Chapter 13: the siege and evacuation of Fort Sumter.
- Determination of South Carolinians to have possession of Fort Sumter
-- military preparations to that end, 310.
-- Floating Battery at Charleston, 312.
-- trying position of Major Anderson
-- Anderson expected to leave Fort Sumter
-- his appeals to his Government, 314.
-- communication with Charleston cut off
-- the crisis, 315.
-- Virginia traitors in Charleston
-- Pryor's speech, 316.
-- Beauregard demands the surrender of Fort Sumter, 317.
-- relief squadron off Charleston bar, 319.
-- Fort Sumter attacked, 320.
-- the garrison in Sumter, 321.
-- the fire of the insurgents answered, 322.
-- the relief squadron seen in the storm, 323.
-- effects of the bombardment on Fort Sumter
-- Second day of the siege, 324.
-- the Fort on fire, 325.
-- the flag shot away and replaced
-- Wigfall at the Fort, 326.
-- agreement to evacuate the Fort, 328.
-- the defenders of Fort Sumter, 329.
-- rejoicings in Charleston
-- the old flag saluted, 330.
-- evacuation of Fort Sumter, 331.
-- honors to Major Anderson, 332.
-- the Sumter medals, 333.
For three weary months after the expulsion of the Star of the West
from Charleston harbor
, Major Anderson
and his little garrison suffered and toiled until their provisions were exhausted, and a formidable army, and forts or batteries, all prepared for the reduction of Fort Sumter
, had grown up around him. The temporizing policy of the late Administration had compelled him to keep his guns muzzled while the treasonable operations were going on, and the new Administration continued the same policy until it was prepared to act with some vigor.
From the hour when the South Carolina
politicians declared that State to be an independent sovereignty, they had striven with all their might to sustain that declaration.
The garrison in Sumter
was a standing refutation of it, and every effort was used to wipe that disgrace from the newly made escutcheon of the Palmetto Empire
The Charleston Mercury
almost daily published articles calculated to inflame the public mind, and, in spite of the prudent restraints of the band of conspirators at Montgomery
, cause Sumter
to be attacked.
Its appeals were frantic, and assumed every phase of entreaty, remonstrance, and menace.
Styling Fort Sumter
“The bastion of the Federal Union,” it said:--“No longer hoping for concessions, let us be ready for war; and when we have driven every foreign soldier from our shores, then let us take our place in the glorious republic our future promises us. Border Southern States will not join us until we have indicated our power to free ourselves-until we have proven that a garrison of seventy men cannot hold the portal of our commerce.
The fate of the Southern Confederacy hangs by the ensign halliards of Fort Sumter
The Convention and the Legislature of South Carolina worked in unison for the great end of securing the independence of the State
The latter appropriated eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars for general purposes; nine hundred and eighty thousand dollars for military and cognate expenses; and fifty thousand dollars for the postal service, when the National
mail-routes should be closed.
They also made preparations to organize a force of ten thousand men; and Milledge L. Bonham
, a late member of Congress, was appointed major-general of the forces of that State.
Volunteers from every part of the “Confederacy” flocked into Charleston
; and at the close of March, not less than seven thousand armed men and one hundred and twenty
cannon were menacing Anderson
and his little garrison.
These were under the command of Major Peter Gustavus Toutant Beauregard
, a Louisiana Creole, who had deserted his flag, resigned his commission,
and received from the Montgomery
conspirators the appointment of brigadier general.
He arrived at Charleston
on the 4th of March.
was built for defense against external and not against internal foes.
Its stronger sides were toward the sea; its weakest side was toward Morris Island
, three-fourths of a mile distant, and the nearest land.
On that side were its sally-port and docks.
The builders never suspected that a hostile gun would be pointed toward that face; now Morris Island
was selected as the position for one of the most formidable of the batteries of the insurgents, which was, built of heavy yellow pine
logs, with a slanting roof toward the fort of the same material, over which was laid a shield of railway iron
strongly clasped, and forming a perfect foil to bomb-shells.
The embrasures were closed with iron-clad doors; and within were three 64-pounder columbiads.
This was known as the Stevens Battery, so named in honor of its inventor and constructor, Major P. F. Stevens
, who was conspicuous in the attack on the Star of the West
. There were two other batteries on Cummings's Point
of Morris Island
, the principal one being known as the Cummings
's Point Battery, which was armed with two 42-pounder columbiads, three 10-inch mortars, and a 12-pounder Blakely gun from England
All of the troops on Morris Island
were under the command of Brigadier-General James Simons
, who had been Speaker
of the South Carolina
House of Representatives, and the artillery battalion was in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel De Saussure
The iron-clad battery was served under the immediate direction of Captain George B. Cuthbert
The batteries at Cummings's Point
were manned by the Palmetto Guards.
The spiked guns of Fort Moultrie
, on Sullivan's Island
, had been restored to good order, and others added to them.
Traverses had been constructed, the ramparts strengthened by sand-bags, and eleven heavy, siege-guns and
several mortars had been placed in position.
Beside Fort Moultrie
and some small channel batteries, there were six formidable ones on Sullivan's Island
bearing on Fort Sumter
, some of which will be mentioned hereafter.
All the forces on that island were commanded by Brigadier-General Dunnovant
, and the artillery battalion was in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel R. S. Ripley
, late of the National Army
On Mount Pleasant
was a battery of two 10-inch mortars; and on James Island
, nearer Charleston
, was Fort Johnston
had been strengthened, and was flanked by two batteries, known as the Upper
The latter was a mortar battery. Assistant Adjutant-General N. G. Evans
was in command of that post.
The sandy shores of Morris
, and James Islands
were literally dotted with fortifications, about twenty in number, of varied strength, armed with heavy guns, and well manned.
Several of them were commanded by officers of the National Army
who had abandoned their flag.
