the building in every direction. The crash of the beams, the roar of the flames, and the shower of fragments of the fort, with the blackness of the smoke, made the scene indescribably terrific and grand. This continued for several hours. Meanwhile, the main gates were burned down, the chassis of the barbette guns were burned away on the gorge, and the upper portions of the towers had been demolished by shells. There was not a portion of the fort where a breath of air could be got for hours, except through a wet cloth. The fire spread to the men's quarters on the right hand and on the left, and endangered the powder which had been taken out of the magazines. The men went through the fire and covered the barrels with wet cloths; but the danger of the fort's blowing up became so imminent that they were obliged to heave the barrels out of the embrasures. While the powder was being thrown overboard, all the guns of Moultrie, of the iron floating battery, of the enfilade battery, and of the Dahlgren battery, worked with increasing vigor. All but four barrels were thus disposed of, and those remaining were wrapped in many thicknesses of wet woolen blankets. But three cartridges were left, and these were in the guns. About this time, the flag-staff of Fort Sumter was shot down, some fifty feet from the truck; this being the ninth time that it had been struck by a shot. The man cried out, “The flag is down! It has been shot away!” In an instant, Lieut. Hall rushed forward, and brought the flag away. But the halliards were so inextricably tangled that it could not be righted; it was therefore nailed to the staff, and planted upon the ramparts, while batteries in every direction were playing upon them.The fleet from New York, laden with provisions for the garrison, had appeared off the bar by noon of the day on which fire was opened, but made no effort to fulfill its errand. To have attempted to supply the fort would have, at best, involved a heavy cost of life, probably to no purpose. Its commander communicated by signals with Major Anderson, but remained out of the range of the enemy's fire till after the surrender; when he returned as he came. Meantime, the boom of heavy ordnance and the telegraph had borne far and wide the eagerly awaited tidings that the war for which South Carolina had so long been impatient had actually begun; and from every side thousands flocked to the spectacle as to a long expected holiday. Charleston herself was drunk with excitement and joyous exultation. Her entire white population, and her gay crowds of well-dressed1 visitors, thronged her streets and quays, noting the volume and resonant thunder of the Confederate cannonade, and the contrasted feebleness of that by which it was replied to.2 That seven thousand men, after five months of careful preparation, could overcome seventy, was regarded as an achievement ranking with the most memorable deeds of Alexander or Hannibal, Caesar or Napoleon. Champagne flowed on every hand like water; thousands quaffed, and feasted on the richest viands, who were ere long to regard rancid pork as a dainty, and tea and coffee as faintly remembered luxuries. Beauregard shot up like Jonah's gourd to the altitude of the world's greatest captains; and “Damnation to the Yankees!” was drunk with rapture by enthusiastic crowds whose heads were sure to ache tomorrow with what they had drunk before. Already, in the ardent imagination of her Chivalry, the Confederacy had established its independence
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1 The New York merchants who sold the costly fabrics are still waiting for their pay.
2 A Charleston dispatch,dated April 13th, says:
Had the surrender not taken place, Fort Sumter would have been stormed to-night. The men are crazy for a fight. The bells have been chiming all day, guns firing, ladies waving handkerchiefs, people cheering, and citizens making themselves generally demonstrative. It is rewarded as the greatest day in the history of South Carolina.--Such it undoubtedly was.
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