It Wasn’t About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. – A Comprehensive Review by Gene Kizer, Jr., Part Eleven: Chapter XIII, Over the Edge, Part One

A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Part Eleven
Chapter XIII
Over the Edge
Part One
by Gene Kizer, Jr.

At the end of this article, beneath the notes I have cited, is "Actual Citation from Book," Mitcham's endnotes for Chapter XIII.

MITCHAM GIVES US an exciting account in Chapter XIII of how Abraham Lincoln started the War Between the States, which ended up killing 750,000 men and maiming over a million.

Lincoln established the supremacy of the federal government over the states (remember, Yankees were the "federals" in the war) because he wanted the North with its larger population to control the federal government and thus the country.

On Tuesday, November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected and immediately Charlestonians raised the Palmetto flag "instead of the Stars and Stripes." A judge summed up the feeling in Charleston:

'the Temple of Justice raised under the Constitution of the United States is now closed. If it shall never again be opened I thank God that its doors have been closed before its altar has been desecrated with he sacrifices of tyranny.'1

South Carolina's legislature "met in an unusual Saturday session on November 10" and "passed an act calling for a secession convention to begin in Columbia on December 17." Both of the state's U.S. senators resigned that same day, and the day after, "the South Carolina legislature voted to raise 10,000 volunteers for the defense of the state."2

Secession had been debated the entire previous year across the South but on December 20, 1860 it became reality. The Convention of the People of South Carolina revoked the state's 1788 ratification of the U.S. Constitution and voted 169-0 to secede, which began an ecstatic celebration in Charleston that went on for days.

Earlier, on December 10, "six South Carolina congressmen and President Buchanan met to discuss the military situation in Charleston" and came to a gentleman's agreement that neither would attack the other vis-a-vis the forts. The status quo was to stay the same.

Buchanan's word was no good just as Lincoln and Seward's were no good the following spring. The day after meeting with the South Carolina representatives Buchanan sent Major Don Carlos Buell (later a Union general) who was the War Department representative to meet with Major Anderson then in Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. Buell told Anderson that  "he had permission to abandon Fort Moultrie and transfer the garrison to Fort Sumter."3

Anderson knew Fort Moultrie was indefensible since it faced the harbor and was surrounded by local residences so "he quietly evacuated it on December 26, spiked his obsolete thirty-two-pounder guns, and took his men under cover of darkness to Fort Sumter, which was located on an uninhabited rock island in the middle of Charleston Harbor." Fort Sumter dominated the entrance to Charleston Harbor.4

A delegation from South Carolina went to Washington, D.C. at the same time to "obtain a peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues. Among other things, South Carolina was prepared to pay for its share of the public debt."5

Anderson's provocative act caused South Carolina forces to take over "the other harbor forts, including Moultrie and Castle Pinckney, on December 27."6

Military companies sprang up across the South and began "conducting drills in city parks and on the town squares." Northerners had not believed Southerners would secede but Northern greed and hatred had finally come home to roost. Southerners were "deadly serious."

By year end, and early 1861, Republican political strength plummeted "in the municipal elections. Even in Boston, Wendell Phillips needed police protection to return home."7 This is the same virtue-signaling abolitionist hate-monger with no solution for ending slavery, who had proclaimed that the Republican Party was the party of the North pledged against the South and was the first sectional party in American history.

South Carolina wanted Anderson to return to Fort Moultrie and Secretary of War John B. Floyd agreed. He warned that failure to do so "'invited a collision.'"8

There were several heated cabinet meetings at the end of the year, then Floyd resigned December 29th. On December 30th "South Carolina volunteers seized the Charleston Arsenal."9 President-elect Lincoln "claimed he 'yearned' for peace but took absolutely no steps to secure it."10

On January 9, 1861 Citadel cadets manning an artillery battery on Morris Island "fired on and drove off" the Star of the West, which had been sent to "reinforce and re-provision Fort Sumter":

The soldiers were hidden below deck [of the Star of the West], but the South Carolinians had been tipped off as to what was really happening by Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson of Mississippi. . . . Anderson continued to draw his supplies from the mainland of South Carolina, but he knew the secessionists could cut them off at any time.11

Meanwhile, one of the greatest expressions of democratic republican government in history occurred as six other states in a landmass nearly the size of Europe called conventions, elected delegates as Unionists or Secessionists, then debated the single issue of secession just as the colonists had debated the single issue of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

They then voted one by one to secede from the federal Union that had become full of hate and tyranny, much more so than the British in 1776. The terrorism of violent criminals like John Brown, which was celebrated in the North, meant Southerners with their wives, children, their families, were targeted for murder, rape, arson, and every other unimaginable horror. Some thought that was the federal government's intent. They had no reason to think overwise.


