The Crisis of Sumter

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wilber6150

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See my response to KeyserSoze. The Tennesseans were mustered into United States service.
I have found no evidence the plan actually got past the planning stages, in regards to units operating in Kentucky, and if recruting men from that state counts as violating her neutrality, then again the Confederacy is just as dirty, and had been doing similar things since befor Sumter in other states..
 

wilber6150

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, Cairo, Ill., September 6, 1861.
I left Cairo at 10.30 o'clock last night, taking two gunboats and three steamboats, with the Ninth Illinois, under General E.A. Point; the Twelfth Illinois, under Colonel J.McArthur, and Smith's battery, four pieces light artillery, under Lieutenant Willard. I met with some detention at Mound City, owing to an accident to one of the steamers, creating a necessity for a transfer of troops. During the detention I was joined by Captain Foote, U.S. Navy, who accompanied the expedition.
Arrived at Paducah at 8.30 this morning. Found numerous secession flags flying over the city and the citizens in anticipation of the approach of the rebel army, which was reliably reported 3,800 strong 16 miles distant. As we neared the city Brigadier-General Tilghman and staff of the rebel army, and a recruiting major with a company raised in Paducah,left the city by the railroad, taking with a them all the rolling stock. I landed the troops and took possession of the city without firing a gun.
Before I landed the secession flags had disappeared, and I ordered our flags to replace them. I found at the railroad depot a large number of complete rations and about two tons of leather, marked for the Confederate Army. Took possession of these and ordered the rations to be distributed to the troops. I also took possession of the telegraph office, and seized some letters and dispatches, which I herewith transmit. I further took possession of the railroad. The enemy was reported as coming down the Tennessee River in large force, but this I do not credit. I distributed the troops so as best to command the city and least annoy peaceable citizens, and published a proclamation to the citizens, a copy of which will be handed you by Captain Foote.
I left two gunboats and one of the steamboats at Paducah, placed the post under command of General E.A. Paine, and left Paducah at 12 o'clock, arriving at this post at 4 this afternoon.
Last night I ordered the Eighth Missouri Volunteers, Colonel M.L. Smith, stationed at Cape Girardeau, to report here immediately. I will send them to re-enforce General Paine to Paducah to-night. I would respectfully recommend that two additional pieces be added to the excellent battery of Captain Smith, commanded by Lieutenant Willard, making it a complete battery of six pieces. He has men sufficient for six pieces, but will require horses and harness.
Colonel Waagner accompanied me, and manifested great zeal and precaution.
I must acknowledge my obligations to General McClernand, commanding this force, for the active and efficient co-operation exhibited by him in fitting out the expedition.
U.S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.
 

dvrmte

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, Cairo, Ill., September 6, 1861.
I left Cairo at 10.30 o'clock last night, taking two gunboats and three steamboats, with the Ninth Illinois, under General E.A. Point; the Twelfth Illinois, under Colonel J.McArthur, and Smith's battery, four pieces light artillery, under Lieutenant Willard. I met with some detention at Mound City, owing to an accident to one of the steamers, creating a necessity for a transfer of troops. During the detention I was joined by Captain Foote, U.S. Navy, who accompanied the expedition.
Arrived at Paducah at 8.30 this morning. Found numerous secession flags flying over the city and the citizens in anticipation of the approach of the rebel army, which was reliably reported 3,800 strong 16 miles distant. As we neared the city Brigadier-General Tilghman and staff of the rebel army, and a recruiting major with a company raised in Paducah,left the city by the railroad, taking with a them all the rolling stock. I landed the troops and took possession of the city without firing a gun.
Before I landed the secession flags had disappeared, and I ordered our flags to replace them. I found at the railroad depot a large number of complete rations and about two tons of leather, marked for the Confederate Army. Took possession of these and ordered the rations to be distributed to the troops. I also took possession of the telegraph office, and seized some letters and dispatches, which I herewith transmit. I further took possession of the railroad. The enemy was reported as coming down the Tennessee River in large force, but this I do not credit. I distributed the troops so as best to command the city and least annoy peaceable citizens, and published a proclamation to the citizens, a copy of which will be handed you by Captain Foote.
I left two gunboats and one of the steamboats at Paducah, placed the post under command of General E.A. Paine, and left Paducah at 12 o'clock, arriving at this post at 4 this afternoon.
Last night I ordered the Eighth Missouri Volunteers, Colonel M.L. Smith, stationed at Cape Girardeau, to report here immediately. I will send them to re-enforce General Paine to Paducah to-night. I would respectfully recommend that two additional pieces be added to the excellent battery of Captain Smith, commanded by Lieutenant Willard, making it a complete battery of six pieces. He has men sufficient for six pieces, but will require horses and harness.
Colonel Waagner accompanied me, and manifested great zeal and precaution.
I must acknowledge my obligations to General McClernand, commanding this force, for the active and efficient co-operation exhibited by him in fitting out the expedition.
U.S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.
In regards to the orange highlighted, that part of the statement was later proven false, IMO. Not that Grant lied, he just misinterpreted what he saw(flags) and believed a false rumor. Evidence was revealed after his death. I didn't double check the sources but it was pretty convincing, at the time.

