Baltimore riot of 1861
The Baltimore riot of 1861 was a civil conflict on Friday, April 19, 1861, on Pratt Street, in Baltimore, between antiwar "Copperhead" Democrats and other Southern/Confederate sympathizers on one side, members of the Massachusetts and some Pennsylvania state militia regiments en route to the national capital at Washington called up for federal service, on the other. The fighting began at the President Street Station, spreading throughout President Street and subsequently to Howard Street, where it ended at the Camden Street Station; the riot produced the first deaths by hostile action in the American Civil War and is nicknamed the "First Bloodshed of the Civil War". In 1861, most Baltimoreans were anti-war, did not support a violent conflict with their southern neighbors. Many sympathized passionately with the Southern cause. In the previous year's presidential election, Abraham Lincoln had received only 1,100 of more than 30,000 votes cast in the city. Lincoln's opponents were infuriated when the president-elect, fearing an infamous rumored assassination plot, traveled secretly through the city in the middle of the night on a different railroad protected by a few aides and detectives including the soon-to-be famous Allan Pinkerton in February en route to his inauguration in Washington, D.
C. The city was home to the country's largest population of free African Americans, as well as many white abolitionists and supporters of the Union; as the war began, the city's divided loyalties created tension. Supporters of secession and slavery organized themselves into a force called "National Volunteers" while Unionists and abolitionists called themselves "Minute Men"; the American Civil War began on April one week before the riot. At the time, the slave states of Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas had not yet seceded from the U. S; the status of Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky, remained unknown. When Fort Sumter fell on April 13, the Virginia legislature took up a measure on secession; the measure passed on April 17 after little debate. Virginia's secession was significant due to the state's industrial capacity. Sympathetic Marylanders, who had supported secession since John C. Calhoun spoke of nullification, agitated to join Virginia in leaving the Union, their discontent increased in the days afterward when Lincoln put out a call for volunteers to serve 90 days and end the insurrection.
New militia units from several Northern states were starting to transport themselves south to protect Washington, D. C. from the new Confederate threat in Virginia. Baltimore's newly elected reform mayor, George William Brown, the new police marshal, George Proctor Kane, anticipated trouble and began efforts to placate the city's population. On Thursday, April 18, 460 newly mustered Pennsylvania state militia volunteers arrived from the state capital at Harrisburg on the Northern Central Railway at its Bolton Street Station, they were joined by several regiments of regular United States Army troops under John C. Pemberton returning from duty on the western frontier, they split off from Howard Street in downtown Baltimore and marched east along the waterfront to Fort McHenry and reported for duty there. Seven hundred "National Volunteers" of southern sympathizers rallied at the Washington Monument and traveled to the station to confront the combined units of troops, which unbeknownst to them were unarmed and had their weapons unloaded.
Kane's newly organized city police force succeeded in ensuring the Pennsylvania militia troops' safe passage marching south on Howard Street to Camden Street Station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Stones and bricks were hurled and Nicholas Biddle, a black servant traveling with the regiment, was hit on the head, but that night the Pennsylvania troops known as the "First Defenders", camped at the U. S. Capitol under the uncompleted dome, under construction. On April 17, the 6th Massachusetts Militia departed from Boston, arriving in New York the following morning and Philadelphia by nightfall. On April 19, the unit headed on to Baltimore, where they anticipated a slow transit through the city; because of an ordinance preventing the construction of steam rail lines through the city, there was no direct rail connection between the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad's President Street Station and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Camden Station. Rail cars that transferred between the two stations had to be pulled by horses along Pratt Street.
Sometime after leaving Philadelphia, the unit's colonel, Edward F. Jones, received information that passage through Baltimore "would be resisted". According to his report, Jones went through the railroad cars and gave this order: The regiment will march through Baltimore in column of sections, arms at will. You will undoubtedly be insulted and assaulted, to which you must pay no attention whatever, but march with your faces to the front, pay no attention to the mob if they throw stones, bricks, or other missiles. Do not fi
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U. S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D. C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District's street-numbering system and the District's four quadrants; the original building was completed in 1800 and was subsequently expanded with the addition of the massive dome, expanded chambers for the bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives in the south wing and the Senate in the north wing. Like the principal buildings of the executive and judicial branches, the Capitol is built in a distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior. Both its east and west elevations are formally referred to as fronts, though only the east front was intended for the reception of visitors and dignitaries. Prior to establishing the nation's capital in Washington, D.
