It was thought that members of Congress and the Cabinet with secessionist sentiments were moving guns, money and supplies to places that would be accessible to the Confederacy when the war started. Here is a page from "Lee And his Lieutenants".
MAJ.-GEN. JOHN B. FLOYD.
order at once. This order in my judgment can alone prevent bloodshed and civil war. " JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War. "December 27, 1860." Mr. Buchanan's courage was not equal to the occasion. He had pledged his faith; and to make good the engagement of a President of the United States, he should have been willing to tear down the forts, if necessary.* A great government can afford to make any material sacrifice for its reputation. Mr. Buchanan declined. He declined in a petulant manner. There was left but one thing further for Secretary Floyd to do; and that was to resign. On the 31st December, he was notified by Mr. Buchanan that his resignation was accepted. Mr. Floyd's resignation upon a demand for the evacuation of the Charleston harbors, coupled with the popular idea that he had distributed public arms in large numbers through the South, for the purpose of aiding the secession movement, excited a fierce popular clamor against him throughout the North. The Republican party turned upon him with intense vindictiveness, and it was under the influence of this hue and cry that a committee raised in Congress to investigate the disposition of some Indian Trust Bonds, made assaults upon his personal character which were refuted as far as the evidence could go. It is not to be denied that he deeply resented this treatment, and that he was thus led to study more thoroughly than others the real purposes and temper of the party which had secured the control of government. Accordingly, always afterwards, until the day of his death, he ceased not to warn the South against the fatal error of believing that the war which was wantonly forced upon the country by the Lincoln government would be a short one; and he published it to all who could be made to hear, that secession could not be
* Mr. Buchanan denies in his book that he was a party to this pledge. The denial comes after the medium of it is dead. But the circumstances are against him. What but such a pledge, believed by the other side to have been given, could have withheld the South Carolinians from capturing Fort Moultrie and its garrison? Tacitly to accept the benefit of a pledge given by another, is an implication in the pledge. His denial ought to have been made public at the time of the publication of Secretary Floyd's resignation. Mr. Buchanan's letter accepting the resignation neither makes nor suggests a denial.