Was SC Preparing for War Before Lincoln's Election?

WJC

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South Carolina seceded December 20, 1860, followed by other states in early 1861.
The accepted reason is that South Carolinians were shocked at the outcome of the 1860 election and feared that the incoming Lincoln Administration would end slavery or at the least curtail its expansion.
This, we are told, led South Carolinians to attempt to secede and ultimately brought on an unexpected civil war.
A friend from South Carolina, recently claimed that South Carolina's legislature appropriated $50,000 to buy "guns and equipment" in January 1860, well before Lincoln was even nominated! My southern friend could not provide a source for this assertion and I haven't been able to find one either. Fortunately, I have the resources of the many learned Civil Was scholars here- including probably some from South Carolina.
Is this assertion true? Or a part of Civil War mythology?
 

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O' Be Joyful

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A friend from South Carolina, recently claimed that South Carolina's legislature appropriated $50,000 to buy "guns and equipment" in January 1860, well before Lincoln was even nominated! My southern friend could not provide a source for this assertion and I haven't been able to find one either. Fortunately, I have the resources of the many learned Civil Was scholars here- including probably some from South Carolina.
Is this assertion true? Or a part of Civil War mythology?
Though I do not remember where, I do recall reading that S.C.'s governor William Henry Gist, previous to Pickens taking office, was authorized to do just that in the Fall of 1860 and may have been $100,000. October seems to stick in my mind. It may have been here in a thread or a source that was linked.

Shouldn't be to hard to find as there have only been 1 or 2 threads that have ever even mentioned the lead-up to Ft. Sumter. :laugh: I'll take a look, but my search skills are lacking.
 

O' Be Joyful

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This is not what I recall reading, but here is a post by @trice that mentions it along with a source.

On November 5th, the new South Carolina legislature (the legislature of 1860) convened and the outgoing Governor Gist addressed them, calling for a new Army. The legislature authorized him to use that $100,000 (largely because they didn't have time to authorize a $400,000 bond issue discussed for the same purpose). If you look at The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume 34, starting at page 820 (click here for the Google books version), you'll see the letters from Gist's buying agent Thomas F. Drayton -- soon to be a Confederate general -- to Governor Gist about using this money to buy arms from the US government. Note that these letters start on November 3rd (before the legislature authorization), and that Drayton is speaking with Secretary of War Floyd and Quartermaster-General Joseph E. Johnston. Note also that Drayton is working to get arms for Georgia as well.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/why-did-the-south-fire-on-fort-sumter.22146/page-2#post-277291
I believe the vote to set aside the money for future needs may have been earlier, and this refers to authorizing Gist to spend it. If I recall the election was Nov. 8.











 

O' Be Joyful

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SENTIMENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA.; PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATURE ON THE QUESTION OF CALLING A CONVENTION.
NOV. 12, 1860

COLUMBIA, Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Resolved, That a Commissioner be elected by joint ballot of the Senate and House of Representatives, whose duty it shall be, in the event of Mr. LINCOLN's election, to proceed immediately to Milledgeville, the seat of Government of the State of Georgia, whose Legislature will then be in session, to announce to the Government of that State that South Carolina, in view of the impending danger, will immediately put herself in a state of efficient military defence, and will cordially cooperate with the State of Georgia in measures for the protection of Southern interests; and to express the readiness of this State to cooperate with the State of Georgia, in the event of Mr. LINCOLN's election, in withdrawing at once from the Confederacy; and to recommend the calling of Conventions simultaneously in both States to carry this measure into effect, and to invite the cooperation of all the Southern States in withdrawing from the present Union, and forming a separate Southern Confederacy.

Resolved, That the Committees on the Military of the Senate and House of Representatives, be instructed to meet during the recess, and to prepare a plan for arming the State, and for organizing a permanent Military Bureau; and that the said Committees be instructed to report by bill to their respective Houses, on the first day of the reassembling of the General Assembly.

Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives be instructed to sit during the recess, and prepare a bill for raising supplies necessary to carry into effect the measures recommended by the Military Committee, and to report by bill on the first day of the reassembling of the General Assembly.

