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Previous Date                        April 19

Publication Note:

Rather than try to fit a week’s worth of material into an issue, this issue, as well as subsequent issues, will be about 20 to 30 pages long.  Depending upon the events of the time period covered, some issues may have seven days worth of material, some may only have a couple of days, and others may have nine or ten days.

April 18, 1861

for April 18, 1861

Chronological History of the Civil War

·         U. S. steamer “Star of the West” captured by the rebels at Indianola, Tex.

·         U. S. Sec. of the Treasury ordered that no clearances should be granted to vessels bound to ports south of Maryland.

·         Pennsylvania State Volunteers reached Washington. Rebels obstruct the channel at Norfolk, Va., to prevent the sailing of war-vessels from that point.

·         Harper’s Ferry Arsenal destroyed to prevent its being held by the rebels.

New York Herald

The News.

President Davis, of the Confederate States, has issued a proclamation inviting privateers to take service with the revolutionists. The document is given in another column. It is reported that several vessels are now fitting out at New Orleans for privateers.

There is a report from Texas that all the American vessels at Galveston have been embargoed.

One of our correspondents at Washington states that Mr. Seward yesterday received information from Richmond to the effect that the secession ordinance had been defeated in the Virginia Convention in secret session by seven majority. Other reports corroborate this news. Apprehensions were entertained yesterday that the Virginia revolutionists would seized upon the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, and troops were to leave Washington last night to garrison that important post.

A despatch from our correspondent at New Orleans, dated yesterday, states that the military status at Pensacola remained unchanged, and that Gen. Clark, who had just arrived from there, said no attack would be made upon Fort Pickens for ten days.

Yesterday was the day fixed for the reception of subscriptions to the five million loan of the revolutionists. Of this sum $ 2,008,000 were subscribed in Charleston yesterday, and $ 3,000,000 in New Orleans.

The number of volunteer regiments that are forming in this city, for the purpose of supporting the government seems to be legion, and the men are rapidly being enrolled. There are in the city at present, among others, the Scott Life Guard, First regiment; National guard, Seventh regiment; Union Volunteers, Tenth Ward Volunteers, Fifth Ward Volunteers, Union volunteer Battalion. Our regular militia are also preparing for fight, and show a strong Union sentiment. The Seventh, Seventy ninth, Fifty fifth and other regiments met last evening at their respective armories for drill, and after the exercise meetings were held. A meeting of the Division board was also held, but the business transacted was strictly private.

We have received intelligence from all parts of the North, East and West of the alacrity with which the call for troops to support the government has been responded to, and of the unbounded enthusiasm which pervades all classes in coming forward to tender their services, but the crowded state of our columns this morning g compels us to omit the details.

Three officers in advance of the Massachusetts troops arrived in this city at about a quarter past eleven o last evening by the new have Railroad. They consisted of Colonel Davis, Majors Ames and Ladd. The troops are not expected until this morning. The officers proceeded to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where they were very enthusiastically received by the crowd assembled in the vestibule. Further particulars will be found in another column.

The meeting of merchants at the Chamber of Commerce yesterday was very enthusiastic and strong Union feeling were demonstrated. The mass meeting will be held in Union square on Saturday next, at three o’clock P.M. A full report of the meeting yesterday will be found elsewhere. The demonstration of Saturday next should and doubtless will be, the most imposing ever witnessed in this city.

Grand Union Demonstration—New York Rallying to the Support of the Administration.

Yesterday morning a preliminary meeting of the merchants of our city and of the members of the Stock Exchange was held at the Chamber of Commerce, for the purpose of making arrangements for a grand mass meeting of our citizens in support of the war policy of the administration. The greatest unanimity prevailed, and it was agreed on all hands that now that hostilities had been commenced by the South the people of New York, as of the North generally, were bound to sink all their political differences, and to unite as one man in defence of the national flag. After some discussion as to the manner in which the views of the gentlemen present should be carried out, it was agreed that a grand mass meeting be held at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon next, under the Washington Monument, in Union Square and that business people be requested to close their stores an hour or two previously, as well to allow their employees to attend as to mark the critical character of the events that call our citizens together.

The limits of the locality fixed upon will hardly afford space enough for the crowds that will be present. The demonstration promises to be the grandest and most imposing that ha ever taken place in this country. And there is good reason that is should be so; for our existence as a nation, in a great measure depends on the manner in which New York shall speak out on this occasion.

Preparations at Washington for Defence.

