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Chapter 5:


What with the burning of its quarters, the injury inflicted on its walls, and the shattered condition of its parade and parapets, where dismounted guns, broken carriages and chassis, fragments of shell and shot, lay scattered on all sides—Fort Sumter, when our troops marched into it, presented a picture of desolation and ruin. One could well understand, upon viewing it then, how impossible it would have been for Major Anderson and his command to hold out more than a few hours longer. Suffocation and an endangered magazine, if not starvation, and, above all, the firing from Moultrie and other batteries, must soon have destroyed the entire garrison. With or without the assistance of the fleet, a surrender was a foregone conclusion.

The triumph of our arms, so complete and—through the kindly protection of Providence—so bloodless, was solemnly celebrated in several of the ancient churches of Charleston; and a Te Deum was sung, with great pomp, in the beautiful cathedral, on the Sunday next following this opening scene of the war.

General Beauregard, in orders issued on the day after the surrender, congratulated his troops on ‘the brilliant success which had [50] crowned their gallantry.’ Commenting upon the terms granted to Major Anderson and his command, he said: ‘And to show our magnanimity to the gallant defenders, who were only executing the orders of their government, they will be allowed to evacuate upon the same terms which were offered to them before the bombardment commenced.’ He concluded as follows: ‘The general is highly gratified to state that the troops, by their labor, privations, and endurance at the batteries and at other posts, have exhibited the highest characteristics of tried soldiers.’

And now began in earnest, without the loss of a day, the repairs, which amounted almost to the rebuilding of Fort Sumter. With zeal and energy this work was done; and in less than three weeks no vestige of the former injuries remained. The broken chassis and carriages had been replaced, the barracks rebuilt—one story in height instead of two, as formerly—and the walls restored to their previous condition.

Meanwhile General Beauregard went on with the organization and discipline of the troops called by South Carolina, which were gradually mustered into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.

Early in May, a brigade of four regiments of South Carolina volunteers was organized, under Brigadier-General Bonham. It consisted of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Gregg; the 2d South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Kershaw; the 3d South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Williams; and the 8th South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Cash. That brigade, made up of the flower of Carolina's chivalry, was sent to Virginia, by order of the War Department, the ‘Old Dominion’ having, on the 17th of April—four days after the fall of Sumter—joined her fate to that of the Southern Confederacy.

One of the regiments of Bonham's brigade (Gregg's) had been sent in advance to Norfolk. Its mission was to take possession of the navy-yard and protect all public property there. This was a judicious movement. The many cannon and mortars, and the ammunition stored at Norfolk, were of the greatest value to the Confederacy, then almost entirely destitute of such important supplies. The whole brigade was soon afterwards concentrated at Manassas Junction, in the Department of Alexandria, or ‘the Alexandria line,’ as it was also called, the command of which devolved upon General Bonham. He remained there until relieved, on the 1st of June, by General Beauregard. [51]

As soon as he could be spared from Charleston, General Beauregard made a thorough reconnoissance of the South Carolina coast, from Charleston to Port Royal. This he did at the special request of Governor Pickens, the object being the adoption of a system of defence to be carried out at the earliest moment practicable.

On his return he prepared a memoir, wherein he recommended the erection of several important works at the mouths of the Stono and the two Edistos, and at Georgetown; but declined advising any for the entrance of Port Royal harbor. He was of opinion that field-works located on the ends of the islands which closed the harbor could not protect it, for the reason that the distance between the islands was too great. Some light works he did recommend, however, at the inner end of Port Royal, to guard that part of the coast and prevent a landing of the enemy, which might result in the destruction of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. But upon the earnest and reiterated request of Governor Pickens, and other eminent citizens, whose zeal and efforts were untiring, General Beauregard finally yielded, and drew out a plan for the defence of Port Royal, with the distinct requirement, however, that the field-works proposed in the plan should be armed with the heaviest ordnance, chiefly 10-inch and rifled guns, and that a steel-clad floating battery, with a similar armament, should be moored midway between the two field-works. His explanation was, that while the harbors of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans—the entrances to which are from half a mile to one and a quarter miles broad—require strongly casemated forts, armed with several hundred guns of heavy caliber, it could not be expected that Port Royal harbor, with an entrance nearly three miles wide and twenty-six feet deep, could be effectively protected by small, hastily constructed fieldworks, inadequately armed.

