A Southern View of History: The War for Southern Independence


In part seven we briefly examine the Southern states organization into a defensive posture to protect themselves from invasion from Union forces. The Southern states one by one filed their ordinances of secession, with no direct threat of harm or violence to anyone in the United States. Neither did they announce any intent to organize an effort to attack the Federal government in the North, or to try to take over the government of the United States for their own purposes. This would have been a civil war if it had been the South’s intent. Instead they peacefully resigned from the union and set off to form their own national government, one that would be more equitable and sympathetic to the heritage of the southern citizen. Yet they had to organized military forces for protection, for they the South, would be challenged, invaded and attacked by Federal forces. And the reasons, as we have seen in other sections of this curriculum, illustrate the Federal intentions were to subjugate the Southern people, and continue to exploit them for financial gain.

Objective: To develop an awareness of the history behind the organization of Southern military forces as a defensive measure.

A. Lincoln Is Inaugurated

The election of Abraham Lincoln was based on upon a platform which clearly informed the Southern people that the guaranties of the Constitution, which they revered, and the doctrines of State rights and other principles of government, which they cherished, were to be ignored, and that they were to be deprived of the greater part of their property, and all possibility of continued prosperity. The South was of necessity alarmed. They were seized with the fear that the extreme leaders of the Republican party would not stop at any excess against them.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in Washington, D.C. In his inauguration speech he made several statements that would reveal his feelings about slavery, secession and the value of the South and her revenues. Lincoln, in a speech at Peoria, Illinois in 1854 said, “The slaveholder has a legal and moral right to his slaves.” Lincoln again restated his views in his in 1861, “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.”
These statements show that the United States did not go to war against the institution of slavery. It would have been hypocritical for them to do so as the United States practiced slavery as well. Slavery existed even in Washington, D.C. There were even black slave-owners in Washington, D.C. at this time. Lincoln emphatically declared against any interference by the Federal power, with slavery in the States, in which it already existed; and Mr. Lincoln in his inaugural address reiterated and reaffirmed that declaration. From no authoritative source was any assault meditated upon the institution of slavery.

Even the right of the slave owner to carry his slaves into the territories, which had constituted the great question at issue, was now relinquished by the seceding States, and the territories themselves abandoned to the Union. The right of slavery in the territories was thus forever settled, while the question of the abolition of slavery in the States where it existed, had never been put in issue between the contending parties. The States of the Confederacy avowed the right to secede, and denied the power of the Federal Government to coerce them. Mr. Lincoln denied the first, and maintained the second. It was on this issue the two parties litigant submitted their controversy to the wage of battle.

In Lincoln’s inaugural address he maintains that the Union was “unbroken,” denying that the Southern States had a Constitutional right to secede from the United States on their own free will. This conflicts with a speech that he made in 1847 in which he said, “Any people whatever have a right to abolish the existing government and form a new one that suits them better.” Once again, Lincoln has made conflicting remarks at different times and during different situations. The United States Constitution was created by representatives of the 13 independent states and each state willfully joined this Union, each with full knowledge that they could withdraw from this Union at any time. Lincoln was very familiar with the Constitution and its meaning. His statement in his inaugural speech was simply a political maneuver. He implied that the South had never left the Union and was simply in a state of rebellion against the U.S. government.

Another statement made by Lincoln during his inaugural speech was that he would not use any force against the rebelling states except to “collect the imposts,” or taxes. This statement is more revealing of Lincoln’s true motives than any other statement that he made. He had once been asked how he could advocate coercion. His reply was “What is to become of my revenue in New York if there is a ten per cent tariff at Charleston?”
This referred to the Confederacy’s ten per cent tariff on imported goods, which was much less than the U.S. tariff.

Lincoln knew that the United States had lost its most important source of revenues in the seceded Southern States. This would mean that the U.S. would have to change their tariff rates in order to become competitive with the newly formed Confederate States of America or collapse economically. The factories of the North would also be faced with either buying Confederate cotton with the U.S. tariff applied or look to trade with a foreign country for their cotton, which would have been more expensive for them to do so.

The following from the Commercial which was certainly the leading Republican paper of Ohio at the time. After Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated, the Commercial said: “We are not in favor of blockading the southern coast. We are not in favor of retaking by force the property of the United States now in possession of the seceders. We would recognize the existence of a government formed of all the slave-holding States, and attempt to cultivate amicable relations with it.”

