« PreviousContinue »
VIRGINIA FORCED INTO SECESSION.
ratified by the people. At the opening Congress were appointed; troops were of the conrention in Richmond, a ma. sent into the state from further south; jority of its members were decidedly and when the 23d of May arrived, the opposed to the secession of their state ; voting was only to support a foregone but the conspirators, stopping short at conclusion; union men were not safe in nothing, resorted to secret sessions, and casting their suffrages; of course, secesto deriding the weaker members, bul. sion was carried, the actual vote being lying the timid, cajoling the wavering, 128,884 for secession, to 32,134 against. and firing southern pride and passion | Virginia, mad and foolish, joined the in every possible way; so that, three foes of law and order; and bitterly did days after the bombardment of Fort she afterwards find occasion to repent Sumter, they gained their purpose, and of her action.* Virginia was lost.* Although the law As we have said above, there was no required the vote of the people before waiting, no delay in entering upon acsecession could be 'ratified, there was tive measures of hostility. Within no waiting, no scruple on the part of twenty-four hours after the convention the rebels. “For mutual defence,” as had done its work, not only were the Mr. Mason, late Senator, wrote, May Custom House and Post Office at Rich16th, “immediately after the ordinance mond seized upon, but an attack on of secession passed, a treaty, or mili- the United States arsenal at Harper's tary league' was formed by the con. Ferry was made. The possession of rention, in the name of the people of this latter was of prime importance to Virginia, with the Confederate States the rebels. Situated at the junction of of the South, by which the latter were the Shenandoah and Potomac, some bound to march to the aid of our state, sixty miles above Washington, it conagainst the invasion of the Federal stitutes the outer gate to the great valGovernment. And we have now in Vir- ley of Virginia, and offers the readiest ginia, at Harper's Ferry, and at Norfolk, mode of approach from the east to in face of the common foe, several thou. Winchester and the inner region. In sand of the gallant sons of South Caro- addition to the armory with its weapons lina, of Alabama, of Louisiana, Georgia, of war, it contained a large number of and Mississippi, who hastened to fulfil the covenant they made, and are ready * “The second secessionary movement” as the rebels and eager to lay down their lives, side termed it, which was begun by Virginia, added three
other states to the confederacy. Tennessee seceded May by side, with our sons in defence of the 6th, 1861; Arkansas, May 18th ; North Carolina, May soil of Virginia."
21st. Thus, eleven states were arrayed in hostile attitude
against the Constitution and laws. (See note, vol. iii. p. Everything was assumed as being 558.) In regard to Tennessee, however, it may here be com.plete. Members of the Confederate stated that she was never carried into the position of
rebellion by the will of the majority of her people. On * The vote, at the last, was 88 to 55; a majority in the contrary, it was only by the audacity and unscrucreased both by the means above spoken of, and by the pulousness of disunionists, that the secession act was provision noted on a previous page (see vol. iii. 560,) forced upon the people. Andrew Johnson was appointthat Virginia, unless she joined the rebels, would be ed military governor, March 4th, 1862, and in Septemcut off entirely from a market for her slaves.
ber, 1863, the rebel government was quashed entirely,
shops for the manufacture of arms. ily as possible. On the 17th, she was The arsenal was, at the time, in the ready to be moved, and yet Commo
charge of about forty riflemen, dore McCauley refused to allow her de
under command of Lieutenant parture. His excuse was, paltry enough Jones, who was instructed, in case of too, that he relied on the honor and veattack, not to surrender, but to destroy racity of his junior officers, who, by the works. Receiving information that the way, when they had got through at bands of state militia were prepared to Norfolk, coolly resigned and went over seize upon the arsenal, Lieut. Jones to secession. Commodore Paulding was caused all the arms, some 15,000 in sent with the Pawnee, and some Masnumber, to be heaped up ready to be sachusetts troops, on the 20th of April, burned. When, on the night of the to save what he could and destroy the 18th of April, the invaders approached, remainder. When he arrived, he found the trains were fired, and in three min. that the powder magazine had fallen utes the buildings were in flames, and into the hands of the insurgents, and nearly everything was destroyed. that the ships were scuttled and sinkLieut. Junes escaped with his men by ing. Commodore Paulding had them the bridge leading into Maryland, and set on fire, and destroying as much of reached Carlisle barracks in Pennsylva- the public property as was possible, he nia the next afternoon. For this good took the U. S. ship Cumberland in tow, service he was duly thanked and pro- and sailed down the river.* By a moted.
