February 22, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

MONTGOMERY, ALA., February 18, 1861.

The great event of the nineteenth century, initiated on the 20th day of December, 1860, has this day been consummated, and the last act necessary in its fulfillment is concluded. The Hon. JEFFERSON DAVIS, of the State of Mississippi, was this day, the 18th of February, 1861, inaugurated, at 1 o’clock, President of THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA.

The end has come at last. And, whether in war or peace, the people of the Cotton States under one Government have achieved their independence, now and forever, of the people of the Northern States of America. The seal is set. The decree has gone forth from four millions of burning hearts. Today the grand fact was realized, and sunk deep into the hearts of all present. To see it was to feel it.

At 10 o’clock in the morning the military began their proceedings. At 12 o’clock Congress met, as usual. At 12 1/2 o’clock the procession began to move, headed by the military, with the President in their midst, drawn in a coach, with six white horses. Next came the line of vehicles; then those on foot. A little before 1 o’clock they arrived at the Capitol. The President then alighted, and with the Committee appointed by Congress, leaning upon the arm of Mr. RHETT, of South Carolina, on the left, and Mr. CHILTON, of Alabama, proceeded, amidst the enthusiastic greetings of the assembled multitude, through the grounds to the Capitol, and thence to the Hall of Congress. Mr. DAVIS was then introduced by Mr. RHETT to the Congress, in a short and graceful speech. The members then formed in line, and leaving the hall, advanced to the portico, where their seats were arranged — those of the President, Vice-President and the President of the Congress being elevated, so as to be conspicuous to all assembled. Prayer being offered up by the Rev. Dr. MANLY, the President of the Congress, Mr. COBB, announced the election of Messrs. DAVIS and STEPHENS as President and Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, by the Congress assembled.

The President was greeted with the deepest enthusiasm. His speech will be before your readers ere this will reach you. [click to continue…]


February 22, 1861; The New York Herald

Mr. Lincoln, the President elect, and suite, left this city yesterday morning, en route for the White House. At Jersey City, at Newark, at Trenton, and at all the intermediate points, the populace turned out in crowds to see the President. Mr. Lincoln reached Philadelphia at four o’clock yesterday afternoon. The incidents of the journey, together with the address to Mr. Lincoln, and his responses thereto, are chronicled in this morning’s paper.

The Southern Congress has confirmed President Davis’ Cabinet appointments, as follows: —

Secretary of State……….Mr. Toombs, of Georgia.

Secretary of the Treasury…Mr. Memminger, of S.C.

Secretary of War…………Mr. L. P. Walker, of Ala.

In Congress yesterday, the Senate resumed the consideration of the bill providing for the discontinuance of the postal service in the seceded States. The Miscellaneous Appropriation bill was also discussed. In executive session a large number of appointments were confirmed, principally army and navy officers. In the House a report from the special committee censuring the Secretary of the Navy for accepting the resignations of naval officers belonging to seceded States, was presented. Mr. Bocock resumed and concluded his speech on the Force bill, and the debate on the subject was continued till the expiration of the morning hour. The Washington and Oregon War Debt bill was also discussed.


056February 22, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

The special despatches of THE MERCURY, announcing that a stealthy reinforcement of Fort Sumter had been determined on, and that Federal troops, in boats, might be expected at any moment, and that circumstances should happen to favor their attempt to reach the fort, were confirmed about nine o’clock last night, by telegrams received by the Governor. Shortly afterwards, despatches came up from Fort Moultrie, stating that the Lieutenant in charge of the harbor watch had reported that he was informed by a pilot that the steamship Daniel Webster had been seen by him off Cape Romain at noon. Notice was immediately given to the different posts. General DUNNOVANT and Captain HAMILTON proceeded immediately to Fort Moultrie. Major STEVENS repaired to the Morris Island batteries. Everything was got in readiness for the expected visitors.

Up to the hour at which we go to press (half past 4 o’clock), there has been nothing seen either of the Daniel Webster, or her boats.

We are very sure that the gallant troops on Morris and Sullivan’s Islands will keep a bright lookout for both.


February 22, 1861; Richmond Enquirer

Mr. Adams, the Master Armorer of the Richmond Armory, exhibited yesterday to the members of the Military Committee of both Houses, the new model gun for the State.