In addition to the land-works was a curious monster in the character of a floating battery, which had been constructed at Charleston
, under the direction of Lieutenant J. R. Hamilton
, a deserter from the National Navy
It was made
of heavy pine timber, filled in with Palmetto
logs, and covered with a double layer of railway iron
It appeared on the water like an immense shed, about twenty-five feet in width, and, with its appendages, about a hundred feet in length.
Its front, in which were four enormous siege cannon, sloped inward from the top; and the iron-clad roof, intended to be shell-proof, sloped to its outer edge.
Just back of the cannon was an open space with water to extinguish the fuze of any shell that might fall into it. The powder-magazine was in the rear, below the water-line, and protected by bags filled with sand.
Farther back was a platform extending the whole width of the battery.
This was loaded with sand-bags, which served to balance the heavy guns, and to
protect the floating hospital attached to the rear.
The hospital was fitted up with every necessary article, and was placed in charge of Dr. De Veza
, of Charleston
The monster was to be towed to a position so as to have its guns brought to bear upon the weakest part of Sumter
During those three weary months, Major Anderson
had suffered extremely from anxiety and annoyances of every kind.
It was evident that his letters were regularly opened at Charleston
, and the contents noted.
His valor and his prudence sustained the dignity of his Government under the most trying circumstances, and his bearing toward the civil and military authorities at Charleston
won for him their most cordial esteem.
He communicated with his Government almost daily, sometimes by a messenger, but generally by
The faithful Peter Hart
was his judicious mail-carrier between Sumter
and the main, and his trusted caterer for the garrison in fresh provisions in the Charleston markets
, so long as they were open to them.
Lieutenant George W. Snyder3
was his chief messenger in bearing written and oral dispatches to and from Governor Pickens
; and Lieutenant Theodore Talbot
was his personal messenger to the President
These young officers, since dead, were gallant and true on all occasions.
His other officers were brave, and also loyal, with the exception of Lieutenant Meade
, a Virginian,5
and several of them have since held distinguished positions in the Army.
His little garrison, with one or two exceptions, were true to the old flag when tempted.
Yet, with all these advantages, Anderson
was sorely tried by the practical weakness of his Government, and the malice of its enemies.
At the beginning of February, one source of much anxiety for the garrison was removed.
On Sunday, the 3d of that month, the wives and children (about.
twenty in number) of the officers and soldiers in Sumter
were borne away in the steamer Marion
for New York.
The parting scenes of fortitude and tenderness were touching.6
They had left the fort on the
and embarked at Charleston
When the Marion
, the whole garrison was seen on the top of the ramparts.
While the ship was passing, they fired a gun and gave three hearty cheers, as a parting farewell to the beloved ones on board.
The response was waving of handkerchiefs, and tears and sobs, and earnest prayers, both silent and audible.
Late in March, rumors reached Governor Pickens
that the garrison in Sumter
would soon be transferred to some other post.
It doubtless came from the Commissioners
, who were waiting in expectation of that event.
wrote to Major Anderson
apprising him of the rumor, and saying that when he should be prepared to leave the fort, he and the authorities at Charleston
would be happy to give him every facility.
“All that will be required of you,” he said, “will be your word of honor, as an officer and a gentleman, that the fort, all public property therein, its armaments, &c., shall remain in their present condition, without any arrangements or preparations for their destruction or injury after you shall have left the fort.
On our part, no objection will be raised to your retiring with your side and company arms, and to your saluting your flag on lowering it.”
To this the indignant commander replied :--“I feel deeply hurt at the intimation in your letter about the conditions which will be exacted of me, and I must state most distinctly, that if I can only
be permitted to leave on the pledge you mention, I shall never, so help me God, leave this fort alive.”
apologized, and there the matter rested.
Rumors concerning the evacuation of Fort Sumter
now came from the North
as thickly as falling leaves.
was sorely perplexed.
He received no instructions from his Government, and his discretionary powers were made very limited by unrepealed restrictions.
On the 1st of April he wrote to Lieutenant-General Scott
, saying, after referring to the fact that he had been at times cut off from all communication with Washington
: “I think the Government
has left me too much to myself.
It has given me no instructions, even when I have asked for them, and I think that responsibilities of a higher and more delicate character have devolved upon me than was proper.”
He wrote to Adjutant-General Thomas
(the successor of Cooper
, the traitor), on the 5th, because of rumors from the North
, and the non-reception of replies to earnest letters for advice, saying: “I am sure that I shall not be left without instructions, even though they may be confidential.
After thirty odd years of service, I do not wish it to be said that I have treasonably abandoned a post, and turned over to unauthorized persons public property intrusted to my charge.
I am entitled to this act of justice at the hands of my Government, and I feel confident that I shall not be. disappointed.
What to do with the public property, and where to take my
command, are questions to which answers will, I hope, be at once returned.
Unless we receive supplies, I shall be compelled to stay here without food or to abandon this fort very early next week.”
Again, on the 6th, he wrote, “The truth is, that the sooner we are out of this harbor, the better.
Our flag runs an hourly risk of being insulted, and my hands are tied by my orders; and even if that were not the case, I have not the power to protect it. God grant that neither I nor any other officer of our Army may be again placed in a position of such humiliation and mortification.”
was thus chafing in Fort Sumter
, the Government
, as we have observed, was very much perplexed, for it was evident that a crisis was at hand.
was on his way to the seat of government, with an earnest plea from Anderson
for instructions, when a note from Beauregard
informed the Major
that orders had been received from Montgomery
, that “on account of delays and apparent vacillation of the United States' Government, in relation to the evacuation of Fort Sumter
,” no further communication between that
fort and Charleston
, for mails or for the purpose of procuring supplies, would be permitted.
Once before there had been a like restriction, and when a removal of it was offered, in the form of a courtesy, and he was proffered
“fresh meat and vegetables, under the direction of an officer of the State of South Carolina
,” Major Anderson
declined receiving any supplies by “permission.”
He had not, he said, represented that he was in need of supplies.
