Monday, March 28, 2011

Scott to Lincoln: Withdraw; Tucson, Arizona secedes

US Army General-in-Chief Winfield Scott

  • In Washington, D.C., General of the US Army Winfield Scott, understanding the volatile situation with the South, advises President Lincoln in a memorandum not only to evacuate Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, SC, but also Fort Pickens at Pensacola Bay in order to avert war. 
Scott reasons that if Sumter alone should be abandoned, it would be attributed to "necessity," rather than a willingness to conciliate the South. Only "the evacuation of both the forts would instantly soothe and give confidence to the eight remaining slave-holding States, and render their cordial adherence to this Union perpetual." The "liberality of the act," Scott argued, might also induce the seceding states to return. 

But Lincoln is not interested in conciliation. He wants to assert his new Administration’s authority and needs Southern tax revenues. Therefore, Lincoln asks Gustavus V. Fox to prepare a listing of the ships, men, and supplies he would need for his proposed relief expedition. Fox wastes no time in providing a list of requirements for both the army and navy. 

Following a state dinner this evening, Lincoln calls a Cabinet meeting to inform them of General Scott's recommendations. They unanimously dissent from Scott's recommendation to abandon Fort Pickens. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Fox’s brother-in-law and ardent proponent of putting the South in its place, accuses Scott of "playing politician," by offering a political rather than military assessment of the crisis. Lincoln then calls a formal cabinet meeting for the next day to consider the entire situation./1861
  • A second secession convention of the self-proclaimed Territory of Arizona meets in Tucson and ratifies the Mesilla secession ordinance of March 16. The Territory of Arizona was formed July 1860 of present-day Arizona and New Mexico south of 34 degrees North to the border with Mexico. The conventions will subsequently establish a provisional territorial government for the Confederate Territory of Arizona and send a representative to petition for recognition by the Confederacy./1861

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