The gun was made at the Springfield Armory. It is a combination of the United States musket, and the Enfield (British) rifle. – The length of barrel is 40 inches; calibre 58-100. The bands are convex adjustable (English pattern.) It has a three leafed rear sight. The lock is without a primer. The stock is of walnut, (any quantity of which, fortunately, can be had in the State.) The barrel is bright; but we think the guns to be made here, ought to be browned. The gun will do good execution at 1,000 yards. It is a beautiful piece of workmanship, and has been constructed under the eyes of Mr. Adams. – The probable cost of those to be made at the armory, will be $15.



Nice, bright, cool day, a bracing air, and I have felt unusualy well, but I attribute it (partly at least) to a good cold bath this morning. I cannot get along well without a good wash, all over in cold water and a thorough rubbing with the flesh brush or a coarse towel, two or three times a week. I was at “Willards” and the “National.” Saw Lighthall, [Low. S Seely?] Ranslaer Van Valkenburgh of Albany & others. Came home before 9 o’clock. Tomorrow is a Holy day [Holiday] throughout the City and a great Military parade is expected. The city seems to be very quiet, but getting well filled up.


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.


—The President of the Southern Confederacy nominated the following members of his Cabinet:

Secretary of State—Mr. Toombs.
Secretary of the Treasury—Mr. Memminger.
Secretary of War
—Mr. L. Pope Walker.

They were confirmed.—Tribune, Feb. 22.

—Governor Brown, at Savannah, Ga., seized the ship Martha J. Ward, bark Adjuster, and brig Harold, all belonging to citizens of New York. They will be detained until the arms are delivered up by the State of New York.

—The Congress at Montgomery passed an act declaring the establishment of the free navigation of the Mississippi.—Philadelphia Press, Feb. 23.


February 21, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Provisional Government, was born in Christian County, Kentucky, in 1805. He commenced his education at the Transylvania University, Kentucky, but was subsequently appointed a Cadet at the West Point Military Academy, where he graduated in 1828. Since that time he has filled a number of grades, military and civil. First, a Lieutenant of Infantry; next, a Lieutenant of Dragoons; then a Colonel at the head of the Mississippi Regiment in the Mexican War, and lastly a Brigadier General; his military experience has been long and varied. In 1844 he was a Presidential Elector, and in the following year was chosen Representative in Congress. In 1847 he was appointed Senator to fill a vacancy, and was elected for the ensuing term. On the election of President PIERCE, Mr. DAVIS was called to occupy the post of Secretary of War, which he filled with distinguished ability throughout that Administration.

In 1857 he again took his seat in the United States Senate for a term of six years. Resigning promptly upon the secession of his State, he has been called by the unanimous voice of the Southern Congress to the arduous duties of the Presidency of the Confederate States. The inaugural address, in which he foreshadows the vigorous policy of the new Government, has been hailed with satisfaction throughout the length and breadth of the South. Let the people accord to his administration a hearty, united and generous support.


February 21, 1861; The Charleston Mercury


Solid shot, case shot and shells are cast at ironworks from white forge iron; formerly iron moulds were used for these, but they had the effect of making the balls too hard on the surface, whereby the bore of the gun was injured. At present, therefore, all projectiles are cast in sand in mould boxes. The casting of solid balls is the most simple. The patterns for this purpose are of brass, very exactly turned, made in two halves, and fitting into each other by a groove; one half has a pin screwed into it, which forms the hole by which the metal is poured in at the casting. In moulding, the grooved half of the pattern is set upon the mould board, and the tap hole pin screwed in; there the mould box is placed with its keybolts in the holes made for them, and the half ball moulded by the sand layer. The mould is then turned over, the mould board taken off, the second half ball set on, the second mould box placed, and the mould made in the same way; then the mould is turned, the pin screwed out, the mould box opened, and both patterns taken out, when it is again closed and is then ready for casting.

The mould of the hollow shot is more complicated, because the internal cavity of these must be formed by a core, which remains in the mould during the casting, and is removed afterwards; and because, also, for the larger sizes, a pair of ears must be cast in, for the shell hooks to catch hold of in handling them. For hollow shot it is preferable to have the metal run into the mould at the side, so that the core be not disturbed in its position by the metal falling perpendicularly upon it; this core is made of sand or loam; the ears are of wrought iron, and the ends reach into the internal cavity, where they are afterwards imbedded in the metal.


