James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
assault upon the city. This morning (April 21) we mounted the battlements of the Executive Mansion and the Ancient (Lincoln) took a long look down the bay [troops were expected to arrive via Fort Monroe, Chesapeake bay, and the Potomac river]. It was a water-haul. A telegram intercepted on its way to Baltimore states that our Yankees (Eighth Massachusetts) and New Yorkers (Seventh New York) have landed at Annapolis (April 22). Weary and foot-sore but very welcome, they will probably greet us to-morrow. Housekeepers here are beginning to dread famine. Flour has made a sudden spring to $18 a barrel.1
The President was keenly alive to the importance of holding the capital and feared greatly for its safety. As Tuesday the 23d passed and no soldiers came, he paced the floor of the executive office in restless anxiety looking out of the window down the Potomac for the long expected boats; thinking himself alone he exclaimed in tones of anguish, Why dont they come! Why dont they come! That same day had brought a mail from New York three days old, containing newspapers which told that the uprising of the North continued with growing strength and unbounded enthusiasm, that the Seventh New York regiment had already departed and that troops from Rhode Island were on the way. Next day (April 24), wrote Hay, was one of gloom and doubt. Everybody seems filled with a vague distrust and recklessness. The idea seemed to be reached by Lincoln when, chatting with the volunteers (Sixth Massachusetts) this morning, he said: I dont believe there is any North! The Seventh regiment is a myth! Rhode Island is not known in our geography any longer. You are the only Northern realities.2
Note 2. III, 368; J. Hay, I, 23. He added, Sewards messengers sent out by the dozen do not return. An Asst. Adj. Gen. telegraphed from Washington, Washington will fall from starvation alone within ten days. O. R., LI, Pt. I, 367. [back]