« PreviousContinue »
well as in Philadelphia, New York, and Bos- | Richmond, with the knowledge and assent
* See Appendix page 472, for the exposition made by Judge Campbell. The Southern view of the course pursued by Mr. Seward, it will be there seen, is that he acted with persistent deception and treachery.
UPON the reception of information that the Federal Government designed to provision Fort Sumter, the following note winged its way over the wires:
THE BOMBARDMENT OF FORT SUMTER.
"CHARLESTON, April 8th. "L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
"An authorized messenger from President Lincoln just informed Governor Pickens and myself that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter peaceably, or otherwise by force.
"G. T. BEAUREGARD."
No answer was returned until April 10th. The issue now forced, of initiating war or of acknowledging the supremacy of the United States Government over its forts, compelled the Secessionists to pause for a moment before taking the responsible step. A prolonged council of the leading chiefs of the secession conspiracy was held at Montgomery, where many of them were gathered. The war element which they had evoked now held the mastery. If they would have chosen the calmer and more discreet course of allowing the fort to be provisioned, the twenty thousand wild spirits in arms would have precipi
tated the conflict. If the leaders would lead they must not be led, now that the revolution had to encounter opposition in the field. The programme was determined upon, and the following correspondence rapidly followed : "MONTGOMERY, 10th.
“CHARLESTON, April 10. "L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War: "The demand will be made to-morrow at twelve o'clock. "G. T. BEAUREGARD." “MONTGOMERY, April 10.
"Gen. BEAUREGARD, Charleston :
"Unless there are especial reasons connected with your own condition, it is considered proper that you should make the demand at an early hour. "L. P. WALKER, Sec. of War."
"CHARLESTON, April 10.
"L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War, Montgomery: "The reasons are special for twelve o'clock. "G. T. BEAUREGARD." "HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY C.S.A., CHARLESTON, S. C., April 11, 1861-2 P. M. S "SIR: The Government of the Confederate States has hitherto forborne from any hostile demonstration against Fort Sumter, in the hope that the
Government of the United States, with a view to the amicable adjustment of all questions between the two Governments, and to avert the calamities of war, would voluntarily evacuate it. There was reason at one time to believe that such would be
the course pursued by the Government of the United States; and under that impression my Government has refrained from making any demand for the sur
render of the fort.
"But the Confederate States can no longer delay assuming actual possession of a fortification com
manding the entrance of one of their harbors, and necessary to its defense and security.
"I am ordered by the Government of the Confederate States to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter. My Aids, Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee, are authorized to make, such demand of you. All proper facilities will be afforded for the removal of yourself and command, together with company arms and property, and all private property, to any post in the United States which you may elect. The flag which you have upheld so long and with so much fortitude, under the most trying cir
cumstances, may be saluted by you on taking it | enter into such an agreement with you. You are
"I remain, Major, very respectfully,
"Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee will, for a
“I am, sir, very respectfully,
"G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Major ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort
"Major ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C."
HEADQUARTERS, FORT SUMTER, S. C., "2.30 A. M., April 12, 1861. "GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your second communication of the 11th inst., by Colonel Chesnut, and to state, in reply, that cordially uniting with you in the desire to avoid the useless effusion of blood, I will, if pro
"HEADQUARTERS, FORT SUMTER, S. C.,
I have the honor to be, General,
"Major U. S. A. Commanding.
"FORT SUMTER, S. C.,
'April 12, 1861, 3.20 A. M. ( "SIR: By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time. "We have the honor to be, very respectfully, "Your obedient servants,
"JAMES CHESNUT, Jr., Aid-de-Camp. "STEPHEN D. LEE, Captain S. C. Army and Aide-de-Camp. "Major ROBERT ANDERSON, United States Army, Commanding Fort Sumter." Punctually, at the hour indicated-twenty minutes past four A. M.—the roar of a mortar from Sullivan island announced evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree that in the mean time you will not use your guns against us, unless the war begun. A second bomb from the ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we same battery followed; then Fort Moulwill abstain from opening fire upon you. Colonel trie answered with the thunder of a colum Chesnut and Captain Lee are authorized by me to biad; Cumming's Point next, and the
"If you will state the time at which you will
Thanking you for the fair, manly, and courteous terms proposed, and for the high compliment paid me,
"I am, General, very respectfully,
"Your obedient servant,
Major U. S. Army, Commanding.
"MONTGOMERY, April 11.
"We do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter, if Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that, in the mean time, he will not use his guns against us, unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter. You are thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable.
"Your obedient servant, "G. T. BEAUREGARD, "Brigadier-General Commanding.
L. P. WALKER, Sec. of War."
Opening of the Fire
FORT SUMTER AT REST AND IN ACTION.
Floating battery, dropped in their resonant | ming's Point iron battery,
Sumter lay off in the waters, the centre of that appalling circle of fire. The early morning shadows had lifted from its ramparts to discover the Stars and Stripes floating from the garrison staff; but, it was as silent amid that storm as if no living soul panted and fretted within its walls. It was the silence of duty-of men resolved on death, if their country called for the sacrifice. For months the little garrison had been pent up in the fortress, overworked and underfed; but, not a murmur escaped the men, and the hour of assault found all prepared for their leader's orders-to defend the fort to the last.
