Christ's Lutheran Church in 1861

[ Christ's Church on the Sawkill ]

Pastor Thomas Lape, 60, conducting services in the third church building, which, like the second one, was known as the "Church on the Rocks," because it sat on a rocky ledge overlooking the Sawkill (about ¾ mile east of our present location--that is, north of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).

Pastor Lape had earned a reputation as a

clear, methodical preacher … instructive … gentle, amiable, cheerful and faithful pastor; … a humble Christian, and a sincere friend. He stood well among the Lutheran clergy of the State.(1) Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], draft, quoting the 1879 tribute presented by Rev. P. A. Strobel, of the Hartwick Synod obituary committee. (Close)
Many years later, several congregants would remember the Sunday School under pastorate of Reverend Lape
and the beautiful songs the "Dear Old Pastor" taught them. He was very fond of music. And it was after remarked "He is always singing." I remember of hearing that his favorite songs were "Happy Land" and "I want to be an angel and with the angels stand." Then too he was a very strong advocate of temperance and would often address the school on that subject. And he would have them sing that good old temperance song, "Crambamuby."(2) Here Anderson, p. 102, is quoting Kiersted, Helen Herrick (Mrs. C. W. Kiersted), "A Few Thoughts on the History of the Sunday School" [paper delived at the 1906 centennial of Christ's Church]. (Close)
According to a later reminiscence(3), Quoted from Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976], itself citing Nathaniel M. Nash in 1906. (Close) the church owned no parsonage. The pastor
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.… [Reverend Lape] lived part of the time in West Camp on [his own place], coming up on Saturday and going back on Sunday afternoon or Monday.…
About this time ("in the early 60s"), the congregation purchased a cast-iron bell and placed it in the coupola.

In this general time of secession, the English-language New Jersey Synod seceded from the New York Ministerium. (The Hartwick Synod, and Christ's Lutheran Church in Woodstock with it, had already seceded from the Ministerium 31 years earlier.)

The Woodstock Region in 1861

According to regional historian Alf Evers(4),

Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, p. 263, citing Plank, Will, Banners and Bugles, Marlborough, NY, 1963, pp. 94-99. (Close)
Like the people of other Ulster County towns, Woodstock people… felt little enthusiasm for the Civil War. The seceding states were far away and had few perceptible economic or social ties with Ulster. Ulster had been a slave-holding county until 1827, and sympathy for emancipation was not great. Once the war effort began to be [organized, however,] recruiters got busy.

Betsy Booth MacDaniel was a local herb doctor, nurse, and midwife, who had learned her craft from an "Indian doctor" on Tinker Street. She is said to have been able to cure consumption by herbal means.

Smelly tanneries in the Catskill region continued converting animal hides into leather, using chips and powder from hemlock bark in the tanning (softening) process and thereby leaving millions of bark-skinned hemlocks to die while standing. With the outbreak of the Civil War, there was a huge demand for leather, and the tanning business was booming (and none of the large stands of hemlock was safe). One observer commented that the war was fought on boots made of leather tanned in Sullivan County, where hemlock was once plentiful. James A. Simpson and a partner from Woodstock ran the Phoenix Tannery in Phoenicia (the village named for their business), and took advantage of the boom. The huge hemlock groves in Shandaken (the very name Shandaken means "hemlock" in Algonkian) were being depleted.

The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike (present-day Route 28), leading up the Esopus Valley from Kingston and over the Pine Hill into Delaware County, floored smooth with heavy hemlock planks, was holding up well under the considerable freight of hides, leathers, and other goods.

The Reverend Dr. David Murdoch, who had once been a staff preacher at Charles L. Beach's commodious Catskill Mountain House near Kaaterskill Clove, died just as his The Dutch Dominie of the Catskills was published. The book repeated romantic tales of Tories, Indians, and wild mountain characters who supposedly once lived and roamed in the vicinity of the hotel, thus upholding the hotel's claim to be the only place in the Catskills worth spending summer vacation time at.

Poughkeepsie brewer and fat-cat land speculator Matthew Vassar, 69, obtained a charter for and generously endowed Vassar Women's College.

[ Sojourner Truth ] Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, now an abolitionist itinerant preacher known as Sojourner Truth, 64, pictured here, moved from her Michigan home to Washington, DC, to organize the collection of supplies for black troops in the Union Army.

The United States in 1861

[ Abraham Lincoln ]

James Buchanan, 70 (Democrat), was President, succeeded during this year by Abraham Lincoln, 52 (Republican). The newly elected 37th Congress was in session, with most of its Southern members absent. A dollar in that year would be worth $20.92 in 2006 for most consumable products.

The U.S. introduced the passport system.

Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt Lowe, 28, took a balloon voyage from Cincinnati to the South Carolina coast in 9 hours.

In late January, Kansas was at last admitted to the Union as the 34th state--a "free state," prohibiting slavery.

[ Robert Anderson ] In the weeks between the November 1860 election of the now bearded Republican Abraham Lincoln and his actual Inauguration in March 1861, outgoing "lame duck" Democratic President James Buchanan, 70, vacillated as the situation of the "United" States rapidly deteriorated.(5)

Much of the following text in the next few paragraphs (about the time between Lincoln's election and his Inauguration) has been quoted liberally from Wellman, Paul I., The House Divides: The Age of Jackson and Lincoln, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1966, pp. 448-65. (Close) The commander of the U.S. troops at Charleston, SC, had attempted to transfer ammunition from the government arsenal in the city to Fort Moultrie at the harbor's mouth, but an angry mob of civilians had resisted him, forcing him to give up the project lest he order his troops to fire on the crowd. He had appealed to War Secretary John B. Floyd, a Virginian and a Southern sympathizer. Floyd had then replaced the commander with Major Robert Anderson, 56, pictured here, a Kentuckian, who was expected to accommodate the wishes of the citizens of Charleston. Then, after inspecting Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, and Fort Sumter, Anderson had wired for reinforcements. President Buchanan had gone back and forth about instructing Secretary Floyd to send the reinforcements; finally, Anderson was ordered to avoid offending the populace but to defend his position if attacked.

President Buchanan had declared that secession was "unconstitutional" but added that the Union rested upon "public opinion" and must perish if it could not "live in the affections of the people." He had blamed the situation on the abolitionists and said that "disunion would become inevitable" if the South feared a slave insurrection. The remarks offended both the South and the North; almost immediately both his Southern Treasury Secretary and his Northern Secretary of State resigned.

[ Andrew Johnson ] [ William Henry Seward ]

Kentucky Senator John Jordon Crittenden, 75, had proposed a compromise: dividing the territories free and slave states on the 1820 Missouri Compromise line; he was supported by Illinois Senator Stephen Arnold "Little Giant" Douglas, 48, Ohio Congressman Thomas Corwin, 67, Ohio Congressman John Sherman, 38, Ohio Congressman Clement Laird Vallandigham, 41, Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson, 53 (pictured left). Senator Crittenden then headed a Committee of Thirteen to work out the compromise; the committee included New York Senator William Henry Seward, 60, pictured right (whom President-Elect Lincoln had appointed as his Secretary of State), Mississippi Senator Jefferson "Ten Cent Jimmy" Davis, 53, and Georgia Senator Robert Augustus Toombs, 51, as well as Senator Douglas and others. Unfortunately, President-Elect Lincoln said that he would not support the part of the Crittenden compromise authorizing the extension of slavery, and on the same day a convention in Charleston, SC, passed to wild acclaim in the city an Ordinance of Secession, thereby taking South Carolina out of the United States. Young men began to enlist in state regiments and drill. Women presented silk banners to these military units.

[ Winfield "Old Fuss and Feathers" Scott ] President Buchanan had summoned Winfield "Old Fuss and Feathers" Scott, 75, pictured here, hero of both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, Commanding General of the U.S. Army, to give him advice, but War Secretary Floyd had shunned Scott, and nothing was done about anything. Scott went off to his luxurious dining.

Francis Wilkinson Pickens, 56, the Governor of South Carolina, which now regarded itself as an independent nation, had demanded that President Buchanan allow state troops to take possession of Fort Sumter and the other federal fortifications in Charleston Harbor, warning that if this were not done, he would "not be responsible" for the consequences. War Secretary Floyd, without consulting the President, had then pledged that the War Department would take no action to "injure" South Carolina.

Just a few days before the end of 1860, Major Anderson had quietly transferred his men and such arms as he could transport from the indefensible Fort Moultrie to the slightly better Fort Sumter. He had the cannon at Fort Moultrie spiked, its gun carriages burned, and the flagstaff cut down. In response, Governor Pickens had called out ten units of the South Carolina militia, placed guards over the arsenal and other heretofore federal buildings, and there raised the palmetto flag of South Carolina. Anderson had refused requests to withdraw from Fort Sumter, which was positioned to block commerce in and out of the harbor. War Secretary Floyd had demanded an explanation of Anderson's action in the absence of direct orders, and Anderson had replied that he had abandoned Fort Moultrie because he could not defend it if it were attacked.

[ Edward McMasters Stanton ] When Senator Davis, Virginia Senator Robert Mercer Taliafero Hunter, 52, and Assistant Secretary of State William Henry Trescot, 39 (who was from South Carolina) told President Buchanan what had been happening in Charleston, the President had wailed that what was happening was not only against his orders, it was also against his policy. He then had polled his Cabinet on what to do: War Secretary Floyd had denounced Anderson and demanded an immediate order to remove all troops from Charleston Harbor. Attorney General Edward McMasters Stanton, 37, pictured here, and Secretary of State Jeremiah Sullivan Black, 51, had equated such an action with treason. Then a scandal had come to light, implicating Floyd in some seamy diversion of funds. He was also exposed as having sent arms from the North to the South. President Buchanan demanded his resignation.

South Carolina had sent commissioners to the President to demand the withdrawal of troops from Charleston Harbor. Buchanan started to write a conciliatory letter to South Carolina, but Secretary of State Black and Attorney General Stanton threatened to resign if he sent it. They helped him draft the final letter, refusing to remove the troops and stating that Fort Sumter would be defended

against hostile attacks from whatever quarter they may come.

And all that between the November election and the end of the year 1860.

William H. Sylvis, 33, called for a national convention of workingmen to oppose the impending Civil War.

