The American Civil War, day by day - Page 16 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15000498
April 22, Monday

Governor H.M. Rector of Arkansas turns down the Federal requisition for troops, stating their purpose is “to subjugate the Southern States.”

State troops of North Carolina seize the US Arsenal at Fayetteville.

Florida ratifies the Confederate Constitution, but has been part of the new nation since January.

President Davis tells Governor Letcher of Virginia that more troops are on the way and urges him to “sustain Baltimore if practicable.” President Lincoln is still sorely concerned over the Baltimore situation and tells a peace-seeking committee from Baltimore YMCA, “You express great horror of bloodshed, and yet would not lay a straw in the way of those who are organizing in Virginia and elsewhere to capture this city.” He says he has no desire to invade the South but he must defend the capital, and adds, “Keep your rowdies in Baltimore, and there will be no bloodshed.” Troops now have to march across Maryland.

The commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, Captain Franklin Buchanan, resigns to go South and is succeeded by Commander John A. Dahlgren.

The steamer Boston brings the Seventh New York to Annapolis.

Governor Hicks of Maryland urges the President to withdraw troops from Maryland and advocates cessation of hostilities with arbitrament by Lord Lyons, the British minister. Secretary of State Seward turns down these suggestions.

Late at night Illinois troops arrive to garrison Cairo, Illinois, which points like a sword at the heart of the South from its position at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

In Richmond Robert E. Lee is nominated by the governor and confirmed by the State Convention as commander of the forces of Virginia.
#15000650
April 23, Tuesday

Arkansas troops seize Fort Smith, an important frontier post.

R.E. Lee, now a major general of Virginia, is formally assigned to command the forces of the state.

USS Pawnee arrives in Washington from Norfolk, strengthening the defenses of the Federal Capital.

In Montgomery President Davis writes Governor Claiborne Jackson of Missouri that he has received his envoys and that the Confederacy will aid the Missouri secessionists in attacking the St. Louis Arsenal.

John Bell of Tennessee, lately Constitutional Union candidate for President, tells a Nashville meeting that he is opposed to the attempted subjugation of the South. Meanwhile, political meetings for various causes continue in both countries.

Troops, both CSA and USA, are moving toward Virginia and Washington. Of the Federal forces, President Lincoln exclaims, “Why don’t they come! Why don’t they come!”

US officers at San Antonio, Texas, are captured as prisoners of war.
#15000872
April 24, Wednesday

“I don’t believe there is any North. The Seventh Regiment is a myth.... You are the only Northern realities.” So says Lincoln to troops in Washington. There is real fear now in the capital of attack from land, or possibly from the Potomac. The pressure on the Federal President is showing. To Maryland political leader Reverdy Johnson, he writes that the sole purpose of bringing troops to Washington is defensive and not to invade Virginia, except to repel attack: “I do not mean to let them invade us without striking back.”

Governor Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky calls for the state to place itself in a state of defense and convenes the legislature for May 5.
#15001047
April 25, Thursday

US Senator Stephen A. Douglas addresses the Illinois legislature at Springfield, emotionally calling for support of the Union. The war is “in defense of those great rights of freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse from the center to the circumference of our great continent.” Sadly, he adds, “I believe in my conscience that it is a duty we owe ourselves, and our children, and our God, to protect this Government and the flag from every assailant, be he who he may.”

Meanwhile, more US troops surrender, this time at Saluria, Texas.

In Washington, President Lincoln reviews the newly arrived Seventh New York, and wonders whether troops should not prevent the Maryland legislature from assembling to take action on secession. He concludes that he has no power to interfere.

Captain James H. Stokes of Chicago, told to get arms for Illinois troops from the St. Louis Arsenal, secretly takes a steamer from Alton and late at night lands at the arsenal wharf. He and his men remove ten thousand muskets and other arms from under the noses of the pro-secessionist elements in St. Louis and return safely to Alton, where they are unloaded Friday morning, April 26.

