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Lincoln's July 4th Address to Congress

Part of the official explanation of what happened to start the war.

"It is thus seen that the assault upon, and reduction of, Fort Sumter, was, in no sense, a matter of self defence on the part of the assailants. They well knew that the garrison in the Fort could, by no possibility, commit aggression upon them. They knew---they were expressly notified---that the giving of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison, was all which would on that occasion be attempted, unless themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more. They knew that this Government desired to keep the garrison in the Fort, not to assail them, but merely to maintain visible possession, and thus to preserve the Union from actual, and immediate dissolution---trusting, as herein-before stated, to time, discussion, and the ballot-box, for final adjustment; and they assailed, and reduced the Fort, for precisely the reverse object---to drive out the visible authority of the Federal Union, and thus force it to immediate dissolution."

I find this interesting. If the only desire was "to keep the garrison in the Fort.. to maintain visible possession" and they were running out of food too fast, why didn't Lincoln order the garrison reduced in number to stretch out the food supply? What's the difference of between 80 men not being able to "commit aggression" and 20 men not being able to "commit aggression".

David Upton

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Lincoln's July 4th Address to Congress
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