Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy

wbull1

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#61
I see the diplomacy as doomed from the beginning due to the absolute failure on each side to put themselves into the mindset of the opposite side. Even Stephen A. Douglas, long time national Democratic leader who spent years with southerner in his party, did not believe the south would secede. Threats had been made for decades before anything happened. On the southern side, Lincoln was an unknown and it was not clear to them who was in charge. Neither believed the rhetoric of the others.
 

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jgoodguy

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#62
I see the diplomacy as doomed from the beginning due to the absolute failure on each side to put themselves into the mindset of the opposite side. Even Stephen A. Douglas, long time national Democratic leader who spent years with southerner in his party, did not believe the south would secede. Threats had been made for decades before anything happened. On the southern side, Lincoln was an unknown and it was not clear to them who was in charge. Neither believed the rhetoric of the others.
The objectives of negation were incompatible. The CSA wanted independence or war. The Union wanted delay until cooler heads prevail which was not going to happen.
 

jgoodguy

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#63
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 454
Published by: Southern Historical Association Emphasis mine.

We have the CSA Commissioners playing Steward playing his game of unelected president. Something will have to give because Steward cannot deliver. It appears to me that Lincoln did not call Steward to heel until after Lincoln had made his mind up on what to do. This will cause a lot of CSA resentment and lead to war, but since their stated purpose was US surrender of sovereignty or war, the war was inevitable.

During his conversation with Crawford, Campbell made no effort to conceal the strategy underlying Seward's desire for delay-the belief that the Confederacy would "wither under sunshine." The Confederate said he was "willing to take all the risks of sunshine. "53​
Campbell's next step was to write Seward and tell him what assurances had been given and that he need not worry about an immediate reply to the March 12 note being required by the commissioners.54 For their part, the commissioners telegraphed to Montgomery that​
by pressing we can get an answer to our official note tomorrow. If we do, we believe it will be adverse to recognition and peace. We are sure that within five days Sumter will be evacuated. We are sure that no steps will be taken to change the military status. With a few days' delays a favorable answer may be had .... What shall we do?​
The commissioners remained confident that Steward was correct that Sumter would be evacuated peacefully.
In reply Toombs told them to "wait a reasonable time and then ask for instructions."55 By March 20 the specified five days had elapsed and still there was no announcement that Sumter was being surrendered. Evidently worried at the lack of news, Toombs telegraphed the commissioners, "We can't hear from you."56 To this they replied, "You have not heard from us because there is no change. If there is faith in man we may rely on the assurances we have as to the status. Time is essential to a peaceful issue of the mission. In the present posture of affairs precipitation* is war. We are all agreed."​
Footnotes
*Hurry.
55Dated March 15 and 16, respectively, in 'Pickett Papers.
56Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, III, 409; original in Pickett Papers.

It is starting to appear that something is wrong. Anderson not only is not evacuating, but he is strengthening Sumter. Campbell and Nelson take Beauregard's telegram to Steward and ask for an explanation. Steward assures them that everything is all right and the following afternoon Steward spoke with confidence of his ability to carry through his policy. The commissioners continued to regard Steward under their control and were reassured.

That same day they also wired Beauregard and asked if Anderson had evacuated Sumter or appeared to be about to do so. "Sumter not evacuated," Beauregard answered; "no indications whatever of it. Anderson working still on its defenses."57 Thereupon the commissioners asked Campbell to see Seward and find out what was the matter. Campbell and Nelson took Beauregard's telegram and went to the State Department on the 21st. They found Seward too busy for an extended conference, although he did take time to assure them that everything was all right and to make an appointment with them for the following afternoon. On the strength of the Secretary's remarks Campbell left a memorandum with the Crawford commission reaffirming his confidence that steps had been taken to evacuate Sumter and that no changes unfavorable to the South would be made at Fort Pickens. The Justices returned to the State Department the next day and found Seward "buoyant and sanguine"; he spoke with confidence of his ability to carry through his policy. He thought the delay accidental, and felt it did not involve the integrity of his assurance that the evacuation would take place, and that Campbell "should know whenever any change was made in the resolution in reference to Sumter or to Pickens." Campbell returned to the commissioners, brimming with hope, fully convinced that with prudence, forbearance, and wisdom, peace could be attained. On the strength of Seward's remarks, Campbell wrote another memorandum for the Confederates:​
His confidence is not justified.​
As a result of my interview today I have to say that I have still unabated confidence that Fort Sumter will be evacuated & that no delay that has occurred excites in me any apprehension or distrust. And that the state of things at Fort Pickens will not be altered prejudicially to the Confederate States. I counsel inactivity in making demands on this Government for the present. I shall have knowledge of any change in the existing status.​
22d March 1861 (Signed) J. A. C.58​
Footnotes
57Official Records, Series I, Vol. I, 277; Vol. ILIII, 136.
58Davis, Rise and Fall of Confederate Government, I, 233; Connor, Campbell,126-27; Copy B, entitled Notes of Judge Campbell, accompanying Crawford,Forsyth, and Roman to Toombs, March 22, 1861, in Pickett Papers.
 

wbull1

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#64
I don't think Seward was lying. I believe he thought and hoped he would be the "power behind the throne" in the Lincoln administration. He had not yet learned that when decisions were made it would be the president who made them.
 