C. the United States Congress and its predecessors had met in Philadelphia, New York City, a number of other locations. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress brought together delegates from the colonies in Philadelphia, followed by the Second Continental Congress, which met from May 1775 to March 1781. After adopting the Articles of Confederation in York, the Congress of the Confederation was formed and convened in Philadelphia from March 1781 until June 1783, when a mob of angry soldiers converged upon Independence Hall, demanding payment for their service during the American Revolutionary War. Congress requested that John Dickinson, the Governor of Pennsylvania, call up the militia to defend Congress from attacks by the protesters. In what became known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Dickinson sympathized with the protesters and refused to remove them from Philadelphia; as a result, Congress was forced to flee to Princeton, New Jersey, on June 21, 1783, met in Annapolis and Trenton, New Jersey, before ending up in New York City.
The United States Congress was established upon ratification of the United States Constitution and formally began on March 4, 1789. New York City remained home to Congress until July 1790, when the Residence Act was passed to pave the way for a permanent capital; the decision of where to locate the capital was contentious, but Alexander Hamilton helped broker a compromise in which the federal government would take on war debt incurred during the American Revolutionary War, in exchange for support from northern states for locating the capital along the Potomac River. As part of the legislation, Philadelphia was chosen as a temporary capital for ten years, until the nation's capital in Washington, D. C. would be ready. Pierre Charles L'Enfant was given the task of creating the city plan for the new capital city. L'Enfant chose Jenkin's Hill as the site for the "Congress House", with a "grand avenue" connecting it with the President's House, a public space containing a broader "grand avenue" stretching westward to the Potomac River.
In reviewing L'Enfant's plan, Thomas Jefferson insisted the legislative building be called the "Capitol" rather than "Congress House". The word "Capitol" comes from Latin and is associated with the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome; the connection between the two is not, crystal clear. In addition to coming up with a city plan, L'Enfant had been tasked with designing the Capitol and President's House; the word "capitol" has since been adopted, following the example of the United States Capitol, in many jurisdictions for other government buildings, for instance the "capitols" in the individual capitals of the states of the United States. This, in turn, has led to frequent misspellings of "capitol" and "capital"; the former refers to a building. In spring 1792, United States Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson proposed a design competition to solicit designs for the Capitol and the "President's House", set a four-month deadline; the prize for the competition was a lot in the Federal City.
At least ten individuals submitted designs for the Capitol. The most promising of the submissions was by a trained French architect. However, Hallet's designs were overly fancy, with too much French influence, were deemed too costly. A late entry by amateur architect William Thornton was submitted on January 31, 1793, to much praise for its "Grandeur and Beauty" by Washington, along with praise from Thomas Jefferson. Thornton was inspired by the east front of the Louvre, as well as the Paris Pantheon for the center portion of the design. Thornton's design was approved in a letter dated April 5, 1793, from Washington, Thornton served as the first Architect of the Capitol. In an effort to console Hallet, the commissioners appointed him to review Thornton's plans, develop cost estimates, serve as superintendent of construction. Hallet proceeded to pick apart and make drastic changes
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican War, left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac in the Eastern Theater. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment, he chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points. McClellan organized and led the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, it was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater.
Making an amphibious clockwise turning movement around the Confederate Army in northern Virginia, McClellan's forces turned west to move up the Virginia Peninsula, between the James and York Rivers, landing from the Chesapeake Bay, with the Confederate capital, Richmond, as their objective. McClellan was somewhat successful against the cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of General Robert E. Lee to command the Army of Northern Virginia turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a partial Union defeat. General McClellan failed to maintain the trust of President Abraham Lincoln, he did not trust his commander-in-chief and was derisive of him. He was removed from command in November after failing to decisively pursue Lee's Army following the tactically inconclusive but strategic Union victory at the Battle of Antietam outside Sharpsburg and never received another field command. McClellan went on to become the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee in the 1864 presidential election against Lincoln's reelection.