General Scott got up from his repast and emphatically appealed to the President that he be permitted to reinforce Anderson with 250 soldiers, together with supplies, arms, and ammunition. The sloop of war Brooklyn was made ready to sail for Charleston with the reinforcements. But now it was learned that some vessels had been sunk in the harbor mouth to block it. So Scott sent the lighter-draft merchant ship Star of the West instead, with 200 soldiers and some war matériel. By then the secessionists had set up batteries at the entrance to the harbor, and they greeted the Star of the West with cannon fire, the first time the flag had been fired upon in this conflict. The ship retreated.

Colonel Johnston Pettigrew, 32, of the 1st South Carolina Rifles, came out to Fort Sumter in a boat and said to Anderson:

The Governor directs me to say to you, courteously but peremptorily, to return to Fort Moultrie.
Anderson replied:
Make my compliments to the Governor, and say to him that I decline to accede to his request; I cannot and will not go back.
Interior Secretary Jacob Thompson, 51, who was from North Carolina, resigned in anger from the Cabinet.

[ Sam Houston ] During a little more than two weeks in January, five states joined South Carolina in seceding from the Union: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia. When a moderate Georgia statesman pleaded for restraint and negotiations with Washington, the fire-eaters there shouted

Throw the bloody spear into this den of incendiaries!
The seceding Georgians invited the other seceding states to meet in Atlanta to form a confederacy. Against the fierce resistance of Governor Sam Houston, 68 (pictured here), and his Unionist supporters, Texas voted to secede on February 1; Houston was thrown out of office soon afterward. Everywhere in the seven seceding states were fireworks displays, band music, fiery oratory, and furious cheering.

Here was the proclamation of an Atlanta newspaper:

Let the consequences be what they may. Whether the Potomac is crimsoned in human gore, and Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms in depth with mangled bodies… the South will never submit.

Meanwhile, President-Elect Lincoln remained silent and aloof in his Springfield, IL, home. He received much mail--some very friendly and some calling him fantastically insulting names, such as ape, baboon, abortion, idiot, and monster, and saying that he should be tarred and feathered, hanged, even tortured. A painting on a canvas was sent to him, which Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, 43, unwrapped; it depicted Lincoln tarred and feathered, chains fastening his feet, and a rope about his neck. So menacing were some of these inimical letters and threats that a friendly Iowan, A. W. Flanders, wrote to one of Lincoln's secretaries, John George Nicolay, 29, offering to have a shirt of flexible chain mail made for Lincoln to wear under his clothing, to protect him from assassination attempts. (The offer was refused, with thanks.) Lincoln told a friend that he

felt like a surveyor in the wild woods of the West, who, while looking for a corner, kept an eye over his shoulder for an Indian.

The New York Herald, published by James Gordon Bennett, 66, boldly suggested that Lincoln withdraw as President, in favor of a man who would be acceptable to both North and South.

If he persists in his present position… he will totter to a dishonored grave, driven there perhaps by the hands of an assassin, leaving behind him a memory more execrable than that of Arnold--more despised than that of the traitor Catiline.

At an Alabama mass meeting, a banner proclaimed:

Resistance to Lincoln is Obedience to God!
Many in the South were confident that the clod-hopping and cod-fishing Yankee would not or could not fight, and so their departure from the Union would be unopposed.

There was an authenticated report that the South would attempt to seize Washington, DC. If both Virginia and Maryland seceded, the national capital would be completely cut off, and the secessionist forces could march in and take possession of the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury, the Navy Yards, the War Department, and other federal structures, together with all the records, documents, stores, supplies, and moneys contained therein. But the timing was not right; Virginia and Maryland were not yet ready to secede.

When Lincoln was repeatedly warned that he was in great danger if he exposed himself to crowds and that he should take the Oath of Office in some guarded chamber, but he refused, saying he

would rather be hanged by the neck until he was dead on the steps of the Capitol than buy or beg a peaceful and safe inauguration.

From Washington, General Scott sent the following message to Lincoln, through the Illinois Adjutant General Thomas S. Mather:

Say to him that, when once here, I shall consider myself responsible for his safety. If necessary, I'll plant a cannon at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and if any show their hands or even venture to raise a finger, I'll blow them to hell.
Scott already had 22 railroad carloads of troops coming from Fort Leavenworth to the threatened capital.

Representatives from six seceding states--South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana--met in Montgomery, AL, designated themselves a "Congress," and drafted a "Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America." The document was modeled on the U.S. Constitution, but it had two provisions the delegates regarded as improvements: The President would get a line-item veto, and Cabinet members would have a seat in the Congress and take part in debates. The document also gave extreme deference to states' rights. Congress was forbidden to pass protective tariffs, appropriate money for internal improvements, or grant bounties. There was to be no Supreme Court, and any judge could be impeached by the legislature of whatever state was affected by his rulings. Congress could pass no law

denying or impairing the right of property in Negro slaves.
In any territory acquired by the new nation or in any state admitted to it
the institution of Negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the territorial government.
Though Texas had not sent a delegate to the convention, it supported the document.

Poet Henry Timrod, the unofficial laureate of the new Confederacy, exulted:

At last, we are
A nation among nations; and the world
Shall soon behold in many a distant port
Another flag unfurled!
Now, come what may, whose favor need we court?
And, under God, whose thunder need we fear?

[ Jefferson Davis ] In February, the Confederate Congress unanimously elected Jefferson Davis, pictured here, as provisional President. Davis, who was at his Briarfield, MS, plantation, accepted the office with great reluctance, and he traveled to Montgomery, where he was greeted with wild cheering and cannon salutes. Davis's gave some brief remarks to the crowds the next day, taking the clearing weather as a favorable augury:

It may be that our career [as a nation] will be ushered in, in the midst of storms--it may be that as this morning opened with clouds, mist, and rain, we shall have to encounter inconveniences at the beginning; but as the sun rose, lifted the mist, dispersed the clouds, and left a pure sunlight, heaven so will prosper the Southern Confederacy, and carry us safe from sea to the harbor of constitutional liberty.
Later, in his Inaugural Address, Davis described the separation from the Union as a "peaceful achievement," based on the desires of the voters in the seceding states, and he reaffirmed the principle that proper government depended always on the consent of the governed. He outlined the necessities of the new government--a monetary system, a postal service, an army, a navy. He hoped that the Confederacy would achieve peace and friendship with the United States, but he warned that if the U.S. offered violence,
a terrific responsibility will rest upon it, and the sufferings of millions will bear testimony to the folly and wickedness of our aggressors.

Alexander Hamilton Stephens, 49, of Georgia, was chosen for Vice President of the Confederacy.

The new government of the seceders determined that all federal laws would remain in force until specifically repealed by the Confederate Congress. Many former federal officials continued to perform their duties under the new regime.

[ John Tyler ] Meanwhile, the Virginia legislature initiated a "Peace Convention"; 133 delegates appointed by 21 state legislatures met in Washington to see if they could draft a set of constitutional amendments that might attract the seceding states back into the Union as well as satisfy the border states that they ought to stay in. Former President John Tyler, 71, pictured here, presided. Taking part were many distinguished men, including David Dudley Field of New York, James B. Clay of Kentucky, and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio. The convention adopted seven constitutional amendments similar to December's Crittenden Resolutions. Most notable of the seven was the "never-never" amendment: Congress could never enact by law, and the country could never enact by further amendment, any measure that would interfere with slavery in any state. The convention submitted the amendments to Congress, where each was passed--most by a narrow majority, but the "never-never" amendment by a two-to-one majority in the House of Representatives. The amendments were then submitted to the states, and Ohio promptly ratified all of them. None of these conciliatory moves attracted the seceders from their determination, however.

Charles Francis Adams was trying to get New Mexico admitted to the Union as a slave state if the settlers there wanted it. Wisconsin and other Northern states repealed their personal liberty laws that favored fugitive slaves. A well-dressed mob in Boston foiled an attempt to hold a memorial meeting honoring John Brown, and Ralph Waldo Emerson was howled down when he tried to speak. A Boston petition for the passage of the Crittenden Resolutions gained 22,313 signatures and was submitted to Congress. New York City sent a similar petition.

Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, a vigorous supporter of states' rights who had supported the Crittenden Resolutions, now proposed a division of the Senate and of the electoral college into four sections, each with a veto. Although he was personally opposed to slavery, he believed that the federal government had no power to regulate the institution. He further believed that the Confederacy had a right to secede and could not constitutionally be conquered militarily.

None of these moves deterred the seceding South from its determination.

On George Washington's Birthday, Major Anderson at Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor, fired a salute of 34 guns, one for each state, including newly admitted Kansas, including all seven of the states who claimed to have seceded. The citizens of Charleston denounced this act as "insolence."

As President-Elect Lincoln in Springfield, IL, boarded the train for Washington, DC, he addressed to a crowd of friends:

My friends--No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
Lincoln crossed several states, met many people, spoke briefly here and there, and received scorn for his homespun colloquialisms. At Albany, NY, Lincoln said:
It is true that while I hold myself, without mock modesty, the humblest of all individuals that have ever been elevated to the Presidency, I have a more difficult task to perform than any of them. When the time comes, I shall speak as well as I am able for the good of both the North and the South.

South Carolina matron Susanna Sparks Keitt, whose husband had participated in the state convention that voted to secede, wrote her Philadelphia friend, Mrs. Frederick Brown, at the beginning of March, explaining why the Southern states left the Union(6):

Quoted in Taylor, Dr. Quintard, Jr., "History 101: Survey of the History of the United States--Manual, Chapter 4, Civil War and Reconstruction" (Seattle: University of Washington, citing Kutler, Stanley I., Looking for America: The People's History, Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 403-6, taken from, accessed 31 January 2007). (Close)
My Dear Friend

You must believe me when I say we did not break up the Union you so much love nor bring about the crisis you so much deplore. 'Tis true we have refused to accept Lincoln for a president. What of that? Did you think the people of the South, the Lords Proprietors of the Land, would let this low fellow rule for them? No! His vulgar facetiousness may suit the race of clock makers and wooden nutmeg vendors--even Wall Street brokers may accept him, since they do not protest--but never will he receive the homage of southern gentlemen. See the disgusting spectacle now presented to the world by the Federal government. The President Elect of the American people, on his triumphal march to the Capitol, exhibits himself at railway depots, bandies jokes with the populaces, kissed bold women from promiscuous crowds, jests with [prize] fighters.… Oh, shame, shame. Should we submit to such degradation?

