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Passing to the question of secession, he said : “ The Union of these States is perpetual.” “No State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union.” “I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the States." “ The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government.”
Then turning to those of his hearers who sympathized with secession, he said : “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellowcountrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil
The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.
You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government; while I shall have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it.' " 1160
FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR, APRIL, 1861, TO APRIL, 1862.
449. Anderson's report; division in the Cabinet; capture of Fort Sumter. The next day Major Anderson of Fort Sumter (§ 444) reported that he had but a month's provisions left, and that it would require 20,000 men to relieve and hold the fort. 1161
Anderson's entire force consisted of 128 men, half of whom were non-combatants. President Lincoln was by nature a man of peace.
His maxim was: “It is better to plough round the log than to try to plough through it"; but the question of relieving Anderson demanded immediate action, and such action seemed likely to precipitate civil war. The Cabinet was divided. Seward thought that the secession difficulty would be satisfactorily settled within “sixty days,” and suggested that the best way to reunite the North and the South would be to declare a foreign
Chase, on the other hand, thought that if we must choose between civil war and peaceful separation, we had better accept the latter." General Scott, as the President's chief
military adviser, believed that it would be best to compromise with the Southern States or else say: “Wayward sisters, depart in peace.”
At a consultation of the Cabinet, Chase and Blair voted to relieve Fort Sumter ; the remaining five members voted against it as inexpedient, but later voted for it. 1165 The President decided that he would take the responsibility on himself and “send bread to Anderson." This decision brought matters to a crisis. General Beauregard was in command of the secession forces in Charleston, and Jefferson Davis ordered him to demand the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter. Major Anderson declined to give up the fort.
At daybreak the next morning (April 12, 1861) Beauregard's batteries opened fire. Anderson's guns replied as best they could.
The artillery duel continued thirty-four hours. The commander of Fort Sumter could hold out no longer. His handful of men were utterly exhausted, and his provisions and available ammunition were used up; he was forced to capitulate. No one had been killed on either side — it was the bloodless beginning of the bloodiest civil war known in modern history.
On Sunday morning (April 14, 1861) the brave defender of Sumter led his little garrison out of the fort. They departed with the honors of war, colors flying and drums beating. Major Anderson took with him the shot-torn national flag which had floated above the fort ; on that very day, four years later, it was triumphantly restored to its old place. He and his men then embarked for New York.
450. The President's call for troops; Davis retaliates; the blockade; the uprising of the North; the first bloodshed. — The next morning (April 15, 1861) the President issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 “three-months men” to uphold the national flag and defend the national honor. Davis retorted by calling for 32,000 men, and by inviting privateers to attack Northern merchant vessels. A few days
later (April 19, 1861), President Lincoln declared the ports of the Confederate States blockaded against foreign commerce.
The North responded to the President's call with an alacrity and enthusiasm which could not be mistaken. Over 90,000 men enlisted. The streets of the great cities blazed with patriotic colors, and resounded with martial music and with the tramp of armed men hurrying to the defence of the Government. Party lines were thrown down; everywhere the cry rose : “ Crush the rebellion !” Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln's old political antagonist, hastened to the President to take him by the hand and assure him of his support. He saw that the time for compromise had passed. “Now,” said he, "every man must be for the United States or against it.” He died soon after the great war began, but he used his voice and pen to the last, in behalf of the Union. 1166
Pennsylvania was first in the field, but the Massachusetts Sixth was the first fully armed regiment which entered the national capital. On its way through Baltimore (April 19, 1861) the regiment was attacked by a mob of howling “roughs"; a number of the soldiers were wounded and two were killed. It was the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. On that day, sacred to the cause of American liberty, the first blood was shed for the preservation of the Union. The following day the garrison at Fort Monroe - the most important stronghold on the coast — was reinforced, and the next month General Butler took command there.
451. The uprising of the South; what North and South fought for; secession of four more States; the “ border States." — The military activity of the South equalled that of the North ; thousands of volunteers rushed to answer Davis's call. The politicians had started the secession movement (S 443) purely in the interest of slavery and of their own selfish ambition. The first gun fired at Sumter roused the mass of the Southern people to wild excitement, and they were ready to move even faster than their leaders wished them to. 1167
The Secession Congress at Montgomery declared that President Lincoln's call for troops was an attempt to “overawe, oppress, and finally subjugate the people of the Confederate States." The rank and file of the secession army doubtless believed this astonishing assertion. Most of them were men who recognized no authority higher than that of their own State. Misled by this idea, they believed that the North threatened to invade and destroy their homes.
Lincoln clearly stated the issue when he said later : “Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish ; and the war came.
The call of the national Government for troops compelled the remaining slave States to decide what course they would take. Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy, making a total of eleven States. This gave the seceding section an area nearly equal to that of the entire United States at the close of the Revolution. In May (1861) the Confederate capital was removed to Richmond.
The western part of Virginia had but few slaves ; it opposed secession, and later (1863) became a separate State under the name of West Virginia. The Governors of the four border slave States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri refused to answer the President's call for volunteers to defend the national Aag; but later, all of these States contributed large numbers of men to the ranks of the Union army. So, too, did Eastern Tennessee, which was strongly loyal.
452. Mistakes of the secessionists; the situation ; population of the North vs. the South. - The Southern politicians who incited secession made three serious mistakes in the outset :
1. They believed that all of the slave States would join them, and so form a “solid South.” 2. The utterances of prominent men of the “ Peace Party" at the North led the secessionists to think that the North would be in danger of civil war among its own people, and that the President would
be powerless to prevent the dismemberment of the Union. 1169 3. Finally, the secessionists thought that if the North did take up arms to save the nation, England's need of cotton and Napoleon's desire to get possession of Mexico would induce those powers to interfere and recognize Southern independence. None of these things happened, and the States which seceded had to accept the situation as best they could.
The condition of affairs in the early summer of 1861 was as follows: Of the thirty-four States then constituting the Union eleven had seceded and four were divided in their allegiance. Nineteen States stood firmly by the old flag.
The census of 1860 reported the total population of the United States at nearly 31,500,000. Of this number the seceded States had somewhat over 9,000,000, including about 3,500,000 slaves who, though non-combatants, would by their labor keep many combatants in the field. The “border States ” had a population of somewhat more than 3,000,000 and the free States about 19,000,000. The available military strength of the free States was probably three times greater than that of the South, and in the course of the war (1861-1865) it was increased by the enlistment of negroes and by the arrival of over 600,ooo immigrants. 1170 Lincoln estimated the total force which the Union States could furnish in case of emergency at 4,000,000.
453. Material resources and military advantages of the two sections. — The wealth of the North was immensely greater than that of the South. The census of 1860 reported the assessed valuation of the North in round numbers at $7,750,000,000, and that of the South at $4,330,000,000. With few exceptions the North had the foundries, factories, workshops, and shipyards — in a word, the “machine-power" of the nation. The North, too, had the greater part of the railroads; and her ports remained open to the commerce of the globe.
The South, after her ports were once fairly blockaded, was cut off from getting supplies from abroad. It was difficult, if