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[24] would have been ample to hold the important forts below New Orleans, at Mobile, Pensacola, Savannah, and Wilmington. There were at the Northern posts, which might, of course, have been completely denuded of men with safety, over one thousand men. Fort Monroe was sufficiently garrisoned for protection; the total garrison of Sumter was but eighty-four. As it was, the other forts had simply to be entered and occupied by the raw secessionist volunteers. Such occupancy, which gradually took place, naturally gave an immense impetus to the Southern movement. Had these forts been occupied by Federal troops and had Sumter been properly reenforced, there can be little question that secession would have ended with the act of South Carolina. For with her ports in Federal hands, the South was powerless. Communication with the exterior world was to her a necessity in the strongest meaning of the word, because she was lacking in many things of vital importance. She could not have gone to war; she would not have gone to war, in so helpless a situation.

Even the one effort to hold any of these forts, the retention of which was so vital, was made abortive by the action of Scott in causing to be embarked in New York, in the merchant steamer Star of the West, a raw company of artillery under a lieutenant for the reenforcement of Fort Sumter, instead of a force of the older soldiers from Fort Monroe, in the Brooklyn. The Star of the West made a feeble effort to enter Charleston Harbor. She was fired upon, and seeing no colors hoisted at Sumter or sign of assistance from the fort, turned and went to sea. Had the Brooklyn been sent, as President Buchanan, to his credit be it said, intended, and as had been first arranged, the secessionist battery would not have dared to fire upon the powerful man-of-war, or, had it dared, the few guns of the battery or of all of the improvised defenses, none of which had before fired a shot, would have been quickly silenced by the Brooklyn's guns; the ship would have occupied the harbor; Sumter would have been manned and provisioned, and

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R. W. Scott (1)
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