When Abraham Lincoln, a known opponent of slavery, was elected president, the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat. Calling a state convention, the delegates voted in January 1861 to remove the state of South Carolina from the union known as the United States of America. The secession of South Carolina was followed by the secession of six more states -- Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas -- and the threat of secession by four more -- Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These eleven states eventually formed the Confederate States of America.
Following this incident Major Anderson received the following letter:
WAR DEPARTMENT, January 16, 1861This letter is a very good example of the "political" mind at work. Remember, the reason they were sending supplies is because Major Anderson had requested them. This letter, therefor, reflects both hypocrisy and contradiction. First it says they tried to send the supplies. Next it says they aren't going to send supplies because it could result in bloodshed. It concludes by saying "just let us know when we want supplies and we'll send them". These instructions must have left poor Major Anderson, sitting in a fort surrounded by hostile forces, feeling confused and isolated,
Major Robert Anderson,
First Artillery, commanding Fort Sumter:
Sir: You rightly designate the firing into the Star of the West as an `act of war,’ and one which was actually committed without the slightest provocation. Your forbearance to return the fire is fully approved by the President. Unfortunately, the Government had not been able to make known to you that the Star of the West had sailed from New York for your relief. . . .
Your late dispatches have relieved the Government of the apprehensions previously entertained for your safety. In Consequence, it is not its purpose at present to reinforce you. The attempt to do so would, no doubt, be attended by a collision of arms and the effusion of blood—a national calamity which the President is most anxious to avoid.
Whenever, in your judgment, additional supplies or reinforcements are necessary for your safety, or for a successful defense of the fort, you will at once communicate that fact to this Department, and a prompt and vigorous effort will be made to forward them.
Live Long and Prosper....