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#66
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 461-462

The sentiment of the Commissioners is that the North will yield on Sumter and more concessions would follow. The Confederacy needed time to prepare, but as things work out IMHO the war-centric approach to the diplomacy will result in a war much earlier than needed to prepare.

Then, as on March 15, Campbell informed Seward in writing of what he had told Crawford, and the commissioners relayed the essence of this last note to Toombs by telegraph and added that they felt encouraged. Reporting at greater length by letter that same day, they emphasized that delay was the best policy. The Confederacy needed time to prepare for whatever the future might bring, and in the meantime the peace party in the North was steadily gaining in strength. Sumter had been a great trial to the administration, but once it was given up, other concessions would be easier to make.59​

Back in Montgomery, some folks are becoming suspicious of the delay. A reiteration of give up the forts or else.

In reply Assistant Secretary of State William M. Browne wrote that President Davis approved their action in not pressing for an answer to their March 12 note, but then went on to show reasons why the intentions of the Lincoln regime should be regarded with skepticism. There were, for example, the failure to vacate Sumter within five days as promised, and the strengthening of the works at Fort Pickens. Furthermore the fact that the United States was preparing to abandon Sumter (and hold Pickens, a stronger position) only after Confederate power had made it militarily untenable, showed that Lincoln would yield only to superior force and cast serious doubt on his desire for peace. Therefore they should urge the evacuation of all the forts in the Confederacy within a reasonable time as "an indispensable condition to the preservation of peace" and as a prerequisite to pacific negotiations. They were also directed to inquire as to why a large number of United States naval vessels had been recalled from foreign stations and concentrated in Northern ports, and to say that the Confederate government had taken serious cognizance of this development.60​
Indeed the suspicions were justified that the Union might not be as subservient as the Commissioners reported. Lincoln was formulating a plan of action.
Davis' suspicions were indeed well-founded. After two weeks of relative inaction, Lincoln was moving toward a decision. Gustavus Vasa Fox, later assistant secretary of the navy, had a plan​
or the relief of Fort Sumter. At the instance of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, an uncompromising coercionist, he came to Washington and laid the plan before the President. Fox was aware of the opposition in the cabinet to any such action, and he suggested that his arguments would be more convincing if he went to Sumter himself and examined the situation at first hand. Lincoln agreed. Fox arrived in Charleston on March 21 and looked up an old friend, Commander H. J. Hartstene, now of the Confederate navy. Hartstene was not able to locate General Beauregard, so he took Fox to Governor Pickens, who gave the Northerner permission to visit Sumter on the condition that his purposes were entirely peaceful.61 Hartstene accompanied Fox, and on his return, Beauregard asked, "Were you with Captain Fox all the time of his visit?" "All but a short period, when he was with Major Anderson," was the answer. "I fear that we shall have occasion to regret that short period," rejoined Beauregard.62​
59Crawford, Forsyth, Roman to Toombs, Mareh 22, 1861, in Pickett Papers.
60Wifllim M. Browne to Crawford, Roman, and Forsyth, March 28, 1861, ibid.
61Offial Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (30 vols. and index, Washington, 1894-1927), Series I, Vol. I, 227, 246-47. It is scarcely possible that Fox did not understand this condition. He must have known that Confederate authorities would never allow him to visit the fort for the purpose of facilitating its relief.
62Crawford, Genesis of the Civil War, 372n. Anderson and Fox did discuss the problems involved in relieving the fort. Anderson believed it was impossible and opposed making the attempt. Ibid., 371-72.
 

jgoodguy

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#67
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 462-463

Ward H. Lamon went to Charleston, taken as Lincoln's personal representative, which he did nothing to correct, made the impression that Sumter would be evacuated.
On the day of Fox's visit to Sumter, Lincoln explained to Stephen A. Hurlbut, then of Illinois but a native of Charleston, that he wanted him to go to South Carolina and gauge the strength of Unionist sentiment there-that sentiment Seward was counting on to react against secession, if given time. Accompanying Hurlbut was Lincoln's old friend, Ward H. Lamon, whom the Southerners took for Lincoln's personal emissary. Both men arrived in Charleston on the 25th. Hurlbut proceeded to confer with that unbending Unionist, James L. Petigru, under whom he had studied law. Lamon met Governor Pickens, went out to Sumter, and did a great deal of loose talking to the effect that he had come to Charleston to arrange with Anderson for the removal of his garrison.65 On the 26th Beauregard reported to Walker that "Mr. Lamon left here last night, saying that Major Anderson and command would soon be withdrawn from Fort Sumter in a satisfactory manner."64 After he had returned to Washington, Lamon wrote Pickens that he would be back in a few days to remove Anderson and his men.65 Lincoln disavowed Lamon's statements early in April, but the effect was to erode still further the already crumbling faith in Northern promises.​
Footnote
63Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, III, 390; Official Records, Series I, Vol. I, 222.