Great preparations are being made to defend Washington against the anticipated attack of a Confederate army. Among these is the enrolment of a regiment of Zouaves from the Fire Department of this city, and Colonel Ellsworth, of the Chicago Zouaves, has arrived here for the purpose. Without any disparagement to the militia, it is felt that men accustomed to a rough life and exposed to hardship are best calculated for hard fighting in the streets, sleeping out in the open air and all those privations which are inseparable from a soldier’s life. Colonel Ellsworth, with ten of this Chicago corps, is about to organize a regiment of this kind in New York; and no doubt it will be a highly efficient one, and do good service in protecting the government at Washington against its enemies.

The War.—Our Despatches From Washington.

WASHINGTON, April 17, 1861.

The administration is considerably alarmed today lest an attempt be made by the secessionists in Virginia to seize the government vessels now at Norfolk. Intimations of such a purpose on their part were received here this morning.

There are now six vessels of war at Norfolk, namely, the Merrimac, Germantown, Bainbridge, United States, Pennsylvanian and Potomac. The three former are in excellent condition, and can soon be got ready for sea. The three latter are in a disabled condition.

Owing to the present precarious and unsettled state of affairs in Virginia, the government today decided to strengthen all the military posts in the State. Several companies will immediately be despatched to Harper’s Ferry.

The administration will at once take the necessary steps to remove them to some other point in the event of the Virginia convention passing the secession ordinance.

The administration has not yet decided to blockade the Southern ports. They will probably wait until something definite is known respecting Fort Pickens. If the revolutionists capture that fort, then the government will be compelled to blockade every port from Charleston to the mouth of the Mississippi.

Advices received today from Montgomery indicate pretty clearly that it anticipates a blockade of all the ports. They are confident that England and France will not permit a blockade. Assurances are in their possession, it is said, that France will raise it in less than sixty days. This is directly contrary to information in possession of the Lincoln government. It is the present policy of both France and England, and the government is so assured, not to interfere in any manner with either section. Both these great Powers have indicated, through the proper channels, their feeling of regret at the present deplorable condition of affairs.

The greatest anxiety prevails in administration circles to hear from Pensacola. Up to this evening nothing has been received. It is very probable that the revolutionary authorities will prevent anything being sent to the administration, especially if it should be unfavorable to them.


Albany Patriot


Female Volunteers.

The Holly Spring Herald learns that the county of Chickasaw, Miss., has ten companies of volunteer soldiers ready to be mustered into the service of the State. It adds that, in addition to these:

“The county has a regularly officered and drilled company of young ladies, who have pledged themselves, in the event that the men are called into service, to protect their homes and families during their absence, and see that the farms are properly cultivated, and full crops raised not only for the support of the county, but the army of Mississippi.”

Charleston Mercury

A Full Account

A FULL ACCOUNT of the Battle of Fort Sumter, with all the stirring incidents of the bombardment and subsequent surrender, has been compiled in a complete form, chiefly from the very full and interesting details published in the journals of this city, and will be issued from the press of Messrs. EVANS & COGSWELL this afternoon. It may be had tomorrow morning at the bookstores and principal news depots. This graphic and highly interesting history of the reduction of the greatest stronghold of our harbor will doubtless be eagerly sought for by all, and carefully preserved by those who have shared in the glory of the achievement.

Our Montgomery Correspondence.


The excitement in this city since the first gun was fired at Fort Sumter, has been great, and every facility for obtaining news is grasped at eagerly. The bulletin boards at the newspaper offices are besieged at all hours of the day, and every despatch that leaves the telegraph office is watched with anxious eyes. On Sunday THE MERCURY was in great demand, and large sums were offered for a single copy containing the account of the battle. When a telegram announced that the Confederate flag was raised upon Sumter, a salute was fired, and amid the shouts of thousands, several flags were hoisted in various parts of the city. Never in our history has there been so much enthusiasm on one day; and never has the public mind been raised to such a pitch of excitement. One can imagine what a relief it was to hear that the gallant Carolinians were victorious, and the long pent up emotions burst forth in tumultuous cheers. This victory has given us additional confidence in the courage and patriotism of our brave volunteers who have so nobly come forward to drive the invaders from our shores.

Notwithstanding a thousand rumors all afloat in the street, there is very little of interest that I can get, which is well authenticated. The Commissioners came here this morning, and have been closeted with the President and Cabinet nearly all day. Mr. CRAWFORD is now at his home in Columbus, Georgia. The official correspondence between them and the Federal Government is expected here tonight by ADAMS’ Express. It will be published as soon as it comes to this city, as well as the Address of the Commissioners. Thus far nothing has been learned outside in regard to their acts, beyond that already known from Washington despatches.

