Fort Sumter, Charleston, and The Beginning of the Civil War
This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 04/13/08 and covered Chapters 7, 8, & 94/13/2008 9:05 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Good evening everyone, and WELCOME, to our 3rd session of Book Chat on David Detzer’s “Allegiance - Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War.” Just a reminder, please try to keep the discussion within the chapter we are discussing, and of course please refrain from using private messaging during chat. Thanks.
4/13/2008 9:06 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER SEVEN - SLIM PICKENS STOUT FORT - Let’s begin with comments or discussion of Francis Pickens. I thought it almost prophetic that Pickens declared himself “insensible to fear.” A little bit of fear could have gone a long way to keeping the situation under control.4/13/2008 9:06 pm (et) shapbruin: Ok, so if anyone says that the South didn't go off half cocked and had any semblance of organization or thought need look no further than this freak!
4/13/2008 9:07 pm (et) Susansweet: Dave I think the quote at the start of the chapter is also prophetic about his character.4/13/2008 9:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Pickens sounds like absolutely the worst person to be in that position at the time.
4/13/2008 9:07 pm (et) shapbruin: Maybe not the South as a whole, but certainly South Carolina.4/13/2008 9:07 pm (et) Widow: Shap, Pickens was a man of his time and place. Not defending him, just explaining why he was the gov.
4/13/2008 9:08 pm (et) shapbruin: He is the embodiment of the hysteria that Detzer has described in previous chapters.4/13/2008 9:08 pm (et) ole: It was his turn, wasn't it?
4/13/2008 9:08 pm (et) amhistoryguy: He certainly did not go into his new job with a "don't rock the boat" attitude.4/13/2008 9:08 pm (et) Widow: Governors weren't supposed to have leadership qualities. He was a successful governor, don't you see :=))
4/13/2008 9:08 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, I agree, but it's interesting that in an era where politics was so importnat 75% voter turnouts, etc, any position could be so easily overlooked4/13/2008 9:09 pm (et) Widow: AHG, I like the chapter title.
4/13/2008 9:09 pm (et) Susansweet: As they said he would have never been remembered at any other time in South Carolina's history.
4/13/2008 9:09 pm (et) shapbruin: If a state had any semblance of organization, planning, forethought, there would have been some sort of succession/leadership plan in place.4/13/2008 9:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: He was the governor, widow, because it was a figurehead position at the time. Sounds like they wanted to put him in some unthreatening position. Little did they know. Like the book said, all of a sudden he had the power of a president.
4/13/2008 9:10 pm (et) Widow: They never foresaw the need for sensible plans.4/13/2008 9:10 pm (et) shapbruin: Indeed, because there seems to have been no thought about what it would actually mean to secede, as far as nuts and bolts governing go.
4/13/2008 9:10 pm (et) Susansweet: His only duty was over the militia and that was an empty right at that time.4/13/2008 9:10 pm (et) Susansweet: Little did they know.
4/13/2008 9:10 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Very interesting that one man could take upon himself so much responsibility and act basically on his own.4/13/2008 9:11 pm (et) shapbruin:For goodness sake, this guy gave the Union causus belli when he sent armed ships into the bay between the forts!
4/13/2008 9:11 pm (et) shapbruin: I'm a little fired up about this, you can probably tell.4/13/2008 9:11 pm (et) Susansweet: And it took four days and seven ballots to elect him.
4/13/2008 9:11 pm (et) ole: Were those ships armed?4/13/2008 9:11 pm (et) Widow: Oh, no, my good sir, we're just, um, measuring the rocks out here with our armed boats.
4/13/2008 9:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Was part of the reason he had so much authority at the time because South Carolina had not yet set up a legislature?4/13/2008 9:12 pm (et) Susansweet: Getting ahead of the chapter.
4/13/2008 9:12 pm (et) shapbruin: I believe Detzer referred to armed steamers that Anderson was afraid would fire on the transports.4/13/2008 9:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The relationship between a states federal representatives and that states governing body is very interesting and somewhat unsettling.
4/13/2008 9:13 pm (et) shapbruin: AHG, please elaborate.4/13/2008 9:13 pm (et) Widow: I believe nobody had any of it figured out. If SC became an independent commonwealth, then would its state constitution continue?