The effectiveness of his campaign was damaged when he repudiated his party's platform, which promised an end to the war and negotiations with the southern Confederacy. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881, became a writer, vigorously defended his Civil War conduct. Most modern authorities have assessed McClellan as a poor battlefield general; some historians view him as a capable commander whose reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who made him a scapegoat for the Union's military setbacks. After the war, subsequent commanding general and 18th President Ulysses S. Grant was asked for his opinion of McClellan as a general. George Brinton McClellan was born in Philadelphia, the son of a prominent surgeon, Dr. George McClellan, the founder of Jefferson Medical College, his father's family was of Scottish heritage. His mother was Elizabeth Sophia Steinmetz Brinton McClellan, daughter of a leading Pennsylvania family, a woman noted for her "considerable grace and refinement".
The couple had five children: Frederica. McClellan was the great-grandson of Revolutionary War general Samuel McClellan of Woodstock, Connecticut. McClellan attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1840 at age twelve, resigning himself to the study of law. After two years, he changed his goal to military service. With the assistance of his father's letter to President John Tyler, young George was accepted at the United States Military Academy in 1842, the academy having waived its normal minimum age of sixteen. At West Point, he was an energetic and ambitious cadet interested in the teachings of Dennis Hart Mahan and the theoretical strategic principles of Antoine-Henri Jomini, his closest friends were aristocratic Southerners such as James Stuart, Dabney Maury, Cadmus Wilcox, A. P. Hill; these associations gave McClellan what he considered to be an appreciation of the Southern mind and an understanding of the political and military implications of the sectional differences in the United States that led to the Civil War.
He graduated at age nineteen in 1846, second in his class of 59 cadets, losing the top position to Charles Seaforth Stewart only because of poor drawing skills. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. McClellan's first assignment was with a company of engineers formed at West Point, but he received orders to sail for the Mexican War, he arrived near the mouth of the Rio Grande in October 1846, well prepared for action with a double-barreled shotgun, two pistols, a saber, a dress sword, a Bowie knife. He complained that he had arrived too late to take any part in the American victory at Monterrey in September. During a temporary armistice in which the forces of Gen. Zachary Taylor awaited action, McClellan was stricken with dysentery and malaria, which kept him in the hospital for nearly a month; the malaria would recur in years—he called it his "Mexican disease". He served as an engineering officer during the war, was subject to enemy fire, was appointed a brevet first lieutenant for his services at Contreras and Churubusco and to captain for his service at Chapultepec.
He performed reconnaissance missions for Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, a close friend of McClellan's father. McClellan's experiences in the war would shape his political life, he learned that flanking movements are bette
A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the arm of service. In Medieval Europe, the term "regiment" denoted any large body of front-line soldiers, recruited or conscripted in one geographical area, by a leader, also the feudal lord of the soldiers. By the end of the 17th century, regiments in most European armies were permanent units, numbering about 1,000 men and under the command of a colonel. During the modern era, the word "regiment" – much like "corps" – may have two somewhat divergent meanings, which refer to two distinct roles: a front-line military formation. In many armies, the first role has been assumed by independent battalions, task forces and other, similarly-sized operational units. However, these non-regimental units tend to be short-lived. A regiment may be a variety of sizes: smaller than a standard battalion, e.g. Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. S. Infantry Regiment and Royal Regiment of Scotland; the French term régiment is considered to have entered military usage in Europe at the end of the 16th century, when armies evolved from collections of retinues who followed knights, to formally organised, permanent military forces.
At that time, regiments were named after their commanding colonels, disbanded at the end of the campaign or war. It was customary to name the regiment by its precedence in the line of battle, to recruit from specific places, called cantons; the oldest regiments which still exist, their dates of establishment, include the Spanish 9th Infantry Regiment “Soria”, Swedish Life Guards, the British Honourable Artillery Company and the King's Own Immemorial Regiment of Spain, first established in 1248 during the conquest of Seville by King Ferdinand the Saint. In the 17th century, brigades were formed as units combining infantry and artillery that were more effective than the older, single-arms regiments. By the beginning of the 18th century, regiments in most European continental armies had evolved into permanent units with distinctive titles and uniforms, each under the command of a colonel; when at full strength, an infantry regiment comprised two field battalions of about 800 men each or 8–10 companies.
In some armies, an independent regiment with fewer companies was labelled a demi-regiment. A cavalry regiment numbered 600 to 900 troopers. On campaign, these numbers were soon reduced by casualties and detachments and it was sometimes necessary to amalgamate regiments or to withdraw them to a depot while recruits were obtained and trained. With the widespread adoption of conscription in European armies during the nineteenth century, the regimental system underwent modification. Prior to World War I, an infantry regiment in the French, German and other smaller armies would comprise four battalions, each with a full strength on mobilization of about 1,000 men; as far as possible, the separate battalions would be garrisoned in the same military district, so that the regiment could be mobilized and campaign as a 4,000 strong linked group of sub-units. A cavalry regiment by contrast made up a single entity of up to 1,000 troopers. A notable exception to this practice was the British line infantry system where the two regular battalions constituting a regiment alternated between "home" and "foreign" service and came together as a single unit.
