U.S. Supreme Court
THE PROTECTOR, 79 U.S. 700 (1871)
79 U.S. 700 (Wall.)
December Term, 1871
APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana.
The CHIEF JUSTICE delivered the opinion of the court.
The question, in the present case is, when did the rebellion begin and end? In other words, what space of time must be considered as excepted from the operation of the statute of limitations by the war of the rebellion?
Acts of hostility by the insurgents occurred at periods so various, and of such different degrees of importance, and in parts of the country so remote from each other, both at the commencement and the close of the late civil war, that it [79 U.S. 700, 702] would be difficult, if not impossible, to say on what precise day it began or terminated. It is necessary, therefore, to refer to some public act of the political departments of the government to fix the dates; and, for obvious reasons, those of the executive department, which may be, and, in fact, was, at the commencement of hostilities, obliged to act during the recess of Congress, must be taken.
The proclamation of intend blockade by the President may therefore be assumed as marking the first of these dates, and the proclamation that the war had closed, as marking the second. But the war did not begin or close at the same time in all the States. There were two proclamations of intended blockade: the first of the 19th of April, 1861,7 embracing the States of South Corolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas; the second, of the 27th of April, 1861,8 embracing the States of Virginia and North Carolina.
So, according to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, as given by unanamous decision
just six years after the end of the Civil War,
President Abraham Lincoln started the Civil War
on April 19, 1861 when he proclaimed intentions to blockade the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Missisippi, Louisiana, and Texas.