-- Initial Problems at Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens --

Wednesday March 13, 1861

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Gustavus Vasa Fox Has a Plan

With many advisers, particularly General Scott, declaring that the relief of Sumter was militarily unfeasible, advocates of Sumter relief sought to persuade Lincoln otherwise. In response to a telegram from his brother-in-law, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Gustavus Vasa Fox arrived in Washington and met with Lincoln on March 13. He presented Lincoln with a plan that he had unsuccessfully urged on General Scott during the last weeks of the Buchanan administration. Naval authorities considered Fox's plan militarily feasible.

Fox's plan called for a combination of warships, transports, and tugboats to run reinforcements and supplies into the fort. He proposed to put about three hundred troops aboard a large steamer, which would be convoyed by warships. Along with Fort Sum ter's guns, these warships would, if necessary, subdue Confederate resistance. The troops would be run into the fort at night, using either the tugboats or small boats brought along for that purpose.


Bibliography: OR, pp. 203-205, ORN, pp. 246-47; Current, Lincoln and the First Shot, pp. 60-62; Bates, Diary of Edward Bates, ed. Beale, pp. 177-78.


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