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CHAP. XXXVI.] SUMTER MIGHT HAVE BEEN RELIEVED.
three months' duration, during all of which time it could easily have been re-enforced by vessels running in at night. As a proof of this, witness the ease with which the blockade-runners during the war ran into Charleston, sometimes even through three lines of blockading vessels, and past our batteries on Morris Island."
DETERMINATION OF THE NORTH TO UPHOLD THE REPUBLIC.
The conspirators were constrained by their political necessities to aggression. By the bombardment of Fort Sumter they drew the whole South to their cause. On the other hand, the Northern people rose up as one man to vindicate the honor of the national flag and to sustain the republic.
The plot of the secessionists was to prevent the passage of troops through Baltimore, and to seize Washington while in a defenseless condition. The Northern troops forced their way through Maryland, held that state in subjection, and saved Washington from capture.
"STRIKE a blow: the very moment that blood is shed, Virginia will make common cause with her sisters of the South." "Sprinkle blood in the faces of the people of Alabama, or else they will be back in the Union in less than ten days."
In the interior of Fort Sumter, a Carolinian commissioner, who knew well the frantic condi
for aggression in tion of his people, had sought an interview with Anderson. "Give up the fort; in the name of humanity, I conjure you to give it up, or thousands will howl round these walls, and pull the bricks out with their fingers."
Such were the exclamations of the leaders of secession throughout the South-such the pitch of frenzy to which they had wrought up their people.
Not less intense was the feeling produced in the North as soon as Fort Sumter fell. It found expression, however, in a different manner. Already those constitutional peculiarities which distinguished the two antagonists on many a subsequent bloody field were manifesting them
CHAP. XXXVII.] EFFECT OF THE FALL OF SUMTER.
selves. In the supreme moment of rushing to a charge, the battle-cry of the Southern troops is "a yell of defiance;" that of the Northern troops, a "deep-toned cheer." Very truthfully had the conspirators declared that it would be hard to provoke the North to fight. To the last, when it was certain that war could not be avoided, she hoped against hope; she prayed to be delivered from the trial. When the news came that Sumter had fallen, and that the flag of the nation was dishonored, the instant effect produced Effect of the fall of Was that of solemn silence that silence which, in the resolute man, is the precursor of irrevocable determination; and then there arose all through the country, from the Canadian frontier to where the Ohio, rolling his waters westwardly for a thousand miles, separates the lands of freedom from those of slavery, not the yell of defiance, but the deep-toned cheer. The political interpretation of the effect of the bom bardment of Sumter on the North is that it at once produced a coalescence of the Union and anti-slavery sentiment; on the South it irresistibly carried whatever Union sentiment existed into secession. On each side of the Ohio the populations were unified. That river at once became their separating line.
Reluctance of the North to enter on the war.
Interpretation of that effect.
In vain some of the journals, which, through their anEffect on the jour- tipathy to the Republican party, had leaned nalism of the North. to the slave interest, accused the government of commencing war, and blamed it for irritating South Carolina by sending relief to Fort Sumter; in vain they declared that the South, fighting for its dearest interests, could never be conquered; in vain they clamored for a treaty of peace, and begged that the dissatisfied states might be permitted to depart: the people intuitively saw the true position of affairs, and that the only
course to be taken was an energetic support of the gov
The journals, which drift with public opinion, felt that it was impossible to resist the torrent, and, as is their cus tom, boisterously proclaimed that they had all along counseled the policy which it was evident must now be followed. Some of them, which but a few days previ ously had accused Lincoln of picking a quarrel with the South, became at once his loud supporters. The North would no longer tolerate treason, no matter what guise it might assume.
DETERMINATION OF THE NORTH.
The garrison of Fort Sumter lowered their flag and marched out of the work on Sunday, April
The surrender of the
fort followed by the 14th. Next morning appeared the procla mation of the President of the United States (p. 25), calling forth the militia, appealing to the people, and summoning an extra session of Congress.
The governors of all the Northern States at once responded to the proclamation; they infused
the North to resist energy into the administration. To an eyewitness there was something very impress ive in the action of the people. A foreign observer remarked, "With them all is sacrifice, devotion, grandeur and purity of purpose-with the poor, if possible, even more than with the rich." In the large cities great meetings were held, in which men of all parties united. Par ty lines vanished. There was none of that frantic delirium which was manifested in the Slave States, but a solemn acceptance of what was clearly recognized to be a fearful but unavoidable duty-"Faint not, falter not; the republic is in peril."
If the Northern communities had been thrown into a Contemplated seiz- momentary reverie, followed by indignation ure of Washington. at the outrage on the national flag at Fort Sumter, they were thoroughly roused to resistance on
CHAP. XXXVII.] RUMORED SEIZURE OF WASHINGTON.
finding that an attempt was forthwith to be made for the seizure of Washington City. The highway to that capital lay through Baltimore. The plot of the secessionists was for Maryland to stop the passage of all re-enforcements through her territory, under the plea that such proceedings outraged her sovereignty, and Virginia might then, with a prospect of success, attempt to capture the place.
Once committed to the insurrection, there were four great captures which it was essential that Virginia should make: (1.) Washington City; (2.) Fortress Monroe; (3.) The Armory at Harper's Ferry; (4.) The Navy Yard at Norfolk. She did accomplish the third and fourth; the first and second were beyond her power. Had she been able to carry out her intention fully, the Union would have been in the most imminent peril. The loss of Fortress Monroe would have been a great military calamity to the nation; that of Washington would perhaps have been fatal.
It is one of the duties devolving on Virginia.
Plans for its ac
All through the winter there had been rumors that the Virginians contemplated a surprise of Washcomplishment. ington. When it was plain that their state was on the brink of secession, it became certain that the attempt would be made. It was expected that a few resolute conspirators would carry it by a coup de main. A Texan adventurer was affirmed to be at the head of the plot. The President, his cabinet, and other chief officers of state were to be sent as hostages to the South. Not that there was any intention of a permanent occupation under Southern rule. All that was proposed was to blow up the Capitol and the Treasury building, to burn the President's house and other public edifices, and to leave in the blackened wreck of the ruined city a proof to the world that the Union was ruined.