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The bombardment of Fort Sumter.
the first day's fight.
highly interesting Details.
Gallantry of Virginians, &c.

The Charleston papers of Saturday furnish detailed accounts of the opening of the first engagement between the United and the Confederate States. Our own correspondence gives later intelligence, but with a view to gratify the public desire to learn everything connected with the bombardment of Sumter, we publish the following from the Courier

At the grey of the morning of Friday the roar of cannon broke upon the ear. The expected sound was answered by thousands.--The houses were in a few minutes emptied of their excited occupants, and the living stream poured through all the streets leading to the wharves and Battery. On reaching our beautiful promenade we found it lined with ranks of eager spectators, and all the wharves commanding a view of the battle were crowded thickly with human forms. On no gala occasion have we ever seen nearly so large a number of ladies on our Battery as graced the breezy walk on this eventful morning. There they stood, with palpitating hearts and valid faces, watching the white smoke as it rose in wreaths upon the soft twilight air, and breathing our fervent prayers for their gallant kinsfolk at the guns. O! what a conflict raged in those heaving bosoms between love for husbands and sons, and love for our common mother, whose insulted honor and imperiled safety had called her faithful children to the ensanguined field.

At thirty minutes past four o'clock the conflict was opened by the discharge of a shell from the Howitzer Battery on James Island, under the command of Capt. Geo. S. James, who followed the riddled Palmetto banner on the bloody battle fields of Mexico.

The sending of this harmful messenger to Major Anderson was followed by a deafening explosion, which was caused by the blowing up of a building that stood in front of the battery.

While the white smoke was melting away into the air another shell, which Lieut. W. Hampton Gibbes has the honor of having fired, pursued its noiseless way toward the hostile fortification.

The honored missive described its beautiful curve through the balmy air, and falling within the hostile fortress, scattered its deadly contents in all directions. Fort Moultrie then took up the tale of death, and in a moment the guns from the redoubtable Gun Battery on Cummings' Point, from Captain McCready's Battery, from Capt. James Hamilton's Floating Battery, the Enfilade Battery, and other fortifications spit forth their wrath at the grim fortress rising so defiantly out of the sea.

Major Anderson received the shot and shell in silence. And some excited lookers-on, ignorant of the character of the foe, were fluent with conjectures and predictions, that revived the hope fast dying out of their hopeful and tender hearts. But the short-lived hope was utterly extinguished when the deepening twilight revealed the Stars and Stripes floating proudly in the breeze. The batteries continued at regular intervals to belch iron vengeance, and still no answer was returned by the foe. About an hour after the booming began, two balls rushed hissing through the air, and glanced harmless from the stuccoed bricks of Fort Moultrie. The embrasures of the hostile fortress gave forth no sound again till between six and seven o'clock, when, as if wrathful from enforced delay, from casemate and parapet the United States officer poured a storm of iron hail upon Fort Moultrie, Stevens' Iron Battery and the Floating Battery. The broadside was returned with spirit by the gallant gunners at these important posts.

The firing now began in good earnest. The curling white smoke hung above the angry pieces of friend and foe, and the jarring boom rolled at regular intervals on the anxious ear. The atmosphere was charged with the smell of villainous saltpetre, and as if in sympathy with the melancholy scene the sky was covered with heavy clouds, and everything wore a sombre aspect.

A boat bearing dispatches to Gen. Beauregard from Morris' Island, reached the city about nine o'clock, reported that all the batteries were working admirably; that no one was injured, and that the men were wild with enthusiasm.

A short time after that happy news was received, the schooner Petril, from Hog Island Channel, reported that the shot from Stevens' Iron Battery had told upon the walls of Fort Sumter. And also that Fort Moultrie had sustained no damage.

About half-past 9 o'clock, Captain R. S. Parker reported from Sullivan's Island to Mount Pleasant that everything was in fine condition at Fort Moultrie, and that the soldiers had escaped unhurt.

The same dispatch stated that the embrasures of the Floating Battery were undamaged by the shock of the shot, and though that formidable structure had been struck eleven times, the balls had not started a single bolt. Anderson had concentrated his fire upon the Floating Battery, and the Dahlgren Battery, under command of Lieutenant Hamilton. A number of shells had dropped into Fort Sumter, and one gun enbarbette had been dismounted.

