Memorandum on Fort Sumter

Some considerations in favor of withdrawing the Troops from Fort Sumpter, by President Lincoln.

1st. The Fort cannot be permanently held without reinforcement.

This point is too apparent too [sic] need proof

The cutting off supplies and consequent starvation, not to mention disease, would compel surrender in a few months at farthest, without firing a gun

2 The Fort cannot now be re-inforced without a large armament, involving of course a bloody conflict and great exasperation on both sides, and when re-inforced can only be held by sufficient number to garrison the post and to keep open communication with it by means of the harbor.

3. The Fort in the present condition of affairs is of inconsiderable military value, for: It is not necessary for the Federal Government to hold it in order to protect the City of Charleston from foreign invasion, nor: Is it available under existing circumstances for the purpose of collecting the revenue: and, It is difficult to see how the possession of the Fort by the Secessionists can be rendered a means of annoyance to the Federal Government. Every purpose for which the fort can now be made available would be better subserved by Ships of War, outside the harbor.

4 The abandonment of the Post would remove a source of irritation of the Southern people and deprive the secession movement of one of its most powerful stimulants.

5 It would indicate both an independent and a conservative position on part of the new administration, and would gratify and encourage those, who while friendly to the Union are yet reluctant to see extreme measures pursued.

6 It would tend to confound and embarrass those enemies of the Union both at the North and South who have relied on the cry of “Coercion” as a means of keeping up the excitement against the Republican Party.

7 If the garrison should, while in an enfeebled condition be successfully attacked, or from want of proper supplies should be cut off by disuse the administration would be held responsible for it and this fact would be used by their opponents with great effect.

8 The moral advantage to the Secessionists of a successful attack would be very great.


1st The danger of demoralizing the Republican Party by a measure which might seem to many to indicate timidity or in common parlance, “want of pluck.”

That this may be the first impression is probable but if the measure is justified upon the double ground of the small importance of the post in a military point of view and the desire to conciliate wherever this can be safely done a second thought will discover the wisdom of the course, and increase rather than diminish the confidence of the party in its leaders.

2d The danger of the movement being construed by the Secessionists as a yielding from necessity, and in so far a victory on their part


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