The War of Northern "Aggression"

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#1
I have found the discussion of the “War of Northern Aggression,” particularly at the end of the “Tariff” thread both somewhat disingenuous and tiresome. Let us discuss the historical record of the actual aggression in a new thread:

State of Alabama: On 3 January 1861 Governor A. B. Moore directed the Alabama militia to seize the Mount Vernon Arsenal and Forts Morgan and Gaines, which controlled the entrance to Mobile Bay. The Arsenal was seized on the 4th, and the two forts a day later. Alabama didn’t succeed from the Union until 11 January.

State of Arkansas: On 8 February 1861 Arkansas militia volunteer companies seized the Little Rock Arsenal at the direction of the governor. On 6 May the Arkansas Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Convention elected not to submit the Ordnance to the people of Arkansas in a referendum for their approval.

State of Florida: On 6 January 1861 the Florida militia seized the U.S. arsenal at Apalachicola, the sole Federal arsenal in the state. On 7 January the Florida militia seized Fort Marion at St. Augustine. And, on 8 January Federal troops at Fort Barrancas, guarding the entrance to the harbor at Pensacola, fired on a party of Florida militia who had demanded the surrender of that fort. The next day, Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer gathered the 50 men in his company from Forts Barrancas and McRee, dumped 20,000 pounds of gunpowder into the bay, and spiked his guns at those two forts. With the help of sailors from the Warrington Navy Yard, he moved all of his remaining supplies across the bay to Fort Pickens, which the Federal Army retained for the balance of the war. On 10 January the Florida Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted to the people of Florida for their approval in a referendum.

State of Georgia: The Georgia Secession Convention passed its ordnance of secession on 19 January 1861 and the state withdrew from the Union. The Georgia militia seized the Augusta Arsenal on 24 January, and on the 27th Oglethorpe Barracks and Fort James Jackson at Savanah were also seized. In response to a demand from the state government for surrender of the Arsenal, Captain Arnold Elzey, the commander, had asked the War Department for instructions. Acting Secretary of War Holt had responded on 23 January that “The governor of Georgia has assumed against your post and the United States an attitude of war. His summons is harsh and preemptory. It is not expected that your defense shall be desperate. If forced to surrender by violence or starvation you will stipulate for honorable terms and a free passage by water with your company to New York.” In accordance with his instructions, Elzey made terms with Governor Brown, and his company was permitted to depart the arsenal with its arms and company property and to have unobstructed passage to New York.

State of Louisiana: The U.S. Arsenal at Baton Rouge, was seized by the Louisiana militia on 10 January 1861, as was the U.S. Army pentagon barracks at Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Barracks [Jackson Barracks] was seized on 11 January, as were Forts St. Philip and Jackson. Between them, these two forts controlled the Mississippi River approach to New Orleans. Fort Pike, which controlled the Rigolets Pass approach to Lake Pontchartrain was taken on 14 January. Fort Macomb, which controlled the Chef Menteur Pass approach to Lake Pontchartrain was seized on 28 January. On 31 January Revenue Captain James G. Breshwood surrendered the revenue cutter Robert McClelland to the State of Louisiana; which turned the cutter over to the Confederate States Navy which renamed her CSS Pickens. On 31 January the revenue cutter Washington was seized by Louisiana authorities in New Orleans. On 26 January the Louisiana Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted in a referendum to the people of Louisiana for their approval.

State of Mississippi: On 9 January 1861 the Mississippi Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted in a referendum to the people of Mississippi for their approval. On 21 January the Mississippi militia seized Fort Massachusetts, an unfinished brick fort on Ship Island on the Mississippi coast. The fort was abandoned by the end of January because Governor Pettus had no artillery to arm it.

State of North Carolina: On 23 April 1861 the North Carolina militia seized the Federal arsenal at Fayetteville, and the Federal garrison subsequently departed on 27 April. On 20 May the North Carolina Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted to the people of North Carolina for their approval in a referendum.

