Book Chat
Fort Sumter, Charleston, and The Beginning of the Civil War
David Detzer

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 04/06/08 and covered Chapters 4, 5, & 6

4/6/2008 9:03 pm (et) Basecat: Greetings all, and welcome to the 2nd book chat discussion on David Detzer's book Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston and the Beginning of the War Please refrain from using the pm function during the chat. Thanks. :)

4/6/2008 9:03 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Widow: Ha. No, wish I was but I'd have to be a nurse or, better yet, a camp follower.

4/6/2008 9:04 pm (et) Widow: Laundress or vivandiere is good too, for the ladies.

4/6/2008 9:04 pm (et) Basecat: Let's delve into Chapter 4 The Fulcrum. Any thoughts, comments or questions please. :)

4/6/2008 9:04 pm (et) shapbruin: Anyone know who Governor Gist's cousin is? One of the oddest names in the Confederacy.

4/6/2008 9:05 pm (et) Susansweet: State's Rights.

4/6/2008 9:05 pm (et) Widow: Basecat, I'm struck time and again by how the Army's regs hindered rather than helped. Some things never change.

4/6/2008 9:05 pm (et) Basecat: States Right Gist...killed at the Battle of Franklin.

4/6/2008 9:05 pm (et) Susansweet: Whose name is misspelled on tombstone as State Rights Gist.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) shapbruin: Yup, served as the governor's aide de camp in the runup to secession.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) Widow: Such as the engineer can't talk to the commander, who can't talk to his subordinates, and nobody can talk to Washington.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) shapbruin: ha! that's funny.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I liked chapter 4. The only ones who seemed to think clearly were Anderson and Foster.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...same here, and sounded like it was even worse back then. Plus those in charge are aptly described as ninnie.;)

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I have a much clearer picture of the situation that Anderson found himself in, and a much higher opinion of him. How did he ever get to sleep at night with all the stuff that must have been going on in his head?

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) ole: Seems to be his favorite word.

4/6/2008 9:06 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, agree, but how much worse did Floyd make the situation?

4/6/2008 9:07 pm (et) Basecat: Ole...I would have used arsehole, but am a vile mouthed Yankee.:)

4/6/2008 9:07 pm (et) Widow: AHG, my thought too. With zero help from Washington. Don't start a war, but don't give up. Defend to the last ...

4/6/2008 9:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Why didn't Washington just ask Floyd to leave immediately. He was still handing around.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: Dave...Still am trying to figure who in DC was in charge at the time, and my thoughts were on Abe walking into this mess.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Susansweet: Say bless your heart and you can say it Steve.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Hanging around.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Widow: "Casual about details." Great description for a Secy of War.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) ole: He must have felt, even under Lincoln, that he had been hung out to dry.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) shapbruin: LF, no one seemed to have the stones, not to mention the crippling effect this "behaving like a Southern gentleman" blather seemed to have.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Pondered the same thing...Buchanan should have fired him, but obviously did not have the cajones to do so.

4/6/2008 9:08 pm (et) Susansweet: Abe wasn't president yet , it was Bucanan with a cabinet of Southerners.

4/6/2008 9:09 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Attitude in D.C. seemed to be - Maybe this will all just go away.

4/6/2008 9:09 pm (et) ole: Detzer does say that Buchanan hadn't figured out how to fire him.

4/6/2008 9:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Basecat, hadn't Floyd resigned but just not left yet. Thought I read that.

4/6/2008 9:09 pm (et) Widow: Old Buck either didn't know the damage Floyd was causing, or figured to just wait until Lincoln takes office.

4/6/2008 9:09 pm (et) shapbruin: More than one writer has described Buchanan as having his head in the sand, AHG has it right.

4/6/2008 9:10 pm (et) shapbruin: I think he just wanted to stave off disaster until he was out of office, and couched it with his diplomatic touches.

4/6/2008 9:10 pm (et) Basecat: Thing I noticed as well is just how powerless POTUS was bak then...and for Buchanan to think it could be worked out in Congress shows how out of touch he was with the situation, IMHO.

4/6/2008 9:10 pm (et) Susansweet: He said he would resign but took his time not signing the paper.

4/6/2008 9:10 pm (et) Basecat: LF...what Susan typed...:)

4/6/2008 9:10 pm (et) ole: LF. Buchanan had agreed to resign. He didn't get around to it.

4/6/2008 9:11 pm (et) Widow: Detzer's description of Buchanan's mindset is the clearest I've ever read. The diplomatist was good, the chief executive was not good.

4/6/2008 9:11 pm (et) Susansweet: This is true too Steve the President didn't have the power the president has today. Congress had that power

4/6/2008 9:11 pm (et) ole: I meant Floyd.

4/6/2008 9:11 pm (et) amhistoryguy: South Carolina state government was more committed to its path than was the U. S. government, IMO.

4/6/2008 9:11 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: No wonder Floyd wouldn't resign. He really controlled things for the South until they seceeded.

4/6/2008 9:12 pm (et) Susansweet: We have skipped right to Chapter 5

4/6/2008 9:12 pm (et) ole: That's a bit hard, LF. Floyd controlled very little. He was a ninny.