Resolved, That the Governor be requested immediately to apply the $100,000 appropriated by the last General Assembly to the purchase of arms.

https://www.nytimes.com/1860/11/12/archives/sentiment-in-south-carolina-proceedings-of-the-legislature-on-the.html
 
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Governor Gist was bound and determined to pull South Carolina out of the Union even if he had to use assassination and his state militia troops to start the ball rolling.

Eleven months before Lincoln was elected to the Presidency, a group of armed U.S. Congressmen from South Carolina along with assistance from South Carolina's governor, William Gist, planned to shoot up Congress and possibly assassinate Republican John Sherman as a prelude to South Carolina's secession and establishment of a Southern confederacy if Sherman was chosen as Speaker of the House. Governor Gist offered to send a regiment of South Carolina militia to Washington to assist in the attack on Congress but preferred that the revolution be bloodless.

It appeared after a number of ballots with no clear majority and subsequent realignment of support, that Sherman would be the likely winner for the Speaker's position but he drew the ire of the Southern members of Congress especially those from South Carolina when it was discovered that he had signed a March 9, 1859 endorsement of Hinton Helper's anti-slavery, anti-Southern book, The Impending Crisis of the South. Radical Southern members of Congress believed that Sherman's candidacy and its subsequent disruption would be the "spark which would set off the explosion they desired" and would terminate the differences between Southern moderates and radicals which would in turn unite the Southern states into a Southern Confederacy.

Secession and war were averted at least for the time being when Sherman's name was withdrawn as a candidate.
 

WJC

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This is not what I recall reading, but here is a post by @trice that mentions it along with a source.
Thanks for your response.
Following the link you provided, it appears that thread tends to confirm my friend's claim. @trice in post #23 says:
Personally, I like to think that the act of the South Carolina in voting to appropriate $50,000 to arm a standing Army of 10,000 men in January of 1860 is the first real sign of what they saw as the route to secession. That money was thus sitting there, available to spend, when Lincoln won the election in November and was used by the Governor to buy arms for the new South Carolina Army -- authorized by the state legislature before the Secession Convention acted. IIRR, it was actuallly the out-going Governor who did that, before Pickens came in.
Establishing that South Carolina Army, BTW, would have been illegal under both the US and South Carolina Constitutions when it was done. Little things like that didn't make much difference at the time.​
Later, in post #34, he corrects the appropriation fr, $50, 000 to $100,000.
So at least we know the funds were appropriated. But is there any other indication that they were actually preparing to 'fight their way out of the Union'?

 

W. Richardson

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South Carolina seceded December 20, 1860, followed by other states in early 1861.
The accepted reason is that South Carolinians were shocked at the outcome of the 1860 election and feared that the incoming Lincoln Administration would end slavery or at the least curtail its expansion.
This, we are told, led South Carolinians to attempt to secede and ultimately brought on an unexpected civil war.
A friend from South Carolina, recently claimed that South Carolina's legislature appropriated $50,000 to buy "guns and equipment" in January 1860, well before Lincoln was even nominated! My southern friend could not provide a source for this assertion and I haven't been able to find one either. Fortunately, I have the resources of the many learned Civil Was scholars here- including probably some from South Carolina.
Is this assertion true? Or a part of Civil War mythology?


Yes I do think that South Carolina and the other deep South states were preparing for the worse, up to and including war. It was a plank of the Republican platform to refuse all expansion of slavery. Good thread WJC !!


Respectfully,
William

One Nation, two countries

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W. Richardson

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Governor Gist was bound and determined to pull South Carolina out of the Union even if he had to use assassination and his state militia troops to start the ball rolling.

Eleven months before Lincoln was elected to the Presidency, a group of armed U.S. Congressmen from South Carolina along with assistance from South Carolina's governor, William Gist, planned to shoot up Congress and possibly assassinate Republican John Sherman as a prelude to South Carolina's secession and establishment of a Southern confederacy if Sherman was chosen as Speaker of the House. Governor Gist offered to send a regiment of South Carolina militia to Washington to assist in the attack on Congress but preferred that the revolution be bloodless.

