Originally from: Letters from Linden
by Fred Dellinger, CCHS Member
Date: March 2011
CIVIL WAR: 150TH ANNIVERSARY
The following article, contributed by one of our CCHS members, is offered as the first in what we hope will be a series in recognition of the Civil War. Started in 1861 and despite the immediate area being spared from witnessing major skirmishes, our ancestors’ lives were, nonetheless, shaped by the War and nearby fighting and political wrangling. Following is one such event, and we invite our readers to contribute others.
THE CIVIL WAR AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND – 150 YEARS LATER
contributed by CCHS Member Fred Dellinger
The pivotal Civil War between the North and the South that began 150 years ago will be discussed here in the months (and years?) ahead. People, Events and their Impacts upon Southern Maryland will provide the reader a deeper understanding of the significance of this Conflict (War/Rebellion) to our lives here in Calvert County then and now.
The CCHS also is planning to host major social/historical events related to this conflict which will be highlighted here in “Letters From Linden.” For example, we are now planning a special event including a New Feature Film about Anna Ella Carroll and her remarkable role in advising President Lincoln regarding both military and legal matters related to the conflict! More on this unique Movie Event will be provided later. See your 2010 Edition of “The Calvert Historian” for an introduction to Anna Ella Carroll, whose historic family owned property directly across the Chesapeake Bay near Cambridge, Maryland.
But first, the immediate cause of the great Conflict … the formal Secession of the State of South Carolina on December 24, 1860. The following are key excerpts taken directly from their formal Secession Document which was created primarily in response to Abraham Lincoln’s November, 1860, election to the Presidency of the United States (despite his receiving only 1 vote here in Calvert County! Read more in the 2009 Calvert Historian). “In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the articles of Confederation; and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended, for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.
“Thus was established by compact between the States, a Government with defined objects and powers, limited to the express word of the grant …. We hold that the Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgement to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences …
“We, therefore, the people of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent state with full power to levy war, conclude peace, and contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all acts and things which independent States may of right do.” Reference 1.
Thus began a series of State secessions which President Lincoln then addressed in his Inaugural Speech on March 4, 1861. Excerpts from this inaugural speech, discussing in detail the illegality of the State Secessions, will be presented next month followed by excerpts from written communications from the Confederate forces to the Commanding Federal Officer of Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina in April, 1861. Stay tuned for more next month …
1. REFERENCE: Our Nation’s Archive, The History of the United States in Documents, edited by Erik Bruun & Jay Crosby, copyright 1999 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. pages 340 – 342.