Texas Defender wrote:
If they had waited, I don't believe that it would have mattered in the end. It would only have postponed the inevitable. Mr. Lincoln would have pursued another incident in another place in order to justify raising a great army to use to reassert Federal control. The bottom line was that the Confederates were determined to leave the Union, and Mr. Lincoln was determined that they would not. Neither side would back down, so in the end, the question could only be resolved by force of arms.
I agree that events in other places would have most likely moved the war forward if it hadn't begun in South Carolina instead. Just one example would be a similar incident to Fort Sumter at nearly the same time that took place at Florida's Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island at the mouth of Pensacola Bay.
I have read that actually the first shots of what would become the Civil War were fired at Fort Pickens, but I cannot find that information now to offer in evidence, so let it suffice to say shots were fired at nearly the same time in both places.
The fact is that firebrands on both sides were mentally and emotionally gearing up for war once Lincoln was elected so it wouldn't have taken much to get a war started. There were ample opportunities for hotheads to find an excuse to initiate hostilities in 1861.
Lincoln ordered the reinforcement of Pickens which would have been seen as an act of war but the officer (his name escapes me) refused to comply with the order because in his words he didn't want to be responsible for starting the war. The order was re-issued and finally carried out but that was after Sumter had been fired on.
Captain Adams was the officers name. He agrued with Vodges over the order. Adams won out but agreed with Vodges to send a messenger to Washington to confirm the order.