Monday, March 21, 2011

Fox in Charleston

  • Gustavus V. Fox, on orders from President Lincoln to assess the situation at Fort Sumter and the mood of the Southern leaders, arrives in Charleston, South Carolina. He meets with South Carolina Governor Francis W. Pickens and Confederate Brigadier General P. Gustave T. Beauregard, and after some delay, is given permission to visit Fort Sumter. He reached the fort that evening, "after dark and remained about two hours," discussing the situation with Major Anderson. He hints at, but does not explicitly describe to Anderson, his plan to reinforce the fort./1861
  • The Missouri Secession Convention adjourns after having voted 89-1 against secession/1861
  • The State Convention of Louisiana ratifies the Confederate States Constitution/1861
  • Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens delivers to Georgia's secession convention in Savannah his infamous Cornerstone Speech - claiming that slavery was the foundation of Southern society: ...“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution -- African slavery as it exists amongst us -- the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. ...Our new government is founded upon, . . . its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.]” His now unacceptable speech, while revealing the sinfulness and fears of loss of the elite planter class, did not have a bearing on the vast majority of white Southerners who were too poor to own even one slave. Those men fought to protect their homes from an invader, and the slavery argument was superfluous to them./1861

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