The engineers' office in Charleston
was occupied and its valuable maps and records appropriated, and among them the entire details of the construction of Fort Sumter
The chief clerk
was made an officer in the service of the State
, and a messenger was sent to Major Anderson
, by the Governor
of the State
, requiring him to return to Fort Moultrie
It was declined, and both sides commenced preparations for hostilities, that seemed now to be unavoidable.
Whatever hopes might have been entertained by the authorities of a peaceful solution of the difficulties, were rudely shaken, if not abandoned, when it was known that the General Government
acquiesced in the movement of Major Anderson
, and refused to remand him to Fort Moultrie
At first the President
was inclined to order Anderson
to return to Fort Moultrie
, and he authorized the transmission of a telegram to South Carolina
's movement was not only without, but against his orders; but he would go no further.
The action of South Carolina
in seizing the government property, and that specific instructions had been given by his Secretary of War
authorizing just such a movement, restrained the President
and rendered the restoration of the former status impossible.
In vain was a “breach of faith” alleged, and the “personal honor” of the President
said to be involved.
In vain the commission in Washington
urged their understanding of the pledge made to them.
The President stood firm.
“Should I return Major Anderson
to Fort Moultrie
,” said he, “I might go back to Wheatland
by the light of my burning effigies.”
It is not the purpose of this paper to inquire how far the President
had pledged himself to maintain the status in Charleston harbor
His great desire, as well as his intention, was, no doubt, to preserve that status until the close of his administration.
This had become impossible.
The South Carolina
commissioners could accept nothing less, and they left Washington
, after having transmitted to the President
a communication, so offensive in its tone, and so personal in its character, that he declined to receive it. This decision was reached in a Cabinet council.
When it was announced, the President
turned to the Secretary of War
, and said: “Reinforcements must now be sent.”
The Secretary of War
, Mr. Floyd
, whose resignation had been invited by the President
, was virtually out of the government.
Although he had given the very instructions which justified the movement of Major Anderson
, he made the refusal of the President
to restore the status in Charleston harbor
the pretext for his action, and vacated his office.
The movement of Major Anderson
, however justified in a military point of view, led directly to such measures on