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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 1, Ch. I–Union Correspondence.

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

CHAPTER I.
OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.
December 20, 1860-April 14, 1861.
(Secession, Fort Sumter)
–––
UNION CORRESPONDENCE.

{p.67}

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 1, 1860.

Col. J. L. GARDNER, Commanding Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: I transmit herewith a copy of a letter addressed by me to the Secretary of War, which has been approved by him, and which I submit to you for your views as to the expediency or propriety of placing arms in the hands of hired men for the purpose indicated.

Should you approve the measure I will thank you to request Military Storekeeper Humphreys to make the issue indicated in said letter, and to report the fact to this office, that it may be covered by an order for supplies.

Respectfully, &c.,

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

[Inclosure.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C., October 31, 1860.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: There is at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, now in course of construction, besides a part of its armament, a considerable quantity of {p.68} ammunition, &c., and it has been suggested by the Engineer officer in charge of the work that a few small-arms placed in the hands of his workmen for the protection of the Government property there might be a useful precaution. If the measure should, on being communicated, meet with the concurrence of the commanding officer of the troops in the harbor, I recommend that I in be authorized to issue forty muskets to the Engineer officer.

With much respect,

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

[Indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 31, 1860.

Approved:

J. B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., November 5, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: Your communication of 1st instant, with its inclosure, in reference to placing forty muskets in the hands of the Engineer officer in charge of Fort Sumter as a precautionary measure proper to this time of excitement, is received. My views are asked on two, or rather three points:

1st. On that which forms the condition of the Secretary’s approval of the issue, namely, that I concur in its expediency;

2d. On the “propriety” of placing the arms in the hands of hired men for the purpose indicated; and,

3d. On the “expediency” of doing so.

To the first I reply that I have already said in effect, on my post return for last month, that while I do not apprehend that any attempt upon the United States works here will receive the countenance of the State or city authority, it is by some thought that a tumultuary force may be incited by the feeling of the time, and invited by the present disordered condition of the works to make such an attempt without it, and that this possibility makes it incumbent on me to provide as far as I may against it, and forty additional musketeers would then be desirable.

As to the “propriety” of the issue I see no objection. The arms need not be delivered to the men selected by the Engineer officer till the occasion should actually obtain. The workmen in charge of the property are bound on principles of common law to defend it against purloiners, to say nothing of the 96th Article of War, applicable to all “persons whatsoever receiving pay from the United States.”

The “expediency” of the measure is quite another question of less obvious features.

There are one hundred and nine men at Fort Sumter, most of them laborers of foreign nativity, of whom it is prudent to be somewhat suspicious, for I am just informed that on some of them being questioned, (as is the wont of the times) on the point of their proclivity in the event of secession, replied to the effect that they were indifferent, and intimated that the largest bribe would determine their action, and they {p.69} can, you know, discharge themselves of their public obligations at any moment, and thus be free to choose sides.

Now, forty muskets in the hands of the faithful among them might control the rest, but certainly not on a close push from outside. The Engineer officer can, he says, keep the arms beyond the physical possibility of being taken from him by the untrustworthy, and he can cut off all communication peremptorily with citizens. Now, unless some such precaution be taken, this large body of laborers may, in the possible event in question, unrestrainedly deliver up the post and its contents on a bribe or demand. Meanwhile they cannot be removed outside of that isolated island post, which has not a foot of ground beyond the walls of the fort. In this connection I may add that at this post too (Fort Moultrie) we have about fifty laborers of like description with known secession propensities, as they are residents permanently of this quarter.

On the point of expediency, then, I am constrained to say that the only proper precaution-that which has no objection-is to fill these two companies with drilled recruits (say fifty men) at once, and send two companies from Old Point Comfort to occupy respectively Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney.

I am, colonel, yours respectfully,

JNO. L. GARDNER, Brevet Colonel, U. S. Army.

[Indorsement.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE, November 8, 1860.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War, with the remark that as the issue of forty muskets, approved by him 31st ultimo, was contingent on the approval of Colonel Gardner, it is probable that the issue has not and will not be made without further orders.

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

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CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S. C., November 10, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

SIR: On the 7th instant I received an order from Colonel Gardner, commanding troops in the harbor, to issue to him all of the fixed am munition for small-arms (percussion caps, primers, &c.) at this arsenal, such a step being advisable, in his estimation, for the better protection of the property in view of the excitement now existing in this city and State. Being allowed no discretion in the matter, his order being peremptory, I proceeded to obey it on the afternoon of the 8th. Captain Seymour having come up from Fort Moultrie, with a detachment of men and a schooner, for the purpose of removing the stores, the shipment of them was interfered with by the owner of the wharf until the city authorities could be notified, and there were but three or four cart-loads on board. I considered it best that they should be reconveyed to the magazine until something definite should be determined upon, which was done. Not having heard anything further from Colonel Gardner relative to this matter, I conceive it my duty to report the facts in the case, which I respectfully submit.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

F. C. HUMPHREYS, Military Storekeeper Ordnance, Commanding.

{p.70}

[Indorsements.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE, November 13, 1860.

Respectfully referred to the Adjutant-General for the information of the Secretary of War, with the remark that I am not aware by what authority Colonel Gardner undertook to give such an order.

H. K. CRAIG, Colonel of Ordnance.

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WASHINGTON, D. C. November 11, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General, Washington City:

SIR: In compliance with instructions from the Secretary of War of the 6th instant, I inspected the fortifications and troops in Charleston Harbor, and have now the honor to report as follows:

FORT MOULTRIE.

This post is garrisoned by Companies E and H, First Artillery, and the regimental band is quartered there.

State of the command.

Field and staff.–Bvt. Col. John L. Gardner, lieutenant-colonel First Artillery, commanding; Asst. Surg. Samuel W. Crawford, medical department.

Company officers.–Capt. Miner Knowlton, Company H, absent sick since August 12, 1850; Capt. Abner Doubleday, commanding Company E; Bvt. Capt. Truman Seymour, first lieutenant, commanding Company H; First Lieut. Otis H. Tillinghast, regimental quartermaster, and acting adjutant at regimental headquarters, absent since May 29, 1860; First Lieut. Theodore Talbot, Company H; First Lieut. Jefferson C. Davis, Company E; Second Lieut. Samuel Breck, Company E, on duty at the Military Academy since September 13, 1860; Second Lieut. Norman J. Hall, Company H, acting assistant quartermaster and acting assistant commissary of subsistence since September 1, 1860, and post adjutant.

Enlisted men.–Band and staff, 9 musicians, 1 hospital steward, 1 ordnance sergeant absent.

Companies E and H, for duty, 36; on extra or daily duty, 13; sick, 4; in arrest or confinement, 11; absent in confinement, 2. Total, 64. Present at inspection, 30; artillery drill, 21; infantry drill, 23; comprising all who, in the opinion of the commanding officer, could with propriety and safety be taken from other duties.

The officers-Lieutenant Talbot in delicate health excepted-are in good health, and capable of enduring the fatigues incident to any duty that may be demanded of them. They are sober, intelligent, and active, and appear acquainted with their general duties, perform them with some exceptions punctually and promptly, and all are anxious to give the commanding officer the aid to which he is entitled.

The non-commissioned officers and privates appear intelligent and obedient, but do not move with an alacrity and spirit indicating the existence of a strict discipline.

...

A portion of the work, interior and exterior, is necessarily encumbered by material being used in repairing parapets, beds for guns, and arranging {p.71} for the defense of the fort. In other respects the police of the post is good.

...

The hospital and storehouses are outside the forts. All are old frame buildings, highly inflammable, and not secured by the presence or watchful eye of a sentinel from the acts of evil-disposed persons. An incendiary could in a few minutes destroy all the supplies and workshops of the command.

Lieutenant Hall states that he has some difficulty in procuring suitable flour and pork in Charleston, sometimes having to return the former, while the latter cannot at times be purchased. He has about two months’ supply of provisions for the present command.

...

The unguarded state of the fort invites attack, if such design exists, and much discretion and prudence are required on the part of the commander to restore the proper security without exciting a community prompt to misconstrue actions of authority. I think this can be effected by a proper commander, without checking in the slightest the progress of the engineers in completing the works of defense. Any interference with that labor would probably rouse suspicions and create excitement. All could have been easily arranged several weeks since, when the danger was foreseen by the present commander. Now much delicacy must be practiced. The garrison is weak, and I recommend that a favorable opportunity be taken to fill up the companies with the best-drilled recruits available.

...

The following events, which transpired the day I arrived at Fort Moultrie, I deem proper to report here, as I have orally heretofore, as they relate to an act of unusual importance, tending to indicate the inflammable and impulsive state of the public mind in Charleston-to a great extent characteristic of the feeling manifested throughout the State and necessity for prudence and judgment on the part of the commanding officer in all transactions which may bear upon the relations of the Federal Government to the State of South Carolina, and of the Army to our citizens. I regard it especially important to refer to them, as Colonel Gardner informed me be should make no report.

The military storekeeper has at the arsenal in the city a large number of arms and quantity of ammunition, which, fearing it might fall into improper hands, he desired to secure to the United States, and under counsel from Colonel Gardner he packed them up and held in readiness to be shipped to Fort Moultrie whenever Colonel Gardner should send for them. Availing himself of an approved requisition for paints, lacquers, &c., needed at the post, he sent Captain Seymour to the city for the supply and other articles that the military storekeeper might wish to have stored at the post, and thus secured in case of negro insurrections. The owner of the wharf refused permission to ship them. A crowd collected, and suspecting an attempt on the part of the Government to smuggle (it being late in the evening, or after dark) arms, ammunition, &c., from the city, to be used against it, or to prevent their use by citizens in case of disturbances, would not permit the property to be carried away.

FORT SUMTER.

Fort Sumter is not completed, and is now occupied by the Engineers, under the direction of Lieutenant Snyder (Captain Foster being absent), {p.72} who has employed upon it some hundred and ten men. A portion of the armament is mounted, but for its defense a few regular soldiers, to overawe the workmen and to control them, only would be necessary at present. The lower embrasures are closed, and if the main gate be secured a storming-party would require ladders twenty feet in length to gain admission. No arms are here, and I doubt if they would be serviceable in the hands of workmen, who would take the side of the stronger force present. Unless it should become necessary I think it advisable not to occupy this work so long as the mass of engineer workmen are engaged in it. The completion of those parts essential for the accommodation of a company might be hastened. The magazine contains thirty-nine thousand four hundred pounds of powder. The number of guns on hand is seventy-eight, consisting of 8 and 10 inch columbiads, 8-inch sea-coast howitzers. 42 pounder guns, and 32 and 24-pounders, with carriages, shot, shell, implements, &c.

CASTLE PINCKNEY.

Castle Pinckney commands Charleston, and its armament is complete. Here the powder belonging to the arsenal in the city is stored. A company can be accommodated here, while a small force under an officer would secure it against surprise or even a bold attack of such enemies likely to undertake it. It is under the charge of an ordnance sergeant, who keeps everything in as good order as possible. The quarters and magazine require repairs. Under present circumstances I would not recommend its occupation.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. J. PORTER, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S. C., November 12, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

SIR: In view of the excitement now existing in this city and State, and the possibility of an insurrectionary movement on the part of the servile population, the governor has tendered, through General Schneirle, of South Carolina Militia, a guard, of a detachment of a lieutenant and twenty men for this post, which has been accepted.

Trusting that this course may meet the approval of the Department, I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

F. C. HUMPHREYS, Military Storekeeper Ordnance, Commanding.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., November 12, 1860.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Care of A. A. G., Hdqrs. Army, New York:

SIR: The Secretary of War desires to see you, and directs that you proceed to this city and report to him without unnecessary delay. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

{p.73}

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., November 14, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that I arrived here on the morning of the 11th instant. I found that the pintle blocks for the howitzer embrasures at Fort Moultrie had not arrived, and that the work was waiting for them. The communications being finished connecting the interior of the caponieres with the interior of the fort, and no cover for them being prepared as yet, I judged it prudent to construct temporary flanking arrangements at once, in consideration of the peculiar state of the public feeling here and the wishes of several officers of the garrison, including the commanding officer. These I commenced yesterday morning and completed last night including the construction of temporary platforms and placing four field pieces in position. These temporary flanking arrangements occupy the positions that the caponieres are to occupy, one of them having its lines four feet within the walls of the caponiere, so as to give room for the masons to work. This temporary construction can therefore stand until I finish the outside caponiere, which I shall do as soon as possible without waiting longer for the pintle stones.

I have made these temporary defenses as inexpensive as possible, and they consist simply of a stout board fence, ten feet high, surmounted by strips filled with nail-points, with a dry-brick wall two bricks thick on the inside, raised to the height of a mans head, and pierced with embrasures and a sufficient number of loopholes. Their immediate construction has satisfied and gratified the commanding officer, Colonel Gardner, and they are, I think, adequate to the present wants of the garrison.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 137.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE Army, New York, November 15, 1860.

Major Robert Anderson, First Artillery, will forthwith proceed to Fort Moultrie and immediately relieve Bvt. Col. John L. Gardner, lieutenant-colonel of First Artillery, in command thereof; who, on being relieved, will repair without delay to San Antonio, Texas, and report to the commanding officer of the Department of Texas for duty, with that portion of his regiment serving therein.

By command of Lieutenant-General Scott:

L. THOMAS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 20, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: Your letter of the 14th, reporting the temporary defensive arrangements you have had carried out since your arrival at Fort Moultrie on the 11th instant, has been received, and your proceedings are approved.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

{p.74}

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CHARLESTON ARSENAL, November 20, 1860.

Col. H. K. CRAIG, Ordnance Department:

SIR: In obedience to the instructions of the War Department I came to this place and have assumed command of the arsenal. The excitement concerning this arsenal which existed here a short time since is very much allayed, and this result is in a great measure due to the prudence and discretion of the military storekeeper, Mr. Humphreys, whose conduct on the occasion meets my commendation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Brevet-Colonel, U. S. Army.

[Indorsement.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE, November 24, 1860.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War for his information.

WM. MAYNADIER, Captain of Ordnance.

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No. 1.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., November 23, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General, U. S. Army:

COLONEL: In compliance with verbal instructions from the honorable Secretary of War, I have the honor to report that I have inspected the forts of this harbor. As Major Porter has recently made a report in relation to them, I shall confine my remarks mainly to other matters, of great importance, if the Government intends holding them. At Fort Moultrie the Engineer, Captain Foster, is working very energetically on the outer defenses, which will, should nothing unforseen occur to prevent, be finished and the guns mounted in two weeks. There are several sand hillocks within four hundred yards of our eastern wall, which offer admirable cover to approaching parties, and would be formidable points for sharpshooters. Two of them command our work. These I shall be compelled to level, at least sufficiently to render our position less insecure than it now is. When the outworks are completed, this fort, with its appropriate war garrison will be capable of making a very handsome defense. It is so small that we shall have little space for storing our provisions, wood, &c. The garrison now in it is so weak as to invite an attack, which is openly and publicly threatened. We are about sixty, and have a line of rampart of 1,500 feet in length to defend. If beleaguered, as every man of the command must be either engaged or held on the alert, they will be exhausted and worn down in a few days and nights of such service as they would then have to undergo.

At Fort Sumter the guns of the lower tier of casemates will be mounted, the Engineer estimates, in about seventeen days. That fort is now ready for the comfortable accommodation of one company, and, indeed, for the temporary reception of its proper garrison.

Captain Poster states that the magazines (4) are done, and in excellent condition; that they now contain 40,000 pounds of cannon powder and a full supply of ammunition for one tier of guns. This work is the key to the entrance of this harbor; its guns command this work, and could soon drive out its occupants. It should be garrisoned at once. Castle Pinckney, a small casemated work, perfectly commanding the city of Charleston, is in excellent condition, with the exception of a few {p.75} repairs, which will require the expenditure of about $500. They are 1st, replacing three water casks and the old banquette on the gorge; 2d, repairing one of the cisterns and the old palisading, which, though much rotten, may at a trifling expense be made to answer for the present; 3d, making six shutters for the embrasures and doing some slight work to the main gates. Two mortars and a few other articles belonging to this work were taken to the United States Arsenal in Charleston some months since for repair. They are still there. I shall ask the officer in charge to return them as soon as he can. The magazine is not a very good one; it contains some rifle and musket powder, said to be good, and also some cannon powder reported damaged. The powder belongs to the arsenal. It is, in my opinion, essentially important that this castle should be immediately occupied by a garrison, say, of two officers and thirty men. The safety of our little garrison would be rendered more certain, and our fort would be more secure from an attack by such a holding of Castle Pinckney than it would be from quadrupling our force. The Charlestonians would not venture to attack this place when they knew that their city was at the mercy of the commander of Castle Pinckney. So important do I consider the holding of Castle Pinckney by the Government that I recommend, if the troops asked for cannot be sent at once, that I be authorized to place an Engineer detachment, consisting, say, of one officer, two masons, two carpenters, and twenty-six laborers, to make the repairs needed there. They might be sent without any opposition or suspicion, and would in a short time be sufficiently instructed in the use of the guns in the castle to enable their commander to hold the castle against any force that could be sent against it. If my force was not so very small I would not hesitate to send a detachment at once to garrison that work. Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney must be garrisoned immediately if the Government determines to keep command of this harbor.

