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April 15 1861

April 16 1861

April 17 1861

  The Eighth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia
Welcome to April 14, 1861

This Sunday was not a day of rest. The guns of Friday had shattered the peace, and the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson on Saturday, now, reverberated in the streets. The manuevering, the appeasements, the diplomacy, the secret missions had all come to nothing. And to some, thankfully, the waiting was all over. And no longer was there any question as to what the future held. It was to be


Most of the Army regulars were scattered in forts throughout the fontier. Precious few of the professional soldiers were now in Washington, and many of the West Point trained leaders had already or soon were to be returning to their homes in the South.

Washington was in a very precarious position indeed. Although the Deep South slave states had already seceded, the two slave holding states between which she was sandwiched had not. These border states, Virginia and Maryland, had strong secessionist elements at work in them, and they were dead set against being "coerced" and equally averse to seeing their sister states treated likewise.

President Lincoln would meet with his Cabinet for most of the day. Together they would iron out just what their next steps should be. Obviously, troops were called for. But which troops, and how many, and for how long?