Monday, June 29, 2015

Did Lincoln Deliberately Instigate War at Fort Sumter? Yes, He Did.

Donald Douglas has criticized me as a 911 style truther for claiming that Lincoln plotted to provoke the South into firing the first shot of the Civil War.  It's true.  Lincoln's mind was made up, he would never agree to a peaceful secession of the Southern states.  They were to be dragged back into the Union kicking and screaming.  The problem was, how could he start the war without appearing to be the aggressor?  Easy, by refusing to negotiate the peaceful transfer of Fort Sumter to South Carolina, and instead, attempting to reinforce it.

Fort Sumter, with its powerful guns, could bombard any point in the city of Charleston.  Now Union Major Anderson had been ordered to refuse surrender of the fort, and a fleet of Northern warships was on its way to Charleston harbor.  Soon, the South Carolinians would or could be targeted by the cannon from both fort and the fleet simultaneously.  They decided to act before the fleet arrived, and deal only with the fort.  They than began bombardment of Fort Sumter, for their own protection.

Here are some quotes from various sources that back me up:

"Increasingly it became clear that any attempt to relieve these garrisons [Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens] would precipitate war. . . ." (John Hicks, The Federal Union, Third Edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1957, p. 558)

"By the time Lincoln took office Confederate authorities, fearing hasty action from South Carolina, had assumed control of the delicate Fort Sumter negotiations. . . . Would Lincoln pursue the dilatory course of Buchanan or would he be aggressive and forthright as the leader of the party which had condemned Buchanan's policy? He did neither. Instead, he carried out a plan of his own which was so devious, so subtle, and perhaps so confused that it is almost as difficult for the historian to understand as it was for the men of the times. Some scholars believe that he blundered into war, overestimating the strength of the Union party in the South. It is more likely that, with a subtlety approaching the diabolical, he provoked the Confederates into firing upon Fort Sumter in order to solidify North public opinion. . . .

"Although Lincoln did not confess his part in provoking the Civil War with the cynical honesty of a Bismarck, he did speak certain revealing words. He consoled the commander of the Fort Sumter relief expedition for that officer's failure: '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.' Shortly after the fall of the fort he was quoted by a close personal friend: 'The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter--it fell, and thus, did more service than it otherwise could.' A few of his party friends congratulated him upon his masterful stroke. The New York Times believed that 'the attempt at reinforcement was a feint--that its object was to put upon the rebels the full and clear responsibility of commencing the war. . . .' Jefferson Davis, others exulted, 'ran blindly into the trap.'" (Francis Simkins, A History of the South, Third Edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963, pp. 213, 215-216, emphasis added)

"After a sleepless night, Lincoln called his Cabinet together and announced that--against the recommendations of his military advisors--he was going to reinforce Fort Pickens and order a supply expedition to sail from New York to Fort Sumter. . . . If South Carolina's artillery opened fire on Sumter or the ships, he could blame the Confederacy for starting a war." (William Klingaman, Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation, New York: Viking Press, 2001, p. 45)

Quotes are from the website Southern Heritage


Roger Glass said...

As I said, not a Civil War expert, merely an enthusiast. But I had always wondered, what if the South had just done a gandhi - "Yes we've seceded, no need to fight, don't want to talk about it anymore, fingers in our ears, la-la-la-la-la, can't hear you." What could Lincoln have done? Subdued the entire region with a 16,000 man standing army, already overstrained from trying to protect the frontier? Raised a mighty new host with the clarion call, "Men of Union! Southward to Glory, for the Duties, Imposts, and Excises!"

So I had always thought Sumter a huge blunder. Then I chanced upon this statement by Confederate Secretary of State Toombs to President Davis, concerning the attack:

"Mr. President, at this time it is suicide, murder, and will lose us
every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet's nest
which extends from mountain to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm
out and sting us to death. It is unnecessary; it puts us in the wrong;
it is fatal."

DonaldDouglas said...

Stogie, I guess the KKK's not participating in your historical revisionism. They're going right for the Southern heritage I've been talking about. See: "Ku Klux Klan to Rally for the Confederate Flag at South Carolina Statehouse."

Stogie Chomper said...

The historical revisionism is all on your side, Donald. You Northern apologists have been lying about the facts for 150 years. I know you would be thrilled if only the Klan supported the flag, then your prejudices would be confirmed.

Stogie Chomper said...

Did Toombs make this statement before or after Lincoln moved to reprovision the fort?

Roger Glass said...

Don't know.

DonaldDouglas said...

So, you're happy to ally with the KKK to defend Southern heritage. The Klan is standing up for the right to fly the flag over the statehouse in S.C. If it were me I'd be denouncing the racist asshats. But you have no word about it. Instead you say I'm a deluded Northern apologist. Who's smearing whom?

Stogie Chomper said...

Go away Donald. You get nasty when you have been defeated in argument.

DonaldDouglas said...

What's your argument, Stogie? Has the KKK misappropriated the Confederate flag? Serious question.

Stogie Chomper said...

Stop trying to link the Confederate flag with the KKK. Stop the hate-the-South propaganda. The KKK is a tiny minority.