The American Civil War, day by day - Page 15 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14998857
Potemkin wrote:The real mistake was made during Reconstruction, by President Johnson, Lincoln's successor.


Yep see how life sucks?

Potemkin wrote:He basically stopped it half-way, which allowed the Southern Democratic Party (the 'Dixiecrats') to make a comeback and the KKK to rise. The rest, as they say, is history. A rather dismal history, of which Suntzu is indeed one product.



Yep and me hating him and whites because of it.
#14998858
Libertarian353 wrote:Yep see how life sucks?

History is a series of missed opportunities, L353.

Yep and me hating him and whites because of it.

Indeed. As James Joyce once said, "History is a nightmare from which we are struggling to awaken...."
#14998878
April 12, Friday

At 11 pm the night of April 11 Beauregard’s messengers, Chesnut, S.D. Lee, and Chisolm, return to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter, prompted by the telegram of Confederate Secretary of War Walker expressing a wish to avoid firing if Anderson will state a time at which, due to lack of supplies, he will have to evacuate. They reach Fort Sumter at 12:25 am, April 12, and at 3:15 receive Anderson’s reply. The major says he will evacuate on the fifteenth at noon if he does not receive additional supplies or further orders from his government. Anderson adds that he will not fire unless fired upon. These terms are obviously unsatisfactory to the Confederates as it is common knowledge supplies and possibly reinforcements are coming, probably along with further orders. The officers have to refuse Anderson’s proposal and notify him in writing that Confederate batteries will open fire in an hour’s time. They proceed to Fort Johnson, arriving at 4 am.

At 4:30 am the signal shot is fired from the post of Captain George S. James at Fort Johnson, with other batteries opening fire according to previous orders. Captain James gives the order and, probably, Henry S. Farley actually fires the signal shot that arches in the night sky over Charleston Harbor. Edmund Ruffin, Virginia agriculturalist and fiery Confederate, does not, apparently, fire the first real shot, despite the legend. He does fire the first shell from columbiad No. I of the iron battery at Cummings Point on Morris Island. The rotation of fire, which is followed, brings this battery into action late.

For a while, until near 7 am, the forty-eight guns of Fort Sumter are silent, and then some of them reply, manned by eighty-five officers and men and some of the forty-three workmen employed by the fort. Opposing the Federal garrison are well over four thousand Confederates and seventy or more guns. Of course, only part of the Union guns can be handled at once due to the small garrison. Three times, at least, the barracks of the fort catches fire, throwing thick black clouds of smoke skyward, but the fires are extinguished each time. The men at the guns suffer little from the Confederate fire, but cannot man the open top tier due to the accurate vertical fire of the enemy. All day the Confederate bombardment is constant and heavy. The issue is never in doubt. By night rain and darkness close in on the beleaguered fort. Only a few minor injuries have been suffered by the men.

For the Confederates a thrill goes through the city of Charleston—the issue has been met. Crowds of people watch from the battery and many others perch on rooftops for a better view. Out at sea the vessels of the Federal relieving fleet can be seen. Will they attempt to come in? While some cheer, others pray, and some do both.

Miles away at Fort Pickens, Florida, Federal troops are landed on Santa Rosa Island to reinforce the garrison of the fort at the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The Navy carries out the mission after being given special orders by Lieutenant Worden, who has come from Washington. Due to the location of Fort Pickens, the Confederates in Pensacola are unable to prevent the landings. The issue there has now been resolved and Fort Pickens is to remain in Northern hands, a constant threat to the South on the Gulf Coast.
#14999077
April 13, Saturday

After thirty-four hours of bombardment Fort Sumter is forced to surrender to the Confederates. There is hope by some and fear by others that the Federal squadron offshore will enter the fray, land troops and supplies and that Fort Sumter will remain in Federal hands. While USS Baltic, USS Pawnee, and Harriet Lane have arrived, they find that the war has begun and are unable to complete their mission of rescue.

Inside Fort Sumter on the morning of April 13 the last rice is cooked and served with pork, and fire reopened. But the supply of artillery cartridges is severely limited. A few minor wounds occurr and again the barracks and officers’ quarters are ablaze. This time the fire is inextinguishable and the powder magazine is threatened. Artillery fire from the fort is cut down due to lack of cartridges. At one o’clock the flagstaff falls, but amid the storm of shot the Union banner is replaced. Inexplicably US Senator Louis T. Wigfall of Texas appears at the fort with a white flag and unofficially discusses surrender. Major Anderson agrees that the time for surrender has come and the white flag replaces the Stars and Stripes on the battered flagstaff. Aides of Beauregard arrive and state that Wigfall’s visit is unofficial, but after some discussion the surrender stands, occurring about two-thirty in the afternoon.