Who are these Black Republicans? A motley throng of… infidels, free lovers, interspersed by Bloomer women, fugitive slaves, and amalgamists. What are… the doctrines they teach? Equity and justice? Peace and Good Will toward men? No, but the Jesuitical dogma of the expediency of crime when a doubtful good may come. Such crimes as murder, arson, perjury, and theft find ready absolution if the record be accompanied by a stolen slave, and have the red seal of southern blood.…

With a rancor and hatred worthy of a foreign foe, the Republicans prepare for a war of extermination. Yes, extermination, for they know as well as we do that thus only can they conquer us. See their bloody programme. The dykes [sic] of the Mississippi must be cut, and the minds of our happy slaves poisoned of thought of murder and conflagration. How can you counsel submission to such a people? We loved the Union; but our lives, homes, and kindred are dear to us and cannot be sacrificed to a Memory.… Yes, war let it be if war they desire. And the Stars and Stripes will shame their ancient glories when the "Southern Cross" takes the field. And if the fate of Carthagenia be ours, we women, like those of old, will cut our hair for bowstrings to plague the enemy as long as possible.

You still hope for reunion. A vain hope unless our conditions be accepted. Here they are: Hang all your… Garrisons, Greeleys, and Ward Beechers, incarcerate your Garret Smiths, unite your Sumners and Sewards to ebony spouses and send them as resident ministers… to Timbuctoo and Ashantee [African kingdoms]. Purge the halls of Congress and the White House… of their presence, and attach the death penalty to all future agitation of the slavery question. When these things are done, then, and not till then, will we consider the question of reunion.

Our relations have been so pleasant it would pain me to see them altered, but I must candidly say that I can make no distinction between at-cost-of war Union Lovers and ultra Black Republicans. The matter of our continued friendship must now be decided by you.

At Philadelphia, the private detective Allan Pinkerton, 42, told President-Elect Lincoln that there was a plot to assassinate him when his train reached Baltimore. Pinkerton tried to persuade Lincoln to take a night train to Washington, keeping his presence on the train secret. When Frederick William Seward, 31, son of the newly appointed Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, 60, had the same tidings as Pinkerton, Lincoln was persuaded. After speaking in Philadelphia and then in Harrisburg, Lincoln rode at night on a special train, consisting of a lone locomotive drawing a lone car, proceeding without lights. When this train reached Philadelphia, a woman detective reserved two berths, one of which was to be occupied by her "invalid brother"; in that berth, Lincoln spent the night with the curtains drawn. They passed through Baltimore without incident in the dead of night and reached Washington at sunrise. When the official train that was supposed to have carried Lincoln reached Baltimore later in the day, a hostile crowd of some 10,000 were there to greet it; they raised three cheers for the Southern Confederacy, three cheers for "gallant Jeff Davis," and three groans for "the Rail Splitter." They were disappointed and frustrated to learn that Lincoln was not aboard.

[ Horace Greeley ] In the days before the Inauguration, Republicans, about to be in power for the first time, were circling around Lincoln, hoping for preferments. Horace Greeley, 50, pictured here, publisher of the New York Tribune, wrote the following after a visit to Washington:

Old Abe is honest as the sun, and means to be true and faithful; but he is in the web of very cunning spiders and cannot work out if he would. Mrs. Abe is a Kentuckian and enjoys flattery--I mean deference. And God is above us, and all things will be well in the end. Life is not very long, and we shall rest by and by.

President Buchanan, taking cognizance of all the threats, turmoil, and danger in the capital, stoutly said:

I will ride with Old Abe to his Inauguration.

Just a day before the end of his term of office, President Buchanan pardoned Wisconsin abolitionist editor and leader Sherman Miller Booth, 49, who had been imprisoned and fined in 1859 as a result of the Supreme Court's Ableman v. Booth decision, supposedly resolving more than 5 years of appeals and maneuverings between federal and Wisconsin courts over Booth's violation of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law by helping a fugitive escape capture.

General Scott concealed trusted riflemen on Pennsylvania Avenue rooftops, placed infantry platoons with fixed bayonets every hundred yards along the route, ordered cavalry patrols on all the side streets, and placed sharpshooters in the windows of the Capitol. Overlooking the eastern side of the Capitol, where Lincoln would take the Oath of Office, was a battery of artillery, loaded and shotted, with gun crews ready for action. A guard of honor surrounded the Presidential carriage, marching before, behind, and on either side of it.

Lincoln, in black suit and tall black silk hat, rode from the Willard Hotel to the Capitol with President Buchanan, Oregon Senator Edward Dickinson Baker, 50, and Maryland Senator James Alfred Pearce, 56. As they proceeded, bands struck up, troops marched, and people cheered. The Capitol itself symbolized the imperfect state of the Union with the girders of its unfinished dome looming nakedly in the background.

With the others on the portico sat Senator Douglas, Lincoln's old rival and now a dedicated supporter.

When Lincoln began his Inaugural Address, those in the crowds who had been expecting something awkward instead had to listen intently. Lincoln first reassured the South.

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
He affirmed the legality of the Fugitive Slave Act, and he said he was determined that it would be enforced. But then:
A disruption of the Federal Union heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. I hold, that in the contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these states is perpetual.… No state, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union.… Resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and acts of violence… against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I therefore… shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states. Doing this I deem it to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it, so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or… direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend, and maintain itself.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority.

Acknowledging that the seceders had already seized most federal property in the Deep South, Lincoln admitted that he would not attempt to reclaim this property (although Lincoln was not willing to abandon Fort Pickens in Pensacola, FL, and Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor):
The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised, according to circumstances actually existing and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections.

He briefly discussed the fallacy of secession. Secession he insisted was a rejection of democracy: If the South could refuse to abide by the result of an election it had freely participated in, everything that the enemies of democracy had always said would be true. Moreover, if a minority seceded, what was to prevent another minority again from seceding from the seceders?
If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease. There is no other alternative, for continuing the Government is acquiescence on one side or the other. If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them, for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new union as to produce harmony only and prevent renewed secession?

Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.… Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.

It was impossible to build a wall between the two sections of the country; the Appalachian Mountains and the mighty Mississippi River both ran the wrong way to make separation physically possible.

There were other practical problems with secession: How much of the national debt should the South be obligated to shoulder? What portion of the territories, so largely won with Southern blood, should the South be allotted? How should the fugitive-slave issue be resolved? Anyway, all of the people were entitled to the benefits and the institutions of the nation as a whole.

Lincoln reminded his listeners how a dis-United States would be the victim of European powers, using their ancient balance-of-power strategies to play the two sections against each other, keeping them hostile toward each other, while the Old World imperialists defied the Monroe Doctrine and seized colonies in the Americas.

Lincoln pleaded for patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.… Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect and defend" it.

Lincoln concluded with this appeal:
I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

The crowd, moved and awe stricken, hardly applauded but paid him the deep tribute of almost breathless silence. Lincoln turned to Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 84, laid his left hand on the extended open Bible, raised his right hand, and repeated the Oath of Office prescribed by the Constitution:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Cannons boomed. Bands played "Hail to the Chief." The crowd roared a great cheer of welcome and mighty approval.

[ Charles Sumner ] Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, 50, pictured here, who considered Lincoln a dolt, said the following to a friend:

I do not suppose Lincoln had it in his mind, if indeed he ever heard of it, but the inaugural seems to me best described by Napoleon's simile of "a hand of iron and a velvet glove."(7) Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 402. (Close)
The Confederates certainly considered the speech a justification for their secession.

Newly installed Secretary of State William Henry Seward, 60, proposed that the Lincoln administration pick a fight with one or more European powers, assuming that the South would once more rally around the flag. He submitted the following dangerous recommendation to the President on April Fool's Day, but it was no joke:

I would demand explanations from Spain and France, categorically, at once. I would seek explanations from Great Britain and Russia.… And, if satisfactory explanations are not received from Spain and France… would convene Congress and declare war against them.(8) Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 445. (Close)
Seward apparently considered himself the real power behind a figurehead Lincoln, but the President quietly but firmly rejected the foolish scheme.

Lincoln sounded out James L. Petigru, a stout South Carolina Unionist who headed the South Carolina bar, and learned that in that state there was no longer any "attachment to the Union" and that the merchants of Charleston were looking forward to a "golden era" when their city would be the New York City of a great Southern Empire.

Confederate Vice President Stephens boasted about the new government of the South:

Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery… is his natural and moral condition.

Civil War

Each of the seceding states had seized the U.S. mints, arsenals, and other public property within its own borders. Only heavily fortified Fort Pickens in the harbor of Pensacola, FL, and Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, SC, still remained in federal hands. Fort Pickens continued to remain in federal hands throughout the ensuing war, but not so with Fort Sumter, which had fewer than a hundred soldiers and with provisions that could last only a few weeks. Nonetheless, Fort Sumter still defiantly flew the Stars and Stripes, however, and still effectively blocked the South's most important Atlantic seaport. President Lincoln realized that if he attempted to reinforce the fort, the South Carolinians would fight back, so in early April he notified them that he would be sending an expedition to provision the garrison, not to reinforce it. South Carolina regarded the Union naval expedition on its way south as an act of aggression.

Confederate President Davis sent a group of staff officers to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter; its commander, Major Anderson, uninformed of the relief expedition on the way, agreed to surrender in 2 days (when his provisions would run out). This offer was unsatisfactory to the Confederates (one of the staff officers admitted later that they were anxious that Davis and Lincoln might shake hands and the chance of war would be lost).

[ Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard ] To the applause and waved handkerchiefs of Charleston crowds, troops under Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard, 42, the "Napoleon of the South," pictured here, who had just resigned as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, began on April 12 to bombard Fort Sumter and continued shelling it for 34 hours from several sides. The dazed Union garrison lost no lives, but when their ammunition was exhausted, they were forced to surrender and evacuate the fort.

[ Ralph Waldo Emerson ] Countless Northerners responded to the assault in Charleston Harbor with cries of "Remember Fort Sumter!" and "Save the Union!" Many whose sentiments up to this point had been "Wayward sisters, depart in peace"--including feeble General Scott--were now provoked to fighting pitch. Southern "traitors" had fired upon the flag, and honor dictated an armed response. Ralph Waldo Emerson, 58, pictured here, referred to "a whirlwind of patriotism":

Now we have a country again.… Sometimes gunpowder smells good.

Envisioning a quick campaign to show the folly of secession and rapidly return the rebellious states to the Union (allowing them to maintain the institution of slavery), President Lincoln issued a call to the states for 75,000 militiamen to put down combinations

too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings [in order] to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The militiamen would serve for 3 years (he expected them to serve for only 90 days). So many volunteers answered the call that many were turned away. One New Englander had the following observation:
The whole population, men, women, and children, seem to be in the streets.… The people have gone stark mad!(9) Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 452. (Close)
President Lincoln ended up with 42,034 volunteers in this first call, and in a couple of months there were 30,000 green recruits in and about Washington, D.C., under the command of Mexican War veteran General Scott. Each of the states was assigned a quota for recruitment, with little central organization; by early summer some 186,000 had been recruited, with a regular army force of 13,000 officers and men expected to absorb them. According to historian John Garraty:
Natty companies of "Fire Zouaves" and "Garibaldi Guards" and "Irish Volunteers" in gorgeous uniforms rubbed shoulders with slovenly units composed of toughs and criminals and with regiments of farm boys from Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan. Few even knew the rudiments of soldiering. The hastily composed high command, headed by the elderly [Scott], debated endlessly about over-all strategy, while regimental commanders lacked even decent maps of Virginia. Gradually the ragged companies began to master close-order drill, but they received almost no field training.(10) Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 404. (Close)

In violation of Article 1, Section VIII, paragraph 12 of the Constitution, President Lincoln arbitrarily, without getting the approval of Congress (which was not then in session), increased the size of the federal army. The newly elected 37th Congress later approved the action.

President Davis invited ships in Southern ports to take out letters of marque and reprisal in order to prey on Northern commerce. Brushing aside legal objections and with Congress still not in session, President Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of all Confederate ports. (This action was later upheld by the Supreme Court.) Warships on foreign station were recalled, old vessels were reconditioned, and new ships began to be built. The Union Navy would spend several months attempting to enforce the blockade, but by the end of the year it would have demonstrated its vast superiority, choking off Southern supplies. (Union sea power enabled the North to trade huge quantities of grain for European munitions and supplies.)

The Northern call to arms aroused the South in the same way the attack on Fort Sumter had aroused the North. Lincoln was perceived to be waging an aggressive war on the Confederacy. So many Southern men volunteered that some 200,000 had to be sent home because of insufficient facilities and equipment. By July, however, Confederate forces under arms numbered about 112,000 troops. There were ordinary militia companies with such names as "Chickasaw Desparadoes," "Tallapoosa Thrashers," and "Cherokee Lincoln Killers"; there were exotic baggy-red-trousered, broad-sashed elite companies as well, including the splendid "Louisiana Zouaves" and the "Richmond Howitzers."

Virginia had been contemplating secession; participating in the secession convention had been former President John Tyler. (Tyler was to serve in the provisional congress of the Confederacy and would be elected to a seat in the Confederate House of Representatives.) The "submissionists" and "Union shriekers" at the convention were drowned out, and with the Northern call to arms, Virginia did formally decide on secession and on joining the Confederacy by a vote of 88 to 53. Its capital, Richmond, replaced Montgomery as the capital of the Confederacy. Within weeks, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee joined the other seceded states, bringing the total up to 11. Tennessee Congressman Andrew Johnson, one of the Crittenden Compromisers, refused to secede with his state.

In late April a Virginia militia captured the United States naval yard at Norfolk, which had not been reinforced (for fear of offending the state).

President Lincoln had unofficially offered the chivalric, knightly General Robert Edward Lee, 53, a Virginia native, command of all the Northern armies, but when his state seceded, Lee, who was then stationed in Texas, felt honor-bound to go with it. He wrote during the secession crisis(11):

Quoted in Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 613. (Close)
Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labour, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by any member of the Confederacy at will.… In 1808, when the New England States resisted Mr. Jefferson's Embargo law, and [when] the Hartford Convention assembled, secession was termed treason by Virginian statesmen; what can it be now? Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.
He also wrote(12): Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 399. (Close)
I see only a fearful calamity is upon us. There is no sacrifice I am not ready to make for the preservation of the Union save that of honour. If a disruption takes place, I shall go back in sorrow to my people & share the misery of my native state, & save in her defense there will be one less soldier in the world than now.
He also explained himself in a letter to a friend(13): Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 456. (Close)
I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children. I should like, above all things, that our difficulties might be peaceably arranged.… What ever may be the result of the contest, I foresee that the country will have to pass through a terrible ordeal.

[ Stephen Douglas ] Senator Douglas, pictured here, conferred with Lincoln and issued a statement that though he opposed the Republican Administration politically, he would sustain the President in the exercise of every power to preserve the Union. Though ill, he traveled around Illinois, especially in the southern counties (the area known as "Egypt"), which tended to be sympathetic to the South, to rally support for the Union among Democrats. He convinced many in the state legislature--and throughout the North--that party differences were not as important as saving the Union. He went to Chicago and proclaimed to a large audience in the Wigwam:

Before God it is the duty of every American citizen to rally around the flag of his country.
He died of typhoid fever soon after this speech.

With the death of Douglas, the already divided Democratic Party, now deprived of the departed Southern wing and now tainted with its association with seceders, further divided. "War Democrats" patriotically supported the Lincoln administration, while tens of thousands of "Peace Democrats" despised nearly every government decision.

Tully McCrea, a young West Point cadet, wrote the following to his sweetheart, Belle(14):

Quoted in ibid., p. 451. (Close)
I have just… heard a sermon… to the graduating class.… There is a certain hymn that is always sung… the last Sunday that graduates attend church here. It commences "When shall we meet again?"… And everyone felt the truth of the concluding words, "Never, no more," for in all probability in another year, the half of them may be in their graves.…
McCrea's own family was divided: He and one brother had grown up in Ohio, and another brother and sister grew up on a Southern plantation.
My sister and aunt would rather see me dead in my grave than see me remain in the North.… We are destined to have a long and bloody civil war, in which brother will be fighting against brother.

President Lincoln explained the purpose of the war at the beginning of May:

I consider the central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us, of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose. If we fail it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.(15) Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 444. (Close)

If the so-called "Border States"--Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware--seceded and joined the Confederacy, they would double its manufacturing capacity and supply nearly another half of its horses and mules. Two of the Ohio River's navigable tributaries, the Cumberland and the Tennessee, arose out of the heartland of the South, where its grain, iron, and gunpowder were produced. President Lincoln is reported to have said that he hoped to have God on his side, but he had to have Kentucky.

I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. Kentucky gone, we cannot hold Missouri, nor, I think, Maryland. These all against us, and the job on our hands is too large for us. We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of this capital [Washington].(16) Quoted in ibid., p. 446. (Close)
As for Maryland, which threatened to cut off Washington, DC, from the north, President Lincoln declared martial law where needed and sent in troops. Lincoln also deployed Union soldiers in western Virginia. The "mountain whites" in these counties had refused to join the rest of the state in secession. The counties tore themselves away from the rest of Virginia and soon became known as West Virginia.

Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and other Southern sympathizers withdrew from their state's convention that had been called to consider secession when they realized they would not prevail. Hamilton R. Gamble, an antislavery man, replaced Jackson as provisional Governor. President Lincoln sent Union soldiers there, too, where they fought beside local Unionists in a regional civil war inside the larger Civil War. General Nathaniel Lyon fought a skillful campaign there and prevented the state from falling into Confederate hands, but rebel forces were able to defeat his forces in August (and kill him) in the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

Each official statement of the war aims of the United States was profoundly influenced by considerations of how the Border States might interpret it. To keep these states from joining the rebellion, President Lincoln abandoned the moral high ground and declared publicly that he was not fighting to free the slaves. He reaffirmed that he had

no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in the States where it exists.
He insisted repeatedly that his paramount purpose was to save the Union at all costs. Any antislavery war would have been unpopular not only in the Border States but also in the so-called Butternut region of southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, populated mostly by racially prejudiced former Southerners.

[ Frederick Douglass ] Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, 43, pictured here, was exasperated by President Lincoln's policy:

This is no time to fight with one hand when both are needed. This is no time to fight with only your white hand, and allow your black hand to remain tied!

At the beginning of the war, privates in either army were paid a monthly salary of $18 ($377 in 2006 dollars).

The 37th Congress abolished flogging in the Army.

Claiming emergency powers, meanwhile, President Lincoln continued his violations of the Constitution he had sworn to uphold, giving the excuse of preserving the union: If he did not sometimes violate the document, there might not be a Constitution of a united United States to uphold. A prime example was his suspension of habeas corpus, when, formulating a "doctrine of necessity" (which would justify amputation of limbs to preserve life), he violated the Constitution to "preserve" it by authorizing the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone suspected of aiding the rebels.(17)

The following analysis of the Ex parte Merryman opinion is derived from "Ex parte Merryman and Abraham Lincoln's Suspension of Habeas Corpus" by Andrew Young at a page on Libertarian Lew Rockwell's site ( (Close) Lincoln also cited the President's duty to make sure that the nation's laws were faithfully executed and asserted his right as commander-in-chief during wartime "to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy."

Thousands were arrested and held without trial. A loyal mayor of Baltimore was suspected of Southern sympathies; he was arrested and held in a fortress for more than a year. A judge in Maryland charged a grand jury to look into illegal acts of federal officials; a provost marshal's guard barged into his court while it was in session, beat him up, dragged him bleeding from his bench, and threw him in prison, where he remained for six months. There were many other such incidents.

