Thursday, April 07, 2011

150 Years Ago: Tensions Mount at the Forts

On Sunday, April 7, 1861, Lieutenant John Worden on the U.S. Navy was sent to Pensacola with orders for Captain H. A. Adams to reinforce Fort Pickens with the troops aboard the Brooklyn.  Meanwhile, General Braxton, the Confederate commander at Pensacola, wired his War Department requesting permission to open fire if any attempt was made to reinforce Pickens.

At Charleston, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard informed Major Robert Anderson, the commander at Fort Sumter, that there would be no more interaction between the fort and the town.  The fort was now cut off, only reachable by sea.

In Washington, Secretary of State William Seward seemed to be trying to convince himself that the Fort Sumter situation would be resolved peacefully, and he was later seen to have been deceiving Southern emissaries as well.  On this date, he received a letter from Justice John Campbell.  Campbell had heard the rumors of an expedition, knew that it couldn't be going to Fort Sumter because Seward had assured him that the fort would not be reinforced.  Campbell wanted reassurance from Seward, and Seward obliged him, replying, "Faith as to Sumter fully kept -- wait and see."

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