What General Beauregard had predicted was unfortunately realized. In the autumn of that year the enemy's powerful fleet, the acquisition and fitting-out of which had cost, according to Northern accounts, more than four millions of dollars, entered Port Royal harbor and reduced its isolated works, after a short but gallant resistance on the part of their overpowered garrisons. This event cast a gloom, for a while, over the new-born Southern Confederacy. [52]

General Beauregard, now thoroughly familiar with the topography of Charleston and the surrounding country, understood how important it was to guard the Stono. He saw at a glance that, should the enemy land a sufficient force on James Island, the city of Charleston could easily be turned by way of that river. To avert such a danger, he had a strong field-work erected on Battery Island, that being the lowest point of dry land before reaching the salt marshes which extend in an unbroken field on each side of the stream. This work, although small, occupied a commanding position, which no hostile craft could approach unseen. Towards the latter part of May it was completed and ready for service.

From various quarters messages of congratulation poured in to General Beauregard, upon the brilliant success he had achieved. The first in date was a telegram from President Davis, which read as follows:

Montgomery, April 13th, 1861.
To General G. T. Beauregard:
Thanks for your achievement and for your courtesy to the garrison of Sumter. If occasion offers, tender my friendly remembrance to Major Anderson.

Then, from the Secretary of War:

Montgomery, April 13th, 1861.
To General Beauregard:
Accept my congratulations. You have won your spurs. How many guns can you spare for Pensacola?

The next communication was from one whose attitude towards the administration already indicated the influence he would soon exercise over it:

Montgomery, April 16th, 1861.
My dear General,—In the midst of the eclat of your glorious triumph you will, no doubt, value but little the tribute of a poor civilian who knows nothing of war; but I cannot refrain from joining in the general voice of your fellow-citizens, and congratulating you on the signal success which has crowned the first blow stricken in defence of our rights. Louisiana is proud of her son, and I am Louisianian, heart and soul.

* * * * * * * *

Renewing my cordial greetings, and envying your delight at accomplishing such a result as you have, without the loss of one man,

I am your friend and servant,


From Louisiana came words of enthusiastic rejoicing. New Orleans, especially, was lavish in her praise.

The Confederate Congress tendered the following vote of thanks to General Beauregard and the troops under him:

No. 103.—A resolution of thanks to Brigadier-General G. T. Beauregard and the army under his command for their conduct in the affair of Fort Sumter.

Be it unanimously resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of the people of the Confederate States are due, and through this Congress are hereby tendered, to Brigadier-General G. T. Beauregard and the officers, military and naval, under his command, and to the gallant troops of the State of South Carolina, for the skill, fortitude, and courage by which they reduced, and caused the surrender of, Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, on the 12th and 13th days of April, 1861. And the commendation of Congress is also hereby declared of the generosity manifested by their conduct towards a brave and vanquished foe.

Be it further resolved, That a copy of this resolution be communicated by the President to General Beauregard, and through him to the army then under his command.

‘Approved May 4th, 1861.’

South Carolina almost adopted General Beauregard as one of her own sons. The Legislature of that State, at its first session after the fall of Sumter, unanimously passed a resolution, the principal part of which is given below:

in General Assembly, S. C., November 28th, 1861.
Resolved, That the General Assembly of South Carolina, in grateful recognition of the distinguished services of General G. T. Beauregard in the cause of Southern independence, hereby tender to him the privilege of sending two pupils to be educated at the military schools of this State, etc.

Resolved, That his excellency the governor be requested to communicate the foregoing to General G. T. Beauregard.’

Governor Pickens, than whom none valued more the worth of ‘the great Creole,’ as General Beauregard was then called, cheerfully performed the pleasant duty assigned him; and General Beauregard, then in another field of action, gratefully accepted the proffered honor. His younger son, Henry T. Beauregard, and his nephew, James T. Proctor, were accordingly sent to the Military Academy of South Carolina, and there enjoyed all the privileges of State cadets. The former remained two years at the academy and the latter one year, when they joined South Carolina regiments, and [54] served, though mere boys, to the end of the war. Young Proctor, after promotion to a lieutenancy for gallant conduct at Fredericksburg, was wounded and lost a foot at the battle of Chancellorsville. Governor Pickens also presented a commission as first lieutenant in the 1st South Carolina Battalion of Light Artillery to the general's elder son, Rene T. Beauregard, who was promoted, first captain and then major of that command. He had previously served as a private in the Washington Artillery, from New Orleans, whose record throughout the war was surpassed by that of no other organization.