In addition to all this, the commander of the Federal army, General Winfield Scott, was very emphatic in endorsing the views of the New York Tribune and other papers, to the effect that secession was the proper course for the southern people to pursue, and his oft-repeated expression, “Wayward sisters, part in peace,” seemed to meet the full approval of the great body of the people of the North. In obedience to all this advice, the Southern States did secede, and almost immediately the vast Federal armies were raised, battles were fought, money expended and lives lost.

It is clear that Lincoln’s and the United States’ reason for the War Between The States was economic prosperity for the Northern United States. The issue for the United States would not be slavery nor Constitutional principles but would be clearly represented by dollars and cents. It would then be Lincoln’s task to create a situation that would make the South look as if they had openly attacked the United States. Lincoln had a plan.

References and Details:

“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, ” by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 6 & 7
“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 8 & 14
“The Story of the Confederate States” by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3 Section 1, Chapter 1 & 2
“America’s Caesar: Abraham Lincoln and the Birth of a Modern Empire” by Greg Loren Durand
“The Real Lincoln” by Charles L.C. Minor
“A True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln and Vindication of the South”, by Mildred L. Rutherford
“Causes Of The War.” Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1894
“President Lincoln” Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXVII. Richmond, Va, January-December. 1899
“President Lincoln Further Arraigned”, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXVII. Richmond, Va, January-December. 1899
“The Vindication Of The South”, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXVII. Richmond, Va, January-December. 1899

B. Lincoln Attempts To Re-supply Fort Sumter

The South was not the aggressor in bringing on the war; on the contrary, they did all that honorable men could do in the vain attempt to avert war. They did all that could be done without debasing the men and women of the South with conscious disgrace, and leaving to their children a heritage of shame. The Northern people with Abraham Lincoln at their head, brought on the war by provocation to war and by act of war; and that they were and are, therefore, directly responsible for all the multiplied woes which resulted from the war.

An armistice had been entered into between South Carolina’s government and the United States government, December 6, 1860. A similar armistice had been entered into between Florida and the United States government, January 29, 1861. These armistices agreed that the forts, Sumter and Pickens, should neither be garrisoned nor provisioned so long as these armistices continued in force.

Papers to this effect had been filed in the United States Army and Navy Departments. Abraham Lincoln knew this armistice. Lincoln then began a series of secret orders. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops stationed at Charleston, South Carolina’s Fort Moultrie, took his men out of Fort Moultrie and into the island fort, Fort Sumter, under the cloak of darkness. This in itself was a provocation that could have brought on conflict. But cooler heads prevailed and the South awaited Major Anderson’s evacuation of Fort Sumter.

Before his inauguration, Lincoln had sent a confidential message to General Winfield Scott to be ready, when his inauguration, March 4, 1861, should take place, to hold or retake the forts. President Lincoln on March 12, directed Montgomery Blair, one of his Cabinet members, to telegraph Captain G. V. Fox, formerly of the Navy, to come to Washington to arrange for reinforcing Fort Sumter. G. V. Fox, on March 15, was sent to Fort Sumter, and arranged with Major Anderson for reinforcement. This alone was an act of espionage.

The policy most practicable for immediate hostilities as became apparent to President Lincoln’s advisers, was an invasion of the Confederacy by way of the ocean and the gulf. The first objective point, Charleston; the first State to be overthrown and brought to terms, South Carolina; the first movement, reinforcement of Fort Sumter, peaceably if permitted, otherwise by force. This plan was maturely considered during March, while the Confederate leaders were held in suspense with the hope of peace. which caused them to wait for the action of the Federal administration.

On March 29, Lincoln, without consent of his Cabinet, ordered three ships with 300 men and provisions to be ready to go to Fort Sumter. All orders were marked private. A fourth expedition was secretly sent to Pensacola, Florida, under Lieutenant Porter, April 7th, on which date the three vessels were directed to go to Fort Sumter. On that same day President Lincoln directed Seward to address to the Confederate Peace Commissioners in Washington, and say “that they had no design to reinforce Fort Sumter.” In short there were four expeditions ordered to garrison and provision Forts Sumter and Pickens while the armistice was yet in force. South Carolina observed her agreement faithfully, to make no attack on Fort Sumter on account of promises made to evacuate the premises by the Federals, as well as its permission, continued into April, 1861, for Major Anderson to purchase fresh provisions in the markets of Charleston. This points out a peaceable disposition which cannot be misunderstood, unless Lincoln was looking to provoke war.

Not until sufficient time had elapsed to cover the estimated landing of the vessels were the Confederate Peace Commissioners informed of these facts regarding the North intent to reinforce the US troops. At length, on the 8th of April, South Carolina was officially informed that “an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter, peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must.” Eight armed vessels with soldiers aboard had been sent to sustain the notification, and moved so quickly on this expedition that only an unexpected storm at sea caused delay enough for the Confederate authorities to successfully meet the issue. A storm delayed some of the ships.

The Confederate States objected to this movement of the Federals, because the reinforcement was invasion by the use of physical force; because it asserted the claim of the United States to sovereignty over South Carolina, which was in dispute; and because the supply of the garrison in Fort Sumter with necessary rations was not the object nor the end of the expedition. The purpose was to secure Fort Sumter, to close the port with the warships, to reduce Charleston by bombardment if necessary, to land troops from transports, and thus crush “The Rebellion” where it was supposed to have begun by overthrowing South Carolina.

When the Confederate government was informed of this treachery, permission was given to Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter. Anderson was ordered to surrender the fort. He refused to do so until he could receive orders from the United States authorities.

The Federal scheme was frustrated by the necessary, prompt and successful attack on Fort Sumter. After General Beauregard had exchanged the usual formalities with Major Anderson which included a directive that unless the fort was surrendered within a specified time it would be fired upon. At 4:30 on the morning of April 12th, the Confederates opened fire on the fort, fire which was soon returned. A staunch secessionist and renown agriculturalist, Edmund Ruffin, fired the first shot on Fort Sumter from Cummings Point. The bombardment which followed for thirty-three hours, matched by return fire from the Union troops, at last made the fort untenable, and Anderson on the 14th surrendered his stronghold to the Confederacy, and on the 15th evacuated the position with honors. The U.S. troops inside Fort Sumter came out, boarded ship and sailed out of Charleston Harbor. On their way out the Confederate troops along the shores removed their hats as the U.S. troops passed by on their way out to sea and home to the United States. The only casualty in the exchange of fire was a Confederate mule, although one U.S. soldier was killed in the retreat ceremony after the battle.

A South Carolina flag bearing the palmetto tree was then raised over Fort Sumter. It would later be replaced by the First National Flag of the Confederacy, also known as the “Stars and Bars.”

This event would be Lincoln’s call to arms for the United States. He would state that the South had fired on the United States flag. This was an effort to obtain support from the general public within the United States, as previously, the general public of the North had felt that they should allow the South to leave the Union in peace. Most felt that it would be unlawful to try to coerce the Southern States to remain in the Union if it was against their will.

Without his creating of the Fort Sumter incident there would have been very little, if any, support out of the North for an invasion of the South. Lincoln had successfully coerced the Confederate States into firing on Fort Sumter, giving the United States the role of innocence that he desired. But read what several U.S. officials had to say about the incident and the events that led to it: Gideon Welles, U.S. Secretary of the Navy; “There was not a man in the Cabinet that did not know that an attempt to reinforce Sumter would be the first blow of war. Of all the Cabinet, Blair only is in favor of reinforcing Sumter.”

William Seward, U.S. Secretary of State; “Even preparation to reinforce will precipitate war. I would instruct Anderson to return from Sumter.” Lincoln had sent a note to each member of the Cabinet, asking advice about holding Fort Sumter. Two may be said to have voted for it. Blair favored it; Chase was doubtful. He said, “I will oppose any attempt to reinforce Sumter, if it means war,” but the others voted decidedly against it. Lincoln did not call a Cabinet meeting, nor did he call upon Congress. He knew that neither would favor war.

References and Details:

“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, ” by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 6 & 7.
“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 3.
“The Story of the Confederate States” by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3 Section 1, Chapter 1.
“Coercion And Its Consequence” Confederate Military History, Vol. 1 The Civil History Of The Confederate States Chapter IX
“The Confederation Of The Southern States” Confederate Military History, Vol. 1 The Civil History Of The Confederate States Chapter X “Actual War Inaugurated” Confederate Military History, Vol. 1 The Civil History Of The Confederate States Chapter XII
“Charleston and the Forts” Confederate Military History, Vol. 5 South Carolina
“Frank H. Harleston — A Hero Of Fort Sumter” Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. X. Richmond, Va., July, 1882. No. 7
” Is the Eclectic History of the United States, a Fit Book to be Used in Our Schools?” Southern Historical Society Papers. Volume XII. Richmond, Va., June, 1884. No. 6
“Siege and Capture of Fort Sumter”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1885
“Unveiling Of The Soldiers’ And Sailors’ Monument” Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1894
“First Shot Of The War Was Fired In The Air. “Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXI. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1903
“The Flag Of The Confederate States Of America. ” Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1910
“Lee and Scott: Paper read at the Reunion of Morgan’s Men” Southern Historical Society Papers Volume XI. Richmond, Va., October 1883. No. 10
“Address before the Virginia Division of Army of Northern Virginia, at their Reunion October 21, 1886, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XIV. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1886.
“America’s Caesar: Abraham Lincoln and the Birth of a Modern Empire” by Greg Loren Durand
“The Real Lincoln” by Charles L.C. Minor
“A True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln and Vindication of the South”, by Mildred L. Rutherford

C. Lincoln Declares War On The South

Lincoln was evidently prepared to hear that the Confederates had resisted his warships and that Fort Sumter had surrendered. His proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers for three months to suppress the insurrection and summoning Congress in extra session on the 4th of July was promptly written on the 14th of April and dated as being issued April 15th, within a day after the delivery of Fort Sumter to General Beauregard. Lincolns call was made without the consent of Congress, which was a breach of the Constitution. Several states would refuse to supply men for this request. They believed that Lincoln did not have the authority to issue such a request.

The proclamation recited that the combinations formed by seven States were too powerful to be suppressed by judicial proceedings, and it was therefore thought fit to call out the militia of all the States to the number of seventy-five thousand. The persons composing the “combinations” were also commanded to “disperse within twenty days.”

On the same day the Secretary of War made his formal requisition for three months’ militia on the governors, assigning to each the quota of his State. Fort Sumter was surrendered on Saturday the 13th, evacuated on Sunday the 14th, on Monday the 15th these documents were spread throughout the country by the press, and on Wednesday troops were put in motion toward Washington. This extraordinary celerity is evidence of the well devised plan to produce an issue on which coercion could be made popular on the plea that the South had fired the first gun and begun the war.


WHEREAS, The laws of the United States have been and are opposed in several States by combinations too powerful to be suppressed in the ordinary way, I therefore call for the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, to suppress said combination and execute the laws. I appeal to all loyal citizens to facilitate and aid this effort, and maintain the laws and integrity of the National Union and the perpetuity of popular government, and redress wrongs long endured. The first service assigned will probably be to repossess the forts, places and property which have been seized from the Union. The utmost care will be taken, consistent with the object, to avoid devastation, destruction or interference of peaceful citizens in any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the aforesaid combinations to disperse within twenty days from this date. I hereby convene both Houses of Congress for the 4th of July next, to determine upon such measures as the public safety and interest may demand. (Signed) ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of United States. By W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

The responses to the call for troops from the “war governors” were as prompt as the proclamation itself; but the governor of Kentucky replied, “Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister States.” The governor of Virginia responded that “the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view.” and “Virginians will never join you in your open and known violation of the Constitution nor unite with your forces in shedding the blood of Virginia’s brethren for support of the Union. If Virginians must fight they prefer to espouse the cause of the Constitution, the backbone of the Union.” The governor of Tennessee said, “Tennessee–not a man for coercion, but 50,000 for defense of our rights and those of our Southern brothers.” The governor of North Carolina replied tartly, “I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina.” Missouri’s governor answered, “The requisition is illegal, inhuman, diabolical and cannot be complied with.”

The proclamation dispelled all doubt of the purpose of the administration at Washington to enforce the claims by actual war by land as well as by sea, and preparations were therefore at once made in the Confederacy to defend the States from invasion. Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas necessarily seceded, while Missouri and Kentucky announced their purpose to be neutral. The States thus late in the Southern movement against sectional abuse of the United States government held to and maintained the right of resistance even by separation but their actual exercise of the right was a forced and emphatic denial of coercion and a firm refusal to be made parties to an unlawful attempt to subjugate the Southern States which had seceded. They joined these States in secession, not to make war for conquest, nor for National aggrandizement, nor to destroy the Union, but to repel an invasion already imminent and to defend themselves against armies already in the field, ready to march upon campaigns for conquest.

