“Hey, CivilWarHumor, have we been here before -- an inauguration beset with assassination plots and insurrection, with doubts raised about the loyalty of law enforcement, troops, and even congresspeople?”

Of course! But back then, Winfield Scott was on the case.

Yesterday I posted Scott’s heartwarming quote about “manuring the hills of Arlington” with the bodies of anyone who disrupted the counting of electoral votes. Scott, the 74-year-old VIRGINIAN-born Army chief, was one of the few in the build-up to the Civil War who GOT IT. Image
Scott is oft-derided as old or gout-ridden or gluttonous (hey, he was America’s first true gourmand). But in the waning days of Buchanan’s administration, when dark plots swirled in the halls of the Capitol, Scott stood virtually alone -- and made DAMN SURE Lincoln got sworn in. Image
The most famous story from this tense time is Scott offering the defense of Washington DC to Robert E. Lee, regarded by his peers as the best in the biz, who turned it down and asked if he could stay on the sidelines. “I have no place in my Army for equivocal men,” Scott replied. Image
In late December 1860, as federal troops moved into Fort Sumter and passions flared, Buchanan finally forced out his traitorous Sec of War, John B. Floyd. Here’s a thread I did about Floyd recently, cuz WhO CoULd HaVe SeEn ThIs CoMiNg:
At that time, there were only a couple hundred Marines in D.C. -- which, remember, was between two slave states and loaded with secessionists. Prominent unionists like Seward and Stanton were getting nervous about a coup, and they couldn’t trust the local militia. ImageImage
ENTER WINFIELD SCOTT. Quite literally! The first thing Scott did was move back to D.C., cuz -- you’re going to love this -- when Jefferson Davis took over as Sec of War, Scott shifted Army HQ to New York to be BE FURTHER AWAY FROM JEFFERSON DAVIS.

How’s that for “perceptive?” Image
Next, Scott called in companies of troops from widely disparate locations, thus assuring they wouldn’t be in on any coup. I’d argue this move gets underrated as a step towards war, cuz the secessionists in Congress got pissed -- having been THIS close to pulling off some shit. Image
Then Winfield Scott turned to Charles P. Stone -- an ex-Army officer who’d been hanging around D.C. Stone told Scott he thought most of the D.C. populace was loyal, but he worried about the militia. (Stop me if this sounds familiar.) Scott made Stone his Inspector General … Image
Stone ran across one militia captain who described his job as “keeping the Yankees from coming down to coerce the South.” (Presumably, he posted this on Parler.) Stone rooted out disloyal militia companies and formed 16 new ones, despite Buchanan’s wishy-washiness. Image
Without those new, loyal troops, Stone said, “Mr. Lincoln would never have been inaugurated.” Stone’s detectives also foiled a plot amongst the militia to seize public buildings and official government seals -- please, I’M BEGGING YOU, STOP ME IF THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR. Image
(Stone would later be scapegoated by McClellan for the disastrous Battle of Ball’s Bluff and imprisoned for 6 months, suspected of treason. “If he is a traitor, I am a traitor and we are all traitors,” said Scott, who was NOT A TRAITOR.

McClellan, on the other hand …) Image
The story of Lincoln’s secret, late-night arrival in Washington D.C. for the inauguration is a tale in itself -- escorted Heroically by The Heroic Allan Pinkerton(™) , Abe switched trains and changed his schedule to stay one step ahead of assassins and kidnappers. #BaltimorePlot Image
The next thing to do was to certify the vote. Unlike our Top Security Minds, Scott took no chances. An angry mob gathered, but was dissuaded by FUCKING CANNONS around the Capitol. VP Breckinridge counted the votes; he’d later be a Rebel general. So don’t pat Pence on the back. Image
For the inauguration, Scott put snipers on roofs and cavalry at intersections. One of Stone’s agents reported a plot to blow up the platform when Lincoln took the oath; Scott put a battalion of loyal militia around the stage. Every move the Secesh made, Scott was a step ahead. Image
Lincoln’s carriage was escorted by Army engineers (look, if shit goes down you want the guys who can do QUICK MATH up front), and plainclothes cops were everywhere in the crowd, the way the FBI does now if it’s, like, a march for healthcare or a campus protest about veganism. Image
My favorite detail, though, is that Scott was too out of shape to ride a horse -- his physical hardships were part of why Lil Mac got the big gig when war broke out -- so he sat in his carriage and watched.

