Sunday, April 10, 2011

Davis' Cabinet votes to demand Sumter's surrender

The original Confederate Cabinet. L-R: Judah P...Image via Wikipedia
Davis & Original Cabinet
  • [SIEGE OF FORT SUMTER] The Pocahontas departs Brooklyn as the last ship in the expedition fleet to rendezvous at Charleston Harbor to relieve Fort Sumter. Meanwhile in Montgomery, President Jefferson Davis, interprets the expedition as an attempt to supply Fort Sumter "by force" and calls a Cabinet meeting. Davis insists that they should act in self-defense. Lincoln's dispatch of a relief expedition constitutes a "hostile" act, he said, and the reduction of Fort Sumter is, therefore, "a measure of defense rendered absolutely and immediately necessary." The fort is the legitimate possession of the state of South Carolina, and the state as well as the Confederate government has shown "unexampled" forbearance in trying to negotiate an equitable settlement with the United States for the removal of its forces. The sending of an expedition to maintain the fort is, he asserts, an act of "coercion" against South Carolina and the Confederacy. To permit the United States to further strengthen its position will be "as unwise as it would be to hesitate to strike down the arm of the assailant, who levels a deadly weapon at one's breast, until he has actually fired." All but one concur with Davis’ proposal to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter. Only Secretary of State, Robert Toombs of Georgia, vocally dissents. Toombs protests that an attack on Sumter would be "suicide, murder," and would stir a "hornet's nest" of hostility to the South. "It is unnecessary; it puts us in the wrong; it is fatal," Toombs pleads. After the discussion, the Cabinet votes to demand the surrender of Sumter. Therefore, Secretary of War Leroy P. Walker telegraphs Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard Provisional Army, CSA, in Charleston, to demand "at once" the evacuation of Fort Sumter. If Major Robert Anderson refuses, then reduce the fort. General Beauregard replies that he will demand surrender tomorrow at noon. All around Charleston Harbor, Confederate troops prepare for the expected battle. Tonight, the Floating Battery is emplaced at the west end of Sullivan's Island (Cove Inlet) to fire on Fort Sumter. It is commanded by its builder, Lieutenant J.R. Hamilton and manned by members of Company D of the Artillery Battalion./1861  
  • In an effort to build support, the Lincoln Administration leaks information about the Fox Expedition. Reports telegraphed from Washington the previous evening about the Sumter mission began to appear in northern newspapers. The New York Evening Post of April 10 welcomes the "revelation of the government's purpose to defend its property and maintain the laws." Referring to Lincoln's declared intent of peaceably provisioning "a destitute garrison," the Evening Post pontificates that "if the rebels fire at an unarmed supply ship," the responsibility will be "on their heads." When the ship arrives, the rebels will "elect between peace and war."/1861
  • In Washington, Secretary of State William Seward accuses former President James Buchanan of forming “vague and mysterious armistices” during the secession crisis, referring to the truce with Fort Pickens./1861
  • Brigadier General Braxton Bragg assumes command of the Confederate Department of Alabama and West Florida./1861
  • [SECOND SESSION] The Second Session of the Convention of the People of South Carolina adjourns today/1861

No comments:

Post a Comment