“If the permission is founded on courtesy and civility, I am compelled respectfully to decline accepting it.”
No objections were made for a time thereafter to his free use of the Charleston markets
for fresh meat and vegetables.
The crisis came.
The message of President Lincoln
to Governor Pickens
, concerning the sending of supplies to Fort Sumter
, was made known on the morning of the 8th.
It produced the most intense excitement.
immediately sent the electrograph to Montgomery
, already noticed, and the reply came back on the 10th, conditionally authorizing him to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter
“The demand will be made to-morrow at twelve o'clock,” replied Beauregard
The news of this determination spread instantly over the city, and to the various camps and batteries of the insurgents.
The Floating Battery, finished, armed, and manned, was taken out and anchored near the west end — of Sullivan's Island
; and fire-ships — vessels filled with wood and rosin, to be set on fire and run among the relief squadron, to burn it, if it should enter the harbor — were towed out at the same time.
was full of demagogues at that time, busily engaged in inflaming the populace and the soldiers; and that city became, in miniature, what Paris
was just before the attack on the Bastile.
Among the demagogues in Charleston
was Roger A. Pryor
, lately a member of the National
House of Representatives; and also Edmund Ruffin
both from Virginia
Their State Convention was then in session at Richmond
The Union sentiment in that body seemed likely to defeat the secessionists.
Something was needed to neutralize its power, by elevating passion into the throne of judgment.
It was believed by many that this could be done only by shedding blood.
were self-constituted preachers of the sanguinary doctrine.
They were earnest missionaries; and on the evening of the 10th, while the city was rocked with excitement, a rare opportunity was offered to Pryor
for the utterance of his incendiary sentiments.
He was serenaded, and made a fiery speech to the populace, in response to the compliment.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “I thank you, especially, that you have at last annihilated this cursed Union, reeking with corruption, and insolent with excess of tyranny.
it is at last blasted and riven by the lightning wrath of an outraged and indignant people.
Not only is it gone, but gone forever.
In the expressive language of Scripture, it is water spilt upon the ground, and cannot be gathered up. Like Lucifer
, son of the morning, it has fallen, never to rise again.
For my part, gentlemen, if Abraham Lincoln
and Hannibal Hamlin
, to-morrow, were to abdicate their office, and were to give me a blank sheet of paper to write the conditions of reannexation to the defunct Union, I would scornfully spurn the overture. . . . I invoke you, and I make it in some sort a personal appeal — personal so far as it tends to our assistance in Virginia
— I do invoke you, in your demonstrations of popular opinion, in your exhibitions of official interest, to give no countenance to the idea of reconstruction.
, they all say, if reduced to the dread dilemma of this alternative, they will espouse the cause of the South
as against the interests of the Northern Confederacy
; but they whisper of reconstruction, and they say Virginia
must abide in the Union
, with the idea of reconstructing the Union
which you have annihilated.
I pray you, gentlemen, rob them of that idea.
Proclaim to the world that upon no condition and under no circumstance will South Carolina
ever again enter into political association with the Abolitionists of New England
Do not distrust Virginia
As sure as to-morrow's sun will rise upon us, just so sure will Virginia
be a member of the Southern Confederation
And I will tell you, gentlemen,” said the speaker, with great vehe.
mence, “what will put her in the Southern Confederacy in less than an hour by Shrewsbury
clock — strike A blow!
The very moment that blood is shed, old Virginia
will make common cause with her sisters of the South
It is impossible she should do otherwise.”
This speech was vehemently applauded.
It was in consonance with the diabolical spirit of the more zealous conspirators and insurgents everywhere The cry of Pryor
for blood was sent to Montgomery
by telegraph the next morning, and Mr. Gilchrist
, a member of the Alabama Legislature, said to Davis
and a portion of his “Cabinet” (Walker
, and Memminger
unless you sprinkle blood in the face of the people of Alabama
, they will be back in the old Union in less than ten days.”
The “sober second thought” of the people was dreaded.
The conspirators knew that there was solemn truth in the assertion, that “the big heart of the people is still in the Union
It is now subjugated temporarily to the will of the politicians.
Less than a hundred thousand politicians are endeavoring to destroy the liberties and usurp the rights of more than thirty millions of people
At two o'clock in the afternoon of Thursday, the 11th of April, Beauregard
sent Colonel James Chesnut, Jr.
, Colonel Chisholm
, and Captain Stephen D. Lee
, of his staff, with a letter to Major Anderson
, in which he conveyed a demand for the evacuation of Fort Sumter
This reached the fort at four o'clock. Major Anderson
, who was in expectation of such demand, at once replied, that his sense of honor and obligations to his Government would not allow him to comply.
At the same time he informed Beauregard
's aids, orally, that the condition of his supplies was such that he would be compelled, by menaces of starvation, to leave the fort in a few days.
They returned to Beauregard
under a red flag, thereby indicating to the commanders of the forts and batteries that no peaceful arrangement had yet been made.
That officer instantly communicated Anderson
's remark to Walker
, the “Confederate Secretary of War
,” at Montgomery
, giving as his words:--“I will await the first shot, and if you do not batter us to pieces, we will be starved out in a few days.”
telegraphed back, that if Major Anderson
would state the time when he would evacuate, and agree that, meanwhile, he would not use his guns against them, unless theirs should be employed against Fort Sumter
was authorized thus to avoid
“the effusion of blood.”
“If this or its equivalent be refused,” he said, “reduce the fort, as your judgment decides to be the most practicable.”
At eleven o'clock the same night, Beauregard
sent Colonels Chesnut
(Roger A.), and Captain Lee
, with the proposition of Walker
, to Major Anderson
, when the latter replied that he cordially united with them in a desire to prevent bloodshed, and would therefore agree, in accordance with the proposed stipulations, to leave the fort by noon on the 15th, should he not, previous to that time, “receive controlling instructions” from his Government, or additional supplies.
