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Positive instructions from the Confederate Government had been sent to their agent in Charleston harbor that if this last proposition to Major Anderson was refused by him, he should reduce the fort as his judgment decided to be most practicable. But little conversation followed the delivery, to the aides, of the reply of Major Anderson. An inquiry as to the exact time in the morning was made, which was found to be 3.30 A. M. The Confederate officers left the fort without any formal leave-taking, and their boat soon disappeared, in the darkness. Upon their arrival in Charleston, and the delivery of Major Anderson's response, a telegram was sent to Montgomery, informing the authorities that Major Anderson “would not consent.” Inside the work, the men were informed of what had happened, and directed to await the summons to the guns. No fire was to be returned until daylight. The night was calm and clear, and the sea was still. Fires were lighted in all the Confederate works, when, at 4.30 A. M., the silence was broken by the discharge of a mortar from a battery near Fort Johnson, within easy range of the work; a shell rose high in the air, and burst directly over Fort Sumter; its echo died away, and all was still again; when, suddenly, fire was opened from every battery of the enemy. At daylight, all the guns of Fort Sumter opened, and the fire steadily continued all day. During the night of the 12th, the accurate range of the mortars lodged a shell in the parade, or about the work, at intervals of fifteen minutes. It was estimated that over twenty-five hundred shot and shell struck the
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