More Year-End Cabinet Shuffling and News From Lincoln

Monday, December 31, 1860; New Years Eve The Ex-Secretary of War John Floyd found himself apologizing to President Buchanan. This apology was ignored, but his resignation was accepted. Buchanan declined Floyd’s offer to stick around until a successor arrived, noting in his reply to Floyd that Postmaster General Joseph Holt would be taking his seat.Read More

Buchanan Takes a Stand: This I Cannot Do; This I Will Not Do

Sunday, December 30, 1860 Secretary of State Jeremiah Black did not sleep well last night. He may not have slept at all. The President’s reply to the South Carolina Commissioners conceded too much to the rebels. Buchanan had heard that Black was also looking to resign his post. When seeing him, he asked if thatRead More

Buchanan Loses Another… and Another?

Saturday, December 29, 1860 President Buchanan’s meeting with the Commissioners needed a formal reply. On the evening of the 29th, he showed his first draft to his Cabinet. Secretary of War John Floyd, who had still not resigned, was there and offered up his opinion (as did the other Cabinet members). Only one Cabinet member,Read More

Scott is Ignored While Floyd Lounges Around

Friday, December 28, 1860 South Carolina had seized Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckey the previous day. While word of Anderson’s move to Sumter had set Washington to panic, word of the Secessionists’ retaliation would not reach them until Buchanan and his cabinet were having their morning meeting. The option of ordering Anderson back to MoultrieRead More

American Flag over Sumter

Thursday, December 27, 1860 President Buchanan had promised South Carolina that Major Anderson would make no hostile movements. He had even agreed (or at least accepted) that Anderson wouldn’t so much as shuffle troops from one fort to another. So what was that American flag flying over Fort Sumter all about? Why was Moultrie smoldering?Read More

Anderson Slips to Sumter

Wednesday, December 26, 1860 Though the weather was still cold, rainy and foggy, Major Anderson decided now to enact his plan. By mid-morning, the troops at Fort Moultrie were loading food – a lot of food – onto boats. It was thought that their destination was Fort Johnson where the women and children were toRead More

Three Plots for Christmas: Guns, Kidnapping and Fog

Tuesday, December 25, 1860; Christmas Day President Buchanan had just gotten wind of Secretary of War Floyd’s possible plot to arm the South by using Northern arsenals and was horrified. It’s no wonder that he was, with everyone and their brother telegraphing Washington to figure out why.1 It was likely that Buchanan would be lumpedRead More