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The Campaign From Texas to Maryland (Classic Reprint)

The Campaign From Texas to Maryland (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Campaign From Texas to Maryland

The spring of 1861 forms a memorable epoch in the history of America. To those who were living at that day, either active participants in the stirring occurrences of the time, or passive spectators of the drama being enacted before them - the period which ensued from the election of Abraham Lincoln, on the 2d of November, 1860, down to the commencement of open acts of war between the Northern and Southern sections of the people of the United States - will ever be looked upon with a degree of interest fully equal to that which marks any other stage of our Continental career.

True it is, that the time alluded to is not full of startling events or tragic consequences, as some that have succeeded - events which have clothed a land, but yesterday, as it were, robed in the bright garments of a bride, in the sable-habiliments of mourning, and spread a pall of sorrow and dismal woe from one extremity of the country to the other - but at the same time, the changes taking place, at the time of which we speak, are such as must ever mark it memorable in the history of the American people.

The spectacle of a people, at a time of unexampled prosperity and plenty, revised with a system of government acknowledged by the world to confer the largest liberality of personal freedom known among organized communities; whose facilities for the attainment of knowledge or wealth were unexampled among nations; where ambition was unrestricted, progress unfettered, religion untrammeled, and liberty of speech unquestioned and unlimited - whose books and periodicals were, but yesterday, filled with songs of rejoicing and p?ans of self-gratulation, on account of these manifold blessings - a people, the wonder of the world and the admiration of mankind, all at once stopped in their onward career. Peace gives way to discord, and chaos takes the place of system. Law and order disappear as if by magic, and anarchy and confusion prevail.

Such were the results of that excited period of time on which we now dwell. It is not our province to speak of the causes leading to these result. The historian, who shall write of these things, will, doubtless, dive through the dusty and time-worn labyrynth of the past, and uncover hidden causes which had long been at work to bring these evil days upon us; and he will establish, by a system of logical argument, that it was necessary that these things should come to pass, which now "overcome us to our special wonder." Our task is less difficult. We only propose taking a glimpse of a band of heroes who lived in these days, and whose deeds have formed a portion of the history of the times. To trace the career of a body of men who, whatever part they may have taken in bringing on or keeping off the days of peril, have shown themselves able and willing to breast the storm, and to meet the whirlwind in its course.

As early as the month of April, 1861, the State of Texas had undergone this transformation, from a state of peace to a state of armed hostility to the Federal Government. South Carolina and several of the Southern States had seceded, and the Ordinance of Secession had passed in the Convention of Delegates of Texas, and was voted upon by the people February 23d, and took effect on the 2d of March. Argument had been estopped, and the people were preparing for war.

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