4/6/2008 9:12 pm (et) Basecat: Dave...The thing that always gets me with SC, especially the Charlestonians of the they figured US Military installations were SC property.

4/6/2008 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: But other States did too Steve, remember how Twiggs in Texas gives up with out a fight.

4/6/2008 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: Turns it right over.

4/6/2008 9:13 pm (et) ole: They did send representatives to Buchanan to negotiate regaining ownership.

4/6/2008 9:13 pm (et) shapbruin: I love the way Porter is introduced: strong-minded, opinionated, forward-thinking.

4/6/2008 9:13 pm (et) Widow: Agree, Basecat. The Commonwealth of SC owned whatever was in its border. Foreign powers please leave by the nearest exit.

4/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) shapbruin: quite a contrast to the intriguer in line w/ McClelland.

4/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The forts were on SC soil and if that soil wasn't part of the US, then it was there's (thinking like a S Carolinian).

4/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) ole: Yes. That was a Porter I wasn't familiar with.

4/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) Widow: Shap, maybe Fitz Porter met his match in Little Mac.

4/6/2008 9:14 pm (et) Basecat: Susan..True...but so wrong. The whole idea was to save their so-called "institution"...not taking over Government property.

4/6/2008 9:15 pm (et) mobile_96: Widow, not true, Sumter site was deeded, forever, to the Federal government.

4/6/2008 9:15 pm (et) shapbruin: I want to study Porter in more detail, hard to believe he could fall so far.

4/6/2008 9:15 pm (et) Basecat: An aside on Porter, he got screwed later in the war. IMHO, one of the better fighting Generals in the CW at that time.

4/6/2008 9:15 pm (et) Widow: Even Ninny #2, Gov. Pickens, knew that the Army of SC was no match for Anderson's little garrison. At least the weapons.

4/6/2008 9:16 pm (et) shapbruin: Basecat, he threw in with the wrong guy, though. Hard to back his behavior in 2nd Manassas campaign.

4/6/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: Mobile, everything changed after the ordinance of secession.

4/6/2008 9:16 pm (et) Basecat: Shap...That discussion is better suited for another evening...:)

4/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) amhistoryguy: On November 22, 1841, South Carolina ceded 125 acres of "Harbor Land" to the Federal Government _Fort Sumter. The deed is recorded in the Office of the Secretary of State of South Carolina.

4/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) shapbruin: Basecat, agree.

4/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) Widow: The only clear thinker in Washington was Scott. And he was in New York. Go figure.

4/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) shapbruin: I like how Detzer brings us into a city at fever pitch, as he describes, "hysteria".

4/6/2008 9:17 pm (et) mobile_96: Changed nothing since secession was not recognized by the Feds.

4/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...:) That document they seem to have forgotten. :)

4/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) shapbruin: Then ties that energy to a desire to keep slavery intact, pretty sly condemnation.

4/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: Did in the minds of the Charlestonians , Mobile.

4/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) amhistoryguy: This came after a length dispute over who owned Fort Sumter. - The final determination, made by South Carolina, was that it was Federal property.

4/6/2008 9:18 pm (et) Widow: Shap, yes, I can't figure out if the Charlestonians were terrified or tickled by Anderson's situation.

4/6/2008 9:19 pm (et) Widow: AHG, mainly because SC didn't want the expense of maintaining the forts.

4/6/2008 9:19 pm (et) Susansweet: You have three federal sites all together , Forts Moultrie and Sumter and Castle Pinkney.

4/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) ole: And Ft. Johnson.

4/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Widow: I was intrigued by Francis Pickens.

4/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Sumter is a man made island.

4/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Ft Johnson on the other side of Fort Sumter.

4/6/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Right at tip of Morris Island.

4/6/2008 9:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: In late November Anderson thought the best place for them to be was Fort Sumter. Also, Susan, Fort Johnson was mentioned.

4/6/2008 9:21 pm (et) Susansweet: Makes almost a triangle.

4/6/2008 9:21 pm (et) Widow: Evidently in antebellum America, the chief executive was the weakest branch of government.

4/6/2008 9:21 pm (et) Widow: Which explains why Pickens had his little 2-year turn playing governor. Buchanan got his 4-year turn.

4/6/2008 9:22 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, no one wanted another monarch, best way to do that in a government with 3 arms is keep the one closest to a throne weak, or at least feeling disempowered.

4/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Buchanan didn't have much support in the end, Widow. He had a bunch of Southerners in his cabinet who were ready to jump ship and their interests did not lie with the Federal Government.

4/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) mobile_96: President originally was only supposed to ensure the laws were obeyed, but slowly grew into a stronger portion of the government.

4/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) shapbruin: Lincoln and the suspension of writ of habeas corpus changed all that.

4/6/2008 9:23 pm (et) Widow: Perzackly, shap. That balance worked most of the time.

4/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: War seems to change our government, Mobile. It was different after the CW and again after WWII.

4/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) Basecat: Anyone find out or look if the Meade mentioned in the text was related to the Union General?

4/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Actually Shap, the change started with Washington.