In the regimental system, each regiment is responsible for recruiting and administration. The regiment is responsible for recruiting and administering all of a soldier's military career. Depending upon the country, regiments can be administrative units or both; this is contrasted to the "continental system" adopted by many armies. In the continental system, the division is the functional army unit, its commander is the administrator of every aspect of the formation: his staff train and administer the soldiers and commanders of the division's subordinate units. Divisions are garrisoned together and share the same installations: thus, in divisional administration, a battalion commanding officer is just another officer in a chain of command. Soldiers and officers are transferred out of divisions as required; some regiments recruited from specific geographical areas, incorporated the place name into the regimental name. In other cases, regiments would recruit from a given age group within a nation, an ethnic group, or foreigners.
In other cases, new regiments were raised for new functions within an army.
A mortar is a simple, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition. Mortars have been used for hundreds of years in siege warfare. Many historians consider the first mortars to have been used at the 1453 siege of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. An Italian account of the 1456 siege of Belgrade by Giovanni da Tagliacozzo said that the Ottoman Turks used seven mortars that fired "stone shots one Italian mile high"; the time of flight of these was long enough that casualties could be avoided by posting observers to give warning of their trajectories. However, earlier mortars were used in Korea in a 1413 naval battle when Korean gunsmiths developed the Wan'gu; the earliest version of the Wan'gu dates back to 1407. Choi Hae-san, the son of Choe Mu-seon, is credited with inventing the first Wan'gu.
Early mortars, such as the Pumhart von Steyr, were large and heavy, could not be transported. Made, these weapons were no more than iron bowls reminiscent of the kitchen and apothecary mortars whence they drew their name. An early transportable mortar was invented by Baron Menno van Coehoorn; this mortar fired an exploding shell. This innovation was taken up, necessitating a new form of naval ship, the bomb vessel. Mortars played a significant role in the Venetian conquest of Morea and in the course of this campaign an ammunition store in the Parthenon was blown up. An early use of these more mobile mortars as field weapons was by British forces in the suppression of the Jacobite rising of 1719 at the Battle of Glen Shiel. High angle trajectory mortars held a great advantage over standard field guns in the rough terrain of the West Highlands of Scotland; the mortar had fallen out of general use in Europe by the Napoleonic era and interest in the weapon was not revived until the beginning of the 20th century.
Mortars were used by both sides during the American Civil War. At the Siege of Vicksburg, General US Grant reported making coehorn mortars "by taking logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six- or twelve-pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands; these answered as Coehorns, shells were thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy". During the Russo-Japanese War, Lieutenant-General Leonid Gobyato of the Imperial Russian Army applied the principles of indirect fire from closed firing positions in the field and, with the collaboration of General Roman Kondratenko, he designed the first mortar that fired navy shells; the German Army studied the Siege of Port Arthur, where heavy artillery had been unable to destroy defensive structures like barbed wire and bunkers. As a result, they developed. Used during World War I, they were made in three sizes. World War I saw the introduction of the Stokes mortar, it was the forerunner of all modern mortars in use today.
These modern weapons are light, easy to operate, yet possess enough accuracy and firepower to provide infantry with quality close fire support against soft and hard targets more than any other means. It was not until the Stokes Mortar was devised by Sir Wilfred Stokes in 1915 during the First World War that the modern mortar transportable by one person was born. In the conditions of trench warfare, there was a great need for a versatile and portable weapon that could be manned by troops undercover in the trenches. Stokes's design was rejected in June 1915 because it was unable to use existing stocks of British mortar ammunition, it took the intervention of David Lloyd George and Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Matheson of the Trench Warfare Supply Department to expedite manufacture of the Stokes mortar; the weapon proved to be useful in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, as a mortar round could be aimed to fall directly into trenches, where artillery shells, due to their low angle of flight, could not go.
