Fort Sumter: View Results of Your Choice

I could have surrendered the fort, but handing over federal property to the South would have been giving up the fight before it began. Not to mention that the Constitution did not authorize me to just give away U.S. property. Instead, I sent unarmed boats to re-supply Fort Sumter. If the Confederates attacked, I reasoned, they would be seen as the aggressors, a fact that would damage them especially in the Upper South. After Sumter, four more slave states did secede, but our approach to the crisis helped prevent four others from leaving the Union –a critical factor in our ultimate victory.

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