The manufacture of cartridges of all kinds, and of fireworks generally, especially fire and light balls and rockets, for military purposes, is the object of a particular art — that of military pyrotechny. [click to continue…]


February 21, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

WASHINGTON, February 18, 1861.

LINCOLN’s Pilgrim’s Progress continues to occupy the greater part of the town talk. His speeches increase in asinine qualities, and excite almost as much disgust among the Republicans as other people. A few of their papers profess to admire them, but that is all bosh. His character is much canvassed. From all I can gather, he must be a low fellow, both in ideas and manners. For some days past it has been hinted about that SEWARD was going to resign his place in LINCOLN’S Cabinet, and on Saturday night it was stated that he had abandoned the idea of renting the sumptuous and extensive mansion so long occupied by Genl. CASS. This is a mistake. As soon as LINCOLN arrives in this city a fierce struggle will begin between SEWARD and WEED on the one hand, and WADE and SUMNER on the other, to get possession of his majesty. If WEED succeeds, SEWARD will remain Premier; if WADE prevails, SEWARD will resign. As to the other Cabinet appointments, I hear this morning that Messrs. DIX, HOLT and KING will be retained in their present places, for a time at least.

President DAVIS’s introduction of the […..] doctrines, in his speech on the night of his arrival in Montgomery, are much spoken of here. That it will be necessary for the Confederate States to vindicate their nationality by force of arms, few seem to doubt; and that they will sit quietly at home and permit themselves to be harassed by the United States fleet without attempting retaliation, no one believes.

Among other plans, the following is mooted, as advisable on the part of the Confederate States: To purchase ten or twenty vessels of war in England, ship men enough to man them, as passengers in English ships, and return with them to the Gulf of Mexico, and there pitch into Uncle Sam’s coercive fleet of Pensacola harbor. ‘Where are the sailors and marines to come from to equip this Southern navy?’ was enquired of the gentleman who broached this beautiful plan. ‘From the 40,000 deck hands and raftsmen on the Mississippi river,’ was the reply. Truly, there are men of many [click to continue…]


February 21, 1861; The New York Herald

Mr. Lincoln yesterday received his fellow citizens at City Hall. Mayor Wood delivered an address of welcome on the occasion to which Mr. Lincoln responded. In the evening Mr. Lincoln attended the Opera, and at midnight he was serenaded. Mr. Hamlin, the Vice President elect, arrived in town yesterday, and stopped at the Astor House. The movements of these distinguished personages are described in another part of today’s paper.

Reports to the effect that the South Carolinians were about to or had already attacked Fort Sumter were in circulation in Washington yesterday. They were doubtless mere idle rumors, devoid of foundation in truth.

In the House yesterday Mr. Bocock, of Virginia, occupied the morning hour in an elaborate speech in opposition to the bill empowering the President to call out the military forces of the country and accept the services of volunteers. He characterized the bill as a declaration of war against the seceded States. The Naval bill was taken up, the question being on agreeing to the Senate’s amendment providing for the construction of seven steam sloops of war. The proposition was warmly opposed by the democrats, but the amendment was agreed to by a vote of 111 to 38. In the evening session, Mr. Ruffin, of North Carolina, made a speech in favor of secession. In the course of his remarks he spoke of Mr. Buchanan as a driveller, and Gen. Scott as guilty of usurpation.

Late accounts from Fort Smith, Arkansas, state that the overland mail had been seized by Texans, and the employes of the company imprisoned. It is also reported that Forts Chadbourne and Belknap have been seized by the secessionists.


February 21, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

The Flag which we will display this morning from our office, is a present to THE MERCURY. In order to have it properly displayed, we have had erected a staff twenty six feet high, from the roof of our office, from which elevation it will be thrown to the breeze this morning. In size it is 12 by 16 feet — a blue field, with white palmetto and crescent, as prescribed by the General Assembly. Below the tree is inscribed in white letters the words ‘THE MERCURY.’ This elegant Flag was manufactured by Messrs. BEE & SILCOX, ship chandlers, and the design is beautifully executed. We shall take particular pains to preserve it as a memento of the times.


February 21, 1861; The New York Herald

(From the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal, Feb. 18.)

