Discussion First Acts of War

trice

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#61
It was a pretty ugly business. I don't know if Hamilton wanted to kill for a purpose or if it was his purpose, but it was one of the nasty deeds going on, that's for sure.

I'd feel sorry for Hall, but that would imply he was innocent. Innocent and Bleeding Kansas don't mix too well, unfortunately.

Maybe he was, but its still hard to think innocent until proven guilty truly applies.
Oh, anytime you see lousy stinking situations like that in Bleeding Kansas there are always poor innocent sods caught in the middle. Lots of them, just wishing all these crazy people with the guns and the violence would go away somewhere.

Probably an awful lot of them in the Civil War as well. Probably a lot in Missouri and Tennessee and Kentucky and ... well, those are the people Larry Cockerham wishes we would remember more.

Tim
 

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#62
Oh, anytime you see lousy stinking situations like that in Bleeding Kansas there are always poor innocent sods caught in the middle. Lots of them, just wishing all these crazy people with the guns and the violence would go away somewhere.
No doubt - its just that there's enough of the violent types that determing who's caught in the middle is hard. Both sides of are trying to stir up support, politely and otherwise.

Probably an awful lot of them in the Civil War as well. Probably a lot in Missouri and Tennessee and Kentucky and ... well, those are the people Larry Cockerham wishes we would remember more.
Its hard to tell how much they felt caught in the middle and how much they supported one side or another. Not as in wanting the violent men with guns nearby, but true neutrality (maybe not a "a pox on all of you") would be hard.

Regarding the start of the Civil War, since there was no declaration of war - what would be the start of military conflict by the conventional definition?
 

trice

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#63
No doubt - its just that there's enough of the violent types that determing who's caught in the middle is hard. Both sides of are trying to stir up support, politely and otherwise.
Its hard to tell how much they felt caught in the middle and how much they supported one side or another. Not as in wanting the violent men with guns nearby, but true neutrality (maybe not a "a pox on all of you") would be hard.[/quote]

If it gets bad enough, it becomes hard to find any middle ground to stand on.

Regarding the start of the Civil War, since there was no declaration of war - what would be the start of military conflict by the conventional definition?
In practical terms, the attack on Ft. Sumter. There are 2 or 3 incidents before that that people like to claim as "the 1st shot", but they clearly don't qualify as the start of hostilities.

Another way to look at it would be to see Lincoln's call for troops and declaration of a blockade as the start of "war" as opposed to a "police action". A nation can use either to restore order and repress rebellion. The only "international law" difference lies in the need to use more force.

Tim
 
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#64
If it gets bad enough, it becomes hard to find any middle ground to stand on.
Exactly the problem. I'm not sure if Bleeding Kansas got there or not, but there was some interest in pushing it there.

In practical terms, the attack on Ft. Sumter. There are 2 or 3 incidents before that that people like to claim as "the 1st shot", but they clearly don't qualify as the start of hostilities.

Another way to look at it would be to see Lincoln's call for troops and declaration of a blockade as the start of "war" as opposed to a "police action". A nation can use either to restore order and repress rebellion. The only "international law" difference lies in the need to use more force.
Since Lincoln's call for troops was in response to a direct attack on US troops, counting it as the start of the war seems unreasonable.
 

trice

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#65
Since Lincoln's call for troops was in response to a direct attack on US troops, counting it as the start of the war seems unreasonable.
I am in agreement, but some people like to see it that way. The logic is that the fight doesn't start when the other guy punches you in the nose, but only when you retaliate. They reason you could always crawl away or decide not to respond, so the fight isn't on until the second guy starts throwing punches.

It's been more than 35 years since I threw a punch at anybody, but it seems to me the few bar-or-playground fights I saw were started as soon as the first blow was landed. Others may have a different experience.

