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A War Against the Critics of Joseph Smith's Civil War Prophecy
Research by Kerry A. Shirts
I challenge critics to refute history. That is what they apparently have the brass to do these days denying any fulfillment of Joseph Smith's Civil War Prophecy. History destroys the critics of Joseph Smith on this one. What the critics have failed to do is read their American History on this one. Now this is literally, and in each and every sense of the word, lazy, silly, and unexcusable. There are over 42,000 websites dealing with the Civil War on the Internet. Surely it is time to learn just a smidgin of American History! I will even give you a small list of those I have visited that are relevant to Joseph Smith's prophecy so you can see the information from U.S. Historian sources instead of what critics incorrectly would label "bias Mormon History sources." Sources I find directly off the Internet I preface with three ***'s. I also leave you the website. Ignorance is inexcusable these days.
http://www.tulane.edu/~latner/CrisisMain.html (Excellent on finding out where the Civil War started, when, the politics, discussions, etc. Joseph Smith was strictly correct in locating the origin of the war in South Carolina. Virtually ***EVERY*** historical source is agreed on this issue)
***The presidential election of 1860 culminated more than a decade of increasing sectional conflict between the North and South, and, simultaneously, precipitated a new crisis that ultimately severed the Union. The election of the Republican party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln on November 6, 1860, began a chain of events that included the secession of seven deep South states the establishment of the Confederate States of America at Montgomery, Alabama, and the assumption of authority over federal property, such as customhouses and forts. The Confederacy's attempt to extend its sovereignty over forts that remained in Union hands, notably Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor and Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida, placed the rival governments on a collision course. These events transpired in the approximately 120 days between Lincoln's election in early November and his inauguration on March 4, 1861.
***Sumter was located offshore, being constructed on an artificial island made from the granite of northern quarries. Nearby fortifications, such as Forts Moultrie and Johnson, and Castle Pinckney, virtually surrounded it. Prior to South Carolina's secession on December 20, 1860, the Buchanan administration declined to reinforce the small federal contingent largely housed at Fort Moultrie, and ordered its commander, Major Robert Anderson, to defend the forts if attacked but not to provoke hostilities. After December 20, Anderson's situation became more difficult. With public sentiment pressing for action, South Carolina sent commissioners to Washington to negotiate the transfer of the forts to the state, and requested immediate control of Fort Sumter. Like Slemmer, Anderson considered his situation increasingly precarious, indeed untenable if South Carolina occupied Sumter. After nightfall, on the evening of December 26, Anderson moved his small force from Moultrie to the more defensible Sumter.
Despite South Carolina's insistence that Anderson's action was a hostile act and must be repudiated, President Buchanan refused to order Anderson to return. South Carolina then proceeded to occupy federal property in Charleston, including the military posts surrounding Sumter. By January 1, only Sumter remained a Union outpost in the midst of secessionist South Carolina. Stiffening his resolve to protect Anderson's vulnerable garrison, President Buchanan approved an expedition headed by a chartered merchant steamer, the Star of the West, to resupply and reinforce Fort Sumter. On January 9, 1861, the ship arrived at Charleston Harbor, but turned back when it was fired upon by South Carolina's batteries. Despite the outbreak of fighting, war did not ensue. As at Pensacola, a precarious truce went into effect in Charleston Harbor. The Confederate government, which assumed responsibility for Sumter after its establishment, tightened the noose around the fort, while the Union garrison continued to hold firm. The situation at Sumter received considerably more public attention, both in the North and the South, than that at Pickens. It rapidly became a symbol of rival definitions of sovereignty and honor.
***Ironically, the situations at both Forts Pickens and Sumter were resolved even before the arrival of the relief expeditions. On the evening of April 12, 1861, following Lieutenant Worden's arrival in Pensacola, United States troops were landed at Pickens. The fort was secured, thereby offsetting the loss of the other naval fortifications at Pensacola Harbor. Fort Pickens and the surrounding island remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War. While public attention focused on the shelling of Fort Sumter and the outbreak of Civil War, Meigs's relief expedition became a footnote in history, a relatively obscure "second" reinforcement of Pickens.
Meanwhile, Fox's expedition to Sumter arrived too late to provision or reinforce Anderson and his garrison. Fox's plan was never tested, partly because of the Confederacy's decision to attack Sumter before his expedition arrived, and partly because the Powhatan, with its essential boats and crew, sailed to Fort Pickens instead of Sumter.
In one sense, all of the decision making and planning behind the two expeditions was pointless. But such a view unduly minimizes the significance of Lincoln's actions. The Pickens mission decisively secured the fort from hostile forces, assuring a more effective implementation of the Union's blockade of southern ports. Furthermore, Lincoln's decision to send these expeditions influenced Jefferson Davis to initiate the attack on Sumter. While the irony of the Sumter and Pickens expeditions should be fully appreciated, their featured role in the coming of the Civil War still merits recognition.
***As the reality of civil war quickly took hold in the days following April 12, the dramatic saga of Anderson's garrison at Fort Sumter faded into the background. Montgomery Blair remarked that "events of such magnitude" rapidly crowded on the country and President Lincoln, that "Sumter and Anderson are not thought of for the moment."
Fort Sumter, of course, was not forgotten, and the story of the fort and its small garrison holds a prominent place in American history. Sumter's fame has little to do with its military aspects. In strictly military terms, the battle between Union an d Confederate forces at Fort Sumter scarcely merits attention. After a relatively brief bombardment, the small Union garrison surrendered a position of questionable military value to either side. Not a single human life was lost during the fighting, as compared to the massive, momentous, and bloody engagements at Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, or at Cold Harbor during the Wilderness Campaign where in a brief period of no more than half an hour, Union forces suffered some 7,000 casualties.
It is Sumter's association with the Civil War, one of the great shaping events of the American experience, which gives it a symbolic dimension far outweighing its military significance. The attack on Sumter was the first notable clash of arms between th e newly formed Confederacy and the Union. The battle marked a transition from the period of precarious peace that accompanied the initial secession of seven deep South states from the Union to the four protracted years of bloodshed and devastation of the Civil War.
Like the Civil War itself, however, Sumter remains the subject of considerable controversy. Contemporary recollections, popular investigations, and historical analyses, have offered different assessments of a variety of issues connected with the outbrea k of fighting. The most intense debate has focused on Lincoln, some of whose critics at the time, as well as later, held him responsible for the war and contended that he deliberately provoked the South into firing on Fort Sumter. In their view, Lincoln deliberately and disingenuously fixed the onus for starting the war on the Confederacy. To be sure, scholars have also investigated the Confederate government, and some hold it accountable for the fighting. But it is Lincoln's decisions and motives that have been most closely scrutinized.
***Chronology of the Secession Crisis
January 11, 1860: Alabama Democratic Party adopts the Alabama Platform.
February 27, 1860: Abraham Lincoln addresses gathering at the Cooper Union in New York City.
March 6, 1860: Lincoln gives speech in New Haven, Connecticut.
