Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lincoln Investigates Fort Sumter

Gustavus Fox, one of Lincoln's envoys
At this point 150 years ago, Lincoln was focused on Fort Sumter. The fort was running low on supplies and unless it was relieved, it would have to surrender soon. It was Lincoln's goal to force the South into firing first on the fort, but that would not happen if they ran out of supplies.

Lincoln sent three men to investigate Charleston: Stephen A. Hurlbut an old law partner of Lincoln’s and his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, and Gustavus Fox, a United States Naval Officer. While the reason for sending the first two was unclear, Fox was sent to determine "accurate information" regarding Sumter. This would include the amount of provisions they had and how long they would be able to continue to hold out. He returned to Washington with the information that their food would hold out until April 15th.

But Fox had a plan. While at Sumter he heard a rowboat in the harbor, but could not see it because of the darkness. This reenforced his already conceived plan of resupplying the fort under the cover of darkness.

A few days earlier Lincoln had asked his cabinet whether it would be better to surrender the fort or attempt to resupply it. Only one cabinet member really agreed with the resupply plan, and the consensus appeared to be to surrender. However, Lincoln had not yet decided. It the coming days he would make the decision that had a great impact on the course of America.


Post a Comment