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issioners in Washington. For proof of this, I refer to the annexed documents marked, [?] taken in connection with further facts, which I now proceed to relate. Early in April the attention of the whole country was attracted to extraordinary preparations, in New York and other Northern ports, for an extensive military and naval expedition. These preparations were commenced in secrecy for an expedition whose destination was concealed, and only became known when nearly completed; and on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of April, transports and vessels of war, with troops, munitions, and military supplies, sailed from Northern ports, bound southward. Alarmed by so extraordinary a demonstration, the Commissioners requested the delivery of an answer to their official communication of the 12th of March, and the reply, dated on the 15th of the previous month, was obtained, from which it appears that, during the whole interval, while the Commissioners were receiving assurances calculated to inspi
t Secretary of the United States Navy, had proposed a plan for reenforcing and furnishing supplies to the garrison of Fort Sumter in February, during the administration of Buchanan. In a letter published in the newspapers since the war, he gives an account of the manner in which the proposition was renewed to the new administration and its reception by them, as follows: On the 12th of March I received a telegram from Postmaster—General Blair to come to Washington. I arrived there on the 13th. Mr. Blair having been acquainted with the proposition I presented to General Scott, under Mr. Buchanan's Administration, sent for me to tender the same to Mr. Lincoln, informing me that Lieutenant-General Scott had advised the President that the fort could not be relieved, and must be given up. Mr. Blair took me at once to the White House, and I explained the plan to the President. Thence we adjourned to Lieutenant-General Scott's office, where a renewed discussion of the subject took plac
ing Fort Sumter, and that Mr. Blair alone sustained the President in his policy of refusing to yield, I judged that my arguments in favor of the practicability of sending in supplies would be strengthened by a visit to Charleston and the fort. The President readily agreed to my visit, if the Secretary of War and General Scott raised no objection. Both these gentlemen consenting, I left Washington on the 19th of March, and, passing through Richmond and Wilmington, reached Charleston on the 21st. Thus we see that at the very moment when Secretary Seward was renewing to the Confederate government, through Judge Campbell, his positive assurance that the evacuation would take place, this emissary was on his way to Charleston to obtain information and devise measures by means of which this promise might be broken. On his arrival in Charleston, Fox tells us that he sought an interview with Captain Hartstein of the Confederate Navy, and through this officer obtained from Governor Pi
ates, on that day, in the Department of State, but a copy of it was not handed to the commissioners until April 8. But an oral answer had been made to the note of the commissioners at a much earlier date, for the significance of which it will be necessary to bear in mind the condition of affairs at Charleston and Pensacola. Fort Sumter was still occupied by the garrison under command of Major Anderson, with no material change in the circumstances since the failure of the attempt made in January to reenforce it by means of the Star of the West. This standing menace at the gates of the chief harbor of South Carolina had been tolerated by the government and people of that state, and afterward by the Confederate authorities, in the abiding hope that it would be removed without compelling a collision of forces. Fort Pickens, on one side of the entrance to the harbor of Pensacola, was also occupied by a garrison of United States troops, while the two forts (Barrancas and McRee) on the
G. V. Fox, afterward Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy, had proposed a plan for reenforcing and furnishing supplies to the garrison of Fort Sumter in February, during the administration of Buchanan. In a letter published in the newspapers since the war, he gives an account of the manner in which the proposition was red to Lieutenant-General Scott's office, where a renewed discussion of the subject took place. The General informed the President that my plan was practicable in February, but that the increased number of batteries erected at the mouth of the harbor since that time rendered it impossible in March. Finding that there was great os now, considered necessary to add: extracts from President's message to the Confederate Congress, of April 29, 1861. . . . Scarce had you assembled in February last, when, prior even to the inauguration of the Chief Magistrate you had elected, you expressed your desire for the appointment of Commissioners, and for the s
February 27th (search for this): chapter 3.35
ickens developments of secret history systematic and complicated perfidy exposed. The appointment of commissioners to proceed to Washington, for the purpose of establishing friendly relations with the United States and effecting an equitable settlement of all questions relating to the common property of the states and the public debt, has already been mentioned. No time was lost in carrying this purpose into execution. Crawford—first of the commissioners—left Montgomery on or about February 27, and arrived in Washington two or three days before the expiration of Buchanan's term of office as President of the United States. Besides his official credentials, he bore the following letter to the President, of a personal or semiofficial character, intended to facilitate, if possible, the speedy accomplishment of the objects of his mission: To the President of the United States. sir: Being animated by an earnest desire to unite and bind together our respective countries b
a renewed discussion of the subject took place. The General informed the President that my plan was practicable in February, but that the increased number of batteries erected at the mouth of the harbor since that time rendered it impossible in March. Finding that there was great opposition to any attempt at relieving Fort Sumter, and that Mr. Blair alone sustained the President in his policy of refusing to yield, I judged that my arguments in favor of the practicability of sending in suppactive preparations were in progress, to strengthen it. Gideon Welles, who was Secretary of the Navy in Lincoln's cabinet, gives the following account of one of the transactions of the period: One evening in the latter part of the month of March, there was a small gathering at the Executive Mansion, while the Sumter question was still pending. The members of the Cabinet were soon individually and quietly invited to the council-chamber, where, as soon as assembled, the President informed
et, able, and distinguished citizens, who repaired to Washington. Aided by their cordial cooperation and that of the Secretary of State, every effort compatible with self-respect and the dignity of the Confederacy was exhausted, before I allowed myself to yield to the conviction that the Government of the United States was determined to attempt the conquest of this people, and that our cherished hopes of peace were unobtainable. On the arrival of our Commissioners in Washington on the 5th of March, Crawford, as we have seen, had arrived some days earlier. The statement in the message refers to the arrival of the full commission, or a majority of it. they postponed, at the suggestion of a friendly intermediator, doing more than giving informal notice of their arrival. This was done with a view to afford time to the President of the United States, who had just been inaugurated, for the discharge of other pressing official duties in the organization of his Administration, before
er. Another of the commissioners (Forsyth) having arrived in Washington on March 12—eight days after the inauguration of Lincoln—the two commissioners then presen The letter of the commissioners to Seward was written, as we have seen, on March 12. The oral message above mentioned was obtained and communicated to the commishe commissioners forbore to make any further demand for reply to their note of March 12. Five days having elapsed in this condition of affairs, the commissioners ito the new administration and its reception by them, as follows: On the 12th of March I received a telegram from Postmaster—General Blair to come to Washington. he commissioners immediately applied for a definitive answer to their note of March 12th, which had been permitted to remain in abeyance. The paper of the Secretary requested the delivery of an answer to their official communication of the 12th of March, and the reply, dated on the 15th of the previous month, was obtained, from<
to them for twenty-seven days after it was written. The paper of Seward, in reply, without signature or address, dated March 15, Ibid. was filed, as he states, on that day, in the Department of State, but a copy of it was not handed to the commiss agency of two judges of the Supreme Court of the United States—Justices Nelson of New York and Campbell of Alabama. On March 15, according to the statement of Judge Campbell, See letter of Judge Campbell to Colonel George W. Munford in Papers ofses of his government—of the intention of that government to order the evacuation of Fort Sumter within a few days from March 15, and not to disturb the existing status at Fort Pickens. Moreover, this was not the mere statement of a fact, but a pleo their note of March 12th, which had been permitted to remain in abeyance. The paper of the Secretary of State, dated March 15th, was thereupon delivered to them. This paper, with the final rejoinder of the commissioners and Judge Campbell's lette
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