Lincoln followed his call for the militia of the States by another proclamation issued April 19th declaring a blockade of the ports and promising to make it effective. This naval blockade of the Southern ports was a direct violation of international law. Among other war measures the United States government caused to be seized at once all original and copied dispatches which had accumulated for twelve months in the telegraph offices. “The object of the government in making this seizure was to obtain evidence of the operations of Southern citizens with their Northern friends.” (Amer. Ency., 1860, p. 718.)


Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States:

And whereas a combination of persons engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marquee to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and in waters of the United States: And whereas an Executive Proclamation has been already issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session, to deliberate and determine thereon:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace, and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until the same shall ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States, and of the law of Nations, in such case provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, a vessel shall approach, or shall attempt to leave either of the said ports, she will be duly warned by the Commander of one of the blockading vessels, who will endorse on her register the fact and date of such warning, and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port, she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port, for such proceedings against her and her cargo as prize, as may be deemed advisable.

And I hereby proclaim and declare that if any person, under the pretended authority of the said States, or under any other pretense, shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, such person will be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the prevention and punishment of piracy.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN By the President: WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State

A few days later another call was made for additional troops. Maryland, even the city of Baltimore was divided. Confederate sentiment was strong here. Abraham Lincoln received only 1,100 of more than 30,000 votes cast for president in 1860. The position taken by Maryland was that the United States ought not to use that State in conveying armed men to invade Virginia. Governor Hicks had consented to ask the administration to respect the wishes of Maryland to have no Federal troops sent over its territory to invade Virginia, and on April 16th Mr. George P. Kane telegraphed to know whether an attempt would be made to pass volunteers from New York intended to make war upon the South. On the 19th General Thomas, adjutant-general, wired that “Governor Hicks has neither right nor authority to stop troops coming to Washington. Send them on prepared to fight their way through if necessary,” which message was sent “by order of the Secretary of war.”

The military department of Washington was at once extended over Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, by General Scott, and posts were ordered to be established “all along the road from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington City.” Citizens of Baltimore sent telegrams to Mr. Cameron, April 19th, imploring him not to send troops through their city. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad refused to transfer the troops. But notwithstanding all these precautions the issue was made by pressing a body of Massachusetts soldiers into the city and tragedy followed.
On April 18, when the rumor reached the city that troops from the north were headed south to Washington and would arrive in Baltimore during the afternoon, a meeting of Southern Rights men, of which Albert Ritchie and G. Harlan Williams, were secretaries, was held at the Taylor building, on Fayette street, near Calvert. The public mind in was in a state of intense excitement, and it only required a little friction to cause an explosion. It was determined to not offer resistance to the passage of the troops through the city.

The first of those soldiers, from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, arrived on April 19, 1861. Transfer between the Philadelphia and the Washington depots was made in those days by hauling the cars along Pratt street by horsepower. A number of these cars, filled with soldiers, went through without any other notice except the jeering of the people, but finally the passions of the crowd led to more pronounced action. The people soon barricaded the tracks by emptying loads of sand from passing carts, and by dragging some old anchors and chains from a ship chandlery establishment nearby. A car had reached the obstructed point, and, not being able to pass, the car came to a sudden stop, violently jarring the soldiers in the car. Occasionally stones were hurled into the doors and windows. The portion of the regiment then formed in the street, and the march for Camden Station commenced. Fighting broke out as the Union soldiers marched between Camden and President Street railroad stations. Citizens resented this invasion, the Federal soldiers fired and thus the first battle of the Confederate war in which blood was shed, was fought on the soil of a State which had not seceded.

On the afternoon of Friday, April 19, 1861, at 4:00 in Baltimore, there was a great mass-meeting in Monument Square. Speeches were made by Dr. A. C. Robinson, Mayor Brown, William P. Preston, S. Teakle Wallis, Jon E. Wethered, Robert L. McLane and Governor Hicks. The people were counseled to rely upon the authorities, which would protect them. The invasion of the city and the slaughter of citizens were denounced. Mr. Wallis said it was not necessary to speak. “If the blood of citizens on the stones in the streets does not speak,” he said, “it is useless for man to speak.” His heart, he said, was with the South, and he was ready to defend Baltimore. The Governor made his famous declaration that he would stiffen his right arm to be torn from his body before he would raise it to strike a sister State. That night ex-Governor Louis E. Lowe made a speech to a great gathering in front of Barnum’s Hotel. The streets were thronged with people discussing the events of the day, and many citizens walked the streets with muskets in their hands.

