George Dana Boardman.

Addresses delivered in the meeting-house of the First Baptist church of Philadelphia (Volume 2) online

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APRIL 14th, 16th, and 19th, 1B65.

Reverend George Dana Boardman,

Philadelphia, April 21st, 18G5.
The Key. George Dana Boardman.

Keverend and Dear Sir : Many of the undersigned were present at
the First Baptist Church on Friday, the 14tli instant, during tlie impressive
services there held in commemoration of the re-establishment of the National
Flag at Fort Sumter. Some of us were also present the following Sabbath, and
on Wednesday, the 19th instant, when our joy had so suddenly been changed
into mourning and our rejoicing into deep grief.

The occasion of the delivery of your noble, patriotic, and eloquent Address
being the fourth anniversary of the day when the gallant Major Anderson and
his brave compatriots were compelled to evacuate the Fort, and being also the
day and hour when, by direction of the President of the United States, the
same officer was ordered to raise the same flag over Sumter's ruined battle-
ments, — once more in our possession, — rendered your remarks peculiarly fitting
and appropriate.

Your words of cheer and hope, of joy and gratulation, stirred every heart,
and they deserve to be handed down to posterity, so that future generations
may know how Christians in this city felt at such a crisis in the history of our
country. We believe that at a time when, even amid the sound of cannon and
the smoke of our battle-fields, we can behold the dawning of Peace, such senti-
ments as fell from your lips should be disseminated far and wide.

The reference to our beloved President was as touching and truthful as it
was eloquent, and the tribute to his eminent worth, to his nobleness of heart
and integrity of purpose, is all the dearer to us now since the dastard hand of a
traitor has deprived us, in our time of greatest need, of his wise counsels and
safe guidance.

The addresses delivered by you last Sabbath and on the day of his funeral,
when the whole country was weeping and mourning as for the death of a dearly
loved parent, well deserve to be pondered over by us in our homes, — by the quiet
of our firesides.

Our noble President no longer lives on earth, but he will live forever in
the hearts of the people ; and in all future history, Abraham Lincoln will be
known and revered as the Martyr President of the American Kepublic.

We therefore request a copy of your several Addresses for publication ;
and, while sorrowing at the great loss we have sustained as a Nation, we can
heartily unite with you in rendering thanks to Almighty God for the gift of so
pure a patriot and for the victories which have been achieved by the armies of
the Union.

We remain, with sentiments of high regard,

Your brethren and fellow-citizens,
Thomas Wattson, Washington Butcher,

Wm. S. Hansell, Benjamin Bullock,

James Pollock, John C. Davis,

Horatio Gates Jones, Charles H. Aunkr,

Arch. A. McIntyre, Stephen A. Caldwell

Joseph W. Bullock, Edwin Hall,

Joseph F. Page, Alexander T. Lane,

H. C. Howell, Isaac H. O'Harra,

S. F. Hansell, Henry Clay Butcher.

No. 1712 Vine Street, April 25, 1865.

To Thomas Wattson, Esq., William S. Hansell, Esq.,

Hon. James Pollock, Horatio Gates Jones, Esq., and others.

Gentlemen : Your courteous note of the 21st instant, requesting for pub-
lication tlie addresses delivered in the meeting-house of the First Baptist Church
on the 14th, IGth, and 19th days of April, has been received.

Aware that the interest which attaches to these addresses springs altogether
from the grandeur of the events which occasioned them, I accede to your gene-
rous request, feeling assured that their imperfections will be hidden in the in-
tensity of the gloom which oppresses us all.

I am, gentlemen, with profound respect.

Your brother and townsman,

George Dana Boardman.