I need not say how anxious I am-indeed, determined, so far as honor will permit-to avoid collision with the citizens of South Carolina. Nothing, however, will be better calculated to prevent bloodshed than our being found in such an attitude that it would be madness and folly to attack us. There is not so much of feverish excitement as there was last week, but that there is a settled determination to leave the Union, and to obtain possession of this work, is apparent to all. Castle Pinckney, being so near the city, and having no one in it but an ordnance sergeant, they regard as already in their possession. The clouds are threatening, and the storm may break upon us at any moment. I do, then, most earnestly entreat that a re-enforcement be immediately sent to this garrison, and that at least two companies be sent at the same time to Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney-half a company, under a judicious commander, sufficing, I think, for the latter work. I feel the full responsibility of making the above suggestions, because I firmly believe that as soon as the people of South Carolina learn that I have demanded re-enforcements, and that they have been ordered, they will occupy Castle. Pinckney and attack this fort. It is therefore of vital importance that the troops embarked (say in war steamers) shall be designated for other duty. As we have no men who know anything about preparing ammunition, and our officers will be too much occupied to instruct them, I respectfully request that about half a dozen ordnance men accustomed to the work of preparing fixed ammunition, be sent here, to be distributed at these forts.

Two of my best officers, Captain Seymour and Lieutenant Talbot, are delicate, and will, I fear, not be able to undergo much fatigue.

{p.76}

With these three works garrisoned as requested, and with a supply of ordnance stores, for which I shall send requisitions in a few days, I shall feel that, by the blessing of God, there may be a hope that no blood will be shed, and that South Carolina will not attempt to take these forts by force, but will resort to diplomacy to secure them. If we neglect, however, to strengthen ourselves, she will, unless these works are surrendered on their first demand, most assuredly immediately attack us. I will thank the Department to give me special instructions, as my position here is rather a politico-military than a military one.

I presume, also, that the President ought to take some action in reference to my being a member of the Military Academy Commission, which is to reconvene in the city of Washington in a few days.

Unless otherwise specially directed, I shall make future communications through the ordinary channels.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, November 24, 1860.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Regiment Artillery, U. S. A., Commanding Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C.

MAJOR: The Secretary of War desires that you will communicate, with the least delay practicable, the present state of your command, and everything which may relate to the condition of the work under your charge and its capabilities of defense, together with such views as you may have to suggest in respect to the same. He desires to be informed whether, in view of maintaining the troops ready for efficient action and defense, it might not be advisable to employ reliable persons, not connected with the military service, for purposes of fatigue and police.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., November 24, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that, yesterday, at the request of Major Anderson, now in command of Fort Moultrie, I accompanied him on a visit to the other forts in the harbor, viz, Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, for the purpose of examining their condition and capacities for defense. Fort Sumter, having all the arches of the second tier turned, and a commencement made in laying the flagging; the traverse circle of the first tier reset; the flagging inside of the circles, on one face, laid ready for the guns to be mounted; preparations completed for mounting all the guns of this tier as fast as the flagging is laid; the floors in one barrack laid; officers’ quarters completed; the whole of the barbette tier ready for the armament, presented an excellent appearance of preparation and strength equal to seventy per cent. of its efficiency when finished.

In the opinion of Major Anderson it is ready for, and ought to receive, {p.77} at least one company, and I understand him to be about to ask for that garrison immediately.

We, next visited Castle Pinckney, which was found in excellent order, with the exception of some repairs required on the wooden banquette on the gorge, first tier, some new casemate embrasure shutters, and the second cistern to be rebuilt. All other parts of the work were in good order, as it had but recently been thoroughly repaired with the above exceptions.

Major Anderson is about to urge upon the Department the sending of one company, also, to this fort, which commands the city of Charleston. In that case I think the second cistern should be repaired at once, and also the necessary renewal given to the decayed wooden banquette, over the cisterns on the gorge, and to the casemate shutters. I would, therefore, respectfully ask for the sum of six hundred dollars from the “Contingencies of fortifications” for this purpose. Regarding the shutters as necessary to be repaired at once, I am, in anticipation of your approval, having it done at, this time.

There is another matter in connection with this work which Major Anderson suggested, and which may become important in view of the unsettled state of the public mind here, the temper of which seems not to be improving, and that is, to garrison Castle Pinckney with Engineer employés in case the Department does not consider it expedient to send troops for the purpose. At his request I have made an estimate of the cost, as follows:

...

Total for the first month$1,600
The second month will be1,050

I consider it proper to give you the above information, in order that you may be fully aware of what is transpiring.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

“Return to Governor Floyd.”

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, November 28, 1860.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, U. S. Army, &c., Fort Moultrie:

MAJOR: Your letter of the 24th instant has been received and submitted to the Secretary of War. It is now under consideration, the result of which will be duly communicated to you. In the mean time authority has been given by the Engineer Bureau to Captain Foster to send to Castle Pinckney the Engineer workmen, as suggested by you, for purposes of repairs, &c.

The Secretary desires that any communications you may have to make for the information of the Department be addressed to this office, or to the Secretary himself.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

{p.78}

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 28, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston S. C:

CAPTAIN: Your letter of the 24th instant has been received, and in reply I have to say that you are authorized to make the repairs which you report as necessary to Castle Pinckney, and that, as recommended in your letter, you are authorized to organize a working force of an officer, four mechanics, and thirty laborers.

To meet the expenditures at that work, specified in your estimate, the sum of $1,800 will be furnished you from the appropriation for “Contingencies of fortifications.”

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

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No. 2.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., November 28, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. A.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 24th instant. I presume that my letter of the 23d has been received, and that the Department is now in possession of my views in reference to the measures I deem advisable and necessary for keeping this work and this harbor. Your letter confines my answer to what refers to the work under my charge. I cannot but remark that I think its security from attack would be more greatly increased by throwing garrisons into Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter than by anything that can be done in strengthening the defenses of this work. There are several intelligent and efficient men in this community, who, by intimate intercourse with our Army officers, have become perfectly well acquainted with this fort, its weak points, and the best means of attack. There appears to be a romantic desire urging the South Carolinians to have possession of this work, which was so nobly defended by their ancestors in 1776; and the State, if she determines to act on the aggressive, will exert herself to take this work. The accompanying report exhibits the present state of my command. I think I can rely upon their doing their duty, but you will see how sadly deficient we are in numbers, whether to repel a coup de main or to maintain a siege. We finished mounting our guns this morning, and I shall soon commence drilling and exercising my men in firing with muskets and cannon. I find that in consequence of sickness, &c., very little military duty has been attended to here for a long time; we shall try, and I hope to succeed in regaining the lost ground. This work, when Captain Foster finishes the ditch, counterscarp, and bastionettes on which he is now at work, and executes the addition of a half battery at the northwest angle of the fort, which I have urged him to commence immediately, will be in good condition. I would have preferred having a ditch (wet), but the captain informs me that he could not make it, in consequence of the quicksand. I will send a requisition in a few days (I am very constantly occupied now) for certain ordnance stores. Among them I shall embrace a couple of Coehorns, say four mountain howitzers and twenty of the heaviest revolvers, with a supply of ammunition. I believe, that we have no muskets for firing several charges. I would have been pleased {p.79} to get four of them for the half bastion, but if there are none I will replace them by something else. I would like to get these articles as soon as possible, as I wish to practice our men with the different arms I may have to use. God forbid, though, that I should do so. Colonel Huger has just left me; he came down stating that there was the greatest excitement in the city on account of a rumor that the Adger was bringing out four companies. Some of the gentlemen were in favor of taking steamers and going out to intercept the Adger. He has just returned. I told him that I had no intelligence of anything of the kind.

In reply to the suggestion of the honorable Secretary about the expediency of employing reliable persons not connected with the military service, for purposes of fatigue and police, I must say that I doubt whether such could be obtained here. They would certainly be of great assistance to us. The excitement here is too great. Captain Foster informs me, that an adjutant of a South Carolina regiment applied to him for his rolls, stating that he wished to enroll the men for military duty. The captain told him that they had no right to do it, as the men were in the pay of the United States Government. I presume that every able-bodied man in this part of the State, not in the service of the General Government, is now being or has been enrolled.

I will thank the Government to give me special instructions in reference to a question which may arise in these cases:

What shall I do if the State authorities demand from Captain Foster men who they may aver have been enrolled into the State service? Captain Foster will probably send such cases to me; what shall I do with them?

I hope that my command will very soon be strengthened, so far at the least as filling up these companies to the legal standard. This would enable me, at all events, to have our proper garrison military duties properly attended to.

I am inclined to think that if I had been here before the commencement of expenditures on this work, and supposed that, this garrison would not be increased, I should have advised its withdrawal, with the exception of a small guard, and its removal to Fort Sumter, which so perfectly commands the harbor and this fort.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Regiment Artillery, Commanding.

Field report of command at Fort Moultrie, present this day.

Present for duty.Officers.Men.
Commissioned officers*7
Band866
Non-commissioned staff2
Non-commissioned officers17
Privates39
 
Sick Privates29
Confined Privates7
 
75

* Inclusive commanding officers, special service.

{p.80}

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CHARLESTON, S. C., November 28, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I wrote you a few days since in relation to certain contingencies of defense which might occur before long in this harbor. I only wish to add now that if the War Department decides not to send more soldiers here, but to avail itself of the Engineer force to guard Forts Sumter and Pinckney, I shall require the assistance of another Engineer officer. For several reasons my personal attention is required at Fort Moultrie just now. I require Mr. Snyder to give his personal attention to Fort Sumter, and such other matters as arise from time to time. In all probability it will soon become necessary to confine his duties more closely to Fort Sumter, and if I have to supply men to Castle Pinckney I shall want another Engineer officer to direct their labors and duties.

It is not certain that the emergency requiring the above division of the Engineer duties under my charge will arise, but it is better to be prepared, and I would respectfully urge you to grant my request, and, if so, that I may have the services of the officer detailed as soon as possible.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., November 30, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th instant, and to request that the amount desired from the “Contingencies of fortifications” for the repairs of Castle Pinckney ($1,800), for one month, may be placed to my credit with the assistant treasurer of the United States at Charleston, S. C.

I have entered upon the preliminary arrangements for commencing work, and on Monday, the 3d of December, shall place in Castle Pinckney the number of men authorized by the Department, with all the necessary arrangements for subsistence, lodging, &c., so that they may not leave the work until they are withdrawn.

Major Anderson, at my request, has kindly consented to detail an officer to assist me until an Engineer officer can be sent me for this purpose, for I regard it as necessary that an officer shall be constantly present at this work after the repairs are commenced. Lieut. J. C. Davis is to be detailed, and is to report to me. I trust, however, that this temporary detail will not induce any delay in sending me another officer, as Major Anderson needs the services of all in his command. I shall endeavor to have the repairs promptly made, and to secure a proper protection to the property of the United States. In doing this it will be indispensable that I have the men instructed, to a certain extent, in the service of the guns, and also in the manual of arms, if I can arrange with Colonel Huger to have the requisite number of muskets sent from the arsenal. I shall also have Lieut. G. W. Snyder take up his quarters in Fort Sumter, and give like instructions to about fifty picked men, in whom I can place reliance in case of an emergency.

I beg you to understand, however, that I do not regard all these arrangements as absolutely demanded by anything that now appears, but rather as a safe precaution in view of what may appear any day, if anything {p.81} more exciting than usual occurs to stimulate the extremely rash persons among a community already sufficiently excited upon the subject of their State relations.

I think that more troops should have been sent here to guard the forts, and I believe that no serious demonstration on the part of the populace would have met such a course. But, as it is decided not to do this, and to rely instead upon the Engineer employés for protect-ion of the public property, I shall do everything in my power to carry out this purpose. I shall, of course, exercise the necessary amount of prudence, and avoid any appearance of arming, as I conceive this to be the wish of the War Department.

Very respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

Colonel Cooper says this has been shown to the Secretary of War.

H. G. W. [WRIGHT.]

DECEMBER 6, 1860.

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No. 3.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 1, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ultimo, and regret that I have to report that things look more gloomy than the day at the date of my last communication. Captain Seymour, just returned from the city, reports that, the excitement there is very great. Col. E. B. White and other gentlemen, with whom be conversed, stated that the people of Charleston would not allow another man or any kind of stores to be landed at or for these forts. They say that anything which indicates a determination on the part of the General Government to act with an unusual degree of vigor in putting these works in a better state of defense will be regarded as an act of aggression, and will, as well as either of the other acts mentioned above, cause an attack to be made on this fort.

Two Charlestonians who were down here, to-day remarked to me that as soon as the State seceded she would demand the surrender of the forts, and that if not given up, they would be taken; but that this would not be done sooner unless some action on the part of the Government proved that it was preparing to hold possession of them.

The agent of the boat which brought the 24-pounder howitzer and ammunition is severely censured for having brought them, and the agent of the steamer James Adger was told that any vessel bringing troops here would not be safe in this harbor. Since writing the above I have seen Assistant Surgeon Crawford, who has also been in the city. He says that never until to-day did he believe that our position was critical. One of his friends told him that we would have trouble in less than fifteen days. He thinks that they will first attempt to take Fort Sumter, which they (justly) say will control this work. Castle Pinckney they regard as theirs already. Mr. King, the intendant of this island, told the doctor that as soon as the act of secession was passed a demand would be made on me to surrender this fort. All these remarks lead to the same conclusion-a fixed purpose, to have these works. The question for the Government to decide-and the sooner it is done the better-is, {p.82} whether, when South Carolina secedes, these forts are to be surrendered or not. If the former, I must be informed of it, and instructed what course I am to pursue. If the latter be the determination, no time is to be lost in either sending troops, as already suggested, or vessels of war to this harbor. Either of these courses may cause some of the doubting States to join South Carolina.

I shall go steadily on, preparing for the worst, trusting hopefully in the God of Battles to guard and guide me in my course. I think it probable that in the present highly excited state of these people, the sending of the detachment of Engineer laborers to Castle Pinckney may bring on that collision which we are so anxious to avoid. I shall consult with Captain Foster on his return to the island, and if convinced that it will lead to that result, will assume the responsibility of suspending the execution of that plan for the present. This fort, in consequence of the unfinished state of our repairs, &c., is not in a condition for inviting an attack. Captain Seymour says that he is satisfied they intend erecting a battery on the upper end of this island, to command the inner channel. I do not know what course to advise. They are making every preparation (drilling nightly, &c.) for the fight which they say must take place, and insist on our not doing anything. We are now certainly too weak to fight. Were we to guard against a surprise, our men, if surrounded by only an undisciplined mob, would soon be worn out by fatigue.

I learn from Captain Ord that attempts have been made, by offers of heavy sums, to induce men at Old Point to join a Southern army. I have not heard that any attempts have been made to tamper with our men, who thus far cheerfully perform the arduous and ceaseless duties imposed upon them in consequence of the smallness of the command.

I ought, perhaps, to mention, as an indication of the expectation of the citizens of Charleston, that three friends of the ladies of our officers have within a day or two been pressed most urgently to go to the city to stay with them there.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, December 1, 1860.

Maj. R. ANDERSON:

SIR: Your letter of November 28 has been received. The Secretary of War has directed Brevet Colonel Huger to repair to this city, as soon as he can safely leave his post, to return there in a short time. He desires you to see Colonel Huger, and confer with him prior to his departure on the matters which have been confided to each of you.

It is believed, from information thought to be reliable, that an attack will not be made on your command, and the Secretary has only to refer to his conversation with you, and to caution you that, should his convictions unhappily prove untrue, your actions must be such as to be free from the charge of initiating a collision. If attacked, you are, of course, expected to defend the trust committed to you to the best of your ability.

The increase of the force under your command, however much to be {p.83} desired, would, the Secretary thinks, judging from the recent excitement produced on account of an anticipated increase, as mentioned in your letter, but add to that excitement, and might lead to serious results.

S. COOPER.

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No. 4.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 2, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 5.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I have seen Captain Foster, and that he says that he told several gentlemen in Charleston yesterday that he intended commencing at once certain repairs at Castle Pinckney. He is satisfied, from the manner in which his remark was received, that no offense will be taken at his putting his workmen in the Castle. I shall, consequently, not interpose any objection to his doing so. He has applied to me for an officer to take charge temporarily of his workmen until an Engineer officer can be sent on, and although I cannot very well spare one, I shall, in consideration of my regarding that detachment as really acting the part of an advance guard for my command take the responsibility of assigning Lieutenant Davis to that duty.

Captain Foster thinks that he will finish the small projection at the northwest salient of this work to-morrow, and he will then repoint the walls of this fort (a work very essential) and commence digging a shallow wet ditch at or near the foot of the wall. The presence of quicksand prevents his digging a regular ditch, but he can dig one that will afford such an obstruction as will, with ordinary precaution, prevent our works being carried by a rush.

