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Title: Reminiscences of Forts Sumter and Moultrie in 1860-'61
Author: Doubleday, Abner, 1819-1893
Language: English
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[Illustration: FORT SUMTER.]

  IN 1860-'61




  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


Now that the prejudices and bitter partisan feeling of the past are
subsiding, it seems a fitting time to record the facts and incidents
connected with the first conflict of the Rebellion. Of the eleven
officers who took part in the events herein narrated, but four now
survive. Before the hastening years shall have partially obliterated
many circumstances from my memory, and while there is still an
opportunity for conference and friendly criticism, I desire to make,
from letters, memoranda, and documents in my possession, a statement
which will embody my own recollections of the turbulent days of 1860 and

I am aware that later and more absorbing events have caused the earlier
struggles of the war to recede in the distance; but those who were in
active life at that time will not soon forget the thrill of emotion and
sympathy which followed the movements of Anderson's little band, when it
became its duty to unfold the flag of the Union against a united South
in arms.

I know how difficult it is to write contemporaneous history, or even to
give a bare detail of facts, without wounding the susceptibilities of
others; but whenever I have felt called upon to give my own opinion, I
have endeavored to do so in the spirit of Lincoln's immortal
sentiment--"With malice toward none; with charity for all."




The Garrison of Fort Moultrie.--Early Indications of
Secession.--Situation of the Fort.--Edmund Ruffin and Robert Barnwell
Rhett.--The Secretary of War.--Arms sent to the South.--Colonel
Gardner.--Captain Foster ordered to Charleston Harbor.--The Officers at
Fort Moultrie.--Communications with Northern Men by
Cipher.--Proscription of Antislavery Men in Charleston.--Position of
Charleston Merchants.--The Secession Leaders only prepared to resist
Coercion.--The Mob proves Unmanageable.--General Scott's Letter to the
President, October 29th.--The Situation in November.--No Instructions
from Washington.--Colonel Gardner's Report to General Wool.      _Page_ 13



Defeat of Captain Seymour's Expedition on the Ashley.--Mayor Macbeth's
Explanation.--Captain Foster's Work on Fort Moultrie.--Governor Gist
convenes the South Carolina Legislature.--Creation of a Standing
Army.--Arrival of Masons from Baltimore.--Situation of Fort Sumter.--A
Dramatic Incident.--Secretary Floyd's Action.--Horace Greeley's Advocacy
of the Right of Secession.--The Situation November 18th.                30



Arrival of Major Anderson.--Huger's Opposition to a Premature Assault on
Fort Moultrie.--Anderson's Report to the Secretary of War.--Active
Preparations by the South Carolinians.--Meeting of Congress.--Attempts
at Compromise.--Secession Batteries at Mount Pleasant.--Arrival of Major
Buell with Written Orders.--Vain Efforts to Strengthen Castle
Pinckney.--Northern Opinion.--Public Meeting in Philadelphia.           41



Passage of the Secession Ordinance.--Governor Pickens's
Proclamation.--Judge Petigru's Visit to Fort Moultrie.--Floyd's
Treachery.--Yancey's Lectures in the North.--The Removal to Sumter.     55



The New Quarters.--Seizure of Castle Pinckney by Charleston
Troops.--Raising the Flag at Fort Sumter.--The Sergeant's
Daughter.--Major Anderson's Position.--The Charleston Troops take Fort
Moultrie.--A Military Problem.--Condition of Fort Sumter.--Governor
Pickens's Commission.--A New Outrage.                                   68



President Buchanan Aroused.--Excitement in Charleston.--The Situation at
the Beginning of 1861.--Governor Pickens's War Measures.--"My heart was
never in this War".                                                     82



Promise of Succor.--Fatal Delay.--A Contumacious Chaplain.--Visit from
our Ladies.--Governor Pickens's Cabinet.--Appearance of the Star of the
West.--The Vessel fired upon from Morris Island and Fort
Moultrie.--Major Anderson's Protest.--Governor Pickens's Reply.         92



Major Anderson's Proposed Diplomatic Negotiations.--Defensive
Preparations.--Changes in the Cabinet.--Meade's Defection.--Anecdote of
Governor Pickens.--Battery at Cummings Point.--Soldiers' Families
Removed.--A Threatening Letter.--Confederate Visitors to the
Fort.--Organization of the Confederate Government.                     107



South Carolina's Grievances.--Inauguration of President
Lincoln.--Determination to Re-enforce Sumter.--An Audacious
Proposal.--The Shannon.--New Rebel Batteries Unmasked.--Formal Notice of
Bombardment.                                                           123



The First Shot.--Defective Guns.--John Carmody's Exploit.--Destructive
Effects of the Bombardment.--Burning of the Officers'
Quarters.--Terrific Conflagration.                                     143



Senator Wigfall's Volunteer Mission.--Terms of Evacuation Settled.--The
Question of Casualties on the Other Side.--Salute to the
Flag.--Occupation of the Fort by Southern Troops.--Embarkation.--Welcome
in New York.--Conclusion.                                              161

APPENDIX.                                                              179





     The Garrison of Fort Moultrie.--Early Indications of
     Secession.--Situation of the Fort.--Edmund Ruffin and Robert
     Barnwell Rhett.--The Secretary of War.--Arms sent to the
     South.--Colonel Gardner.--Captain Foster ordered to Charleston
     Harbor.--The Officers at Fort Moultrie.--Communications with
     Northern Men by Cipher.--Proscription of Antislavery Men in
     Charleston.--Position of Charleston Merchants.--The Secession
     Leaders only prepared to resist Coercion.--The Mob proves
     unmanageable.--General Scott's Letter to the President, October
     29.--The Situation in November.--No Instructions from
     Washington.--Colonel Gardner's Report to General Wool.

The summer of 1860 found me stationed at the head-quarters of the First
United States Artillery at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. I was captain
of Company E, and second in command to Brevet Colonel John L. Gardner,
who was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. The regimental band and
Captain Truman Seymour's company (H) also formed part of the garrison.
The other forts were unoccupied, except by the ordnance-sergeants in

Charleston, at this period, was far from being a pleasant place for a
loyal man. Almost every public assemblage was tinctured with treasonable
sentiments, and toasts against the flag were always warmly applauded. As
early as July there was much talk of secession, accompanied with
constant drilling, and threats of taking the forts as soon as a
separation should occur.

To the South Carolinians Fort Moultrie was almost a sacred spot,
endeared by many precious historical associations; for the ancestors of
most of the principal families had fought there in the Revolutionary War
behind their hastily improvised ramparts of palmetto logs, and had
gained a glorious victory over the British fleet in its first attempt to
enter the harbor and capture the city.

The modern fort had been built nearly on the site of the ancient one.
Its walls were but twelve feet high. They were old, weak, and so full of
cracks that it was quite common to see soldiers climb to the top by
means of the support these crevices afforded to their hands and feet.
The constant action of the sea-breeze had drifted one immense heap of
sand against the shore-front of the work, and another in the immediate
vicinity. These sand-hills dominated the parapet, and made the fort
untenable. Indeed, it was originally built by the engineers as a mere
sea-battery, with just sufficient strength to prevent it from being
taken by a _coup de main_. As an overpowering force of militia could
always be summoned for its defense, it was supposed that no foreign army
would ever attempt to besiege it. The contingency that the people of
Charleston themselves might attack a fort intended for their own
protection had never been anticipated.

Our force was pitifully small, even for a time of peace and for mere
police purposes. It consisted of sixty-one enlisted men and seven
officers, together with thirteen musicians of the regimental band;
whereas the work called for a war garrison of three hundred men.

The first indication of actual danger came from Richmond, Virginia, in
the shape of urgent inquiries as to the strength of our defenses, and
the number of available troops in the harbor. These questions were put
by a resident of that city named Edmund Ruffin; an old man, whose later
years had been devoted to the formation of disunion lodges, and who
became subsequently noted for firing the first gun at Fort Sumter. His
love of slavery amounted to fanaticism. When the cause of the Rebellion
became hopeless, he refused to survive it, and committed suicide.

In the beginning of July, Robert Barnwell Rhett, and other ultra men in
Charleston, made violent speeches to the mob, urging them to drive every
United States official out of the State; but as many influential
Secessionists were enjoying the sweets of Federal patronage under
Buchanan, we did not anticipate any immediate disturbance. To influence
his hearers still more, Rhett did not hesitate to state that Hamlin was
a mulatto, and he asked if they intended to submit to a negro

It is an interesting question to know how far at this period the
Secretary of War himself was loyal. Mr. Dawson, the able editor of the
_Historical Magazine_, is of opinion, after a careful investigation of
the facts, that Floyd at this time was true to the Union, and that he
remained so until December 24th, when it was discovered that he had been
advancing large sums of money from the Treasury to contractors, to pay
for work which had never been commenced. To make the loss good, nearly a
million of dollars was taken from the Indian Trust Fund.

Finding he would be dismissed from the Cabinet for his complicity in
these transactions, and would also be indicted by the Grand Jury of the
District of Columbia, he made a furious Secession speech, sent in his
resignation, and suddenly left for the South.[2] Mr. Dawson founds his
opinion in this case upon the statement of Fitz John Porter, who was a
major on duty in the War Department at the time, and therefore
apparently well qualified to judge. Floyd's actions toward us, however,
were not those of a true man, and I am of opinion that his loyalty was
merely assumed for the occasion. He sent seventeen thousand muskets to
South Carolina, when he knew that Charleston was a hot-bed of sedition,
and that in all probability the arms would be used against the United
States. Greeley says, in his "American Conflict," that during these
turbulent times Floyd disarmed the Government by forwarding one hundred
and fifteen thousand muskets, in all, to the Southern Confederacy.[3] In
addition to this, he sold large quantities of arms to S.B. Lamar, of
Savannah, and other Secessionists in the South, on the plea that the
muskets thus disposed of did not conform to the latest army model. Just
before his resignation, he continued the same policy by directing that
one hundred and twenty-four heavy guns should be shipped from Pittsburg,
Pennsylvania, to Ship Island, Mississippi, where there was no garrison,
and to Galveston, Texas. Yet this was the official upon whom we were to
rely for advice and protection. This was the wolf who was to guard the

Our commander, Colonel Gardner, had done good service in the War of 1812
and in Mexico; but now, owing to his advanced age, was ill fitted to
weather the storm that was about to burst upon us. In politics he was
quite Southern, frequently asserting that the South had been treated
outrageously in the question of the Territories, and defrauded of her
just rights in other respects. He acquiesced, however, in the necessity
of defending the fort should it be attacked; but as he lived with his
family outside of the walls, he could not take a very active part
himself. Indeed, on one occasion, when a Secession meeting was held in
our immediate vicinity, accompanied with many threats and noisy
demonstrations, he sent word to me to assume command at once in his

He now found himself in a peculiar position. The populace were becoming
excited, and there was every probability that a collision, accidental or
otherwise, might occur at any moment between the troops and the mob
outside, if not between the troops and the State militia. The dilemma
which confronted him was either to make a disgraceful surrender of his
command, or take the other alternative, and fight South Carolina
single-handed, without the aid or co-operation of the General
Government. He thought the difficulty might perhaps be solved by
removing the garrison to Smithville, North Carolina, having received
permission to do so, in case the yellow fever, which had proved so
disastrous the previous year, should break out again. Strange to say,
some of the most ultra papers in the Southern interest in New York and
Charleston ridiculed the proposed movement. They probably feared that
our absence might deprive the conspirators of the prestige of an easy

By the middle of August the country people began to be quite violent in
their language, and made many threats of what they would do in case of
Lincoln's election.

While the rebellion was thus drifting onward, the North remained
quiescent, utterly refusing to believe in the existence of any real
danger. Yet it was publicly known that, although the Southern States had
refused to commit themselves to Secession, they were pledged not to
allow South Carolina to be coerced, and this practically amounted to a
powerful league against the Union, since it was a combination to prevent
the enforcement of the laws which bound the States together.

As we were liable to be attacked at any moment, we desired to get rid of
the sand-hills which dominated our walls. To this end we applied to the
Quartermaster-general (General Joseph E. Johnston) for authority to hire
citizen laborers; but he declined to accede to the request, on the
ground that the work did not properly appertain to his department. He
was a nephew of Floyd, and soon went over to the enemy. With the
exception of Robert E. Lee, he subsequently became the most noted of all
the rebel generals.

We were gratified, about the 1st of September, at seeing some signs of
life in the Secretary of War, which seemed to show that he appreciated
our dangers and difficulties. He ordered First Lieutenant and Brevet
Captain John G. Foster, of the engineers, to repair to Fort Moultrie,
and put that and the other defenses of Charleston harbor in perfect
order. The reason privately assigned for this was that we were drifting
into complications with England and France with reference to Mexico. For
one, I gave the honorable secretary very little credit for this
proceeding, inasmuch as he had just previous to this forwarded to South
Carolina the means of arming and equipping seventeen thousand men
against the United States. I, therefore, came to the conclusion that the
forts were to be made ready for active service, in order that they might
be turned over in that condition to the Southern League.

Two young lieutenants of engineers, G.W. Snyder and R.K. Meade, were
soon after sent to Foster as assistants.

And here it may be well to speak of the officers of our command, as they
were at that period. The record of their services afterward, during the
rebellion, would constitute a volume in itself.

Colonel John L. Gardner was wounded in the war with Great Britain in
1812. He had also been engaged in the war against the Florida Indians,
and the war with Mexico, receiving two brevets for the battles of Cerro
Gordo and Contreras.

Seymour, Foster, and myself had also served in Mexico as second
lieutenants on our first entrance into the army, and Davis as a
non-commissioned officer of an Indiana regiment.

John G. Foster, severely wounded at Molino del Rey, and brevetted
captain, was one of the most fearless and reliable men in the service.

Captain Truman Seymour, twice brevetted for gallantry at Cerro Gordo and
Chernbusco, was an excellent artillery officer, full of invention and
resource, a lover of poetry, and an adept at music and painting.

First Lieutenant Jefferson C. Davis, brave, generous, and impetuous--the
boy-sergeant of Buena Vista--won his first commission in the regular
army by his gallantry in that action.

First Lieutenant Theodore Talbot, when very young, had shared the
dangers, privations, and sufferings of Fremont's party in their
explorations to open a pathway across the continent. He was a cultivated
man, and a representative of the chivalry of Kentucky, equally ready to
meet his friend at the festive board, or his enemy at ten paces.

Doctor S. Wiley Crawford, our assistant surgeon, entered the service
after the Mexican war. He was a genial companion, studious, and full of
varied information. His ambition to win a name as a soldier soon induced
him to quit the ranks of the medical profession.

Hall, Snyder, and Meade were recent graduates of the Academy, who had
never seen active service in the field. They were full of zeal,
intelligence, and energy.

In one respect we were quite fortunate: the habits of the officers were
good, and there was no dissipation or drunkenness in the garrison. The
majority of the men, too, were old soldiers, who could be thoroughly
relied upon under all circumstances.

There was, also, one civilian with us, Mr. Edward Moale, who was clerk
and brother-in-law to Captain Foster. His services were subsequently
very valuable in many ways.

Fearing that in the course of events our correspondence might be
tampered with, I invented a cipher which afterward proved to be very
useful. It enabled me to communicate, through my brother in New York,
much valuable information to Mr. Lincoln at Springfield, Preston King,
Roscoe Conkling, and other leaders of public opinion, in relation to our
strength and resources.[4]

Situated as we were, we naturally desired to know how far Mr. Buchanan's
Cabinet was willing to sustain us. William H. Trescott, of South
Carolina, was Assistant Secretary of State at this time, and frequently
corresponded with his brother, Doctor Trescott, in Charleston. We,
therefore, naturally thought the views of the latter might indirectly
reflect those of the Administration. The doctor was of opinion there
would be no attempt at coercion in case South Carolina seceded, but that
all postal and telegraphic communication would cease, and a man-of-war
be placed outside to collect the revenue. This arrangement would leave
our little force isolated and deserted, to bear the brunt of whatever
might occur.

In October the disunionists became more bitter, but they were not
disposed to be aggressive, as they thought Buchanan could be relied upon
not to take any decisive action against them.

Colonel Gardner would not at this time mount the guns, or take any
precautions whatever. He alleged, with reason, that the work was all
torn to pieces by the engineers; that it was full of débris, and that,
under the circumstances, he was not responsible for any thing that might
happen. We had been promised a considerable number of recruits, but they
were kept back; and we now ascertained that none would be sent until
late in December, after the crisis was over.

In the latter part of the month I became quite unpopular in Charleston;
partly on account of my anti-slavery sentiments, but more especially
because some very offensive articles, written from that city, had
appeared in the Northern papers, and were attributed to me. It seems
that at this very time an abolition correspondent of the _New York
Tribune_ was employed in the office of Rhett's paper, the _Charleston
Mercury_. This man professed to be the most loud-mouthed secessionist of
them all. In conversation with me afterward, he claimed to be the author
of the articles referred to.

In truth, these were days of extraordinary proscription for opinion's
sake. I heard with profound indignation of the case of a poor seamstress
from New York, who had been sent to jail in Charleston simply for
stating that she did not believe in the institution of slavery. On
appealing to the then mayor of New York, Fernando Wood, he replied that
he was rejoiced she was in prison, and hoped she would be kept there.

Toward the close of the month, the South Carolina leaders began to fear
that the other Southern States would not join them, and were engaged in
discussing the subject of a French protectorate.

The negroes overheard a great deal that was said by their masters, and
in consequence became excited and troublesome, for the news flew like
wild-fire among them that "Massa Linkum" was coming to set them all

The enthusiasm of the moneyed men in Charleston began to cool when they
reflected upon the enormous expenses involved in keeping up a standing
army in an agricultural State like South Carolina. At the request of
some Union men, Captain Seymour made a startling exhibit, showing the
large amount required to maintain even a moderate force. It had a good
effect upon the merchants, and, indeed, if the other Southern States had
not promptly sustained South Carolina, the movement must have soon
collapsed from its inherent weakness.

Although the secession leaders were preparing to meet coercion, if it
should come, I will do them the justice to say that they determined to
commit no overt act against the Union so long as the State formed an
integral part of it. They soon found, however, that the mob did not
recognize these fine distinctions. It was easy to raise the storm, but,
once under full headway, it was difficult to govern it. Independent
companies and minute-men were everywhere forming, in opposition to their
wishes; for these organizations, from their very nature, were quite
unmanageable. The military commanders much preferred the State militia,
because they could control it by law. A gentleman from the country, who
had joined the minute-men, came in one day to the Charleston Hotel, with
a huge cockade on his hat, expecting to be received with great
applause; but, to his astonishment, he was greeted with laughter and

On the 29th of October, General Scott wrote his celebrated letter to the
President, recommending that strong garrisons be placed at once in all
the Southern forts. Undoubtedly this was good advice; but as our army
was widely scattered all over the West to protect the frontier
settlements from the Indians, only five small companies were available
for the purpose. The suggestion, therefore, had but little practical

November had arrived. The muttering of the storm was heard all around
us, and yet not one word of counsel or encouragement came from
Washington. Colonel Gardner began to feel uneasy at this studied
silence, and determined to place the responsibility of any disaster that
might occur where it properly belonged. On the 1st of the month he made
a full report to his next superior officer, General Wool, at Troy, New
York, to be forwarded to the Secretary of War, in relation to the
dangers that threatened us, and our imperfect means of defense. He
notified them that our provisions would be exhausted by the 20th of the
month, and that we were very deficient in ammunition and military
supplies generally. The secretary, in his answer to this communication,
simply expressed his regret that he had not been informed of all this
before. This sympathy was no doubt very gratifying; but, being of an
entirely passive nature, did not benefit us in the least. Colonel
Gardner, at our solicitation, directed that the guns which had been
dismounted to enable the engineers to make their repairs be remounted at
once, and Seymour's company and mine soon placed them in position. It
was of little use, however, to have our armament in readiness, unless
the approaches to the fort could be carefully watched. This it was
impossible to do by the ordinary system of guard duty; but I suggested a
plan which enabled us to have an ample number of sentinels, without
exhausting the men. It was done by placing each man on guard for a
single hour, between tattoo and reveille, allowing him to sleep for the
remainder of the night.



     Defeat of Captain Seymour's Expedition on the Ashley.--Mayor
     Macbeth's Explanation.--Captain Foster's Work on Fort
     Moultrie.--Governor Gist convenes the South Carolina
     Legislature.--Creation of a Standing Army.--Arrival of Masons from
     Baltimore.--Situation of Fort Sumter.--A Dramatic
     Incident.--Secretary Floyd's Action.--Horace Greeley's Advocacy of
     the Right of Secession.--The Situation November 18th.

The United States Arsenal in Charleston is situated on the banks of the
Ashley River. It looked feasible to go there in a boat without
attracting attention, and procure a full supply of cartridges and other
articles which were very much needed. Captain Seymour volunteered for
the service, and was sent over with a small party, early in the
afternoon. Notwithstanding he took every precaution, some spy belonging
to a vigilance committee followed him, and reported the facts in the
city. Seymour at once found himself beset by an excited mob, and wholly
prevented from accomplishing the object of his mission. Colonel Gardner
wrote to Mayor Macbeth for an explanation. The latter apologized
politely for this unexpected occurrence, and, speaking for himself and
other city officials, stated that so long as they staid in the Union
they desired to remain faithful to its obligations, and that no further
obstacles would be thrown in the way of another expedition. Colonel
Gardner, however, did not send out again, thinking, perhaps, the mob
might be beyond the control of the mayor.