USS Constitution leaves the Chesapeake for New York and Newport, Rhode Island, under tow. The historic vessel will remain at Newport at the transferred US Naval Academy. It is not considered safe to leave the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the grounds have been turned into an army camp.

Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner assumes command of the US Army Department of the Pacific, relieving Albert Sidney Johnston.
#15001155
April 26, Friday

Governor Joseph Brown of Georgia issues an order for repudiation by citizens of all debts owed Northerners.

Major General Joseph E. Johnston of the Virginia Volunteers is assigned to command state forces in and around Richmond.

Governor John W. Ellis of North Carolina calls a special session of the General Assembly and deprecates President Lincoln’s call for troops.

The Navy Department in Washington is rushing to implement the blockade, sending out what vessels it has and purchasing mercantile steamers.

The zeal of the people on both sides is unabated, with men and money pouring in. women make shirts, blankets, even coats and pants for the new soldiers. Communities pledge to take care of the families of soldiers while they are gone, for most believe it cannot be for long.
#15001352
April 27, Saturday

The Federal blockade is extended to the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina by proclamation of President Lincoln. He also suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, for reasons of public safety, along a line from Philadelphia to Washington, upon the discretion of General Scott. Several Federal command changes are made, with Major General Patterson commanding the Department of Pennsylvania, Brigadier General B.F. Butler the Department of Annapolis, and Colonel Joseph K.F. Mansfield the Department of Washington.

On the Confederate side Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson is officially assigned to command Virginia troops around Harper’s Ferry. The Virginia Convention invites the Confederate government to make Richmond the nation’s seat of government.

With the arrival of the Seventh New York, followed by other regiments, the pressure in Washington is slowly relieved and the city no longer feels isolated and besieged. Ever since the Baltimore riots the tension has been high, but now it subsides.

A number of government employees are resigning and leaving for the South, as are military men from posts all over the country.

Maryland seems to be turning toward the Union, and the action of the special session of the state assembly is awaited with speculation.
#15001380
He also suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, for reasons of public safety, along a line from Philadelphia to Washington, upon the discretion of General Scott.


IMHO, Lincoln’s grant of the power to suspend habeus corpus to General Scott was one of the greatest blots on his presidency, a clearly unconstitutional act since the exception to the requirement for habeus corpus in the Constitution is given to Congress—or more specifically, Congress is banned from suspending habeus corpus except in cases of rebellion or invasion when the public safety requires it (Article I, Section 9). One can argue that the President should be the one with that power, given the possible need for haste, but apparently the Founders disagreed.
#15001480
April 28, Sunday

President Lincoln visits the Seventh New York, quartered in the House of Representatives Chamber in the Federal Capitol.

The frigate Constitution arrives in New York en route to Newport, Rhode Island.
#15001483
Doug64 wrote:IMHO, Lincoln’s grant of the power to suspend habeus corpus to General Scott was one of the greatest blots on his presidency, a clearly unconstitutional act since the exception to the requirement for habeus corpus in the Constitution is given to Congress—or more specifically, Congress is banned from suspending habeus corpus except in cases of rebellion or invasion when the public safety requires it (Article I, Section 9). One can argue that the President should be the one with that power, given the possible need for haste, but apparently the Founders disagreed.

Given the circumstances, he can hardly be blamed for panicking. For a time, it looked as though Washington DC itself might fall, even before the War had properly got started. Washington was simply too close to the front lines.
#15001650
April 29, Monday

The Maryland house of delegates votes against secession 53 to 13, a heavy blow to the pro-Confederate element in the state.

