Celebrating Lincoln through Stamps and Postal History

Lincoln Consults His Cabinet

4-cent Fort Sumter stamp
The stamp commemorating the attack on Fort Sumter was issued on the 100th anniversary of the attack as part of the Civil War Centennial Issue on April 12, 1961.

On March 15, 1861, President Lincoln made the following request of members of his Cabinet: “My Dear Sir: Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter under all the circumstances, is it wise to attempt it? Please give me your opinion in writing, on this question.”

Postmaster General Montgomery Blair gave the following reply: “I submit the following considerations in favor of provisioning that fort… Every hour of acquiescence in this condition of things, and especially every new conquest made by the rebels strengthens their hands at home and their claim to recognition as an independent people abroad… [Provisioning the Fort Sumter] would completely demoralize the rebellion…You should give no thought for the commander and his comrades in this enterprise. They willingly take the hazard for the sake of the country and the honor which, successful or not, they will receive from you and the lovers of free government in all lands.”

Lincoln would follow the course recommended by Postmaster General Blair and other Cabinet members to reinforce Fort Sumter. Less than a month later on April 12, 1861, as the first resupply ships arrived, Confederate forces opened fire on the fort igniting the American Civil War.

President Lincoln with Postmaster General Montgomery Blair on a 39-cent letter sheet for foreign destination mail.