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News of 150 Years Ago–March and April 1861

NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

March and April 1861

Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated the 16th President of the United States on March 4, 1861, in Washington, D.C. His inaugural address was reprinted in the DEMOCRAT.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, March 5, 1861.

President Lincoln’s Inaugural.

DELIVERED AT WASHINGTON MARCH 4, 1861.

[Telegraphed Expressly for the Missouri Democrat.]

FELLOW CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES: In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President before he enters on the execution of his office.

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of the Administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement. The apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and their personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Meanwhile, in Missouri, the State Convention called to consider a secession resolution had recessed from meeting in Jefferson City and reconvened in St. Louis on the same day as Lincoln’s inauguration. Partisan feelings in the city ran high, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, March 5, 1861.

CITY NEWS.

IMMENSE EXCITEMENT AT THE MINUTE MEN’S HEAD QUARTERS.

A SECESSION FLAG DISPLAYED.

THE POPULACE INDIGNANT–GENERAL TUMULT, ROWS, &c. &c.

The assembling of the State Convention in this city on yesterday was, of course, an occasion of extraordinary interest. Eager crowds early flocked to Mercantile Library Hall, and waited for hours, with apparently exhaustless patience, till the session began. The beloved flag of the Union floated beautifully from a line stretched across Fifth street from the Hall, and scores of national ensigns were patriotically displayed along the thoroughfares in all quarters of the city.

The naturally incident excitement was, unfortunately, a hundred-fold intensified by the discovery at sunrise of a strange flag suspended over the street at the “Minute Men’s Headquarters,” at the corner of Pine and Fifth streets….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

The provocation of a secession flag on the Minute Men’s headquarters incensed the editors of the DEMOCRAT.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, March 5, 1861.

Glaring Insult to the Convention—The Minute Men Provoking a Riot.

The Minute Men of this city, baffled in all their traitorous and incendiary designs, took the poor revenge yesterday of insulting the State Convention by flaunting a Secession flag at the corner of Fifth and Pine streets—a flag in which the symbol of Mohammedanism was placed side by side with the cross. The occurrence produced a deep sensation throughout the whole community, as was evidenced by the numbers congregated all day in the vicinity of the odious ensign….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

On March 21, the State Convention voted 98-1 against an ordinance of secession.

 

While the State Convention was in session, Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and his allies in the legislature began putting in place measures to prepare the State for secession. The first of these was a bill to place the police department of the City of St. Louis under state, instead of local, control. The DEMOCRAT was outraged.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, March 1, 1861.

The Bill to Annul the City Charter.

Our Democratic Senators are desirous of rounding their fame with a measure worthy of their previous essays in statesmanship.  Under the title of a bill to create a Board of Police Commissioners for St. Louis, a project has been introduced in the Senate for putting the city under the rule of a disunion satrapy.  The first batch of commissioners are to be directly legislated into power, and their successors, at the end of two and four years, to be appointed by Claib. Jackson and the next Governor.  The Board is to be authorized to issue scrip annually, bearing interest at the rate of ten per cent., to an amount exceeding by $10,000, the cost of the police department in 1860.  Of course they would never stop at that figure….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

This was not the only attempt by Gov. Jackson’s state administration to exert control over St. Louis. Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, the officer recently placed in charge of the St. Louis Arsenal, was fending off attempts to infiltrate the site.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, April 13, 1861.

LETTER FROM CAPT. LYON, U. S. A.

ST. LOUIS ARSENAL, MO., April 12, 1861.

To the Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Concerning the delay at the gate, of the United States Marshal, of several members of the Grand Jury, empannelled [sic] for the April term of the United States Circuit Court, on presenting themselves for admittance to the grounds of this post, as referred to in your paper of to-day and yesterday, I deem it proper to observe that under the present extraordinary circumstances of the country, the usual free ingress permitted at military stations of the government is stopped here, and will so remain until a change is thought proper….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

News from Charleston, South Carolina, had filled many columns of issues of the DEMOCRAT for weeks.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, April 9, 1861.

