purposed the evacuation of Fort Sumter
, but set forth the material facts as follows:
On the 5th of March (the present incumbent's first full day in office), a letter of Major Anderson, commanding at Fort Sumter, written on tile 28th of February, and received at the War Department on the 4th of March, was, by that Department, placed in his hands.
This letter expressed the professional opinion of the writer, that reenforcements could not be thrown into that fort within the time for his relief rendered necessary by the limited supply of provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same, with a force of less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men. This opinion was concurred in by all the officers of his command, and their memoranda on the subject were made inclosures of Major Anderson's letter.
The whole was immediately laid before Lieut.-Gen. Scott, who at once concurred with Major Anderson in opinion.
On reflection, however, he took full time, consulting with other officers, both of the Army and of the Navy, and, at the end of four days, came reluctantly but decidedly to the same conclusion as before.
He also stated, at the same time, that no such sufficient force was then at the control of the Government, or could be raised and brought to the ground within the time when the provisions in the fort would be exhausted.
In a purely military point of view, this reduced the duty of the Administration in the case to the mere matter of getting the garrison safely out of the fort.
Thus baffled with regard to Fort Sumter
, the Administration had resolved to reenforce and provision Fort Pickens, Fla.
, simply as an indication of its purpose to maintain, in the South
, the constitutional rights of the Government
; and had dispatched the steamship Brooklyn
for that purpose; but had been defeated in its effort, because
the officer commanding the Sabine, to which vessel the troops had been transferred from the Brooklyn, acting upon some quasi armistice of the late Administration (and of the existence of which the present Administration, up to the time the order was dispatched, had only too vague and uncertain rumors to fix attention), had refused to land the troops.
The news of this failure reached Washington
“just one week before the fall of Sumter
;” and thereupon the President
proceeded at once to notify Gov. Pickens
, of South Carolina
, that he should provision Fort Sumter
. “Whereupon, the fort was attacked and bombarded to its fall, without even awaiting.
the arrival of the provisioning expedition.”
The President sets forth the course with regard to the seceded States which he had endeavored to pursue, until forced to abandon it by violence and bloodshed on their part, as follows:
The policy chosen looked to the exhaustion of all peaceful measures before a resort to any stronger ones.
It sought only to hold the public places and property not already wrested from the Government, and to collect the revenue; relying for the rest on time, discussion, and the ballot-box.
It promised a continuance of the mails, at Government expense, to the very people who were resisting the Government; and it gave repeated pledges against any disturbance to any of the people, or any of their rights.
Of all that which a President might constitutionally and justifiably do in such a case, everything was forborne, without which it was believed possible to keep the Government on foot.
But this policy it was neither the interest nor the disposition of the Confederates
, as such, to acquiesce in. The naked fact that it was deemed advisable on the part of the Union
, raises the presumption that it would not answer the ends of the Secessionists.
Says the President
They have forced upon the country the distinct issue: “immediate dissolution or blood.”
And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States.
It presents to the whole family of man the question, whether a constitutional republic or democracy — a government of the people by the same people-can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.
It presents the question, whether discontented individuals, too few in numbers to control administration, according