1861 April 14: Reaction from Around the Country
Articles dated April 14 from the April 17, 1861, issue of The Hudson North Star. Articles with an asterisk also appear in the April 20, 1861, issue of The Prescott Transcript.
Charleston, April 14.
The Steamer Nashville1 from New York, arrived here at 3 o’clock on Saturday morning [the 13th, before the surrender]. An eye witness of the firing Friday night says it was terrifically grand, and reached its climax at 10 o’clock at night, when the sky was overcast by rain clouds.
The streets were filled with people nearly all night, also the houses and shipping, and every available place. Towards morning the firing diminished, a few hundred shots only were fired and replied to only accasionally [sic] by Sumpter [sic].—When the fire and smoke were first seen issuing from Fort Sumpter is [sic] was supposed to be only a signal to the ships which were in the offing, apparently blockading the port as they remained quietly at anchor.
The sand battery was scarcely injured by the weak fire kept up by Major Anderson.2 Scarcely a missile from this battery missed Sumpter. The floating battery proved impenetrable.—Every shot from it told on Sumpter.
Shells from the mortars at Mt. Pleasant battery were thrown with great precision. While Sumpter was on fire Anderson was obliged to put it out. Twice he succeeded, and to do this his men had to go outside the walls and pass water through the port-holes, being exposed to a terific [sic] fire. This was not until the fort was on fire for the third time and the flames had increased to an alarming extent. After a few moments he ordered them in and shut the holes, as the smoke was to [sic] thick to work them. At noon the flames burst from every part of it and the destruction was complete.
Negotiations were completed last night. Anderson’s command will evacuate in the morning, and embark on the war vessels now off the harbor. Five of Anderson’s men were wounded—one mortally. After the surrender, a boat with ten men was sent from a ship-of-war outside to Morris Island, requesting permission for a vessel to take off Anderson’s command. It is reported that Anderson surrendered because the quarters and barracks were destroyed, and he had no hope of re-inforcement from the fleet which lay by thirty hours, and could not or would not help him. His men were prostrated by over exertion. The explosions heard at Sumpter were caused by a lot of shells igniting. The barracks caught three times, from hot shot, from Moultrie. Everything is ruined but the casements. Many guns are dismantled, and the walls look like honey comb. Moultrie is badly damaged. The houses on the Island are riddled.
Washington, April 14.
The president will issue to-morrow a proclamation calling out seventy-five thousand militia to suppress combinations in the seceded states and cause laws to be executed. Their first service probably will be to repossess forts which have been seized from the Union. He convenes Congress on the fourth of July. The War Department is busy preparing details to communicate to states.
Arrangements have been made to concentrate the military at any threatened point. The greatest anxiety prevails to hear further from the South. It is rumored that an attack will be attempted on Fort Delaware.3 The War department has taken steps to prevent it. Five officers of the navy tendered their resignations and were refused. Their names will probably be stricken from the list.
National volunteers have passed resolutions denouncing the military operations of the Government and expressing sympathy with the secessionists. The Guard at the War Department largely increased.
Senator Douglas2 called on the President tonight. he had an interesting conversation on the present condition of the country. The substance of it was, on the part of Mr. Douglas, that while he was unalterably opposed to the administration on all its political issues, he was prepared to sustain the President in the exercise of all his constitutional functions to preserve the Union, maintain the government, and defend the federal capital. Firm policy and prompt action were necessary. The capital of our country is in danger, and must be protected at any hazard and at any expense of men and money. He spoke of the present and future, without reference to the past. Mr. Lincoln was very much gratified with the interview.
Official advices from Montgomery indicate that the Confederate Congress, on reassembling, will at once declare war against the United States. It is believed that in the act of declaration a distinction will be made between alien friends and alien enemies—the former including the border states, and such citizens of the north as oppose a coercive administration. All obligations to this class are as much to be respected as though in times of peace.
Efforts are still making to concentrate a formidable military force in and around Washington to be prepared against all emergencies. Information continues to be received from private sources of a secret plot, in various localities in Maryland, all having in view the seizure of the public property and even the persons of the highest officers of the government. It is true that these accounts were not generally credited; but they were believed in official quarters.
