NORTH CAROLINA SECEDES
Though the referendum on 28 February temporarily stalemated the North Carolina secessionists, subsequent developments led the state inexorably toward secession. She had sent an able delegation to the Washington Peace Conference, but Congress failed to adopt the Conference's recommendations. And Lincoln's inaugural address of 4 March seemed to promise armed coercion of the recalcitrant states so clearly that it converted many conditional Unionists into secessionists. North Carolina moderates in general appeared demoralized as spring approached, and their meetings were few and noticeably lacking in enthusiasm. On the other hand, the secessionists constantly stepped up their activities.
On 22 and 23 March in Goldsboro the state convention of the Southern Rights party recommended that North Carolina immediately join the Confederacy. "Spontaneous" county meetings adopted resolutions urging secession and demanding that the governor call a special session of the legislature so that a convention might be ordered. The radical newspapers became even more aggressive, arguing that if North Carolina would "assert her independence, take the lead,"1 the other slave states still in the Union would follow her. With little to promise, the conservative press was simply unable to cope with its aggressive opponents.
The 12 April attack by the Confederates on Fort Sumter, which the United States government had refused to vacate even after the secession of South Carolina, and President Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers on 15 April to quell the rebellion (or to "coerce" the seceded states, as the Southerners would have it), virtually destroyed Unionist sentiment in North Carolina. Governor Ellis informed Lincoln's secretary of war that "YOU CAN GET NO TROOPS FROM NORTH CAROLINA,"2 and he____________________