Fort Sumter, Charleston, and The Beginning of the Civil War
This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 05/04/08 and covered Chapters 13, 14, & 15
5/4/2008 9:11 pm (et) Susansweet: I am beginning to think Steve might have had a problem with parents , he is usually right here5/4/2008 9:13 pm (et) ole: We can start without him. What was the beginning chapter for tonight?
5/4/2008 9:13 pm (et) Widow: I'd like to ask all of you, what do you think of David Detzer's style of writing, in Allegiance.5/4/2008 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: Takesx Two to Tango, But One Can do the twist Al alone
5/4/2008 9:13 pm (et) Widow: Ole, tonight is chaps 13-15.5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) Susansweet: I was asked once to be a moderator I guess I could start tonight
5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) Babs: He's kind of flippant, but it keeps me from falling asleep.5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) Widow: Susan, I never understood the connection between the chapter title and the subject covered in chap. 13.
5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I love his style, especially some of the things he said in chapter 14, which we'll get into later. By, the way, what was the meaning of that chapter title on the twist?5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) ole: Seems he might have come up with a better chapter name. A flippant title, but amusing.
5/4/2008 9:14 pm (et) Babs: Go for it, Sue.5/4/2008 9:15 pm (et) Widow: Agree, Babs, Susan, lead on!
5/4/2008 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: In the first chapter he quotes Anderson on Lincoln and his cabinet. The inter wheels of our political clock must be of the v\c
5/4/2008 9:15 pm (et) ole: Might this be in reference to Anderson being left to twist in the wind?5/4/2008 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Good start Sweet my fingers missed.
5/4/2008 9:16 pm (et) Babs: Ole, That was all I could figure.5/4/2008 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Finest metal and they must be true or it will run down.
5/4/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: Ole, that makes sense. I don't get the part about two to tango, though.5/4/2008 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: I think that is part of what he is referring to in the tile Ole.
5/4/2008 9:17 pm (et) Susansweet: It takes two to make a fight , a tango is a basic fight dance.5/4/2008 9:17 pm (et) ole: If they were to move together, it would take some communication from the government.
5/4/2008 9:17 pm (et) Susansweet: The old phase it takes two to tangle.5/4/2008 9:17 pm (et) Susansweet: What do some of you others think about the title ?
5/4/2008 9:18 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Page 217 has a statement that describes Lincoln's view which never changed. "His greatest strength was his complete confidence in a few principles. The most important of these was that secession was illegal.5/4/2008 9:18 pm (et) Widow: Seems to me, ole, the government was communicating with everybody except the one man who was begging for instructions.
5/4/2008 9:19 pm (et) bk: Sorry, I think I'm lost. Are you talking about Anderson?5/4/2008 9:19 pm (et) Babs: You really have to feel for poor Anderson. Cripes, he was only a major!
5/4/2008 9:19 pm (et) Susansweet: Yes Fan and he would not deal with them as a government.5/4/2008 9:19 pm (et) Susansweet: Yes. Sorry Bk.
5/4/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Lincoln and Anderson , Bonni5/4/2008 9:20 pm (et) bk: Why did Anderson not give the orders himself?
5/4/2008 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: What about Lincoln's first days in office ? What do you think of that period of times.5/4/2008 9:21 pm (et) Susansweet: Good question Bonni. Why would Anderson not give the orders ?
5/4/2008 9:21 pm (et) Susansweet: What would result from a Major giving orders ?5/4/2008 9:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Talk about on the job training!
5/4/2008 9:21 pm (et) Babs: He didn't want the responsibility of starting the war or being called a traitor if he surrendered.5/4/2008 9:21 pm (et) ole: Majors don't give orders in matters so momentous.
5/4/2008 9:22 pm (et) Widow: Detzer made the point several times that nobody in Washington had any real info. Even the fact-finding assignments were botched. I just can't figure out why nobody checked to see if Anderson's reports and requests were answered.5/4/2008 9:22 pm (et) Babs: Ole, Have to be at least a bird colonel.
5/4/2008 9:22 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Didn't the book say he wrote 96 reports. Where in blazes did they end up?5/4/2008 9:23 pm (et) Susansweet: He thought he if he did it would be twisted to make him the bad guy.
5/4/2008 9:23 pm (et) Susansweet: Remember the reports had to go though Charleston , some might never have made it north.5/4/2008 9:24 pm (et) Babs: I thought it interesting that Lincoln visited Doubleday's wife and asked to read his letters to her.
