Countdown to the Civil War: April 5, 1861

The 1st Florida Infantry regiment was mustered into the Confederate services at Chattahoochee, Florida.  Their enlistment was for twelve months.

Union troops were evacuated from Fort Quitman in Texas.

Captain Mercer was given command of the steamers Powhatan, Pawnee, Pocahantas and Harriet Lane and ordered to provide assistance to Fox who had the task of delivering supplies to the besieged Fort Sumter. A further order directed a rendezvous off Charleston Bar on the 11th, to await a transport of troops and stores on the 11th.

However, there had been a conflict of communication in this instance. In order to fulfill the April 11th directive, all four steamships should have joined Mercer at the appointed spot. But Commander Gillis of the Pawahatan had earlier been ordered the aid of Fort Pickens in Florida, and by the time Lincoln directed Secretary Seward to countermand those orders, it was too late. Thus the president was trying to resolve this problem, while also seeking to maintain control of Fort Sumter.

Rachel Norcross’s diary, April 5, 1861:

I don’t believe Stuart knows much about farming. He shows no interest in planting. The weather has improved and surely the soil will dry out enough in the next week or so to begin plowing.  Of course, I’m no farmer either, but I worry that the seed we bought last fall will rot in the barn.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Countdown to the Civil War: April 4, 1861

As dwindling supplies at Fort Sumter threatened the ability of the garrison to maintain their situation, President Lincoln ordered Naval Commander, Gustavus Fox, to re-supply the fort. Should he encounter resistance from the Confederates, he was to utilize U.S. naval ships to respond.  If they were permitted to deliver supplies to the Fort, no naval action should be taken.

Rachel Norcross’s Diary, April 4, 1861

Feeling blue.  While Stuart may have promised to stay until the baby’s born, I doubt I can hold him to it should war be declared.

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Countdown to the Civil War: April 2, 1861

Message to Gen. Totten in Washington from Captain Woodbury relates that most of the military staff at Fort Clinch in Florida has been discharged as directed. He adds: “The State of Florida, or the Confederate States, will probably soon take possession of Fort Clinch.” From Martin Crawford in Washington to Robert Toombs of Alabama: “Watch at all points.  It is said the Pawnee (sic) sailed from this place this evening with three companies of artillery.” The day before, the Commandant of the Navy-Yard in Brooklyn, N.Y., received sealed orders to make the Powahatan ready for sea duty at the earliest possible moment. “…Orders…to go forward to-morrow. Abraham Lincoln.”

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Countdown to the Civil War: April 1, 1861

April 1, 1861: Within two weeks, The United States of America would formally declare a state of war in which the proposition of a United States would either be upheld or destroyed. South Carolina had presented a petition of secession on December 24, 1860.On January 9, 1861, Mississippi followed suit, joined in turn on January 10, by Florida and on the January 11 by Alabama.  The 16th brought the formal secession of Georgia. Louisiana troops had seized Fort Pike near New Orleans, and that state seceded on the 26th. By the time April rolled around, the country was in turmoil as more and more southern states aligned themselves with the Confederacy.  Delegates and legislators had all but abandoned their homes and offices in Washington D.C. The stage was set for the match that would light the fire of civil war.

On this date, April 1, 1861, President Lincoln was busy, compiling lists and orders, and receiving suggestions, if not policy recommendations, from Secretary of State Seward.  One of the Secretary’s suggestions was to change the emphasis from slavery as a bone of contention, to one of whether or not the compact of unity or dominion still held the states together under the federal government. There were concerns about foreign powers interfering or at least trying to influence the internal crisis fomenting at home. It is said that Lincoln at last had to remind Mr. Seward that he, not the Secretary of State, was president of the United States.

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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