March 1861

Southerners were gaining confidence after forming a provisional government in Montgomery, Alabama. Northerners were anxiously awaiting the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to see how the first Republican administration in history would handle the southern secession. Tension and anxiety pervaded America.

Reconciliation Efforts End

1 Mar – The Senate took up last-minute measures in the hopes of finally reconciling North and South and restoring the Union.

The Buchanan Administration’s Last Days

2 Mar – With his term in office expiring, President James Buchanan approved several last-minute bills including creating new western territories, granting a loan to the Federal government, and increasing tariffs on foreign imports.

The Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

4 Mar – Abraham Lincoln became the 16th U.S. president in Washington.

Lincoln Inherits the Fort Sumter Dispute

5 Mar – Arriving at his office on his first full day as president, Abraham Lincoln found an ominous dispatch on his desk from Major Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

New Laws for the New Confederacy

9 Mar – The Provisional Confederate Congress approved a measure to help finance the new government. Other bills passed this month included creating a national flag, providing for national defense, and approving a permanent constitution, among other measures.

Fort Sumter: The Seward Intervention

15 Mar – Secretary of State William H. Seward took it upon himself to discuss the Fort Sumter situation and other pertinent matters with Confederate envoys despite President Abraham Lincoln’s instruction not to do so.

The Texas Secession: Sam Houston Ousted

18 Mar – Delegates to the Texas State Convention removed Governor Sam Houston from office for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

Fort Sumter: The Lincoln Administration Vacillates

21 Mar – Special Federal agent Gustavus V. Fox arrived at Charleston, South Carolina to assess the situation at Fort Sumter.

Fort Sumter: The Reinforcement Decision

29 Mar – President Abraham Lincoln held a cabinet meeting after deciding what he would do about Fort Sumter.

The Fort Pickens Dispute

31 Mar – The commander of U.S.S. Brooklyn received President Abraham Lincoln’s order to reinforce Fort Pickens.

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Last Updated: 2/5/2017

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