the harbor, Colonel Chesnut
and Captain S. D. Lee
, were admitted to the guard-room just inside the main entrance to the work.
They bore a communication from the military commandant at Charleston
, and to the following effect: It stated that the Government
of the Confederate States
had hitherto forborne from any hostile demonstration against Fort Sumter
, in the hope that the General Government
would voluntarily evacuate it in order to avert war, and that there was reason to believe that such would have been the course pursued, but that the Confederate Government could no longer delay “assuming actual possession” of a fortification so important to it. The evacuation of Fort Sumter
was demanded in the name of the Government
of the Confederate States
All proper facilities were tendered to Major Anderson
for the removal of himself and his command.
He was to take with him his company and private property, and to salute his flag upon taking it down.
Calling the officers of the garrison into his private room, he laid the communication before them, and then, for the first time, made known to them the confidential dispatch from the government, received a few days previously, in which their determination to relieve the fort was expressed, and instructions in regard to it conveyed.
In this communication authority was given him to capitulate when the necessity of the case required it. The conference of the officers was long and earnest.
There was no thought for a moment of acceding to the demand for the evacuation of the fort, and the following reply was returned by Major Anderson
: “That the demand for the evacuation of the fort was one with which he regretted that his sense of honor and his obligations to his government prevented his compliance.”
On receiving this communication the Confederate
officers left the fort.
The entire interview was characterized by every courtesy, though more distant and formal than in previous conferences.
They were followed to the main gate of the work by Major Anderson
, and the writer of this article.
As they were about to embark, Major Anderson
remarked in their hearing that he would be starved out any way in a few days, if their guns did not batter him to pieces, and this was repeated more specifically to the Confederate
officers in reply to their inquiries on the subject.
As the boat returned, the batteries around were covered with spectators all anxiously watching the result of the mission.
Renewed activity prevailed.
Inside the fort powder was taken from the magazines, which were now closed, ammunition was served to the batteries and the details of the men made to serve them.
Careful instructions were given to use the utmost economy in regard