Tag Archives: Civil War
cannon-south

The Question of Negro Soldiers in the South

This rather fascinating editorial about the issues surrounding arming slaves to fight for the south appeared on February 18, 1865. As all know, it never came to anything like full fruition, but it is interesting to see thoughts on the topic at a time when the South was in desperate need of a game-changing solution.

The Question of Negro Soldiers

(Richmond, Virginia – February 18, 1865) The question of negro soldiers we consider as settled. Public opinion has definitely declared in favor of arming the negroes; the resolution introduced in the Virginia Legislature, giving the consent of the State to the measure, will pass, and may be followed, and should be, by instructions to Senators to vote for the measure and thus put the matter at rest.

As to giving the slaves their freedom, this should be the reward for faithful services, at the end of the war, if desired by the slaves. To some it may be a boon, a reward – others may not even desire freedom. Negroes are divided in opinion as to whether they would prefer freedom to slavery, but by all means leave the choice with them, let them decide the matter. We do not expect this reward to make soldiers of them; discipline only will do that. It must be a discipline differing, very much, from that which now holds together, with loosened bands, the armies of the Confederate States. It must be a discipline sharp, severe, exacting, which first teaches them their duty and them compels them to perform it. There never has been discipline in the armies of this Confederacy, but instead thereof a kind of universal suffrage, which fights when it chooses and straggles when it feels like it. All this must be changed with the negro troops; they have not the motives that compel the white man to this fight; they must be kept up to the mark by fear of punishment more than by hope of reward.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.
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Richmond-Cover

What will Virginia Do?

This is an excerpt from an editorial that ran in the Richmond Enquirer on April 9, 1861.  This periodical can be found in The Civil War Collection » Part I: A Newspaper Perspective.  A Newspaper Perspective contains major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York HeraldThe Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

What will Virginia Do?

This question is propounded to us from the North, the South, the East and the West. It is very properly viewed as a question the solution of which involves the most important consequences, not only to Virginia, but to the two competing Republics which now stand upon the ruins of the old Union.

The solicitude in regard to the future position of this hitherto renowned Commonwealth is therefore clearly explained. We are not authorized by Virginia to define the line of policy which she intends to adopt. No one can tell with infallible certainty the relations which she will hereafter sustain the governments respectively of the North and of the South. But our opinion as to the course she will pursue, and the reasons for that opinion, are candidly submitted to the anxious enquirer.

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Liberty

An Essay on Liberty and Slavery

This 384 page collection of essays can be found in our newest addition to our Civil War collections, Part VII: Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books. Compiled by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois this unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials. Ranging from memoirs to speeches, biographies to essays, sermons to proceedings minutes, these publications provide the user an intimate insight into the social, political and religious natures of these contentious times.

The Nature of Civil Liberty

Abraham Lincoln, holding flag (1908 print)

Abraham Lincoln, holding flag (1908 print)

Few subjects, if any, more forcibly demand our attention, by their intrinsic grandeur and importance, than the great doctrine of human liberty. Correct views concerning this are, indeed, so intimately connected with the most profound interests, as well as with the most exalted aspirations, of the human race, that any material departure therefrom must be fraught with evil to the living, as well as to millions yet unborn. They are so inseparably interwoven with all that is great and good and glorious in the destiny of man, that whosoever aims to form or to propagate such views should proceed with the utmost care, and, laying aside all prejudice and passion, be guided by the voice of reason alone.

Hence it is to be regretted—deeply regretted—that the doctrine of liberty has so often been discussed with so little apparent care, with so little moral earnestness, with so little real energetic searching and longing after truth. Though its transcendent importance demands the best exertion of all our powers, yet has it been, for the most part, a theme for passionate declamation, rather than of severe analysis or of protracted and patient investigation. In the warm praises of the philosopher, no less than in the glowing inspirations of the poet, it often stands before us as a vague and ill-defined something which all men are required to worship, but which no man is bound to understand. It would seem, indeed, as if it were a mighty something not to be clearly seen, but only to be deeply felt. And felt it has been, too, by the ignorant as well as by the learned, by the simple as well as by the wise: felt as a fire in the blood, as a fever in the brain, and as a phantom in the imagination, rather than as a form of light and beauty in the intelligence.