As loony as old man Brown and his attack on the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, maybe even more loony than Brown....lol...........They were some real characters back then. Thanks for sharing.

Respectfully,
William

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WJC

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Yes I do think that South Carolina and the other deep South states were preparing for the worse, up to and including war. It was a plank of the Republican platform to refuse all expansion of slavery. Good thread WJC !!


Respectfully,
William

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Thanks! It's something I really wasn't aware of until my friend mentioned it. And then I was skeptical.
 

O' Be Joyful

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While I was searching for other sources I came across this site which has replies to a request/order from Sec'y of War Floyd (traitorous dog IMHO :wink:). The first is a report of the contents of all the arsenals/armories in the U.S. as of Nov. 1859. I do not have access to the original request by Floyd, so this is likely a routine yearly accounting, but nonetheless valuable info for those planning insurrection. I am only going to copy the column headings and totals as experience has shown me that coping the entire doc will result in a jumble of numbers. I have altered the column headings to sync with this format; details at the link.

What follows in the requests from state gov'ts a year later, coincidentally in Nov. of 1860, is what is really interesting and I will post some of th0se in a moment.

http://www.simmonsgames.com/research/authors/USWarDept/ORA/OR-S3-V1.html

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: In compliance with your orders of the 10th instant, I transmit the inclosed tabular statement of the muskets and rifles on hand at each of the armories and arsenals. It does not include the 23,894 flint-lock muskets and 652 flint-lock rifles still remaining unaltered.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

Name of armory or arsenal

Kennebec Arsenal, Me.
Watertown Arsenal, Mass.
Springfield Arsenal, Mass.
Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y.
New York Arsenal, N. Y.
Detroit Arsenal, Mich.
Frankford Arsenal, Pa.
Allegheny Arsenal, Pa.
Pikesville Arsenal, Md.
Washington Arsenal, D.C.
Harper’s Ferry Armory, Va.
Fort Monroe Arsenal, Va.
Fayetteville Arsenal, N. C.
Charleston Arsenal, S. C.
Mount Vernon Arsenal, Ala.
Baton Rouge Arsenal, La.
San Antonio Arsenal, Tex.
Little Rock Arsenal, Ark.
Saint Louis Arsenal, Mo.
Benicia Arsenal, Cal.
1
Vancouver Arsenal, Wash. Ter.
In transitu from armories and Frankford to California.

Muskets of various types


275,744 ---- 14,765 ---- 213,155 --- 33,631 --- 24,105

Grand Total of muskets
561,400


Rifles of various types

1,385 --- 43,375 ---- 4,102

Grand Total of rifles

48,862
 

O' Be Joyful

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What follows, curiously right around the time of the presidential election, is a flurry of requests to the War Dep't/Floyd for arms in expectation of a possibility of insurrection by citizens of that state.

Richmond, Va., November 1, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: I am instructed by the Governor of Virginia to inform you that there exists in this State an extended and daily increasing apprehension of insecurity and danger, resulting, among other causes, from manifestations of domestic insubordination; that he feels it necessary for protection and security to arm the volunteer corps in particular localities with better arms than we have now at command, and for that purpose requests that you will authorize an advance to the State immediately of a number of the original army percussioned muskets, with accouterments, equivalent to the quota of arms which may be due to the State under the act of Congress of 1808 for the year 1861, estimated by the Colonel of Ordnance at about 682 muskets. This would not be asked except under the pressure of extraordinary circumstances. I am further instructed to say that the money value of the arms shall be promptly paid to the United States if Congress shall so require, or the arms returned in kind and of equal value so soon as they can be fabricated at the armory of the State now going into operation.

