Doc. 11.--General Wool's letters to a friend in Washington.
Troy, December 31, 1860.My dear Sir:--South Carolina, after twenty-seven years--Mr. Rhett says thirty years--of constant and increasing efforts by her leaders to induce her to secede, has declared herself out of the Union; and this, too, without the slightest wrong or injustice done her people on the part of the government of the United States. Although she may have seized the revenue cutter, raised her treasonable Palmetto flag over the United States Arsenal, the Custom-house, Post-office, Castle Pinckney, and Fort Moultrie, she is not out of the Union, nor beyond the pale of the United States. Before she can get out of their jurisdiction or control, a re-construction of the constitution must be had or civil war ensue. In the latter case it would require no prophet to foretell the result. It is reported that Mr. Buchanan has received informally the Commissioners appointed by the rebels of South Carolina to negotiate for the public property in the harbor of Charleston, and for other purposes. It is also reported that the President disapproved of the conduct of Major Anderson, who, being satisfied that he would not be able to defend Fort Moultrie with the few men under his command, wisely took possession of Fort Sumter, where he could protect himself and the country from the disgrace which might have occurred, if he had remained in Fort Moultrie. Being the commander in the harbor, he had the right to occupy Fort Sumter, an act which the safety of the Union as well as his own honor demanded. It is likewise stated that apprehensions are entertained that Major Anderson will be required to abandon Fort Sumter and re-occupy Fort Moultrie. There can be no foundation for such apprehensions ; for surely the President would not surrender the citadel of the harbor of Charleston to rebels. Fort Sumter commands the entrance, and in a few hours could demolish Fort Moultrie. So long as the United States keeps possession of this fort, the independence of South Carolina will only be in name and not in fact. If, however, it should be surrendered to South Carolina, which I do not apprehend, the smothered indignation of the free states would be roused beyond control. It would not be in the power of any one to restrain it. In twenty days two hundred thousand men would be in readiness to take vengeance on all who would betray the Union into the hands of its enemies. Be assured that I do not exaggerate the feelings of the people. They are already sufficiently excited at the attempt to dissolve the Union, for no other reason than that they constitutionally exercised the most precious right conferred on them, of voting for the person whom they considered the most worthy and best qualified to fill the office of President. Fort Sumter therefore ought not, and I presume will not, be delivered over to South Carolina. I am not, however, pleading for the free States, for they are not in danger, but for the Union and  the preservation of the cotton States. Those who sow the wind may expect to reap the whirlwind. The leaders of South Carolina could not have noticed that we live in an age of progress, and that all Christendom is making rapid strides in the march of civilization and freedom. If they had, they would have discovered that the announcement of every victory obtained by the hero of the nineteenth century, Garibaldi, in favor of the oppressed of Italy, did not fail to electrify every American heart with joy and gladness. “Where liberty dwells there is my country,” was the declaration of the illustrious Franklin. This principle is too strongly implanted in the heart and mind of every man in the free States, to be surrendered because South Carolina desires it in order to extend the area of slavery. With A christianized Europe and nearly all the civilized world opposed to slavery, are the Southern States prepared to set aside the barriers which shield and protect their institutions under the United States government? Would the separation of the South from the North, give greater security to slavery than it has now under the Constitution of the Union? What security would they have for the return of runaway slaves? I apprehend none ; whilst the number of runaways would be greatly augmented, and the difficulties of which slaveholders complain would be increased ten-fold. However much individuals might condemn slavery, the Free States are prepared to sustain and defend it as guarantied by the Constitution. In conclusion, I would avoid the bloody and desolating example of the Mexican States. I am now, and forever, in favor of the Union, its preservation, and the rigid maintenance of the rights and interests of the States, individually as well as collectively. Yours, &c.,
General Wool to General Cass, before the resignation of the latter.
[Private.] Troy, Dec. 6, 1860.my dear General: Old associations and former friendship induce me to venture to address to you a few words on the state of the country. My letter is headed “private,” because I am not authorized to address you officially. I have read with pleasure the President's Message. South Carolina says she intends to leave the Union. Her representatives in Congress say she has already left the Union. It would seem that she is neither to be conciliated nor comforted. I command the Eastern Department, which includes South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. You know me well. I have ever been a firm, decided, faithful, and devoted friend of my country. If I can aid the President to preserve the Union I hope he will command my services. It will never do for him or you to leave Washington without every star in this Union is in its place. Therefore, no time should be lost in adopting measures to defeat those who are conspiring against the Union. Hesitancy or delay may be no less fatal to the Union than to the President or your own high standing as a statesman. It seems to me that troops should be sent to Charleston to man the forts in that harbor. You have eight companies at Fort Monroe, Va. Three or four of these companies should be sent, without a moment's delay, to Fort Moultrie. It will save the Union and the President much trouble. It is said that to send at this time troops to that harbor would produce great excitement among the people. That is nonsense, when the people are as much excited as they can be, and the leaders are determined to execute their long meditated purpose of separating the state from the Union. So long as you command the entrance to the city of Charleston, South Carolina cannot separate herself from the Union. Do not leave the forts in the harbor in a condition to induce an attempt to take possession of them. It might easily be done at this time. If South Carolina should take them it might, as she anticipates, induce other states to join her. Permit me to entreat you to urge the President to send at once three or four companies of artillery to Fort Moultrie. The Union can be preserved, but it requires firm, decided, prompt and energetic measures on the part of the President. He has only to exert the power conferred on him by the Constitution and laws of Congress, and all will be safe, and he will prevent a civil war, which never fails to call forth all the baser passions of the human heart. If a separation should take place, you may rest assured blood would flow in torrents, followed by pestilence, famine, and desolation, and Senator Seward's irrepressible conflict will be brought to a conclusion much sooner than he could possibly have anticipated. Let me conjure you to save the Union, and thereby avoid the bloody and desolating example of the states of Mexico. A separation of the States will bring with it the desolation of the cotton States, which are unprepared for war. Their weakness will be found in the number of their slaves, with but few of the essentials to carry on war, whilst the free States will have all the elements and materials for war, and to a greater extent than any other people on the face of the globe. Think of these things, my dear General, and save the country, and save the prosperous South from pestilence, famine, and desolation. Peaceable secession is not to be thought of. Even if it should take place, in three months we would have a bloody war on our hands. Very truly your friend,
--Troy Times, Dec. 31.