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and the perpetuity of our popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.”
In the same document he called an extra session of Congress, to begin on the 4th of July.
Of the eight Southern States asked to send their respective quotas under the militia call, nearly all had Governors in sympathy with South Carolina and Secession; and these returned defiant answers to the demand. “ The militia of Virginia," wrote Governor Letcher, “will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view.” “Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States,” said Governor Magoffin. Governor Harris, of Tennessee, was insolently explicit; Governor Ellis, of North Carolina, more politely but hardly less emphatically, and the Governors of Missouri and Arkansas, all made known their purpose not to heed the call. The Governors of Maryland and Delaware did not in words refuse; and there were more than enough volunteers speedily offered from either State to fill its quota. Nor is it anticipating very much to say that from the other six Southern States, whose Governors were thus recusant, there were added to the Union armies several times the number of soldiers thus asked, and ultimately (exclusive of colored men) a large multiple. All through the free States the response to the call for troops was hearty and more than ample.
On the evening of the 14th, in the first excitement over the news from Charleston, Senator Douglas made an ever-memorable call at the White House. He came voluntarily to promise the President a cordial support in
the Secession war now begun. He read with approval the proclamation already prepared, questioning only as to the number of men called for, which he thought would better have been at least four hundred thousand. He knew the South, he added, and that the war was to be war in earnest—a war of magnitude. The substance of this interview, as disclosed by Douglas himself, was telegraphed to the country next morning, with commanding effect on his partisan supporters.
This is the last incident to be recorded in the long personal intercourse and in the constantly recurring relations between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. The Senator's proffer of service — warmly appreciated and gratefully recognized by the President
was followed up manfully in speeches and letters from this day onward. One of the most eloquent of all was his speech at the capital of Illinois. Douglas had then not many weeks to live. He presently returned to Chicago, where he was prostrated with fever, and passed away on the 3d day of June.
The crisis, which gave unity and strength in the North, brought no advantage to the Union side in the eight Southern States that had hitherto stood out against secession. The Virginia convention had voted nearly two to one against the proposed “ordinance" on the 4th of April; but the convention tarried; adverse influences were plainly taking effect; the Union majority was crumbling. At length, after it was known in Richmond that the Confederate executive had determined to “ reduce " Fort Sumter without further delay, a committee was sent by the convention to interrogate President Lincoln as to the policy he meant to pursue towards the Confederate States. The committee had an interview with the President on Saturday, April 13th — cannon at the moment thundering in Charleston harbor, or not yet cooled after Anderson's capitulation. He gave a written answer, adhering to the positions of his inaugural, from which he quoted decisively, and the committee returned home still “dissatisfied.”
Wild tumult prevailed at Richmond on news of the capture of Fort Sumter. The convention wrapped itself in darkness, holding secret sessions, and on the 17th passed an ordinance of secession, nominally subject to a popular vote on the 23d of May. Regardless of a condition now so unimportant, there were hurried movements to seize the Government works and armory at Harper's Ferry, and the navy-yard, stores, guns, and vessels at and near Norfolk, before the action of the convention should become publicly known.
On the 25th of April, Governor Letcher proclaimed the adhesion of Virginia to the Southern Confederacy, under a compact which ignored any further voting the people might trouble themselves to do later. Tennessee and Arkansas were in like manner provisionally annexed by their disunionist Governors on the 6th of May; and North Carolina adopted a secession ordinance on the 20th. Despite the madness of the hour, a cordon of slaveholding States stretching across the country-Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, with loyal West Virginia, soon made a separate State — still remained on the Union side.
Addressing a joyfully excited crowd at Montgomery on the evening of April 12th, the Confederate Secretary of War said:
No man can tell when the war commenced this day will end; but I will prophecy that the flag which now flaunts the breeze here will float over the dome of the old capitol at Washington before the 1st of May.
- How Lincoln regarded his own relation to this beginning appears with sufficient clearness from a letter of approbation and confidence addressed by him (May Ist) to Captain Fox, saying:
ce to be
the plan, nou were in nwere depriveimo
I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort Sumter should be the source of any annoyance to you. The practicability of your plan was not, in fact, brought to test. By reason of a gale well known in advance to be possible, and not improbable, the tugs, an essential part of the plan, never reached the ground, while, by an accident for which you were in no wise responsible and possibly I, to some extent, was, you were deprived of a war vessel, with her men, which you deemed of great importance to the enterprise.... You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the event.
In a few hours after he received the call for troops, Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, had one regiment of militia, the Sixth, at its rendezvous, ready for departure South. Pennsylvania, being nearer, first had a militia battalion at the national capital. From New York the well disciplined Seventh Regiment was about the same time on its way. Every Northern State responded with promptness and energy. In the loyal “War Governors ” President Lincoln ever found a quick help and a strong stay.
The spirit already roused was intensified by the attacks of a Baltimore mob on the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment while passing through the city. Here the first blood of Union soldiers was shed on the memorable anniversary of Lexington and Concord, April 19th. A Pennsylvania regiment that was following, on reaching the outer railway station, turned back under orders toward Philadelphia, the mob now having possession of Baltimore. The Massachusetts Sixth had meanwhile fought its way through the city, going on by rail to Washington.
These were but incidents in a week full of stirring events, which disclosed a fixed purpose and concerted action to surround and isolate the capital; to gain possession of all the Federal property in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia; to disperse the Government; and to carry the rebellion quite to the northern limit of slavery. On the eve of the outbreak in Baltimore, secessionist forces were on their way to seize Norfolk and Harper's Ferry. Trains bearing Union soldiers destined for Washington were stopped by disabled tracks and destroyed bridges on every railway directly connecting the North with Baltimore, from which point alone, save by the branch from Annapolis — the western line by way of the intermediate Relay House being broken — was there any communication by rail with Washington. Intrenchments were thrown up on the banks of the Potomac River, below the city, and mounted with guns, to cut off communication by water. Virginia militia were pushed forward to break the western connections by the Baltimore and Ohio railway beyond Harper's Ferry. Save the military companies of the District (some non-residents temporarily there, also organizing as volunteers) and the small force of regu