Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Relief for Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter
After receiving the reports from the men he had sent to Fort Sumter to check on the situation, President Lincoln now had to decide what to do about Fort Sumter so that he could take action before April 15th, at which point they would run out of supplies. Everyone expected that he would order Fort Sumter to be evacuated to prevent a Civil War. The slave states which had not seceded insisted that it should be evacuated. A Virginian who was against secession said, "The United States must instantly evacuate Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens, and give assurances that no attempts shall be made to collect revenues in Southern ports." While they did not desire to leave the Union, they wanted the right of secession to be upheld. General Winfield Scott, the longest serving general in American history and a military hero, advised strongly against a relief effort. President Lincoln consulted his Cabinet again, and a majority were for attempting to resupply the fort. Agreeing with them, he ordered Gustavus Fox, who had been sent to Fort Sumter, to organize the relief effort.

By these plans Lincoln was trying to force the Southerners into firing the first shot. He told the commanders in Charleston that no troops would be sent, only provisions. However, a sizable force of troops were included in the expedition in case they were not allowed peaceable entry. He was peacefully maintaining a fort on Southern territory so that the Confederacy would be forced to fire the first shots of the war.


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