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THE FRIGHT AT THE NORTH.

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cept a letter of marque from the Con- under the flag of the Confederates that federacy and act upon it, he would, it they would be treated as pirates : was threatened, be hung as a pirate. “Whereas an insurrection against the The proclamation was, in a word, branded Government of the United States has as a formal sanction of piracy, and it broken out in the States of South Carowas met not only with the menace of lina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Missisthe yard-arm, but its author was re- sippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the minded that the most terrific retaliation laws of the United States for the collecawaited him if he should carry out his tion of the revenue can not be efficiently purpose. “The first seizure of an executed therein conformably to that American vessel by one of his privateers provision of the Constitution which rewill let loose," said a journalist, * "upon quires duties to be uniform throughout the South more John Browns than he | the United States; can hire pirates in a year.”

“And whereas a combination of perThe commercial cities of the North sons, engaged in such insurrection, have were greatly fluttered by the prospect threatened to grant pretended letters of of a swoop by the rebellious birds of marque to authorize the bearers thereof prey upon their fleets which were to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, winging their way over every sea and and property of good citizens of the ocean. The Chamber of Commerce of country lawfully engaged in commerce New York met and resolved, “That on the high seas, and in waters of the the proposition of Mr. Jefferson Davis United States; to issue letters of marque to whomsoever “And whereas an Executive Proclamay apply for them, emanating from no mation has been already issued, requirrecognized government, is not only ing the persons engaged in these diswithout the sanction of public law, but orderly proceedings to desist therefrom, piratical in its tendencies, and therefore calling out a militia force for the purpose deserving the stern condemnation of the of repressing the same, and convening civilized world.” To this was added the Congress in extraordinary session to further resolution, that "it is the duty deliberate and determine thereon ; of our Government to issue at once a “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, proclamation warning all persons that | President of the United States, with a privateering under the commissions pro view to the same purposes before menposed will be dealt with as simple pi tioned, and to the protection of the racy.”

public peace, and the lives and property The President promptly responded of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing by establishing a blockade of the ports their lawful occupations, until Congress of the seceding States, and did not shall have assembled and deliberated on hesitate to warn all privateers sailing the said unlawful proceedings, or until • New York Times.

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deemed it advisable to set on foot a will be captured and sent to the nearest blockade of the ports within the States convenient port, for such proceedings aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of against her and her cargo as prize as the United States and of the laws of may be deemed advisable. nations in such cases provided. For | “And I hereby proclaim and declare, this purpose a competent force will be that if any person, under the pretended posted so as to prevent entrance and authority of said States, or under any exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. other pretence, shall molest a vessel of If, therefore, with a view to violate such the United States, or the persons or blockade, a vessel shall approach, or cargo on board of her, such person will shall attempt to leave any of the said | be held amenable to the laws of the ports, she will be duly warned by the United States for the prevention and commander of one of the blockading punishment of piracy. vessels, who will endorse on her register

“ ABRAHAM LINCOLN. the fact and date of such warning; and “ By the President. if the same vessel shall again attempt to “William H. SEWARD, Secretary of State. enter or leave the blockaded port, shel - Washington, April 19, 186'”

CHAPTER XV.

Inquietude about the Border States.-The Convention of Virginia.-Committee appointed to wait upon the President.