The Confederate fire on this second day of bombardment has been more accurate than on the twelfth. While injury to the fort is considerable, it is not yet undefendable. But the lack of men and want of provisions, artillery cartridges, and supplies force the decision. Major Anderson feels, correctly, that his men have done their duty and that he has followed orders, for without relief there is no hope.

Offshore the Federal fleet has made no movement and Major Anderson at Fort Sumter has been unable to communicate even with flags due to lack of the proper code. Onshore the Confederates at the guns and the citizen observers are cheered by their success, and sympathy is openly express for Major Anderson and his gallant garrison. One observer writes, “Thank God the day has come—thank God the war is open, and we will conquer or perish.” The cheers of the Southern soldiers and citizens are loud—victory is theirs.

The human cost has been light indeed. Some four thousand shells have been fired in Charleston Harbor and not a human being killed. Only a few are slightly injured, mainly by falling bricks. The only known fatality is one horse—Confederate. But a New York paper later puts it soberly: “The curtain has fallen upon the first act of the great tragedy of our age.”

Elsewhere, Lieutenant Worden, who had carried the orders to the US Navy to land Federal troops at Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida, is seized by Confederate authorities near Montgomery, Alabama, on his way back to Washington. But Fort Pickens has been reinforced and the harbor is now blockaded.

In Washington there is no confirmed report yet from Charleston but it is believed shots have been fired. President Lincoln tells a group of Virginia commissioners that he considers it his duty to “hold, occupy, and possess, the property, and places belonging to the Government,” but beyond that there will be no invasion or use of force against the people. However, he says, “I shall hold myself at liberty to repossess, if I can,” places like Fort Sumter if taken from Federal control.

In far-off Texas, Fort Davis is abandoned by Federal troops.
#14999132
Potemkin wrote:And so it begins....

True, though somewhat artificially on both sides. Don't forget that the first shots fired were back on January 9th, when a shore battery opened fire on Star of the West to prevent her from reinforcing and resupplying Fort Sumter. True, the only shot that hit the ship was a ricochet, but even so. The difference, of course, was that Buchanan was still president then and now it's Lincoln (though Buchanan's decision not to pull the trigger was probably the right one).

Mind, there was no need for the Confederates to fire on Fort Sumter, they could have done the same thing they had done in January, just drive off the supply ship and wait for the garrison's supplies to run out--the rice ran out during the bombardment, after all. But their pride wouldn't let them, and now Lincoln has the cover he needs to claim that his attempt to put down the rebellion by force of arms is actually defensive in nature (not that anyone paying attention is buying it).
#14999134
Doug64 wrote:True, though somewhat artificially on both sides. Don't forget that the first shots fired were back on January 9th, when a shore battery opened fire on Star of the West to prevent her from reinforcing and resupplying Fort Sumter. True, the only shot that hit the ship was a ricochet, but even so. The difference, of course, was that Buchanan was still president then and now it's Lincoln (though Buchanan's decision not to pull the trigger was probably the right one).

Agreed. But it shows how eager the South was to fight, and how reluctant the North was to fight. Even Lincoln had to be dragged into it. Seward, of course, would probably have invaded the South months earlier if he had been President. Lol.

Mind, there was no need for the Confederates to fire on Fort Sumter, they could have done the same thing they had done in January, just drive off the supply ship and wait for the garrison's supplies to run out--the rice ran out during the bombardment, after all. But their pride wouldn't let them, and now Lincoln has the cover he needs to claim that his attempt to put down the rebellion by force of arms is actually defensive in nature (not that anyone paying attention is buying it).

It seems to me that the Confederates' excessive pride and sense of honour is what doomed them to start the Civil War and also doomed them to lose it. The South had a fundamentally aristocratic set of values - they lived by and for honour - while the North had a fundamentally bourgeois set of values - they lived by and for money. War is usually bad for business, so businessmen are usually reluctant to go to war. Aristocrats, however, hardly need an excuse to fight. But in the end, it is money and industrial productive capacity which win wars, not honour or courage.
#14999184
Potemkin wrote:Agreed. But it shows how eager the South was to fight, and how reluctant the North was to fight. Even Lincoln had to be dragged into it. Seward, of course, would probably have invaded the South months earlier if he had been President. Lol.

I don't really think Lincoln got dragged into it any more than the South did. I can't remember who said that war is what happens when reasonable people can't agree and it really is that important, but that's essentially what happened here--the Northern and Southern goals were absolutely incompatible, and both considered the matter important enough to fight over.