Albany, April 14.
It is rumored that Gov. Morgan4 received despatches from the President asking aid from the state. Lincoln’s reply to the Virginia commissioners is deemed unsatisfactory by Republicans and Democrats; the former think it is not decided enough, and the latter believe it initiates civil war.
The New York Herald‘s despatch says that Lincoln received the news of Major Anderson’s surrender with the remark that he was not surprised.
The seventieth and sixty-ninth regiments have volunteered for the defence5 of Washington.
Alexandria, Va., April 14.
A meeting was held here to form a homeguard. Resolutions to resist the northern aggression were adopted. Several speakers advocated secession. Others argued in favor of a convention to unite the border states.
*Baltimore, April 14.
The Union feeling in this city has been unmistakably displayed since Friday. Men with cockades and secession emblems have been chased by crowds, and protected by the police. The bark Fanny Finshan hoisted a secession flag, and a crowd compelled a boy on the vessel to take it down. The captain afterwards re-hoisted it, and it required a detachment of thirty policemen to protect it from the people. The indignation is intense. All the other vessels in port hoisted the American flag.
Buffalo, April 14.
The accounts received to-night from numerous cities represent intense excitement among the militia. They are volunteering their services, and a general determination to support government is manifested.
Chicago, April 14.
The news of the surrender of Fort Sumpter created profound sensation, and was at first discredited. When later despatches arrived confirming previous reports, the excitement was intense. All parties express determination to uphold the government.
Governor Yates6 will issue a proclamation to-morrow, calling an extra session of the Legislature to meet at Springfield a week from next Tuesday.
*Columbus, Ohio, April 14.
Adjutant General Carrington7 has just issued orders carrying into effect the military laws just enacted by the General Assembly of Ohio, and providing for six thousand regular militia, besides militia of reserve of not less than 35,000 men to be subject to immediate transfer into regular force. The regular militia has been organized into twenty-five regiments, which, upon a war basis, would make 25,000 men. On Saturday his office was thronged by persons eagerly inquiring for news, and offering their services irrespective of party.
Detroit, April 14.
War news created profound sensation. The unanimous sentiment is that the position assumed by the Government must be maintained. An impromptu meeting of members of Detroit bar and influential citizens, yesterday afternoon, composed of all parties, passed resolutions denouncing rebellion and the organization called the Confederate States, and declaring intention to stand by the old flag at all hazards. Another meeting of citizens to be held to-morrow night.
Erie, April 14.
The news from the South creates the most intense feeling. Men of all parties express their determination to stand by the Government and fight for the supremacy of the United States flag. All our volunteer companies will offer their services to the Government to-morrow.
Madison, Ind., April 14.
A large and enthusiastic Union meeting was held last night, a number of patriotic speeches were made, and the following resolution passed:
Resolved, That we will, with all means in our power maintain the Government and flag of the United States.
Several volunteer companies are forming here.
New York, April 14.
Advices from Albany state that Gov. Morgan will issue a call to-morrow for 25,000 men for the assistance of the federal government. A private letter from Gov. Curtin2 to a prominent citizen of New York, states that he can have 100,000 Pennsylvanians in Washington in forty-eight hours if required.
The Times Charleston correspondent, Jasper,8 has been arrested as a spay and ordered to quit the state.
Philadelphia, April 14.
The war feeling is rampant. People incredulous about Sumpter news. Two regiments of militia will be ready to march in a few days.
The reported project to seize Fort Dalaware3 [sic] causes much excitement. It is now commanded by Capt. Porter, of Virginia, who it is reported designs to resign if Virginia seceeds. Fort Mifflin9 is a delapidated [sic] affair, how in charge of Sergeant Bromrey and one man.—The naval magazine adjoining Fort Mifflin is in charge of Mr. Bunker, a veteran of sixty years service.