4/6/2008 9:24 pm (et) Widow: Now, with Detzer's help, I can see better why Buchanan took the course he did. He was a man of his times, and not ready for the unthinkable future.

4/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) ole: Believe not, Base. But I could be wrong.

4/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) Basecat: Found stuff on his Dad...who died in 1862 after returning from Brazil.

4/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) Widow: Basecat, Lt. Richard Meade was a cousin of George. Maybe not 1st cousins. Lt. Meade ended up going South.

4/6/2008 9:25 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: AND...Buchanan sure didn't want the beginning of a war on his watch.

4/6/2008 9:26 pm (et) Widow: Lt. Richard Meade was from Petersburg.

4/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Technically it did start on his watch...and sadly he hedged so much instead of doing anything concrete.

4/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) ole: Can you imagine Buchanan's panic when it looked like there might be a war on his watch?

4/6/2008 9:27 pm (et) Widow: Can somebody explain something, please? Were the SC militia in front of the arsenal GUARDING it or KEEPING Anderson's men from it?

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, it started on his watch but I don't think it was his choice.

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) Widow: I mean, protecting the arsenal from possible mobs?

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...No...Main reason they were there was to guard against a mob from attacking the arsenal.

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) ole: Probably both. Although they didn't interfere when Foster took the 40 muskets.

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, wouldn't it be great if there were some diarists among those militiamen?

4/6/2008 9:28 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Widow - yes, both.

4/6/2008 9:30 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: There's probably material available written by some citizens of Charleston. Maybe Mary Chestnut - she had an opinion on everything.

4/6/2008 9:30 pm (et) ole: And she was a gossip.

4/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: You got that right Ole.

4/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Kinda surprising that we are 90 plus pages in the book, and I think Mary has only been mentioned once thus far.

4/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) Widow: Ole, she wrote carefully all the gossip she heard. :=))

4/6/2008 9:31 pm (et) Susansweet: May would have been in Washington at this time I would guess

4/6/2008 9:32 pm (et) Widow: Susan, you're right. James was in the Senate.

4/6/2008 9:32 pm (et) Susansweet: She is in Washington before the war actually starts.

4/6/2008 9:32 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I just checked the index - she's in the book - couldn't be a CW book without her.

4/6/2008 9:33 pm (et) Susansweet: MEADE, Richard Kidder, a Representative from Virginia; born near Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, Va., July 29, 1803; pursued an academic course; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Va.; served in the State senate 1835-1838; elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of George C. Dromgoole; reelected to the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses and served from August 5, 1847, to March 3, 1853; appointed by President Buchanan as Minister to Brazil and served from July 27, 1857, to July 9, 1861; returned to Virginia and devoted himself to the cause of the Confederacy; died in Petersburg, Va., April 20, 1862; interment in Old Blandford Cemetery.

4/6/2008 9:33 pm (et) ole: Until James resigned at least.

4/6/2008 9:33 pm (et) Widow: I'm boggled by the casual/sloppy way the communications were sent.

4/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) Basecat: Susan...That's the Father...

4/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) Widow: Sorta like postcards by snail mail when you need coded laser commo.

4/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: oops

4/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) Widow: Thanks, Susan, that's helpful.

4/6/2008 9:34 pm (et) ole: We might never know what communications were intercepted in Charleston.

4/6/2008 9:35 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That's OK Susan, you didn't drop any letters.

4/6/2008 9:35 pm (et) Widow: Did you notice that Porter made it to Charleston from Washington in 2 days? That's how long it will take me!

4/6/2008 9:35 pm (et) ole: Bet they were long days ... and by rail.

4/6/2008 9:36 pm (et) ole: Probably.

4/6/2008 9:36 pm (et) Basecat: One thing that stood out for me in the chapter, how Engineer officers thought themselves the elite of the army, and that wacky formula Mahan used to describe how to build fortifications.:)

4/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) Susansweet: That is because first in class at west point became engineers.

4/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) ole: Only the top of the USMA graduates got engineering assignments.

4/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) Widow: Base, that formula was just to calculate the size of the parade ground. For pete's sake. Mahan would have had a fit to see the forts on the frontier.

4/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It's no wonder they didn't have many engineers. Try figuring out that formula, even with our calculators.

4/6/2008 9:37 pm (et) Susansweet: gmta Ole.

4/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: Am gonna move to Chapter 5... Twilight of the Old Union Know some have posted comments on that already, and would like folks to stay within the confines of each chapter...Thanks.

4/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) Widow: No stockades, no parade ground, just flatter rocks.

4/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) mobile_96: West Point was an engineering school more than a military school.

4/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) Widow: Sorry, Base.

4/6/2008 9:38 pm (et) shapbruin: Detzer bugs me here, he does a really nice job of describing characters without waffling.

4/6/2008 9:39 pm (et) shapbruin: But when he gives us Buchanan, he says he's "not quite as irresolute as he seemed" but also that he "changed his basic stance several times"

4/6/2008 9:39 pm (et) shapbruin: Either be objective and give facts, or editorialize with some vigor (which is what he usually does)

4/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) shapbruin: Maybe he feels a bit bad for the poor schmo and doesn't want to let him have it.

