During March and April 1861, after seven states had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America but before war broke out, Confederate Secretary of State Robert Toombs appointed Martin J. Crawford, John Forsyth, and A.B. Roman as Commissioners of the Confederate States to Washington, DC. Their purpose was to seek diplomatic recognition from the United States and negotiate peace—at least for a while. Central to the question of peace or war was whether the United States would continue to retain claim over federal forts located in the southern states that had seceded, including Fort Pickens in Florida and Fort Sumter in South Carolina. This item is transcribed from a letter book maintained by J.T. Pickett, secretary to the commissioners, containing copies of 72 letters, dispatches, and telegrams sent and received by the commissioners from the time of their appointment to the demand for the evacuation of Fort Sumter.
Washington March 15th 1861.
To Hon R Toombs.
By pressing we can get an answer to our official note tomorrow. If we do we believe it will be adverse to recognition & peace. We are sure that within five (5) days Sumter will be evacuated. We are sure that no steps will be taken to change the military status. With a few days delay a favorable answer may be had. Our personal interests command us to press, duty to our Country Commands us to wait—What shall we do? Answer.
Martin J Crawford.
Citation:Commissioners of the Confederate States of America to the Government of the United States, letter book.Washington, D.C., Feb 27-April 11, 1861.AMS 811/20