Fort Sumter at Rest.
* June 4th, 1776, Moultrie was bombarded by the British fleet from eleven A. M. until seven P. M., when the fleet drew off in a crippled condition. The fort was defended by Colonel Moultrie and 400 men, with a loss of fourteen killed and twenty-two wounded. The dead reposed in graves almost overshadowed by the smoke of the conflict of April 12th.
† See letter of Dr. W. H. Russell to London Times, dated Charleston, April 21st. The Dr. visited Sumter shortly after the evacuation, and saw the
Sumter in Action.
The sentinels were removed from the parapet, the posterns closed, and the order given for the men to keep close within the casemates, until the call of the drum. Breakfast was quietly served at six o'clock-the shot and shell of the enemy thundering against the walls and pouring within the enclosure with remarkable precision. After breakfast, disposition was calmly made for the day's work. The casemates were supplied from the magazines; the guns, without tangents or scales, and even destitute of bearing screws, were to be ranged by the eyes and fired "by guess;" the little force was told off in relays, composed of three reliefs, equally dividing the officers and men. Captain Arthur Doubleday took the first detachment, and fired the first gun at seven o'clock. The Captain directed his guns at Moultrie, at the Cum-stated that, having ordered the barbette
so great that the second
of Sullivan's island, and the Enfilading bat-
guns to be silenced, owing to the murderous fire made upon them by the rifled ordnance of the Enfilading battery, he was surprised to hear a report from one of the exposed fortytwo-pounders. Proceeding to the parapet, he found a party of the workmen serving the gun. "I saw one of them," he stated, 'stooping over, with his hands on his knees, convulsed with joy, while the tears rolled down his powder-begrimed cheeks. 'What are you doing there with that gun?? I
asked. 'Hit it right in | bombardment, it served an the centre,' was the reply, efficient part, thus first the man meaning that his practically demonstrating shot had taken effect in the centre of the the availability of such structures for harbor Floating battery." defense and assault.
Another officer present thus recorded the nature and effect of that literal rain of iron which, all the day long (Friday), poured in upon the still defiant walls:
“Shells burst with the greatest rapidity in every portion of the work, hurling the loose brick and stone in all directions, breaking the windows, and setting fire to whatever woodwork they burst against. The solid shot firing of the enemy's batteries, and particularly of Fort Moultrie, was directed at the barbette guns of Fort Sumter, disabling one ten-inch columbiad (they had but two), one eight-inch columbiad, one forty-twopounder, and two eight-inch sea-coast howitzers, and also tearing a large portion of the parapet away. The firing from the batteries on Cumming's Point was scattered over the whole of the gorge, or rear, of the fort. It looked like a sieve. The explosion of shells, and the quantity of deadly missiles that were hurled in every direction, and at every instant of time, made it almost certain death to go out of the lower tier of casemates, and also made the working of the barbette, or upper uncovered guns, which contained all our heaviest metals, and by which alone we could throw shells, quite impossible. During the first day there was hardly an instant of time that there was a cessation of the whizzing of balls, which were sometimes coming half a dozen at once. There was not a portion of the work which was not seen in reverse (that is, exposed by the rear,) from mortars."
The fire from the Cumming's Point battery (called the Stevens' iron battery) was particularly close and effective. Mounting several heavy Dahlgrens, and possessing a fine English (rifled) sixty-four-pounder, it proceeded deliberately to cut away the walls by sections, on the south-west side, and did more damage than all the combined guns of the other batteries. Anderson's heavy columbiads scarcely affected its mailed front. So, also, with the Floating battery-Sumter's metal did not disable it; and, through all the
At noon, Friday, the supply of cartridges in the fort was exhausted, when the blankets of the barracks and the shirts of the men were sewed into the required bags and served out. No instrument was in the fort for weighing the powder, thus forbidding all precision in the charge, and, as a consequence, much variation in planting the shot. When we add that the guns wanted both tangents, breech or telescopic sights-that wedges served instead of bearing screws, we can only express astonishment at the accuracy attained. Not a structure of the enemy escaped the solid balls of the columbiads and paixhans. The village of Moultrieville—a gathering of summer-houses belonging to citizens of Charleston-was completely riddled.
The fleet appeared off the harbor at noon, Friday. Signals passed between Anderson and the vessels, but no effort was made to run the gauntlet. Along Morris and Sullivan's islands were anchored small batteries, commanding the harbor entrance, expressly de signed to prevent the passage of vessels over the bar and up the channel. To have passed these only would have brought the vessel in range of the irresistible guns of Cumming's Point and of Moultrie. No wooden frame could have withstood their fearful hail. The only feasible plan was, under cover of the night, to run in with small boats; or, to force a landing on Morris island, and carry the batteries by assault. Either plan would have proven successful, if conducted with spirit, though it would have entailed much loss of life. Why it was not undertaken, is only explainable on the inference that Mr. Lincoln did not want to retain Sumter. The possession of the fort was a matter of no military importance; a blockade would render all the defenses of the harbor useless. The assault on the fort would serve to initiate the War for the Union, and thus instate the President's policy for the suppression of the rebellion. The refusal to withdraw the garrison from Charleston harbor unquestionably was the subtle key to unlock the national