4/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) Basecat: Reading the opening paragraph of the chapter, made me realize just how young DC was at the time of the CW....and what a mess trying to get around it must have been with all of the projects being built in that congested area of the district.

4/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) Widow: Shap, maybe Detzer meant that Buck firmly and resolutely changed his mind whenever necessary.

4/6/2008 9:40 pm (et) Susansweet: It was not the DC of today at all.

4/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: What surprised me in this chapter was the actual size of the War Department - 93 for eight bureaus. I wonder how that compares to today.

4/6/2008 9:41 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I was struck by the notation of the Allegiance's that were spread throughout Washington, Government, military etc.

4/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) shapbruin: Detzer gets back in the driver's seat when he describes (read: demolishes) Bucks cabinet.

4/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) Widow: I noticed that Mount Pleasant was little village near Fort Moultrie. That where we're mustering.

4/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) Basecat: DC was formed in only 70 years old at the time of the start of the CW.

4/6/2008 9:42 pm (et) amhistoryguy: An organized attempt to topple the U. S. government in those early days would have likely been successful.

4/6/2008 9:43 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Same here, and for folks worrying about a war being started, shows how unprepared they were for it.

4/6/2008 9:43 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, do you mean that in a tongue in cheek way?

4/6/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: Nah, Dave. A coup d'etat would have become a coup d'mud.

4/6/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: Sullivan's island.

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) shapbruin: Basecat, do you think people were worried about a war starting, or where they following the attitude of Buck, that this would all blow over?

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: It is interesting in this chapter how many men at the top were Southerners.

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) Widow: Shap, no, our Holiday Inn is in Mt. Pleasant.

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, no I meant your comment about Buchanan

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) shapbruin: Sorry.

4/6/2008 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Also interesting was that even Jeff Davis thought Floyd was doing a "shoddy" job.

4/6/2008 9:45 pm (et) Widow: Susan, 'twas ever thus since 1776. Esp. the Virginians believed they were the center of the American universe.

4/6/2008 9:45 pm (et) ole: Believe Buck knew it wouldn't blow over. He just wanted to avoid having it blow up on his watch.

4/6/2008 9:46 pm (et) Widow: Ole, or at least to put the responsibility on Congress, the most powerful branch.

4/6/2008 9:46 pm (et) Basecat: Shap...IMHO, they were worried about a war starting. Especially with what was going on out in the Midwest at the time as well.

4/6/2008 9:47 pm (et) shapbruin: Base, that's a great point. Again, the western theater gets short shrift. Was Buchanan president during Bleeding Kansas?

4/6/2008 9:48 pm (et) Widow: Base, Detzer mentioned again that the "North" and "South" didn't really exist, but instead the divisions were wider, deeper, and more serious than geography.

4/6/2008 9:48 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Found that comment on Davis ironic as well...Hard to figure that one, but then again, and IIRC...he was one of the last Southern Senators to resign.

4/6/2008 9:48 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Detzer gives us a good feel for what Washington was like. I think everyone was in limbo. Especially the southerners who must have been careful whenever they made a decision to be careful as to how it would affect a possible Confederacy.

4/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) Widow: Davis was a good Secy of War, and willing to make decisions, take responsibility. Um, camels, anyone?

4/6/2008 9:49 pm (et) shapbruin: Just looked it up on wikipedia, looks like he inherited it. Maybe that's why he was so afraid of another blowup on his watch...

4/6/2008 9:50 pm (et) shapbruin: After being thwarted by Congress on Kansas' statehood, and seen Sumner caned on the Senate floor, he probably just wanted to stay the hell out of the way.

4/6/2008 9:50 pm (et) Widow: Shap, who inherited what, please?

4/6/2008 9:50 pm (et) shapbruin: Buchanan inheriting the Bleeding Kansas disaster.

4/6/2008 9:52 pm (et) shapbruin: I think that a clear link could probably be drawn to the events of 1856 and Buchanan's clear conflict aversion in 1859 and 1860.

4/6/2008 9:53 pm (et) Basecat: Also interesting in this chapter, is Eba, Anderson's wife making the trek to DC to talk to Buchanan. I did not know that, and for her to leave the hotel in NYC, she must have been very concerned about her husband's situation in Charleston.

4/6/2008 9:53 pm (et) ole: It remains that he was the right man at the wrong time.

4/6/2008 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: That surprised me Steve.

4/6/2008 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Now the book says that Trescott and Cobb wee the ones who advised Floyd that sending reinforcements to Anderson would be unwise. Well, Trescott was the highest ranking South Carolinion in Buck's government and Cobb was an influential Georgian. Why douldn't someone have seen through that.

4/6/2008 9:54 pm (et) Widow: Buchanan was a sweet old gent, he wouldn't be rude to her. He surely must have wondered, "What? A major's wife? To see me?"

4/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) Basecat: LF..and Trescott stayed in DC after resigning...and Floyd still talked to him..:) Were folks dumb in 1860 or what? :)

4/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) ole: Floyd was also on the cabinet. Seems he did a flip-flop right about then.