4/13/2008 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: I couldn't believe he wrote a letter to Buchanan right after election and he was so missiformed.4/13/2008 9:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I don't believe so, Widow. I don't remember the book mentioning a new constitution at the time.
4/13/2008 9:14 pm (et) Widow: Susan, Pickens didn't even KNOW that he didn't know. And he didn't know to ask how much he didn't know.4/13/2008 9:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Kind of shows where the drive for secession originated. - It was not a state's senators directing the movement - it was state government.
4/13/2008 9:15 pm (et) Widow: A state government elected by - guess which voters.4/13/2008 9:15 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, the most dangerous kind of leader, someone who doesn't understand their own strength.
4/13/2008 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: I like the description of him as having as much charm as a colicky baby.4/13/2008 9:15 pm (et) amhistoryguy: In many cases, the representatives in congress were continuing to work in their committees.
4/13/2008 9:15 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Pickens didn't know and I don't think he WANTED to know.4/13/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: Shap, right you are. Second most dangerous: the one who doesn't understand his own weaknesses.
4/13/2008 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: And proved himself to be asinine.4/13/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: Mary Chestnut had a low opinion of him. I agree with her.
4/13/2008 9:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: For Pete's sake, even the guys in Washington couldn't control him.4/13/2008 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: I can just imagine the look on Davis and Slidell's faces when they read the Pickens letter.
4/13/2008 9:18 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Most of us seem to have a rather low opinion of Pickens.4/13/2008 9:19 pm (et) shapbruin: I bet they felt there was a pang of regret, like "what have we gotten ourselves into?"
4/13/2008 9:19 pm (et) Widow: Detzer didn't say much about the SC legislature's role. Guess they all signed the secession ordinance, then left it to Frankie Boy.4/13/2008 9:19 pm (et) amhistoryguy: As much as we recognize the right person in the right time, I guess the opposite can be true as well.
4/13/2008 9:19 pm (et) shapbruin: AHG, I have a low opinion of South Carolina's impetuous, unplanned, totally irresponsible leapt to secession4/13/2008 9:20 pm (et) ole: I don't consider Pickens dangerous. More of a court jester.
4/13/2008 9:20 pm (et) shapbruin: When any organization acts like that, of course unqualified people are going to be thrust into untenable positions.4/13/2008 9:20 pm (et) Widow: Shap, a lot of South Carolinians saw it that way too. But they were outshouted, overwhelmed.
4/13/2008 9:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I never knew much about Pickens before I read this book. It's going to be interesting to see how he reacts to all the upcoming events. Also, to see what part he had in the actual beginning of hostilities.4/13/2008 9:21 pm (et) amhistoryguy: When the move is initially intended to be a bluff, not much planning is necessary. Not having the foresight to have a plan when your bluff is called, can be fatal.
4/13/2008 9:21 pm (et) ole: Other than spreading rumors, Fan, not that much.4/13/2008 9:21 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, that's mob rule, no doubt. Just inexcusable.
4/13/2008 9:21 pm (et) shapbruin: AHG, well put.4/13/2008 9:22 pm (et) mobile_96: Are there any bio's of Pickens?
4/13/2008 9:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: This chapter also had some information on the building of Fort Sumter.4/13/2008 9:23 pm (et) Widow: Yes, mobile. Page 93 in "Allegiance."
4/13/2008 9:23 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: What about Fort Sumter? I enjoyed reading the history of the fort.4/13/2008 9:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The construction of the Fort being the subject of some research I did a few years ago, let me add a couple of tidbits.
4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) Widow: LF, so did I. No idea how long it took to construct.4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) 20thMass: I loved visiting the fort.
4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Yes Mobile I see a biography listed in the bibliography.4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: A couple of interesting facts about Fort Sumter, in 1828 when it was decided that the fort would be named after General Thomas Sumter, he was still living. He died in 1832 before the completion of the fort.
4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Not an excerpt, but more a book.4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) shapbruin: Who was the famous builder of military forts in Europe?