Much has been said and written about the strange coincidence in the date of the first bloodshed in the two most momentous conflicts of modern times. Accounts differ, but at least 10 soldiers and as many civilians were killed in the battle or riot that some called “The Lexington of 1861” or the “Massacre at Baltimore. and was the first blood to be shed by Americans in Mr. Lincoln’s war. But the coincidence of dates is the only similarity between the two events. The minute men of Massachusetts who attacked the British soldiers April 19, 1775, had long looked forward to the event, and were prepared and armed for it. The people of Baltimore were suddenly confronted with an army of armed men whom they regarded as enemies and invaders, and upon the impulse and fury of the moment, made an assault upon them. This attack was entirely unpremeditated.

The political effect, however, was satisfactory to the administration for the time, and an agreement was then made with the mayor of Baltimore that troops should not be sent through the city. Annapolis was then substituted as the rendezvous en route to Washington, but finally the occupation of Maryland was made complete. ‘Orders rapidly followed to place troops in position to advance on Baltimore and for a short time the war on the Confederacy was concentrated against Maryland

References and Details:

“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, ” by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 6 & 7.
“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 3, 8 & 12.
“The Story of the Confederate States” by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3 Section 1, Chapter 1 & 2.
“An Alleged Proclamation Of President Lincoln” Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VII. Richmond, Virginia, February, 1879. No. 2.
“Is the Eclectic History of the United States a Fit Book to be Used in Our Schools?” Southern Historical Society Papers. Volume XII. Richmond, Va., June, 1884. No. 6.
“2d Confederate Congress–(2d Session)–Saturday, February 25, 1865” Southern Historical Society Papers 1959. New Series, Vol. 14, Old Series, Vol. LII.
“Facts of History” Southern Historical Society Papers. Richmond, Va., Sept., 1917. New Series, Vol. 4, Old Series, Vol. XLII. Papers Of Hon. John A. Campbell -1861-1865, Copied In 1917.
“Coercion And Its Consequence’ Confederate Military History, Vol. 1 The Civil History Of The Confederate States Chapter IX
“Officers Of Civil And Military Organizations” Confederate Military History, Vol. 1
“Preparing for War” Confederate Military History, Vol. 4, Chapter 1.

D. Cadets Resign, Accusations of Treason

As the states left the Union, some cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point resigned their commission in order to go home to support their home State and their people. The Academy would make an attempt to stop these resignations and to bolster the resolve of the union-sympatric cadets by requiring that each remaining cadet would take a new oath of allegiance, which would be different than any that they had ever taken before. It would be an oath of allegiance to the United States of America. Previously the cadets had taken their oath of allegiance to their home States. Many cadets refused to take this new oath and then resigned their appointment and returned to their home in the South. The new oath had a reverse effect than intended and actually caused an increase in resignations. Here is what the 1857 United States Military Academy cadet oath says, having been taken from the 1857 edition of the “Regulations for the U.S. Military Academy” (which was the last edition published prior to the War Between The States):

“I, ______ of the State of _______ aged _____ years, ______ months, having been selected for an appointment as Cadet in the Military Academy of the United States, do hereby engage with the consent of my (Parent or Guardian) in the event of my receiving such appointment, that I will serve in the army of the United States for eight years, unless sooner discharged by competent authority. And I ____________ DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR

[emphasis original], that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them, HONESTLY and FAITHFULLY [emphasis original], against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the Officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War.”

In 1861, the United States Military Academy changed the cadets’ oath. This oath was approved on August 3, 1861. The regulations clause, regarding this change, reads as follows:

“CHAP. XLII – An Act providing for the better Organization of the Military Establishment. Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That no cadet, who has been or shall hereafter be reported as deficient, either in conduct or studies, and recommended to be discharged from the academy, shall be returned or reappointed, or appointed to any place in the army before his class shall have left the academy and received their commissions, unless upon the recommendation of the academic board of the academy. Provided; That all cadets now in the service, or hereafter entering the Military Academy at West Point, shall be called on to take and subscribe the following oath: “I, _______________ do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State, county, or country whatsoever, and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers and the rules and articles governing the armies of the United States. Any cadet or candidate for admission who shall refuse to take this oath shall be dismissed from the service.”