About the 5th of May General Beauregard received a telegram from the Secretary of War, requiring his immediate presence at the seat of government. On his arrival at Montgomery he was informed that the President desired to send him to Pensacola, to co-operate with General Bragg, and assist him in the execution of a plan—much thought of at the time—the main object of which --was the taking of Fort Pickens.

It must be remembered that no sooner had the State of Alabama withdrawn from the Union than the Federal forces stationed at Pensacola, in imitation of Major Anderson, evacuated Fort Barrancas, on the mainland, to occupy Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island—a much stronger, and in every way a more inaccessible, work.

The fort being in Confederate waters, the authorities at Montgomery feared that its occupancy by the enemy would imply weakness on the part of our government, and might possibly shake the confidence of the people. It had, therefore, been determined to pursue a course towards Fort Pickens similar to that which had been so successfully adopted against Fort Sumter. Hence the desire for the services and experience of him who, after thirty-three hours of bombardment, had forced the surrender of Major Anderson and his command.

During a long conference held with President Davis and the Secretary of War, General Beauregard stated his several objections to being sent to Pensacola. In the first place, General Bragg, not having sought his assistance, might perhaps be offended at such apparent interference, and ask to be relieved from his command, which would occasion no small annoyance to General Beauregard, and be very detrimental to the cause. In the second place, he was strongly of opinion that there was no advantage to be gained by taking possession of Fort Pickens; that to hold it [55] would necessitate the employment of more troops than we could well spare at the time, and that it was not in ports and harbors, but in the field, that the battles upon which hung the fate of the Confederacy must be fought. He thought it wiser to leave the disadvantage of garrisoning the fort upon the enemy, than to take the task upon ourselves. He maintained, furthermore, that, as we had yet no navy, and no commerce with the exterior world, Pensacola harbor could be of no use to us at this juncture; and that, should we occupy Fort Pickens, we would, in all likelihood, be forced, ere long, to withdraw our troops from it, to employ them more usefully in other parts of the Confederacy. He suggested that, meanwhile, a school of military practice and instruction should be established at Pensacola, under General Bragg, where all raw troops might be organized and properly prepared, before being forwarded to their ultimate destination. General Beauregard's reasons finally prevailed, and he was sent back to Charleston, the news from Washington indicating a general war, and a strong determination on the part of the Federal government to retake possession of Fort Sumter.

A deputation of gentlemen from New Orleans had recently arrived from that city, to direct the President's attention to its unprotected condition. They urgently requested that General Beauregard should be sent thither at once, to take command and organize a system of defence, which, they were convinced, none could do so well as himself. He would have gladly accepted such an order—so many ties were drawing him back to Louisiana—but the President deemed his presence imperatively necessary at Charleston, then the most threatened point of the Confederacy, and therefore persisted in his former determination.

While journeying from Charleston to Montgomery, General Beauregard met Mr. W. L. Trenholm, whose father, George A. Trenholm,1 was a partner in the great firm of John Frazer & Co., of Charleston and Liverpool. This gentleman, as he informed General Beauregard, was the bearer of important propositions from the English branch of their house to the Confederate government, for the purchase of ten large and powerful steamers, then just built in England for the East India Company, which, no longer needing them, was desirous of finding a purchaser; the ships [56] were to be properly manned and fitted out, and sent to the Confederate States, thence to export enough cotton to pay for them, and as much more as should be required to provide for the armament and equipment of our forces. Such a plan, it was thought by the Frazer house, could be easily carried out. The United States government would require time to collect and rendezvous its fleet, the inadequacy of which was well known; and no fear need, therefore, be entertained of its ability, at that time, to enforce a blockade of the Southern ports: an effective blockade could be prevented. After a certain number of voyages with large cargoes of cotton, for the purposes already mentioned, these steamers might be converted into cruisers, and employed to impede and destroy Northern commerce.