Ox the night of December twenty-sixth, eighteen hun-
dred and sixty, a sudden stir began in the historic fort of
Moultrie. Men hurried to and fro, in silent haste, gather-
*ing together the rations, accoutrements, ammunition, and
other movable property of the fort; gun after gun was
silently spiked, and every gun-carriage burned. Last of all,
the flag-staff was cut down ; for the gallant Anderson had
resolved that the staff which had once borne the Star-
spangled Banner should never bear the accursed weight of
a traitor's ensign. And then the entire garrison, number-
ing scarcely sixty men, crept into the boats, and, with muf-
fled oars, under the lustrous gaze of the full moon, sped
straight under the bows of the South Carolina guard-ship
Nina, across the sleeping waters to the securer ramparts of
Sumter. The Charleston Courier of the next day makes
the following announcement : " Major Robert Anderson,
U. S. A., has achieved the unenviable distinction of opening
civil war between American citizens, by an act of gross
breach of faith. He has, under counsels of a panic, de-
serted his post at Fort Moultrie, and, under false pretexts,
has transferred his garrison and military stores and supplies


to Fort Sumter." Breach of faith ? In what school of in-
famy had South Carolina chivalry been trained, that she
could brand the defence of the United States flag by a
United States officer, as a " gross breach of faith ?" The
day after the evacuation, a little before morn, Major An-
derson summoned his little force around the flag-staff of
Fort Sumter, for the purpose of raising the banner which he
had brought from Moultrie. The chaplain offered a most
fervent prayer that the God of our fathers would enable
that little garrison to maintain the honor of that flag un-
dimmed through the fiery ordeals which awaited, and the
entire garrison responded with a deep Amen. At twelve
o'clock precisely, Major Anderson, dropping on his knees,
and holding the lines in his hands, reverently drew the na-
tional ensign to the top of the staff, and then the entire
garrison burst forth into exultant hurras, again, again and
again repeated. That thrilling scene lives in song as well
as in history. Listen to an old man's ballad for December
twenty-six, nineteen hundred and ten :

Come, children, leave your playing this dark and stormy night;
Shut fast the rattling window-blinds, and make the fire burn bright;
And hear an old man's story, while loud the tierce winds blow,
Of gallant Major Anderson and fifty years ago.

After a recital of the evacuation, the scarred veteran con-
tinues :

I never can forget, my boys, how the next day, at noon,
The drums beat and the bands played a stirring, martial tune,
And silentlj' we gathered round the flag-staff strong and high,
Forever pointing upward to God's temple in the sky.

Our noble Major Anderson was good as he was brave,
And he knew without God's blessing no banner long could wave ;
So he knelt with head uncovered, while the chaplain made a prayer,
And as the last amen was said, the flag; rose hie;h in air.

Then our loud huzzas rung out, far and widel}^ o'er the sea I
We shouted for the Stars and Stripes, the standard of the free!
Every eye was tixed upon it; every heart beat warm and fast.
As with eager lips we promised to defend it to the last !

'Twas a sight to be remembered, boys, the chaplain with his book,
Our leader humbly kneeling, with his calm, undaunted look;
And the officers and men, crushing tears they would not shed,
And the blue sea all around us, and the blue sky overhead I

Three and a half months now crept away; months of
gloom and terrible apprehension. I need not go into par-
ticulars; it is enough to remind you that meantime Florida,
Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and North
Carolina followed the example of South Carolina, and de-
luded themselves with the idea that, because they had
passed ordinances of secession, they had voted themselves
out of the Union. The halls of Congress echoed with the
infamous valedictories of senators and representatives, never,
I trust in God, to enter those halls again, save as prisoners,
to be impeached of high treason before the nation's judg-
ment bench. One bright scene alone relieved the darkness
of this horrible panorama; it was when the Old Public
Functionary, nervously swinging between the God of his
fathers and the Baal of slaveholding treason, on the fourth
of March yielded the chair of Washington to God's anointed
champion of American freemen, Abraham Lincoln, of Illi-
nois, crowned by the Grace of God and the National Will


the Moses of the New World. But I must press on with
the narrative.

During these three months and a half, Fort Sumter was
closely besieged. The South Carolina insurgents had
strengthened the armament of Fort Moultrie and Castle
Pinckney, and erected many new batteries, so as to place
Sumter under the fire of nearly three-fourths of a circle,
mounting one hundred and forty guns in all, many of them
of very heavy calibre, while the besieging host numbered
seven thousand. They had also cut off* all supplies, so that
the garrison was almost reduced to the point of starvation.
On the eighth of April they learned that Government was
about to relieve the garrison by sending supplies and rein-
forcements. You will be interested, doubtless, if I recall to
you some of the correspondence which then took place. It
is historic.

"Montgomery, Ala., April 10, 1861.

"To General P. G. T. Beauregard,

"Charleston, S. C.

"If yoii have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent
who communicated to you the intention of the Washington Govern-
ment to supply Fort Sumter by force, you will at once demand its
evacuation; and, if this is refused, proceed in such a manner as you
may determine, to reduce it.

"L. P. Walker,

' ' Secretary of War. ' '

"Charleston, S. C, April 10, 1801.
" To Hon. L. P. Walker,

" Secretary of War.

" The demand will be made to-morrow at twelve o'clock.

" P. G. T. BeaureCxArd."

"Headquarters Provisional Army C. S. A.,

"Charleston, S. C, April 11, 1861, 2 p. m.
" To Major Eobert Anderson,

" Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.
"Sir: The Cxovernmeiit of the Confederate States have hitherto
forborne from any hostile demonstration against Fort Sumter, in the
hope that the Government of the United States, with a view to the
amicable adjustment of all questions between the two Governments,
and to avert the calamities of war, would voluntarily evacuate it. . .
. . . But the Confederate States can no longer delay assuming actual
j)Ossession of a fortification commanding the entrance to one of our
harbors, and necessary to its defence and security.

"I am, therefore, ordered by the Government of the Confederate
States to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter. All proper facili-
ties will be afforded for the removal of yourself and command, to-
gether with arms and all private property, to any j)ost in the United

States which you may select My aids, Colonel Chesnut

and Captain Lee, will, for a reasonable time, await your answer.
" I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"P. G. T. Beauregard,
" Brigadier-General, Commanding."

"Headquarters, Fort Sumter, S. C,
"April 11, 18G1.
'' To Brigadier-General P. G. T. Beauregard.

" General : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
communication demanding the evacuation of this fort, and to say, in
reply thereto, that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense
of honor and of ray obligations to my Government prevent my com-
pliance. Thanking you for the fair, manly, and courteous terms pro-
posed, I am, General,

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

" Egbert Anderson,
" Major U. S. Army, Commanding."

"Headquarters Provisional Army C. S. A.,
"Charleston, April 11, 1861, 11 p. m.

" To Major Egbert Anderson,

" Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C.

" Major : In consequence of the verbal observations made by you
to my aids, Messrs. Chesnut and Lee, in relation to the condition of


your supplies, and that you would, in a few days, be starved out if
our guns did not batter you to pieces, or words to that effect ; and
desiring no useless effusion of blood, I have the honor to say that, if
you will state the time at which you will evacuate Fort Sumter, and
agree that, in the meantime, you will not use your guns against us
unless ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we will abstain
from opening fire upon you. Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee are
authorized by me to enter into such an agreement with you. I am.

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"P. G. T. Beauregard."

"Headquarters, Fort Sumter, S. C,

"2.30 a. m., April 12, 1861.
" To Brigadier-General P. G. T. Beauregard.

" General : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
second communication of the 11th inst., by Colonel Chesnut, and to
state, in reply, that, cordially uniting with you in the desire to avoid
the useless effusion of blood, I will, if provided with the proper and
necessary means of transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon
on the 15th inst., should I not receive, prior to that time, controlling-
instructions fi-om my Government, or additional supplies; and that
I will not, in the mean time, open my fire upon your forces, unless
compelled to do so by some hostile act against this fort, or against
the flag of my Government by the forces under your command, or
by some jiortion of them, or by the perpetration of some act show-
ing a hostile intention on your part against this fort, or the flag it
bears. I have the honor to be. General,

" Your obedient servant,

" Egbert Anderson,
"Major tJ. S. Array, Commanding."

You see from this corresptondence just how matters stood.
Major Anderson frankly states to the insurgents that, in
consequence of the extreme scarcity of provisions in the
fort, he would be compelled in all events to evacuate by
noon of April 15th, unless supplies for the garrison should
meantime arrive. Now observe the mad, atrocious haste


with which civil war was inaugurated. Unwilling to wait
till the 15th inst., only three days, and so avert, as the
rebel authorities would have us believe, " the useless effu-
sion of blood," and fearing, it may be, that supplies ivouJd
in the interim arrive, fifty minutes after Major Anderson's
manly note was penned, the following paper, signed by
Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee, was put in his hands :

"Fort Sumter, S. C, April 12, 1861, 3.20 a. m.
" Sir : By autliority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, command-
ing the provisional forces of the Confederate States, we have the
honor to notif}' you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort
Sumter in one hour from this time."