April 23, 1860: Democratic Convention opens in Charleston, SC.
May 3, 1860: Democratic Convention adjourns after Deep South delegations withdraw over the slavery plank in the
May 9, 1860: Constitutional Union Party nominates John Bell of Tennessee for the Presidency.
May 18, 1860: Republican Party nominates Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency.
June 18, 1860: Democrats reconvene in Baltimore, MD.
June 22, 1860: Deep South delegates again withdraw from the Democratic Convention.
June 23, 1860: "Regular" Democrats nominate Stephan A. Douglas; the "Southern" wing of the party nominates John C.
November 6, 1860: Lincoln defeats Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell for the Presidency.
November 14, 1860: Alexander Stephans addresses the Georiga legislature on secession.
November 30, 1860: Mississippi legislature passes resolutions in favor of secession.
December 18, 1860: Crittenden Compromise introduced in Congress.
December 20, 1860: South Carolina secedes.
December 26, 1860: Major Anderson moves Federal garrison in Charleston, SC, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter.
January 3, 1861: Georgia seizes Fort Pulaski.
January 4, 1861: Alabama seizes U.S. arsenal at Mount Vernon.
January 5, 1861: Alabama seizes Forts Morgan and Gaines.
January 6, 1861: Florida seizes Apalachicola arsenal.
January 7, 1861: Florida seizes Fort Marion.
January 8, 1861: Floridians try to seize Fort Barrancas but are chased off.
January 9, 1861: Mississippi secedes.
January 10, 1861: Florida secedes.
January 10, 1861: Louisiana seizes U.S. arsenal at Baton Rouge, as well as Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
January 11, 1861: Alabama secedes.
January 11, 1861: Louisiana seizes U.S. Marine Hospital.
January 14, 1861: Louisiana seizes Fort Pike.
January 19, 1861: Georgia secedes.
January 26, 1861: Louisiana secedes.
January 28, 1861: Tennessee Resolutions in favor of Crittenden Compromise offered in Congress.
February 1, 1861: Texas secedes.
February 8, 1861: Provisional Constitution of the Confederacy adopted in Montgomery, AL.
February 8, 1861: Arkansas seizes U.S. Arsenal at Little Rock.
February 12, 1861: Arkansas seizes U.S. ordnance stores at Napoleon.
February 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis inaugurated as President of the Confederacy.
March 4, 1861: Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as 16th President of the United States.
March 21, 1861: "Cornerstone speech" delivered by Alexander Stephans.
April 12, 1861: Fort Sumter fired upon by Confederate
***The Question of the Hour
James Russell Lowell
(From Atlantic Monthly, VII (1861), pp. 120-21). Taken from Kenneth Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War, pp. 142-43)
We do not underestimate the gravity of the present crisis, and we agree that nothing should be done to exasperate it; but if the people of the Free States have been taught anything by the repeated lessons of bitter experience, it has been that submission is not the seed of conciliation, but of contempt and encroachent . . . It is quite time that it should be understood that freedom is also an institution deserving some attention in a Model Republic, that a decline in stocks is more tolerable and more transient than one in public spirit, and that material prosperity was never known to abide long in a country that had lost its political morality. The fault of the Free States in the eyes of the South is not one that can be atoned for by any yielding of special points here and there. Their offence is that they are free, and that their habits and prepossessions are those of Freedom. Their crime is the census of 1860. Their increase in number, wealth, and power is a standing aggresssion. It would not be enough to please the Southern States that we should stop asking them to abolish slavery, -- what they demand of us is nothing less than that we should abolish the spirit of the age. Our very thoughts are a menace. It is not the North, but the South, that forever agitates the question of Slavery. The seeming prosperity of the cotton-growing States is based on a great mistake and a great wrong; and it is no wonder that they are irritable and scent accusation in the very air. It is the stars in their courses that fight against their system . . .
It is time that the South should learn, if they do not begin to suspect it already, that the difficulty of the Slavery question is slavery itself, -- nothing more, nothing less. It is time that the North should learn that it has nothing left to compromise but the rest of its self-respect. Nothing will satisfy the extremists at the South short of a reduction of the Free States to a mere police for the protection of an institution whose danger increases at an equal pace with its wealth.
***Firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's Troop Call
A federal garrison, led by Major Robert Anderson, had remained at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor since December 26, 1860. As such, it served as an important symbolic presence, one well out of proportion to its actual strategic importance. Immediately after the inaugural, Lincoln recevied word that the garrison would need to be resupplied within a few weeks, and that presented the new President with a difficult dilemma. Republican hawks demanded that the fort be resupplied; the moderates, led by William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, urged him to evacuate the fort, in the hopes of reaching a peace settlement.
Ultimately, Lincoln decided to resupply the fort, but in unarmed ships. He would send only provisions; troops and warships would only enter the harbor if the first ships were fired upon. Furthermore, Lincoln notified the Confederates of his plan, so that they would be fully informed should they choose to attack "a mission of humanity."
The Confederates took the bait, and opened fire on the fort on April 12, at 4:30 am. Fire-eater and longtime Southern nationalist Edmund Ruffin of Virginia was given the honor of firing the first shot. Thirty-four hours later, on April 14, the Union forces surrendered, and the Confederate "Stars and Bars" flew above the fort. The American Civil War had begun.
End of Internet website sources------------------------------------------------------------
Interestingly, Critics ignore that Joseph Smith got it correct when he said the hostilities and war would begin at South Carolina. History is virtually checkmating critics on this, as there is no disagreement whatsoever in every major source on the Civil War, and where it began, S. Carolina!
Also interesting is that Joseph Smith's prophecy said the southern states would call on Great Britain for help in the war. This the Southern states ***CLEARLY*** did, again vindicating Joseph Smith's prophecy. Now Great Britain decided not to enter the war helping the south, but the prophecy deals with the Southern decisions, not whether Great Britain would end up helping at all.
