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The American Civil War, Day by Day 1861
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Author:  nsimms [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  The American Civil War, Day by Day 1861

This is designed to be a daily post describing what occurred on this day during the American Civil War 150 years ago. There are bound to be times that the schedule will be interrupted (sickness, absence, computer/ISP problems, etc) which could result in past or future days being posted. There also can be a few days, particularly at the beginning, where nothing noteworthy happened. The primary reference to be used is “The Civil War Day by Day AN ALMANAC 1861-1865” by E. B. Long with Barbara Long published in 1971.

Author:  nsimms [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

November 6, 1860 Tuesday
Abraham Lincoln was elected sixteenth President of the United States with Hannibal Hamlin of Maine his Vice-President.

….Republican (Lincoln)……………........1,866,452 votes….180 electoral votes
….Northern Democratic (Douglas)…......1,376,957 votes…...12 electoral votes
….Southern Democratic (Breckinridge)….849,781 votes…...72 electoral votes
….Constitutional Unionists (Bell)…............588,879 votes…...39 electoral votes

Lincoln carried all of the free states but none of the slave states. Only Bell carried his home county in the voting.

November 10, 1860 Saturday
The legislature of South Carolina passed a law calling for a convention to meet at Columbia December 17 to consider the question of secession from the Union. The two South Carolina U.S. Senators resigned their seats in the Senate.

November 12, 1860 Monday
The financial market in New York experienced heavy selling with a sharp drop in prices.

November 13, 1860 Tuesday
The legislature of South Carolina resolved to raise ten thousand volunteers for defense of the state.

November 15, 1860 Thursday
U.S. Navy Lieut. T. A. Craven informed Washington that due to the “deplorable condition of affairs in the Southern States” he was proceeding to take moves to guard Fort Taylor at Key West and Fort Jefferson on Dry Tortugas, Fla., from possible seizure. Fort Taylor and the Key West area later became a vital coaling station for the Federal Navy and blockading squadron.

November 23, 1860 Friday
Maj. Robert Anderson, newly in command at Fort Moultrie on the edge of Charleston Harbor, reported that when the outworks were completed, the fort, appropriately garrisoned, would be capable of “making a very handsome defense”. Fort Sumter, ungarrisoned, on a shoal in the harbor, was incomplete but work was proceeding on mounting of guns. Maj. Anderson favored garrisoning Fort Sumter at once, as he did Castle Pinckney, which commanded the city of Charleston. The forts had been left in a state of general stagnation. Sand dunes had piled up around Fort Moultrie so that cows could walk right in. Fort Sumter, begun in 1829, remained incomplete. Castle Pinckney was small and near the city, occupied by just an ordnance sergeant and his family.

December 3, 1860 Monday
Congress convenes.

December 4, 1860 Tuesday
President James Buchanan sent his message on the State of the Union to Congress. He found the “state” not too good. “The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States has at length produced its natural effects.” He said that the slave states should be let alone. The states were sovereign and their rights could not be interfered with. At the same time, he told the South, “the election of any one of our fellow-citizens to the office of President does not of itself afford just cause for dissolving the Union.” No overt or dangerous act had been committed by the President-elect. Calling for calmness and deliberation, the President said he believed slavery was on the way out. As to the forts in South Carolina, Mr Buchanan believed that if there was any attempt to take the forts by force they would be defended. Both sides were disappointed by the message: the North because he opposed secession but proposed no way to meet it; the South because he condemned secession

Author:  Drex [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

Does anyone remember Hannibal Hamlin? such is the lot of Vice-presidents unless their boss is shot or resigns.

Author:  nsimms [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 5, 1860 Wednesday
In Springfield, Ill., President-elect Lincoln read a summary of the President's message to Congress and expressed displeasure that Buchanan placed responsibility for secession on the free states.

December 6 and 7, 1860 Thursday and Friday
Nothing memorable to report.

Author:  nelmsm [ Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

nsimms wrote:
This is designed to be a daily post describing what occurred on this day during the American Civil War 150 years ago. There are bound to be times that the schedule will be interrupted (sickness, absence, computer/ISP problems, etc) which could result in past or future days being posted. There also can be a few days, particularly at the beginning, where nothing noteworthy happened. The primary reference to be used is “The Civil War Day by Day AN ALMANAC 1861-1865” by E. B. Long with Barbara Long published in 1971.


