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john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 9:51:03 AM
Did the South have to fire on Fort Sumter?

On April 8 1861 Gov Pickens (SC) received the following note from Pres. Lincoln. "An attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only and ...if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in mens, arms, or ammunition, will be made, without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the Fort"

I believe this note left the Confederate States with 4 options;
1) If they see any boats approaching the Fort, to stop them and inspect them. Upon finding only food let them proceed.
2) Stop all vessels and demand their return to the US fleet anchored outside the bar.
3) Do not approach any vessels but to simply open fire on the boats, preventing them for reaching the Fort.
4) Fire on Fort Sumter, forcing Major Anderson and his men to evcuate.

We know that Option 4 was the choice but was it the best one?

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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1144
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 9:59:23 AM
Go with option 1 or 2 and eventually Fort Sumter is abandoned when it's food supply runs out. Let the question of secession go to the courts and drag out for years. Possibly the Confederacy becomes reality just through it's existence. The South has time to build up it's manufacturing base. establish an army, merchant fleet and a currency.
Larry
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john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 10:12:28 AM
Larry,

Did Pickens and his like fear that over time the heated feelings that swept the South after Lincoln's election might cool if they didn't do something drastic?

The Mobile (AL) Mercury accused the people of the South of "sinking into fatal apathy in which the spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out under this do-nothing policy. If something is not done pretty soon, decisive, the people will become so disgusted with the sham of Southern Independence that at the first chance they get at a popular election, they will turn the whole secession movement topsy-turvy."

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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4933
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 10:25:27 AM
There are always choices, aren’t there ?

Hadn’t the secessionists already demonstrated their credentials by firing on the Star of the West ?

For every Edmund Ruffin, there was a Sam Houston.

So....no : I opine that the South did not have to fire on Fort Sumter.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1144
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 11:04:14 AM
Totally agree with Phil. The Souths best option was to play the legal game and hope for enough time to gain strength and possibly foreign recognition. Firing on Sumter was the last thing needed. Too many Southern hot heads spoiling for a fight they couldn't win.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 11:13:00 AM
Phil

Since the firing on "Star of the West" happened under the Buchanan Admin do you think the situation had now changed under the new Lincoln Admin? Buchanan had promised to maintain the "status quo" in Charleston Harbor while Lincoln made no such promise.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1144
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 11:39:50 AM
Quote:
Larry,

Did Pickens and his like fear that over time the heated feelings that swept the South after Lincoln's election might cool if they didn't do something drastic?

The Mobile (AL) Mercury accused the people of the South of "sinking into fatal apathy in which the spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out under this do-nothing policy. If something is not done pretty soon, decisive, the people will become so disgusted with the sham of Southern Independence that at the first chance they get at a popular election, they will turn the whole secession movement topsy-turvy."



Hmm, an angle I hadn't contemplated. Fan the fire or it slowly dies out.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6206
Joined: 2006
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 1:06:10 PM
Guys,

I think South Carolina was always antsy to secede from the Union, going way back to the Nullification Crisis Of 1832-33, with John C Calhoun. Charleston was always a hotbed for fire-eaters, they could not break away fast enough! So I think fire-ing on Fort Sumter was a very popular thing to do! I believe the citizens of Charleston were celebrating big time their breaking away from the Union!? Little did they know the consequences??

What say y'all??
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 1:24:26 PM
Larry

On April 9 1861 Sec of State Robert Toombs former fire-eater, began to express his doubts about Fort Sumter. He wrote that opening fire on the Fort "is suicide ...and will lose us every friend in the North." The striking of this hornet's nest will bring forth "legions now quiet that will swarm out and sting us to death."

On April 11 1861 Davis met with Sec of War Leroy Walker and Alabama newspaperman J G Gilchrist. Gilchrist told Davis, "Sir, unless you sprinkle blood in the face of the people of Alabama they will be back in the old Union in less than 10 days."
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2856
Joined: 2010
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 2:17:30 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Larry,

Did Pickens and his like fear that over time the heated feelings that swept the South after Lincoln's election might cool if they didn't do something drastic?

The Mobile (AL) Mercury accused the people of the South of "sinking into fatal apathy in which the spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out under this do-nothing policy. If something is not done pretty soon, decisive, the people will become so disgusted with the sham of Southern Independence that at the first chance they get at a popular election, they will turn the whole secession movement topsy-turvy."



