Lincoln needed an excuse to start his war of aggression, because Congress did not want war and would not declare war of its own volition. The most-likely hot-spot in which Lincoln could start his war was Charleston Harbor, where shots had already been fired in anger under the Buchanan administration. But the newly-elected governor of South Carolina, Francis Pickens, saw the danger--that Lincoln might, as an excuse, send a force of U.S. Navy warships to Charleston Harbor supposedly to resupply Maj Anderson's Union force holed up in Fort Sumter. So Gov Pickens opened negotiations with Maj Anderson, and concluded a deal permitting Anderson to send boats safely to the market in Charleston once a week, where Anderson's men would be allowed to buy whatever victuals they wished. (This arrangement remained in effect until a day or so before the U.S. Navy warships arrived at Charleston). Maj Anderson wrote privately to friends, saying that he hoped Lincoln would not use Fort Sumter as the excuse to start a war, by sending the U.S. Navy to resupply it. Before his inauguration, Lincoln sent a secret message to Gen Winfield Scott, the U.S. general-in-chief, asking him to make preparations to relieve the Union forts in the South soon after Lincoln took office. Lincoln knew all along what he was going to do. President Jefferson Davis sent peace commissioners to Washington to negotiate a treaty with the Lincoln administration. Lincoln refused to meet with them; and he refused to permit Secretary of State Seward to meet with them. After Lincoln assumed the presidency, his principal generals recommended the immediate evacuation of Maj Anderson's men from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor--which was now located on foreign soil. To resupply it by force at this point would be a deliberate act-of-war against the C.S.A. It turned out that Lincoln's postmaster general, Montgomery Blair, had a brother-in law, Gustavus V. Fox, who was a retired Navy-captain, and wanted to get back into action. Fox had come up with a plan for resupplying Fort Sumter which would force the Confederates to fire the first shots--under circumstances which would force them to take the blame for the war. Lincoln sent Fox down to talk with Maj Anderson about the plan, but Anderson wanted no part of it. Lincoln had Fox pitch the plan to his Cabinet twice. The first time, the majority said that move would start a war. But the second time, the Cabinet members got Lincoln's pointed message, and capitulated. Meanwhile, Congress got wind of the plan. Horrified, they called Gen Scott and others to testify about it; Scott and the other witnesses said they wanted no part of the move against the Confederacy in Charleston (and nor did Congress). Congress demanded from Lincoln--as was Congress's right--Fox's report on Maj Anderson's reaction to the plan. Lincoln flatly refused to hand it over to them. Lincoln sent to Secretary Cameron (for transmittal to Secretary Welles) orders in his own handwriting (!) to make the warships Pocahontas and Pawnee and the armed-cutter Harriet Lane ready for sailing, along with the passenger ship Baltic--which would be used as a troop ship, and two ocean-going tugboats to aid the ships in traversing the tricky shallow harbor-entrance at Charleston. Fox's plan was to send 500 extra Union-soldiers to reinforce Maj Anderson's approximately-86-man force at Fort Sumter--along with huge quantities of munitions, food, and other supplies. The Confederacy would, of course, resist this invasion--in the process firing upon the U.S. flag. The unarmed tugs would, of necessity, enter the harbor first, whereupon they would likely be fired upon by the C.S.A., giving Lincoln the best-possible propaganda to feed to the Northern newspapers, which would then rally the North to his "cause." Lincoln sent orders for the Union naval-force to begin its journey so as to enter Charleston Harbor on 11 or 12 April. Next, Lincoln sent a courier to deliver an ultimatum to Gov Pickens on 8 April, saying that Lincoln intended to resupply Fort Sumter peaceably or by force. There was no mistaking the intent of that message. Lincoln had set the perfect trap. He had given President Davis just enough time to amass his forces and fire upon the U.S. Navy. But if Davis acquiesced instead, Lincoln need merely begin sending expeditionary forces to recapture all of the former Union-forts in the South now occupied by Confederate forces; sooner or later Davis would have to fight; and the more forts he allowed Lincoln to recapture in the interim, the weaker would be the military position of the C.S.A. As a practical matter, Davis was left with no choice. Accordingly, the C.S.A., informed that the U.S. Navy was en route, demanded that Maj Anderson surrender the fort forthwith. Anderson refused; Beauregard's artillery bombarded Fort Sumter into junk (miraculously without loss of life inside); and Anderson then surrendered with honor intact. The U.S. Navy arrived during the bombardment--but because elements of the force had been delayed for various reasons, did not join in the fight. The Navy was allowed to transport Anderson's men back to the U.S. Thereafter Lincoln wrote to Fox, pronouncing the mission a great success. Lincoln ended his letter by saying, "You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result." Folks, that ought to be plain enough for anybody to understand. Now Lincoln had his excuse for a war (assuming that he continued to lie his head off about it--which he did); but there was no reason for him to believe that Congress would declare war against the South on his say-so. In fact, there was every indication that they would not. So instead of calling Congress into emergency session and asking them to declare war (which was their prerogative, and not Lincoln's), Lincoln simply declared war himself--by calling the C.S.A.'s defense of its sovereignty in Charleston Harbor an "insurrection" against the U.S. government. Lincoln did not call Congress into session until several months later--when his war had progressed so far that Congress could not then call it off, but as a practical matter would have to rubber stamp it. So Lincoln started the war virtually single-handed. Without vulnerable dark-horse Abraham Lincoln assuming the presidency in 1861, I do not believe we would have had a war. Nobody wanted one except Lincoln and a few rabid-abolitionists and some Northern-capitalists whose fortunes were threatened. I consider Lincoln a megalomaniacal sociopath whose like we have not yet seen--and I pray we never will see.