Heck Ned, I figured you were getting these from your diary.

Author:  Blake [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

Hamlin... I love the VPs! What a memorable bunch!

Aaron Burr the wanted man for murder in New Jersey sitting in the Senate as its President. Richard Johnson having a common law slave wife and raising his mulatto children as his own while VP. John Tyler "taking" the presidency after the death of the President for the first time in US history. Andrew Johnson... hated. And the list goes on...

Author:  nsimms [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 8, 1860 Saturday
Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb of Georgia resigned. Formerly a strong unionist, he had come to believe that the election of a Republican justified secession and had dissented with Buchanan’s message to Congress. “The evil has now passed beyond control, and must be met by each and all of us, under our responsibility to God and our country,” Cobb wrote Buchanan. Cobb was succeeded for about a month by Philip F. Thomas of Maryland. This marked the first break in Buchanan’s Cabinet. It was 86 days prior to Lincoln's inauguration March 4, 1861.

A delegation of South Carolina congressmen called upon Mr. Buchanan and said that if reinforcements were going to Charleston it would be a sure way to bring about what he wanted to avoid. They asked for negotiations with South Carolina commissioners to consider the turning over of Federal property to the state. The President asked for a memorandum.

Author:  nsimms [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 9, 1860 Sunday
This is a letter from John Sherman (Republican Congressman from Ohio due to become Senator from Ohio the following year) to his older brother William Tecumseh Sherman (superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy [later to become Louisiana State University])

Washington, D. C., December 9, 1860.

. . . I am clearly of the opinion that you ought not to remain much longer at your present post. You will in all human probability be involved in complications from which you cannot escape with honor. Separated from your family and all your kin, and an object of suspicion you will find your position unendurable. A fatal infatuation seems to have seized the southern mind, during which any act of madness may be committed. . . If the sectional dissensions only rested upon real or alleged grievances, they could be readily settled, but I fear they are deeper and stronger. You can now close your connection with the Seminary with honor and credit to yourself, for all who know you speak well of your conduct, while by remaining you not only involve yourself but bring trouble upon those gentlemen who recommended you.

It is a sad state of affairs, but it is nevertheless true, that if the conventions of the Southern States make anything more than a paper secession, hostile collisions will occur and probably a separation between the free and the slave states. You can judge whether it is at all probable that secession of this capital, the commerce of the Mississippi, the control of the territories, and the natural rivalry of enraged sections can be arranged without war. In that event you cannot serve in Louisiana against your family and kin in Ohio. The bare possibility of such a contingency, it seems to me renders your duty plain, to make a frank statement to all the gentlemen connected with you, and with good feeling close your engagement. If the storm shall blow over, your course will strengthen you with every man whose good opinion you desire; if not, you will escape humiliation. When you return to Ohio, I will write you freely about your return to the army, not so difficult a task as you imagine. . .

December 10, 1860 Monday
The South Carolina delegation in Washington spoke again with the President, presenting a memorandum saying that the state would not attack or molest the United States forts in Charleston Harbor prior to the act of secession and, they hoped, until an offer had been made to negotiate for an amicable arrangement between the state and the United States, provided no reinforcements should be sent to the forts. The delegation received the impression that no change would be made by the Federals in the military situation at Charleston. For their part, state authorities would try to prevent any premature collision. This interview later became a subject of dispute.

The President also moved to prepare the limited military resources of the nation for possible action. Maj. Anderson reported every day or two from Charleston.

Abraham Lincoln, in Springfield, wrote Sen. Lyman Trumbull, “Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and, ere long, must be done again … The tug has to come & better now, than any time hereafter.”

Author:  nsimms [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 11, 1860 Tuesday
At Fort Moultrie Maj. Don Carlos Buell (a Regular Army member who was to rise quickly in rank after the war started), sent by the War Department to Charleston, prepared for Maj. Anderson a memorandum of verbal instruction given Buell by Sec. of War Floyd. Floyd pointed out that he had refrained from sending reinforcements in order to avoid a collision and that he felt South Carolina would not attempt to seize the forts. Anderson was not to take up any position which could be construed as hostile in attitude, but he was to hold possession of the forts and, if attacked, defend his position. He was authorized to put his command into any fort in order to increase its power of resistance if attacked or threatened with attack. A tour of the forts and Charleston convinced Buell that Fort Sumter would be seized. Furthermore, Moultrie would be taken unless Sumter was occupied. There apparently was talk of transferring Anderson’s command from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter.

