| Builders of Our Country: Book II|
|by Gertrude van Duyn Southworth|
| A lively account of American history told through 31 biographies, beginning with Patrick Henry at the start of the Revolution and ending with Andrew Carnegie at the close of the 19th century. The biographies are so chosen as to acquaint the reader with the chief personages and events in our national life, by including many vivid pictures of each. Ages 10-12 |
PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND THE CIVIL WAR
THE DIVISION OF THE UNION
 ALTHOUGH Lincoln was elected President in November,
1860, he was not inaugurated until March, 1861. In
those four months great changes took place in the South.
When the thirteen American colonies joined together
to form the United States, slavery was general. One by
one, however, the Northern States became convinced that
slavery was doing them more harm than good. So
slavery was abolished in the North. The South still held
Then having recognized the evils of the slave system,
the North naturally wanted to keep it out of any new
states which might come into the Union. The South,
on the other hand, saw no harm in holding slaves and
wanted slavery spread into America's western lands.
At last, through this struggle for the control of the new
states, the South came to believe that the North meant to
crush slavery even in those of the original thirteen states
which still favored it.
This was not true. And time and again Mr. Lincoln
and the Republican party which elected him stated that
their great desire and firm purpose was to shut slavery
from the new states, not to interfere with it in the South.
Still the South persisted in believing that their theory
was right. And the very month after Lincoln's election,
 South Carolina withdrew from the Union. By the 1st
of February six other slave states had followed South
Carolina's example, and before many days these seven
had formed a government of their own and named
themselves, The Confederate States of America.
FACSIMILE OF AN EXTRA ANNOUNCING THE SECESSION.
The six states to follow South Carolina from the Union
were Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Texas. A few months later Arkansas, North Carolina,
Virginia, and Tennessee joined the Confederate State
and raised their new flag in place of the stars and stripes.
No sooner had the seven Southern States declared themselves
out of the Union than they began to seize upon the
United States forts and arsenals within their limits. This
was the state of affairs when Abraham Lincoln left Springfield
and journeyed to Washington, where he was inaugurated
on the 4th of March, 1861.
The new President fully realized the gravity of the
responsibility which had fallen upon him. In his inaugural
address he went over the situation. But while he
denied the right of the Southern States to secede from the
Union and vowed to do all in his power to "preserve,
protect, and defend it," he assured the Southern
sympathizers that if civil war came it would be the South that
would start it.
One month went by, and then the South put a final
end to all hope of peace between herself and the North.
A Southern general demanded the surrender of Fort
Sumter, in Charleston Harbor. The officer in charge
refused. Whereupon, on April 12th, Southern batteries
opened fire on Fort Sumter and kept on firing until the
fort was surrendered.
This was too much. The North was ablaze with
resentment. So when Lincoln called for seventy-five
thousand men to defend the Union, more than ninety
 thousand enlisted. The first call for troops was quickly
followed by another, and from the Northern States men
came marching to the
tunes of "Rally round
the flag, boys" and
"We are coming,
five hundred thousand strong." Washington was turned
into a veritable camp
and put into a state
So, too, the men
of the South were
hurrying to join the Confederate army and rushing to the
protection of Richmond, the capital of the Confederate
"On to Washington!" was the cry of the South. "On
to Richmond!" rang throughout the North.
JULY, 1861—SEPTEMBER, 1862
IN July, 1861, the two armies met on the banks of the
little Virginia stream, Bull Run. In the beginning the
Confederates fell back before the onslaught of the Union
troops. Then the Southern general, Jackson, came to their
rescue. And so like a stone wall did he and his men stand
their ground that he was ever after called "Stonewall
Jackson." First the Union advance was checked, and
then the Union troops were driven from the field.
Now came a time of comparative quiet, while each side
laid its plans and drilled its forces. Part of the North's
plan was to close the ports of the Southern States and
 so keep them from getting supplies from abroad. Well-armed
ships were stationed near the mouth of each harbor
and did valiant work, capturing hundreds of vessels
which tried to run the blockade.
