Tuesday, March 15, 2011

150 Years Ago: Lincoln Polls His Cabinet

On Friday, March 15, 1861, Abraham Lincoln sent a note to each member of his cabinet:
"Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it? Please give me your opinion in writing on this subject."
Of the seven cabinet members, five were not in favor of trying to reinforce and resupply Fort Sumter. Salmon Chase was for it, but with so many qualifications that his answer was really just another "no."  Only Montgomery Blair, the brother-in-law of Gustavus Fox, the author of the plan to reinforce the fort, was wholeheartedly for resupplying Fort Sumter at this time.  Lincoln decided to postpone a final decision until he had more information on the situation.

Secretary of State William Seward met with Justice John Campbell, an intermediary between the Lincoln administration and the Confederate commissioners that were trying to meet with administration officials in Washington.  Campbell said that he would be writing to Jefferson Davis.  What should he say about Fort Sumter?  Seward replied, "You may say to him that before that letter reaches him, the telegraph will have informed him that Sumter will have been evacuated."

Also on this date, the State of Louisiana transferred over $536,000 taken from the U.S. Mint in New Orleans to the Confederate government.

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