On January 9, Mississippi voted to secede by a vote of eighty-four to fifteen. The next day, Florida, voted sixty-two to seven to leave the Union. Alabama departed on January 11 by a vote of sixty-one to thirty-nine. Georgia seceded on January 19 after a vote of two hundred eight to eighty-nine. Louisiana left the Union on January 26 after a vote of one hundred thirteen to seven. Texas voted one hundred sixty-six to seven to secede on February 1. Governor Sam Houston tried to obstruct it and prevent Texas from joining the Confederacy. On March 16, he went to work and was shocked to find Lieutenant Governor Edward Clark sitting at his desk. The secession convention had deposed him. Lincoln offered him 50,000 troops to keep Texas in the United States, but like Robert E. Lee, Houston did not care to remain in a union held together by bayonets. He declined the offer and retired.12

Those seven states met in convention February 4, 1861 in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to the original American republic of the Founding Fathers with sovereign states in a loose federal union unlike the Northern tyranny that had developed. The most widely used phrase in the secession debate in the South during 1860 came from the Declaration of Independence:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

On Friday, February 8, 1861 "they adopted a constitution and created the Confederate States of America." It outlawed protective tariffs that had allowed the North to enrich itself at the expense of the South via Robert Toombs's "suction pump" which constantly sucked wealth out of the South and deposited it in the North.

It prohibited internal improvement in one state paid for with tax money from another so never again would Southerners pay 85% of the taxes but have 75% of the tax money spent in the North.

The Confederate Constitution "outlawed the slave trade and allowed for the admission of non-slaveholding states" which petrified Abraham Lincoln since several free states especially along the Mississippi were attracted to the free-trade South with its low 10% tariff for the operation of a small federal government in a states rights nation. This is in comparison to the North's soon-to-be-passed astronomical Morrill Tariff that was 47 to 60% higher because in a knee-jerk fashion, they had passed it thinking the South would have to pay it as it had in the past. However, the Morrill Tariff fell on Northerners because the South was now an independent nation.

Jefferson Davis, a Mississippi moderate with a distinguished record of service to the country was elected provisional president, and former Unionist, Alexander H. Stephens, "Little Alec," as Robert Toombs called his good friend, was elected provisional vice president. Stephens was a good friend of Lincoln's.

Independence "would give the South more leverage in dealing with domestic terrorism, as advocated by Lysander Phillips, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Franklin B. Sanborn, Gerrit Smith, George Luther Stearns, and others."13

The Northern press at first accepted Southern secession and editors like Horace Greeley said "let the erring sisters go." He at first believed in the right of secession and wrote a long emotional editorial in support of it as South Carolina was seceding.

But he soon realized it would affect his money in a dramatic way so he changed his tune and wanted war as did most of the North:

They were told (accurately) that the free trade ports of New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, and others would undercut the high duty ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc. They predicted that the North would lose at least half of its commerce. The Southern economy was prosperous, and the industrial, commercial, and financial classes of the North did not want it to slip beyond their grasp. Simultaneously, Lincoln was insisting that he must have his tariffs. The withdrawal of the South meant that the federal government lost more than 85 percent of its tax base. Also, an independent South with an economy based on free trade would be devastating competition for the North. . . . Some Northern newspapers began advocating the use of military force to prevent this competitive situation.14

Lincoln spoke out of both sides of his mouth like a typical corrupt politician. He "spoke of how a house divided against itself could not stand and how the nation could not remain half slave and half free" while supporting the Corwin Amendment which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, where slavery already existed. He spoke of peace while he laid his plans "to trigger war" and he still "insisted on high tariffs."15 After all, Lincoln was president of the North as Wendell Phillips had proclaimed, not president of the whole country.

There were "two potential flashpoints in the spring of 1861: Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens, the last located on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola harbor, Florida."

Fort Pickens had federal troops inside and "a naval force" outside but they were "outnumbered by Florida volunteers" who held Pensacola.

Florida could have taken the fort but an armistice "was agreed on January 29 and remained in effect until Lincoln broke the agreement in April":

U.S. Captain Israel Vogdes of the First Artillery Regiment was the commander of a Union force aboard the USS Brooklyn. He and his men were supposed to reinforce the fort but stopped at the Pensacola sandbar. When he learned of the armistice, Vogdes returned to his vessel.16

The armistice was honored until:

March 12 when, at Lincoln's command, General Scott sent Captain Vogdes an order: 'At the first favorable moment, you will land your company, reinforce Fort Pickens, and hold the same until further orders.' This order was in direct violation of the armistice of January 29 and was an act of war---issued only eight days after Honest Abe became president.17 (Bold emphasis added.)

