be removed,
the Union perpetuated, and peace and harmony restored between the North and the South.
And hereupon the Convention
to the third Monday in December, after appointing seven delegates to the proposed Border-State Convention, and a Committee with power to call an earlier meeting of this body, if deemed necessary.
The Legislature, however, remained in session, completely under the control of Gov. Jackson
and his Disunion allies; and one of its most notable acts provided a metropolitan police for the city of St. Louis
, under the control of five Commissioners, to be appointed by the Governor
; who, of course, took care that a decided majority of them should be Secessionists.
Thus, the practical control of the chief city of the State
, and of the entire Missouri valley
, was seized by the enemies of the Union
having been captured, and a most insulting, defiant refusal returned to the President
's requisition for troops by Gov. Jackson
, he proceeded31
to call an extra session of his Legislature, to begin May 2d, “for the purpose of enacting such laws and adopting such measures as may be necessary for the more perfect organization and equipment of the Militia
of this State, and to raise money and such other means as may be required to place the State
in a proper attitude of defense.”
Orders were issued by his Adjutant-General
, to the Militia
officers of the State
, to assemble their respective commands May 3d, to go into encampment for a week.
The Legislature having been on that day reconvened by him, the Governor
transmitted to it a Message, denouncing the President
's call for troops as “unconstitutional and illegal, tending toward a consolidated despotism.”
Though he did not venture, directly, to advocate secession, lie did all he could and dared to promote it; urging the Legislature to appropriate a large sum to arm the State
and place it in a posture of defense.
Our interests and sympathies are identical with those of the slaveholding States, and necessarily unite our destiny with theirs.
The similarity of our social and political institutions, our industrial interests, our sympathies, habits, and tastes, our common origin, territorial congruity, all concur in pointing out our duty in regard to now taking place between the States of the old Federal Union.
The Legislature obsequiously obeyed his behests; giving him, so far as it could, the entire control of the military and pecuniary resources of the State
Had not these machinations been countervailed, Missouri
would have soon fallen as helplessly and passively into the hands of the Confederates
as did North Carolina
Her slaveholders, though not numerous, constituted her political and social aristocracy.
They were large landholders, mainly settled in the fertile counties32
stretched along both banks of the Missouri river
, through the heart of the State
, and exerting a potent control over the poorer, less intelligent, and less influential pioneers, who thinly overspread the rural counties north and south of them.
The mercantile aristocracy of St. Louis
was predominantly devoted to their supposed interests and docile to their commands.
But for St. Louis
on one side and Kansas
on the other, Missouri
could scarcely have been saved.
had a population whom the rough experiences of previous years had educated into deadly hostility to the Slave Power
; while St. Louis
possessed, in her liberty-loving Germans, in her intelligent and uncompromising citizens of eastern lineage, and in The St. Louis Democrat
--a journal of high character and extensive influence, which could neither be bought nor frightened into recreancy to the interests of Free Labor — the elements of powerful resistance to the meditated treason.
Although the Governor
had so promptly and abusively repelled President Lincoln
's requisition, a full regiment had been raised by Col. Frank P. Blair
, while four others were in process of formation in St. Louis
, within ten days from the issue of the President
The Federal Arsenal in Western Missouri
was located at Liberty, Clay County
, in the midst of a strongly pro-Slavery population.
As it had been often robbed with impunity to arm the ‘Border Ruffians’ for their repeated raids into Kansas
, it was naturally supposed that it might now be drawn upon for its entire contents in behalf of what was essentially the same cause.
Accordingly, on the 20th, it was seized by a strong force, and the guns and munitions therein deposited carried off to arm and equip the gathering hosts of treason.
But the Federal Arsenal
at St. Louis
had a garrison of several hundred regulars, under the command of Capt. Nathaniel Lyon
, who promptly made arrangements, not to destroy, but to protect and defend, its stores of arms and munitions.
During the night of the 25th of April, the great bulk of these were quietly but rapidly transferred to a steamboat, and removed to Alton, Ill.
, whence they were mainly conveyed to Springfield
, the capital of that State, foiling the Secessionists, who were organizing a “State Guard” in the vicinity with a view to their capture, and who had, for several days, been eagerly and hopefully awaiting the right moment to secure these arms.
