It was on May 22, 1861, however, that the Bridgeport Daily Advertiser and Weekly Farmer published one of the most controversial statements in response to the firing on
"The truth is that it is the South that is resisting a rebellion; one initiated
by the Abolitionists and Republicans of the North!
"The Republican doctrine was nothing less than the overthrowing of the
Supreme Court. The Court had decided an issue -- the Dred Scott case --
but the Republicans were determined to overthrow it, and they elected
a man whose avowed purpose was to fill the Bench with those sworn
to oppose that decision. In this the Republicans were in open rebellion
against the supreme law of the land. The first overt act of their
rebellion was committed on Election Day. The Republican Party
Convention had asked the people to wrench the Judiciary from its
proper, independent sphere, and hurl it into the hands of a party majority!
Last November, the people obeyed the call to do so. That was rebellion
and it was conceived and instigated by the North!" (1)
Northern frustrations regarding such attitudes and alliances were increased on Sunday, July 21, 1861, when the Federal and Confederate armies clashed across Bull Run Creek. Although the Federal army initially maintained a successful stand, they were forced to retreat back to
Organized rallies called "Peace Meetings" were conducted throughout the state to promote peaceful resolutions to the war's end, and white flags were hoisted to symbolize support for non-violent, civil alternatives to Northern aggression. On August 24th a Peace Meeting was held ten miles north of
"Let us declare, in common with our loyal fellow-citizens, that we hold
sacred the liberties of our country and we hold dear the peace of the
deprecate and utterly condemn these public exhibitions, falsely called
'peace meetings', that are really Secession demonstrations. They
insult our glorious flag and disgrace our country. In the present crisis
there are but two parties: Loyal men and Traitors. There are those who
either sustain the
and those who do not, whether by open rebellion or by showing sympathy
for Secession through so-called 'peace meetings'.
"Let us resolve that, until the complete suppression of this wicked
rebellion takes place, we will stand by the Stars and Stripes. We hereby
pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to defend them
to the last." (2)
Although the Peace Meeting in Stepney concluded peacefully with a high pitch of fervor and patriotism, a crowd of almost 8,000 went to Main and Wall streets in downtown
Bridgeport Mayor Daniel H. Sterling capably maintained order over the city's Republican government while members of the Common Council as well as P. T. Barnum, Elias Howe, Jr., and other respectable citizens condemned the rampage on the Bridgeport Daily Advertiser and Weekly Farmer as mob violence. The paper was not published again until the following year with tempered editorial views.
Proceed to End Notes & Bibliography.
Return to Bridgeport War Machine.
Visit the Virtual Exhibits for objects from the Barnum Museum's collection.
The Barnum Museum
820 Main Street
Hours: 11-3 Thur & Fri
The People's United Bank Gallery, located at the back of the building is open and free to the public to view the restoration and conservation process. The Barnum Museum's historic building remains closed to the public following tornado damage suffered on June 24, 2010.
Visit www.barnum-museum.org for more information.