Archive for July, 2013

John Quincy Adams on Secession

July 27, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in American Other by

Adams in 1843

One of the leading politicians in the first half of the 19th century was John Quincy Adams. Son of John Adams, second president of the United States, he himself was elected as the sixth president, serving one term from 1824 to 1829. After his presidential term, he did something unprecedented. He became one of only two presidents to return back to Congress after his term. Adams remained in Congress for 18 years after serving as president, collapsing on the House floor and dying two days later. Adams opposed the movement in the Northern states to secede during the War of 1812. But many years later, he, along with other prominent politicians, signed A Solemn Appeal to the People of the Free States, which was in favor of secession:

We hesitate not to say that annexation of Texas, effected by any act or proceeding of the Federal Government, or any of its departments, would be identical with dissolution. It would be a violation of our national compact, its objects, designs, and the great elementary principles with entered into its formation, of a character so deep and fundamental, and would be an attempt to authorize an institution and a power of a nature so unjust in themselves, so injurious to the interests and abhorrent to the feelings of the people of the Free States, as, in our opinion, not only inevitably to result in a dissolution of the Union, but fully to justify it; and we not only assert that the people of the Free States ‘ought not to submit to it,’ but we say, with confidence, they would not submit to it.1

He further clarified his position in a speech in 1839 upon the 50th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration:

Adams in 1848

In the calm hours of self-possession, the right of a State to nullify an act of Congress, is too absurd for argument, and too odious for discussion. The right of a state to secede from the Union, is equally disowned by the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Nations acknowledge no judge between them upon earth, and their Governments from necessity, must in their intercourse with each other decide when the failure of one party to a contract to perform its obligations, absolves the other from the reciprocal fulfillment of his own. But this last of earthly powers is not necessary to the freedom or independence of states, connected together by the immediate action of the people, of whom they consist. To the people alone is there reserved, as well the dissolving, as the constituent power, and that power can be exercised by them only under the tie of conscience, binding them to the retributive justice of Heaven.

With these qualifications, we may admit the same right as vested in the people of every state in the Union, with reference to the General Government, which was exercised by the people of the United Colonies, with reference to the Supreme head of the British empire, of which they formed a part – and under these limitations, have the people of each state in the Union a right to secede from the confederated Union itself.

Thus stands the RIGHT. But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several states of this confederated nation, is after all, not in the right, but in the heart. If the day should ever come, (may Heaven avert it,) when the affections of the people of these states shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give away to cold indifference, or collisions of interest shall fester into hatred, the bands of political association will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited states, to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre.2


1The Political History of Slavery in the United States by James Z. George (New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1915) p. 58.

2The Jubilee of the Constitution: A Discourse Delivered at the request of the New York Historical Society, in the City of New York, on Tuesday, the 30th of April, 1839; being the fiftieth anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States by John Quincy Adams (New York: Samuel Colman, 1839) p. 68-69.

Morgan’s Raid Ends

July 26, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War by

Morgan’s men as prisoners in Western Penitentiary, Pennsylvania. Left to Right: Captain William Curry, 8th KY Cavalry; Lieutenant Andrew Church, 8th KY Cavalry; Lieutenant Leeland Hathaway, 14th KY Cavalry; Lieutenant Henry Brown, 10th KY Cavalry; Lieutenant William Hays, 20th KY Cavalry

150 years ago today, John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry raid into the north ended with the capture of all his remaining men. Above you can see a picture  of five of the raiders in prison in Pennsylvania. To learn the entire story of the raid, check out the post on the Civil War 150th blog.

The Bloody Wheatfield – Gettysburg 150th Video

July 25, 2013 with 1 Comment and Posted in Videos, Weekly Video by

Some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg occurred on July 2nd, 1863, as the forces pushed back and forth through what would be called the Bloody Wheatfield. Watch this recreation of the battle from the Blue Gray Alliance’s reenactment at the Gettysburg 150th!
Purchase the entire reenactment DVD in our store.

Battle of Manassas 152nd Anniversary

July 22, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War by

Yesterday was the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Manassas, the first major conflict of the Civil War.

Troops were moving before dawn on the morning of July 21st. Both of the armies on either side of Bull Run had similar strategies, for their left to attack their opponent’s right. But that is not how it turned out. Almost all military movements are late. This is even more true when green, inexperienced troops are involved, and both of these armies were made up of troops that had never been in combat. But through the coarse of events the Union army was able to strike first. Although they were delayed on the road, because of lost orders the Confederates had not even started to move by the time they realized they were completely outflanked by the Union forces.

Read the entire post on the Civil War 150th blog.

Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts

July 18, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in Weekly Video by

150 years ago today the Union army attacked Fort Wagner outside of Charleston South Carolina. Leading the charge was the black regiment the 54th MA. Their brave and bloody attack was seen in the film Glory.

Gettysburg Veterans Meet in 1913

July 15, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in Civil War by


Confederate and Union veterans shake hands at the Gettysburg 50th anniversary ceremony in 1913.

Gettysburg 150th BGA – Little Round Top

July 12, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in Videos by

See the Confederate struggle to capture Little Round Top from the 150th Gettysburg Reenactment

Gettysburg and Leadership

July 12, 2013 with 2 Comments and Posted in Civil War by

Technology may change, but warfare never does. Video from the U.S. Army War College.

Gettysburg 150th DVD Preorder

July 9, 2013 with No Comments and Posted in News by

Gettysburg DVD 3D

You can preorder the Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Reenactment DVD from our store today! Raw DVDs are ready to ship, edited DVDs will be finished in about a month.

Gettysburg 150th Reenactment Trailer

July 8, 2013 with 4 Comments and Posted in Videos, Weekly Video by

On June 27-30, 2013, over ten thousand reenactors assembled in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to commemorate one of the most important battles of the Civil War. They came from all over the country and recreated some of the most dramatic parts of the battle. Join us in this video to relive these exciting battles. You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this great event!

You can order the DVD today from our store. Be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel and stay tuned for more clips from the Gettysburg reenactment!

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

July 1, 2013 with 1 Comment and Posted in Civil War by

The next three days will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most important battles of the entire Civil War. Tens of thousands of reenactors and hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world will descend on the town to commemorate this great event. Make sure to stay tuned to the Civil War 150th blog we cover the battle with a day by day account of the events.

Also, stay tuned here for the announcement of an exciting new project related to the Battle of Gettysburg!