Tim
 
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#66
In fact, Lincoln followed Buchannan's policy of not responding aggressively to provocation(for different reasons, of course) and as long as Lincoln did so, there was no war.
As I said, any or all the actions by southern leaders and people against the personnel and property of the Federal gov't, could be judged 'acts of war' if the Federal gov't chose to do so. When Buchannan effectively ignored the firing on, of the Star of the West' there was no war, when Lincoln chose to respond to the firing on, of Ft. Sumter, there was war.
 
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#67
Here is a newspaper article describing the April 3, 1861 attack. It comes from the National Republican, April 9, 1861, page 2, col 1:

The Vessel Fired Into​

The vessel fired upon last week in Charleston harbor, proves to have been a Boston vessel, the B. H. Shannon, Capt. Mentz, bound to Savannah, where she has safely arrived. The Savannah Republican says:

“On Wednesday, she was shrouded for many hours in a dense tog, during which she drifted through mistake over Charleston bar. Soon after the fog lifted, the captain, not knowing his whereabouts, found himself nearly abreast of the fort on Morris's Island, and while cogitating over his latitude and longitude, he was greeted with a salute from the fort. He immediately ran up his colors--the stars and stripes--but that demonstration seemed an unsatisfactory answer to their summons. Several shots (thirty twos) were fired into his rigging, one of which passed through his mainsail and another through his topsail. In the midst of his dilemma, not knowing where he was or the object of this hostile demonstration, a boat from Fort Sumter came to his relief, and being made acquainted with the facts, he lost no time in putting to sea. The schooner suffered no material damage from the shots, though one of them came most uncomfortably near the head of one of the crew.”​
 

ole

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#68
Here is a newspaper article describing the April 3, 1861 attack. It comes from the National Republican, April 9, 1861, page 2, col 1:

The Vessel Fired Into​

The vessel fired upon last week in Charleston harbor, proves to have been a Boston vessel, the B. H. Shannon, Capt. Mentz, bound to Savannah, where she has safely arrived. The Savannah Republican says:

“On Wednesday, she was shrouded for many hours in a dense tog, during which she drifted through mistake over Charleston bar. Soon after the fog lifted, the captain, not knowing his whereabouts, found himself nearly abreast of the fort on Morris's Island, and while cogitating over his latitude and longitude, he was greeted with a salute from the fort. He immediately ran up his colors--the stars and stripes--but that demonstration seemed an unsatisfactory answer to their summons. Several shots (thirty twos) were fired into his rigging, one of which passed through his mainsail and another through his topsail. In the midst of his dilemma, not knowing where he was or the object of this hostile demonstration, a boat from Fort Sumter came to his relief, and being made acquainted with the facts, he lost no time in putting to sea. The schooner suffered no material damage from the shots, though one of them came most uncomfortably near the head of one of the crew.”​
You are speaking, I believe, of a boat delivering ice to Savannah which got lost and was fired on at Charleston. This was after the Star of the West was fired on ... I think. I have a timeline somewhere in here. I created one and promptly forgot how to access it.
 
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#70
Strange comparison.

Brooks did beat the ever-living c--- out of Sumner but he didn't kill him.

On the other hand John Brown was responsible for several murders.

"On May 22, 1856, Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner with his Gutta-percha wood walking cane in the Senate chamber because of a speech Sumner had made three days earlier, criticizing President Franklin Pierce and Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas ("Bleeding Kansas"). In particular, Sumner lambasted Brooks' kinsman, Senator Andrew Butler, who was not in attendance when the speech was read, describing slavery as a harlot, comparing Butler with Don Quixote for embracing it, and mocking Butler for a physical handicap. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, who was also a subject of abuse during the speech, suggested to a colleague while Sumner was orating that "this **** fool [Sumner] is going to get himself shot by some other **** fool." (Jordan et al., The Americans)"
wikipedia.com

Wonder what Sumner said to cause such a reaction?

I might look up that speech.
What ridiculousness. Someone says something you don't like and then you beat the life out of them. Nice
 

unionblue

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#71
To All,

I got this idea from the 'War of Northern Aggression' thread as Vareb and Elennsar were discussing the first acts of war that took place.