State of South Carolina: On 20 December 1860 the South Carolina Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted in a referendum to the people of South Carolina for their approval. On 27 December Captain Napoleon Coste turned the revenue cutter William Aiken over to South Carolina secessionists. On the same date, the South Carolina militia seized Castle Pickney, a small masonry fort in Charleston harbor. A Federal officer and a sergeant and his family were captured, provoking a discussion by the South Carolinians over whether to treat them as prisoners of war. The officer was allowed to go to Fort Sumter, while the sergeant was given a safe conduct and permitted to remain in his quarters at the fort. Also on the 27th the militia seized Fort Moultrie, another of the forts guarding Charleston harbor, which had been evacuated by its commander, Major Robert Anderson, on the 26th. On 28 December the South Carolina militia occupied the site of Fort Johnson on Windmill Point on James Island. Although long unoccupied by the U.S. Army, it had been one of the four forts controlling Charleston harbor. On 30 December the Charleston Arsenal was seized.

State of Tennessee: On 6 May 1861 the Tennessee Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. Although the state did not formally succeed from the Union until a “declaration of independence” referendum on 8 June, Governor Isham G. Harris persuaded the legislature to create the Provisional Army of Tennessee on 6 May. The enabling legislation authorized an army of 55,000 volunteers and authorized the governor to issue $5 million in state bonds for defense and military supplies. By the end of May convicts at the state penitentiary in Nashville were manufacturing small arms cartridges and other military supplies. The 8 June referendum affirmed the Ordnance of Secession 104, 913 to 47,238. East Tennessee voted solidly Unionist, and there were reports of interference with the vote in middle and western Tennessee, however.

State of Texas: On 1 February 1861 the Texas Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was submitted to the people of Texas for their approval on 23 February, with the referendum passing 46,153 to 14,747. Although Texas had not yet seceded, Major General Twiggs surrendered his forces and facilities, including the San Antonio Arsenal, at the demand of Texas authorities on 16 February. His officers and enlisted personnel were permitted to depart the state with their small arms, and the two artillery batteries under his command with four guns each.

Commonwealth of Virginia: On 17 April 1861 the Virginia Secession Convention passed the Commonwealth’s Ordnance of Secession, but there was an effort to initially suppress the announcement that the Ordnance had passed. While the Convention was meeting in secret session on the 17th, William C. Scott, the delegate from Powhatan County, said “I was told by the Adjutant General this morning that if we passed an ordinance of secession, we ought not to let it be known for a few days, because he sent for arms to the North, and he is apprehensive that they may be intercepted if it was known that the ordinance passed. Would it not be well, if we are determined to secede, to wait a little while in order that we may receive those arms from the North? We could then secede, and we would be in a much better condition to meet the enemy than we are now. This seems to be the proper course, and I trust the Convention will pursue it.” Later in the debates that day, Scott again mentioned his conversation with the Adjutant General and said “The Governor tells us this morning that if the action of this Convention is permitted to be known outside of this body, these arms will not be allowed to come here. If you send a communication of this sort to the President of the Confederate States, there will be great danger that the whole secret will leak out.” On 30 April the Convention authorized the Governor to issue $2,000,000 in treasury notes for the defense of the Commonwealth. The Ordnance of Succession was not ratified by the people of Virginia until a referendum on 23 May, wherein it passed 132,201 to 37,451. Although secession had not yet been approved by the people, the Commonwealth militia prepared to seize the Harper’s Ferry Armory. First Lieutenant Roger Jones, USA, had been ordered to Harper’s Ferry on 3 January with a company of eight non-commissioned officers and 60 enlisted men. By 18 April Rogers was in command of the post. Recognizing his utter inability to defend the armory, Jones set fire to the buildings and retreated with his troops across the Potomac River.

The above is probably incomplete; does not included the seizure of non-military facilities such as those of the Treasury Department, Post Office, etc.; and ends with the firing on Fort Sumter. The only “aggression” I see here is on the part of the Confederates, although I suppose that a “bitter ender” would assert that LT Slemmer’s defense of his post at Fort Barrancas in the face of an armed attack was “aggression,” or that the burning of the Harper’s Ferry Armory by 1LT Jones was “aggression.”