4/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: Jesse Fremont had done it before , Libbie Custer did the same thing later. They all lobbied presidents for their husbands

4/6/2008 9:55 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Base, who said politics make strange bedfellows.

4/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) Widow: Base, my thought is "willful ignorance."

4/6/2008 9:56 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...Highly doubt that he looked on her as just a Major's wife.

4/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Makes me kinda wish I was in DC as a fly on the wall but knowing my luck, I would have been hit with a fly swatter at the most inopportune time.:)

4/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) Widow: If Mrs. Anderson had info about her husband's situation, how come the president didn't have it? That's my difficulty.

4/6/2008 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: LOL Steve

4/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Nah, more than likely they would have got you with some tobacco juice.

4/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) Susansweet: ewwwwww

4/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) Basecat: Either way...LOL..:)

4/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) Widow: LF, good one. Or the dog walking past the tire, Steve?

4/6/2008 9:58 pm (et) ole: Has anyone noticed Detzer's fixation with tobacco spit?

4/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) Widow: Ninnies who spit. Better to spit than to swish and swallow.

4/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: Now that you mention it Ole .

4/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It adds flavor ole : )

4/6/2008 9:59 pm (et) ole: He almost can't mention a city without mentioning tobacco spit.

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Widow: Actually, Ole, it was so commonplace, there was a huge shortage of spittoons.

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Susansweet: Dave lol

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Widow: spittoons. cuspidors.

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...Heartily disagree... Buchanan did have reports from Anderson on the situation down there....Problem was he did not reply for the most part.

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) mobile_96: Ole, not just Detzer, have seen many writers mention it

4/6/2008 10:00 pm (et) ole: Seems like spittoons were largely ignored, even when there were some.

4/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) Widow: One-way commo is as useless as no commo. "Helloo, anybody there?"

4/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: With all the other "stuff" in the street, why bother with spittoons?

4/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) shapbruin: Base, even more evidence he wanted no part of the dispute.

4/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) ole: I particularly noted that on April 1, he hadn't heard from Washington since February 23rd.

4/6/2008 10:01 pm (et) shapbruin: His comment to Lincoln his last day in office is also telling.

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) shapbruin: "If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland you are a happy man."

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) ole: LF: We're talking about inside spitting. Carpets, walls, floors, shoes .

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) Basecat: Shap...Frankly, I just don't think he knew what to do.

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Shap that is such an interesting comment from Buchannan.

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) Widow: Anderson was right when he said he had the responsibility but not the authority to carry it out.

4/6/2008 10:02 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: You know, hindsight is great, but let's put ourselves in Buchanan's position. Send ammunition and start a war, don't send ammunition and lost the forts. Lose, lose.

4/6/2008 10:03 pm (et) ole: It wasn't exactly a win-win situation.

4/6/2008 10:03 pm (et) shapbruin: A senator from South Carolina had beaten another senator on the floor and receiving applause, Bleeding Kansas and his rebuttal there, I think he was absolutely cooked, and not a little scared.

4/6/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: Shap he was also sent dozen of canes to replace the one that he broke over the man's head.

4/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) ole: With hindsight, if Buck had resupplied and reinforced the forts before Beau arrived, there might have been less trouble in April.

4/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) Widow: Moreover, the people wouldn't have stood for a president who acted the way we moderns are used to.

4/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) shapbruin: I agree with you base, but he didn't know what to do because he was stupid or ignorant, I think he was completed cowed and intimidated.

4/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) amhistoryguy: In October of 1861 Buchanan wrote a letter to Lincoln inquiring about some books he left in the White House, he ended his letter saying good luck and hope you are happier than your predecessor was.

4/6/2008 10:04 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Which is a fine point, and one I am guilty of here. That said, they gave way too much "leniency" to SC, and they were not prepared for War either...and can see Ole just finished what I was thinking.:)

4/6/2008 10:05 pm (et) shapbruin: Detzer actually shows him to be clever man, with his diplomatic wiles.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) Widow: Base, states' rights was the prevailing doctrine, all over. The presidency was weaker than a state governor.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) shapbruin: But doesn't give any insight as to why he mailed it in in the end.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) Basecat: Especially with Foreign policy Shap.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) ole: Between a rock and a hard place isn't a coveted position.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I can't help but think the timing of the conflict, with Buchanan having a case of "senioritis" in his last months, really worked to the favor of South Carolina.

4/6/2008 10:06 pm (et) shapbruin: Imagine the depths of his intimidation to not want to fire an incompetent and corrupt SC man in his own cabinet! Did he think he would be beaten as well?

4/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) ole: And how about Buell's memorandum?

4/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...Which is where I find it interesting about the State's Rights question and then the use of the US Constitution as the basis for secession. Makes no sense to me.

4/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) shapbruin: Boy, I'm going nuts with this line of thinking.

4/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yes, AMG, especially with the lack of support in the cabinet.

4/6/2008 10:07 pm (et) ole: Floyd was Virginian.

4/6/2008 10:08 pm (et) Widow: Base, reason and logic, constitutional law, were outpaced and outnumbered in those terrifying months.