The messenger had arrived at one o'clock on the morning of the 12th, and the answer was written at half-past 2. At the request of Chesnut
and his companions, it
was handed to them unsealed.
was ignorant of what his Government had been doing for his relief during the last few days.
He had notice of its intentions, but his special messenger, Lieutenant Talbot
, who had been sent to Washington
after the notice was given, had not been allowed by the authorities at Charleston
to return to the fort.17
These authorities had better information than Anderson
Scouts had discovered, during the previous evening, the Pawnee
and the Harriet Lane
outside the bar, and had reported the fact to Beauregard
That there might be no delay, that officer had directed his aids, sent to Anderson
, to receive an open reply from him, and if it should not be satisfactory, to exercise discretionary powers given them.
They con. suited a few minutes in the room of the officer of the guard, and, deciding that it was not satisfactory, at twenty minutes past three o'clock in the morning,
they addressed a note to Anderson
, saying:--“By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard
, commanding the provisional forces of the Confederate States
, we have the honor to notify you that .he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter
in one hour from this time.”
They immediately left the fort, when the flag was raised, the postern was closed, the sentinels were withdrawn from the parapet, and orders were given by the commander, that the men should not leave the bomb-proofs without special orders.
The night of the 11th of April, 1861, will be long remembered by the then dwellers in Charleston
It became known early in the evening that a demand for the surrender of Fort Sumter
would be made.
Orders had been issued for all the military in the city, and surgeons, to hasten to their respective posts.
The telegraph called four full regiments of a thousand men each from the country.
Conveyances for wounded men were prepared, and every
thing necessary to meet the demands of suffering caused by battle was made ready.
At midnight, seven discharges from heavy cannon aroused all sleepers.
They were signals for the assembling of all the reserves immediately.
The people rushed to the streets in alarm.
The roll of the drum, the tramp of horses, and the rumbling of wagons were heard in every direction, while from the southwestern horizon a heavy thunder-storm was approaching.
The streets were soon crowded with people, who hurried to East Bay Battery and other places, and watched eagerly for an attack on Fort Sumter
In the town-through every street,
Tramp, tramp, went the feet,
For they said the Federal fleet
Hove in sight;
And down the wharves they ran,
Every woman, child, and man,
To the fight.
Hours passed on, and all was quiet.
The disappointed inhabitants made their way slowly back toward their homes, and very soon the gathering thunder-storm burst over the city.
Patiently, firmly, almost silently, the little band in Fort Sumter
awaited the passage of that pregnant hour.
Each man could hear his own heart beat as the expiring moments brought him nearer to inevitable but unknown perils.
Suddenly the dull booming of a gun at a signal-battery on James Island
, near Fort Johnson
, was heard,18
and a fiery shell, sent from its broad throat, went flying through the black night and exploded immediately over Fort Sumter
It was a malignant “shooting star,” coursing through the heavens like those, in appearance, which in the olden time affrighted the nations.
It was one of fearful portent, and was the “forerunner” of terrible calamities.
, no man was wise enough to interpret its full augury.
The sound of that mortar on James Island
was the signal for battle.
It awakened the slumberers in Charleston
The streets of the city were again thronged with an excited populace.
After a brief pause, the heavy cannon on Cummings's Point
, comprising Battery Stevens (so named in honor of the inventor), opened fire upon Fort Sumter
To the late Edmund Ruffin
, belongs the infamy of firing its first shot, and the first hurled against that fort, the mute representative of the nationality under whose benign overshadowing he had reposed in peace and security for more than seventy years. He had hastened to Morris Island
when hostilities seemed near, and when asked there to what company he belonged, he replied, “To that in which there is a vacancy.”
He was assigned to duty in the Palmetto Guard, and implored the privilege of firing the first gun on Fort Sumter
It was granted, and he at once acquired Ephesian fame.
That wretched old man appears in history only as a traitor and a suicide21
--a victim to the wicked teachings of stronger and wiser men.
That first shot from Cummings's Point
was followed quickly by others from the Floating Battery, which lay beached on Sullivan's Island
, under the
command of Lieutenants Yates
; from Fort Moultrie
, commanded by Colonel Ripley
; from a powerful masked battery on Sullivan's Island
, hidden by sand-hills and bushes, called the Dahlgren Battery,22
under Lieutenant J. R. Hamilton
; and from nearly all the rest of the semicircle of military works arrayed around Fort Sumter
for its reduction.
Full thirty heavy guns and mortars opened at once.
Their fire was given with remarkable vigor, yet the assailed fort made no reply.
The tempest of lightning, wind, and rain that had just been skurrying through the heavens, leaving behind it heavy clouds and a drizzling mist, and the angry storm of shot and shell, seemed to make no impression on that “Bastion of the Federal Union.”
For two hours and more, Fort Sumter
seemed to the outside world as silent as the grave, bravely bearing the brunt of assault with wonderful fortitude or the stolidity of paralysis.
This silence mortified the insurgents, for they longed for the glory of victory after resistance.
A contemporary poet sang:--
The morn was cloudy, and dark, and gray,
When the first columbiad blazed away,
Showing that there was the devil to pay
With the braves on Morris Island;
They fired their cannon again and again,
Hoping that Major, Anderson's men
Would answer back, but 'twas all in vain,
At first, on Morris Island.23
It had been plainly seen by Anderson
and his officers that the barbette
and area guns could not be used, if all the batteries of the insurgents should open upon the fort at the same time.24
This was a fatal misfortune, for the barbette
gulls could have hurled heavy crushing shot upon the Floating Battery and the armored work on Cummings's Point
On the parade, in the fort, were five heavy columbiads, arranged for throwing shells.
These, too, would have been effective, but they could not be manned with safety.
For this reason, Anderson
gave his orders for the men to remain in the bombproofs.
He had men sufficient to work only nine guns well, and it was necessary to guard against casualties as effectually as possible.
