Showdown at Fort Sumter Part 2
by Raymond Speer
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
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Anderson at Fort Sumter (pictured) had withdrawn his men completely from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
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
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.
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.
says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Other Contemporary Stories
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
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