cutter may be ordered for the same purpose as early as tomor-row’ (31st December).
The President immediately decided to order reenforcements; but he preferred to send them by the Brooklyn
, which had remained in readiness for this service.
He thought that a powerful war steamer with disciplined troops on board would prove more effective than a sloop-of-war and cutter with raw recruits.
Accordingly on the next morning (Monday) he instructed the Secretaries of War
and the Navy to despatch the Brooklyn
to Fort Sumter
On the evening of this day the General
called to congratulate him on the fact that the Secretaries
had already issued appropriate orders to the respective army and navy officers, and stated that these were then in his own pocket.
In contradiction to this prompt action, it is difficult to imagine how the General
could have asserted, in his report to President Lincoln
, that ‘the South Carolina
commissioners had already been many days in Washington
, and no movement of defence [on the part of the United States
] had been permitted.’
In regard to the ‘many days'
’ delay:—These commissioners arrived in Washington
on the 26th December; the General
sent his request to the President
on Sunday, the 30th; and on Monday morning he himself received the necessary orders for the departure of the expedition.
, notwithstanding this prompt response to his request, proceeds still further, and charges the President
with having ‘refused to allow any attempt to be made ’ to reenforce Fort Sumter
, ‘because he was holding negotiations with the South Carolina
commissioners,’ although this alleged refusal occurred at the very time (31st December) when he himself had in his own hands the order for the Broklyn
to proceed immediately to Fort Sumter
Nay, more: ‘Afterwards,’ says the General
, ‘Secretary Holt
and myself endeavored, in vain, to obtain a ship-of-war for the purpose, and were finally obliged to employ the passenger steamer Star oft West
After this statement, will it be credited that the Star of the West
was employed in place of the Brooklyn
at the pressing instance of General Scott
And yet such is the fact.
The President yielded to this unfortunate change with great reluctance,