Yesterday evening the steamer King came up the river, having on board Mrs. President DAVIS. Seven guns were fired from the King upon her arrival at the levee, in honor of the news from Fort Sumter. Mrs. DAVIS is now stopping at the Exchange Hotel, where she will remain until the White House is ready.

The Columbus Guards of Georgia, one of the best military companies in America, have tendered their services to the Confederate States. The roll numbers one hundred and thirty men, all well drilled in infantry and Zouave tactics. They have been ordered to Tybee, near Savannah. The Montgomery True Blues have also offered their services a second time to Governor MOORE. Since the call was issued for three thousand men from this State twenty one companies have responded, and are now ready to march at a moment’s warning. The Washington Artillery, from Augusta, passed through here yesterday evening on their way to Pensacola. This company has some reputation, I believe, as an artillery corps.

A man by the name of MATHEWS, the correspondent of the Pensacola Observer, under the signature of ‘Nemo,’ was arrested yesterday, and sent under guard to this city. The charge against him is furnishing information to the enemy. It was the intention of General BRAGG to make an attack upon Pickens on Friday night, according to this correspondent, and the information, after being published, was sent to the fort. Lieut. SLEMMER at once signalled the fleet, and during the day one hundred men were landed upon Santa Rosa Island, together with a large quantity of shot. Thus the plans of General BRAGG were frustrated. What will be done with this prisoner I am unable to say, but it does seem as if such important information ought to have been known only to the commander himself, until time to commence the attack. MATHEWS is now under examination at the War Department.

On account of the above, Lieut. REED WERDEN, of the United States Army, was arrested, while on his way to Washington. It was supposed that he was the means of having Pickens reinforced, but no important despatches were found upon him. He was guilty of a breach of faith in endeavoring to escape without reporting to Gen. BRAGG. He was arrested at Greenville, Alabama, by Major CHAMBERS, and is now in jail in this city. Lieut. REED WERDEN is a Pennsylvanian by birth, but was appointed to the Navy from Ohio, on the 9th of January, 1834. His present commission is dated February 21st, 1847. Under the rank of Lieutenant, he has seen over seven years’ sea service. If nothing further is preferred against him, and it transpires that he was not instrumental in having Pickens reinforced, he will be released in a short time.

Letters of marque and reprisal have already been granted, and those who wish to engage in the business of privateering can now begin at once. Our Government will soon issue commissions to meet the necessity which has been forced upon it by the United States Government.


Visit to Fort Sumter.

Yesterday morning Mr. RUSSELL, the correspondent of the London Times, now in this city, visited Fort Sumter. He was accompanied by Colonel MILES, Colonel CHESNUT, Colonel MANNING and Colonel WHITING, Aids to General BEAUREGARD, and Colonel LUCAS, Aid to Governor PICKENS. Mr. FONTAINE, of the New York Herald, and others, were of the party.

The War News.

The News conveyed to our despatches this morning is important. While the LINCOLN Administration is rapidly concentrating the hungry hordes with which it proposes to subjugate the South, and draining the pockets of the anxious stock-jobbers who have staked their all in the success of the mad scheme of coercion, the President of the Confederate States meets the threatened invasion promptly and with vigor. In a Proclamation issued yesterday, he announces that letters of marque and reprisal will immediately be issued, under the authority of the Government, to armed vessels cruising as privateers upon the high seas. Northern cupidity is thus arrayed against Northern fanaticism, and it is not difficult to predict the result.

The valorous Yankee, led by the scent of the rich prey, will not long scruple, under the sanction of the Southern flag, to sweep from the seas the commercial marine of his Yankee neighbors. How long the shipping interest of the North will care to sustain the terrible risk which begins today remains to be seen.

If, however, this measure should not suffice to check the impudent pretensions of the abolitionized North to hold a free people in subjection, the Confederate States are ready to try other and more direct remedies.

Latest by Telegraph. The News from Montgomery. —Proclamation by President Davis

MONTGOMERY, April 17.—The Proclamation of LINCOLN having at last been received here in a form sufficiently authentic to leave no doubt of its being genuine, President DAVIS has in turn issued today the following highly important and spirited Proclamation.




WHEREAS, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the President of the United States has, by Proclamation, announced the intention of invading this Confederacy with an armed force for the purpose of capturing its fortresses, and thereby subverting its independence, and subjecting the free people thereof to the dominion of a foreign power; and whereas it has thus become the duty of this Government to expel the threatened invasion, and to defend the rights and liberties of the people by all the means which the laws of nations, and the usages of civilized warfare, place at its disposal:

Now, therefore, I, JEFFERSON DAVIS, PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, do issue this my Proclamation, inviting all those who may desire, by service in private armed vessels on the high seas, to aid this Government in resisting so wanton and wicked an aggression, to make application for commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisal, to be issued under the Seal of these Confederate States.