We read in Emory M. Thomas's, "The Confederate Nation", Harper Torchbooks, 1979:
"The Confederacy's message to the world beyond its borders was fairly simple. The Southern nation "de facto" existed... To the U.S., the Southerners offered a "fait accompli" and a determination to resist reunion... To Europe they added the lure of King Cotton as well... Congress consented to Toomb's appointment..." (p. 80)
On Feb 13, Congree resolved to send a commission of three to Great Britain, France and elsewhere in Europe (p. 81)
The choice of European nations the Confederate commissioners visited and the order of these visits was significant. Britain and France possessed great navies and great appetites for Southern cotton. These circumstances and the priority given to Great Britain underscored the Southern belief that cotton was King. (p. 82)
Near the end of his instructions (of telling Britain about their succession) Toombs carefully included mention of the prohibition of the slave trade. Thus did he anticipate and attempt to soften the objection of British abolitionists. (p. 83)
To the British, Toombs suggested the attraction between economic opposites and said little about the South's peculiar institution. (p. 83)
At the beginning Toombs confidently expected recognition from Europe (meaning Great Britain, France, Belgium, etc.) Lord John Russell, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was cordial during his informed meetings with the southerners. (p. 84)
Toomb's successor in the State Dept. was R. M.T. Hunter (p. 169)
A policy founded on righteousness and cotton did not sufficiently impress Britain and France. (p. 170)
In early Aug. of 1861, Yancy, Rost, and Mann (the Confederacy's first commissioners to Europe) gathered at London to present exciting news to the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs. From Hunter they had just learned of the victory at Manassas, and accordingly they requested *another* informal interview with Russell. (p. 172)
The underlying reasons for the Confederates lure of economic goodies was to get Britain on their side in the war. (pp. 172f)
Although noting that Mason and Slidell did much to influence Britain and France govts., Confederacy diplomacy underwent a subtle change during 1862. While the Southern Commissioners were doing their best to plead their case to European govts. (Br., Fr., Bel., etc.) A certain Hotz even went so far as to start "The Index" in London, a weekly newspaper offering a southern slant. Hotz also educated British journalists to the Confederate cause. (p. 177)
For a discussion of whether Russell (of Britain) and Trouverel (of France) were going to give in to the Confederate desires for help, see pp. 178-182. The whole point is thatthey were appealed to, even if they decided to remain neutral.
More interesting still, for British reaction to the Blockade of Bulloch, see pp. 182-184! They were helping the Southerners a bit after all!
Yet for all this, in 1864 "President Davis determined to take personal action. He called Louisiana Congressman Duncan F. Kenner... to undertake a secret mission to Britain and France." But Britain would not recognize the south as a nation. (p. 294)
For a description of the South getting British ships see James Russell Saley, "The Blockade and the Cruisers", Noble Offset Printers, pp. 180-230.
For correspondence with Lord John Russell to British ambassador to Washington, see "Europe Looks at the Civil War", Orion Press, 1960, pp. 18-20. See pp. 234-237 for Europe giving the South aid. For letters of Europeans supporting the South, see pp. 254-256.
For seeing what Slidell found from Britain, see "Britain and the War For the Union", Vol. 2, McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 1980, pp. 16f. Britain remained neutral, but the South most definitely called on them as Joseph Smith had prophesied beforehand they would.
"The Times", a British newspaper, said that Britain supported the South, p. 19.
For Slidell and the British press in general, pp. 18-32 are helpful. The South was indignant at Britain's silence, but they certainly were appealing for help!
For the long, detailed correspondence, letters, between Britain and the South, see "Britain and the War For Union", Vols. 1 & 2. The South petitioned, but Britain declined.
Also useful is D.P. Crook, "The North, the South, and the Powers", John Wesley & Sons Co., 1974, pp. 330ff. For reasons why Britain didn't intervene directly and with full support and help for the South, see pp. 371-380.
E.D. Adams' "Great Britain and the American Civil War", Longman and Green, 1925 notes that the South used "King Cotton" as a reason for Britain to help them in the war (Ch. 1, p. 10, vol. 2). The South even started destroying cotton to cause a shortage to Britain to get them into action for the South! (Vol. 2, p. 17). Seward complained of the rumors of British aid to the South (Vol. 2, p. 18). For Mason's appeal to Britain and Russells refusal (Vol. 2, p. 27, Vol. 1, p. 236). For Mason being treated discourteously by Lord Russell caused great Southern irritation of Grat Britain see J.F. Rhodes "History of the Civil War", Ungar Pub., 1961, p. 285. Jefferson Davis was dissatisfied with the British Govt. (p. 285).
THE MORMON SOURCES Discussing the Civil War Prophecy
James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.1, p.25
A remarkable prediction regarding national affairs was uttered by Joseph Smith, December 25, 1832; it was soon thereafter promulgated among the members of the Church and was preached by the elders, but did not appear in print until 1851. The revelation reads in part as follows: "Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain * * * And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
Every student of United States history is acquainted with the facts establishing a complete fulfilment of this astounding prophecy. In 1861, more than twenty-eight years after the foregoing prediction was recorded, and ten years after its publication in England, the Civil War broke out, beginning in South Carolina. The ghastly records of that fratricidal strife sadly support the prediction concerning "the death and misery of many souls," though this constituted but a partial fulfilment. It is known that slaves deserted the South and were marshaled in the armies of the North, and that the Confederate States solicited aid of Great Britain. While no open alliance between the Southern States and the English government was effected, British influence gave indirect assistance and substantial encouragement to the South, and this in such a way as to produce serious international complications. Vessels were built and equipped at British ports in the interests of the Confederacy; and the results of this violation of the laws of neutrality cost Great Britain fifteen and a half millions of dollars, which sum was awarded the United States at the Geneva arbitration in settlement of the Alabama claims. The Confederacy appointed commissioners to Great Britain and France; these appointees were forcibly taken by United States officers from the British steamer on which they had embarked. This act, which the United States government had to admit as overt, threatened for a time to precipitate a war between this nation and Great Britain.
A careful study of the Revelation and Prophecy on War, given, as stated, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, December 25, 1832, makes plain that the conflict between North and South in America was to be, as now we know it to have been, but the beginning of a new era of strife and bloodshed. The Lord's words were definite in predicting wars "beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina"; and declared further: "And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place." The great World War, 1914-1918, embroiled, directly or indirectly, every nation of the earth; and recovery from the effects of that stupendous conflict is beyond the horizon of human vision. Nations have been dismembered or destroyed; thrones have fallen; kingly crowns have lost all value beyond the market price of their gold and jewels; and, withal, new units of government have been created, and nations have sprung into existence, literally born in a day. The very elements are in anger, and what we call natural phenomena are surpassing in destructive fury all records made by man; and verily the end is not reached. The word of the Lord through His prophet, Joseph Smith, has never been revoked: "And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations."
B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.1, p.314fff
On the 25th of December, 1832, the following revelation and prophecy in relation to the great American civil war, and war among all nations, was given through Joseph Smith:
"Verily, thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls.
"The days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at that place.
"For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and thus war shall be poured out upon all nations.
"And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshalled and disciplined for war: and it shall come to pass also, that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation;
"And thus, with the sword, and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine and plague and earthquakes and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
"That the cry of the Saints, and of the blood of the Saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of sabbath, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.
"Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."
As stated, this revelation and prophecy was given in December, 1832; the elders carried manuscript copies of it with them in their missionary journeys, and frequently read it to their congregations in various parts of the United States. In Vol. XIII of the Millennial Star, published in 1851, pp. 216 and 217, is an advertisement of a new church publication to be called the Pearl of Great Price. In the announced contents is named this revelation of December, 1832, with a statement, that it had "never before appeared in print." Subsequently, but in the same year, the Pearl of Great Price with this prophecy in it, was published by Franklin D. Richards, in Liverpool, England. There are copies of the first edition still extant.