Volunteers are making preparations so as to be ready to respond instantly to the call of the Governor or President. New regiments are forming, to consist of 1,000 men each, to arm, when a portion of the state appropriation will be required. Our volunteers never have been properly supplied with arms, and frequently new companies had to borrow guns to parade with from others better supplied. Mayor Henry10 offered his services as Colonel of a regiment, if a call is made by the government.
Richmond, [Virginia, which has not yet seceded], April 14.
There were demonstrations of joy during the night. A party hoisted a southern flag on the Capitol, which was subsequently removed by the guards.
In Convention, Messrs. Carlisle [sic]11 and Early12 depreciated the action of South Carolina in firing on Sumpter, and expressed devotion to the stars and stripes. The secessionists replied and were greeted with applause when they referred to the gallantry of South Carolina; they claimed that it made no difference what the convention did, the State would go out of the Union.
Gov. Letcher13 communicated a despatch from Gov. Pickens,2 giving an account of the bombarding, and saying “a furious fire has been opened upon us from Sumpter. We will take the fort and sink anything which attempts to reinforce it. We can whip them. Have nearly 7,000 of the best troops in the world and a reserve of 10,000. We will triumph or perish.—Let me know what Virginia will do.”
In debate it was said the Southern army would march through Virginia and thousands would join.
1. The Nashville was a passenger steamer running between New York City and Charleston before the war. She is seized by the Confederates after the fall of Fort Sumter and turned into a war cruiser. In November, 1862, she will become a privateer and be sunk by Union forces almost four months later.
2. These men have all made their first appearance in this blog; please see the Cast of Characters for more details on them.
3. Fort Delaware was located at the mouth of the Delaware River. In 1862 it will become a prison for Confederate soldiers.
4. Edwin Denison Morgan (1811-1883) was the 21st Governor of New York from 1859-1862, when he will become a U.S. Senator from New York, serving from 1863-1869. Morgan was very influential in Republican politics and served as the first chairman of the Republican National Committee, 1856 to 1864.
5. Defence is an acceptable spelling of defense when used as a military term.
6. Richard Yates (1815-1873) was the 13th Governor of Illinois, from January 1861-January 1865. Yates will send more volunteers to serve as Union troops than any other state.
7. Henry Beebee Carrington (1824-1912) was a close friend and supporter of Salmon P. Chase when he was the governor of Ohio. Chase appointed him Judge Advocate General in 1857 and charged him with reorganizing Ohio’s state militia. Carrington subsequently becomes Ohio’s adjutant general and musters in ten regiments of militia at the outbreak of the Civil War. In May of 1861 he will be commissioned colonel of the 18th U.S. Infantry.
8. Journalist C. D. Brigham (d. 1894) wrote under the name “Jasper.”
9. Fort Mifflin is located on the Delaware River below Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, the Union Army will use it to house Confederate prisoners of war. Of note: In November 1864,the Army will send Lieutenant Colonel Seth Eastman—known in this part of the country for his paintings of Native Americans while stationed at Fort Snelling—to Fort Mifflin to supervise the discharge all civilian and military prisoners
10. Alexander Henry (1823-1883) was the mayor of Philadelphia from 1858-1865. Henry will lead the city throughout the Civil War, playing key roles in the recruitment of troops from Philadelphia, and planning for the defense of the city, especially around the Gettysburg Campaign in June of 1863.
11. John Snyder Carlile (1817-1878) was a member of the Know Nothing Party in the U.S. House for one term beginning in 1854, and a U.S. Senator from Virginia, July 9, 1861-March 1865. As a leader in the anti-secession movement at the Virginia Convention, he voted “no” on the secession resolution, despite the fact that he himself was a slave owner.
12. Jubal Anderson Early (1816-1894) strongly opposed secession at the Virginia Convention, but was soon aroused to take the opposite view when President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. Early ends up serving as an officer in the Confederate Army, where Robert E. Lee appreciates his aggressive fighting and ability to command units independently.
13. John Letcher (1813-1884) was the 34th Governor of Virginia, serving from 1860-1864. He was prominent in the Peace Convention that met in February of 1861 to try to prevent the split of the Union. Letcher discourages secession, but is then active in sustaining the secession ordinance and even runs for the Confederate Congress in 1863.