It seems to me that the Confederates' excessive pride and sense of honour is what doomed them to start the Civil War and also doomed them to lose it. The South had a fundamentally aristocratic set of values - they lived by and for honour - while the North had a fundamentally bourgeois set of values - they lived by and for money. War is usually bad for business, so businessmen are usually reluctant to go to war. Aristocrats, however, hardly need an excuse to fight. But in the end, it is money and industrial productive capacity which win wars, not honour or courage.

No, in this case I wouldn't say that the North was living by and for money, because the Civil War was an incredibly expensive undertaking with no prospective monetary payoff. Certainly the flood of volunteers that answered Lincoln's call weren't generally in it for the money--glory, excitement, peer pressure, patriotism, but not so much for the paycheck I think.
#14999188
Red_Army wrote:I think forced conscription is a motivator that you might be forgetting.

That was later as manpower needs rose and enthusiasm dimmed, not in the beginning.
#14999219
Conscription is a form of slavery. Conscription is the very core of fascism. Lincoln believed in the first principle of fascism, that a man's life ultimately belongs to the state, to the national community. American was eager for fascism. The American character is particularly disposed towards fascism. Conscription was first enabled in 1792 and then enacted in the 1812 war the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The problem for fascism in America was that the US lacked the serious competitors. This has led to the tragic situation where American fascists call themselves Libertarians. Britain was similarly blighted. It was just the accident of that dammed English Channel that meant that fascism in Britain never had a chance to flower.

It was very different in continental Europe, you couldn't enable conscription in a leisurely manner often sometime after the war had started. No in Europe the nation had to be constantly preparing for war. It had to train and conscript hundreds of thousands of young men every year, building up a pool of trained men millions strong that could be mobilised at a few weeks or even days notice. What Hitler did was just the rational extension of this. If you are going to play the Game of Nations, then it makes sense for the nation to totally prioritise it. And if you are willing to sacrifice millions of young men's lives, if you are willing to sacrifice millions of your boldest and bravest then it makes no sense to aver the sacrifice of millions of lives of your enemies in the territories you occupy.
#14999252
April 14, Sunday

With colors flying, drums beating, and fifty guns firing in salute, the sturdy, fatigued, and defeated garrison of Fort Sumter marches out of their bastion and board vessels which will take them north. But the scene of victory and defeat is marred at the surrender ceremony by the accidental explosion of a pile of cartridges. The blast kills one Federal private outright, another is mortally wounded, and four others injured, one seriously. A large crowd aboard various small and large vessels watches the ceremony at the fort in the excitement of victory. Throughout Charleston it is a holiday to celebrate the evacuation and in the churches special services of thanksgiving are held. Governor Pickens of South Carolina tells a crowd, “We have met them and we have conquered.”

The news is now spreading over the land, uniting hearts and making those uncertain declare themselves. The sides have been chosen and the issue joined; it is time now for fresh decisions and preparation for action. In Washington President Lincoln officially hears the news. The Cabinet approves his call for 75,000 militia and a special session of Congress to meet July 4. Senator Stephen A. Douglas confers with President Lincoln and pledges his support of the Union despite political differences. The Cabinet and President Lincoln meet for a long night session.

In Montgomery Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet are slowly getting the news and are likewise deliberating their next moves. President Davis expresses thankfulness that no blood has been shed, and states that separation is not yet necessarily final. The wild rejoicing in the South culminates at Charleston and Montgomery. Some feel that this victory will prevent further war; others fear the real struggle has not yet begun.

Major Robert Anderson will say, “Our Southern brethren have done grievously wrong, they have rebelled and have attacked their father’s house and their loyal brothers. They must be punished and brought back, but this necessity breaks my heart.”

On Van Dusen’s Creek, near Mad River, California, Federal troops skirmish with Amerinds.
#14999399
April 15, Monday

As excitement increases among the peoples of the now warring nations, President Lincoln at Washington publicly issues a proclamation declaring that an insurrection exists, calling out seventy-five thousand militia from the various Northern states and convening Congress in special session on July 4. Immediately the strongly Northern states wire back their acceptance of the call for troops; Kentucky and North Carolina as quickly refuse, with Governor Ellis of North Carolina declaring that his state will “be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and this war upon the liberties of a free people.” The President’s proclamation excites much ill feeling in the border areas of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as some support.

Throughout North and South papers continue to scream the news, writers pen flaming editorials, and public gatherings sing patriotic songs, hear flamboyant speakers. All the same, it is hard to comprehend that war has actually begun.

