Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Montgomery: Friendly but determined negotiation

Alabama Capitol staircase where Confederate Congress met
  • The new Confederate Provisional Congress meeting in Montgomery passes a resolution that the new President-elect Davis should appoint a commission of three persons to be “sent to the government of the United States of America, for the purpose of negotiating friendly relations between that government and the Confederate States of America, and for the settlement of all questions of disagreement between the two governments upon principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith." In the event that peaceful negotiations are not possible, the Congress also resolves to take Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, and Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida, by force if necessary. Delegates from recently seceded Texas arrive in Montgomery to take seats in the Confederate Congress./1861 

  • Assistant adjutant-general of the U.S. army, L. Thomas, writes today (received March 1) to the newly appointed army commander in Texas, Colonel C.A. Waite of the U.S. First Infantry, that General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, orders that, in the event of the secession of Texas, Colonel Waite should, "without unnecessary delay, put in march for Fort Leavenworth [Kansas], the entire military force of your department,” sending any supplies they cannot carry with them by water to New York. Scott’s purpose is twofold: to keep federal property out of the hands of a seceded Texas and to punish Texas for their action by leaving the state’s frontier open to Indian attack. By the time the order would arrive (March 1), the Texas state militia and the Commissioners of the Committee of Public Safety of Texas would have received the surrender of all federal property in the state and all US Army personnel would leave by way of the coast./1861

  • In Washington, the Peace Conference drags on interminably, discussing and debating every detail of several proposed compromises to the secession crisis, with no real hope for a durable solution, entirely because President-elect Lincoln has indicated his absolute opposition to any compromise with the Southern States./1861

  • Raphael Semmes resigns from the United States Navy to defend his state of Alabama/1861 

  • On his trip to be inaugurated the sixteenth President of the United States, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, from the Manongahela House balcony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the longest address of his journey, strangely remarks that “there is no crisis, excepting such a one as may be gotten up at anytime by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians.” After a carriage ride through nearly impenetrable crowds to the train station, Lincoln continues to Cleveland, Ohio, by late afternoon in a rain and snow storm. While having his mid-day dinner with the president of the railroad at Sourbeck’s Hotel in Canton, Ohio, a company of Canton Zouaves stand guard while a band plays national airs, and a gun salute shatters a hotel window during meal, sprinkling glass on Mrs. Lincoln. Again he meets large crowds, though the Democrat-leaning Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter wonders if the warm receptions are thinly veiled requests for political appointments. Welcomed by tens of thousands with military escort, Lincoln says, “"I think that there is no occasion for any excitement. The crisis, as it is called, is altogether an artificial crisis." Later Lincoln’s son, Robert, causes some excitement when he misplaces the President-elect’s satchel of the Inaugural Addresses./1861

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