Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lincoln chooses War, will relieve Sumter

Lincoln in 1861
  • FIRST DAY OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES-LINCOLN’S MILITARY ACT OF WAR- After a sleepless night, President Lincoln rises this Good Friday “in the dumps.” At noon his formal Cabinet meeting convenes. With all of the advice, arm-twisting, and recommendations during nearly a month in office, Mr. Lincoln finally announces his plan for Fort Sumter. There will be no evacuation as had been promised. 
Instead, Lincoln favors Gustavus Fox’s plan for Fort Sumter with one change. Instead of a military expedition to reinforce and resupply Fort Sumter, the expedition would attempt to land peaceably only provisions. There would be no reinforcement of Sumter unless the effort to send “bread” to the garrison found resistance. The government would also communicate to South Carolina officials its intentions "to provision the fort peaceably if unmolested." 

The discussion is so scattered that Attorney General Bates complains that no one could arrive at definite conclusions, suggesting instead that the President state his questions in order and require the members to respond directly. One by one, the cabinet officers present their recommendations, with the exception of Secretary of War Simon Cameron, who is conspicuously absent. 

Senator Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania. Sec. of...Image via Wikipedia
Sec. of War Simon Cameron
In the end, the Cabinet vote splits 3-2 in favor of Lincoln’s plan with his own Secretary of War, Simon Cameron in absentia, saying he preferred to keep his wishes silent in the matter. Secretary of State William Seward and Interior Secretary Caleb Smith vote no. By being absent, Cameron was plainly trying to keep the Cabinet from being hamstrung by a 3-3 vote and at odds with their own fledgling President. Lincoln orders the expedition to be ready to sail by April 6th to reinforce and resupply Fort Sumter. Lincoln has strong-armed his own radical Cabinet into a foolish act of intimidation and war. /1861  
  • [2nd SESSION OF CONVENTION] The South Carolina Convention of the People goes into secret session to debate the ratification of the Constitution/1861 
  • Mississippi ratifies the Confederate Constitution./1861
  • William Wing Loring, former commander of the US Department of Oregon, assumes command of the U. S. Department of New Mexico as US Army troops abandon Fort Mason, Texas./1861

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