150 Years Ago - The American Civil War

January 4, 2011 — Print this Page

January 7, 1861

Led by South Carolina’s announcement of secession on December 20, several southern states followed. Washington D.C. was in a state of high emotion after congressional representatives had returned to their offices to deal with the announcement of secession.

The national crisis pushed frightened men into conferences to sort out their positions, resolve the situation as it pertained to them and to prepare for the worst. The military forces on both sides of the issue, such as they were,were busy surrying for position

The steamship Star of the West with 300 U.S. Marines aboard and commanded by a Captain McGowan, previously employed by the United States Revenue Service, set sail from the Brooklyn Navy Yard for Charleston harbor. In northern Virginia the steamship Philadelphia carried marines to reinforce Fort Washington

In the South, secessionist troops took over Fort Morgan at Mobile, the forts in Texas and several other secessionist states were targeted and expected to be taken by southern forces.

Donagh Bracken in the award winning The Words of War contrasts the newspaper coveage of The New York Times and the Charleston Mercury as they covered 18 battles in the great coflict illustrating that newspaper reportage is often influenced by political perspective.


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