4/13/2008 9:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The “nagging legal and political problems” that Detzer mentions caused the suspension of work on the fort was a claim by William Laval that he was the owner of this area of “land” in Charleston harbor. The political question of the authority to build was then brought up, despite the fact that South Carolina representatives had been voting for the appropriations for building the fort for years.4/13/2008 9:25 pm (et) Babs: I thought it was a good explanation of how the weakest parts were toward the city as the builders did not expect attack from that direction.
4/13/2008 9:25 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It took 3 years to work out the problem, resulting in the denial of Lavel’s claim, but then appropriation problems kept work from resuming until January of 1841. The problems of ownership were resolved 10 months later, when on November 22, 1841, when South Carolina granted title of 125 acres of “harbor land,” to the Federal government.4/13/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: John Edmunds , Francis Pickens and the Politics of Destruction.
4/13/2008 9:25 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It took 10 years and $500,000 to complete the “island,” and another 10 years and $500,000 to complete the fort itself. By December of 1860, only about 80 % of the interior of the fort was complete. Of the 135 guns, only 15 had been mounted..4/13/2008 9:26 pm (et) Widow: AHG, excellent info. Did Sumter really have all 135 guns in Dec 1860?
4/13/2008 9:26 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: They never heard of eminent domain?4/13/2008 9:27 pm (et) amhistoryguy: IIRC Widow, about half the guns were actually there, but not mounted, and in some cases without mounts available..
4/13/2008 9:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Dave that is what they tell you when you visit.4/13/2008 9:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Not all guns there and not all that were there were mounted.
4/13/2008 9:28 pm (et) Widow: So, AHG, the unmounted guns were useless to Anderson's garrison?4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Laval claimed he surveyed the "land" but working against him was the depth of the water. He would have not been able to stretch the chain to survey the "land."
4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: And the ones mounted were facing seaward.4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Even without all the guns mounted, it was still the safest place for them to be. Anderson had to work with what he had.
4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) amhistoryguy: While Anderson's men were at Sumter they worked hard to reposition the guns that were there, and mount the ones they could.4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) Widow: Hey, Mister Laval, wanna buy some land cheap, great sea view!
4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) ole: Unmounted guns are useless.4/13/2008 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: It was safer than Fort Moultrie.
4/13/2008 9:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Or Castle Pinckney.4/13/2008 9:30 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Exactly, Susan.
4/13/2008 9:30 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Any other comments on this chapter?4/13/2008 9:31 pm (et) ole: A garrisoned Castle Pinckney would have been costly to take.
4/13/2008 9:31 pm (et) Susansweet: I did like the detail of the description of the Fort.4/13/2008 9:32 pm (et) amhistoryguy: True ole, but I think in the interest of preventing bloodshed, Anderson made the only decision he could.
4/13/2008 9:32 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: If they took Pinckney, they could have been surrounded by Charleston, Moultrie and Sumter - not a good position. Anderson was in a tough spot.4/13/2008 9:32 pm (et) ole: Wish he'd have put in a picture.
4/13/2008 9:33 pm (et) Susansweet: http://www.awod.com/cwchas/cpfort.html4/13/2008 9:33 pm (et) Susansweet: Good pictures of Pinckney
4/13/2008 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: It is very small.4/13/2008 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: And hard to land on.
4/13/2008 9:34 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I thought it interesting that Anderson really didn't consult anyone on the move.4/13/2008 9:34 pm (et) amhistoryguy: We are on the verge of going into the next chapter anyway, so.....
4/13/2008 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: No one is allowed over there now.4/13/2008 9:35 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER EIGHT - EVENTIDE - The preparations for the evacuation of Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter were pretty elaborate. Anderson did not just load up the boats and sail over. There was substantial preparation work and deception to mask his intention.
4/13/2008 9:35 pm (et) shapbruin: Here's where Detzer shows himself to be a brilliant writer of military history. His discussion about the goings-on of the rest of the world gives a wonderful context to the proceedings, something that was always missing from American primary education. It was just the US in a vacuum.4/13/2008 9:35 pm (et) Susansweet: What are squibs?
4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) Susansweet: Shap that was amazing to read.4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) mobile_96: Type of firecracker.
4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) Babs: I enjoyed that too.4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anderson had had many opinions offered since November as to the possible move.
4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks mobile.4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) ole: Squibs are small explosives.