Under the law of nations in 1861 – and the Confederacy wished to be recognized by the world powers as an independent nation - honorable men issued declarations of war before they began hostile military actions. In this respect, the leaders of the Confederacy were as honorable men as the Japanese on 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 
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#3
"Are you serious? In the actions you list how many men were killed or wounded?
Casualties are immaterial. They were virtually all armed aggression. Almost anyone of them would have been sufficient to justify an armed response by the Federal government. You seize my military posts and half of my war reserve stocks of arms with no declaration of war, humiliate my flag, and I'm supposed to respond "Oh, ho hum, ain't no big deal." They sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

What is distressing was the general unwillingness of the southern political aristocracy to submit the articles of secession to referenda, so that the body of the people could buy into, or not, the decisions that were being made for them ["We the people..."]. But, the people, many of them drafted, were just the poor crackers who did the dying. It was a "Rich man's war, and a poor man's fight."

Regards,
Don Dixon
 
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trice

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#6
Just because it fits with the topic, I looked around for a timeline of events from "The Winter of Secession" through the attack on Fort Sumter. What follows is from an old post of unionblue.
=====
December 20, 1860. South Carolina secedes from the Union.

On that same day William T. Sherman says to his friends in the South, "You, you people of the South, believe there can be such a thing as peaceable secession. You don't know what you are doing. I know there can be no such thing...If you will have it, the North must fight you for its own preservation. Yes, South Carolina has by the act precipitated war..."

December 27, 1860. The first Federal property to fall into South Carolina hands is the U.S. revenue cutter William Aikenturned over to secessionists by its commander, Capt. N. L. Coste, who did not resign his commission and therefore was in violation of his oath of office. The crew left the ship and went North.

Castle Pickney was seized by South Carolina militia and a problem arose: were the two Federal soldiers captured in the fort to be considered prisoners of war? If so, it would imply that there was in fact, a WAR. Following a lengthy discussion, the one Federal officer was allowed to go to Ft. Sumter while a sergeant and his family were given safe conduct to remain in their quarters at the fort. What was significant was that the secessionists now held, for the first time, a U.S. fort. Union officer Abner Doubleday called it "the first overt act of the Secessionists against the Sovereignty of the United States."

Fort Moultrie is also occupied by South Carolina militia on this day, after the fort was abandoned by Major Anderson and Federal troops on December 26, 1860, who relocated to Ft. Sumter during the night.

December 28, 1860. A detachment of South Carolina militia enters and takes control of Fort Johnson. Three out of four Federal forts have been seized and are now under the control of South Carolina militia troops.

January 3, 1861. The War Department cancelled plans to ship guns from Pittsburgh to the forts in the South. Former Secretary of War Floyd, who resigned and went South, had been shipping weapons and large guns South for the past several months to help build up the Southern arsenals.

January 4, 1861. Even though it had not yet seceded from the Union, Alabama troops seize the U.S. arsenal at Mt. Vernon, Ala.

January 5, 1861. Even though it STILL has not yet seceded from the Union, Alabama troops seizes Fort Morgan and Gaines which protect the harbor at Mobile.

January 6, 1861. Even though it has not yet seceded from the Union, Florida troops seize the Federal arsenal at Apalachiocola.

January 7, 1861. Even though it has STILL not seceded from the Union, Florida troops seize Fort Marion at St. Augustine.

January 8, 1861. At Fort Barrancas, guarding the entrance to Pensacola Harbor, Federal troops fired on a raiding party of about twenty men, who then fled.

January 9, 1861. On this day, Senators Judah P. Benjamin and John Slidell of Louisiana telegraphed Gov. Moore of that state (which had not yet seceded from the Union), that Federal gunboats were secretly bringing supplies to the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Both men had yet to resign from the Senate. Gov. Moore ordered Braxton Bragg and 500 troops to seize the forts and the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge.

On this same day, the Star of the West attempted to resupply Fort Sumter but was fired on by a masked battery from Morris Island and then by guns from Fort Moultrie. In spite of the fact the ship was flying two United States flags, the ship was repeatedly fired on. The ship turned and steamed away.

January 10, 1862. General Bragg and the militia seize the United States forts and arsenals in Louisiana. William T. Sherman, presiding as head of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, stated that Bragg's actions were, "an act of war and a breach of common decency."

On the same day in North Carolina, before that state had yet to secede, citizens of Smithville and Wilmington occupied Forts Johnson and Caswell. The State government at Raleigh later repudiated these moves.

