Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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Letter to Union Meeting at Newport, R. I.

August 9, 2012

A Few Letters and Speeches of the Late Civil War by August Belmont (DNC Chairman)

Bellevue Avenue, August 9, 1862.

My Dear Sir,—I regret extremely that being called by pressing engagements to New York, it will not be in my power to comply with your kind invitation to address the mass meeting to be held in Touro Park on Monday next.

It would have been a source of sincere gratification to me to meet my fellow citizens of Newport on this momentous occasion, and to raise my feeble voice in aid of the sacred cause of the Union and the Constitution, for which the President has made so well-timed and earnest an appeal to the patriotism of our people.

The South, misled by the teachings of reckless politicians, has in its mad efforts to destroy our common country, shown an energy and determination worthy of a better cause. Throughout the revolted States every able-bodied man, from the age of 16 to 60, is at this moment in arms against those glorious institutions bequeathed to us by the fathers of the Republic, and which until now had rendered our country the admiration and envy of the civilized world. If we mean successfully to withstand their wicked onslaughts, if we intend to preserve to our children the precious inheritance of Constitutional liberty, if we hope to save from disgrace and defeat the sacred symbol of our greatness and our liberties, that banner which floated victoriously over every battle-field until betrayed and attacked by its own children, then we must at once obey the call of duty, and rush without a moment’s delay to the support of our government.

Whatever may be thought or said by our domestic and foreign foes, in order to exaggerate our losses in the late battles before Richmond, and generally to underrate our gallant army and navy, we can proudly point to numerous victories, and immense advantages which we have gained over the rebels in last year’s campaign. We hold New Orleans and the Mississippi, the very artery of their existence, and the Federal flag has a stronghold in every one of the revolted States. I am firmly convinced that with the additional forces which the government intends to put into the field, and which the people will cheerfully and promptly place at its disposal, we can and will crush the rebellion before the end of the year.

Once the Confederate army conquered and dispersed, and we shall see the South cast loose from their wicked leaders, and returning eagerly to share with us the blessings of that Union to which alone we chiefly owed our former greatness and prosperity.

Rhode Island has ever been foremost in the defence of our national liberties, and I have no doubt your meeting will prove a new incentive to her sons to follow the noble example of their fathers and brothers, who on many a battlefield have sealed with their blood their undying love for their country.

Incapacitated by lameness from bearing arms in the defence of our country, I am still desirous to do my share as a good citizen in the hour of our national trial. I beg to suggest to you that a fund be raised by subscription for the support of the needy families of the soldiers from this city or State. If this proposition meets with the approval of our citizens, I am prepared to give $1,000 to the committee which your meeting may deem proper to appoint for the collection of subscriptions and the judicious distribution of funds. The brave soldier will fight with a better heart when he knows that those whom he has left behind are cared for by those who cannot share his danger and his glory.

Yours, very truly,

(Signed)……………AUGUST BELMONT.

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