The following cheering tidings were brought to the city by Col. Edmund Yates, Acting Lieutenant to Dozier, of the Confederate States Navy, from Fort Johnson. Stevens' Battery and the Floating Battery are doing important service. Stevens' Battery has made considerable progress in breaching the South and Southwest walls of Fort Sumter. The Northwest wall is suffering from the well-aimed fire of the Floating Battery, whose shot have dismounted several of the guns on the parapet, and made it impossible to use the remaining ones. The Howitzer Battery connected with the impregnable Gun Battery at Cummings' Point, is managed with consummate skill and terrible effect.

Eleven o'clock.--A messenger from Morris' Island brings the glorious news that the shot glance from the iron-covered battery, at Cummings' Point, like marbles thrown by a child on the back of a turtle. The upper portion of the Southwest wall of Fort Sumter shows plainly the effect of the terrible cannonade from the formidable product of Mr. C. H. Stevens' patriotism and ingenuity.

A half an hour later the gladsome tidings came that Stevens' Battery was fast damaging the Southwest wall of Sumter.

Henry Buist is doing gallant service with the Palmetto Guards, delighting all hearts by assuring us in the city that everything was going on well at the Iron Battery, which was still proof against sixty-eight pounders, and the men in good spirits.

A boat reached the city from the Floating Battery about half-past 12 o'clock, and reported that a shot from Fort Sumter penetrated the top or shed of the structure, and three shots struck the sand bags in the rear of the battery.

Another messenger who arrived a short time after the above was bulletined, confirms the cheerful news.

Twelve o'clock.--We have just learned by an arrival from Cummings' Point, that the batteries there are doing good service--Stevens' Battery very successful. Not a single casualty has happened. The troops are in the best spirits. Two of the guns at Fort Sumter appear to be disabled. Considerable damage has been done to the roofs of the officers' quarters.

At one o'clock the following was received from Morris' Island. Two guns in Stevens' Battery temporarily disabled, Anderson's fire having injured the doors of the embrasures. The damage will be repaired speedily. It is thought that Fort Sumter will be breached in two hours. Three steam vessels of war were seen off the bar, one of them supposed to be the Harriet Lane.

Capt. R. S. Parker reached the city from Fort Moultrie at half-past 2 o'clock, and makes the following report: Captain Parker visited Fort Moultrie and the Enfilading Battery near by, and found all well, and in high spirits. He left the Mortar Battery, Lieut. Hollinquist, at ten minutes past two. The soldiers stationed there are giving a good account of themselves. The Floating Battery had been struck 18 times, and received no material injury.

The venerable Edmund Ruffin, who, as soon as it was known a battle was inevitable, hastened over to Morris' Island, and was elected a member of the Palmetto Guard, fired the first gun from Stevens' iron battery. All honor to the chivalric Virginian! May he live many years to wear the fadeless wreath that honor placed upon his brow on our glorious Friday.

Another noble son of the Old Dominion, who rebukingly reminds her of her past glory, was appointed on Gen. Beauregard's Staff on Thursday, bore dispatches to the General in command, from Brigadier-General James Simons in command of Morris' Island, during the thickest of the fight, and in the face of a murderous fire from Fort Sumter. Col. Roger A. Pryor, the eloquent young Virginian, in the execution of that dangerous commission, passed within speaking distance of the angry and hostile fortress.

Despite the fierce and concentrated fire from Fort Sumter, the rival fortification on Sullivan's Island received but slight damage. Its Merlons stood unmoved, and are this morning in as good a condition as they were before their strength was tested by the rude shocks of the shot.

The Floating Battery came out of the iron storm without losing a plate of its iron cover or a splinter of its pine.

A brisk fire was kept up by all the batteries until about 7 o'clock in the evening, after which hour the guns boomed at regular intervals of 20 minutes.

All the batteries on Morris' Island, bearing upon the channel, kept up a steady fire for some time at the dawn of day. It is reported they threw their shot-into the Harriet Lane, and that that steamer, having advanced as far as the renowned Star of the West Battery, was crippled by a well aimed shot, after which she deemed it prudent to give up the dangerous attempt, and turned her sharp bow to the sea.

