A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Sunday 14th

14 April 1861

Tuesday 16th

16 April 1861
15 April 1861
Monday 15th



The details of the capitulation at Fort Sumpter were in the newspapers today, and also a proclamation of President Lincoln summoning Congress to meet on the fourth of July and calling seventy five thousand men of the militia. His language seems to imply a design to retake the forts and to wage a continuous war with the rebels in their own territory. At the same time the alarm has been renewed in regard to the safety of the city of Washington, and it is proposed to summon a large portion of this force to protect it. The effect of these proceedings on the border states may be to precipitate them into the South, or to frighten them out of it, We can scarcely say which, at this moment. In the mean time the feeling is running high all over the Free States, and the men will be had. My fear now is that the breach is complete. Perhaps this is not in the end to be regretted so much, as the Slave States always have been troublesome and dictatorial partners. But I had always hoped that slavery might be driven back to the cotton region, and there left to work out its mission. We must now rely upon a consolidated action among ourselves. The peaceful solution of the problem has failed. Mr Lincoln has plunged us into a war. I doubt every thing that I see about him, as nothing seems to proceed from a real conviction of a systematic plan adequate to the emergency. On the whole I feel so little confidence that it is fortunate thing that I vacate the position were confidence would be most needed. My morning was taken up by visits of persons seeking a final recommendation to the Collector for118 Offices they will never get. My patience has held out until now, when it is beginning to ooze out my finger’s ends. I was very busy in making up accounts of my truest affairs, more fully than before. My work is on the whole pretty well forward. I went again to Mr Black, and he took several impressions additional to those he had the other day. But he will find it difficult to excell that which I this day place in the leaves of this book. In the evening Miss Baxter was here.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA61d105