Preparation for War

As we prepare to celebrate another Fourth of July, we may want to consider for a moment the enormous sacrifice that made the freedom of our country possible.  And how it was nearly dissolved some 80 years later with the onset of the Civil War.  We always think of the Civil War as beginning in 1861, but Blithewold’s archives offer evidence that the storm was brewing for several years before that.

On July 4, 1856, Ario Pardee’s aunt, Sarah Sackett, wrote in a letter,

I do not think that I ever felt so sad, on the anniversary of my country’s natal day. On this very week a paper has been circulated in the village to get names to petition for dissolution of the Union. Yes, for a separation of those Stripes and Stars which have been for eighty years our glory and defense. And men and women who have to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows, who have nothing to gain but everything to lose, have put their names to such a traitorous document. It is bad enough to see old men and women treated like old “Fogies” and put aside by the present fast generation. But to have my country, which I had hoped was in the infancy of its being, thus lightly esteemed, and all its blood-bought precious privilege cast aside and undervalued, is too much … I most earnestly desire that the counsel and efforts of all such traitors may turn to foolishness, and be defeated. I believe you will think, from what I have written, that I am crazy, but I am not. This movement took me by surprise, and has weighed on my spirit like an incubus.”

Sarah continued her correspondence to her nephew, and supported him as he sent his sons to fight for the Union. In May 1865 she wrote joyfully to Ario, celebrating the end of the war: “I hope as our soldiers are disbanded and return to the peaceful employment of civil life, they will exhibit a loftier and more noble manhood for all time to come. Ario [Jr..] will return in safety after a four years’ war – it seems wonderful to me that he has escaped with life and limb.”