Since his arrival, Captain Foster had been hard at work on the fort. He
had hired laborers from the vicinity of Charleston, and had sent to
Baltimore for a large number of masons who had formerly worked for him.
In spite of his efforts, we were still in a very weak condition, and
unable to defend ourselves. It is true the sand had been removed from
the sea-face of the work; but as that front had no flanking defenses,
the angles in the wall were torn down to enable the engineers to
construct double caponieres there. This left great gaps, through which
an assaulting party could penetrate at any moment. Perhaps in one sense
it added to our security, for there was no glory to be acquired in
capturing a fort which was wide open and defenseless. Crowds of excited
countrymen, wearing secession cockades, constantly came to visit the
work; and on the 3d of November they formed in procession and marched
around it, but did not offer any violence.

It may not be improper to state that I was the only officer of the
command who favored Lincoln's election. As regards my companions,
however, there was no difference of opinion in regard to sustaining the
new President should he be legally elected, and they were all both
willing and anxious to defend the fort confided to their honor.

In view of the probable success of the Republican candidate for the
presidency, Governor Gist called the South Carolina Legislature
together, to meet on Monday, the 5th of November. In his message he
recommended the immediate formation of a standing army of ten thousand
men; and that all persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five be
armed for immediate service. In consequence of this recommendation, by
the 9th of November the whole State was swarming with minute-men.

The spark came at last which was to set fire to the magazine. The
startling news of Lincoln's election reached Charleston on the 7th of
November. As this event was sure to lead to secession, the Disunionists
were wild with delight. In their exuberance of spirits, they ran
through the streets shouting "Hurra for Lincoln!" The United States
District Court, which was in session, at once broke up, and its judge,
Magrath, sent in his resignation. In the evening of the same day, Edmund
Ruffin, who has already been referred to, made a fiery secession speech
to an immense audience at the capitol of the State. The Legislature,
inflamed by public sentiment, called a convention, to meet on the 17th
of the month, to decide the question of secession. Governor Joseph E.
Brown, of Georgia, also called a convention there for the same purpose;
and the excitement in each State constantly reacted on the other.

In the early part of November, one hundred and fifty masons arrived from
Baltimore to work on the forts in the harbor. They were undoubtedly good
workmen, but it is much to be regretted that they were not also good
Unionists. Captain Foster at this time did not believe that any serious
complications would arise from the attitude South Carolina had assumed,
and did not, therefore, think it necessary to pay any attention to the
politics of his laborers. Had he selected zealous Union men, their
arrival would have been a most opportune re-enforcement for the
garrison. Unfortunately, most of them sympathized with the South, and
their coming was rather a source of weakness than of strength, so far as
actual fighting was concerned. They rendered us, however, great and
timely assistance by their labor.

The first thing that attracted the eye of the stranger, upon approaching
Charleston from the sea, was Fort Sumter. It was built on an artificial
island made of large blocks of stone. The walls were of dark brick, and
designed for three tiers of guns. The whole structure, as it rose
abruptly out of the water, had a gloomy, prison-like appearance. It was
situated on the edge of the channel, in the narrowest part of the
harbor, between Fort Moultrie and Cummings Point, distant about a mile
from the former place, and twelve hundred yards from the latter. The
year before, it had been used by us as a temporary place of confinement
and security for some negroes that had been brought over from Africa in
a slaver captured by one of our naval vessels. The inevitable conflict
was very near breaking out at that time; for there was an eager desire
on the part of all the people around us to seize these negroes, and
distribute them among the plantations; and if the Government had not
acted promptly in sending them back to Africa, I think an attempt would
have been made to take them from us by force, on the ground that some
of them had violated a State law by landing at Moultrieville.

As Fort Sumter has considerable historic renown, it may not be
uninteresting to relate another incident connected with it, although it
is not germane to my narrative. In 1859, after the negroes were taken
away, the fort remained in charge of an ordnance-sergeant, who lived
there alone with his wife and two little children. Supplies were sent to
him regularly, but in case of emergency he could only communicate with
the shore by means of a small boat. One wild stormy day, when the wind
was blowing a gale, he was suddenly struck down with yellow fever. His
wife saw that if he did not have immediate medical assistance he would
die. She herself could not go, as he required constant attention, and
the children were too young to be of any service. A day passed on, and
it became evident that he was growing worse. In a frantic state of mind,
she rushed up to the top of the fort, waved a sheet backward and
forward, and raised and lowered the garrison flag repeatedly, in hopes
of attracting the attention of some passing vessel; but although several
went by, no one seemed to notice the signals, or, if they did, they
would not stop, on account of the tempest, which still continued. She
then took the desperate resolution of putting her two little children in
the small boat, and trusting to the flood-tide to drift them somewhere
in the vicinity of Charleston. She placed a letter in the hand of one of
them, to be given to the first person they met, imploring that a
physician might be sent to her at once. It was a terrible experiment,
for the children might easily have been swept out to sea by the ebb-tide
before they could make a landing. They succeeded, however, in reaching
the shore near Mount Pleasant. A doctor finally arrived, but too late to
be of any service.

Foster wanted forty muskets to arm some of his workmen, as a guard for
the powder in Fort Sumter, and for valuable public property in Castle
Pinckney. This was approved at Washington; but the moment he obtained
the guns from the arsenal, the Secretary of War hastily telegraphed him,
in the middle of the night, to send them back again immediately. And yet
at this same period two thousand additional United States muskets were
forwarded by Floyd's order to South Carolina; and the _Charleston
Courier_ stated that five thousand more were on their way. This did not
look, much as if the Administration intended to sustain us. While the
honorable secretary was thus supplying our enemies with arms, and
leaving the United States Arsenal in Charleston, full of military
stores, without a guard, he was very solicitous to ascertain whether our
garrison duties were accurately performed, and sent an assistant
inspector-general, Major Fitz John Porter, to make a thorough
examination. As the secretary intended neither to re-enforce nor
withdraw us, and as he made no effort at any time to remedy defects in
our armament, this inspection seemed to us to be a mere pretense. It
resulted, however, in relieving Colonel Gardner from his command, on
Porter's recommendation, Major Robert Anderson being ordered to take his

Mr. Greeley was at this time the head of the Republican party, and one
of the great leaders of Northern opinion. His immense services in
rousing the public mind to the evils of slavery can not be
overestimated, but some of his views were too hastily formed and
promulgated. In this crisis of our history he injured the cause he
afterward so eloquently advocated by publishing an opinion, on the 9th
of November, that the South had a perfect right to secede whenever a
majority thought proper to do so; and, in another communication, he
stated that the Union could not be pinned together with bayonets.
General Scott was also at one time in favor of letting the "wayward
sisters depart in peace;" and I have heard on good authority that at
least one member of the Cabinet and one leading general, appalled by the
magnitude of the conflict, were willing to consent to a separation,
provided the Border States would go with the North. Greeley's article
went farther than this, for it seemed to favor a simple severance of the
North and the South. This was not only a virtual abandonment of the
rights of Northern men who had invested their capital in the Southern
States, but it amounted to giving up all the sea-coast and magnificent
harbors south of New Jersey, including Chesapeake Bay. It was expressing
a willingness to surrender the mouth of the Mississippi, the commerce of
the great North-west, and the Capitol at Washington, to the control of a
foreign nation, hostile to us from the very nature of its institutions.
In fact, it was a proposition to commit national suicide. The new
Northern republic would have been three thousand miles long, and only
one hundred miles wide, in the vicinity of Wheeling. A country of such a
peculiar shape could not, as every military man knows, have been
successfully defended, and must inevitably have soon broken up into
small confederacies. We objected, with reason, to the formation of a
European monarchy in far-off Mexico, but the proposed separation would
have created a powerful slave empire, with its northern border within
eighteen miles of Philadelphia. Once firmly established there and along
the Ohio, the Southern army could have burned Cincinnati from the
opposite shore, and have penetrated to Lake Erie by a single successful
battle and march, permanently severing the East from the West.

These unexpected views of Mr. Greeley strengthened the hands of the
Disunionists. They were everywhere quoted as evidence that no attempt
would be made to interfere with or coerce the South. The fearful and
wavering were thus induced to join the clamorous majority.

I think, too, that the publication of these sentiments did much to
influence the after-conduct of Major Anderson. He was not a Republican
himself, and he may very well have thought, if the Republican leaders
did not deny the right of secession, there was little use in his
sacrificing his small command in a feeble attempt to make South Carolina
remain in the Union.

The sky darkened after this, for Georgia voted a million of dollars to
raise troops, and it became evident that the other Southern States would
follow in the same direction.

By the 18th of November we considered ourselves reasonably secure
against a _coup-de-main_. Our guns were up, and loaded with canister,
and we had a fair supply of hand-grenades ready for use. With a view to
intimidate those who were planning an attack, I occasionally fired
toward the sea an eight-inch howitzer, loaded with double canister. The
spattering of so many balls in the water looked very destructive, and
startled and amazed the gaping crowds around. I also amused myself by
making some small mines, which would throw a shell a few feet out of the
ground whenever any person accidentally trod upon a concealed plank: of
course the shell did not have a bursting charge in it. These experiments
had a cooling effect upon the ardor of the militia, who did not fancy
storming the fort over a line of torpedoes.



     Arrival of Major Anderson.--Huger's Opposition to a premature
     Assault on Fort Moultrie.--Anderson's Report to the Secretary of
     War.--Active Preparations by the South Carolinians.--Meeting of
     Congress.--Attempts at Compromise.--Secession Batteries at Mount
     Pleasant.--Arrival of Major Buell with written Orders.--Vain
     Efforts to Strengthen Castle Pinckney.--Northern Opinion.--Public
     Meeting in Philadelphia.

It was now openly proclaimed in Charleston that declarations in favor of
the Union would no longer be tolerated; that the time for deliberation
had passed, and the time for action had come.

On the 21st our new commander arrived and assumed command. He felt as if
he had a hereditary right to be there, for his father had distinguished
himself in the Revolutionary War in defense of old Fort Moultrie against
the British, and had been confined a long time as a prisoner in
Charleston. We had long known Anderson as a gentleman; courteous,
honest, intelligent, and thoroughly versed in his profession. He had
been twice brevetted for gallantry--once for services against the
Seminole Indians in Florida, and once for the battle of Molino del Rey
in Mexico, where he was badly wounded. In politics he was a strong
pro-slavery man. Nevertheless, he was opposed to secession and Southern
extremists. He soon found himself in troubled waters, for the
approaching battle of Fort Moultrie was talked of everywhere throughout
the State, and the mob in Charleston could hardly be restrained from
making an immediate assault. They were kept back once through the
exertions of Colonel Benjamin Huger, of the Ordnance Department of the
United States Army. As he belonged to one of the most distinguished
families in Charleston, he had great influence there. It was said at the
time that he threatened if we were attacked, or rather mobbed, in this
way, he would join us, and fight by the side of his friend Anderson.[5]
Colonel Memminger, afterward the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury,
also exerted himself to prevent any irregular and unauthorized

An additional force of workmen having arrived from Baltimore, Captain
Foster retained one hundred and twenty to continue the work on Fort
Moultrie, leaving his assistant, Lieutenant Snyder, one hundred and nine
men to finish Fort Sumter.

On the 1st of December, Major Anderson made a full report to Secretary
Floyd in relation to our condition and resources. It was accompanied
with requisitions, in due form, for supplies and military material.
Colonel Gardner, before he left, had already applied for rations for the
entire command for six months.

Previous to Lincoln's election, Governor Gist had stated that in that
event the State would undoubtedly secede, and demand the forts, and that
any hesitation or delay in giving them up would lead to an immediate
assault. Active preparations were now in progress to carry out this
threat. In the first week of December we learned that cannon had been
secretly sent to the northern extremity of the island, to guard the
channel and oppose the passage of any vessels bringing us
re-enforcements by that entrance. We learned, too, that lines of
countervallation had been quietly marked out at night, with a view to
attack the fort by regular approaches in case the first assault failed.
Also, that two thousand of the best riflemen in the State were engaged
to occupy an adjacent sand-hill and the roofs of the adjoining houses,
all of which overlooked the parapet, the intention being to shoot us
down the moment we attempted to man our guns. Yet the Administration
made no arrangements to withdraw us, and no effort to re-enforce us,
because to do the former would excite great indignation in the North,
and the latter might be treated as coercion by the South. So we were
left to our own scanty resources, with every probability that the affair
would end in a massacre. Under these circumstances the appropriating of
$150,000 to repair Fort Moultrie and $80,000 to finish Fort Sumter by
the mere order of the Secretary of War, without the authority of
Congress, was simply an expenditure of public money for the benefit of
the Secessionists, and I have no doubt it was so intended. Forts
constructed in an enemy's country, and left unguarded, are built for the

Congress met on the 3d of December, but took no action in relation to
our peculiar position. As usual, their whole idea was to settle the
matter by some new compromise. The old experiment was to be tried over
again: St. Michael and the Dragon were to lie down in peace, and become
boon companions once more.

The office-holders in the South, who saw in Lincoln's election an end to
their pay and emoluments, were Secessionists to a man, and did their
best to keep up the excitement. They tried to make the poor whites
believe that through the re-opening of the African slave-trade negroes
would be for sale, in a short time, at thirty dollars a head; and that
every laboring man would soon become a rich slave-owner and
cotton-planter. To the timid, they said there would be no coercion. To
the ambitious, they spoke of military glory, and the formation of a vast
slave empire, to include Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies.
The merchants were assured that Charleston would be a free port,
rivaling New York in its trade and opulence.

They painted the future in glowing colors, but the present looked dreary
enough. All business was at an end. The expenses of the State had become
enormous, and financial ruin was rapidly approaching. The heavy
property-owners began to fear they might have to bear the brunt of all
these military preparations in the way of forced loans.[6] For a time a
strong reaction set in against the Rhett faction, but intimidation and
threats prevented any open retrograde movement.

Among those who were reported to be most clamorous to have an immediate
attack made upon us, was a certain captain of the United States
Dragoons, named Lucius B. Northrup; afterward made Paymaster-general of
South Carolina, and subsequently, through the personal friendship of
Jeff. Davis, promoted to be Commissary-general of the rebel army. He had
resided for several years in Charleston on sick-leave, on full pay.
Before urging an assault he should have had the grace to resign his
commission, for his oath of office bound him to be a friend to his
comrades in the army, and not an enemy. I am tempted, in this
connection, to show how differently the rebel general Magruder acted,
under similar circumstances, when he was a captain and brevet colonel in
our service. He said to his officers, the evening before he rode over
the Long Bridge, at Washington, to join the Confederates, "If the
rebels come to-night, we'll give them hell; but to-morrow I shall send
in my resignation, and become a rebel myself."

Amidst all this turmoil, our little band of regulars kept their spirits
up, and determined to fight it out to the last against any force that
might be brought against them. The brick-layers, however, at work in
Fort Sumter were considerably frightened. They held a meeting, and
resolved to defend themselves, if attacked by the Charleston roughs, but
not to resist any organized force.

On the 11th of December we had the good fortune to get our provisions
from town without exciting observation. They had been lying there
several days. It was afterward stated in the papers that the captain of
the schooner was threatened severely for having brought them. On the
same day the enemy began to build batteries at Mount Pleasant, and at
the upper end of Sullivan's Island, guns having already been sent there.
We also heard that ladders had been provided for parties to escalade our
walls. Indeed, the proposed attack was no longer a secret. Gentlemen
from the city said to us, "We appreciate your position. It is a point of
honor with you to hold the fort, but a political necessity obliges us
to take it."

My wife, becoming indignant at these preparations, and the utter apathy
of the Government in regard to our affairs, wrote a stirring letter to
my brother, in New York, stating some of the facts I have mentioned. By
some means it found its way into the columns of the _Evening Post_, and
did much to call attention to the subject, and awaken the Northern
people to a true sense of the situation. She was quite distressed to
find her hasty expressions in print, and freely commented on both by
friends and enemies. I may say, in passing, that the distinguished
editor of that paper, William Cullen Bryant, proved to be one of the
best friends we had at the North. George W. Curtis, who aided us freely
with his pen and influence, was another. They exerted themselves to
benefit us in every way, and were among the first to invoke the
patriotism of the nation to extricate us from our difficulties, and save
the union of the States. When we returned to New York, they and their
friends gave us a cordial and heartfelt welcome.

To resume the thread of my narrative. The fort by this time had been
considerably strengthened. The crevices were filled up, and the walls
were made sixteen feet high, by digging down to the foundations and
throwing up the surplus earth as a glacis. Each of the officers had a
certain portion given him to defend. I caused a sloping picket fence,
technically called _a fraise_, to be projected over the parapet on my
side of the work, as an obstacle against an escalading party. I
understood that this puzzled the military men and newspapers in
Charleston exceedingly. They could not imagine what object I could have
in view. One of the editors said, in reference to it, "Make ready your
sharpened stakes, but you will not intimidate freemen."

There was one good reason why our opponents did not desire to commence
immediate hostilities. The delay was manifestly to their advantage, for
the engineers were putting Fort Sumter in good condition at the expense
of the United States. They (the rebels) intended to occupy it as soon as
the work approached completion. In the mean time, to prevent our
anticipating them, they kept two steamers on guard, to patrol the
harbor, and keep us from crossing. These boats contained one hundred and
twenty soldiers, and were under the command of Ex-lieutenant James
Hamilton, who had recently resigned from the United States Navy.

The threatening movements against Fort Moultrie required incessant
vigilance on our part, and we were frequently worn out with watching and
fatigue. On one of these occasions Mrs. Seymour and Mrs. Doubleday
volunteered to take the places of Captain Seymour and myself, and they
took turns in walking the parapet, two hours at a time, in readiness to
notify the guard in case the minute-men became more than usually

In December the secretary sent another officer of the
Inspector-general's Department, Major Don Carlos Buell, to examine and
report upon our condition. Buell bore written orders, which were
presented on the 11th, directing Major Anderson not to provoke
hostilities, but in case of immediate danger to defend himself to the
last extremity, and take any steps that he might think necessary for
that purpose. There would appear to be some mystery connected with this
subject, for Anderson afterward stated to Seymour, as a reason for not
firing when the rebels attempted to sink the _Star of the West_, that
his instructions tied his hands, and obliged him to remain quiescent.
Now, as there are no orders of this character on record in the War
Department, they must have been of a verbal and confidential nature. In
my opinion, Floyd was fully capable of supplementing written orders to
resist, by verbal orders to surrender without resistance. If he did so,
I can conceive of nothing more treacherous, for his object must have
been to make Anderson the scape-goat of whatever might occur. Buell,
however, is not the man to be the bearer of any treacherous
communication. Still, he did not appear to sympathize much with us, for
he expressed his disapproval of our defensive preparations; referring
particularly to some loop-holes near the guard-house, which he said
would have a tendency to irritate the people. I thought the remark a
strange one, under the circumstances, as "the people" were preparing to
attack us. I had no doubt, at the time, in spite of the warlike message
he had brought, that Buell's expressions reflected the wishes of his
superiors. I have ascertained recently that Floyd did have one or more
confidential agents in Charleston, who were secretly intermeddling in
this matter, without the sanction of the President or the open authority
of the War Office. It appears from the records that another assistant
adjutant-general, Captain Withers, who joined the rebels at the outbreak
of the rebellion, and became a rebel general, was also sent by Floyd to
confer with Anderson. It is not at all improbable, therefore, that some
one of the messengers who actually joined the enemy may have been the
bearer of a treasonable communication. It appears from Anderson's own
statement that his hands were tied, and no one that knew him would ever
doubt his veracity. Yet, if he really desired to retain possession of
Charleston harbor for the Government, and Floyd's orders stood in his
way, why did he not, after the latter fled to the South, make a plain
statement to the new secretary, Judge Holt, whose patriotism was
undoubted, and ask for fresh instructions? It looks to me very much as
if he accepted the orders without question because he preferred the
policy of non-resistance.

I shall have occasion to refer to this subject again in the course of my

We had frequently regretted the absence of a garrison in Castle
Pinckney, as that post, being within a mile of Charleston, could easily
control the city by means of its mortars and heavy guns. We were too
short-handed ourselves to spare a single soldier. The brave
ordnance-sergeant, Skillen, who was in charge there, begged hard that we
would send him a few artillerists. He could not bear the thought of
surrendering the work to the enemies of the Government without a
struggle, and would have made a determined resistance if he could have
found any one to stand by him. We talked the matter over, and Captain
Foster thought he could re-enforce Skillen by selecting a few reliable
men from his masons to assist in defending the place. He accordingly
sent a body of picked workmen there, under his assistant, Lieutenant
R.K. Meade, with orders to make certain repairs. The moment, however,
Meade attempted to teach these men the drill at the heavy guns, they
drew back in great alarm, and it was soon seen that no dependence could
be placed upon them. So Castle Pinckney was left to its fate.

As the General Government seemed quietly to have deserted us, we watched
the public sentiment at the North with much interest. There was but
little to encourage us there. The Northern cities, however, were
beginning to appreciate the gravity of the crisis. At the call of the
Mayor of Philadelphia, a great public meeting was held in Independence
Square. For one, I was thoroughly dispirited and disgusted at the
resolutions that were passed. They were evidently prompted by the
almighty dollar, and the fear of losing the Southern trade. They urged
that the North should be more than ever subservient to the South, more
active in catching fugitive slaves, and more careful not to speak
against the institution of slavery. As a pendant to these resolutions,
an official attempt was made, a few days afterward, to prevent the
eloquent Republican orator, George W. Curtis, from advocating the
Northern side of the question.



