Sunday, June 18, 2017

Seward’s Analysis of Fort Sumter: "We have inaugurated a civil war by our own act."

Though a duplicitous and scheming politician, William Seward understood that any action to reinforce Fort Sumter would be an act of war, as was Major Anderson’s movement from Moultrie to Sumter. He further recognized that war on the North’s part would cause disunion.
Bernhard Thuersam,   The Great American Political Divide

Seward’s Analysis of Fort Sumter

“The question submitted to us, then, practically, is:

Supposing it to be possible to reinforce and supply Fort Sumter. Is it wise to attempt it, instead of withdrawing the garrison? The most that could be done by any means now in our hands would be to throw two hundred and fifty to four hundred troops into the garrison, with provisions for supplying it five or six months.

In this active and enlightened country, in this season of excitement, with a daily press, daily mails, and an incessantly operating telegraph, the design to reinforce and supply the garrison must become known to the opposite party in Charleston as soon at least as preparation for it should begin. The garrison then would almost certainly fall by assault before the expedition could reach the harbor of Charleston; suppose it to be overpowered and destroyed, is that new outrage to be avenged, or are we then to return to our attitude of immobility? Moreover in that event, what becomes of the garrison?

I suppose the expedition successful. We have then a garrison at Fort Sumter that could defy assault for six months. What is it to do then? Is it to make war by opening its batteries and attempting to demolish the defenses of the Carolinians? Can it demolish them if it tries? If it cannot, what is the advantage we shall have gained? If it can, how will it serve to check or prevent disunion?

In either case, it seems to me that we have inaugurated a civil war by our own act, without an adequate object, which after reunion will be hopeless, at least under this administration, or in any other way than by a popular disavowal both of the war and the administration which unnecessarily commenced it.

Fraternity is the element of union; war is the element of disunion.

Fraternity, if practiced by this administration, will rescue the Union from all its dangers. If this administration, on the other hand, take up the sword, then an opposite party will offer the olive branch, and will, as it ought, profit by the restoration of peace and union.”

(Life of William H. Seward, Frederic Bancroft, Volume II, Harper & Brothers, 1900, excerpt, pp. 99-100)


  1. The Fort Sumter tale that we fired first is so ridiculous.

    One has but to look at a map to see the fort was properly ours. Yet, by that we're supposed to have wanted to invade the North? It's ridiculous.

    The North found a new path to unity: Import a new citizenry, tear down the monuments and memory of the previous one.

    1. : Import a new citizenry, tear down the monuments and memory of the previous one.


  2. Slavery. Hmmmmm Hardly.
    Watch what was released on society - two of these in one
    day at Myrtle Beach: ( watch around 1:12 mark )
    Heard it on the local news. I use to go to Myrtle Beach;
    it wasn't like this.

    1. Thanks and it's bad in Virginia Beach also.