take in a matter of grave importance.
Conversations are too often and too easily misunderstood, and exact words forgotten.
In this case, it is hard to believe that Maj. Anderson could have so forgotten, not to say deliberately disobeyed, his instructions as he did, had they been given in writing. In that view of the matter, it may be said that the war was precipitated by giving important orders verbally. Another example will be found in the story of the battle of Seven Pines which Gen. Joseph E. Johnston lost by trusting to instructions given verbally.
Maj. Buell's memorandum of the verbal instructions given is a paper of over 300 words, and is a fair sample of explicit language.
Here is the sentence especially referring to any change of position of the garrison of Fort Moultrie: —
You are to carefully avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression, and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up any position which could