previous next
[108] 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 at Montgomery, 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. Mr. Seward'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 coast!

The reduction of Fort Sumter.

On the 3d of March President Davis had commissioned P. G. T. Beauregard, then Colonel of Engineers in the Confederate service, Brigadier-general, 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.

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.
Montgomery (Alabama, 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.
William H. Seward (6)
John A. Campbell (4)
Abe Lincoln (2)
Jefferson Davis (2)
P. G. T. Beauregard (2)
Pickens (1)
Fox (1)
R. H. Anderson (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.
April 4th (1)
April 1st (1)
March 3rd (1)
7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: