« PreviousContinue »
out of the gate with their flags flying and drums beating. The steamer Isabel carried Anderson and his men to the Baltic, and at nightfall they were on their way north.
April 15, the day after the surrender, the president issued his proclamation calling "forth the militia of the several states of the Union" to the number of seventy-five thousand men, in order to suppress "combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law," and "to cause the laws to be duly executed." Congress was called to convene July 4. An immediate effect of the proclamation was the secession of Virginia, April 17, the conservative elements of the state convention, although in the majority, being overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and impetus of the secession attack. Another prompt result was the formation of the northwestern counties into what is now West Virginia.
Fox's expedition, however abortive in a physical sense, did much more than attempt to succor Sumter; it was the instrument through which the fort was held to the accomplishment of the fateful mistake of the Confederacy in striking the first blow. It prevented the voluntary yielding of the fort, and was an exhibition of the intention of the government to hold its own. It was thus elemental in its effects. Had Anderson withdrawn and hauled down his flag without a shot from the South, it
would have been for the Federal government to strike the first blow of war; and its call for men would have met with a different response to that which came from the electric impulse which the firing upon the flag caused to vibrate through the North. This expectation was the basis of Lincoln's determination. Almost alone, unmovable by cabinet or war department, he saw with the certainty of the seer what holding Sumter meant, and continued on the unchangeable way which from the first he had taken. In his letter of sympathy to Fox, May 1, he said: "You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter even if it should fail, and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result." 1
The enthusiastic response of the North to the proclamation was witness to the truth of Lincoln's view, as well as to the North's determination that the offended dignity of the Union should be avenged, its strongholds regained, its boundaries made intact, and that the United States be proved to be a nation. It was for this the Union fought; the freeing of the blacks was but a natural and necessary incident. The assault upon Sumter was the knife driven by the hand of the South itself into the vitals of slavery.
While the struggle thus begun was to desolate 1 Naval War Records, IV., 251.
the South and wring the hearts of millions, it was to revivify the Union as a whole and arouse the South into a life far exceeding, in its moral and economic sides alike, any which could have been possible under its ancient régime. However great the loss of life and property, however distressing the destruction of so much of the flower of northern and southern manhood, and of a social organization which had been the growth of two centuries, the outcome, besides the vital one of nationality, has been one of greatest good for both sections; for the North, through the ideals which come through such self-sacrifice; for the South, immeasurable in freeing both whites and blacks from conditions which made development impossible to both. The negro is now given the greatest and most favorable opportunity in his race history, in having the uplift of association on fair terms with a numerous and highly civilized race, an association necessary for his success. The whites are freed from the enforced segregation of the great mass on lonely farms, with no outlook beyond, which was their sole portion; they have been drawn into the highways of progress, and can take, and are taking, a fair and equal share in the expansion of the country such as never could have come under slavery. The South's salvation demanded that it should, through freedom, take up the march of the world. Even the shade of Calhoun cannot be altogether dissatisfied.
CRITICAL ESSAY ON AUTHORITIES
'HE materials bearing upon the initial subject of this book, the earlier causes leading to the war, are largely cited in the critical essays in other volumes of this series; notably in Albert Bushnell Hart, Slavery and Abolition (XVI.); George P. Garrison, Westward Extension (XVII.); Theodore C. Smith, Parties and Slavery (XVIII.); and James K. Hosmer, Appeal to Arms (XX.). An excellent general list is John Russell Bartlett, Catalogue of Books and Pamphlets Relating to the Civil War in the United States (1866); also, J. T. Ritchie, Lincolniana, a List of Lincolniana in the Library of Congress (1906); C. H. Van Tyne and W. G. Leland, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (Carnegie Institution, Publications, No. 14).
GENERAL SECONDARY WORKS
Hermann E. von Holst, Constitutional History of the United States (7 vols., 1885-1892), is the completest study of the constitutional aspects of events up to 1860, but is wanting in any true comprehension of the South and its conditions. James Schouler, History of the United States under the Constitution (6 vols., 1880-1897), is an excellent record of events, told with entertaining vigor, with accuracy, and with good references. James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 (7 vols., 1893-1906), gives in the introductory chapters an excellent review of the political aspects of slavery; the first three volumes cover
the period of the present work; it is eminently fair and judicial in treatment; its notes and references are of great value to the student, and it must long remain the most complete study of the events of this period. The American Statesmen series, edited by John T. Morse, Jr., is of value for a general view of the first half of the last century, but its deficiency in references is a great defect. Horace Greeley, The American Conflict (2 vols., 1864), is strongly partisan, but the first volume contains much valuable material in extracts from documents and references. Henry Wilson, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power (3 vols., 1875-1877), is suggestive, but it must be remembered that it is the work of a strong partisan. William Henry Smith, A Political History of Slavery (2 vols., 1903), has some value as the work of a journalist conversant with the newspaper world of the period immediately preceding the Civil War. John Codman Ropes, The Story of the Civil War (2 vols., 1899, unfinished), devotes the first seven chapters to an excellent analysis of the beginning of the war. E. W. R. Ewing, Northern Rebellion and Southern Secession (1904), though ill-arranged and discursive, is of value in giving a southern view of northern action and legislation in the period of the incubation of secession. John C. Reed, Brothers' War (1905), is a book of value dealing with the causes of divergence, with appreciations of Calhoun, Webster, Davis, and Toombs, and with a study of the negro. George Lunt, Origin of the Late War (1866), gives the views of a Massachusetts moderate Whig in sympathy with the South; the book is a good, conservative presentation of the subject. J. W. Draper, History of the Civil War (3 vols., 1871), highly philosophical but suggestive; John W. Burgess, Civil War and the Constitution (2 vols., 1903), I.; and Samuel H. Harding, Missouri Party Struggles in the Civil War Period (Am. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1890), are of interest in connection with the beginnings of the strife.
Of particular value in the story of Fort Sumter, on which hinged the great question of the time, is Samuel W. Crawford (surgeon at Sumter, later brevet major - general),