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Select Statutes

And Other Documents Illustrative of the

History of the United States

No. 1. Call for 75,000 Volunteers

April 15, 1861

The proclamation of April 15 was issued, under authority of the act of February 28, 1795, the day after the fall of Fort Sumter. The call on the governors of the States was made through the War Department. May 3 a further call for 42,034 volunteers to serve for three years, together with an order for the increase of the regular army and the enlistment of seamen, was issued, the action of the President being legalized by an act of August 6. An act of February 24, 1864, authorized the President to call whenever necessary for such number of volunteers as might be required.

REFERENCES. — Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII, 1258. Correspondence with the governors is in the War Records, Series III, Vol. I, pp. 68 seq. For comments of the press see Moore, Rebellion Record, I, 64-69 of documents. See also Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, I, 254-258.



WHEREAS the laws of the United States have been, for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law :

Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.

The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.

I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.

I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union ; and in every event, the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country.

And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from this date.

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers, at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of April,

in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and [L. s.]

sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

No. 2.

Proclamation declaring a Blockade of

Southern Ports

April 19, 1861

In response to the proclamation of April 15, calling for 75,000 volunteers, Jefferson Davis, as president of the Confederate States, issued, on April 17, a proclamation inviting applications for letters of marque and reprisal. The proclamation declaring a blockade of Southern ports was issued in rejoinder. By a further proclamation of April 27, the blockade was extended to the ports of Virginia and North Carolina.

REFERENCES. Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII, 1258, 1259. Davis's proclamation is in Moore, Rebellion Record, I, 71 of documents. The proclamation was upheld in the Prize Cases, 2 Black, 635.



WHEREAS an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States :

And whereas a combination of persons, engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and in waters of the United States :

And whereas an Executive Proclamation has been already issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine thereon :

Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned,

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