Vogdes "did not receivce the order until March 31." He then requested help from Capt. Henry A. Adams of the USS Sabine but Adams knew Lincoln's order would start a war.

Adams wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles:

'I can not take on myself under such insufficient authority as General Scott's order to the fearful responsibility of an act which seems to render civil war inevitable . . . '18 (Bold emphasis added.)

"In his report to the secretary of the Navy," Adams wrote:

'It would be considered not only a declaration but an act of war, and would be resisted to the utmost.'19 (Bold emphasis added.)

Adams went on:

'At present both sides are faithfully observing the agreement [armistice] entered into by the U.S. Government and Mr. [Stephen] Mallory and Colonel [William Henry] Chase. This agreement binds us not to reinforce Fort Pickens unless it shall be attacked or threatened. It binds them not to attack it unless we attempt to reinforce it.'20

Huger W. Johnstone later wrote: "'Captain Adams averted open war on April 1, 1861, by refusing to obey this [Lincoln's] order.'"

Mitcham writes that Captain Adams must have "thought Welles did not understand the situation at Pensacola and did not want to start a war. It did not occur to him [Adams] that starting a war was exactly what Welles wanted to do."21

On April 6 Welles reprimanded Adams and "made it clear that he and the administration wanted war":

'Your dispatch of April 1 is received,' he wrote. 'The Department regrets that you did not comply with the request of Capt. Vogdes. You will immediately on the first favorable opportunity after receipt of this order, afford every facility to Capt. Vogdes to enable him to land the troops under his command, it being the wish and intention of the Navy Department to co-operate with the War Department, in that object.'22

The situation at Fort Sumter was perhaps even more ominous.

In Washington, D.C. "on February 6, Lincoln's agent, Gustavus V. Fox, met with Lieutenant Norman J. Hall, who was sent from Fort Sumter by Major Anderson. They discussed relieving the fort."23

Several more conferences occurred then:

Fox wrote General Scott on March 8, informing him that Hall was bringing the relief plans to Major Anderson if the Rebels would let him back into the fort. The Lincoln administration (including, among others, Lincoln, Fox, Hall, and Montgomery Blair, the newly designated postmaster general) was clearly scheming to relieve Fort Sumter before February 6, and these plans were well advanced by Inauguration Day.24

Confederate commissioners in Washington were lied to and told repeatedly that Fort Sumter would be evacuated though Lincoln's plan all along was to reinforce it, which he knew would start the war. On March 29, Lincoln sent a dispatch to Welles stating:

'I desire that an expedition, to move by sea be got ready to sail as early as the 6th of April . . . ' His memo called for three ships of war (the Pocahontas, the Pawnee, and the Harriet Lane) to enter Confederate territorial waters, carrying 200 reinforcements with one year's stores.25

Lincoln was determined to start the war somewhere so if Fort Sumter failed, of course he had Fort Pickens.

General Scott on April 2, "sent a remarkable order, dated April 1, to Brevet Colonel Harvey Brown at Fort McHenry, Maryland" commanding Brown to "take command of an expedition to reinforce and hold Fort Pickens." It was signed by Winfield Scott and Abraham Lincoln.26

Mitcham writes:

President do not ordinarily approve orders like this from generals, but Scott knew it would violate the truce with the Confederates, who would undoubtedly fire on the ships and inaugurate civil war. It is obvious that he needed or wanted Lincoln's co-signature before he committed an act of war. He wanted future generations to know that the decision to go to war was Lincoln's, not his. Lincoln not only signed the order, but he also issued a second order (also dated April 1) to 'All officers of the Army and Navy' to aide Brown and co-operate with him as needed. The president signed this order himself.27 (Bold emphasis added.)

Five military missions were now "steaming toward, or about to sail for Southern territorial waters:"

1) the Welles-Fox Expedition, heading for Charleston;

2) the Rowan Expedition, also heading for Charleston;

3) Captain Adams' ships, lurking off Santa Rosa Island;

4) Colonel Brown's Expedition, heading for Pensacola; and

5) Porter's Expedition, also steaming for Pensacola.28


Next Week:

A Comprehensive Review of

It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.

Part Twelve

Chapter XIII
Over the Edge
Part Two

(Click Here to go to previous week: Part Ten: Chapter XII, Lincoln and His Agenda)


(Scroll down for:
It Wasn't About Slavery, Actual Citation from Book)

1 Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2020), 131.

2 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 131-132.

3 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 132.

4 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 132-133.

5 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 133.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 134.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 134-135.

13 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 135.

14 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 136-137.

15 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 137.

16 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 137-138.

17 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 138.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 138-139.

22 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 139.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 141.

26 Ibid.

27 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 142.

28 Ibid.

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