In May Union General George Cadwalader ordered the arrest of John Merryman for being "an active secessionist sympathizer," confining Merryman in the military prison at Fort McHenry. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney demanded that Cadwalader allow him to judge the legality of Merryman's confinement, but the general refused, citing the President's orders. Taney then attempted to hold Cadwaladar in contempt, but Union forces would not admit the marshal who was attempting to serve the writ. Taney then wrote his Ex parte Merryman opinion, contesting Lincoln's claims to sweeping executive power. The President's duty to faithfully execute the laws, according to Taney, did not permit him to "execute them himself, or through agents or officers, civil or military." The President's duty was rather to assure that no outside force would interfere with the government's execution of the laws. Taney also asserted that if the executive branch could overstep the other branches, "the people of the United States [were] no longer living under a government of laws." Offering mounds of evidence, he claimed that the framers never intended for the executive to suspend habeas corpus. He cited how President Jefferson had to ask Congress to suspend habeas corpus during the conspiracy of Aaron Burr.

Not only did President Lincoln disregard the Ex parte Merryman opinion, but he ordered the arrest of Chief Justice Taney. (No one could find a marshal willing to arrest the 84-year-old judge, however.) The President justified his extreme measures in his Fourth of July message(18):

Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 658. (Close)
Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?

"Radical" Republicans in the 37th Congress who resented the expansion of presidential power in wartime and who were pressing President Lincoln on emancipation formed the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, criticizing nearly every decision of the executive branch. And there was plenty to criticize.

The 30,000 green recruits drilling in and near Washington, DC, in the summer were ill prepared for battle, but impatient Northern newspapers, especially the influential New York Tribune, eager for a quick resolution of the secession crisis, were clamoring its "Nation's War-Cry": "Forward to Richmond! Forward to Richmond!"

When Union troops occupied the mansion of Robert E. Lee in Arlington Heights, Virginia, in May, General "Napoleon of the South" Beauregard (the hero of Fort Sumter) exclaimed that the "sacred soil of Virginia" had been "polluted" by the "abolition hosts" of a "reckless and unprincipled tyrant."

That "tyrant," President Lincoln, reasoned that a successful attack on a smaller Confederate force at Bull Run (Manassas Junction), a railway junction some 30 miles southwest of Washington, across the Potomac River into Virginia, would demonstrate the superiority of Union arms and might even lead to the capture of Richmond, another 100 miles to the south. Secession would then be discredited, and the Union would be restored. In July the Union recruits under General Irwin McDowell, including the colorfully uniformed Zouaves, swaggered toward Bull Run, followed by Congressmen and hundreds of spectators, in a holiday mood and carrying picnic baskets.

[ Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson ]

At first, this First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) went well for the Yankees: McDowell's forces swept back the Confederate left flank while the Yankee civilian picnickers watched from up on a grassy hilltop. But, unfortunately for the expected summer frivolity, the gray-clad Confederate warriors under Colonel Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, 37, pictured here, who had rushed up by rail to the battlefield from the Shenandoah Valley, now stood doggedly like a stone wall, earning Jackson his nickname. When Confederate reinforcements arrived under General Beauregard (fresh from Fort Sumter) and General Joseph Eggleston Johnson, 54, and when the 33rd Virginia Regiment of Colonel Arthur C. Cummings began to charge, the green Union troops were seized with panic; they fled in shameful confusion. One observer reported on the rout:

Off they went… across fields, toward the woods, anywhere, everywhere, to escape.… To enable them better to run, they threw away their blankets, knapsacks, canteens, and finally muskets, cartridge-boxes, and everything else.(19) Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 458. (Close)
The fleeing Yankees tumbled through lines of supply wagons and trampled over foolish picnickers and other sightseers. Another observer behind the Union lines described the scene:
We called to them, tried to tell them there was no danger, called them to stop, implored them to stand. We called them cowards, denounced them in the most offensive terms, put out our heavy revolvers, and threatened to shoot them, but all in vain: a cruel, crazy, mad, hopeless panic possessed them, and communicated to everybody about in front and rear. The heat was awful, although now about six; the men were exhausted--their mouths gaped, their lips cracked and blackened with powder of the cartridges they had bitten off in battle, their eyes staring in frenzy; no mortal ever saw such a mass of ghastly wretches.(20) Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 463. (Close)
Panic reigned in Washington, both sides expecting the capital to fall within hours. Straggling Union soldiers who had fled dropped to sleep in the streets. There were rumors that Beauregard was in hot pursuit and that the Capitol would soon be blown up.

The Confederate troops, however, who had earlier been shouting "On to Washington," were now too exhausted and disorganized to pursue. They simply gathered up the gear abandoned by the fleeing Yankee troops and feasted on the captured picnic lunches.

This comeuppance for the Union was a lesson: The war was not going to be easy, and it might last awhile. For the Confederacy, the battle inflated an already dangerous overconfidence; many rebel soldiers deserted back to their farms, sure that the war was already over.

Now, sobered with the reality of the Civil War, the 37th Congress authorized the calling up of 500,000 volunteers for 3-year hitches.

In August, Union forces under General Benjamin Franklin Butler, 42, captured Confederate Fort Clark and Fort Hattaras on the North Carolina coast.

Confederate forces defeated Union forces in October in the Battle of Ball's Bluff on the Potomac. The reality of war was shattering the Yankees' dream of glory in war. Abner Ralph Small, 25, a Maine volunteer, described the following scene:

I can see today, as I saw then, the dead and hurt men lying limp on the ground.… From somewhere across the field a battery pounded us.… We wavered and rallied, and fired blindly; and men fell writhing.(21) Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 457. (Close)

[ George Brinton McClellan ] Forces under stocky, red-haired Union General George Brinton "Little Mac" McClellan, 34, nicknamed "Young Napoleon," pictured here, drove out a couple of small rebel forces (about 250 men in total) from the western counties of Virginia, which was already known by most of its inhabitants as "West Virginia." Thoroughly the romantic, McClellan proclaimed to his men:

You have annihilated two armies!(22) Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 407. (Close)

In August President Lincoln gave command of the "Army of the Potomac" to "Little Mac," and in November he appointed him general in chief of all the Union forces. McClellan proceeded to spend the winter training the 200,000-man army. McClellan engaged detective Allan Pinkerton to head a department of counterespionage; in his reports, Pinkerton, disguised as a Major E. J. Allen, exaggerated the size of Confederate troop concentrations, discouraging overcautious McClellan from taking any decisive action. President Lincoln once accused him of having "the slows." (McClellan consistently addressed the President in arrogant tones and privately referred to him as a "baboon.") As McClellan continued to drill his army without advancing toward Richmond, Northerners derided the lack of action with the phrase "All Quiet along the Potomac" and sang a song entitled "Tardy George." McClellan had this to say to his detractors:

I shall take my own time to make an army that will be sure of success.(23) Quoted in ibid. (Close)

According to Confederate pundits, the war with the Yankees was really the "Second American Revolution": Just as rebel George Washington had led the 13 American colonies to secede from the British Empire eight and a half decades earlier to throw off the yoke of King George III, now rebel Jefferson Davis was leading eleven American states to secede from the Union by throwing off the yoke of "King" Abraham Lincoln. Just as the impulses of nationalism in Italy, Germany, Poland, and elsewhere were stirring in Europe, so the huge area of the South, a nation trapped within a Northern empire, need no longer be lorded over. The rebels also called the conflict the "War for Separation."

Defending their homes gave the Southerners a strong motivation to fight. According to one Confederate:

Our men must prevail in combat, or they will lose their property, country, freedom--in short, everything.(24) Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 452. (Close)
When asked by a Northern invader why he was fighting against the Union, one Southerner said simply:
Because y'all are down here.(25) Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 404. (Close)

According to historians Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen,

the conflict between "Billy Yank" and "Johnny Reb" was a brothers' war. There were many Northern volunteers from the Southern states and many Southern volunteers from the Northern states. The "mountain whites" of the South sent north some 50,000 men, and the loyal slave states contributed some 300,000 soldiers to the Union. In many a family of the Border States, one brother rode north to fight with the Blue, another south to fight with the Gray.(26) Quoted in Bailey et al., p. 448. (Close)
According to historian Samuel Eliot Morison,
the Confederate army contained men from every Northern state who preferred the Southern type of civilization to their own; and the United States army and navy included men from every seceded state who felt that the breakup of the Union would be a fatal blow to self-government, republicanism, and democracy. [Union] Admiral Farragut was from Alabama; Caleb Huse, the most efficient Confederate agent in Europe, was from Massachusetts; Samuel P. Lee commanded the Union naval forces in the James River while his cousin Robert E. Lee was resisting Grant in the Wilderness; two sons of Commodore Porter USN fought under Stonewall Jackson; Major General T. L. Crittenden USA was brother to Major General G. B. Crittenden CSA. Three grandsons of Henry Clay fought for the Union, and four for the Confederacy. Three brothers of Mrs. Lincoln died for the South; several kinsmen of Mrs. Davis were in the Union army.(27) Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 613. (Close)
Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen offered some reasons for Southern success early in the war:
Besides their brilliant [military] leaders, ordinary Southerners were also bred to fight. Accustomed to managing horses and bearing arms from boyhood, they made excellent cavalrymen and foot soldiers. Their high-pitched "rebel yell" ("yeeahhh") was designed to strike terror into the hearts of fuzz-chinned Yankee recruits. "There is nothing like it on this side of the infernal region," one Northern soldier declared. "The peculiar corkscrew sensation that it sends down your backbone can never be told. You have to feel it."(28) Quoted in Bailey, et al., op. cit., p. 448. (Close)

Historian Karen Frisch tells of what it was like for a Confederate soldier:(29)

Frisch, Karen, "Your Confederate Ancestors in the Civil War," featured in ("Ancestry Daily News") of Inc. (© Copyright 1998-2002 by Inc. and its subsidiaries). (Close)
Those who joined at the start of the war were at least able to savor the early victories that generated Southern optimism for so long. As there was no draft for the Confederate Army, all soldiers were volunteers. Without the economic opportunities the North afforded, many younger sons chose to become career soldiers because their oldest brother would inherit the family plantation.
By July there were 186,751 men in the Union forces, 112,040 in the Confederate forces. Confederate quipsters observed that any man (aged 17 to 50) who could see lightning and hear thunder was judged fit for service. There were thousands of desertions from both sides.

Many of the full-blood Cherokees in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) belonged to a secret society known as Kee-too-wah (the "Pins"), so named because each member wore two common pins in the form of a cross on the coat or hunting shirt. Its purpose was to encourage the retention of the old tribal customs and to prevent their taking up the ways of the whites. Few of the full-bloods owned slaves, and the Kee-too-wah was usually opposed to slavery. Nonetheless, many Cherokees did own slaves.

