Sunday, April 10, 2011

From Wilmington to Charleston on April 10, 1861


Oakdale Cemetery

Wilmington, North Carolina

Ode said at Confederate Mound when it was unveiled May 10, 1872.

Why does yon war worn Soldier stand

His lone and silent watch to keep?

No Forman' s step is on the land

None, but the dead, around him sleep.

With Lee on many a battlefield

This gallant Soldier fought in vain,

With Whiting bled, but would not yield,

On Fisher's ramparts, piled with slain.

And now on each Memorial Day

Your vigil o'er your comrades keep,

Oh! Soldiers of honored gray,

Guard well the spot where heroes sleep

History of the Confederate Mound


The following is taken from the Cape Fear Historical Institute’s “Enlightened Wilmingtonian: Alfred Moore Waddell found at Waddell learned of the upcoming bombardment of Fort Sumter by telegraph on this day 150 years ago, took the steam ferry from the Market Street dock across the Cape Fear River to the Manchester railroad depot on Eagles Island, near the current battleship North Carolina location.

Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
From Wilmington to Charleston on April 10, 1861:

“North Carolina unionists like Waddell had earlier hoped for solutions to the secession crisis within the Union, the same Union fought for by their patriot fathers and grandfathers. With President James Buchanan's "Star of the West" expedition that not only illustrated disdain for South Carolina's regained sovereignty, but also an aggressive policy of the federal government to coerce a State, those like Waddell were convinced that there would be no hope of compromise in a sectional Lincoln administration dominated by Northern industrial and abolitionist interests.

He witnessed the bombardment of Fort Sumter after rushing to the city of Charleston by train:

"On the evening of April 10, 1861, the telegraph operator at the Wilmington office confidentially communicated to me at the (Wilmington Daily) Herald office a telegram that had just passed through from General Beauregard to Jefferson Davis at Richmond, saying that he would open fire on Fort Sumter at 4 a.m., if Major Anderson refused to surrender. Thereupon I hurried to the old "Manchester Depot" opposite to the Market Street dock on the other side of the (Cape Fear) river, and caught the train for Charleston as it was passing out. I described the trip to a New York audience in 1878 in the following brief sentences:

"I shall never forget that, after a night of great anxiety, and
when about twenty miles from the city, just as the first grey streaks
began to lighten the eastern sky, and when the silent swamps were
wakened only by the rumble of the train, there was distinctly heard
a single dull, heavy report like a clap of distant thunder, and immediately
following it at intervals of a minute or two, that peculiar measured throb
of artillery which was then so new, but afterwards became so familiar to our ears.

The excitement on the train at once became intense, and the engineer, sympathizing with it, opened his valves, and giving free rein to the iron horse, rushed us with tremendous speed into the historic city. Springing from the train and dashing through the silent streets we entered our hotel, ascended to the roof, and here I experienced sensations which never before or since have been mine. As I stepped into the cupola and looked out upon that splendid harbor, there in the center of its gateway to the sea, half wrapped in the morning mist, lay Sumter, and high above its parapets, fluttering in the morning breeze floated proudly and defiantly the stars and stripes. In a moment afterwards just above it there was a sudden red flash, and a column of smoke, followed by an explosion, and opposite on James Island, a corresponding puff floated away on the breeze, and I realized with emotion indescribable that I was looking upon a civil war among my countrymen."

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