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of Buena Vista fame, were assembling in large force in the neighborhood.
Effect of the Fall of Sumter.-Call for Seventy-five Thousand Troops, and Replies of States. Congress Convened.-Destruction of Property at Norfolk.-Effect of the Proclamation at the North.-Baltimore Riot.-March of Troops to Washington.-— The Position of Maryland.-Proceedings of her Legislature.--Pacification of Balti
THE fall of Sumter produced a startling effect throughout the country. The fact that armed resistance to the power of the Government was actually organized, on a large scale, seemed to burst upon the astonished North like a thunder-clap. Party lines at once disappeared, private interests and the pursuit of business were dropped as with one accord, and the people rallied to the support of that Government, the jeopardy of which they had not previously realized. When the news reached Washington, the President immediately issued a procla mation calling out seventy-five thousand of the militia of the several States of the Union, to "repossess the forts, places, and property which had been seized." The persons resisting the operation of the laws were called upon to disperse within twenty days, and Congress was, by the same document, convened for the 4th of July.
The President thus assumed the power of calling out troops, relying upon the exigencies of the case for justification. The assembling of Congress, however, although the Government was much embarrassed for means, was delayed for ten weeks. The effect of the proclamation at the South was at once to consolidate the Confederacy. The dispatches from the War Department, addressed to the Governors of the several States, designated the quotas assigned to each State. The Executives of the slaveholding States, with the exception of Maryland and Delaware, peremptorily refused to comply with the requisition, and Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee seceded, the first immediately, and the others some weeks later, and joined the Southern Confederacy, turning over their arms to it, and acceding to the new Constitution. In response to the call, Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, replied, that "Kentucky would furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States." Governor Letcher, of Virginia, replied, that "the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington to subjugate the South;" Governor Ellis, of North Carolina, "that he could not respond to the call for troops, as he doubts the legality of the call;" Governor Harris, of Tennessee, that "Tennessee will furnish not a single man for coercion, but fifty thousand, if necessary, for the defence of our rights, or those of our Southern brothers;" Governor Jackson, of Missouri, that "the requisition is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical, and cannot be complied with."
The Government of the Southern Confederacy issued a call for thirty-two thousand men, five thousand from each of the Confederate States except Florida, which was to furnish two thousand; and Jef ferson Davis, on the 17th of April, issued a proclamation offering to grant letters of marque and reprisal to aid the Southern Confederacy "in resisting the wanton and wicked aggressions" of the Federal Government. This was immediately responded to by President Lincoln, in a proclamation, dated April 19th, declaring the Southern ports in a state of blockade. Jefferson Davis then convened the Southern Congress for the 1st of May.
The State of Virginia, as we have seen, immediately abandoned her doubtful policy, and cast in her lot with the Confederacy, in accordance with the convention signed April 24th. The United States armory at Harper's Ferry, which had been the scene of John Brown's raid, contained fifteen thousand stand of arms, and was held by Lieutenant Jones, of the United States Army, with a force of forty men. On the 18th of April the place was seized by two or three thousand Virginia militia, after Lieutenant Jones had destroyed by fire what he could, and retreated with his men across Maryland into Pennsylvania, having lost two men, killed. The Gosport Navy Yard, at Norfolk, Virginia, was the largest dépôt of ordnance in the United States, containing many first-class ships, some two thousand cannon, and arms and munitions which had originally cost over ten million dollars, but which at this crisis were of almost incalculable value. The conspirators who had hurried Virginia out of the Union saw the importance of getting possession of this place, and sent thither General Taliaferro to obstruct the channel leading from Norfolk to Hampton Roads, and prevent the ingress or egress of National vessels. The Navy Yard was then in charge of Commander McCauley, an old and irresolute officer, who appears, under the apprehension of a rebel attack, to have so far lost his presence of mind, as to consent to a useless and shameful destruction of the National property. Notwithstanding he had received orders from Washington to send the powerful steam-frigate Mer imac to Philadelphia, he refrained, through fear of exasperating the rebels, from doing so, and on the 20th, ordered all the ships in the Yard, except the sailing corvette Cumberland, to be scuttled. When it is considered that he then had several hundred trusty men at his disposal, the act seems almost like treason. Aware, possibly, of the inefficiency of McCauley, the Government, on the 19th, had dispatched Commodore Hiram Paulding in the steam-frigate Pawnee to assume command at Norfolk. Taking on board a reinforcement of four hundred and fifty Massachusetts volunteers at Fortress Monroe, he proceeded safely through the obstructions to the Navy Yard, which he reached at half-past eight P. M. on the 20th.
Commodore Paulding, however, arrived too late to save the ships or the guns. The former had been scuttled and the latter spiked by his predecessor in command, and it was determined with what, now, appears needless precipitancy, to complete the destruction already commenced and abandon the Yard. Accordingly, the books and papers of the establishment were transferred to the Pawnee.