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DIARY,

OR

NOTES ON THE WAR.

DIARY, OR NOTES ON THE WAR.

April 10, 1861. The presidential election took place on the 6th of November last. The canvass had been conducted in all the Southern or slave States in such a manner as to prevent a perfectly candid hearing there of the issue involved, and so all the parties existing there were surprised and disappointed in the marked result. That disappointment was quickly seized for desperate purposes by a class of persons until that time powerless, who had long cherished a design to dismember the Union and build up a new confederacy around the Gulf of Mexico. Ambitious leaders hurried the people forward, in a factious course; observing conventional forms, but violating altogether the deliberative spirit of their constitutions. When the new federal administration came in on the 4th of March last, it found itself confronted by an insurrectionary combination of seven States, practising an insidious strategy to seduce eight other States into its councils.

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April 22, 1861. Five months ago sedition showed itself openly in several of the Southern States, and it has acted ever since that time with boldness, skill, and energy. An insurrectionary government, embracing seven members of this Union, has been proclaimed under the name of "the Confederate States of America." That pretended authority, by means chiefly of surprise, easily seen here to have been unavoidable, although liable to be misunderstood abroad, has possessed itself of a navy yard, several fortifications and arsenals, and considerable quantities of arms, ordnance, and military stores. On the 12th of April, instant, its forces commenced an attack upon, and ultimately carried, Fort Sumter, against the brave and heroic resistance of a diminutive garrison, which had been, through the neglect of the former administration, left in a condition to prevent supplies and reinforcements.1

1 See despatch to Wood, May 1, 1861.

The President improved the temporary misfortune of the fall of Fort Sumter by calling on the militia of the States to reinforce the Federal army, and summoning Congress for its counsel and aid in the emergency. On the other hand, the insurrectionists have met those measures with an invitation to privateers from all lands to come forth and commit depredations on the commerce of the country.

May 4, 1861.-The insurgents have instituted revolution with open, flagrant, deadly war to compel the United States to acquiesce in the dismemberment of the Union. The United States have accepted this civil war as an inevitable necessity. The constitutional remedies for all the complaints of the insurgents are still open to them, and will remain so. But, on the other hand, the land and naval forces of the Union have been put into activity to restore the Federal authority and to save the Union from danger.

There is not now, nor has there been, nor will there be any, the least idea existing in this government of suffering a dissolution of this Union to take place in any way whatever.

July 26, 1861. — Our army of the Potomac on Sunday last met a reverse equally severe and unexpected. For a day or two the panic which had produced the result was followed by a panic that seemed to threaten to demoralize the country. But that evil has ceased. The result is already seen in a vigorous reconstruction on a scale of greater magnitude and increased enthusiasm. The exaggerations of the result have been as great as the public impatience, perhaps, which brought it about. But the affair will not produce any serious injury. The strength of the insurrection is not broken, but it is not formidable. The vigor of the government will be increased, and the ultimate result will be a triumph of the Constitution. Do not be misled by panic reports of danger apprehended for the capital.

July 30, 1861.-You will be pained by the intelligence of a reverse of our arms near Manassas Junction, and I fear it will, for a time, operate to excite apprehensions and encourage the enemies of the Union in Europe; but the blow has already spent its force here without producing any other effect than renewed resolution and confidence in the success of the government. The lesson that war cannot be waged successfully without wisdom as well as patriotism has been received at a severe cost; but, perhaps it was necessary. It is certain that we are improving upon it.

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