The fort was destroyed, the guns dismounted, the barracks burned over the soldiers' heads, and, later on, the magazine exploded, the dead and wounded strewing the ground, while the heaviest artillery of the age continuously concentrated its fire against the ruin, and assault after assault attempted its capture; yet Fort Sumter
When, at last, after defying the army and navy of the United States
for four years, and with Fort Moultrie
and the forts and batteries of the harbor, and the Confederate army on the islands and the main, all the defenders of Charleston
were ordered to North Carolina
for the final struggle, then
, sir, (to Major T. A. Huguenin
,) did you, as the last commander of the fort, withdraw your brave comrades from that immortal post.
<*> can well imagine the feelings of those men as they quietly got into the boats, and, with muffled oars, rowed away to Charleston
It was the last and the final chapter in a glorious history!
I turn back a few of the pages of that history to read you of one incident which, with hundreds like it, make it a sacred history to us. I will read you the story as it has been written by a very faithful pen.1
Your own hearts, your own sense of what is worthy in conduct, and faithful and true in courage, and hallowed and holy in self-sacrifice, will not let the lesson pass.
This chaste and simple tablet will keep its memory sacred here.
The officers and cadets of his Alma Mater
will never let the story be forgotten, while its lesson of unostentatious faithfulness
will become an inspiration to every cadet who, like Captain Harleston
, answers the call of the hour with the spirit of a true and patient heart.
On the 21st of November, 1863, Captain Harleston
's last term of duty expired at Fort Sumter
, and his company was relieved by another.
‘Having obtained a much-desired furlough, he intended, as soon as he was released, to go up to Columbia
and visit his family, who were joyfully awaiting his arrival.
He had written to his mother, “I will be with you to-night.”
, who commanded the fort at the time, asked him to remain a few days longer, ‘until the dark nights were past,’ confidingin the vigilance and ability of Harleston