General Beauregard, thoroughly impressed with the incalculable benefits to be derived from the adoption of such a project, promised Mr. Trenholm to use his utmost endeavors in furtherance of the measures that gentleman was sent to advocate. In a letter to General Beauregard, dated Charleston, 18th September, 1878, Mr. Trenholm says: ‘This I remember well, that you warmly supported the proposition, and used your influence in aid of its being brought before the cabinet, which was accomplished.’ But neither General Beauregard's earnest advice, nor the strong and cogent reasons given by Mr. Trenholm, were of any avail. The Confederate government, under the erroneous belief that the war would be a short one,2 declined entertaining the proposals made to it. ‘No discussion took place in my presence,’ says Mr. Trenholm, in the letter already alluded to, ‘but from questions put to me, I have always been under the impression that few, if any, of those present’ (meaning the President and members of the cabinet) ‘realized at all the scope and importance of the measures laid before them.’ Thus was closed upon the Confederacy a door—then wide open—through which might have entered that material assistance, those sinews of war, the want of which all the heroism of our troops and the endurance and selfsacrifice of our people could not remedy.

General Beauregard believed—and expressed the opinion at the time—that we were engaged in a long and terrible war; and he earnestly wished to see the country prepared accordingly. He was [57] therefore most anxious that Mr. Trenholm's proposals should be accepted. Four large and powerful steamers, and six smaller ones, but ‘scarcely inferior for the required purpose’—as these were represented to be—placed under the command of such officers as Semmes, Maffitt, Brown, Taylor, Jones, Huger, Hartstein, Hamilton, Pegram, and Reid, during the first year of the war, would not only have raised the attempted blockade, but would have driven the commerce of the United States from all the seas of the globe. This was abundantly proved by the exploits of the Sumter and Alabama, the results of which were so keenly felt by the North, that England, irresponsible though she was, paid, at a later date, the penalty of Admiral Semmes's achievements.

In his ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ Mr. Davis has not even alluded to the facts we have just related. He states, however, that as early as February, 1861, ‘the third day after my inauguration at Montgomery,’ he had directed Captain (afterwards Admiral) Semmes, as agent of the Confederate States, to proceed north in order not only to purchase ‘arms, ammunition, and machinery,’ but also ‘to seek for vessels which would serve for naval purposes.’ He further states that Captain Semmes was unsuccessful in his errand, and, on his return, reported ‘that he could not find any vessels which in his judgment were, or could be made, available for our uses.’ For that reason, and for the additional reason, says Mr. Davis, that ‘the Southern officers of the navy who were in command of United States vessels abroad,’ before resigning their commissions to join their respective States, invariably ‘brought the vessels they commanded into the ports of the North,’ thereby depriving us of ‘our share of the navy we had contributed to build,’ and allowing it to be ‘employed to assail us,’ we were left ‘without the accessories needful for the rapid supply of naval vessels.’ 3

This is proof conclusive that Mr. Davis himself had some conception of the importance of procuring war-vessels for the Confederacy; though the attempt to purchase them in the enemy's country, was, under the circumstances, a strange proceeding, to say the least of it. And yet, two months later, that is, in the early part of May, when, to use Mr. Prioleau's expression, ‘a fleet of armed vessels’ was offered him, for the service of the Confederacy, with [58] an opportunity to procure an unlimited supply of arms and ammunition, not to speak of provisions and accoutrements for the impending struggle, which he thought would be ‘long and bloody,’ 4 Mr. Davis hardly considered the proposition at all, and discarded it as being impracticable and unworthy of his attention.

Mr. Davis goes on to say: ‘While attempting whatever was practicable at home, we sent a competent, well-deserving officer of the navy to England, to obtain there and elsewhere, by purchase or by building, vessels which could be transformed into ships of war.’ 5

When was this done? Mr. Davis is reticent upon that point; and, despite his statement that ‘these efforts and their results will be noticed more fully hereafter,’ nowhere in his book is to be found any additional information upon the subject. True, Mr. Davis says, further on, ‘At the commencement of the war the Confederacy was not only without a navy, all the naval vessels possessed by the States having been, as explained elsewhere, left in the hands of our enemies; but worse than this was the fact that ship-building had been almost exclusively done in the Northern States, so that we had no means of acquiring equality in naval power.’ 6

This, instead of showing what were the efforts of our government to procure war-vessels for the South, shows, on the contrary, how great was the folly, how disastrous to our interests the nonacceptance of the contract almost effected, in London, by the house of John Frazer & Co.

