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There stand Forts Pulaski and Jackson, at the mouth of the Savannah River. Who hears of any apprehension lest Georgia should seize them? There are Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. Who hears of any danger to them? The whole danger then, Mr. President, arises from the presence of United States troops." Such was the lullaby with which this arch-conspirator attempted to quiet the just suspicions of the people, that all the public property in the Slave-labor States was in danger of seizure by disloyal men. There is ample proof that at that very time Davis and his confederates had planned the seizure of all the forts and arsenals in those States.

On the 31st of December, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, offered a resolution in the Senate, asking the Secretary of War to give to that body information concerning the disposition of arms manufactured in the national armories or purchased for the use of the Government during the past year. A loyal man (Mr. Holt) was now at the head of the War Department, and correct information was looked for.

Finally, a report of the Committee on Military Affairs, of the House of Representatives, revealed some startling facts. According to that report, so early as the 29th of December, 1859, Secretary Floyd had ordered the transfer of sixty-five thousand percussion muskets, forty thousand muskets altered to percussion, and ten thousand percussion rifles, from the armory at Springfield in Massachusetts, and the arsenals at Watervliet in New York, and Watertown in Massachusetts, to the arsenals at Fayetteville in North Carolina, Charleston in South Carolina, Augusta in Georgia, Mount Vernon in Alabama, and Baton Rouge in Louisiana; and these were distributed during the spring of 1860.'


Eleven days after the issuance of the above order by Floyd, Jefferson Davis introduced into the National Senate a bill "to authorize the sale of public arms to the several States and Territories, and to regulate the appointment of Superintendents of the National Armories." This proposition appeared, to the common observer, to be a very harmless affair. Davis reported it from the Military Committee of the Senate without amendment, and called it up on the 21st January 18. of February, saying, in the blandest manner, "I should like the Senate to take up a little bill which I hope will excite no discussion. It is the bill to authorize the States to purchase arms from the national armories. There are a number of volunteer companies wanting to purchase arms, but the States have not a sufficient supply." There were vigilant men who thought they discovered a treacherous cat under this heap of innocent meal; and, on the 23d of February, when the bill was the special order for the day, Senator Fessenden, of Maine, asked for an explanation of

1 The distribution was as follows:

To Charleston Arsenal.

To Fayetteville Arsenal.

To Augusta Arsenal

To Mount Vernon Arsenal

To Baton Rouge Arsenal..
















⚫ January 9, 1860.

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the reasons for such action. Davis said that the Secretary of War had recommended an increase of the appropriation for arming the militia of the country, and he thought it best for volunteers to have arms made by the Government, so that, in case of war, the weapons would all be uniform. Fessenden offered an amendment, that would deprive the bill of its power to do mischief, but it was lost. The bill was a March 26, finally adopted by the Senate," by a strict party vote, twenty-nine supporters of the Administration voting in the affirmative, and eighteen of the opposition voting in the negative. During the debate, Davis took the high State Supremacy ground, that the militia of the States were not a part of the militia of the United States. The bill was smothered in the House of Representatives.


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The conspirators were not to be foiled. By a stretch of authority given in the law of March 3, 1825, authorizing the Secretary of War to sell arms, ammunition, and other military stores, which should be found unsuitable for the public service, Floyd sold to States and individuals over thirty-one thousand muskets, altered from flint to percussion, for two dollars and fifty cents each. On the very day when Major Anderson dispatched his November 24. letter above cited to the Adjutant-General, Floyd sold ten thousand of these muskets to G. B. Lamar, of Georgia; and only eight days before, he sold five thousand of them to the State of VirNovember 16. ginia. With a knowledge of these facts, the Mobile Advertiser, one of the principal organs of the conspirators in Alabama, said, exultingly :"During the past year, one hundred and thirty-five thousand four hundred and thirty muskets have been quietly transferred from the Northern arsenal at Springfield alone to those in the Southern States. We are much obliged to Secretary Floyd for the foresight he has thus displayed, in disarming the North and equipping the South for this emergency. There is no telling the quantity of arms and munitions which were sent South from other arsenals. There is no doubt but that every man in the South who can carry a gun can now be supplied from private or public sources. The Springfield contribution alone would arm all the militia-men of Alabama and Mississippi.” A Virginia historian of the war makes a similar boast, and says:-" Adding to these the number of arms distributed by the Federal Government to the States in preceding years of our history, and those purchased by the States and citizens, it was safely estimated that the South entered upon the war with one hundred and fifty thousand small arms of the most approved modern pattern, and the best in the world." General Scott afterward asserted that "Rhode Island,

1 The Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, in their report on this subject, on the 18th of February, 1861, said that, in their judgment, it would require "a very liberal construction of the law to bring these sales within its provisions."