When he has finished these works I shall feel that, by the blessing of God, even my little command will be enabled to make such a resistance that the authorities of South Carolina will, though they may surround, hardly venture to attack us. We expect a full supply of provisions about the 10th of this month. I trust that such arrangements will be made as will secure their delivery, as well as that of the supply of ordnance and ordnance stores recently required.

Then, with men merely enough to enable us to keep up a respectable guard without wearing our men out, I would, in humble reliance on Providence, feel ready for any emergency that could reasonably occur.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., December 2, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to request that application may be made to the War Department to have, Colonel Huger, Ordnance Corps, issue to me four boxes of muskets (smooth-bores), with percussion caps for sixty rounds. Fifty of these muskets are required for Fort Sumter and fifty for Castle Pinckney The cartridge boxes and belts are not absolutely necessary, but I would like to have an equal number issued if it is convenient to do so.

Colonel Huger, whom I consulted upon the subject of the muskets, {p.84} said he could not issue them without authority from Washington, not even for the short time that I want them, and I declined at the time to request him to write for this authority; but after consulting with Major Anderson to-day we axe both agreed that it is best to write for the requisite authority at once, and I therefore make the above request. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

Handed to Adjutant-General, and by him laid before the Secretary of War on the 6th of December.

Returned by the Adjutant-General on the 7th. Action deferred for the present. (See Captain Foster’s letter of December 4.)

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No. 5.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 3, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General, U. S. A.:

COLONEL: Captains Doubleday and Seymour said to-day that when they gave me their opinions a few days ago on the feasibility of securing reliable men here to perform police and fatigue duty they did not, think of some discharged soldiers, who they now say could be hired for that purpose. My opinion, as expressed, that I doubted whether any reliable men could be hired here, was based upon their opinions and upon my knowledge of the deep interest and excitement of the populace here.

I shall be pleased, then, to receive authority and instructions to employ eight or ten men for the purposes suggested. This will give one relief for my guard, garrison, and battery, or interior.

Captain Foster has just reported that he, left Lieutenant Davis and twenty of the detachment of laborers, designed to make repairs in Castle Pinckney, in that work, with one month’s supply of provision.

Fourteen men will be added to that party to-morrow. The captain spoke of his having placed Lieutenant Davis and the party in the Castle whilst in the city, and he said that there was not the least appearance of excitement about it.

Lieutenant Davis has been cautioned to act with the greatest discretion and caution.

Hoping that everything may go on smoothly here for some time longer at least, and assuring you that I shall do everything in my power to add to the strength of my defenses,

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major of U. S. Army.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., December 4, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers

COLONEL: I have been obliged to vary the plan which I indicated in my last letters as the one I intended to follow in order to carry out the wishes of the Department concerning the security of the works under my charge. In consequence of recent developments of the state of feeling {p.85} among my men, I do not now judge it proper to give them any military instruction, or to place arms in their hands; at least this is the case with reference to the men at Fort Sumter. I do not think that any of them will go so far in the defense of public property as to fight an armed body of the citizens of this State. I ascertained this for the first time, to-day, of the men in Fort Sumter, where I had been confident that I could rely in any emergency, at least upon the Baltimore mechanics, about fifty in number.

But the overseer ascertained last night that they were disinclined to use force to resist an attempt to seize the fort on the part of the citizen soldiers of the State, although willing to resist a mob. The men in Castle Pinckney, placed there as I intended, on the 3d instant, being picked men, may prove more reliable. But the feeling here in regard to secession is become so strong that almost all are entirely influenced by it. I therefore judge it best to suspend all idea of arming them at present. I may mention that I exercised as much care as possible in placing this working party in Castle Pinckney, so as not to give cause for apprehension of arming to the citizens. The greatest prudence was exercised, and the best men placed there, under charge of a prudent and reliable officer, Lieutenant Davis. Every precaution is also taken at Fort Sumter, where Lieutenant Snyder has taken up his quarters. Having done thus much, which is all I can do in this respect, I feel that I have done my duty, and that if any overt act takes place, no blame can properly attach to me. I regret, however, that sufficient soldiers are not in this harbor to garrison these two works. The Government will soon have to decide the question whether to maintain them or to give them up to South Carolina. If it be decided to maintain then, troops must instantly be sent, and in large numbers. If it be decided to give them up, the present arrangement will answer very well, only I should be informed, in order that I may know how to act.

At present I have given orders to Lieutenants Snyder and Davis to resist to the utmost any attempt or any demand on the forts in which they are stationed.

The plan of the leaders in this State appears to be, from all that I can see and hear, first, to demand the forts of the General Government, after secession, and then, if refused, to take them by force of arms. A quite large party is in favor of not waiting to ask the General Government, but to summon the immediate commanders, and, if refused, to attack at once. All of this is not, of course, strictly in the line of my profession; still, I judge it proper to write you fully and plainly, so that you may know exactly how we are placed. Here in Fort Moultrie the two companies of the garrison having dwindled to half their proper size, are so weak that Major Anderson demands all the auxiliary defense that I can give him. I am now digging a wet ditch around the work, which, although necessarily shallow from the quicksand, will more than double the difficulty of scaling the walls. The major also requires a fraise to be placed around the coping, but I cannot commence it until I finish the work in hand.

I shall to-morrow complete the “cut” at the northwest angle, which I have enlarged somewhat in the form of a bastionette, by building straight up from the foundation a wall at the angle, extending ten feet from the angle on each face, and then uniting by oblique returns with the very sloping face of the scarp wall. This gives a very excellent position for four or more muskets, to flank the west face of the work. The marginal sketch gives an imperfect idea of it. It is singular that a small cut, as indicated on the map in the Engineer Office, {p.86} was originally built at this angle, but subsequently, and apparently not many years since, destroyed by breaking off the upper part of the side walls, throwing the debris into the cut, and covering the parapet over it. I completed today the bastionette at the southwest angle, except the embrasures, the stones and some of the irons for which have not yet been received. Before taking down the temporary bastionette at the southeast angle and commencing the permanent one, I shall, for the greater security of the small garrison, run out a wooden machicoulis gallery over the angle of the wall, and also complete the pointing of all large crevices in the scarp.

The posterns on the east and west curtains have been bricked up at Major Anderson’s request, as he felt too weak to use them for sorties, and as the doors might be burst in, both the iron and wood work being old and defective.

I have been liberal of assistance in increasing the defensive capacities of the fort, for I felt that the necessity required it. I have about 125 men at work here, now, and shall continue the same number for two or three days, until I complete the ditch. On Fort Sumter I have about 115, and at Castle Pinckney 30, making a total of 260 men employed. The first of the embrasure stones for Fort Sumter having been received, the embrasures of the second tier will be immediately commenced.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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ORDNANCE, OFFICE, Washington, December 5, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: In answer to your inquiry respecting a rumor or report of the recent landing at Fort Moultrie, S. C., of a large quantity of military stores, such as cannon and boxes of ammunition, I have to state that the rumor or report has no just foundation in fact. The only cannon or ammunition, excepting a few primers, which have been ordered to Fort Moultrie since September, 1859, were four small flank howitzers with their carriages and implements, and one hundred canisters and twenty-five shells for each. These supplies were furnished on requisition from the Engineer Department of 16th October, 1860, as part of the regular armament of the fort, for the flanking caponieres, which were just finished and ready to receive them. They were ordered from the {p.87} arsenals on the 20th October, 1860, but, being delayed in their issue and shipment, did not reach their destination till recently.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. MAYNADIER, Captain of Ordnance.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 6, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: Your letter of the 30th ultimo has been received and laid before the Secretary of War for his information.

An additional officer [Lieutenant Meade] as an assistant at Castle Pinckney has been detailed, as you have been already informed by letter of the 5th instant.

Application has been made for a remittance of $1,800 from the “Contingencies of fortifications” to be applied to the purposes of Castle Pinckney; but in the present low state of the Treasury it may be some time before it can be placed to your Credit, though the amount is promised by the Treasury Department with the least practicable delay.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

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No. 6.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 6, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 10.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 4th, of your communication of the 1st instant. In compliance therewith I went yesterday to the city of Charleston to confer with Colonel Huger, and I called with him upon the mayor of the city, and upon several other prominent citizens.

All seemed determined, as far as their influence or power extends, to prevent an attack by a mob on our fort; but all are equally, decided in the opinion that the forts must be theirs after secession.

I shall, nevertheless, knowing how excitable this community is, continue to keep on the qui vive, and, as far as in my power, steadily prepare my command to the uttermost to resist any attack that may be made. As the State will probably declare itself out of the Union in less than two weeks, it seems to me that it would be well to discontinue all engineering work on this fort except such as is necessary to increase its strength. I have not pretended to exercise any control over that department, and have found Captain Foster generally disposed to accede to the suggestions I have ventured to make; and the suggestions I now make are not made in any unkind spirit towards him, as he is compelled to carry out the instructions of his department, but such as I feel it my duty to make, as being held responsible for the defense of this work. One of the bastionettes is nearly completed, now awaiting the arrival of the pintle blocks, without which the embrasure cannot be {p.88} made. The foundation has only been laid for the other. I certainly think that it is now too late to begin the construction of the second one, and that it would be better to substitute some other flanking arrangement, which can be finished in a few days.

Captain Foster is now sodding the exterior slope of the ditch, and putting muck on the glacis. It seems to me that that work had better be discontinued, and the planking, &c., removed, as it might be used by an investing or attacking force.

In other words, I would now apply our science to devising and placing in front of and on our walls every available means of embarrassing and preventing an enemy scaling our low walls. Anything that will obstruct his advance wilt be of great advantage to our weak garrison.

Our time is short enough for what we have to do. Should the ordnance stores I have called for or re-enforcements not arrive, in the event of our being attacked I fear that we shall not distinguish ourselves by holding out many days.

I have not yet commenced leveling off the sand hills which, within one hundred and sixty yards to the east, command this fort. Would my doing this be construed into initiating a collision? I would thank you also to inform me under what circumstances I would be justified in setting fire to or destroying the houses which afford dangerous shelter to an enemy, and whether I would be justified in firing upon an armed body which may be seen approaching our works.

Captain Foster told me yesterday that he found that the men of his Fort Sumter force, who he thought were perfectly reliable, will not fight if an armed force approaches that work; and I fear that the same may be anticipated from the Castle Pinckney force.

I learn that in consequence of the decayed condition of the carriages at Fort Sumter, the guns have not been mounted there as I reported they were to have been. If that work is not to be garrisoned, the guns certainly ought not to be mounted, as they may be turned upon us.

The remark has, I hear, been repeatedly made in the city that if they need heavy guns, they can get them in forty-eight hours. This, I suppose, refers to their being able to bring them from Fort Pulaski, mouth of the Savannah River.

Colonel Huger designs, I think, leaving Charleston for Washington to-morrow night. He is more hopeful of a settlement of impending difficulties without bloodshed than I am. Hoping in God that he may be right in his opinion,

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, December 6, 1860.

Maj. R. ANDERSON, U. S. Army, Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C.:

MAJOR: Your letter of the 3d instant, in relation to police, has been received; is approved by the Secretary of War to the extent you desire.

I am, &c.)

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General

{p.89}

No. 7.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 9, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 12.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

[SIR:] I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, and to state that I have directed the A. A. Q. M. to hire men to perform police and fatigue duty at this post, and to send on a special estimate for funds to pay them.

I hear that the attention of the South Carolinians appears to be turned more toward Fort Sumter than it was, and it is deemed probable that their first act will be to take possession of that work.

The idea of attempting to take this place by a coup de main appears not to be so favorably regarded as it was, and they will perhaps determine to besiege us. To enable them to do this they must procure heavy guns, which they can get (if not from Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney) from Pulaski or some other southern fort. Anything that can be done which will cause delay in their attack will give time for deliberation and negotiation, and may, by God’s blessing, save the shedding of blood. I would therefore, respectfully suggest whether it might not be advisable and prudent to cause the ammunition, except what may be needed for the defense of this fort and the armament of Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, to be destroyed or rendered unserviceable before they are permitted to fall into their hands. The same may be advisable at those forts from whence supplies might be brought to Charleston. Fort Sumter is a tempting prize, the value of which is well known to the Charlestonians, and once in their possession, with its ammunition and armament and walls uninjured and garrisoned properly, it would set our Navy at defiance, compel me to abandon this work, and give them the perfect command of this harbor.

Captain Foster having received the pintle stones for his bastionette guns, will now finish the one he has been at work on. Our supply of provisions has not arrived. I hope that it will soon be in. If we do not hear of it in a few days, I shall have to direct the A. A. commissary to make some purchases in Charleston.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 11, 1860.

Memorandum of verbal instructions to Major Anderson First Artillery, Commanding at Fort Moultrie, S. C.

You are aware of the great anxiety of the Secretary of War that a collision of the troops with the people of this State shall be avoided, and of his studied determination to pursue, a course with reference to the military force and forts in this harbor which shall guard against such a collision. He has therefore carefully abstained from increasing the force at this point, or taking any measures which might add to the present excited state of the public mind, or which would throw any doubt on the confidence he feels that South Carolina will not attempt, by violence, to obtain possession of the public works or interfere with their occupancy. But as the counsel and acts of rash and impulsive persons may possibly disappoint those expectations of the Government, he deems it proper that you should be prepared with instructions to {p.90} meet so unhappy a contingency. He has therefore directed me verbally to give you such instructions.*

You are carefully to avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression; and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up any position which could be construed into the assumption of a hostile attitude. But you are to hold possession of the forts in this harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last extremity. The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than one of the three forts, but an attack on or attempt to take possession of any one of them will be regarded as an act of hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which you may deem most proper to increase its power of resistance. You are, also authorized to take similar steps whenever you have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.

D. C. BUELL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* See also Floyd to Anderson, December 21, 1860, and Holt to Anderson, February 23, 1861, post.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 12, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: In compliance with request communicated by your letter of the 8th instant, application has been made for $5,000, to be remitted to the assistant treasurer at Charleston, to be held subject to your check, and that amount will be charged to you on account of Fort Sumter.

The Secretary of the Treasury is, of course, fully informed as to the amount of funds in each of the Government depositories, and the Department cannot, therefore, with proper courtesy to him, urge a remittance to you on the ground that there are funds at Charleston while he, with the fullest knowledge of all the facts, and of other public wants, declines to draw on them.

A special application in your behalf for $1,800 from 11 Contingencies Of fortifications 11 has already been made at the Treasury, without other result than an assurance that that amount would be sent to you “if practicable,” and nothing more can now be done than issue the usual request for the $5,000 last asked for.

Congress, it is hoped, will very soon adopt some means of relief for the present condition of things, and no doubt is entertained that all demands upon the Treasury which are, now in suspense will then be met with the least possible delay.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. DE RUSSY, Lieutenant-Colonel, Engineers, Commanding.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 13, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, &c.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that Lieut. R. K. Meade, Corps of Engineers, reported to me for duty on the 10th instant. I {p.91} placed him in charge of Castle Pinckney the next day, and relieved Lieut. J. C. Davis from his temporary duty at that post. The work at the Castle is progressing satisfactorily at present, although I have up to this time been delayed on account of one firm in town refusing to sell me, as the agent of the United States, some lumber, which I was expecting, and very much needed. I have made arrangements to obtain the requisite quantity of lumber elsewhere, and have transferred the bricks and cement from Fort Sumter. The work on the cistern is already commenced, and that on the wooden banquettes will commence to-morrow. In the mean time, while waiting for materials, the force has been employed in perfecting the messing arrangements, putting the fort in thorough police order, and oiling and working the gun carriages, so that they now move with perfect facility.

The men for this working party were picked, and the majority of them are reliable against the disorderly attack of any mob to possess itself of the work. My confidence in them has increased within a few days.

A strict night watch is maintained, and during the daytime a man stands at the gate to prevent interested persons entering and inspecting the fort and its arrangements for defense. This latter precaution I have found to be necessary on account of numbers of men connected with the military, who came for the purpose of obtaining knowledge to use against the defenders of the fort in case of a collision with the Government. I have given the same instructions to Lieutenant Snyder, at Fort Sumter, with reference to which the above precaution became necessary first.

At Fort Sumter everything is going on smoothly, although I have purposely delayed the mounting of the guns, for the reason that I did not consider it safe to proceed with that work until some definite idea was obtained as to whether the work was to be maintained or not Consequently, only the guns of the left face, which do not bear towards Fort Moultrie directly, are mounted in the first tier, although every preparation is made to mount all the guns in the shortest possible time when it is necessary and safe so to do.

I think the temper and disposition of the men at Fort Sumter are very good-better than a few days ago. They will defend the fort, as far as possible, without arms, against a mob, but not against the organized forces of South Carolina.

I have endeavored to strengthen the conservative feeling among the men through the overseer, and have succeeded to a certain extent, and I now consider this fort and Castle Pinckney safe until it comes to the solution of the question whether the Government is to surrender them to the State or to refuse her demands. At that time only United States troops, and in good numbers, will be sufficient to overawe an attempt to take them by force.

