The Confederacy gets bigger.

Today, North Carolina seceded from the United States, joining the Confederacy.

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of North Carolina and the other States united with her, under the compact of government entitled “The Constitution of the United States.”

We, the people of the State of North Carolina in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by the State of North Carolina in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified and adopted, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly ratifying and adopting amendments to the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, rescinded, and abrogated.

We do further declare and ordain, That the union now subsisting between the State of North Carolina and the other States, under the title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

Done in convention at the city of Raleigh, this the 20th day of May, in the year of our Lord 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the independence of said State.

The interesting thing about this one is that it makes neither explicit nor implicit mention of slavery. It just dissolves North Carolina’s connection to the US.

Published in: on 20 May, 2011 at 18:22  Leave a Comment  

The Union moves in a border state

Today in St Louis, Missouri, the Union army took steps to keep Missouri in the Union. It started when the pro-secession commander of the US Arsenal was removed in some political hocus-pocus, to ensure that a pro-secession governor could not seize the “sixty thousand muskets. . .forty-five tons of gunpowder, over one million cartridges, forty cannons, and all the necessary machinery to repair and manufacture more arms” (Source is this PDF document) that was housed there.

Governor Jackson formed up a secessionist militia anyway, and on 6 May ordered them to start training, while General Lyons of the US Army sat with his troops protecting what equipment he had not sent over the river into Illinois. The secessionist troops were at, natch, Camp Jackson.

On 10 May, Lyons grew weary of waiting and marched his 7,000 troops out and completely surrounded Camp Jackson and demanded that General Frost, the militia commander of the fort, surrender his forces. Frost eventually agreed, and the surrender was negotiated without a bit of bloodshed.

Except. Except. Lyons got too close to the rear end of an orderly’s horse, and got kicked in the stomach and knocked unconscious while the secessionist troops were marching out of the fort and forming up to be taken as POWs to the Arsenal and then sent on to…wherever the Union intended to send them. He lay senseless for nearly an hour, during which time a mob of restless pro-secession citizens formed. One of the civilians threw a clod of dirt, nailing a Union officer in the leg, and either he ordered his troops to fire at that point, or they mistook his startled exclamation for an order to fire, and they opened up into the prisoners and the civilian crowd.

When it was over, nearly 30 people lay dead and many more were wounded, including the Union officer whose startled oath or possibly order to fire had started the whole thing. St Louis and Camp Jackson were firmly in Union hands, but public sentiment in Missouri swung southward to the Confederacy among many people who had been on the fence.

Published in: on 10 May, 2011 at 04:02  Leave a Comment  
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Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the US Army

Today, after the fall of Fort Sumter in South Carolina, after President Lincoln proclaimed an insurrection and issued a command to muster troops to put down the rebellion, after the President’s proclamation of a blockade on southern ports, Colonel Robert E. Lee of the First Cavalry, veteran of the Mexican War and the man who ended the violence at Harpers Ferry with more violence and captured John Brown, wrote two brief letters, one slightly longer than the other.

The first was to the Secretary of War of the United States.

Arlington, Washington City P.O.
20 April 1861

Honble Simon Cameron
Sect. of War


I have the honor to tender the resignation of my Commission of Colonel of the 1st Regt. of Cavalry.

Very respectfully your Ob’t servant

R. E. Lee
Col 1st. Cavalry

The second, slightly longer letter, was to his old friend General Winfield Scott, commander of the US Army.

Arlington, Washington City, P.O
20 Apr 1861

Lt. Genl Winfield Scott
Commd U.S. Army

Since my interview with you on the 18th Inst[1]: I have felt that I ought not longer to retain any Commission in the Army. I therefore tender my resignation which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it has Cost me to separate myself from a Service to which I have divoted [sic] all the best years of my life, & all the ability I possessed. During the whole of that time, more than a quarter of a century, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors & the most Cordial friendships from any Comrades. To no one Genl have I been as much indebted as to yourself for kindness & Consideration & it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry with me, to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind Consideration, & your name & fame will always be dear to me. Save in the defense of my native state shall I ever again draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for “the Continuance of your happiness & prosperity & believe me

Most truly yours
R E Lee

You can see a picture of the original of this letter at the Arlington House National Park Service site. What’s interesting is the amount of editing Lee did on this letter; clearly it was a difficult one for him to write and get down everything he wanted to say. The sadness of it is heart-breaking.

[1] “of this month”

Published in: on 20 April, 2011 at 04:00  Leave a Comment