This was the first time a cadet had been required to swear allegiance to the United States government, as opposed to the “United States,” plural. The “United States” is also stated to be sovereign in this new oath, even above that of the states. Then, an act was again passed on July 2, 1862, in which the cadets were required to take yet another new oath:
“I, ______ of the State of _____ aged _____ years, ____ months, having been selected for an appointment as Cadet in the Military Academy of the United States, do hereby engage, with consent of my __________ in the event of my receiving such appointment, that I will serve in the Army of the United States, for eight years, unless sooner discharged by competent authority and I ___________ do solemnly swear that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever under any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution within the United States, hostile or _______ thereto. And I do further swear that to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”

The changes made in 1861 became a permanent part of the oath in the 1866 edition of the “Regulations for the U.S. Military Academy.” Also, in 1866, two closely related, but separate documents, were signed by the cadets; The Engagement for Service, termed “Oath of Office”, and Oath of Allegiance. The former, signed upon admittance, retained the certification that the candidate had in no way supported the Confederacy. The latter, signed the following year and containing the years of service provision, also retained the clause citing loyalty to national above state government which had been used in 1861. So, you see the significance in the changes is that the United States had become a singular entity as opposed to the system of government as had been established by the U.S. Constitution.

General Robert E. Lee and other Southern patriots were slandered by some as traitors. An interesting point to be noted is that William Rawle’s book “View of the Constitution” was the primary book used in teaching the Constitution and was used at West Point until the war. General Lee told Bishop Wilmer of Louisiana that had it not been for the instruction received from Rawle’s textbook at West Point he would not have left the United States Army to join the Virginia and the Confederate Army at the breaking out of the War between the States. He chose to serve the Confederate States army and his home state of Virginia in particular based on instruction given at the United States Military Academy. Some quotes from Rawle’s textbook include:
“The state is the more important entity, to which citizens gave their allegiance, not some Union of states…”

“The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States, and in uniting together they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to one and the same people. If one state chooses to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claim, either by force or right.”
“It will depend upon the State itself whether it will continue a member of the Union.”
“If the States are interfered with they may wholly withdraw from the Union.” (p. 289-90)

Many Southern leaders were trained and educated by the United States Military Academy. It is slander to call them traitors based on the education received by the Federal government.

References and Details:

“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, ” by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 7 & 8
“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 12
“The Story of the Confederate States” by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3 Section 1, Chapter 1 & 2
“The Story of the Confederacy” By Robert. S. Henry, Chapter 2
U.S. Military Academy (West Point) Archives
“Maryland”, Confederate Military History Vol 1
“View of the Constitution” by William Rawle

E. Six More States Leave The Union

Lincoln’s illegal call for troops to make war on the seceded Southern States would initiate the secession of four more states. Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Arkansas would refuse to support the Union in which they had voluntarily joined, as they felt that the U.S. government was wrong in their refusal to allow Southern States to leave the Union peacefully. They would not be bound to a Union that would cause them to take up arms against “sister states”. Lt. Col. John R. Baylor, commanding the Confederate army in the Territory of Arizona, on March 1, 1861, at Mesilla, Arizona, the seat of government, issued a proclamation taking possession of the territory in the name of and on behalf of the Confederate States of America. The Confederate Congress passed “An Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona,” on January 18, 1862. C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis signed the proclamation organizing the territory on February 14, 1862.
Though Maryland was considered a Southern state, secession there was prevented by an immediate military occupation of U.S. troops was ordered by Lincoln. Many Marylanders went southward and joined other regiments while some did organize a few Maryland Confederate units. Missouri and Kentucky both were officially represented in the Confederate government. Many of their men fought for the Confederacy. Both States were under U.S. military occupation a very short time after the incident at Fort Sumter. Even still, the Missouri legislature approved an ordinance for secession on October 31, 1861. Kentucky adopted their ordinance for secession on November 20, 1861. The 12th and 13th stars on the flags of the Confederacy represented the States of Kentucky and Missouri.

References and Details:

“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 7 & 8
“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 12
“The Story of the Confederate States” by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3 Section 1, Chapter 1 & 2
“The Story of the Confederacy” By Robert. S. Henry, Chapter 2
“The South Was Right” By James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 8.
“Our Fallen Heroes”, Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VII. Richmond, Virginia. August 1879. No. 8
“Unveiling Of The Soldiers’ And Sailors’ Monument.”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1894
“Official Statement Of The Strength Of The Federal Armies During The War”, Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. II. Richmond, Va., March, 1881. No. 3
“The Monument to General Robert E. Lee”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XVII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1889
“Treachery Of W. H. Seward Brought Fire On Sumter. Lincoln’s Proclamation”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1909
“Lee And Stuart At Harper’s Ferry”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1910.
“Fifth Annual Meeting Of The Southern Historical Society, October 31st., 1877”, Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. V. Richmond, Virginia, January – February, 1877. No. 1-2.
“Letter from President Davis on States’ Rights”, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XIV. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1886
“Causes Of The War “, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1894
“The South Since the War”, Confederate Military History, Vol. 12
“Virginia” Confederate Military History, Vol. 3, Chapter III.