4/13/2008 9:36 pm (et) shapbruin: Not only that, but in just a few paragraphs, he pushes another event into the fore of American and world history, and it's one that, albeit dramatic, most people don't know about. Now that's how to write and interpret history!4/13/2008 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Shap, I loved what you wrote - it's so true. We always seem to think the world revolves around the US.
4/13/2008 9:37 pm (et) Widow: Like the caps in your cap gun, tiny load of gunpowder sealed in paper. Hit it with a rock or hammer, and bang. In movies, fake blood squirts from squibs made the same way.4/13/2008 9:38 pm (et) 20thMass: Couldn't you buy them at stores at one time
4/13/2008 9:38 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Couldn’t help but think that here is another episode for the Weather Channel’s history series as Anderson is forced to postpone his move due to bad weather.4/13/2008 9:38 pm (et) Widow: Shap, agree completely. It helps to keep perspective, what else was happening.
4/13/2008 9:38 pm (et) Susansweet: It's so funny in school you are taught Anderson moved the command from Moutrie to Sumter. No explination. Now you read how detailed the plan had to be and was and how it worked out.4/13/2008 9:39 pm (et) shapbruin: Thanks guys.
4/13/2008 9:39 pm (et) mobile_96: Firecracker that burns with a hiss before exploding according to Webster's New World.4/13/2008 9:39 pm (et) Widow: Right, Susan, I had no idea. Just figured, "Hop in, boys, let's row across the harbor."
4/13/2008 9:40 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I read over Anderson's plan a few times and still couldn't figure out when I planned to get the food and ammo. Was it with the second group going out to Sumter, or a third trip after everyone was at the fort? And, also, what was to happen to the spouses left on Sullivan's Island?4/13/2008 9:40 pm (et) secret squirrel: Who knew about the politics, politics politics.
4/13/2008 9:40 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Sorry, I'm not going for the food.4/13/2008 9:40 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I was a bit surprised that since they expected him to move, they pretty much watched him move right under their noses.
4/13/2008 9:41 pm (et) shapbruin: Wonder of those on board ship were tipping back some eggnog?4/13/2008 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: He did all the hocus pocus first.
4/13/2008 9:41 pm (et) Widow: They didn't expect him to be s-n-e-a-k-y about it.4/13/2008 9:41 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The move to Sullivan's Island was a ruse - they moved to Sumter after making to fake to Sullivan's Island.
4/13/2008 9:42 pm (et) Widow: They assumed he would make it easy for them to stop them, by moving in broad daylight.4/13/2008 9:42 pm (et) Susansweet: Dave they were on Sullivan's Island at Fort Moultrie.
4/13/2008 9:42 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Sort of an end around with wives and supplies.4/13/2008 9:42 pm (et) shapbruin: Interesting that a war that featured minimal night operations started with such a bold one.
4/13/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: The ruse was to Johnson Island on the tip of Morris island.4/13/2008 9:43 pm (et) ole: Isn't Moultrie on Sullivan's Island? Maybe you mean James Island?
4/13/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: Not Morris as I said.4/13/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: Then the families were brought to Sumter because of "no suitable landing place" at Ft. Johnson.
4/13/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: James Island is right Ole.4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) amhistoryguy: That's right Susan, I meant to Fort Johnson.
4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) ole: Ft. Johnson on James Island.4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: Fort Johnson wouldn't offer any protection any more than Moultrie is is the same problem as Moultrie on the other side of the harbor.
4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) ole: The activity does show that Anderson was no ninny.4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Weren't some people left on Sullivan's by Moultrie while the transfer was taking place?
4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) Widow: I too was a bit confused about transporting the stores from Moultrie. Did Anderson send some supplies in each boatload?4/13/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: He said he was moving them there but never really planned to.
4/13/2008 9:45 pm (et) Susansweet: A ruse.4/13/2008 9:45 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Susan are you talking about the ones left behind or about the supplies?
4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) Widow: Leaving the spyboats rused and confused.4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) amhistoryguy: As I understand it, most supplies were with the boat that faked a stop at Fort Johnson, and then moved to Fort Sumter.
4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) ole: Families and provisions went first.4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) Susansweet: No one was really going to Fort Johnson.
4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Thanks AMG. And ole.4/13/2008 9:46 pm (et) Susansweet: That was his ruse.
