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  • What if Fort Sumter was never attacked?

    What if Beaurgard chose instead to "starve-out" Anderson's troops and took over the fort peaceably?
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

  • #2
    Irrespective of whether it happened at Fort Sumter or elsewhere, the secession crisis would have brought things to a head. Whether it was in Charleston Harbor or somewhere else, there still would have been a war. Fort Sumter just happened to be the place where it began, but it could have been anywhere.

    Eric
    "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

    Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

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    • #3
      If Beauregard had elected to "starve out" Anderson, he would have effectively elected to continue the blockade and passive siege that had already been in place. Whether actively firing upon the fort or maintaining a passive blockade, would not the intent and result have been the same? In either case the taking of the fort, whether by fire or starvation, was a forcible act of war upon the Federal government. No U.S. military post or property could ever have been taken "peaceably," unless the Federal Government had allowed it; and that would have been tantamount to an immediate, official recognition of the right of any state to withdraw from the Union.
      Last edited by Joseph Meyer; 17 Sep 07, 12:41.

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      • #4
        I too don't see a change in whether or not a war will occur. But there may be a chance, some would say slim, that the lineup may not be the same for the south.

        The change could come in the form of Virginia. Secession was not approved in their first vote. It came only after Lincoln's call for troops. So maybe the President not acting until after Sumter falls changes that.

        If it does, and thats a big if I admit, the South loses much more rapidly. Simple as that. Virginia is the most populous, industrialized and probably wealthiest state in the Confederacy. Without Virginia they are a sham.
        If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

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        • #5
          What would have happened if the CSA had freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter?
          Last edited by The Doctor; 17 Sep 07, 08:38.
          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
            What would have happened if the CSA had freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter?
            Unfortunately, that goes against everything the Confederacy stood for.....there wouldn't have been a reason for them leaving if that was their intention. Everyone from the Vice President of the CSA through the Articles of Secession to the newspapers of the time all pointed to the same thing-war was brought about because of secession, & secession was brought about because of the slavery crisis. It's like saying "Let's bake a cake without flour"-it just doesn't work.

            As for the OP, I would say that I agree with the others.....if they maintained the siege, it would still have amounted to the same thing.
            The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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            • #7
              Oh...I guess I just liked the way it sounded when Pete Longstreet (Tom Berrenger) rhetorically said "We should have freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter," in the movie Gettysburg...
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                Oh...I guess I just liked the way it sounded when Pete Longstreet (Tom Berrenger) rhetorically said "We should have freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter," in the movie Gettysburg...
                I loved that part!
                The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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                • #9
                  One could raise the question about which attack on Fort Sumter is being considered, the invasion of sovereign South Carolina territory by a foreign power (Fort Sumter was incomplete and not owned by the federal government at the time of Anderson's occupation), or the attack by the South Carolina troops?

                  Anyway, I doubt when or whether an attack on Fort Sumter would have had a significant impact on the course of events. Lincoln was intent on provoking war and invading the Confederacy, and this goal would have inevitably moved Virginia towards secession, as the thought of invading a fellow state that hadn't invaded it was incomprehensible. The attack on Fort Sumter was simply a public relations disaster by the Confederacy.
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                  • #10
                    This is the first time that I've ever heard the argument that the construction of Fort Sumter by the Federal Government was of and by itself considered an act of invasion by the State of South Carolina! I had supposed all this time that the construction and maintenance of the fort, as that of all other such coastal bastions prior to the Civil War, was undertaken as a national endeavor to provide for the common security and defense of the country as a whole. Could you please cite me some references that support your statement, as I would surely be most interested in reading them?!
                    Last edited by Joseph Meyer; 20 Sep 07, 13:43.

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                    • #11
                      I would rather ask what would have happened if South Carolina Militia had seized Fort Sumter before Anderson evacuated from Fort Moultrie to that island? Also did not Lincoln try to send supplies in by ship?

                      Pruitt
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                      • #12
                        I am a little confused, Pruitt. Are you in some way supporting Consul's statement of Lincoln's belligerence, or are you opening a parallel line of thought on the general question of this thread?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                          I would rather ask what would have happened if South Carolina Militia had seized Fort Sumter before Anderson evacuated from Fort Moultrie to that island? Also did not Lincoln try to send supplies in by ship?

