Tying Up Loose Ends with the Powhatan, Lincoln, Seward and Welles

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Saturday, April 6, 1861 A messenger from Captain Israel Vogdes, commander of the troops that were to reinforce Fort Pickens, arrived in Washington to see the President. This story will take some telling, so hold on. Back on March 12th, General Scott had ordered Fort Pickens to be reinforced. The USS Brooklyn was selected forRead More

The USS Powhatan Ordered to be in Two Places at Once

USS Powhatan

Friday, April 5, 1861 Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles sent the orders to put Fox’s plan to resupply Sumter into action. Lincoln had read, approved and signed the orders giving Captain Samuel Mercer, commander of the USS Powhatan instructions to ready his ship and assume command over the Pocahontas, Pawnee and Harriet Lane forRead More

Virginia Totters on the Edge; Orders for Sumter

John B. Baldwin

Thursday, April 4, 1861 Union sympathy in the deeper South was gone. The trip Lamon and Hurlbut made to Charleston proved that. But what about Virginia? The border state had been holding an on again, off again secession convention since early January. Lincoln, wishing to take the true pulse of nationalism in Virginia, sent George W.Read More

An All Fool’s Day Full of Secrets

All Fool's Day - Harper's Weekly

Monday, April 1, 1861 – All Fool’s Day On this April holiday, secrecy would turn out to be a fool’s game. Lincoln had ordered Gustavus Fox to ready some ships in the Brooklyn Navy Yard to prepare to sail, but whether they would sail for Fort Sumter or Fort Pickens was not yet mentioned (thoughRead More

Lincoln Polls Cabinet; Orders to Ready the Ships

Brooklyn Navy Yard - Harper's Weekly

Friday, March 29, 1861 – Good Friday Lincoln got little to no sleep the previous night. At noon, the cabinet gathered again, minus Secretary of War Simon Cameron. It came down to two choices. Should they follow General Scott’s plan and surrender Fort Sumter and, if the General got his way, Fort Pickens? Or shouldRead More

The Decision to Surrender Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

Friday, March 15, 1861 My dear Sir: Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under the circumstances is it wise to attempt it ? Please give me your opinion in writing on this question. Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln. Lincoln asked this from each of the Cabinet members. Before they would reply,Read More

A Quiet Sunday and a Daring Plan


Sunday, March 10, 1861 It was a quiet Sunday in Washington DC. With Seward still sick and in bed, the Lincolns attended church services at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. They would become regulars. The pastor, Phineas Densmore Gurley was of the old school. He was anti-slavery as well as pro-Union. The Lincolns soonRead More