Saturday, April 09, 2011

150 Years Ago: "It Is Suicide, Murder"

Robert Augustus Toombs, of Georgia, three-quar...Image via Wikipedia

Confederate Secretary of State Robert Toombs was the only member of the Davis administration to vigorously oppose firing on Fort Sumter.  On Tuesday, April 9, 1861, he met with Jefferson Davis.  They discussed Lincoln's letter to Francis Pickens and the subject of "firing on bread" must have come up.  Lincoln had informed the South Carolina governor that he would be sending food to the fort; starting a war would be up to the Confederates.

Toombs told Davis, "The firing on that fort will inaugurate a civil war greater than any the world has yet seen; and I do not feel competent to advise you."  As the conversation heated up, Toombs did advise, producing one of the more memorable quotes of the war, telling Davis,
"Mr. President, at this time it is suicide, murder, and will lose us every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet's nest which extends from mountain to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm out and sting us to death. It is unnecessary; it puts us in the wrong; it is fatal."

Also on this date, in New York, two more vessels departed for the Fort Sumter expedition.  Captain Gustavus Fox is aboard the Baltic.

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