I did this list once when I was debating another former member of this forum and thought I would repost it here.

December 20, 1860. South Carolina secedes from the Union.

On that same day William T. Sherman says to his friends in the South, "You, you people of the South, believe there can be such a thing as peaceable secession. You don't know what you are doing. I know there can be no such thing...If you will have it, the North must fight you for its own preservation. Yes, South Carolina has by the act precipitated war..."

December 27, 1860. The first Federal property to fall into South Carolina hands is the U.S. revenue cutter William Aiken turned over to secessionists by its commander, Capt. N. L. Coste, who did not resign his commission and therefore was in violation of his oath of office. The crew left the ship and went North.

Castle Pickney was seized by South Carolina militia and a problem arose: were the two Federal soldiers captured in the fort to be considered prisoners of war? If so, it would imply that there was in fact, a WAR. Following a lengthy discussion, the one Federal officer was allowed to go to Ft. Sumter while a sergeant and his family were given safe conduct to remain in their quarters at the fort. What was significant was that the secessionists now held, for the first time, a U.S. fort. Union officer Abner Doubleday called it "the first overt act of the Secessionists against the Sovereignty of the United States."

Fort Moultrie is also occupied by South Carolina militia on this day, after the fort was abandoned by Major Anderson and Federal troops on December 26, 1860, who relocated to Ft. Sumter during the night.

December 28, 1860. A detachment of South Carolina militia enters and takes control of Fort Johnson. Three out of four Federal forts have been seized and are now under the control of South Carolina militia troops.

January 3, 1861. The War Department cancelled plans to ship guns from Pittsburgh to the forts in the South. Former Secretary of War Floyd, who resigned and went South, had been shipping weapons and large guns South for the past several months to help build up the Southern arsenals.

January 4, 1861. Even though it had not yet seceded from the Union, Alabama troops seize the U.S. arsenal at Mt. Vernon, Ala.

January 5, 1861. Even though it STILL has not yet seceded from the Union, Alabama troops seizes Fort Morgan and Gaines which protect the harbor at Mobile.

January 6, 1861. Even though it has not yet seceded from the Union, Florida troops seize the Federal arsenal at Apalachiocola.

January 7, 1861. Even though it has STILL not seceded from the Union, Florida troops seize Fort Marion at St. Augustine.

January 8, 1861. At Fort Barrancas, guarding the entrance to Pensacola Harbor, Federal troops fired on a raiding party of about twenty men, who then fled.

January 9, 1861. On this day, Senators Judah P. Benjamin and John Slidell of Louisiana telegraphed Gov. Moore of that state (which had not yet seceded from the Union), that Federal gunboats were secretly bringing supplies to the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Both men had yet to resign from the Senate. Gov. Moore ordered Braxton Bragg and 500 troops to seize the forts and the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge.

On this same day, the Star of the West attempted to resupply Fort Sumter but was fired on by a masked battery from Morris Island and then by guns from Fort Moultrie. In spite of the fact the ship was flying two United States flags, the ship was repeatedly fired on. The ship turned and steamed away.

January 10, 1862. General Bragg and the militia seize the United States forts and arsenals in Louisiana. William T. Sherman, presiding as head of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, stated that Bragg's actions were, "an act of war and a breach of common decency."

On the same day in North Carolina, before that state had yet to secede, citizens of Smithville and Wilmington occupied Forts Johnson and Caswell. The State government at Raleigh later repudiated these moves.

January 12, 1861. Captain James Armstrong, commander of the Warrington Navy Yard at Pensacola, Florida, is captured and "regarded [as] a prisoner of war, and...placed on his parole of honor...not to bear arms against the State of Florida."

January 13, 1861. Several men are seen near Fort Pickens in the night and were fired upon. These unknown men retired from the area of the fort.

