been sent to Charleston
to inspect the works being constructed against Fort Sumter
, and advise such changes and improvements as his professional experience might suggest.
, in this paper, expressed his disapproval of almost all that had been done in the way of locating and constructing batteries, and gave an alarming description of the condition of affairs there.
having with him a map of Charleston
, given him that day by Major W. H. Chase
of Engineers, explained to the President
what should, in his opinion, be done to prevent assistance by sea to Fort Sumter
, and to force its surrender, if necessary.
The matter was thoroughly examined and discussed until a late hour in the night.
The next afternoon Major Beauregard
was accosted by some members of the convention from South Carolina
, who informed him that he had just been appointed first Brigadier-General
in the provisional army of the Confederate States
; and that he would be sent to assume command at Charleston
, and direct operations there against Fort Sumter
This news took Major Beauregard
completely by surprise.
He neither desired nor expected such an honor.
He feared it might keep him away for an indefinite period from New Orleans, whither he was anxious to return, for private as well as public reasons.
He knew little of the defences of Charleston
, and was not familiar with its people; whereas he was thoroughly acquainted with those of New Orleans; and, although perfectly willing to serve the Confederacy
to the utmost of his ability, wherever sent, he thought his services were first due to the defence and protection of his own State.
There was another impediment, though, under the circumstances, of much less gravity.
His resignation from the United States army, dated and forwarded February 8th, 1861, had not yet been, to his knowledge, accepted; and still regardful of the strict observance of rules and regulations to which he had been trained, he was disinclined to take up arms against the United States
flag until officially relieved from his fealty to it. This he explained to President Davis
, who, after urging his acceptance of the position offered, and promising that he should if necessary, be sent back to New Orleans, suggested that he should at once telegraph to the War Department in Washington
, and be set at rest on this point.
He did so—for communications between all sections of the country were still free—and the next day received formal information