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Complete Explanation:
In late December 1860 three commissioners from the newly seceded state of South Carolina met with lame-duck President Buchanan to negotiate for possession of Fort Sumter, a federal installation in Charleston Harbor. Buchanan's attempts to stay the situation and South Carolina governor Francis Pickens's insistence on Union evacuation of the fort are ridiculed here. Pickens (left) holds a lit fuse to a giant Union cannon "Peacemaker," which is pointed at his own abdomen. He threatens, "Mr. President, if you don't surrender that fort at once, I'll be "blowed" if I don't fire." Buchanan (right) throws up his hands in alarm and cries, "Oh don't! Governor Pickens, don't fire! till I get out of office." In the background a steamer makes its way across Charleston Harbor toward Fort Sumter.

The print probably appeared early in 1861, amid mounting tensions over the fate of the fort and uneasy relations between Washington and South Carolina.

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