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02.07.05 Garrison, Webb B., Lincoln’s Little War: How His Carefully Crafted Plans Went Astray, published in 1997 by Rutledge Hill Press

Notes Concerning the Author

Webb B. Garrison, formerly associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College, wrote more than 55 books, many if not most of them concerning the era of the War Between the States.  This prolific writer’s works include Lincoln’s Little War, Civil War Curiosities, Civil War Trivia and Civil War Fact Book. Before his death in 2000, Garrison lived in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.


The level of President Abraham Lincoln’s involvement in starting the War Between the States has long been debated. This intriguing 239-page book, Lincoln’s Little War by historian Webb Garrison, explores how Lincoln’s plans to incite a minor incident at Fort Sumter soon escalated into the bloodiest war in American history, and how Lincoln sought to absolve himself of any responsibility for starting it.  There is a focus on Lincoln’s scheme to send Federal warships and transports to Charleston harbor (reportedly to “relieve and resupply” Federal troops holed up in Fort Sumter) which was designed to incite the Confederates to force the small Federal garrison out of Fort Sumter, a scheme that can be called “Abe Lincoln’s First Shot Strategy.”  Lincoln and his supportive schemers figured that if the Confederates could be accused of firing the “First Shot” then the Republicans could succeed in calling up State Militia to subjugate the Democrat-controlled states to the south and invade the seceded states beyond.  Lincoln’s advantage was that all of the northern states were controlled by Republican governors by early 1861, so Republicans controlled those state militia.  The book is both illustrated and indexed. 

Availability of this Book

Inexpensive copies of this paperback book can be easily purchased at Amazon and other sources.