     Passage of the Secession Ordinance.--Governor Pickens's
     Proclamation.--Judge Petigru's Visit to Fort Moultrie.--Floyd's
     Treachery.--Yancey's Lectures in the North.--The Removal to Fort

On the 17th a bill was passed to arm the militia of North Carolina.

On the same day the Charleston Convention met, and chose General D.F.
Jamison as their president, and on the 20th of the month the secession
ordinance was duly passed, and South Carolina voted out of the Union
amidst screams of enthusiasm. Immediately afterward there was great
competition for the possession of the immortal pen with which the
instrument was signed. At the close of the war, I heard it was for sale
at a very low figure.

The new Governor, Francis W. Pickens, signed the ordinance very gladly,
and issued his proclamation on the 24th declaring South Carolina to be a
free and independent nation. He had served as a member of Congress from
1835 to 1843, and as Minister to Russia in 1858, but he was not
considered a man of decided ability. He was very impetuous in his
disposition, and, according to a statement made by him in one of his
Congressional speeches, which attracted much attention at the time, he
was "born insensible to fear."

Soon after the State seceded, that stern old patriot, Judge J.L.
Petigru, of South Carolina, came over, with one of his friends, to pay
us a final visit, to express the deep sorrow and sympathy he felt for us
in our trying position. As he knew that arrangements were being made to
drive us out, he bade us farewell with much feeling. The tears rolled
down his cheeks as he deplored the folly and the madness of the times.
He had been previously asked in the city if he did not intend to join
the secession movement. He replied, "_I should think not! South Carolina
is too small for a republic, and too large for a lunatic-asylum._" At a
later period of the war, it is said he was called upon to give up the
property of his Northern clients for confiscation, under a law which
made it treason to refuse. He positively declined to comply with the
demand, and said, with much spirit, "_Whenever the time comes for me to
choose between death and dishonor, I shall have no difficulty in saying
which of the two I shall elect._" It is much to be regretted that he did
not live to witness the final triumph of the cause which was so dear to

Four of Buchanan's Cabinet--Floyd, Cobb, Toucey, and Thompson--were now
open and avowed Disunionists. On the 23d, a defalcation of eight hundred
and thirty-three thousand dollars was discovered in the Department of
the Interior, while the Secretary, Jacob Thompson, was absent from his
post, and acting as a disunion agent, to represent the State of
Mississippi. This dallying with treason in the Cabinet was one of the
most discouraging signs of the times.

A circumstance now occurred which to my mind was proof positive that
Floyd intended to betray us and the Government he represented. I have no
doubt it hastened our departure from Fort Moultrie. He directed Captain
Foster to have the guns mounted in Fort Sumter immediately. It was plain
enough, from demonstrations already made, that the moment this was done
the rebels would seize the fort, and turn its powerful armament upon us.
There was no one there to resist them. It seems to me that Floyd's
speech to the Secessionists of Richmond, made shortly after his flight
from Washington, was a pretty plain acknowledgment that he had violated
his oath of office as Secretary of War, in order that he might advance
the interests of the Confederacy. He said on that occasion, "I undertook
so to dispose of the power in my hands that when the terrific hour came,
you, and all of you, and each of you, should say, 'This man has done his

Anderson had been urged by several of us to remove his command to Fort
Sumter, but he had invariably replied that he was specially assigned to
Fort Moultrie, and had no right to vacate it without orders. Our
affairs, however, were becoming critical, and I thought it my duty to
speak to him again on the subject. He still apparently adhered to his
decision. Nevertheless, he had fully determined to make the change, and
was now merely awaiting a favorable opportunity. To deceive the enemy,
he still kept at work with unabated zeal on the defenses of Fort
Moultrie. This exactly suited the purposes of the rebel leaders, for
they knew we could make no effectual defense there, and our preparations
would only increase the prestige of their victory. We were not
authorized to commence hostilities by burning the adjacent houses, and
yet, if they were not leveled, clouds of riflemen could occupy them, and
prevent our men from serving the guns. Under any circumstances, it was
plain that we must soon succumb from over-exertion and loss of sleep
incident to repelling incessant attacks from a host of enemies. The fact
that through the provident care of the Secretary of War the guns of Fort
Sumter would also be turned upon us, enfilading two sides of Fort
Moultrie, and taking another side in reverse, was quite decisive as to
the impossibility of our making a lengthened defense.

Up to this time we had hoped, almost against hope, that, even if the
Government were base enough to desert us, the loyal spirit of the
patriotic North would manifest itself in our favor, inasmuch as our
little force represented the supremacy of the Constitution and the laws;
but all seemed doubt, apathy, and confusion there. Yancey was delivering
lectures in the Northern States, as a representative of the
Disunionists, not only without molestation, but with frequent and
vociferous applause from the Democratic masses, who could not be made to
believe there was any real danger.

In making his arrangements to cross over, Anderson acted with consummate
prudence and ability. He only communicated his design to the
staff-officers, whose co-operation was indispensable, and he waited
until the moment of execution before he informed the others of his
intention. No one, of course, would deliberately betray a secret of this
kind, but it sometimes happens, under such circumstances, that officers
give indications of what is about to take place by sending for their
washing, packing their trunks, and making changes in their messing

Without knowing positively that any movement had been projected, two
circumstances excited my suspicions. Once, while I was walking with the
major on the parapet, he turned to me abruptly, and asked me what would
be the best course to take to render the gun-carriages unserviceable. I
told him there were several methods, but my plan would be to heap
pitch-pine knots around them, and burn them up. The question was too
suggestive to escape my attention.

On the day previous to our departure, I requested him to allow me to
purchase a large quantity of wire, to make an entanglement in front of
the part of the work I was assigned to defend. He said, with a quizzical
look, "Certainly; you shall have a mile of wire, if you require it."
When I proposed to send for it immediately, he smiled, and objected in
such a peculiar way that I at once saw that he was no longer interested
in our efforts to strengthen Fort Moultrie.

As a preliminary to the proposed movement, he directed the post
quartermaster, Lieutenant Hall, to charter three schooners and some
barges, for the ostensible purpose of transporting the soldiers'
families to old Fort Johnson, on the opposite side of the harbor, where
there were some dilapidated public buildings belonging to the United
States. The danger of the approaching conflict was a good pretext for
the removal of the non-combatants. All this seemed natural enough to the
enemy, and no one offered any opposition. In reality, these vessels were
loaded with supplies for all the troops, with reference to a prolonged
residence in Fort Sumter. Hall was directed to land every thing there as
soon as a signal-gun was fired. In the mean time he sailed for Fort
Johnson, and lay off and on, waiting for the signal.

Anderson had broken up his own mess, and on the last evening of our stay
(December 26th) I left my room to ask him in to take tea with us. The
sun was just setting as I ascended the steps leading to the parapet and
approached him. He was in the midst of a group of officers, each of whom
seemed silent and distrait. As I passed our assistant-surgeon, I
remarked, "It is a fine evening, Crawford." He replied in a hesitating
and embarrassed manner, showing that his thoughts were elsewhere. I saw
plainly that something unusual had occurred. Anderson approached me as I
advanced, and said quietly, "I have determined to evacuate this post
immediately, for the purpose of occupying Fort Sumter; I can only allow
you twenty minutes to form your company and be in readiness to start." I
was surprised at this announcement, and realized the gravity of the
situation at a glance. We were watched by spies and
vigilance-committees, who would undoubtedly open fire upon us as soon as
they saw the object of the movement. I was naturally concerned, too, for
the safety of my wife, who was the only lady in the fort at that time,
and who would necessarily be exposed to considerable danger.
Fortunately, I had little or no property to lose, as, in anticipation of
a crisis, I had previously sent every thing of value to New York. Some
of the other officers did not fare so well. The doctor, not expecting so
sudden a _dénouement_, had necessarily left his medical stores unpacked.
Foster, who had taken a house outside for his family, was wholly
unprepared, and lost heavily.

I made good use of the twenty minutes allowed me. I first went to the
barracks, formed my company, inspected it, and saw that each man was
properly armed and equipped. This left me ten minutes to spare. I dashed
over to my quarters; told my wife to get ready to leave immediately, and
as the fighting would probably commence in a few minutes, I advised her
to take refuge with some family outside, and get behind the sand-hills
as soon as possible, to avoid the shot. She hastily threw her
wearing-apparel into her trunks, and I called two men to put her baggage
outside the main gate. I then accompanied her there, and we took a sad
and hasty leave of each other, for neither knew when or where we would
meet again. As soon as this was accomplished, I strapped on my revolver,
tied a blanket across my shoulders, and reported to Major Anderson that
my men were in readiness to move.

In the mean time Lieutenant Jefferson C. Davis, of my company, who had
been detailed to command the rear guard, aimed the guns, which were
already loaded, to bear upon the passage to Fort Sumter, and Captain
Foster and Assistant-surgeon Crawford, with two sergeants and three
privates, remained with him, and took post at five columbiads, in
readiness to carry out Major Anderson's design, which was to sink the
guard-boats, should they attempt to fire into us or run us down while
_en route_. Certainly the major showed no lack of determination or
energy on this occasion.

If we were successful in crossing, Davis was to follow with the
remainder of the men. Foster and Mr. Moale agreed to remain behind until
morning. They also volunteered to place themselves at the guns, and
cover the retreat of the rear guard under Davis, in case an attempt was
made to intercept them.

The chaplain, the Rev. Matthias Harris, being a non-combatant, and
having his family in the village, was not notified. Neither was Surgeon
Simons, of the army, who was living in a house adjoining the fort, and
directly in line with our guns. When he saw the movement in progress, he
hastened out with his family, to shelter them behind the sand-hills as
soon as possible.

Every thing being in readiness, we passed out of the main gates, and
silently made our way for about a quarter of a mile to a spot where the
boats were hidden behind an irregular pile of rocks, which originally
formed part of the sea-wall. There was not a single human being in sight
as we marched to the rendezvous, and we had the extraordinary good luck
to be wholly unobserved. We found several boats awaiting us, under
charge of two engineer officers, Lieutenants Snyder and Meade. They and
their crews were crouched down behind the rocks, to escape observation.
In a low tone they pointed out to me the boats intended for my company,
and then pushed out rapidly to return to the fort. Noticing that one of
the guard-boats was approaching, they made a wide circuit to avoid it. I
hoped there would be time for my party to cross before the steamer could
overhaul us; but as among my men there were a number of unskillful
oarsmen, we made but slow progress, and it soon became evident that we
would be overtaken in mid-channel. It was after sunset, and the twilight
had deepened, so that there was a fair chance for us to escape. While
the steamer was yet afar off, I took off my cap, and threw open my coat
to conceal the buttons. I also made the men take off their coats, and
use them to cover up their muskets, which were lying alongside the
rowlocks. I hoped in this way that we might pass for a party of laborers
returning to the fort. The paddle-wheels stopped within about a hundred
yards of us; but, to our great relief, after a slight scrutiny, the
steamer kept on its way. In the mean time our men redoubled their
efforts, and we soon arrived at our destination. As we ascended the
steps of the wharf, crowds of workmen rushed out to meet us, most of
them wearing secession emblems. One or two Union men among them cheered
lustily, but the majority called out angrily, "What are these soldiers
doing here?" I at once formed my men, charged bayonets, drove the
tumultuous mass inside the fort, and seized the guard-room, which
commanded the main entrance. I then placed sentinels to prevent the
crowd from encroaching on us. As soon as we had disembarked, the boats
were sent back for Seymour's company. The major landed soon after in one
of the engineer boats, which had coasted along to avoid the steamer.
Seymour's men arrived in safety, followed soon after by the remaining
detachments, which had been left behind as a rear-guard. The latter,
however, ran a good deal of risk, for in the dark it passed almost under
the bow of the guard-boat _Niña_. The whole movement was successful
beyond our most sanguine expectations, and we were highly elated. The
signal-gun was fired, and Hall at once sailed over, and landed the
soldiers' families and supplies. As soon as the schooners were unloaded,
the disloyal workmen were placed on board and shipped off to the
main-land. Only a few of the best and most reliable were retained.

Upon leaving me, my wife took refuge temporarily in the residence of Dan
Sinclair, the sutler of the post, a most excellent man, and one to whom
we were indebted for many kindnesses. Finding that the people of
Moultrieville were not yet aware of the change that had taken place, and
that every thing was tranquil, she ventured back to the fort, and
finished the removal of all our effects. After this, in company with the
chaplain's family, she walked up and down the beach the greater part of
the night, looking anxiously toward Fort Sumter to see if there were any
indications of trouble or disturbance there. In the morning she took up
her residence at the chaplain's house. As for the other ladies, both
Mrs. Simons and Mrs. Foster fled to the city at the first intimation of
danger, and Mrs. Seymour was already there.



     The New Quarters.--Seizure of Castle Pinckney by Charleston
     Troops.--Raising the Flag at Fort Sumter.--The Sergeant's
     Daughter.--Major Anderson's Position.--The Charleston Troops take
     Fort Moultrie.--A Military Problem.--Condition of Fort
     Sumter.--Governor Pickens's Commission.--A New Outrage.

On the very day that these events occurred, the South Carolina
commissioners, R.W. Barnwell, J.H. Adams, and James L. Orr, arrived in
Washington to treat for the surrender of the forts and other public
property. It proved to be a very inauspicious time for such a

Our garrison were up betimes on the morning of the 27th, to inspect
their new quarters. The soldiers thronged the parapet in such numbers as
to attract the attention of the troops on board the _Niña_. That vessel
steamed up to the city in great haste, and communicated the startling
intelligence that Fort Sumter, in some inexplicable manner, had been
fully re-enforced.[7] The chagrin of the authorities was intense.
Messengers were at once dispatched to all parts of the city, to ring the
door-bells and arouse the people.

While this was going on in town, Anderson, who was very punctilious in
regard to settling all debts due by the United States to citizens,
determined to send a detachment, under Lieutenant Davis, back to Fort
Moultrie as a guard to Captain Foster, to enable him to pay off the
claims of the workmen he had left behind. Doctor Crawford went over
also, to look after some of his medical property. As the guard-boats had
been withdrawn, they reached the fort without difficulty, and found it
deserted. The people of the little village, to all appearance, were
still ignorant of our change of station. Soon after their arrival, the
party, in accordance with instructions from Major Anderson, set fire to
the gun-carriages bearing on Fort Sumter, and destroyed all the
ammunition and military material that could not be brought away. The
guns had been spiked the night before, and the flag-staff was cut down,
either at that time or in the morning.

As I have stated, the major took great pains to see that all bills,
even those of a private nature, due in Charleston we're fully paid by
the officers and men of his command; but many leading merchants in the
city were not so scrupulous. They gladly took advantage of the war to
repudiate the claims of their Northern creditors. I was also informed by
one of the pay-masters that a number of officers of the army who
resigned to join the rebellion first deliberately drew their month's pay
in advance, and then left the pay-master, as a penalty for his kindness,
to make good the deficiency from his private funds, in order to settle
his accounts.

Foster and Davis, finding Fort Moultrie still deserted, made good use of
the occasion by loading up with supplies and ammunition one of the
schooners which had been previously chartered to carry over the women
and children, and which were now lying empty at the wharf.

On their way back from this expedition our officers saw the Charleston
troops going over to take possession of Castle Pinckney. The calm and
dignified South Carolina Legislature had not authorized this outrageous
proceeding. Even if we assume that the State had the right to secede, it
does not follow that the public property within her limits properly
belonged to her. It appertained to the nation at large, inasmuch as all
the other States had contributed toward it, and therefore it was a
proper subject of negotiation. To seize it at once, without a
declaration of war, and while the subject was still pending, was a
violation of all right and precedent. The hot-headed governor, however,
irritated at our change of station, took the responsibility of
commencing hostilities against the Union, without the co-operation of
the Legislature, and this, too, at a time when the State was almost
destitute of war material and funds. I doubt if there were more than
half a dozen heavy guns on hand, and there were certainly not a dozen
rounds of cannon-powder for each.

Major Anderson, who was a very religious man, thought it best to give
some solemnity to our occupation of Fort Sumter by formally raising the
flag, at noon, with prayer and military ceremonies. The band played "The
Star-spangled Banner," the troops presented arms, and our chaplain, the
Rev. Matthias Harris, offered up a fervent supplication, invoking the
blessing of Heaven upon our small command and the cause we represented.
Three cheers were then given for the flag, and the troops were

The seizure of Castle Pinckney, on the afternoon of the 27th, was the
first overt act of the Secessionists against the sovereignty of the
United States. As already stated, it was ordered by Governor Pickens, on
his own responsibility, without the concurrence of the Legislature.[8]
The latter, indeed, positively declined to sanction the measure. At 2
P.M. the Washington Light Infantry and Meagher Guards, both companies of
Colonel J.J. Petigru's rifle regiment, embarked, under command of that
officer, on board the _Niña_, and steamed down to the little island upon
which the Castle is situated. When they arrived in front of the main
gates they found them closed; whereupon they applied scaling-ladders,
and with eager, flushed faces made their way to the top of the wall. The
excitement was needless, for there was no one there to resist them, the
only fighting-men present being Lieutenant R.K. Meade, of the engineers,
and Ordnance-sergeant Skillen, who resided there with his family, and
who was in charge of the work. Meade, himself a Virginian, had a sharp
colloquy with Petigru, and expressed himself in severe terms in relation
to this treasonable assault.

After taking possession, one of the rebel officers found the sergeant's
daughter, pretty Kate Skillen, aged fifteen, weeping bitterly at the
foot of the ramparts. He assured her no harm should befall her. She
replied, "I am not crying because I am afraid!" "What is the matter,
then?" said he. "I am crying because you have put that miserable rag up
there," she said, pointing to the Palmetto flag which had just been
raised to the top of the staff.

Foster's few reliable workmen proved to be a bad investment. It is said
that most of them, when they found the enemy were actually coming, hid
in closets, sheds, and under the beds, and some cried bitterly.

While this was going on, Major Anderson and myself stood side by side on
the parapet, watching the scene through our spy-glasses. From his
expressions of indignation, I was in hopes he would take prompt measures
to close the harbor against any further encroachments of the State
troops, made with a view to occupy Fort Moultrie or Fort Johnson. It
would have required but a short time to mount a few pieces; and when
these were once in position, it would have been easy to cut off all
direct communication by water between the different posts. In short, he
could take entire possession of the harbor. He did threaten to put out
the lights in the light-houses with his artillery, and close the port in
that way; but his anger soon passed away, and he took no aggressive
measures of any kind.

In my opinion, if he could have been satisfied that no other States
would join South Carolina in her mad attempt, he would have done every
thing that lay in his power to punish her; for he looked upon her as a
spoiled child that needed correction. Having married a lady from
Georgia, he had almost identified himself with that State. He did own a
plantation and negroes there, but had recently sold them. The purchaser
afterward refused to pay for them, on the ground that Anderson had
destroyed their value by virtually warring against slavery. At this
period the feeling in many parts of the South was strong against South
Carolina. This was particularly the case among the young men of Georgia,
who looked upon the leaders of secession in the Palmetto State as very
presuming, because these leaders thought and acted as if they were the
only representatives of Southern sentiment, and as if the leadership
belonged to them as a matter of right. They seemed to consider that the
mere fact of being born in South Carolina (or Carolina, as they called
it, contemptuously ignoring North Carolina) constituted in itself a
patent of nobility; and their implied scorn of other States caused the
antagonistic feeling which I have mentioned. This was shared by
Anderson, until he found that Georgia also would certainly secede. He
then seemed to lose all interest in the Union, and merely desired to
become a spectator of the contest, and not an actor. His efforts
thenceforth were simply confined to making his fort secure against an
assault. Hardly any amount of provocation could induce him to become the

On the day we left Fort Moultrie, Captain Humphreys, of the engineers,
arrived there from Washington, with orders for Captain Foster from the
Secretary of War. I have never learned the purport of these dispatches.

On the 27th, the day after we evacuated the place, Lieutenant-colonel
Wilmot G. De Saussure arrived at Fort Moultrie, at 9 P.M., with his
battalion of Charleston artillery and thirty riflemen; in all, one
hundred and seventy men. (The companies composing the battalion were
the Marion Artillery, the La Fayette Artillery, the German Artillery,
and the Washington Artillery.) I was informed by a spectator that the
new-comers were exceedingly cautious in making an entrance. They were
looking out for mines in all directions, and had brought ladders with
them, on the supposition that there might be torpedoes in front of the
main gates. It was a clear, beautiful evening, and the moon was at the
full. They were greatly enraged to find the flag-staff cut down, for
they had hoped to run up their own flag on the very spot where ours had
formerly waved. They found, too, the gun-carriages burned, and the guns,
which had gradually settled down as the carriages gave way, resting with
their breeches on the platforms, and the muzzles leaning against the
walls. Out of the mouth of each hung a small white string. As many of
the guns had been kept loaded for a considerable length of time, these
strings had been tied by me to the cartridges, in order that the latter
might be pulled out and sunned occasionally, as a precaution against
dampness. De Saussure's men imagined that these strings were arranged
with a view to blow up the guns the moment any one attempted to
interfere with them, and each soldier, as he passed, avoided the
supposed danger.

The South Carolina officers, at this period, spent much of their time
in discussing military problems. One of these, which was afterward
referred to us for solution, occasioned us much amusement. All
cannon-balls used in the army, and exposed to the weather, are coated
with a varnish of coal-tar, to protect them from rust. Many of those we
left behind were in piles near the guns, and when the carriages were
burned, the tar melted, ran down in streams, and coagulated in lumps. It
was immediately reported that before leaving we had taken great pains to
tar the balls, to render them useless. The problem which puzzled the
military _savans_ of Charleston was, to determine in what way
cannon-balls were ruined by tar. Some months afterward, when we
evacuated Fort Sumter, one of the officers who had been much interested
in this subject took Seymour aside, and asked him confidentially if he
had any objection to tell him why we tarred our balls, assuring him most
earnestly that they could scrape it all off.

