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[46] soon be brought to terms. In spite, however, of this new and terrible element against which it had to contend, the fort still responded to the fire of our batteries, though at long and irregular intervals only.

Appreciating the critical position of the enemy, and carried away by their own enthusiasm, our troops, mounting the parapets in their front, cheered Major Anderson at each successive discharge that came from the fort, deriding and hooting, the while, what to them seemed the timorous inaction of the fleet outside the bar.

Matters had evidently reached a crisis for the men within the walls of Sumter. Fearing that some terrible calamity might befall them, and being informed that the United States flag no longer floated over the fort, General Beauregard immediately despatched three of his aids with offers of assistance to Major Anderson, who thanked him for his courtesy, but declined to accept aid. Before General Beauregard's aids could get to the fort, the United States flag, which had not been hauled down, as we supposed, but had fallen from the effects of a shot, was hoisted anew. It did not fly long, however, but was soon lowered, and a white flag substituted for it. The contest was over. Major Anderson had acknowledged his defeat.

Now occurred an incident which was in no way surprising, being the natural result of inexperience in military matters and a lack of discipline, among some of the officers commanding the various points around the harbor. Seeing the fall of the flag, and the fort in flames, Brigadier-general Simons, actuated by the best of motives, but without authority from the commanding general, allowed Colonel Wigfall to cross from Cummings's Point to Sumter in a row-boat, to ascertain whether the absence of the flag over the fort indicated a desire to surrender. The proximity of Morris Island to Sumter enabled him to reach the fort before the aids, who had been sent directly from general headquarters, could do so.

A short interview took place between Colonel Wigfall and Major Anderson, during which a demand of surrender was made by the former and acceded to by the latter, but upon terms not clearly defined between them.

We deem it best to transcribe the very words made use of by General Beauregard, in his ‘Final Report of Operations against Sumter,’ as forwarded April 27th, 1861, to the Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War at Montgomery, Alabama:

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