Meanwhile, President Lincoln had answered the act of rebellion by declaring, with determination, that he would reestablished the Union, whatever the cost. He had taken decisive measures, and the preparation for war had begun on both sides. Each one found himself in the obligation of choosing his allegiance and of caring for the security of his family and of his own person. From all points of America, and even of Europe, people whose business or pleasures had dispersed returned to their homeland.
There were, in the South, dealers from the North. In the North, citizens from the South, whose family ties, or their business, or simply their choice, had established there. Everyone left his adopted fatherland and returned in haste under the flag of his native state.
It seems quite simple to say, but what pains, what tearings apart -- what forced separations ! No category of people suffered more during this period of imminent civil war than that of the military or naval officers. Doubly citizens of the Union, bound together by this military comradeship -- christened in all languages, “Fraternity of arms” -- the problem was more complex for them. With the first rumors of war, General Scott, in charge of organizing the Army for the Northern states, feared the burden would be too heavy for his old age, and thought of Robert Lee, who had just been