Upon occupying Fort Sumter, we found it was in a very unfinished
condition, and that it would require an immense amount of labor to
render it safe against an assault. It had no flanking defenses
whatever. Three or four hundred men, with short ladders, could easily
have taken it; for no guns were mounted, except a few on the gorge, and
all the embrasures were open, there being no efficient means of closing
them. On the gorge side, where the wharf was located, there were two
sally-ports and numerous windows to be guarded. In the second story the
embrasures were nothing but large unfinished openings, slightly boarded
up. Three or four blows of an axe would have made a broad entrance for
an escalading party. The form of the fort was a pentagon. Retaining a
small force as a reserve in the centre of the work, we could only
furnish eight men to defend each side and guard all the numerous

Fortunately no assault was made. It was thought the fort was almost
impregnable, and that there would be no difficulty in inducing Buchanan
to order us back to Fort Moultrie. This occasioned a delay, and gave us
time to strengthen our position. We were hard at work, mounting guns,
preparing shells to be used as hand-grenades, stopping up surplus
embrasures, and removing the débris which encumbered the passages from
one part of the work to another. Quarters were selected for the
officers, soldiers, and camp-women; and the household furniture which
belonged to each, and which had been thrown pell-mell on the
parade-ground, was all separated and deposited in the different rooms. I
chose an apartment near the mess hall, and made it so comfortable that
Anderson and Seymour came there temporarily to live with me. Our mess
was also organized, and placed in charge of Mr. Edward Moale.

In the afternoon, Governor Pickens sent Colonel J.J. Petigru and Major
Elison Capers, both field-officers of the rifle regiment, in full
uniform, to interview Major Anderson. Their looks were full of wrath,
and they bowed stiffly and indignantly in answer to our smiling
salutations. I was present at the conversation that ensued, but did not
take notes. They told the major that perhaps he was not aware that an
agreement had been entered into with President Buchanan not to
re-enforce the forts in the harbor. They desired to call his attention
to the fact that his recent movement was in direct violation of the
contract referred to. They were, therefore, directed by the governor to
request him, peremptorily but courteously, to immediately return to Fort
Moultrie. Anderson replied, in substance, that he knew nothing of any
such agreement; that as commander of the defenses of Charleston he had
an inherent right to occupy any fort in the harbor. He stated that he,
too, was a Southern man; that he believed the whole difficulty was
brought on by the faithlessness of the North--here the aids made a stiff
bow--but as regards returning to Fort Moultrie, he could not, and he
would not, do it. The commissioners were then courteously dismissed.

I have always felt that this was a most insolent demand. If the governor
considered himself aggrieved by our change of station, his redress lay
in an appeal to Washington. This attempt to assume command of us, and
order us out of a United States fort, was an assumption of authority
that merited a more spirited reply.

Before his messengers left, I took occasion, in conversation with a
person who came over in the boat with them, to refer to the great
strength of the work, and I also spoke of the shells which we had
prepared to throw down on the heads of an attacking party. I knew the
conversation would be repeated, and hoped it might have some effect in
deterring an immediate assault.

A new outrage now took place in full view of our garrison. The United
States revenue-cutter, which lay anchored in the stream, was turned
over by its commander, Captain N.L. Coste, to the authorities of South
Carolina. The previous seizures, made without a declaration of war, had
been justified on the ground that the forts and public buildings were
fixtures within the limits of the State. To retain this vessel was
simply an act of piracy.

When it became apparent that South Carolina did not control the
Administration in Washington, and that Anderson would not be ordered
back, it is possible a boat attack might have been organized against us;
but a storm came up about this time, and the wind was so violent that no
small boat could venture out with safety. This occasioned still further
delay, which enabled us to do much toward placing the fort in a better
condition for defense.



     President Buchanan Aroused.--Excitement in Charleston.--The
     Situation at the Beginning of 1861.--Governor Pickens's War
     Measures.--"My heart was never in this War."

Anderson's movement and the sudden uprising of the North put an end to
the mission of the South Carolina commissioners. Governor Pickens seized
Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie on the 27th, and the custom-house and
other United States property on the 28th. Before leaving, the
commissioners made a formal call upon the President. The latter expected
some apology or explanation in relation to the high-handed outrages
which had been perpetrated. Had they temporized, or even used
conciliatory language on this occasion, it is possible the South might
still have preserved the ascendancy it had always held in the councils
of the President. Fortunately, they assumed an air of injured innocence,
and required Mr. Buchanan to humble himself before them for the past,
and give guarantees for the future by immediately ordering Fort Sumter
to be vacated; that is, by surrendering to the State all public property
in Charleston harbor which had not been already stolen. For once, the
President, whose personal integrity was called in question, was
thoroughly roused, and made the only answer which suited the
circumstances. He ordered a man-of-war to proceed to Charleston
immediately, drive the State garrisons out of the forts, and take
possession of the city. He might, indeed, have arrested the
commissioners for high treason; but his Unionism was of a very mild
type, and far from being aggressive.

One of the commissioners, Mr. Adams, hastened to telegraph to the
authorities of Charleston, on the 28th, to prepare for war immediately,
as there were no longer any hopes of a peaceful settlement.

This dispatch caused a great uproar and excitement in Charleston. The
banks at once suspended specie payments. All was terror and confusion,
for it was expected that a fleet would bombard the city and land troops,
and there were no adequate means of opposing its entrance. Castle
Pinckney, indeed, might offer some resistance, but as it had been a
dependency of Fort Sumter, and unoccupied, little, if any, ammunition
was kept there. The governor rushed frantically down to Fort Moultrie to
hasten the preparations for defense. Non-combatants were urged to leave
Moultrieville at once. The laborers formerly employed by Captain Foster
were again hired by the State engineers, and were kept at work
thereafter, night and day, in piling up sand-bags to shield the troops
from the fire of Fort Sumter. The batteries at the north-eastern
extremity of Sullivan's Island, which were made up of a few old
field-pieces brought from the Citadel Academy in the city, were hastily
put in order to protect the entrance by that channel. As for Fort
Moultrie, before we left we had rendered its armament useless. At this
time the guns were still spiked, and the workshops in the city were
going night and day to replace the gun-carriages that had been burned.
In place of these, some of the guns and carriages were sent over from
Castle Pinckney.

No attempt had been made to fortify the Morris Island channel, and
vessels could enter there without the slightest difficulty. It took
several days to transfer the guns and make the preparations I have
mentioned. It follows, therefore, that if the Administration had acted
promptly, Charleston could have been taken at once, and full reparation
exacted for all the wrongs perpetrated against the United States. Why
this was not done will be explained hereafter.

Foster had not been able to settle with all his workmen, and the rebels
frequently sent them over under a flag of truce to demand their back pay
and act as spies. I was enabled through this channel to keep up a
correspondence with my wife, who was still in Moultrieville. I learned
all that was going on there, and took occasion to inform her that we had
no means of lighting up our quarters--a serious inconvenience in those
long winter nights. She purchased a gross of matches and a box of
candles, and had them put on board one of the boats referred to, in full
view of a rebel sentinel, who was supervising the embarkation. She then
requested one of the crew, an old soldier named M'Narhamy, who formerly
belonged to my company, to deliver them to me, which he agreed to do.
The sentinel stared, but the self-possessed manner in which she acted
made him think it must be all right, and he did not interfere. The box
arrived safely, and added very much to our comfort and convenience.

When the governor found that the spell of Southern supremacy was broken,
and that there was no probability that we would be ordered back to Fort
Moultrie, he was in a very angry mood. He stopped our mail for a time,
and cut off all communication with us. We were, of course, prevented
from purchasing fresh provisions, and reduced to pork, beans, and
hard-tack. Anderson was quite indignant at this proceeding, and again
talked of shutting up the port by putting out the lights in the

While the leaders in the city complained bitterly to the public of
Anderson for his perfidy in occupying Fort Sumter, they did not
hesitate, among themselves, to express their admiration for his
acuteness in evading the dangers and difficulties which surrounded him,
and for the skillful manner in which he had accomplished it.

Our life now proved to be one of great hardship. Captain Seymour and
myself were the only officers for duty as officers of the day,
Lieutenant Davis and Lieutenant Hall serving under us as officers of the
guard. The situation required constant vigilance. Lieutenant Talbot,
being a great sufferer from lung-disease, was unable to do this kind of
duty. We were, therefore, very busy during the day superintending
measures for defense, and were obliged to be on the alert, and wide
awake every other night, so that we were completely exhausted in a
short time. Assistant-surgeon Crawford, having no sick in hospital,
generously offered to do duty as officer of the day, and his offer was
gladly accepted. The two young engineer officers, Snyder and Meade, were
also willing to serve as line officers; but Captain Foster thought it
was contrary to precedent, and they were not detailed.

As the Engineer department is regarded in this country as the highest
branch of the military service, and as its officers are really very able
men, I can not conceive what induced them to build Fort Sumter without
any flanking defenses whatever, and without fire-proof quarters for the
officers. The first defect I endeavored to remedy by projecting
iron-plated, bullet-proof galleries over the angles of the parapet. I
left small trap-doors in the bottom of these, for the purpose of
throwing down shells on the heads of any party below attempting to force
an entrance through the embrasures. The other defect--the presence of so
much combustible matter in the quarters--it was impossible to remedy,
and it ultimately cost the loss of the fort. The excuse that it never
could have been anticipated that the fort would be attacked from the
land side is hardly a valid one, for a foreign fleet might possibly
have effected a landing on Morris Island; or they might have set fire to
the quarters from the decks of the vessels by means of incendiary

As may well be supposed, there was a great deal of excitement in New
York in relation to us; and, in view of the small number of men
available for service in the regular army, three of the principal
citizens, James A. Hamilton, Moses H. Grinnell, and I.E. Williams,
offered, at their own expense, about the last of December, to send us
four hundred picked artillerists from the citizen soldiery of the city;
but General Scott refused to entertain the proposition.

On the 1st of January, 1861, we took an account of our resources, and
found we had but one month's supply of fuel for cooking purposes, but
few candles, and no soap. There was, however, a small light-house inside
the fort, and we found a little oil stored there.

It seemed to me that the time had now come when forbearance ceased to be
a virtue. Even our opponents were willing to acknowledge that we
represented a legitimate government, and that both duty and propriety
called upon us to resist the numerous war measures which the governor of
South Carolina had inaugurated. He had taken forcible possession of two
United States forts, of the money in the custom-house, of the
custom-house itself, and of other national property in Charleston. He
had closed the harbor, by destroying the costly prismatic lenses in the
light-houses, and by withdrawing the warning light-ship from Rattlesnake
Shoal. He had cut off all communication between us and the city, and had
seized the United States mails. His steamboats, laden with war material
to be used in erecting batteries against us, were allowed to pass and
repass Fort Sumter, not only without opposition, but without even a
protest. Worse than all, he had commenced imprisoning the crews of
merchant vessels for contumacy in refusing to acknowledge his authority
as the head of an independent nation. In vain did these vessels reverse
their flags in a mute appeal to us to use our guns in their defense.
Anderson would do nothing--not even send a communication to the governor
on the subject, although the latter, without authority from the State
Legislature, was thus wielding all the powers of a military dictator.
The enemy were greatly emboldened at our weakness or timidity, and with
good reason, for they saw us stand by with folded arms, and allow
steamboat loads of ammunition and war material to pass us, on their way
to Morris Island, to be used in the erection and arming of batteries to
prevent any United States vessels from coming to our assistance.

Major Anderson was neither timid nor irresolute, and he was fully aware
of his duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, he desired not only
to save the Union, but to save slavery with it. Without this, he
considered the contest as hopeless. In this spirit he submitted to every
thing, and delayed all action in the expectation that Congress would
make some new and more binding compromise which would restore peace to
the country. He could not read the signs of the times, and see that the
conscience of the nation and the progress of civilization had already
doomed slavery to destruction. If he had taken this view of the
situation, he would have made more strenuous efforts to hold on to the
harbor of Charleston, and the one hundred and twenty millions of
dollars, more or less, spent to regain it might still have formed part
of the national treasury.

The applause which, both in the North and South, greeted his masterly
movement of the 26th of December, made him feel more like an arbiter
between two contending nations than a simple soldier engaged in
carrying out the instructions of his superiors. To show the spirit in
which he acted, it is only necessary to quote from his letter to
Governor Pickens while the rebellion was still pending. He wrote: "My
dear Governor, my heart was never in this war." This sentiment was
repeated by him in letters to other parties, and, strange to say, was
actually sent in the form of an official communication to the
adjutant-general of the army.

The difficulties he experienced in his unavailing attempts to defer
hostilities seriously impaired his health and spirits, and ultimately
brought on the disease which kept him almost entirely out of service
during the remainder of the war, and in all probability hastened his

However much I differed from him in regard to his pro-slavery
sentiments, I take pleasure in stating that, aside from his political
career, the graces of his private life were such as to win the esteem
and regard of all who knew him.



     Promise of Succor;--Fatal Delay.--A Contumacious Chaplain.--Visit
     from our Ladies.--Governor Pickens's Cabinet.--Appearance of the
     _Star of the West_.--The Vessel fired upon from Morris Island and
     Fort Moultrie.--Major Anderson's Protest.--Governor Pickens's

About the close of the year a great fear fell upon Charleston, for they
had received positive information that a United States naval vessel was
on its way to the city. The President had indeed acted promptly. On the
31st of December, he ordered the _Brooklyn_, man-of-war, under Captain
Farragut, to take three hundred veteran soldiers on board from Fortress
Monroe, as a re-enforcement for us, and then proceed to Charleston
harbor to drive out the State troops, and resume possession of the
public property. General Scott, the commander-in-chief, assented to the
arrangement at the time; but, unfortunately, he was afterward seized
with doubts as to whether the withdrawing of so many men from Fortress
Monroe might not endanger its safety; and that being a far more
important work than Fort Sumter, he did not like to run any risk in
relation to it. He therefore induced Mr. Buchanan to change the order,
and substitute for the _Brooklyn_ a merchant vessel, loaded with
supplies and two hundred and fifty recruits.[9] This was a fatal error,
for the steamer chosen, the _Star of the West_, was, from its nature,
wholly unfitted to contend with shore batteries. The general, who at
this time was quite pacifically inclined, may have thought that if this
vessel could slip in, and land its cargo unawares, he would have secured
the harbor of Charleston without increasing the war fever in the South.
Be this as it may, there is no doubt that his policy was too peaceful in
the early days of the war. When a company of the most distinguished men
in Washington was formed, under Cassius M. Clay, to prevent the capture
of the President, and the destruction of the public buildings, he gave
positive orders to Senator Nye, who was on duty at the Navy-yard, not to
fire upon the enemy in case they came there to take possession.

The original plan to succor us was excellent: the substitute was an
utter failure. A change of this kind always occasions more or less
delay, and in the present instance nearly a week elapsed before the
vessel left New York. The enemy took immediate advantage of the time
thus gained, to put up a work to control the main channel which passes
by Morris Island, and which had previously been wholly unobstructed.
They received the telegraphic notice on the 31st of December that a
man-of-war would be sent, and the very next day the cadets of the
Citadel Academy were hard at work at the new battery. It was located so
that it would command the channel, and at the same time be beyond the
reach of our guns. The day was cold and rainy, and the wind blew
fiercely. We wondered how long those boys would keep up their enthusiasm
amidst the hardships and trials of the real war which was now fast

Our chaplain, who had been present at the raising of the flag, and had
then returned to his family in Moultrieville, desired to make us another
visit. For this purpose, he called upon the rebel commander at Fort
Moultrie, and asked if there would be any obstacle thrown in the way of
his crossing over to see us. The answer was, "Oh no, parson; I think I
will give you a pass." The chaplain replied, "I did not ask you for a
pass, sir! I am a United States officer, and I shall visit a United
States fort whenever I think proper, without asking your permission. I
simply desire to know whether you intend to prevent my going by force."
He was not allowed to cross; and as he soon gave new proofs of contumacy
by persisting in praying for the President of the United States, when
asked to hold services in the chapel, before the rebel soldiers, he was
soon banished, and his property confiscated.

The ladies we had left behind naturally felt a strong-desire to be with
us once more. My wife did not wish to ask permission of the rebel
authorities, and I saw little chance of her coming in any other way.
Nevertheless, to my surprise, she made her appearance at the wharf at
Fort Sumter on the afternoon of the 3d of January. It seems she found a
boat-load of laborers about to make the passage, for the purpose of
obtaining their back pay from Captain Foster. She took a seat in the
stern of the boat, and told them to take her with them. The sentinel who
was there to examine the passes did not interfere or ask her any
questions, so she came over without difficulty. Mrs. Foster and her
sister, Mrs. Smith, were already with us, having obtained a permit from
the governor. Mrs. Seymour had made an unsuccessful application to the
commander of Fort Moultrie, and had been somewhat rudely refused. Two
clever little boys, sons of our generous-hearted sutler, Dan Sinclair,
volunteered to row her across. After dark, they pulled a boat out from
under a house up the beach; and as there was no guard there, Mrs.
Seymour came over without difficulty.

The ladies were desirous of remaining an indefinite length of time; but
we had no means of making them comfortable, and Major Anderson thought
their presence would merely add to our embarrassment. In accordance with
his wishes, they left that night and the next day. The cold was intense,
and as all the wood was retained for cooking purposes, I was obliged to
split up a mahogany table for fuel, to keep my wife from suffering
during her brief visit. She and Mrs. Seymour went back with the Sinclair
boys at midnight. They succeeded in making a landing, and in reaching
the chaplain's house without being observed.

In the mean time, an amusing scene had occurred there. A very chivalrous
gentleman, Ex-Governor Means, of South Carolina, had learned in some
way that Mrs. Seymour had been rudely refused permission to visit her
husband in Fort Sumter. He thought this action of the commandant of Fort
Moultrie harsh and unnecessary, and was kind enough to take the trouble
to call at the chaplain's house to assure Mrs. Seymour that he would
procure her a pass from higher authority. The chaplain hardly knew how
to act. He did not like to tell the ex-governor that Mrs. Seymour had
already gone, for fear it might get the Sinclair boys into trouble. He
therefore pretended that Mrs. Seymour was confined to her room with a
sick-headache. The ex-governor sent in repeated messages to beg that she
would see him, if it was only for a moment, but the answers made up by
Mrs. Harris were invariably in the negative. The chaplain afterward
laughed heartily at the equivocal position he had been forced to assume.

Now that we were alone once more, we went to work with a will. The
Baltimore laborers were of inestimable value. They did an immense amount
of labor in the way of mounting guns, and moving weighty materials from
one part of the work to another; but they showed no inclination to take
part in the fighting, should any occur.

On the 3d, the South Carolina commissioners finally shook off the dust
from their feet, and left Washington, having utterly failed to
accomplish the object of their mission.

On the same day, the governor, through Mr. Gourdin's[10] influence,
permitted us to receive our mails once more. By this date we had mounted
all the guns we were able to man on the lower tier, and had bricked up
the surplus windows, sally-ports, and embrasures, as we had no one to
guard them. The enemy, in the mean time, had erected a battery at Fort
Johnson, and marked out another directly opposite to us in

On the 6th, the mayor of New York, Fernando Wood, promulgated a message
to the effect that the Union was breaking up, and recommending that the
city of New York secede from the State. At this time the seeming
indifference of the politicians to our fate made us feel like orphan
children of the Republic, deserted by both the State and Federal

On the same day, Governor Pickens graciously allowed Mrs. Anderson to
visit her husband, but coupled the permission with the ungenerous
stipulation that the interview must take place in presence of witnesses.
He disliked very much to disoblige her, as she belonged to one of the
most distinguished families of Georgia, and had many influential
relatives among the Secessionists. Mr. Gourdin too, who was a warm
personal friend of her husband, exerted himself in her behalf. While she
herself displayed great patriotism, several of her brothers in the final
attack on Fort Sumter were on the opposite side, fighting against her
husband. Under the circumstances, her visit to us was a brief one. She
brought a valuable addition to the fort in the shape of Peter Hart, a
gallant and trustworthy man, who had been Anderson's orderly sergeant in
Mexico. She felt much easier in her mind, now that the major had Hart to
look after him. He was only permitted to join us on condition that his
duties were to be those of a civilian, and not of a soldier.

On the 8th, the governor, who, like Louis XIV., might very readily have
said, "_L'état, c'est moi!_" concluded to form a cabinet to assist him
in his onerous duties. He accordingly appointed J.G. Magrath Secretary
of State; D.F. Jamison, Secretary of War; C.G. Memminger, Secretary of
the Treasury; A.C. Garlington, Secretary of the Interior; and W.H.
Harlee, Postmaster-general.

On the same day, our ladies, who had assembled at the Mills House, in
Charleston, left for the North in a body, on account of the state of
public feeling in the city.[11]

Their presence with us threw a momentary brightness over the scene, but
after their departure every thing looked more gloomy and disheartening
than before. The fort itself was a deep, dark, damp, gloomy-looking
place, inclosed in high walls, where the sunlight rarely penetrated. If
we ascended to the parapet, we saw nothing but uncouth State flags,
representing palmettos, pelicans, and other strange devices. No echo
seemed to come back from the loyal North to encourage us. Our glasses in
vain swept the horizon; the one flag we longed to see was not there. It
did come at last, in a timid, apologetic way, and not as a
representative of the war power of the Government.

