March 19-29, 1861
Ever since Lincoln learned on March 5 that Anderson's troops at Sumter had supplies that would last no longer than mid-April, time became an increasingly weighty consideration for the President. It would take time to organize and dispatch a relief expedition, whether small-scale or massive. It would take time to reach Sumter from northern ports. Meanwhile, Confederate forces at both Sumter and Pickens were strengthening their batteries and tightening the noose around these Union positions. Every day made reinforcement more difficult, particularly at Sumter; every day made life at these posts more stressful; every day increased the possibility of a Confederate attack. And every day, too, brought demands from segments of his own Republican Party and northern public opinion for some action that would show the kind of energy and commitment to the Union that the previous Buchanan administration had lacked.
Despite pressure to act quickly, Lincoln took advantage of the time that remained to him. During the ten days following the submission of his cabinet's written opinions, Lincoln gathered information and explored ways of holding the Union's forts. By March 29, he was ready to decide on a course of action.