OPINIONS WRITTEN BY MEMBERS OP THE CABINET AT THE VERBAL REQUEST OF THE PRESIDENT, AT A CABINET MEETING HELD TO DETERMINE THE QUESTION OF SENDING AN EXPEDITION TO RELIEVE FORT SUMTER, March 29, 1861.
Mr. Bates, Attorney-General, wrote:
It is my decided opinion that Fort Pickens and Key West ought to be reinforced and supplied, so as to look down opposition at all hazards -- and this whether Fort Sumter be or be not evacuated.
It is also my opinion that there ought to be a naval force kept upon the southern coast sufficient to command it and, if need be, actually close any port that practically ought to be closed, whatever other station is left unoccupied.
It is also my opinion that there ought to be immediately established a line of light, fast-running vessels, to pass as rapidly as possible between New York or Norfolk at the North and Key West or other point in the gulf at the South.
As to Fort Sumter, I think the time is come either to evacuate or relieve it.
Bibliography: Lincoln, Works, eds. Nicolay and Hay, 6: 230-231.