Hmm, an angle I hadn't contemplated. Fan the fire or it slowly dies out.


This was basically the situation. Initial support was fading and there was the uncertainty of other other states joining, and the opinions of the border states.

Here is an interesting website fom the Uni. of Louisiana.

[Read More]

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1144
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 3:17:15 PM
From the Charleston Daily Courier. April 15, 1861.


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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 3:19:08 PM
Gentlemen

Charleston was the center of the Fire-eaters and Gov. Pickens was their man. He was very concerned that the first hostile act should take place in Charleston and not in Florida where a tense situation developed over Fort Pickens. He was also upset that Davis has sent Beauregard to take command of the SC troops located in Charleston Harbor, making them CSA soldiers. He wanted it to be a SC show.

Upon getting Lincoln's note, Pickens shared the complete original note with Beauregard. Beauregard even questioned the messengers, going as far as to not let one continue on to his post in Fort Sumter. Later that evening, Governor Pickens and General Beauregard apprised the Confederate government of Lincoln's communication that "provisions would be sent to Sumter peaceably, otherwise by force." It is interesting that this is a summary of the note and the note was not forwarded to Davis. The original note does NOT mention the use of force by the US Navy. Davis immediately instructed Beauregard that "under no circumstances" was he to allow provisions to be sent to Fort Sumter."
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1144
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/12/2021 3:21:58 PM
A Northern take on the fall of Fort Sumter. From the Chicago Tribune. April 15, 1861.


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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/14/2021 6:47:29 AM
Larry
Very interesting articles. The one from Charleston trumpets that SC not CSA was victorious. The second one from Chicago starts off with a real fear about the loyality of Major Anderson. There were many in the Lincoln Gov't and across the North who doubted Anderson. Anderson being from Kentucky and being appointed by Sec of War John Floyd, was suspected of being in favor of just turning the Federal installations (Forts Sumter and Moultrie) in Charleston over to the SC authorities. As this was happening across the South, the fear was real.
Anderson felt that Lincoln felt this way about him and he may have been right. Lincoln did write a "purely private and social letter" inviting Anderson to the White House so he could "personally testify my appreciations of your services and fidelity and perhaps explain some things on my part which you may not have understood." Anderson declined to meet with Lincoln.
In all this the most cowardly and despicable character in the whole drama has to be John Floyd, Buchanan's Sec of War. If anyone should have been arrested and tried for treason it was Floyd!
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 79
Joined: 2020
Fort Sumter
1/14/2021 4:27:40 PM
Fort Sumter
John & Group,

1) If they see any boats approaching the Fort, to stop them and inspect them. Upon finding only food let them proceed.
2) Stop all vessels and demand their return to the US fleet anchored outside the bar.
3) Do not approach any vessels but to simply open fire on the boats, preventing them for reaching the Fort.
4) Fire on Fort Sumter, forcing Major Anderson and his men to evcuate.

We know that Option 4 was the choice but was it the best one?

I vote for 1 & 2. Davis & other hot heads abandoned any good sense they had by starting an ill-considered war without resources & in two years had nearly exhausted manpower and supplies. Sumter was unnecessary. Absent war the damaging (decisive) blockade was illegal & not enforceable. Appealing to France & England for armistice and mediation did not need to work but only delay and raise doubts. The correct political move was to push Union into the posture of aggressor – but Davis didn’t have brains to figure that one IMHO. And don’t agree that this is wholly hindsight – serious thought and calculation might have worked it out back then. Davis & others totally misjudged the power of slavery and cotton vs Union and 20 million brother Americans as tough and stubborn as themselves – Dooh!
(but I am glad rebels defeated)
yours, Mike_C.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6206
Joined: 2006
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 10:26:59 AM
Hi guys,

Do you know the positions that were used by the Confederate to bombard Fort Sumter? Having visited the area several times lately Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island seems to be a prime location to shell Fort Sumter! Not sure exactly where the Reb. Batteries were placed? I do know that the distance from Charleston itself seem extremely far.away? But they do call the area in town closest to Fort Sumter, the Battery??

So what's the scoop??
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Gregory C. White
Canton GA USA
Posts: 328
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 11:09:51 AM
Quote:
Fort Sumter
John & Group,

1) If they see any boats approaching the Fort, to stop them and inspect them. Upon finding only food let them proceed.
2) Stop all vessels and demand their return to the US fleet anchored outside the bar.
3) Do not approach any vessels but to simply open fire on the boats, preventing them for reaching the Fort.
4) Fire on Fort Sumter, forcing Major Anderson and his men to evcuate.

