Sumter Again split from Why the Civil War WAS over SLAVERY!


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
7,655
Location
South Carolina
Davis committed himself to attacking Fort Sumter on March 1st, well before the Fox expedition was ordered. So a fear that Lincoln intended to reinforce Sumter might have influenced Davis' decision about when to assault Fort Sumter, but not the decision about whether to assault the fort.

Here is the relevant extract from Leroy Walker's March 1 letter to Governor Pickens:

In controlling the military operations in the harbor of Charleston the President directs me to say that everything will be done that may be due to the honor and rights of South Carolina.

The President shares the feeling expressed by you that Fort Sumter should be in our possession at the earliest moment possible. But this feeling, natural and just as it is admitted to be, must yield to the necessity of the case. Thorough preparation must be made before an attack is attempted, for the first blow must be successful, both for its moral and physical consequences, or otherwise the result might be disastrous to your State in the loss of many of those whom we can least afford to spare. A failure would demoralize our people and injuriously affect us in the opinion of the world as reckless and precipitate.

Entertaining these opinions, the President directs me to say that he is engaged assiduously in pressing forward measures to effect results in which all are interested.​

Indeed, Davis wrote on February 20, after just two days in office:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated, and therefore my thoughts have been directed to the manner of rendering force effective. We are poorly prepared for war and have but little capacity for speedy repair of past neglect; valor is ours, and the justice of our cause will nerve the arm of our sons to meet the issue of unequal conflict, but we must seek to render the inequality as small as can be made.​

So war was his policy from day one. He just didn't want to rush into it without adequate preparation.
The most important sentence in all that you've quoted is this one:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated. Jefferson Davis

In other words, he expected war. He didn't want it (and if you read other things he said, that's very clear), but he thought it was coming. Therefore, everything that follows when he expresses opinions about winning or losing militarily follows from the belief that war is coming, and the CSA had better be as ready for it as possible.
 

jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
35,552
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
The most important sentence in all that you've quoted is this one:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated. Jefferson Davis

In other words, he expected war. He didn't want it (and if you read other things he said, that's very clear), but he thought it was coming. Therefore, everything that follows when he expresses opinions about winning or losing militarily follows from the belief that war is coming, and the CSA had better be as ready for it as possible.
Maybe, but remember Davis fancied himself as a war leader and wanted to be a war leader suggesting a bias toward war. Someone that fancied themselves as a diplomat or politician may have had a different bias.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,758
Location
Denver, CO
The South was logical in pursuing a war policy. They had intimidated one of the national parties, for 25 years. And their version of involuntary labor had been vindicated by the US Supreme Court over the rights of the free states.
By pushing just a little harder, they thought they could make slavery permanent in their region.
As far as wining through violence, they had the upper hand. Because slavery was a violent system.
But in terms of economics, demographics, and the rise of paid labor in western Europe, they were willfully ignoring that slavery was on the way out.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
10,247
The most important sentence in all that you've quoted is this one:
My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated. Jefferson Davis
In other words, he expected war. He didn't want it (and if you read other things he said, that's very clear), but he thought it was coming. Therefore, everything that follows when he expresses opinions about winning or losing militarily follows from the belief that war is coming, and the CSA had better be as ready for it as possible.



Actually, the importance of your posted quote, should be read in conjunction with Leroy Walker's statement that 'The President shares feeling expressed by you, that Fort Sumter, should be in our possession at the earliest moment possible.'(my emp.)

It may be debatable as to whether Davis expected War, but it is certainly beyond reasonable debate that he did fully expect to have to take Sumter by force.

As noted by Kenneth Almquist, possession of Ft Sumter, by force, was, for Davis, a question mostly of timing
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
371
The most important sentence in all that you've quoted is this one:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated. Jefferson Davis

In other words, he expected war. He didn't want it (and if you read other things he said, that's very clear), but he thought it was coming. Therefore, everything that follows when he expresses opinions about winning or losing militarily follows from the belief that war is coming, and the CSA had better be as ready for it as possible.
More precisely, he's saying that he expected that he would have to start a war to solve the difficulties the CSA was then facing. War was the solution that he expected to implement; it wasn't something that was coming regardless of what he and the CSA did.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
7,655
Location
South Carolina
More precisely, he's saying that he expected that he would have to start a war to solve the difficulties the CSA was then facing. War was the solution that he expected to implement; it wasn't something that was coming regardless of what he and the CSA did.
Can you prove this assertion? From what I've read, it seems out of character for Davis to want a war. Other fire-eaters and secessionists, sure. They were hot headed enough. But I don't think that applies to Davis at all.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
371
More precisely, he's saying that he expected that he would have to start a war to solve the difficulties the CSA was then facing. War was the solution that he expected to implement; it wasn't something that was coming regardless of what he and the CSA did.
Can you prove this assertion? From what I've read, it seems out of character for Davis to want a war. Other fire-eaters and secessionists, sure. They were hot headed enough. But I don't think that applies to Davis at all.
I'm a little unsure how to reply to this query, because I'm was simply paraphrasing Davis. Davis wrote:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated, and therefore my thoughts have been directed to the manner of rendering force effective.​

Davis is talking about a “solution of our difficulties” that is not “peaceful.” He is talking about “rendering force effective.” In other words, he's talking about starting a war; he's not expressing a concern that Lincoln might start one. Earlier you characterized this as indicating Davis “expected war,” which is accurate but incomplete. The reason he “expected war” because he expected to start one.