4/13/2008 9:47 pm (et) Widow: That must have been scary, in the moonlight, even though the water was calm.4/13/2008 9:47 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Dave.
4/13/2008 9:47 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anderson seems to have planned and then carried out his evacuation to Fort Sumter without a hitch, despite a couple of close calls.4/13/2008 9:48 pm (et) Widow: I liked Detzer's description of Doubleday moving fast, for once.
4/13/2008 9:48 pm (et) secret squirrel: Slow trot.4/13/2008 9:48 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I was holding by breath when I read about Doubleday's crossing and almost getting spotted.
4/13/2008 9:48 pm (et) Widow: Hiding his uniform labels, hiding the weapons with the overcoats.4/13/2008 9:48 pm (et) Babs: I think in part he was successful because he only told one other person what he was up to. Loose lips sink ships.
4/13/2008 9:49 pm (et) Widow: *Uniform lapels*4/13/2008 9:49 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The world events at the end of the chapter were, as already mentioned, important reminders that throughout the rest of the world, life marched on.
4/13/2008 9:49 pm (et) Susansweet: Like the box with 1000 ball cartridges on the women's boat that was removed quickly.4/13/2008 9:50 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: This would make a really good movie.
4/13/2008 9:50 pm (et) Widow: Anderson was a thinker; but when you're planning a life-and-death mission, it's hard not to have another mind working on it with you.4/13/2008 9:50 pm (et) shapbruin: Funny that the name Rhett is featured in "Gone with the Wind" In a movie that is in lockstep with Lost Cause mythology, probably not the name to be promoting.
4/13/2008 9:51 pm (et) Widow: Scarlett's Rhett was a Georgian. Different civilization?4/13/2008 9:51 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Is Rhett an old southern name? Was it common in the 1860's I wonder?
4/13/2008 9:51 pm (et) ole: Loved the part where it was possible to move company E in 20 minutes because Anderson, sometime before had ordered that all knapsacks were to be packed and ready every morning. Is that planning detail? Or what?4/13/2008 9:51 pm (et) Susansweet: The Rhett family is a big name still in Charleston history and remember Rhett Butler was from Charleston. Also Butler is another good southern name.
4/13/2008 9:51 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, not if Robert Toombs has anything to say about it.4/13/2008 9:52 pm (et) Susansweet: Don't think Mitchell didn't do it on Purpose.
4/13/2008 9:52 pm (et) shapbruin: Susan, you think she did? Are Rhett and Rhett Jr still respected figures in the South?4/13/2008 9:52 pm (et) Widow: Susan, excellent point, I'd forgotten Rhett Butler's background. Thx!
4/13/2008 9:52 pm (et) ole: It just sounds southern.4/13/2008 9:52 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: ole. I also liked that he had the foresight to destroy the flagpole. I wondered about that when I read it. Thought, why bother about that?
4/13/2008 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: I know there are only so many big family names in Charleston and South Carolina and Rhett is one of them.4/13/2008 9:53 pm (et) ole: Just to make it difficult for the Confederates to raise their flag.
4/13/2008 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: Ravanel is another.4/13/2008 9:53 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anderson seems to have covered all the bases.
4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, I found that out.4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) shapbruin: Do you think Mitchell was trying to hearken back to that name, Susan?
4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) Widow: Then somebody saw the smoke rising from Moultrie, the fire brigades were ready to go over and help the garrison put out the fire!4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) ole: A very small neener-neener.
4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) secret squirrel: He had enough time to consider plan a b c and d.4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) shapbruin: Is there a Pickens in Gone With The Wind?
4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anything more on Anderson's move to Sumter?4/13/2008 9:54 pm (et) shapbruin: Or Birth of a Nation?
4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: Don't remember that name except actor Slim Pickens.4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) secret squirrel: No Pickens but Ashley.
4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) secret squirrel: The river is Ashley isn't it?4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) Babs: Ask Jana. I think she has an annotated GWTW. :^)
4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: A final thought - I think Anderson's move was brilliant. Of course, what would we be saying if it had failed.4/13/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: The rivers are Ashley and Cooper named after Ashley Cooper
4/13/2008 9:56 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: No, I think Ashley Cooper was named after the rivers.4/13/2008 9:57 pm (et) secret squirrel: So, we have Ashley in gone with the wind.
