War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0563 Chapter LXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, eTC.- UNION.

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every few years agitaed the people, and that it would gradually subside, somehow, they knew not why. Slave owners, of course, had an interest. They did believe their property was unsafe in the hands of an administration composed as they thought, of abolitionists; still large masses were as much attached to our past history and national unity as we profess to be, and it did seem to me that instead of going to work to make up a clear single issue so plain that all who wanted to fight would know exactly what the fight was about, that all on both sides were determined so to obscure to issue that there was no alternative but to array two angry people one against the other. My opinion was that we must be united, and that no better commom bond could be chosen than the Constitution. Yet, if was must come, issue or no issue, it was clear that every citizen should support the National Government, because, right or wrong, the Government must be sustained, else anarchy (which nature abhors) would be inevitable. The idea of two separate Governments with so ragged a boundary as divided the slave and free States was and is an impossibility. With such a boundary endless war would be the rule and peace the exception. Yet I say it did appear to me that the active, busy politicians and mischief-makers did seem resolved on war without any clear, well-defined issue mad eup which you and I, simple soldieres, could understand. This was the reason why at first I kept out. But Sumter was attacked, and although war had begun with the seizure of the U. S. arsenals and the insult to the flag universally taken as the national emblem, this act was the first that seemed to arouse the feelings of the North.

I suppose through the instrumentality of my brother John my name was put down as colonel of the Thirteenth U. S. Regulars, and I was so confirmed. I was then not at liberty to decline military service, and, on reporting for duty, was sent by General McDowell to command a brigade of volunteers at Fort Corcoran. I took that brigade to Bull Run and came back with the command, and think on the whole it was the best lesson a vain anc conceited crowd ever got. Up to that time no one seemed to measure the danger, the necessity for prolonged preparations, and infinite outlay of money. The fighting force of some 8,000,000 of inhabitants, united by an intense zeal and hatred, could not be encountered in their own country without more trouble than most of our men supposed; and it was manifest that our statesmen instead of grasping the subject preferred to approach it through their own vain conceptions of what they supposed, or rather wished, to be the case. When it became necessary to enlarge the field to the West, General Robert Anderson was ordered to Kentucky and asked me to go with him. I was willing, provided I could take an humble seat in the background. I was unwilling to risk myself as a leader, and when his health failed him and he was compelled to leave me there in command, he knows, the President knows, and all know with what reluctance I was forced into a position of prominence. From the first conception of the idea I opposed it, and it may be I resorted to improper reasons to avoid a prominent post, for which I was so disinclined, and wherein a leader should be in perfect accordance with superior powers. None of my views or thoughts were in accordaretary of War, and I insisted, it may be wrongfully and in bad taste, to be replaced by some one better qualified and more at ease. This is all I need say now. Subsequent events are of official record. I now think we must and will have a united government, one that can govern and not be governed by sections, factions, or caprice, one of power to command what is right and punish what is wrong. Until that result is attained