                          Pruitt
                          Lincoln did send supplies by ship The "Star of the West" was sent to Charleston with ample food supplies aboard to relieve Fort Sumter, but was fired on and driven off by Charleston Harbor shore batteries.
                          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Joseph Meyer View Post
                            This is the first time that I've ever heard the argument that the construction of Fort Sumter by the Federal Government was of and by itself considered an act of invasion by the State of South Carolina! I had supposed all this time that the construction and maintenance of the fort, as that of all other such coastal bastions prior to the Civil War, was undertaken as a national endeavor to provide for the common security and defense of the country as a whole. Could you please cite me some references that support your statement, as I would surely be most interested in reading them?!
                            I wish to complement on Mr. Meyer on his calling me down on this issue. I had researched it several years back. In general, a state has to specifically cede land to the United States' government in order for that land to be considered Federal territory, which I couldn't find happening with Fort Sumter. However, having researched it again more fully (which is why I hadn't responded), the Fort was (sort of) federal territory, having been ceded by the South Carolina House of Representatives on December 31, 1836:

                            Resolved, That this state do cede to the United States, all the right, title and claim of South Carolina to the site of Fort Sumter and the requisite quantity of adjacent territory, Provided, That all processes, civil and criminal issued under the authority of this State, or any officer thereof, shall and may be served and executed upon the same, and any person there being who may be implicated by law; and that the said land, site and structures enumerated, shall be forever exempt from liability to pay any tax to this state.
                            Whether or not this ceding was still legally binding following South Carolina's succession is considerably more vague. Fort Sumter was not occupied at the time of South Carolina's succession, therefore, it was a wobbly legal situation with no clear precedent. However, the "Provided" statement means that the site was still very much under the jurisdiction of the state and that the state could step in and that it was under the legal jurisdiction of the state. Given that the case for succession is a legal matter, South Carolina certainly had the right to revoke said motion. The case could be argued both ways. There is no debate that Anderson's action was an act of provocation. The state could have ignored Fort Moultrie and no situation been forced, but by investing Fort Sumter, Anderson forced the situation.

                            My apologies for my somewhat unfounded prior statement, and my thanks for inciting this very interesting research! I'll post if I come upon some more concrete legal evidence for one side or the other.
                            Last edited by Consul; 20 Sep 07, 20:35.
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                            • #15
                              I am most grateful for your reply, Consul, to my request, and it was with no small amount of interest that I've read your latest post.

                              I note that you've advanced the issue of the potential legal revocation of the original cedement for Ft. Sumter as a normal result of South Carolina's succession! I would think that that line of reasoning, even without precedent, would be a normal logical result, and therefore partially agree with you that the state would have had the right to revoke the said resoultion of 1836. In that case, "all bets would be off," wouldn't they? Except for one thing!

                              As you have quoted it the 1836 resolution, South Carolina ceded all right, title and claim to the United States. Did that not mean every right whatsoever? If it legally did, then were not the remaining states of the Union merely keeping that which was theirs, irregardless of the physical state of the construction or completion of the fort and irregardless of South Carolina's succession status? In other words, is it a valid argument to say the resolution of 1836 became null and void upon the act of succession by the state? Isn't there something of the dog chasing his tail in that?

                              I note that these forums are for the open and respectful exchange and discussion of items of historical interest among all of us, and I would be ignorantly borish if I implied any petty judgement over anyone's viewpoint or personal proclivities. Yet, I would be somewhat remiss if I did not admit to a decidely pro-Union inclination in my own arguments and say that I recognize an equally pro-Southern inclination in yours. Am I correct in assuming that "East Carolina" is just as "Carolina" as North and South Carolina?

                              One hundred and forty-six years ago the vexing question of a state's right to succeed from the Union was thrown upon the field of combat for final resolution. That we stand together as a complete nation today is proof of the outcome of that combat. Yet it is with still some fair degree of respect and wonderment that I recall the surprise and appreciation for the suggested legal logic of succession that I felt upon completing my first, full read of Jefferson Davis's The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government! I go to the trouble of saying all of this so that you may know I intend no disrespect in stating the following response to your own comments.

                              I believe that there are, indeed, debates, legal and otherwise, to be had over: (1) South Carolina's lack of right to revoke the said resolution, whether succeeded or not; (2) Major Anderson's right to withdraw peaceably into the unfinished Ft. Sumter; and (3) Lincoln's lack of intent of provoking the war! The attack upon Ft. Sumter was far more than a public relations disaster by the Confederacy. It was the intentional abandonment of diplomacy and irrevocable act of war that directly led to the death of far too many Americans.
                              Last edited by Joseph Meyer; 21 Sep 07, 01:39.

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