While the Legislature was considering and passing preparatory measures, the Governor
was not idle.
A constant correspondence was kept up with our members of Congress and the Governors
of other States.
Leading merchants, and other gentlemen of experience and wisdom, were daily consulted.
The militia was strengthened.
A cipher key was arranged, to be used in transmitting messages which required secrecy.
The defenceless condition of the forts in Boston harbor
In Fort Warren
there was but one gun; in Fort Winthrop
none at all; and, in Fort Independence
, hardly twenty guns, and most of them were trained on the city itself.
The casemates were unfit for human occupation.
The grounds inside the forts were covered with workshops and wooden shanties; and, instead of being a defence to the city and harbor, the fortifications of Boston
were a standing menace to them, and invited seizure by the enemy.
The entire coast of Massachusetts
was open to attack from sea; not a fort or an earthwork or a gun was in proper condition.
There were neither officers nor troops in garrison.
Our entire reliance, should war come, was in the patriotism of the militia and the people of the Commonwealth
If troops were to be sent to Washington
, the best and safest way of forwarding them was a question for discussion.
Two Southern States lay between Boston
; which, in case of civil war, were as likely to array themselves against the Government
as for it. The danger of sending troops through Baltimore
was very fully considered.
The ease with which the passage of the Susquehanna
could be impeded, and the long railroad bridges over the creeks between that river and Baltimore
destroyed, was foreseen, and on the other hand the facility with which the approach by transports up the Potomac
could be stopped by batteries, seemed to render that route impracticable.
A meeting was held in the Governor
's room on the 2d of February, and was adjourned to the 6th, at which Major-Generals Sutton
, and Andrews
, of the State
militia; Colonel Thayer
, U. S. A.; the Adjutant-General
of the State
; the aides-de-camp
of His Excellency
; and others, were present.