| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
During all this time the Confederates had been threatening
to attack Washington, and tear down the Union flag from
 the Capitol. They had even said they would yet have their
own flag waving over Faneuil Hall in Boston. Think of it,
imagine anything but the "Stars and Stripes" waving over
that old "Cradle of Liberty."
Even then the Northerners did not realize how full of hate
the Southerners were. Washington was indeed poorly
guarded, but the idea of attacking the Nation's Capitol! It
didn't seem possible. But now there came a cry, "Washington
is in danger! Help, help for Washington!" And
help came. The Seventh Regiment of New York, a regiment
of young men, kept up to this time only for parades, never
expecting to be called into real war, came forward and
volunteered, that is, offered to go to protect the capital.
How the people shrank from accepting this noble sacrifice!
This pet regiment of the State! made up of the very "flower
of volunteer troops," as it was said then, to go into battle to
be shot down, very likely, like dogs! But they were ready;
the country needed them, and so, one morning in April, this
regiment marched down Broadway, the main street of New
York city, to the cars that should carry them to Washington.
That was a great day in New York city! Crowds and
crowds of men and women filled the squares and the
sidewalks, and cheers upon cheers rent the air as these boys
marched down the street. Theodore Winthrop, one of the
young men in this noble regiment, in writing of this day,
 "It was worth a life, that march. Only one who passed
as we did through that tempest of cheers, two miles long,
can know the terrible enthusiasm of the day. We knew
now, if we had not known before, that our great city was
with us as one man, united in the cause we were marching
This regiment was joined by the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment,
with General Benjamin F. Butler as one of its
volunteer generals. It was supposed that General Butler
had always had much sympathy with the South, and had
been always in favor of allowing the South all the freedom
to carry out their own ideas that could possibly be
given them without real harm to the Government. But, when
the South set out to break up the Union, no one rose quicker
in its defence than did General Butler. When one of his
Southern friends told him what the South was planning to
do, Butler said:
"If you do that, I trust you are ready for war."
"Pooh! the North will not fight," said the Southerner.
"The North will fight," replied Butler. "You touch the
Union flag and you'll find that the North will rise in a solid
body against you; and if war does come, down will go your
Confederacy, slavery and all."
But the South did not believe it, although they had good
reason to know that General Butler had a "long head," as
we often say when we mean that a person understands what
 he is talking about. Imagine their surprise then, when they
found that even Butler himself was against them, when it came
to be a real question with him whether to stand by the South,
or to stand by the Union. Alas! it took the Southerners a
long time to understand what the Union meant to a Northerner.
And, alas, it took the Northerners a long time to
understand what the State meant to the Southerner. It
proved a bitter, bitter lesson to them both.
These regiments, the Seventh New York and the Eighth
Massachusetts, arrived safely at Washington, and the
capital was safe. But on account of the Secessionists in
Baltimore, these troops had been obliged to get to Washington
in a very roundabout way, to avoid being attacked as
the Massachusetts Sixth had been.
"Now," said Butler, when he had fairly got his regiment
in order after their march, "the city of Baltimore must be
taken. The city is made up of Union men and women, but
they are kept down by the few "Secessionists" there. That
city must be freed. We can't bother to take our troops
around through the woods and up the rivers every time we
want to bring them to Washington, when there is a railroad
straight through that city. No, Baltimore must be taken;
and I will go and take it!"
Accordingly, he marched to Baltimore; and one night,
when the sky was black and the rain was pouring, the wind
howling, the lightning flashing and the thunder
mum-  bling and rolling on every side, up he marched with
his men and his cannon to the top of Federal Hill. There
he was when the morning dawned, his flags flying, his guns
ready, his great black cannons looking down upon the city
as much as to say, "Make one move against the Union, lift
one finger against our troops, and our black throats are ready
to pour out fire and death upon you."
The Secessionists understood the language of the cannons,
and from that time the Union soldiers marched in peace
through the city of Baltimore.
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