The attorney general, Edward Bates, concurred with the rest of the cabinet that Fort Pickens should be reinforced and supplied no matter what the administration decided about Fort Sumter. It was imperative to hold Pickens "so as to look down opposition at all hazards." Bates, however, was entirely noncommital about Fort Sumter. "As to Fort Sumter," he advised Lincoln, "I think the time is come either to evacuate or relieve it."
Bibliography: Lincoln, Works, eds. Nicolay and Hay, 6: 230-31.