I hope the Department will not think me too explicit in my terms, for I wish to avoid any unnecessary alarm, but I feel it my duty to state my convictions, in order that it may have full information for its action. I would respectfully, but strongly, urge that more definite instructions be given me for my guidance. If Fort Sumter is to be risked against the chances of an attack, it will be important to vary my programme, and to chance the deposit of a large portion of its stores, and to provide for the exigency of its loss. If not, I will cheerfully prepare to defend it to extremity until troops arrive for its garrison. If the garrison in Fort Moultrie is to be transferred, I should know it, in order to stop the heavy expense at Fort Moultrie, which, in that case, will become unnecessary, {p.92} and which is now fast consuming my available funds. I can also, in that case, proceed in the armament of Fort Sumter.

At Fort Moultrie I have continued my heavy operations, and have employed one hundred and twenty men. The accessory defenses that I have created and am now perfecting are very important to the defense, and I trust the Department will approve my action. They comprise, besides the works ordered by the Department, the formation of a wet ditch, fifteen feet wide, all around the fort, the depth of which is very small in consequence of the quicksand which is reached, but which is very yielding to pressure, like a quagmire, and, therefore, a good obstacle; the construction of a picket fence all around the fort bordering the ditch, and protected from fire by a small glacis in front of it; the cutting off the projecting brick cordon, which might serve to aid in scaling the oblique face of the wall; the formation of a bastionette at the northwest angle, so as to obtain a more effective flanking fire than could be obtained by a small cut in the parapet, and the formation of a temporary machicoulis gallery at the southeast angle.

All of these auxiliary defenses, except the picket fence, will be completed in four days, and will vastly improve the chances for the defense. With a sufficient war garrison I would consider this fort as secure against any attack that this State can bring against it; but the garrison is a mere handful of sixty men, and can hardly spare five men to two flanking caponieres-a fact that has influenced me in forming the machicoulis gallery at the southeast angle, as this can be defended and the wall flanked by two or three men, who can also be ready to rally to any point with the rest of the garrison.

In fine, I have spared no pains to give every assistance to the defense. I declined to make a fraise around the coping, for the reason that its effect would be to diminish the width of the wet ditch, since the same length of ladder that would catch on the points and enable the assailants to mount would not otherwise strike the wall more than half the way up. If time spares I shall widen the ditch one or two feet and plant small pickets within it.

I have saved all my cement barrels to be used in forming merlons, if necessary, and some of them are now being used by the garrison on the east front, facing the sand hills, to form covers for a few sharpshooters upon the parapet.

I hope funds will soon be sent me for the present mouth. I should think the United States Treasurer could issue his warrant against the deposit in Charleston for what money I require, for the assistant treasurer, Mr. Pressley, informed me that he bad ample, funds in hand.

I exchanged a draft on New York for gold to-day, in order to pay the men on Fort Sumter. The bank made the exchange at par.

Very respectfully and truly,

J. G. FOSTER Captain, Engineers.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, December 14, 1860.

Major ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to give the following answers to certain questions contained in your late letters:

If the State authorities demand any of Captain Foster’s workmen {p.93} on the ground of their being enrolled into the service of the State, and the subject is referred to you, you will, after fully satisfying yourself that the men are subject to enrollment, and have been properly enrolled under the laws of the United States, and of the State of South Carolina, cause them to be delivered up or suffer them to depart.

If deemed essential to the more perfect defense of the work, the leveling of the sand hills which command the fort would not, under ordinary circumstances, be considered as initiating a collision. But the delicate question of its bearing on the popular mind, in its present excited state, demands the coolest and wisest judgment. The fact of the sand hills being private property, and, as is understood, having private residences built upon them, decides the question in the negative. The houses which might afford dangerous shelter to an enemy, being chiefly frame, could be destroyed by the heavy guns of the fort at any moment, while the fact of their being leveled in anticipation of an attack might betray distrust, and prematurely bring on a collision. Their destruction at the moment of being used as a cover for an enemy would be more fatal to the attacking force than if swept away before their approach.

An armed body, approaching for hostile purposes, would, in all probability, either attempt a surprise or send a summons to surrender. In the former case, there can be no doubt as to the course to be pursued.

In the latter case, after refusal to surrender and a warning to keep off, a further advance by the armed body would be initiating a collision on their part.

If no summons be made by them, their purpose should be demanded at the same time that they are warned to keep off, and their failure to answer and further advance would throw the responsibility upon them. I am, &c.,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., Friday, December 14, 1860.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

DEAR COLONEL: I inclose herewith a slip from the Charleston Mercury of 13th instant, mentioning from Washington correspondent Major Bell’s [Buell’s] mission to this place.

I told the major that it was likely they would get an inkling of it. I merely send this to show you the almost impossibility of keeping anything secret. Nothing here worthy of an “official”-a calm before the storm. Many think no attack will be made on me until after they are in position in Fort Sumter, and that they will drive me out with her guns. It is all conjecture. I shall, of course, prepare here for the worst.

All well and in fine spirits.

Yours, truly,

ROBERT ANDERSON.

[Inclosure.]

FROM WASHINGTON.

WASHINGTON, December 10.

Mr. EDITOR: A caucus was held here a few nights since of Senators and Representatives from the cotton States. It numbered about twenty-six, and represented the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, {p.94} and North Carolina, and upon the question of the necessity of the immediate secession of South Carolina there was not a dissenting voice.

Major Bell [Buell] and several other officers of the Army have been sent to Fort Moultrie to look after the forts and keep a sharp lookout upon them. They were sent for no good to us. See that they make no change in the distribution of soldiers, so as to put them all in Fort Sumter. That would be dangerous to us.

Yours,

CHARLES.

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COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS, December [18], 1860.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD:

SIR: You will oblige me very much by furnishing me the information asked for in the inclosed resolution. I should think myself derelict in my duty to the House and the country if I did not, in the present perilous condition of the country, obtain all the information in my power in relation to its military defenses. The House may call on me any day, as the organ of the Military Committee, for information, and I feel very anxious to be put in possession of reliable information on the subject.*

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,

B. STANTON.

* See De Russy to Floyd, December 20, 1860; Maynadier to Floyd, December 21, 1860; Holt to Stanton, January 3, 1861, post.

[Inclosure.]

Resolution adopted by the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, December 18, 1860.

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to furnish the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives with a statement of the condition of the defenses at Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, and Fort Sumter, the number of men, and the quantity and description of ordnance and arms in each: also, the number and description of arms in the Charleston Arsenal, and what officer has charge of the custody and control of said arsenal, and what force he has under his control to enable him to protect and defend it; also, what number and description of arms has been distributed since the 1st day of January, A. D. 1860, and to whom, and at what price, so far as in his judgment may be compatible with the public welfare. A true copy from the journal of the committee.

J. J. COOMBS, Clerk.

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No. 8.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 18, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 21.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge ledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant, giving answers to questions contained in my letters.

In reference to the instruction given me in reply to my question about Captain Foster’s men, it would appear that I had not stated the matter with sufficient distinctness.

As I understood it, the South Carolina authorities sought to enroll as a part of their army intended to act against the forces of the United States, men who are employed by and in the pay of that Government, and could not, as I conceived, be enrolled by South Carolina “under the laws of the United States and of the State of South Carolina.”

The sand hills referred to are private property, but no houses are built upon them; they are in front of or between houses. I, of course, shall not remove them until convinced that an attack will be made, nor {p.95} shall I resort to the extreme measure of burning or destroying houses except on the same assurance, and then only such as mask positions where batteries may be erected, or such as, in my opinion, cannot be permitted to remain without endangering my command, which is so small that I cannot afford to spare a man.

The sand hills and the houses surrounding the fort will afford safe shelter for sharpshooters, who may, with ordinary good luck, pick off the major part of my little band, if we stand to our guns, in a few hours.

We are busily at work erecting traverses, defilading our work, increasing the height of our walls, and securing protection for our men and guns by means of barrels filled with sand.

As Captain Foster tells me that he reports all his operations to the Engineer Department, I presume that the War Department is fully informed on these matters.

As the subject may be referred to by the letter writers and by the Charleston press, it may be proper that I should state that Captain Foster mentioned to me this morning that he had obtained yesterday from the Charleston Arsenal, forty muskets for Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, and that they had been brought down without causing any excitement. He said that they were delivered in compliance with an order issued, I think, before my arrival. This evening he showed me a letter from the military storekeeper, which stated that the fact of his having sent off those muskets had produced great excitement in the city, and that he had felt obliged to pledge his word that they should be returned by to-morrow night. He states that Colonel Huger bad directed him not to let any arms be removed from the arsenal.

I told Captain Foster that my instructions were that I was not to do anything calculated to produce excitement, and that as he bad asked my advice I would certainly advise him to return them. He left me stating that he would do so.

I have not heard whether the ordnance stores asked for are to be sent. I can only say that they are absolutely necessary to enable me to make a respectable attempt at a defense.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 18, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL : I have the honor to inclose two letters received to-day from F. C. Humphreys, esq., military storekeeper at the Charleston Arsenal.

The first accompanied an invoice of forty muskets and accouterments, upon a requisition made by me, and in accordance with an order received some time since. The second was made subsequent to intimations of violent demonstrations, made by General Schneirle (and others, perhaps), if the muskets were not returned. General Schneirle assured Mr. Humphreys that Colonel Huger, Ordnance Corps, U. S. Army, had assured the governor of the State that no arms should be removed from the arsenal, and upon this Mr. Humphreys assured General Schneirle that the muskets should be returned to-morrow.

Now, I have no official knowledge (or positive personal evidence, either) that Colonel Huger assured the governor that no arms should be {p.96} removed from the arsenal, nor that, if he did so, be spoke by authority of the Government; but, on the other hand, I do know that an order was given to issue to me forty muskets; that I actually needed them to protect Government property and the lives of my assistants and the ordnance sergeants under them at Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, and that I have them in my possession. To give them up on a demand of this kind seems to me as an act not expected of me by the Government, and as almost suicidal under the circumstances. It would place the two forts under my charge at the mercy of a mob. Neither of the ordinance sergeants at Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney had muskets until I got these, and Lieutenants Snyder and Meade were, likewise totally destitute of arms.

I propose to refer the matter to Washington, and am to see several gentlemen who are prominent in this matter tomorrow. I am not disposed to surrender these arms under a threat of this kind, especially when I know that I am only doing my duty to the Government. If the violent persons in the city seize upon this opportunity to excite the mob to acts of violence to the property of the United States, or those having it in charge, it will only be as that which must soon occur, and which they have actually been looking for.

I must say plainly that I have for some days arrived at the conclusion that unless some arrangement is shortly made by Congress, affairs in this State will arrive at a crisis, and a conflict between the Federal forces and the troops of this State be a not improbable event.

I have endeavored to keep you fully informed of my efforts to prepare for it, and of this I will write more fully to-morrow.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S. C., December 18, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, U. S. Engineer Corps, Sullivan’s Island, S. C.:

DEAR CAPTAIN: The shipment of the forty muskets, &c., has caused intense excitement. General Schneirle called upon me this morning, and assures me that some violent demonstration is certain unless the excitement can be allayed, and says that Colonel Huger assured the governor that no arms should be removed from this arsenal. As the order under which I made the issue to you was dated prior to Colonel Huger’s visit here, I am placed in rather a delicate position. I have pledged my word that they (the forty muskets and accouterments) shall be returned by to-morrow night, and I beg that you will return them to me. I informed General Schneirle that you only desired two muskets, but that I could not issue them without the proper order, but that I had an old order covering the issue of the forty. In view of my pledge that the muskets shall be returned, and the position which Colonel Huger is placed by the issue, I feel satisfied that you will comply with my request. In haste.

Very truly, yours,

F. C. HUMPHREYS, Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. Army.

{p.97}

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FORT MOULTRIE, December 18, 1860.

F. C. HUMPHREYS, Esq., Military Storekeeper, Charleston Arsenal:

DEAR SIR: I have received your note of this date, begging me to return to the arsenal the forty muskets which I obtained yesterday (in accordance with an order from the Ordnance Department, issued some time since), because of a threatened violent demonstration on the part of some persons of Charleston. You state that Colonel Huger, of the Ordnance (as General Schneirle asserts to you), assured the governor that no arms should be removed from the arsenal, and that as the above assurance of Colonel Huger was made subsequent to the receipt of the order for the issue of these muskets to me, you have pledged your word that they shall be returned to the arsenal to-morrow. If Colonel Huger made this pledge to the governor of this State, I presume he must have acted by the authority of the Government; but of this I have no direct knowledge All I know is that an order was given to issue forty muskets to me, that I actually required them to protect the property of the Government against a mob, and that I have them in my possession. To give them back now, without proper authority, would subject me to blame if any loss should occur which might be prevented by keeping them. I am willing to refer the matter to Washington. I am sorry to be obliged to disappoint you, and will call to assure you so to-morrow at 12 o’clock, at which time I shall be happy to meet General Schneirle, if he is disposed to see me.

Very truly, yours,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 19, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that I had an interview to-day with General Schneirle (general of division in this vicinity) and several other prominent citizens of Charleston, in relation to the little excitement attending the issue of forty muskets to me at the arsenal on the 17th instant.

The main facts connected with this were communicated in my letter of yesterday.

The interview to-day was satisfactory to me, as I saw that the action of General Schneirle had arisen from his great desire to allay the temporary excitement among some of the citizens. Although I declined to return the muskets until I was directed by the Government so to do, yet I proposed at once to refer the matter to Washington, and accordingly telegraphed to Captain Maynadier, Ordnance Corps, to inquire whether the muskets should be returned to the arsenal or not. Up to this time I have received no answer. The reasons for my doing so are these: General Schneirle asserted that Colonel Huger had assured the governor of this State that no arms should be removed from the arsenal, and Captain Humphreys, military storekeeper, felt himself placed in a peculiar position from having acted contrary to the colonel’s assurance, while on the other hand neither Captain Humphreys or myself had been informed by Colonel Huger that he had made such assurance; neither had we any positive written testimony of the fact. To solve the question, {p.98} the Ordnance Bureau must be appealed to for a decision, and I did this immediately, in order to allay, as soon as possible, any irritations that might have arisen. I was actuated in all I did by a sincere desire to remove all cause of irritation, so that if the extremists are disposed for violent measures they must force the issue themselves.

I am abating nothing of the activity of preparation in Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter, and in fact am increasing it.

If the Department becomes aware of any change of policy in regard to this preparation in these forts, or in either of them, I beg that instructions may be given me at once, so that I may vary my operations accordingly, for my present expenses are very heavy. In Fort Sumter the mounting of the guns, laying a flagging of first and second tiers of casemates, forming embrasures of second tier, and finishing the barracks is progressing regularly, and as fast as separately organized parties can work. The force will be to-morrow 150 men.

On Fort Moultrie 137 men are at work. The wet ditch is nearly completed. The foot-bridge connecting the second stories of the barracks and the guard-house, which is arranged for a citadel, is constructed. Doors are being cut through the partition walls of the barracks of the second floor, and trap-doors in the floors, and ladders made. A machicoulis gallery over the southeast angle is being made of palmetto logs for infantry. All the guns on the east front (facing the sand hills) are being placed in embrasure, by raising high and solid merlons, formed of cement barrels filled with sand, sods, and green hides.

Three high cavalier-like positions are also formed on this front for sharpshooters. The picket fence bordering the ditch is carried more than half around the fort, and is well protected from a destructive fire of cannon by a small glacis in front of it. The flanking howitzers are being mounted in the finished caponiere, and will be tried by firing tomorrow. Nearly all the projecting brick cordon is cut off smooth.

All of this work I have done and am doing myself, because it is necessary to be done, and the garrison is too weak to undertake any work beside the regular drills.

There is another thing which I propose to do, and of which I write to you in season, so that if you disapprove it you can have time to forbid it. I propose to connect a powerful Daniels battery with the magazine at Fort Sumter, by means of wires stretched across under water from Fort Sumter to Fort Moultrie, and to blow up Fort Sumter if it is taken by an armed force, and after Lieutenant Snyder and my men have time to escape from it.

I propose, also, to use the same battery to fire small mines around Fort Moultrie, and to explode a large mine placed in the sand hills. All of these last preparations may seem to be unnecessary, and I hope they may prove to be so in the end, but there are very strong probabilities that they may be required, and, at any rate, I regard a complete state of preparations as the surest safeguard against attack.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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DECEMBER 19, 1860.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, &C., Charleston, S. C. :

I have just telegraphed Captain Foster to return any arms that he may have removed from Charleston Arsenal.

J. B. FLOYD.

{p.99}

No. 9.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 20, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 24.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I had the honor to receive and to answer, at half past 1 o’clock this morning, a telegram from the honorable Secretary of War, dated the 19th instant. Captain Foster has, I presume, reported to the Department his compliance with his order.

The ordinance of secession passed the South Carolina Convention to-day.

