Back to top

South Carolina governor asks President Buchanan's permission to occupy Fort Sumter with state troops

Francis Wilkinson Pickens, detail
The newly elected governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Pickens, wrote to President Buchanan asking that he, as governor, be allowed to occupy Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor with a small force of state troops to "give a feeling of safety to the community."  The message was delivered three days later in Washington but before action could be taken Pickens withdrew the letter as South Carolina had that day seceded from the Union.  (By John Osborne) 
Source Citation: 
Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861 (New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1887), 81-84.