, as his reason.
He asserted that he
had promised South Carolina
that no change should be made in the disposition of our forces in Charleston harbor
— which is exceedingly probable.
He asked permission to “vindicate our
honor, and prevent civil war” by “withdrawing the Federal
garrison altogether from the harbor of Charleston
This not being accorded, he declared that he could no longer hold his office, “under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor.”
The President mildly accepted his resignation, and appointed Joseph Holt
, of Kentucky
, to succeed him.
By the middle of December, Hon. Caleb Cushing
, of Mass.
, was dispatched to Charleston
by President Buchanan
as a Commissioner or confidential agent of the Executive
His errand was a secret one.
But, so far as its object was allowed to transpire, he was understood to be the bearer of a proffer from Mr. Buchanan
that he would not reinforce Major Anderson
, nor initiate any hostilities against the Secessionists, provided they would evince a like pacific spirit, by respecting the Federal
authority down to the close of his Administration-now but a few weeks distant.
had been in Charleston
a few months earlier as an anti-Douglas delegate to, and President
of, the Democratic National Convention, and then stood in high favor with her aristocracy: on this occasion, however, he was soon given to understand that he had fallen from grace; that his appearance in the character of an advocate or representative of Federal authority had cast a sudden mildew on his popularity in that stronghold of Secession.
He remained but five hours in Charleston
; having learned within that time that the rulers of South Carolina
would make no promises and enter into no arrangements which did not recognize or imply the independence of their State.
He returned directly to Washington
, where his report was understood to have been the theme of a stormy and protracted Cabinet meeting.
Directly after Major Anderson
's removal to Fort Sumter
, the Federal
arsenal in Charleston
, containing many thousand stand of arms and a considerable quantity of military stores, was seized by the volunteers, now flocking to that city by direction of the State
authorities; Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie
, and Sullivan's Island
, were likewise occupied by them, and their defenses vigorously enlarged and improved.
, Post-Office, etc., were likewise appropriated, without resistance or commotion; the Federal
officers having them in charge being original, active, and ardent Secessionists.
The lights in the light-houses were extinguished, and the buoys in the intricate channel of the harbor were removed, so that no ocean craft could enter or depart without the guidance of a special pilot.
Additional fortifications, defending the city and commanding the harbor approaches, were commenced and pushed rapidly forward; some of them having direct reference, offensive and defensive, to Fort Sumter
And still the volunteers came pouring in; nearly all from the interior of South Carolina
; though abundant proffers of military aid were received from all parts of the South
The first company from another State, consisting