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bombardment still going on, Major Anderson opened from the two tiers of guns looking towards Fort Moultrie and Stevens' Battery, and the first gun that was fired by the “ Federal troops” in the war of 1861 boomed forth towards Moultrie.
The war cry was sounded -- hostilities commenced, ran along the wires of the telegraph, reverberated among the hills of New England, and aroused the sturdy sons of Maine. The great heart of the North “ stood still," as if in its suspended vibrations it might hear, coming from the far distant parapets of Sumter, the notes of victory.
The firing continued uninterruptedly during the day, Major Anderson dividing his shots between Fort Moultrie, the Stevens and floating batteries, and Fort Johnson, with all the skill and determination of a great military chieftain, worthy of his position, until six o'clock in the evening, when he ceased firing, and was engaged during the night repairing damages, and preparing for an early attack upon the enemy. The firing, however, was kept up all night on Fort Sumter. A bomb was thrown into the fort every twenty minutes during the night, but Sumter's guns remained silent until the morning broke, when Major Anderson commenced to return the fire of the “ Confederates," which was kept up with unintermitting vigor.
At nine o'clock in the morning a dense smoke poured out from Fort Sumter, and it was soon ascertained that the officers' quarters, sheds, and wood-work of the fort had taken fire from one of the enemy's shells. They have now to contend with an internal enemy. Fort Sumter is on fire. The Federal flag is placed at halfmast, signalizing distress, while the shells from Fort Moultrie and the batteries on Morris Ísland fall thick and fast into Major Anderson's stronghold. The little garrison of Sumter are only occupied trying to put out the fire, - no time to return the shot of the enemy. The flames had forced the destruction of nearly all the powder,-- ninety barrels had been rolled out to prevent explosion; the cartridges were gone, and none could be made; the entire wood-works of the fort are one vast sheet of flames; a raft is thrown out, loaded with men, who are passing up buckets of water to extinguish the fire, — they now become objects of fire from Morris Island, and the balls are seen skipping over the water and striking the unprotected raft. Meantime Major Anderson's guns were silent. He allowed his men to be exposed to the galling fire upon them but for a few moments, then ordered them in and shut the batteries, as the smoke was too thick to work them. Fort Sumter is greatly disabled ; several of her large guns are dismounted, two of its portholes are knocked into one, and the wall from the top is crumbling, and yet the stars and stripes” still wave.
Shells from Cumming's Point and Fort Moultrie are bursting in and over Fort Sumter in quick succession. Every shot now seems to tell heavily. About one o'clock, P. M., the flag-staff was shot away, and the flag nailed to the piece and displayed from the ramparts. Three times Major Anderson's barracks were on fire, and twice he succeeded in putting out the flames, but the third time it was beyond control, and everything “burnable” about the fort was destroyed; the flames burst through the roofs of the houses within its walls, and dense clouds of smoke shot quickly upward. Major Anderson fired only occasionally, the guns on the ramparts of Sumter had no utterance in them; bursted shells and grape scattered like hail over the doomed fort, and drove the soldiers under cover; from the iron battery at Cumming's Point a continuous fire was kept up from three ten-inch columbiads, three sixty-four pounders, three mortars and one rifled cannon, while the floating battery and Fort Moultrie continued very regular and accurate, until half-past
one, P. M., when Major Anderson, finding it impossible to hold out longer, or, at least, that resistance was vain, and despairing of any hope of help from the “fleet,” run up the white flag, and an unconditional surrender was made.
