previous next

[426]

President Lincoln to Captain Fox.

Washington, May 1st, 1861.
Capt. G. V. Fox:
My Dear Sir,—I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort Sumter should be the source of any annoyance to you. The practicability of your plan was not, in fact, brought to a test. By reason of a gale, well known in advance to be possible, and not improbable, the tugs, an essential part of the plan, never reached the ground; while, by an accident, for which you were in nowise responsible, and possibly I, to some extent, was, you were deprived of a war-vessel, with her men, which you deemed of great importance to the enterprise.

I most cheerfully and truthfully declare that the failure of the undertaking has not lowered you a particle, while the qualities you developed in the effort have greatly heightened you in my estimation. For a daring and dangerous enterprise of a similar character, you would, to-day, be the man of all my acquaintances whom I would select. You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.

Very truly your friend,


Sir,—This government has at no time placed any reliance on assurances by the government at Washington, in respect to the evacuation of Fort Sumter, or entertained any confidence in the disposition of the latter to make any concession, or yield any point to which it is not driven by an absolute necessity. And I desire that you will govern yourself generally with reference to this, as the key to the policy of the government of the Confederate States.

You are specially instructed to remit, in no degree, your efforts to prevent the reinforcement of Fort Sumter; and to keep yourself in a state of the amplest preparation and most perfect readiness to repel invasion; acting in all respects —save only in commencing an assault or attack (except to repel an invading or reinforcing force)—precisely as if you were in the presence of an enemy contemplating to surprise you.

The delays and apparent vacillations of the Washington government make it imperative that the further concession of courtesies such as have been accorded to Major Anderson and his command, in supplies from the city, must cease. And, in general terms, the status which you must at once re-establish and rigidly enforce is that of hostile forces in the presence of each other, and who may at any moment be in actual conflict.

But as past conditions have allowed this government to continue thus far courtesies of personal convenience to Major Anderson and his officers, it is proper now, as those courtesies are required to be determined by the necessities


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Montgomery (Alabama, United States) (1)
Charleston Harbor (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. Lincoln (2)
G. V. Fox (2)
Patton Anderson (2)
Comdg (1)
G. T. Beauregard (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 1st, 1861 AD (1)
April 2nd, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: