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[209] unless immediate measures were taken to fulfil this sacred duty.

Mr. Blunt asked me to explain my plan to him, which I did, as follows:

From the outer edge of the Charleston bar, in a straight line to Sumter, through the Swash Channel, the distance is four miles, with no shoal spots having less than nine feet at highwater. The batteries on Morris and Sullivan's Islands are about two thousand six hundred yards apart, and between these, troops and supplies must pass. I proposed to anchor three small men-of-war off the entrance to the Swash Channel, as a safe base of operations against any naval attack from the enemy.

The soldiers and provisions to be carried to the Charleston bar in the Collins steamer Baltic; all the provisions and munitions to be put up in portable packages, easily handled by one man. The Baltic to carry three hundred extra sailors, and a sufficient number of armed launches, to land all the troops at Fort Sumter in one night.

Three steam-tugs, of not more than six feet draft of water, such as are employed for towing purposes, were to form part of the expedition, to be used for carrying in the troops and provisions, in case the weather should be too rough for boats.

With the exception of the men-of-war and tugs, the whole expedition was to be complete on board the steamer Baltic, and its success depended upon the possibility of running past batteries at night, which were distant from the centre of the channel one thousand three hundred yards. I depended upon the barbette guns of Sumter to keep the channel between Morris and Sullivan Islands clear of rebel vessels at the time of entering.

Mr. Blunt and myself discussed the plan over a chart, and he communicated it to Charles H. Marshall and Russell Sturges, and they all approved it, and Mr. Marshall agreed to furnish and provision the vessels without exciting suspicion.

February fourth, Mr. Blunt came to my hotel with a telegram from Lieutenant-General Scott, requesting my attendance at Washington. I left the next day, and breakfasted with the General the sixth instant. At eleven A. M., I met at his office, by arrangement, Lieutenant Hall, who had been sent from Sumter by Major Anderson. In the General's presence, we discussed the question of relieving Fort Sumter. Lieutenant Hall's plan was to go in with a steamer, protected by a vessel on each side loaded with hay. I objected to it for the following reasons: first, a steamer could not carry vessels lashed alongside in rough water; and second, in running up the channel, she would be bows on to Fort Moultrie, and presenting a large fixed mark without protection ahead, would certainly be disabled.

Lieutenant-General Scott approved my plan, and, on the seventh of February, introduced me to Mr. Holt, the Secretary of War, to whom I explained the project, and offered my services to conduct the party to the Fort. Mr. Holt agreed to present the matter to President Buchanan that evening.

The next day, the eighth of February, news was received of the election of Jefferson Davis by the Montgomery Convention. I called upon General Scott, and he intimated to me that probably no effort would be made to relieve Fort Sumter. He seemed much disappointed and astonished; I therefore returned to New-York on the ninth of February.

On the twelfth of March, I received a telegram from Postmaster-General Blair, to come to Washington, and I arrived there on the thirteenth. Mr. Blair having been acquainted with the proposition I presented to General Scott under Mr. Buchanan's administration, sent for me to tender the same to Mr. Lincoln, informing me that Lieutenant-General Scott had advised the President that the Fort could not be relieved, and must be given up. Mr. Blair took me at once to the White House, and I explained the plan to the President; thence we adjourned to Lieutenant-General Scott's office, where a renewed discussion of the subject took place.

The General informed the President that my plan was practicable in February, but that the increased number of batteries erected at the mouth of the harbor since that time, rendered it impossible in March.

Finding there was great opposition to any attempt at relieving Fort Sumter, and that Mr. Blair alone sustained the President in his policy of refusing to yield, I judged that my arguments in favor of the practicability of sending in supplies would be strengthened by a visit to Charleston and the Fort.

The President readily agreed to my visit, if the Secretary of War and General Scott raised no objections. Both of these gentlemen consenting, I left Washington on the nineteenth of March, and passing through Richmond and Wilmington, reached Charleston the twenty-first. I travelled the latter part of the way with Mr. Holmes, of California, formerly a member of Congress from South-Carolina, in the days of Calhoun. At Florence Station, we met Mr. Keitt, a member of Congress from South-Carolina when that State attempted to secede. He welcomed Mr. Holmes very warmly, and inquired, with great anxiety, whether Sumter was to be given up. Mr. Holmes said, “Yes, I know it;” which seemed to give Mr. Keitt much satisfaction, but he insisted upon knowing his authority. Mr. Holmes said I have the highest authority for what I say; and upon Mr. Keitt again asking who, he leaned toward him, and at that moment the engine-whistle gave a screech for starting, so that the conversation closed, and I lost the name.

At a station near Charleston, Mr. Huger, formerly Postmaster under President Buchanan, got into the cars, and had an interview with Mr. Holmes, during which the same assurances were repeated, relative to the certainty of the evacuation of Fort Sumter. Mr. Huger seemed


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