In North Carolina state troopers seize Fort Mason, an unmanned Federal fort.
#14999516
April 16, Tuesday

The main question for the immediate future seems to be the border and upper South slave states that are still officially in the Union—Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Maryland, and Delaware. The action at Fort Sumter will certainly cause several of these states to make their decision; perhaps four or more will go to the South. After all, even as more Northern states respond to President Lincoln’s call for militia Governor John Letcher of Virginia officially refuses, saying in his message to President Lincoln that since the President has “chosen to inaugurate civil war,” his state will not furnish troops “for any such use or purpose as they have in view.” The governor is opposed to what he calls the subjugation of the Southern states.

North Carolina state troops seize Forts Caswell and Johnston.

In the Indian Territory Federal troops are converging on Fort Washita near the Texas line from other frontier posts.
#14999701
April 17, Wednesday

Militia and volunteers are being raised in Northern states in response to the President’s call and in reaction to Fort Sumter. Steps are taken in Washington to protect the Federal capital. But in Baltimore, Maryland, secessionists hold a large meeting, and both Missouri and Tennessee refuse to furnish their quotas of militia to the United States. Governor Harris states: “Tennessee will furnish not a single man for the purpose of coercion, but fifty thousand if necessary for the defense of our rights and those of our Southern brothers.” At the same time all the non-slaveholding states have responded.

In Richmond the Virginia State Convention adopts an ordinance of secession by the vote of 88 to 55, providing for a popular referendum on the issue May 23. The action of the convention, however, virtually puts Virginia in the Confederacy. The convention also instructs the governor to call out as many volunteers as might be necessary to protect Virginia from Federal encroachment. While strong pro-Union sentiment still exists in Virginia, particularly in the western counties, the firing at Fort Sumter has clearly swung many delegates at the convention and other Virginians to the side of secession.

At Montgomery President Davis invites applications for letters of Marque, which permit privateering on the high seas.

In Washington President Lincoln confers with Gen. Winfield Scott regarding Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, the defenses of Washington, and the Gosport Navy Yard near Norfolk, Virginia.

Star of the West, involved in the January incident at Fort Sumter, is taken near Indianola, Texas, by the Galveston Volunteers, a Confederate unit.

More Federal troops land at Fort Pickens, Florida, upon arrival of USS Powhatan.

Meetings of patriotic groups continue both North and South, but attention now is turning to volunteering and organizing of militia.
#14999903
April 18, Thursday

Five companies of Pennsylvania troops reach Washington, the first to arrive. In New York the Sixth Massachusetts makes a triumphal march, setting a pattern to be followed for some time to come.

The US Armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah, is abandoned and burned by its garrison, although much of the machinery is left intact. At Pine Bluff, Arkansas, pro-secessionists seize the US Army Subsistence Stores. In Richmond, Virginia, the US Custom House and Post Office is taken over by state troops on order of the governor and two vessels seized in the James River.

At New York Major Robert Anderson and his men from Fort Sumter disembark as heroes.

Virginia is rapidly arming and organizing its state troops to defend its territory, even though not yet officially a part of the Confederacy. President Davis tells Governor Letcher that the Confederacy will furnish whatever aid it can.

President Lincoln receives eyewitness reports of what has happened at Charleston, quarters a group known as the “Frontier Guards” composed of Kansas men under Jim Lane in the East Room of the White House, and reportedly has politician F. P. Blair, Sr., approach Colonel Robert E. Lee regarding command of the Union Army, which he allegedly turns down.

The Cabinet meet to discuss such problems at Norfolk, Harper’s Ferry, and the possibility of an attack on the Washington Navy Yard.

While both Northern and Southern shades of opinion are being expressed in the border and upper South states, there are some who are calling for neutrality or independence from either side.

Various cities of the North are contributing money to aid volunteers enlisting in the Federal Army.
#15000036
April 19, Friday

“Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas,” therefore a blockade of the ports of those states is declared by President Lincoln in a proclamation. Later the blockade will be extended to Virginia and North Carolina. While not immediately very effective, the blockade in time will become a major instrument of war and for nearly four years is to make its impression upon the outcome of many events. Even at first, merely on paper, it does to some extent deter foreign shippers. Later, while blockade runners continue to get through, the risks grow greater and greater. Historians will argue over the effectiveness of the Federal blockade, some claiming that at its best a few blockade-runners, at least, always got through, while others point out that the mere declaration of a blockade prevented many ships from sailing which otherwise would have taken advantage of the Southern need for both military and civilian supplies.
The Federal Navy Department rapidly goes to work to pull in its far-flung vessels and get them on blockading stations at major ports; meanwhile buying, building, and equipping new vessels for similar duty. On the other hand, both Southern and foreign vessels soon become adept at evading the naval blockaders. While events are sporadic in other fields of the war, the blockade goes on relentlessly, day after day, off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, making its partly unsung contribution to the results of the conflict.

