History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday

The Death of Daniel Hough
HoughIt is my opinion that the South might have been successful in secession if they had not initiated combat with the North. It was in my opinion, the firing on Fort Sumter that allowed President Lincoln to raise an army. Without that combat, President Lincoln may not have had the military means to enforce a decision by the Supreme Court. Of course, we will never know.

Abraham Lincoln was elected in November of 1860. With Lincoln’s election, secessionists made it clear that their intent was to leave the Union before he took office the following March. South Carolina took the lead on December 20, 1860, by adopting an ordinance of secession from the Union. Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed by February of 1861. Six of these states formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America by adopting a constitution and declaring themselves to be a sovereign country.

From 1820 to 1860, almost 2 million Irish arrived, 75% of these after the Great Irish Famine of 1845–1852, struck their home country. Of the total Irish immigrants to the U.S.
from 1820 to 1860, many died crossing the ocean due to disease and dismal conditions of what became known as coffin ships. Daniel Hough arrived in New York harbor in March 1849 after leaving his native Tipperary. Just two months later, he followed in the footsteps of thousands of his native countrymen and joined the US Army. He was assigned to Battery D of the 1st United States Artillery Regiment. Enlisting in the army was one way the Irish, and other immigrants, had of securing a livelihood in their new country. Each time a soldier enlisted, he would have to promise to serve a five-year term of service. Hough did this three times in 1849, 1854 and 1859.

There was a brief period in 1857 where he was interred in a mental institution as he was described as “crazy” by an army doctor who believed he had a genetic disorder. When he was discharged from the institution, Hough was placed in Company E instead of returning to Company D. Six days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, Major Robert Anderson abandoned Fort Moultrie which he considered to be indefensible. He secretly relocated companies E and H of the 1st United States Artillery Regiment to Fort Sumter on his own initiative. Among the 127 men in his command was Private Daniel Hough, now serving in Company E.

The governor of South Carolina, Francis Pickens, demanded in January of 1861, that Union President Buchanan surrender Fort Sumter because,” I regard that possession is not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State of South Carolina.” Over the next few months, the calls for the evacuation of Fort Sumter by both civilian and military members of the Confederacy were ignored.

On Friday, April 12, 1861…

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