" writes to the Boston Journal
"After a ramble of several hours through the city of Charleston
, we made a visit to Sumter
, entering by the sally-port where Major Anderson
entered on that ever-to-be-remembered January night of 1861.
The fort bears little resemblance to its appearance then, externally or internally.
No portion of the original face of the wall is to be seen, except on the side towards Charleston
and a portion of that facing Moultrie
From the harbor and from Wagner
it appears only a tumult
of an old ruin.
"All the casemates, arches, pillars and parapets are torn up, rent asunder and utterly demolished.
The great guns which two years ago kept the monitors at bay, which flamed and thundered awhile upon Wagner
, are dismounted, broken, overturned, and lie buried beneath the mountain of brick, dust, concrete, sand and mortar.
's attack in April, 1863, a reinforcement of palmer to logs was made on the harbor side and against half of the wall facing Moultrie
The lower tier of casemates was filled up with sand bags, but when General Gillmore
obtained possession his fire began to crumble the parapet.
The rebels endeavored to reconstruct the wall, or to maintain its original height by gabions filled with sand, but this compelled a widening of the base inside.
Thousands of bags filled with sand were brought to the fort at night.
Bombproofs were constructed.
Day after day, week after week, the pounding from Wagner
was maintained so effectually and thoroughly that it was impossible to keep a gun in position on that side.
"The only guns now remaining are five or six on the Moultrie side, in the middle tier of casemates.
Five howitzers were kept on the walls to repel an attack by small boats, the garrison keeping under cover or seeking cover whenever the lookout cried, 'a shot! '
"Cheveaux de frise
of pointed sticks protect the fort from a scaling party.--At the base outside are iron posts and wire network.
There is also a submerged network of wire and chains, kept in place by floating buoys.
"I had the curiosity to make an inspection of the wall facing Moultrie
to see what was the effect of the fire of the iron-clads in Dupont
With my glass at that time I could see that the wall was badly honeycombed; a close inspection shows that it was a very damaging fire.
There are seams in the masonry and great gashes where the solid bolts crumbled the bricks to fine dust.
It is evident that if the fire could have been continued any considerable length of time there that the wall would have fallen.
The effect of that fire led to the filling up of the lower casemates.
"An hour was passed in the fort, the band playing national airs and the party inspecting the ruins and gathering relics.
, of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, who is now aid to General Gillmore
, was of the party.
He was wounded in the assault on Wagner
He gazed at the ruins with satisfaction and pleasure, not unmixed with melancholy, for yonder, beneath the sands of Morris island
, his beloved commander was lying — his colonel, his general, his brother officer, fellow soldier.
It is a pity he was not there on Saturday to raise the flag upon the work; but he was on duty elsewhere.
"For four long years the cannon of Sumter
have hurled their iron bolts against the rights of man; but the contest there is ended.
The strong earthworks on Sullivan's
and Johnson's islands
, the batteries in the harbor, Castle Pinckney and Fort Ripley
, those in the city erected by slaves, are useless now and forever, except as monuments of folly and wickedness.
As I stood there upon the ruins of Sumter
, looking down into the crater, the past, like a panorama, was unrolled, exhibiting the mighty events which will forever make it historic ground.
The silent landing of Major Anderson
at the postern gate, the midnight prayer and solemn consecration of the little band to defend the flag till the last, the long weeks of preparation, the imbecile old man at Washington
, the Star of the South
turning her bow seaward, the 12th of April, the barracks on fire, the supplies exhausted, the hopelessness of success, the white flag flung out, the surrender, and all that has followed, were the pictures of the moment!"