And I do further notify all persons applying for Letters of Marque, to make a statement in writing, giving the name and a suitable description of the character, tonnage and force of the vessel, and the name and place of residence of each owner concerned herein, and the intended number of the crew, and to sign said statement and deliver the same to the Secretary of State, or to the Collector of any port of entry of these Confederate States, to be by him transmitted to the Secretary of State.

And I do further notify all applicants aforesaid that before any commission or Letter of Marque is issued to any vessel, the owner or owners thereof, and the commander for the time being, will be required to give bond to the Confederate States, with at least two responsible sureties, not interested in such vessel, in the penal sum of five thousand dollars; or if such vessel be provided with more than one hundred and fifty men, then in the penal sum of ten thousand dollars, with condition that the owners, officers and crew who shall be employed on board such commissioned vessel, shall observe the laws of these Confederate States and the instructions given to them for the regulation of their conduct. That they shall satisfy all damages done contrary to the tenor thereof by such vessel during her commission, and deliver up the same when revoked by the President of the Confederate States.

And I do further specially enjoin on all persons holding offices, civil and military, under the authority of the Confederate States, that they be vigilant and zealous in discharging the duties incident thereto; and I do, moreover, solemnly exhort the good people of these Confederate States, as they love their country, as they prize the blessings of free government, as they feel the wrongs of the past and these now threatened in aggravated form by those whose enmity is more implacable because unprovoked, that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted for the common defence, and by which, under the blessing of Divine Providence, we may hope for a speedy, just and honorable peace.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the Seal of the Confederate States to be affixed, this seventeenth day of April, 1861.

By the President.


R. TOOMBS, Secretary of State.

Latest By Telegraph—The News From Washington.

(From Our Own Correspondent.)

WASHINGTON, April 17.—The National Intelligencer of this morning throws off the mask, and comes out boldly in favor of coercion.

The streets are lined with the military—regulars and volunteers—and squads are seen everywhere anxiously discussing the probable action of Virginia. It is the impression here that had the Border States seceded promptly after the organization of the Confederate States Government there would have been no collision. As it is, the preparations for subjugating the South are pushed steadily forward, although many of the leading Republicans seem startled at the first results of their own policy.

Sympathy for the Southern movement is fast on the increase in this District, and the Administration scarcely knows whom to trust.

It is currently stated, although the rumor lacks confirmation, that the Government will shortly call for a levy of 150,000 additional troops from the States. Of course they must all be got from the North. The army Engineers in the Arsenal, which commands the approach to this city by the Potomac river, are busily engaged devising plans and choosing their positions for the defence of the city from the dreaded attack by the Southern troops.



WASHINGTON, April 17—9 1/2 p.m.—The Administration is exultant over the war feeling in the North, and LINCOLN says, bluntly, that the South shall have war just as long as the Free States will furnish the men and money.

Gen. SCOTT proposes to concentrate 35,000 men at this point; 25,000 at St. Louis; 5000 in Western Texas; 25,000 at Fort Pickens; and 1000 to cruise off the coast of the Carolinas. It is generally believed that his suggestions will be acted on.

The most feverish anxiety is manifested to hear news from Richmond. LINCOLN fully anticipates the secession of the Old Dominion, and fears that from that quarter the thunder and the lightning may come together.

The necessary orders will be issued tomorrow to throw heavy reinforcements in Fort McHenry, near Baltimore. This move, it is hoped, will keep Maryland quiet.

Richmond Enquirer

From Washington City.

WASHINGTON, April 17.—It is reported, but as yet unconfirmed, that the Government has called out 150,000 additional troops. It is also stated that the corps of Engineers have selected positions for the erection of batteries in and around Washington for the protection of the city.

Col. Chas. Lee, and Adjutant-General Jones of the District militia threw up their Commissions today.

The Rhode Island volunteers have been ordered to Washington.

The veteran Captain Stuart of the splendid Georgetown cavalry has resigned.

Every public building in the city is now openly guarded day and night by the enlisted soldiers. The street in front of the Post Office is piled well with provisions in barrels and boxes, and guarded. An ammunition train passed the avenue today toward Georgetown, probably to supply the battery said to be erected on the heights of Georgetown.

The Light Artillery tonight are on the Maryland side guarding the approaches to the city.

