As I’ve written in recent days, I would have rather put this in the blog a year ago – though no blog yet existed. And as well, the following is an excerpt from my researching and writing on the life of Abner Doubleday:
The troops packed their belongings on that Sunday morning of April 14, 1861. A great fanfare was planned by the secessionists—people from surrounding areas crowded into Charleston; and the harbor was dotted with all sorts of vessels and people in holiday dress. A fifty-gun salute to the flag was offered (at which time an accident cost the life of one Sumter soldier named Daniel Hough), and Doubleday marched out at the head of his column to a waiting vessel with the drums beating Yankee Doodle. The tattered American flag came down, The Palmetto Guard marched in, and a new banner went up to the whistles and cheers of the multitudes. Doubleday pondered what a strange sight it must have been for the hordes gathered around to see their small group of only about 60 people, as compared to the hosts that had surrounded them. He further pondered:
It was an hour of triumph for the originators of secession in South Carolina, and no doubt it seemed to them the culmination of all their hopes; but could they have seen into the future with the eye of prophecy, their joy might have been turned into mourning. Who among them could have conceived that the Charleston they deemed so invincible, which they boasted would never be polluted by the footsteps of a Yankee invader until every son of the soil had shed the last drop of his blood in her defense—who could have imagined that this proud metropolis, after much privation and long-suffering from fire and bombardment, would finally surrender, without bloodshed, to a negro regiment, under a Massachusetts flag—the two most abhorred elements of the strife to the proud people of South Carolina?
It is doubtful that there were any on either side of the newly commenced war who would have anticipated the full scope of all that would befall them in the succeeding four years. Anderson feared it greatly and passively sought to prevent it. Doubleday would soon be heard to anticipate its scope in a fashion beyond others—though surely still only fractionally as compared to the final tally of lives lost.
The transport took the Sumter contingent to the Baltic where they were warmly received by Captain Fox and the crew. They sailed for New York, arriving on April18th. None of their lives would ever be quite the same, but such a statement would equally now apply to the lives of millions of Americans.