I am careful to make these statements that the reader may have ample assurance that the revelation and prophecy preceded the event of the great Civil War. The revelation containing the prophecy was given on the 25th of December, 1832. The first shot fired in the great American Civil War was fired early on the morning of April 12th, 1861. Hence the prediction preceded the commencement of its fulfillment by twenty-eight years, three months and seventeen days. Ten years before the war began, the prophecy was published in England and circulated both in that country and in the United States. There can be no question, therefore, as to the prophecy preceding the event.
Let us inquire if the events predicted were of a nature that they could not be foreseen and hence foretold by human judgment, unaided by divine inspiration. The prophecy predicts,
First, that the war would begin with the rebellion of South Carolina.
Second, that it would terminate in the death and misery of many souls.
Third, that the Southern States would be divided against the Northern States.
Fourth, that the Southern States would call upon other nations for assistance, even upon the nation of Great Britain.
Fifth, that Great Britain would call upon other nations for assistance, and thus war would eventually be poured out upon all nations.
I submit that this is an enumeration of events twenty-eight years in the future altogether too definite for human wisdom, unassisted by divine inspiration, to give. Profane history has nothing like it. To find a parallel to it, recourse must be had to the history of the Jewish prophets. It is true there was considerable agitation about the time of the prophecy on the question known in American politics as "States" rights." In 1830 had occurred the great Senate debate on that subject between Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, and Daniel Webster, of Massachusetts. On that occasion the champion from South Carolina advocated the doctrine known as "nullification." The discussion had its origin in an effort to repeal the protective tariff laws of 1828, which South Carolina, with several other States, regarded as unconstitutional, because the laws were based upon the principle of federal protection to local interests in the several States, to the injury of the general interests of the country. But South Carolina also held, which the other states did not, "that it was within the reserved rights of the states to have the question of constitutionality on this subject rightfully, determined by the judiciary of the states severally, each for itself, instead of exclusively by the federal judiciary." (Stephen's "History of the United States", p. 448)
The question again approached the acute stage in 1832, when the sovereign convention of the people of South Carolina was called which adopted what was known as the "Nullification Ordinance." The leading features of this were (1) a declaration that the tariff act of 1832, being based upon the principle of protection to manufacturers, and not with the view to raising revenue, was unconstitutional and therefore null and void; (2) a provision for testing the constitutionality of this act before the courts of the state; (3) that in case the measures thus adopted for the purpose stated should be forcibly resisted by the federal authorities, then the State of South Carolina was declared to be no longer a member of the Federal Union." The last measure was to take effect on the 12th of February, 1833, if before that time the principle of levying duties upon imports, not with a view to revenue, but for the protection of domestic manufactures, should not be abandoned by the congress of the states. (Stephen's "History of the United States", p. 451)
But notwithstanding these hostile demonstrations on the part of South Carolina, there was really no very great danger to the Union at that time. Andrew Jackson, a man of great determination of character, and patriotically devoted to the Union, was president; and his political principles ran parallel with his devotion. He issued a proclamation in which he urged South Carolina not to persist in the enforcement of her ordinance as it would necessarily bring the federal and state authorities in conflict, and if the citizens of South Carolina took up arms against the United States they would be guilty of treason. "The ordinance," said he, "is found not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional, and too oppressive to be endured; but on the strange position that any one state may not only declare an act of congress void but prohibit its execution, and that they may do this consistently with the constitution; that the true construction of that instrument permits a state to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider constitutional." (Cooper's "American Politics", Book I, p. 33)
It was in December, 1832, the same month in which the revelation and prophecy under consideration was given, that this issue between South Carolina and the Federal government about reached its climax. It is important to observe that these questions of nullification and a state's right to secede from the Union were sharply agitated in December, 1832, because it gives direct testimony of the original date of the prophecy. That is, it is clear from the facts of history that the question in 1832 was before the nation; and very naturally the Prophet inquired of the Lord concerning it, with the result that he received the revelation now under consideration.
That the Prophet did make inquiry of the Lord concerning this subject is evident from a direct statement of his to that effect. Preaching at Ramus, Illinois, on the 2nd of April, 1843, the Prophet in the course of his remarks said: "I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832.
No American statesman in 1832 believed that the doctrines of secession then talked of would result in a great civil war. None of them had the foresight to see that a great rebellion would occur, beginning in South Carolina; that it would terminate in the death and misery of many souls; that the Southern States would be divided against the Northern States; that the Southern States would call on Great Britain, and that war would eventually be poured out upon all nations. No one, I say, foresaw that this would be the result save only that inspired youth--when but twenty-seven years of age--Joseph Smith, and he saw it only by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. To be required to believe that the prophecy was merely the fortunate conjecture of a more than ordinary astute mind, requires a greater amount of credulity than to concede the inspiration of the Prophet; and then the question would still remain, why is it that sagacious minds in other generations have not paralleled this astuteness of Joseph Smith's? Why did not some of the brilliant minds in the Senate or House of Representatives in 1832 make such a prediction? There was no dirth of brilliant minds in either Senate or House at that time, yet none seemed equal to the task.
But was the prophecy fulfilled? Did the great Civil War begin with the rebellion of South Carolina? Let history answer.
South Carolina took the initiative in the great rebellion. Deeming her interests threatened, and the institution of slavery doomed if Abraham Lincoln was elected; on November 5th, 1860, her legislature met to choose presidential electors, Governor William H. Gist in his message to that legislature recommended that in the event of Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency, a convention of the people of the state be immediately called to consider and determine for themselves the mode and measure of redress. He expressed the opinion that the only alternative left in the event of Lincoln's election was "the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union."
On the 10th of November, 1860, the United States Senators from South Carolina, James N. Hammond and James Chestnut, Jr., resigned their seats, being the first of the senators to take that step.
On the 17th of November, 1860, an ordinance of secession was unanimously adopted by the Legislature of South Carolina, the first act of the kind by any of the states.
On the 24th of November, 1860, South Carolina's Representatives in Congress withdrew; they were the first representatives to do so. Members to a state convention for the purpose of considering the method and measure of redress in the event of Abraham Lincoln's election, were elected on the 3rd of December, 1860; the convention was assembled in Charleston.
On the 20th of December, 1860, the convention passed the ordinance of secession and Governor Pickins--just elected--announced on the same date the repeal, by the good people of South Carolina, the ordinance of May 23rd, 1788, by which South Carolina had ratified the Federal Constitution, and declared "the dissolution of the union between the state of South Carolina and the other states under the name of the United States." The governor's proclamation also announced to the world "that the state of South Carolina is, as she has a right to be, a separate, sovereign, free and independent state and, as such, has a right to levy war, conclude peace, negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and to do all acts whatsoever that rightly pertain to a free and independent state. Done in the eighty-fifth year of the sovereignty and independence of South Carolina.
Following is the complete Ordinance passed by the Convention, as it appeared in the Charleston Mercury Extra for that date, the original of which the following is a copy is in the Libby Prison Museum, of Chicago:
"Passed unanimously at 1:15 p.m., December 20th, 1860.
"An ordinance to dissolve the union between the States of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America.'