Indian Territory could not escape the tumult of the Civil War. The Confederacy was very interested in enlisting Indian help: Not only did they consider the Indians from the so-called Five "Civilized" Tribes to be splendid soldiers, but also the Indians had large herds of cattle that could furnish beef for the Confederate armies west of the Mississippi. Indian Territory had been administered from Fort Smith, AR, under what had been called the Southern Superintendency, directed by Elias Rector, who had managed the work of the Indian agents, one agent for each tribe. As soon as war began, Rector and all the Indian agents under his charge resigned and joined the Confederacy. In May the Confederate government sent the poet and lawyer (and prominent Mason) Albert Pike from Arkansas (originally from New England) as a commissioner to try to make treaties of alliance with the Five Civilized Tribes.

Everything seemed to favor Pike in his mission. Earlier in the year the U.S. government had decided not to send the money due the Indians from their annuities for fear it might fall into the hands of agents of the Confederacy--at least that was the excuse (actually no treaties had been kept with any of the Indian nations by the federal government). At that same time the Union troops in or near the Indian Territory were withdrawn to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Confederate General Ben McCulloch, whose mission was to guard Indian Territory against invasion from the North, joined Pike, and the two proceeded from Fort Smith to Tahlequah in the Cherokee Nation. From there they went to Park Hill to see John Ross, long-time chief of the Cherokees.

Ross received the delegation courteously but insisted that the Cherokees had nothing to do with the quarrel between North and South and that determined to remain entirely neutral. Pike, very disappointed, repeatedly urged Ross to make a treaty, but Ross was firm in his refusal. Pike decided to meet the other tribes: At North Fork Village he concluded alliances with the chiefs and the headmen of the Creeks, Chickasaws, and Choctaws. Pike then went on to the council house of the Seminoles and concluded an alliance with them. He then went to the Wichita agency in the western part of the Leased District, where he concluded treaties with the bands of Wichitas, Kiowas, and Comanches in that region.

Meantime, Pike had kept up a correspondence with the Cherokees. Finally, at a great mass meeting of the Cherokee Nation, the tribe agreed to follow the other tribes and join the Confederacy.

In each of these treaties, the Confederacy agreed to take the position toward the Indians that the United States had held: to pay annuities, to guarantee to them their lands, to furnish them with arms, and to protect them against attack by the North. The Indians were to have delegates in the Confederate Congress, and they were encouraged to believe that eventually they might become a state of the Confederacy.

Actually, the Creeks were divided on the question of the war, and the same was true of the Cherokees and the Seminoles. Soon after the treaty signing, Creeks who favored the North declared that they did not intend to be bound by it. The Civil War had now divided the Creek Nation; the Southern group smashed the Northern Creeks in the Battle of Round Mountain (near present-day Tulsa) in December; the nearly 7,000 survivors fled northward through the snow to Kansas, taking their women and children with them. After terrible suffering they at last reached the camp of Union General Hunter, who gave them food from his army stores. Some Cherokees and Seminoles, fleeing from the Southern sympathizers in their tribes, also spent the fierce winter in refugee camps, with little clothing and bedding, almost no shelter, and the very little food from the Union Army. The carcasses of their ponies lay in the nearby creek beds. The Creek agent reported that two thousand in his camp were barefoot, and that 240 had died of starvation and exposure in a single month.

General Pike took command of the Confederate Indian troops in Indian Territory, establishing himself in the newly constructed Fort Davis (not far from present-day Fort Gibson. Confederate General Earl Van Dorn, who commanded the entire military district and whose main army was near the border of Arkansas and Missouri, ordered General Pike to join him there with his Indians.

Jefferson Davis, who had been named provisional President of the Confederacy in February, was confirmed in that post by an October election (after federal funds and property had been seized in the South).

There was a fierce struggle in California between Southern sympathizers and Unionists, but the latter ultimately won.

The seceding states had a population of 10 million, more than a third of whom were slaves (and whom the Southerners were unwilling to trust with arms but whose continued work on the plantations freed many whites to fight). The 23 nonseceding states had a population of more than 22 million (still 20.7 million after excluding the untrustworthy Border States of Kentucky and Missouri), and despite the war immigrants continued to pour in, adding to the overwhelming supply of soldiers--nearly 92,000 during this year alone, including some 20,000 from Great Britain, 24,000 from Ireland, and 32,000 from Germany. Large numbers of them were induced to enlist in the Union armies.

The North possessed about three quarters of the wealth of the United States, including 65% of the total farm acreage and some 71% of the total railroad track (30,000 miles). The annual value of the products the North produced was 92% of the total of $1.9 billion ($40 billion in 2006 dollars), products accounting for 86% of the total number of manufacturing establishments, 91% of the total capital invested, and the same percentage of the total number of laborers. The North produced some 2.8 million tons of iron.

Northern control of the the Navy and the merchant marine made the blockade possible and ultimately effective against a region so dependent on foreign trade.

The 37th Congress enacted the first federal income tax to raise funds needed by the Union Army and Navy: 3 percent on incomes over $800 ($16,736 in 2006 dollars). Congress also assessed a direct tax on the states and authorized loans amounting to $140 million ($2.9 billion).

Banker Jay Cooke, 40, founded the Wall Street banking house Jay Cooke & Company. As the government's agent for selling federal Treasury war bonds (whose rate of interest ranged as high as 7.3%), he received a commission of three-eighths of 1 percent on all sales. He set up a network of sub-agents, and he advertised in the newspapers to stimulate sales.

Even with the billions borrowed and the millions collected in all kinds of taxes, federal revenues were inadequate for financing the war. U.S. banks suspended payments in gold, and the U.S. Treasury began issuing "greenback" paper money (distinguished from the redeemable yellow-back bills), eventually totaling $450 million ($9.4 billion in 2006 dollars).

The 37th Congress enacted the first of three Morrill Acts, which boosted tariffs to an average of 47 percent, with duties on tea, coffee, and sugar. These protections for prosperous manufactures, causing new factories to mushroom forth, soon became identified with the Republican Party, and industrialists waxed fat on these welcome benefits. The wartime inflation hurt the day laborer and office worker, but the businessmen, especially those involved in government war contracts, joined a new class of gaudy, brassy, noisy, extravagant millionaires. With the armed forces threatening to wear out 3 million pairs of shoes and 1.5 million uniforms a year, and with hundreds of thousands of men leaving their jobs to fight, there was tremendous incentive to increase the size of the average manufacturing unit, and capitalists took advantage of that incentive. Manufacturers supplied the troops not only with necessities but also with cardboard-sole shoes, disintegrating uniforms of reprocessed, or "shoddy," wool, and other worthless items. Profits were all out of proportion to any services rendered.

The U.S. mail began carrying merchandise as well as letters.

Secretary of War Simon Cameron organized the U.S. Sanitary Commission and employed the heroically energetic educator Clara (Clarissa) Harlowe Barton, 40, who quit her job at the Patent Office and, with the help of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, set up facilities for recovering soldiers' lost baggage and secured medicine and supplies for troops wounded in the First Battle of Bull Run. The commission trained nurses and equipped hospitals.

[ Dorothea Lynde Dix ] Dorothea Lynde Dix, 59, pictured here, was appointed superintendent of women nurses for the Union. She helped to elevate nursing from a lowly service into a respected profession. (In the South, Sally Tompkins ran a Richmond infirmary for wounded Confederate soldiers and would be awarded the rank of captain by President Jefferson Davis.)

Bavarian immigrant confectioner William F. Schraft, with a loan from his brother-in-law, opened a small store at 85 Eliot Street in Boston, selling gumdrops that become popular with Union soldiers; he soon expanded operations to produce wholesale cinnamon balls, peppermint sticks, and other candy.

William Barton Rogers founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA.

Bellevue Hospital Medical College was established in New York City, with Lewis Albert Sayre, 41, as professor of orthopedic surgery.

Gail Borden, 60, licensed more factories to produce his condensed milk, now purchased for field rations by the Union Army.

Delmonico's Restaurant moved uptown to 14th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Eberhard Faber opened a pencil factory in New York City.

The 3-year-old fiction magazine New York Weekly of Francis S. Street and Francis Shubael Smith, 41, whose company was Street & Smith Publications, Inc., had attracted well-known writers with enormous sums and had increased their circulation to over 100,000.

The 10-year-old I. M. Singer and Company of New York inventor Isaac Merrit Singer, 49, sold more sewing machines abroad than in the U.S., earning profits of nearly $200,000 ($4.2 million in 2006 dollars) on assets of barely more than $1 million ($20.9 million).

John Wanamaker, 23, and his brother-in-law, Nathan Brown, opened a mens-wear shop in Philadelphia, selling at fixed prices (without haggling) and soon became the largest mens-wear retailer in the country.

Philadelphia butcher Peter Arrell Brown Widener, 27, obtained a government contract to supply mutton to the Union troops; with his profits of $50,000 ($1 million in 2006 dollars), he invested in a chain of meat stores and street railways.

Lititz, PA, baker Julius Sturgis opened the country's first commercial pretzel factory.

The increase in U.S. literacy was spurring a demand for more lighting.(30)

Distilled from Trager, James, ed., The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979, p. 490; and from Garraty, op. cit., pp. 505-6. (Close) The petroleum derivative kerosene was replacing both whale oil and lard oil in lamps (the whale-oil lamps were simply discarded, or they were retrofitted for kerosene burning); the kerosene lamps were noted for their smoky, torchlike light. The discovery of petroleum gushers in western Pennsylvania 2 years earlier had led to a rush of "Fifty-Niners" to that area, giving rise to a new industry, with its "petroleum plutocracy" of "coal oil Johnnies." Already hundreds of tiny kerosene refineries were springing up in Pennsylvania, reminiscent of ramshackle hillbilly moonshiner stills, where small-scale entrepreneurs heated crude petroleum oil in large kettles, boiling off the volatile elements, condensing the kerosene in water-cooled coils, and discarding the heavier petroleum tars.

The Jones & Laughlin Company of Benjamin Franklin Jones, 37, and James Laughlin, 55, opened a two-stack steel furnace in Pittsburgh.

The Wurlitzer Company of Cincinnati, directed by Rudolph Wurlitzer, 30, obtained a contract to supply drums and trumpets for the Union Army.

