from Lincoln’s first inaugural speech on March 4, 1861:
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.
The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this if also they choose, but the Executive as such has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor.
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.
By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.
My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new Administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. 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 all 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.”
I am loath 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.”
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The Attack on Fort Sumter:
On April 12, 1861, Confederate Brig. General, P.G.T. Beauregard, an expert artilleryman, graduate of West Point, laid siege to Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, S.C., where federal troops had been withdrawn in anticipation of war.
This little tidbit from Wikipedia is my offering to the Prager public to follow through the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, America’s greatest President, through the years of America’s greatest trial,
On Thursday, April 11, 1861, Beauregard sent three aides, Colonel James Chesnut, Jr., Captain Stephen D. Lee, and Lieutenant A. R. Chisolm to demand the surrender of the fort. Anderson declined, and the aides returned to report to Beauregard. After Beauregard had consulted the Secretary of War, Leroy Walker, he sent the aides back to the fort and authorized Chesnut to decide whether the fort should be taken by force. The aides waited for hours while Anderson considered his alternatives and played for time. At about 3 a.m., when Anderson finally announced his conditions, Colonel Chesnut, after conferring with the other aides, decided that they were “manifestly futile and not within the scope of the instructions verbally given to us”. The aides then left the fort and proceeded to the nearby Fort Johnson. There, Chesnut ordered the fort to open fire on Fort Sumter.
On Friday, April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire, firing for 34 straight hours, on the fort. Edmund Ruffin, noted Virginian agronomist and secessionist, claimed that he fired the first shot on Fort Sumter. His story has been widely believed, but Lieutenant Henry S. Farley, commanding a battery of two mortars on James Island fired the first shot at 4:30 A.M. (Detzer 2001, pp. 269–71). No attempt was made to return the fire for more than two hours. The fort’s supply of ammunition was not suited for the task, also there were no fuses for their explosive shells, only solid balls could be used against the Rebel batteries. At about 7:00 A.M., Captain Abner Doubleday , the fort’s second in command, was given the honor of firing the first shot in defense of the fort. The shot was ineffective, in part because Major Anderson did not use the guns mounted on the highest tier, the barbette tier, where the gun detachments would be more exposed to Confederate fire. The firing continued all day, the Union fired slowly to conserve ammunition. At night the fire from the fort stopped, but the confederates still lobbed an occasional shell in Sumter. On Saturday, April 13, the fort was surrendered and evacuated. During the attack, the Union colors fell. Lt.Norman J. Hall risked life and limb to put them back up, burning off his eyebrows permanently. No Union soldiers died in the actual battle though a Confederate soldier bled to death having been wounded by a misfiring cannon. One Union soldier died and another was mortally wounded during the 47th shot of a 100 shot salute, allowed by the Confederacy. Afterwards the salute was shortened to 50 shots. Accounts, such as in the famous diary of Mary Chesnut, describe Charleston residents along what is now known as The Battery, sitting on balconies and drinking salutes to the start of the hostilities. The Fort Sumter Flag became a popular patriotic symbol after Major Anderson returned North with it. The flag is still displayed in the fort’s museum. A supply ship Star of the West took all the Union soldiers to New York City. There they were welcomed and honored with a parade on Broadway.
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 04/11/2011 April 1861: The War Between the States begins— what was the weather like? By Don Lipman
On April 12, 1861, Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, had been in office only 39 days when, at 4:30 A.M., Confederate cannons opened fire against Ft. Sumter, SC, a small Union garrison in Charleston harbor. The Civil War had begun.
Most historians agree that the weather was a huge issue during the entire conflict but strangely, at the time of the Ft. Sumter bombardment, little was reported about the weather. That day, however, it was rainy and in the 60s in DC, so we can only assume that Charleston weather was at least that warm, if not warmer (about average for Charleston in April)—with no rain at the time of shelling, since battles were generally not initiated in foul weather.
The bombardment of Ft. Sumter in 1861 when there were no reports of foul weather. April 1861
According to the Rev. C.B. Mackee (one of our best Civil War weather resources, as mentioned in Part I of this series), the remainder of April 1861 in Washington was quite pleasant. Temperatures were mostly in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, with the exception of 2 days with “high winds” and one (April 17th) when temperatures at the 3 observation times (7:00 A.M., 2:00 P.M., and 9:00 P.M.) were all the same, at 42 degrees — a very unusual occurrence. April 1861’s mid-Atlantic weather would contrast sharply with that of April 1862, when it was relatively cold and even snowy. And on April 5, 1863, 12 inches of snow fell, although it turned considerably milder thereafter.
(The above notations are selected to relax our American Marxist Global Warming hysterics so they might focus more on America’s real life struggle for survival as a single nation.)
Seven states had already seceded from the Union, led by South Carolina in December, 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln a month earlier. Four followed after the South Carolina attack on Fort Sumter…..Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee. Civil War would break out in Missouri. Kentucky would supply both North and South with volunteers, and West Virginia would be carved out of the state of Virginia during the middle of the conflict.
Lincoln was perplexed regarding how the fighting should begin. If the North attacked first, Great Britain perhaps even allied with France might take the opportunity to join the South to humble the United States. Southern cotton was essential for the English textile industry. As the war dragged on, the industry and all associated with it, collapsed adding fuel to potential international conflict.
Fort Sumter gave Lincoln the opportunity to tempt the seceded South Carolina to attack the Union attempt to supply its troops on the island fort……..The South set off the first cannonades at 4:30 a few hours from now, 150 years ago…….
………when my grandfather, Frank Ray, living in Cherryfield, Maine, was 4 years old.