strange fatuity of the government, in Simultaneously with this attack on not making proper provision in order Harper's Ferry, the rebels took active to save public property from the hands measures to get possession of the Navy of thieves and robbers, the confederates Yard at Norfolk. This large and very gained 2,000 pieces of heavy ordnance, raluable depot, with its vast stores of 300 of the guns being of the Dahlgren provisions and materials for naval pur- pattern, and in stores, furniture, etc., poses, its shops and manufactures, was property to the amount of $10,000,000.situated at Gosport, adjoining Portsmouth, on the Elizabeth River, opposite
* Mr. Pollard, of Richmond, with various flourishes
of rhetoric, terms what was done by order of the govNorfolk. It covered an area of three
ernment, “acts of ruthless vandalism," and winds up quarters of a mile in length and a his paragraph, giving an account of the matter, in these
words: “In the midst of the brilliance of the scene quarter in breadth, and it had a dry: (1. e., the conflagration of the ships, etc.) the Pawnee dock of granite, with ship-houses, naval with the Cumberland in tow, stole like a guilty thing hospital, etc. There were twelve ves through the harbor, fleeing from the destruction they
—of sels in the yard, but most of them were War," pp. 65, 66. dismantled and in ordinary. The Mer-. The Senate committee (April 18th, 1862) speaks of
this whole matter with very great and deserved so rimac, a first class frigate of forty guns, verity. The hope of good and true men at Norfolk, was the most important of all. Her who greeted the arrival of the Pawnee with cheer on machinery needed repair
, and steps had cheer,“ was cruelly disappointed by the hasty attempt
to destroy the yard ; and the government afforded the been taken to put her in order as speed- loyal men at Norfolk—as indeed every where else ar
EAGERNESS TO ATTACK WASHINGTON.
It was a painful, mortifying event, ered that both he and we are wholly and rendered all the more so by its crip- indebted for our means of resistance to pling the government, strengthening his loss and our acquisition of the Gosthe secessionists, prolonging the contest, port Navy Yard.” * and giving the enemy so abundant For some time past, the bot-bloods of ground of rejoicing. It was bad enough the South had been crying out for an to meet with losses such as those just attack upon Washington. Its capture, named; but to have the guns stolen they thought, would be no difficult matfrom us turned against us, in Virginia, ter, and its importance to them, as giv. North Carolina and the West, was par. ing them a sort of credit in the eyes ticularly aggravating. Mr. W. H. Pe of the world, they valued very highly. ters, a person appointed by the gov. Various and alarming reports came up ernor of Virginia to make an inventory from all quarters of the seceded of the property acquired by seizing upon states, and the newspapers, as what belonged to the governinent, illus- well as the speechifying demagogues, trates clearly the position of affairs on urged an immediate advance upon the this subject. He writes in this strain :- capital. “The capture of Washington “I had proposed some remarks upon city," said a Richmond paper, April the vast importance to Virginia, and to 23d,“ is perfectly within the power of the entire South, of the timely acqui- Virginia and Maryland, if Virginia will sition of this extensive naval depot, only make the effort by her constituted with its immense supplies of munitions authority; nor is there a single moment of war,
and to notice briefly the dam- to lose. The entire population pant for aging effects of its loss to the govern- the onset. There was never half the ment at Washington; but I deem it un- unanimity among the people before, nor necessary, since the presence at almost a tithe of the zeal upon any subject that every exposed point on the whole south. is now manifested to take Washington ern coast, and at numerous inland in and drive from it every Black Repubtrenched camps in the several states, lican who is a dweller there. From the of heavy pieces of ordnance, with their mountain tops and valleys to the shores equipments and fixed ammunition, all of the sea, there is one wild shout of supplied from this establishment, fully fierce resolve to capture Washington attests the one; while the unwillingness city at all and every human hazard. of the enemy to attempt demonstrations The filthy cage of unclean birds must at any point, from which he is obviously and will assuredly be purified by fire. deterred by the knowledge of its well. The people are determined upon it, and fortified condition, abundantly proves are clamorous for a leader to conduct the other-especially when it is consid- them to the onslaught. That leader
will assuredly rise, aye, and that right that time every possible reason for the conviction speedily." that the rebellion was the winning side, and that de.
Doubtless, from what is now known Fotion to the government could end only in defeat,
* See Richmond Enquirer, February 4th, 1862.
loss, and death."
of the defenceless condition of Wash at the time, and the calm, determined ington at the time, it is quite possible manner in which it was met by the loyal that the rebels might bare seized upon men of Massachusetts. On the 18th the city. Happily, they did not make of April, the Sixth Massachusetts regi. the attempt, and the government was ment passed through New York, where roused to provide for the emergency. it was warmly greeted and cheered on.
