previous next


This being reported to me by my aids, on their return with his refusal, at 5.10 P. M., I deemed it proper to telegraph the purport of his remark to the Secretary of War. I received by telegraph the following instruction at 9.10 P. M.: ‘Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter; if Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the meantime he will not use his guns against us, unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid effusion of blood. If this, or its equivalent, be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable.’ At 11 P. M. I sent my aids with a communication to Major Anderson, based upon these instructions. It was placed in his hands at 12.45 A. M., on the 12th instant. He expressed his willingness to evacuate the fort on Monday afternoon, ‘if furnished with the necessary means of transportation, and he should not receive contradictory instructions from his government, or additional supplies.’ But he declined to agree ‘not to open his guns upon us in the event of any hostile demonstration, on our part, against his flag.’ This reply, which was open, and shown to my aids, plainly indicated that, if instructions should be received contrary to his purpose to evacuate, or he should receive his supplies, or the Confederate troops should fire on hostile troops of the United States, or upon transports bearing the United States flag, containing men, munitions, and supplies designed for hostile operations against us, be would feel bound to fire upon us, and to hold possession of the fort. As, in consequence of a communication from the President of the United States to the Governor of South Carolina, we were in momentary expectation of an attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter, or of a descent upon our coast to that end from the United States fleet lying off the entrance of the harbor, it was manifestly an apparent necessity to reduce the fort as speedily as possible, and not to await until the ships and the fort should unite in a combined attack upon us. Accordingly, my aids, carrying out my instructions, promptly refused to accede to the terms proposed by Major Anderson, and notified him, in writing, that our batteries would open upon Fort Sumter in one hour. This notification was given at 3.20 A. M., on Friday the 12th instant. The signal-shell was fired from Fort Johnson at 4.30 A. M., and, at about 5 o'clock, the fire from our batteries became general. Fort Sumter did not open until 7 o'clock, when it commenced with a vigorous fire upon the Cummings's Point Iron Battery. The enemy next directed his fire upon the enfilade battery on Sullivan's Island, constructed to sweep the parapet of Fort Sumter, to prevent the working of the barbette guns, and to dismount them. This was also the aim of the floating battery, the Dahlgren battery, and the gun-batteries at Cummings's Point. The enemy next opened fire on Fort Moultrie, between which and Fort Sumter a steady and almost constant fire was kept up throughout the day. These three points, Fort Moultrie, Cummings's Point, and the end of Sullivan's Island, where the floating battery, Dahlgren Battery, and the enfilade battery were placed, were the points to which the enemy seemed almost to confine his attention, although a number of shots were directed at Captain Butler's mortar battery, situated eastward of Fort Moultrie, and a few at Captain James's mortar batteries at Fort Johnson. During the day (12th instant) the fire of our batteries was kept up most spiritedly, the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Patton Anderson (3)
George S. James (1)
Benjamin F. Butler (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
12th (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: