View single post by ole
 Posted: Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 06:16 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Posts: 2031

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Militarily, it was in the interests of the Union to invade Virginia. Virginia seceding on May 23rd was the signal to send troops. The U.S. Government  clearly considered that it was now fighting a war.

As far as it goes, TD, the facts are there. However.

Militarily, the Federal Government could not risk leaving a hostile force in possession of the high ground across the Potomac -- the Capitol being within range of Confederate guns. Virginia had amply signalled her intentions when her troops siezed Federal installations (and, for a brief moment, invaded Maryland) before the referendum was approved. But Lincoln did nothing overt before that fact, in which Virgina voted to cast her lot with the other secessionist states all of whom, in effect, declared war by declaring themselves soverign nations and siezing Federal property.

To make a short story longer, Lincoln's call for state militias to rush to defend the capital, verged on panic. There were few regulars in Washington City. Of the few militias available to defend the capital, about half were unreliable for various reasons, including hoarding arms to possiblely take over. Lincoln saw an invasion coming. Much like the southern fears for slavery, there wasn't much substance other than perception.  If the south's fearful perception can be forgiven, so also ought Lincoln's. (And he had taken an oath to defend the Constitution. I doubt he would have been forgiven inaction if Confederate forces had taken the capital.)

But I ramble.




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