slave-owners, was eventually and deliberately adopted by Mr. Lincoln
The point with the government was to devise some artifice for the relief of Fort Sumter
, short of open military reinforcements, decided to be inpracticable, and which would have the effect of inaugurating the war by a safe indirection and under a plausible and convenient pretence.
The device was at last conceived.
On the afternoon of the 4th of April, President Lincoln
sent for Capt. Fox
, and said he had decided to let the expedition go, but he would send a messenger from himself to the authorities at Charleston
, declaring that the purpose of the expedition was only to provision
the fort, peaceably or forcibly, as they might decide for themselves.
Meanwhile the dalliance with the Confederate
commissioners-the part of the artifice allotted to Secretary Seward
--was kept up to the last moment.
At one time Mr. Seward
had declared to Judge Campbell
, who was acting as an intermediary between the Secretary
and the commissioners, that before a letter, the draft of which Judge Campbell
held in his hand, could reach President Davis
, Fort Sumter
would have been evacuated.
Five days passed, and instead of evacuating, Major Anderson
was busy in strengthening Sumter
A telegram from Gen. Beauregard
informed the commissioners of this.
Again Judge Campbell
saw Mr. Seward
, and again, in the presence of a third party, received from him assurances that the fort was to be evacuated, and was authorized by him to state to the commissioners, that “the government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter
, without giving notice to Governor Pickens
This was on the 1st of April.
On the 7th, Judge Campbell
again addressed Mr. Seward
a letter, alluding to the anxiety and alarm excited by the great naval and military preparations of the government, and asking whether the peaceful assurances he had given were well or ill founded.
's reply was laconic: “Faith as to Sumter
fully kept: wait and see
On the very day that Mr. Seward
uttered these words, the van of the Federal fleet, with a heavy force of soldiers, had sailed for the Southern
On the 3d of March President Davis
had commissioned P. G. T. Beauregard
, then Colonel
of Engineers in the Confederate
, with official directions to proceed to Charleston
, and assume command of all the troops in actual service in and around that place.
On arriving there he immediately examined the fortifications, and undertook the construction of additional works for the reduction of Fort Sumter
, and the defence of the entrances to the harbour.