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IT WAS on April 9, 1861, that the expedition ordered by President Lincoln for the relief of Fort Sumter sailed from New York. The day before, the Governor of South Carolina had received from the President the notification sent on the 6th that he might expect an attempt to be made to provision the fort. Ever since Mr. Lincoln's inauguration the Confederate government had been watching intently the new Administration's course. Sumter, it was resolved, should never be captured, re-enforced, even provisioned. When it was certain that an expedition had started for its relief an order to attack the fort was given, and it was bombarded until it fell.

The bombardment of Sumter began at half past four o'clock in the morning of April 12. All that day rumors and private telegrams came to the White House reporting the progress of the attack and Anderson's heroic defense, but there was nothing official. By evening, however, there was no doubt that Fort Sumter was being reduced. Mr. Lincoln was already formulating his plan of action, his one question to the excited visitors who called upon him being, "Will your State support me with military power?" The The way in which the matter presented itself to his mind he stated clearly to Congress, when that body next came together:

The assault upon and reduction of Fort Sumter was in no sense a matter of self-defense on the part of the

assailants. They well knew that the garrison in the fort could by no possibility commit aggression upon them. They knew they were expressly notified that the giving of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison was all which would on that occasion be attempted, unless themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more. They knew that this government desired to keep the garrison in the fort, not to assail them, but merely to maintain visible possession, and thus to preserve the Union from actual and immediate dissolution-trusting, as hereinbefore stated, to time, discussion, and the ballot-box for final adjustment; and they assailed and reduced the fort for precisely the reverse object to drive out the visible authority of the Federal Union, and thus force it to immediate dissolution.

And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question whether a constitutional republic or democracy-a government of the people by the same people can or can not maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.

So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the war power of the government; and so to resist force employed for its destruction, by force for its preservation.


This was not Mr. Lincoln's view alone. It was the view of the North. And when, on April 15, he issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 militia and appealing to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured," there was an immediate and overwhelming response. The telegraph of the very day of the proclamation announced that in almost every city and town of the North volunteer regiments were forming and that Union mass meetings were in session in halls and churches and public squares. "What portion of the 75,000 militia you call for do you give to Ohio? We will

furnish the largest number you will receive," telegraphed the Governor of that State in response to the President's message. Indiana, whose quota was less than 5,000 men, telegraphed back that 10,000 were ready. "We will furnish you the regiments in thirty days if you want them, and 50,ooo men if you need them," telegraphed Zachariah Chandler from Michigan. So rapidly did men come in under this call for 75,000, that in spite of the efforts of the War Department to keep the number down, it swelled to 91,816.

It was not troops alone that were offered. Banks and private individuals offered money and credit. Supplies of every sort were put at the government's order. Corporations sent their presidents to Washington, offering railroads and factories. Stephen Douglas sought Lincoln and offered all his splendid power to the Administration. Edward Everett, who had strongly sympathized with the South, declared for the movement. Individuals suspected of Southern sympathy were promptly hooted off the streets and newspapers which had been advocating disunion were forced to hang out the Stars and Stripes, or suffer a mob to raze their establishments. The fall of Sumter seemed for the moment to make a unit of the North.

Patriotic fervor was intensified by the satisfaction that at last the long tension was over. Nor was this strange. For months the war fever had been burning in the veins of both North and South. At times compromise had seemed certain, then suddenly no one knew why it seemed as if another twenty-four hours would plunge the country into war. Many a public man on both sides had grown thin and haggard in wrestling with the terrible problem that winter and spring. Congressmen in Washington had walked the streets arguing, groaning, seeking an escape. Many a sleepless man had tossed nightly on his bed until daybreak, then rose to smoke and walk, always pursued by the same problems and never

seeing any final solution but war. The struggle had penetrated the social circles, particularly in border cities like Washington, and rarely did people assemble that hot discussions did not rise. The very children in the schools took up the debates, and for many weeks in Washington the school grounds were the scenes of small daily quarrels, ending often in blows and tears. The fall of Sumter ended this exhausting uncertainty. Henceforth there was nothing to do but range yourself on one side or the other and fight it out.

But if Sumter unified the sentiment of the North, it did no less for the South. Henceforth there was but one voice in the Southern States, and that for the Confederacy. North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, all refused the President's call for troops. In Virginia a convention was in session, whose members up to that day were in the main for the Union. On April 17 that convention passed an ordinance of secession. The next day the arsenal at Harper's Ferry was seized by the State, and the Southern Confederacy at Montgomery was informed that Virginia was open to its troops. The line of hostility had reached the very boundaries of Washington. The bluffs across the Potomac, now beautiful in the first green of spring, on which Mr. Lincoln looked every morning from his windows in the White House, were no longer in his country. They belonged to the enemy.

With the news of the secession of Virginia, there reached Washington on Thursday, April 18, a rumor that a large Confederate force was marching on the city. Now there were not over 2,500 armed men in Washington. Regiments were known to be on their way from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, but nobody could say when they would arrive. Washington might be razed to the ground before they came. A hurried effort at defense was at once made. Women and children were sent out of the city. At the

White House, Mrs. Lincoln was urged to go with her boys, but she refused positively. "I am as safe as Mr. Lincoln, and I shall not leave him," was her stout answer.

Guards were stationed at every approach to the city, cannon were planted in commanding positions, while "government officials, foreign ministers, governors, senators, officeseekers" were pressed into one or the other of two impromptu organizations, the Clay Battalion of Cassius M. Clay, and the Frontier Guards of Senator Lane of Kansas. For a short time the Frontier Guards were quartered in the East Room of the White House, and Clay's Battalion at Willard's Hotel, which had been stripped of its guests in a night.

The confusion and alarm of the city was greatly increased on Friday by news received from Baltimore. The Sixth Massachusetts, en route to the Capital, had reached there that day, and had been attacked as it marched through by a mob of Southern sympathizers. Four of its members had been killed and many wounded. "No troops should go through Maryland," the people of Baltimore declared, whose purpose was to invade Virginia and coerce sister States." That evening about five o'clock the regiment reached Washington. Dusty, torn, and bleeding, they marched two by two through a great crowd of silent people to the Capitol. Behind them there came, in single line, seventeen stretchers, bearing the wounded. The dead had been left behind.


Early the next day, Saturday, the 20th, a delegation of Baltimore men appeared at the White House. They had come to beg Mr. Lincoln to bring no more troops through their city. After a long discussion, he sent them away with a note to the Maryland authorities, suggesting that the troops be marched around Baltimore. But as he gave them the letter, Mr. Nicolay heard him say laughingly: “If I grant you this concession, that no troops shall pass through the

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