4/6/2008 10:09 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...IMHO weak argument from those in SC...and an abuse of the US Constitution to fit their aims.

4/6/2008 10:09 pm (et) Widow: There were many who wanted to avoid open war, hated to see what was coming. But nobody knew how to stop it. Wiles, lies, manipulation, and most of all - nobody had EVER faced anything like this crisis before.

4/6/2008 10:09 pm (et) shapbruin: oops, good catch ole

4/6/2008 10:09 pm (et) Basecat: And yet again I post, they never gave Abe a chance.

4/6/2008 10:10 pm (et) Basecat: Not true....secession had been an issue years before.

4/6/2008 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: New England States.

4/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) ole: Buck's own Attorney General advised him that secession was illegal, but there was no legal way to coerce the secesh to stay.

4/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Also many who wanted war, wanted open conflict, and did all they could to start it. On BOTH sides of the Mason Dixon line.

4/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) shapbruin: New York as well.

4/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) ole: The rock. The hard place.

4/6/2008 10:11 pm (et) Basecat: And Missouri Compromise...If the South did not get that, they would have walked away years earlier..

4/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) Widow: Yup, AHG. One short glorious battle, we win.

4/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) ole: That went south with the Dred Scott Decision and the Kansas Nebraska Act.

4/6/2008 10:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Ditto, AMG, emotions pushed it all over the edge.

4/6/2008 10:14 pm (et) Basecat: My dealing with distractions here, and seeing as we have talked quite a bit about Buchanan, let's continue with thoughts and such on Chapter six... Commanders and Chiefs.

4/6/2008 10:15 pm (et) Widow: Don Carlos Buell, giving Anderson advice. What a scene.

4/6/2008 10:15 pm (et) Widow: BTW, that's a chapter title that I liked.

4/6/2008 10:16 pm (et) shapbruin: Don Carlos Buell giving anyone advice! Ug

4/6/2008 10:16 pm (et) Basecat: And its a recurring theme, and aptly described by Detzer, as those who visited all told him to move to Fort Sumter.

4/6/2008 10:16 pm (et) ole: Buell with the authority of the Secretary of War.

4/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) ole: Even Scott advised him that before he reached Moultrie.

4/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I thought Buell's advice was pretty sound.

4/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) ole: Porter and Buell did, as well.

4/6/2008 10:17 pm (et) Basecat: Ole...which is another fine point, as Buchanan had no clue that Floyd sent him there. Give Buell some credit, as he wrote down his orders and made copies, and did not stick to what Floyd wished...verbal communication.

4/6/2008 10:18 pm (et) ole: Buell's instructions do dispel "the sneaky night move" argument.

4/6/2008 10:19 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Go did I..:) Am no fan of Buell, but in this matter he was most correct.

4/6/2008 10:19 pm (et) shapbruin: I need to sign off a bit early, will definitely join everyone next Sunday. Have a great week everyone, hopefully we'll chat along the way.

4/6/2008 10:19 pm (et) Widow: Shap, what a pleasure. Indeed.

4/6/2008 10:19 pm (et) Basecat: BTW...found it ironic...Buell was criticized for being slow during the war, and yet he was in and out of Charleston in record speed..:)

4/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I couldn't believe Floyd actually signed off on the memo, thereby authorizing Anderson to move to Fort Sumter. And STILL nothing happened.

4/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) amhistoryguy: He could have done simply as he was told and back away, but he seemed to be thinking ahead to protecting Anderson with written orders.

4/6/2008 10:20 pm (et) ole: He didn't much like what he saw.

4/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: By, Shap. See you next week.

4/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) ole: LF: Floyd was not known for his attention to detail.

4/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) Basecat: LF...and how about him not really reading the written orders Buell came back to DC with...Unreal..:)

4/6/2008 10:21 pm (et) Widow: AHG, I agree, that's how I saw it too.

4/6/2008 10:22 pm (et) Basecat: Dave and Ole...Very true...and those who were sent there all had the same conclusions.

4/6/2008 10:22 pm (et) ole: Detzer has, to this point, railed on Floyd's ninnyness.

4/6/2008 10:22 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, those were the one's he signed off on, weren't they.

4/6/2008 10:22 pm (et) Widow: Good new word, ole.

4/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Dear President Buchanan, If it quacks like a duck....

4/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) Widow: Airhead, maybe, also?

4/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) ole: One of the main points here is that Anderson was given official permission to move. It seems that Buchanan had no idea of what he was reading either.

4/6/2008 10:23 pm (et) shapbruin: logs off.

4/6/2008 10:24 pm (et) Widow: Buck had no military experience, didn't know how to interpret the consequences of action A or choice B. Me neither.

4/6/2008 10:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: If you let a subordinate screw up, it's not your fault. If he saves the day, you are a hero for putting him in the position.

4/6/2008 10:24 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Foster, about this time, takes matters into his own hands and starts contacting DC and anyone else who will listen.

4/6/2008 10:24 pm (et) Basecat: Yet another thing I learned Ole, was how soon folks were advising Anderson to leave Moultrie and move to Sumter.