From Page 390-391 of above reference. Link

By appointment I met Mr. Petigrn at 1 p. M. and had a private conversation with him for more than two hours. I was at liberty to state to him that my object was to ascertain and report the actual state of feeling in the city and State. Our conversation was entirely free and confidential. He is now the only man in the city of Charleston who avowedly adheres to the Union. . . From these sources I have no hesitation in reporting as unquestionable—that separate nationality is a fixed fact, that there is an unanimity of sentiment which is to my mind astonishing, that there is no attachment to the Union. . . There is positively nothing to appeal to. The sentiment of national patriotism, always feeble in Carolina, has been extinguished and overridden by the acknowledged doctrine of the paramount allegiance to the State. False political economy diligently taught for years has now become an axiom, and merchants and businessmen believe, and act upon the belief, that great growth of trade and expansion of material prosperity will and must follow the establishment of a Southern republic. They expect a golden era, when Charleston shall be a great commercial, emporium and control for the South, as New York does for the North.​
 

jgoodguy

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#68
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 464-465

Muddling on.
Commissioners were unhappy with the lack of former recognization.
An informal meeting was arranged at de Stoeckl's residence, Russian minister to the United States, but Steward declined at the last minute. The Commissioners felt that the Union would eventually surrender when faced with military action.

During the week that followed the March 22 conversations, the Confederate commissioners had little to report.66 The only incident of interest was a proposed meeting between Andre Roman, who probably joined his colleagues on the 17th or 18th, and Seward. In the course of a conversation between Baron Edo- ard de Stoeckl, Russian minister to the United States, and Seward, the latter reiterated his dedication to the cause of peace and asked de Stoeckl to arrange an informal meeting with Roman. e Stoeckl planned to invite both men to tea and then be called away on business, leaving them alone. The commissioners were undoubtedly greatly encouraged by this unexpected development, but they were soon disillusioned. On the morning of the 26th, the day of the proposed assignation (Seward's coquetry seems to deserve the word), de Stoeckl called on Roman and said he had received a note from Seward saying that he had thought the matter over and was afraid such a meeting would get to the newspapers; consequently 'he had to decline. This came as an "utter surprise" to the commissioners. Obviously intensely irritated, they wrote to Toombs requesting additional instructions and asking "whether we shall dally longer with a Government hesitating & doubting as to its own course, or shall we demand an answer at once [to our March 12 note]." Personally they would like to demand to be accorded the respect and dignity of the envoys of an independent nation. But, they went on, they realized the value of delay to the Confederacy. In the remainder of the letter, the commissioners expressed the opinion that the stronger the Confederacy made itself, the greater the possibility of recognition by the United States. They still believed Sumter would be evacuated, and advised Toombs to assemble a strong force at Pensacola and thus give Lincoln as good an excuse for evacuating Pickens as he had in the case of Sumter. The North would never risk war by reinforcing Pickens, but would only bluster and threaten in the newspapers. Then the commissioners contradicted themselves somewhat by saying they were assured they would be notified if the cabinet adopted a war policy, in effect admitting that the North might, after all, do more than write sulfurous editorials.6"​

Meanwhile, Governor Pickens was still waiting for Lamon to come back and take away the Sumter garrison. Steward gave some excuses to placate the Commissioners who were reassured.

