The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Fort Sumter

Was there any chance that Fort Sumter could hold out?

Not really. The single most immediate problem was a shortage of food, but even if that had been solved, a dozen other logistical problems stared Major Anderson in the face. Most unfair, he had little communication with Lincoln or other members of the administration. As they jostled with each other over the best way to proceed, members of the Lincoln administration left Major Anderson very much in the dark.

Nor was Fort Sumter truly necessary for the defense of the Union. It would be convenient, to be sure, to keep such a fort in that location, but the morale effect was far more important than the strategic one. Lincoln cleverly maneuvered so that it was the Confederates who fired the first shots of the war.


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