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A Proclamation by the President of the United States, April 15, 1861

As Commander in Chief, President Abraham Lincoln responded to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter by calling for 75,000 militia volunteers. Their first duty was to repossess federal property seized from the Union by the seven seceded states. Lincoln also used his constitutional authority to convene an extraordinary session of Congress for July 4, 1861.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress.

A Proclamation by the President of the United States, April 15, 1861 A Proclamation by the President of the United States, April 15, 1861

Response to Rebellion - 1

In April 1861, Confederate forces attacked U.S. troops at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, plunging the country into civil war. Moving quickly against the insurrection, President Abraham Lincoln called up the militia and suspended the writ of habeas corpus—a legal order enabling an individual to seek release from unlawful detention. In suspending that privilege, Lincoln exercised an authority constitutionally reserved for Congress. Lincoln then called the entire Congress into extraordinary session, where he sought congressional approval of his actions.