States, and would, four months later, be duly inaugurated as such.
Rumors and speculations as to the inevitable disruption of the Union
and its probable consequences prevailed everywhere, and kept the public mind in a state of feverish suspense and anxiety.
Flattering, therefore, as was to Major Beauregard
the appointment thus tendered him by the War Department, it was with no feigned reluctance that he began closing his official accounts, preparatory to transferring the works under him to his successor in office.
Though never taking a very active part in politics, he was strongly imbued with the constitutional doctrine of States' Rights and State Sovereignty, and considered, as did the great mass of his Southern countrymen, that his allegiance was primarily due to his own State.
With these views, and under such circumstances, it was but natural he should feel anxious in leaving Louisiana
, while public opinion had not yet established its level, and the South
was still uncertain as to the proper step to pursue in vindication of its imperilled rights.
However—and happen what might—there was but one course open to him, and his determination was taken at once: to stand by his State, and share its destiny, for weal or woe.
Towards the latter part of December of that year he left New Orleans for West Point
, stopping on his way in Washington
, to ascertain, if he could, what shape future events would probably assume,
Several Southern States had already called their people in conventions, to determine what measures should be adopted in view of the exigencies of the hour.
had passed her Ordinance of Secession.
So did Florida
, it was thought by her congressional delegation, would not hesitate much longer.
Deeply convinced that such would be the result, Major Beauregard
made it a point at once to apprise General Totten
, chief of the Engineer Corps at Washington
, of his resolution to resign his commission in the United States army should his State retire from the Union
, thus giving the department full opportunity to rescind the order assigning him to West Point
, and to take such other step in the matter as might be thought proper.
He repaired to General Totten
's office, and, by a strange coincidence, found him busily engaged in examining fortification drawings, which were no other than those of the defences of Charleston
He was studying and endeavoring