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Monday, June 5, 2017

FORT SUMTER 1861 by Albert Castel

Originally published in 1976.
Reprinted and sold by Eastern Acorn Press through the National Park Service.

Something like 24 years ago I went with to Gettysburg with a wife and a friend for a weekend trip. On that trip I bought this little book. It sat on my shelf unread for more than 2 decades. No reason for that - I am an insatiable student of the war - I have reviewed 91 books on the subject before this one. But, it sat there unread until now.

This is a readable and quite thorough history of the events leading up the famous Firing upon Fort Sumter. The best feature of the small book (fifty 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages) is that it doesn't just tell about Fort Sumter, but also about Fort Pickens. The book details how Sumter was part of a larger policy. Most histories separate the two of them and that is a mistake.

The book also describes the duplicitous actions of Secretary of State William Seward throughout the affair. Seward seriously doubted the abilities of President Lincoln and tried to conduct his own private negotiations with South Carolina to end the crisis. On top of that, he countermanded some of Lincoln's own directives when it came to relieving Fort Sumter.   

The expected stuff is included as well - who fired the first shot, when the fort was surrendered and so on. This was a $1.25 well-spent 24 years ago. 

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Fort Sumter 1861 can be found on Amazon.com here.

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