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well as the necessities of the state, required “that Fort Sumter should be reduced before the close of the present administration at Washington." Pickens held that if action be so taken, "Mr. Buchanan cannot resist, because he has not the power. Mr. Lincoln may not attack, because the cause of quarrel will have been, or may be considered by him, as past.

"" 1

Though but few of the southern leaders, in the earlier stages of secession, could bring themselves to think war even possible, they had now come to a clear view of its imminency and even certainty, unless the commissioners sent to Washington should succeed in negotiating an agreement. Beauregard, who had resigned from the United States service February 8, and was now a brigadier-general in the provisional army of the Confederacy, was thus summoned to Montgomery, February 22, and was ordered thence to Charleston to report to the governor of South Carolina for military duty in that state; he was authorized to receive not over five thousand men into the service of the Confederacy. He arrived at Charleston March 3, inspected the several works, including the floating battery, and on the 6th, by authority of the departments of war of both the Confederacy and the state of South Carolina, assumed command of all the forces now organized in South Carolina, amounting to ten

Pickens to president of provisional congress, Journal of Congress of Confederate States, I., 56-58.

regiments with 8835 rank and file.' Beauregard, in his report to Walker, the Confederate secretary of war, detailing the arrangement and armaments of the batteries, said: "If Sumter was properly garrisoned and armed, it would be a perfect Gibraltar to anything but constant shelling night and day from the four points of the compass. As it is, the weakness of the garrison constitutes our greatest advantage, and we must, for the present, turn our attention to prevent it from being re-enforced." "



Work on the batteries commanding Fort Sumter was vigorously progressing, and fairly accurate accounts of its progress were sent almost daily to Washington by Anderson and Foster, the engineer officer. Anderson asked, February 16, the course it would be proper for him to take if, without a declaration of war, he should see the floating battery approaching the fort. The secretary of war informed him, February 23, that he held Sumter as he had held Moultrie, under the verbal orders coinmunicated by Major Buell December 11; he was ordered to remain strictly on the defensive as a redemption of the implied pledge to Hayne in the letter written by the secretary on behalf of the president. The news that the question of the forts had been taken over by the Confederate congress, and that the decision. "would probably be preceded in its settlement by negotiation with the Govern

1 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 260, 265-267.
" Ibid., 26.
3 Ibid., 158–195.

♦ Ibid., 175.

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ment of the United States, has impressed the President with a belief that there will be no immediate attack on Fort Sumter, and the hope is indulged that wise and patriotic counsels may prevail and prevent it altogether. The labors of the Peace Congress have not closed and the presence of that body here adds another to the powerful motives already existing for the adoption of every measure, except in necessary self-defense, for avoiding a collision with the forces that surround you.



Simultaneous with Beauregard's arrival at Charleston was the advent of Crawford, one of the Confederate commissioners, at Washington. He at once wrote Toombs that he would have nothing more to do with Buchanan, because "his fears for his personal safety, the apprehension for the security of his property, together with the cares of State and his advanced age, render him wholly disqualified for his present position. He is as incapable now of purpose as a child." This same impression was made upon a distinguished financier of New York, who came to Washington on the president's request, for consultation on the national finances, and found the unfortunate president anxious chiefly about his investments. February 28, Anderson was informed by the war department that the Confederate commissioners were expected,


1 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 182.

2 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 316.

'Alexander Duncan, personal statement to author.

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and that "The Secretary [of war] entertains the hope that nothing will occur now of a hostile character." 1

One can but wonder at the extraordinary blindness of the administration of which such documents are evidence; for Secretary Holt was not one of those who condoned in any wise the action of the South; and the press of the country called for action throughout the whole of this early period. How completely Buchanan had now yielded to the impression that matters might still be adjusted is shown by a spirit which it is scarcely too harsh to term grovelling, in countermanding the customary parade of the troops on Washington's birthday. The rumor of a plot to seize the capital caused the transfer, at the instigation of General Scott, of several companies from Fort Monroe, which, with those already at hand, made a force of nearly seven hundred regular troops. Scott had made careful arrangements for all contingencies, and the city was regarded as safe from an attack of which baseless rumors were afloat. So much does imaginati n enhance men's fears that it was even supposed that the official presidential count might be interfered with; but this passed, February 13, with perfect quietude, and Vice-President Breckinridge announced Lincoln as the elected president.


As usual on Washington's birthday, the troops

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were intended to form part of the usual parade of February 22, and the orders for the arrangements were published, when Ex-President Tyler, president of the Peace Convention, intervened and influenced Mr. Buchanan to give orders, late in the evening of February 21, to the secretary of war to countermand the parade. This, coming next morning to the knowledge of Representative Daniel E. Sickles, who had introduced a resolution for the observance of the day, caused Sickles to call upon and remonstrate with the president, who then requested the secretary of war to again add the regular troops to the militia, the appearance of which the order had not affected; and the parade, shorn somewhat of its proportions through want of time to restore the arrangements, took place.1

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