Having thus sent away all that were not needed, Capt. Lyon
and Col. Blair
, on the morning of May 10th, suddenly surrounded the State Guard at Camp Jackson, at the head of 6,000 armed Unionists
and an effective battery, and demanded their surrender — allowing half an hour for compliance with this peremptory request.
Gen. D. M. Frost
, in command of the camp, being completely surprised, had no alternative but compliance.
Twenty cannon, twelve hundred new rifles, several chests of muskets, large quantities of ammunition, etc., most of which had recently been received from the Baton Rouge Arsenal, now in Confederate hands, were among the “spoils of victory.”
The news of this exploit preceded the return of the Unionists from the camp to the city; and the chagrin of the embryo Rebels impelled them to proceed from insults to violence.
At length, one of the Unionist regiments (German
) were impelled to fire upon its assailants, when twenty-two persons fell dead--one of them a woman.
A furious excitement was aroused by this tragedy, but inquiries
established the endurance and forbearance of the volunteers, so long as patience was a virtue.
The rage and hate of the Secessionists were intensified by this serious blow; but they took care not to provoke further collision.
The unquestioned fact that the streets and alleys of the discomfited State Guard's “Camp Jackson” were named after Davis
, etc., was not needed to prove the traitorous character of the organization.
was made Brigadier-General
of the First Brigade of Missouri Volunteers.
Gen. William S. Harney
returned from the East
to St. Louis
on the 12th, and took command of the Union
Nine days thereafter, lie entered into a truce or compact with Gen. Sterling Price
, whereof the object was the pacification of Missouri
But this did not prevent the traitors from hunting and shooting Unionists
in every part of the State
where avery and treason were locally in the ascendant--thousands having been driven in terror from their homes before the end of May.
Some of them were served with notices from one or another of the secret societies of Rebels overspreading the State
In at least one instance, a citizen was arrested and sent to Jefferson City
, to be tried by Court Martial on a charge of raising a Union company; and, on the 22d, the American
flag was taken down from its staff in front of the Post Office in St. Joseph
, and the authorities of that city (in the Northwest
corner of the State
) formally resolved that no American flag should be planted within its limits.
's compact with Price
, proving a protection to treason only, was repudiated at Washington
, and Gen. Harney
himself superseded in the command of the department by Gen. Lyon
issued a circular, professing to regard the Harney compact as still in force, and insisting that “the people of Missouri
should be permitted, in peace and security, to decide upon their future course; that they could not be subjugated,” etc., etc. Very soon,34
an interview was had, at St. Louis
, between Gen. Price
, on behalf of the Governor
, and Gen. Lyon
and Col. Blair
, on the side of the Union
; whereat Gen. Price
demanded, as a vital condition of peace, that no Federal troops should be stationed in, or allowed to pass through, the State
peremptorily refused compliance.
returned that night to Jefferson City
; and the next morning brought tidings to St. Louis
that the Gasconade
railroad bridge had been burnt, as also a portion of the bridge over the Osage river
, and the telegraph wires cut, under the direction of a son of the Governor
On the back of this came a proclamation from Jackson
, calling out 50,000 State Militia to repel Federal invasion, and closing as follows:
In issuing this proclamation, I hold it to be my most solemn duty to remind you that Missouri is still one of the United States; that the Executive department of the State Government does not arrogate to itself the power to disturb that relation; that power has been wisely vested in the Convention, which will, at the proper time, express your sovereign will; and that, meanwhile, it is your duty to obey all constitutional requirements of the Federal Government.
But it is equally my duty to advise you that your first allegiance is due to your own State, and that you are under no obligation whatever
to obey the unconstitutional edicts of the military despotism which has introduced itself at Washington, nor submit to the infamous and degrading sway of its wicked minions in this State.
No brave-hearted Missourian will obey the one or submit to the other.
Rise, then, and drive out ignominiously the invaders, who have dared to desecrate the soil which your labors have made fruitful, and which is consecrated by your homes.
Thus, though Missouri
had authoritatively and overwhelmingly refused to leave the Union
, her Governor made war upon it, and, mustering all the forces of Slavery and treason, proceeded openly to cast in his and their lot with the fortunes of the Great Rebellion.
, despite the secret affiliation of her leading politicians with the traitors, whom many of them ultimately joined, refused from the outset, through the authentic action of her people, to unite her fortunes with those of the Rebellion
Though she had, for some years, been a “ Democratic” State--casting her Presidential vote for Buchanan
, in 1856, by some seven thousand majority35
--the cloven foot of treason had no sooner been exhibited, by the disruption of the Democratic party at Charleston
, than her people gave unmistakable notice that they would acquiesce in no such purpose.