Stevens' Iron Battery played a conspicuous and important part in the brilliant, and, as far as our men are concerned, bloodless conflict, which has placed the 12th of April, 1861, among the memorable days. The calibre of its guns, its nearness to Fort Sumter, its perfect impenetrability, the coolness and skill of its gallant gunners, made this fortification one of the most formidable of Maj. Anderson's terrible opponents. The effect of its Dahlgren's and 64-pounders was distinctly visible at an early stage of the conflict.--Clouds of mortar and brick-dust arose from the Southwest wall of the fort as the shot hissed on their errand of death. Shot after shot told with terrible effect on the strong wall, and at about three o'clock Major Anderson ceased to return this murderous fire. In the course of the afternoon the joyful tidings that a breach had been effected in that portion of the fortress was borne to the city.

We dare not close this brief and hurried narrative of the first engagement between the United States and the Confederate States, without returning thanks to Almighty God for the great success that has thus far crowned our arms, and for the extraordinary preservation of our soldiers from casualty and death. In the fifteen hours of almost incessant firing, our enemy one of the most experienced and skillful of artillerists, no injury has been sustained by a single one of our gallant soldiers.

The result of the conflict strengthens and confirms our faith in the justness of the course for whose achievement we have suffered obloquy, and dared perils of vast magnitude. At the outset of the struggle we invoked the sanction and aid of that God whom we serve, and His hand has guided and defended us all through the momentous conflict. His favor was most signally, we had almost said miraculously, manifested on this eventful day. We call the roll of those engaged in the battle, and each soldier is here to answer to his name. No tombstone will throw its shadow upon that bright triumphant day. If so it seemeth good in the eyes of Him, in whose hands are the issues of life, we fervently pray that our brave sons may pass unharmed through the perils of the day now dawning.

Another account.

The Charleston Mercury also gives an interesting narrative of Friday's conflict, from which we extract the following:

‘ It affords us infinite pleasure to record that Fort Moultrie has fully sustained the prestige of its glorious name. It fired very nearly gun for gun with Fort Sumter. We counted the guns from eleven to twelve o'clock, and found them to be 42 to 46, while the advantage was unquestionably upon the side of Fort Moultrie. In that fort not a gun was dismounted, not a wound received, not the slightest permanent injury sustained by any of its defences, while every ball from Fort Moultrie left its mark upon Fort Sumter.--Many of its shells were dropped into that fort, and Lieut. John Mitchell, the worthy son of that patriot sire who has so nobly vindicated the cause of the South, has the honor of dismounting two of its parapet guns by a single shot from one of the Columbiads, which, at the time, he had the office of directing.

’ The famous iron batteries — the one at Cummings' Point — named for Mr. C. H. Stevens, the inventor, and the celebrated Floating Battery, constructed under the direction of Capt. Hamilton, have fully vindicated the correctness of their conception. Shot after shot fell upon them and glanced harmless away, while from their favorable position their shots fell with effect upon Fort Sumter, and the southeast pancopee, under the fire of the Stevens' battery, at nightfall, if not actually breached, was badly damaged. At this battery the honor of firing the first gun was accorded to the venerable Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, who marched to the rendezvous at the sound of the alarm on Monday night, and who, when asked by some person who did not know him to what company he belonged, replied, "to that in which there is a vacancy."

It were vain to attempt an exhibition of the enthusiasm and fearless intrepidity of our citizens in every department of this eventful day. Boats passed from post to post without the slightest hesitation under the guns of Fort Sumter, and with high and low, old and young, rich and poor, in uniform or without, the common wish and constant effort was to reach the posts of action; and amid a bombardment, resisted with the most consummate skill and perseverance, and with the most efficient appliances of military art and science, it is a most remarkable circumstance, and one which exhibits the infinite goodness of an overruling Providence, that, so far as we have been able to learn from the most careful inquiry, not the slightest injury has been sustained by the defenders of their country.

The Mercury gives some further incidents of the fight:

‘ Two members of the Palmetto Guard paid fifty dollars in cash for a boat to carry them to Morris' Island, to join their company.