“You wanna assassinate ME, Secesh?” (puts caviar down) “Come get some." Image

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More from @CivilWarHumor

23 Jan
When you think of military innovations that changed History, you think of the longbow at Agincourt, the cannon at Constantinople, the tank at the Somme, the double-swinging log on the forest moon of Endor …

But #OTD in 1863, another new weapon emerged: Civil War humor.
/THREAD ImageImageImageImage
After the disastrous, demoralizing Battle of Fredericksburg, Gen Ambrose Burnside knew he couldn’t go into winter quarters; pushed by DC, he had to either fight or resign. (I know which one I voted for.) So he led the Army of the Potomac on the disastrous, demoralizing Mud March. Image
Until then, the weather had been unseasonably mild in Northern Virginia. But in a classic example of Burnside Luck (and Northern Virginia weather) as soon as he gave the order to move, it began pouring “as if the world was coming to an end,” one soldier wrote. #UhOh #PoorBurnside Image
Read 11 tweets
19 Jan
Need a distraction? Let’s head back to 1862, when the Battle of Mill Springs was fought #OTD and the Union got its first big victory. Cuz as Grandma always said: “When you’re feeling anxious, just close your eyes, breathe deep, and think about George Thomas kicking ass.”
In Sept. 1861, Reb. Gen Gideon Pillow had clumsily violated Kentucky’s “neutrality” (not the last time a Pillow guy would step in some real deep shit) and now the Union looked for a place to crack the Rebel line stretching across the so-called buffer state between North & South.
As the Union troops gathered over the winter, even the ever-patient Thomas was growing antsy. There’s a great story about a night in camp when a bunch of politicians visited and bands played and generals gave speeches, and when Sherman was done, the crowd cried out for Thomas.
Read 13 tweets
17 Jan
The last time Secesh marched on DC? July, 1864. Grant was slugging it out in front of Petersburg, and Lee tried to draw his attention away by sending 14,000 men under Jubal Early (Lost Cause architect) to attack the capital, as Abe looked on. Sounds like it’s time for a
Yes, this was one of Robert E. Lee’s Famous Gambles That Didn’t Actually Pay Off Except In Terms Of Shelby Foote’s Book Sales(™). Could a raid on DC turn the tide of the war? Probably not. Would it scare the hell out of the Northern Press and make Abe’s life miserable? You bet!
Early headed down the Shenandoah Valley, taking many of the soldiers who fought in the valley with Stonewall in 1862. (BTW, going “down” the valley means he went North; I know, I know, it’s confusing -- I’m convinced the locals get a kick out of sending tourists the wrong way.)
Read 13 tweets
11 Jan
“Uncle CivilWarHumor, these are dark times indeed, when mobs can attack elected officials.”
“They came for Francis Barlow once.”
“No! Not the flannel-shirted hero who went from private to major general!”
“The very same.”
“What happened?”
(lights pipe) “Now therein lies a tale …”
“After the Civil War (makes air quotes) 'ended,' Francis Barlow kept fighting--against corruption. He’d been a lawyer before the war, like 97 percent of the officers in the Army of the Potomac.”
“So THAT’s why there was so much arguing and so little moving.”
“It didn’t help.”
“Barlow was one of the founders of the Bar Association to create some standards for the legal profession; he didn’t want EVERY rich white guy in the 1800s to be able to waltz into a courtroom wearing a hat that said ‘Trust Me, Judge, I’m A Lawyer.”
“Hey, it works for Giuliani.”
Read 9 tweets
8 Jan
All this Rome talk … look, I lived in Rome in my younger days (over there I’m known as CivilWarUmorismo; here’s me with a fan) and if there’s one Roman thing I’d import to America other than Aperitivo (google it) and a healthy respect for anti-fascism, it’s DAMNATIO MEMORIAE ... Image
Damnatio memoriae is a (modern) Latin term for the Roman “condemnation of memory.” What does it mean to have your memory condemned? Well, if you’ve ever told your Italian grandma her pasta is “a little too al dente,” it’s that look she gives you right before she kills you. Image
The Greeks invented the practice and the Romans stole it (shocking, I know). The idea is a ruler has been so repugnant and immoral, you strip EVERY TRACE of them from public life after they’re gone. (Sorry, Trump Hotel -- you’re the Shithole Country Motor Lodge from now on.) Image
Read 11 tweets
8 Jan
Just went to war with Civil War Instagram. #TheDieIsCast Image
I have the honor of reporting the first counterattack was repulsed without loss. Image
As expected, a regiment of Virtue Signaler Accusers preceded the main assault; we loaded the cannons with Nerf balls labeled “Huh?” and drove them off. Image
Read 7 tweets

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