On the 18th of April, a body of ward in its noble work in defence of troops, about 500 in number, arrived the common capital of the Union. It from Pennsylvania, unarmed, it is true, reached Philadelphia the same day, and but ready to take their places at the the next morning was forwarded to Balpost of danger. A few days brought timore. The cars reached the depot, on troops from Massachusetts and New the northern side of the city, about ten York, and in a few weeks, under the o'clock, and the troops expected to pass patriotic exertions and energy of the without difficulty in the horse-cars to venerable General Scott, Washington the station, where they were to embark was placed in a position which rendered for Washington. But a crowd was it safe against rebel assault.
found awaiting them, which, like all It was not, however, without toil and crowds under excitement, needed but exposure to outrage and insult that this to be set in motion, in order to proceed result was accomplished. Maryland, to any extreme. Hootings, jeerings, one of the slave states, and having abusive epithets were freely employed; among its population many ardent sym.but these were comparatively harmless, pathizers with secession and its ex- and the troops regarded them with cesses, was so situated as to make it silent contempt. In a little while, stones necessary to march the troops through and other inissiles were used, and the ber territory in order to reach the capi- leaders of the mob exulted in witnessing tal. Baltimore, through which the the patience with which these tou were great line of railroad communication received. Some of the cars were at last between the North and South passed, got through, but four companies yet was a city of not too good reputation, remained in the rear cars. Soon it be. where political questions and discords canie known that the rails were blocked, were concerned; and there were in this and passage was no longer practicable. city not a few disorderly and unscrupu- In the emergency, the Massachusetts lous characters, who were ready to com- men determined to proceed on foot and mit outrage and violence to any extent, join their companions at the depot. when urged on by passion and self-in. They formed in close order, and started; terest. This was made evident by the when immediately the mob, with terriscandalous riot of the 19th of April, in ble threats and denunciations, began Baltimore, the particulars of which we anew the assault with brickbats and put on record, not so much because of stones. Not content with this, shots any importance in the riot itself, as to were fired at them from the streets and show forth the detestable spirit existing houses ; whereupon the commanding
SCANDALOUS RIOT IN BALTIMORE.
officer ordered his men to protect them- On the afternoon of this same 19th selves and return the fire. Amid this of April, the gallant Seventh Regiment shocking and outrageous attack, the of New York, a regiment which stands troops fought their weary way for more high in popular favor in the Empire than a mile, and finally rejoined their City, set out on its way to Washingcomrades. Three of the soldiers were ton. They were aware of what their killed and eight wounded; eleven of countrymen from Massachusetts had the Baltimorians were killed, and a just met with in Baltimore; but they large number wounded. Other troops faltered not; they were prepared to go from Pennsylvania, being without arms, through whatever was before them. after a furious assault upon them by The enthusiasm of the city, as they dethe populace, were finally sent back in parted, was raised to its highest pitch, the cars to Philadelphia.
although no man knew how soon that Law and order, for the time, seemed noble band of soldiers would meet with to be lost. Mayor Brown and police deadly enemies in their path. On marshal Kane, were virtually helpless, as reaching Philadelphia, and finding it well as in sympathy with the rebels, and impossible to go by way of Baltimore, the city to all appearance was given the seventh embarked in the steamer over to mob law and unutterable dis- Boston, to find their way to Washinggrace. The gun shops of the city were ton by water. At Annapolis, thirty plundered at night, and the city author. miles south of Baltimore, they found ities, under an impression of its neces. General Butler with the Eighth Masssity, and also its helpfulness to the cause achusetts regiment. He had, on the of secession, the same night issued an 20th of April, reached Perrysville, on order for the destruction of the railroad the Susquehanna, when ascertaining bridges on the northern routes, as the that the bridges were burned and that only means of impeding the arrival of there were no cars to proceed with, he the Pennsylvania troops on their way, seized the railroad ferry steamboat and preventing a repetition of the con- Maryland, and early the next morning flict of the day; and the order was arrived at Annapolis. The seventh
promptly executed. The great joined the troops under Gen. Butler,
est excitement and apprehen- ingly in sympathy with the slaveholders rebellion, and sion prevailed throughout the city. their few determined Unionists completely overawed The most violent secession sympathies and silenced. The counties near Baltimore, between
that city and the Susquehanna, were actively co-operat. were openly avowed, the flag of the ing with the rebellion, or terrified into dumb submisConfederate States was seen in all di. sion to its b hests. The great populous counties of
Frederick, Washington, and Alleghany, composing rections, and the glorious Stars and Western Maryland, having few slaves—were preStripes were shamefully insulted. No ponderantly loyal ; but they were overawed and para
. more troops, this was their determina- lyzed by the attitude of the rest of the state, and still
more by the large force of rebel Virginians-said to be tion, should pass through their city. *
5,000 strong--who had been suddenly pushed forward
to Harper's Ferry, and threatened Western Maryland *“Baltimore was a secession volcano in full eruption : from that commanding position.”—Greeley's : Ameri while the count 's south of that city were overwhelm. I can Conflict,” vol. i., p. 468