Contribution to the history of the War.
The subjoined correspondence, relating to the proposed reinforcement of Forts Moultrie
during the winter of 1860-61, by volunteers from the city of New York
, has been communicated to the National Intelligencer
for publication, as belonging to the history of that period:
Nevis, Dobbs's Ferry Post-Office, December 28, 1860.
[Private] Dear General:
I write to you in the strictest confidence because what I am about to propose might be defeated by premature disclosure.
The President having exposed a handful of brave men in Fort Moultrie
to slaughter and the flag of our country to disgrace, there can be no violation of law or duty of any kind should citizens volunteer to go to Charleston harbor
in a steamer chartered for the purpose, in order to reinforces Major Anderson
Such a course, taken by a few hundred strong men, would record the garrison and save the fort and this having been done without any participation on the part of the Government
, could not be considered by South Carolina
as an act offensive to her which would invite, much less justify, assault.
Think of this, and, if you approve, turn in your mind whether so many men could be induced to volunteer.
We would have no difficulty a getting money to charter a steamer and put on board of her a store of provisions.
Absolute must be observed.
Let me know where I can and you. I will be in the city to-morrow (Sunday.) Yours &c.
New York, Dec. 20, 1860.
[Private] My Dear Sir:
--There would be no difficulty about the man if the arrangement could be made under the sanction of Gen Scott
A confidential person could be sent on to see him, and with his approve the scheme would be perfectly legal, and acceptable no doubt to the officer in command.
Nevis, Dobbs's Ferry Post Office, December 29, 1862.
[Private] Dear General
--It is proposed to reinforce Major Anderson
by volunteers to be sent from the city of New York
, by a steamer to be chartered for that purpose, the funds to be raised by private subscription.
promises to provide as many good men and true as may be required say, from one to four hundred.
He, however suggests that this enterprise should resolve your sanction, so far, at least, as by your giving me a letter of introduction to Major Anderson
, intimating to him that those who accompany me will be his guests and, of course, subject to his command.
If it is proper that you should countenance the enterprise, do me the favor to send me such a letter, addressed to the Major
, as you please, and also to inform me of the number of men required, and of the kind and quantity of provisions to be taken with us. As I am the originator of this project, of course I intend to be one of the volunteers.
Washington, January 1, 1861.
Sir:Lieutenant General Scott
desires me to acknowledge your letter of the 10th ultimo, and to inform you that he read it to the President
of the United States
Both appreciate its patriotic spirit, but they coincided in the opinion that the immediate
military of the country require no appeal to militia or volunteers in aid of the regular army.
Nevis, Dobbs's Ferry Post-Office, January 3, 1861.
Referring to my letter to you of the 18th ultimo, your answer thereto, and our conversation on the subject of that correspondence, I now enclose Lieutenant General Scott
's answer to the letter I addressed him under your advice on the 29th ultimo, and have the pleasure to say that your readiness to co-operate with me in the movement to reinforce Major Anderson
was alike honorable to your patriotism, enterprise, and energy.
You will perceive that the word ‘"immediate,"’ in the General
's letter, is underscored, which implies foregone conclusion that the future may require men an appeal.
I am sure you will, without delay, thoroughly examine your military condition and arrange such plans as may be best to put into execution, whenever the militia and volunteers may be needed, and the impending condition of the country may require action on their part.
I hope I may be allowed to believe that if I can be useful in any way you will not overlook me in such so enterprise.
I have the honor to be your friend and servant, James A. Hamilton
P. S.--You will probably concur with me in the opinion that the correspondence is not proper to be given at present to the newspapers. J. A. H. Major-General Sanford
, New York.