Her State Election occurred not long afterward,36
when Leslie Combs
, “Union” candidate for Clerk
of her highest Court (the only office filled at this election by the general vote of the State
), was chosen by the magnificent majority of 23,223 over his leading competitor, and 11,423 over the combined votes of all37
If Maj. Breckinridge
had been made their candidate for President
by the bolters with any idea of thereby seducing “the home of Henry Clay
” from her loyalty, that hope was ill-grounded, as the Presidential election more conclusively demonstrated — Bell
carrying the State
by a large plurality.38
Yet her Democratic Governor, Magoffin
though he forcibly protested40
against the headlong impetuosity wherewith South Carolina
persisted in dragging the South
into Disunion — summoned her41
Legislature to meet in extra session, and, on its assembling,42
addressed to it a Message, urging the call of a State Convention, wherein he premises that
We, the people of the United States, are no longer one people, united and friendly.
The ties of fraternal love and concord, which once bound us together, are sundered.
Though the Union of the States may, by the abstract reasoning of a class, be construed still to exist, it is really and practically — to an extent, at least — fatally impaired.
The confederacy is rapidly resolving itself into its original integral parts, and its loyal members are intent upon contracting wholly new relations.
Reluctant as we may be to realize the dread calamity, the great fact of revolution stares us in the face, demands recognition, and will not be theorized away.
Nor is the worst yet told.
We are not yet encouraged to hope that this revolution will be bloodless.
A collision of arms has even occurred between the Federal Government and the authorities of a late member of the Union, and the issue threatens to involve the whole country in fratricidal war. It is under these circumstances of peculiar gloom that you have been summoned. * * * In view of the partial disruption of the Union, the secession of eight or ten States, the establishment of a Southern Confederated Republic, and the administration
of this Government upon the principles of the Chicago Platform — a condition of our country, most likely, near at hand — what attitude will Kentucky hold.
and by virtue of what authority shall her external relations be determined?
Herein are involved issues of momentous consequence to the people.
It is of vital importance to our own safety and domestic peace that these questions be solved in accordance with the will of a majority of our people. * * * The ordinary departments of the Government are vested with no power to conduct the State through such a revolution.
Any attempt, by either of these departments, to change our present external relations, would involve a usurpation of power, and might not command that confidence and secure the unanimity so essential to our internal safety.
The Legislature heard him patiently, but refused to follow him. It declined to call a State Convention, but proposed instead a National Convention to revise the Federal
pact, and a Peace Conference at Washington
; which latter was duly held, as we have already seen.
No action looking to Disunion could be extracted from that Legislature, which adjourned soon afterward.
And, though the Secessionists sought to atone for their paucity of numbers by preternatural activity, especially through their secret organizations, as “Knights of the Golden circle,” etc., and called a ‘State Rights’ Convention, to meet at Frankfort
on the 22d of March, by a secret circular, wherein they assumed that Disunion was an accomplished fact, nothing of importance had been effected by them when the roar of the batteries encircling Fort Sumter
called the nation to arms.
, having refused, with insult, to respond to the President
's call for Militia to maintain the Union
, summoned the Legislature to meet once more, in extra session, assigning, as one reason therefor, the necessity of promptly putting the State
in a complete position for defense.
His call was issued April 18th; and, on the evening of that day, an immense Union meeting was held at Louisville
, whereof James Guthrie
, Archibald Dixon
, and other “conservatives,” were the master-spirits.
This meeting resolved against Secession, and against any forcible resistance thereto — in favor of arming the State
, and against using her arms to put down the rampant treason at that moment ruling in Baltimore
as well as in Richmond
, and ostentatiously preparing for a speedy rush upon Washington
Two of its resolves will sufficiently exhibit the inconsequence and unreason of this species of conservatism: viz:
Resolved, First: That, as the Confederate States have, by overt acts, commenced war against the United States, without consultation with Kentucky and their sister Southern States, Kentucky reserves to herself the right to choose her own position; and that, while her natural sympathies are with those who have a common interest in the protection of Slavery, she still acknowledges her loyalty and fealty to the Government of the United States, which she will cheerfully render until that Government becomes aggressive, tyrannical, and regardless of our rights in slave property.
