S.C. Gov. Francis Pickens’ 56th birthday was fraught with worry. U.S. Maj. Anderson refused to surrender Fort Sumter peacefully. Pickens did not want to initiate the Civil War, but nor could he allow Federal troops to hold one of his state’s principal military assets. He had to find a way out of this predicament.
Meanwhile, Lt. John Lorimer Worden of the U.S. Navy, left Washington by train with secret orders for Capt. Henry A. Adams, commander of the USS Sabine, one of the naval ships that had departed New York three days earlier heading south, presumably for Fort Sumter. Instead, Worden’s new orders directed Capt. Adams to proceed not to Sumter, but to Fort Pickens in Pensacola, FL., and there await troops being sent there aboard the USS Pawnee and USS Powhatan.

Yet the copy of Lincoln’s letter to Maj. Anderson on April 6 implied the supply ships headed to Fort Sumter would be defended by a significant military force. So was that force going to Fort Sumter or Fort Pickens? The various orders seemed to contradict one another. Now, behind the scenes, it seemed that perhaps the Fort Sumter supply expedition was losing the naval support it needed to successfully resupply Fort Sumter.