AFFAIRS AT THE SOUTH.

Charleston-Fort Sumter-South Carolinians Ready for Action.

The Charleston Courier announces that Governor Pickens and General Beauregard were on Wednesday, to visit and inspect all the batteries for the last time, and to arrange matters for decided action, as all the batteries are now thoroughly ready. The Courier further remarks:

It is said now that the last mortar is in its place, and that the ammunition and supplies are all in our possession, so that every means for the speedy reduction of Fort Sumter may be said to be entirely accomplished. There is no possibility of supplies or reinforcements being thrown in from the sea, for there is not the power in the United States navy to do it, and of course the reduction of Fort Sumter is only a matter of time….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, April 10, 1861.

From Washington.

Precautionary Measures for the Safety of the Capital.

INTERESTING FROM THE SOUTH.

Sumter will be held by the Federal Government.

DESTINATIONS OF THE FLEET.

ITS MISSION NOT A HOSTILE ONE.

Major Anderson Ordered to Open his Batteries if the Fleet is Fired Upon.

EXTRA SESSION OF CONGRESS CONTINGENT UPON WAR.

[Correspondence of the New York Papers.]

WASHINGTON, April 8.—However much the reports of Southern designs on Washington may be discredited, it is asserted that officers, high in authority, are taking precautionary measures for the safety of the capital. The anxiety to hear from Sumter, and other Southern points, where conflicts are apprehended, is intense….

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With the commencement of the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, even more space was devoted to this coverage.

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, April 13, 1861.

BY TELEGRAPH.

IMPORTANT FROM CHARLESTON!

The War Has Actually Begun!

Gen’l Beauregard Demands the Surrender of Sumter.

MAJOR ANDERSON’S REPLY.

Correspondence Between Beauregard and the Montgomery Officials.

The Rebel Batteries Opened the Fire on Sumter.

SUMTER BOMBARDED FROM SEVEN BATTERIES ALL DAY.

Only one Vessel of the Fleet in Sight.

TWO OF SUMTER’S GUNS SILENCED!

A BREACH IN THE WALLS OF SUMTER REPORTED.

The Floating Battery Stands the Fire.

ANDERSON’S GUNS DIRECTED AGAINST MOULTRIE AND THE FLOAT.

The Harriet Lane Receives a Shot through Her Wheelhouse.

THE COMBAT CONTINUES TILL PAST NIGHTFALL.

SUMTER STILL REPLYING VIGOROUSLY.

Probable Attempt to Carry Sumpter by Storm.

TROOPS POURING INTO CHARLESTON.

Two Soldiers Reported Wounded.

THE FLEET OFF THE BAR.

THE STORM PREVENTS ENTERING THE PORT.

The Bombardment Continued all Night.

EXTRA SESSION OF THE SOUTHERN CONGRESS.

CHARLESTON, April 11.—Roger A. Pryor has been appointed on Beauregard’s staff. Beauregard, at 2 o’clock this morning, demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, which Maj. Anderson declined, probably with reservation. It is currently reported that negotiations will be opened to-morrrow between Anderson and Beauregard about the surrender of Sumter….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, April 15, 1861.

BY TELEGRAPH.

SUNDAY NIGHT DISPATCHES.

VERY LATEST FROM CHARLESTON.

The Melancholy News Confirmed.

Five Brave Men Wounded.

RIVALRY OF ENGLAND AND FRANCE.

THE CAUSE OF THE SURRENDER.

FORT SUMTER IN RUINS.

MOULTRIE BADLY DAMAGED.

Major Anderson’s Command Embarked.