At half-past 6 o'clock, the garrison were summoned to breakfast in the usual manner, and they ate as hearty a meal as their scanty supplies would allow, little disturbed by the terrible uproar around them.
It was now broad daylight.
The officers and men in Fort Sumter
were arranged in three reliefs.
The first was commanded by Captain Doubleday
, the second by Surgeon Crawford
, and the third by Lieutenant Snyder
Thus prepared they went to work, under the most trying disadvantages.
They had plenty
of powder, but few cartridges made up. They had no scales for weighing powder, and only six needles for sewing cartridge-bags.
They had no instruments for sighting the guns; and other deficiencies was numerous.
The wood-work of the barracks and officers' quarters was exposed to ignition by the bursting bomb-shells, every moment.
The garrison was composed of only about eighty men; the insurgents numbered several thousands.
The odds were fearful, but, leaning trustfully on the arm of the Almighty, the commander determined to resist.
At seven o'clock in the morning, he ordered a reply to the attack.
The first gun was fired from the battery at the right gorge angle, at the Stevens Battery on Morris Island
, by Captain
) Abner Doubleday
A fire from the fort upon all of the principal attacking batteries immediately followed; and for four hours the contest was kept up so steadily and vigorously on the part of Fort Sumter
, that the insurgents suspected that it had been stealthily re-enforced during the night.
The first solid shot from Fort Sumter
, hurled at Fort Moultrie
, was fired by Surgeon
) S. W. Crawford
It lodged in the sand-bags, and was carried by a special reporter of the Charleston Mercury
to the office of that journal.
It was a 32-pound shot, and was soon afterward forwarded by Beauregard
, it is said, to Marshal Kane
, of Baltimore
, who appears as a worthy recipient of the gift from such hands.
The writer saw that shot at the police Headquarters in the old City Hall on Holliday Street, in Baltimore
, when he visited that building in December, 1864, where it was carefully preserved, with the original presentation label upon it, namely, “To George P. Kane, Marshal of Police, Baltimore, from Fort Sumter
's order for the men to remain in the bomb-proofs could not restrain them when the firing commenced.
The whole garrison, officers and men, were filled with the highest
excitement and enthusiasm by the events of the morning, and the first relief had been at work but a few minutes when the other two joined in the task.
Hence it was that the fort was enabled to assail all of the principal insurgent batteries at the same time.
The surgeon (Crawford
), musicians, engineers, and workmen, inspired by example, fell in and toiled vigorously with the soldiers.
There were no idle hands.
Yet after four hours of hard and skillful labor, it was evident that Fort Sumter
could not seriously injure the works opposed to it. One of Fort Moultrie
's guns had been silenced for a while; its embrasures were injured, its barracks were riddled, and three holes were torn in its flag.
A shot had penetrated the Floating Battery; but the iron-plated battery (Stevens) on Cummings's Point
was absolutely invulnerable.
It was uninjured at the end of the engagement, though frequently hit by heavy shot.
In the mean time, the firing of the assailants was becoming more accurate and effective.
At first, many of their shot actually missed Fort Sumter
, and those that struck it were so scattering that there seemed no chance for breaching the walls.
But the firing became more and more concentrated, and began to tell fearfully upon the walls and the parapets.
Some of the
barbette guns were dismounted or otherwise disabled,25
and at length the fearful cry of Fire
! was raised.
The barracks were burning.
From the hour when the garrison had been made to expect relief, their eyes had been turned much and anxiously toward the sea. And now, when the tempest of war was beating furiously upon them, and not three days supply of food was left, they looked out from the oceanward port-holes more anxiously than ever.
At noon on that fearful day, Surgeon Crawford
, who had volunteered to ascend to the parapet, amid the storm of missiles, to make
observations, reported, to the infinite delight of the garrison, that through the vail of the misty air he saw vessels bearing the dear old flag.
They were a part of Fox
's relief squadron, namely, the Pawnee
, ten guns; the Harriet Lane
, five guns, and the transport Baltic
They signaled greetings by dipping their flags.
could not respond, for its ensign was entangled in the halliards, which had been cut by the enemy's shot, but it was still waving defiantly at about half-mast.
The vessels could not cross the bar. The sinuous and shifting channels were always difficult, in fine weather;
now the buoys had been removed, ships laden with stones had been sunken therein, and a blinding storm was prevailing.
The battery on Cummings's Point
became very formidable in the after-noon.
The guns were rifled.
A Blakely cannon, already mentioned, was specially mischievous, and heavy shot, aimed accurately at the embrasures, were extremely destructive and annoying.
The gunners in Sumter
on that side were frequently stunned, or otherwise injured, by splinters of the masonry.
In every part of the fort in which they were engaged they worked without intermission, and received food and drink at their guns.
the hours wore away, they became very weary.
The supply of cartridges began to fail, and before sunset all the guns were abandoned but six.
These were worked continually, but not rapidly, until dark, when the port-holes were closed, and the little garrison was arranged for alternate repose, and work, and watching.
Several men had been wounded, but not one was mortally hurt.
So closed the first day of actual war between the servants of the Oligarchy and those of the people.
The night of the 12th was dark and stormy, with high wind and tide.
The telegraph was not yet silenced, and it had carried tidings of the fight all over the land before sunset.
Thousands of anxious heads, hundreds of miles away from Sumter
, were laid upon their pillows that night, and thousands of prayers went up to the Almighty for the salvation of the Republic
and in its harbor there was but little sleep.
All night long the mortars of the insurgents kept up a slow bombardment of the fort, sufficient to deprive the wearied garrison of all but intermittent slumbers.
continually expected an attack from armed men in boats, and was prepared for their reception.
He hoped to welcome other boats filled with friends and stores.
He was disappointed in all his expectations.
The naval commanders outside did, as we have observed, take measures to send in relief, but the storm kept them from performing their errand of mercy until it was too late.28
The storm ceased before the dawn.