4/6/2008 10:25 pm (et) Susansweet: If you look at the two forts it makes sense.

4/6/2008 10:25 pm (et) ole: Detzer implies that things were tense between Foster and Anderson. Another book I'm reading implies cooperation.

4/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) Widow: Base, any artilleryman could see the difference between the two forts.

4/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) ole: Beauregard certainly did.

4/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) Basecat: sure it does, but they had a tough time convincing those in charge that was the right move.

4/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) Widow: Especially with the mayor's militia watching every move.

4/6/2008 10:26 pm (et) Susansweet: And Castle Pinckney sits in the middle of the harbor across from Moultrie.

4/6/2008 10:27 pm (et) Susansweet: And at high tide has little ground.

4/6/2008 10:27 pm (et) ole: Near Charleston. Guess the idea was if a ship could get by Moultrie and Sumter, Castle Pinckney might take over.

4/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Advantage of Sumter is it is surrounded by water and further out at the edge of the Harbor.

4/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Exactly so Ole.

4/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) Basecat: Other thing I found interesting...Those stuck in the fort, and could see the bonfires and the "excitement" following secession...That must have been an odd night. And most in the ranks were not native born, but could probably feel the sense of foreboding as what they wished would not happen, would happen eventually.

4/6/2008 10:28 pm (et) Susansweet: It was the last bastion of all the surrounding forts.

4/6/2008 10:29 pm (et) Susansweet: Would be harder to shell Sumter . They could not hit it from the Battery. Had to hit it from Moultrie or Johnston.

4/6/2008 10:29 pm (et) ole: Or Cummins Point.

4/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Or other Batteries set up on the islands around Charleston , Morris island and James Island Sullivan.

4/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I thought it interesting that Foster didn't know who he could trust, even among his men. He wanted to arm them but didn't know who to give guns to.

4/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) amhistoryguy: That's what I meant earlier Base, how did Anderson get any sleep. Washington being no help, and fearing every night that  mob would try to take the fort.

4/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Cummins Point is right there at the end of Morris Island.

4/6/2008 10:30 pm (et) Widow: Scary thought, LF. It's a wonder they didn't all go crazy.

4/6/2008 10:31 pm (et) ole: This wasn't in the book but the endnoted references. Foster's report claims that the greatest damage was done by the mortars.

4/6/2008 10:31 pm (et) Basecat: Meeting with Floyd, Scott and Buchanan is interesting as well...Deliberations about other forts down south, especially those that were not manned etc...Focus should have been on Anderson's predicament.

4/6/2008 10:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Base, he really puts the reader at the event, doesn't he. You can almost see the bonfires from across the water and hear the noise.

4/6/2008 10:31 pm (et) Basecat: Dave...Very true...and how about the wives taking up watch so their husbands could try and get some rest...Did not know that either..

4/6/2008 10:32 pm (et) Susansweet: Had to use Mortars to reach that far.

4/6/2008 10:32 pm (et) Susansweet: Strong ladies .

4/6/2008 10:32 pm (et) ole: Mortars are not known for their range but for their plunging fire.

4/6/2008 10:33 pm (et) Basecat: LF...That he does...could picture the faces of those inside the fort watching the festivities from the four miles of brine that separated the Fort from the city.

4/6/2008 10:33 pm (et) Widow: Right, Susan.

4/6/2008 10:33 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Did anyone else enjoy reading about how Foster got ehe 40 rifles out of the arsenal? I never would have returned them, not witht he situation the way it was.

4/6/2008 10:34 pm (et) Susansweet: Reach and go over the walls.

4/6/2008 10:34 pm (et) Widow: LF, I liked that old ordnance sergeant.

4/6/2008 10:34 pm (et) ole: Floyd told him to return them. He had no choice. But Humphreys was a bit devious wasn't he? Can't give you two, you must take 40.

4/6/2008 10:34 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, he was a closet Yank.

4/6/2008 10:34 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Neither would I...I would have told the guy on the dock to go **** ...well you know what I mean.:)

4/6/2008 10:35 pm (et) Widow: Foster to mayor: "40 muskets, sir?"

4/6/2008 10:35 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I would have liked to have Foster say - "you want em, come and get em."

4/6/2008 10:35 pm (et) ole: That was a different interdiction. The 40 muskets went without a hitch -- until Trescott told Floyd and Floyd told Foster to give them back. Doesn't make a lot of sense does it?

4/6/2008 10:36 pm (et) Susansweet: Or we will return them piece by piece starting with the ammo?

4/6/2008 10:36 pm (et) Widow: Again, who's in charge here?

4/6/2008 10:36 pm (et) Basecat: Other image that stuck out with me...mentioned the soldiers, but mind wandered to what the free blacks and slaves in Charleston were thinking as they witnessed "secession" first hand.

4/6/2008 10:36 pm (et) ole: The man can't have 40 authorized muskets from a US Arsenal?

4/6/2008 10:36 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Sure it makes sense, Ole, Remember when Trescott was from.

4/6/2008 10:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Remember WHERE Trescott was from.