January 12, 1861. Captain James Armstrong, commander of the Warrington Navy Yard at Pensacola, Florida, is captured and "regarded [as] a prisoner of war, and...placed on his parole of honor...not to bear arms against the State of Florida."

January 13, 1861. Several men are seen near Fort Pickens in the night and were fired upon. These unknown men retired from the area of the fort.

January, 18, 1861. In the United States House of Representatives, John Sherman, brother of William T. Sherman, rose to reply to his Ohio colleague, Pendleton, remarks that the North should be concillatory towards the South. Sherman, in a highly emotional speech, said that it was not the North that should be concillatory, it was the South; were they not the ones who had fired on the flag and seized government property? Was not Mississippi stopping all traffic at Vicksburg for search? (which Mississippi had begun on January 12, 1861.)

January 21, 1861. Mississippi troops seize Fort Massachusetts off the coast, in the Gult. Ship Island is also taken.

January 24, 1861. Georgia troops occupy the U.S. arsenal at Augusta.

January 26, 1861. At Savannah, Georgia, Fort Jackson and the Oglethorpe Barracks are seized by state troops.

January 29, 1861. Louisiana state troops take possession of Fort Macomb, outside New Orleans. The revenue cutter Robert McClelland is surrendered to Louisiana state authorities by Captain Breshwood, despite orders not to do so by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Also on this date, a notice of truce was sent from Washington to the army and navy commanders at Pensacola. It was the result of an agreement between Secretaries Holt and Toucey and Florida official Chase and Stephen Mallory.

January 30, 1861. President-elect Lincoln leaves Springfield, Ill., to visit his step-mother in Coles County. He has not even left for Washington yet. In Mobile Bay, the U.S. revenue schooner Lewis Cass was surrendered to Alabama by its commander.

January 31, 1861. In New Orleans, the U.S. Branch Mint was seized by state troops along with the revenue schooner Washington.

February 8, 1861. Before it had yet to secede from the Union, Arkansas seized the Little Rock U.S. arsenal.

February 11, 1861. Lincoln boards the train that will take him to Washington.

February 16, 1861. Although it had yet to secede from the Union, in San Antonio, Texas, state troops seize the U.S. military compound, barracks and arsenal.

February 19, 1861. In New Orleans, the U.S. Paymaster's office was seized by state troops.

March 2, 1861. Texas, now out of the Union, seizes the U.S. revenue schooner Henry Dodge at Galveston.

March 6, 1861. The Confederate Congress authorizes an army of 100,000 volunteers for twelve months.

March 15, 1861. The State of Louisiana transferred over $536,000 in money taken from the U.S. Mint in New Orleans to the Confederate government.

March 18, 1861. In the Florida panhandle, General Braxton Bragg refused to permit further supply of Ft. Pickens, in effect, nullifying the truce then in effect between Washington and Florida from January 29, 1861.

March 20, 1861. Texas troops seize three more Federal forts. At Mobile, a Federal supply ship, the U.S. sloop Isabella, was seized before it could sail with supplies to Pensacola.

April 3, 1861. In Charleston, South Carolina, a battery placed on Morris Island, fired at the Federal schooner Rhoda H. Shannon.

April 12, 1861. At 4:30AM, Fort Sumter was fired on by Confederate forces.

April 15, 1861. President Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers for three months service.
=====
 

James N.

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#7
State of Texas: On 1 February 1861 the Texas Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was submitted to the people of Texas for their approval on 23 February, with the referendum passing 46,153 to 14,747. Although Texas had not yet seceded, Major General Twiggs surrendered his forces and facilities, including the San Antonio Arsenal, at the demand of Texas authorities on 16 February. His officers and enlisted personnel were permitted to depart the state with their small arms, and the two artillery batteries under his command with four guns each...
As I recall, the State reneged on its former permission, attempting to halt and perhaps actually interfering with the last of the approximately 2,000 Federal troops to leave.
 

trice

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#8
As I recall, the State reneged on its former permission, attempting to halt and perhaps actually interfering with the last of the approximately 2,000 Federal troops to leave.
About half got out, picked up by ship just in time. The Star of the West was arriving at Indianola to pick up more on April 18, but was captured by Earl Van Dorn. Many were still marching peacefully for the coast when captured. Roughly 1100 became POWs. The last of those were exchanged in September of 1863.
 

