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[188] notice was sent to Major Anderson of the coming relief, with the instruction to hold out till the eleventh or twelfth if possible; but authorizing him to capitulate whenever it might become necessary to save himself and command. Two days later the President sent a special messenger with written notice to the-governor of South Carolina that an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only; and that if such attempt were not resisted, no further effort would be made to throw in men, arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or unless in case of an attack on the fort.

The building of batteries around Fort Sumter had been begun, under the orders of Governor Pickens, about the first of January, and continued with industry and energy; and about the first of March General Beauregard, an accomplished engineer officer, was sent by the Confederate government to take charge of and complete the works. On April I he telegraphed to Montgomery: “Batteries ready to open Wednesday or Thursday. What instructions?”

At this point, the Confederate authorities at Montgomery found themselves face to face with the fatal alternative either to begin war or to allow their rebellion to collapse. Their claim to independence was denied, their commissioners were refused a hearing; yet not an angry word, provoking threat, nor harmful act had come from President Lincoln. He had promised them peace, protection, freedom from irritation; had offered them the benefit of the mails. Even now, all he proposed to do was — not to send guns or ammunition or men to Sumter, but only bread and provisions to Anderson and his soldiers. His prudent policy placed them in the exact attitude described a month earlier in his inaugural: they could have no

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