You write that “it seems out of character for Davis to want a war.” That doesn't exactly contradict may assertion that Davis “expected that he would have to start a war.” On Feb. 22, Davis sent Pickens a copy of the secret Congressional resolution calling for the Confederacy to take possession of Sumter and Pickens “either by negotiation or force.” The accompanying letter, which appears on pages 40-41 of the July 1094 issue of The United Service, includes the statement that Davis would send a military engineer to “aid in the work needful to the execution of the resolution of Congress, should force be the means to which we must resort.” His use of the word “must” indicates that the alternative of allowing the United States to remain in possession of Sumter and Pickens is not one he is willing to consider. The secret Congressional resolution is non-binding, but Davis expresses no reservations about carrying it out. So Davis may not have wanted war, but he wasn't willing to consider the only viable alternative. Lincoln seriously considered abandoning Fort Sumter, but there was no chance that the Confederacy was going to get Fort Pickens without a fight.
 

shermans_march

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
1,411
Location
Colorado, Under A Pile of Snow
I'm a little unsure how to reply to this query, because I'm was simply paraphrasing Davis. Davis wrote:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated, and therefore my thoughts have been directed to the manner of rendering force effective.​

Davis is talking about a “solution of our difficulties” that is not “peaceful.” He is talking about “rendering force effective.” In other words, he's talking about starting a war; he's not expressing a concern that Lincoln might start one. Earlier you characterized this as indicating Davis “expected war,” which is accurate but incomplete. The reason he “expected war” because he expected to start one.

You write that “it seems out of character for Davis to want a war.” That doesn't exactly contradict may assertion that Davis “expected that he would have to start a war.” On Feb. 22, Davis sent Pickens a copy of the secret Congressional resolution calling for the Confederacy to take possession of Sumter and Pickens “either by negotiation or force.” The accompanying letter, which appears on pages 40-41 of the July 1094 issue of The United Service, includes the statement that Davis would send a military engineer to “aid in the work needful to the execution of the resolution of Congress, should force be the means to which we must resort.” His use of the word “must” indicates that the alternative of allowing the United States to remain in possession of Sumter and Pickens is not one he is willing to consider. The secret Congressional resolution is non-binding, but Davis expresses no reservations about carrying it out. So Davis may not have wanted war, but he wasn't willing to consider the only viable alternative. Lincoln seriously considered abandoning Fort Sumter, but there was no chance that the Confederacy was going to get Fort Pickens without a fight.
I am reading Lincoln's Lieutenants by Stephen Sears right now. Davis considered the attack on Fort Sumter his only option. He and other confederate leaders considered inaction the worst thing they could do. They would lose the initiative if they didn't strike first. Davis was also worried that a compromise would occur and the secessionist feeling in the south would dwindle with time. He attacked Fort Sumter to unify the South, even if the result was war.
 

jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
35,552
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
I'm a little unsure how to reply to this query, because I'm was simply paraphrasing Davis. Davis wrote:

My mind has been for sometime satisfied that a peaceful solution of our difficulties was not to be anticipated, and therefore my thoughts have been directed to the manner of rendering force effective.​

Davis is talking about a “solution of our difficulties” that is not “peaceful.” He is talking about “rendering force effective.” In other words, he's talking about starting a war; he's not expressing a concern that Lincoln might start one. Earlier you characterized this as indicating Davis “expected war,” which is accurate but incomplete. The reason he “expected war” because he expected to start one.

You write that “it seems out of character for Davis to want a war.” That doesn't exactly contradict may assertion that Davis “expected that he would have to start a war.” On Feb. 22, Davis sent Pickens a copy of the secret Congressional resolution calling for the Confederacy to take possession of Sumter and Pickens “either by negotiation or force.” The accompanying letter, which appears on pages 40-41 of the July 1094 issue of The United Service, includes the statement that Davis would send a military engineer to “aid in the work needful to the execution of the resolution of Congress, should force be the means to which we must resort.” His use of the word “must” indicates that the alternative of allowing the United States to remain in possession of Sumter and Pickens is not one he is willing to consider. The secret Congressional resolution is non-binding, but Davis expresses no reservations about carrying it out. So Davis may not have wanted war, but he wasn't willing to consider the only viable alternative. Lincoln seriously considered abandoning Fort Sumter, but there was no chance that the Confederacy was going to get Fort Pickens without a fight.
From the so called Peace Commissioners of 1861 demanding surrender of US sovereignty to the actual firing on Fort Sumter, Davis position was Union surrender or war.
 

jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
35,552
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
I did, I've read them all before, and I appreciate you taking the time to post them again. It doesn't change what I said. Lincoln gave all the orders you list, but do any of them preclude further steps after the fort is resupplied? Do you think he would have dropped off the food and then left Major Anderson on his own again? What you're trying to say is that because his orders given up to that point (apart from Scott's initial order) don't say anything about reenforcing the fort that it wasn't going to happen, but the initial order is just as valid as all the others, and it would have been carried out. To think otherwise is just not realistic. That fort could not be held with Anderson's small force, and Lincoln was determined to hold the fort. Those soldiers on the transport would have ended up on that fort, sooner rather than later.
Lots of what ifs. We do know the secessionists gave the Union the option of giving up Sumter and Pickens or war. Lincoln offered a peaceful solution unacceptable to the Confederacy.
 

jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
35,552
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
:smile coffee:Per your own words, "The Fort Sumter attack simply forced them to decide." I simply added how the "Call to Arms" made a significant impact to those previously on the fence.

As far as your rabbit hole, do not forget there were 4 slaveholding states that did not secede.
And their slave to free ratio was lower than the rest.
No Free States succeeded.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top