2 Ex-President Buchanan generously assumed, in a degree, the responsibility of these acts. In a letter to the National Intelligencer, dated, “Wheatland, near Lancaster, October 28, 1862," in reply to some statements of General Scott, in relation to the refusal to re-enforce the forts on the Southern coast, according to his recommendation, in the autumn of 1860, Mr. Buchanan said:-"This refusal is attributed, without the least cause, to the influence of Governor Floyd. All my Cabinet must bear me witness that I was President myself, responsible for all the acts of the Administration; and certain it is, that during the last six months previous to the 29th of December, 1860, the day on which he resigned his office, after my request, he exercised less influence on the Administration than any other member of the Cabinet,”

3 The First Year of the War: by Edward A. Pollard, page 67. Pollard was in public employment at Washington during Buchanan's Administration, and was in the secret councils of the conspirators.

Letter on the early history of the rebellion, December 2, 1862.


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Delaware, and Texas had not drawn, at the close of 1860, their annual quotas of arms, and Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Kentucky only in part; while Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kansas were, by order of the Secretary of War, supplied with their quotas for 1861 in advance, and Pennsylvania and Maryland in part." This advance of arms to the eight Southern States was in addition to the transfer, at about the same time, of one hundred and fifteen thousand muskets to Southern arsenals by the same Secretary of War.

Not content with thus supplying the Slave-labor States with small arms, that traitorous minister attempted to give them heavy guns only a few days before he left his office. On the 20th of December, he ordered forty columbiads' and four 32pounders to be sent immediately from the arsenal at Pitts

burg, Pennsylvania, to the unfinished fort on Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi; and seventy-one columbiads and seven 32-pounders to be sent from the same arsenal to the embryo fort at Galveston, which would not be ready for its armament in less than five years. This bold attempt of the conspirator to furnish the enemies of the Government with heavy ordnance was frustrated by the vigilance and prompt action of the people of Pittsburg. When the fact became known that Quartermaster Taliaferro (a Virginian) was about to send these guns from the arsenal, an immense meeting of the citizens, called by the Mayor, was held, and the guns were retained. The conspirators, in Congress and out of it, denounced this exhibition of "mob law" bitterly. Floyd soon afterward fled to Virginia, and his successor, Joseph Holt, countermanded the order.

It was to that faithless minister (Floyd) and his plastic implement of treason, Adjutant-General Cooper, that Major Anderson addressed his earnest letter, pleading for power to protect the property of the Republic in Charleston harbor, and to preserve the integrity of the nation. The reply was precisely as might be expected from such men. It was contained in less than a dozen lines, by which permission was given him to send a few workmen to repair Castle Pinckney; and he was instructed that when, thereafter, he had any communication to make for the information of the Department, it must be addressed to the Adjutant-General's office, or to the Secretary of War. They discovered in Anderson too true a patriot for their use, and they were




1 A columbiad is an American cannon, of very large caliber, invented by Colonel George Bomford, of New York, who was in the Ordnance Department in the War of 1812. These guns were used in that war, chiefly as bomb-cannon. They were introduced into the French service, with slight modifications, by General Paixhan, and are known as Paixhan guns. Those of the old pattern were chambered, but they are now cast without, and are otherwise greatly improved. The 10-inch columbiad weighs fifteen thousand four hundred pounds, and is one hundred and twenty-six inches in length. The immense columbiad of 15-inch caliber, represented in the engraving, and of which more will be said hereafter, was invented by Captain T. J. Rodman, of the Ordnance Corps. These, unlike most other cannon, are cast hollow. The original inventor of the Columbiad (Bomford) died in Boston, in the spring of 1848.

* Anderson's MS. Letter-book.



unwilling to have his earnest pleading go to the ears of General Scott, to whom it was the duty of all subordinate officers to report.

