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Old 11-17-2009, 10:21 AM
 
42,732 posts, read 29,889,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Be that all as it may, it all changes when you open fire with live ammunition--no matter how lousy your marksmanship. As provocative as sending in some supplies to an insignificant island fort might be, the South Carolinians didn't have to start shelling it. Doing so must be considered far more escalatory than bringing in supplies.
It wasn't lousy marksmanship.

Please read the link, which clearly shows the Confederate intent to avoid bloodshed, and their efforts for evacuation. In terms of significance, it is one little ole fort, unfortunately in the South, in a port, in a well-populated area.
Lincoln understood the significance of the port, and that his intent to re-supply was provocative. That's why he was communicating with Southern leaders about this, and why he planned to re-supply the fort when Congress was not in session.

South Carolina American Civil War Battle Fort Sumter
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Wheaton, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
There are some subtle points here that are being missed.

One, Lincoln didn't want secession to go to the courts. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had already indicated that he thought secession was legal since it was not explicitly forbidden by the Constitution.

Two, Lincoln chose to re-supply Ft Sumter at a time when Congress was out of session. He chose deliberately to provoke the South at a time when his actions could not be stopped by Congress.

Three, the South opened fire, and yet didn't kill a single Union soldier. The South held that they were simply trying to prevent the fort from being re-supplied, and the fact that the killed no one tends to support that contention.

That Lincoln didn't want secession to go to the courts doesn't mean he could've prevented it going to the courts, nor would his attitude have stopped the secessionists from taking it to the courts. Which according to your own assertions might've been their wisest course.

I don't think Lincoln planned for the Fort Sumter crisis to happen when Congress was out of session, events had a life of their own. In any event seeing as the secessionists had left Congress he might've been able to get all the congressional support he'd need as subsequently happened.

That no Federal soldiers were killed in the attack on the fort is a tribute to the sturdy nature of Third System fortifications; it's absurd to think the Confederates were trying to avoid Federal losses. Just how would you do that anyway, bombard a fort with the intention of killing nobody?


Here's Fort Knox, a Third System fort in Maine I visted a couple of weeks ago. Strong place. Caponiers, casemates, intact iron Totten shutters, scarp and counterscarp rifle galleries, traverses on the covered way.



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Old 11-17-2009, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,463,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
Please read the link, which clearly shows the Confederate intent to avoid bloodshed, and their efforts for evacuation. In terms of significance, it is one little ole fort, unfortunately in the South, in a port, in a well-populated area.
But one easily rendered untenable by shore-based artillery if push came to shove. And if one is trying to avoid bloodshed, refraining from firing artillery shells seems to me a clearer indication of that intent than any method of firing them.

I think South Carolina was simply the most Secessionist state and thus the most likely to start shooting. If Fort Sumter had been just offshore in another state it's interesting to wonder what might have occurred.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
That Lincoln didn't want secession to go to the courts doesn't mean he could've prevented it going to the courts, nor would his attitude have stopped the secessionists from taking it to the courts. Which according to your own assertions might've been their wisest course.

I don't think Lincoln planned for the Fort Sumter crisis to happen when Congress was out of session, events had a life of their own. In any event seeing as the secessionists had left Congress he might've been able to get all the congressional support he'd need as subsequently happened.

That no Federal soldiers were killed in the attack on the fort is a tribute to the sturdy nature of Third System fortifications; it's absurd to think the Confederates were trying to avoid Federal losses. Just how would you do that anyway, bombard a fort with the intention of killing nobody?


Oh, and how do you avoid killing Union soldiers, well, you send messengers, several times, advising the fort commander of your intentions, asking the fort commander to share his intentions. You try to negotiate an evacuation, and when that doesn't work, you give him a heads up of when you'll be firing, where you'll be firing from, what your targets will be, etc. It's amazing that the fort commander can then position his eighty men to the safest, most secure parts of the fort, and arrange for them to take cover during the bombardment.

Here's Fort Knox, a Third System fort in Maine I visted a couple of weeks ago. Strong place. Caponiers, casemates, scarp and counterscarp rifle galleries, traverses on the covered way; strongest Third System fort I've seen and I've seen most of them.


I'm sorry that you didn't understand my point. The South blundered when they opened fire, but Lincoln didn't blunder when he intentionally provoked that fire. Lincoln was a lawyer and a very smart man. He was well aware that he couldn't stop the issue from going to the courts, and he was extremely aware that Taney's presence on that court assured that the South would be granted the right to secede.

Lincoln's issue was about preserving the union. The war was often called that in Northern newspapers, The War to Preserve the Union. Lincoln had to prevent the issue from being decided in the courts, at all costs. He hoped that he would be able to keep the war on a smaller scale, but after Ft Sumter, the secession movement grew. In part, it grew because people at that time were aware of how provocative Lincoln's actions were regarding Ft Sumter.