’ The Battery, the wharves and shipping in the harbor, and every steeple and cupalo in the city, were crowded with anxious spectators of the great drama. Never before had such crowds of ladies without attendants visited our thoroughfares.

Business was entirely suspended. The stores on King street, Meeting street and East Bay were all closed.

Dr. Salters, the "Jasper" correspondent of the New York Times, was arrested, and locked up in the Guard House, where he yet remains.

One of our special reporters to Fort Moultrie brought a trophy of the war, in the shape of a 32-pound ball, which Anderson had fired at Moultrie, and which lodged in the sand bags. It may be seen at our office.

Another of our reporters has calculated the number of pounds of balls fired by both sides up to seven o'clock, the hour at which Fort Sumter ceased firing. He gives as a total 75,000 pounds, or over thirty-six tons of iron.

It was currently rumored that the Harriet Lane was crippled by the Star of the West Battery, while trying to run in yesterday morning, but that the Harriet Lane pursued the course of her predecessor, and put back to sea minus one wheel.

The Courier contains this significant paragraph:

‘ If there are any among us who yet consider South Carolina not in earnest, or in the right, it is full time they seek safety in a more congenial climate. Those who are not for us are against us, and we shall and can take care of ourselves.

Further accounts.

The following are extracts from dispatches dated Charleston, Friday:

‘ The soldiers are perfectly reckless of their lives, and at every shot jump upon the ramparts, and then jump down cheering.

’ A party on the Stevens' Battery are said to have played a game of cards during the hottest of the fire.

The excitement in the community is indescribable. With the first boom of the gun thousands rushed from their beds to the harbor front, and all day every available place has been thronged by ladies and gentlemen, viewing the solemn spectacle through their glasses. Most of these have relatives in the several fortifications, and many a tearful eye attested the anxious affection of the mother, wife and sister, but not a murmur came from a single individual.

The spirit of patriotism is as sincere as it is universal. Five thousand ladies stand ready to- day to respond to any sacrifice that may be required of them.

The brilliant and patriotic conduct of Maj. Anderson speaks for itself, and silences the attacks lately made at the North upon his character and patriotism.

Business is entirely suspended. Only those stores are open necessary to supply articles required by the army.

Governor Pickens has all day been in the residence of a gentleman which commands a view of the whole scene. General Beauregard commands in person the entire operations, and thus far they have moved with the utmost system and success.

It is reported that the Harriet Lane has received a shot through her wheelhouse. She is in the offing. No other Government ships are in sight up to the present moment, but should they appear the entire range of batteries will open upon them.

Troops are pouring into the town by hundreds, but are held in reserve for the present, the force already on the islands being ample. People are also arriving every moment on horseback, and by every other conveyance. The thunder of the artillery can be heard for fifty miles around, and the scene is magnificently terrible.

Another dispatch, dated Sunday, says:

‘ When Sumter was in flames, and Major Anderson could only fire his guns at long intervals, the men at our batteries cheered at every fire which the gallant Major made in his last struggles, but they looked defiance at the vessels of war, whose men, like cowards, stood outside without firing a gun, or attempting to divert the fire of a single battery from Sumter. Five of Major Anderson's men are slightly wounded.

Jasper, the correspondent of the New York Times, who was arrested as a spy, was confined for a time, and then ordered out of the State. He was taken as far as Wilmington, N. C., and is now on his way North.

A special dispatch from Charleston to the Baltimore Sun, dated Sunday evening, says:

‘ The Palmetto and Confederate flags now wave over Fort Sumter. Major Ripley, with 200 men, by order of Gen. Beauregard, took formal possession of the fort at 4 o'clock P. M.

’ Whilst Maj. Anderson was saluting his flag, previous to retiring, an explosion occurred, killing one man and dangerously wounding four others.

The Major marched out under the Stars and Stripes, the band playing Yankee Doodle. He starts to-night in the steamer Isabel for New York, receiving supplies from the fleet.

In returning thanks to Gov. Pickens, for his kindness to himself and wife, Major Anderson said that history would applaud him for the forbearance he had practiced; he was much gratified that no lives were sacrificed. He said his orders were to destroy the works, if possible, but not to take life if it could be avoided.

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April 12th, 1861 AD (1)
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