Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lincoln's friends: Withdraw to avoid War

Stephen A. Hurlbut. Library of Congress descri...Image via Wikipedia
Gen. S.A. Hurlburt
  • Now back in Washington, President Lincoln’s personal friend from Illinois, Stephen A. Hurlbut, reports to President Lincoln. Hurlburt has found in South Carolina and Charleston "no attachment to the Union . . . . positively nothing to appeal to." A separate Southern nationality is an "established fact." 
Equally conclusive is Hurlbut's appraisal of the Confederacy's plans to take Forts Sumter and Pickens. He has "no doubt" that Southern forces would repulse any type of relief effort, even a ship containing only provisions and no troops. Even if the government abandons Sumter, the crisis would continue as the South would "demand" Fort Pickens and the remaining federal forts in Florida. Thus, any attempt to maintain and enforce federal authority within the limits of the Confederacy would mean "War, in fact, War in which the seceding States will be united and the others disunited." 

Lincoln trying to figure out this Union thing
Hurlbut's travel partner, another trusted personal Illinois friend of the President, Colonel Ward H. Lamon, agrees with Hurlbut's assessment. South Carolina is swept with a madness that is hurrying the masses into open rebellion. According to Lamon's Carolina sources, war can be avoided only if the federal government acquiesces to peaceable secession and refuses to reinforce its Southern forts. Any attempt to reinforce Sumter would bring "the tocsin of war."/1861
  • Meanwhile in Charleston, Confederate Brigadier General P. Gustave T. Beauregard advises President Jefferson Davis in Montgomery that the evacuation of Fort Sumter "ought to be decided upon in a few days" by the Lincoln Administration. He recommends that "this state of uncertainty ought not to last longer than is necessary to have all our preparations made to compel ... a surrender, should the United States Government not be willing to withdraw ... peaceably."/1861

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