5/4/2008 9:24 pm (et) Widow: That's another point that dumfounds me. A US Army officer's communications have to go across the governor's desk?5/4/2008 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: And Doubleday was not a big Anderson Fan.
5/4/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: What did you think about Hulburt's visit to Charleston ?5/4/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: At the request of Lincoln.
5/4/2008 9:25 pm (et) Widow: Lincoln sent his trusted law partner Ward Lamon on a fact-finding mission. Mission bungled, distorted, errors of omission and commission. Sheesh?5/4/2008 9:25 pm (et) Babs: Widow, If the governor considers the Army officer to be illegally on his territory.
5/4/2008 9:26 pm (et) Susansweet: But first there is Hulburt.5/4/2008 9:27 pm (et) Susansweet: Notice that Hulburt only talk to the upper crust of Charleston . Do you wonder what the working man thought ?
5/4/2008 9:27 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It's as though hardly anyone involved in the whole mess was qualified. Everyone had their own agenda and communication between those involved practically non-existent.5/4/2008 9:27 pm (et) Widow: Hurlbut carried out his observe-and-report assignment in the most useless possible way. Talked to his friends. Period. Not exactly a good cross section of public opinion.
5/4/2008 9:28 pm (et) ole: Lincoln was just as indecisive as everyone else.5/4/2008 9:28 pm (et) Babs: Hop in if you have an opinion, Hank.
5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: Then after Hulburt gives his opinion Lincoln wants more information and sends Lamon.5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) Widow: I suppose it never occurred to Hurlbut that the man on the street would have any opinions worth investigating.
5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) bk: Maybe he thought they were all that mattered.5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) Babs: Typical politician.
5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: And finally someone talks to Anderson.5/4/2008 9:29 pm (et) ole: Hurlbut Was talking to those who mattered. The man in the street might join a riot, but he doesn't make decisions.
5/4/2008 9:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Exactly Ole especially then.5/4/2008 9:30 pm (et) Widow: Detzer painted the picture of everyone waiting for a peaceful solution. Instead of making a peaceful solution. Except some didn't want peace.
5/4/2008 9:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Lamon made promises to everyone.5/4/2008 9:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That "someone" was Lamon. He got nothing correct. Even told Pickens that Anderson intended to blow up the Fort.
5/4/2008 9:31 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Fan, even gets that wrong doesn't he.5/4/2008 9:32 pm (et) Susansweet: Now Lincoln is going to make Davis fire first so what does he do. He sends Gutavus Fox. What do you think of his plan?!!!!
5/4/2008 9:32 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Also, wasn't Lamon the one who told Anderson they were to be evacuated, then confirmed it when he returned to Washington. That being done while Lincoln was making plans to send help.5/4/2008 9:32 pm (et) Widow: And that navy captain at Pensacola, refusing to obey Scott's order because it came from the army, not the navy.
5/4/2008 9:33 pm (et) bk: Why do you think Scott ignored the pleading letter.5/4/2008 9:33 pm (et) HankC: Not sure Lincoln *made* Davis fire first...but Lincoln sure was not going to...
5/4/2008 9:33 pm (et) Babs: I think there were a lot of ninnys involved.5/4/2008 9:33 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Dementia, bk.
5/4/2008 9:34 pm (et) Widow: Bonni, I can't imagine why he ignored Anderson. After all, Scott picked Anderson for the assignment, knew him to be a good officer.5/4/2008 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Hank, Both were trying to make the other fire first .
5/4/2008 9:35 pm (et) Susansweet: Fox appears to be the worst of the lot of incompentent people sent to Charleston.5/4/2008 9:35 pm (et) Widow: Susan, Lincoln was trying to avoid any firing at all, wasn't he?
5/4/2008 9:36 pm (et) ole: He did show an amazing amount of ignorance when Anderson was trying to show him how impossible it would be to resupply.5/4/2008 9:36 pm (et) Susansweet: In March Lincoln changes his mind and seems to act as if war is inevitable but he will not fire the first shot
5/4/2008 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I can't figure out, either, why Anderson was ignored all that time. I think the book establishes the fax=ct that Lincoln wasn't aware of the situation at the Fort, but someone could have been in touch with him.5/4/2008 9:37 pm (et) Widow: Ole, it looks like Fox was more interested in his heroic save-the-garrison scheme than in actually saving the garrison.