Eight days after the firing on Fort Sumter, the
Confederates had seized the United States navy yard at
Norfolk, Virginia. But before they succeeded in getting
possession, its Union commander had destroyed the shops
and ships. One ship, the Merrimac, had burned to the
water's edge and then had sunk.
Soon discovering that her engines were not damaged,
the Confederates raised the Merrimac and rebuilt her.
This time she was covered with plates of iron, was mounted
with large cannon, and was made into an ironclad war
When the ironclad Merrimac was ready, she put to
sea and set out to attack the three wooden vessels from
the North, which were riding at anchor in Hampton Roads.
Two of the three Union ships opened fire on the strange-looking
sea monster. Their shots could not pierce her
iron plates, and the Merriinac came on unharmed.
Steadily, steadily she drew near the Cumberland, until,
with a mighty crash, she tore a gaping hole in the wooden
ship. In rushed the water, and the Cumberland filled
Then turning to the Congress, the Merrimac forced this
second ship to surrender, set it on fire, and left it to its
The nest morning the Merrimac came sailing out to
destroy the Minnesota, the last of the three Northern ships.
But there beside the Minnesota lay another vessel—a
queer-looking affair "like a cheese box mounted on a
raft." It was the new Union war ship, the Monitor; and
it, too, was ironclad.
 Never before had two ironclad vessels engaged in
battle. For hours they fought without being able to
do each other serious damage. The little Monitor had
saved the Minnesota and had held in check the dreaded
Merrimac. A new era for naval warfare had begun.
THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE "MONITOR" AND THE "MERRIMAC".
The Merrimac had done all the damage she was ever
to do. Some weeks later the Confederates were forced to
give up Norfolk, and before they went they destroyed
their ironclad vessel.
The news that the Monitor had repulsed the Merrimac
must have been to Lincoln a ray of encouragement in a
storm of troubles. When the war began, everyone felt
that a few, short weeks would bring its close. But nearly
a year had gone by, and still there were no signs of peace.
And everywhere were people willing to blame the country's
President because things had not turned out as they had
expected. Officers placed in high command proved
unfitted for their work. Soldiers deserted, and still others
turned cowards in the hour of battle.
As Commander-in-chief, Lincoln looked into these
cases; and while he was severe on wilful insubordination,
he was always ready to give a man the benefit of the least
 doubt. "Leg cases" was the name he gave for cowardice
in the face of the enemy. And he was inclined to show
pity to such offenders "because," he said, "if Almighty
God has given a man a cowardly pair of legs, how can he
help running away with them?"
The doorkeepers at the White House had standing
orders to admit every person who came seeking a pardon
for some one condemned to death. In every way Lincoln
did all in his power to lessen the burden of those made to
suffer through the war.
Early in 1862 New Orleans fell before Captain Farragut.
This was a great victory and a great step gained toward
conquering the rebellion in the West.
But in the East the army was still trying to take
Richmond, and the Confederates were still successfully
fighting them off. Late in the summer of 1862 the
Southern general, Lee, crossed the Potomac and attempted
to march on Philadelphia.
The Union troops hurried to stop him. The two forces
met at Antietam, where, on September 17th, they fought
one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The "Boys in
Blue" defeated the "Boys in Gray" and drove them back
across the river. But even with so signal a success to
encourage them, the North could not see that the South
was any nearer giving up than in the beginning.
JANUARY, 1863—APRIL, 1865
LINCOLN constantly turned the situation over in his
mind. For weeks he thought about it, until certain facts
came to stand out from the rest clear and unquestioned.
He was convinced that slavery was not only the cause of
the war, but that it was also the means by which the
South was keeping up her strength. Did not the slaves
 raise crops with which to supply the Southern army and
carry those supplies to the camps? And were they not
of the greatest help to the troops in the digging of trenches,
the building of fortifications, and the daily work of camp
life? To take away the slaves would be to strike a hard
blow at the Confederate strength.