In an hour the bombardment commenced. 0, my coun-
trymen ! what a scene then opened ! I do not wonder that
they did not wait till the sun rose, dreading to have that
burning eye of God witness the inauguration of the dread-
ful fratricidal massacre. Fiercely thundered for thirty-four
hours the balls of one hundred and forty guns against the
walls of the doomed fortress, and fiercely replied from ram-
part and casemate the guns of the little patriot band. It
was a most gallant defence. Human powers could do no
more. But it was all in vain. And from the steamship
Baltic, off Sandy Hook, April 18, 1861, the heroic Ander-
son sent the following stirring despatch to Mr. Cameron,
then Secretary of War :

"Sir: Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until
the quarters were entirely bui-ned, the main gates destroyed by fire,
the gorge wall seriously injui'ed, the magazine surrounded by flames,
and its doors closed from the efl:ects of the heat, four barrels and.


three cartridges of powder only being available, and no provisions
but pork remaining, I accepted terms of evacuation offered by Gene-
ral Beauregard, being the same offered by bim on the 11th inst.,
prior to the commencement of hostilities, and marched out of the
fort Sunday afternoon the 14th inst., with colors flying and drums
beating, bringing away company and private property, and saluting
my flag witb fifty guns.

" Egbert Anderson,

" Major First Artillery."

Since then four years, I could almost say four centuries,
have rolled away. God ! what years of national humili-
ation and agony have they been ! Verily, Thou hast given
us the bread of affliction to eat and the cup of tears to
drink. Thou hast led us by way of the wilderness and the
desert, through rivers of blood, and hast laid us down in
the hospital, the dungeon, and the unslabbed grave. But
all glory be to Thee ! God of our fathers ! Thou hast n'^ver
deserted us. If, for a small moment Thou didst seem to
hide Thy face from us, it was only that with greater mer-
cies Thou mightest gather us together again. Thou hast
gone forth wdth our hosts in the day of battle. Thy pillar
of cloud has led us by day, and Thy pillar of fire by night.
And when, at times, the national heart has grown faint,
and we have felt that all was lost. Thou hast renewed be-
fore our eyes the vision of the Hebrew Seer, and permitted
us to behold on every side, swarming over every hilltop
and through every valley, Thy chariots and steeds of fire
bounding to our deliverance. And now Thou hast brought
us to see the day for which heroes have fought and sighed
and prayed and died. Thou hast girded on Thy sword,
Most Mighty ! and led us forth conquering and to conquer,
till now we see this Confederacy, born of the pit, cloven in


twain, and these in twain again ; its black chattel corner-
stone disallowed and rejected of its own builders; its forts
wrested from them; its capital abandoned; its legions, now
routed and flying like chaff before the Northern hurricane,
now overtaken and flanked and confronted, and caught
between the upper and nether millstones, and forced to yield
up their arms ; their general-in-chief a disarmed prisoner ;
the arch-conspirator and ringleader himself a panting fugi-
tive, his brow marked of God and the nation with the red
brand of Cain.

" Sing, then, unto the Lord a new song,
For He hath done marvellous things;
His right hand and His holy arm
Hath gotten Him the victory !
Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods ?
Who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders ?
Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power !
Thy right hand, O Jehovah, has dashed in pieces the enemy!
Thou hast sent out Thine arrows, and scattered them !
Thou hast shot out Thy lightnings, and discomfited them !
So let all Thine enemies perish, O Jehovah !"

To-day we have met to celebrate this great victory.
"But why," you ask me, "do you select this particular day,
rather than that, for instance, which commemorates the fall
of Richmond, or the surrender of Lee?" For this simple
reason : The National Flag is the symbol of the National
Autliority. It so thoroughly represents and even incarnates
to the popular heart the Government of which it is the sym-
bol, that wherever the flag is, there thie Government itself


