Chapter 26


In the year 1861 a chubby, curly-headed little man took the executive chair as governor of Massachusetts. His name was John Albion Andrew.

With neither the personal presence of Charles Sumner, the commanding grace of Wendell Phillips, nor he magnetic eloquence of either, he had ever been as earnest a worker in behalf of freedom, and had shown himself the friend of the broken, the dispirited, and the oppressed, and an intense lover of the Union, "one and indivisible," but free.

In face and form he did not suggest the hero; he was more like Pickwick than like Pericles; and when he vas elected governor of that commonwealth whose long array of chief magistrates, from John Hancock and Samuel Adams to Edward Everett and Nathaniel Prentiss Banks, had been men of dignity, force, and ability, hose who had voted for him with hesitation feared lest he prove unsafe as a radical reformer or wanting in executive ability.

They speedily discovered their mistake. That little man in the governor’s chair towered over all his predecessors as a giant in ability, "the safest pilot that ever weathered a storm."




Even when he entered office as governor of Massachusetts that storm was gathering fast, and ~John Albion Andrew was one of the first to discover it. The friction between the North and the South over the question of slavery and tile maintenance of the Union, which began with John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts in the Congress of 1836, and culminated with Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in the Congress of 1856, became unendurable in i86i. One by one, the States of the South seceded, Sumter was fired upon, the war for the Union began.

Of the sixteen famous and remarkable American "war governors" who upheld the hands of the general government through those four terrible years of civil war, none is more famous or was more remarkable than John Albion Andrew, the twenty-first governor of Massachusetts.

The bursting of the storm found him preparing. He was inaugurated on the 5th of January, i86i, and that very day he sent confidential messengers to the governors of the other New England States, prophesying war, and urging united and immediate military preparations. On the 16th of January he ordered that the ranks of the State militia be filled with able-bodied men, "prepared for any emergency which may arise," and on the 1st of February the State legislature, compelled by the governor’s urgency, voted an "emergency fund" of one hundred thousand dollars, and authorized him to organize and equip as many military companies and regiments "as the public exigency may require."

Though men smiled at their governor’s "rush," and



scouted his idea of war, that exigency was not far off. It came, at last, with the attack on Fort Sumter on the 15th of April, for seventy-five thousand volunteers to defend the Union.

The volunteers of Massachusetts were ready. During the months of uncertainty, while others were waiting, Governor Andrew was acting. The militia was strengthened; defenses were investigated; blankets; cartridges, and knapsacks for two thousand troops were secured; overcoats were purchased (and for a long time these infantry overcoats were called "Andrew’s overcoats"); correspondence was kept up; a secret message cipher was arranged; and quick routes to Washington were studied and selected,

The governor’s proclamation followed close upon that of the President, and when, on the 15th of April, two



regiments were telegraphed for from Washington, four, on the 16th, were ordered to muster on Boston Common.

They responded at once,—Captain Allen’s company from Abington, three companies of the Eighth from Marblehead, Captain Richardson’s company from Cambridge (the first recruits of the war), Captain Devereaux’s company from Salem, Captain Dike’s company from Stoneham, with Captain Pratt’s battalion of rifles and Captain Sampson’s Boston company. These were first on the ground, and, a storm preventing the muster on the Common, they made their headquarters, as was most fitting, at Faneuil Hall. Others followed fast, and on the 17th three regiments were hurried south: first, in the afternoon; the Fourth by steamer to Fortress Monroe; an hour later the Sixth, by rail, to Washington; and, during the night the Third, by steamer, to Fortress Monroe. The Eighth followed, by rail, on the i8th; and so vigorous was the governor’s action, and so well laid his plans, that, in an incredibly short time, out from peaceful Massachusetts and her fourteen counties went nearly four thousand officers and men, volunteers for three months’ service, hurrying "on to Washington."

"It was these militia regiments, and such as these," says Colonel Higginson, "that saved the nation during that first period of peril."

Of these earliest departures, the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Colonel Jones of Pepperell, was the first armed regiment to reach Washington, the first to shed its blood in the cause of the Union, the first to become famous. The whole land knows the story of the attack on the Sixth Massachusetts at Baltimore,



where, on the 19th of April, 1861—a day historic in the Bay State’s Revolutionary story,—four Massachusetts soldiers were killed and thirty-six wounded by the mob of the Baltimore streets. It was the first blood of’ the Civil War, and well did Massachusetts avenge it. But when, thirty-seven years after, that same Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts volunteers again marched through Baltimore to join the soldiers of the South on the mission of liberty and redemption for Cuba, the streets of the beautiful city resounded with cheers of welcome and cries of brotherhood. Much can happen in thirty-seven years, but no more significant happening was ever recorded than Baltimore’s shouts of welcome in 1898 to the regiment whom she had met with blows and curses in 1861.

In all those four years of woeful civil war the State of Massachusetts sent to the defense of the Union, as her contribution to the armies and navy of the United States, one hundred and sixty thousand men. Every, city and town in the State filled its quota whenever the President called for troops,—in fact; the returns stow that sixteen thousand more men than were called for were enlisted in Massachusetts.