We were on Saturday night placed in possession of the astounding information that an attempt was made, on Monday last, to wreck the train bearing the President elect and suite, about one mile west of the State line. The particulars as given us by Mr. Rich, of the Toledo and Western Railroad, are that a short time before the train was due at State line, an engineer who was preparing to take out a train, found it necessary to run out to the wood yard for fuel. Running at a moderate speed, he noticed an obstruction on the track, and stopping his engine, found that a machine for putting cars on the track had been fastened upon the rails in such a manner that if a train at full speed had struck it, engine and cars must have been thrown off and many persons killed. It is almost impossible to think that any one is so thoroughly depraved as to attempt so damnable a deed, but we are assured by our informant that his information comes from undoubted authority. The matter would have been made public before, but it was hoped that the perpetrators of the dastardly outrage could be detected and brought to justice. The whole thing was admirably planned — the obstruction so near a station and on a straight track, where it would not be deemed necessary to exercise any great degree of caution.



It has been a pleasant bright day. M. 36. Rain last night and the Streets wet. Doct G P Eddy of Lewistown NY called upon me today, old friend. I was glad to see him. My old friend J C Smith of Canandagua NY, formerly of Lyons, spent the evening with me and my family at my house. He is member of the Peace Convention now in session here. I was down at Willards after dinner, great crowd there. Chas & Miss Sally Woodward called this evening and spent an hour. Mis Doct Everitt sent in a gold fish for our Aquarium. It is a “Whale among the minnows.” Bed at 11 o’clk.


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.


Washington, D.C., February 20, 1861.

Lieut. Col. HENRY L. SCOTT, A. D. C.; &c., New York:

See Captain Ward, commanding the North Carolina, receiving ship, and ask him to get his squadron ready as soon as he can, and let you know how many recruits he will want in addition to his marines ; learn, also, what subsistence stores he will want, including a good quantity of desiccated vegetables; also coals, &c. See that he is supplied with everything for Anderson. I shall write to-morrow. No time now. Afraid of the wires.



February 20, 1861; The New York Herald

The great metropolitan event yesterday was the arrival at three o’clock P.M. of Abraham Lincoln, President elect of the United States. In another column we give an interesting and detailed account of the ceremonies of reception from the time he left Albany until a late hour last evening, embracing speeches en route and in this city, the procession, decorations, sketches of the Presidential suite, the reception room, dinner, incidents and accidents generally. We also publish the programme for today.

The Peace Convention at Washington makes but slow progress. Yesterday they spent some five hours discussing a motion in favor of half hour speeches. And this trumpery question is still pending.

One of our Washington correspondents furnishes some important revelations respecting the probable financial and military policy of the Southern confederacy.

In Congress yesterday the Senate took up the Tariff bill, and after the adoption of several amendments and considerable debate the bill was reported. In the House Mr. Fenton, of New York, presented a resolution affirming, as the judgment of the House, that the existing troubles of the country should be referred to the National Convention, to be called in the mode prescribed in the constitution. The bill authorizing the President to accept the services of volunteers was then taken up, the question being on its third reading and engrossment. The bill was strongly opposed by the democrats, and the discussion was warm and irritating. Mr. Bocock moved to lay the subject on the table, which was decided in the negative by a vote of 68 to 1105. The debate terminated with the expiration of the morning hour. The Senate resolution repealing the act of last session for the benefit of Degroot was adopted. The Naval Appropriation bill was taken up, the question being on agreeing with the Senate’s amendments. The amendment providing for the construction of additional steam sloops of war was discussed till recess. The evening session was devoted to debates on the crisis.


February 20, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

MONTGOMERY, February 14, 1861.

Upon one point there appears to be a fixed determination and straight forward action here. Reconstruction is dead. A Southern Confederation is established, and the Southern Confederacy is a fixed thing. But what sort of a Confederacy? Here the Convention is at sea; and vague dreads of the future, and terrors of the people, and in some degree a want of statesmanship, paralyze all useful and essential reform, and weaken men into inaction. Let your people prepare their minds for a failure in the future Permanent Southern Constitution. For South Carolina is about to be saddled with almost every grievance except Abolition, for which she has long struggled, and just withdrawn from the late United States Government. Surely McDUFFIE lived in vain, and CALHOUN taught for nought, if we are again to be plundered, and our commerce crippled, destroyed by tariffs – even discriminating tariffs. Yet this is the almost inevitable prospect. The fruit of the labors of thirty odd long years, in strife and bitterness, is about to slip through our fingers.