The second session of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy meets at Montgomery and receives a lengthy message from President Davis. He goes over the history of the setting up of the Confederate government and terms Lincoln’s proclamation of April 15 a declaration of war. Then follows a long explanation of the reasons for the secession of the South, along with a summary of efforts to treat with the Federals. He charges the United States with bad faith toward the Confederacy in the pre-Fort Sumter events. The President reports on the various departments and speaks of the manifested “patriotic devotion to our common cause.” Mr. Davis concludes, “We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms.”
#15001829
April 30, Tuesday

Members of the New York Yacht Club proffer the services of their vessels to the Federal Government. This is typical of the response of various groups, civic bodies, churches, schools, and other organizations who in their early-war fervor are jumping to the colors in whatever way they can. By the end of April there is still uncertainty, still some vague hope of peace, but at the same time the people are exhilarated by the war spirit, by the excitement, the anticipated thrill of the conflict—the grim awakening will come later.

Colonel William H. Emory abandons Forth Washita in the Indian Territory near the Texas border and marches his troops north toward Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, following orders of the Federal government to evacuate garrisons in Indian Territory. This leaves the “Five Civilized Indian Tribes”—Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles—to the influence of the Confederates. A number of the Amerinds are slaveholders and already pro-secessionist or at least advocating neutrality.
#15001968
Potemkin wrote:Given the circumstances, he can hardly be blamed for panicking. For a time, it looked as though Washington DC itself might fall, even before the War had properly got started. Washington was simply too close to the front lines.

I don't think Lincoln panicked. The question is whether he thought he actually had the authority or simply decided that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Certainly the situation justified the act itself, if it had been done by Congress.
#15002012
Doug64 wrote:I don't think Lincoln panicked. The question is whether he thought he actually had the authority or simply decided that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Certainly the situation justified the act itself, if it had been done by Congress.

I agree that a case could be made for the necessity of Lincoln's unconstitutional behaviour, but why did he not simply ask Congress to do it? That would have been properly constitutional. It suggests that he didn't trust Congress to do the 'right thing'.
#15002014
May 1, Wednesday

Under the authority of the governor of Virginia, Major General R.E. Lee, commanding the state forces of Virginia, orders out further volunteer troops, with a concentration at Harper’s Ferry under Colonel T.J. Jackson. The colonel is ordered to move all machinery from the rifle factory there to Winchester and Strasburg.

At Nashville the legislature of Tennessee approves a joint resolution authorizing the governor to appoint commissioners to enter into league with the Confederacy. The North Carolina legislature votes in favor of a state convention to consider secession.

Throughout both nations meetings in support of their governments are being held amid general enthusiasm, speeches, and flag raisings. Wealthy citizens contribute money and as an example Samuel Colt is promoting a regiment and providing the soldiers with his new revolving breech-loading rifles. Governor Samuel W. Black of Nebraska calls for a Union volunteer organization. Upon their arrival at Boston full military honors are accorded soldiers killed in the Baltimore riots. Rumors and even rumors of rumors are rife.

President Lincoln issues an invitation to Robert Anderson to visit the White House so the President can explain some points regarding “Fort Sumpter,” and at the same time writes Gustavus V. Fox that “You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort-Sumpter, even if it should fail; ...”

The US Navy seizes two Confederate vessels, adding to the several already taken.

Texas militia occupy Fort Washita, Indian Territory, which becomes a Confederate staging area.

Troops continue to pour into Washington, including the New York Fire Zouaves of Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth.

The Federal Navy places the mouth of the James River and Hampton Roads, Virginia, under strict blockade.

Judge John A. Campbell, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, resigns, and eventually becomes Assistant Secretary of War of the Confederacy.
#15002189
Potemkin wrote:I agree that a case could be made for the necessity of Lincoln's unconstitutional behaviour, but why did he not simply ask Congress to do it? That would have been properly constitutional. It suggests that he didn't trust Congress to do the 'right thing'.

Lincoln would have had to call Congress into a special session, and that would take time he probably thought he didn’t have under the circumstances.
#15002208
Doug64 wrote:Lincoln would have had to call Congress into a special session, and that would take time he probably thought he didn’t have under the circumstances.