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About half got out, picked up by ship just in time. The Star of the West was arriving at Indianola to pick up more on April 18, but was captured by Earl Van Dorn. Many were still marching peacefully for the coast when captured. Roughly 1100 became POWs. The last of those were exchanged in September of 1863.
Maybe since that was after Sumter it might somehow be condoned, especially by the Confederates.
 

trice

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#10
Maybe since that was after Sumter it might somehow be condoned, especially by the Confederates.
The internment of all the US troops withdrawing from Texas was ordered by Jefferson Davis before Fort Sumter was attacked. It is part and parcel of the decision to start the war.

Earl van Dorn was recently resigned from the US Army, a Brigadier in the Mississippi forces, replaced Jeff Davis in command when he went to Montgomery, then resigned from the Mississippi force to join the Confederate Army as a colonel on March 16, 1861 . Jefferson Davis gave him command in Texas on April 11 and ordered him to arrest and intern the US troops in Texas. Van Dorn went to Texas through New Orleans, leaving there April 14th. He arrived in Galveston on the 17th and captured 3 US ships, including the Star of the West, and the troops at Indianola shortly after that.
 
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#13
On January 6, Florida seized the Apalachicola arsenal (on the northwest coast of the state), and the next day, Fort Marion, in St. Augustine. The Union soldier manning Fort Marion refused to surrender it unless he was given a receipt for it. He was given the receipt and the fort was taken without shots being fired, as was also the case with the other federal properties.
 
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#15
On January 6, Florida seized the Apalachicola arsenal (on the northwest coast of the state), and the next day, Fort Marion, in St. Augustine. The Union soldier manning Fort Marion refused to surrender it unless he was given a receipt for it. He was given the receipt and the fort was taken without shots being fired, as was also the case with the other federal properties.



Except of course, Ft. Pickens at Pensacola and Key West.
 
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#16
Most of the States had seceded before taking over the forts.



Not really, Davis said the south was out of the Union, Lincoln said no, they were not. The answer to the question of the success of secession was the central point around which the Civil War itself, revolved. It turned out, that, no, the slave states of the confederacy, were not, and, never had been, out of the Union.
 
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#17
In hindsight, the seceding states should have declared independence by left federal property alone. They should have organized thier government in peace and avoided activating thier mililias and they would have held the moral high ground. They should have talk peace and dared Lincoln start a war.
 

WJC

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#18
On January 6, Florida seized the Apalachicola arsenal (on the northwest coast of the state), and the next day, Fort Marion, in St. Augustine. The Union soldier manning Fort Marion refused to surrender it unless he was given a receipt for it. He was given the receipt and the fort was taken without shots being fired, as was also the case with the other federal properties.
So because no shots were fired and the perpetrators gave their victim a receipt there was no crime?
 
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#19
So because no shots were fired and the perpetrators gave their victim a receipt there was no crime?
No. Because they were already going to secede.

Borrow from the beginning of the thread.

State of Florida: On 6 January 1861 the Florida militia seized the U.S. arsenal at Apalachicola, the sole Federal arsenal in the state. On 7 January the Florida militia seized Fort Marion at St. Augustine. And, on 8 January Federal troops at Fort Barrancas, guarding the entrance to the harbor at Pensacola, fired on a party of Florida militia who had demanded the surrender of that fort. The next day, Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer gathered the 50 men in his company from Forts Barrancas and McRee, dumped 20,000 pounds of gunpowder into the bay, and spiked his guns at those two forts. With the help of sailors from the Warrington Navy Yard, he moved all of his remaining supplies across the bay to Fort Pickens, which the Federal Army retained for the balance of the war. On 10 January the Florida Secession Convention passed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. The Ordnance was not submitted to the people of Florida for their approval in a referendum.
 
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#20
In hindsight, the seceding states should have declared independence by left federal property alone. They should have organized thier government in peace and avoided activating thier mililias and they would have held the moral high ground. They should have talk peace and dared Lincoln start a war.
The Confederate States of America did send forth peace commissioners and Lincoln wouldn't talk to them because he wasn't going to let the South go. :frown:
 


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