Saturday, September 8, 2012


The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York reported that they could not enforce the draft without 10-20,000 troops in each state. Violent opposition struck in Wisconsin and Michigan. Four thousand Pennsylvanians refused to march south. Sherman wrote: "Mutiny was common to the whole army, and it was not subdued till several regiments, or parts of regiments had been ordered to Fort Jefferson, Florida, as punishment."

It was not a civil war in those parts of the South removed from the border regions. Had it been a civil war, Lincoln's government could have leveraged local support to subdue those states brutally, as it did in Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia. Union policy was to treat border state combatants as renegades under martial law instead of as legitimate armed forces. Marylanders were similar to Virginians strongly Southern, but cautious. However, when Lincoln called for troops to coerce the states, Virginia seceded.

Immediately, Lincoln moved to secure Maryland. Habeus corpus was suspended and Southern sympathizers arrested in Baltimore. General Banks dissolved the Baltimore police board. Secretary of War Cameron wrote him: "The passage of any act of secession by the legislature of Maryland must be prevented. If necessary all or any part of the members must be arrested." 

Arrests were sufficient to prevent a vote. The mayor of Baltimore, most of the city government, and newspaper editors were jailed. One of those editors was the grandson of the author of The Star Spangled Banner. Francis Key Howard wrote of his imprisonment: When I looked out in the morning, I could not help being struck by an odd and not pleasant coincidence. On that same day forty-seven years before, my grandfather, Mr Francis Scott Key, then prisoner on a British ship, had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

When on the following morning the hostile fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular. . . . As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal despotism as modern times have witnessed.

Why America lost the "Civil War" | October 30, 2002 | Nat G. Rudulph

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