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the State authorities and of its people as to greatly increase the probabilities of a collision. But while the friends of peace did not cease their exertions, work on the batteries went steadily on in the harbor of Charleston. The policy of the President had changed. Major Anderson was not only to be maintained in his position; he was to be supplied, and reinforced, if possible. A large transport, the Star of the West, left New York on the 5th of January, and arrived off Charleston on the 9th. She was unarmed and without convoy, and as she attempted to enter the harbor she was fired upon from a hastily constructed battery near the entrance. She had passed this fire when Fort Moultrie opened upon her at long range, when, lowering her flag, she proceeded northward. From the fact that there were no guns of sufficient calibre in position at that time, as well as the absence of any instructions to meet such a contingency, Fort Sumter was silent. The gauntlet was thus distinctly thr
he sea was still. Fires were lighted in all the Confederate works, when, at 4.30 A. M., the silence was broken by the discharge of a mortar from a battery near Fort Johnson, within easy range of the work; a shell rose high in the air, and burst directly over Fort Sumter; its echo died away, and all was still again; when, suddenly, fire was opened from every battery of the enemy. At daylight, all the guns of Fort Sumter opened, and the fire steadily continued all day. During the night of the 12th, the accurate range of the mortars lodged a shell in the parade, or about the work, at intervals of fifteen minutes. It was estimated that over twenty-five hundred shot and shell struck the fort during the first twenty-four hours. By morning, the fleet sent to our assistance appeared off the bar, but did not enter. At 8.30 on the 13th, the quarters took fire, from the effect of hot shot, and could not be extinguished, and soon the entire barracks were in a blaze. The barrels containing pow
intervals of fifteen minutes. It was estimated that over twenty-five hundred shot and shell struck the fort during the first twenty-four hours. By morning, the fleet sent to our assistance appeared off the bar, but did not enter. At 8.30 on the 13th, the quarters took fire, from the effect of hot shot, and could not be extinguished, and soon the entire barracks were in a blaze. The barrels containing powder were thrown into the sea. At 1.20 on the 13th, the flagstaff, having been struck four13th, the flagstaff, having been struck four times, was shot away, and the flag replaced upon the parapet. The firing upon the work was severe and continued; the return from the fort slow and feeble, sounding like signals of distress to the nation, and, finally, ceased altogether. Seeing the condition of things, a Colonel Wigfall pushed out in an open boat from Cumming's Point-unauthorized it is true-and, learning from Major Anderson that he would evacuate the fort upon the terms originally proposed to him, returned and communicated wit
ison were exhausted; nothing remained but short rations of pork and coffee. Still it was earnestly desired that the utmost expectations of the government should be realized, and it was determined to hold out to the period desired by them, the 15th instant. It was agreed that the terms proposed, which would tie the hands of the garrison and neutralize its fire, could not be acceded to, and a reply to the following effect was made by Major Anderson: That if provided with proper means he would evacuate the fort at noon on the 15th instant, provided he should not receive controlling instructions or additional supplies from his government; that he would not open the fire of his batteries unless compelled to do so by some hostile act or demonstration by the Confederate forces against his fort or the flag it bore. No sooner had Colonel Chesnut, the officer to whom it was handed, read the reply of Major Anderson than he pronounced it unsatisfactory, and made the following reply in writing:
cotton States induced Colonel Hayne to postpone the delivery of the communication until they could ascertain whether the President would refrain from reinforcing the fort, provided the Governor of South Carolina would also refrain from an attack upon it; but upon this being transmitted to the President, he at once authorized his secretary to state that Major Anderson had made no request for reinforcements, but should his safety require them, every effort would be made to supply them. On the 30th, Colonel Hayne presented his demand; but, as in the case of the commissioners originally sent by the State, the negotiations were not satisfactory, and an able and conclusive reply from the Secretary of War, Mr. Holt, was transmitted to the envoy of the Governor, which placed the whole subject beyond discussion. It was now clear that the government at Washington intended to relieve Fort Sumter at its option. For the State, but one course, consistent with the attitude assumed by her, was
January 5th (search for this): chapter 24