We are making good progress in our defensive works on the ramparts. Captain Foster finished to-day mounting the guns in the caponiere (or bastionettes), and [will] commence the other caponiere to-morrow. In my letter (No. 6) of December 6, I had the honor of stating my objections to commencing that work, and suggested that I thought it ought to be replaced by some work which could be built in a shorter time. No reply has been made to that suggestion, and Captain Foster says that as the project was approved by the Engineer Department and by the Secretary of War he does not feel authorized to make a change of the plan.

I regret this very much, for if an attack is made whilst that work is going on, our fort can be very easily carried. As I have stated before, I do not feel authorized to interfere with the operations of the Engineer Department.

Captain Foster informs me that Lieutenant Snyder is mounting guns at Fort Sumter as rapidly as possible. I have already given my reasons why I thought that ought not to be done, and have seen no reason for changing that opinion.

Hoping that events may take such a turn as soon to relieve me from the dangerous position my little command is now in,

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 20, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD Secretary of War:

SIR: In reply to so much of the resolution of the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives,* which you have referred to this office, as relates to matters intrusted to this Department, I have the honor to present the following report:

In regard to the condition of the defenses at Fort Moultrie, I have to state that, according to the latest report of the Engineer officer having charge of the construction of the defenses of the harbor of Charleston, everything practicable has been done to place the work in an efficient condition, and that with a proper garrison it is susceptible of an energetic defense. There were then employed at that work one officer and one hundred and twenty workmen, independent of the regular garrison.

Castle Pinckney was in good condition as regards preparation, and, with a proper garrison, as defensible as it can be made. One officer and thirty workmen were engaged in the repair of the cisterns, replacing decayed banquettes, and attending to other matters of detail.

{p.100}

Fort Sumter, which is entirely surrounded by water, is prepared for the guns, of the first and third tiers, many of which are mounted, and the rest may be on short notice. The working force is now engaged in putting in the embrasures of the second tier, which have been left out till recently on account of an apprehended settlement of the work. One officer and one hundred and fifteen workmen were employed at this work at the (late of the last report. Of all the fortifications in the harbor of Charleston, Fort Sumter must be looked upon as by far the most important, and it is now in condition, as regards its state of preparation, to resist any attack that will be made upon it, provided it be furnished with a proper garrison.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. DE RUSSY, Lieutenant-Colonel, Engineers, Commanding.

* See Stanton to Floyd, December 18, 1860, p. 94; and Holt to Stanton, January 3, 1, post.

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FORT MOULTRIE, SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S. C., December 20, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that, after closing my letter to you last night, I received (at 2 a.m.) a telegraphic dispatch from the Secretary of War, of which the following is a copy:

I have just received a telegraphic dispatch informing me that you have removed forty muskets from Charleston Arsenal to Fort Moultrie. If you have removed any arms, return them instantly.

Answer by telegraph.

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

Capt. JOHN G. FOSTER.

To this I immediately replied as follows:

I received forty muskets from the arsenal on the 17th. I shall return them in obedience to your order.

“J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

It may be well hereto explain more fully than I have heretofore done the circumstances connected with this issue of muskets to me. The Ordnance Department on the 1st of November directed that forty muskets should be issued to me. I did not receive them at that time, because Colonel Gardner, commanding at Fort Moultrie, objected to the issue on the ground that it appeared like arming my employés. On the 17th instant I went to the arsenal to obtain two guns which were required at Fort Sumter and which Colonel Huger had directed to be delivered to me. While there I recollected that the ordnance sergeants at Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney had applied to me, for the arms to which they were entitled, and I asked the military storekeeper in charge of the arsenal for two muskets and accouterments for those two sergeants. He replied that he had no authority for the issue of two muskets for this purpose, but that the old order for forty muskets was on file, and the muskets and accouterments ready packed for delivery to me. So I received them, and after issuing the two muskets to the two ordnance sergeants at Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney placed the remainder in the magazines of those two forts. They were actually needed to protect the public property. I knew nothing of Colonel Huger’s assurances {p.101} to the governor of the State that no arms should be removed from the arsenal; neither did Captain Humphreys, military storekeeper. Consequently, I was surprised to receive his letter of the 18th, which I inclosed to you yesterday, desiring to have the muskets returned. My reply was also inclosed to you. What followed was as is described in the commencement of this letter.

To-day at 3 o’clock I received another letter from Captain Humphreys, a copy of which is inclosed, as is also my reply.

I should have mentioned above that on the 19th, when in town to see General Schneirle and allay any excitement relative to the muskets, I found to my surprise that there was no excitement except with a very few who had been active in the matter, and the majority of the gentlemen whom I met had not even heard of it.

The order of the Secretary of War of last night I must consider as decisive upon the question of any efforts on my part to defend Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney. The defense now can only extend to keeping the gates closed and shutters fastened, and must cease when these are forced.

I do not think that I am authorized to make the preparations for extreme measures described in my letter of yesterday, but shall wait until I receive your reply.

I would earnestly, but respectfully, urge that definite instructions be given me how to act in the emergency which, from the eagerness with which rumors and other causes are seized upon to maintain and increase the political excitement, will probably arise sooner or later. Until I am directed to the contrary, I shall continue the work as at present on Fort Sumter and the preparations for the defense of Fort Moultrie.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., December 20, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, U. S. Engineer Corps:

DEAR SIR: During an interview with Governor Pickens this morning, he asked me whether or not I could state authoritatively that there had not been twenty enlisted men sent from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. I told him that my conviction was that such was not the case, and that I heard you make the statement yesterday to General Schneirle that you had but one enlisted man at Fort Sumter.

The governor requested as a favor that such assurance should be given him over the signature of an officer of the Army, and knowing that you requested General Schneirle to write you should any rumor obtain concerning you, I make known Governor Pickens’ desire to you, and respectfully suggest that you send him immediately (as he said it was important that he had a [denial] of the rumor by night) such communication as you may deem best in the premises.

I regret exceedingly that you deemed it necessary to refer the matter of the issue of the forty muskets, &c., to Washington, for I know that such representations have gone on to the Department as will cause unnecessary excitement, and insure a censure, of my course in the matter from the Ordnance Department.

Very respectfully, yours,

F. C. HUMPHREYS, Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. Army.

{p.102}

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 20, 1860.

Capt. F. C. Humphreys, Military Storekeeper, U. S. Ordnance Corps:

DEAR SIR: I have received your letter of this date. I regret that I cannot accede to your request to write to the governor-elect of South Carolina and assure him that twenty enlisted men had not, as he had heard, been sent from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. As the governor of a State that has by an ordinance to-day decided to secede from the Union, I cannot, I conceive, properly communicate with him in matters of this kind, except through the Government at Washington.

I regret exceedingly that an unfounded rumor of this kind should have obtained the serious attention of the governor of South Carolina. I, as the officer in charge of Fort Sumter, can assure you that no enlisted men have been transferred from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter.

With respect to the issue of the muskets, I consider that you only performed your duty in obedience to existing orders. I certainly think that I did mine. As to my after action in referring the matter to Washington, I am, of course, the only one responsible. You cannot, therefore, be censured without cause.

Truly yours, in haste,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, December 24, 1860.

Respectfully submitted to the honorable Secretary of War for his information, and with the earnest request that the instructions solicited by Captain Foster may be promptly given.

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

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ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, December 20, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War

SIR: The inclosed telegram, purporting to be from Capt. J. G. Foster, the Engineer officer in charge of Fort Sumter, reached me last night, and gives the first information to this office that the forty old muskets had been issued to the captain. On the contrary, the previous correspondence on the subject indicates that the issue of these muskets has not been and will not be made. On the 31st October last Colonel Craig informed you that the Engineer in charge of Fort Sumter had suggested the placing of a few small-arms in the hands of his workmen for the protection of the Government property there, and recommended that it should be done, provided that it met the concurrence of the commanding officer of the troops in Charleston Harbor. The recommendation was approved and Col. J. L. Gardner, then commanding at Charleston Harbor, was duly notified thereof and authorized to direct the issue if it met his approval, and to report the fact to this office. He answered under date of 5th November, 1860, and did not concur in the expediency of the issue. His letter was submitted to you on the 8th November, {p.103} with the remark by the Colonel of Ordnance that “it is probable the issue has not and will not be made without further orders.” No further orders have been given, and no report or other information on the subject has reached this office except the inclosed telegram. That is so indefinite (except as to the fact that Captain Foster has received the forty old muskets) as to be difficult to understand, and, consequently, to answer.* It does not state by whom the “little talk” about the issue was had, nor who asks Captain Foster to return the muskets. From all the indications I am doubtful about the genuineness of the dispatch. If answered at all I think the best reply will be: “If you don’t want the muskets, return them.”

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. MAYNADIER, Captain of Ordnance.

* See Foster to De Russy, December 20, 1860, p. 100.

[Inclosure-Telegram.]

CHARLESTON, December 19, 1860.

Capt. Wm. MAYNADIER, Ordnance Department:

I received from the arsenal on the 17th the forty old muskets ordered to be issued to me November 1. There is some little talk about it, and I am asked to return them. Shall I return them or keep them?

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers, U. S. Army.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 21, 1860.

Major ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Moultrie, S. C.:

SIR: In the verbal instructions communicated to you by Major Buell,* you are directed to hold possession of the forts in the harbor of Charleston, and, if attacked, to defend yourself to the last extremity. Under these instructions, you might infer that you are required to make a vain and useless sacrifice of your own life and the lives of the men under your command, upon a mere point of honor. This is far from the President’s intentions. You are to exercise a sound military discretion on this subject.

It is neither expected nor desired that you should expose your own life or that of your men in a hopeless conflict in defense of these forts. If they are invested or attacked by a force so superior that resistance would, in your judgment, be a useless waste of life, it will be your duty to yield to necessity, and make the best terms in your power.

This will be the conduct of an honorable, brave, and humane officer, and you will be fully justified in such action. These orders are strictly confidential, and not to be communicated even to the officers under your command, without close necessity.**

Very respectfully, fully,

JOHN B. FLOYD.

* See Buell’s memorandum, December 11, 1860, p. 89.

** This letter delivered to Major Anderson December 23, by Capt. John Withers, A. A. G.

{p.104}

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ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, December 21, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: All the information called for by the letter of the Hon. B. Stanton, chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the accompanying resolution of that committee, dated the 18th instant, so far as it is within the purview of the Ordinance Department, will be found in the inclosed statements, viz:

No. 1. Quantity and description of ordnance and arms at each of the forts in Charleston Harbor, viz, at Fort Moultrie, at Castle Pinckney, at Fort Sumter, and at the Charleston Arsenal, with the name and grade of the officer in charge of the arsenal and the force under his control.*

No. 2. Number and description of arms distributed since the 1st of January, 1860, to the States and Territories, and at what price.*

No. 3. Arms distributed by sale since 1st January, 1860, to whom sold, and at what price.*

It is deemed proper to state, in further explanation of No. 2, that where no distribution appears to have been made to a State or Territory, or the amount of distribution is small, it is because such State or Territory has not called for all the arms due on its quotas, and remains a creditor for dues not distributed, which can be obtained at any time on requisition therefor.

The letter of the Hon. B. Stanton, with the accompanying resolution, is returned herewith.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. MAYNADIER, Captain of Ordnance.

* See inclosure to Holt to Stanton, January 3, 1861, post. Nos. 2 and 3 not found.

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Washington, December 21, 1860. Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C. :

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, ENGINEER DEPARTMENT,

CAPTAIN: Your letters of the 4th and 13th instants, reporting the operations you have undertaken for improving the defensible condition of the forts in Charleston Harbor, have been received, and your action in the matter is fully approved by this Department. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. DE RUSSY, Lieutenant-Colonel, Engineers, Commanding.

–––

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 21, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C. :

CAPTAIN: In reply to your letter of the 17th instant, I have, to state that on inquiry at the Medical Bureau it is found that there is no intention of relieving Assistant Surgeon Crawford from duty at Fort Moultrie at present, but that it is presumed he will still be willing to go on attending to your men, as he is understood to be now doing, without {p.105} any specific instructions. The formal reference of your application to the Adjutant-General is therefore considered unnecessary.

Your letter of the 18th instant, inclosing correspondence with Military Storekeeper Humphreys, in regard to the return of the muskets drawn from the Charleston Arsenal, is also received.

It having been ascertained on inquiry at the War Department that instructions have already been sent you to return the muskets referred to, no further action on your letter seems to be necessary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. DE RUSSY, Lieutenant-Colonel, Engineers, Commanding.

–––

No. 10.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 22, 1860. (Received A. G. O., December 26.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Captain Foster is apprehensive that the remarks in my letter of the 20th instant may be considered as reflecting upon him, and I told him that I would cheerfully state distinctly that I do not intend to pass any criticism upon his proceedings.

I stated in my last letter fully all the reasons I intended to give against commencing the second caponiere. The captain has put a very large force of masons on it, and they are running up the walls very rapidly. He says, as he has all the material on hand, the men, having just completed the first one, will be enabled to construct the second caponiere as soon as they could finish any temporary work in its stead. He says that he will have the “work defensible in five more working days, and have it finished in nine more working days.” God knows whether the South Carolinians will defer their attempt to take this work so long as that. I must confess that I think where an officer is placed in as delicate a position as the one I occupy that he should have the entire control over all persons connected in any way with the work intrusted to him. Responsibility and power to control ought to go together.

I have heard from several sources that last night and the night before a steamer was stationed between this island and Fort Sumter. That the authorities of South Carolina are determined to prevent, if possible, any troops from being placed in that fort, and that they will seize upon that most important work as soon as they think there is reasonable ground for a doubt whether it will be turned over to the State, I do not doubt. I think that I could, however, were I to receive instructions so to do, throw my garrison into that work, but I should have, to sacrifice the greater part of my stores, as it is now too late to attempt their removal. Once in that work with my garrison I could keep the entrance of their harbor open until they construct works outside of me, which might, I presume, prevent vessels from coming into the outer harbor.

We have used nearly all the empty barrels which Captain Foster had wisely saved for embrasures, traverses, &c., and Captain Foster is now making use of our gun-pent houses for the same purpose, filling them with sand.

No one can tell what will be done. They may defer action until their commissioners return from Washington; or, if apprised by the nature of the debates in Congress that their demands will not probably be acceded to, they may act without waiting for them.

I do not think that we can rely upon any assurances, and wish to God I only had men enough here to man fully my guns. Our men are perfectly {p.106} conscious of the dangerous position they are placed in, but are in as fine spirits as if they were certain of victory.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–I have, just heard that several of the men at work in Fort Sumter wear the blue cockade. If they are bold enough to do that the sooner that force is disbanded the better. The public property would be safer there under Lieutenant Snyder and a few men than it now is.

R. A.

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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S. C., December 22, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I feel it my duty to inform you that on the last two nights steamers from town have remained in the close vicinity of Fort Sumter, apparently with the object of maintaining guard over the fort. On the first night, that of the 20th, only one came. She approached from the direction of town, as though running for the wharf, and her movements attracting the attention of the watchman, he awoke Lieutenant Snyder, who, when he went upon the ramparts, found her close under the west flank, apparently sounding. She afterwards moved off to a second position about six hundred yards from the fort, and remained during the night. She showed no lights. On the same night this or another steamer reconnoitered and remained around Castle Pinckney for some time, and when hailed by the night watch on the Castle as to what she wanted, some one replied, “You will know in a week.” Last night two steamers kept watch around Fort Sumter.

These steamers are the small harbor or coast steamers, and one of them was named the Nina. Judging it best not to incur any risk of an unpleasant occurrence, I have not taken any steps to ascertain the object of this surveillance, nor of those in command of the steamers. The recent orders emanating from the War Department have given me the assurance that every cause that might irritate these people must be avoided. However mortifying it may be to know that there are no means for defense in Fort Sumter, and that the military men of the city have their eyes fixed upon it as the prize to obtain, I feel bound to carry out this idea in my every act.

I do not even feel authorized to vary my present plan of operations, either by a reduction or an increase of force, although my expenses are very heavy, and my present liabilities barely covered by my requisitions just made. Whenever the Department desires that I may make a change of operations, I beg that it may soon be communicated to me.

At Fort Moultrie I am still exerting myself to the utmost to make it so defensible as to discourage any attempts to take it. The wet ditch is now completed. The whole of the east front is now raised by solid merlons, two barrels high, and in three positions to a greater height to serve for cavaliers. The guns are provided with good siege-battery embrasures, faced with green hides, and two of them 18-inch howitzers, one in addition furnished with musket-proof shutters working on an axis, elevated over the throat of the embrasure by supports on each side, and maneuvered by double bars extending back over the gun.

A field howitzer has been put in position on the parapet at the northeast salient, by means of a palmetto stockade, so as to sweep the vicinity {p.107} of that angle better than it was before. Traverses to intercept shot from the sand hills have been placed on the parapet and upon the terrepleins.