President-elect Lincoln wrote Congressman William Kellogg, as he had others, to “Entertain no proposition for a compromise in regard to the extension of slavery. The instant you do, they have us under again …” He add, “You know I think the fugitive slave clause of the constitution ought to be enforced – to put it on the mildest form, ought not to be resisted.”

Author:  nsimms [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 12, 1860 Wednesday
Sec. of State Lewis Cass of Michigan resigned because the President refused to reinforce the Charleston forts. Now two Cabinet members had quit, but they were of opposite viewpoints. The resignation upset Buchanan as Cass still had considerable political influence, and Buchanan felt the Secretary had shifted his opinion since the message to Congress.

In Springfield Lincoln was holding conferences in regard to his Cabinet appointments – this day with Francis P. Blair, Jr., of St Louis, a powerful political figure.

At Washington some twenty-three bills and resolutions purporting to solve the crisis were submitted to the House Committee of Thirty-Three, which was seeking some plan of compromise. Eventually there were thirty or forty plans, including some calling for dual Presidents, and for splitting the country into districts.

Author:  nsimms [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 13, 1860 Thursday
Seven senators and twenty-three representatives from the South issued a manifesto which urged secession and the organization of a Southern Confederacy.

President-elect Lincoln continued to write letters advising against compromise of any sort on slavery extension. He also made a trip to John Williams' store in Springfield, Ill. to buy some yard goods and paid 75 cents for a pocket handkerchief. That night, he attended a wedding.

Author:  nsimms [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 14, 1860 Friday
The Georgia legislature issued a call to South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi for delegates to be appointed to a convention to consider a Southern Confederacy.

Author:  nsimms [ Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 15, 1860 Saturday
President-elect Lincoln wrote a confidential letter to Congressman John A. Gilmer of North Carolina who had written to Lincoln citing the "alarming" national situation, and expressed concerns about Lincoln's policies regarding the South and slavery. Lincoln advises Gilmer to read the "Republican platform, or my speeches." Lincoln again expressed his reasons for not making any new statements, as they might be misinterpreted. He said further, "I never have been, and not now, and probably never shall be, in a mood of harassing the people, either North or South." But he was inflexible on the question of slavery extension in the territories; "You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. For this, neither has any just occasion to be angry with the other."

On invitation of Lincoln, Bates of Missouri is in Springfield. He spends most of the day with Lincoln, and it is rumored he has been offered a cabinet post.

December 16, 1860 Sunday
Nothing of note happened on this day other than a God fearing nation hopefully conducting worship in their churches.

Author:  nsimms [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

December 17, 1860 Monday
South Carolina Secession Convention Meets
In the Baptist church of Columbia, S.C., the state capital, the Convention of the People of South Carolina gathered. President D. F. Jamison of Barnwell stated, "It is no less than our fixed determination to throw off a Government to which we have been accustomed, and to provide new safeguards for our future security. If anything has been decided by the elections which sent us here, it is, that South Carolina must dissolve her connection with the [Federal] Confederacy as speedily as possible." Proceeding to list gievancces, Jamison went on, "Let us be no longer duped by paper securities. Written Constitutions are worthless, unless they are written, at the same time, in the hearts, and founded on the interests of the people; and as there is no common bond of sympathy or interest between the North and South, all efforts to preserve this Union will not only be fruitless, but fatal to the less numerous section." That evening a resolution stated "That it is the opinion of this Convention that the State of South Carolina should forthwith secede from the Federal Union, known as the United States of America." Another resolution called for a committee to draft such an ordinance. The question on secession passed 159 to nothing, and, in effect, South Carolina was out of the Union. However, the convention adjourned to Charleston due to the prevalence of smallpox at Columbia.

In Washington President Buchanan, faced with dissolution of his Cabinet, named Att. Gen Jeremiah S. Black of Pennsylvania as Secretary of State to replace resigned Lewis Cass.

In Springfield, Ill. President-elect Lincoln writes to Thurlow Weed a definition of his position on secession: "My opinion is that no state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President, and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is." Also in Springfield, Mrs. Lincoln buys and charges yard goods and edging.

Author:  Ernie Sands [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The American Civil War, Day by Day

Interesting facts.

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