Just two days after the Confederate flag flies over Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln is calling for 75,000 volunteers to form a militia. The enlistment will be three months, long enough, Lincoln believes, to "put down the insurrection in the South." The declaration has been sent to all states except the seven independent ones, requesting a proportional amount from each one.
The call to arms comes in the midst of a flurry of emotion throughout the North at what happened in Charleston Harbor. The White House has been besieged by callers assuring the American president of their support, including Stephen Douglas, who ran against him in the elections. In Pittsburg, hangman's nooses dangle from lampposts inscribed with "Death to Traitors!" Civilians across the North who are sympathetic to the Southern cause are harassed into waving American flags. In Knoxville, Tennessee, newspaper editor William G. Brownlow has declared that he will "fight the Secession leaders till Hell froze over, and then fight them on the ice."
Most of Tennessee, however, has sided with the South. Governor Harris stated in a telegram to Lincoln, "Tennessee will furnish not a single man for the purpose of coercion, but fifty thousand if necessary for the defense of our rights and those of our Southern brothers."
In fact, all border states, including Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland, have declared that they will not send volunteers to a Northern army intent on subjugating their Southern brethren. Governor John Letcher of Virginia, whose state has been requested to furnish three regiments totally 2,340 men and officers, has stated in the past his intent for his state to remain neutral. He has today replied to Lincoln that since he has "chosen to inaugurate civil war, he would be sent no troops from the Old Dominion."
States further south have applauded the border states. Governor Rector of Arkansas stated, "The people of this Commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity their honor, lives, and property, against Northern mendacity and usurpation."
Lincoln had assembled his cabinet in an emergency Sunday meeting to frame the proclamation calling for 90-day militia that would form against "combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings." The cabinet did not officially declare war, only Congress can do that and they will not be in session until July 4. Lincoln has thus declared his intention to invade the South before Congress has a chance to vote on whether to officially declare war.
The declaration by Lincoln reads:
WHEREAS the laws of the United States have been, for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law.
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.
I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.
I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event, the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country.
And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from this date.
Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers, at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursdays the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.