5/4/2008 9:38 pm (et) bk: When Lincoln did respond he wasn't too supportive.5/4/2008 9:39 pm (et) Susansweet: What amazes me is Lincoln told Fox to go ahead with his plan.
5/4/2008 9:39 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Fox never told the truth to Anderson, nor later to Lincoln. His name fits.5/4/2008 9:39 pm (et) Susansweet: Good thought Fan
5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Susansweet: And his plan totally fail in execution but not in influencing other events.5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Widow: Yeah, he ended up Asst. Secy. of the Navy under Welles.
5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Susansweet: Any other comments on this chapter?5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Then when Lincoln decides to go ahead with the mission, Fox has to try to round up tugs and supplies. The owner of one tug even refused to send it. Can you imagine that happening today?
5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Susansweet: Or shall we continue with Yellow Brick Road ?5/4/2008 9:40 pm (et) Babs: Just that Fox's attempt sounded like the Keystone Kops on water.
5/4/2008 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: Babs it does that.5/4/2008 9:41 pm (et) Babs: Yes, On to the Emerald City.
5/4/2008 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: What do you think about this title ?5/4/2008 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: What is the Yellow brick road?
5/4/2008 9:42 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The next chapter holds the most humerous part of the book. Enter clueless Captain Marts.5/4/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: Poor man he was a dolt.
5/4/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: Captain Marts and his ice boat en route to Savannah. We can laugh at the captain's ignorance, but since when did a commercial captain have to be up to the minute about confusing political events?5/4/2008 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: Then there were the orders for all the officers to report to other duty sites in the middle of the whole thing.
5/4/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: I mean, the major players were clueless, so I think it's shallow of Detzer to criticize Marts for accidentally entering Charleston.5/4/2008 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Well, if a port is closed to American ships, shouldn't a captain be aware of that?
5/4/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: Anyone going south at that time should have been aware that things were not going well in the south . That states were leaving5/4/2008 9:44 pm (et) bk: Having the officers change locations surprised me.
5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) Susansweet: And yes a captain should know which ports are closed . Even should know the difference between Charleston and Savannah.5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) Susansweet: It did me too Bonni.
5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) Widow: I try to keep in mind that nobody had the whole story or knew how it would end. So of course routine orders went out routinely. Not knowing how silly that would look in the larger picture - who knew how large the picture would be?5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) ole: He was heading for Savannah.
5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) Babs: Didn't he think he was in Savannah? Was it closed to Northern ships?5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) bk: It seems strange just waiting for the war to start.
5/4/2008 9:45 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Poor guy. He's fired on, then runs the flag higher.5/4/2008 9:47 pm (et) Widow: Marts was saying, "Hey, don't shoot! We're Americans!" He did the right thing, considering his total lack of knowledge.
5/4/2008 9:47 pm (et) Susansweet: What do you think of the Sumter men's restraint during the firings on the Captain?5/4/2008 9:47 pm (et) bk: It's interesting how "crude" the artillary supplies were.
5/4/2008 9:48 pm (et) Widow: Susan, it must have killed them to swallow hard once again. I liked Anderson's finally explaining to his officers why he had to show restraint.5/4/2008 9:48 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That had to be hard on everyone, Susan. There is Anderson, trying to follow orders, not wanting to start a war. And some of his men, tired, hungry and angry, waiting to fight back at last.
5/4/2008 9:48 pm (et) bk: The author seemed to go into great detail about the weapons5/4/2008 9:49 pm (et) ole: Anderson was remiss in sitting on all kinds of powder and ammo without the where with all to make powder bags. (Or is that a later chapter.
5/4/2008 9:49 pm (et) Babs: I appreciated that. Good basic description without getting waaaaay technical.5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) bk: Got to go. Will we finish the book next week?
5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: I like how he alludes to it being a chess match after this.5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: I would think so Bonni only three more chapters .
5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Widow: Bonni, believe the last 2 chapters will be next week.5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Weapons are the next chapter.
5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: Later I think Ole5/4/2008 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: They are still moving chess pieces now.
5/4/2008 9:51 pm (et) Babs: Ole, I think it is later because I haven't read it yet.5/4/2008 9:51 pm (et) Widow: On page 249, Detzer sais "Here it was -- coercion -- after all these months of waiting." That baffles me. What coercion? Who was coercing whom? Help!
