Discussion First Acts of War

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johan_steele

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It seems quite clear that the future states of the CS were preping for war w/ the US well prior to Ft Sumter being fired upon. While It appears robbing and abusing US troops is acceptable to Battalion it wasn't to a lot of US citizens in 1860. There was quite a bit of objection to it, a lot of people from place like Minneosota, Iowa, Wisconsin and points east took umbrage at it and when Ft Sumter was fired upon that was the last straw. It's obvious that Davis wanted War, he got it.

Claiming that the US just suddenly attacked the CS out of the blue is purposefully deceptive and more than a little dishonest. And it has no basis in fact.

The slaveocracy was gearing for Secession and war well prior to Lincoln even being selected as a candidate, it was happening when Fremont made his run four years earlier. Buchannan was able to win that election and arguably usher in one of the most corrupt and incompetent administrations in US history.
 

unionblue

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To All,

I am very surprised at the response to this thread in such a short time.

I see that some objections have been raised that some acts undertaken by the Southern States should not be considered "acts of war."

May I ask the forum another question? What, in the timeline I have provided in my first post, would you consider NOT an act of war?

Also, does anyone have anything they would like to add to the timeline that shows specific Northern acts of war?

I would like to thank everyone who has responded and I sincerely appreciate your input on this thread.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Elennsar

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I would not specifically describe South Carolina secceding as an act of war. On its own, its just nonsense on paper. When they start seizing Federal property, its rebellion.
 
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johan_steele

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There are those who consider John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry as a "Northern" decleration of war upon the "South." I think that's quite a stretch but there are those who believe it.
 

ole

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I can see where John Brown's incursion might be considered an act of war, except that it was publicly and officially condemned by the US Government. (OK, there were those who approved, but the Feds turned him over to Virginia for prosecution. No official defense.)

On the other hand, all the robberies committed in the south were carried out by state militias with no scolding that I've seen.

John Brown was a certifiable loon who took his instructions directly from God. Unless one can say the same of all the secesh governors, there is a definite difference.

Ole
 

johan_steele

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Then again if John Brown counts what about the cowardly attack on Charles Sumner by Brooks? IMO it all boils down to when the first shots w/ intent behind them were fired. I've always figured 3k rounds of heavy arty fired at a US military, or civilian for that matter, installation count as something.

Saying otherwise is like saying you forced me to shoot you because I was there.
 
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M E Wolf

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Dear List Members;

For me, personally -- it must not be an individual acting alone that sparks rebellion. Sure, sympathy will abound however; when several individuals gather and conspire; as to act in harmony as to disrupt the normal business of Government and or military; such as denying Major Anderson mail which was private and or government business--that was a criminal act. It had to take several individuals to take arsenals --that too for me means it is not just an individual but a mob--be it organized or not. But, to become a rebellion --the mob must turn into an organization--to which the CSA government became and from the state government putting their state militia and armies into active mode--is a cause of alarm and the first aggressive punch--is the start.


Just some thoughts.

Respectfully submitted for consideration,
M. E. Wolf
 

OpnDownfall

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Any and All of the acts against the persons' and property of the USA, were acts of war.
To me, the first irrevocable act of war was the firing on the 'Star of the West' because, it was the first proof that the south would not stop at just threats of vilence, to enforce its will on the gov't of the United States.
 

Battalion

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I can see where John Brown's incursion might be considered an act of war, except that it was publicly and officially condemned by the US Government. (OK, there were those who approved, but the Feds turned him over to Virginia for prosecution. No official defense.)

On the other hand, all the robberies committed in the south were carried out by state militias with no scolding that I've seen.

John Brown was a certifiable loon who took his instructions directly from God. Unless one can say the same of all the secesh governors, there is a definite difference.

Ole
He was aided by others in Northern states. What did the governors of those states do about Brown's fellow conspirators?

What did the governors know and when did they know it?
 
