The "Wicked Rebellion" and the Republic: Henry Tuckerman's Civil War

The "Wicked Rebellion" and the Republic: Henry Tuckerman's Civil War

The "Wicked Rebellion" and the Republic: Henry Tuckerman's Civil War

The "Wicked Rebellion" and the Republic: Henry Tuckerman's Civil War

Excerpt

Robert W. Johannsen

Walt Whitman could not forget that moment on April 12, 1861. Walking down New York's Broadway around midnight toward the Brooklyn ferry and home, after attending a performance of Verdi's opera "A Masked Ball" at the Academy of Music on Fourteenth Street, his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the cries of newsboys as they came "tearing and yelling" up the street. Whitman bought a copy of the "extry Herald ," crossed the street to the Metropolitan Hotel where the street lamps were still blazing, and read aloud as a crowd gathered about him. According to a telegraphic dispatch received from Charleston, South Carolina, dated three o'clock that afternoon, Fort Sumter was under bombardment. A "terrible fight" was continuing at that very moment between the fort and the batteries that surrounded it. Declared the Herald : "Civil war has at last begun." The crowd listened "silently and intently," as Whitman read. When he had finished, they stood for a brief moment, then quietly dispersed.

The scene was repeated on almost every street and under almost every lamp post, in the hotels and in the barrooms. New York lawyer George Templeton Strong, returning home after a stormy committee meeting at Trinity Church, encountered the same newsboys. Suspecting a false . . .

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