the Yankee, which I fitted to throw hot water, the Uncle Ben, and the Freeborn. The question of supplies introduced me to Major Eaton, of the Commissary Department, who thanked God that an attempt was to be made to relieve Major Anderson's command, and from the energetic and enthusiastic cooperation of this officer, the expedition was immediately provisioned for all contingencies. The frigate Powhatan, Captain Mercer, sailed on the sixth of April, 1861; the Pawnee, Commander Rowan, on the ninth; the Pocahontas, Captain Gillis, on the tenth; the Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce, on the eighth; the tug Uncle Ben on the seventh; the tug Yankee on the eighth; and the Baltic, Captain Fletcher, dropped down to Sandy Hook on the evening of the eighth, and went to sea at eight A. M. of the ninth. The officers of the army who accompanied the military force were, First Lieutenant Edward Me K. Hudson, First Lieutenant Robert O. Tyler, and First Lieutenant C. W. Thomas. Soon after leaving Sandy Hook, a heavy gale of wind set in, which continued during the whole passage. At three A. M. of the twelfth, we reached the rendezvous off Charleston, and communicated with the Harriet Lane, the only vessel which had arrived. At six A. M., the Pawnee was seen standing in; I boarded her, and informed her commander of my orders to offer to send in provisions, and asked him to stand in to the bar with me. He replied that his orders required him to remain ten miles east of the light, and await the Powhatan, and that he was not going in there to inaugurate civil war. I then stood in toward the bar, followed by the Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce, who cheerfully accompanied me. As we neared the land, heavy guns were heard, and the smoke and shells from the batteries, which had just opened fire upon Sumter, were distinctly visible. I immediately stood out to inform Captain Rowan, of the Pawnee, but met him coming in. He hailed me, and asked for a pilot, declaring his intention of standing into the harbor, and sharing the fate of his brethren of the army. I went on board and informed him that I would answer for it; that the Government did not expect any such gallant sacrifice, having settled maturely upon the policy indicated in the instructions to Captain Mercer and myself. No other naval vessels arrived during this day; but the steamer Nashville, from New-York, and a number of merchant-vessels, reached the bar, and awaited the result of the bombardment, giving indications to those inside of a large naval fleet off the harbor. The weather continued very bad, with a heavy sea; neither the Pawnee nor Harriet Lane had boats or men to carry in supplies; feeling sure that the Powhatan would arrive during the night, as she had sailed from New-York two days before us, I stood out to the appointed rendezvous, and made signals all night. The morning of the thirteenth was thick and foggy, with a very heavy ground-swell. The Baltic, feeling her way in, ran ashore on Rattlesnake Shoal, but soon got off without damage. On account of the very heavy swell, she was obliged to anchor in deep water, several miles outside of the Pawnee and Harriet Lane. Lieutenant Robert O. Tyler, an officer of very great zeal and fidelity, though suffering from sea-sickness, as were most of the recruits, organized a boat's crew, and exercised them, notwithstanding the heavy sea,, for the purpose of having at least one boat, in the absence of the Powhatan's, to reach Fort Sumter. At eight A. M., I took this boat, and in company with Lieutenant Hudson, pulled in to the Pawnee. As we approached that vessel, a great volume of black smoke issued from Fort Sumter, through which the flash of Major Anderson's guns still replied to the rebel fire. The quarters of the Fort were on fire, and most of our military and navy officers believed the smoke to proceed from an attempt to smoke out the garrison with fire-rafts. As it was the opinion of the officers that no boats with any load in them could have reached Sumter in this heavy sea, and no tug-boats had arrived, it was proposed to capture a schooner near us, loaded with ice, which was done, and preparations at once commenced to fit her out, and load her for entering the harbor the following night. I now learned, for the first time, that Captain Rowan had received a note from Captain Mercer, of the Powhatan, dated at New-York, the sixth, the day he sailed, stating that the Powhatan was detached, by order of superior authority, from the duty to which she was assigned off Charleston, and had sailed for another destination. I left New-York two days afterward without any intimation of this change. At two P. M., the Pocahontas arrived, and at half-past 2 the flag of Sumter was shot away, and not again raised. A flag of truce was sent in by Captain Gillis, and arrangements made to place Major Anderson and his command on board the Baltic to return North. The Fort was evacuated Sunday, the fourteenth of April. Monday, the fifteenth, the steamer Isabel took the garrison outside to the steamer Baltic, which left that evening direct for New-York, where she arrived the forenoon of the eighteenth instant. My plan for supplying Fort Sumter required three hundred sailors, a full supply of armed launches, and three tugs. The Powhatan carried the sailors and launches, and when this vessel was about to leave, in obedience to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, two officers, Lieutenant D. D. Porter, United States Navy, and Captain M. C. Meigs, United States Engineers, presented themselves on board with an order from the President of the United States authorizing the former to take any vessel whatever in commission and proceed immediately to the Gulf of Mexico. This order did not pass through the Navy Department, and was unknown to the Secretary of the Navy, and when signed
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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