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"The News," April 13, 1861


"The News," April 13, 1861


This newspaper article from The Standard looked at the Battle of Fort Sumter.  It summarizes what happened during the battle and what it meant for North Carolina and the Union. South Carolina wanted Fort Sumter for itself because they seceded from the Union, but Washington was not willing to give it up. The battle at Fort Sumter happened and it shocked the country. In Raleigh they were not as suprised, but believed that the Union did not want a real fight. The author of this article believed that the Union did not see South Carolina as independent and acted as if they were not independent. While the people in Raleigh were fine with whatever was chosen for the southern states seceeding, they also did not want to see aggression from the Union.


W. W. Holden


"The News," The Standard, April 13, 1861, Chronicling America, accessed October 31, 2014,




Samantha Copeland




Raleigh, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article


The News. The Wilmington papers of Tuesday, and the and Richmond papers of Wednesday last, contained the most startling reports in relation to the condition of affairs in Charleston harbor. It was stated that there were seven United States' war vessels off Charleston harbor; that Fort Sumter was to be provisioned at all hazards; that new batteries had been erected near Charleston, and five thousand additional troops called out ; that a battle was certain in the course of a few hours, &c &c The columns of the Petersburg ad Richmond papers especially those of the Express were convulsed with articles breathing war, alarm, and terror. The Wilmington Journal of Tuesday said: " WAR approaches rapidly. It is reported that Gov. Pickens has been officially notified that Fort Sumter is to be reinforced; that a squadron of steamers and war ships is now off the harbor of Charleston, and the fight may now be commencing. All the talk of evacuation was so much lying and deception. The Charlestonians have "watched and waited" and like others who listened to that talk, they have been deceived. The surf-boat-s, howitzers, fielJ batteries and so forth were, as we supposed, intended to effect a landing on the beach somewhere, and take the batteries in the rear. P. S. A positive dispatch from Charleston leaves nothing to mere inference. The tear may even note hare commented, or if not it will be because the forces sent out retire. The notification that Sumter would be provisioned peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary, means forcibly all the time, since Mr." Lincoln knew perfectly that it could not be provisioned unless by force. And yet this very week, yea, yesterday, Mr. Seward gave an answer to the Confederate Commissioners breathing peace I See telegraphic head." Accustomed as we are to the tricks of the disunionists, we confess we were somewhat startled by these reports. They appeared to be well founded. We began to apprehend that blood would be shed, and that our unfortunate country would be speedily plunged into deeper difficulties. But still we had serious doubts as to the truthfulness of these reports, and so we determined to "watch and wait," This was Wednesday forenoon, but Wednesday afternoon a gentleman in this City received a dispatch from Charleston which by no means confirmed the reports referred to ; and just on the back of this we received the Wilmington Journal of Wednesday, containing a fist and unequivocal contradiction of its dispatches of the preceding day. Of course the Petersburg and Richmond papers of which we will receive this (Thursday) evening, will also contain a contradiction of these dispatches. The latest dispatch to the Journal of Wednesday, dated Charleston April 10th, states that "there are no war vessels outside the harbor, tofar as Inoicn." All is said to be "quiet on the surface" at Charleston, " but there is deep feeling." The Journal of Wednesday admits the incorrectness of its dispatches of the preceding day, and adds "Seriously, however, as our regular dispatches show there has been a great mistake somewhere about the vessels off Charleston, and we promptly state the fact The regular agent of the associated press at Charleston is not to blame. He sent no dispatch that there was. We deeply regret being placed in the position, however innocently, of publishing incorrect statements, and we know also that mere sensation news is bound to injure our cause, so our readers may be assured that we would not publish such, even on party reasons." That several war vessels, containing supplies and munitions of war, and a number of men, have recently sailed from New York is well known; but no one except the President and Cabinet seems to know the object or the destination of these vessels. They may be partly for-th- e waters of St Domingo, partly for the Cuban and American Gulf waters, and partly for Brazos Santaigo, the mouth of the Rio Bravo. Under the treaty of Gaudeloupe Hidalgo the government of the United States stipulated with the government of Mexico to protect the frontiers of the latter against the Indians. Besides, the El Passo route to California must be kept open for mail purposes and emigration. It may be that our government has an eye on these duties, and this may account for a portion of the preparations referred to. Confirmatory of these views we find the following, which we clip from the Washington telegraphic correspondence of the Charleston Mer-cur- y of the 9th : " The commissioners appear to be impressed with the belief that the expedition now fitting out is principally intended for Texas. Intelligent Army and Navy officers are of the opinion that the bulk of the New York Expedition is destined for Texas, to operate on the frontier against Mexicans and Indians, and to the Brazos, Fort Brown, and also the forts on the Indian frontier, where, according to official information, they will be met with a cordial welcome by the settlers." Both the governments (we speak of the " Confederate States" as a provisional government only,) know how to keep their secrets. But that there is some serious difficulty between the government at Washington and the Southern Commissioners as to the manner of the evacuation of Fort Sumter, we think there can be little doubt It may be that our government has determined on withdrawing Maj. Anderson and his command, but insists on holding nominal possession of the Fort the latter not to be used for offensive or defensive purposes by either government, but to remain unoccupied until the present troubled can be settled. It may be that the government at Washington refuses to transfer the property of the United States in said Fort to the "Confederate States" and that it thus refuses, simply because it believes that it has no power to make such transfer; but that the real evacuation and nominal possession referred to, having been thus decided on, the government of the " Confederate States" refuses to accede to these terms, and demands an absolute surrender of the Fort, and probably of Maj. Anderson and bis men. These, of course, are mere conjectures. No one seems to inow what the points of difficulty really are. The news hereafter, if bad, will travel fast and &r enough. It is not worth while to anticipate bloodshed We are not afraid to aav that we do not believe the administration at Washington de sires bloodshed. Its policy thus far has been pacific. As hostile as we may be to Mr. Lincoln, the cause of our country, now in fearful perils, requires that we should be just even towards him. But the Union cannot be maintained by force. As we said last year, in the Presidential campaign, "the Union would fall to pieces before the first touch of aggressive or coercive power." Let both governments scru pulously abstain from any act that may lead to bloodshed. Let things remain as they are, if possible, until ft Convention of the States can be called. Neither Congress nor the President can recognize the independence of the " Confederate States." They have no power to do so. A Convention of all the States could either reconstruct the Union or permit the seceded States to go in peace. As it is, we appear to be drifting to civil strife against the wish of the people of the United States, and without their having had any opportunity in their primary capacity to remove the evils which threaten all of us, both North and South, with one common ruin.


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W. W. Holden, "The News," April 13, 1861, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 17, 2024,