The long disputed point as to whether the South was in earnest or not was settled, and through the Northern States the tidings flew that Sumter had fallen and the war had commenced. With the first gun which boomed across the waters of Charleston bay, it was ushered in, and they who had cried, “Peace! peace!” found at last “there was no peace.” Then, and not till then, did the nation rise from its lethargic slumber and shake off the delusion with which it had so long been bound. Political differences were forgotten. Republicans and Democrats struck the friendly hand, pulse beat to pulse, heart throbbed to heart, and the watchword everywhere was, “The Union forever.” Throughout the length and breadth of the land were true, loyal hearts, and as at Rhoderic Dhu’s command the Highlanders sprang to view from every clump of heather on the wild moors of Scotland, so when the war-cry came up from Sumter our own Highlanders arose, a mighty host, responsive to the call; some from New England’s templed hills, with hands inured to toil, and hearts as strong and true as flint; some from the Empire, some the Keystone State, and others from the prairies of the distant West. It mattered not what place had given them birth; it mattered little whether the Green Mountains of Vermont, the granite hills of New Hampshire, or the shadowy forests of Wisconsin had sheltered their childhood’s home; united in one cause they rallied round the Stars and Stripes, and went forth to meet, not a foreign foe, but alas, to raise a brother’s arm against another brother’s arm in that most dreadful of all anarchies, a national civil war.