Monday, April 4, 2011

Winds Of The Rebellion At Sumter

No formal Declaration of War initiated the American Civil War. The Confederate States of America (CSA) was not recognized internationally. And of course, The United States of America (USA) never recognized the legitimacy of the CSA government. The two belligerents were clearly involved in a nationalistic civil dispute, and a formal Declaration of War was not necessary under international law. The CSA was officially established in mid-February 1861, by the seven seceded Rebel States mentioned by name in Lincoln’s “Call for 75,000 Volunteers.” The Rebel military bombardment and surrender of the federal Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, April 12-13, 1861, became the officially recognized start of military rebellion between the USA and CSA. However, the Confederate States had already seized most of the federal property including U. S. Post Offices, forts, a U. S. Mint, and other U. S. properties located within rebel state borders. Lincoln’s predecessor President James Buchanan sent supply ships to Fort Sumter in January 1861, but those Union cargo ships were turned aside by Confederate Shore Battery Forces and did not resupply Fort Sumter. Winds of the Rebellion had reached gale force as they swirled from the newsrooms and pulpits of this nation.

President Abraham Lincoln’s April 15, 1861 Executive Order, “A Call For 75,000 Volunteers” is summarized as follows---and from the southern prospective was the last aggressive straw that broke the camel’s back.

“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. … 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. …”

Several southern states sat on the secession fence up to mid-April 1861, but when presented with Lincoln’s “Call For Volunteers”, the south’s richly populated Virginia quickly seceded on April 17, 1861. Virginia is followed in secession within the next few weeks by Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The eleven states Confederacy was now set and in place…and both sides felt strongly that they would prevail in this short rebellion. After all, both the United States and Confederate States knew that God was on their side.

Click here to read a short well written article on Fort Sumter published in "American Profile" on April 10, 2011. Publisher: Publishing Group of America, Franklin, TN.