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FEMMES FATALES, GAMBLERS, YANKEES AND REBELS IN THE GOLD FIELDS [1859-1869]

 

REAL PEOPLE, TRUE STORIES

HISTORICALLY ACCURATE AND FUN TO READ

(They're written like novels with dialogue based on journals, diaries and newspapers)

HISTORY AS IT HAPPENS(tm) IN HIGH ACTION AMERICAN HISTORY BOOKS 

"A cloud that bodes the coming storm

And partly wraps the heart in sorrow

And bids our feelings bright and warm

Pepare a shroud upon the morrow."

Rose Greenhow [Bibliography R129,79]

 
CHAPTER 13

A FINAL ADIEU ............................EARLY 1861

n January 21, Rose Greenhow squeezed between ladies' billowing gowns into the Senate cloakroom. Forming a mosaic of brilliant flowers, the women whispered secession and repeated rumors that five southern Senators might resign that day.

Varina Davis accompanied her husband, Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis. Feeling ill from a sleepless night, he hugged Varina and slowly strode to the gallery. Varina handkerchiefed tears as she pressed into the crowded cloakroom. Seeing her dear friend, Rose, she went to her.

"Rose, there is blood in the air. Jefferson speaks of war, famine and bloodshed to come."

"Blood's been in the air since that traitor John Brown was hanged in Charlestown, December, 1859." Rose ranted. "The northerners tolled church bells for their martyr. I rejoiced at the verdict adjudging Brown guilty of murder, treason and inciting slave insurrection."

"When Lincoln's inaugurated in March more dissension will follow. South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi seceded after his election," Varina glowed.

Rose fumed. "That Mammon of Unrighteousness Lincoln only won the election because of the Democratic party split. You and other southern Democrats voted for my close friends John C. Breckinridge and Oregon Senator Joseph Lane. Northern Democrats voted for Stephen Douglas."

Rose and Varina chatted as they hastened to the icy Senate gallery. Rose considered Jefferson Davis the standard-bearer for John C. Calhoun, her political idol. In 1850, she'd nursed the dying Calhoun at her aunt's Capitol Hill Boarding House. Tears welled in Rose's dark eyes. The pain she'd felt at her deceased mentor's death stabbed her heart anew. Jefferson Davis rose to speak.

"I rise, Mr. President, for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the state of Mississippi, by a solemn ordinance of her people in convention assembled, has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are termi-nated here. It has seemed to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senate to announce that fact to my associates, and I will say but very little more...."

Jefferson Davis' thin face turned taut as he eulogized Calhoun. Unshed tears in his voice, he praised "the great man who now repose[d] with his fathers." Rose sobbed for her cher-ished friend, Calhoun.

Davis' pleas for peace permeated every tone. His graceful gestures invited brotherly love. Elaborating on nullification and secession, he argued that if states' Consti-tutional rights were violated, they could secede. He charged that the principles of freedom and equality in the Declaration of Independence "have no reference to the slave."

With the melodious words of a silver trumpet, he concluded:

"...I feel no hostility to you, senators from the North...I wish you well; and such, I am sure, is the feeling of the people whom I represent toward those whom you represent..."

"[I]t only remains for me to bid you a final adieu."

Women wept as Davis wearily left the podium.

Rose rushed to the former Senator from Mississippi. Pulling him aside, she whispered.

"Buchanan's going to let Lincoln inherit the war. He'll not attempt to solve the Fort Sumter crisis after the Star of the West's re-supply mission was frustrated. Jefferson, there are only 100 men in Fort Sumter. They're desperately short of supplies. It is opportune for an expeditious attack."

****

On April 8th President Lincoln sent relief ships to Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. On April 11, General P.G.T. Beauregard, commanding Charleston's Confederate troops, demanded Major Robert Anderson's garrison surrender Fort Sumter. Beauregard refused Anderson's conditional surrender. At 4:30 AM on April 12, Beauregard ordered the batteries to fire on the Fort. Lincoln's relief ships reached the harbor, but did not land men because of orders to offload men and supplies only if they were not fired upon. Anderson returned fire for one and one-half days--then surrendered his battered fort on April 13, 1861.

Jubilant southerners cheered their Fort Sumter victory. Music resounded in the square. Rebels paraded through the streets and women waived approval with lace handkerchiefs. South Carolina's Palmetto flags fluttered from Richmond, Virginia rooftops. Elizabeth Van Lew agonized.

"The firing on Fort Sumter is a national outrage!" she shouted. Elizabeth met secretly with northern sympathizers. "Holding the State Convention at Richmond makes it the focus, the soul, and the very centre of treason," she stormed. "This 'Intimidation Convention' is shooting Virginia out of the Union at any cost."

"I signed the ordinance of secession," yelled a bystander. "Had to. Death threats and assassinations force our loyal Unionists to assent. I urge everyone to sign the ordinance. If you don't, Richmond's streets will run rivers of blood!"

Back Cover ..Table Of Contents...Reader Letters....How Many Chapters Are In Your State?

Read Chapter 1 Tormented Wedding..........Read Chapter 17 The Shadow Of Death

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