Totwithstanding the apathy, as it seemed, at Washington, and the assurances sent from there that there was no danger, so long as he acted prudently, Major Anderson continued to urge the necessity of re-enforcements. He was convinced that every able-bodied man in South Carolina would be called into the military service of the State, if necessary, for the seizure of the forts. He knew that there were nightly military drills in Charleston; and he was positively assured that the South Carolinians regarded the forts as their property. He saw whole columns of the Charleston journals made pictorial by the insignias of various military companies attached to orders for

meetings, day after day, such as the "Washington Light Artillery," the "Palmetto Guard," the "Carolina Light Infantry," the "Moultrie Guards," the "Marion Artillery," the " Charleston Riflemen," the "Meagher Guard" of Irishmen, and the "German Riflemen." He read the general orders of R. G. M. Dunovant, the Adjutant and InspectorGeneral of the State, requiring colonels commanding regiments to " report forthwith the number, kind, and condition of all public arms in possession of the Volunteer Corps composing the several commands," and the appointment of nine aides-de-camp to Governor Pickens.

These were signs of approaching hostilities that the dullest mind might comprehend; and, in addition, Anderson had the frank avowals of men in power. Floyd had summoned Colonel Huger, of Charleston, to Washington, for the real purpose, no doubt, of arranging more perfect plans for the seizure of the forts, for that officer was afterward an active general in the military service of the conspirators. Anderson was directed by the Secretary to confer with Huger before his departure, and in that interview the Colonel, the Mayor



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1 More than a column of the Mercury of December 21, now before the writer, was filled with these notices and devices. A few of the latter are given on this and the next page, as mementoes of the time. The "Washington Light Infantry" was an old company, and bore the Eutaw flag of the Revolution. The "Charleston Riflemen" was an old company, organized in 1806. The insignia of the "Marion Artillery " was a copy of White's picture of Marion dining the British officer. That of the "Meagher Guard" appears to have been made for the occasion-a rude wood-cut, with the words Independence or Death. The title of this company was given in honor of the Irish exile, Thomas F. Meagher, whose honorable course, in serving his adopted country gallantly as a brigadier-general during the civil war that followed, was a fitting rebuke to these unworthy sons of Ireland, who had fled from oppression, and were now ready to fight for an ignoble oligarchy, who were enemies of human freedom and enlightenment. So were the Germans of South Carolina rebuked by Sigel and thousands of their countrymen, who fought in the National armies for those democratic principles which for years had burned intensely in the bosoms of their countrymen in Father-land.



(Macbeth), and other leading citizens of Charleston assured him that the forts "must be theirs, after secession." All this he reported promptly to the Government, and was mocked by renewed assurances of the safety of the forts from attack, and the wisdom of the policy of not adding to the military force in Charleston harbor, for fear of increasing and intensifying the excitement of the South Carolinians. He was even instructed to deliver over to the authorities of South Carolina "any of Captain Foster's workmen," should a demand be made for them, feeble resources, he discov"on the ground of their 48 ered that many men under being enrolled into the serhis command had been tamvice of the State."" These pered with by the conspiramen, intimately acquainted tors. This fact he promptly with every detail of knowlcommunicated to the Govedge concerning the forts, ernment, saying:-"Captain would be of infinite service Foster informed me yesterto the conspirators. day that he found that fifty men of his Fort Sumter force, whom he thought

Whilst Anderson was thus left to rely on his own were perfectly reliable, will not fight if an armed force approaches the work; and I fear that the same may be anticipated of the Castle Pinckney force." And thus he continued reporting almost daily the condition of the fortifications and of his forces, the movements of the South Carolinians, and the almost hourly accumulation of evidence that the seizure of Fort Sumter would be soon attempted. That stronghold lost, all would be lost. But his appeals for men and arms were in vain. His warnings were purposely unheeded. The burden of responses to his letters was :-Be prudent; be kind: do nothing to excite the South Carolinians. It will not do to send you re-enforcements, for that might bring on hostilities. At the same time, he was instructed "to hold possession of the forts, and, if attacked, to defend himself to the last extremity."

Time after time, from October 29th until the close of December, General Scott urged the Government to re-enforce the forts on the coasts of the Slave-labor States. He laid before the President facts showing their nakedness (the Secretary of War having denuded the

whole Atlantic coast of troops, and sent them to Texas, and the Territories north of it), and that they were completely at the mercy of insurgents. On the 31st of October he asked permission to admonish the commanders of Southern forts to be on the

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1 Letter to Adjutant-General Cooper, December 6, 1860: Anderson's MS. Letter-book.

2 Adjutant-General Cooper to Major Anderson, December 14, 1860: Anderson's MS. Letter-book.

s Letter dated December 6, 1860: MS. Letter-book.

Copy of a memorandum of verbal instructions from the Secretary of War, signed "D. C. Buell, Assistant Adjutant-General." This officer (afterward a major-general in command in Kentucky and Tennessee) was sent to Major Anderson with verbal instructions from his Government, and, after his arrival at Fort Moultrie, he

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