April 13, 1861 - April 14, 1865
Meanwhile, Fox's expedition to Sumter arrived too late to provision or reinforce Anderson and his garrison. Fox's plan was never tested, partly because of the Confederacy's decision to attack Sumter before his expedition arrived, and partly because the Powhatan, with its essential boats and crew, sailed to Fort Pickens instead of Sumter.
In one sense, all of the decision making and planning behind the two expeditions was pointless. But such a view unduly minimizes the significance of Lincoln's actions. The Pickens mission decisively secured the fort from hostile forces, assuring a more effective implementation of the Union's blockade of southern ports. Furthermore, Lincoln's decision to send these expeditions influenced Jefferson Davis to initiate the attack on Sumter. While the irony of the Sumter and Pickens expeditions should be fully appreciated, their featured role in the coming of the Civil War still merits recognition.
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