CHARLESTON, April 13, 1:30 P. M.—The firing has ceased, and an unconditional surrender has been made. The Carolinians are surprised that the fight is over. Soon after the flagstaff was shot over, Wigfall was sent by Beauregard to Sumter with a white flag to offer assistance to subdue the flames. He was met by Maj. Anderson, who said he had just displayed a white flag, but the batteries had not stopped firing. Wigfall replied that Anderson must haul down the American flag. Surrender or fight was the word. Major Anderson then hauled down the flag….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

On April 15, President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. A contributor offered the following legal opinion on the chief executive’s constitutional powers to call up troops for this purpose.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, Tuesday, April 16, 1861.

THE PRESIDENT’S PROCLAMATION.

HAS HE THE POWER TO CALL OUT THE MILITIA?

Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Having heard the above inquiry made by several persons, it occurs to me that a brief and authentic statement of the power of the President, under the constitution and existing laws of the United States, to call out the militia of the several States, may be satisfactory to your readers. It will be seen, not only that the power does not exist, but that both the Supreme Court of New York and the Supreme Court of the United States, in cases argued before them involving both the constitutionality and the extent of this power, have expressly decided that it does, and that the President himself, in the exercise of his high discretion, is and must be the sole judge of its exercise….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Events moved quickly across the country following Lincoln’s call for troops.

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, April 17, 1861.

THE LATEST FROM WASHINGTON.

COL. ELLSWORTH GOING TO ORGANIZE A REGIMENT OF ZOUAVES.

SUPPORT WILL BE RECEIVED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE BORDER STATES.

Glorious News from Maryland!!!

JIM LANE ENLISTED FOR THE WAR.

NO ORDERS TO BLOCKADE PORTS OR STOP MAILS.

FROM MONTGOMERY.

$2,000 More Troops Called Out.

Affairs in Charleston.

SAILING OF THE FEDERAL FLEET.

WASHINGTON, April 16.―Col. Ellsworth has had strong inducements offered him to proceed to New York city and organize a regiment of Zouaves. If he does not go thither he will repair to Illinois for a similar purpose. He has declined the commission in the army which was tendered him….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, Friday, April 19, 1861.

BY TELEGRAPH.

THE LATEST FROM WASHINGTON.

Virginia Union Delegates at the Capital.

OLD SOLDIERS OF 1812 ORGANIZE A BRIGADE.

ARRIVAL OF VOLUNTEERS EXPECTED.

Doubtful Report of the Seizure of Harper’s Ferry.

ARRIVAL OF THE BALTIC FROM CHARLESTON.

Major Anderson and his Spartan Band in New York.

CAPTAIN DOUBLEDAY’S STATEMENT.

Interesting Details of the Battle and Capitulation.

INTERESTING INCIDENTS IN BALTIMORE.
THE MOULDERS AND MACHINISTS SPIKE A SECESSION GUN AND TEAR THEIR FLAG.

PENNSYLVANIA TROOPS EN ROUTE FOR WASHINGTON.

Virginia Backing Down—Officially Against the Union.

The Mississippi River to be Blockaded.

Newport and Covington Arming for Protection.

THE REPORTED SEIZURE OF STEAMERS AT CINCINNATI UNTRUE.
MOVEMENT OF TROOPS FROM INDIANAPOLIS COUNTERMANDED.
VERY LATEST FROM HARPER’S FERRY.
HARPER’S FERRY STILL SAFE.
LATEST FROM BALTIMORE.
THE MECHANICS FOR UNION TO THE DEATH.
TROOPS GO THROUGH BALTIMORE UNMOLESTED.
A Montgomery Version of Virginia’s Position.
SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY BLANK BONDS SEIZED.
APPREHENSION OF THE SEIZURE OF THE ASPINWALL STEAMER.
The War Feeling and Response of the People.
The Boston Banks Shell Out $3,850,000.
EXTRA SESSION OF THE KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE.
CHICAGO RESPONDING BOUNTIFULLY IN MEN AND MONEY.
INTENSE WAR FEELING AT PITTSBURG.

WASHINGTON, April 18.―Capt. Cullom of the corps of engineers has been appointed aid-de-camp to Gen. Scott, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and is officially announced as such to the army. He is to be obeyed and respected accordingly.

