Saturday, April 23, 2011
The first shots fired in the Civil War. On January 10, 1861. Reported in this Jan.26 issue of Harper's Weekly. This is a often disregarded moment. But all that is said about Lincoln sending a ship to the Island fort for the 1st time is not true. It had been tried before and everyone knew what happened. Lincoln knew this would cause the war everyone was waiting for. He had his explosive, he just needed a spark.
As North Carolina stated in January, any action to supply the fort would be looked on as an act of war!
Lincoln knew this, and used it to start that war. He not only sent a few ships, he sent a telegraph message to tell them he was doing it!
I am amazed when I think of the story of Ft.Sumter in North Carolina. It was there in April of 1861 that the first shots of the Civil War were fired. But is this true? I do not think that is truly so.
In January of 1861 a supply ship was sent to Ft.Sumter and was fired at by shore batteries, who did make a direct hit on the vessel. It immediately headed back to New York City from where it had been sent.
This event scared the living daylights out of then President James Buchanan, who did not want a Civil War starting on his watch. He was more of what they called then a "dough-face", which meant he was more pro south and slavery than most northerners. But the issue that was at hand was not slavery, it was succession.
He had sent in early January a ship to provision Ft.Sumter. The ship sent was the Star of the West. as mentioned before it was fired on by N. Carolina militants, as they had already succeeded from the Union. The situation at the fort was dire, as the food stocks were low and it was a new fort and not stocked for a battle. Plus it was a fort designed for harbor defense,not to battle with shore batteries.
When March comes around and Lincoln becomes President, there was much question on what to do? Lincoln is stated as saying that he would reinforce the fort and if fired upon it would be an act of aggression. He said he was sending food to hungry men, but in the ships were also arms and munitions.
However he said he was not sure how the N. Carolina crowd would handle it? He knew about the Star of the West, he had too. Also he had to know that N. Carolina said it would be looked at as an act of war if the fort was provisioned.
He knew that ships sent there would be fired upon. He even sent a telegraph message to N. Carolina to fire them up. I am of the thought that he sent the ships as a bit of a red flag to start off a war.
He knew it would be fired on, although he did not plan that the fort would be fired on before a ship ever got there.
Lincoln needed the tariff monies owed by the south. He needed to to solve this issue as he guessed the best way to do it. To have a short war and force the south back into the Union. He just needed the south to shoot first.
The first shot of the Civil War had been fired in January, the bomb exploded in April with Lincoln's firm resolve to bring the south back into Union. Slavery had nothing to do with it at the time. It was just a States Rights / Constitutional issue at first.
But in April of 1861 would be the 2nd shots of the Civil War. Which if we really look at it carefully was more of a revolution, than a civil war, but that is beyond what I am writing about here.