The bridge connecting the barracks and guard-house is completed, the doors arranged with fastenings, doors cut through the partition walls of the barracks, trap-doors cut in the floors, and ladders made. The howitzers in the finished caponiere are put in good working order. The second caponiere was commenced I yesterday morning, with a full force of masons, and by to-night was over six feet in height, with both embrasures completed. Major Anderson wanted me to adopt some more temporary construction, but I showed him that this would be far more valuable in the defense, and having the materials and masons ready, I could construct it just as quickly and cheaply. On Monday I shall erect a lookout tower or sharpshooter stand on top of the guard-house, at Major Anderson’s request. I have stopped for the present the work Upon the glacis in front of the sea front, and put all my force upon the above works. The glacis has, however, assumed fine proportions, and is in fact nearly completed. One-half of the interior slope is well sodded, and half of the glacis slope covered with muck six inches thick.

It will take very little work to complete the whole of it as soon as the present pressing work is finished.

Very truly, yours,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

[Indorsement No. 1.]

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, December 24, 1860.

Respectfully submitted to the honorable Secretary of War for his information, and with the earnest request that the instructions solicited by Captain Foster may be promptly given.

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

[Indorsement No. 2.]

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, December 26, 1860.

Respectfully referred to the honorable Secretary of War, and his attention urgently called to the within report as one of great importance.

R. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

[Indorsement No. 3.]

ENGINEER OFFICE, December 26, 1860.

Have just seen the Secretary of War, and read to him the within letter. His only remarks in regard to it were that it was very satisfactory, and that he hoped or thought, I don’t distinctly remember which, that we should get over these troubles without bloodshed. He further said he did not wish to retain the letter-this in answer to my question.

H. G. W.

–––

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 24, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: In reply to your letter of the 20th instant* I have to say that on application at the Treasury it is ascertained that no remittance can {p.108} be made to your credit until after the 28th instant, and that soon after that date all requisitions upon the Treasury will be promptly met as heretofore.

This office will omit no effort to supply you with funds at the earliest possible moment, and as soon as it is ascertained that funds can be supplied you will be promptly informed.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain of Engineers, in charge.

* Asking for $10,000 on account of Fort Sumter.

–––

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 27, 1860.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.

CAPTAIN: I have to acknowledge the receipt of the following letters from you, viz:

1. Letter of December 20, reporting in regard to the receipt of forty muskets, &c., for Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, and their return to the arsenal by direction of the Secretary of War.

2. Letter of December 22, reporting that steamers from Charleston had been engaged for the last two nights in reconnoitering and watching Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, and also detailing the progress of your operations at Fort Moultrie toward putting that work in a defensible condition.

3. Your letter of the 19th December, not before, acknowledged, presenting for the consideration of the Government a proposition for preventing the occupation of Fort Sumter by any force not acting under the authority of the United States.

These several letters have been laid before the Secretary of War, and his instructions in relation to the important matters presented therein earnestly requested. Thus far no such instructions have been received, though the Secretary expressed himself fully satisfied with the efforts you have made and the zeal you have exhibited in the trying position in which you are placed.

This Department is highly gratified with the course you have pursued, and fully approves all the steps you have taken for the security of the public interests at the fortifications in Charleston Harbor. At the same time it cannot fail to express the hope that some definite instructions may be soon given for your guidance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Captain Engineers, in charge.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., December 27, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that yesterday evening Major Anderson removed his command from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, leaving a guard with me, with orders to spike the guns, cut down the flagstaff, and burn the carriages of those guns that point towards Fort Sumter. This was done. To-day I went to town to negotiate a draft on New York to pay off the men employed on Fort Moultrie. I saw {p.109} that an attack was to be made somewhere to-night, and also that it would not be safe for me to go to town again for some time.

Returning, I brought my family to Fort Sumter, as all guard was withdrawn. At about 4 o’clock a steamer landed an armed force at Castle Pinckney, and effecting an entrance by scaling the walls with ladders, took forcible possession of the work. Lieutenant Meade was suffered to withdraw to this fort.

Soon after dark two steamers landed an armed force at Fort Moultrie, and took forcible possession of that work. While in town the Palmetto flag was hoisted on the custom-house and saluted. Two companies were ordered to surround the arsenal. The movement of Major Anderson was made upon a firm conviction that an attack would be made, and that Fort Sumter would be seized first. In haste.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

DECEMBER 31, 1860.

Read the within to Lieutenant-General Scott this morning.

H. G. W.

–––

WASHINGTON, December 28, 1860.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

SIR: We have the honor to transmit to you a copy of the full powers from the Convention of the People of South Carolina, under which we are “authorized and empowered to treat with the Government of the United States for the delivery of the forts, magazines, light-houses, and other real estate, with their appurtenances, within the limits of South Carolina; and also for an apportionment of the public debt and a division of all other property held by the Government of the United States as agent of the confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member; and, generally, to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relations of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between this Commonwealth and the Government at Washington.”

In the execution of this trust it is our duty to furnish you, as we now do, with an official copy of the ordinance of secession, by which the State of South Carolina has resumed the powers she delegated to the Government of the United States, and has declared her perfect sovereignty and independence.

It would also have been our duty to have informed you that we were ready to negotiate with you upon all such questions as are necessarily raised by the adoption of this ordinance, and that we were prepared to enter upon this negotiation with the earnest desire to avoid all unnecessary and hostile collision, and so to inaugurate our new relations as to secure mutual respect, general advantage, and a future of good will and harmony, beneficial to all the parties concerned. But the events of the last twenty-four hours render such an assurance impossible. We came here, the representatives of an authority which could at any time within the past sixty days have taken possession of the forts in Charleston Harbor, but which, upon pledges given in a manner that we cannot doubt, determined to trust to your honor rather than to its own power. Since our arrival an officer of the United States acting, as we are assured, {p.110} not only without but against your orders, has dismantled one fort and occupied another, thus altering to a most important extent the condition of affairs under which we came.

Until those circumstances are explained in a manner which relieves us of all doubt as to the spirit in which these negotiations shall be conducted, we are forced to suspend all discussion as to any arrangements by which our mutual interests might be amicably adjusted.

And, in conclusion, we would urge upon you the immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of Charleston. Under present circumstances they are a standing menace which renders negotiation impossible, and, as our recent experience shows, threatens speedily to bring to a bloody issue questions which ought to be settled with temperance and judgment.

We have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servants,

R. W. BARNWELL, J. H. ADAMS, JAMES L. ORR, Commissioners.

[Inclosures.]

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA:

At a Convention of the People of the State of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia on the seventeenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and thence continued by adjournment to Charleston, and there, by divers adjournments, to the twentieth of December in the same year:

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled. “The Constitution of the United States of America”:

We, the People of the State of South Carolina in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the general assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution., are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America” is hereby dissolved.

Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

D. F. JAMISON, Delegate from Barnwell, and President of the Convention, and others.

Attest: BENJAMIN F. ARTHUR, Clerk of the Convention.

OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE, Charleston, S. C., December 22, 1860.

I do hereby certify that the foregoing ordinance is a true and correct copy taken from the original on file in this office.

Witness my hand and the seal of the State.

[L. S.]

ISAAC H. MEANS, Secretary of State.

{p.111}

The State of South Carolina, by the Convention of the People of the said State, to Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. Orr:

Whereas the Convention of the People of the State of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia on the seventeenth day of December, in the year of oar Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and thence continued by adjournment to Charleston, did, by resolution, order “That three Commissioners, to be elected by ballot of the Convention, be directed forthwith to proceed to Washington, authorized and empowered to treat with the Government of the United States for the delivery of the forts, magazines, light-houses, and other real estate, with their appurtenances, within the limits of South Carolina; and also for an apportionment of the public debt and for a division of all other property held by the Government of the United States as agent of the confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member; and, generally, to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relations of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between this Commonwealth and the Government at Washington”;

And whereas the said Convention did, by ballot, elect you to the said office of Commissioners to the Government at Washington:

Now, be it known that the said Convention, by these presents, doth commission you, Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. Orr, as Commissioners to the Government at Washington, to have, to hold, and to exercise the said office, with all the powers, rights, and privileges conferred upon the same by the terms of the resolution herein cited.

Given under the seal of the State, at Charleston, the twenty-second day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

[L. S.]

D. F. JAMISON, President. ISAAC H. MEANS, Secretary of State.

Attest: B. F. ARTHUR, Clerk of the Convention.

–––

[Memorandum.]

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 28, 1860.

The following message was delivered by Lieutenant-Colonel Lay, aide-de-camp from the General-in Chief to the President of the United States, in person, about 3 1/2 p.m., December 27:

Since the formal order, unaccompanied by special instructions, assigning Major Anderson to the command of Fort Moultrie, no order, intimation, suggestion, or communication for his government and guidance has gone to that officer, or any of his subordinates, from the Headquarters of the Army; nor have any reports or communications been addressed to the General-in-Chief from Fort Moultrie later than a letter written by Major Anderson, almost immediately after his arrival in Charleston Harbor, reporting the then state of the work.

G. W. LAY, Lieutenant-Colonel, A. D. C.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

{p.112}

[Memorandum.]

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, December 28, 1860.

Lieutenant-General Scott, who has had a bad night, and can scarcely hold up his head this morning, begs to express the hope to the Secretary of War

1. That orders may not be given for the evacuation of Fort Sumter;

2. That one hundred and fifty recruits may instantly be sent from Governor’s Island to re-enforce that garrison, with ample supplies of ammunition, subsistence, including fresh vegetables, as potatoes, onions, turnips; and

3. That one or two armed vessels be sent to support the said fort.

Lieutenant-General Scott avails himself of this opportunity also to express the hope that the recommendations heretofore made by him to the Secretary of War respecting Forts Jackson, Saint Philip, Morgan, and Pulaski, and particularly in respect to Forts Pickens and McRee and the Pensacola navy-yard in connection with the last two named works, may be reconsidered by the Secretary.

Lieutenant-General Scott will further ask the attention of the Secretary to Forts Jefferson and Taylor, which are wholly national, being of far greater value even to the most distant points of the Atlantic coast and to the people on the upper waters of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers than to the State of Florida. There is only a feeble company at Key West for the defense of Fort Taylor, and not a soldier in Fort Jefferson to resist a handful of filibusters or a rowboat of pirates; and the Gulf, soon after the beginning of secession or revolutionary troubles in the adjacent States, will swarm with such nuisances.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

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No. 13.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., December 28, 1860. (Received A. G. O., January 1, 1861.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith a copy of a memorandum received to-day from the governor of South Carolina, in reply to a message from me, which shows that for the present we are treated as enemies. I sent my post-adjutant this morning with a message to the Commanding officer of Fort Moultrie asking by what authority he held possession of that work, and desiring to know whether he would make any opposition to my sending for some property, public and private, left there. He replied to my first question that he held that post by authority of the sovereign State of South Carolina, and in obedience to the orders of the governor. To the second, that his orders were not to permit public property of any kind to be removed on any pretext whatever; that he was directed to take an inventory of the same, and to send it to the governor; that he would with pleasure assist in recovering and restoring all private property that was left. This decision about the public property shows that South Carolina is acting in this matter also toward us as if we were her enemy. The amount of public property thus left is not great, as I merely retained enough to prevent my movement from being suspected. He requested Lieutenant Hall to say that at a general meeting of the officers, the military move I made was unanimously pronounced to have been one of consummate wisdom; that it was the best one that could have been made, and that if I had {p.113} not effected it things would have been very different. Speaking of his own position, he remarked that the guns of Fort Sumter looked into his guns, and said that he ought not to have been ordered to fire upon me, because if I returned his fire he would be compelled to retire to the sand hills. There were, yesterday two regiments to guard the island. The remark about his orders looks like an intention to attack me here. I must confess that I feel highly complimented by the expression of such an opinion (from those most deeply affected by it) of the change of position I felt bound to take to save my command and to prevent the shedding of blood. In a few days I hope, God willing, that I shall be so strong here that they will hardly be foolish enough to attack me. I must confess that we have yet something to do before, with my small force, I shall feel quite independent, as this work is not impregnable, as I have heard it spoken of.

Trusting that something may occur which will lead to a peaceful solution of the questions between the General Government and South Carolina,

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–I do not feel authorized to reply to the memorandum of the governor, but shall regret very deeply his persistence in the course he has taken. He knows not how entirely the city of Charleston is in my power. I can cut his communication off from the sea, and thereby prevent the reception of supplies, and close the harbor, even at night, by destroying the light-houses. These things, of course, I would never do, unless compelled to do so in self-defense.

[Inclosure.–Copy of memorandum from Governor Pickens.]

HEADQUARTERS, December 28, 1860.

In reply to Major Anderson’s request, made this morning verbally through First Lieutenant Snyder, from Fort Sumter, I hereby order and direct that free permission shall be given to him to send the ladies and camp women from Fort Sumter, with their private effects, to any portion of Sullivan’s Island, and that entire protection shall be extended to them. It is also agreed that the mails may be sent over to the officers at Fort Sumter by their boats, and that all the ladies of Captain Foster’s family shall be allowed to pass, with their effects and the effects of any kind belonging to Captain Foster, from the Mills House to Fort Sumter, and the kindest regard shall be paid to them. Of course, Lieutenant Meade’s private effects can be taken possession of; but for the present there shall be no communications of any other kind allowed from the city to the fort, or any transportation of arms or ammunition, or any supplies, to the fort; and this is done with a view to prevent irregular collisions, and to spare the unnecessary effusion of blood.

F. W. PICKENS.

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WASHINGTON, December 29, 1860.

LARZ ANDERSON, Esq., Cincinnati:

SIR: General Scott has been hoping for two or three days to find himself well enough to answer your letter, but is too much prostrated by diarrhea. He has done everything in his power to support your {p.114} brother in his command, repeating, with what effect remains to be seen, within the last twenty-four hours, an urgent recommendation, long since made, to the President to re-enforce the major.

The War Department has kept secret from the General the instructions sent to the major, but the General, in common with the whole Army, has admired and vindicated as a defensive measure the masterly transfer of the garrison from Fort Moultrie to the position of Fort Sumter.

G. W. LAY.

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WASHINGTON, December 30, 1860.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

Lieutenant-General Scott begs the President of the United States to pardon the irregularity of this communication.

It is Sunday; the weather is bad, and General Scott is not well enough to go to church. But matters of the highest national importance seem to forbid a moment’s delay, and if misled by zeal, he hopes for the President’s forgiveness.

Will the President permit General Scott, without reference to the War Department and otherwise, as secretly as possible, to send two hundred and fifty recruits from New York Harbor to re-enforce Fort Sumter, together with some extra muskets or rifles, ammunition, and subsistence stores?

It is hoped that a sloop of war and cutter may be ordered for the same purpose as early as to-morrow.

General Scott will wait upon the President at any moment he may be called for.

The President’s most obedient servant,

WINFIELD SCOTT.

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No. 14.]

FORT SUMTER, S.C., December 30, 1860. (Received A. G. O., January 2, 1861.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the South. Carolinians have established a post at Fort Johnson. It is said that one company and a half was sent to that place yesterday. I saw that there was a small party yesterday on Morris Island. They probably intend establishing batteries at Fort Johnson and on the island, and throwing shot and shells at us from those places and from Fort Moultrie, where they are very busily engaged repairing their battery. The governor was called upon by a friend of mine in reference to his decision, by which all communication between us and the city (except the sending for our mails) was cut off, and he refuses to modify or recall his order. We are pushing forward our work here very vigorously, and if we have a week longer, shall, by the blessing of God, be fully prepared for any attack they may make.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.115}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., December 30, 1860.

Col. R. E. DE RUSSY, Commanding Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I am exerting myself to the utmost to make this work impregnable, and am most ably and energetically supported by Lieutenants Snyder and Meade. The whole labor of preparation falls upon us, as the command is too small to be worn down by labor.

The quartermaster has no funds, and I therefore consider it my duty to provide everything. I cannot commit to paper the preparations that are completed and in progress to resist an attack here. Be assured, however, that no efforts are spared to make them as complete as they can be made under the circumstances. I beg that any funds that can be obtained for me may be deposited in New York.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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WASHINGTON CITY, December 31, 1860.

Hons. ROBERT W. BARNWELL, JAMES H. ADAMS, JAMES L. ORR:

GENTLEMEN: I have had the honor to receive your communication of the 28th instant, together with a copy of your “full powers from the Convention of the People of South Carolina” authorizing you to treat with the Government of the United States on various important subjects therein mentioned, and also copy of the ordinance, bearing date on the 20th instant, declaring that “the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of ‘the United States of America’ is thereby dissolved.”

In answer to this communication I have to say that my position as President of the United States was clearly defined in the message to Congress on the 3d instant. In that I stated that “apart from the execution of the laws, so far as this may be practicable, the Executive has no authority to decide what shall be the relations between the Federal Government and South Carolina. He has been invested with no such discretion. He possesses no power to change the relations heretofore existing between them, much less to acknowledge the independence of that State. This would be to invest a mere executive officer with the power of recognizing the dissolution of the confederacy among our thirty-three sovereign States. It bears no resemblance to the recognition of a foreign de facto government, involving no such responsibility. Any attempt to do this would, on his part, be a naked act of usurpation. It is therefore my duty to submit to Congress the whole question in all its bearings.”

