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to assume a reverential position as the chaplain stepped forth in the midst and offered up an earnest prayer, a prayer, says one who was present, which was such an appeal for sup‐ port, encouragement, and mercy as one would make who felt that man's extremity is God's opportunity.' After he had ceased, and the earnest 'Amen' from manly lips died away in the hollow casemates, the commander hauled up the flag, and the band saluted it with Hail Columbia!"" Such was certainly an unwonted mode of expressing even indifference, not to say treason, in the nation's behalf; and if he did not act wisely, it was not because he did not invoke the wisdom that cometh from above. Of the general estimate in which the services of this highly meritorious officer were received, there were not wanting many and grateful tokens. Cities, associations, and individuals vied with each other in the expression of their appreciation and admiration, and costly medals, boxes, and swords were fitting testimonials of this regard. President Lincoln showed his estimate of the man and his deeds by advancing him to the rank of brigadiergeneral, while, at the earnest solicitation of loyal Kentuckians, he was assigned to the military command of their State.
The governor of the State and the Rebel commander visited the fortress thus evacuated, and raised the Confederate flag over its ruins. Governor Pickens, after the surrender, addressed the people of Charleston, declaring the war opened, and affirming that they would conquer or perish. Saying that they had humbled the flag, he defiantly proclaimed: “We have lowered it in humility before the Palmetto and Confederate flag," and left it "humbled, and humbled before the glorious little State of South Carolina."
Doubt and hesitation.
Its sudden dissipation. - President's Proclamation. Call for troops. Responses of governors. Great uprising. — Meetings in Philadelphia and New York. - Speeches in Union Square. - Dickinson, Coddington, Walker, Baker, Cushing, Mitchell, Douglas. - Harmony of sentiment and action. - Conservative and unpatriotic utterances. - Southern contempt. Mutual misapprehension. -Jefferson Davis's Proclamation. — Letters of marque. Blockade. Destruction of American commerce.
THE persistent doubt and hesitation and even the proclaimed reluctance of the North to attribute to the South a purpose to resort to actual hostilities was a surprise, if not to its own people, to others. The celebrated war correspondent of the London "Times," writing from New York as late as March, speaks of that city as "full of divine calm and human phlegm"; as "willing to do anything but fight"; as simply desirous "to eat her own bread and honey and count her dollars in peace." He quoted a prominent secessionist as saying that no concessions or compromises could "induce us to join any confederacy of which the New England States were members," and a prominent Republican who said that if he could bring back the Southern States by holding up his little finger, he would think "it a criminal offence to do so." No doubt this well expressed the attitude of many; but these were the sentiments of by no means a majority. A more potent and general sentiment was the prevailing conviction that neither would fight, the South distrusting the courage of the North, and the North unable to believe that the South would be guilty of the ineffable folly of forsaking, in the interests of slavery, the Union which it had learned to regard its main, if not its only, defence.
But all this hesitation and doubt were to cease as suddenly and decisively as they had been unaccountable and persistent. The South was guilty of the very madness the North had deemed impossible, and the North revealed the grateful fact that its love of country, though long dormant, was real, and its patriotism, though tardy in its action, was equal to the occasion. While the sprinkling of blood in the faces of the people, that Gilchrist had called for, had answered the end he had indicated, and the prediction of Pryor, that "the very moment that blood is shed, old Virginia will make common cause with her sisters in the South," was soon to be fulfilled, both unifying and intensifying Southern sentiment and feeling against the Union, the tiger-like argument that found its efficacy in the taste of blood, the North was aroused to a corresponding purpose in the nation's behalf. It is hardly a figure of speech to say that the cannonading of Fort Sumter during the 12th and 13th of April, 1861, was heard throughout the land, and that its reverberations penetrated its remotest parts. At the North it was as if an angel's trump had awakened its sleeping millions. Springing to arms, all unprepared and despoiled as they found themselves by the fraud of the administration that had just retired, they hastened to the rescue. While the patriotism of the people, as if by magic, flowered in the flags flung to the breeze from every building, public and private, its rich fruitage almost as quickly appeared in the stern resolve to sacrifice life and property of the gathering multitudes, who were responding to their country's call. As the "Red, White, and Blue" became the prevailing color of personal apparel and adornment, so it became the oft-repeated theme of editorial, speech, and sermon, the stirring refrain of songs that gave expression to the growing enthusiasm of the popular thought and feeling. "Heart throbbed to heart," said one, "lip spoke to lip, with a oneness of feeling that seemed like a Divine inspiration." "Seemed "? Was it not Divine? Can there be without such factor any satisfactory theory of this wonderful uprising of the people, as great a surprise to themselves as to the world, which looked on with admiration at the sudden trans
formation? The strange and unexpected fusing into one glowing mass of the hitherto variant and discordant materials which enter so largely into the composition of American society could have been effected by nothing less potent. Not the Christian alone is compelled to recognize the Divine hand in the production of the marvellous events of those early days of the great Rebellion.