Promptness in the field, a high standard of fighting men, freedom from unsoldierly actions, an excess of volunteers over the government quota, men toughened into tireless soldiers, and officers developed into such able leaders as Lowell and Bartlett and Banks and Devens and Miles,—this was the record of Massachusetts in the field; and for it John Albion Andrew, "a governor who appreciated the situation," was largely responsible.



Equally responsible, too, was he for the energy and reliability of the commonwealth. No one man can be responsible for the patriotism of a people schooled to that high duty by Revolutionary traditions, or for a public opinion founded upon an ardent love of liberty; but for the practical development of that public opinion, and the right direction of that patriotism, Governor John Andrew was peculiarly fitted, and right gallantly did he take things in hand.

Under his direction and the inspiration of their cause, the soldiers fought, the people gave. Out of her State treasury Massachusetts contributed to the expenses of the war twenty-eight millions of dollars, not counting the expenditures of the cities and towns; she paid in gold all the interest of her debt incurred for war purposes; she kept her credit unimpaired, and her name high for honor, integrity, and loyalty, upholding by the patience, endurance, and desire of her citizens the hands of their great war governor, and of their sons and fathers who, on land and sea, were fighting the battles of the Union.

The chubby little war governor had done his duty nobly. He had become a great, an historic figure. Watchful ever, restless in his energy, tireless in his activity, putting forth all his powers for the great cause that was battling for its life, writing thousands of letters, meeting extraordinary expenses, and never sparing his own pocket, Governor John Andrew threw himself, heart and soul, into the task of strengthening the federal government and helping it on toward victory.

And when victory came at last, when, in the Statehouse on the hill, the home-coming regiments delivered



into the custody of the governor of the State the flags they had so valiantly borne through the four dreadful battle years, who so happy as Governor Andrew? He received, on behalf of the State of Massachusetts, those stained and tattered battle flags, "to be sacredly preserved forever in the archives of the commonwealth, as grand emblems of the heroic services and patriotic devotion to liberty and union of one hundred and forty thousand of her dead and living Sons."

So ran the order of" his Excellency, John A. Andrew, governor and commander in chief."

Up the Street to the Statehouse, bearing their colors, marched four thousand of the veterans of the Old Bay State. It was upon a most appropriate day,—the 22d of December, 1865, the two hundred and forty-fifth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims of Plymouth, —a typical and a fitting day; and in the presence of a, host of spectators the governor received the colors.

It is, sir," said General Couch, who led the returning’ volunteers, "a peculiar satisfaction



and pleasure to us that you, who have been an honor to the State and nation, from your marked patriotism and fidelity throughout the war, and have been identified with every organization before you, are now to receive back, as the State custodian of her precious relics, these emblems of the devotion of her sons. May it please your Excellency, the colors of the Massachusetts volunteers are returned to the State."

The drums rolled, the bugles blew the salute to the flag, and the governor received the colors.

"General," he said, "this pageant, so full of pathos and of glory, forms the concluding scene in the long series of visible actions and events, in which Massachusetts has borne a part, for the overthrow of rebellion and the vindication of the Union. Proud memories of many a field, sweet memories alike of valor and friend— ship, sad memories of fraternal strife, tender memories of our fallen brothers and sons whose dying eyes looked last upon their flaming folds, grand memories of heroic virtues sublimed by grief, exultant memories of the great and final victory of our country, our Union, and the righteous cause, thankful memories of a deliverance wrought out for human nature itself, unexampled by any former achievement of arms, immortal memories with immortal honors blended,—all twine round these splintered staves, weave themselves along the warp and woof of these familiar flags, war-worn, begrimed, and baptized with blood. . . . I accept these relics in behalf of the people and the government. They will be preserved and cherished, amid all the vicissitudes of the future, as mementos of brave men and noble actions."



And to-day, in the noble rotunda of the Statehouse, upon the clustered battle flags, "sacredly preserved," looks down the portrait of that man of the hour from whose hands they came and to whom they returned, the man who took things in hand at a ticklish time, and did his duty nobly, unflinchingly, and completely, —John Albion Andrew, the great "war governor" of Massachusetts.

"Forewarned is forearmed ;" that was Governor John Andrew’s motto in 1861 How practical a one it was this story of the Old Bay State’s efficiency amid those first cries for succor and defense that came up from the threatened capital has told you; and the lesson of readiness that Governor John Andrew set in i86i was not forgotten when once again, in 1898, came the call for troops to uphold the republic’s stern decree that humanity, not persecution, justice, not tyranny, should control in Cuba.

"Ready," said Governor Roger Wolcott, when the word came for the Massachusetts quota. And so well filled, well drilled, and well equipped were the four regiments of the Massachusetts volunteers selected to answer the first call that, in the first advance on Cuba, largely composed of regular troops, the Second Regiment of Massachusetts volunteer militia was one of the two regiments assigned to a foremost place, simply because it was ready and in prime condition to take part in an active campaign.

Truly the seeds sown by Governor John Andrew, thirty-seven years before, had borne excellent fruit. The Old Bay State, thanks to his teaching, is never to be caught napping.