And he did plan for Sumter to occur when Congress was out of session, he was the one corresponding with the Southern leaders, it was under his authority that the fort was being re-supplied. Lincoln had much more leeway to act when Congress was not in session, and he took advantage of that. The federal government of 1861 bore little resemblance to the federal government of 1865, and hardly any resemblance beyond its basic structure to the government of today. A Congress out of session then, was a Congress quite out of session, an empty chamber, where its members were days and in some cases even weeks away from being present. And Congressional powers in 1861 were much more ascendant over Executive powers. We have people who complain about the power grab by Presidents Bush or Obama, when they have no real understanding of an executive power grab unless they study Lincoln, who transformed the federal government during his tenure.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:43 AM
 
42,732 posts, read 29,889,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
But one easily rendered untenable by shore-based artillery if push came to shove. And if one is trying to avoid bloodshed, refraining from firing artillery shells seems to me a clearer indication of that intent than any method of firing them.

I think South Carolina was simply the most Secessionist state and thus the most likely to start shooting. If Fort Sumter had been just offshore in another state it's interesting to wonder what might have occurred.
I appreciate your point, I agree wholeheartedly that the South blundered when it fired on Sumter, and would have been better off blockading the fort, but I also understand that attempting to blockade the fort would have put Confederate forces in a crossfire situation that was also untenable.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:46 AM
 
216 posts, read 343,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Here we go. Liberal elite blah blah blah, Carpetbaggers blah blah blah, poor persecuted South blah blah blah. If you must post despite a demonstrated lack of understanding, you should refrain from conflating your modern political biases with a topic where they are hardly germane. And if the South had more like Quantrill and Anderson, the history books you would have been writing would have had to play apologist for a lot of war crimes. So if those are your heroes, wonderful. You would understand, then, if some people admired John Brown, Charles Jennison and William T. Sherman?

Oh, wait. That's right. Your guys were saints, their guys were demons.

Got it.
You mean the history books don't make Sherman out a big hero ?? Yes they should been tried for war crimes . Ever read why Ouantrell wiped out Laurence Kansas ??? Probably not Tell me Abe didn't have all those women and children on the top floor of a building then knock the souports out .Do you even know how many Sherman marched threw the South 68,000 .With no need of doing so except total destruction . My view is Southern You Yankees can still keep Dc
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawmill Jim View Post
You mean the history books don't make Sherman out a big hero ?? Yes they should been tried for war crimes . Ever read why Ouantrell wiped out Laurence Kansas ??? Probably not Tell me Abe didn't have all those women and children on the top floor of a building then knock the souports out .Do you even know how many Sherman marched threw the South 68,000 .With no need of doing so except total destruction . My view is Southern You Yankees can still keep Dc
Given that my family going back several generations come from the Flint Hills and that my father was a KU alum, why, yes, it just so happens that I have read a lot about the Kansas/Missouri war. I have probably read a lot more about it than you, in fact. And the distilled version of my take on that conflict is that there were no saints on either side: not the Missouri carpetbaggers who poured in trying to make Kansas a slave state, not the Jayhawkers who launched brutal reprisals, and not the Border Ruffians who kept up their side of that cycle. I do my best to look at historical topics from the perspective of an historian, which is why I have no more use for the 7th Kansas Cavalry than I do for Quantrill.

Sorry, but the more you post, the more you inspire me to thank the gods the South didn't win. If your goal is to make people less sympathetic to the Confederacy, you are succeeding handsomely.

Oh, and until October of this year, I'd never even been to DC, and I still don't really consider it my capital. Museums were great, though, I'll give it that.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
I appreciate your point, I agree wholeheartedly that the South blundered when it fired on Sumter, and would have been better off blockading the fort, but I also understand that attempting to blockade the fort would have put Confederate forces in a crossfire situation that was also untenable.
I'm simply taking an aerial view of the situation and saying: "This fort will never be strategic, because Confederate shore-based guns can always isolate it--at most, they might have to install some more artillery. Even if SC cannot quickly reduce it, they can make it so that no vessel can enter or exit. Thus, it's untenable, and therefore not strategic."

It might serve as a thorn in the SC side for awhile in case of war, but nothing more. It could not possibly serve as an effective staging area, for example, for a major sea invasion of South Carolina at that stage--not if SC decided to prevent that.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:09 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
I meant militarily quite insignificant, Rhett. Richmond was militarily significant. Vicksburg was militarily significant. Cairo was militarily significant. Fort Sumter? Losing it or gaining it would hardly shift the overall tide of any war. It never occurred to me that any regulars would not understand what I meant by this, so I didn't qualify the term. But if I must, very well.
I understand that and understand that militarily Fort Sumter wasn't significant. The crisis there though was THE most significant issue of that time, however...

Your comment about "Resupplying the insignificant Fort Sumter" and your suggestion that resupplying the fort wasnt' a "provocative" action made it sound like you didn't grasp what the big deal was or you were trying to diminish the significance to further your point.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:18 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
I think South Carolina was simply the most Secessionist state and thus the most likely to start shooting. If Fort Sumter had been just offshore in another state it's interesting to wonder what might have occurred.
You need only look at Fort Pickens really... Same thing was happening there in Florida, yet one we hear about and one we don't. Sumter was obviously, largely symbolic because of where it was.
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