F. Southern Perspectives of The War

The South fought this war as the Second American Revolution. The cause of the South was equated to that of their forefathers who had fought and won their freedom from Great Britain less than 100 years earlier. Notice the reference to the incident in Baltimore 1861as the “second Lexington”. Many felt that it was not the old Union that they were leaving, for that grand old union ceased to exist. Howell Cobb informed his fellow Georgians “The Union formed by our fathers was one of equality, justice, and fraternity. On the 4th of March it will be supplanted by a union of sectionalism and hatred.”

The living social, economic, and intellectual interests of the Lower South, its sense of civic duty, its highest ambitions, had taken a definite turn away from the Union. Many voices expressed a resentment for past injuries, real or implied. A belief that the outlook for the South would be hopeless in a Union no longer equal, just, nor generous was stated with a thousand variations across the Southland.

The central factor which made the secession movement possible, and which must be viewed as fundamental to the national schism, was a triple-fronted sentiment which, for a long generation, had been inculcated among the Southern people: A fervent belief in State Rights, including the right of secession, as the palladium of their liberties; an ever-deepening hatred for the free-soil movement in the North; and an increasing readiness to indulge the vision of a happy Southern republic.
The South had many close ties with their colonial forefathers. The Great Seal of The Confederacy bears an equestrian image of George Washington. The official date given to the birth of the Confederacy during the second, and permanent, Constitutional Convention was February 22, 1862. This date was purposely chosen because it was the anniversary of the birth of George Washington.

Many of the leaders of the South were descendants of several of our Founding Fathers. The wife of General Robert E. Lee, Mary Randolph Custis, was the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. You will remember that many of our founding fathers were from the South. Thomas Jefferson was a Virginian, Patrick Henry was also a Virginian. The War was not a “civil war” as that implies that two groups of people within the same country went to arms against each other, each attempting to take control of the government. This clearly is not true. The War For Southern Independence was a war fought between two countries, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.

The South fought, defending their newly found nation against an invading army. The Confederacy, to Southerners, stands for liberty, the right of self-government and self-determination of people and states. It also stands for a constitutional government and ordered liberty, home rule and decentralized authority. One quarter of Southern men aged 18 to 45 years of age gave their lives fighting for the Confederate States of America based on these believes. The Southern call to arms was a defensive, not an offensive move. They would not be allowed to leave peacefully and go about their business. They would be forced into a fight. The Union invasion of the South had little to do with slavery, even though present day revisionist historians paint a different picture and an untrue portrait of the Confederate Soldier.
References and Details:

“Truths of History” by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 2, 3, 4, 9, & 12
“The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates”, by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 7
“The South Was Right” by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 5, 6, 8, 9.
“Men in Gray” by Robert C. Cave, Chapter 2
“A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States and War of 1861-65” by Samuel A. Ashe, Chapter 20
“War for What?” by Francis W. Springer, Chapter 13

Part 7 Questions:

In short essay format give and support an opinion for at least six of these questions:

1. What were some of the major concerns that most Southerners held with regards to the inauguration of Lincoln?

2. What were the major concerns of the Northern states, with regard to Southern State secession?

3. Why did the South Carolinians view the attempt to resupply Fort Sumter as a provocation for war?

4. Why did the Confederates feel justified to fire on Fort Sumter?

5. How did Lincoln use the attack on Fort Sumter to incite the North against the Confederate States?

6. What legal concerns did Lincoln’s proclamations for “75000 volunteers” and “blockade of Southern ports” pose?

7. Why did the crowds in Baltimore responded against Federal troops being sent through Maryland?

8. What reasons did the United States Military Academy have for changing their long standing oath?

9. Why is it unfair to label cadets and graduates of West Point as traitors, considering the educational background given to them at the USMA?

10. Why did the actions of the Lincoln government in April 1861 cause more states to withdraw from the Union?

11. Why did the South raised an Army and Navy in 1861?