Saturday, December 11, 2010

Buell to Anderson: "Don't anger the South Carolinians"; Lincoln: "No compromise"

US Major Robert Anderson
  • A Major Buell, representing the United States War Department and Secretary of War Floyd, goes to Major Robert Anderson at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, to nudge him into moving to Fort Sumter and abandoning Moultrie, Pinckney, and Johnson. Though Anderson was told not to do anything that could be construed as hostile by the South Carolinians, he was to defend to the last extremity any attack. He leaves permission for Major Anderson to occupy any of the forts in Charleston Harbour if necessary, but not to anger the South Carolinians. With his small force which was denied reinforcement at this time, Anderson was commanded to abandon all but one fort/1860
  • ·         The term of South Carolina’s Governor William Henry Gist ends today, and Frances Pickens will be the governor to preside over secession in less than a week. Fire-eater Robert Barnwell Rhett lost after seven votes by the General Assembly to choose a new governor. Pickens would be inaugurated on December 17, the same day the Secession Convention was scheduled to convene at the Baptist Church in Columbia. Also, today’s December 11, 1860 Richmond Dispatch: reports that a bill to provide new holidays for the State has been introduced in the South Carolina Legislature. It abolishes the celebration of the Fourth of July, and establishes in its place the observance of the 28th of June, the anniversary of the battle of Fort Moultrie. The other holidays are Good Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and fast days. /1860
  • ·         President-elect Abraham Lincoln writes a letter to Illinois Rep. William Kellogg, a fellow Republican. Publicly, Lincoln was keeping silent on the emerging crisis, but his letter was designed to achieve one objective: to sabotage a sectional compromise to save the Union. Marked “Private & confidential,” the letter instructed Kellogg to “entertain no proposition for a compromise in regard to the extension of slavery. The instant you do, they have us under again; all our labor is lost, and sooner or later must be done over. … Have none of it. The tug has to come & better now than later.” Lincoln was not speaking abstractly. The Capitol was buzzing with talk of a Union-saving deal. Indeed, on Dec. 18, Sen. John J. Crittenden of Kentucky plans to propose a plan to preserve the Union through a series of actions to protect the institution of slavery. In other words, at the precise moment that a compromise to rescue the country seemed at hand, the incoming president worked aggressively to block it./1860

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