That was Sept. 6th. It didn't matter by then. It was on.

Meanwhile back at Fort Sumter.....
 
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OpnCoronet

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Lincoln, in his Inaugural address, explains his concept of the Constitution and its intent and from that flows his belief that "...It follows from these views that no state, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union,--that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circmstances."
 

OpnCoronet

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Interestingly, Jefferson Davis' Inaugural Address of Feb. 18, 1861, seems to equate secession with the Unconstitutional(Illegal) act of rebellion/revolution. So, actually Davis and Lincoln are not far apart on what exactly was the legal status of secession; at least insofar as their inaugurals went.
From his address, it is difficult to discern where Davis came to the conclusion that secession was Constitutionally allowed, and thus, legal.
 

Andersonh1

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Slavery existed in the South since before the Union was formed, and there was no war. War came when the South left the Union and Lincoln refused to accept their actions. This is yet another reason why trying to boil the cause of the war down to nothing but slavery doesn't work. The desire to prevent Republicans and Lincoln from interfering with slavery may have motivated the future Confederates to jump ship, but slavery had nothing to do with why Lincoln decided to take actions to force the South back into the Union, or with why the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter. The war began over what was essentially a sovereignty dispute: who would control Fort Sumter, as it now sat within territory occupied by the CSA?
 
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CSA Today

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That's arguable. The fact of the matter is that secession and the formation of the Confederacy was followed by close to two months without any war. Which means you have to look beyond the reasons for secession to find the reasons that a war actually broke out, because the act of secession itself did not spark that war.
If not secession, what did lead to war?
 

Andersonh1

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One of the favorite tropes you'll see here on CWT is the assertion that Abe Lincoln tricked the Confederacy into starting the war by refusing to evacuate Fort Sumter.
I don't think Lincoln "tricked" anyone. I think he forced the issue and provoked war. Knowing what had happened to the Star of the West, did he have reason to expect a different result from his relief expedition?

The letter to Gustavus Fox is the smoking gun, as far as I'm concerned.
 
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DanF

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I don't think Lincoln "tricked" anyone. I think he forced the issue and provoked war. Knowing what had happened to the Star of the West, did he have reason to expect a different result from his relief expedition?

The letter to Gustavus Fox is the smoking gun, as far as I'm concerned.
The Union alone had authority over its legally owned property. This is clear in the Constitution.

How exectly was the Union exercising it constitutional authority to manage and control it's own property, "provocation for war?"

By claiming right to the property the secessionists were violating the legal acts of their own legislatures which legally ceded those properties to the United States and quit all claim to them.
 

thomas aagaard

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I don't think Lincoln "tricked" anyone. I think he forced the issue and provoked war. Knowing what had happened to the Star of the West, did he have reason to expect a different result from his relief expedition?

The letter to Gustavus Fox is the smoking gun, as far as I'm concerned.
The south started down the path to war when they started using force to illegally size federal property and started to raise an army... They took US soldiers as prisoners of war... and then fired on a US ship and then on a US fort on US soil.

A US ship have every right to sail to a US Fort and resupply US soldiers in it.

Lincoln could not recognize the CSA even if he wanted to. He didn't have the authority to do that.