Second: That the National Government should be tried by its acts; and that the several States, as its peers in their appropriate spheres, will hold it to a rigid account-ability, and require that its acts should be fraternal in their efforts to bring back the seceded States, and not sanguinary or coercive.
The red-hot balls fired into Sumter
by the traitors had hardly cooled, when Kentucky
Unionism insulted the common-sense and nauseated the loyal stomach of the Nation by this astounding drivel.
The consequences may well be imagined.
Not a single Rebel in all the State
was induced by it to relax his efforts in behalf of slaveholding treason; and men, munitions, and supplies were openly, and
almost daily, dispatched to the mustering Rebel hosts in the South and Southeast; while, for months, nothing was done by that State for the cause of the Union
The first regiment of Kentuckians raised for the Union
armies was encamped on the free side of the river, in deference to urgent representations from professed Unionists
and to Kentucky
's proclaimed neutrality.
The meeting further resolved:
Eighth: That we look to the young men of the Kentucky State Guard as the bulwarks of the safety of our Commonwealth; and we conjure them to remember that they are pledged equally to fidelity to the United States and to Kentucky.
That “State Guard,” organized by Gen. Simon B. Buckner
, under the auspices of Gov. Magoffin
, became a mere recruiting and drilling convenience of the Rebel
chiefs — its members being dispatched southward so fast as ripened for their intended service.
Ultimately, having corrupted all he could, Buckner
followed them into the camp of open treason,43
and was captured at the head of a portion of them at the taking of Fort Donelson
The Legislature having reassembled,44 Magoffin
read them another lecture in the interest of the Rebellion
The Union was gone — the Confederacy
was a fixed fact — it would soon be composed of ten, and perhaps of thirteen, States; President Lincoln
was a usurper, “mad with sectional hate,” and bent on subjugating or exterminating the South
The Federal Government was rolling up a frightful debt, which Kentucky
would not choose to help pay, etc., etc. Whereupon, he again urged the call of a Convention, with a view to State independence and self-protection.
The Legislature had been chosen.
in 1859, and had a Democratic majority in either House
, but not a Disunion majority.
It could not be induced to call a Convention, nor even to favor such neutrality as Magoffin
Yet he presumed to issue45
a Proclamation of Neutrality, denouncing the war as a “horrid, unnatural, lamentable strife,” forbidding either the Union
or the Confederate Government to invade the soil of Kentucky
, and interdicting all “hostile demonstrations against either
of the aforesaid sovereignties
” by citizens of that State, “whether incorporated in the State Guard or otherwise.”
Had he been an autocrat, this might have proved effectual.
But the Legislature refused to indorse his Proclamation; refused to vote him Three Millions wherewith to “arm the State
;” and so amended the Militia Law
as to require the “State Guard” to swear allegiance to the Union
as well as to Kentucky
. Senator Louis H. Rousseau
among others, spoke47
decidedly, boldly, in opposition to all projects of Disunion or semi-Disunion; saying:
When Kentucky goes down, it will be in blood.
Let that be understood.
She will not go as other States have gone.
Let the responsibility rest on you, where it belongs.
It is all your work, and whatever happens will be your work.
We have more right to defend our Government than you have to overturn it. Many of us are sworn to support it. Let our good Union brethren at the South stand their ground.
I know that many patriotic hearts in the seceded States still beat warmly for the old Union--the old flag.
The time will come when we shall all be together again.
The politicians are having their day. The people will yet have theirs.
I have an abiding confidence in the right, and I know this Secession movement is all wrong.
There is, in fact, not a single substantial reason for it. If there is, I should be glad to hear of it; our Government has never oppressed us with a feather's weight.
The direst oppression alone could justify what has brought all our present suffering upon us. May God, in His mercy, save our glorious Republic!
The Legislature adjourned on the 24th--the Senate having just resolved that
“Kentucky will not sever connection with the National Government, nor take up arms for either belligerent party; but arm herself for the preservation of peace within her borders;” and tendering their services as mediators to effect a just and honorable peace.
Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge
--always a devoted Unionist, because never a devotee of Slavery — in an address at Cincinnati
, one year later, declared that Kentucky
was saved from the black abyss by her proximity to loyal Ohio
, and Illinois
, whose Governors, it was known, stood pledged to send ten thousand men each to the aid of her Unionists
whenever the necessity for their presence should be indicated.