5/4/2008 9:52 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I liked the way Anderson is described as not wanting to be thrown on history's trash heap. Also the comparison of Anderson's feelings with those of later American soldiers who were political pawns.5/4/2008 9:52 pm (et) Susansweet: Then Anderson write a report and makes what turns out to be a big mistake, He writes Lincoln a personal letter.
5/4/2008 9:52 pm (et) Susansweet: Right . That was a good comparison .5/4/2008 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: What did you think of Pickens opening the mail.
5/4/2008 9:53 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Susan, the letter that got into Pickens' hands was written to a friend of his, if that's the one you're thinking of.5/4/2008 9:53 pm (et) Widow: "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail." So Pickens wasn't a gent.
5/4/2008 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, Pickens was the one in the group with no conscience.5/4/2008 9:54 pm (et) Susansweet: Right the one to Thomas
5/4/2008 9:55 pm (et) Widow: I still don't understand how "don't shoot at our food ship, and we won't send more men" can be coercion.5/4/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: Never left Charleston.
5/4/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: Then we have the men arrive from Washington again Talbort and Chew5/4/2008 9:56 pm (et) Susansweet: With a note from Lincoln.
5/4/2008 9:56 pm (et) ole: Right, Widow. I don't quite understand that myself. He does explain that the nature of the message appeared to be a calculated implication of a possible threat.5/4/2008 9:57 pm (et) ole: Not quite my definition of coercion, but I guess it will do.
5/4/2008 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: Coercion, in law, the unlawful act of compelling a person to do, or to abstain from doing, something by depriving him of the exercise of his free will, particularly by use or threat of physical or moral force5/4/2008 9:58 pm (et) Widow: Ole, that was the crux of it. Pickens et al thought Lincoln had manipulated - coerced - them into an intolerable position.
5/4/2008 9:58 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: So why did Montgomery give the OK to commence firing. Wouldn't the troops have had to leave the fort when they ran out of food, even if no ship arrived? Anderson had orders to protect his men.5/4/2008 9:58 pm (et) Widow: But I guess I don't see why Lincoln's warning could be thought coercive.
5/4/2008 10:00 pm (et) Widow: Fan, I'm stumped. I've read this subject several times over the years and I just can't grasp it.5/4/2008 10:00 pm (et) ole: Guess it was more important to drive them out than it was to let them leave peacefully.
5/4/2008 10:00 pm (et) Babs: Widow, I guess it deprived Pickens of his free will to fire on supply ships.5/4/2008 10:01 pm (et) ole: Perhaps, Widow, Detzer meant that Pickens saw it as coercive.
5/4/2008 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: He said we are sending ships , don't interfere, no I don't want an answer . If they didn't interfere no reinforcements would be sent.5/4/2008 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: Lincoln knew they would interfere and FIRE FIRST!!!
5/4/2008 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: Now the last chapter , The Little Bridge.5/4/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Or rather THAT little bridge.
5/4/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: I love the comparison to Caesar crossing the Rubicon.5/4/2008 10:02 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: And where did THAT title come from.
5/4/2008 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: The quote below it.5/4/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: Once across that little bridge the whole issue is with the sword.
5/4/2008 10:03 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: DUH!5/4/2008 10:03 pm (et) Babs: Cross that bridge and there is no return.
5/4/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: They have crossed a line now . The only way to settle the problem is with war.5/4/2008 10:04 pm (et) Widow: Caesar crossed the Rubicon River on a bridge. Once across, his moves were irreversible. He took his legions into Rome - utterly forbidden to do so.
5/4/2008 10:04 pm (et) Susansweet: Good way to put it Babs5/4/2008 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: I like the way Dentzer talks about way Wars begin on page 255.
5/4/2008 10:06 pm (et) Widow: Something about crossing that burning bridge behind you when you come to it.5/4/2008 10:07 pm (et) Susansweet: Wars begin when people decide the state of Peace is no longer acceptable.
5/4/2008 10:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It's interesting how no one seems to have to obey orders. This time it's Beauregard. Of course, he's correct to wait before firing as he needed the time to finish his preparations and for the new cannon, but he just decided to wait on his own.5/4/2008 10:07 pm (et) Widow: Just imagine, PGTB stalling about the deadline for the order.
