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eran Lieutenant General was advising its abandonment as a military necessity. The wisdom of Mr. Lincoln's waiting became evident at a day not too long delayed. Fort Pickens, which the rebels had not taken, was quietly reinforced, and when the vessels which carried the relief were dispatched, Mr. Lincoln gave official information to General Beauregard that provisions were to be sent to Major Anderson in Fort Sumter, by an unarmed vessel. He was determined that no hostile act on the part of the government should commence the war, for which both sides were preparing; although an act of open war had already transpired in Charleston harbor, for which the rebel forces were responsible. The steamer Star of the West, loaded with troops and provisions for Major Anderson, was fired upon and driven out of the harbor two months before the expiration of Mr. Buchanan's term of office. The supplying the garrison with food was an act of humanity, and not an act of war, except as it might be so construed.
Beauregard laid this last intelligence before his Secretary of War, and under special instructions, on the twelfth of April, he demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter. He was ready to make the demand, and to back it by force. The city of Charleston was full of troops, and, for months, batteries had been in course of construction, with the special purpose of compelling the surrender of the fort. Major Anderson had seen these batteries going up, day after day, without the liberty to fire a gun. He declined to surrender. He was called upon to state when he would evacuate the fort. He replied that on the fifteenth he would do so, should he not meantime receive controlling instructions from the government, or additional supplies. The response which he received was that the confederate batteries would open on Fort Sumter in one hour from the date of the message. The date of the message was "April 12, 1861, 3:30 A. M." Beauregard was true to his word. At half past four, the batteries opened upon the fort, which, after a long and terrible bombardment, and a gallant though comparatively feeble defense by a small and halfstarved garrison, was surrendered the following day.
This was practically the initial act of war. Mr. Lincoln, by his determined forbearance, had thrown the onus of its commencement upon the rebel government. Never by word, or deed, or declared or concealed intention, had he wronged the South, or denied its rights under the Constitution. By no hostile act had he provoked war. From the time he had first opened his lips as President of the United States, he had breathed none but pacific words. He had claimed the least that he could claim for the government, and still preserve a show of right and power. Upon the heads of the conspirators rested every particle of responsibility for the beginning of the war, and the train of horrors that followed. The rebellion was conceived in perjury, brought forth in violence, cradled in ignorance, and reared upon spoil. It never had an apology for existence that will be entertained for a moment at the bar of history. It never was anything from its birth to its death but a crime-a crime against Christianity, against patriotism, against humanity, against civilization, against progress, against personal and political honor, against the people who were forced to support it, against the people who voluntarily put it down, and against that God to whom it blasphemously appealed for justification, and arrogantly prayed for success.
The fall of Sumter was the resurrection of patriotism. The North needed just this. Such a universal burst of patriotic indignation as ran over the North under the influence of this insult to the national flag has never been witnessed. It swept away all party lines as if it had been flame and they had been flax. No combination of moral influences could thus have united in one feeling and purpose the elements which the fire from those batteries welded into a burning union. All disloyalty was silenced. Compromise was a word that had no significance. "Coercion"-a word which had had a fearful meaning among the timid-lost its terrors. There was a universal desire, all over the North, to avenge the foul insult. It was worth a life-time of indifference or discord to feel and to see a nation thus once more united in thought and purpose, and to realize that underneath all divisions of party and sect,
and deeper down than selfish interest and personal prejudice, there was a love of country which made us a nation.
Now was the time for Mr. Lincoln to act. Up to this date he had had no basis for action in the popular feeling. If he had raised an army, that would have been an act of hostilitythat would have been a threat of "coercion." A thousand northern presses would have pounced upon him as a provoker of war. On the fifteenth of April he issued a proclamation, calling upon the loyal states for seventy-five thousand men to protect the national capital, and suppress such combinations as had been made to resist the inforcement of the laws of the United States. "I appeal" said Mr. Lincoln, in this proclamation, "to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity and existence of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress the wrongs already long enough endured." The first service, he stated, to which the forces thus called for would be subjected would be to repossess the forts, places and property taken from the Union by the rebels. By the same proclamation he convened both Houses of Congress to assemble on the fourth of July.