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trice

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He was aided by others in Northern states. What did the governors of those states do about Brown's fellow conspirators?
What did the governors know and when did they know it?
It is in the book The Secret Six.
That would be about these guys:

George Luther Stearns (Boston, factory owner, Transcendentalist)
Gerrit Smith (Petersboro NY, rich guy, philanthropist)
Franklin Sanborn (Concord MA, intellectual and Transcendentalist)
Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe (Boston, doctor, Transcendentalist)
Theodore Parker (Boston, Transcendentalist minister)
Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Worchester, Unitarian and Transcendentalist minister)

None of them appear to be governors of the states, so what are you referring to in your post?

Tim
 

wilber6150

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That would be about these guys:

Gerrit Smith (Petersboro NY, rich guy, philanthropist)

None of them appear to be governors of the states, so what are you referring to in your post?

Tim

I was doing a reenactment a couple of weekends ago,right near the grounds of Gerrit Smith in Peterboro, NY..Wouldnt you know the first spectator I talked to said "I was always interested in the War of Northern Aggression" :mad:
 
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trice

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I was doing a reenactment a couple of weekends ago,right near the grounds of Gerrit Smith in Peterboro, NY..Wouldnt you know the first spectator I talked to said "I was always interested in the War of Northern Aggression" :mad:
Gotta love life.:smile:

Tim
 

Battalion

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March 6, 1861. The Confederate Congress authorizes an army of 100,000 volunteers for twelve months.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
Not exactly.

The Congress gave President Davis authority to raise a number up to 100,000 men. The actual number raised prior to Fort Sumter was only about 32,000 (iirc).
 

coltshooter1

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The fear that Brown created in the minds of the Virginians and other southerners was increased by continuing Northern press portrails of Brown as a "hero".The Abolitionist press and most of the 'normal' Northern press would not and did not condemn the acts of murder Brown committed in Kansas and at Harper's Ferry.
An modern example of this type of reporting would be a media type supporting, say Terry Nichols and Tim McVey as great Americans.
Ignoring the facts and murders to support a "cause".
This attitude of the Northern press and the Abolitionist was one of the main reasons for the militia movement and "war footing " of the late 1850 and 1860 south.
So, the actions of Bloody Kansas and John Brown's Raid can be considered part of an undeclared war by certain Northern groups on the South and I believe this is the true beginning of the Civil War.
 
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captainrlm

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Yet 3 years before John Brown, a Southern Congressman beat a Senator unconscious while a friend holds up a pistol threatening to shoot anybody who tries to stop this assault.

The Congressman returns home to a hero's welcome, receives dozens of new canes as gifts, a celebrity in the South, with little or no censure for his actions from Southern press or politicians.

John Brown ended up being hanged for his actions. Some northerners lauded him as a martyr, but many agreed his actions were wrong.

Preston Brooks was lauded as a hero and re-elected to Congress, and his violent act was no problem at all. (Imagine McVey's neighbors presenting him with a brand-new Ryder truck.)

If Brown's crime was part of any war, it was more a continuation than a start



The fear that Brown created in the minds of the Virginians and other southerners was increased by continuing Northern press portrails of Brown as a "hero".The Abolitionist press and most of the 'normal' Northern press would not and did not condemn the acts of murder Brown committed in Kansas and at Harper's Ferry.
An modern example of this type of reporting would be a media type supporting, say Terry Nichols and Tim McVey as great Americans.
Ignoring the facts and murders to support a "cause".
This attitude of the Northern press and the Abolitionist was one of the main reasons for the militia movement and "war footing " of the late 1850 and 1860 south.
So, the actions of Bloody Kansas and John Brown's Raid can be considered part of an undeclared war by certain Northern groups on the South and I believe this is the true beginning of the Civil War.
 

trice

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Not exactly.

The Congress gave President Davis authority to raise a number up to 100,000 men. The actual number raised prior to Fort Sumter was only about 32,000 (iirc).
Yes, as you say, the Confederate Congress reduced the authorization to limit Davis to calling for only 100,000 Volunteer troops . Before that, he was authorized to call for troops but they had not included a limit.

This doesn't include the projected Confederate Regular Army, of course, which might have been a few thousand if ever built up. That was authorized at the same time as the Volunteers.