Messrs. Carlisle and Dent, delegates of the Virginia State Convention, arrived here this morning. They are of the strongest Union sentiments, and their presence here at this time occasions much surprise. They say there is no further use for them in the convention. Mr. Carlisle remarked that he left Richmond a sad man.

It is the intention of the War Department to muster companies enough in this district to yield a force approaching 3,000 men….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

After the flag incident involving the Minute Men at the Berthold Mansion, rumors had been circulating in St. Louis for weeks that the pro-Union Germans were similarly organizing and arming. The DEMOCRAT ran several articles denying this story, including this one:

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, April 16, 1861.

Five Thousand Stand of Arms.

There has been much talk and some little alarm throughout the city for some days in reference to an alleged distribution of five thousand stand of government muskets among the Germans of the lower Wards. To correct the public misapprehension, we take it upon ourselves to state that no such wholesale distribution has yet taken place….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson replied negatively to President Lincoln’s call for troops. His statement was printed at the bottom of an inside page in the DEMOCRAT.

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, April 18, 1861.

Gov. Jackson’s Reply to the Call for Troops.

[Special dispatch to the Daily State Journal.]

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF MISSOURI.
Jefferson City, April 17, 1861.

To the Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Your dispatch of the 15th inst., making a call on Missouri for four regiments of men, for immediate service, had been received. There can be, I apprehend, no doubt but these men are intended to form a part of the President’s army to make war upon the people of the seceded States. Your requisition, in my judgment, is illegal, unconstitutional, and revolutionary; in its object, inhuman and diabolical, and cannot be complied with. Not one man will the State of Missouri furnish to carry on any such unholy crusade.

C. F. JACKSON
Governor of Missouri.

 

The Governor’s resistance to the President’s call began the division of sympathies in Missouri.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, April 19, 1861.

RESIGNATION OF MAJOR SCHAEFFER―HIS LETTER TO GEN. D. M. FROST.

ST. LOUIS, April 18, 1861.

Brigadier General Frost:

SIR: My official position, as well as my military views of truth and devotion to the flag of the United States, make it my duty to tender you herewith my resignation, and to lay down the command entrusted to my hands. As an adopted citizen, as well as an officer of these United States, I have sworn obedience to the Constitution and the government of this country, and I never will be guilty of perjury.

You, General, have read as well as I have, the answer of our Commander-in-Chief, Governor Claiborne F. Jackson to the President of the United States, and you have been in Europe too long, sir, not to know how a European government would punish such an act of an officer placed as high as our Commander-in-Chief is. It is needless for me to expatiate on the meaning of the word treason, and I need not remind you that on the other side of the ocean a traitor is not even thought worthy to die by the hands of soldiers―by powder and ball….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Since the fall of Fort Sumter, the DEMOCRAT reprinted scores of paragraphs from papers throughout the North pronouncing their support for the Union. It also gave reports from outstate Missouri which showed the opposite sentiments.

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, April 22, 1861.

Secession in Missouri.

BOONVILLE, April 20.—The largest meeting held in Boonville for ten years was held to day; seven or eight hundred people were present. Speeches were made by G. G. Vest and others. The flag of the Confederate States was hoisted, with fifteen stars. Resolutions were unanimously adopted against coercion, and for immediate secession. Cooper county is a unit for the South….

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On April 22, Governor Jackson called the Legislature into special session and ordered the militia into its encampments.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, April 23, 1861.

Extra Session of the Legislature—Governor’s Proclamation.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF MISSOURI.
Jefferson City, April 22, 1861.

I, Claiborne F. Jackson, Governor of the State of Missouri, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, due hereby convene the Legislature of this State; and the Senators and Representatives of the Twenty first Session of the General Assembly are hereby required to be and appear in their respective places at the Capitol, in the City of Jefferson, on Thursday, the 2d of May, A. D. 1861, for the purpose of enacting such laws and adopting such measures as may be deemed necessary and proper for the more perfect organization and equipment of the militia of the State, and to raise the money and such other means as may be required to place the State in a proper attitude of defense….