4/6/2008 10:37 pm (et) Widow: Base, I'm not sure secession mattered much to them. THEIR lives weren't going to change. Never.

4/6/2008 10:37 pm (et) Susansweet: I liked the final page about Allegiance that the soldiers had chosen their Allegiance not given to them at birth and that what it was all about was a difference in Allegiance

4/6/2008 10:38 pm (et) ole: For 40 lousy muskets?

4/6/2008 10:39 pm (et) Susansweet: The Charlestonians changing allegiance to the Palmetto Flag is not a real change of Allegiance.

4/6/2008 10:39 pm (et) ole: Don't know if that makes Floyd complicit or simply a ninny.

4/6/2008 10:39 pm (et) Susansweet: Most had been raised in a world that taught them they were special.

4/6/2008 10:39 pm (et) Widow: A Virginia ninny. Different breed from Palmetto ninnies.

4/6/2008 10:40 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Susan, I'm glad you noted that. I really liked that, read it over a few times and let it sink in.

4/6/2008 10:40 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I have to think that everyone's lives changed by secession Widow. Especially Free Blacks and Black slaves in Charleston.

4/6/2008 10:41 pm (et) Widow: Not only special, Susan, but also they were men whose honor must be defended. By "honor," read "don't disagree with me or I'll blow your head off."

4/6/2008 10:41 pm (et) Basecat: Widow...Tend to think that those of color knew that secession would make their lives even worse.

4/6/2008 10:41 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: So why did they think they were special? Entitled? To what? A way of life?

4/6/2008 10:42 pm (et) Susansweet: Lincoln Fan I loved that last page and the whole explanation.

4/6/2008 10:42 pm (et) ole: The handwriting was already on the wall, Base. Things had already gotten worse well before secession.

4/6/2008 10:42 pm (et) Widow: I hadn't considered that, Base. I figured that they just worked from can to can't and wouldn't have much way of knowing what secession would ultimately lead to.

4/6/2008 10:43 pm (et) ole: Excellent question, LF. Whatever their reason, they did think the sun rose and set over their heinies.

4/6/2008 10:43 pm (et) Basecat: Ole...Very true, but this was a final nail in the coffin so to speak...IMHO.

4/6/2008 10:43 pm (et) Widow: Actually, nobody knew what secession would finally lead to.

4/6/2008 10:44 pm (et) Widow: "Just let us go in peace."

4/6/2008 10:44 pm (et) Basecat: Secession meant war...they knew...IMHO.

4/6/2008 10:45 pm (et) ole: Amen, Base. They had hoped, but they had to have known better.

4/6/2008 10:45 pm (et) Susansweet: Blacks in Charleston had always had some free rein, the market place was where they sold items made by themselves and they were allowed to keep the money. That is all changing now as war comes closer

4/6/2008 10:46 pm (et) Widow: Base, I think some WANTED it to mean war, but to most, it was unthinkable. Virginia and the Upper South didn't secede until much later.

4/6/2008 10:46 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I think the book said in the first chapter that things had started to change for the blacks in Charleston during the summer of 1860.

4/6/2008 10:47 pm (et) ole: Miss Susan, that was true until John Brown. Things got considerably tighter after that.

4/6/2008 10:47 pm (et) Basecat: And the reason the seceded when they did was because of Lincoln's response to the firing on Sumter. SC ensured that a war would occur.

4/6/2008 10:47 pm (et) Susansweet: The blacks in the city were not the field hands but the house slaves . They were very much in the know about what was going on , they were the "silent witness" to everything as people acted like they weren't there and talked in front of them

4/6/2008 10:47 pm (et) amhistoryguy: "This step, secession, once taken, can never be recalled. We and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war." - Alexander Stephens.

4/6/2008 10:48 pm (et) ole: It was Toombs, wasn't it, who said pretty much the same thing?

4/6/2008 10:49 pm (et) ole: Something like, we will lose all our friends in the North.

4/6/2008 10:50 pm (et) amhistoryguy: "Peaceable secession is an utter impossibility" - Daniel Webster February 1860

4/6/2008 10:51 pm (et) Susansweet: Didn't realize Daniel Webster was still alive in 1860. thought he had gone the way of Clay and Calhoun

4/6/2008 10:51 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Does anyone think the average South Carolinion wanted war or to seceed. We've been reading mostly about the politicians and the residents of Charleston.

4/6/2008 10:51 pm (et) Basecat: Well, we have been chatting for close to 2 hours on the book...Guess that means all are enjoying the read. :) HOMEWORK for next Sunday will be Chapters 7, 8, & 9. :)

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) Susansweet: Got it Steve thanks.

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) ole: They were pretty emphatic in their election to secede, but then, almost all of them were slave owners.

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) Widow: This book is turning out to be MUCH better than I expected. What fun.

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Thanks Steve

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Thanks, Base. Hold my question till next week. Great discussion!!!

4/6/2008 10:52 pm (et) Basecat: LF...Good question...and don't think talking about the non slave owners.

4/6/2008 10:53 pm (et) ole: Here, here! Great discussion.

4/6/2008 10:53 pm (et) ole: They were S. Carolinians .... a breed apart and above all others.