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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Tuesday 16th

16 April 1861

Thursday 18th

18 April 1861
17 April 1861
Wednesday 17th

Clouds in the morning, which cleared away fine. At noon I went to Quincy. The first thing I met was Messr Franklin Curtis and Henry Walker going out to raise more recruits for the Quincy company which came in light yesterday, and of which the officers begged to be excused. I went to the mansion and busied myself there until the time for119 the return. When I got back to the Station I found it full of people standing around sixteen young recruits who were on their way to join the regiment that is ordered to Washington this afternoon. The excitement seemed great and I confess it moved me deeply. It is now more than half a century since arms have been more than toy in our streets. And this is a civil war becoming more and more embittered as it proceeds. It is evident that the Free States are at last vehemently stirred by the affair at Charleston, and on all sides this call of the President for men is responded to with enthusiasm. But my spirits fall under this trial. I see as yet only the dark part of it. At all events there is a present compensation in the unanimity which is manifested among us. If we can maintain that we are safe. For even if the dissolution should take place, we should then be free from this burdensome connection and able to establish ourselves on a firm basis of free Institutions. In the mean while we know not what a day may bring forth. There were rumors that the Charleston troops were on the march to Washington, which was simply absurd. In the evening there was a story that the Virginia Convention had at last seceded, which is more credible, and which will complete the embroglio. If such be the fact a dissolution of the Union is inevitable. And the sooner measures are taken by Congress to call a convention, the less of loss of lives and money in strife will ensue. I was quite at leisure at home, my principal work being the putting away of my Cabinet. In the evening I went over to Dr Bigelow’s to meet the Wednesday night club. Much political conversation. But every body is now agreed here. Two regiments went off in the midst of general enthusiasm.

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=DCA61d107