Davis had issued calls for about 32,000 Volunteer troops before the attack on Ft. Sumter. Like Lincoln, he called for troops a few days after Ft. Sumter. By April 16, the Union had called for 75,000 3-month troops; the Confederacy had called for 64,000 1-year troops. That doesn't include any troops the Confederacy called for from the other seceding states (VA-TN-NC-AR) that Spring, or the 42,000 US troops the President authorized in May. By August, the Confederate Congress had increased the authorization for Davis to 400,000 Volunteers. The war just kept expanding.

But it is still clear that the Confederacy started raising new troops first, and that they raised 32,000 troops when the entire US Army was only 16,000 (with 14,000 of those West of the Mississippi). That is all before the attack on Ft. Sumter.

Tim
 

Battalion

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Yet 3 years before John Brown, a Southern Congressman beat a Senator unconscious while a friend holds up a pistol threatening to shoot anybody who tries to stop this assault.

The Congressman returns home to a hero's welcome, receives dozens of new canes as gifts, a celebrity in the South, with little or no censure for his actions from Southern press or politicians.

John Brown ended up being hanged for his actions. Some northerners lauded him as a martyr, but many agreed his actions were wrong.

Preston Brooks was lauded as a hero and re-elected to Congress, and his violent act was no problem at all. (Imagine McVey's neighbors presenting him with a brand-new Ryder truck.)

If Brown's crime was part of any war, it was more a continuation than a start
Strange comparison.

Brooks did beat the ever-living c--- out of Sumner but he didn't kill him.

On the other hand John Brown was responsible for several murders.

"On May 22, 1856, Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner with his Gutta-percha wood walking cane in the Senate chamber because of a speech Sumner had made three days earlier, criticizing President Franklin Pierce and Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas ("Bleeding Kansas"). In particular, Sumner lambasted Brooks' kinsman, Senator Andrew Butler, who was not in attendance when the speech was read, describing slavery as a harlot, comparing Butler with Don Quixote for embracing it, and mocking Butler for a physical handicap. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, who was also a subject of abuse during the speech, suggested to a colleague while Sumner was orating that "this **** fool [Sumner] is going to get himself shot by some other **** fool." (Jordan et al., The Americans)"
wikipedia.com

Wonder what Sumner said to cause such a reaction?

I might look up that speech.
 
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captainrlm

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NOTHING Sumner said could justify the reaction of Brooks. Even if Brooks' relative was insulted by Sumner, that did not give Brooks the right to do anything near what he did.

And Just because the situations are not exactly the same does not mean they are totally dissimilar either.

Brown was responsible for several murders. He was a criminal. No doubt about it. That's why he was hanged.

Brooks, meanwhile, did not kill, but he still committed a violent, pre-meditated crime.

If you want to call Brown a terrorist, that's fine. I can't argue with that and don't wish to do so.

Brooks' crime was not as violent as Brown's, but it was both violent and a crime, nonetheless. Just as Briown's killinig angered people, so did Brooks' assault. Maybe his censorship of Sumner was just a physical manifestation of the gag order Congress passed 20 years earlier (supressing anti-slavery talk) but it was a crime and Brooks was a criminal.

To say that the war started because of Brown's actions and because some northerners treated him as a martyr, while ignoring completely the praise a Southerner got for committing an act of violence is simply wrong. Both contributed to the tensions that led to the war, but I don't feel it fair to say that either caused it.
 

coltshooter1

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Don't forget that during this time insulting an individual or their family was a very big offense to the people of the era. Remember the duals over "honor". The caning was for an offense that many, both north and south, considered to be abhorant: the insulting and slander of a family member.
When observed from the outlook of the era, the caning was a justifiable act, considering Brooks could have sought further "retribution" under the moral codes of the time.
Only the Abolutionist hard-liners used the caneing as propaganda and to inflame their supporters and gain finincial support.
I don't think that anyone of normal political beliefs of the era (or of today) would say caning was as serious as multiple murders committed by Brown and his followers.
 
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