whole purpose was changed, and an expedition to reinforce the fort was ordered.
A dispatch of the following purport was forwarded to Major Anderson
: he was told that his report had caused great anxiety to the President
It was hoped from his previous communication, and the report of the special messenger, Captain Fox
, that he could hold out until the 15th of April, when an expedition was to have gone to his relief.
He was directed, if possible, to hold out until the 12th of April, when the expedition would go forward, and, finding his “flag still flying,” an effort would be made to provision him, and to reinforce him if resisted.
As soon as this dispatch was sent to Major Anderson
, it was followed by a messenger, Mr. Chew
, the chief clerk
of the State Department, to the authorities of South Carolina
, informing them that an attempt to provision and relieve the fort would now be made.
The messenger accomplished his mission, and barely escaped from the city of Charleston
Upon receipt of the message from the State Department, not a moment was lost by the officer in command of the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston
A telegram was at once sent to the Confederate Government, at Montgomery
, with the information brought by the messenger, and instructions asked for. The reply betrayed no appreciation of the long and terrible war it inaugurated: “If you have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent,” was the reply, “you will at once demand the evacuation of the fort, and, if this is refused, proceed in such manner as you may determine to reduce it.”
On the morning of the 11th of April, the dawn of day disclosed an activity at once unusual and significant.
over the entire harbor.
The waters were covered with vessels hastily putting to sea. An iron-clad floating-battery of four guns, the construction of which in Charleston
had been watched by the garrison for months, was towed down the bay to a point at the western end of Sullivan's Island
, where its guns bore directly upon Fort Sumter
A wooden dwelling on the beach, near the end of the island, was pulled down and unmasked a land work, mounting four guns, hitherto unknown to the garrison.
Its fire would enfilade the most important battery of Fort Sumter
, which was upon the parapet of the right flank of the work, and whose guns were mainly relied upon to control the fire from the heavy guns on Cumming's Point
, that would take the fort in reverse.
Bodies of troops were landed, and the batteries on shore fully manned, and every preparation completed, when, at four o'clock P. M., a boat under a white flag approached the fort.
Two officials, aides-de-camp of the general commanding the Confederate forces in