Good point. Things had been allowed to drift for too long by this point, and urgent action was required. I guess we can forgive him. Lol.
#15002334
May 3, Friday

President Lincoln issues a call for 42,034 volunteers to serve for three years unless sooner discharged. The proclamation also calls for eight regiments of infantry and one each of cavalry and artillery for the Regular Army, raising total strength of the regulars from 16,367 to 22,714. Enlistment of 18,000 seamen for not less than one year or more than three was asked for as well. These calls will bring the total strength of the Army to 156,861 and the Navy to 25,000.

To the south, Governor Letcher calls for volunteers to defend Virginia.

Orders are issued from Washington forming the Department of the Ohio, comprising Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and placing young George Brinton McClellan in charge.

In London Lord John Russell, British Foreign Minister, receives the Confederate commissioners to Great Britain, William L. Yancey, A. Dudley Mann, and Pierre A. Rost. The British claim this meeting is unofficial, but US diplomats protest.

At home ferment is high in the border states. Both pro-Confederate and pro-Union meetings are being held in Maryland; fourteen Kentucky companies tender their services to the Union; and pro-secessionist Governor Claiborne Jackson of Missouri says that in calling out troops, President Lincoln threatens civil war and that the action tends to despotism. He declares Missouri’s sympathies are identical with those of the Southern states.

General Scott tells General McClellan that the blockade can be relied on and that there should be a powerful movement down the Mississippi, clear to the mouth, with a “cordon of posts” set up. This would “envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan.” The concept soon becomes known as the “Anaconda Plan.”
#15002637
May 4, Saturday

Meetings, meetings and more meetings—a pro-Union group meets at Kingwood, Preston County, western Virginia, and another at Wheeling to declare against secession. Ladies of the South form associations to make articles for hospital use.

US ordnance stores are seized at Kansas City, Missouri.

A Maryland legislative committee acknowledges the Federal right to transport troops through the state, but only after a protest to Lincoln.

One of the first guns for the Confederate Navy is cast at Phoenix Iron Works at Gretna, Louisiana, and Star of the West, famed in the January Fort Sumter affair, becomes a receiving ship for the Confederates at New Orleans.

Fort Arbuckle in the Indian Territory is evacuated by the Federals, the troops joining the march north to Kansas of Colonel William H. Emory’s command from Fort Washita.
#15002903
May 5, Sunday

Alexandria, Virginia, across the Potomac from Washington, is temporarily abandoned by Virginia state troops. General Benjamin F. Butler occupies Relay House on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad between Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington. In Raleigh, North Carolina, volunteers for the Confederate forces occupy Fort Arbuckle in the Indian Territory.
#15003084
May 6, Monday

The ninth and tenth states leave the Union and join the Confederacy. In a solemn scene at the state Capitol in Little Rock, the legislature of Arkansas votes 69 to 1 to sever relations with the United States. The Tennessee legislature at Nashville passes an ordinance to “submit to the vote of the people a Declaration of Independence, and for other purposes.” The election is set for June 8, but the action of the legislature is considered tantamount to secession. The vote is 20 to 4 in the Senate and 46 to 21 in the House.

In Montgomery President Davis approves bill the Confederate Congress passed on May 3 recognizing that a state of war exists between the USA and the CSA. The measure also authorizes issuing of letters of marque for privateers.

In Parliament Lord John Russell announces that the British have decided to recognize the Confederate States as belligerents, but this does not constitute recognition of them as a nation.

In St. Louis the police commissioners ask Captain Nathaniel Lyon to remove troops from various buildings and the vehemently pro-Union officer, soon to be a general, refuses. Pro-secessionist Missouri state militia gather at a camp near St. Louis, posing a possible threat to unionists.

President Lincoln tells a Maryland legislative commission that military use or occupation of any soil of Maryland is contingent upon circumstances.

Dorchester, Massachusetts, votes $20,000 for war costs plus $20 a month for every married volunteer and $15 for every single volunteer.
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