And Mr. Davis says also: ‘It has been shown that among the first acts of the Confederate administration was the effort to buy ships which could be used to naval purposes.’ 7 This can only refer to Captain Semmes's mission North, in the latter part of February, 1861, and relates, not to what was done in Europe, not to the reasons for rejecting the Trenholm proposal, but merely to what was unsuccessfully attempted on our side of the water.

The impression Mr. Davis seems anxious to convey is, that his efforts to procure war-vessels in Europe were made shortly after his inauguration as President, and as soon as he had discovered that none could be purchased at the North. From this, and with [59] the facts here submitted, it seems clear that, if Mr. Davis sent an agent to purchase war-vessels in Europe, it must have been at a later period, and when the opportunity to get such vessels, from England and elsewhere, had already been allowed to slip by. For he certainly cannot deny that, in May, 1861, a fleet of ten East India steamers was offered the Confederate government, in Montgomery, through Mr. W. L. Trenholm, speaking in the name and by the authority of the house of John Frazer & Co. Admitting that, as he must, how is it possible that he could have rejected the Trenholm offer—as he unquestionably did—if at that time he had a naval officer in Europe, sent thither to effect the identical purchase he then declined? Was it that our government could not have accepted any such proposal, except through the medium of the agent already alluded to? Why not, then, have referred the house of John Frazer & Co. to him, or him to that house?

Mr. Prioleau, one of the firm of John Frazer & Co., of Liverpool, through whose hands had passed the negotiations relative to the purchase of these vessels, wrote to General Beauregard the following letter on the subject. It confirms the extracts from Mr. Trenholm's letter, as given above; and adds so much interest to the point under consideration, that we feel justified in submitting it without curtailment.

Bruges, September 25th, 1880.
My dear General,—The facts with reference to the proposed fleet of armed vessels for the service of the Confederacy were briefly as follows:

I had, from the very beginning of the struggle, been more impressed with the vital importance of the seaports than with anything else. I regarded them as the lungs of the country, which, once really closed, asphyxia must follow. I therefore took an early occasion to go to London to see what could be had in the shape of vessels fit to take and keep the sea, for a lengthened period, and strong enough to carry an armament which would render them efficient war-vessels, or, at all events, equal to cope with those of the enemy engaged in the blockade of the coast.

I was fortunate in finding exactly what was wanted. A fleet of first-class East-Indiamen was lying there idle, under circumstances of a financial nature which made them available to a buyer at less than half their cost. They had been built with a view of being armed if required, and also to be used as transports for troops, as well as to carry valuable cargoes and treasure in time of peace. Four of them were vessels of great size and power, and of the very first class, and there were six others which, although smaller, were scarcely inferior for the required purpose. Having, with the assistance of an expert, thoroughly inspected them all, I at once entered into negotiations for their purchase, and having secured them for the reply of the Confederate authorities, [60] I submitted the proposal, in a letter to the Hon. G. A. Trenholm, who referred it, as I believe,8 to Montgomery. The total cost of buying, arming, and fitting-out the ten ships was estimated at two millions of pounds, to put the fleet on the coast ready for action; a sum which would have been covered by forty thousand bales of cotton, out of the three or four millions of bales which the government had, at that time, under their hand, and which would not have cost them, at 6d. in their own currency, more than two millions of dollars. There would have been little or no difficulty in getting the ships to sea. The Foreign Enlistment Act had not then—and, indeed, never has been—authoritatively interpreted to mean that a neutral may not sell an unarmed ship to a belligerent: all that was required was commercial caution and coolness, and naval skill and address; all these were at hand, and there is no room for reasonable doubt that, within six months at furthest of the acceptance of the offer being received on this side, the fleet would have appeared off Boston and swept the coast thence to the Gulf, an achievement which would have compelled the prompt recognition of our government on this side, and the speedy triumph of our cause. I have always understood that the proposition was considered and rejected by the Confederate government, but I never had any communication from them on the subject. Although much disappointed at this result, so convinced was I of the value of the ships that I determined to retain my hold upon them as long as possible, to prevent their being sold elsewhere, and in hope that other counsels would prevail at home before it was too late. By means of negotiations which it is not necessary to detail here, I did succeed in retaining control of them until the occurrence of the “Trent outrage;” when the British government, requiring immediately ships of this class for transportation of troops and war-material to Canada, the owners broke off the negotiations with me, and got the ships, or many of them, employed in this service, in which they remained until there was no further need of them.