The Stokes mortar was a simple muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smoothbore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount. When a mortar bomb was dropped into the tube, an impact sensitive primer in the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube, detonate, firing the bomb towards the target, it could fire as many as 25 bombs per minute and had a maximum range of 800 yards firing the original cylindrical unstabilised projectile. A modified version of the mortar, which fired a modern fin-stabilised streamlined projectile and had a booster charge for longer range, was developed after World War I. By World War II, it could fire as many as 30 bombs per minute, had a range of over 2,500 yards with some shell types; the French developed an improved version of the Stokes mortar as the Brandt Mle 27, further refined as the Brandt Mle 31. These weapons were the prototypes for all subsequent light mortar developments around the world. Mortar carriers are vehicles.
Numerous vehicles have been used to mount morta
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Alcott's family suffered from financial difficulties, while she worked to help support the family from an early age, she sought an outlet in writing, she began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults that focused on spies and revenge. Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters; the novel was well received and is still a popular children's novel today, filmed several times.
Alcott remained unmarried throughout her life. She died from a stroke, two days after her father died, in Boston on March 6, 1888. Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, now part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on her father's 33rd birthday, she was the daughter of transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and social worker Abby May and the second of four daughters: Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest. The family moved to Boston in 1834, where Alcott's father established an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Bronson Alcott's opinions on education and tough views on child-rearing as well as his moments of mental instability shaped young Alcott's mind with a desire to achieve perfection, a goal of the transcendentalists, his attitudes towards Alcott's wild and independent behavior, his inability to provide for his family, created conflict between Bronson Alcott and his wife and daughters. Abigail resented her husbands' inability to recognize her sacrifices and related his thoughtlessness to the larger issue of the inequality of sexes.
She passed this desire to redress wrongs done to women on to Louisa. In 1840, after several setbacks with the school, the Alcott family moved to a cottage on 2 acres of land, situated along the Sudbury River in Concord, Massachusetts; the three years they spent at the rented Hosmer Cottage were described as idyllic. By 1843, the Alcott family moved, along with six other members of the Consociate Family, to the Utopian Fruitlands community for a brief interval in 1843–1844. After the collapse of the Utopian Fruitlands, they moved on to rented rooms and with Abigail May Alcott's inheritance and financial help from Emerson, they purchased a homestead in Concord, they moved into the home they named "Hillside" on April 1, 1845, but moved in 1852, selling to Nathaniel Hawthorne who renamed it The Wayside. Moving 22 times in 30 years, the Alcotts returned to Concord once again in 1857 and moved into Orchard House, a two-story clapboard farmhouse, in the spring of 1858. Alcott's early education included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau who inspired her to write Thoreau's Flute based on her time at Walden's Pond.
Most of the education she received though, came from her father, strict and believed in "the sweetness of self-denial." She received some instruction from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Julia Ward Howe, all of whom were family friends. She described these early years in a newspaper sketch entitled "Transcendental Wild Oats." The sketch was reprinted in the volume Silver Pitchers, which relates the family's experiment in "plain living and high thinking" at Fruitlands. Poverty made it necessary for Alcott to go to work at an early age as a teacher, governess, domestic helper, writer, her sisters supported the family, working as seamstresses, while their mother took on social work among the Irish immigrants. Only the youngest, was able to attend public school. Due to all of these pressures, writing became a emotional outlet for Alcott, her first book was Flower Fables, a selection of tales written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Alcott is quoted as saying "I wish I was rich, I was good, we were all a happy family this day" and was driven in life not to be poor. In 1847, she and her family served as station masters on the Underground Railroad, when they housed a fugitive slave for one week and had discussions with Frederick Douglass. Alcott read and admired the "Declaration of Sentiments", published by the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights, advocating for women's suffrage and became the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts in a school board election; the 1850s were hard times for the Alcotts, in 1854 Louisa found solace at the Boston Theatre where she wrote The Rival Prima Donnas, which she burned due to a quarrel between the actresses on who would play what role. At one point in 1857, unable to find work and filled with such despair, Alcott contemplated suicide. During that year, she read Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Brontë and found many parallels to her own life. In 1858, her younger sister Elizabeth died, her older sister Anna married a man named John Pratt.
