The Crisis of Sumter

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,868
Location
Denmark
Lincoln commended that he didn't control events they controlled him. And I think this was the case for both presidents in many ways.

Public opinion, political situation, constitutions and similar all effect what a president do...
I do think much of the vocal part of the population i the south was ready for a war... and sure they could win it, because the north was not willing to fight.
So I think public and political opinion made it hard for Davis not to use force to solve the issue.
Again, he did have the option of just waiting a few days.. something he knew. And if we accept that he was not stupid, then surly he had a good reason to order the attack...

And Lincoln needed something to unify the north and get the population willing to fight... an attack on the fort was just that... but I do think he also underestimated the resulting reaction in the north.

I don't think any of the two wanted a war... for the sack of having a war. But clearly they where both willing to fight one if needed to do what they was as there duty.
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
19,312
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
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.
So he should have let the garisson be starved out of the fort, or give it up due to the threat of violence? And as for the Fox letter then you need to research it more, to learn the rest of the story.
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
19,312
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
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
Davis like other Southeners thought very little of the Northern fighting spirt and looked down in disdain at the Norths ability to wage war..They thought they could easily beat the North in a war, and he did nothing to try to stop the war from happening.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
Forgot the name of it, will have to look it up, but it was a merchant ship that tired to approach Charleston and was fired upon..
I was literally reading about this LAST NIGHT! I will find the reference in the ORs a bit later, but it was the Schooner Rhoda L. Shannon, of Boston, boud for Savannah with Ice. The Captain had not been able to do sightings because of weather, and when he had done one, it was imperfect, and he had mistaken the light on Sullivan's Island for the Tybee Light, and had tried to enter the harbor thinking he was in Tybee Roads... off by a couple hundred miles or so...
 
Last edited:

bdtex

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Regtl. Quartermaster Chickamauga 2018
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
8,691
Location
Houston,TX area
I was literally reading about this LAST NIGHT! I will find the reference in the ORs a bit later, but it was the Schooner Rhoda L. Shannon boud for Savannah with Ice. The Captain had not been able to do sightings because of weather, and when he had done one, it was imperfect, and he had mistaken the light on Sullivan's Island for the Tybee Light, and had tried to enter the harbor thinking he was in Tybee Roads... off by a couple hundred miles or so...
The Star Of The West:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/star-of-the-west-is-fired-upon
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
Star of The West was bound for Charleston/Sumter... the ship I believe they are referecing, Shannon was also fired upon, but the ship itself had made a navigational error, and was not bound for Charleston
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top