If this request be complied with, an immediate delivery of the arms will be desirable. It is proper to state that there are some discrepancies in the account between the State of Virginia and the United States, growing out of irregularities during the excitement from the capture of the Government works at Harper’s Ferry last fall, which have not yet been adjusted; that there is an order in the hands of the proper officer at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal in favor of the State for the delivery of 187 rifled muskets and appendages, with accouterments, which by reason of the discrepancies in account have not been drawn, and which will not be drawn in the event of a compliance with the above request for an advance of the smooth-bore muskets; that on the 26th October, 1859, the State is charged with a requisition in favor of Col. J. T. Gibson, of Jefferson County, with 120 rifled muskets and accouterments, equal to 167 4/13 muskets, which in fact were not drawn by that officer, who in lieu of them received a like number of Hall rifles on loan, as he states, from the superintendent. These Hall arms Colonel Gibson has been ordered to return to the superintendent; but I conceive that the 120 rifled muskets which the requisition called for ought not to be charged to the State, not having been received by her, nor the Hall rifles, which were issued in lieu of them without her knowledge or authority. Triplicate receipts for alleged issues at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal upon the verbal order of Governor Wise have been presented for signature to this office, but have not yet been signed, for the reason that it does not yet appear to whom or where the arms were delivered or sent, and there is no trace of any order for them in the proper department here. These receipts are for 120 long-range rifles with sword attachment, 200 rifled muskets, and some fixed ammunition. None of these items, I conceive, can properly be charged against the State now, and if not I suppose the quota for the next year stands without a drawback.

I need scarcely say that all items of the account which may now be suspended for any cause will be fairly adjusted by the State authorities, and that any irregularity of issues which were certainly made to the officers of the State will not be used as an advantage or objection when those issues shall have been traced, which, owing to unavoidable circumstances, has not yet been done. No impediment to the request {p.3} for the advance upon the next year’s quota, I hope, therefore, will arise, and especially as you are personally aware of the urgency of our necessities.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. H. RICHARDSON, Adjutant-General.

–––

ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, November 3, 1860.
 

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Sec'y Floyd responds promptly, obviously aware of the "impending danger."

WAR DEPARTMENT, November 6, 1860.

The proposition for the purchase of 5,000 altered muskets, at $2.50 each, made within, is accepted. The Colonel of Ordnance will take the necessary measures to have them delivered as requested. The arms to be selected by Captain Dimmock.

J. B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

–––
 

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South Carolina will not allow itself to be left out of the apparent Fire sale opportunities that the War Dep't is providing.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Columbia, S. C., November 12, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG:

DEAR SIR: I learn that some of the States have received their quota of arms for next year, and I should be pleased to have the quota for South Carolina. I wish the whole quota in “rifled muskets and appendages, new patterns, caliber .58.” Send them immediately to Charleston, S. C., to Maj. P. F. Stevens, superintendent of the Citadel Academy.

Very respectfully,

WM. H. GIST.

–––
Mississippi is also to receive prompt acknowledgement:


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 14, 1860.

His Excellency JOHN J. PETTUS, Governor of Mississippi, Jackson:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this day from the Hon. Jacob Thompson of your letter of the 6th instant, and in reply to inform you that there is no authority in this Department to exchange rifles for flint-lock muskets, as proposed by you. We have percussion muskets altered from flint-lock at the Baton Rouge and Saint Louis arsenals, which are for sale at $2.50 each. Should you desire to purchase any of them, and will advise me of the number, I will issue the necessary orders to comply with your request. Two thousand can be delivered at Baton Rouge, and any larger number at Saint Louis.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.
 
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What follows, curiously right around the time of the presidential election, is a flurry of requests to the War Dep't/Floyd for arms in expectation of a possibility of insurrection by citizens of that state.

Richmond, Va., November 1, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: I am instructed by the Governor of Virginia to inform you that there exists in this State an extended and daily increasing apprehension of insecurity and danger, resulting, among other causes, from manifestations of domestic insubordination; that he feels it necessary for protection and security to arm the volunteer corps in particular localities with better arms than we have now at command, and for that purpose requests that you will authorize an advance to the State immediately of a number of the original army percussioned muskets, with accouterments, equivalent to the quota of arms which may be due to the State under the act of Congress of 1808 for the year 1861, estimated by the Colonel of Ordnance at about 682 muskets. This would not be asked except under the pressure of extraordinary circumstances. I am further instructed to say that the money value of the arms shall be promptly paid to the United States if Congress shall so require, or the arms returned in kind and of equal value so soon as they can be fabricated at the armory of the State now going into operation.

