Proposed Invasion of Charleston harbor by the North


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jgoodguy

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Good thing for Lincoln he had given the warning for justification for the war.
Personally I would take a look at the instructions to the Fox expedition and compare and contrast them to the militia and insurrections acts and speculate on the various reactions by President Davis and the likely implication of those actions.
 

wilber6150

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Personally I would take a look at the instructions to the Fox expedition and compare and contrast them to the militia and insurrections acts and speculate on the various reactions by President Davis and the likely implication of those actions.
You would also have to look at whether a state has the right to beseige and stop supplies from entering a federal fort, or the right to fire on ships carrying the US flag, and what consequences those actions cause...
 

Lost Cause

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Personally I would take a look at the instructions to the Fox expedition and compare and contrast them to the militia and insurrections acts and speculate on the various reactions by President Davis and the likely implication of those actions.
Secretary of State Seward certainly foresaw The reaction, and warned Lincoln such in a cabinet meeting transcribed March 29, 1861:

"Sec. of State.

1st. The dispatch of an expedition to supply or reinforce Sumter would provoke an attack and so involve a war at that point.

The fact of preparation for such an expedition would inevitably transpire, and would therefor precipitate the war -- and probably defeat the object.

I do not think it wise to provoke a civil war beginning at Charleston and in defence rescue of an untenable position.

Therefore I advise against the expedition in every view--

I would call in Capt. M. C. Meigs1 forthwith. Aided by his counsel I would at once and at every cost prepare for a war at Pensacola and Texas, to be taken however only as a consequence of maintaining the possession and authority of the United States--

I would instruct Maj. Anderson to retire from Sumter, forthwith--

William H Seward

March 29th.

[ Endorsed by Lincoln:]

In cabinet"
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d0847000))
 

Lost Cause

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Justification? He told them resupply ships were coming, it was the Confederates that chose war...
That has already been established. Essentially, what you are saying is that by sending the warning, Lincoln absolved his hand in the war by pointing his finger at Davis, even though he was warned otherwise?
 

jgoodguy

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That has already been established. Essentially, what you are saying is that by sending the warning, Lincoln absolved his hand in the war by pointing his finger at Davis, even though he was warned otherwise?
Secretary of State Seward certainly foresaw The reaction, and warned Lincoln such in a cabinet meeting transcribed March 29, 1861:

"Sec. of State.

1st. The dispatch of an expedition to supply or reinforce Sumter would provoke an attack and so involve a war at that point.

The fact of preparation for such an expedition would inevitably transpire, and would therefor precipitate the war -- and probably defeat the object.

I do not think it wise to provoke a civil war beginning at Charleston and in defence rescue of an untenable position.

Therefore I advise against the expedition in every view--

I would call in Capt. M. C. Meigs1 forthwith. Aided by his counsel I would at once and at every cost prepare for a war at Pensacola and Texas, to be taken however only as a consequence of maintaining the possession and authority of the United States--

I would instruct Maj. Anderson to retire from Sumter, forthwith--

William H Seward

March 29th.

[ Endorsed by Lincoln:]

In cabinet"
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d0847000))
The first problem Lincoln faces was to keep an nation together or not. It is not to prevent a Civil War.
The second problem was to have an united nation as much as possible. The way to do that is to be attacked. An attack might result in a divided Union.

The rebels have an opportunity to allow Fort Sumter to be supplied peacefully or to attack the Fox expedition. An attack will mean a state of war exists in such a way that it is the CSA attacking the Union giving Lincoln the political cover to call up the militia under the militia acts. Lincoln has the legal authority to do this under the militia and insurrection acts, but the political situation is such that there is more political support if attacked. It is not only a matter of law, but one of politics. Certainly Lincoln has the authority to send in the Fox expedition to enforce the law. Call it enforcing sovereignty.

On the other side Davis will suffer political embarrassment if Sumter is reinforced, lose the opportunity for foreign recognition, lose the upper South to the Unionists and other bad stuff. Instead of allowing Fort Sumter to be reinforced peacefully or attacking the Fox expedition which may or may not produce enough Northern unity for an effective militia call up, Davis attacks the Fort and unities the North and the rest is history.
 

jgoodguy

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You would also have to look at whether a state has the right to beseige and stop supplies from entering a federal fort, or the right to fire on ships carrying the US flag, and what consequences those actions cause...
Agree, but I am more focused on the legal and political necessities to call up the militia. The rights are in dispute. Those disputes can be resolved peacefully in a number of ways or by war. From the Union perspective AKA sovereign perspective Lincoln had the right and responsibility to enforce US laws and enforce national sovereignty for international reasons.
 

wilber6150

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That has already been established. Essentially, what you are saying is that by sending the warning, Lincoln absolved his hand in the war by pointing his finger at Davis, even though he was warned otherwise?
And the choices that Lincoln had to choose from? Do nothing, send provisions or give up the fort?
So Lincoln was to just do nothing while US troops get starved out of a US fort? Davis's actions determined the path that Lincoln had to take and the Confederates made use of that path to get the war they needed to survive...
 

wilber6150

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Secretary of State Seward certainly foresaw The reaction, and warned Lincoln such in a cabinet meeting transcribed March 29, 1861:

"Sec. of State.

1st. The dispatch of an expedition to supply or reinforce Sumter would provoke an attack and so involve a war at that point.