is, robed in full sovereignty. It was on the 14tli of April,
1861, that the National Authority was first symbolically
overthrown by the compulsory lowering of the national
flag at Fort Sumter. It is on the 14th of April, 1865, that
the National Authority is symbolically restored by the rais-
ing of the national flag on the spot where it was first struck
down, in sight, too, of the birth-place of the grand con-
spiracy and of the dishonored grave of its chief sponsor.
There is profound poetry in this order of the chief magis-
trate of the republic. There is a touch of nature in it
which makes him and the whole nation kin. He knew
the power of emblems and symbolic acts over the human
soul. He felt, as you and I cannot help feeling, that there
is a classic decorousness, an inherent propriety, an aesthetic
grace, a religious beauty, in thus symbolically announcing
to the world the reinstatement of the national majesty on
the very spot where the national majesty was first de-
throned. Nor, so far as I myself am concerned, can I
deem it a misfortune that this symbolic restoration of the
national authority takes place on the day so tenderly en-
shrined in the mournful homage of many of my Christian
brethren. For if ever that holy law which all mankind
had insulted and trampled on, was magnified again and
made honorable, — if ever the majesty of Jehovah's jus-
tice and authority was vindicated amidst triumphs the
most transcendent, it was when the Son of the Highest,
mercifully gathering into His own Divine person the penal-
ties of the race, and bowing His head beneath the thunder-
bolts of Jehovah's wrath, yielded up the ghost on the
Judean cross. Meet it is that the day which celebrates the


vindication of Jehovah's ordinance of earthly government,
is the same which celebrates the triumph of His celestial

What now are some of the lessons which the scene trans-
piring to-day at Fort Sumter teaches the ages ?

The first is this : The American Republic is not a league,
but a nation ; not a confederacy, but a people ; not a con-
geries of States, but a Union ; being in fact the United
States, which is but another name for the American State.
This question has long been a matter for grave meditation
among political thinkers. But now it has been decided in
the crimson court of war. That decision is this : The
American Union is a vital, organic nationality, pervaded
by a common life, which binds together in indissoluble
union each and every member, thus making the whole
absolutely one. The Union is no mere series of States,
joined to each other by no organic bond, simply touching
each other like the grains of silex in a sand-box. Neither
is the Union some vast polyp, as many seem to imagine,
capable of division and subdivision, and still thriving on,
each fragment becoming the centre of a new life. But the
American Union is a vital, throbbing, indivisible organism ;
so that secession is something more than subtraction, or
even amputation : it is vivisection, suicide, murder, a death
as real as that proposed in King Solomon's order for bisect-
ing the child brought before him for adjudication.


Another lesson which the scene now transpiring at Fort
Sumter teaches, is one which is addressed to foreign na-
tions. Democracy has been on trial, and we see the result.
When we take into consideration the awful magnitude of
the rebellion, gaining more and more of stupendousness as
time revealed more and more of its colossal proportions;
when we recall the long continuance of this painful, deso-
lating war, the hopes long deferred, and the terrible defeats
which ever and anon have befallen our arms; when we
take into consideration the oppressive burdens of taxation,
and the enormous rise of prices ; when we remember the
forebodings of oft^repeated and merciless conscriptions;
when we reflect that every widow who has lost a husband,
and every parent a child, and every family a member, has
been tempted to call in question the justice of the adminis-
tration and the righteousness of the war ; when we remem-
ber how sensitive the Americans, sons of revolutionary
fathers, are to the slightest encroachments on their per-
sonal rights as citizens, and then recall the sonorous and
everlasting oratory about constitutional rule, and arbitrary
arrests, and military despotism, and star-chamber courts,
and the ambitious schemes of the chief magistrate ; when
we remember how every city and hamlet of the North has
been infected with discontented men, secretly sympathizing
with the insurrection, and doing their utmost to discourage
the people and paralyze the Government ; when we remem-
ber that thousands and tens of thousands of men have been
secretly banded together as Knights of the Golden Circle,
or as Sons of Liberty, for the atrocious purpose of making
organized resistance to the powers that be ; when we re-


member how Avide and profound at times, especiall}^ in the
earlier part of the war, has been the disaffection with the
administration in the loyal ranks themselves ; Avhen we
remember how the people, sickening with these woful
scenes of carnage and desolation, have sighed for the tran-
quillity and ease and beatitudes of peace ; in fine, when
we take into consideration the countless and tremendous

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Online LibraryGeorge Dana BoardmanAddresses delivered in the meeting-house of the First Baptist church of Philadelphia (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 4)