Such is still my opinion, and I could therefore meet you only as private gentlemen of the highest character, and I was quite willing to communicate to Congress any proposition you might have to make to that body upon the subject. Of this you were well aware.

It was my earnest desire that such a disposition might be made of the whole subject by Congress, who alone possess the power, as to prevent the inauguration of a civil war between the parties in regard to the possession of the Federal forts in the harbor of Charleston; and I therefore deeply regret that, in your opinion, “the events of the last twenty-four hours render this impossible.” In conclusion you urge upon me “the immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of {p.116} Charleston,” stating that, “under present circumstances, they are a standing menace which renders negotiation impossible, and, as our recent experience shows, threatens speedily to bring to a bloody issue questions which ought to be settled with temperance and judgement.”

The reason for this change in your position is that, since your arrival in Washington, “an officer of the United States, acting, as we (you) are assured, not only without but against your (my) orders, has dismantled one fort and occupied another, thus altering to a most important extent the condition of affairs under which we (you) came.”

You also allege that you came here “the representatives of an authority which could at any time within the past sixty days have taken possession of the forts in Charleston Harbor, but which, upon pledges given in a manner that we (you) cannot doubt, determined to trust to your (my) honor rather than to its own power.”

This brings me to a consideration of the nature of those alleged pledges, and in what manner they have been observed. In my message of the 3d of December instant I stated, in regard to the property of the United States in South Carolina, that it “has been purchased for a fair equivalent, ‘by the consent of the legislature of the State, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals,’ &c., and over these the authority ‘to exercise exclusive legislation’ has been expressly granted by the Constitution to Congress. It is not believed that any attempt will be made to expel the United States from this property by force; but if in this I should prove to be mistaken, the officer in command of the forts has received orders to act strictly on the defensive. In such a contingency the responsibility for consequences would rightfully rest upon the heads of the assailants.”

This being the condition of the parties on Saturday, December 8, four of the Representatives from South Carolina called upon me and requested an interview. We had an earnest conversation on the subject of these forts and the best means of preventing a collision between the parties, for the purpose of sparing the effusion of blood. I suggested, for prudential reasons, that it would be best to put in writing what they said to me verbally. They did so accordingly, and on Monday morning, the 10th instant, three of them presented to me a paper signed by all the Representatives of South Carolina, with a single exception, of which the following is a copy:

WASHINGTON, December 9, 1860.

His Excellency JAMES BUCHANON President of the United States:

In compliance with our statement to you yesterday, we now express to you our strong convictions that neither the constituted authorities, nor any body of the people of the State of South Carolina, will either attack or molest the United States forts in the harbor of Charleston previously to the action of the convention, and we hope and believe not until an offer has been made, through an accredited representative, to negotiate for an amicable arrangement of all matters between the State and Federal Government, provided that no re-enforcements shall be sent into those forts, and their relative military status shall remain as at present.

JOHN McQUEEN. WM. PORCHER MILES. M. L. BONHAM. W. W. BOYCE. LAWRENCE M. KEITT.

And here I must, in justice to myself, remark that at the time the paper was presented to me I objected to the word “provided,” as it might be construed into an agreement on my part which I never would make. They said nothing was further from their intention; they did not so understand it, and I should not so consider it. It is evident they could enter {p.117} into no reciprocal agreement with me on the subject. They did not profess to have authority to do this, and were acting in their individual character. I considered it as nothing more in effect than the promise of highly honorable gentlemen to exert their influence for the purpose expressed. The event has proven that they have faithfully kept this promise, although I have never since received a line from any one of them, or from the convention, on the subject. It is well known that it was my determination, and this I freely expressed, not to re-enforce the forts in the harbor, and thus produce a collision, until they had been actually attacked, or until I had certain evidence that they were about to be attacked. This paper I received most cordially, and considered it as a happy omen that peace might be still preserved, and that time might thus be gained for reflection. This is the whole foundation for the alleged pledge.

But I acted in the same manner as I would have done had I entered into a positive and formal agreement with parties capable of contracting, although such an agreement would have, been on my part, from the nature of my official duties, impossible. The world knows that I have never sent any re-enforcements to the forts in Charleston Harbor, and I have certainly never authorized any change to be made “in their relative military status.”

Bearing upon this subject, I refer you to an order issued by the Secretary of War, on the 11th instant, to Major Anderson, but not brought to my notice until the 21st instant. It is as follows:

Memorandum of verbal instructions to Major Anderson, First Artillery, commanding at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

You are aware, of the great anxiety of the Secretary of War that a collision of the troops with the people of this State shall be avoided, and of his studied determination to pursue a course with reference to the military force and forts in this harbor which shall guard against such a collision. He has therefore carefully abstained from increasing the force at this point, or taking any measures which might add to the present excited state of the public mind, or which would throw any doubt on the confidence he feels that South Carolina will not attempt by violence to obtain possession of the public works or interfere with their occupancy. But as the counsel and acts of rash and impulsive persons may possibly disappoint these expectations of the Government, he deems it proper that you shall be prepared with instructions to meet so unhappy a contingency. He has therefore directed me verbally to give you such instructions.

You are carefully to avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression; and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up any position which could be construed into the assumption of a hostile attitude. But you are to hold possession of the forts in this harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last extremity. The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than one of the three forts, but an attack on or attempt to take possession of either one of them will be regarded as an act of hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which you may deem most proper to increase its power of resistance. You are also authorized to take Similar defensive steps whenever you have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.

D. C. BUELL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., December 11, 1860.

This is in conformity to my instructions to Major Buell.

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

These were the last instructions transmitted to Major Anderson before his removal to Fort Sumter, with a single exception, in regard to a particular which does not in any degree affect the present question. Under these circumstances it is clear that Major Anderson acted upon his own responsibility, and without authority, unless, indeed, he had “tangible {p.118} evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act” on the part of the authorities of South Carolina, which has not yet been alleged. Still, he is a brave and honorable officer, and justice requires that he should not be condemned without a fair hearing.

Be this as it may, when I learned that Major Anderson had left Fort Moultrie and proceeded to Fort Sumter, my first promptings were to command him to return to his former position, and there await the contingencies presented in his instructions. This could only have been done with any degree of safety to the command by the concurrence of the South Carolina authorities. But before any steps could possibly have been taken in this direction, we received information, dated on the 28th instant, that the “palmetto flag floated out to the breeze at Castle Pinckney, and a large military force went over last night (the 27th) to Fort Moultrie.” Thus the authorities of South Carolina, without waiting or asking for any explanation, and doubtless believing, as you have expressed it, that the officer had acted not only without but against my orders, on the very next day after the night when the movement was made, seized by a military force two of the three Federal forts in the harbor of Charleston, and have covered them under their own flag instead of that of the United States. At this gloomy period of our history startling events succeed each other rapidly. On the very day, the 27th instant, that possession of these two forts was taken the palmetto flag was raised over the Federal custom-house and post-office in Charleston; and on the same day every officer of the customs, collector, naval officer, surveyor, and appraisers, resigned their offices. And this, although it was well known from the language of my message that, as an executive officer, I felt myself bound to collect the revenue at the port of Charleston under the existing laws.

In the harbor of Charleston we now find three forts confronting each other, over all of which the Federal flag floated only four days ago; but now over two of them this flag has been supplanted, and the palmetto flag has been substituted in its stead. It is under all these circumstances that I am urged immediately to withdraw the troops from the harbor of Charleston, and am informed that without this, negotiation is impossible. This I cannot do; this I will not do. Such an idea was never thought of by me in arty possible contingency. No allusion had ever been made to it in any communication between myself and any human being. But the inference is that I am bound to withdraw the troops from the only fort remaining in the possession of the United States in the harbor of Charleston, because the officer there in command of all the forts thought proper, without instructions, to change his position from one of them to another. I cannot admit the justice of any such inference. And at this point of writing I have received information by telegraph from Captain Humphreys, in command of the arsenal at Charleston, that it “has to-day (Sunday, the 30th) been taken by force of arms.” Comment is needless. It is estimated that the property of the United States in this arsenal was worth half a million of dollars.

After this information I have only to add that, whilst it is my duty to defend Fort Sumter as a portion of public property of the United States against hostile attacks, from whatever quarter they may come, by such means as I may possess for this purpose, I do not perceive how such a defense can be construed into a menace against the city of Charleston.*

With great personal regard, I remain, yours, very respectfully,

JAMES BUCHANAN.

* See Commissioners’ reply, January 1, 1861, post.

{p.119}

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, December 31, 1860.

Colonel DIMICK, or commanding officer, Fort Monroe:

SIR: Prepare and put on board of the sloop-of-war Brooklyn, as soon as the latter can receive them, four companies making at least two hundred men, destined to re enforce Fort Sumter. Embark with said companies twenty-five spare stands of arms, complete, and subsistence for the entire detachment for ninety days, or as near that amount as your supplies may furnish. Communicate, at once with the commander of the war steamer, learn the earliest moment at which he can receive the troops on board, and do not fail to have them there by that time.

W. SCOTT.

Manage everything as secretly and confidentially as possible. Look to this.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, December 31, 1860.

To the PRESIDENT:

Lieutenant-General Scott again begs leave to trespass for a moment on the indulgence of the President of the United States, particularly as he learns by rumor that there is no head to the War Department.* Such are the necessities of the service that it is hoped the vacancy in question may be speedily filled, and, incidentally, that the new Secretary, if ad interim, may not be a junior officer of the Army, as it would wound the pride of any senior to serve under such Secretary.

Lieutenant-General Scott deems it to be his duty to lay the accompanying letter before the President.** The writer is a distinguished graduate of the Military Academy, and an eminent lawyer of the New York bar. Major-General Sandford, mentioned by him, is an officer and citizen of great merit and discretion, commanding the City Division of Volunteers.

General Scott does not recommend the acceptance of Mr. Hamilton’s proposition,** as we have disposable regulars enough for that single purpose; but that we already require many and large detachments for the protection of our coast defenses farther south is becoming daily more and more evident.

In reference to General Scott’s note of yesterday to the President, he respectfully adds: Of course, the War Department and General Scott cannot communicate anything to Major Anderson, or receive by mail or telegraphic wires anything from him (Who must be regarded as in a state of siege), except by permission of the authorities in Charleston; and it is just possible in his state of isolation a system of forged telegrams from this place may be played off so successfully as to betray him into sonic false movement.

Most respectfully submitted to the President of the United States.

WINFIELD SCOTT.

P. S.–As a sequence to the foregoing, it is respectfully suggested that there seems to be no other way of freely communicating with Major Anderson than by water, say by a revenue cutter running regularly between Wilmington, N. C., and Fort Sumter.

W. S.

* No record of Mr. Floyd’s letter of resignation can be found in the War Department.

** Not of record.

{p.120}

No. 15.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., December 31, 1860. (Received A. G. O., January 5, 1861.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the South Carolinians show great activity in the harbor to-day. Several steamers have been running to and fro, and this afternoon about 80 soldiers, with wheelbarrows, barrels, &c., and some draught horses, were landed on Morris Island. They are evidently constructing a battery or batteries there. The lights in the harbor were put out last night, and ours is the only light-house of this harbor which exhibits a light to-night. I am at a loss what this means, unless it be that some armed vessel is expected here. The more I reflect upon the matter the stronger are my convictions that I was right in coming here. Whilst we were at Fort Moultrie our safety depended on their forbearance. A false telegram might, any night, have been seized upon as an excuse for taking this place, and then we would have been in their power. And even if there bad been an understanding between the two Governments that I was not to be interfered with until the termination of the mission to Washington, the fact of the governor’s having ordered armed steamers to keep watch over me would have absolved our Government from the obligation to remain quiescent. It is certain, too, that the moment a telegram was received announcing the failure of the mission, an attack would have been made and my command sacrificed, for there can be no surrender with these men, if attacked, without a serious fight. Thank God, we are now where the Government may send us additional troops at its leisure. To be sure, the uncivil and uncourteous action of the governor in preventing us from purchasing anything in the city will annoy and inconvenience us somewhat; still, we are safe. I find that in consequence of a failure (accidental) to comply with my instructions, there is only a small supply of soap and candles, and also of coal. Still, we can cheerfully put up with the inconvenience of doing without them, for the satisfaction we feel in the knowledge that we can command this harbor as long as our Government wishes to keep it.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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Reply of Commissioners to the President.

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 1, 1861.

To his Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

SIR: We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th December, in reply to a note addressed by us to you on the 28th of the same month, as Commissioners from South Carolina.

In reference to the declaration with which your reply commences, that “your position as President of the United States Was clearly defined in the message to Congress of the 3d instant,” that you possess “no power to change the relations heretofore existing” between South Carolina and the United States, “much less to acknowledge the independence of that State,” and that, consequently, you could meet us only as private gentlemen of the highest character, with an entire willingness to communicate to Congress any proposition we might have to make, we deem it only necessary to say that the State of South Carolina having, in the {p.121} exercise of that great right of self-government which underlies all our political organizations, declared herself sovereign and independent, we, as her representatives, felt no special solicitude as to the character in which you might recognize us. Satisfied that the State had simply exercised her unquestionable right, we were prepared, in order to reach substantial good, to waive the formal considerations which your constitutional scruples might have prevented you from extending. We came here, therefore, expecting to be received as you did receive us, and perfectly content with that entire willingness of which you assured us, to submit any proposition to Congress which we might have to make upon the subject of the independence of the State.

That willingness was ample recognition of the condition of public affairs which rendered our presence necessary. In this position, however, it is our duty, both to the State which we represent and to ourselves, to correct several important misconceptions of our letter into which you have fallen.

You say: “It was my earnest desire that such a disposition might be made of the whole subject by Congress, who alone possess the power, as to prevent the inauguration of a civil war between the parties in regard to the possession of the Federal forts in the harbor of Charleston, and I therefore deeply regret that, in your Opinion, ‘the events of the last twenty-four hours render this impossible.’” We expressed no such opinion, and the language which you quote as ours is altered in its sense by the omission of a most important part of the sentence. What we did say was, “But the events of the last twenty-four hours render such an assurance impossible.” Place that “assurance” as contained in our letter in the sentence, and we are prepared to repeat it.

Again, professing to quote our language, you say: “Thus the authorities of South Carolina, without waiting or asking for any explanation, and doubtless believing, as you have expressed it, that the officer had acted not only without, but against my orders,” &c. We expressed no such opinion in reference to the belief of the people of South Carolina. The language which you have quoted was applied solely and entirely to our assurance, obtained here, and based, as you well know, upon your own declaration-a declaration which, at that time it was impossible for the authorities of South Carolina to have known. But without following this letter into all its details, we propose only to meet the chief points of the argument.

Some weeks ago, the State of South Carolina declared her intention in the existing condition of public affairs to secede from the United States. She called a convention of her people to put her declaration in force. The convention met, and passed the ordinance of secession. All this you anticipated, and your course of action was thoroughly considered. In your annual message, you declared you had no right, and would not attempt, to coerce a seceding State, but that you were bound by your constitutional oath, and would defend the property of the United States within the borders of South Carolina if an attempt was made to take it by force. Seeing very early that this question of property was a difficult and delicate one, you manifested a desire to settle it without collision. You did not re-enforce the garrisons in the harbor of Charleston. You removed a distinguished and veteran officer from the command of Fort Moultrie because be attempted to increase his supply of ammunition. You refused to send additional troops to the same garrison when applied for by the officer appointed to succeed him. You accepted the resignation of the oldest and most efficient member of your Cabinet rather than allow these garrisons to be strengthened. You compelled {p.122} an officer stationed at Fort Sumter to return immediately to the arsenal forty muskets which he had taken to arm his men. You expressed not to one, but to many, of the most distinguished of our public characters, whose testimony will be placed upon the record whenever it is necessary, your anxiety for a peaceful termination of this controversy, and your willingness not to disturb the military status of the forts if commissioners should be sent to the Government, whose communications you promised to submit to Congress. You received and acted on assurances from the highest official authorities of South Carolina that no attempt would be made to disturb your possession of the forts and property of the United States if you would not, disturb their existing condition until commissioners had been sent and the attempt to negotiate had failed. You took from the members of the House of Representatives a written memorandum that no such attempt should be made, “provided that no re-enforcements shall be sent into those forts, and their relative military status shall remain as at present.” And, although you attach no force to the acceptance of such a paper, although you “considered it as nothing more in effect than the promise of highly honororable gentlemen,” as an obligation on one side without corresponding obligation on the other, it must be remembered (if we are rightly informed) that you were pledged, if you ever did send re-enforcements, to return it to those from whom you had received it before you executed your resolution. You sent orders to your officers commanding them strictly to follow a line of conduct in conformity with such an understanding.

