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Perry's Saints

The Fighting Parson's Regiment

• Title
• Author
• Preface

• Chapter I
• Chapter II
• Chapter III
• Chapter IV
• Chapter V
• Chapter VI
• Chapter VII
• Chapter VIII
• Chapter IX
• Chapter X
• Chapter XI
• Chapter XII
• Chapter XIII
• Chapter XIV
• Chapter XV
• Chapter XVI
• Chapter XVII
• Chapter XVIII
• Chapter XIX
• Chapter XX



Causes of the War.

[April, 1861.]
FOR years the irrepressible conflict had been going on. From the halls of Congress to the remotest hamlet of the North, the subject of slavery - its national wrong and its individual cruelties - was the constant occasion for irritating debate and violent denunciation. The wall of separation between the North and the South was slowly but steadily building. In the North there had grown up a settled determination that the territorial limits of slavery should be extended no farther, and that the relation of master and slave should not exist in any State north of Mason's and Dixon's line. As this sentiment found frequent expression in active resistance to those laws which sought to protect the master in his rights when travelling or sojourning in the North for purposes of business or relaxation, and in the increasingly aggressive acts of individuals and societies, who sought by all the means in their power to awaken in the slaves a desire for liberty, and to make their way easy for escape from bondage, the conviction became universal at the South that to preserve that institution, regarded as so necessary to their physical and social life, and to establish an effectual barrier to the encroachments of the popular sentiments, not of the North alone, but of the civilized world, there must be separation, and a distinct government of their own.

The conclusion was a logical one, but the territory gained by the blood and treasure of all the people belonged equally to all; and separate existence on the part of the two sections was impossible; and the echoes of the first gun in Charleston harbor, aimed against the Federal flag at Sumter, reverberated among the hills and through the valleys of the North, till every household was awakened, and every arm nerved for the coming conflict. The South had calculated upon divisions and dissensions. It had long

Fort Sumter

been maturing its plans and organizing its forces. The head of the Federal government, and many of the councillors and advisers of the administration, were men who either quietly ignored or actively participated in these preparations. The arsenals within its limits, and the fortified points along its coast, with the vast quantities of government property which they contained, were with few exceptions taken possession of without a struggle. Everything at those places in the North where materials of war were manufactured or stored had been ordered to the South. Our navy had been detailed to foreign service, so that at the outbreak of the rebellion there were but two small vessels available for immediate use. Consequently, at the outset, the South possessed many important advantages. But it was mistaken in its conclusions. The unanimity of feeling at the North was hardly less than at the South; and when a new executive sent out his appeals to the loyal States, the answer was immediate. From every city and town, from every village and hamlet, and almost from every household, the word came back: "We are ready for any sacrifice" ; "All we have is at the service of the government." The young men put on their armor and gathered themselves together, and the old men lifted their hands towards heaven and blessed them. Wife and mother, though with tears of anguish, said God-speed. The way was dark; but there was no hesitation, no doubt.