Only a few vanishing clouds flecked the morning sky. The sun rose in splendor.
Already the cannonade and bombardment had been renewed with increased vigor and additional terrors.
Red-hot shot were hurled into the fort.
One passed along the course of a water-pipe through the wall that masked the magazine for fixed ammunition.
Fortunately, it did not penetrate the inner wall.
By that shield the fiery demon was foiled.
on Friday the buildings in the fort had been set on fire, and each time the flames were extinguished.
Now the barracks and officers' quarters were again and again ignited.
They could not be saved, and no attempt to do so was made, for precious lives would have been imperiled by the act. Means for that purpose had been diminished.
On the previous day, three of the iron cisterns over the hall-ways had been destroyed by the shots of the insurgents, by which the quarters below had been deluged and the flames checked, Now there was no resource of the kind.
The garrison must be starved out within three days, and shelter would be no longer needed, so the buildings were abandoned to the flames.
The safety of the magazine, and the salvation of sufficient powder to last until the 15th, became the absorbing care of the commander.
Blankets and flannel shirts were used for making cartridges; and every hand within the fort was fully employed.
On that morning the
last parcel of rice had been cooked, and nothing was left for the garrison to eat but salt pork.
The flames spread, and the situation of the garrison became extremely distressing.
The heat was almost intolerable.
The fire approached the magazine, when its doors were closed and locked.
In fearful eddies the glowing embers were scattered about the fort.
The main gate took fire, and very soon the blackened sally-port was open to the besiegers.
The powder brought out into the service magazine was so exposed to the flames, that ninety barrels of it were thrown into the sea by Lieutenant Snyder
and Surgeon Crawford
Out of Sumter
immense volumes of smoke rose sluggishly on the still air.
The assailants knew that the fort was on fire, and that its inmates were dwellers in a heated furnace, yet they inhumanly intensified the fury of the attack from all points.30
The heat and vapor became stifling, and the garrison were compelled, frequently, to lie upon the ground, with wet cloths on their faces, to prevent suffocation by smoke.31
Yet they would not surrender.
They bravely kept the old flag flying.
Eight times its staff had been hit with-out serious injury; now, at twenty minutes before one o'clock, it was shot away near the peak, and the flag, with a portion of the staff, fell down through the thick smoke among the gleaming embers.
Through the blinding, scorch ing tempest, Lieutenant Hall
rushed and snatched up the precious ensign, before it could take fire.
It was immediately carried by Lieutenant Snyder
to the ramparts, and, under his direction, Sergeant Hart
, who for weeks had been Major Anderson
's faithful servant and friend, but was a non-combatant by agreement,32
sprang upon the sand-bags, and with the assistance of Lyman
, a mason from Baltimore
, fastened the fragment of the staff there, and left the soiled banner flying defiantly,33
while shot and shell were filling the air like hail.
Almost eighty-five years before, another brave and patriotic Sergeant
) had performed a similar feat, in Charleston harbor
, near the spot where Fort Moultrie
One was assisting in the establishment
of American nationality, the other in maintaining
At half-past 1 o'clock, the notorious Senator Wigfall
(who, as soon as he had received his salary from the National Treasury
, had hastened to Charleston
, and there became a volunteer aid on the staff of General Beauregard
) arrived at Sumter
in a boat from Cummings's Point
, accompanied by one white man and two negroes.
Leaving the boat at the wharf, Wigfall
passed around the fort until he came to the first embrasure, or port-hole, through which he saw private John Thompson
, of the fort.
was carrying a. white handkerchief on the point of his sword, as a flag of truce.
He asked permission to enter the embrasure, but was denied.
“I am General Wigfall
,” he said, “and wish to see Major Anderson
The soldier told him to stay there until he could see his commander.
“For God's sake let me in!”
cried the conspirator, “I can't stand it out here in the firing.”
The privilege was denied him for the moment.
He then hurried around to the sally-port, at which place he had asked an interview with Anderson
Finding the passage strewn with the burning timbers of the gate, the poor fellow, in utter despair, ran around the fort, waving his white handkerchief imploringly toward his fellow-insurgents, to prevent them from firing.
It was useless.
The missiles fell thick and fast, and he was permitted to crawl into an embrasure,
after he had given up his sword to a private soldier there.
He was almost exhausted by fatigue and affright.
At his place of entrance, Wigfall
met Captain J. G. Foster
, Lieutenant J. C. Davis
, and Surgeon S. W. Crawford
, all of whom were afterward general officers in the Army; also Lieutenant R. K. Meade
Trembling with excitement, he said:--“I am General Wigfall
; I come from General Beauregard
, who wants to stop this bloodshed.
You are on fire, and your flag is down; let us stop this firing.”
One of the officers replied: “Our flag is not down, Sir. It is yet flying from the ramparts.”
saw it where Peter Hart
and his comrade had nailed it, and said: “Well, well, I want to stop this.”
Holding out his sword and handkerchief, he said to one of the officers:--“Will you hoist this?”
“No, Sir,” replied the officer; “it is for you, General Wigfall
, to stop them.”
“Will any of you hold this out of the embrasure?”
No one offering, he said: “May I hold it, then?”
“If you wish to,” was the cool reply.
sprang into the embrasure, or port-hole, and waved the white flag several times.
A shot striking near frightened him away, when he cried out excitedly: “Will you let some one show this flag?”
Corporal Charles Bringhurst
, by permission, took the handkerchief and waved it out of the port-hole, but he soon abandoned the perilous duty, exclaiming: “I won't hold that flag, for they don't respect it. They are firing at it.”
replied, impatiently: “They fired at me two or three times, and I stood it; I should think you might stand it once.”
Turning to Lieutenant Davis
, he said: “If you will show a white flag from your ramparts, they will cease firing.” --“It shall be done,” said Davis
, “if you request it for the purpose, and that alone, of holding a conference with Major Anderson
The commander, in the mean time, with Lieutenant Snyder
and Surgeon Crawford
, had passed out of the sally-port to meet Wigfall
He was not there, and they returned, and just as Davis
had agreed to display a white flag, they came up. Wigfall
said to Major Anderson
: “I come from General Beauregard
, who wishes to stop this, Sir.” --“Well, Sir!”
