James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
within the limits of the cotton States were taken possession of by these States and, in due time, all this property was turned over to the Southern Confederacy, so that on March 4, all that Lincoln controlled was four military posts, of which Fort Sumter, commanding Charleston, was much the most important.1 Since the very beginning of the secession movement, the eyes of the North had been upon South Carolina. For many years she had been restive under the bonds of the Union; her chief city, Charleston, had witnessed the disruption of the Democratic national convention,2 and the consequent split in the party which made certain the Republican success of 1860, that in turn had led to the secession of the State and the formation of the Southern Confederacy. Fort Sumter had fixed the attention of the Northern mind by an occurrence in December, 1860. Major Anderson with a small garrison of United States troops had occupied Fort Moultrie; but, convinced that he could not defend that fort against any attack from Charleston, he had, secretly on the night after Christmas, withdrawn his force to Fort Sumter, a much stronger post. Next morning, when the movement was discovered, Charleston fumed with rage whilst the North, on hearing the news, was jubilant and made a hero of Anderson.3 Lincoln recognized the importance of holding Fort Sumter but he also purposed to use all means short of the compromise of his deepest convictions to retain the border slave States and North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas in the Union. The action of these three turned upon Virginia, whose convention was in session, ready to take any action which the posture of affairs seemed to demand. The fundamental difficulty now asserted itself. To hold Fort Sumter was to Lincoln a bounden duty but