It is commonly believed that during the Civil War, the South reacted to Abraham Lincoln becoming president by their military actions in the beginning of the war.
That is not true. Many military actions in the south took place long before Lincoln arrived in Washington City. Here are some instances. On January 2, 1861 South Carolina troops seized Fort Johnson in the Charleston, SC harbor. The next day Georgia militia took control of Fort Pulaski and militia from Alabama grabbed control of the U.S. federal arsenal at Mount Vernon, AL. On January 6, the state of Florida sent forces to overtake the U.S. federal arsenal at Apalachicola. The next day Florida troops captured Fort Marion at St. Augustine.
On January 10, Louisiana troops took control of two forts, Ft. Jackson and Ft. Philip. That same day Mississippi militia took over federal property and forts in Mississippi. On January 12, Ft. Pickens fell to troops from the state of Florida. Mississippi troops overtook federal forces at Ft. Massachusetts at Ship Island on January 19. And on January 24, the federal arsenal at Augusta, GA fell to Georgia state troops.
At Napolean, Arkansas, on February 12, Arkansas soldiers took command of the federal munitions plant. On February 16, militia from Texas took command of the U.S. federal arsenal at San Antonio. And on February 20, troops from Louisiana took over the U.S. paymaster’s office in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, president-elect Lincoln left Springfield, IL and traveled by train to Washington City for his inauguration. He left Springfield on February 11 and arrived in Washington City on the morning of February 23. He was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1861.
The notation that action by troops in the South was due to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency does not stand – although it could be argued that the actions were due to his election. All the actions described prior to Mr. Lincoln’s presidency occurred during the presidency of James Buchanan who reacted to the South’s actions by virtually pretending they did not happen.
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