4/13/2008 9:57 pm (et) amhistoryguy: LF - it might have been interesting to see what contingency Anderson had if the plan had met with resistance.4/13/2008 9:57 pm (et) secret squirrel: Don't remember any cooper in that book, but have seen it in other civil war films.
4/13/2008 9:57 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: AMG, Yes it would have been interesting, since he had no OK from anyone in the government to approve his actions.4/13/2008 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: Ashley was the first name and Cooper is last name and it was named in Colonial Times he was a large landowner in England.
4/13/2008 9:58 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER NINE - DUELING FLAGS - Detzer’s description of Anderson raising the flag over Fort Sumter sent chills down my spine. What a scene ! Reverend Harris’s prayer of thanksgiving for safe evacuation and for the future of the nation, followed by the raising of the huge garrison flag to the playing of the Star Spangled Banner will from now on symbolize the beginning of the Civil War for me.4/13/2008 9:58 pm (et) Widow: I liked the bit about somebody seeing smoke from the fire at Moultrie, and the fire brigades were sent over to help the garrison put it out.
4/13/2008 9:58 pm (et) secret squirrel: Yes, just a set of old orders interpreted.4/13/2008 9:59 pm (et) Widow: AHG, I had no idea that there were two flags, garrison and storm, large and small.
4/13/2008 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: I got chills too.4/13/2008 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: One of the flags is on display in the museum at Sumter
4/13/2008 9:59 pm (et) mobile_96: Was news to me too Widow.4/13/2008 9:59 pm (et) shapbruin: Detzer's discussion of how that imagery helped galvanize the North was great, as where his comparisons.
4/13/2008 10:00 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: When I read about the flag raising ceremony I just thought "Wow". Detzer puts the reader there as an eyewitness, doesn't he. What a moment that must have been.4/13/2008 10:00 pm (et) Widow: It had a powerful impact on us here, tonight. Imagine the intensity on those in the fort that day.
4/13/2008 10:00 pm (et) shapbruin: It's always nebulous when talking about why people chose to fight this war, but that image and description would have been something concrete for Northerners4/13/2008 10:01 pm (et) amhistoryguy: A nice finger in the eye for Pickens too : )
4/13/2008 10:01 pm (et) secret squirrel: It certainly bound those men together. To think of the change in that one soldier who previously was incarcerated for bad behavior.4/13/2008 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: I loved that at the end of the ceremony the Irish in the garrison gave a cheer for the Old Sod.
4/13/2008 10:01 pm (et) Widow: Evidently it had a concrete effect on the Charlestonians, too, shap. They were indignant! How dare he take our fort?4/13/2008 10:02 pm (et) shapbruin: Squirrel, as a physician, I can only imagine what it would have been like for the surgeon to start getting ready to fight
4/13/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Mainly the only ones in Charleston indignant were the upper white class.4/13/2008 10:02 pm (et) secret squirrel: We obviously have an altered view of the relationship between state and federal government relations at the time.
4/13/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: The others we don't really know how they felt .4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The Charleston guard must have looked foolish, sending so many men out to Moultrie and Pickens to take the forts from so few men - and then even those men wouldn't "surrender".
4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: Maybe the white male clerks who were joining militias.4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Mention of the "entertainment" value of possible warfare for the people of Charleston was mentioned. I wondered how they thought of the "show" come 1865.
4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) secret squirrel: Really, must have been very scary to know he didn't have a nurse to bail him out :) I'm a nurse :)4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) Widow: And the ordnance sergeant's daughter scolding them. That was terrific.
4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: I like how he said most were looking for some entertainment.4/13/2008 10:03 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I sure do like Katie Skillen - “ It certainly took a lot of very brave fellows to capture a fort occupied by only two soldiers and a girl.”
4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) shapbruin: LF, aside of the the hysterical rabble rousers, I would venture to say that most had no idea of the goings-on, they were probably just enjoying Xmas.4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) shapbruin: Squirrel, indeed.
4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: AMG, reminds me of how the Washingtonians flocked out to Manassas for the show.4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) Susansweet: And then she came back after the war and married a local.
