The Commander in Chief Gives an Order

Facing a crisis that threatened the security of Washington, DC, Lincoln erupts at the bureaucratic delay and angrily orders General Charles H. Russell to move troops to Fort Monroe, 180 miles from the capital: “I want you to cut the Knots and send them right along.” In his haste he mistakenly writes “Fort Sumpter” where he means “Fort Monroe.”

Learning today . . . that the order you have for forwarding the fourteen Regiments has something in it for the governor to do . . . , I am alarmed lest a see-sawing commences, by which neither your troops nor the Governor’s will get along in any reasonable time. Now, I want you to cut the Knots, and send them right along—five Regiments here, and nine to Fort Sumpter.