Had she been surrounded as Tennessee
and North Carolina
were, she must have fallen as they did. She would have so fallen, not because a majority of her people were disloyal, but because the traitors were better organized, more determined, more belligerent, and bent on success at any cost.
They would have succeeded, because the behests of the slaveholding caste are habitually accepted and obeyed as law in every slaveholding community.
An election for delegates to the proposed Peace Convention was held May 4th, and resulted in an immense Union majority--7,000 in Louisville
, and over 50,000 in the State
The Secessionists, ascertaining their numerical weakness, and unwilling to expose it, withdrew their tickets a few days previously, and took no part in the election.
The Peace Convention assembled May 27th; but Virginia
, at whose instance it was called, sent no delegates, and none were present but from Kentucky
, save four from Missouri
and one from Tennessee
. John J. Crittenden
Among the delegates were some who have since proved traitors; but the great majority were earnestly devoted to the Union
And yet, this Convention failed to assert the imperative duty of obedience to its constituted authority, without which the Union
is but a name for anarchy.
It deprecated civil war as abhorrent and ruinous, and exhorted the people to “hold fast to that sheet-anchor of republican liberty, the principle that the will of the majority, constitutionally and legally expressed, must govern ;” yet failed to charge those who, defying this principle, were plunging the whole land into confusion and carnage, with the full responsibility of their acts, or to call on the people to put them down.
It still harped on the wrongs of the South
, though condemning her rebellion; exhorted the North
to “discard that sectional and unfriendly spirit, which has contributed so much to inflame the
feelings of the Southern
people;” proposed a voluntary Convention of all the States, to devise “measures of peaceable adjustment ;” and indicated what those measures should be, by gravely recommending
First: That Congress shall at once propose such constitutional amendments as will secure to slaveholders their legal rights, and allay their apprehensions in regard to possible encroachments in the future.
Second: If this should fail to bring about the results so desirable to us, and so essential to the best hopes of our country, then let a voluntary Convention be called, composed of delegates from the people of all the States, in which measures of peaceable adjustment may be devised and adopted, and the nation rescued from the continued horrors and calamities of civil war.
While ‘conservatives’ were thus discoursing, the bolder traitors went on arming and drilling, until the south-western half of the State
was virtually subject to their sway; while, from every quarter, troops were forwarded to their armies in the field; and the triumphant Secessionists of Tennessee
, from their grand camp at Nashville
, were threatening to open the road to Louisville
, whence supplies were not sent them so freely as they deemed required by their needs or their dignity.
The climax was reached when48 Gen. Buckner
proclaimed that he had entered into a compact with Gen. McClellan
, commanding the Federal department of the Ohio
, whereby the latter stipulated that no Union troops should press the soil of Kentucky
, which State should be sustained in her chosen attitude of neutrality; and, in case “the South
” should plant an army on her soil, Kentucky
should be required to show them out — if they did not go, or, if she failed to expel them, then
the United States
might interpose; but our forces must be withdrawn so soon as the Rebels
had been expelled!
promptly denied that he had made any such treaty — or, in fact, any treaty at all. He had had an interview with Buckner
, at the request of the latter, who had promised to drive out any Confederate force that should invade Kentucky
--that was all. No doubt remained that Buckner
had drawn largely on his imagination; proclaiming, as agreed on, much that he had scarcely ventured to propose.
having appointed June 20th as the day for electing Representatives in Congress, in deference to the President
's call of an Extra Session, the election was held accordingly, and resulted in the choice of nine Unionists
Secessionist (H. C. Burnett
, who fled to the Rebels
, after serving through the called session.) The vote of the State
showed an aggregate of 92,365 for the “Union” to 36,995 for the Secession candidates, giving a majority of 55,370 for the former.
And this election was held when no Federal soldier trod the soil of Kentucky
; under a Governor at heart with the Rebels
; and after every effort had been exhausted to win her to the side of treason.
The Southern frenzy had affected but a small minority of her people ; while the terrorism which had coerced so many States into submission to the will of the conspirators was rendered powerless by the proximity of loyal and gallant communities.
voted as nearly every Slave State would have done, but for the amazing falsehoods
which were diffused among their people, while none dared to contradict them — while thousands dared not be loyal to their country, because the more reckless minions of the Slave Power
stood ready to execute its condign vengeance on all who dared oppose its darling project, or who should in any manner dispute its sway.