The Richmond History Podcast

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lincoln's Choice

After over a decade of piling rubble in the Charleston Harbor, a man made island became what we now know as Fort Sumter.
While there a while ago I was impressed with the story told by the park rangers.  Four years to the day that Major Robert Anderson took down the stars and stripes from above the fort in 1861 and took it home, Anderson was brought out of retirement for a ceremony to raise the same flag up the pole over the first Union fort to fall under fire in 1865. (During the Civil War, Kansas 1861, West Virginia 1863, and Nevada 1864 1were added to the Union so Anderson's flag didn't have enough stars.)  What a beautiful day that  must have been.  They decide to invite President Lincoln to the festive event.  I am writing this from memory so I have no direct quotes but I can only imagine the response from either Lincoln, or his advisor when he said he was considering it must have been, "Are you stupid? Back to South Carolina, back to Charleston, back to Fort Sumter, now?  You must be dumb". Keep in mind Robert E. Lee had only surrendered 5 days before the festivities at Sumter... that would be too dangerous.  Anyways Lincoln was in DC, there must be something else to do.  In fact, Our American Cousin, a comic play was  on the same night at the Ford's theater.  Unfortunately John Wilkes Booth, would show up with out tickets.

The Sumter tour, site, and museum was pretty amazing.  Go there.


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