The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

9
To Arms! Out of a Quiet Neighborhood

Charles Beneulyn Johnson

Not many weeks had the war been in progress when the "powers that be" came to realize that the Southerners were terribly in earnest, that putting down the Rebellion was no child's play, and that for its accomplishment there would be needed a large number of well-trained soldiers and vast sums of money.

Congress convened on July 4, 1861, in extra session, and in his message to that body, President Lincoln recommended that four hundred thousand men be enrolled and that four hundred million dollars be appropriated for war purposes. In response Congress voted five hundred thousand men and five hundred million dollars.

But while the Washington Government thus came to have some appreciation of the magnitude of the uprising in the South, the people at large failed to do so till after the Battle of Bull Run. This battle, which at the time seemed so disastrous to the Union cause, occurred July 21, 1861. Very naturally the newspapers were filled with the details of this struggle, and a little later some of them referred to it as "Bully Run," a facetious method of speaking of the panic which seized the Union soldiers after the battle.

But Bull Run was really a blessing in disguise, for it roused the North to a full appreciation of what it had to do in order to save the Union. This battle occurred almost precisely seven months after the secession of South Carolina, the event which first "fired the Southern heart"; and during the whole of 1861 it is, perhaps, not too much to say that in all that pertains to preparedness, the South was fully that many months in advance of the North.

In conversation with a Southern sympathizer, late in the summer of 1861,

CHARLES BENEULYN M. D. JOHNSON, Muskets and Medicine ( Philadelphia, 1917), Chs. 2, 3.

-164-

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