Undeniable Truths <br> As I see it: Lincoln Disclaims All Purpose of War


Lincoln Disclaims All Purpose of War

Lincoln inaugurated war against South Carolina when his armed fleet departed New York harbor to reinforce Fort Sumter, a fort on the soil of a State whose citizens had determined to change their form of government in accordance with Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Virginia remained in the Union until Lincoln’s duplicity made it clear that he desired war against his own people, his fellow Americans.

Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute

Lincoln Disclaims All Purpose of War:

“The Confederacy, already formed since the seceding of South Carolina and five of the States of the lower South, sent its ablest men to urge Virginia to join it, satisfied that unless she did so the effort to organize a new and independent nation would fail. To these overtures the Virginia Convention gave respectful attention, but declined the alliance. Still anxiously seeking to secure peace, the convention sent three distinguished members to confer with Mr. Lincoln in reference to the course he intended to pursue in dealing with the Confederate States.

They reported that the President “expressly disclaimed all purpose of war”; in addition to this, Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, and Mr. Bates, Attorney General, gave similar assurances – and yet, the same train which brought Virginia’s commissioners home, brought the President’s proclamation, demanding 75,000 troops to coerce the seceding States. The quota assigned to Virginia called for three regiments, or 2,304 men.

Governor [John] Letcher’s reply to this call was emphatic. He wrote:

“The militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object – and object in my judgment not within the purview of the Constitution, or the Act of 1795 – will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the administration has exhibited toward the South.”

(Virginia’s War Governors, 1861-1865, Confederate Veteran, December 1930, page 463)


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