This is a correct and simple statement of the facts which are (as far as regards this side of the water) necessarily known better to myself than to any other living person, and concerning which my memory is perfectly clear and reliable. It occupied my mind almost exclusively for some time, and I built the highest hopes upon the success of the scheme. It is true many of the ships were of too great draught of water to enter some of our ports, but that was a matter of comparatively little importance. What was wanted, in my view, was the moral effect which would have been produced everywhere by such a blow as could have been struck by even half of the whole number; an effect which I have always, and will always believe, would have gone very far towards determining, if it had not entirely reversed, the result of the struggle.

I am, dear General,

Yours very truly,


We ask the reader to pause here, and reflect upon the stupendous consequences that might have followed the adoption of the scheme proposed by the house of John Frazer & Co.

This was the first of a long series of irremediable errors committed by the administration, through which, despite the righteousness of our cause, the enthusiasm of our people, the splendid fighting capacity of our armies, and all the many other chances in our favor, the Confederacy was finally overwhelmed. The silence Mr. Davis maintains in his book, as to the grave and most important proposition made to him through Mr. W. L. Trenholm, is, indeed, extraordinary, and shows conclusively that he could have given no satisfactory explanation of it to the public.

To show how completely our government was deluded, at that time, as to the tendency of public events staring us in the face, and how little it expected a ‘long and bloody war’ with the North, General Beauregard relates that, soon after the fall of Sumter, one Major Huse—a gentleman in every sense of the word —came to the city of Charleston, from Montgomery, with a pass from the Secretary of War, authorizing him to leave for Europe, on what he termed ‘a secret mission.’ He confidentially informed General Beauregard that he was empowered to purchase ten thousand Enfield rifles for the Confederate War Department. On his being asked whether he had not made an error in the number, so insignificantly small did it appear, he replied: ‘No, those were all he had been instructed to buy.’ ‘Why,’ said General Beauregard, ‘I could have ordered them at once through the house of John Frazer & Co., without the necessity of sending a special messenger to Europe on such a trifling errand.’ A few months later, at Manassas, General Toombs confirmed the statement of Major Huse. He was present as a member of the cabinet, when the proposal about the purchase of the rifles was made. ‘The original number proposed,’ said General Toombs, ‘was only eight thousand.’ It was at his suggestion that the order for ten thousand was given.

Mr. Davis, in his book,9 makes mention of Major Huse, who, he says, was ‘the officer sent to Europe, to buy in the market as far as possible, and furthermore, to make contracts for arms and munitions to be manufactured.’ But Mr. Davis does not state [62] what number of ‘arms’ Major Huse was at first instructed to purchase, or at what time he was sent, though he asserts that it was ‘soon after’ Captain Semmes had left for the North. As to the first point, the reader has nothing further to learn; Major Huse's own testimony, corroborated by the distinct statement of Mr. Toombs, leaves no doubt as to how many small arms (rifles) were to be purchased, at that time, for the service of the Confederacy. With regard to the second point, we positively allege that it was after the fall of Fort Sumter—and therefore not prior to the 13th of April—that Major Huse passed through Charleston, on his way to Europe.

It appears from Mr. Davis's book that Major Huse ‘found’ but ‘few serviceable arms upon the market. He, however, succeeded in making contracts for the manufacture of large quantities, being in advance of the agents sent from the Northern government for the same purpose.’ This, Mr. Davis evidently thinks, was wonderful forethought, and a great display of energy, on the part of our government; though the sequel so painfully shows how the first were the last and the last became the first.

The only conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing passage is, that Major Huse was written to by his government, after his departure from Charleston, and was given additional instructions. Mr. Davis, after reflection, may have found out that 10,000 rifles would scarcely be enough for the armies of the South.

