-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
- Aug 17, 2011
- Birmingham, Alabama
The provocation of dispatching warships to the harbor. An act the General In Chief and Secretary of State warned against.
Robert Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter, knew what it meant. So did Jefferson Davis. It seems like Abraham Lincoln was the only man who did not think dispatching warships to Charleston Harbor was in any way provocative.
We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in this war, which, I see, is to be thus commenced. - Robert Anderson, April 8, 1861
Lincoln certainly needed Davis to initiate the war, though, to garner support. A calculated move.
Very calculated. There is no way that Lincoln was in any way so naive as to think sending these ships would not be provocative. Everyone else could see it, and of course, so could he.
I don't fully agree.
I mean clearly it was a risk, a possibility. The last ships sent had been fired upon lol, so clearly the South was prepared to initiate aggression. So I think he was prepared for that possibility, even one that might spin towards his own benefit... though I think it's too dangerous to look back at events that resulted in an outcome and predict everyone had to have known it would happen that one way.
I think it could have just as likely happened differently, the South could've not chosen to preemptively attack and just watch closely prepared to attack and the orders would've likely just have happened as instructed and only subsistence provided and the goal post moved to a later date.
I mean we can now have the other benefit of hindsight and see that the orders given were consistent with Lincoln's message, that no aggression or military reinforcement or resupplying would be done unless the subsistence was prevented. So I think it's quite likely things could have gone a completely different way.
With that said I think Davis and the Confederacy made a calculated choice, that this was a key moment to prove to the World they were a fighting force prepared to use violence and aggression to maintain their newly found Nation. Letting this opportunity slip by was possibly too much of a risk.
I mean the result was Lincoln calling for troops (pretty predictable when you fire dozens of canon balls at someone in a fort lol) and that forced places like Virginia to finally make a call and side with the Confederacy. All you have to do is read Gov. Pickens message to the Virginia Secession Convention to get that spin even before Lincoln called for troops. Basically we have started this war so come on over.
Received your despatch. It is true that Fort Sumter was bombarded all day yesterday, after refusing to evacuate, and four vessels were off the bar with troops and supplies waiting for the tide to come in, and the Fort was in signal with them.
President Lincoln sent a special messenger, and informed me in writing that supplies would be put in, but asked no reply. Not a man at our batteries was hurt even. The Fort was furious in its fire on us. Our iron battery did great damage to the Fort in the south wall. Our shells fall freely in the Fort; it is not known exactly with what effect, but supposed to be serious, as they are not firing this morning. Our Enfield battery dismounted three of the large Columbiads. We will take the Fort and can keep sixteen ten-inch mortars all the time on it, besides heavy guns which will give no peace, night or day. We can sink the fleet if they attempt to enter the channel. If they land elsewhere we can whip them. I have here, now, nearly seven thousand of the best troops in the world, and a reserve of ten thousand on our railroads. The war is commenced, and we will triumph or perish. This is my answer to you. Please let me know what Virginia will do, as I telegraph to you candidly. F. W. PICKENS.
Both sides were making calculated choices. I honestly think Lincoln probably thought his action would be somewhat more likely to not lead to what happened and I think the way the Confederacy played it may look bad in hindsight but actually benefitted them far more. I think their attack was the ideal counter to Lincoln making a peaceful play. If they didn't get Virginia in what chance would the Confederacy really have.