While the commissioners were fuming over Seward's fickleness, Governor Pickens was waiting for Lamon to come back to Charleston and take the Federal troops away, as he said he would. Finally on March 30 he telegraphed Crawford and the others and asked for an explanation.68 They gave the telegram to Campbell, who took it to Seward the same day. The Secretary said he could not give a definite reply to Pickens' telegram until Monday, April 1, but he went on to convince Campbell once again that Sumter was going to be evacuated. The purpose of Lamon's trip had been to gather information enabling Lincoln to demonstrate that evacuation was a military necessity. Lamon had not yet returned to Charleston because it was feared that surrendering the fort now might adversely affect the elections in Connecticut and Rhode Island, which were to be held on April 1 and 4.69 Campbell, with touching confidence in Seward's reliability, duly reported to the commissioners, who telegraphed a condensed version of the conversation to Toombs.70​
Now it appears the story is that Lamon had no authority to make the assurances he did. Campbell was surprised. Now it appears that Sumter may be surprised, the Union is not going to surrender it. Be sure to read footnote 72
On April 1, however, when he called to receive an answer to Governor Pickens' telegram, Campbell was treated to a rude shock. Seward began by saying that Lincoln was disturbed at the contents of that telegram, because Lamon had no authority whatever to make any statement about Sumter, a fact which Lamon would confirm in person if Campbell so desired. The Secretary then jotted down a note for the commissioners which said "the President may desire to supply Fort Sumter, but will not undertake to do so without first giving notice to Governor Pickens."​
Now the story is that Lincoln may or may not resupply Fort Sumter, but he will give notice. Judge Campbell notices that 4 times Steward said Sumter would be given up, now maybe not. Campbell tells Steward if the Union attempts to resupply Fort Sumter, an attack would result. Steward suggests that Lincoln is confused by many offers of advice. The last note says that Lincoln would not resupply Sumter without notice. A significant change in direction, but Judge Campbell was reassured. Judge Campbell was reassured and relayed this to the Commissioners.​
The Judge was naturally taken aback. On at least four separate occasions during the last sixteen days Seward had said flatly that Sumter would be given up; now he was speaking of the possibility that it might be supplied. "What does this mean?" asked Campbell. "Does the President design to supply Sumter?" "No, I think not," was the reply; "it is a very irksome thing to him to evacuate it. His ears are open to everyone, and they fill his head with schemes for its supply. I do not think that he will adopt any of them. There is no design to reinforce it." But, Campbell persisted, even if that were true, it would still be a dangerous thing to speak to the Confederates of Lincoln's possible desire to supply the fort. It might be taken as an intention to do so, and lead to an attack on Sumter. Seward then said he would have to consult the President before answering. He left the room for a few minutes. When he returned he wrote out an answer for Governor Pickens which was somewhat different from his first note: "I am satisfied the Government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter without giving notice to Governor Pickens."71 The only change-surely an unimportant one-was to omit any reference to Lincoln's "desire" to relieve the fort. Campbell accepted this message with the understanding that the assurances made on March 15 and reiterated on the 21st and 22nd were still valid.72​
Footnotes be sure to read 73​
67Crawford and Roman to Toombs, March 26, 1861, ibid.
68Connor, Campbell, 127; Davis, Rise and Fall of Confederate 234-35.
69Crawford to Toombs, April 1, 1861, in Pickett Papers.
70Crawford and Roman to Toombs, March 30, 1861, ibid.
71Connor, Campbell, 127-28, quoting Campbell's account, "Facts of History." Naturally, no claim is made for the literal exactness of the quotation.
72Ibid., 128; Davis, Rise and Fall of Confederate Government, I, 235. On March 29, Lincoln ordered an expedition to be made ready for the purpose of supplying Sumter; on the 31st a similar decision was reached with respect to Pickens. Seward was of course fully cognizant of both. On the same day that he talked to Campbell, April 1, Seward presented Lincoln with his memorandum, "Some thoughts for the President's consideration," in which he advocated surrendering Sumter and strengthening the Gulf forts. Lincoln's reply of the same date said, among other things, that he had no intention of giving up Sumter. If this answer did not reach Seward before his talk with Campbell, he still may have had some hope at the time of that conversation that his policy might even then prevail. The fallacious explanation (see Stampp, And the War Came, 282-83) which Lincoln gave in his July 4 message to Congress to the effect that he had ordered the Sumter expedition to go ahead only after he had learned (on April 6) that his orders of 'March 11 to reinforce Pickens had miscarried probably was intended, among other things, to make Seward's friends think that the President had tried to follow his advice but had been thwarted by accidental circumstances. Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, III, 429-49; Lincoln, Collected Works, IV, 301, 315, 316-18n.
 
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jgoodguy

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#69
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 466

Steward told the Commissioners via Campbell what they wanted to hear. Their mission would be successful because Lincoln was a coward with no taste for war, their superiority to Northerners, and that the North had no stomach for war. They sent confusing dispatches to Montgomery. Steward IMHO would seem much less adroit had Campbell and the Commissioners not had a mindset that allowed preconceptions to cloud their judgment.

Not long after his conversation with the adroit Secretary of State, Campbell wrote President Davis that "I do not doubt that Sumter will be evacuated shortly, without any effort to supply it," and that he would be notified before any change was made at Fort Pickens. "So far as I can judge," he continued, "the present desire is to let things remain as they are, without action of any kind."73 Thus did he brush aside the plain implications of Lincoln's note and once again place his trust in the verbal statements of Seward. Reflecting this same point of view, Crawford wired Beauregard that he was authorized to say that no attempt to supply Sumter would be made without notifying Governor Pick- ens first. "My own opinion," he said, "is that the President has not the courage to execute the order agreed upon in Cabinet for the evacuation of the fort[!], but that he intends to shift the responsibility upon Major Anderson, by suffering him to be starved out."74 In a similar message to Toombs, the commissioners warned against attacking Sumter "when the general impression is, its surrender can be expected every hour." That would make the Confederacy appear "guilty of the unnecessary shedding of blood & it would tend to concentrate public opinion at the North in favor of this government.""5 With that statement, the commissioners made one of their rare accurate predictions of coming events. They had, as a matter of fact, no real knowledge of what was impending, and remained in a state of confusion, oscillating between extremes of optimism and pessimism. On the very next day after their hopeful dispatch of April 1 they telegraphed Toombs that the​
war wing presses on the President; he vibrates to that side . . Their form of notice to us may be that of the coward, who gives it when he strikes. Watch at all points. It is said the Pawnee sailed from this place this evening with three companies of artillery.76​