, rising upon his toes and settling firmly upon his heels, as he looked the traitor in the face, with sharp inquiry.
“You have defended your flag nobly, Sir,” continued Wigfall
; “you have done all that can be done, Sir. Your fort is on fire.
Let us stop this.
Upon what terms will you evacuate the fort, Sir?”
replied: “General Beauregard
already knows the terms upon which I will evacuate this fort, Sir. Instead of noon on the 15th, I will go now.” --“I understand you to say,” said Wigfall
, eagerly, “that you will evacuate this fort now, Sir, upon the same terms proposed to you by General Beauregard
answered: “Yes, Sir; upon those terms only, Sir.” --“Then,” said Wigfall
, inquiringly, “the fort is to be ours?” --“Yes, Sir; upon those conditions,” answered Anderson
“Then I will return to General Beauregard
,” said Wigfall
, and immediately left.35
Believing what had been said to him to be true, Major Anderson
allowed a white flag to be raised over the fort.
At a little before two o'clock, Colonels Chesnut
(W. P., who was a volunteer aid on Beauregard
's staff), and Captain Lee
, went over to Sumter
directly from the presence of their commanding general, who was at Fort Moultrie
, to inquire the meaning of the white flag.
When informed of the visit of Wigfall
, they exchanged significant glances and smiles, and Colonel Chesnut
frankly informed Major Anderson
that the Texan
conspirator had not seen Beauregard
during the last two days. Wishing to secure for himself alone the honor of procuring the surrender of Fort Sumter
had, by misrepresentations, obtained leave from the commander on Morris Island
to go to the beleaguered fort.
He went there with a white flag in his hand and a black falsehood on his lips, and played a most ludicrous part.
He was an acknowledged and cherished leader of the rebellion, and was an admirable representative of the cause in which he was engaged, for it was the offspring of falsehood and fraud.
Assured of Wigfall
's mendacity, the deceived and indignant commander said to the new deputation:--“That white flag shall come down immediately.”
They begged him to leave matters as they were until they could see Beauregard
He did so, and the firing ceased.
The bombardment on Saturday
was seen by thousands of spectators.
About three thousand insurgent troops were engaged in the work, while almost double that number were held in reserve — mere spectators.
Beside these observers were the inhabitants of Charleston
, who covered the roofs of houses, the Battery
, the wharves, and every place where a view might be obtained.
It was like a holiday in that city.
was crowded with women, grayly dressed; and to most of the inhabitants it had only the significance of a sublime spectacle.
During the afternoon and early evening, several deputations from Beauregard
visited Major Anderson
, for the purpose of obtaining from him .better terms than he had proposed.
He was firm.
They offered him assistance in extinguishing the flames in Sumter
He declined it, regarding the offer as an adroit method of asking him to surrender, which he had resolved never to do. Finally, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, Major D. R. Jones
, accompanied by Colonels Miles
, and Captain Hartstene
arrived at the fort with a communication from Beauregard
, which contained an agreement for the evacuation of the fort according to Anderson
's terms,, namely, the departure of the garrison, with company arms and property, and all private property, and the privilege of saluting and retaining his flag.37 Anderson
accepted the agreement, and detailed Lieutenant Snyder
to the little relief-squadron outside, to make arrangements for the departure of the garrison.
A part of that night, the brave defenders of Fort Sumter38
enjoyed undisturbed repose.
Not one of their number had been killed or very seriously hurt during the appalling bombardment of thirty-six hours, when over three thousand shot and shell were hurled at the fort.40
The same extraordinary statement was made concerning the insurgents.
It was too extraordinary for ready belief, and for a long time there was doubt about the matter, at home and abroad, and grave journalists and sparkling satirists had food for many a telling paragraph.41
Testimony seems to show that it was true.42
watched the bombardment on Saturday morning with a telescope, and that evening he made a most extraordinary speech to the excited populace from the balcony of the Charleston Hotel
. “Thank God!”
he exclaimed, “the war is open, and we will conquer or perish. . . . We have humbled the flag of the United States
I can here say to you, it is the first time in the history of this country that the Stars and Stripes have been humbled.
That proud flag was never lowered before to any nation on the earth.
We have lowered it in humility before the Palmetto
and Confederate flags; and we have compelled them to raise by their side the white flag, and ask for an honorable surrender.
The flag of the United States
has triumphed for seventy years; but to-day, the 13th of April, it has been humbled, and humbled before the glorious little State of South Carolina
The populace were wild with delight, and while brave soldiers were sleeping in Fort Sumter
, the insurgents were indulging in a saturnalia of excitement in the rebellious city.
On the following day — the holy Sabbath — the fall of Fort Sumter
was commemorated in the churches of Charleston
The venerable “Bishop
of the Diocese, wholly blind and physically feeble,” said a local chronicler,43
“was led by the Rector to the sacred desk,” in old St. Philip's Church, when he addressed the people with a few stirring words.
Speaking of the battle, he said :--“Your boys were there, and mine were there, and it was right that they should be there
He declared it to be his belief that the contest had been begun by the South Carolinians “in the deepest conviction of duty to God, and after laying their, cause before God--and God had most signally blessed their dependence on Him.”
, of the Roman
Catholic Church, spoke exultingly of the result of the conflict; and a Te Deum
was chanted, in commemoration of the event, in the Cathedral of St. John
and St. Finbar, where he was officiating.
On Sunday morning,
long before the dawn, Major Anderson
and his command began preparations for leaving the fort.
These were completed at an early hour.
and Captain Hartstene
soon returned, accompanied by Captain Gillis
, commander of the Pocahontas;
and at about the same time the Charleston
, provided by the military authorities at that city for carrying the garrison out to the Baltic
, where Mr. Fox
was waiting to receive them, approached the fort.