After Major Anderson's flag-staff was shot away, Col. Wigfall, one of Gen. Beauregard's aids, went to Fort Sumter with a white flag, to offer assistance in extinguishing the flames. He approached the burning fortress from Morris Island, while the fire was raging on all sides, and effected a landing at Fort Sumter. He approached a porthole, and was met by Major Anderson. The latter said he had displayed a white flag, but the firing from the South Carolina batteries was kept up, nevertheless. The double-tongued traitor from the “cotton-fields of Texas " replied that Major Anderson must haul down the American flag; that no parley would be granted, and that “surrender or fight” was the word. Major Anderson then took down the stars and stripes, and displayed only a flag of truce. All firing instantly ceased, with the exception of one gun fired by Senator Chesnut, and another member of the staff of Gen. Beauregard, which was fired by way of “ amusement” from Mount Pleasant, which made a large hole in the parapet. Afterwards, two officers of Gen. Beauregard's staff, with ex-Senator Chesnut and ex-Governor Manning, came over in a boat and stipulated with Major Anderson that his surrender should be unconditional for the present, subject to the terms of General Beauregard, after which he and his men were allowed to remain in possession of the fort, while Messrs. Chesnut and Manning came over to the city, accompanied by a member of the Palmetto Guards, bearing the colors of his company. These were met by hundreds of citizens, and as they marched up the streets to the general's quarters, the crowd was swelled to thousands, shouts rent the air, and the wildest joy was manifested. Three fire-engines were sent down to the fort, for the purpose of extinguishing the flames; but the fire had, however, been previously extinguished by Anderson and his men.
The "fleet” laid idly by during thirty hours, silent witnesses of the contest, and either could not or would not come to his assistance; probably, however, not being ships of war, they were incapable of rendering any material aid against such a powerful enemy. During the engagement, it is said, the soldiers in Fort Sumter were perfectly reckless of their lives, and at every shot would jump upon the ramparts, observe the eifect, and then jump down, cheering, and yet no one was killed in Sumter during the action, and but four or five wounded, and the rebels say none was killed on their side, though quite a number were struck by spent pieces of shell and knocked down, but none hurt seriously.
After the surrender of the fort, a boat, with an officer and ten men, was sent from one of the United States ships composing the fleet in the offing, to Gen. Simons, commander of the forces on Morris Island, with a request that a merchant ship, or one of the government vessels, be allowed to enter and take off the commander and garrison of Fort Sumter. Gen. Simons replied that if no hostilities were attempted during the night, and no effort being made to reinforce or retake Fort Sumter, he would give them an answer at nine o'clock on Sunday morning. The officer signified that this was satisfactory, and returned. On Sunday, the fourteenth, the last act in the “drama” of Fort Sumter was concluded Major Anderson and his command, taking with them their wounded, left the fort and sailed for New York. He saluted his flag, and the company then forming on the paradeground, marched out on the wharf, with drum and fife playing “ Yankee Doodle."
The Confederate flag was raised over Fort Sumter late in the afternoon on Sunday, and the fort was garrisoned by the “Palmetto Guards," under command of Lieut. Col. Ripley, who took command of Fort Moultrie after the departure of Major Anderson. A correspondent of one of the New York papers, writing from Charleston, says: “One of the aids carried brandy to Major Anderson in a boat after the fire, and the latter said it was very acceptable, as the men were completely exhausted by their labors;" the correspondent adds, “I mention this to show the kind and chivalrous relations existing between the officers.”
Perhaps their ideas are sufficiently extensive to induce them to believe it was a manifestation of “chivalry” in ex-Senator Chesnut and his colleague to fire a sixty-four pounder into a fort with a white flag flying from its ramparts, just for “amusement," or in firing upon an unprotected raft, covered with defenceless men, who, thoughtless of their own safety, are laboring assiduously to subdue the raging flames.
The excitement in Charleston, during the contest, is said to be immense. The housetops, the battery, the wharves, the shipping, and in fact every available place, was taken possession of by the multitude. The streets were filled with men, women, and children, old and young, black and white. Some went to the battery, some to the wharves, and some to the steeples of the churches, to view the solemn spectacle, and many a tearful eye attested the anxious affection of the mother, wife, and sister, for those engaged in the contest. But with the display of a flag of truce, and the announcement that Fort Sumter had unconditionally surrendered, the bells rang out a merry peal, cannon were fired, and the people engaged in every demonstration of joy.
Troops poured into the city by hundreds, and people were constantly arriving on horseback, and by every other conveyance. Within an area of fifty miles, where the thunder of the artillery could be heard, the effect