North Carolina and Rhode Island did not join the new union for over a year later and operated (as did Texas after seceding from Mexico) as independent states.
The states (except Texas until they joined the union) was not interdependent and sovereign states. They did not control their own territory, (the union did that since US soldiers could freely march true the states without any permission ) they did not have their own Foreign politics... they could not inter into treaties with other states(countries) and the international community did not recognize them as independent states...
They recognized the USA and send their ambassadors to the USA.

And the change from articles to Constitution is totally irrelevant to the rest of the world...

Sovereignty is something you exercise... and the individual states didn't... The USA did.
 
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Malingerer

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I don't think Lincoln "tricked" anyone. I think he forced the issue and provoked war. Knowing what had happened to the Star of the West, did he have reason to expect a different result from his relief expedition?

The letter to Gustavus Fox is the smoking gun, as far as I'm concerned.
Resupplying a starving Federal garrison is provocative? Sounds more like the guy was just doing his job to me. IIRC, I think Davis had his own"smoking gun" letter.
 
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thomas aagaard

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I'm not familiar with that. I've honestly wondered where the idea that Davis wanted to start a war came from. Can you provide a link or a reference?
He started it to get the borderstates to join...

And if he wanted to get the CSA recognized as sovereign states by the rest of the world he needed to prove that it was able to defend it self...
Had he just wanted the fort he could just have waited a few days more and they would have run out of food...
 

Andersonh1

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He started it to get the borderstates to join.....
Yes, I know that's the assertion that's often made. I had assumed by "smoking gun" there was something in writing where Davis gloated about going to war, or said that he'd do it to get the border states into the Confederacy, or that HE was happy with the result of the incident at Sumter. Evidence in black and white, in other words.

Abraham Lincoln: You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.

Lincoln felt that he was in a win-win situation. He got what he wanted, a military confrontation.
 
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thomas aagaard

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Yes, I know that's the assertion that's often made. I had assumed by "smoking gun" there was something in writing where Davis gloated about going to war, or said that he'd do it to get the border states into the Confederacy, or that HE was happy with the result of the incident at Sumter.
Well Davis was the one who ordered the attack on the fort... Had he not wanted war, he could just have waited until they ran out of food...
That is clear evidensen that he wanted the war...
 

Andersonh1

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Well Davis was the one who ordered the attack on the fort... Had he not wanted war, he could just have waited until they ran out of food...
That is clear evidensen that he wanted the war...
The thing is, Davis had been Secretary of War. He knew full well how outmatched the Confederates were. The idea that he would want to go to war when he knew they would be at an extreme disadvantage, even with the border states added to their number, has never made sense to me. Given the option to forestall war, it seems like he would have kept the peace as long as he thought he could.

If the Confederates wanted to go to war over Sumter, they could have bombed it into submission weeks or months earlier than they did. Major Anderson had moved his troops there in December of 1860, so it wasn't a new situation in April of 1861. The fact that the CSA sent a delegation to Washington in an attempt to negotiate is a pretty clear indication they were trying to avoid a fight. So is the fact that they continued to maintain a dialogue with Anderson right up until the last day or two before the fleet arrived.

He who makes the assault is not necessarily he that strikes the first blow or fires the first gun. - Jefferson Davis
 
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thomas aagaard

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The fact that the CSA sent a delegation to Washington in an attempt to negotiate is a pretty clear indication they were trying to avoid a fight. So is the fact that they continued to maintain a dialogue with Anderson right up until the last day or two before the fleet arrived.
Sure if the Lincoln violated his oath of office and the Constitution... then they would have gotten want they wanted without a war. No reason not to try it... not like they wasted a lot of resources on it.

It was simply too little to late. After they declared their Independence there was no way Lincoln could ever recognize them... or even meet with them.

Had they truly wanted a peaceful solution they should have gone to congress before doing illegal unilateral acts...

By firing on the fort they started a war... Be that by making an act of treason or an act of war... don't matter...
Unless you are calling Davis a fool, then surly he knew that would be the result...

The only excuse I can think of, is that he didn't expect such a huge reaction in the north...

In my opinion by april both presidents hand pushed each others into a corner... Both Lincoln or Davis needed something to push the issue... since the status qua would not be a long term solution.
 
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