If this request be complied with, an immediate delivery of the arms will be desirable. It is proper to state that there are some discrepancies in the account between the State of Virginia and the United States, growing out of irregularities during the excitement from the capture of the Government works at Harper’s Ferry last fall, which have not yet been adjusted; that there is an order in the hands of the proper officer at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal in favor of the State for the delivery of 187 rifled muskets and appendages, with accouterments, which by reason of the discrepancies in account have not been drawn, and which will not be drawn in the event of a compliance with the above request for an advance of the smooth-bore muskets; that on the 26th October, 1859, the State is charged with a requisition in favor of Col. J. T. Gibson, of Jefferson County, with 120 rifled muskets and accouterments, equal to 167 4/13 muskets, which in fact were not drawn by that officer, who in lieu of them received a like number of Hall rifles on loan, as he states, from the superintendent. These Hall arms Colonel Gibson has been ordered to return to the superintendent; but I conceive that the 120 rifled muskets which the requisition called for ought not to be charged to the State, not having been received by her, nor the Hall rifles, which were issued in lieu of them without her knowledge or authority. Triplicate receipts for alleged issues at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal upon the verbal order of Governor Wise have been presented for signature to this office, but have not yet been signed, for the reason that it does not yet appear to whom or where the arms were delivered or sent, and there is no trace of any order for them in the proper department here. These receipts are for 120 long-range rifles with sword attachment, 200 rifled muskets, and some fixed ammunition. None of these items, I conceive, can properly be charged against the State now, and if not I suppose the quota for the next year stands without a drawback.

I need scarcely say that all items of the account which may now be suspended for any cause will be fairly adjusted by the State authorities, and that any irregularity of issues which were certainly made to the officers of the State will not be used as an advantage or objection when those issues shall have been traced, which, owing to unavoidable circumstances, has not yet been done. No impediment to the request {p.3} for the advance upon the next year’s quota, I hope, therefore, will arise, and especially as you are personally aware of the urgency of our necessities.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. H. RICHARDSON, Adjutant-General.

–––

ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, November 3, 1860.
Imagine that! And guess which side Richardson joined after April 17, 1861 when the Virginia Convention voted to secede? Collusion?
 
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South Carolina will not allow itself to be left out of the apparent Fire sale opportunities that the War Dep't is providing.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Columbia, S. C., November 12, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG:

DEAR SIR: I learn that some of the States have received their quota of arms for next year, and I should be pleased to have the quota for South Carolina. I wish the whole quota in “rifled muskets and appendages, new patterns, caliber .58.” Send them immediately to Charleston, S. C., to Maj. P. F. Stevens, superintendent of the Citadel Academy.

Very respectfully,

WM. H. GIST.

–––
Mississippi is also to receive prompt acknowledgement:


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 14, 1860.

His Excellency JOHN J. PETTUS, Governor of Mississippi, Jackson:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this day from the Hon. Jacob Thompson of your letter of the 6th instant, and in reply to inform you that there is no authority in this Department to exchange rifles for flint-lock muskets, as proposed by you. We have percussion muskets altered from flint-lock at the Baton Rouge and Saint Louis arsenals, which are for sale at $2.50 each. Should you desire to purchase any of them, and will advise me of the number, I will issue the necessary orders to comply with your request. Two thousand can be delivered at Baton Rouge, and any larger number at Saint Louis.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

Bwaahaahaa! War Department's "Fire sale."
 

unionblue

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Yes I do think that South Carolina and the other deep South states were preparing for the worse, up to and including war. It was a plank of the Republican platform to refuse all expansion of slavery. Good thread WJC !!


Respectfully,
William

One Nation, two countries

View attachment 186959
Slavery?

That's why they prepared for war because they could not expect the expansion of slavery?

What a shock! :wink:
 


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