Footnotes
73Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, III, 411.
74Oflcial Records, Series I, Vol. I, 283-84.
75Crawford and Roman to Toombs, April 1, 1861, in Pickett Papers.
76Official Records, Series I, Vol. I, 284; original in Pickett Papers.
 

wbull1

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#71
The timing is interesting. The commissioners started meeting in Washington, DC on February 3 and Lincoln did not arrive in the Capital until twenty days later.
 

jgoodguy

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#72
The timing is interesting. The commissioners started meeting in Washington, DC on February 3 and Lincoln did not arrive in the Capital until twenty days later.
Crawford was the first commissioner to reach Washington, arriving there late on the morning of March 3. Soon after Lincoln's inauguration Seward was informed that a Confederate agent, Crawford, was in Washington and would ask immediately for an official interview and, if he were rebuffed, the impact on Southern opinion would probably force Davis to attack Forts Sumter and Pickens. Forsythe shows up March 12.
 

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#73
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 466
Fort Sumter And Confederate Diplomacy By Ludwell H. Johnson.pdf

IMHO the commissioners were more trapped by their preconceptions than Steward's ability. The folks in Montgomery are planning for contingencies. Fox is found in the henhouse as his plan was revealed. No more nice guy in Charleston.

The mood of Confederate authorities at Montgomery was one of grim preparation for the worst; the portents of things to come were too plain to be ignored by those out of range of Seward's mesmeric dissembling. On March 26 the New York Tribune revealed that the purpose of Fox's trip to Sumter had been to perfect his plan for relieving the fort."7 In obvious reaction to this news, Beauregard was ordered to allow no one else to go to Sumter unless he himself saw the written instructions of the visitor and was satisfied that no deception was intended.8 And just in case the General had any tendencies toward complacency or false hopes, Walker sent him the following letter on April 2:​
The Government has at no time placed any reliance on assurances by the Government at Washington in respect to the evacuation of Fort Sumter, or entertained any confidence in the disposition of the latter to make any concession or yield any point to which it is not driven by absolute necessity, and I desire that you will govern yourself generally with strict reference to this as the key to the policy of the Government of the Confederate States ....​
[You should conduct yourself] precisely as if you were in the presence of an enemy contemplating to surprise you. The delays and apparent vacillations of the Washington Government make it imperative that the further concession of courtesies such as have been accorded to Major Anderson and his command, in supplies from the city, must cease; ... all communications . . . for any purpose of supply is absolutely inhibited ....79​

And Walker concluded by saying that the mission of the Confederate agents in Washington might come to an end at any moment.​
Footnotes
77Frank Moore (ed.), The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, etc. (12 vols., New York, 1862-1871), I, 3d section, 26.
78Oficial Records, Series I, Vol. I, 283.
79Ibid., 285.
 

jgoodguy

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#74
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 467-468
Fort Sumter And Confederate Diplomacy By Ludwell H. Johnson.pdf

Then the CSA government send a message with a different tone to the Commissioners implying they had the upper hand in the negotiations, and in a position to make demands for peace or even a delay.

On the same day Toombs sent off a dispatch to the commissioners which, in one important respect, was at sharp variance with Walker's letter to Beauregard. President Davis agreed, they were told, that Seward's policy would prevail and that its adoption by the United States would not be harmful to the interests of the Confederacy. In their March 26 letter to Toombs, the commissioners, exasperated by Seward's refusal to meet with Roman, had asked whether they should continue to "dally" with such a vacillating administration or put an end to delay and demand to be received at once. It was Davis' belief, wrote Toombs, that the delay caused by the "hesitating & doubting" policy of the United States was not injurious to the Confederacy. While the United States chose neither peace nor war, the Confederacy had the advantage of both conditions and was able to strengthen its defenses and consolidate its government. If the Lincoln administration were to propose a truce based on the status quo, to last until Congress met, a move the commissioners seemed to anticipate, they were to refuse unless the United States agreed to give up Sumter and Pickens.80

Davis misled his Commissioners. One moment the thought that the North was a pushover seems to be the dominant position then the next minute it was not a pushover to Beauregard, but nothing changed to the Commissioners. Now Davis has the prejudice that the US might not only not be a pushover, but it may attack. Did this change of attitude from pushover to prejudice help push Davis to shot first. It could be a preconceiveg tactic as the author suggests or maybe not.