Part VII of our Civil War collection, Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books: Compiled by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois this unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials.
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Barnum-Museum

The Lincoln Family at Barnum’s

In our Civil War: Part I: A Newspaper Perspective collection subscribers can find news coverage of the events leading up to the war as well as reports on battles, recruitment, troop morale, and logistics.  When the newly elected Abraham Lincoln and his family’s travel towards  Washington, the New York Herald ran several days of human interest stories describing the events and festivities surrounding the new First Family as they passed through New York and saw some of the sights.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

The Lincoln Family at Barnum’s

On Tuesday afternoon, soon after Lincoln arrival in the city, Mr. Barnum, the ‘Prince of Showmen,’ waited upon him at the Astor House, and invited him to visit the Museum. Mr. Lincoln said that he would certainly attend some time during yesterday. ‘Don’t forget,’ said Barnum. ‘You ‘Honest Old Abe;’ I shall rely upon you, and I advertise you.’The advertisement appeared, but Mr. Lincoln didn’t. A great many people took this opportunity of seeing the President elect, together with the other curiosities, but they were unfortunately disappointed. They saw the great Lincoln turkey, however, and looked as though they enjoyed it. They didn’t, though, for how can one enjoy the sight of a fine fowl fattened for another person to eat?

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

During the morning Bob Lincoln, the rail prince, dropped into the Museum and looked through its spacious halls. The ‘What Is It’ enjoyed his distinguished consideration; the Aztec children looked wilder than ever as he faced them, descendants of a long and thin line of kings as they are; the lightning calculator dropped his chalk, and for the first time made only a small mistake in his addition. The young Prince wanted to consult Madame Delmonte, the fortune teller, upon the future of the country, but having connection with extremely Southern latitudes, she rather favored secession. If Mr. Barnum had only left young Lincoln to himself, no one could have recognized him as the son of the President.

Mrs. Lincoln, a handsome matronly lady, paid the Museum a visit, also, and sent her children, with their nurse, to see the ‘Woman in White’ and sit with Mr. Barnum in his private box. Such of the party as could write inscribed their names upon the visitors’ book, under the signatures of Tommy and the Prince of Wales. There was no extraordinary crowd, and very little attention paid to the distinguished visitors. The manner in which the brass band executed the national airs was the most remarkable event of the day at the Museum.

Source: The New York Herald , February 21,1861
Top Image:  Sleighing in New York by T. Benecke 1855.

Barnum Museum Ad

Barnum Museum Ad, Frank Leslie’s Weekly


The bombardment of Fort Sumter

The Outbreak of War at Fort Sumter

The news item below relates the events of January 11, 1861, as America plunged headlong into a cataclysmic Civil War. No event directly affected a greater proportion of the nation’s population: about 10% of Americans fought in the war and more than 700,000 sacrificed their lives. The country continues to struggle with the issues of race, civil rights, the politics of federalism and the heritage that are legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Civil War, Part I: A Newspaper Perspective contains major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Coverage begins with the events preceding the outbreak of war at Fort Sumter, continues through the surrender at Appomattox and concludes with the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Included are descriptive news articles, eye-witness accounts and official reports of battles and events, editorials, advertisements and biographies.

Our Situation – What Has Transpired in the Last Twenty four Hours.

Intelligence has reached us within the last twenty four hours of events transpiring in various quarters of the country pregnant with the most alarming symptoms of impending danger, which seem to be momentarily hurrying us towards inevitable civil war.

The news published in the morning papers yesterday that the steamship Star of the West, with United States troops for Fort  Sumter, had been fired into by the South Carolina State militia at Morris Island, and was compelled to put out to sea, created the most intense excitement all over the city, until, at a late hour, it was announced by the bulletins at the newspaper offices that Mrs. McGowen, the wife of the commander of the steamer, had received a dispatch from her husband stating that the Star of the West had arrived at Charleston, and that the troops were landed at the fort. Then the most buoyant feeling was manifested everywhere, and people began to feel that a terrible calamity had been averted.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

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