"We the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, 'That the ordinance adopted by us on the 23rd of May, A. D. 1788, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed, and the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of 'The United States of America' is hereby dissolved."
The act of rebellion on the part of South Carolina was completed. She was the first state to take the Several steps here enumerated leading up to that culmination. She was followed in the act of rebellion by ten other Southern States, as follows--I take the date on which the state conventions passed their secession ordinances to be the date on which the rebellion of the respective states was completed:
Mississippi, January 9th, 1861; Florida, January 10th; Alabama, January 11th; Georgia, January 19th; Louisiana, January 26th; Texas, February 1st; Virginia, April 17th; Arkansas, May 6th; North Carolina, May 20th; Tennessee, June 8th, all of the same year, 1861.
Having proven that the Great Rebellion began with the rebellion of South Carolina, I wish now to show that the war itself actually began there.
The states which seceded from the union in the last months of Mr. Buchanan's administration, quietly took possession of all the forts within their respective limits, except Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, and Fort Pickens, at Pensacola, Florida; and transferred them to the Confederate States. After the Southern States united into a confederacy, that government "appointed a commission consisting of Mr. John Forsyth, of Alabama, Mr. Martin J. Crawford, of Georgia, and Mr. A. B. Roman, of Louisiana, to open negotiations for the settlement of all matters of joint property, forts, arsenals, arms, or property of any other kind within the limits of the Confederate States, and all joint liabilities with their former associates, upon the principles of right, justice, equity and good faith." Separate states previous to this action of the confederate states had sent commissioners to accomplish the same purpose; but of course these gave place to the commission from the general government of the confederacy.
During an attempt of this commission to obtain official recognition from the administration at Washington, active preparations for war were going on at the New York navy yard. Early in April a squadron of seven ships, carrying two thousand four hundred men, and two hundred and eighty-five guns put to sea from New York and Norfolk navy yards, under sealed orders. The design of the enterprise was to re-provision and re-enforce Fort Sumter, which at the time was held by Major Anderson, with a small garrison of men very ill provisioned for a siege.
On the 8th of April Washington authorities, ignoring the commission in Washington from the Confederate States, sent word to Governor Pickens of South Carolina of a change in the attitude of the general government in regard to unofficial assurances given respecting the withdrawal of Federal forces from Fort Sumter, and declaring the intention of the government to re-provision and re-enforce the garrison there, "peaceably if permitted; otherwise, by force."
At the time General Gustave T. Beauregard was at Charleston, with six thousand Confederate volunteer troops, for the purpose of defending the city. Governor Pickens informed him of the notice he had received from the authorities at Washington; and General Beauregard immediately telegraphed the information to the Confederate authorities at Montgomery. The reply received by General Beauregard was that, "If he had no doubt of the authenticity of the notice of the intention of the Washington government to supply Fort Sumter by force, to demand at once its evacuation; and if this should be refused, to proceed to reduce it."
On April the 11th the demand for its evacuation was made. Major Anderson refused to comply with the demand, and at 4:30, on the morning of the 12th of April, 1861, General Beauregard opened fire on the fort, to which the guns of the fort promptly replied. The bombardment lasted thirty-two hours; and then Major Anderson capitulated, though the fleet from the north was within view during the bombardment.
"This was the beginning of a war between the states of the Federal Union, which has been truly characterized as 'one of the most tremendous conflicts on record.' The din of its clangor reached the remotest part of the earth and the people of all nations looked on, for four years and upwards, in wonder and amazement, as its gigantic proportions loomed forth, and its hideous engines of destruction of human life and everything of human structure were terribly displayed in its sanguinary progress and grievous duration."
It began where the Prophet Joseph twenty-eight years before said it would commence--with the rebellion of South Carolina.
II. This war, beginning with the rebellion of South Carolina, did terminate in the death and misery of many souls. Though it is notorious that it did so, let us consider the history of it somewhat in detail. Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, in concluding the chapter he devotes to the Civil War, in his history of the United States, Says:
"The Federal records show that they had, from first to last, 2,600,000 men in the service; while the Confederates all told, and in like manner, had but little over 600,000. * * * Of Federal prisoners during the war, the Confederates took in round numbers 270,000; while the whole number of Confederates captured and held in prisons by the Federals was in like round numbers 220,000. * * * Of the 270,000 Federal prisoners taken, 22,576 died in Confederate hands; and of the 220,000 Confederates taken by Federals, 26,436 died in their hands. * * * The entire loss on both sides, including those who were permanently disabled, as well as those killed in battle, and who died from wounds received and diseases contracted in the service, amounted, upon a reasonable estimate, to the stupendous aggregate of 1,000,000 of men."
In 1887, the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette published the following interesting compilation of statistics in relation to the number that fell in the Civil War on the side of the Federal armies:
"Official returns show that about 2,653,000 soldiers enlisted during the war in response to the successive calls of President Lincoln, and of that number 186,097 were colored troops. Reports show that the Northern and Southern armies met in over two thousand skirmishes and battles. In 148 of these conflicts the loss on the Federal side was over 500 men, and in at least ten battles over 10,000 men were reported lost on each side. The appended table shows that the combined losses of the Federal and Confederate forces in killed, wounded, and missing in the following engagements were: Shiloh, 24,000; Antietam, 18,000; Stone River, 22,000; Chikamauga, 33,000; McClellan's Peninsula campaign, 50,000; Grant's Peninsula campaign, 140,000; and Sherman's campaign, 80,000.
"Official statistics show that of the 2,653,000 men enlisted, there were killed in battle 44,238; died of wounds, 49,205; died of disease, 186,216; died of unknown causes, 24,184; total 303,843. This includes only those whose death while in the army had been actually proved. To this number should be added first 26,000 men who are known to have died while in the hands of the enemy as prisoners of war, and many others in the same manner whose deaths are unrecorded; second, a fair percentage of the 205,794 men who are put down on the official reports as deserters and missing in action, for those who participated in the war know that men frequently disappeared who, it was certain, had not deserted, yet could not be otherwise officially accounted for; third, thousands who are buried in private cemeteries all over the north, who died while at home on furlough.
If to the 303,843 given above as the total number of union troops whose death while in the army was actually proved, be added, as the Gazette suggests, first, 26,000q men who are known to have died while in the hands of the enemy as prisoners of war; second, many others whose death was not recorded; third, a fair percentage of the 205,794 put down on the official reports as deserters and missing in action; and then add to this all who were killed in the Confederate army, all Confederates who died in prisons through wounds and diseases contracted in the service, it will be seen that the estimate of Mr. Stephens, namely, that one million of men perished in the Great Rebellion, would not be considered exaggerated. Indeed the same estimate is made by nearly all writers upon the subject. Thus Lossing:
"The whole number of men called into service during the war (on the Union side) was 2,628,523. Of these about 1,490,000 were in actual service. Of this number, nearly 60,000 were killed on the field, and about 35,000 were mortally wounded. Disease in camps and hospitals slew 184,000. It is estimated that 300,000 Union soldiers perished during the war. Fully that number of the Confederate soldiers perished, and the aggregate number of men including both armies, who were crippled or permanently disabled by disease was estimated at 400,000. The actual loss to the country, of able-bodied men, in consequence of the rebellion was fully 1,000,000."