At no other time throughout the entire crisis did the President express confidence that Seward's policy, which entailed the voluntary surrender of Sumter, would win out. This fact, together with the sentiments of extreme pessimism and distrust expressed in Walker's April 2 letter and elsewhere, lead to the conclusion that Davis was not being entirely candid with the commissioners. Instead, it would seem that he misrepresented his beliefs for the purpose of encouraging the commissioners to persist in their present course of action, thereby gaining time if nothing else. Consequently the letters of Walker and Davis are not contradictory. Taken together, they represent the two sides of Davis' strategy of defense: Refrain from bringing matters to a head, leave the door open to a peaceful settlement, and whatever the fate of the negotiations, use the time they afford to prepare for a possible attack. As for what Davis really expected to happen, there seems little reason to doubt he believed Lincoln was bent on armed coercion.​
Footnotes

80Toombs to Crawford, Roman, and Forsyth, April 2, 1861, in Pickett Papers. There is a puzzling incident in this exchange of correspondence. A letter from Roman to Toombs of March 29 (the receipt of which was acknowledged in Toombs' April 2 letter) contained an enclosure which consisted of two parts, "The Answer" and "The Rejoinder." The first is the text of a letter in which the President of the United States is represented as replying to the commissioners' note of March 12 to the effect that he cannot open negotiations with them unless it is understood that such negotiations do not constitute recognition. If that is agreed, he is willing to talk to them. "The Rejoinder" is a projected reply by the commissioners, who, while stating that the Confederacy is an independent nation de facto and de jure, say that they have never made recognition of that independence a prerequisite of negotiations. They explicitly agree that such talks will not be considered to constitute recognition. In the April 2 letter, Davis describes the policy represented by the above enclosure as very "delicate." He returned a modified version of "The Rejoinder" to the commissioners, the only change being that instead of explicitly accepting Lincoln's proviso that negotiations would not connote recognition, the commissioners were to say that they had no objection to holding talks "upon the terms stated in the note of the President of the United States." The writer is not sure of the significance of this incident. Possibly the commissioners had some reason, since lost, for expecting such a letter from Lincoln; or perhaps there was a plan to publish a spurious correspondence for the purpose of arousing the peace element in the North and forcing Lincoln to talk to them.
 

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#75
Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 469-470
Fort Sumter And Confederate Diplomacy By Ludwell H. Johnson.pdf

All sorts of activity and rumors flying about. It is apparent that Lincoln is not going to evacuate Sumter and Pickens.

The telegrams that arrived daily from Washington certainly did nothing to create confidence. "Much activity to-day in the War and Navy Departments," the commissioners wired on April 3. "It is said the Minnesota, at Boston, has been ordered to the mouth of the Mississippi. Powhatan suddenly put in commission to sail next week. Four companies now here . . . ordered to New York. Report says these movements have reference to the San Domingo question."81 On the 4th they repeated that this expedition was headed for San Domingo. But, they warned, "all this fleet may now or hereafter be ordered to our coast; hence we would say strengthen the defenses at the mouths of the Mississippi."82 The 5th saw these preparations still in progress. A "formidable military and naval force" was involved, Toombs was informed. Statements that San Domingo was the destination might be true or might be a ruse, said the commissioners, plumbing the depths of uncertainty. "Having no confidence in the administration, we say, be ever on your guard . . . . The notice promised us will come at the last moment if the fleet be intended for our waters."83 On April 6 Walker ordered Beauregard to isolate Sumter completely. "The courtesies which have been accorded to the commander of that fortress have been . . . taken advantage of in some cases by persons whose object in visiting Fort Sumter was chiefly to obtain information of the state of our defenses, to be communicated to the Government at Washington."84 By this time it had definitely been concluded at Montgomery that an expedition to reinforce Pickens was then weighing anchor, and additional troops were called to Pensacola to meet it.85 In Charleston, the newspapers were full of the warlike preparations then going on in the North. The venerable dean of secessionists, Edmund Ruffin, wrote in his diary on the 6th that "everything seems to indicate some new and serious attempt to strike an unlooked-for blow on the C.S., either reinforcing the blockaded forts, or (as also rumored) to blockade the Mississippi River."86 At ten-thirty that night the commissioners wired Toombs that there had been.​
No change in the activity of the warlike armaments mentioned yesterday. The rumors that they are destined against Pickens and perhaps Sumter are getting every day stronger. We know nothing positive on the subject, but advise equal activity on your part to receive them if they come. We have not yet been notified of the movement, but the notifications may come when they are ready to start.87​
The Commissioners thought Justice Campbell got in touch with Steward and got a vague answer. Campbell accepted that Lincoln would notify Pickens before an relief attempt was made. Pickens was unknown.