When every thing was in readiness, the battle-torn flag which had been unfurled over Fort Sumter
almost four months before, with prayers for the protection of those beneath it, was raised above the ramparts, and cannon commenced saluting it. It was Anderson
's intention to fire one hundred guns, but only fifty were discharged, because of a sad accident attending the firing.
Some fixed ammunition near the guns was ignited, and an explosion instantly killed private Daniel Hough
, mortally wounded private Edward Gallway
, and injured some others.
The Palmetto Guard,44
which had been sent over from Morris Island
, with the venerable
as color-bearer, entered the fort when the salute was ended and the garrison had departed, and buried the dead soldier with military honors.
Two private soldiers of the company erected a board at the head of his grave.45
When the flag was lowered, at the close of the salute, the garrison, in full dress, left the fort, and embarked on the Isabel
, the band playing “Yankee Doodle
When Major Anderson
and his officers left the sallyport, it struck up “Hail to the Chief
The last one who retired was Surgeon Crawford
, who attended poor Gallway
until the latest moment possible.
Soon afterward a party from Charleston
, composed of Governor Pickens
and suite, the Executive Council, General Beauregard
and his aids, and several distinguished citizens, went to Fort Sumter
in a steamer, took formal possession
of the abandoned stronghold, and raised the Confederate
flags over it.46
It had been evacuated, not surrendered
. The sovereignty of the Republic
, symbolized in the flag, had not been yielded to the insurgents.
That flag had been lowered, but not given up — dishonored, but not captured.
It was borne away by the gallant commander, with a resolution to raise it
again over the battered fortress, or be wrapped in it as his winding-sheet at the last.
Precisely four years from that day,
--after four years of terrible civil war--Major Anderson
, bearing the title of Major-General
in the Armies of the United States
, again raised that tattered flag over all that remained of Fort Sumter
--a heap of ruins.47
lay under the battered walls of the fort, waiting for a favoring tide, until Monday morning,
when she conveyed the garrison to the Baltic
, then commanded by Captain Fletcher
The insurgent soldiers had been so impressed with the gallantry of the defense of the fort, that, as the vessel passed, they stood on the beach with uncovered heads, in token of profound respect.48
After the surrender, every courtesy was extended to Major Anderson
and his men by the military authorities at Charleston
When all the garrison were on board the Baltic
, the precious flag, for which they had fought so gallantly, was raised to the mast-head and saluted with cheers, and by the guns of the other vessels of the little relief-squadron.
It was again raised when the Baltic
entered the harbor of New York
, on the morning of the 18th, and was greeted by salutes from the forts there, and the plaudits of thousands of welcoming spectators.
Off Sandy Hook, Major Anderson
had written a brief dispatch to the Secretary of War
, saying:--“Having defended Fort Sumter
for thirty-four hours, until the quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, the gorge wall seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by flames, and its doors closed from the effects of heat, four barrels and four cartridges of powder only being available, and no provisions but pork remaining, I accepted terms of evacuation offered by General Beauregard
, being the same offered by him on the 11th inst., prior to the commencement of hostilities, and marched out of the fort
Sunday afternoon, the 14th instant, with colors flying and drums beating, bringing away company and private property, and saluting my flag with fifty guns.”
This was immediately forwarded to the War Department.
The praises of Major Anderson
, his officers and men, were unbounded.
The gratitude of the American
people was overflowing; and honors were showered upon the commander without stint.
Already the citizens of
, impressed with a sense of his patriotism and prowess, had voted him an elegant sword, the handle of which is of carved ivory, surmounted by a figure of Liberty.
The scabbard was of beautiful design and workmanship, wrought of the richest gold plate, and ornamented with a view of Fort Sumter
, and with military emblems.50
The authorities of New York presented him with the freedom of the city in an elegant Gold Box, in the form of a casket, oblong octagonal in shape.51
The citizens of New York presented to him a beautiful gold medal, appropriately inscribed ;52
and those of Philadelphia
gave him a very elegant sword, the i handle and upper part of the scabbard of which are delineated in the engraving.53
From other sources, such as societies and legislative bodies, he received pleasing testimonials of the good — will of his countrymen.
Finally, the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York
the execution of a series of medals, of an appropriate character, to be presented to Major Anderson
, and to each officer, non-commissioned officer, and soldier engaged in the defense of Fort Sumter
These were of four classes.
The first, for presentation to Major Anderson
, was six inches in diameter, bearing,
on one side, a medallion portrait.
of the commander, and on the other the Genius or Guardian Spirit of America
rising from Fort Sumter
, with the American
flag in the left hand, and the flaming torch of war in the right.
The idea symbolized was the loyal spirit of the country, calling upon all patriots to arouse and resent the insult to the
flag and the sovereignty of the Republic
, by the attack on the fort.54
The second class, for presentation to the officers, was of the same design, but only four inches in diameter.55
The third class, three and a half inches in diameter, bore on one side the medallion portrait of Major Anderson
, and on the other, Peter Hart
raising the Stars and Stripes on the burning fort.56
This is represented in the engraving below.
The fourth class, for the common soldiers, was two inches in diameter, and the same as the third in design and inscription.
These medals were all of bronze.
The President of the United States
gave Major Anderson
a more substantial evidence of appreciation, by honoring him with the rank and
Obverse of the first and Second class medals.|
pay of a brigadier-general,
precisely one month after his evacuation of Fort Sumter
At the earnest solicitation of Garrett Davis
) and other leading Kentuckians, he was then appointed to command in that State; but his terrible experience in Fort Sumter
had prostrated his nervous system, and he was compelled to abandon active
He was placed upon the retired list in the autumn of 1863, and the following year he was breveted a major-general.
We shall hereafter meet his gallant officers in high rank, and in the performance of noble deeds, during the great war that ensued.