We had seen a statement in a Northern paper that a steamer named the
_Star of the West_, which belonged to Marshall O. Roberts, was to be
sent to us, under command of Captain John M`Gowan, with a re-enforcement
of several hundred men and supplies of food and ammunition; but we could
not credit the rumor. To publish all the details of an expedition of
this kind, which ought to be kept a profound secret, was virtually
telling South Carolina to prepare her guns to sink the vessel. It was
hard to believe the Government would send to us a mercantile steamer--a
mere transport, utterly unfitted to contend with shore batteries--when
it could dispatch a man-of-war furnished with all the means and
appliances to repel force by force. As the insurgents at this period had
but few field-guns, and a very scanty supply of cannon-powder, the
_Brooklyn_ alone, in my opinion, could have gone straight to the wharf
in Charleston, and have put an end to the insurrection then and there;
for we all know what its distinguished captain, Farragut, was able to
accomplish when left to his own resources.

It seems, however, the news was literally true. The expedition was
fitted out by Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett, an ex-officer of our

Although I had little faith in the announcement, I scanned with
increased interest every vessel that approached the harbor.

Soon after daylight, on the morning of the 9th, I was on the parapet
with my spy-glass; for I fancied, from a signal I had observed the
previous evening on a pilot-boat, that something must be coming. As I
looked seaward, I saw a large steamer pass the bar and enter the Morris
Island channel. It had the ordinary United States flag up; and as it
evidently did not belong to the navy, I came to the conclusion it must
be the _Star of the West_. I do not remember that any other officers
were on the lookout at this time. Anderson himself was still in bed.
When the vessel came opposite the new battery, which had just been built
by the cadets, I saw a shot fired to bring her to. Soon after this an
immense United States garrison-flag was run up at the fore. Without
waiting to ascertain the result of the firing, I dashed down the back
stairs to Anderson's room, to notify him of the occurrence. He told me
to have the long roll beaten, and to post the men at the guns on the
parapet. I ran out, called the drummers, and had the alarm sounded. It
took but a few minutes for men and officers to form at the guns in
readiness for action. The battery was still firing, but the transport
had passed by, and was rapidly getting out of range. At the same time it
was approaching within gun-shot of Fort Moultrie. The latter immediately
opened fire from one or two guns. Anderson would not allow us to return
this fire; and the captain of the vessel, wholly discouraged by our
failure to respond, turned about, and made his way back to New York. Two
shots had struck the steamer, but no essential injury was done. I think
the people in Fort Moultrie, who expected to be driven out to take
refuge behind the sand-hills, were especially astonished at our
inaction. It is very true that the Morris Island battery was beyond the
reach of our guns. Still, we did not know this positively at the time;
and our firing in that direction, even if ineffectual, would have
encouraged the steamer to keep on its course. We had one or two guns
bearing on Fort Moultrie; and as that was within easy range, we could
have kept down the fire there long enough to enable the steamer to come
in. It was plainly our duty to do all that we could. For any thing we
knew to the contrary, she might have been in a sinking condition. Had
she gone down before our eyes, without an effort on our part to aid her,
Anderson would have incurred a fearful responsibility by his inaction.

Mr. Dawson, in his account of these incidents in the _Historical
Magazine_, has it that a council of war was held by us to determine
whether we would fire or not, and that we decided not to fire. He founds
this upon verbal statements made by Foster and Davis. I know Foster was
under this impression; but upon my recalling the circumstances to his
recollection a short time before his death, he admitted his mistake. My
memory is very clear and distinct on this point, and I am sustained in
regard to it by both Seymour and Crawford. Davis I have not seen for
some time, but I have no doubt he will confirm what I have said when his
memory is refreshed.

Indeed there was no time for deliberation while the troops were at the
guns, for the vessel was moving very rapidly, and the whole affair was
over in a few minutes. The council was held after the steamer had gone,
to determine what action ought to be taken in consequence of the
attack. It was too late then for resistance, and all we could do was to
send Lieutenant Hall to the governor with a flag of truce, to demand an
explanation. In this communication, Anderson expressly stated that if he
did not receive a satisfactory reply, he would not, hereafter, allow any
vessel from Charleston to pass within reach of his guns. As might be
expected, the governor replied that he took the responsibility of the
firing, and would do it again under like circumstances. Anderson then
reconvened the council to lay this answer before them. Through his
influence it was concluded to send Lieutenant Talbot to Washington with
a full statement of the occurrence, and await his return with specific
instructions from the War Department. To carry out even this programme,
the major was obliged to obtain the governor's permission for Lieutenant
Talbot to pass through Charleston. It was urged by Anderson that the
delay would enable us to finish our preparations for defense; but it was
evident that time was far more valuable to the enemy than it was to us,
for it enabled them to complete and arm their batteries, and close the
harbor against our men-of-war, thus virtually imprisoning us in our
island home.

When Talbot left, we resumed our labors as usual. No attempt was made
to carry out the threat of stopping all passing vessels.

By the 14th of January our heavy guns were up; but by that time, too,
the greater part of Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney were shielded from
our direct fire by huge piles of sand-bags.[13]

We now began to get out of fuel, but we still had a resource in some
wooden sheds inside the fort, which had been used as a temporary shelter
for cement and building materials. Our position was greatly alleviated
in one respect. Owing, it is said, to the influence of Mr. Gourdin,
already referred to as a leading Secessionist, and an old friend of
Major Anderson, we were allowed to receive our mails once more. After
the _Star of the West_ affair, they probably thought we were very
harmless people, and deserved some reward for our forbearance.



     Major Anderson's Proposed Diplomatic Negotiations.--Defensive
     Preparations.--Changes in the Cabinet.--Meade's
     Defection.--Anecdote of Governor Pickens.--Battery at Cummings
     Point.--Soldiers' Families removed.--A Threatening
     Letter.--Confederate Visitors to the Fort.--Organization of the
     Confederate Government.

And now the Charleston statesmen concocted a plan to take away from us
all hope of succor, so that we might be induced to surrender. To this
end they determined to fill up the entrance of the harbor by depositing
stone there. Whether they really intended to do this, or made a pretense
of doing it, I never knew; but they certainly did obtain some old hulks
from Savannah, and sunk them in the channel. Either these hulks were
deposited in the wrong places, or else the tide drifted them into deep
water, for it is certain they never formed any impediment to navigation
afterward. Perhaps it was a mere _coup de théâtre_, to intimidate us,
and prevent re-enforcements from attempting to come in; at all events,
it was a preliminary to a grand effort to negotiate us out of Fort
Sumter. For this purpose two representative men came over from the city
on the 11th, in the little steamer _Antelope_, under a white flag. The
party consisted of the late United States district judge, A.G. Magrath,
now Secretary of State for South Carolina, and General D.F. Jamison,
their new Secretary of War. The judge, who was the champion orator of
the State, made a long and eloquent speech, the purport of which was
that South Carolina was determined to have Fort Sumter at all hazards;
that they would pull it down with their finger-nails, if they could not
get it in any other way; that the other Southern States were becoming
excited on the subject; that President Buchanan was in his dotage; that
the government in Washington was breaking up; that all was confusion,
despair, and disorder there; and that it was full time for us to look
out for our own safety, for if we refused to give up the fort nothing
could prevent the Southern troops from exterminating us. He ended this
tragical statement by saying, "May God Almighty enable you to come to a
just decision!"

Anderson seemed deeply affected at the prospect of hostilities. He asked
them why they did not first attempt diplomacy, instead of war. He said
if they would send a commissioner to lay their claims before the
authorities at Washington, he would send another to represent the
condition of the fort; and the Government could then form its own
judgment, and come to some decision. Judge Magrath replied that he would
report the proposition to Governor Pickens for his action. He and his
companion then took a solemn leave of us, and returned to Charleston.

Upon reporting the facts to the governor, it was at once decided to
accept Anderson's proposition. They gained an immense advantage in so
doing; for the agreement tied the hands of the United States for an
indefinite period of time, and prevented the arrival of any war vessels
until South Carolina was fully prepared to receive them. The delay gave
the State time to complete and man its batteries, and to obtain an
unlimited number of guns and quantities of shot and shell from the
cannon foundry at Richmond, Virginia, known as the Tredegar Iron Works.
Thus, while our supplies would be running out, theirs would be coming
in. Every day's delay would weaken us and strengthen them. I was
strongly opposed to this fatal measure, which ultimately cost us the
loss of Fort Sumter; but as it had simply emanated from Anderson
himself, by virtue of his powers as commanding officer, and had not been
submitted to a council of war, there was no opportunity for protest. He
was at this time at the height of his popularity, and every thing he did
was sure to be sustained at Washington.

In this embassy, Colonel Isaac W. Hayne, an eminent lawyer of
Charleston, was chosen as the commissioner from South Carolina, and
Lieutenant Norman J. Hall was sent as a representative of Fort Sumter.

After this event every thing went on, for a while, as usual.

By the 15th of January we had secured the main gates against an assault,
by building a wall of stone and mortar behind them, leaving merely what
is called a man-hole, for the entrance of one person at a time. Even
this was covered by a twenty-four-pounder howitzer, loaded with

By the 11th the money appropriated by the South Carolina Legislature for
war purposes amounted to $1,450,000, and was soon after increased to
$1,800,000. There was not a dollar in the treasury, and nothing but the
bank of the State to draw upon.

On the same day the financial condition of the United States was much
improved by the appointment of John A. Dix as Secretary of the Treasury.
This gave great confidence to the moneyed men of New York, who
immediately rallied to the support of the Government.

To all appearance, about six hundred negroes were now at work, night and
day, in perfecting the defenses of Fort Moultrie. The enemy continued
their hostile preparations with the utmost energy and zeal, in spite of
the tacit truce which was supposed to exist, and which prevented the
President from sending men-of-war to aid or to re-enforce us. I think
Anderson might well have remonstrated against the landing of additional
heavy guns and mortars on Sullivan's Island, and the erection or new
batteries, to be used against us. He should at once have reported this
increased activity to Washington, in order that the agreement might be
terminated, or at least limited to a certain number of days.

On the 17th, Judge Holt was nominated as Secretary of War, and was soon
after confirmed by the Senate. We were very glad to have an energetic
and patriotic man at the head of this department.

On the 18th, Lieutenant Meade left us for his home in Richmond,
Virginia, in consequence of a dispatch which stated that his mother was
at the point of death. I never knew whether this telegram was founded on
fact, or was a strategic move to force poor Meade into the ranks of the
Confederacy, by detaching him temporarily from us, and taking him where
tremendous political and social influences could be brought to bear upon
him. He had previously been overwhelmed with letters on the subject. He
was already much troubled in mind; and some months after the bombardment
of Fort Sumter the pressure of family ties induced him (very
reluctantly, as I heard) to join the Disunionists. It was stated that he
never was a happy man afterward, and that before a year had passed death
put an end to his sorrow and regret. He was the son of R.K. Meade, our
minister to Brazil.

The troops opposite to us were now regularly receiving supplies and
re-enforcements, and drilling daily, while all the necessaries of life
were constantly diminishing with us. We were already out of sugar, soap,
and candles.

On the 19th, Lieutenant Talbot returned from his visit to Washington,
where, it will be remembered, he had been sent to explain the _Star of
the West_ affair, and ask for specific instructions, which would
relieve Anderson from the responsibility, and throw it upon the
Administration. The orders he brought back were to the effect that they
had the utmost confidence in Major Anderson, and that they left every
thing to his judgment. This was throwing the responsibility all back
upon him. It was very complimentary, but far from satisfactory.

Talbot stated that he had great difficulty in making a safe transit
through Charleston; for while the leaders seemed to be more pacific than
ever, the populace had become more violent. It was even thought
necessary to send an officer with him to secure his personal safety. He
brought me the pleasant information that the mob were howling for my
head, as that of the only Republican, or, as they called it, "Black
Republican," in the fort.

Many unfavorable comments having been made, even in the Southern States,
more particularly in Kentucky, in relation to Governor Pickens's
treatment of us, he relaxed his severity, and on the 21st sent us over
some fresh beef and vegetables; as if we would consent to be fed by the
charity of South Carolina. Anderson showed a good deal of proper spirit
on this occasion. He declined to receive the provisions, but notified
the governor that, if we were not interfered with, we would purchase
our own supplies in Charleston market. The governor consented to this;
but nothing came of it. There seemed to be a combination among the
market-men not to sell us any food. Indeed, this action of the governor
made him very unpopular with the Rhett faction. Rhett rushed over to
inform him that the people demanded that Fort Sumter should be taken
without any further procrastination or delay. The governor made a very
shrewd reply. He said, "Certainly, Mr. Rhett; I have no objection! I
will furnish you with some men, and you can storm the work yourself."
Rhett drew back and replied, "But, sir, I am not a military man!" "Nor I
either," said the governor, "and therefore I take the advice of those
that are!" After this, there was no further talk of an immediate
assault. The action of the governor in this case almost gained him the
reputation of a wit among the officers of his command.

Lieutenant Hall being absent on diplomatic duty, and Dr. Crawford being
temporarily, and Lieutenant Talbot permanently, on the sick-list, the
rest of us were utterly worn out with the labor that devolved upon us.
Guard duty was especially severe, as increased vigilance became
necessary, in consequence of certain threatening preparations made by
the enemy. The leaders in Charleston soon saw that the joint mission of
Hall and Hayne could not possibly result in any thing decisive; but as
every day added to their strength and resources, they did not choose to
recall their commissioner. They left him to continue his arguments in
relation to the "right of eminent domain," while they prepared for war.
In the hope that some day they might take us by surprise, they had the
guard-boats, which still patrolled the harbor, painted black, and all
the lights and fires carefully screened from view. They probably
intended to choose a dark night to drop down noiselessly with the tide,
and take advantage of a sleepy sentinel, or some other favorable
circumstance, to land a party on the rocks at the base of the wall, and
seize the main entrance, or make their way in through one of the

On the 24th, New York City, speaking through its mayor, Fernando Wood,
seemed to offer the right hand of fellowship to the Secessionists.
Certain arms which had been purchased by Georgia, to be used against the
General Government, were detained in New York, and Ex-Senator Toombs
telegraphed to Wood for an explanation. The latter characterized the
detention as an outrage for which he was not responsible, and for which
he would inflict summary punishment, if he had the power.

Lieutenant Meade returned faithfully on the 25th, but brought no news of

On the 26th, Anderson applied for the code of naval signals, so that if
a fleet at any time should cross the bar, he might communicate with it
at a distance.

Up to the 30th we had not been able to procure any thing to eat from the
city; but through the influence of Mr. Gourdin, who seemed to have a
special mission to smooth over all difficulties, a new arrangement was
made, by which our provisions were ostensibly purchased for Fort
Johnson, and were forwarded to us from there.

The nearest land to us was called Cummings Point. It was nearly opposite
the gorge, which was the weakest side of Fort Sumter, the wall there
being thinner than in any other part. The enemy now began to build the
most formidable of all their batteries on the point referred to. It was
constructed of strong timber, plated with railroad iron, and partially
covered with sand. When finished, it was regarded as almost impregnable.
Steamers from the city passed within a stone's-throw of us daily,
loaded with the materials used in its construction, without opposition
and without remonstrance.

As it seemed settled that we were to wait until Hayne was through with
his law-points, and as our food, in the mean time, was rapidly giving
out, Anderson, on the 21st, directed me to make arrangements with the
authorities of Charleston to enable us to send off the soldiers'
families to Fort Hamilton. This was done; and the women and children
were shipped off to Charleston on the 30th, and transferred to the
steamer _Marion_, which left for New York on the 3d of February. As they
passed the fort outward-bound, the men gave them repeated cheers as a
farewell, and displayed much feeling; for they thought it very probable
they might not meet them again for a long period, if ever.[14]

On the arrival of these families at Fort Hamilton, New York, they found
themselves in straitened circumstances, because, owing to our isolation,
the men had not been paid off for a long time, and therefore had no
money to give their wives. Plymouth Church, however, interested itself
in their behalf, and soon made them comparatively comfortable.

Had our Government been really disposed, at this period, to act with
ordinary energy, it might have opened a communication with us, and
cleared the Morris Island channel without much difficulty. There were
only about three hundred Charleston militia guarding the batteries on
that island; and it would have been easy for a small force of mariners
and soldiers to land there in the night, take the batteries in reverse,
and drive the troops out, or capture them. This once accomplished,
re-enforcements and supplies could have been sent us to any amount.
Buchanan's administration, however, was drawing to a close; and his only
desire seemed to be to get through his term of office without a
collision, leaving the difficulties and perplexities of his position as
a legacy to his successor.

On the 30th, I received an insulting letter from Charleston, informing
me that, if I were ever caught in the city, an arrangement had been made
to tar and feather me as an Abolitionist.

February had now arrived. The 4th of the month was made memorable by the
meeting of the Peace Congress at Washington, and by a convention to
represent the Southern States at Montgomery, Alabama.

On the 6th, the new Secretary of War, Judge Holt, wrote to South
Carolina that the President did not intend to inaugurate any aggressive
measures; and if the State government attacked Fort Sumter, they would
incur a fearful responsibility.

On the 8th, some photographic artists were allowed to come over and take
our portraits in a group. I think it proved a profitable speculation,
for the sale was quite large. One of the party proved afterward to be a
lieutenant of a Charleston company. It seems he came as a spy, and, no
doubt, thought he had done a very clever thing; but inasmuch as Mr.
Gourdin and other Secessionists, including several military and naval
officers, were permitted to roam through the fort at will, there was
very little use in taking precautions against spies. Indeed, on one
occasion, another Major Anderson, a namesake of our commander, came down
to Charleston with a freight-train loaded with shot, shell, heavy guns,
and mortars for South Carolina, to be used in the batteries against us.
He was the owner of the celebrated Tredegar Iron Works, of Richmond,
Virginia, already referred to, and had been enriched by the patronage of
the United States. I thought it decidedly cool in him, under the
circumstances, to come over to call on our Major Anderson. He made no
attempt at concealment, but stated without reserve the object of his
trip to the South. To my surprise, instead of being summarily expelled,
he met with a most cordial reception, was invited to stay to dinner, and
when he left he was dismissed with a "Good-bye! God bless you! You
haven't such a thing as a late newspaper about you, have you?"

On the 9th of February, the enemy's batteries were completed, manned and
ready for action. On the same day the Confederate Government was duly
organized by the election of Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, as
President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, as Vice-president. The
Cabinet consisted of Robert Toombs, of Georgia, Secretary of State; L.
Pope Walker, of Alabama, Secretary of War; and Charles G. Memminger, of
South Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury. Afterward, Judah P. Benjamin,
of Louisiana, was appointed Attorney-general; Stephen M. Mallory, of
Florida, Secretary of the Navy; and John H. Reagan, of Texas,
Postmaster-general. Peter Gustave T. Beauregard, of Louisiana, was made
Brigadier-general to command the provisional army.

By this time we had finished most of our preparations, and were busily
engaged in constructing a mine at the extremity of the wharf, for the
benefit of any hostile party that might land there.

Lieutenant Hall returned on the 10th. He had had a very pleasant time in
Washington, and had been petted a good deal by the loyal people of the
North, but his mission proved of no real benefit to the United States,
and we had missed him a great deal, for we had been very short-handed.

He brought nothing definite from the Administration. All the latter
desired was to have a peaceable death-bed, leaving its burdens for Mr.
Lincoln's shoulders.

As Hall passed through Charleston, one of the young men there told him
there was quite a revulsion of feeling with regard to attacking Fort
Sumter. Hall inquired the reason. The reply was, that a schooner which
had just come in had been in great danger from one of our infernal
machines, which had exploded and whitened the water for three hundred
yards around. It seems that Seymour, who is very ingenious, had fastened
a cannon cartridge in the centre of a barrel of paving-stones, so
arranged that when the barrel was rolled off the parapet, the powder
would explode about five feet from the base of the wall. I was trying
the experiment one day as the schooner passed, and the explosion did
look very destructive, as the paving-stones dashed up the water for a
distance of fifty feet from the fort.

On the 14th, we had two more mines ready for any storming party that
might desire to land.

About this time Captain Edward M'Cready, of Charleston, who had formerly
been very intimate with the officers of the garrison, wrote a letter
urging them to throw off their allegiance to the United States, and
enter into the Confederate service. No one took the trouble to answer



     South Carolina's Grievances.--Inauguration of President
     Lincoln.--Determination to Re-enforce Sumter.--An Audacious
     Proposal.--The _Shannon_.--New Rebel Batteries Unmasked.--Formal
     Notice of Bombardment.

We saw advertisements now in the Northern papers showing that dramas
founded on our occupation of Fort Sumter, and confinement there, were
being acted both in Boston and New York. It was quite amusing to see our
names in the play-bills, and to find that persons were acting our parts
and spouting mock heroics on the stage.

On the 15th, several Southern senators at Washington wrote to Governor
Pickens, recommending that we be allowed fresh provisions, fuel, and
other necessaries, at the same time expressing their sympathy with South
Carolina. After this the governor became more polite and considerate,
and allowed our officers to send to purchase oil and groceries in
Charleston. Rhett's paper, _The Mercury_, of course, bitterly opposed
this concession. We now learned that the whole question of Fort Sumter
had been turned over to the new Southern Confederacy for solution.

