Fort Sumter got its name from a Revolutionary War general, Thomas Sumter who undoubtedly founded Sumterville (later just Sumter) and has a county named after him and, of course, the fort. Most things that have military/historical roots and embed lessons that are there for our use or ignorance.
Ken Burns' epic series, The Civil War, has been on public TV in New York for a few nights, mostly as public broadcasting is under siege and as a good reminder of the implications of the term "Piecemeal". Let me explain.
Piecemeal means a little at a time...incremental....step by step. One great tactic in business or in anything for that matter is to overtake your opponent a little bit here and a little bit there - never trying to do it all at once but figuring life is a game of chess and the game is going to take 40 moves a-piece (get it?) and you don't win it when you move your first pawn....you go about it piecemeal.
One of history's great "what if's?" is if the South had united and essentially gone to war all at once instead of just trying to defend Sumter from resupply and prematurely shelling it in a gentlemanly fashion. What would Lincoln and the United States have done then or have thought then? Perhaps there would have been a different reaction but as it was, the South came into this conflict bit by bit.
There is a lesson here and it comes about by discerning the tactic of the opponent. Modern politics is fought like the beginning of the civil war - in a piecemeal fashion. There is the grandiose, big picture blustering, but when reality sets in the opposition draws back and nips at the heels - conducts a piecemeal approach to getting to the objective. I brought up the epic "Civil War" series, at the time and perhaps still, something that riveted public attention to the wonders of 1. a genius of film-making and 2. the value of having a venue like public broadcasting that can air a non-commercial series of this value and worth.
I take heart that most "piecemeal" wars don't work and that this type of battle only wins or has a chance in games that are prescribed with many moves. Lee, the great southern general, always divided his foes and defeated them piecemeal and would only make these moves if indeed his opponent allowed it to happen - bad tactics or an over extended line (watch the series and you'll see).
This is a time, once again, to stand united and not permit a "divide and conquer" piecemeal war.