ed directly to such measures on the part of the State authorities and of its people as to greatly increase the probabilities of a collision. But while the friends of peace did not cease their exertions, work on the batteries went steadily on in the harbor of Charleston. The policy of the President had changed. Major Anderson was not only to be maintained in his position; he was to be supplied, and reinforced, if possible. A large transport, the Star of the West, left New York on the 5th of January, and arrived off Charleston on the 9th. She was unarmed and without convoy, and as she attempted to enter the harbor she was fired upon from a hastily constructed battery near the entrance. She had passed this fire when Fort Moultrie opened upon her at long range, when, lowering her flag, she proceeded northward. From the fact that there were no guns of sufficient calibre in position at that time, as well as the absence of any instructions to meet such a contingency, Fort Sumter was s
January 20th (search for this): chapter 24
t, and from the State, were sent to Washington to represent to the government the exact condition of things, and to ask its interference. Increased activity was immediately visible in the harbor of Charleston; skilful engineers selected the most eligible points for batteries, and field-works were rapidly erected. Emboldened by the result of the firing on the Star of the West, a formal demand for the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter was made by the Governor of South Carolina. On the 20th of January, a boat, bearing a white flag — the only means of communication between the fort and the State-appeared off Sumter. She brought two officials, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War of South Carolina, with a message from the Governor containing a demand for the immediate delivery of the work to the authorities of the State. The interview was characterized by every courtesy, and the demand sustained by earnest verbal representations. It was as firmly declined, and the matter
n of Fort Sumter and its garrison, and the government was fully informed of their pressing wants. On the 1st of February, 1861, in anticipation of the future, the women and children belonging to the garrison were sent northward. And thus, openly, without disguise of any sort, warlike preparations went on, from day to day, until the fort was surrounded by batteries, all bearing upon it and upon the channel by which any relief could reach it, and ready to open at any moment. The month of March had come, and with it the close of the administration of President Buchanan. Congress had adjourned without an effort to avert the dangers threatening the nation. Whatever may be thought of the vacillating policy of President Buchanan, it is nevertheless true that he never at any time contemplated the surrender of the forts in Charleston harbor, however anxious he was to avoid a collision that would alarm the Border States, and precipitate war. His administration closed with the issues sti
March 15th (search for this): chapter 24
ntry steadily drifting to war. Up to the last moment the Confederate authorities had hoped that Sumter would be voluntarily evacuated, and they had at one time reason for the belief. An accredited agent from President Lincoln had visited the fort for the purpose of arranging for the removal of the garrison. An intermediary between the Secretary of State and the Confederate authorities, Associate Justice John A. Campbell, of the Supreme Court of the United States, had telegraphed on the 15th of March that he felt perfect confidence in the belief that Fort Sumter would be evacuated in five days that no measure changing the existing status was contemplated; that the demand for the surrender should not be pressed; and again on the 21st and 22d of March he telegraphed that his confidence in the decision was unabated. In the meantime, however, other agencies were at work, of which he was probably ignorant, and which largely contributed to an immediate precipitation of hostilities. Soon
March 21st (search for this): chapter 24
e fort for the purpose of arranging for the removal of the garrison. An intermediary between the Secretary of State and the Confederate authorities, Associate Justice John A. Campbell, of the Supreme Court of the United States, had telegraphed on the 15th of March that he felt perfect confidence in the belief that Fort Sumter would be evacuated in five days that no measure changing the existing status was contemplated; that the demand for the surrender should not be pressed; and again on the 21st and 22d of March he telegraphed that his confidence in the decision was unabated. In the meantime, however, other agencies were at work, of which he was probably ignorant, and which largely contributed to an immediate precipitation of hostilities. Soon after the occupancy of Fort Sumter, and up to the earlier days of President Lincoln's administration, Major Anderson had reported to his government that he was not in need of reinforcements, that he was secure in his position, that he could n
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