When elected President, Lincoln truthfully said that
he had no intention of interfering with slavery in the South.
However, at that time he had taken an oath to preserve,
protect, and defend the Union. There now seemed but
one way to keep that oath. This was to free the slaves.
So on New Year's day, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued
his Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to
more than three million slaves living in the Confederate
Month after month the war went on. In June, 1863,
General Lee made another effort to invade Pennsylvania,
and for the second time crossed the Potomac. There
were seventy thousand men in his army when it reached
Gettysburg, and there he entered into a three-day battle
with the Northern troops. But when, on the third day,
utterly defeated, he fell back into Virginia, he had lost
more than twenty thousand. This was the last attempt
to enter Pennsylvania. The Northern army, too, had
lost heavily. This battle of Gettysburg is the greatest
and the saddest in our history.
ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF GETTYSBURG.
While the eastern armies were fighting at Gettysburg,
another battle was taking place in the West. The Union
General had been trying for weeks to capture the
Confederate city of Vicksburg. Day and night he had kept
up his attack. Night and day his big guns went on
shelling the city. At last, on July 4th, the very day
after the Union success at Gettysburg, Vicksburg surrendered.
 The persistent general who had won this victory was
Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln soon saw in him the one man
who could put an end to the war; and in March, 1864,
Grant was given command of all the Union armies.
At once he made his plans and began to carry them
out. Battle followed battle all through that year. In
April, 1865, Grant finally raised the stars and stripes over
the city of Richmond and a few days later received the
surrender of General Lee and his army.
That very month the four years struggle came to an
end. The Civil War was closed and the Union was saved.
IN the White House the President's family are at breakfast.
All are happy, for Robert, the eldest son, has just
come home from serving as General Grant's aide-de-camp.
There is much for Lincoln and his boy to talk over.
 But some of it must be kept for another time, as this is a
morning on which the President meets his cabinet.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND HIS SON "TAD" (THADDEUS).
By afternoon he is free. The carriage is called, and
Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln drive out together. The long years of
the war have saddened Lincoln's face and cut deep lines in
it. But to-day the lines are softened, and the face is bright.
With a smile he turns to Mrs. Lincoln. "Mary," he
says, "we have had a hard time of it since we came to
Washington; but the
war is over, and, with
God's blessing, we
may hope for four
years of peace and
happiness; and then
we will go back to
Illinois, and pass the
rest of our lives in
Many a friend receives a hearty greeting, many an acquaintance a cordial
bow. And late in
the afternoon the
drive is over.
Then comes dinner. And all too soon
it is eight o'clock,
and Mr. Lincoln is due at the theater. This is the 14th
of April, 1865—the night of a benefit performance; and
guests have been invited to share a box with Mr. and Mrs.
When they reach the theater the play has already
begun. But the people in the crowded house are watching
 the President's box; and, catching sight of his tall figure,
they rise from their seats and welcome him with cheers,
while the orchestra strikes up "Hail to the Chief!"
The play goes on. It is good, and Lincoln listens and
laughs and enjoys it all.
The players are going through the third act. The
people are pleased and do not notice a pale, handsome
man who is making his way toward the President's box.
Quietly he slips in, stands one instant behind Lincoln,
and then deliberately aims a
pistol at him and fires.
The shot rings out. A woman screams. The murderer
leaps to the stage and escapes.
All is now confusion. Some try
to follow the murderer; some
try to reach the Lincoln box.
But in the midst of all the uproar, the President sits quiet.
His head has fallen forward on
Strong arms lift him and
carry him from the theater to
a modest brick house across
the way. He is put to bed. His son and friends are
summoned, and all watch beside him through the night.
They have no hope. The assassin has done his work.
Slowly the hours drag by. The dawn comes. It is a little
after seven, and Abraham Lincoln has ceased to breathe.
HOUSE WHERE LINCOLN DIED.
The watchers bow their heads. A prayer is said; and
in the stillness a solemn voice proclaims, "Now he belongs
to the ages."
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