PORTER, Fitz-John (1822-1901), General, U. S. Army. Autograph letter signed (''F. J. Porter'') to Horatio King, New York, 26 August 1896. 1 page, 4to., with 14-line endorsement by King at top left corner.
PORTER, Fitz-John (1822-1901), General, U. S. Army. Autograph letter signed ("F. J. Porter") to Horatio King, New York, 26 August 1896. 1 page, 4to., with 14-line endorsement by King at top left corner.
NEW EVIDENCE ABOUT LINCOLN TRYING APPEASEMENT DURING THE SECESSION CRISIS?
Porter writes: "I give you the following data to, perhaps, rouse your memory of an early event in Lincoln's administration, which if true, shows that administration was as anxious to avoid collision as was Mr. Buchanan's--and decisions of separation rather than collision which Mr. B's avoided. Overhauling old memoranda of 1861 I find a note, indicating that negotiations were going in Lincoln's cabinet for the surrender of the Forts & other property in South Carolina to South Carolina. Dr. Todd of Kentucky, a brother of Mrs. Lincoln and [someone who] favored the South, was in the White House & encouraged the negotiations & through him they became known. The firing on Fort Sumpter put an end to the idea of issuing a proclamation, turning over the forts & government property, and caused a call for troops. Is this true?...Or was it unfounded?" King thought it was. He says he "never heard that Mr. Lincoln considered the matter of the impudent request of the S. C. Comrs. to turn S. C. over to that state. There is no doubt that they did make such request. The Nicolay-Hay history ought to have the facts." Like a lot of revisionist speculation, Porter's contains some truth, but introduces more errors. There was a time during the Sumter crisis when Lincoln thought the Fort would have to be abandoned as a sheer matter of military necessity. At another time he even contemplated trading the fort for Virginia's loyalty. But every option he considered was by way of trying to preserve the Union, and there's no evidence that Mrs. Lincoln's brother played a key role in these maneuvers.