-- Hesitation and Decision --

Wednesday March 27, 1861

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Hurlbut and Lamon Report

Hurlbut, back in Washington, reported to Lincoln. There was in South Carolina and Charleston "no attachment to the Union . . . . positively nothing to appeal to." A separate southern nationality was an "established fact."

Equally conclusive was Hurlbut's appraisal of the Confederacy's designs on Forts Sumter and Pickens. He had "no doubt" that southern forces would repulse any type of relief effort, even a ship containing only provisions and no troops. Even if the government abandoned Sumter, the crisis would continue as the South would "demand" Pickens and the remaining federal forts in Florida. Thus, any attempt to maintain and enforce federal authority within the limits of the Confederacy would mean "War, in fact, War in which the seceding States will be united and the others disunited."

Hurlbut's traveling associate, Lamon, agreed with Hurlbut's assessment. South Carolina was being swept by a madness that was hurrying the masses into open rebellion. According to Lamon's Carolina sources, war could be avoided only if the federal government acquiesced in peaceable secession and refused to reinforce its southern forts. Any attempt to reinforce Sumter would bring "the tocsin of war."

Bibliography: Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 3: 391-92; Current, Lincoln and the First Shot, pp. 73-74; Lamon, Recollections, pp. 71-79; Nevins, War for the Union, 1: 54.

Beauregard Presses Claim to Sumter

[Stars and Bars]

Beauregard advised Jefferson Davis the the evacuation of Fort Sumter "ought to be decided upon in a few days." He recommended that "this state of uncertainty ought not to last longer than is necessary to have all our preparations made to compel ... a surrender, should the United States Government not be willing to withdraw ... peacebly."

Bibliography: OR, p. 283.

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