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‘ [27] as agent of the confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member; and generally to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relation of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between this commonwealth and the government at Washington.’ 1

These negotiations failed.

The removal of the United States garrison, on the 25th of December, 1860, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter—the gun carriages of the former work having been fired and the guns injured by the retiring troops—whatever may have been its cause, or by whomsoever suggested, was the first overt act of war, and the real beginning of hostilities between the two sections. That it was due to the action of a United States officer and representative of the Federal government, is beyond doubt. The question, whether he obeyed orders or acted on his own responsibility, in nowise affects the fact.

All hesitation and all illusions, on the part of the South Carolina authorities, were, from that moment, swept aside; and, as a logical sequence, on the day following, the Palmetto State flag was raised over smoking Moultrie, and over the other defences of the harbor, Sumter excepted. The South Carolina Commissioners retired from Washington and returned home, having had the full assurance from President Buchanan that he would not remand Major Anderson to Fort Moultrie, withdraw the United States troops from Fort Sumter, or give up the latter to the State authorities.

Vigorous preparations for the coming struggle were now begun by the State of South Carolina, with entire unanimity and a most admirable spirit among her people. Works were thrown up, and batteries constructed, at various points of the harbor, where it was thought they could best defend the city, and cut off outside communications with Fort Sumter.

These precautionary measures were taken none too soon. At dawn on the 9th of January, the steamer Star of the West, with a reinforcement of several hundred men, and supplies of food and ammunition for Sumter, appeared off the bar of Charleston

1 See letter dated Washington, Dec. 28th, 1860, of Messrs. R. W. Barnwell, J. H. Adams, and James L. Orr, South Carolina Commissioners, to President Buchanan.

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