4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) shapbruin: Susan, was his name Rhett Butler? Just kidding.4/13/2008 10:04 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Very much the same attitude LF.
4/13/2008 10:05 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Hooray for Katie!4/13/2008 10:05 pm (et) Susansweet: Exactly Lincoln Fan.
4/13/2008 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: Shap naa it was Edmund Ruffin Jr.4/13/2008 10:06 pm (et) Widow: We watch war movies, expecting entertainment but no blood or suffering. I can understand the crowd's interest in the show.
4/13/2008 10:06 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Hope she didn't marry into the Pickens family!4/13/2008 10:06 pm (et) shapbruin: Bravo Susan. Well played.
4/13/2008 10:06 pm (et) Widow: Both on the Battery and at Manassas.4/13/2008 10:07 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, no one knew what war looked like until Gardner put on his "The Dead of Antietam"
4/13/2008 10:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Widow, both times I think the citizens expected a very short conflict.4/13/2008 10:08 pm (et) Widow: Shap, the general public didn't, but the men who were there certainly know.
4/13/2008 10:08 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anderson knew what war looked like - keep in mind how against war he was.4/13/2008 10:08 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, yes, that's what I meant to say. And Detzer has shown us how few soldiers there were in the US.
4/13/2008 10:09 pm (et) Susansweet: One of my favorite pictures is the drawing of the women on the rooftops grieving as the battle is going on at Fort Sumter.4/13/2008 10:09 pm (et) amhistoryguy: In many minds war = glory and notoriety = political power.
4/13/2008 10:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Both sides were pathetically unprepared. At least South Carolina had an excuse - they just became a commonwealth. What was the US's excuse.4/13/2008 10:10 pm (et) ole: Anderson certainly didn't look at it that way. He's seen enough and didn't want to see another.
4/13/2008 10:10 pm (et) secret squirrel: A reduced force scattered to the winds.4/13/2008 10:10 pm (et) ole: Fan: Buchanan.
4/13/2008 10:10 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I like that SS.4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) shapbruin: Lincoln, SC has no excuse. Calhoun's provocation and threats had gone on for years, there had been rabid posturing in SC for months as Detzer describes, and yet it is clear the decision was taken without forethought.
4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) Susansweet: Good one Ole.4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I like that, also, ole.
4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) secret squirrel: :)4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) Widow: LF, unprepared for what was unimaginable? Unthinkable? They didn't have think tanks and future planners, etc. Life just went on, not much reason to change from one decade to the next.
4/13/2008 10:11 pm (et) shapbruin: As for the Union, look no farther than Buchanan and his administration.4/13/2008 10:12 pm (et) Widow: 'Scuse me, I meant only that they had no idea that it was even necessary to plan for such a horrible future.
4/13/2008 10:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: With Anderson in Sumter, were we already past the point of no return, headed for war?4/13/2008 10:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That's true, shap, I hadn't thought of that. If you're going to make a threat, you'd better be prepared for the consequences.
4/13/2008 10:13 pm (et) shapbruin: AHG, that is what Detzer is telling us at the end of chapter 8.4/13/2008 10:13 pm (et) ole: Don't believe so AHG.
4/13/2008 10:13 pm (et) Susansweet: Why not Ole?4/13/2008 10:14 pm (et) Widow: AHG, Anderson was trying desperately to stay away from that point. He couldn't control what happened in Charleston and Washington, Richmond.
4/13/2008 10:14 pm (et) ole: The fort was untenable, supplied or not supplied.4/13/2008 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: Richmond was not the capital at this time.
4/13/2008 10:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I think Anderson had hope, but as you say, he was not in control.4/13/2008 10:14 pm (et) Babs: What would a different commander have done? Give the forts to SC?
4/13/2008 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Hadn't thought of that.4/13/2008 10:15 pm (et) shapbruin: AHG, it would be interesting to find a strict definition of when a war starts, because one could argue that war had begun when Pickens put armed ships into the harbor. That is causus belli in anyone's book.
4/13/2008 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Twiggs did in Texas, just turned everything over to Confederates.4/13/2008 10:15 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Anderson didn't want to see a conflict, but he also was trying to keep his men safe.
