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Showdown at Fort Sumter Part 2 by Raymond Speer

Author says: in which Raymond Speer continues our speculatation, what if the Confederacy didn't open fire at Fort Sumter? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1861, by April 9th, Major Anderson at Fort Sumter (pictured) had withdrawn his men completely from contact with Charleston, knowing that keeping them in proximity with those civilians would trigger some fight that would probably escalate into further trouble.

President Jefferson Davis came to the correct conclusion about Lincoln's motives, but having done that, ceased to do anything else and sat by impassively. Davis' rival wanted the first shot fired by the secessionists. Unfortunately, Lincoln had a very good chance of making those wishes come true because the local Confederate state government (South Carolina) preferred forcing out the garrison from the fort. As Davis appraised the situation, it was possible that South Carolina would shrug aside the costraint of the confederal gov't and fire cannon on the feds on their own volition.

The Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America made the strongest presentation against a Southern action against the fort at a ast Confederate Cabinet meeting on the evening of April 10, 1861. He had the inestimable value of access to Major Anderson's signals to Abraham Lincoln in which the major wrote that he planned to offer no resistance. Before that meeting, most meetings with Davis had assumed hat the South would fire at the fort. From that evening on, the order was that the reprovision of the fort would be allowed to take place.

Abraham Lincoln had skated to the verge of war, and like the frontier rustic he was, the new Union President jubilated in Northern praise of his "victory". That success made no practical difference in Lincoln's chances to reduce the South. Lincoln still spurned all commissions and emissaries sent to him by Davis or any other Southerner. As soon as April 12, Lincoln was planning the use of Northern resources to quell the South.

In the big picture, the Fort Sumter imbroglio proved utterly important. The April 17, 1861, seizure by the Virginia Militia of the US Naval Base at Norfolk was argued by the North to be a Southern theft of Northern property without compensation, and that was all it took to justify Northern aggression against the South.

Few noticed when Fort Sumter was taken by the South on June 1, 1861, when the War was already underway. The Northern garrison did not make a serious show of commitment.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Raymond Speer

Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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