Of COURSE the civil war was a mistake. But whose mistake? Whose warmongers? Robert Tooms, Confederate Secretary of State, advised against shelling Fort Sumter.
"Mr. President, at this time it is suicide, murder, and will lose us every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet's nest which extends from mountain to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm out and sting us to death. It is unnecessary; it puts us in the wrong; it is fatal."
The South could have acquiesced in the election of Lincoln and the circumscription of slavery. And later, a buyout. Slavery wasn't even good for white southerners. The war was stupid.