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Regardless of the Governor’s wishes, the DEMOCRAT shortly reported that volunteers were mustering in anyway, directly at the U.S. Arsenal in the south part of the city.

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, April 23, 1861.

The Arsenal Reinforced.

It will occasion great relief to our peace loving citizens and gratification to the friends of the government abroad, to learn that te United States Arsenal in this city has been reinforced. Yesterday, the necessary orders having been received by Gen. Harney, about seven hundred athletic young men were enlisted under President Lincoln’s recent proclamation. They were duly sworn in and placed under command of the Arsenal officers. The enlistment will continue to-day. We understand that about fifteen hundred men have tendered their services, and will be accepted. This settles the question about the safety of the Arsenal from the attacks of the enemies of the government….

 

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, April 27, 1861.

THE ARSENAL.

THE ORGANIZATION OF REGIMENTS.

Five Regiments to be Soon Completed.

The precincts and areas of the Arsenal continue to present a scene of increasing activity and interest. The patriotism of the people appears in the daily augmenting numbers who present themselves as ready to defend the insulted and threatened flag and government of their country. The recruits are drilled eight hours of each day, and the scene thus presented is a most animated one. Over all the extensive park the columns may be seen, separated in companies, joined in battalions, or united in regiments, busily and briskly engaged in marching, wheeling, countermarching, performing the maneuvers of the dress parade, or running and leaping in the Zouave practice. This lively panorama, accompanied by martial music flowing from all quarters of the grounds, and varied by throngs of promenading spectators, among whom are numerous bevies of ladies, affords a sight of not unpleasing interest, as well as of mournful suggestiveness….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

In early April, municipal elections were held in St. Louis, and Daniel Taylor was elected Mayor on the “Union Anti-Black Republican” ticket.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, April 10, 1861.

MAYOR TAYLOR’S INAUGURATION AT LIBRARY HALL.

HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS.

The installation of a Mayor is ever a new point of departure in the history of the city. The salutary charter amendment, made only some two years since, providing that the municipal officers shall be elected biennially instead of annually investst the occasion with additional importance. The interest is naturally increased when, not only a new administration recurs, but a long defeated and proportionally jubilant party achieves the reins. The approaching inauguration of the lately elected Mayor, therefore, attracted extraordinary attention. The Council Chamber, where a long line of civic chiefs had been installed, was voted too contracted for the anticipated crowds and the lower hall of the Mercantile Library building was designated for the august occasion. This only rendered more universal the intent to be present. Hundreds who had despaired of ever seeing a President inaugurated or a King crowned, forthwith determined to see a live Mayor elect installed. Moreover, the ladies graciously intimated that it was their queenly pleasure to witness the interesting ceremony.

 

While national and local news predominated, the DEMOCRAT did not completely ignore the international affairs. With the United States on the verge of civil war, this article considered the naval arms race in Europe.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, April 12, 1861.

THE COST OF WAR.

RIVALRY OF ENGLAND AND FRANCE.

[From the N. Y. Evening Post, 8th.]

The great nations of Europe are just now playing what Punch well characterizes as “The Game of Beggar my Neighbor.” European politics have become so complicated during the last two years, by the inscrutable conduct of the Emperor Napoleon, by the success of the Italian patriots, and by the front which the people of Hungary and Poland have shown their rulers, that the principal nations of Europe are, at immense expense, putting their armies and navies upon a war footing. It is remarkable that, with the exception of perhaps the Emperor of France, no one of the rulers of Europe wants war. It would be difficult to point one, even, whose interests do not move him more strongly for peace. The estimates which we have gathered below do not, therefore, represent the cost of actual war, but only the price at which great and powerful nations think themselves compelled to but peace….

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