And the War Came: The Slavery Quarrel and the American Civil War

And the War Came: The Slavery Quarrel and the American Civil War

And the War Came: The Slavery Quarrel and the American Civil War

And the War Came: The Slavery Quarrel and the American Civil War


In a lively narrative spiced with eye-witness accounts and letters from townsfolk and soldiers, North and South, and personal comments from slaves, an American drama unfolds. The debate over slavery in America began as early as the Jamestown Settlement, with pragmatic considerations always coming out ahead of moral considerations. This conflict which threatened to keep the Colonies from coming together in the first place, continued into the next century, fueling divisions between different regions and different interest groups and, ultimately, sowing distrust and animosity that helped lead to the Civil War. Giving an account of slavery in America from the earliest colonies to and through the Civil War, Meyers explains its economic importance (in the North as well as the South), its impact on the political dynamics of the Civil War, and the dilemmas it posed. Fending off attacks from Great Britain and shoring up the foundations of a shaky new nation, placing the unified strength of the nation ahead of moral concerns that they hoped would be resolved in due course, America's leadership postponed an early head-on confrontation; the unresolved quarrel fermented until it became a crisis. Delaying tactics like the Missouri Compromise deferred the confrontation for decades, while the ardent and relentless campaign of John Quincy Adams and other abolitionists fought to galvanize Congress and the public to bring slavery to an end. When the war did come, both sides were shocked by its ferocity and duration. The gore and the gallantry that characterized the war stand forth. President Lincoln is shown as a steadfast manager biding his time, facing personal as well as political challenges andpatiently maneuvering, despite the vilification heaped upon him by his dissatisfied countrymen, until he and his generals Grant and Sherman managed to save the republic. • Donald J. Meyers holds a degree in Social Sciences from Georgetown University. He served as a Naval Offic


I do not pretend to go to sleep. How can I?…
I count four — St. Michael’s chimes.
I begin to hope. At half past four the heavy booming of a cannon.
I sprang out of bed.
And on my knees — prostrate
I prayed as I have never prayed before.

While her friends cheered the bombardment of federal Fort Sumter, from the rooftops of Charleston’s fashionable Battery, Mary Chesnut confided her anxiety to her diary that April morning in 1861, the day of our national watershed.

“And so we fool on, into the black cloud ahead of us.” Mary was the wife of James Chesnut, who had recently resigned as United States Senator from South Carolina. Now he was a staff officer serving Confederate General Beauregard, commander of the Charleston garrison.

The cannonading was a rash act, hastily choreographed by the fledgling Confederate Government in Montgomery, Alabama.

At 4:30 in the morning of April 12, 1861, in the charming and historical city of Charleston, South Carolina (where Charlestonians like to say that the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean), soldiers proclaiming allegiance to the State of South Carolina were under the command of General Gustave Pierre Toutant Beauregard, recently Superintendent of West Point, the toast of this fair town, dapper, debonair, a “fox-faced” Creole from Louisiana, who had brought a servant with him from Louisiana just to wax his

1. C. Vann Woodward, ed., Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, p. 41, 46.

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