A letter of Major Huse is also given in Mr. Davis's book,10 to show how false was ‘the charge made early in the war that’ the President ‘was slow in securing arms and munitions of war from Europe.’ This letter bears date December 30th, 1861; that is to say, at least eight months after Major Huse's passage through Charleston. It was written prior to the final settlement of the Trent affair, for in it we find the following passage: ‘If the prisoners are given up, the affair will result in great inconvenience to us in the way of shipping goods.’ Major Huse had, clearly, no great faith in the mission of Messrs. Mason and Slidell to Europe, and considered his own functions as of infinitely more importance to the cause. The letter states, further, that Major Huse had steamer-loads of arms, ammunition, and accoutrements, in divers warehouses of London, but that he could make no shipments [63] to the South, because of his having to fight two governments, ‘and because of the wharfingers' orders not to ship or deliver, by land or water, any goods marked W. D., without first acquainting the honorable Board of Customs.’

It seems to us, after carefully examining the whole of Major Huse's letter, not that the charge made against Mr. Davis, of slowness in procuring arms from Europe, was untrue, but that his agent there, whatever may have been his merit otherwise, was totally unequal to the task assigned him. Had the orders to purchase arms, ammunition, etc., for the Confederacy been confided to the house of John Frazer & Co., who had power, influence, and enterprise enough in England, even to purchase ‘a fleet of armed vessels,’ and offer it to our government—the Southern armies, at that time and all through the war, would have been as thoroughly and as promptly armed and equipped as the Northern armies; and Mr. Davis would have had no cause to lament the destitute condition of our men, or to write to General J. E. Johnston, in September, 1861: ‘One ship-load of small arms would enable me to answer all demands, but vainly have I hoped and waited.’11

In the selection of Major Huse, as agent, Mr. Davis seems to have been pursued by the same evil fate which almost always caused him to assign men of inferior ability to positions requiring great discernment and capacity. Major Huse asserts that in December, 1861, he was incapable of shipping arms to the Confederacy; whereas the entire country knows that, in 1861, there existed no blockade of our ports, worthy of the name, and that blockade-runners, throughout the years 1862, 1863, and even 1864, entered the ports of Charleston and Wilmington, with almost unbroken regularity; that provisions and stores of all kinds were thus brought in by private individuals and commercial firms; and that the government—which, it seems, had succeeded in purchasing one small blockade-runner of its own12—could, with perhaps fewer impediments in its way, have done likewise, in the matter of arms and ammunition. And here we might bring to light the contradiction existing between Major Huse's letter and the assertions of Mr. Davis on the same subject: If, as late as December [64] 30th, 1861,13 no arms could be shipped from England, what are we to think of the following passage, to be found on page 476 of the first volume of Mr. Davis's work: ‘In December, 1861, arms purchased abroad began to come in; and a good many Enfield rifles were in the hands of the troops at the battle of Shiloh’? The query now is, which of these two statements is the correct one? Mr. Davis vouches for both, but it is evident that both cannot be relied upon.

The reader, we trust, will pardon this digression. It may have caused a slight deviation from our main subject, but has, nevertheless, a close relation to it.

On or about the 28th of May, General Beauregard was ordered to meet the President at Richmond, whither the seat of Confederate government was being transferred. He arrived there a few days after the receipt of the order.

All along the railroad line, on his way from Charleston to Richmond, the people turned out, at the various stations, to welcome him. They were addressed by Attorney-General Benjamin, who happened to be on the cars, and by Governor Manning, of South Carolina, one of General Beauregard's volunteer aids.

At Charleston, officers and men, and, in fact, the whole population of the State, had expressed their deep sense of regret that the public service should require his transfer to another department. Governor Pickens, in a letter wishing him God speed in his new field of duty, said: ‘Your scientific attainments, your ability and your incessant labors, have been of great advantage to our State; and I return you my thanks, and the thanks of the State, for the patriotic zeal and distinguished services you have rendered us at a critical and a trying time. . . . Wherever you go, I trust that you will be blessed, and crowned with the honors of your country.’

1 The Hon. George A. Trenholm was appointed Secretary of the Treasury after the resignation of Mr. Memminger.

2 A member of the cabinet had given it as his opinion, on that occasion, that the war would not last over ninety days.

3 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. pp. 311, 313, 314.

4 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 230.

5 Ibid. vol. i. p. 814.

6 Ibid. vol. II. p. 240.

7 Ibid. vol. II. p. 245.

8 The proposal was referred, as we have seen, through Mr. W. L. Trenholm.

9 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 311.

10 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 482.

11 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 441.

12 Ibid. vol i. p. 479.

13 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 483.

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