In the face of a steady stream of alarming information, the commissioners decided to get in touch with Seward once again. On Sunday morning, April 7, they called on Campbell. At their request, the latter wrote Seward, described their anxiety, and recapitulated the assurances he had previously given them and which he had just repeated to the effect that prior notice would be given before any action was taken with respect to Sumter or Pickens. "But if I have said more than I am authorized," Camp- bell concluded, "I pray that you will advise me." As an answer he received an undated, unsigned note saying: "Faith as to Sumter fully kept; wait and see; other suggestions received, and will be respectfully considered."88 Campbell digested this bit of ambiguity and then wrote the commissioners that he still believed Governor Pickens would be notified before an attempt was made to provision Sumter, but he no longer felt at liberty to say prior notice would be given of any change made at Fort Pickens. He then wrote Seward and informed him of what he had just told the Confederates.89​
Without recognization and surrender of the forts, the Commissioners concluded 'If that answer was not satisfactory, they would "consider the gauntlet of war thrown down and close our mission."90"
At last Crawford and his colleagues were convinced that "a hostile movement is on foot and part of it sailed against the Confederate States." They so telegraphed Toombs, adding that they intended to notify Seward that their secretary would call at 2 P.M. the next day for an answer to their note of March 12. If that answer was not satisfactory, they would "consider the gauntlet of war thrown down and close our mission."90 The next morning, April 8, they wired the Charleston authorities that they had been told Sumter would not be supplied without notice, adding, however, that they placed no faith in these assurances; "the war policy prevails in the Cabinet at this hour."9' At 2:15 P.M. their secretary, John T. Pickett, called at the State Department. He was handed a blank envelope containing an unsigned memorandum which Seward had placed on file on March 15 when the commissioners agreed to defer their request for an answer. In it Seward refused to consider the Confederacy as an independent nation and declined to have any dealings with its alleged agents.92​

This ends the diplomacy and my presentation. The Commissioners went to Washington with a demand for recognition or war and when that was not forthcoming, Davis initiated war. My reading of the record is that the CSA was overconfident boarding on arrogance in negotiation without much diplomatic skills. When the political situation changed from their ideal, they were unable to compensate.
Footnotes
88Oflicial Records of the Navies, Series I, Vol. IV, 258-59; copy of unsigned memorandum, dated Sunday morning, April 7, 1861, in Pickett Papers; Crawford, Genesis of the Civil War, 340; Bancroft, Seward, II, 140-41n. By "other suggestions" Seward probably was referring to an offer by Campbell to go in person to Montgomery.
89Bancroft, Seward, II, 141n; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, IV, 36-37; Campbell to Crawford (copy), 2 P. M., April 7, 1861, in Picketit Papers.
900fficial Records of the Navies, Series I, Vol. IV, 258; original in the Pickett Papers. On the 7th Ruffin noted in his diary that telegraphic reports had been received in Charleston saying that "war steamers have been dispatched from Boston and New York, with 1800 soldiers to the South, but destination unknown." Ruffin, "The First Shot at Sumter," 71. 91Official Records, Series I, Vol. I, 289; Official Records of the Navies, Series I, Vol. IV, 259.
920fficial Records of the Navies, Series I, Vol. IV, 259; memorandum by John T. Pickett in the Pickett Papers.
930fficial Records of the Navies, Series I, Vol. I, 259. The full text notice read: "I am directed by the President of the United States to notify to expect an attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions and that if such attempt be not resisted no effort to throw in men, ammunition will be made without further notice, or in case of an attack the fort." Official Records, Series I, Vol. I, 291.
940ficial Records, Series I, Vol. I, 289.




 

CSA Today

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Fort Sumter and Confederate Diplomacy
Author(s): Ludwell H. Johnson
Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1960), pp. 454
Published by: Southern Historical Association Emphasis mine.

The assumption of the commission was that the CSA was an independent nation. War for independence seems to be the default position.

The actions of the commissioners up to this point received the qualified approval of President Davis. He had received with misgivings the proposed twenty-day delay in asking for recognition. It was, he thought, an "extremely doubtful policy." It seems likely that Davis, who tended to be excessively legalistic in his approach to such problems, preferred to have the duration of any period of delay based upon constitutional considerations (such as the time required to consult the Senate). This was the sort of excuse an independent nation could accept without loss of dignity, whereas the twenty-day period was arbitrary and based on political expediency. Nevertheless, in the interests of peace, the commissioners were told, Davis consented to the arrangement. But they were not to agree to an extension except as a matter of "extreme necessity, and unless negotiations are actually pending." On the other hand, if the Lincoln administration wanted to postpone a decision until the Senate could be consulted or until Congress assembled, that would be acceptable-but only if a "definitive arrangement" was made for the evacuation of Fort Sumter, which was called the "sine qua non" of peaceful negotiations. Furthermore, the commissioners were to demand "pertinaciously" the evacuation of Fort Pickens, and were to "urge" the surrender of Fort Taylor at Key West.39​

The commissioners seem to be ordered to threaten war to get Lincolns acquiesence.
The CSA is assuming it is a sovereign country, even though no one recognized as such.

The next important news received by the Confederate State Department was that the projected agreement with Seward had fallen through and the commissioners had sent a formal note requesting an interview. Davis strongly approved their course. After waiving all diplomatic etiquette, they had been rebuffed; now they were quite properly standing on their dignity as the envoys of a sovereign nation.40

Now the commissioners are going to demand the Surrender of Fort Sumter as a condition of peace. Was this designed to force sn "unstable and irresolute administration" to yield or are Southern thinking along the lines of Lincoln up to some sinster purpose.