But is this all we are about to be called on to enact and bear? It is only the beginning.

The three fifths rule of representation for slaves was one of the many Yankee swindles put upon us in the formation of the old Constitution. It is a radical wrong. It most unfairly dwarfs the power of some of the States in any federal representation. The proportion of her black to the white population is very much larger than that of any other slave State. By the old swindle, her fair proportion of representation was cut down upon all her slaves in proportion, as 3 is to 5. The black population, being in a majority in our State, two fifths of more than one half of the people of the State are entirely unrepresented. And in just the degree that the proportion of the black population in South Carolina predominates over the proportion of the blacks to the whites in any other State, is the swindle augmented and aggravated. South Carolina is small enough without again flinging away what legitimate power she possesses. That power is in her slaves — socially, politically, economically. The proposition of the three-fifths rule calls upon her not only to stultify herself, but to dwarf her powers.

Is this all? It is not. She is probably to be called upon to brand herself and her institutions. [click to continue…]


February 20, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

A glance at a map of the Southern States will be sufficient to impress the most superficial observer with the unprotectedness of our seacoast. Along a large portion of this shore line, extending from Cape Fear to the Rio Grande, and almost down to the first ripple of the ocean, our great staple is cultivated. Upon the banks of our many rivers the plough now furrows the earth for the summer’s crop.

To protect this seacoast becomes at once an imperative duty of the Provisional Government, and that method of protection should be resorted to which is the most speedy and economical, consistent with security. That we may protect and keep open our principal ports to the commerce of the world, a navy of some sort is necessary to us. But much more is it essential because our coast must be guarded so that we may in safety cultivate the soil, and by its production freight the fleets that come to us with exchanges and bear away the fruits of our labor to the markets of the world. We want a navy of defence.

A nation’s first duty is to protect the laborers of its soil, and to guard its sailors upon the ocean. Alone, and for this duty, do we desire to see created a naval equal to the task, and commensurate with the wealth and destined greatness of a Confederacy of which South Carolina is a sovereign State. The South has no aggressive policies to pursue against nations. She desires peace and security. To achieve these, war and its preparation may be necessary; when once secured, God grand her swords may sleep in their scabbards, and that her conquests may thenceforth be made with the axe and the plough.

The system of monopoly which was applied by the Government of the late United States for the advancement of Northern interests, was nowhere more pointedly illustrated than in the locations of the several navy yards and in the construction of its vessel of war. Had we been plunged into a war with England upon any one of the three questions which related to the northern boundaries of the States, and in which the interest of the South were remote, our entire seaboard would have been open to the ravages of British cruisers. [click to continue…]


February 20, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

Our Richmond Correspondence.

RICHMOND, VA., February 16, 1861.

Politics are in a most perplexing and incomprehensible state here. The Convention is making little headway. Delay seems to be the object of two parties in the Convention. The one party, that probably constitutes a majority of that body, hope that LINCOLN will yet be overruled by his friends, and will not attempt coercion. The other party, or little faction, are Submissionists and Coercionists, and would delay action expecting that LINCOLN will frighten Virginia into quiet submission, and then employ her militia to subdue the Southern States. This faction is very small in numbers – for the most talented part of the Convention, who constitute, possibly (though I fear not), half of the body, are men in favor of immediate secession, or at least, secession before the inauguration of LINCOLN.

Were one to judge of the state of public opinion by the conversation he hears in the ears, in the hotels, in public meetings, or in private respectable circles in this city, he would conclude that all were secessionists. I have not heard a single man or woman advocating or justifying submission or coercion. The ladies now all talk politics and are animated and enthusiastic advocates of immediate secession. They neither practice nor understand the arts and tricks of politicians, and are indignant at delays, which propose, by cunning diplomacy, to obtain concessions of what are already our rights. But, while all looks sound and healthful on the surface of society, there is disease beneath it, something rotten at the core. Treason lurks and hides itself, and talks in whispers, when it talks at all – whilst patriotism seeks publicity, walks abroad in the sunshine, and gives open utterance to all its opinions, its hopes, and its projects. ‘Tis this that perplexes men’s minds. We know that we have secret enemies among us – but know not their number. A man may not fear the lion, and yet shrink with horror from the ambushed snake.

Virginians are not all like their chivalrous States rights and State loving sires. Yet I hope that, eventually, a majority of her people will be found worthy of their ancestry, true to the glorious memory of the past, and true and faithful in [click to continue…]


hamlin, hannibalFrom The New-York Times February 19, 1861:

BANGOR, Me., Monday, Feb. 18.

Vice-President HAMLIN and lady left here this morning on route for Washington. He will arrive at Boston this evening, and leave for the West to-morrow morning. He was escorted from Hampden to our city by a large-number of his fellow-townsmen, and was received here by the Mayor and Ex-Mayors of this city, and an immense procession of citizens, in single and double sleighs, escorted the party to the Railroad station. Notwithstanding the early hour this morning, Mr. HAMLIN was received with enthusiastic cheers and the warm greetings and affectionate farewell of thousands of his fellow-citizens. In reply to a brief address by C.S. CROSBY, Esq., Mr. HAMLIN made a few remarks, and as the train was starting, in the course of his remarks, he said:

“I go to the discharge of the official duties which have been conferred upon me by a generous people, and relying upon Divine Providence, I trust, that confidence shall never be betrayed. I know full well that dark clouds are lowering around the political horizon, and that madness rules the hour, but I am hopeful still that our people are not only loyal to the Government, but that they are fraternal to all its citizens. And when in practice it shall be demonstrated that the Constitutional rights of all the States will be respected and maintained by following the paths illumined by WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON and MADISON may we not reasonably hope and expect that quiet will be restored, and the whole country will still advance in a career which will elevate man in a social, moral and intellectual condition.”

First night’s stay on trip to Washington, D.C.

BOSTON, Monday, Feb. 18.

Hon. HANNIBAL HAMLIN, with Mrs. HAMLIN, arrived here by the eastern cars this evening, at 7:30. But few people were at the depot. They at once proceeded to the Revere House, where they remain tonight. Mr. HAMLIN will leave for New York, via Worcester, to-morrow, at 8:30 A.M.



Rather a cold day. M. just below freezing with cold wind. Nothing in particular now attracts public attention. Mr Lincoln is slowly moveing towards the Capital and is expected here on saturday next. The Inaugural Speech of Jefferson Davis, President of the “Confederate States,” was published here today. The Peace Convention get on but slowly and not very harmoniously. I was at the office all day, had a good many calls. Was down at “Willards.” Saw W VanMaster, H B Stanton, Mr Butterfield & others, bot a “Times” and read aloud an hour to wife.


The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.


Washington Feby 19. 1861

My dear wife

While the Navy bill is being discussed I will say a few words to you. I was agreeably surprised last night at the arrival of Uncle Johnny who steped into my room as fresh and fair as a young girl of ten years. He is going the rounds today I suppose I left him with Mr Harlan this morning

The town is filling up with strangers, generally seeking office. The news from St. Louis giving the news of the election there going strong for the Union creates quite a censation. I hope the news may be corroberated everywhere. In the mean time the peace Conference is trying to get something through that body that will hold Virginia; for she seems to be doubtful yet. A great noise was made here this morning because we tried to get a bill through authorising the President to call out the Militia in case of insurrection.

I see we will have trouble in spite of all peace measures and Union sentiments. The Cotton Confederacy seems pretty well organized and they are making preparations for war on rather a large scale. Every step of the kind makes them more and more irreconsilable. The question of the border states is different. Secession with them is a little more of a practical danger and therefore the hesitation

If however the border states are going to prevent us from executing the laws they were better out than in.

I see by your last letter that we said but little about Henrys trip homeward He did not himself determine as to whether he would go to Keokuk and we could not therefor advise you. No doubt he will give you satisfactory reasons for not availing himself of such an occasion.

We were much delighted with Caddies letter to Sadie She talks about little things we like to hear. As to my letters how can you expect me to go into little matters when I am so overwhelmed with matters which seem to involve the whole country.

I am glad to see the time still shortens, and the day of inaugeration is close at hand. We will then have to leave matters with the new executive who I am sorry to see will come into power surrounded by revolution and very little power to repel foes.

Kiss little Caddie for Pa and give my love to all our friends.

Affectionately yours
Saml. R. Curtis


horatio_king2From Horatio King’s diary:

February 19.—In Cabinet to-day the principal matter presented was an inquiry from Major Anderson, in charge of Fort Sumter, at Charleston, what he should do in the event of the floating battery understood to have been constructed at Charleston being towed toward the fort with the evident purpose of attack. The President wished time to consider. Mr. Holt asked what he would do, or rather what Major Anderson ought to do, in case he were in charge of a fort and the enemy should commence undermining it. The President answered that he should ‘crack away at them.’  The President, however, is very reluctant to fire the first gun. The Peace Convention, he said, was now in session in this city, and its president, ex-President Tyler, had this morning assured him that no attack would be made on the fort. The President expressed the opinion that the fort would eventually be taken.


chesnut_maryMontgomery, Ala., February 19, 1861.—The brand-new Confederacy is making or remodeling its Constitution. Everybody wants Mr. Davis to be General-in-Chief or President. Keitt and Boyce and a party preferred Howell Cobb¹ for President. And the fire-eaters per se wanted Barnwell Rhett.

My brother Stephen brought the officers of the “Montgomery Blues” to dinner. “Very soiled Blues,” they said, apologizing for their rough condition. Poor fellows! they had been a month before Fort Pickens and not allowed to attack it. They said Colonel Chase built it, and so were sure it was impregnable. Colonel Lomax telegraphed to Governor Moore² if he might try to take it, “Chase or no Chase,” and got for his answer, “No.” “And now,” say the Blues, “we have worked like niggers, and when the fun and fighting begin, they send us home and put regulars there.” They have an immense amount of powder. The wheel of the car in which it was carried took fire. There was an escape for you! We are packing a hamper of eatables for them.

I am despondent once more. If I thought them in earnest because at first they put their best in front, what now? We have to meet tremendous odds by pluck, activity, zeal, dash, endurance of the toughest, military instinct. We have had to choose born leaders of men who could attract love and secure trust. Everywhere political intrigue is as rife as in Washington.

Cecil’s saying of Sir Walter Raleigh that he could “toil terribly” was an electric touch. Above all, let the men who are to save South Carolina be young and vigorous. While I was reflecting on what kind of men we ought to choose, I fell on Clarendon, and it was easy to construct my man out of his portraits. What has been may be again, so the men need not be purely ideal types.

Mr. Toombs³ told us a story of General Scott and himself. He said he was dining in Washington with Scott, who seasoned every dish and every glass of wine with the eternal refrain, “Save the Union; the Union must be preserved.” Toombs remarked that he knew why the Union was so dear to the General, and illustrated his point by a steamboat anecdote, an explosion, of course. While the passengers were struggling in the water a woman ran up and down the bank crying, “Oh, save the red-headed man!” The red-headed man was saved, and his preserver, after landing him noticed with surprise how little interest in him the woman who had made such moving appeals seemed to feel. He asked her, ” Why did you make that pathetic outcry? ” She answered, “Oh, he owes me ten thousand dollars.” “Now, General,” said Toombs, “the Union owes you seventeen thousand dollars a year!” I can imagine the scorn on old Scott’s face.

¹ A native of Georgia, Howell Cobb had long served in Congress, and in 1849 was elected Speaker. In 1851 he was elected Governor of Georgia, and in 1857 became Secretary of the Treasury in Buchanan’s Administration. In 1861 he was a delegate from Georgia to the Provisional Congress which adopted the Constitution of the Confederacy, and presided over each of its four sessions.

² Andrew Bary Moore, elected Governor of Alabama in 1859. In 1861, before Alabama seceded, he directed the seizure of United States forts and arsenals and was active afterward in the equipment of State troops.

³ Robert Toombs, a native of Georgia, who early acquired fame as a lawyer, served in the Creek War under General Scott, became known in 1842 as a “State Rights Whig,” being elected to Congress, where he was active in the Compromise measures of 1850. He served in the United States Senate from 1853 to 1861, where he was a pronounced advocate of the sovereignty of States, the extension of slavery, and secession. He was a member of the Confederate Congress at its first session and, by a single vote, failed of election as President of the Confederacy. After the war, he was conspicuous for his hostility to the Union.


February 19, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

The Inaugural Address, ETC., ETC., ETC.

MONTGOMERY, February 18. – The Inaugural ceremonies are just over. The procession was the grandest pageant ever witnessed in the South.

There was an immense concourse on Capitol Hill, consisting of ladies from all portions of this and neighboring States, the military and citizens.

President DAVIS commenced his inaugural at one o’clock precisely.

1 2 214 215 216 217 218 263 264