At this period grievous complaints were made by the merchants of the
city of the utter stagnation of trade. All the business had fled to
Savannah. Foreign vessels would not attempt to enter a harbor where
civil war was raging, especially as it was reported that obstructions
had been sunk in the channel. The Charleston people said they now fully
understood and appreciated the kindness of the people of Savannah in
furnishing them with old hulks to destroy the harbor of Charleston.

When the organization of the new government was complete, the original
Secessionists of the Palmetto State were exceedingly angry to find
themselves ignored. The President, Vice-president, and all the prominent
members of the Cabinet, with the single exception of the Secretary of
the Treasury, were from other States. Henceforward, instead of
pretentious leadership, the position of South Carolina was to be that of
humble obedience to the new _régime_. Nor was this their only grievance.
Free trade was not proclaimed; and no ordinance was passed to re-open
the African slave-trade, inasmuch as it would destroy the domestic
slave-trade and the profits of slave-breeding in Virginia. It was soon
seen that the associated States differed widely on a great many vital
points. One of these related to Indian incursions into Texas. The Border
States, owing to the withdrawal of the United States forces, desired
large appropriations in money, for the purpose of organizing troops to
guard the settlements from Indian incursions. The people of South
Carolina, whose burdens were already very great, and who were
advertising in vain for a loan, were very unwilling to be taxed for the
benefit of Texas and Arkansas. In their anger at these untoward events,
the proposition was freely discussed whether it would not be the best
course to secede from the Confederacy altogether, and place themselves
under a British protectorate. The only difficulty in the way seemed to
be the unwillingness of Great Britain to act as step-father to such a
spoiled child as South Carolina.

Virginia had not yet seceded. She still professed neutrality, but
allowed a brisk trade in cannon and ammunition to be carried on with the
South, knowing they were to be used against the General Government.

Anderson now expressed himself as openly opposed to coercion. He was in
favor of surrendering all the forts to the States in which they were
located. This course would simply be an acknowledgment that the
sovereignty did not vest in the United States, and would have led to
nothing but disorder and disunion. He said if his native State,
Kentucky, seceded, he should throw up his commission and go to Europe.
The fact is, as I have stated, he was a strong pro-slavery man, and felt
bitterly toward the North for not carrying out the Fugitive Slave Law.
He contended that slavery was right in principle, and expressly
sanctioned by the Bible. One day, while we were conversing on the
subject, I called his attention to the fact that slavery in ancient
times was not founded on color; and if white slavery was right, I saw no
reason why some one might not make a slave of him, and read texts of
Scripture to him to keep him quiet. He was unable to answer this

On the 1st of March, he informed the General Government that he had no
doubt we would soon be attacked. The communication, however, led to no
comment and no immediate action.

From certain circumstances, I saw that South Carolina not only intended
to build iron-clad batteries, but was thinking of iron-clad ships, to
sink our wooden navy, and at some future time capture our Northern

I was so much impressed with the importance of this subject that I felt
it my duty to call attention to it, in letters to Mr. Curtis, of
Missouri, and other members of Congress; but no one at the North seemed
to give the matter a second thought, or imagine there was any danger to
be apprehended in the future. It was not so with our enemies. They were
fully alive to the aggressive power it would give them, and they
commenced to experiment by building an iron-clad floating battery, which
was to be plated deep enough to resist our heaviest metal. When
finished, it was to be anchored off the gorge of Fort Sumter, so that it
could beat down our main gates, and make wide breaches in the walls for
an assaulting party to enter. This battery was completed on the 3d of
March; but the State militia had a great prejudice against it, and could
not be induced to man it. They christened it "The Slaughter Pen," and
felt certain it would go to the bottom the moment we opened fire upon
it. Out of deference to public opinion, it was tied up to the wharf in
Moultrieville, and took part from that position in the final bombardment
of Fort Sumter.

The eventful 4th of March had now arrived, and with it a new President,
representing the patriotism and vigor of the great North-west. We looked
for an immediate change of policy; but it was some weeks before any
definite action was taken with regard to us. This is not to be wondered
at, when we consider that a large proportion of the employés of the
previous Administration were disloyal and treacherous, while the new
appointments could not be made hastily, on account of the tremendous
pressure for office, and the difficulty of canvassing the claims of so
many rival and influential candidates. If Mr. Lincoln wrote a private
dispatch, it was sure to be betrayed to the enemy. The defection in the
civil service, in the army, and navy, was so great that, if he gave an
order, he was always in doubt whether it would be faithfully carried
out. General Cooper, who was Adjutant-general of the army, and the
mouth-piece of the Secretary of War and of the Commander-in-chief, was
himself a rebel at heart, and soon resigned to join the Confederacy.

Enough, however, was already known of the policy of the Administration
to cause great uneasiness in Charleston. The feeling there was very
gloomy at the prospect of real war; for almost every one had persuaded
himself that the new President would not attempt coercion, but would
simply submit to the dismemberment of the country, and make the best
terms he could. They now knew they would be obliged to face the storm
they had raised, and they already foresaw great sufferings and
sacrifices in the future.

On the 5th, Anderson wrote to Washington that he needed no
re-enforcement. The fact is, he did not want it, because its arrival
would be sure to bring on a collision, and that was the one thing he
wished to avoid.

Mr. Lincoln soon after appointed Simon Cameron as the new Secretary of

On the 7th, an accidental shot, fired from the battery opposite, struck
near our wharf. The enemy sent a boat over at once to make an

Our men were dissatisfied that the affair ended in nothing. They were
becoming thoroughly angry and disgusted at their long confinement, and
at the supervision South Carolina exercised over them. One and all
desired to fight it out as soon as possible.

After consultation with Major Anderson, it was deemed impossible at
Washington to succor us without sending a force of at least twenty
thousand men to storm the batteries on Morris Island. There was a time
when these works could have been easily captured; but now, with the
North full of spies, any attempt to take them by force would have called
out all the available strength of South Carolina, assisted by volunteers
from other States. On the 10th, it was everywhere published that the
Administration intended to withdraw us; but no admission of the kind
could be obtained from Mr. Lincoln.[16]

Learning that we had nothing but pork and hard biscuit to eat, Mr.
Haight, a wealthy gentleman of New York, sent us several boxes of
delicacies. The governor, under the impression we were soon to be
withdrawn, allowed them to come over. They were fully appreciated.

The great tobacconist, John Anderson, of New York, also sent a large
supply of the best quality of tobacco, having learned that the men felt
the loss of their smoking more than any thing else.

By this time the South Carolina treasury was in a state of collapse. A
loan for six hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars was freely
advertised, but no one desired to invest. The city trade, however, began
to be quite brisk again, from the immense influx of sympathizing
strangers that poured into the city to see the preparations for war.
Goods, too, began to come in from all quarters, and there was a gleam of

On the 20th, G.W. Lay, one of General Scott's aids, who had resigned on
the 2d of the month, came down to offer his services to Governor
Pickens. He must have had in his possession much valuable military and
diplomatic information, to which his late confidential position had
given him access.

On the 21st, another messenger, Captain G.V. Fox, United States Navy,
came over to see us. Captain Hartstein, who was an ex-officer of our
navy, and an old friend of Fox's, was sent with him, to be within
ear-shot, and see that he did no harm to the Confederacy. Fox had an
excellent plan of his own in reference to us, and came to reconnoitre,
and ascertain whether it was practicable to carry it out; for the
President had now fully determined not to withdraw us, or surrender Fort
Sumter without an effort to hold and re-enforce it. Indeed, there came
up an indignant roar from the great North-west, and many parts of the
North, that could not be disregarded with impunity. To have done so
would almost have created a revolution.

I was struck by one modest question which Hartstein put to me on this
occasion. He asked if I thought Anderson would object to his anchoring
the iron-plated floating-battery within a hundred yards of our main
gates. Upon my expressing my surprise at such an audacious proposal, he
replied, "Anderson has allowed these batteries to be built around him,
and has permitted so many things to be done, that I don't see why he
should not go a step farther and allow this."

On the 22d, we learned that Beauregard had assumed command of the forces
opposite to us. As he had just left our army, where he had been highly
trusted and honored, it is said he displayed a good deal of feeling at
finding himself opposed to the flag under which he had served so long.
He expressed much sympathy for his old friend, Anderson, who, he stated,
was merely fulfilling his duty as a soldier in fighting for his own
Government, and asserted that he would not attack us, even if we
withdrew all our sentinels, but would force us to surrender by cutting
off our supplies.

On the 23d, we had but two days' regular fuel left, but we had contrived
to secure and utilize a number of floating logs as they passed the fort,
and these increased the amount on hand to some extent.

Anderson now had no doubt that we would be withdrawn, and the papers all
gave out the same idea. Under these circumstances, as we were out of
fuel, and had a large number of surplus gun-carriages on hand which we
could not possibly use, and which would inevitably fall into the hands
of the enemy when we left, I suggested that it would be good policy to
use them for fire-wood, especially as many of them were decayed and
worthless. He would not, however, consent to this. Perhaps he thought
fuel at six hundred dollars a cord was rather dear. The result was that
they were finally all turned over to the Confederacy, with the other
public property on hand.

On the 25th, Colonel Ward C. Lamon, the former law-partner of Mr.
Lincoln, came over to visit us under charge of Colonel Duryea, of
Charleston. It was given out that he was sent as an agent of the General
Government to see Governor Pickens in relation to post-office matters;
but in reality he came to confer with Anderson, and ascertain the amount
of provisions on hand. He took with him the important information that
our food would be out by the middle of April.

On the 28th, Beauregard sent a message of some kind to Anderson. I do
not know its purport. The latter stated to us that he expected decisive
orders from Washington on the 29th, but none came.

The 1st of April arrived, and as the heavy work of mounting guns, etc.,
was completed, our commander thought it would be a good idea to send off
the hired laborers, and he intrusted Captain Foster to ask permission of
the rebel authorities to allow them to land. The request was granted,
and all left with the exception of a few, who desired to remain with us
and share our fortunes. Among them was Mr. William O. Lyman, the
principal overseer of the masons, a brave and reliable man.

On the 3d of April, another affair occurred similar to that of the _Star
of the West_. The schooner _R.H. Shannon_, of Boston, under Captain
Mounts, _en route_ for Savannah with a cargo of ice, sailed into the
harbor of Charleston on account of a fog. As the captain did not read
the papers, he did not know that any thing unusual was going on. A
battery on Morris Island fired a shot across the bow of his vessel to
bring her to. Very much astonished at this proceeding, he ran up the
Stars and Stripes to show that he was all right. This was regarded as a
direct defiance, and a heavy cannonade was at once opened on the vessel.
Very much puzzled to account for this hostility, he lowered his flag,
and the firing ceased. A boat's crew now put off from the shore to
ascertain his character and purpose in entering the harbor. While this
was going on, we were formed at our guns, in readiness to fire, but were
not allowed to do so, although there was every probability that the
vessel would be sunk before our eyes. It is true we could not have
reached the particular battery that was doing the mischief; but the
other works of the enemy were all under our guns, and, not expecting
immediate action, were in a measure unprepared. Anderson, however,
contented himself with sending Seymour and Snyder over in a boat with a
white flag to ask for an explanation, with the usual result: Lieutenant
Talbot and Lieutenant Snyder were then sent over to have an interview
with the governor in relation to this matter. This being far from
satisfactory, Lieutenant Snyder returned to Fort Sumter, and Lieutenant
Talbot kept on his way to Washington with dispatches.

Although this affair attracted very little attention or comment at the
North, I was convinced, from the major's depression of spirits, that it
acted a great deal upon his mind. He evidently feared it might be
considered as a betrayal of his trust, and he was very sensitive to
every thing that affected his honor.

I have already stated the reasons for his inaction. In amplifying his
instructions not to provoke a collision into instructions not to fight
at all, I have no doubt he thought he was rendering a real service to
the country. He knew the first shot fired by us would light the flames
of a civil war that would convulse the world, and tried to put off the
evil day as long as possible. Yet a better analysis of the situation
might have taught him that the contest had already commenced, and could
no longer be avoided. The leaders of the South at this period would
hardly have been satisfied with the most abject submission of the
anti-slavery party to all their behests. In fact, every concession made
to their wishes seemed to them to be dictated by the weakness of the
Government, and its fears of internal dissensions and civil war in all
the great cities of the North. They needed blood and the prestige of a
victory to rouse the enthusiasm of their followers, and cement the
rising Confederacy. They wanted a new and powerful slave empire,
extending to the Isthmus of Panama, and for this a direct issue must be
made with the free States. In vain did a member of Congress, who
afterward became a distinguished Union general, offer in Richmond to
raise an army of twenty thousand men in the North to fight the
abolitionists, if the South would consent to remain in the Union. Even
this was not deemed sufficient or satisfactory. Slavery had so long
dominated every thing with a rod of iron, that its votaries deemed it
was born to universal dominion. All the pathways to political power, all
the avenues of promotion in the army and navy, lay in that direction.
General Scott was accustomed to say that "with Virginia officers and
Yankee troops he could conquer the world," and this implied that
slave-holders, in his opinion, were the only men fitted to command.

Washington was too full of spies for the rebel leaders to remain in
ignorance of Lincoln's intention to re-enforce us. On the 6th of April,
Beauregard restricted our marketing to two days in the week. On the 7th,
it was wholly cut off, and we noticed gangs of negroes hard at work
strengthening the defenses on Morris Island. Every thing betokened that
the conflict would soon take place. Anderson was greatly troubled at the
failure of all his plans to keep the place. The rebels knew, and perhaps
he knew, that on the 6th and 7th of April a number of naval vessels had
left New York and Norfolk under sealed orders. Their destination could
hardly be doubted. Lieutenant Talbot reached Washington on the 6th, but
was immediately sent back with a message from the President to Governor
Pickens, notifying the latter that the Government intended to provision
Fort Sumter at all hazards. This formal notice was given by the
President, probably because he considered himself bound to do so before
putting an end to the semi-pacific code which had governed Anderson's
intercourse with the forces around him ever since the departure of Hall
and Hayne for Washington.

Talbot delivered his message on the 8th. Beauregard immediately
telegraphed the information to the rebel Secretary of War, at
Montgomery, Alabama, and received orders on the 10th to open fire at
once upon Fort Sumter.

I think it was on the 9th that the official letter came, notifying
Anderson that a naval expedition had been sent to our relief, and that
he must co-operate with it to the best of his ability. He communicated
this information to us on the 10th, but desired it should be kept
secret. The preparations we were obliged to make told the men plainly
enough, however, that the fighting was about to commence. The news acted
like magic upon them. They had previously been drooping and dejected;
but they now sprung to their work with the greatest alacrity, laughing,
singing, whistling, and full of glee. They were overjoyed to learn that
their long imprisonment in the fort would soon be at an end. They had
felt themselves humiliated by the open supervision which South Carolina
exercised over us, and our tame submission to it. It was very galling to
them to see the revenue-cutter, which had been stolen from the United
States, anchored within a stone's cast of our walls, to watch our
movements and overhaul every thing coming to or going from the fort,
including our mail-boat.

On the 10th, Beauregard announced his personal staff to consist of
Colonels Wigfall, Chestnut, Means, M'Gowan, Manning, and Boyleston.

On the same day, a house directly opposite to us in Moultrieville, at
the nearest point, was suddenly removed, disclosing a formidable masked
battery, which effectually enfiladed two rows of our upper tier of guns
in barbette, and took a third tier in reverse. It was a sad surprise to
us, for we had our heaviest metal there. I set to work immediately to
construct sand-bag traverses; but it was difficult to make much
progress, as we had no bags, and were obliged to tear up sheets for the
purpose, and have the pieces sewed together. This labor, however, was
entirely thrown away, for Anderson ordered us to abandon all the guns on
the parapet. This, of course, was much less dangerous for the men, but
it deprived us of the most powerful and effective part of our armament.

About 3 P.M. of the same day, a boat came over with Colonel James
Chestnut, Ex-United States Senator, and Captain Stephen D. Lee, both
aids of Beauregard. They bore a demand for the surrender of the fort.
Anderson politely declined to accede to this request, but stated in
conversation he would soon be starved out. This gratuitous information
ought never to have been given to the enemy, in view of the fact that a
naval expedition was on its way to us. It was at once supposed that
Anderson desired to surrender without fighting; and about 11 P.M.
another boat came over, containing Colonel Chestnut, Colonel Pryor, and
Captain Lee, to inquire upon what day he would be willing to evacuate
the work in case he was not attacked. The answer was, on the 15th at
noon, provided he did not receive fresh instructions, or was not
relieved before that time. As we had pork enough on hand to last for two
weeks longer, there was no necessity for fixing so early a day. It left
too little margin for naval operations, as, in all probability, the
vessels, in case of any accident or detention, would arrive too late to
be of service. This proved to be the case.

The enemy's batteries on Sullivan's Island were so placed as to fire
directly into the officers' quarters at Fort Sumter; and as our rooms
would necessarily become untenable, we vacated them, and chose points
that were more secure. I moved my bed into a magazine which was directly
opposite to Cummings Point, and which was nearly empty. As I was
sensible that the next three days would call for great physical exertion
and constant wakefulness, I endeavored to get all the sleep I could on
the night of the 11th. About 4 A.M. on the 12th, I was awakened by some
one groping about my room in the dark and calling out my name. It proved
to be Anderson, who came to announce to me that he had just received a
dispatch from Beauregard, dated 3.20 A.M., to the effect that he should
open fire upon us in an hour. Finding it was determined not to return
the fire until after breakfast, I remained in bed. As we had no lights,
we could in fact do nothing before that time, except to wander around in
the darkness, and fire without an accurate view of the enemy's works.



     The First Shot.--Defective Guns.--John Carmody's
     Exploit.--Destructive Effects of the Bombardment.--Burning of the
     Officers' Quarters.--Terrific Conflagration.

As soon as the outline of our fort could be distinguished, the enemy
carried out their programme. It had been arranged, as a special
compliment to the venerable Edmund Ruffin, who might almost be called
the father of secession, that he should fire the first shot against us,
from the Stevens battery on Cummings Point, and I think in all the
histories it is stated that he did so; but it is attested by Dr.
Crawford and others who were on the parapet at the time, that the first
shot really came from the mortar battery at Fort Johnson.[17] Almost
immediately afterward a ball from Cummings Point lodged in the magazine
wall, and by the sound seemed to bury itself in the masonry about a
foot from my head, in very unpleasant proximity to my right ear. This is
the one that probably came with Mr. Ruffin's compliments. In a moment
the firing burst forth in one continuous roar, and large patches of both
the exterior and interior masonry began to crumble and fall in all
directions. The place where I was had been used for the manufacture of
cartridges, and there was still a good deal of powder there, some packed
and some loose. A shell soon struck near the ventilator, and a puff of
dense smoke entered the room, giving me a strong impression that there
would be an immediate explosion. Fortunately, no sparks had penetrated

Nineteen batteries were now hammering at us, and the balls and shells
from the ten-inch columbiads, accompanied by shells from the
thirteen-inch mortars which constantly bombarded us, made us feel as if
the war had commenced in earnest.

When it was broad daylight, I went down to breakfast. I found the
officers already assembled at one of the long tables in the mess-hall.
Our party were calm, and even somewhat merry. We had retained one
colored man to wait on us. He was a spruce-looking mulatto from
Charleston, very active and efficient on ordinary occasions, but now
completely demoralized by the thunder of the guns and crashing of the
shot around us. He leaned back against the wall, almost white with fear,
his eyes closed, and his whole expression one of perfect despair.[18]
Our meal was not very sumptuous. It consisted of pork and water, but Dr.
Crawford triumphantly brought forth a little farina, which he had found
in a corner of the hospital.

When this frugal repast was over, my company was told off in three
details for firing purposes, to be relieved afterward by Seymour's
company. As I was the ranking officer, I took the first detachment, and
marched them to the casemates, which looked out upon the powerful
iron-clad battery of Cummings Point.

In aiming the first gun fired against the rebellion I had no feeling of
self-reproach, for I fully believed that the contest was inevitable, and
was not of our seeking. The United States was called upon not only to
defend its sovereignty, but its right to exist as a nation. The only
alternative was to submit to a powerful oligarchy who were determined to
make freedom forever subordinate to slavery. To me it was simply a
contest, politically speaking, as to whether virtue or vice should rule.

My first shot bounded off from the sloping roof of the battery opposite
without producing any apparent effect. It seemed useless to attempt to
silence the guns there; for our metal was not heavy enough to batter the
work down, and every ball glanced harmlessly off, except one, which
appeared to enter an embrasure and twist the iron shutter, so as to stop
the firing of that particular gun.

I observed that a group of the enemy had ventured out from their
intrenchments to watch the effect of their fire, but I sent them flying
back to their shelter by the aid of a forty-two-pounder ball, which
appeared to strike right in among them.

Assistant-surgeon Crawford, having no sick in hospital, volunteered to
take command of one of the detachments. He and Lieutenant Davis were
detailed at the same time with me; and I soon heard their guns on the
opposite side of the fort, echoing my own. They attacked Fort Moultrie
with great vigor.

Our firing now became regular, and was answered from the rebel guns
which encircled us on the four sides of the pentagon upon which the fort
was built. The other side faced the open sea. Showers of balls from
ten-inch columbiads and forty-two-pounders, and shells from
thirteen-inch mortars poured into the fort in one incessant stream,
causing great flakes of masonry to fall in all directions. When the
immense mortar shells, after sailing high in the air, came down in a
vertical direction, and buried themselves in the parade-ground, their
explosion shook the fort like an earthquake.[19]

Our own guns were very defective, as they had no breech-sights. In place
of these, Seymour and myself were obliged to devise notched sticks,
which answered the purpose, but were necessarily very imperfect.