It is obvious from Toombs' telegram of the 11th and the dispatch of the 14th that Davis had modified his strategy. In their February 27 instructions the commissioners were told that, if Lincoln asked to postpone negotiations until he could secure the advice of the Senate or until Congress assembled, they were empowered to consent, provided guarantees were given that the military situation would not be changed in the interim. Now the condition for consenting to delay was the surrender of Sumter-or at least an "arrangement" for its surrender. In the February 27 instructions, Toombs had emphasized the great importance of
maintaining the status quo, yet an understanding to secure this for at least twenty days was received coolly in Montgomery. It is possible that this sterner attitude was designed to increase pressure on an unstable and irresolute administration, force it to give up Sumter, and thus eliminate the outstanding source of friction between the two governments. It seems more likely, however, that Davis and Toombs were afraid Lincoln might be using delay to cloak some sinister purpose.
All sort of rumors about.
Among the conflicting reports filtering down from Washington was one suggestion that a naval expedition was being fitted out for some unknown purpose. On the 14th Walker wired Confederate military commanders that four steamers were "ordered to sail from New York last night. Said to carry arms, provisions, and men. Destination not known."​

TThe author seems to pick the most favorable assumption about Davis' actions, the evidence may, in turn, support a more warlike attitude by Davis too.

On the next day he warned Beauregard at Charleston to "give but little credit to the rumors of an amicable adjustment. Do not slacken for a moment your energies, and be ready to execute any order this Department may forward."'4 In view of these fears of a surprise attack, Davis probably decided the wisest course was to force a decision on Lincoln and thus discover his intentions. Davis himself was anything but optimistic about what the future held. ". . . I have not been of those who felt sanguine hope that the enemy would retire peaceably from your harbor," he wrote Governor Pickens on March 18. "It is his choice as to how he will go, his stay must soon be measured by our forbearance. To have Fort Sumter uninjured is important to us, and for that reason, if there were no other we should prefer that he should go peaceably."42​
Footnotes
39Toom'bs to Crawford and Forsyth, March 14, 1861, in Pickett Papers. Davis was willing for the question of Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas to be left to later negotiations. He would also allow, during the twenty days, the Sumter garrison to purchase limited quantities of supplies "needful for the comfort of the officers and men," the amount and nature to be determined by the military authorities at Charleston.
40Toombs to Crawford and Forsyth, March 20, 1861, ibid. Davis was also probably concerned lest the Confederacy lose face in the eyes of foreign diplomats in Washington. This dispatch reaffirmed the instructions given in the dispatch of March 14.
410ficial Records, Series I, Vol. I, 263, 275-76.
42Rowland (ed.), Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, V, 61.
You have to wonder the Confederate authorities' reaction when the Federal commander at Fort Sumter became convinced that Lincoln intended war.

Anderson's intercepted letter:

Current's commentary on the letter: “After an anxious night for Davis and his colleagues, Walker telegraphed to Beauregard the next morning, April 12: What was Major Anderson’s reply to the proposition contained in my dispatch of last night?” “The anxiety was lessened a little when the mail brought a fat envelope from Governor Pickens. No longer could there be the slightest doubt that the recent notice to the governor, purported from Lincoln, veritably had come from him. Here was proof. Governor Pickens enclosed letters which Anderson had dispatched to Washington but which the Confederate authorities had seized. In one of these letters, from Anderson to his superiors in Washington, he acknowledged receipt of the communication, telling him that an expedition was on the way to Sumter. “(It is just as well, for Anderson’s reputation in the North, that this letter did not get to Washington. In it, Anderson expressed surprise and chagrin. He predicted “most disastrous results” throughout the country. He went on to say: “my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced.” So wrote the man whom Northerners soon were to hail as the first hero of the war’s first battle!)”
 

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You have to wonder the Confederate authorities' reaction when the Federal commander at Fort Sumter became convinced that Lincoln intended war.

Anderson's intercepted letter:

Current's commentary on the letter: “After an anxious night for Davis and his colleagues, Walker telegraphed to Beauregard the next morning, April 12: What was Major Anderson’s reply to the proposition contained in my dispatch of last night?” “The anxiety was lessened a little when the mail brought a fat envelope from Governor Pickens. No longer could there be the slightest doubt that the recent notice to the governor, purported from Lincoln, veritably had come from him. Here was proof. Governor Pickens enclosed letters which Anderson had dispatched to Washington but which the Confederate authorities had seized. In one of these letters, from Anderson to his superiors in Washington, he acknowledged receipt of the communication, telling him that an expedition was on the way to Sumter. “(It is just as well, for Anderson’s reputation in the North, that this letter did not get to Washington. In it, Anderson expressed surprise and chagrin. He predicted “most disastrous results” throughout the country. He went on to say: “my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced.” So wrote the man whom Northerners soon were to hail as the first hero of the war’s first battle!)”
Yes a man surrounded by cannons and angry men with band members under his care, under siege, armed boats patrolling just outside his commands, bonfires surrounded by men demanding his blood within sight , persistent demands for surrender might think a war would break out if the Lincoln dared to send bread to starving men, an affront to Southern honor after their inexperienced diplomats marched into Washington demanding independence, Sumter and Pickens or war; just might think a war was coming.
 



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