Eugene Blackford letter excerpt January 14, 1861

In this letter home to his father, Blackford seems to understand better than the politicians what is coming. Although opposing secession, he also opposes coercion by the Federal government.

Ere this I suppose you have received the intelligence that Alabama has seceded, and that I am for the first time in my life without the limits of the United States, and have authority to express what I have long felt, viz., that I am in a foreign land.

I have been watching with the most intense anxiety to see whether the policy of coercion will be adapted or not—I cannot express to you my horror of this plan. You cannot form an idea so well as I can who am on the spot, of the terrible civil war that such a course would ensure. I shall most assuredly do my part in resisting any such attempts. If any thing could enhance my horror of any such policy on the part of the administration, it is the thought of what would be the effect upon my own State, which I suppose would soon become a perfect Flanders. How men calling themselves patriots can advocate such a course I cannot imagine. I do not think that the civil war which it would at once cause to break out would ever cease. This I say knowingly—for I know the sentiments of the people in these states upon the subject. I am just as staunch an opponent of secession as ever I was, but it never once occurred to me that the idea of coercion would seriously be entertained by Buchanan. It disturbs me so that I cannot sleep at nights—sometimes I lie awake for hours picturing to myself the awful scenes that must ensue especially in my own state and surely but little of it is caused by apprehensions for myself—for I should never wish to live a day after such scenes begin to appear.


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