March 1861

The Confederate government began seeking foreign recognition and aid. Abraham Lincoln began his presidency, and with the failure of all compromise efforts, his new administration sought more stringent measures to preserve the Union. This included addressing the standoff between state militia and Federal troops at Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor.

Wayward Sisters Depart in Peace

President-elect Abraham Lincoln continues preparing for his inauguration while Winfield Scott offers four options on how to deal with the southern secession.

A Breakwater Between North and South

James Buchanan wraps up his term as president and reflects upon his handling of the secession crisis.

The Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th U.S. president and prepares to face the sectional crisis head-on.

No Alternative but a Surrender

Abraham Lincoln begins his first full day as president by receiving an ominous message from Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Hostilities Imminent and Inevitable

Many of Abraham Lincoln’s advisors recommend abandoning Fort Sumter, but Lincoln considers a different course of action.

Under God, Our Vindicator

The Provisional Confederate Congress enacts new laws, including those to bolster national defense and issue national currency.

The Permanent Confederate Constitution

The Confederacy adopts a permanent Constitution, similar to the U.S. but with key exceptions.

Seeking Friendship, Commerce and Navigation

Jefferson Davis works to obtain foreign recognition for the new Confederacy as Federal military officers resign to go South.

Desiring a Peaceful Solution

Three Confederate commissioners go to Washington to negotiate the peaceful transfer of Fort Sumter from U.S to Confederate hands.

Fort Sumter: Evacuation or Reinforcement

President Lincoln gets advice on what to do about Fort Sumter and decides to send someone there to assess the garrison’s condition.

I Refuse to Take This Oath

Sam Houston is deposed as governor of Texas for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

Separate Nationality is a Fixed Fact

President Lincoln sends agents to Charleston to see if any Unionist sentiment can be found there. He soon learns there cannot.

The Upper South Holds, the Southwest Does Not

The upper south and the southwest remain uncommitted to the idea of secession for now.

Rendering Adherence to This Union Perpetual

General Winfield Scott writes a shocking letter recommending the abandonment of not only Fort Sumter but Fort Pickens as well.

Provisions are Very Nearly Exhausted

President Abraham Lincoln holds a cabinet meeting regarding the situations at Forts Sumter and Pickens, and he comes to a fateful decision.

When the King Commands All Things are Possible

President Lincoln overrides General Scott’s recommendation by ordering the reinforcement of Fort Pickens at Pensacola.

Last Updated: 4/17/2021

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