January, 18, 1861. In the United States House of Representatives, John Sherman, brother of William T. Sherman, rose to reply to his Ohio colleague, Pendleton, remarks that the North should be concillatory towards the South. Sherman, in a highly emotional speech, said that it was not the North that should be concillatory, it was the South; were they not the ones who had fired on the flag and seized government property? Was not Mississippi stopping all traffic at Vicksburg for search? (which Mississippi had begun on January 12, 1861.)

January 21, 1861. Mississippi troops seize Fort Massachusetts off the coast, in the Gult. Ship Island is also taken.

January 24, 1861. Georgia troops occupy the U.S. arsenal at Augusta.

January 26, 1861. At Savannah, Georgia, Fort Jackson and the Oglethorpe Barracks are seized by state troops.

January 29, 1861. Louisiana state troops take possession of Fort Macomb, outside New Orleans. The revenue cutter Robert McClelland is surrendered to Louisiana state authorities by Captain Breshwood, despite orders not to do so by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Also on this date, a notice of truce was sent from Washington to the army and navy commanders at Pensacola. It was the result of an agreement between Secretaries Holt and Toucey and Florida official Chase and Stephen Mallory.

January 30, 1861. President-elect Lincoln leaves Springfield, Ill., to visit his step-mother in Coles County. He has not even left for Washington yet. In Mobile Bay, the U.S. revenue schooner Lewis Cass was surrendered to Alabama by its commander.

January 31, 1861. In New Orleans, the U.S. Branch Mint was seized by state troops along with the revenue schooner Washington.

February 8, 1861. Before it had yet to secede from the Union, Arkansas seized the Little Rock U.S. arsenal.

February 11, 1861. Lincoln boards the train that will take him to Washington.

February 16, 1861. Although it had yet to secede from the Union, in San Antonio, Texas, state troops seize the U.S. military compound, barracks and arsenal.

February 19, 1861. In New Orleans, the U.S. Paymaster's office was seized by state troops.

March 2, 1861. Texas, now out of the Union, seizes the U.S. revenue schooner Henry Dodge at Galveston.

March 6, 1861. The Confederate Congress authorizes an army of 100,000 volunteers for twelve months.

March 15, 1861. The State of Louisiana transferred over $536,000 in money taken from the U.S. Mint in New Orleans to the Confederate government.

March 18, 1861. In the Florida panhandle, General Braxton Bragg refused to permit further supply of Ft. Pickens, in effect, nullifying the truce then in effect between Washington and Florida from January 29, 1861.

March 20, 1861. Texas troops seize three more Federal forts. At Mobile, a Federal supply ship, the U.S. sloop Isabella, was seized before it could sail with supplies to Pensacola.

April 3, 1861. In Charleston, South Carolina, a battery placed on Morris Island, fired at the Federal schooner Rhoda H. Shannon.

April 12, 1861. At 4:30AM, Fort Sumter was fired on by Confederate forces.

April 15, 1861. President Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers for three months service.

Submitted for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
Bumped.
 

wbull1

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#72
I agree that there are violence-prone people who will jump into a fight to be fighting without paying attention to the issues the led to the violence. However, there is evidence of some southern pro-slavery people engaging in violence against abolitionists far early than what I see here. For example, Elijah Parish Lovejoy was killed by a pro-slavery mob on November 7, 1837. His provocative action was to put out an anti-slavery newspaper. Clearly, that did not start the Civil War, but it is, in my mind, evidence that some men were willing to kill others for simply questioning the propriety of slavery. I see this as gearing up to start the war.

John C. Calhoun’s slavery is a “positive good” speech of February 6, 1837, was also, in my opinion, a step toward starting the war. He presented a point-of-view that over time became accepted by many in the South even though most of the rest of the world opposed the idea. The Confederacy's early diplomacy involved trying to convince foreign governments that they were being denied their God-given freedom to enslave others. It seems to me the diplomats were surprised to find how much out of step they were with public opinion throughout the rest of the world.
 



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