On Monday morning, the 15th of April, the day following the evacuation of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln issued a proclamation apprising the nation of this bloody assault upon its integrity, and summoning the people to its defence. He called for seventy-five thousand men to suppress, he said, combinations in the Confederate States, "too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings." He appealed to all loyal citizens to aid in this effort to maintain the honor, integrity, and existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to " redress wrongs already long enough endured." He commanded the persons composing these lawless combinations to disperse and return to their homes within twenty days. He convened Congress to meet on the 4th of July. On the same day Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, issued a circular, calling for ninety-four regiments, and assigning to each State that had not seceded, excepting California and Oregon, the number of men it was to furnish.
The governors of all the free States east of the Rocky Mountains were Republican, with the exception of William Sprague of Rhode Island. The governors of the eight Southern States which had not seceded, with the exception of Governor Hicks of Maryland, were Democrats. Six of these, as has been noted in a previous chapter, promptly and defiantly refused the President's demand, on the States-rights theory that the Federal government had no right to coerce a State, and the impracticable ground of maintaining an impartial neutrality between the contending parties. On the other hand the loyal governors and the States they represented responded with wonderful alacrity to the President's appeal. These responses were couched in various forms. In addition to the official replies of
the former, the latter spoke from pulpit, press, and platform, and in the individual utterances of those who thus gave voice to the grand and growing enthusiasm of the hour. Prominent among these popular demonstrations were public meetings in the cities.
Philadelphia and its mayor had been among the most obse quious to the Slave Power, and, after Mr. Lincoln's election, most prompt in demands for further concessions. That city was now the foremost in responding to the calls of the government; and her mayor promptly declared, by the grace of Almighty God, treason should never rear its head or have a foothold in Philadelphia. On the 20th of April, five days after the President's proclamation, an immense meeting, estimated at more than a hundred thousand men, was held in the city of New York. The merchants of that city, who a few weeks before had been so ready to concede everything to Southern demands, closed their places of business and hastened to Union Square. Four stands were erected, and four presidents -John A. Dix, Hamilton Fish, William F. Havemeyer, and Moses H. Grinnell - were appointed. John A. Dix emphati cally declared that he regarded the "contest with the secessionists as a death struggle for constitutional liberty and law." Daniel S. Dickinson; long one of the leaders of the "Hunker" Democracy of New York, proclaimed the question to be "between union and anarchy, between law and disorder, and that there was no time for hesitation or indecision." David S. Coddington, also a member of the Democratic party, declared what secession meant. "Its policy," he said, "is to imperialize slavery and to degrade and destroy the only free republic in the world." Robert J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury during President Polk's administration, avowed that he saw nothing to condemn in President Lincoln's efforts to save the Union; that he loved the Democratic party, but he loved the country better. "This Union," he said, "must and will be perpetual." Senator Baker of Oregon spoke with surpassing eloquence. "We have committed," he said, "no oppression, have broken no compact, have exercised no unholy power; have been loyal, moderate, constitutional, and just." He said