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diate occupancy of Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie, which Major Anderson was not authorized to prevent They also seized the various United States and telegraph buildings. Then, had the word been spoken by the President, Major Anderson could have crushed secession in its nest. His guns could have prevented the erection of those elaborate works which subsequently compelled his surrender, and the dishonor of the flag. It is not the province of the historian to speculate, but it is impossible to resist saying "Ah! what might have been I"
Major Anderson was suddenly the most famous man in the country, and his strategic movement met with hearty approval throughout the loyal States.
Before leaving the record of this first stage of war, for such it was, it is proper to recur to the statement that Lieut-General Scott urged upon Mr. Buchanan the importance of reinforcing Major Anderson, and of strongly manning the seaboard defenses. Since the above the autobiography of the Lieut-General has come to hand, and the statements of the venerable hero are overwhelmingly conclusive. On the 29th of October, 1860, he addressed Mr. Buchanan a letter, in which, after alluding to the probable nearness of outbreak to follow Mr. Lincoln's election, he said:
"From a knowledge of our Southern population, it is my solemn conviction that there is some danger of an early act of rashness preliminary to secession; viz., the seizure of some or all of the following forts: Forts Jackson and St. Philip, on the Mississippi, below New Orleans, both without garrisons; Fort Morgan, below Mobile, without a garrison; Forts Pickens and McRae, Pensacola harbor, with an insufficient garrison for one; Fort Pulaski, below Savannah, without a garrison; Forts Moultrie and Sumter, Charleston harbor, the former with an insufficient garrison, the latter without any, and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, without a sufficient garrison. In my opinion, all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to take any one of them by surprise or coup de main, ridiculous."
Again, he says:
"October 81.—I suggested to the Secretary of "War that a circular should be sent at once to such of those forts as had garrisons to be on the alert against surprises and sudden assaults."
A significant foot-note says, "Permission not granted." On the 12th of December he left the bed to which he had been long con
GENEKAL SCOTT AND THE GARKIS0N. 45
fined and repaired to Washington. The next day he called upon the Secretary of War and urged upon him—
"The same views; viz., strong garrisons in the Southern forts—those of Charleston and Pensacola harbors at once; those on Mobile Bay and the Mississippi below New Orleans next, etc. * * * The Secretary did not concur in my views, and I begged him to procure me an early interview with the President, that I might make one more effort to save the forts and the Union. By appointment the Secretary accompanied me to the President, Dec. 15th, when the same topics were discussed. * * * The President, in reply to my arguments for immediately reinforcing Fort Moultrie and sending a garrison to Fort Sumter, said, in substance, the time had not arrived for doing so; that he would wait the action of the convention of South Carolina, in the expectation that a commission would be appointed and sent to negotiate with him and Congress respecting the secession of the State and the property of the United States held within its limits; and that if Congress should decide against the secession then he would send a reinforcement and telegraph the commander (Major Anderson) of Fort Moultrie to hold the forts (Moultrie and Sumter) against attack. And the Secretary, with animation, added, * We have a vessel of war (the Brooklyn) held in readiness at Norfolk, and he would then send three hundred men in her from Fort Monroe to Charleston.* To which I replied, first, that so many men could not be withdrawn from that garrison but could be taken from New York; next, that it would then be too late, as the South Carolina commissioners would have the game in their hands, by first using and then cutting the wires; that as there was not a soldier in Fort Sumter any handful of armed secessionists might seize and occupy it.
"Here the remark may be permitted, that if the Secretary's three hundred men had then, or some time later, been sent to Forts Moultrie and Sumter, both would now have been in the possession of the United States, and not a battery below could have been erected by the secessionists; consequently the access to these forts from the sea would now (the end of March, 1861,) be unobstructed and free.
"dec. 30.—Will the President permit Gen. Scott, without reference to the War Department [foot-note—'The Secretary was already suspected'] and otherwise, as secretly as possible, to send two hundred and fifty recruits from New York harbor, to reinforce Fort Sumter? etc. * * * It would have been easy to reinforce this fort down to about the 12th of February. In this long delay, Fort Moultrie had been rearmed and greatly strengthened, etc. * * * The difficulty of reinforcing had thus been increased ten or twelvefold. First, the late President (Buchanan) refused to allow any attempt to be made because he was holding negotiations with the South Carolina commissioners" etc.—Aut. Vol.IL
There is another quotation from the same authority, which is highly significant:
"Before any resolution was taken, the late Secretary of the Navy making difficulties about the want of suitable war vessels, another commissioner from South Carolina arrived, causing further delay. When all this had passed away, Secretaries Holt and Toucey, Capt. Ward of the navy, and myself, with the knowladge of the President (Buchanan), settled upon the employment, under the Captain (who was eager for the expedition) of three or four small steamers belonging to the coast survey. At that time (late in January) I have no doubt Capt. Ward would have reached Fort Sumter with all his vessels. But he was kept back by something like a truce or armistice made [here] embracing Charleston and Pensacola harbors, agreed upon between the late President and certain principal seceders of South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, etc., and that truce lasted to the end of that administration."
