Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Abraham Lincoln to Gustavus V. Fox, May 1, 1861

washington, D. C.,
May 1, 1861.
Captain G. V. Fox.

My Dear Sir: I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort Sumter should be the source of any annoyance to you. The practicability of your plan was not, in fact, brought to a test.

By reason of a gale, well known in advance to be possible, and not improbable, the tugs, an essential part of the plan, never reached the ground, while by an accident, for which you were in nowise responsible, and possibly I to some extent was, you were deprived of a war vessel, with her men, which you deemed of great importance to the enterprise. I most cheerfully and truly declare that the failure of the undertaking has not lowered you a particle, while the qualities you developed in the effort have greatly heightened you, in my estimation. For a daring and dangerous enterprise of a similar character you would to-day be the man of all my acquaintances whom I would select. You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.

Very truly, your friend,
A. Lincoln.

SOURCE:  Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 420; Roy P. Basler, Editor, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 4, p. 350-1.

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