Our fort had been built with reference to the penetration of shot when
the old system of smooth-bore guns prevailed. The balls from a new
Blakely gun on Cummings Point, however, had force enough to go entirely
through the wall which sheltered us, and some of the fragments of brick
which were knocked out wounded several of my detachment. None were
seriously hurt except Sergeant Thomas Kirnan, of my company. His
contusions were severe, but did not keep him out of the fight.

After three hours' firing, my men became exhausted, and Captain Seymour
came, with a fresh detachment, to relieve us. He has a great deal of
humor in his composition, and said, jocosely, "Doubleday, what in the
world is the matter here, and what is all this uproar about?"

I replied, "There is a trifling difference of opinion between us and our
neighbors opposite, and we are trying to settle it."

"Very well," he said; "do you wish me to take a hand?"

I said, "Yes, I would like to have you go in."

"All right," he said. "What is your elevation, and range?"

I replied, "Five degrees, and twelve hundred yards."

"Well," he said, "here goes!" And he went to work with a will.

Part of the fleet was visible outside the bar about half-past ten A.M.
It exchanged salutes with us, but did not attempt to enter the harbor,
or take part in the battle. In fact, it would have had considerable
difficulty in finding the channel, as the marks and buoys had all been
taken up. It was composed originally of the frigates _Pawnee_, under
Commodore Rowan; the _Pocahontas_, under Captain Gillis; the _Powhatan_,
under Captain Mercer; the steam transport _Baltic_, under Captain
Fletcher; and, I believe, the steam-tugs _Yankee_, _Uncle Ben_, and
another, which was not permitted to leave New York. The soldiers on
board consisted of two hundred and fifty recruits from Governor's
Island, under command of First Lieutenants E.M.K. Hudson, of the Fourth,
and Robert O. Tyler, of the Third Artillery, and Second Lieutenant A.I.
Thomas, of the First Infantry.

This expedition was designed by Captain Fox, in consultation with G.W.
Blunt, William H. Aspinwall, Russel Sturges, and others. After the
event much obloquy was thrown upon the navy because it did not come in
and engage the numerous batteries and forts, and open for itself a way
to Charleston; but this course would probably have resulted in the
sinking of every vessel.

As far back as December I had written to New York that it was very
difficult for a gun on shore to hit a small boat dancing on the waves in
the daytime, and at night it is almost impossible. I suggested,
therefore, that we might be re-enforced and provisioned by means of a
number of small boats, supplied from several naval vessels as a base of
operations. The same idea had occurred to Captain Fox; and on the
present occasion he had brought thirty launches to be used for this
purpose. They were to be manned by three hundred sailors, and in case
they were assailed, the fleet was to protect them as far as possible by
its guns. Unfortunately, the different vessels did not reach the
rendezvous together. The _Pawnee_ and _Pocahontas_ arrived on the 12th,
but lost a great deal of time in waiting for the _Powhatan_, which
contained the launches and other arrangements, without which a boat
expedition could not be organized. The _Powhatan_ never appeared,
having been unexpectedly detached, by order of the President, at the
solicitation of Secretary Seward, and without consultation with the Navy
Department. I think the _Baltic_ was detained by running upon
Rattlesnake Shoal. The steam-tug _Uncle Ben_ was driven into Wilmington
by a storm, and the _Yankee_ did not make its appearance until the 15th.
The expedition was thus an utter failure. Nevertheless, a passing
schooner was purchased and loaded up with provisions and soldiers, and
an attempt would have been made to run in on the night of the 13th, but
by that time it was too late. The fort had surrendered.

Having explained this matter, we will now resume the narrative of our
operations. For the next three hours a vigorous fire was kept up on both
sides. A great many shots were aimed at our flag-staff, but nearly all
of them passed above the fort and struck in the water beyond. I think we
succeeded in silencing several guns in Fort Moultrie, and one or more in
the Stevens battery.

When Seymour's three hours were up, I relieved him, and continued the
firing. As our balls bounded off the sloping iron rails like peas upon a
trencher, utterly failing to make any impression, and as the shot from
the Blakely gun came clear through our walls, Anderson directed that the
men should cease firing at that particular place. I regretted very much
that the upper tier of guns had been abandoned, as they were all loaded
and pointed, and were of very heavy calibre. A wild Irish soldier,
however, named John Carmody, slipped up on the parapet, and, without
orders, fired the pieces there, one after another, on his own account.
One of the ten-inch balls so aimed made quite an impression on the
Cummings Point battery; and if the fire could have been kept up, it
might possibly have knocked the iron-work to pieces.

After my detachment had abandoned the casemate opposite the Blakely gun,
to my great astonishment the battery I had left recommenced firing. I
could not imagine who could have taken our places. It seems that a group
of the Baltimore workmen had been watching our motions, and had thus
learned the duties of a cannoneer. In spite of their previous
determination not to take part in the fight, they could not resist the
fun of trying their hand at one of the guns. It was already accurately
pointed, and the ball struck the mark in the centre. The men attributed
it to their own skill, and when I entered they were fairly in
convulsions of laughter. One of them, in answer to my question, gasped
out, "I hit it square in the middle." After this first attempt, each of
them was desirous of trying his skill at aiming. The result was, that we
soon had them organized into a firing-party.

Finding one of my chests had been left in the officers' quarters, and
that it would probably be knocked to pieces by the shells, I asked the
mulatto, who still sat back against the wall, apparently asleep, to bear
a hand and help me bring it out. He opened his eyes, shook his head
dolefully, and said, "De major, he say, I muss not expose myself."

If I mistake not, Roswell S. Ripley, formerly a brevet major in our
army, fired the second or third shot to bring down the flag under which
he had served for so many years. Ripley was born in Ohio, appointed from
New York, and educated at the Military Academy. He had, therefore, even
on the Southern theory of State rights, no necessary affiliation with
the South. In fact, they always despised a man who joined them to fight
against his own State. In one instance, Jeff Davis himself had to use
all his influence to induce the Southern troops to obey one of these
Northern generals. Ripley had previously been engaged as an agent for
Sharpe's Arms Company in Europe; and, having been unsuccessful there,
came to Charleston, with the hope of repairing his shattered fortunes by
selling guns to South Carolina. Through the influence of Colonel Huger,
of our Ordnance Department, who was in the city at the time, Ripley
failed in this, and, being entirely out of employment, accepted a
commission from the Confederacy to fight against his old comrades. Being
a man of talent, and a skillful artillerist, he did us a great deal of
harm. Like all Northern converts, he thought it necessary to be
overzealous in his new position, to do away with the suspicions excited
by his birth and education. I was told at the time that for this purpose
he took pains to denounce me as an Abolitionist, and to recommend that I
be hanged by the populace as soon as caught.

The firing continued all day, without any special incident of
importance, and without our making much impression on the enemy's works.
They had a great advantage over us, as their fire was concentrated on
the fort, which was in the centre of the circle, while ours was diffused
over the circumference. Their missiles were exceedingly destructive to
the upper exposed portion of the work, but no essential injury was done
to the lower casemates which sheltered us.

Some of these shells, however, set the officers' quarters on fire three
times; but the flames were promptly extinguished once or twice through
the exertions of Peter Hart, whose activity and gallantry were very

The night was an anxious one for us, for we thought it probable that the
launches, filled with armed men from the fleet, might take advantage of
the darkness to come in with provisions and supplies. Then, too, it was
possible that the enemy might attempt a night attack. We were on the
alert, therefore, with men stationed at all the embrasures; but nothing
unusual occurred. The batteries fired upon us at stated intervals all
night long. We did not return the fire, having no ammunition to waste.

On the morning of the 13th, we took our breakfast--or, rather, our pork
and water--at the usual hour, and marched the men to the guns when the
meal was over.

From 4 to 6.30 A.M. the enemy's fire was very spirited. From 7 to 8 A.M.
a rain-storm came on, and there was a lull in the cannonading. About 8
A.M. the officers' quarters were ignited by one of Ripley's incendiary
shells, or by shot heated in the furnaces at Fort Moultrie. The fire was
put out; but at 10 A.M. a mortar shell passed through the roof, and
lodged in the flooring of the second story, where it burst, and started
the flames afresh. This, too, was extinguished; but the hot shot soon
followed each other so rapidly that it was impossible for us to contend
with them any longer. It became evident that the entire block, being
built with wooden partitions, floors, and roofing, must be consumed, and
that the magazine, containing three hundred barrels of powder, would be
endangered; for, even after closing the metallic door, sparks might
penetrate through the ventilator. The floor was covered with loose
powder, where a detail of men had been at work manufacturing
cartridge-bags out of old shirts, woolen blankets, etc.

While the officers exerted themselves with axes to tear down and cut
away all the wood-work in the vicinity, the soldiers were rolling
barrels of powder out to more sheltered spots, and were covering them
with wet blankets. The labor was accelerated by the shells which were
bursting around us; for Ripley had redoubled his activity at the first
signs of a conflagration. We only succeeded in getting out some
ninety-six barrels of powder, and then we were obliged to close the
massive copper door, and await the result. A shot soon after passed
through the intervening shield, struck the door, and bent the lock in
such a way that it could not be opened again. We were thus cut off from
our supply of ammunition, but still had some piled up in the vicinity of
the guns. Anderson officially reported only four barrels and three
cartridges as on hand when we left.

By 11 A.M. the conflagration was terrible and disastrous. One-fifth of
the fort was on fire, and the wind drove the smoke in dense masses into
the angle where we had all taken refuge. It seemed impossible to escape
suffocation. Some lay down close to the ground, with handkerchiefs over
their mouths, and others posted themselves near the embrasures, where
the smoke was somewhat lessened by the draught of air. Every one
suffered severely. I crawled out of one of these openings, and sat on
the outer edge; but Ripley made it lively for me there with his
case-shot, which spattered all around. Had not a slight change of wind
taken place, the result might have been fatal to most of us.

Our firing having ceased, and the enemy being very jubilant, I thought
it would be as well to show them that we were not all dead yet, and
ordered the gunners to fire a few rounds more. I heard afterward that
the enemy loudly cheered Anderson for his persistency under such adverse

The scene at this time was really terrific. The roaring and crackling of
the flames, the dense masses of whirling smoke, the bursting of the
enemy's shells, and our own which were exploding in the burning rooms,
the crashing of the shot, and the sound of masonry falling in every
direction, made the fort a pandemonium. When at last nothing was left of
the building but the blackened walls and smoldering embers, it became
painfully evident that an immense amount of damage had been done. There
was a tower at each angle of the fort. One of these, containing great
quantities of shells, upon which we had relied, was almost completely
shattered by successive explosions. The massive wooden gates, studded
with iron nails, were burned, and the wall built behind them was now a
mere heap of débris, so that the main entrance was wide open for an
assaulting party. The sally-ports were in a similar condition, and the
numerous windows on the gorge side, which had been planked up, had now
become all open entrances.

About 12.48 P.M. the end of the flag-staff was shot down, and the flag
fell.[20] It had been previously hanging by one halliard, the other
having been cut by a piece of shell. The exultation of the enemy,
however, was short-lived. Peter Hart found a spar in the fort, which
answered very well as a temporary flag-staff. He nailed the flag to
this, and raised it triumphantly by nailing and tying the pole firmly to
a pile of gun-carriages on the parapet. This was gallantly done, without
undue haste, under Seymour's supervision, although the enemy
concentrated all their fire upon the spot to prevent Hart from carrying
out his intention. From the beginning, the rebel gunners had been very
ambitious to shoot the flag down, and had wasted an immense number of
shots in the attempt.

While the battle was going on, a correspondent of the _New York
Tribune_, who was in Charleston, wrote that the populace were calling
for my head. Fortunately, I was not there to gratify them. My relations
with the gentlemen of Charleston had always been friendly. The enmity of
the mob was simply political, and was founded on the belief that I was
the only "Black Republican," as they termed it, in the fort.



     Senator Wigfall's Volunteer Mission.--Terms of Evacuation
     Settled.--The Question of Casualties on the Other Side.--Salute to
     the Flag.--Occupation of the Fort by Southern
     Troops.--Embarkation.--Welcome in New York.--Conclusion.

There was a large, first-class wooden hotel, near the shore, on
Sullivan's Island, called the Moultrie House. It was only kept open
during the summer, and was a favorite resort, for planters and others,
to enjoy the fresh sea-breeze, and the beautiful drive up the beach at
low tide. Since the rebel occupation of Fort Moultrie, this hotel had
been used as a dépôt and barracks for the troops in the vicinity. Just
before the attack was made upon us, the Palmetto flag, which had waved
over the building, was taken down; but I noticed with a spy-glass that
there was still quite a number of people, apparently troops, remaining
in the house. I saw no reason why the mere lowering of the flag should
prevent us from firing at them. I therefore aimed two forty-two pounder
balls at the upper story. The crashing of the shot, which went through
the whole length of the building among the clapboards and interior
partitions, must have been something fearful to those who were within.
They came rushing out in furious haste, and tumbled over each other
until they reached the bottom of the front steps, in one writhing,
tumultuous mass.

When we left Fort Sumter, a South Carolina officer, who seemed to feel
aggrieved in relation to this matter, asked me why we fired at that
building. Not caring to enter into a discussion at that time, I evaded
it by telling him the true reason was, that the landlord had given me a
wretched room there one night, and this being the only opportunity that
had occurred to get even with him, I was unable to resist it. He laughed
heartily, and said, "I understand it all now. You were perfectly right,
sir, and I justify the act."

About 2 P.M., Senator Wigfall, in company with W. Gourdin Young, of
Charleston, unexpectedly made his appearance at one of the embrasures,
having crossed over from Morris Island in a small boat, rowed by
negroes. He had seen the flag come down, and supposed that we had
surrendered in consequence of the burning of the quarters. This visit
was sanctioned by the commander of Morris Island, Brigadier-general
James W. Simons. An artillery-man, serving his gun, was very much
astonished to see a man's face at the entrance, and asked him what he
was doing there. Wigfall replied that he wished to see Major Anderson.
The man, however, refused to allow him to enter until he had surrendered
himself as a prisoner, and given up his sword. This done, another
artillery-man was sent to bring an officer. Lieutenant Davis came almost
immediately, but it took some time to find Anderson, who was out
examining the condition of the main gates. I was not present during this
scene, or at the interview that ensued, as I was engaged in trying to
save some shells in the upper story from the effects of the fire.
Wigfall, in Beauregard's name, offered Anderson his own terms, which
were, the evacuation of the fort, with permission to salute our flag,
and to march out with the honors of war, with our arms and private
baggage, leaving all other war material behind. As soon as this matter
was arranged, Wigfall returned to Cummings Point.

In the mean time, Beauregard having noticed the white flag, sent a boat
containing Colonel James Chestnut, and Captain Lee, Colonel Roger A.
Pryor, and Colonel William Porcher Miles, to ascertain the meaning of
the signal. A second boat soon followed, containing Major D.K. Jones,
who was Beauregard's adjutant-general, Ex-Governor J.L. Manning, and
Colonel Charles Alston.

Miles and Pryor were exceedingly astonished when they heard that Wigfall
had been carrying on negotiations in Beauregard's name, and stated that,
to their certain knowledge, he had had no communication with Beauregard.
They spoke of the matter with great delicacy, for Wigfall was a parlous
man, and quick to settle disputed points with the pistol. Anderson
replied with spirit that, under the circumstances, he would run up his
flag again, and resume the firing. They begged him, however, not to take
action until they had had an opportunity to lay the whole subject before
General Beauregard; and Anderson agreed to wait a reasonable time for
that purpose. The boat then returned to the city. In due time another
boat arrived, containing Colonels Chestnut and Chisholm, and Captain
Stephen D. Lee, all aids of Beauregard. They came to notify Major
Anderson that the latter was willing to treat with him on the basis
proposed. Colonel Charles Alston soon came over with Major Jones (who
was chief-of-staff to Beauregard, and adjutant-general of the
Provisional Army), to settle the details of the evacuation. There was
some difficulty about permitting us to salute our flag; but that, too,
was finally conceded. In case we held out for another day, the rebels
had made arrangements to storm the fort that night.

During all these operations, our officers and men behaved with great
gallantry. Hall, Snyder, and Meade had never been under fire before, but
they proved themselves to be true sons of their Alma Mater at West

The first contest of the war was over, and had ended as a substantial
victory for the Secessionists. They had commenced the campaign naked and
defenseless; but the General Government had allowed them time to levy an
army against us, and we had permitted ourselves to be surrounded with a
ring of fire, from which there was no escape. Nor had we employed to the
fullest extent all our available means of defense. No attempt had ever
been made to use the upper tier of guns, which contained our heaviest
metal, and which, from its height, overlooked the enemy's works, and
was, therefore, the most efficient part of our armament. Although the
fire of our columbiads, under ordinary circumstances, could not quite
reach the city, we had arranged one of them to point upward at the
maximum angle. As the carriage would not admit of this, the gun was
taken off, and made to rest on a bed of masonry. Seymour and myself
thought, by loading it with eccentric shells, we could increase the
range of the guns so that the balls would reach that part of Charleston
which was nearest to us; but we were not allowed to use the gun at all.
It seemed to me there was a manifest desire to do as little damage as

About eighteen hundred shot had been fired into Fort Sumter, and the
upper story was pretty well knocked to pieces. To walk around the
parapet, we had constantly to climb over heaps of débris. With all this
expenditure of ammunition, we had but one man dangerously wounded. This
was John Schweirer, foreman of the Baltimore brick-layers. He was struck
by a piece of shell while standing near the open parade-ground. So long
as our men fought in the lower casemates, which were shell-proof, the
vertical fire could not reach them; and by drilling them to step one
side of the embrasure whenever they saw the flash of a gun opposite,
they escaped the danger of being struck by any ball which might enter
the opening; so that, on the whole, they ran very little risk. Had they
used the guns on the parapet, the number of casualties would have been
greatly increased, but our missiles would have been much more effective.

When William Porcher Miles was about to enter the boat to return to
Charleston, he told our commander that none of the secession soldiers
were injured by our fire. Anderson raised his hands and ejaculated,
"Thank God for that!" As the object of our fighting was to do as much
damage as possible, I could see no propriety in thanking Heaven for the
small amount of injury we had inflicted. I have since had reason to
suspect, from several circumstances, that the contest was not as
bloodless as it was represented to be at the time. The coxswain of the
boat that brought Miles over heard him make the remark that no one was
hurt on the rebel side. The man stared at him for a moment in
undisguised amazement, and then stepped aside behind an angle of the
work, where he could indulge in a hearty fit of laughter. His whole
action was that of one who thought his chief had been indulging in
romance. Of course Miles believed the assertion, or he would not have
made it.

The fact is, Fort Moultrie was all slivered and knocked to pieces; and
as I heard so much in reference to the narrow escapes of officers and
soldiers there, I concluded that, if no one was hurt, a miracle must
have taken place. The rebel who carried dispatches between Fort Moultrie
and Mount Pleasant in a small boat was in a position to know, and he
told Peter Hart, some years after the war, that a schooner, to his
certain knowledge, came from Charleston during the battle, and took off
a number of killed from Fort Moultrie, who were taken to Potter's Field,
on Cooper River, and buried there on Saturday, at 4.30 A.M. I had
previously seen the same story published as coming from Charleston. A
similar statement was made, on his arrival in New York, by the mate of
the schooner _D.B. Pitts_, and it purported to be founded on his own

When we left Fort Sumter for New York, a man of my company, named
Fielding, was seriously injured by an explosion, and left behind in the
hospital at Charleston. He was frequently visited there by an old
comrade, named Galloway, who was one of our discharged soldiers.
Galloway laughed at the idea that no one had been injured, and told
Fielding that he himself had served in Fort Moultrie during the
bombardment, and had seen with his own eyes a number of killed and
wounded there. If Galloway's story is true, Ripley may have concealed
his losses, as he did not wish to have us appear more successful than he
had been. I believe there were a great many Irish laborers enlisted in
Fort Moultrie, and their loss would hardly have excited a remark in
aristocratic Charleston. It is said, too, that a list of killed and
wounded was posted up on a bulletin-board in the city, and afterward
torn down, for fear that it might discourage the troops. On the other
hand, the assertion of men holding high official position on the other
side, that no one was killed or injured, would seem to leave little room
for doubt.

When Beauregard received notice that Anderson was willing to ratify the
terms agreed upon, he sent over another boat, containing Colonel Miles,
Colonel Pryor, Ex-Governor Manning, Major Jones, and Captain Hartstein,
to arrange the details of the evacuation.

Almost a fatal accident occurred to Roger A. Pryor shortly after his
arrival in the fort. He was sitting in the hospital at a table, with a
black bottle and a tumbler near his right hand. The place was quite
dark, having been built up all around with boxes of sand, to render it
shell-proof. Being thirsty, and not noticing what he did, he
mechanically picked up the bottle, poured some of the liquid into the
glass, and drank it down. It proved to be iodide of potassium, which is
quite a poisonous compound. When I saw him, he was very pale, and
leaning on the shoulder of Dr. Crawford, who was taking him out on the
grass to apply the stomach-pump. He was soon out of danger. Some of us
questioned the doctor's right to interpose in a case of this kind. It
was argued that if any rebel leader chose to come over to Fort Sumter
and poison himself, the Medical Department had no business to interfere
with such a laudable intention. The doctor, however, claimed, with some
show of reason, that he himself was held responsible to the United
States for the medicine in the hospital, and therefore he could not
permit Pryor to carry any of it away.