Alas! that the evidence should be so conclusive! Alas! that such a record must be written! Yet we may even now see the finger of Providence. Great events were shaping. By the Calvaries, and through the Gethsemanes of sorrow and purification was the nation to march reverently and penitently to the Bethany of its ascension!
Of course events so momentous caused great anxiety and produced exciting discussions, which cannot be reproduced in a work so specific in its character as this one. How did the Representatives and Senators of Illinois meet the crisis? In the Senate were Mr. Douglas and Mr. Trumbull. The former was disposed to go as far as possible towards conciliation, farther than his colleague would have deemed proper, but they united in condemning secession. Mr. Douglas, on Tuesday, Dec. 18th, promptly moved to "lay over" a scheme proposed by Senator Joseph Lane of Oregon, which declared the government unfitted for the exigences of the times, and proposing the appointment of commissioners to suggest remedies! January *7th, in reviewing the speech of Senator Baker, after criticising the views of the Republican party, he said: "I feel bound, however, and take pleasure in saying, that I don't believe the Southern States are in any danger, or ought to have any apprehension, that Mr. Lincoln, or his party can do any harm or render insecure their rights to persons or property anywhere in this country." In that speech he used the words subsequently so often quoted—" War is disunion, certain, inevitable, final and irreversible." He made a point of keen, telling, illustrated logic, in these words: "The President in his message first said we could not coerce a state to remain in the Union, but in a few sentences he advised the acquisition of Cuba. As if we should pay $300,000,000 for Cuba, and the next day she might secede and re-annex herself to Spain, and
SENATOR DOUGLAS. 47
Spain sell her again." He (Mr. Buchanan) had admitted that Texas cost us a war with Mexico, and 10,000 lives, and besides, we had paid Texas $10,000,000 for land which she never owned." Again, speaking of war: "The atmosphere is full of it. I have determined that I will do all that is in my power to rescue the country from such a dreadful fate. But I will not consider this question of war till all hope of peaceable adjustment fails. Better, a thousand times better, that all political parties be disbanded and dissolved. Better that every public man now in existence be consigned to retirement and political martyrdom, than this government should be dissolved, and this country plunged in civil war. I trust we are to have no war for a platform. I can fight for my country, but there never was a political platform that I would go to war for. I fear if this country is to be wrecked it is to be done by those who prefer party to their country." Later, in reply to Mr. Wigfall, of Texas, he said: "The senator (Wigfall) had better read the Constitution again, then let him tell me where he finds the power given to this government to protect horses, or cattle, or merchandise, or slaves, or any species of property in any state or territory of this Union?" Until the close of Congress he earnestly sought to secure peace, by such amendments to the Constitution as would forever place slavery without the bar of Congressional action or Federal controversy.
Mr. Trumbull, his colleague, was an able and ardent advocate of the policy of the party which had elected Mr. Lincoln, yet he was conciliatory, though bating not one jot of Federal authority. He said in a speech on the night of March 3d, that there would have been no triumphant secession but for complicity with treason in the very cabinet of the government. The President received commissioners who, under any other government would have been hung for treason, and that, not until the last moment, when forced to take sides, and either join the secessionists and let Major Anderson perish, or to meet the anger of his countrymen, did the President declare for the Union. Speaking of compromise he said, if they wanted anything let them go back to the Missouri Compromise and stand to it. All agreed that Congress had not the right to interfere with slavery in the States. But he would never, by his vote, make one slave, and the people of the great Northwest would never consent by their act, to establish slavery anywhere. He did not believe the Constitution needed amending, but was willing to ^vote a recommendation to the States to make a proposal to call a convention to consider amendments. His position was clearly defined; viz., peace, if possible; government in the Union at all hazards.
In the popular branch were several members of prominence. There was Owen Lovejoy, a primitive anti-slavery man, who had been bereaved of a brother by a pro-slavery mob. John A. Logan and Mr. McClernand, both of whom became Major Generals of IT. S. Volunteers, were in opposition to the Republican party, both conservative, and Mr. Logan opposed to coercion. Mr. Morris, Mr. Kellogg and Mr. Washburne were also prominent. Mr. Lovejoy, considered one of the most radical of the extreme abolitionists, on the 17th of December, offered, and pressed to a vote, the following:
"Whereas, the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and its ready and faithful obedience a duty of all good and law-abiding citizens; therefore,
"Eesolvedy that we deprecate the spirit of disobedience to the Constitution, wherever manifested, and that we earnestly recommend the repeal of all nullifica* tion laws; and that it is the duty of the President to protect and defend the pro perty of the United States."
The conspirators were much annoyed by this flank movement of "an extremist" and generally refused to vote, but without them it was passed by an affirmative vote of 124, none voting nay. On the same day Mr. Morris, for the third time, brought forward his Union resolution declaring "the immense value of the national Union," that "we will frown upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from th£ rest, or enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts," and added, "nor do we see anything in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States, or from any other existing cause to justify its dissolution," &c, which was adopted by a vote of 115 to 44. It is singular to find among the nays that of Daniel Sickles, subsequently a gallant and able Major-General of the Union army. Later, Mr. Lovejoy made a remark in caucus which has become famous among the memorable sayings which the war has occasioned. He was speaking of a proposition to divide the country to the Pacific between freedom and slavery, and in his own peculiar