- 19 Apr 2019 12:44
April 19, Friday
“Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas,” therefore a blockade of the ports of those states is declared by President Lincoln in a proclamation. Later the blockade will be extended to Virginia and North Carolina. While not immediately very effective, the blockade in time will become a major instrument of war and for nearly four years is to make its impression upon the outcome of many events. Even at first, merely on paper, it does to some extent deter foreign shippers. Later, while blockade runners continue to get through, the risks grow greater and greater. Historians will argue over the effectiveness of the Federal blockade, some claiming that at its best a few blockade-runners, at least, always got through, while others point out that the mere declaration of a blockade prevented many ships from sailing which otherwise would have taken advantage of the Southern need for both military and civilian supplies.
The Federal Navy Department rapidly goes to work to pull in its far-flung vessels and get them on blockading stations at major ports; meanwhile buying, building, and equipping new vessels for similar duty. On the other hand, both Southern and foreign vessels soon become adept at evading the naval blockaders. While events are sporadic in other fields of the war, the blockade goes on relentlessly, day after day, off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, making its partly unsung contribution to the results of the conflict.
More dramatic in these early days of the Civil War is the clash of soldiers and civilians in Baltimore. In response to the call of President Lincoln, the Sixth Massachusetts has left home, moved through New York toward Washington. At Baltimore it has to detrain partially to transfer to the Washington depot. There has been talk of trouble from pro-secessionists in Baltimore for some days and the Federal government is faced not only with the defense of Washington, but with keeping touchy Maryland in the Union. In Washington politicians as well as military men are organizing companies, patrolling streets, and guarding Federal buildings. Harper’s Ferry, evacuated by the Federals, has been taken during the morning by Virginia troops, and now a fracas in Baltimore. There are even fears of an attack on the capital. Baltimore is the major eastern rail center near Washington and with it cut off, Washington could well be in danger. Mayor George W. Brown of Baltimore says no notice of the coming of the troops was given him or the police. The crowd of bystanders grow as the rail cars are dragged between stations and four companies have to get out and push their way through. Some of the rioters carry Confederate flags, stones are thrown, the mob hoots and jeers. Then come shots by both crowd and soldiers. Casualty figures will not be entirely clear but at least four soldiers and nine civilians are killed. Upon arrival in Washington the Sixth Massachusetts are quartered in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol. With the Baltimore riot, rumors fly thicker than ever. Washington is in effect cut off from the north via the railroad.
As the troops of Virginia move into Harper’s Ferry, aging Major General Robert Patterson is assigned Federal command over Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. More Federal troops are leaving New York for Washington; merchants of New York pledge their loyalty to the Union. With Baltimore cut off, naval officers immediately begin embarking troops at Philadelphia and the head of Chesapeake Bay to bring them to Annapolis by water and then to Washington by rail.
Captain David G. Farragut, a Southerner living in Norfolk, Virginia, leaves his home for New York City and eventual service with the Union.
Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.