4/13/2008 10:16 pm (et) ole: The armed ships, by themselves, dilute the argument of Buchanan's "solemn promise."4/13/2008 10:16 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I don't think that a different commander could have affected any other outcome. The Sumter situation and secession was the dealing of the cards, Buchanan refused to play them, it would be up to Lincoln to play the hand dealt.
4/13/2008 10:16 pm (et) shapbruin: LF, also wanted to defend US territory. I bet that the fact that Sumter was sovereign US property , not a protectorate of SC was common knowledge.4/13/2008 10:17 pm (et) ole: Felt sorry for Anderson. He was duty bound to keep the forts, keep his men safe, and not do something that would start a war.
4/13/2008 10:17 pm (et) secret squirrel: Really agree ole. lose lose.4/13/2008 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: Buchanan was just sitting out the rest of his term
4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) Widow: With no help or advice from the administration. Don't believe Scott was much involved in these communications.4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) Susansweet: This book really makes you have a great respect for Anderson I feel .
4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I have a much higher opinion of Anderson now than I had before reading this book. - And I did not have a bad opinion of him before.4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) ole: Also appreciated Anderson's reply to Pickett. "I didn't reinforce anything, I just moved them."
4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) mobile_96: True shap, but state figured with secession all previous agreements were null and void.4/13/2008 10:18 pm (et) bk: Had oral surgury so didn't get to read. Will just listen
4/13/2008 10:19 pm (et) shapbruin: Doing a quick Google search: seems like the concept of when a war begins is actually really nebulous and unclear. We are applying a definition (first shot fired) that does not seem to be a universal one.4/13/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: That is a great quote.
4/13/2008 10:19 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Back to last week, Buck didn't want the war to begin on his watch. Let the Republicans take care of it. Meanwhile Anderson is left out to dry.4/13/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: Yep that is what he was doing all righty.
4/13/2008 10:20 pm (et) shapbruin: So other nations viewing these events (as Detzer has given us a larger context) may believe that war was already underway at another point, and were wondering why the firing hadn't started in earnest.4/13/2008 10:20 pm (et) bk: That's a good point.
4/13/2008 10:21 pm (et) Babs: I think the war started earlier in Kansas and Missouri.4/13/2008 10:21 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anything further on this chapter - we are poised on the brink.
4/13/2008 10:22 pm (et) bk: where are you in the book discussion?4/13/2008 10:22 pm (et) Susansweet: I agree Babs.
4/13/2008 10:22 pm (et) Susansweet: Can't wait to read the next chapters.4/13/2008 10:22 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I've been out to Fort Sumter, but wish I had read this book first. bk, we're just finishing chapter 9.
4/13/2008 10:22 pm (et) shapbruin: Even the Merriam dictionary online says a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. That is definitely open to interpretation.4/13/2008 10:23 pm (et) secret squirrel: I think we have precursors to the war, hard to define when it was all really started.
4/13/2008 10:23 pm (et) Susansweet: Me too Lincoln Fan.4/13/2008 10:23 pm (et) bk: Thanks.
4/13/2008 10:23 pm (et) shapbruin: Therefore, I think Detzer's point at the end of ch 8 is well taken.4/13/2008 10:23 pm (et) Susansweet: And last fall I took a harbor cruise all around the fort and the harbor.
4/13/2008 10:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: By all means continue the discussion, but for those that have to leave - I assume the homework will be the next three chapters, but be sure to check back. THANKS to everyone for participation.4/13/2008 10:24 pm (et) Widow: Nothing in our civil war matched the preconceived formula of warfare. It wasn't a war of invasion and conquest, like Napoleon. It wasn't a coup d'etat and social upheaval like the French Revolution. So nobody could read the past in order to predict the future of a war that had sort of started but not.
4/13/2008 10:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Next three chapters seems like the right amount4/13/2008 10:24 pm (et) Teej: enters the chatroom.
4/13/2008 10:24 pm (et) Babs: Thank you for leading us.4/13/2008 10:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Dave great job keeping us on track tonight.
4/13/2008 10:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Good questions too.4/13/2008 10:25 pm (et) ole: Great job, Dave.
GO TO BOOK CHAT FOR CHAPTERS 10, 11 AND 12
RETURN TO INTRO PAGE