The fact of preparation for such an expedition would inevitably transpire, and would therefor precipitate the war -- and probably defeat the object.

I do not think it wise to provoke a civil war beginning at Charleston and in defence rescue of an untenable position.

Therefore I advise against the expedition in every view--

I would call in Capt. M. C. Meigs1 forthwith. Aided by his counsel I would at once and at every cost prepare for a war at Pensacola and Texas, to be taken however only as a consequence of maintaining the possession and authority of the United States--

I would instruct Maj. Anderson to retire from Sumter, forthwith--

William H Seward

March 29th.

[ Endorsed by Lincoln:]

In cabinet"
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d0847000))
This means what? They gain peace for a short time at Sumter but get ready for war else where?
Steward knew there was to be war, and he like Lincoln knew that Sumter was a no win situation..
 

Lost Cause

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The first problem Lincoln faces was to keep an nation together or not. It is not to prevent a Civil War.
A bit of a contradiction to initially keep the nation together, yet not to prevent a civil war; unless keeping the nation together initially meant only the non-slaveholding states.
The second problem was to have an united nation as much as possible. The way to do that is to be attacked. An attack might result in a divided Union.

The rebels have an opportunity to allow Fort Sumter to be supplied peacefully or to attack the Fox expedition. An attack will mean a state of war exists in such a way that it is the CSA attacking the Union giving Lincoln the political cover to call up the militia under the militia acts. Lincoln has the legal authority to do this under the militia and insurrection acts, but the political situation is such that there is more political support if attacked. It is not only a matter of law, but one of politics. Certainly Lincoln has the authority to send in the Fox expedition to enforce the law. Call it enforcing sovereignty.

On the other side Davis will suffer political embarrassment if Sumter is reinforced, lose the opportunity for foreign recognition, lose the upper South to the Unionists and other bad stuff. Instead of allowing Fort Sumter to be reinforced peacefully or attacking the Fox expedition which may or may not produce enough Northern unity for an effective militia call up, Davis attacks the Fort and unities the North and the rest is history.
Agreed.
 

Lost Cause

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And the choices that Lincoln had to choose from? Do nothing, send provisions or give up the fort?
So Lincoln was to just do nothing while US troops get starved out of a US fort? Davis's actions determined the path that Lincoln had to take and the Confederates made use of that path to get the war they needed to survive...
Perhaps, a revival of this is thread is better for Lincoln's choices.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/lincoln-and-the-situation-at-ft-sumter.116374/

This means what? They gain peace for a short time at Sumter but get ready for war else where?
Steward knew there was to be war, and he like Lincoln knew that Sumter was a no win situation..
Peace was a better option than war (even delayed), especially when the country was going to war with itself. Was is it inevitable? Most likely. Too many politicians, and others, were unwilling to compromise, however.
 

jgoodguy

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A bit of a contradiction to initially keep the nation together, yet not to prevent a civil war; unless keeping the nation together initially meant only the non-slaveholding states.

Agreed.
Like any upholder of the law, the first objective is to keep the law in peace, if not then violence as needed.
 

jgoodguy

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Lets look at the downside for Lincoln for doing nothing.

  1. The defacto recognition of the CSA, other nations may decide to recognize the CSA as a sovereign entity, exchange diplomats, sign treaties and get military aid.
  2. Loss of political legitimacy for his presidency.
  3. Division among the Northern States.
  4. Encouragement of the CSA to military aggression.
  5. and other bad things.
The upside.

Not much. Avoiding a civil war of the magnitude we got would require the gift of seeing into the future.
 

Lost Cause

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Lets look at the downside for Lincoln for doing nothing.

  1. The defacto recognition of the CSA, other nations may decide to recognize the CSA as a sovereign entity, exchange diplomats, sign treaties and get military aid.
  2. Loss of political legitimacy for his presidency.
  3. Division among the Northern States.
  4. Encouragement of the CSA to military aggression.
  5. and other bad things.
The upside.

Not much. Avoiding a civil war of the magnitude we got would require the gift of seeing into the future.
In response:
The downside for Lincoln:

1. Possibly, but that did not happen under Buchanan with several forts and posts captured.
2. Possibly, but that did not happen under Buchanan with several forts and posts captured.
3. Possibly, the onset of the war helped change the mood.
4. Possibly, it happened under Buchanan without war.
5. What bad things?

The upside:

1. Don't necessarily need hindsight. VA, NC, TN, and AR possibly avoid joining the Confederacy without or a delayed war. The longer the states remained out of the Confederacy, the more difficult a chance it had to survive. At the forefront, VA declared its intentions beforehand.

1(a) the human element that would not have to experience the destructiveness that the actual war produced.
 

wilber6150

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Please refer to post 797
The upside, section 1(a). The reason why should be self explanatory, but is sometimes forgotten.
And that is totally ignoring the key fact about the border states..The Confederacy needed a war in order to survive and gain them, while Lincoln needed to avoid a war to keep them, Thats the primary difference in their mind sets...One way or another the deep South was going to get their war...
 

unionblue

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The Confederacy freely decided to enact the first act of war.

Trial-by-combat was the only effort put forth by Davis and company. No other serious attempt at a legal or lawful solution was given any serious effort.

We have the verdict of said trial.
 



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