Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gen. Scott to Lincoln: "Surrender Sumter"

Gen. Winfield Scott meets with Lincoln's Cabinet
  • The day after his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln gets to work on a strategy of coercion regarding Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, with intense discussions with the elderly US Army chief General Winfield Scott. From Major Robert Anderson’s correspondence, it appears that the fort cannot be held indefinitely without reinforcements estimated as high as 20,000 men.  
General Winfield Scott responds in the evening with gloom, saying he had earlier advised the reinforcement of Sumter but that now the time has passed to save the fort. "I now see no alternative but a surrender, in some weeks," Scott argued. "Evacuation seems almost inevitable . . . if, indeed, the worn out garrison be not assaulted & carried in the present week." 
General Scott also explains to the new President that "something like a truce, . . . “or informal understanding," is needed at Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, Florida. The Buchanan administration made the Fort Pickens agreement to avoid war, and reinforcements have remained aboard ship with orders not to land at the fort until "an attack shall be made by the secessionists."  Both Scott and Lincoln agree that both of these major issues need confrontation./1861
  • The Texas Secession Convention passes an Ordinance accepting Confederate statehood, but Governor Sam Houston, who has reluctantly accepted the decision to secede and revert to independent status, refuses to take the oath of loyalty to the Confederate government required by the Convention./1861

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