5/4/2008 10:08 pm (et) Susansweet: I know I am amazed that so many times in this period people disobey or ignored orders.5/4/2008 10:09 pm (et) Susansweet: And it seems his reasons for stalling were sound.
5/4/2008 10:09 pm (et) Widow: Me too, Susan. It wasn't solely due to slow communications, either. Slow brain waves, maybe.5/4/2008 10:09 pm (et) Babs: When I do that I don't get praised for being noble.
5/4/2008 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: I was amazed at the formal start of the end of the time of peace.5/4/2008 10:10 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: There were a few in the military for both sides who had the experience to override the nuts who were running the governments.
5/4/2008 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: Chestnut and all rowing again out to Sumter.5/4/2008 10:11 pm (et) Widow: I guess it was because Davis didn't know the ground truth which Beauregard could see.
5/4/2008 10:11 pm (et) Babs: One of the first Civil War books I read was Mary Chestnut's Diary. Here is her husband in a row boat with Roger Pryor a firebrand I grew to dislike in a book we read here a few years ago.5/4/2008 10:12 pm (et) Susansweet: They were so formal with each other.
5/4/2008 10:12 pm (et) Susansweet: I have not read Mary's Diary yet. Yes Marie I will soon.5/4/2008 10:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It must have warmed Anderson's heart when all his officers agreed to reject the ultimatum.
5/4/2008 10:12 pm (et) Widow: I can understand setting a time and date for a duel, but not for a war. Maybe that's one reason people were so outraged when the "rules" weren't followed.5/4/2008 10:13 pm (et) Widow: You know, declaration of war, belligerents line up face to face, blast a way for a few hours, one loses, one wins, end of war.
5/4/2008 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: And there is Stephen Dill Lee along with Chestnut on the final trip.5/4/2008 10:14 pm (et) Widow: Susan, I didn't know SD Lee was young, Detzer mentioned it twice.
5/4/2008 10:14 pm (et) ole: Chesnut seems to have been a major messenger boy.5/4/2008 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: The section on Artillery was wonderful. I am going to copy it and put in saved notes to refer to. I understand more what goes on now.
5/4/2008 10:15 pm (et) 20thMass: enters the chatroom.5/4/2008 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: He sure does seem to be.
5/4/2008 10:15 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I think that's what they hoped would happen Widow. Just a short war. The one who really prepared was the surgeon at Fort Sumpter who readied all the surgical equipment prior to the battle.5/4/2008 10:15 pm (et) Babs: Was S.D. Lee one of THE lees?
5/4/2008 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Then the emotional part about raising the flag before daylight so no one will be injured raising it after the firing starts5/4/2008 10:16 pm (et) Susansweet: No He was from South Carolina.
5/4/2008 10:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Not one of the Lee's of Virginia.5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: Any further comments on the Chapters or the book so far ?
5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) ole: Believe I heard that there was a connection, but it was way back and distant.5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) Babs: Thanks
5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: We have three chapters left so I am sure that will be the assignment for next week5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I liked the part on the artillery also. Not being too well-versed in weaponry I really learned a lot. He explained it so well. Even us dummies could understand it.
5/4/2008 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: Exactly my thought Fan5/4/2008 10:18 pm (et) Widow: Those short rations sound pretty terrible. Starvation faced them, or nutritional diseases.
5/4/2008 10:18 pm (et) Susansweet: Anderson making Doubleday clean his plate5/4/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: And only a cracker to eat.
5/4/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: If no other comments we can call an end to the discussion of Allegiance for tonight.5/4/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: And I can stop being moderator
5/4/2008 10:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks everyone for a good discussion . I hope things are well with Steve and his family5/4/2008 10:20 pm (et) Widow: Thanks, Susan, good job. I surely enjoyed this conversation. Good night, everyone.
5/4/2008 10:20 pm (et) Babs: Thank you, Susan for stepping in with no notice.5/4/2008 10:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I really enjoyed this book and have shared it with friends. I'll be sorry to see it end. Does anyone have any idea what the next book will be.
5/4/2008 10:21 pm (et) Susansweet: First time I have ever done an adult discussion of a book. Usually it is with first graders . Big difference!!!!5/4/2008 10:22 pm (et) ole: If you enjoy Detzer, he has two more.
5/4/2008 10:23 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: And thanks, Susan, for the terrific job of moderating.
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