- Its Message. - President Lincoln's Answer.-Its effect.–Virginia Convention passes an Act of Secession.--Impatience of the Secessionists.----Proclamation of Governor Letcher.—Recognition of the Southern Confederacy.Preparations for War.- The Harbor of Norfolk Obstructed.–Attempt on Harper's Ferry.-Description of the place. --Its picturesque beauty.-Its Resources.--Unhappy Associations. – Virginia Troops Mustering for an Attack upon Harper's Ferry.--A Force Marches.- Description of the March. The Federal Commander and his little Garrison.Anticipated Attack.- Preparations to thwart its object. -- Preparing for a Conflagration.--Positive Information.The Torch applied.-Retreat of the Federal Commandor and his Men.-An excited Populace.-Held at Bay.-Continued Flight of the Federal Commander.-Safe arrival in Pennsylvania.--Rewards of Gallantry.--Another Destruction of Public Property.-Hemming in of the Gosport Navy Yard.—Exulting Dispatch.—Description of the Navy Yard.—The Ships.-Resolution of Cominodore Macaulay.—The Demand of the Insurgents.-Arrival of the Pawnee.--Her Sail from Fortress Monroe to Norfolk.--Boisterous Welcome.- The Marines set to work.-Securing the Papers.--Destruction of Arms.- The Firing of the Barracks.—Laying of the Trains.-Departure of the Pawnee. --A Signal.---The Conilagration of Ships and Navy Yard.— The Burning of the old Pennsylvania. - The People of Norfolk bursting through the Gates of the Navy Yard.-The Havoc.-Incomplete Destruction.-Curious Reasons for it.-Details of the Property destroyed.--The Feeling at the North.-The Destruction pronounced unnecessary. Quick work of the Insurgents.-Erection of defiant Batteries.

The greatest inquietude had long ex- | In the latter State a convention had

isted at the North in regard to the been for some time in secret session, and 1861.

action of the border States, and more the result was awaited with intense especially of Maryland and Virginia. anxiety. A committee, consisting of

PRESIDENT'S ANSWER TO VIRGINIA.

173

Messrs. Preston, Stuart, and Randolph, what course I intend to pursue. Not had been appointed to wait upon the having as yet seen occasion to change, President at Washington, and to present it is now my purpose to pursue the to him the following preamble and res- course marked out in the inaugural adolution passed by the Convention of dress. I commend a careful consideraVirginia :

tion of the whole document as the best “Whereas, in the opinion of this Con- | expression I can give to my purposes. vention, the uncertainty which prevails As I then and therein said, I now rein the public mind as to the policy which peat: The power confided in me will the Federal Executive intends to pursue be used to hold, and possess property toward the seceded States is extremely and places belonging to the Government, injurious to the industrial and commer- and to collect the duties and imports ; cial interests of the country, tends to but beyond what is necessary for these keep up an excitement which is unfavor- objects there will be no invasion, no able to the adjustment of the pending using of force against and among the difficulties, and threatens a disturbance people anywhere. By the words 'propof the public peace, therefore,

erty and places belonging to the Gov"Resolved, That a committee of three ernment,'I chiefly allude to the military delegates be appointed to wait on the posts and property which were in posPresident of the United States, present session of the Government when it came to him this preamble, and respectfully into my hands. But if, as now appears ask him to communicate to this Conven to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to tion the policy which the Federal Ex- drive the United States authority from ecutive intends to pursue in regard to these places, an unprovoked assault has the Confederate States."

been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall The bearers of this demand, courteous hold myself at liberty to repossess it, if April in form but insolent in substance, I can, and like places which had been

13. were duly presented at the White seized before the Government was deHouse, and received from Mr. Lincoln volved upon me; and in any event I a response in which he characteristically shall, to the best of my ability, repel rather discussed the question amiably force by force. In case it proves true with his interlocutors, than firmly as- that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as serted his Executive authority.

is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the "In answer, I," said the President, United States mails to be withdrawn “have to say that having, at the begin- from all the States which claim to have ing of my official term, expressed my seceded, believing that the commenceintended policy as plainly as I was able, ment of actual war against the Governit is with deep regret and mortification ment justifies and possibly demands it. I now learn there is great and injurious I scarcely need to say that I conside uncertainty in the public mind as to the military posts and property situated

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within the States which claim to have seceded States, declaring that they have, . seceded, as yet belonging to the Govern- “by authority of their people, solemnly ment of the United States, as much as rescued the powers granted by them to they did before the supposed secession. the United States, and have framed a Whatever else I may do for the purpose, constitution and organized a government I shall not attempt to collect the duties for themselves, to which the people of and imposts by any armed invasion of those States are yielding willing obediany part of the country ; not meaning | ence, and have so notified the President by this, however, that I may not land a of the United States by all the formalforce deemed necessary to relieve a fort ities incident to such action, and thereby upon the border of the country. From become to the United States a separate, the fact that I have quoted a part of the independent, and foreign power.” At inaugural address, it must not be in the same time he thought proper “to ferred that I repudiate any other part, order all armed volunteer regiments or the whole of which I reaffirm, except companies within the State forthwith so far as what I now say of the mails to hold themselves in readiness for immay be regarded as a modification." I mediate orders.”

