A myth has grown that there were no traitors during the period leading up to the American Civil War. Edward S. Cooper debunks that myth in this book. He provides documentation that officers on active duty in the army and navy of the United States secretly negotiated for positions in the Confederacy, surrendered their ships, forts, and posts to state authorities, conspired in the seizure of other forts, deserted their posts and advised their subordinates to join them, and wrote letters detailing how the Confederacy could defeat the very army and navy in which they were serving. Members of the president's cabinet ensured southern arsenals were stocked with northern weapons, posted southern sympathizers to forts and arsenals in the south, and sold weapons to agents for states that had announced their intention to secede and gave southern states of Federal troop movements, obtain plans of arsenals and forts and how they were manned, and acquire lists of military officers along with their pay in order to seduce them into Confederate service. The governors of some slave-holding states had men seize forts and arsenals, burned bridges to impede the movement of Federal troops, and allowed Confederate troops into their states before they had seceded or even called conventions to consider secession.
In her 1904 memoir, Virginia Clay referred to the Secession period as a time when "men eyed each other warily and spoke guardedly, save to the most tried and proved friend. Many a scene secret, grave, and treasonable took place those last lowering weeks." The author has ferreted out those who spoke and acted guardedly as well as those who spoke and acted openly, committing treason while holding office or commissions and having sworn allegiance to the Constitution, distinguishing them from others who, like Virginia's husband Senator Clement Clay of Alabama, resigned their offices or commissions before acting on behalf of the Confederacy. This is a rogues' gallery of the dishonorable or disingenuous. The author has thorou