We know that Option 4 was the choice but was it the best one?

I vote for 1 & 2. Davis & other hot heads abandoned any good sense they had by starting an ill-considered war without resources & in two years had nearly exhausted manpower and supplies. Sumter was unnecessary. Absent war the damaging (decisive) blockade was illegal & not enforceable. Appealing to France & England for armistice and mediation did not need to work but only delay and raise doubts. The correct political move was to push Union into the posture of aggressor – but Davis didn’t have brains to figure that one IMHO. And don’t agree that this is wholly hindsight – serious thought and calculation might have worked it out back then. Davis & others totally misjudged the power of slavery and cotton vs Union and 20 million brother Americans as tough and stubborn as themselves – Dooh!
(but I am glad rebels defeated)
yours, Mike_C.


Mike,

Was Option #1 realistic since Southern forces considered Fort Sumter not Federal property, but South Carolina property?

You mention Davis and other secessionists misjudging "20 million brother Americans". I'm not sure that can be applied to
mid-19th century America when so many took pride in their own state, and I frequently see this reinforced in correspondence
of the day before and during the war. Even in colonial times I doubt there was much sympathy or common ground of New
Englanders with fellow colonials in The South or middle colonies, and vice versa. So much division and animosities and
prejudices against others in religion (denominations), countries of origin, economic industries, etc.

Best Regards,

Greg
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“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevent their history, and denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of its destruction.” Sir William Wallace, 1280 A.D.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 11:38:55 AM
Dave

America Battlefield Trust has a great map under Charleston SC April 1861

Greg

Once heard a speaker say that before the CW it was common to say "The United States are...". After the war it became "The United States is..."

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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Gregory C. White
Canton GA USA
Posts: 328
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 12:02:14 PM
Quote:
Dave

America Battlefield Trust has a great map under Charleston SC April 1861

Greg

Once heard a speaker say that before the CW it was common to say "The United States are...". After the war it became "The United States is..."



John,

Somewhere I heard it said that the USA was truly not "united" until the USS Maine was sunk in 1898 which led to the
Spanish-American War. Others have cited World War I as a conflict that brought most Americans together as a united
people. The colonials were certainly not on the same page when it came to King George III and chasms only got worse
after independence was won.

Best Regards,

Greg
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“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevent their history, and denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of its destruction.” Sir William Wallace, 1280 A.D.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 1:21:56 PM
Greg

I myself lean towards the Spanish-America War as McKinley appointed ex Conf. officers in command positions. Joseph Wheeler, FitzHugh Lee and Thomas Rosser come to mind. Wheeler commanded the cavalry brigade that contained Roosevelt's Rough Riders and the 9th and 10th US, the Buffalo Soldiers.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Gregory C. White
Canton GA USA
Posts: 328
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 1:40:04 PM
Quote:
Greg

I myself lean towards the Spanish-America War as McKinley appointed ex Conf. officers in command positions. Joseph Wheeler, FitzHugh Lee and Thomas Rosser come to mind. Wheeler commanded the cavalry brigade that contained Roosevelt's Rough Riders and the 9th and 10th US, the Buffalo Soldiers.


John,

I'm with you on the Spanish-American War. President McKinley, a Union officer and a Republican, went a long way to make Southerners feel like they belonged. I had a number of relatives here in Georgia (sons of CSA veterans) that quickly enlisted and served in that brief conflict.

Greg

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“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevent their history, and denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of its destruction.” Sir William Wallace, 1280 A.D.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 877
Joined: 2004
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 2:06:28 PM
Greg

During the excitement of the Battle of San juan Hill, Gen. Wheeler is said to have called out "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!"

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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6206
Joined: 2006
Fort Sumter
1/17/2021 2:31:19 PM
Quote:
Dave

America Battlefield Trust has a great map under Charleston SC April 1861

Greg

Once heard a speaker say that before the CW it was common to say "The United States are...". After the war it became "The United States is..."





Hi John, & Greg,

Thanks, that is a great map & synopsis on Fort Sumter in the CW, Could you post the link as a read more, for easy access!? It clearly showed how the Confederates forced the fort into surrender! My Tablet won't let me post it??

Thanks again,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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