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Northern Viewpoints: Early Stages of the Conflict

American Standard, November 3, 1860 Jersey City, NJ


Is There Danger of Disunion?


"Both the folly and the passion of our Southern brethren are now excited to their utmost pitch...and, differing in this respect from all other periods of excitement, the deep feeling is not confined to one State merely- to South Carolina for instance- but is sympathized in by the prepondering masses of all the Southern States. In their alarm and excitement they are a complete unit. Infinitely less provocation...precipitated our forefathers into revolution; and their sons on our Southern soil are no less ardent or daring than they..."

American Standard, February 12, 1861 Jersey City, NJ


The Southern Confederacy


"The action of the Southern Congress has sundered the old Union, as certainly as any human act can do it...It now remains to prevent the spread of the contagion. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, are gone, and we fear Texas and Arkansas will speedily follow; but the Border States are yet loyal...If we act with the wise promptitude which the imminence of the occasion demands, we shall yet be able to secure to the Union those gallant and patriotic Border States..."

U.S. After Start of Civil War - Late 1861
U.S. After Start of Civil War - Late 1861
Kostyal, K.M. Field of Battle: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Halsey. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1996.

Source: Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives

Read the above accounts from a New Jersey newspaper and answer the following questions.

  1. To what other historical event did the first article compare the South's impending secession? Do you agree with this comparison? Why or why not?
  2. Look on the map and locate the five pink states above the red dividing line. Why were these "Border States" so valuable to the North?

Northern Viewpoints: The Rebs

American Standard, February 12, 1861 Jersey City, NJ

The Southern Confederacy

"Their adoption of the old Constitution, their declaration against the slave trade, the calm energy of all their movements, and their selection of men of the experience and ability of Jefferson Davis and Alexander H. Stephens for President and Vice President, must give to the confederacy a substantiality and power...There can be no doubt, we think, that England and France will recognize the new government...War may, and probably will, come. But the Southern Confederacy will emerge from it a consolidated and established government."

Rebel Intentions

American Standard, September 1862 Jersey City, NJ

"The good conduct of the rebels in their occupation [in the mountains of Maryland] is fully confirmed. They allow no plundering, and treat even Union citizens with kindness. They pay for everything they get in Confederate notes, or Maryland or Virginia money...[They] are, to a great extent, armed with new Enfield guns; and many of their cannon, of which they have a vast supply, are of English manufacture. Their supplies of ammunition are also ample...With their intimate knowledge of the country, it is not impossible that hunger alone must be the power which can compel them to a final retreat or surrender."


Read the above accounts from a New Jersey newpaper and answer the following questions.

  • What strengths did this author attribute to the new Confederacy?
  • How were Confederate soldiers described? Did any of these descriptions surprise you? Why or why not?
  • According to these accounts, was a Northern victory assured in 1861 and 1862? Cite evidence from the text.