Kentucky engineer and inventor James Buchanan Eads, 40, supplied the Union with seven 175-foot iron-clads in the space of 100 days.

Henry du Pont, 49, obtained enough saltpeter from England to keep his Delaware powder works in production.

Indianapolis grocer and tinsmith Gilbert C. Van Camp, 37, introduced Van Camp's Pork and Beans as a canned staple and won a contract to supply the Union Army.

Marshall Field, 27, became general manager of the Chicago dry-goods firm of Cooley, Wadsworth & Co.

Chicago preacher Dwight Lyman Moody, 24, a former shoe salesman, continued his Sunday School in a hall over the city's North Market. Offering prizes, free pony rides, and picnics as well as a genuine love for children had made Moody's the largest Sunday School in Chicago, reaching some 1,500 weekly. During this year, Moody became a city missionary for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).

Chicago shipped 50 million bushels of wheat to drought-stricken Europe, a 60-percent increase from the preceding year, in spite of the Civil War.

The horse-drawn McCormick mechanical reaper was now selling for $150 ($3,138 in 2006 dollars), up 50 percent from its price 12 years earlier, but Cyrus Hall McCormick, 52, offered it at $30 down ($628 down), with the balance to be paid in 6 months if the harvest was good and over a longer period otherwise. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton would made the following observation:

Without McCormick's invention, I feel the North could not win and that the Union would be dismembered.(31) Quoted in Trager, op. cit., p. 505. (Close)

The Western Union transcontinental telegraph was completed (telegraph wires were now strung between New York City and San Francisco, one of whose hills would hereafter be called Telegraph Hill). Instant coast-to-coast communication through Morse code was now possible, and the year-old Pony Express was discontinued. There was a natural synergy between Western Union and railroads, which had been using telegraphy for the preceding 10 years. Western Union needed the right of way that the railroads provided, and the railroads needed the telegraph to coordinate the arrival and departure of trains. The greatest savings of the telegraph were from the continued use of single-tracked railroad lines. Single-tracked trains ran on a time-interval system, and two types of accidents could occur: Trains running in opposite directions could run into one another, as could trains running in the same direction. The potential for accidents had required that railroad managers to be very careful in dispatching trains. The telegraph reduced the number of accidents (even after double-tracking, telegraph use could prevent accidents from trains running in the same direction).

The 37th Congress created Colorado Territory (comprising present-day Colorado and New Mexico north of 34° N) in February, thereby reducing the new State of Kansas to its present size. It created Dakota Territory (comprising present-day North Dakota, South Dakota, much of Montana, and some of Wyoming) in March, thereby reducing Nebraska Territory to its present size as a state. It created Nevada Territory also in March, thereby reducing Utah territory to its present size as a state. It created Arizona Territory in August (comprising present-day Arizona and New Mexico south of 34° N).

The University of Colorado was founded in Boulder.

Some of the chiefs of the Arapaho and the Cheyenne in Colorado Territory were pressured into signing the Fort Wise Treaty, wherein they ceded their lands to the United States and agreed to move to the Indian reservation to the south of Sand Creek, demarcated by a line to be run due north from a point on the northern boundary of New Mexico, 15 miles west of Purgatory River and extending to the Sandy Fork of the Arkansas River.

Cochise, 49, Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches in Arizona Territory, was falsely accused of having kidnapped a white child. He appeared at a U.S. Army post to deny the charge and was imprisoned; he escaped and took hostages whom he intended to exchange for other Apaches held by the Army. Unfortunately, the hostages were killed on both sides. Cochise joined his father-in-law Mangas Coloradas of the Mimbreno Apaches in raids intended to drive the Anglos out of Arizona.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 25, former Mississippi River pilot, failed as a prospector in Nevada.

A group of California businessmen known as the "Big Four" secured a charter for the Central Pacific Railroad to build the western portion of the proposed transcontinental rail link--with Leland Stanford, 37, president; Collis Potter Huntington, 40, vice president; Mark Hopkins, 48, an officer; and Charles Crocker, 39, director of construction. Crocker contracted the Chinese Six Companies to recruit workers at $35 per head ($733 per head in 2006 dollars) from California and from the disintegrating Chinese Empire, getting 90 percent of the 10,000 workers from China. Stressing the federal government's postal and military requirements, the Big Four petitioned the 37th Congress for subsidies; exclusively private financing for this long-dreamed-of but costly and risky transcontinental railroad project was out of the question: Extending rails into thinly populated areas would be unprofitable until these areas could be built up. With the Civil War raging, a transcontinental line was seen as a way to bolster the Union by binding the Pacific Coast--especially California, rich in gold--with the rest of the embattled Union.

Thousands of Chinese immigrants were fleeing the disintegrating Chinese Empire, risking the penalty of beheading to do so, almost all from the southern district of Toishan, and coming to the United States. Most were men (the ratio was 13 males for each female). Some came with money pooled by their families back home, but most were desperately poor and in debt to Chinese middlemen, such as the Chinese Six Companies, which they would need to repay in cruel conditions of indenture for years. The indenture business was known ignominiously as "pig selling." Chinatowns were springing up in railroad towns, farming villages, and cities, where the immigrants could speak their own language and seek safety from prejudice and violence. Many organized themselves into tongs (secret societies).

The California State Legislature commissioned Hungarian immigrant Count Agoston Haraszthy de Moksa, 59, to bring select varieties of European wine grapes into the state; the count proceeded to obtain 100,000 cuttings representing 300 varieties.

The University of Washington was founded in Seattle.

Prospectors were now racing to the present-day Idaho panhandle, hoping to become millionaires overnight on rumors of precious metal strikes there. Historian John Garraty has summarized the miners' point of view(32):

Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 485. (Close)
The miners enthusiastically adopted the get-rich-quick philosophy, willingly enduring privations and laboring hard, but always with the object of striking it rich. Anything that stood in the way of their ambitions they struck down. They trespassed on Indian lands without the slightest qualm and "claimed" public land with no thought of paying for it. The idea of reserving any part of the West for future generations never entered their heads. The sudden prosperity of the mining towns attracted every kind of shady character, all bent on extracting wealth from the pockets of the miners rather than from the unyielding earth. Gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels mushroomed wherever precious metal was found [or was rumored to have been found]. Around these tawdry palaces of pleasure and forgetfulness gathered thieves, confidence men, degenerates, and desperados. Crime and violence were commonplace, law enforcement was a constant problem.
Eventually the "better element" in these boom towns formed "vigilante committees," which drove the outlaws out of town after a few summary hangings. Meanwhile, storekeepers in the towns charged outrageous prices, and claim holders were "salting" their worthless properties with nuggets in order to swindle gullible investors.

Men began cutting their hair shorter, with parts extending from the front all the way back to the nape of the neck. Some men wore pompadours. Muttonchops and beards under the chin were in vogue. Women frequently wore a bun or chignon, arranged in loops and braids, with puffs, ringlets, or coils over the ears.

Americans now bathed an average of once a week.

Science and technology in America: Specifics

North Carolina engineer Richard Jordan Gatling, 43, invented his prototype machine gun (the "Gatling gun"), which could fire hundreds of rounds per minute; Massachusetts poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, 52, invented the stereoscope (he also published Elsie Venner this year); Baltimore canner Isaac Solomon reduced the processing time for canning foods by 85 percent to a half hour by adding calcium chloride to raise the boiling temperature of water to 240° F; and Vermont inventor Elisha G. Otis, 50, patented a steam-powered elevator but died soon after in Yonkers, NY.

Arts and culture in America: Specifics

Photographer Mathew B. Brady, 37, began his photographic record of the Civil War; New York painter John La Farge, 26, unveiled St. John; and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 55, translated the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri into English.

Actress Lola Montez died in obscurity in Astoria, NY, at the age of 43, and was buried in Brooklyn under the name Mrs. Eliza Gilbert.

The "laureate of the Confederacy," Henry Timrod, published the patriotic Ethnogenesis.

Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Home Monthly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Harper's Weekly, Yale Literary Magazine, Knickerbocker Magazine, Phunny Fellow, National Police Gazette, Illustrated Police News, and Scientific American.

The song "All Quiet Along the Potomac" was released and became popular, as was "Aura Lea" by George R. Poulton and William Whiteman Fosdick, 36. The song "The Old Grey Mare (Get Out of the Wilderness)" was popular among Union troops. The songs "I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land" (or "Dixie") and "The Yellow Rose of Texas" were popular among Confederate troops, as were "Maryland! My Maryland!" by James R. Randall and "The Bonnie Blue Flag." Other popular songs included "Old Black Joe," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna," "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "Buffalo Gals," "Old Dan Tucker," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."

The World at Large in 1861

In Mexico Benito Pablo Juárez García, 55, a liberale (liberal) Zapotec Indian, at last defeated the conservadores (conservatives), led by General Félix Zuloaga, in the Mexican War of the Reform. Juárez's forces recaptured Mexico City in January 1861, and Juárez was elected President in March under the federalist Constitution of 1857

Faced with bankruptcy and a war-ravaged economy, Juárez declared a moratorium on foreign debt payments. Ignoring the Monroe Doctrine (with the government of the United States preoccupied with its Civil War), the United Kingdom, France, and Spain intervened in Mexico to force the new government of Juárez there to pay its debts. Troops from the three European powers landed at Veracruz in December.

Also ignoring the Monroe Doctrine, Spain intervened in the Dominican Republic, governing it ostensibly to protect it from an attack by Haiti.

U.S. entrepreneur Henry "Don Enrique" Meiggs, 50, escaping California after absconding the year before with hundreds of thousands of dollars of San Francisco city notes, obtained a contract to supervise construction of the Santiago as Sur Railroad between Valparaiso and Santiago in Chile (even though several previous contractors had gone bankrupt).

[ Prince Albert ] Albert, Prince Consort to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, pictured here, died at the age of 42 from typhoid fever. Queen Victoria, also 42, withdrew from the public.

The population of Great Britain was 23 million that of Ireland was 5.7 million.

Great Britain produced 83.6 million tons of coal and 3.7 million tons of iron.

The Royal Academy of Music was established in London.

Charles Digby Harrod, 20, took over his father's grocery store on Brompton Road in London and began converting it into a huge department store.

A lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in London demonstrated that 87 percent of the bread in the city and 74 percent of the milk was still adulterated in spite of the Adulteration of Foods Law that had been enacted the year before.

English journalist Isabella Beeton ("Mrs. Beeton"), 25, published the 3-pound Book of Household Management, providing precise recipes for Victorian dishes, with not only ingredients but also costs and cooking times.

Horse-drawn trams (streetcars) appeared in London.

Daily weather forecasts began in Great Britain.

Construction began on the Sandringham House in Norfolk, the country residence for Queen Victoria, which would be completed in 9 years.

Many observers were amazed at the landslide of the Southern secession in the United States. Richard Cobden could not understand the "passionate haste and unreasoning arrogance of the secessionists." But many Members of the British Parliament, and many British pundits, favored the Southern cause in the American Civil War. Here is a November 7 excerpt from a London Times editorial:

The contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces.(33) Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 440. (Close)
That is just the way pundits in the Confederacy saw it, too.

In November American Arctic explorer Captain Charles Wilkes, 63, commanding the U.S.S. San Jacinto, stopped the British mail packet S.S. Trent on the high seas north of Cuba and forcibly removed former U.S. Senators John Murray Mason, 63, and John Slidell, 68, who were now Confederate commissioners bound for the United Kingdom and France. The United Kingdom protested in this "Trent affair," outraged that upstart Yankees would so offend the "Mistress of the Seas," and considered declaring war on the United States. Redcoats embarked for Canada, with bands blaring "Dixie." The British Foreign Office prepared an ultimatum demanding that the prisoners be surrendered and that the U.S. issue a formal apology.

Meanwhile, Confederate commerce raiders, which could sink Yankee ships, were being built in British shipyards, thereby making Great Britain the chief naval base for the Confederacy. The United Kingdom claimed that such construction was not a violation of official neutrality, because the shipyards were unarmed, and the new ships picked up their weapons and crew elsewhere.

Many European aristocrats were openly sympathetic to the Southern Confederacy, with its semifeudal social order. Workers in England and France, however, by and large favored the North. On the other hand, the British textile mills, employing thousands of ordinary British workers, depended on the American South for 75% of their cotton, and if the looms were silent, the workers might agitate for intervention on the side of the Confederacy. The Confederacy policy makers, in fact, counted on this hard economic need. Unfortunately for them, the British warehouses had enormous surpluses of cotton from the immediate prewar years 1857-60; there was no immediate need to replenish inventory when the shooting started.

French Emperor Napoleon III, 53, extended the financial powers of Parlement and inaugurated an elaborate program of public works that his government could ill afford, considering the expansive foreign policy the Emperor had been pursuing. There was mounting political opposition to his regime.

France produced 6.8 million tons of coal and 3 million tons of iron.

Architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier, 36, began construction of the 50-million-franc Paris Opéra, which would take 14 years to complete.

Parisian coachbuilder Pierre Michaux developed two velocipedes (prototype bicycles) from his La Compagnie Parisienne Ancienne Maison Michaux et Cie, each with a crank and with pedals attached directly to the front wheel.

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia died at the age of 65 after nearly three years of suffering paralysis and insanity; he was succeeded by his brother who had been acting as regent: Wilhelm I, 63.

The German states produced 0.2 million tons of iron.

Steel magnate Alfred Krupp, 47, began arms production at his Krupp Works factory in Essen, Germany.

The archaeopteryx prehistoric skeleton linking reptile and bird was discovered at Solnhofen, Germany.

Struggle for Italian independence

King Francesco, 15, of the Two Sicilies (Naples and Sicily), surrendered to Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, 54, at Gaeta, thereby officially ending the control of the Bourbon dynasty in southern Italy. A new Italian Parliament proclaimed a united Kingdom of Italy in March, joining Piedmont, Lombardy, Parma, Modena, Lucca, Romagna, Tuscany, and the Two Sicilies, under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy, 41, ruling Sardinia-Piedmont. Venitia was still held by Austria, and Rome was still held by French Emperor Napoleon III, who had acquired Nice and Savoy from Piedmont the year before. Within weeks of the proclamation, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the Premier of Sardinia-Piedmont who had been so instrumental in the reunification effort (Resorgimento), died at the age of 62.

The population of Italy was 25 million.

King Pedro V (Pedro de Alcantara) of Portugal died of cholera at the age of 24 and was succeeded by his brother, Luiz I, 23.

The Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united to form Rumania.

Sultan Abdul Mejid of the Ottoman Empire died at the age of 38 and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz, 31, who began to acquire enormous wealth and recklessly squander it.

Poles demonstrated in Warsaw against Russian rule and were massacred by Russian troops.

Tsar Alexander II of Russia, 42, completed the emancipation of the Russian serfs, begun 3 years earlier by allotting land not to individual serfs but rather to serf village communes (mirs), which would redistribute the land every decade to assure equality and for which the serfs were required to pay (in "redemption" payments) over a 49-year period; each peasant, ostensibly newly "liberated," could buy only half the land he had cultivated as a serf and often could not afford the annual redemption payment and thus benefited but little. Most of them were using wooden plows, harvested with sickles or scythes, and threshed with hand flails. A third of the peasants had only a single horse, and another third no horse at all. The soil was drained by strip farming, and there was a shortage of fertilizer.

Russian anarchist Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin, 47, escaped his imprisonment in eastern Siberia, begun 6 years earlier, for his revolutionary activities; he traveled through Japan and the United States and finally reached Europe.

The population of Russia was 76 million.

Russia produced 0.3 million tons of coal.

Russian aggression in eastern Asia

Russian forces attempted, unsuccessfully, to seize the islands of Tsuchima from Japan.

T'ai P'ing Rebellion

Kwangsi Province mystic Hung Hsiu-ch'uan, 49, proclaiming himself the younger brother of Jesus Christ as well as the T'in-wang ("Heavenly Prince," effectively the Emperor of China) of the so-called T'ai P'ing ("Great Peace") dynasty, continued his rebellion, 11 years old so far, against the government of China's Manchu dynasty. Because imperial troops had withdrawn from Anhuei, North Kiangsu, and Shantung provinces in order to cope with the T'ai P'ing rebels, bandits there under the name Nien Fei continued their campaign of plunder, now 8 years old.

British expansion into Africa

The United Kingdom annexed Lagos, Nigeria.

Australian businessman Thomas Sutcliff Mort, 45, built in Sydney the world's first machine-chilled cold storage unit.

Irish immigrant Robert O'Hara Burke, 41, continued to lead his expedition of 17 men, 26 camels, and 28 horses to cross Australia from south to north. They reached the Gulf of Carpentaria, but Burke, his lieutenant William John Wills, 26, and another man starved to death on the return trip.

World science and technology

Belgian industrial chemist Ernest Solvay, 23, and his brother Alfred Solvay invented the "Solvay process" for obtaining soda (sodium carbonate) from salt (sodium chloride) by dissolving salt in water, saturating the solution with ammonia, allowing it to trickle down a tower with perforated partitions, blowing carbon dioxide (from heating limestone to quicklime) into the result to produce sodium bicarbonate, and then heating that to produce soda (sodium carbonate), useful for making glass, paper, bleaches, water treatment, and petroleum refining.

French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, 39, confuted the 50-year-old theory that the absence of oxygen permitted food to be canned without spoilage, pointed out that since milk--alkaline rather than acid--required more heat for sterilization, and published Memoire sur les corpuscles organises qui existent dans l'atmosphere, discrediting the century-old notion of spontaneous generation.

Hungarian physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, 43, published Childbed Fever.

English physicist and chemist Sir William Crookes discovered the element thallium; and German scientist Ernst Werner von Siemens, 45, patented a gas-heated open-hearth furnace, requiring less coal than previous methods (including the 5-year-old Bessemer process) at the same time that French engineer Pierre Émile Martin, 37, developed the same process.

World philosophy and religion

English philosopher Herbert Spencer, 41, published Education: Moral, Intellectual, Physical; and German political activist Ferdinand Lassalle, 36, published System of Assigned Rights.

Arts and culture in the British Isles

English novelist Ellen Price Wood (Mrs. Henry Wood), 47, published East Lynne; composer-organist William Henry Monk, 38, composed the hymn "Abide with Me, Fast Falls the Eventide"; and anthologist-poet Francis Turner Palgrave, 37, published The Golden Treasury of the best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language.

Novelist Anthony Trollope, 46, published Framley Parsonage.

Historian Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster, 46, published Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church; and the fifth and final volume of History of England by the late statesman Thomas Babington Macauly was published posthumously (2 years after his death).

Socialist poet and artist William Morris, 27, established a company to renew interest in stained glass and exquisite textiles.

Novelist Charles Reade, 37, published The Cloister and the Hearth; novelist and poet Mary Ann (Marian) Evens, 42, generally calling herself "Mrs. Lewes" (because she had been living openly for the preceding 7 years with the philosopher-critic George Henry Lewes, 44, who was married to another woman), published Silas Marner, or the Weaver of Raveloe under the pseudonym George Eliot; and novelist Charles (John Huffman) Dickens, 46, published Great Expectations, with illustrations by Marcus Stone, 21. Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning died at the age of 54.

World arts and culture

German composer Johannes Brahms, 28, produced Quartet in G minor for piano and strings at the Wormer Hall in Hamburg; and Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, 50, produced Mephisto Waltz at the Grand Ducal Palace in Weimar. German opera composer Heinrich Marschner died at the age of 66.

Russian ex-pat novelist Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, 41, published The House of the Dead; and German dramatist Christian Friedrich Hebbel, 48, produced Siegfrieds Tod ("Siegfried's Death") and Kriemhildes Rache ("Kriemhilde's Revenge") at the Hoftheater in Weimar. German jurist Friedrich Karl von Savigny died at the age of 82, French librettist Augustin Eugène Scribe died at the age of 70, and French novelist Henri Murger died at the age of 38.

French painter Jean-Babtiste-Camille Corot, 65, unveiled Orphée, Le Repos; French artist Gustave Doré, 29, illustrated Dante's Inferno with wood-cut engravings; and French Impressionist artist Édouard Manet, 29, exhibited Spanish Singer.


The copyrighted material cited on this page comes under the definition of "Fair Use."

See also the general sources.