« AnteriorContinuar »
Attack on Sumter.
United States Mails.
against or among the people anywhere.' By the words “property and places belonging to the Government,' I chiefly allude to the military posts and property which were in possession of the government when it came into my bands. But if, as now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked assault has been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself at liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which had been seized before the Government was devolved upon me, and in any event I shall, to the best of my ability, repel force by force. In case it proves true that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United States mails to be withdrawn from all the States which claim to have seceded, believing that the commencement of actual war against the Government justifies and possibly demands it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military forts and property, situated within the States which claim to have seceded, as yet belonging to the Government of the United States, as much as they did before the supposed secession. Whatever else I may do for the purpose, I shall not attempt to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the country-pot meaning by this, however, that I may not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a fort upon the border of the country. From the fact that I have quoted a part of the inaugural address, it must not be inferred that I repudiate any other part, the whole of which I reaffirm, except so far as what I now say of the mails may be regarded as a modification."
Fort Sumter fell on the day following the reception of these commissioners, after every effort, consistent with the means at the disposal of the government, had been made to prevent what then seemed a catastrophe. This action could bear but one interpretation. A reconciliation of difficulties was utterly impracticable. An appeal had been made to the sword.
Effects of Sumter.
Call for Troops.
The power and authority of the United States had been defied and insulted. No loyal man could now hesitate. If, however, there were any who, even then, clung to the fallacy that compromise could save us, Abraham Lincoln was not of the number.
PREPARING FOR WAR.
Effects of Sumter's Fall-President's Call for Troops—Response in the Loyal States-In
the Border States-Baltimore Riot-Maryland's Position-President's Letter to Maryland Authorities–Blockade Proclamation-Additional Proclamation—Comments Abroad - Second Call for Troops-Special Order for Florida-Military Movements.
SUMTER fell, but the nation arose. With one mind the Free States determined that the rebellion must be put down. All were ablaze with patriotic fire. The traitors at heart, who lurked in the loyal States, found it a wise precaution to float with the current. The shrewder ones among them saw well how such a course would give them vantage-ground when the reaction, which they hoped, and for which in secret they labored, should come. But the great mass of the people would not have admitted the possibility of any reactionaction was to continue the order of the day until the business in hand was finished.
On the 15th of April, 1861, the President issued his first proclamation:
“WHEREAS, The laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of Judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law; now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
Call for Troops.
Extra Session of Congress.
President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
"The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department. I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth, will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from this date.
“Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.
"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my band, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
“Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred
Response to the Call.
Border Slave States.
First Blood Shed.
and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-fifth. “By the President:
A BRAHAM LINCOLN. “ WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
In response to this proclamation enthusiastic public meetings were held throughout the loyal States; all party lines seemed obliterated; enlistments were almost universal ; Washington, which was at one time in imminent danger, was soon considered amply defended. The majority entertained no doubt that with the force summoned the rebellion would be nipped in the bud; the more sagacious minority shook their heads, and wished that a million of men had been asked.
An excellent opportunity was afforded to the border slave States for pronouncing their election—whether to stand by • the Government, or, practically, to furnish aid and comfort to the rebels. Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky, was soon heard from : “Kentucky will furnish no troops,” said he, "for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States." Letcher, of Virginia: “The militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such case or purpose as they have in view ;" and on the 17th, the State was dragooned into passing, in secret, an ordinance of secession, and immediately commenced those warlike preparations, whose evil fruits she was destined so soon and in so much sorrow to reap. The Executives of Tennessee and North Carolina refused compliance; and those Statęs, together with Arkansas, went over to the “ Confederacy."
How was the call for troops received by the rebel conclave at Montgomery ? They laughed.
The first blood shed in the war was in the streets of Baltimore, on the 19th of April. Massachusetts troops, passing through that city for the defence of the common capitol, were attacked by a mob, instigated and encouraged by men of
Letter to Maryland Authorities.
property and social standing. The State hung trembling in the balance between loyalty and treason. Had its geographical position been other than it was, it would have undeniably embraced the fortune of the South. Its Governor was, however, strongly inclined to support the Government, although the peculiar circumstances in wbich he was placed called for peculiar tact and dexterity in management. It was seriously proposed that no more troops should be sent through Baltimore.
The day following this attack, the President sent the following letter in reply to a communication broaching this modest proposition :
“Washington, April 20th, 1861. "GOVERNOR HICKS AND MAYOR BROWN :
“GENTLEMEN :-Your letter by Messrs. Bond, Dobbin, and Brune, is received. I tender you both my sincere thanks for your efforts to keep the peace in the trying situation in wbich you are placed. For the future, troops must be brought here, but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore.
"Without any military knowledge myself, of course I must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this morning in presence of those gentlemen, ‘March them around Baltimore, and not through it.'
“I sincerely hope the General, on fuller reflection, will consider this practical and proper, and that you will not object to it. By this a collision of the people of Baltimore with the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of the way to seek it. I hope you will exert your influence to prevent this. Now and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government. “Your obedient servant,
To a delegation of rebel sympathizers from the same State, who demanded a cessation of hostilities until Congress