More dramatic in these early days of the Civil War is the clash of soldiers and civilians in Baltimore. In response to the call of President Lincoln, the Sixth Massachusetts has left home, moved through New York toward Washington. At Baltimore it has to detrain partially to transfer to the Washington depot. There has been talk of trouble from pro-secessionists in Baltimore for some days and the Federal government is faced not only with the defense of Washington, but with keeping touchy Maryland in the Union. In Washington politicians as well as military men are organizing companies, patrolling streets, and guarding Federal buildings. Harper’s Ferry, evacuated by the Federals, has been taken during the morning by Virginia troops, and now a fracas in Baltimore. There are even fears of an attack on the capital. Baltimore is the major eastern rail center near Washington and with it cut off, Washington could well be in danger. Mayor George W. Brown of Baltimore says no notice of the coming of the troops was given him or the police. The crowd of bystanders grow as the rail cars are dragged between stations and four companies have to get out and push their way through. Some of the rioters carry Confederate flags, stones are thrown, the mob hoots and jeers. Then come shots by both crowd and soldiers. Casualty figures will not be entirely clear but at least four soldiers and nine civilians are killed. Upon arrival in Washington the Sixth Massachusetts are quartered in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol. With the Baltimore riot, rumors fly thicker than ever. Washington is in effect cut off from the north via the railroad.

As the troops of Virginia move into Harper’s Ferry, aging Major General Robert Patterson is assigned Federal command over Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. More Federal troops are leaving New York for Washington; merchants of New York pledge their loyalty to the Union. With Baltimore cut off, naval officers immediately begin embarking troops at Philadelphia and the head of Chesapeake Bay to bring them to Annapolis by water and then to Washington by rail.

Captain David G. Farragut, a Southerner living in Norfolk, Virginia, leaves his home for New York City and eventual service with the Union.
#15000160
April 20, Saturday

Several railroad bridges are burned to prevent passage of Union troops from Baltimore to Washington while rioting continues in the Maryland city. General Benjamin F. Butler and the Eighth Massachusetts arrive at Annapolis, Maryland, heading for Washington, but bypassing Baltimore.

The Fourth Massachusetts arrives at Fort Monroe to strengthen the garrison of that vital Federal enclave on Virginia soil.

Many Southern merchants repudiate debts to the North until after the war.

Pro-secessionists and state troops seize the US Arsenal at Liberty, Missouri.

Colonel Robert E. Lee formally resigns his commission in the US Army. It will be said by some that this step takes much soul-searching, while other evidence will seem to indicate that a decision to follow the fate of Virginia is never in doubt.

In Washington President Lincoln confers with General Scott and others over the Baltimore situation.

A large mass meeting favoring the Union is held in New York, while at Louisville, Kentucky, former Vice-President John C. Breckenridge denounces Lincoln’s call for troops as illegal.

The night of April 20 the Federal Gosport Navy Yard near Norfolk, Virginia, is evacuated and partially burned by the garrison and several vessels scuttled. Commandant Charles S. McCauley has decided that the facility is threatened with capture. His decision will later be censured by the Federal authorities. Five vessels are burned to the water line. Four others, including USS Merrimack, later refloated as CSS Virginia, are sunk after burning. The ancient frigate United States is abandoned. Three vessels get away intact. While many of the ships in the yard are old or in bad condition, others would have been of use in the blockade. Furthermore, the loss of Norfolk hampers Federal coastal operations and in turn give the Confederates an important base. The South will be able to make use of the dry dock, the industrial plant, and some of the vessels, and many of the thousand guns stored there will furnish armament for Confederate defenses.

At Annapolis the famed old USS Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides,” is towed into Chesapeake Bay to prevent seizure by the South.
#15000316
April 21, Sunday

Washington is still isolated due to the riot in Baltimore; Harper’s Ferry and Norfolk have been lost to the Confederates or Virginians. The Federal situation in Washington looks particularly bleak at this time.

President Lincoln confers with Mayer Brown of Baltimore regarding the passage of troops.

Elsewhere in the North the parades, meetings, volunteering, and fund raising continue.

In western Virginia pro-Northern citizens of Monongahela County meet to pass resolutions against secession.

From pulpits North and South the clergy join in the patriotic fervor of the day, pleading the justice of their causes.

The illegal slave ship Nightingale with 961 slaves is captured by USS Saratoga.
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