Madison reacts to the start of the Civil War
Monday, April 18, 2011 11:00 AM
April 12 was the 150th anniversary of the attack on Fort Sumter by Rebel forces, the start of the Civil War. The following stories are from the pages of The Madison Daily Courier. We thank the Civil War Roundtable for doing the research and providing this information.
From the Madison Daily Courier
April 13, 1861
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Charleston, April 12
The ball has opened. War is inaugurated. The batteries of Sullivan's Island, Morris Island and other points were opened on Fort Sumter at 4 o'clock this morning. Fort Sumter has returned the fire and a brisk cannonading has been kept up. No information has been received from the seaboard yet. The military are under arms, and the whole of our population are on the streets and every available space facing the harbor is filled with anxious spectators.
Charleston, April 13
At intervals of twenty minutes the firing was kept up all night on Sumter. Major Anderson ceased firing from Sumter at six o'clock in the evening...He commenced to return fire at 7 this morning. Sumter seems to be greatly disabled...
At 9 o'clock this morning a dense smoke poured from Fort Sumter. The federal flag is at half mast, signaling distress.
Madison Daily Courier
April 15, 1861
The news of the bombardment of Fort Sumter caused intense excitement in this city on Saturday and Sunday, and consolidated the loyal people. Men who have heretofore differed as to policy, who thought that the collision might have been avoided, have, with but few exceptions, expressed a loyal determination to sustain the National Government and flag.
When news of the surrender of Sumter was announced to the crowd in front of this office and along West Street from Main Cross to Second, an adopted citizen, one who fought under the proud emblem of the nation on the battlefields of Mexico, said: "Boys, they have struck down the stars and stripes at Sumter, let us raise it here." A flag was immediately suspended in the middle of the street, and greeted with three hearty cheers; and raised also on the engine houses of Fire Companies No. 2 and 3.
The public sentiment in Madison and vicinity is unmistakably in favor of the National Government. The loyal heart is fired at last.
The meeting in the Court-house on Saturday night was large and enthusiastic. The house was packed; every available sitting and standing place was occupied. It was a meeting of citizens, loyal to the National and State Governments. Former party associations and ties were disregarded, and the universal sentiment was loyalty to the Government which has been the boast and pride of American citizens for nearly a century.
The venerable Judge Sullivan was called to the chair and made a short address....He was listened to attentively and every allusion to the national flag, to Major Anderson, and to the common cause of the loyal states, was greeted with immense applause.
Call For 75,000 Volunteers
April 15, 1861
WHEREAS the laws of the United States have been, for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law:
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department
I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.
I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event, the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country.
And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from this date.
Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers, at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.