"Both sides, during the struggle, relied for means to support it upon the issue of paper money, and upon loans secured by bonds. An enormous public debt was thus created by each, and the aggregate of money thus expended on both sides, including the loss and sacrifice of property, could not have been less than 8,000,000,000 of dollars--a sum fully equal to three-fourths of the assessed valuation of the taxable property of all the states, together when it commenced."
To the terrible loss of life and property let there be added the consideration of the suffering of the wounded and the sick who languished in loathsome prisons; the sorrow of widows and orphans who looked in vain for the return of husbands and fathers, who marched in the fullness of manly strength to the war; the anguish of parents, whose dim eyes looked in vain for sons thrown into unknown graves; and the gentler yet equally tender sorrow of sisters which in fierce war lost the companions of their childhood. Let all this, I say, be taken into account, and the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God will be found written in characters of blood to this generation, and witnessed by the heartache and tears of millions!
III. The Southern States were divided against the Northern States. The fact is too well known to need affirming. These were eleven states in all whose legislatures passed secession ordinances. These were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina--all Southern States. In the first Confederate Congress members representing districts in Missouri and Kentucky were also admitted, though those states did not secede from the Union.
IV. The Southern States did call upon other nations, and upon the nation of Great Britain in particular, for assistance. As early as May, 1861, the Confederacy sent commissioners abroad to seek recognition and aid from foreign powers. William L. Yancy, of Alabama; P. A. Rost, of Louisiana; A. Dudley Mann, of Virginia; and T. Butler King, of Georgia. Mr. Yancy was appointed to operate in England, Mr. Rost in France, and Mr. Mann in Holland and Belgium. Mr. King had a roving commission.u Subsequently, in October, 1861, the Confederacy appointed James M. Mason and John Slidell, ambassadors to England and France respectively, to solicit the assistance of the British and French governments in the Southern cause. The ambassadors took passage from Charleston to Cuba in a blockade runner. At the latter place they engaged passage to England on the British steam packet Trent. On the 8th of November, 1861, the Trent was overtaken by the Federal warship San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes commanding; and Messrs. Mason and Slidell were taken prisoners and carried to Boston Harbor where they were placed in Fort Warren. England promptly resented this violation of the rights of a neutral nation upon the high seas, and the United States as promptly disavowed the action of Captain Wilkes, made an humble apology, and as soon as might be restored Messrs. Mason and Slidell to a British deck, the Rinaldo, in which vessel the ambassadors were taken to England where they prosecuted their mission.
Though Messrs. Mason and Slidell did not succeed in securing the open assistance of Great Britain, yet it is well known that British sympathy was with the Confederate cause; and so far did this sympathy lead England to violate the law of nations that, against the protests of the United States Minister at the court of St. James, she allowed the war vessels Alabama and Florida built by Messrs. Laird & Co., shipbuilders, Liverpool, England, to put to sea. These vessels did immense damage to Northern States shipping. The Alabama alone captured sixty-five merchant vessels belonging to the United States; and destroyed some ten million dollars' worth of property. Finally the United States warship Kearsarge sunk her off the coast of France, near Cherbourg. This Alabama trouble led to ill feeling between England and the United States which was not finally settled until the 27th of June, 1872, when the Geneva Board of Arbitration decided that England should pay to the United States the sum of fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars, an amount really in excess of the demands of merchants and others claiming the loss of property through depredations of the Alabama.
The evidence is surely sufficient that the Southern States did call upon the nation of Great Britain for assistance (and that is as far as the prophecy goes on this point), and England did give at least indirect aid and comfort to the Confederate cause, to the extent that she was found violating the law of nations so far that she paid a fine of $15,5000,000 for her trespass.
Thus in all these important items the remarkable prophecy has been fulfilled. It now remains to call attention to the events it predicts which are still in the future. These are:
First, Great Britain is to call upon other nations for aid, and she with her allies thus formed, is to call on other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations, until war is poured out upon all nations.
Second. A great race war in American--slaves are to rise up against their masters who shall be marshalled and disciplined for war.
Third. The aboriginal inhabitants of America--the Indians--will become exceedingly angry, and marshalling themselves, will vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
Fourth. With sword and by bloodshed and finally with famine and plague, and earthquake; with the thunder of heaven and the fierce and vivid lightning--the inhabitants of the earth will mourn, and be made to feel the wrath and indignation and chastening hand of Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.
These several items yet to be fulfilled (though the second and third may have had their fulfillment) strengthen belief in the reality of the prophecy, for the reason that if the prophecy had originated in fraud, had it been written after the events it pretended to predict had taken place, the pseudo-prophet and his associates would not have dared in any respect to have ventured into the domain of the future. They would have clung exclusively to the past. But standing as we do now midway between what has been fulfilled of the prophecy and what is yet to come, we are made to feel the reality of the prophecy; and so much of it as the wheels of time have brought due having been fulfilled, gives ample assurance that the remainder will come to pass to the very letter.
If it shall be asked of what use is this prophecy about war, earthquakes, bloodshed, famine and general distress of mankind--what makes it worthy of inspiration--knowledge worthy of God to reveal and a prophet to proclaim let it be answered that its value consists in this, that it is a warning to mankind, it cries repentance to the wicked, and gives all who will avail themselves of it an opportunity to make God their friend, escape the calamities predicted, and have the privilege of uniting with God's Saints who, in the closing sentence in the prophecy, are admonished to stand in holy places unmoved until the day of the Lord comes; and they are assured it will come quickly.
The evidence of prophecy is, in part, before the reader, all I design to introduce in this volume;y and now I ask him to review it; considering first the importance attached to the peculiar power of prophecy as evidence of divine inspiration--how it is within itself a sort of miracle, as men understand miracles, and has ever been regarded as an evidence of the possession of a power peculiar to God and those whom he commissions. Second, remember how definitely proven is the fact that these prophecies preceded the events they foretell. Third, that they so minutely describe the future events they predict that by no means can they be resolved into a fortunate conjecture of an uninspired mind. Fourth, that they treat of things that from their nature are of importance to man to know and therefore are worthy of inspiration. Fifth, that their remarkable fulfillment has been by agencies outside of the Prophet himself.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, CIVIL WAR PROPHECY
Civil War Prophecy
Joseph Smith's Civil War prophecy is contained in sections 87 and 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He prophesied on December 25, 1832, that a war would begin in South Carolina; that the southern states would divide against the northern states; that the South would seek support from other nations, including Great Britain; and that the war would lead to the death and misery of many souls. These items in the prophecy were all fulfilled in the Civil War (1860-1865). In 1843 the Prophet noted (D&C 130:12-13) that he had also learned by revelation in 1832 that slavery would be the probable cause of the upcoming crisis. These matters are all history now, but certain verses in the Civil War prophecy have broader applications and it appears that portions of the revelation are yet to be fulfilled.