This answer, however, was sufficiently Before the people of the State, howfirm to convince the Virginian commis- lever, had an opportunity of expressing sioners that the President had deter- their will as legally provided by the acts mined to exercise his. proper authority of the Virginia Legislature and Convenin the suppression of rebellion. Their tion, Governor Letcher commenced to return to Richmond with this response wage war against the United States. served to precipitate the action of the He ordered the main entrance of the Convention, and accordingly it passed, in harbor of Norfolk to be obstructed by secret session, on the 17th of April, an the sinking of small boats, to prevent April ordinance of secession, conditional, communication with the Federal navy

17. however, upon its ratification by a yard at that port, which he had evimajority of the votes of the people of dently determined to seize on the first the State on the fourth Thursday in the occasion favorable to his purpose, as ensuing month of May. The secession will be developed in the course of this leaders of Virginia, however, in their narrative. impatience to rebel, could not await the His first attempt, however, was to deliberate course of law, and began at capture the United States arsenal and once a series of hostile acts, soon to armory at Harper's Ferry. This town, result in open war against the Federal now so memorable, is in Jefferson Co., authority.

Virginia. It is situated on the Potomac Letcher, the Governor of Virginia, River, just where the Shenandoah enters, April issued a proclamation in which he and the two streams united pass through 17. recognized the independence of the the Blue Ridge. The town originally

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clustered about the base of a hill, but is who, at the head of twenty-two men, gradually rising up its steep sides, and had taken possession of the town and some scattered hamlets and houses have strove to excite the negroes of Virginia already reached the table-land on the to insurrection. It has again repeatedly summit, nearly four hundred feet above become a scene of commotion and conthe water. The ridge on either side of flict during this civil war. the gap through which the Potomac, The Governor of Virginia was eager united with the Shenandoah, forces its to possess himself of the arsenal and way, rises in steep and bare cliffs to an armory, and thus supply his secession elevation of twelve hundred feet or more, allies with the means of carrying on the the simple grandeur of which, contrast- war against the United States, which he ing with the picturesque beauty of the contemplated. He accordingly sent April lesser and cultivated heights, gives to secret orders to Charleston, the 18. the surrounding scenery of Harper's county seat of Jefferson, to muster a Ferry the most impressive effect. force for the purpose of seizing the FedThomas Jefferson said that it was “one eral property at Harper's Ferry. Some of the most stupendous scenes in nature, three thousand men had been summoned, and well worth a voyage across the but only two hundred and fifty, in conAtlantic to witness.”

sequence of the suddenness of the call, The town contains a population of mustered at Halltown, the rendezvous about ten thousand, and has become of half way between the county town and considerable trading importance as the Harper's Ferry, and about four miles point of junction of the Baltimore and from each place. Here they remained Ohio and the Winchester and Potomac until night, that they might have the railways. A bridge of nine hundred cover of darkness for their intended act feet in length connects it with the op of violence against the laws of the United posite shore of Maryland. The main States. business of the place is manufacturing. The force having been formed, conIt has one of the largest mills in the sisting of a small body of infantry, termed United States for grinding flour. Addi- the Jefferson Battalion, commanded April tional importance was given to the town by a Captain Allen, one piece of ar- 18. by the establishment there of the Fed-tillery, and a squad of “Fauquier" caveral arsenal and armory. Ninety thou- alry, under a Captain Ashby, marched, sand stand of arms were ordinarily at about eight o'clock in the night of the stored in the dépots, and the work-shops very day on which the order had been were capable of producing twenty-five received from Richmond. thousand annually.

“The troops marched,” says one who The place had already acquired and was with them, “in silence, and about unhappy association with our sectional a mile from the starting-point the colquarrels, by the invasion of John Brown, umn was challenged by sentries posted

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