January 3, 1861

Senator Crittenden, in a last-ditch effort to save his compromise plan that had been refused by the Senate, proposes that it be submitted to a public referendum.  This idea received some support from the anti-war Democrats, but the Republicans were opposed, arguing that the referendum had already occurred in the recent presidential election, and the people had voted.  Congressmen from fourteen border and mid-south states met and appointed a committee to consider compromise plans.  The South Carolina commissioners left Washington for Charleston, their mission having failed.  The War Department canceled the order to remove guns from Pittsburgh to southern forts; the order had been issued by former Secretary of War Floyd.  Meanwhile, rumors spread of armed bands being organized to capture Washington.

Elsewhere, the Delaware legislature rejected proposals that their state join the south, after hearing from a Mississippi representative.  The State Convention of Florida assembled at Tallahassee.  Georgia state troops seized Fort Pulaski near the mouth of the Savannah River.  A strong fort planned for a large garrison, Pulaski was manned only by an ordnance sergeant and a civilian.  The state had decided to take over this post before there was any danger of Federal occupation.

Meanwhile in Springfield, Lincoln discovers that Simon Cameron has leaked his half-hearted offer to become a member of the Cabinet.  He writes to Camerson:  “Since seeing you things have developed which make it impossible for me to take you into the cabinet. . . . I suggest that you write me declining the appointment, in which case I do not object to its being known that it was tendered you.”

The President-elect is concerned about the rumors regarding a takeover of Washington, and he writes to William Seward, “Lincoln writes to U.S. Senator William H. Seward, of New York. Seward warned, “A plot is forming to seize the Capitol on or before” the March 4 inaugural. Lincoln expresses more concern about February 13, the day that the electoral college will meet to certify the election. He writes, “If the two Houses refuse to meet…or meet without a quorum of each, where shall we be? I do not think that this counting is constitutionally essential to the election; but how are we to proceed in absence of it?”

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