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The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War

The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War

The article in this number on the “Sudden Change in Northern Sentiment as to Coercion in 1861,” by Dr. James H. McNeilly of Nashville, shows that there was evidently a deeply laid plan to force the South into making the first hostile demonstration in order to arouse that sentiment which would respond to the call for troops necessary to invade this section. It is well-known that the general sentiment in the North was against making war on the seceding Southern States, but there was a powerful political element which really wanted war and could see the value of forcing the South into making an offensive move. Forcibly illustrating this spirit is the following quotation from a thoughtful writer of the South:

“On February 2, 1861, Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in a letter published in the Memphis Appeal, wrote of the Republican leaders as follows:

‘They are bold, determined men. They are striving to break up the Union under the pretense of serving it. They are struggling to overthrow the Constitution while professing undying attachment to it and a willingness to make any sacrifice to maintain it. They are trying to plunge the country into a cruel war as the surest way of destroying the Union upon the plea of enforcing the laws and protecting public property.’

Shortly after Douglas wrote this letter Senator Zach Chandler of Michigan, wrote to Gov. Austin Blair which proves the conspiracy of the men determined on war. Virginia had solicited a conference of States to see if some plan could not be devised and agreed upon to prevent war and save the Union. Chandler wrote Governor Blair that he opposed the conference and that no Republican State should send a delegate. He implored the governor to send stiff-necked [anti-compromise] delegates or none, as the whole idea of compromise was against his judgement. Chandler added to his letter these sinister words: ‘Some of the manufacturing States think that a war would be awful; without a little bloodletting this Union will not be worth a curse.’”

(The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War. Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXIV, No. 10, October 1916. pg. 436)


Sep 19, 2023 - Newspapers    Comments Off on To General Hardee’s Advantage

To General Hardee’s Advantage

“So bitter was Sherman’s feelings against newspapers that he is said to have refused an introduction to Horace Greeley, explaining that Greeley’s newspaper had caused him a heavy loss of men in his Carolina campaign of 1865.

By clever feints Sherman had concealed his plans until Confederate General William J. Hardee got hold of a copy of the New York Tribune which contained a most obliging editorial.

At last, the editor “had the satisfaction to inform his readers (General Hardee was one of the readers) that Sherman would next be heard from around Goldsboro because his supply vessels from Savannah were known to be rendezvousing at Morehead City.” The disclosure cost the northern commander a fight which he had hoped to avoid.”

(The Newspaper Problem and its Bearing Upon Military Secrecy During the Civil War. James G. Randall. American Historical Review, Vol. XXIII, No. 2. Jan. 1918. pg. 311)