This felt, to Alcott. As an adult, Alcott was a feminist. In 1860, Alcott began writing for the Atlantic Monthly; when t
Peace Conference of 1861
The Peace Conference of 1861 was a meeting of 131 leading American politicians in February 1861, at the Willard's Hotel in Washington, DC, on the eve of the American Civil War. The success of President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in the 1860 presidential elections led to a flurry of political activity. In much of the South, elections were held to select delegates to special conventions to consider secession from the Union. In Congress, efforts were made in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to reach compromise over the issues relating to slavery that were dividing the nation; the conference was the final effort by the individual states to resolve the crisis. With the seven states of the Cotton South committed to secession, the emphasis to preserve the Union peacefully focused on the eight slaveholding states representing the Upper and Border South, with the states of Virginia and Kentucky playing key roles. In December 1860, the final session of the Thirty-sixth Congress met.
In the House, the Committee of Thirty-Three, with one member from each state, led by Ohio Republican Thomas Corwin, was formed to reach a compromise to preserve the Union. In the Senate, former Kentucky Whig John J. Crittenden, elected as a Unionist candidate, submitted the Crittenden Compromise, six proposed constitutional amendments that he hoped would address all the outstanding issues. Hopes were high in the Border States, that the lame duck Congress could reach a successful resolution before the new Republican administration took office. Crittenden's proposals were debated by a specially-selected Committee of Thirteen; the proposals provided for, among other things, an extension of the Missouri Compromise line dividing the territories to the Pacific Ocean, bringing his efforts directly in conflict with the 1860 Republican Platform and the personal views of President-elect Abraham Lincoln, who had made known his objections. The compromise was rejected by the committee on December 22 by a vote of 7–6.
Crittenden brought the issue to the floor of the Senate as a proposal to have his compromise made subject to a national referendum, but the Senate rejected it on January 16, by a vote of 25–23. A modified version of the Crittenden Plan, believed to be more attractive to Republicans, was considered by an ad hoc committee of 14 congressmen from the lower North and the upper South, meeting several times between December 28 and January 4; the committee was chaired again by Crittenden and included other Southern Unionists such as Representatives John A. Gilmer of North Carolina, Robert H. Hatton of Tennessee, J. Morrison Harris of Maryland, John T. Harris of Virginia. A version of their work was rejected by the House on January 7. In the House, the Committee of Thirty-Three on January 14 reported that it had reached majority agreement on a constitutional amendment to protect slavery where it existed and the immediate admission of New Mexico Territory as a slave state; this latter proposal would result in a de facto extension of the Missouri Compromise line for all existing territories.
A fourth attempt came from the state of Virginia. Former President John Tyler, a private citizen of Virginia, still much interested in the fate of the nation, had been appointed as a special Virginia envoy to President James Buchanan to urge him to maintain the status quo in regard to the seceded states. Tyler was an elected delegate to the Virginia convention called to consider whether or not to follow the Deep South states out of the Union. Tyler thought that a final collective effort should be made to preserve the Union and in a document published on January 17, 1861, he called for a convention of the six free and six slave border states to resolve the sectional split. Governor John Letcher of Virginia had made a similar request to the state legislature, agreed to sponsor the convention while the list of attendees to all of the states was expanded. Corwin agreed to hold off any final vote on his House plan pending the final actions of the Peace Conference; the conference convened on February 1861, at the Willard Hotel.
At the same time that Tyler, selected to head the Peace Convention, was making his opening remarks in Washington, his granddaughter was ceremonially hoisting the flag for the convention in Montgomery. No delegates were sent by the Deep South states or by Arkansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon. Fourteen free states and seven slave states were represented. Among the representatives to the conference were James A. Seddon and William Cabell Rives from Virginia, David Wilmot from Pennsylvania, Reverdy Johnson from Maryland, William P. Fessenden and Lot M. Morrill from Maine, James Guthrie from Kentucky, Stephen T. Logan from Illinois, Alvan Cullom from Tennessee, Thomas Ewing and Salmon P. Chase from Ohio. Many of the delegates came in the belief that they could be successful, but many others, from both sides of the spectrum, came as "watchdogs" for their sectional interests; because many of the 131 delegates, which included "six former cabinet members, nineteen ex-governors, fourteen former senators, fifty former representatives, twelve state supreme court justices, one former president," qualified as senior statesmen, the meeting was referred to derisively as the Old Gentleman's Convention.
On February 6, a separate committee, charged with drafting a proposal for the entire convention to consider, was formed. The committee was headed by James Guthrie; the entire convention met for three weeks, its final product was a proposed seven-point constitutional amendment that differed little from the Crittenden Com