Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog in Real Time - April 15, 1861 - Post #2

From "The Civil War, Day by Day" by E.B. Long & Barbara Long; (Civil War Almanac) Da Capo Press 1971:

Monday, April 15, 1861
     As excitement increased among the peoples of the now warring nations, President Lincoln at Washington publicly issued a proclamation declaring that an insurrection existed, calling out seventy-five thousand militia from the various Northern states and convening Congress in special session on July 4.

From "Three Years in the Army,"  by Charles E. Davis, Jr. (1894):

     The present generation has no conception of the consternation that prevailed among the people of the North when the startling news was received that Fort Sumter had been fired upon.  It aroused the patriotic indignation of the community to the highest pitch of excitement.

     Up to this time most people were skeptical about the possibilities of a war.  Threats of secession had often been made before, by politicians of the South, without being carried into effect.  The feeling of hatred that existed toward the North was not fully appreciated except by a comparatively small number of persons.  Although the air was filled with rumors of war, they were generally believed to be nothing more than the irrepressible mutterings of disgruntled politicians.  Therefore, when the announcement was made that Fort Sumter had been fired upon, it awoke the public mind to a realization that rebellion and secession were at hand.  Public meetings were held in every town and city.  Resolves were passed condemning the outrage, coupled with an expression of determination to avenge the insult to the national flag.

     Such a display of bunting in Boston was never seen before.  Across every street, at the mastheads of vessels lying in the harbor, in the horse-cars and on express-wagons, and upon private houses could be seen the American flag floating in the breeze ; and, indeed, every opportunity was taken to give expression to the prevailing sentiment by displaying the national emblem.

     On the 14th of April Fort Sumter surrendered.  On the 15th a telegram was received by Governor Andrew to forward two regiments, and on the same day the following communication was sent to the Secretary of War :

Boston, April 15, 1861.
To Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War :

SIR:  I have received telegrams from yourself and Brigadier-General Thomas, admonishing me of a coming requisition for twenty companies of sixty-four privates each; and I have caused orders to be distributed to bring the men into Boston before to-morrow night, and to await orders.  Allow me to urge the issue of an order to the Springfield (Mass.) Armory, to double the production of arms at once, and to push the work to the utmost.  If any aid by way  of money or credit is needed from Massachusetts, I hope to be at apprised.  An extra session of our General Court can be called immediately, if need be; and, if called, it will respond to any demand of patriotism.

And I beg you would permit, in addition to suggesting the utmost activity at the Springfield Armory, to urge that the armory at Harper's Ferry be discontinued, and its tools, machinery, and works be transferred elsewhere, or else that it be rigidly guarded against seizure, of the danger of which I have some premonitions.  If any more troops will certainly be needed from Massachusetts, please signify it at once, since I should prefer receiving special volunteers for active militia to detailing any more of our present active militia, especially as many most efficient gentlemen  would like to raise companies or regiments, as the case may be, and can receive enlistments of men who are very ready to serve.

Allow me also to suggest that our forts in Boston Harbor are entirely unmanned.  If authorized, I would put a regiment into the forts at any time.

Two of my staff spent last Saturday in making experiments of the most satisfactory character with Shenkle's new invention in projectiles; and so extraordinary was the firing that I have directed eighteen guns to be rifled, and projectiles to be made.  May I commend this invention to the examination of the United States Government?

I am happy to add that I find the amplest proof of a war devotion to the country's cause on every hand to-day.  Our people are alive.

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