Deception Leads to War on April 12th
It takes little reading to discover the duplicity of Lincoln and Seward as they misled the Southern commissioners sent to negotiate agerements between the two countries. Judge John A. Campbell was a respected Supreme Court Justice who tried honestly to facilitate peaceful relations between North and South, but was deceived by those leading the war party of the North.
After Buchanan’s failed Star of the West mission to resupply Sumter in January, Lincoln tried the same in early April with troops hidden beneath decks to reinforce Sumter while promising to maintain the peaceful status quo.
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Deception Leads to War on April 12th:
Judge Campbell to the President of the Confederate States.
Montgomery, Alabama, May 7, 1861
"Sir: I submit to you two letters that were addressed by me to the Hon. W. H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, that contain an explanation of the nature and result of an intervention by me in the intercourse of the commissioners of the Confederate States with that officer. I considered that I could perform no duty in which the entire American people, whether of the Federal Union or of the Confederate States, were more interested than that of promoting the counsels and the policy that had for their object the preservation of peace. This motive dictated my intervention.
Besides the interview referred to in these letters, I informed the Assistant Secretary of State of the United States (not being able to see the Secretary) on the 11th April, ultimo, of the existence of a telegram of that date, from General Beauregard to the commissioners, in which he informed the commissioners that he had demanded the evacuation of Sumter, and if refused he would proceed to reduce it. On the same day, I had ben told that President Lincoln had said that none of the vessels sent to Charleston were war vessels, and that force was not to be used in the attempt to resupply the Fort. I had no means of testing the accuracy of this information; but offered that if the information was accurate, I would send a telegram to the authorities at Charleston, and it might prevent the disastrous consequences of a collision at that fort between the opposing forces. It was the last effort that I would make to avert the calamities of war. The Assistant Secretary promised to give the matter attention, but I had no other intercourse with him or any other person on he subject, nor have I had any reply to the letters submitted to you."
John A. Campbell
To: General Davis, President of the Confederate States
(Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, James D. Richardson, US Publishing Company, 1906, Volume I, pp. 97-98)