Section 87 was not published by the Church until 1851 and was not canonized until 1876. It was, however, copied and circulated by some Church leaders and missionaries in the 1830s. The Civil War prophecy became one of the most widely published revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. Not surprisingly, it received greatest attention during the Civil War, as many viewed the conflict as a vindication of the prophetic powers of Joseph Smith.
Cannon, Donald Q. "A Prophecy of War." In Studies in Scripture, ed. R. Millet and K. Jackson, Vol. 1, pp. 335-39. Salt Lake City, 1989.
PAUL H. PETERSON (a very disappointing piece of work here. I would have expected someone to come out and really describe the details of the prophesy and its fulfillment. This is just one area where I have found the Encyclopedia lacking terribly. Hell I would have done a better job than this!)
Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken, p.66
The destruction of the temple (see Matthew 24:1-12) occurred within a few decades, but the foreseen calamities preceding the Second Coming (see, for instance, Matthew 24:21, 22) were still centuries away.
The same time duality is found in section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 87:1-6). The section contains revelation given on Christmas Day, 1832, and deals most directly with the prophecy that the rebellion and the resultant Civil War in the United States would begin at South Carolina, even though the firing on Fort Sumter was then about three decades away.
Significantly, that prophesy warns of "the death and misery of many souls." The Civil War was, indeed, a bloody war, resulting in about 204,000 battle casualties plus another 225,000 military personnel who died of disease. This number actually well exceeds the American battle deaths (128,000) in World War I. In World War II, there were 396,637 battle deaths.
In one two-day Civil War battle alone, Chickamauga, 35,000 were killed or wounded out of 128,000 soldiers. The Americans killed in the Viet Nam war, a war which stretched over ten years and which jarred American life profoundly in many ways, totaled around 60,000.
Section 87 also speaks of "wars" (verse 1), suggesting not one war but a continuum of conflict. Thus, like chapter 24 of Matthew, this scripture covered things both imminent and distant.
Furthermore, verse 4 speaks of a time . . . "after many days'... . when slaves would rise against their masters. True, some slaves fought in the Civil War, but these words may suggest something of far greater portent.
So too with verse 5, which speaks about "the remnants" on the land, the seed of Jacob who will rise up to "vex the Gentiles"; an intriguing and sobering prophecy, obviously involving developments far beyond the events of the American Civil War.
As to the "wars" being a continuum (see verse 1), World War I was terribly bloody, costing 7 1/2 million battle casualties (dead, wounded, missing, etc.), plus millions of civilian deaths from flu and other diseases. Books have been written to show the profound impact of World War I on Western civilizationan impact far beyond battle casualties.
The idea of endless war as an inevitable condition of modern life would seem to have become seriously available to the imagination around 1916. Events, never far behindhand in fleshing out the nightmares of imagination, obliged with the Spanish War, the Second World War, the Greek War, the Korean War, the Arab-Israeli War, and the Vietnam War. It was not long after the second World War, says Alfred Kazin, that even most liberal intellectuals abandoned the hope that that war had really put an end to something. (Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory [New York: Oxford University Press, 1975], p. 74.)
Another wrote, .... . War is the continued experience of the Twentieth century man."
Of course, in our own time, we could add the war in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, civil wars in Central America, Lebanon, the British-Argentine conflict, etc. These are sobering comments, especially when placed in this scriptural context:
For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion (D&C 1:35).
And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth (D&C 45:26).
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 2, p.124f
3. Any good history of the United States, or encyclopedia, will give the particulars of the call made by the Southern States upon Great Britain for aid during the Civil War. The sympathies of Great Britain were with the South. The following quotation is from "Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment," pp. 75-77, by Nephi L. Morris:
"As the war proceeded the southern ports were successfully blockaded by the northern navy, and thus the import trade of the Confederacy suffered seriously. England depended upon the cotton from the South to keep her great cotton mills running. These circumstances gave high hope to the Confederacy that Great Britain would soon become an ally. In furtherance of these hopes, Messrs. Mason and Slidell were commissioned to France and England for the purpose of securing the friendly assistance of those two countries. The Trent affair has made this commission somewhat famous in history. Men conspicuous in the affairs of Great Britain freely expressed their sympathy for the southern cause. The capitalists of the empire bought heavily of the Confederate bonds England even went so far as to build battleships for the South. Two of these, the Florida and the Alabama, slipped away from Liverpool in March and July, 1862, and engaged themselves in the predatory pastime of preying on our commerce wherever it could be encountered on the high seas. Two more iron-clad rams were ready to leave the ways at docks for similar purposes. Our minister to England at this juncture curtly advised Lord Russel, the Foreign Secretary, 'It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.' This pointed note called a halt to British piracy and her collusion with the South."
"These ambassadors also sought the aid of France, and several European countries were invited by the emperor to join a demand that the United States grant the independence of the Southern States. Following the Civil War the nations, in their great alarm because of the new methods of warfare which were being developed and their fear of other nations, entered into alliances and secret agreements in order to protect themselves from other nations. At the outbreak of the World War, these alliances had reached proportions never before known, and during the war other alliances were made until nearly every nation on the earth had taken sides with the Triple Alliance or the Triple Entente. It was during the period of the World War, 1914-1918, Great Britain made her appeal to the nations to come to the defense of the standard of Democracy. Her pleadings were heard round the world. "And what is still more remarkable, the entire procedure conforms exactly to the prediction made by Joseph Smith, viz: 'they shall also call upon other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations.' A plurality of nations aligned and allied on both sides of the deadly conflict. It required the two contending groups to vindicate this very extraordinary prophecy." (Prophecies of Joseph Smith, pp. 81-82.)
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 2, p.127
The rising up of slaves, it is thought by many, was fulfilled in the Civil War when many of the negroes found their way into the armies of the north and fought against their former masters. Others think this is yet to come. The history of this American continent also gives evidence that the Lamanites have risen up in their anger and vexed the Gentiles. This warfare may not be over. It has been the fault of people in the United States to think that this prophetic saying has reference to the Indians in the United States, but we must remember that there are millions of the "remnant" in Mexico, Central and South America. It was during our Civil War that the Indians in Mexico rose up and gained their freedom from the tyranny which Napoleon endeavored to inflict upon them contrary to the prediction of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, that there should be no kings among the Gentiles on this land. The independence of Mexico and other nations to the south has been accomplished by the uprising of the "remnant" upon the land. However, let us not think that this prophecy has completely been fulfilled.