All of the preliminaries having been duly adjusted, it was decided that
the evacuation should take place the next morning. Our arrangements were
few and simple, but the rebels made extensive preparations for the
event, in order to give it the greatest _éclat_, and gain from it as
much prestige as possible. The population of the surrounding country
poured into Charleston in vast multitudes, to witness the humiliation
of the United States flag. We slept soundly that night for the first
time, after all the fatigue and excitement of the two preceding days.

The next morning, Sunday, the 14th, we were up early, packing our
baggage in readiness to go on board the transport. The time having
arrived, I made preparations, by order of Major Anderson, to fire a
national salute to the flag. It was a dangerous thing to attempt, as
sparks of fire were floating around everywhere, and there was no safe
place to deposit the ammunition. In that portion of the line commanded
by Lieutenant Hall, a pile of cartridges lay under the muzzle of one of
the guns. Some fire had probably lodged inside the piece, which the
sponging did not extinguish, for, in loading it, it went off
prematurely, and blew off the right arm of the gunner, Daniel Hough, who
was an excellent soldier. His death was almost instantaneous. He was the
first man who lost his life on our side in the war for the Union. The
damage did not end here, for some of the fire from the muzzle dropped on
the pile of cartridges below, and exploded them all. Several men in the
vicinity were blown into the air, and seriously injured. Their names
were George Fielding, John Irwin, George Pinchard, and Edwin Galway,
and, I think, James Hayes. The first-named being very badly hurt, was
left behind, to be cared for by the rebels. He was sent over to
Charleston, where he was well treated, finally cured, and forwarded to
us without being exchanged.

The salute being over, the Confederate troops marched in to occupy the
fort. The Palmetto Guard, Captain Cuthbert's company, detailed by
Colonel De Saussure, and Captain Hollinquist's Company B, of the
regulars, detailed by Colonel Ripley, constituted the new garrison under
Ripley.[21] Anderson directed me to form the men on the parade-ground,
assume command, and march them on board the transport. I told him I
should prefer to leave the fort with the flag flying, and the drums
beating Yankee Doodle, and he authorized me to do so. As soon as our
tattered flag came down, and the silken banner made by the ladies of
Charleston was run up, tremendous shouts of applause were heard from
the vast multitude of spectators; and all the vessels and steamers,
with one accord, made for the fort. Corporal Bringhurst came running to
tell me that many of the approaching crowd were shouting my name, and
making threatening demonstrations. The disorder, however, was
immediately quelled by the appearance of Hartstein, an ex-officer of our
navy, who threw out sentinels in all directions, and prevented the mob
from landing.

The bay was alive with floating craft of every description, filled with
people from all parts of the South, in their holiday attire. As I
marched out at the head of our little band of regulars, it must have
presented a strange contrast to the numerous forces that had assailed
us; some sixty men against six thousand. As we went on board the
_Isabel_, with the drums beating the national air, all eyes were fixed
upon us amidst the deepest silence. It was an hour of triumph for the
originators of secession in South Carolina, and no doubt it seemed to
them the culmination of all their hopes; but could they have seen into
the future with the eye of prophecy, their joy might have been turned
into mourning. Who among them could have conceived that the Charleston
they deemed so invincible, which they boasted would never be polluted
by the footsteps of a Yankee invader until every son of the soil had
shed the last drop of his blood in her defense--who could have imagined
that this proud metropolis, after much privation and long-suffering from
fire and bombardment, would finally surrender, without bloodshed, to a
negro regiment, under a Massachusetts flag--the two most abhorred
elements of the strife to the proud people of South Carolina? Who could
have imagined that the race they had so despised was destined to govern
them in the future, in the dense ignorance which the South itself had
created, by prohibiting the education of the blacks?

My story is nearly done. We soon reached the _Baltic_, and were received
with great sympathy and feeling by the army and navy officers present.
Among the latter was Captain Fox, who afterward became the Assistant
Secretary of the Navy.

It is worthy of remark that, after we had left the harbor, Bishop Lynch,
of Charleston, threw the Catholic influence in favor of the
Secessionists by celebrating the Southern victory by a grand _Te Deum_.

We arrived in New York on the 19th, and were received with unbounded
enthusiasm. All the passing steamers saluted us with their
steam-whistles and bells, and cheer after cheer went up from the
ferry-boats and vessels in the harbor. We did not attempt to land, but
came to anchor in the stream, between Governor's Island and the Battery.
Several distinguished citizens at once came on board, and Major Anderson
was immediately carried off to dine with Mr. Lloyd Aspinwall. As
somebody had to remain with the troops and attend to their wants, I
accompanied them to Fort Hamilton, where we soon found ourselves in
comfortable quarters. Nearly all of the officers obtained a furlough
immediately; but I remained in command of the fort during the temporary
absence of Major Anderson, who was soon after permanently detached from

Our captivity had deeply touched the hearts of the people, and every day
the number of visitors almost amounted to an ovation. The principal city
papers, the _Tribune_, _Times_, _Herald_, and _Evening Post_, gave us a
hearty welcome. For a long time the enthusiasm in New York remained
undiminished. It was impossible for us to venture into the main streets
without being ridden on the shoulders of men, and torn to pieces by
hand-shaking. Shortly after our arrival, Henry Ward Beecher came down to
the fort to meet us, and made a ringing speech, full of fire and
patriotism. It seemed as if every one of note called to express his
devotion to the cause of the Union, and his sympathy with us, who had
been its humble representatives amidst the perils of the first conflict
of the war.

As I have stated, of the officers who were engaged in the operations
herein narrated, but four now survive.

George W. Snyder was the first to leave us. He was present in the battle
of Bull Run, attained the brevet of captain, and died in Washington,
District of Columbia, on the 17th of November, 1861.

Theodore Talbot became assistant-adjutant-general, with the rank of
major, and died on the 22d of April, 1862, also in Washington.

Richard K. Meade was induced, by the pressure of social and family ties,
to resign his commission in our army. He became a rebel officer, and
died at Petersburg, Virginia, in July, 1862.

Norman J. Hall became colonel of the Seventh Michigan Volunteers, and
received three brevets in the regular army, the last being for gallant
and distinguished services at Gettysburg. He died on the 26th of May,
1867, at Brooklyn, New York.

John L. Gardner received the brevet of brigadier-general, and was
retired at the commencement of the war. He died at Wilmington, Delaware,
on the 19th of February, 1869.

Robert Anderson was made a brigadier-general, and afterward a brevet
major-general, for his services at Fort Sumter. He served about six
months as Commander of the Department of Kentucky and of the Cumberland,
and was then obliged to leave the field in consequence of ill health. He
was retired from active service on the 27th of October, 1863, and died
at Nice, in France, on the 26th day of October, 1871.

Lastly, John G. Foster, after a brilliant career as commander of a
department and army corps, died at Nashua, New Hampshire, September 2d,

Each of us who survive became major-general during the rebellion, and
each now holds the same grade by brevet in the regular army.

Mr. Edward Moale, the citizen who remained with us, did excellent
service in the war. At present he is a brevet lieutenant-colonel in the
regular army.

This statement of events was completed at New York, April 14th, 1875, on
the fourteenth anniversary of the evacuation of Fort Sumter.


_List of Officers and Enlisted Men present at the Bombardment of Fort
Sumter, April 12th and 13th, 1861._


  Major ROBERT ANDERSON, First United States Artillery.
  Captain ABNER DOUBLEDAY, First United States Artillery.
  Captain TRUMAN SEYMOUR, First United States Artillery.
  First Lieutenant JEFFERSON C. DAVIS, First United States Artillery.
  Second Lieutenant NORMAN J. HALL, First United States Artillery.
  Captain J.G. FOSTER, United States Engineers.
  Lieutenant G.W. SNYDER, United States Engineers.
  Lieutenant R.K. MEADE, United States Engineers.
  Assistant Surgeon S.W. CRAWFORD, United States Army.


Ordnance-sergeant James Kearney, United States Army.
Quartermaster-sergeant William H. Hammer, First United States Artillery.

_Regimental Band, First Artillery._

  Sergeant James E. Galway.
  Corporal Andrew Smith.
  Private Andrew Murphy.
  Private Fedeschi Onoratti.
  Private Peter Rice.
  Private Henry Schmidt.
  Private John Urquhart.
  Private Andrew Wickstrom.

_Company E, First Artillery._

  First Sergeant Eugene Scheibner.
  Sergeant Thomas Kirnan.
  Sergeant William A. Harn.
  Sergeant James Chester.
  Corporal Owen M'Guire.
  Corporal Francis J. Oakes.
  Corporal Charles Bringhurst.
  Corporal Henry Ellerbrook.
  Musician Charles Hall.
  Private Philip Anderman.
  Private John Emil Noack.
  Private Cornelius Baker.
  Private Thomas Carroll.
  Private Patrick Clancy.
  Private John Davis.
  Private James Digdam.
  Private George Fielding.
  Private Edward Gallway.
  Private James Gibbons.
  Private James Hays.
  Private Daniel Hough.
  Private John Irwin.
  Private James M'Donald.
  Private Samuel Miller.
  Private John Newport.
  Private George Pinchard.
  Private Frank Rivers.
  Private Lewis Schroeder.
  Private Carl A. Sellman.
  Private John Thompson.
  Private Charles H. Tozer.
  Private William Witzman.

_Company H, First Artillery._

  First Sergeant John Renehan.
  Sergeant James M'Mahon.
  Sergeant John Carmody.
  Sergeant John Otto.
  Corporal Christopher Costolan.
  Musician Robert Foster.
  Artificer Henry Strandt.
  Private Edward Brady.
  Private Barney Cain.
  Private John Doran.
  Private Dennis Johnson.
  Private John Kehoe.
  Private John Klein.
  Private John Lanagan.
  Private Frederick Lintner.
  Private John Magill.
  Private John Laroche.
  Private Frederick Meier.
  Private James Moore.
  Private William Morter.
  Private Patrick Neilan.
  Private John Nixon.
  Private Michael O'Donald.
  Private Robert Roe.
  Private William Walker.
  Private Joseph Wall.
  Private Edmond Walsh.
  Private Henry R. Walter.
  Private Herman Will.
  Private Thomas Wishnowski.
  Private Casper Wutterpel.

_List of Mechanics and Employés present in Fort Sumter during the
Bombardment, April 12th and 13th, 1861._


  George Coons, _mason_.
  John Schweirer,_mason_.
  John Buckley, _smith_.
  John Lindsay, _carpenter_.
  John Saxton, _rigger_.
  James Tweedle, _smith_.
  Wm. O. Lyman, _overseer_.


  Michael Berne.
  John Burns.
  John Branley.
  Peter Caine.
  Patrick Conner.
  Michael Cummins.
  William Dorsey.
  Edward Davis.
  Patrick Donahoe.
  Peter Donley.
  William Eagen.
  Andrew Felton.
  Michael Goff.
  James Howlett.
  Patrick Heeney.
  Andrew Lindsey.
  Dennis Magrath.
  John M'Carty.
  James M'Mahon.
  Michael Meechins.
  Thomas Murphy.
  Thomas Myers.
  William Powers.
  Edward Quinn.
  Patrick Quinn.
  Martin Rafferty.
  John Riley.
  Michael Ryan.
  Jeremiah Ryan.
  James Ryan.
  James Shea.


  Samuel Abraze.
  Patrick Walsh.

The following is taken from a South Carolina official document, but it
seems somewhat defective in detail:

_List of Confederate Batteries constructed with a View to the Reduction
of Fort Sumter._


     Brigadier-general JAMES W. SIMONS, commanding; Colonel WILMOT G. DE
     SAUSSURE, commanding Artillery Battalion. Lieutenant J. R. MACBETH,
     Captain J. JONES, and Lieutenant F.L. CHILDS, acting as aids to
     Colonel De Saussure.

STEVENS BATTERY. (Fired 1200 shots.)

_Three Eight-inch columbiads._

     Garrisoned by the Palmetto Guard, CAPTAIN GEORGE B. CUTHBERT
     commanding; Lieutenant G.L. BUIST. The ammunition was served out by
     Mr. PHILIPS and Mr. CAMPBELL. One gun was disabled on Friday.


_Two forty-two-pounders, three ten-inch mortars, one Blakely gun._

     Garrisoned by a detachment of the Palmetto Guard, and by cadets
     from the Citadel Academy in Charleston. Captain J.P. THOMAS, of the
     Citadel Academy, commanding Blakely gun; Lieutenant C. R. HOLMES,
     of the Citadel Academy, commanding mortars; Lieutenant W.W.
     ARMSTRONG, of the Citadel Academy, at the mortars; Second
     Lieutenant THOMAS SUMTER, of the Palmetto Guard, in charge of the

CHANNEL BATTERY. (Did not fire.)

     Captain CALHOUN, commanding; First Lieutenant A.M. WAGNER;
     Lieutenant---- SITGREAVES; Second Lieutenant M.C. PRESTON.


Major N.G. EVANS, A.A.G., commanding.


Captain GEORGE S. JAMES, commanding.


     First Lieutenant W.H. GIBBES, of the Artillery; Lieutenant H.S.
     FARLEY; Lieutenant J.E. M'PHERSON, Washington; Lieutenant T.B.
     HAYNE; Doctor LIBBY.

UPPER BATTERY. (Fired 2425 shots.)

_Two ten-inch mortars._


_Two ten-inch mortars._

Captain S.C. THAYER, of the S.C. Navy, commanding.


     Brigadier-general JOHN DUNOVANT, commanding. Lieutenant-colonel
     ROSWELL S. RIPLEY, commanding the Artillery; Captain J. B. BURNS,
     of General DUNOVANT'S staff; Surgeons P.J. ROBINSON, R.F. MITCHELL,
     and ARTHUR LYNCH; Assistant-surgeons D.W. TAYLOR, Doctor F.F.
     MILES, Doctor F.L. PARKER.

THE IRON-CLAD FLOATING BATTERY. (At the Cove. Fired 1900 shots.)

_Two forty-two-pounders. Two thirty-two-pounders._

     Garrisoned by Company D, of the Artillery. Captain JAMES HAMILTON;
     First Lieutenant J.A. YATES, Second Lieutenant F.H. HARLESTON.

THE DAHLGREN BATTERY. (Near the Floating Battery.)

_One nine-inch Dahlgren gun._

     Garrisoned by Company D, of the Artillery. Captain S.R. HAMILTON;
     Mr. JOHN WELLS.

THE ENFILADE BATTERY. (Fired 1825 shots.)

     Garrisoned by Company K, of the Artillery, Captain JAMES H.
     HALLONQUIST, Company B, of the Artillery, commanding; First
     Lieutenant J. VALENTINE, B.S. BURNETT.

MORTAR BATTERY, NO. 1. (Between Fort Moultrie and the Cove.)

     Captain JAMES H. HALLONQUIST, Company B, of the Artillery,
     commanding. Lieutenant O. BLANDING, Lieutenant FLEMING.

FORT MOULTRIE. (Fired 1825 shots.)

_Three eight-inch columbiads, two thirty-two-pounders, four

     Garrisoned by the Artillery Battalion under Lieutenant-colonel
     RIPLEY. Captain W.R. CALHOUN, Company A, of the Artillery,
     executive officer.

SUMTER BATTERY. (Facing south-south-west.)

     Lieutenant ALFRED RHETT, Company B, Artillery, commanding; Second
     Lieutenant JOHN MITCHELL, Jun.; Mr. F.D. BLAKE, Volunteer Engineer.

OBLIQUE BATTERY. (On the west.)

_Two twenty-four-pounders._

Lieutenant C.W. PARKER, Company D, of the Artillery.

MORTAR BATTERY, No. 2. (East of Fort Moultrie.)

_Two ten-inch mortars._

     Captain WILLIAM BUTLER, of the Infantry; Lieutenant J.A. HUGENIN.
     E. MOWRY, Mr. BLOCKER, Mr. BILLINGS, and Mr. RICE assisted. This
     battery was joined to the Maffit Channel Battery.

THE TRAPIER BATTERY. (Fired 1300 shots.)

_Three ten-inch mortars._

     Garrisoned by the Marion Artillery, J. GADSDEN KING, commanding.
     Lieutenant W.D.H. KIRKWOOD, J.P. STROHECKER, A.M. HUGER, E.L.
     PARKER. The Marion Artillery was afterward relieved by the Sumter
     Guard, under Captain JOHN RUSSELL.


BATTERY. (Fired 2925 shots.)

_Two ten-inch mortars._

     Captain ROBERT MARTIN of the Infantry, commanding; Lieutenant G.N.
     REYNOLDS, Company B, of the Artillery; Lieutenant D.S. CALHOUN, of
     the Infantry.



[1] Hamlin's father named four of his sons, Europe, Asia, Africa, and
America. The fact that one of them was called Africa gave rise to the
statement that he was an African.

[2] He afterward returned, gave bail, and appeared before the court,
because he was aware that a rule existed that parties who had given
evidence before a Congressional committee in reference to any
defalcation could not be tried for having taken part in it.

[3] It is true there is a law authorizing the distribution of _surplus_
United States arms to the States, but there were no surplus muskets on
hand; and even if there had been, it was a very injudicious time to
distribute them among the insurgent States. A little delay would have
been both patriotic and judicious.

[4] My brother and myself each owned copies of the same dictionary.
Instead of using a word in my correspondence, I simply referred to its
place in the book, by giving the number of the page, number of the
column, and number of the word from the top of the page.

[5] He left the United States service soon after the attack on Fort
Sumter, and joined the Confederates. He did so reluctantly, for he had
gained great renown in our army for his gallantry in Mexico, and he knew
he would soon have been promoted to the position of Chief of our
Ordnance Department had he remained with us.

[6] About a month afterward the Honorable William Aiken, who was a Union
man, and who had formerly been governor of the State, and a member of
Congress, was compelled to pay forty thousand dollars as his share of
the war taxes.

[7] Dawson's _Historical Magazine_.

[8] See Dawson's story of Fort Sumter, in the _Historical Magazine for
January, 1872_.

[9] The facts in this statement are taken from Dawson's _Historical
Magazine for January, 1872_.

[10] One of the original leaders of secession, and a life-long friend
and correspondent of Major Anderson.

[11] My wife applied for board in Charleston, but was told she must
first obtain the sanction of Mr. Rhett, the editor of the _Mercury_. She
was afterward informed by the boarding-house keeper that, as the house
depended on the patronage of the Southern people for support, she (the
landlady) could not undertake to harbor the wives of Federal officers.

[12] The army officers on board were First Lieutenant Charles R. Woods,
Ninth Infantry, commanding; First Lieutenant William A. Webb, Fifth
Infantry; Second Lieutenant Charles W. Thomas, First Infantry; and
Assistant-surgeon P.G.S. Ten Broeck.

[13] Castle Pinckney at this time was commanded by Colonel J. Johnston
Petigru; Sullivan's Island, by Adjutant and Inspector-general Dunovant;
Fort Johnson, by Captain James Johnson, of the Charleston Rifles. The
United States Arsenal, by Colonel John Cunningham, of the Seventeenth
South Carolina militia; its former commander, Captain Humphreys, the
United States military store-keeper, having been ejected on the 30th of

[14] Among these children was a little waif, called Dick Kowley,
afterward known as "Sumter Dick." He had been abandoned by his mother,
and thus thrown out on the world. For a time he was sent, after his
arrival in New York, to the house of Dr. Stewart, who was a family
connection of mine. After supper he reminded the ladies that he had not
heard tattoo yet, and wished to know at what hour they beat the
reveille. He evidently thought every well-regulated family kept a
drummer and fifer on hand, to sound the calls. He was very unhappy until
he had procured a small stick and a miniature flag. Every morning at
sunrise he hoisted the flag, and carefully lowered it and put it away at
sunset. He is now a cabinet-maker at Marion, Ohio, and recently gained a
prize for his excellent workmanship.

[15] It is due to the major to state that, in a speech made before the
Board of Brokers in New York, on the 13th of May, he asserted that if
the question lay between the preservation of the Union or the
preservation of slavery, slavery must be sacrificed.

[16] About this time, my wife, who was in Washington, was very much
surprised at receiving a call from the President. He came quietly to
request her to show him my letters from Fort Sumter, so that he might
form a better opinion as to the condition of affairs there, more
particularly in regard to our resources.

[17] I have since learned that the shell from Fort Johnson was not a
hostile shot, but was simply intended as a signal for the firing to

[18] In this he was an exception to most negroes. Those I have seen in
the colored regiments in Texas have shown themselves to be among the
best and most reliable men in the service for operations against the
Indians. It was a line of negroes that charged over the torpedoes at

[19] The troops and defenses on Morris Island were commanded by
Brigadier-general James W. Simons. The artillery was under the command
of Colonel Wilmot G. De Saussure, of the South Carolina Artillery

Sullivan's Island was commanded by Brigadier-general John Dunovant,
formerly an officer of the United States Army. His second in command was
Lieutenant-colonel Roswell S. Ripley, of the South Carolina Artillery
Battalion, formerly of our army.

Major N.G. Evans, assistant adjutant-general, commanded on James Island.

The battery at Mount Pleasant was under the command of Captain Robert
Martin, of the South Carolina Infantry.

[20] It is claimed that this shot was fired by Lieutenant W.C. Preston,
of South Carolina.

[21] Edmund Ruffin entered the fort as a volunteer ensign of the
Palmetto Guard; Captain Samuel Ferguson received the keys of Fort
Sumter, and raised the Confederate flag over the ramparts;
Lieutenant-colonel F.J. Moses raised the State flag. Moses has since
figured as the Republican governor of South Carolina.





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