Mr. Carrington, former Virginia District Attorney, is here; also J.M. Fleming former Attorney for Eastern Tennessee

To the People

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, APRIL 16, 1861. To the People of New Kent, Charles City, James City, York, Warwick, Elizabeth City and the City of Williamsburg:

I published, during the month of October last, in the Richmond Whig, a card, indicating that I would be a candidate, at the ensuing election, to represent you in the Senate of Virginia.

Since that time, the whole political aspect of the country has changed, and it becomes me to announce to you my position as to the course that Virginia should have taken in the crisis which is upon her. I conceive that there is but one practical question in all this matter, to-wit: Where will she go? There are two Confederacies. One is her natural ally—with equal sympathies, similar institutions, and interests alike—the other is the avowed enemy of her domestic peace. One invites her with open arms and a full heart; the other repulses her overtures of conciliation and compromise with insult added to injury. She must decide—not which she will serve—but which she will encourage, protect end defend. For myself, I do not hesitate. I would have her unite her destiny, for weal or woe, with that of her Southern sisters and briefly, for these, among many reasons:

1. The prosperity and progress of the Southern States depend upon the permanency of the Institution of African slavery.

2. The permanency of this institution depends upon a present and final settlement of the question by placing it entirely under the control of the South.

3. That control can never be acquired in a government, a large majority of whose people have been tutored to believe that slavery is a curse, and that they are responsible for its existence.

4. The whole moral power of the State will be thrown into the scale of the institution. Her people will be united in its defence, and the question of Virginia emancipation left to be discussed when many generations have passed away.

5. The commercial depression that afflicts a country will continue and culminate in rule if an adjustment is not speedily effected. Can Virginia hope for this by temporizing with those of whom she seeks redress?

6. Many of the advantages of the old Government will be secured by treaty, &c., whilst the cause of strife will be removed.

7. The honor of Virginia, her past fame, her present high character, and promise of future power demand that she shall take this step.

She will by so doing preserve the peace of the country. A united South will not be warred upon by the Republican horde at Washington. Virginia will carry with her the border States, and when they, with her, shall have added eight more stars to the flag at Montgomery then will the question of peace or war, of prosperity or depression have been settled.

I hope to be able to discuss this question throughout the District. Allow me to add, in yielding to the wishes of my friends by thus announcing myself as candidate for this important post, that, if elected, I shall strive to reward your confidence by an earnest devotion to your interests and Virginia.

Very respectfully, &c,


Diary of a Yankee in the Patent Office

by Horatio Nelson Taft

THURSDAY 18—Cool pleasant day, fire comfortable. Business in the office goes on as usual and is increasing this month. Business there does not seem to be much affected by the excitement in the City. The rumor today that Virginia had “seceded” and seized Govt property at Norfolk & Harpers Ferry caused intense excitement. There seemed to be a great anxiety to fight manifested all round. Soldiers are arriving from the North tonight and an attack is expected upon the City from Virginia. The City is apparently pretty well prepared. Wo[e] to the invaders.

A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary

by John Beauchamp Jones

April 18th—In spite of every precaution, it is currently whispered in the streets to-day that Virginia has seceded from the Union; and that the act is to he submitted to the people for ratification a month hence. This is perhaps a blunder. If the Southern States are to adhere to the old distinct sovereignty doctrine, God help them one and all to achieve their independence of the United States. Many are inclined to think the safest plan would be to obliterate State lines, and merge them all into an indivisible nation or empire, else there may be incessant conflicts between the different sovereignties themselves, and between them and the General Government. I doubt our ability to maintain the old cumbrous, complicated, and expensive form of government. A national executive and Congress will be sufficiently burdensome to the people without the additional expense of governors, lieutenant-governors, a dozen secretaries of State, as many legislatures, etc. etc. It is true, State rights gave the States the right to secede. But what is in a name? Secession by any other name would smell as sweet. For my part, I like the name of Revolution, or even Rebellion, better, for they are sanctified by the example of Washington and his compeers. And separations of communities are like the separations of bees when they cannot live in peace in the same hive. The time had come apparently for us to set up for ourselves, and we should have done it if there had been no such thing as State sovereignty. It is true, the Constitution adopted at Montgomery virtually acknowledges the right of any State to secede from the Confederacy; but that was necessary in vindication of the action of its fathers. That Constitution, and the permanent one to succeed it, will, perhaps, never do. They too much resemble the governmental organization of the Yankees, to whom we have bid adieu forever in disgust.

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The first volume, with four issues, was published in 2004. Each issue contained a variety of articles, poems, and images, with no particular focus other than the American Civil War. 

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