The utterance of this proclamation was so clearly a necessity, and was so directly a response to the uprising of the people, that not a voice was raised against it. It was received with no small degree of excitement, but it was a healthy excitement. It was a necessity; and loyal men everywhere felt that the great struggle between slavery and the country was upon them. "Better that it should be settled by us than by our children,” said men, everywhere; and in their self-devotion they were encouraged by their mothers, sisters and wives. The South knew that war must come, and they were prepared. Nearly all the southern forts were already in their hands. They had robbed the northern arsenals through the miscreant Floyd. They had cut off the payment of all debts due the North. They had ransacked the mails, so that the government could have no communication with its friends and forces. They had been instructing officers for years, and drilling
troops for months. They knew that there were not arms enough in the North to furnish an army competent to overcome them. When, therefore, Mr. Lincoln called for his seventyfive thousand men, they met the proclamation with a howl of derision.
Massachusetts was the first state to respond to the call for troops. Governor Andrew, a devoted friend of the administration, acted as promptly then in the support of the government as he afterwards labored with efficient persistence in the destruction of the rebellion; but the credit of having the troops ready for motion and action was due mainly to the foresight of Governor N. P. Banks, afterwards a Major General in the federal service. He was Governor Andrew's predecessor; and three years before the breaking out of the rebellion declared, when rallied on his devotion to the military, that the troops would be called upon within a few years to suppress a slaveholders' rebellion. The prediction seemed very wild then, and probably would never have been recalled but for its exact fulfillment. The troops which he had made ready, Governor Andrew, coming after him, promptly dispatched.
The moral effect of the marching of the Massachusetts Sixth was very great. The hearts of the people were stirred all along their route by the most powerful emotions. They were fed and applauded at every considerable station. Women thronged around the cars, bringing to them their Bibles and other gifts, and giving them their tearful blessing. New York city was much impressed by their sturdy march through the great metropolis. It was a new sensation. Men forgot their counting-rooms and ware-houses, and gave themselves up to the emotions excited by so prompt and gallant an exhibition of patriotism. But the tramp of the Sixth awoke the young men everywhere to deeds of emulation. Within fortyeight hours after this regiment left Boston, two more regiments had been made ready, and were dispatched. On its way through Baltimore; the Sixth Regiment was attacked by a mob, carrying a secession flag, and several of its members killed and wounded. This outrage added new fuel to the fire.
The North was growing angry. The idea that a loyal regiment could not pass through a nominally loyal city, on its way to protect the national capital, without fighting its way through, aroused a storm of indignation that swept over the whole of loyal America.
Governor Hicks of Maryland and Mayor Brown of Baltimore were frightened. They did not wish to have any more troops taken through Baltimore. Mr. Lincoln assured them that he made no point of bringing troops through that city, and that he left the matter with General Scott, who had said in his presence that the troops might be marched around Baltimore. By this arrangement a collision with the people of Baltimore would be avoided, unless they should go out of the way to seek it. "Now and ever," said Mr. Lincoln, in closing a note to these gentlemen, "I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of the government."
Governor Hicks wished the quarrel between the North and South referred to Lord Lyons, the British minister, for arbitration. To this Mr. Seward, speaking for the President, made a most admirable reply, stating that whatever noble sentiments, once prevalent in Maryland, had been obliterated, the President would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is one that would forever remain there and everywhere. That sentiment is that no domestic contention whatever, that may arise among the parties of this republic, ought, in any case, to be referred to any foreign arbitrament-least of all to the arbitrament of a foreign monarchy.'
Governor Hicks occupied, without doubt, a difficult position. Out of ninety-two thousand votes cast at the presidential election, only a little more than two thousand had been cast for Mr. Lincoln. More than forty-two thousand votes had been given for Mr. Breckinridge, and almost an equal number for John Bell. Maryland was a southern slave-holding state, and the sympathies of four persons in every five were with the rebellion. His people threatened him, while the government would have its troops, and insisted that they should pass through Maryland.