This remarkable revelation on war was recorded in the manuscript documentary history shortly after it was received. It was published in the Pearl of Great Price, first edition, in 1851, by Franklin D. Richards in England, and circulated throughout the Church; references to this book appeared in all the publications of the Church soon after that time. In 1854, three years after the publication of the Pearl of Great Price, Elder Orson Pratt published this prophecy in "The Seer," in Washington, D. C. Many of the missionaries carried copies of this revelation and frequently read it in their discourses between 1833 and the time of the Civil War. Elder Orson Pratt in a discourse in August 1876, made the following statement:
"When I was a boy, I traveled extensively in the United States and the Canadas, preaching this restored gospel. I had a manuscript copy of this revelation, which I carried in my pocket, and I was in the habit of reading it to the people among whom I traveled and preached. As a general thing the people regarded it as the height of nonsense, saying the Union was too strong to be broken and I, they said, was led away, the victim of an imposter. I knew the prophecy was true, for the Lord had spoken to me and had given me revelation. I knew also concerning the divinity of this work. Year after year passed away, while every little while some of the acquaintances I had formerly made would say, 'Well, what is going to become of that prediction? It's never going to be fulfilled.' I said, 'Wait, the Lord has set his time.' By and by it came along, and the first battle was fought at Charleston, South Carolina. This is another testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High God." (J. of D. 18:224-225.)
Smith and Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Sec. 87, p.536
Thus far, the prophecy deals with the American Civil War. Then it takes a wider scope and predicts a general world war, something like the prediction of our Lord concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, which connects His second coming with that local catastrophe. The Prophet declares (v. 2) that "the days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations," and that the fire kindled in South Carolina was but the beginning of a general conflagration. Great Britain and other nations will, he further says, "call upon other nations" for "aid against other nations"; and thus war shall be poured out upon all nations. We have lived to see this prediction literally fulfilled. We have lived to see war poured out upon every continent and every ocean. And it is a great question whether this war will not be followed by a race war, still more destructive.
The American Civil War was only the beginning of a series of conflicts, each leading up to the world-war of 1914. This is all the more remarkable, because since the middle of the 19th century, the peace movement in the world assumed so definite proportions as to warrant the hope that there would be no war in the 20th century. Peace friends were hopeful that the institution of the Hague Tribunal (July 27th, 1899), would mark the end of warfare between civilized nations, but the Prophecy on war has to be fulfilled. The Civil War was, in fact, the beginning of war which was eventually to engulf all nations. There are some critics of this revelation who, shortly after the Civil War, declared that any one could have made the prediction that the Southern States would rise against the Northern States, and that others had declared that such a conflict was inevitable. The fact remains, however, granting this contention, there was no one wise enough to predict that out of and following this conflict, nations would make alliances for their protection and in spite of these alliances eventually war would sweep the nations of the earth. One eminent educator, Dr. David Starr Jordan, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and at other times declared as late as 1914:
"What shall we say of the great war of Europe, ever threatening, ever impending and which never comes. We shall say that it will never come. Humanly speaking, it is impossible, not in the physical sense, of course, for with weak, restless and godless men nothing evil is impossible. It may be, of course, that some half-crazed Arch-Duke, or some harassed minister of state shall half knowing, give the signal for Europe's conflagration. * * *
Smith and Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Sec. 87, p.536p.537
"The bankers will not find the money for such a fight, the industries of Europe will not and statesmen cannot. No matter whatever the bluster of apparent provocation, it comes to the same thing at the end. There will be no general war until the master directs the fighters to fight. The masters have much to gain, but vastly more to lose and their signal will not be given." (Quoted from remarks by Elder Charles H. Hart, Conference pamphlet, Oct. 6, 1914.)
Yet, within a few weeks following this repeated prediction as given in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the whole world was thrown into turmoil and bloodshed in the struggle of 1914-1918. Then again, with more terrible loss of life and property the world was plunged into the second conflict of 1939-1945. Some sneering critic may arise and say, that this prophecy was not fulfilled, for there were some countries which were not engaged in this deadly conflict; but what is war? Does it not partake of many things besides the carrying of arms and open battle? None can deny that every nation on the earth suffered from the effect and ravages of this stupendous struggle. Truly the effects of war reach every quarter of the earth. Nor is this the end. The clouds are now gathering in preparation for another conflict even more terrible and destructive of life and property. League of Nations, or United Nations delegates, cannot stop it, because people will not repent and they have rejected the Gospel. Peace has been taken from the earth (Doc. and Cov. 1) and it will not return until the Lord shall come to establish it. (Doc. and Cov. 97:23.)
the outstanding issue in the conflict between the North and South. There were two points on which the two groups of States disagreed. The North wanted protection for manufacturing interests against foreign competition; the South demanded free trade. The South profited by the products of slave labor; the North determined to abolish slavery. The assertion of the rights of the States to secede was prompted by these two issues, but the slave question, which at first was of subordinate importance, soon took the chief place in public view, as the Prophet predicted.
In all these important particulars the prophecy has been fulfilled. There are other parts which yet remain unfulfilled, but they, too, will come to pass, in time. "Slaves are to rise up against their masters" (v. 4), and the "Remnant" is to "vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation" (v. 5). There will, finally, be "famine, and plague, and earthquakes, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also," and thus the inhabitants of the Earth will feel the wrath of God (v. 6).
B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.1, Ch.24, p.302 - p.303
Miscellaneous Items of the Prophecy: In the part taken by negroes in the war between the states, many see the fulfillment of the prediction of the revelation that "slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war;" for of the 2,653,000 soldiers enlisted on the side of the Union, 186,397 were colored, and many of them saw active service in the field against their former masters.
In our several Indian uprisings since the close of the Civil War, many see the fulfillment of that part of the prophecy which declares that the "remnants who are left of the land [the American Indians] will marshal themselves, and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation." As for the remainder of the prophecy and its fulfillment, which predicts still more extensive and destructive wars--those are events of the future, to be wrought out as God wills.
Book Notes, BYU Studies, Vol. 6, No. 3, p.191
Joseph Smith's prophecy on war in 1832 contained the prediction of the rebellion of slaves, "who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war." In past decades a number of studies have explored the Negro contribution to the Civil War, including that of some half-million slaves who deserted to Union lines. Professor McPherson adds a smoothly annotated set of source readings that has the cohesiveness of a novel. A substantial number of chapters report on-the-scenes information from and about the approximately 200,000 Negroes in the Union forces (about 10% of Northern manpower), including, by the end of the war, 140 Negro regiments. Other chapters put this war effort in its context of initial official resistance against using colored troops at all to Lincoln's ultimately vigorous promotion of their recruitment. (Imitation on the part of the Confederacy was adopted late as a "dying gesture" in the Negro Soldier Law.) Climaxing chapters chronicle the developing Negro status that came from participation in the burdens of war. This result was clearly seen by many Negroes, of whom one saw in the enlistment invitations "slight atonement for the past and cheerful promise for the future" (p. 176). In an official report to the Secretary of War, General David Hunter paid tribute to the abilities of "the colored regiments" and observed: "They are imbued with a burning faith that now is the time appointed by God, in His All-wise Providence, for the deliverance of their race. . . ."(p. 168)
So the Mormon scholars have shown that history conclusively demonstrates that Joseph Smith's Civil War Prophecy was fulfilled in each and every way, and is, in fact, still in the process of unfolding. History vindicates the Prophet, and with a vengence, to be sure, much to the critics dismay.