Beside all this, you had received formal and official notice from the governor of South Carolina that we had been appointed commissioners, and were on our way to Washington. You knew the implied condition under which we came; our arrival was notified to you, and an hour appointed for an interview. We arrived in Washington on Wednesday at three o’clock, and you appointed an interview with us at one the next day. Early on that day (Thursday) the news was received here of the movement of Major Anderson. That news was communicated to you immediately, and you postponed our meeting until half past two o’clock on Friday in order that you might consult your Cabinet. On Friday we, saw you, and we called upon you then to redeem your pledge. You could not deny it.

With the facts we have stated, and in the face of the crowning and conclusive fact that your Secretary of War had resigned his seat in the Cabinet upon the publicly-avowed ground that the action of Major Anderson had violated the pledged faith of the Government, and that unless the pledge was instantly redeemed he was dishonored, denial was impossible. You did not deny it; you do not deny it now; but you seek to escape from its obligation on two grounds: 1st. That we terminated all negotiation by demanding, as a preliminary, the withdrawal of the United States troops from the harbor of Charleston; and, 2d. That the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanation, and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the United States. We will examine both.

In the first place, we deny positively that we have ever, in any way, made any such demand. Our letter is in your possession; it will stand by this on the record. In it we inform you of the objects of our mission. We say that it would have been our duty to have assured you of our readiness to commence negotiations with the most earnest and anxious desire to settle all questions between us amicably and to our mutual advantage, but that events had rendered that assurance impossible. We {p.123} stated the events, and we said that until some satisfactory explanation of these events was given us, we could not-proceed; and then, having made this request for explanation, we added: “And, in conclusion, we, would urge upon you the immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of Charleston. Under present circumstances, they are a standing menace, which renders negotiation impossible,” &c. “Under present circumstances"! What circumstances? Why, clearly, the occupation of Fort Sumter and the dismantling of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson, in the face of your pledges, and without explanation or practical disavowal. And there is nothing in the letter which would or could have prevented you from declining to withdraw the troops, and offering the restoration of the status to which you were pledged, if such had been your desire. It would have been wiser and better, in our opinion, to have withdrawn the troops, and this opinion we urged upon you; but we demanded nothing but such an explanation of the events of the last twenty-four hours as would restore our confidence in the spirit with which the negotiation should be conducted.

In relation to this withdrawal of the troops from the harbor we are compelled, however to notice one passage of your letter. Referring to it, you say: “This I cannot do; this I will not do. Such an idea was never thought of by me in any possible contingency. No allusion to it had ever been made in any communication between myself and any human being.”

In reply to this statement we are compelled to say that your conversation with us left upon our minds the distinct impression that you did seriously contemplate the withdrawal of the troops from Charleston Harbor. And in support of this impression we would add that we have the positive assurance of gentlemen of the highest possible public reputation and the most unsullied integrity-men whose name and fame, secured by long service and patriotic achievement place their testimony beyond cavil-that such suggestions had been made to and urged upon you by them, and had formed the subject of more than one earnest discussion with you. And it was this knowledge that induced us to urge upon you a policy which had to recommend it its own wisdom and the weight of such authority.

As to the second point, that the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanations and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the United States, we would observe

1. That, even if this were so, it does not avail you for defense, for the opportunity for decision was afforded you before these facts occurred. We arrived in Washington on Wednesday; the news from Major Anderson reached here early on Thursday, and was immediately communicated to you. All that day men of the highest consideration-men who had striven successfully to lift you to your great office, who had been your tried and true friends through the troubles of your administration-sought you and entreated you to act, to act at once. They told you that every hour complicated your position. They only asked you to give the assurance that, if the facts were so-that if the commander had acted without and against your orders, and in violation of your pledges-that you would restore the status you had pledged your honor to maintain.

You refused to decide. Your Secretary of War-your immediate and proper adviser in this whole matter-waited anxiously for your decision, until he felt that delay was becoming dishonor. More than twelve hours passed, and two Cabinet meetings had adjourned before you knew what the authorities of South Carolina had done, and your prompt {p.124} decision at any moment of that time would have avoided the subsequent complications.

But if you had known the acts of the authorities of South Carolina, should that have prevented your keeping your faith? What was the condition of things? For the last sixty days you have had in Charleston Harbor not force enough to hold the forts against an equal enemy. Two of them were empty, one of those two the most important in the harbor; it could have been taken at any time. You ought to know better than any man that it would have been taken but for the efforts of those who put their trust in your honor. Believing that they were threatened by Fort Sumter especially, the people were with difficulty restrained from securing, without blood, the possession of this important fortress. After many and reiterated assurances given on your behalf, which we cannot believe unauthorized, they determined to forbear, and in good faith sent on their commissioners to negotiate with you. They meant you no harm; wished you no ill. They thought of you kindly, believed you true, and were willing, as far as was consistent with duty, to spare you unnecessary and hostile collision.

Scarcely had their commissioners left, than Major Anderson waged war. No other words will describe his action. It was not a peaceful change from one fort to another; it was a hostile act in the highest sense-one only justified in the presence of a superior enemy, and in imminent peril. He abandoned his position, spiked his guns, burned his gun carriages, made preparations for the destruction of his post, and withdrew, under cover of the night, to a safer position. This was war.

No man could have believed (without your assurance) that any officer could have taken such a step, “not only without orders, but against orders.” What the State did was in simple self-defense; for this act, with all its attending circumstances, was as much war as firing a volley; and war being thus begun, until those commencing it explained their action and disavowed their intention, there was no room for delay; and even at this moment, while we are writing, it is more than probable, from the tenor of your letter, that re-enforcements are hurrying on to the conflict, so that when the first gun shall be fired there will have been, on your part, one continuous, consistent series of actions commencing in a demonstration essentially warlike, supported by regular re-enforcement, and terminating in defeat or victory.

And all this without the slightest provocation; for, among the many things which you have said, there is one thing you cannot say-you have waited anxiously for news from the seat of war, in hopes that delay would furnish some excuse for this precipitation. But this “tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act on the part of the authorities of South Carolina” (which is the only justification of Major Anderson) you are forced to admit “has not yet been alleged.” But you have decided. You have resolved to hold by force what you have obtained through our misplaced confidence, and by refusing to disavow the action of Major Anderson, have converted his violation of orders into a legitimate act of your executive authority. Be the issue what it may, of this we are assured, that if Fort Moultrie has been recorded in history as a memorial of Carolina gallantry, Fort Sumter will live upon the succeeding page as an imperishable testimony of Carolina faith.

By your course you have probably rendered civil war inevitable. Be it so. If you choose to force this issue upon us, the State of South Carolina will accept it, and relying upon Him who is the God of Justice as well as the God of Hosts, will endeavor to perform the great duty which lies before her, hopefully, bravely, and thoroughly.

{p.125}

Our mission being one for negotiation and peace, and your note leaving us without hope of a withdrawal of the troops from Fort Sumter, or of the restoration of the status quo existing at the time of our arrival, and intimating, as we think, your determination to re-enforce the garrison in the harbor of Charleston I we respectfully inform you that we propose returning to Charleston on to-morrow afternoon.

We have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servants,

R. W. BARNWELL, J. H. ADAMS, JAMES L. ORR, Commissioners.

[Indorsement.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, 3 1/2 o’clock, Wednesday.

This paper, just presented to the President, is of such a character that he declines to receive it.

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Statement of Messrs. Miles and Keitt of what transpired between the President and the South Carolina delegation.

In compliance with the request of the Convention, we beg leave to make the following statement:

On Saturday, the 8th of December several of the South Carolina delegation, including ourselves, waited upon the President. At this time there was a growing belief that re-enforcements were on the eve of being sent to the forts in Charleston Harbor.

It was known that the subject was frequently and earnestly discussed in the Cabinet. It was rumored that General Cass and Mr. Holt were urgent that re-enforcements should be sent. Upon our being announced the President, who was then in Cabinet council, came out to us in the anteroom. We at once entered into a conversation upon the topic which was so closely occupying his thoughts as well as ours. The President seemed much disturbed and moved. He told us that he had had a painful interview with the wife of Major Anderson, who had come on from New York to see him. She had manifested great anxiety and distress at the situation of her husband, whom she seemed to consider in momentary danger of an attack from an excited and lawless mob. The President professed to feel a deep responsibility resting upon him to protect the lives of Major Anderson and his command. We told him that the news that re-enforcements were on their way to Charleston would be the surest means of provoking what Mrs. Anderson apprehended, and what he so much deprecated. We said further that we did not believe that Major Anderson was in any danger of such an attack; that the general sentiment of the State was against any such proceeding; that prior to the action of the State Convention, then only ten days off, we felt satisfied that there would be no attempt to molest the forts in any way; that after the convention met, while we could not possibly undertake to say what that body would see fit to do, we yet hoped and believed that nothing would be done until we had first endeavored, by duly accredited commissioners, to negotiate for a peaceful settlement of all matters, including the delivery of the forts, between South Carolina and the Federal Government. At the same time we again reiterated {p.126} our solemn belief that, any change in the then existing condition of things in Charleston Harbor would, in the excited state of feeling at home, inevitably precipitate a collision.

The impression made upon us was that the. President was wavering and had not decided what course he would pursue. He said he was glad to have, had this conversation with us, but would prefer that we should give him a written memorandum of the substance of what we had said. This we did on Monday, the 10th. It was in these words:

His Excellency JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States:

In compliance with our statement to you yesterday, we now express to you our strong convictions that neither the constituted authorities, nor any body of the people of the State of South Carolina, will either attack or molest the United States forts in the harbor of Charleston previously to the action of the convention, and we hope and believe not until an offer has been made, through an accredited representative, to negotiate for an amicable arrangement of all matters between the State and Federal Government, provided that no re-enforcement shall be sent into those forts, and their relative military status shall remain as at present.

JOHN MCQUEEN. WM. PORCHER MILES. M. L. BONHAM. W. W. BOYCE. LAWRENCE M. KEITT.

WASHINGTON, December 9, 1860.

The President did not like the word “provided” because it looked as if we were binding him while avowing that we had no authority to commit the convention. We told him that we did not so understand it. We were expressing our convictions and belief, predicated upon the maintenance of a certain condition of things, which maintenance was absolutely and entirely in his power. If he maintained such condition, then we believed that collision would be avoided until the attempt at a peaceable negotiation had failed. If he did not, then we solemnly assured him that we believed that collision must inevitably and at once be precipitated. He seemed satisfied, and said it was not his intention to send re-enforcements or make any change. We explained to him what we meant by the words “relative military status,” as applied to the forts; mentioned the difference between Major Anderson’s occupying his then position at Fort Moultrie and throwing himself into Fort Sumter. We stated that the latter step would be equivalent to re-enforcing the garrison, and would just as certainly as the sending of fresh troops lead to the result which we both desired to avoid. When we rose to go the President said in substance, “After all, this is a matter of honor among gentlemen. I do not know that any paper or writing is necessary. We understand each other.”

One of the delegation, just before leaving the room, remarked: “Mr. President, you have determined to let things remain as they are, and not to send re-enforcements; but suppose that you were hereafter to change your policy for any reason, what then? That would put us, who are willing to use our personal influence to prevent any attack upon the forts before commissioners are sent on to Washington, in rather an embarrassing position.” “Then,” said the President, “I would first return you this paper.” We do not pretend to give the exact words on either side, but we are sure we give the sense of both.

The above is a fall and exact account of what passed between the President and the delegation. The President, in his letter to our commissioners, tries to give the impression that our “understanding” or “agreement” was not a “pledge.” We confess we are not sufficiently versed in the wiles of diplomacy to feel the force of this “distinction {p.127} without a difference.” Nor can we understand how, in “a matter of honor among gentlemen,” in which “no paper or writing is necessary,” the very party who was willing to put it on that high footing can honorably descend to mere verbal criticism to purge himself of what all gentlemen and men of honor must consider a breach of faith. The very fact that we (the Representatives from South Carolina) were not authorized to commit or “pledge” the State, were not treating with the President as accredited ministers with full powers, but as gentlemen, assuming, to a certain extent, the delicate task of undertaking to foreshadow the course and policy of the State, should have made the President the more ready to strengthen our hands to bring about and carry out that course and policy which be professed to have as much at heart as we had. While we were not authorized to say that the Convention would not order the occupation of the forts immediately after secession, and prior to the sending on of commissioners, the President, as commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, could positively say that so long as South Carolina abstained from attacking and seizing the forts, he would not send re-enforcements to them, or allow their relative military status to be changed.

We were acting in the capacity of gentlemen holding certain prominent positions, and anxious to exert such influence as we might possess to effect a peaceful solution of pending political difficulties, and prevent, If possible, the horrors of war. The President was acting in a double capacity-not only as a gentleman, whose influence in carrying out his share of the understanding or agreement was potential, but as the bead of the Army, and therefore having the absolute control of the whole matter of re-enforcing or transferring the garrison at Charleston.

But we have dwelt long enough upon this point. Suffice it to say that considering the President as bound in honor, if not by treaty, stipulations, not to make any change in the forts or to send re-enforcements to them unless they were, attacked, we of the delegation who were elected to the Convention felt equally bound in honor to do everything on our part to prevent any premature collision. This Convention can bear us witness as to whether or not we endeavored honorably to carry out our share of the agreement.

The published debates at the very commencement of the session contain the evidence of our good faith. We trusted the President. We believed his wishes concurred with his policy, and that both were directed to avoiding any inauguration of hostilities. We were confirmed in our confidence, and reassured in our belief by a significant event which took place subsequent to our interview. He allowed his premier Cabinet officer, an old and tried friend, to resign rather than yield to his solicitations for the re-enforcement of the garrison at Charleston. We urged this as a convincing proof of his firmness and sincerity. But how have we been deceived! The news of Major Anderson’s coup produced a sudden and unexpected change in the. President’s policy. While declaring that his withdrawal from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter was “without orders, and contrary to orders,” he yet refused for twelve hours to take any action in the matter. For twelve hours, therefore, without any excuse, he refused to redeem his plighted word. No subsequent acts on the part of our State, no after reasons, can wipe away the stain which he suffered to rest upon his “honor as a gentleman,” while those hours, big with portentous events, rolled slowly by. His Secretary of War, impatient of a delay, every moment of which he felt touched his own honor, resigned. He did so solely on the ground that the faith of the Government, solemnly pledged, was broken, if it failed promptly to {p.128} undo what had been done contrary to its wishes, against its settled policy and in violation of its distinct agreement. The President accepted his resignation without comment. He did not attempt to disabuse the mind of his Secretary as to what was the true position of the Government.

What a spectacle does the President’s vacillating and disingenuous course present! He allows one Secretary to resign rather than abandon a policy which he has agreed upon. Scarcely have a few short weeks elapsed, and he accepts the resignation of another rather than adhere to that very policy. He makes an agreement with gentlemen which, while he admits that they have faithfully kept it on their part, he, himself evades and repudiates. And this he does rather than redress a wrong, correct an error-what, he himself considers an error-committed by a subordinate, without his orders and contrary to his wishes! It was at least due to Mr. Floyd, who, as one of his Cabinet, had officially and personally stood by his administration from its very commencement-through good report and through evil report-to have explained to him that he was, in the President’s opinion, laboring under a misapprehension; at least to have said to him, “You are mistaken about this matter; do not leave me on a false issue.” But no; he coldly, ungraciously, yet promptly, receives the resignation without a syllable of remonstrance, and thus tacitly but unequivocally accepts without shame the issue presented. He does not deny that the faith of his Government is pledged, but he deliberately refuses to redeem it.

WM. PORCHER MILES. LAWRENCE M. KEITT.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, January 2, 1861.

Memorandum of arrangements.*

Telegram sent to Mr. A. H. Schultz, 64 Cedar street, P. O. box 3462, New York City, that his propositions are entertained, and that a staff officer will be in the city to-morrow evening to conclude arrangements.

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas is directed, first, to satisfy himself that Mr. Schultz’s agency is reliable, then to cause the steamer to be prepared for sea as soon as practicable, provided the terms be reasonable; then to cause two hundred well-instructed men with, say, three officers, to be embarked from Governor’s Island, with three months’ subsistence, including fresh beef and vegetables, and ample ammunition; also, one hundred extra stand of arms. Instructions to be sent by Colonel Thomas in writing to Major Anderson that should a fire likely to prove injurious be opened upon any vessel bringing re-enforcements or supplies, or upon her boats, from any battery in the harbor, the guns of Fort Sumter may be employed to silence such fire, and the same in case of like firing upon Fort Sumter itself.

The orders to the steamer and the troops on board will strictly enjoin complete, concealment of the presence, of the latter when approaching the bay; Major Anderson to be, warned to stand on his guard against all telegrams, and to be informed that measures will soon be taken to enable him to correspond with the Government by sea and Wilmington, N. C.

Colonel Thomas is further directed to inform Major Anderson that his {p.129} conduct meets with the emphatic approbation of the highest in authority; Major Anderson to be also informed that further re-enforcements will be, sent him if necessary.

Lieut. Col. LORENZO THOMAS, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

* In the handwriting of General Scott.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 3, 1861.

Hon. BENJAMIN STANTON, Chairman Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives:

SIR: In answer to your letter, asking for information on certain points specified in a resolution adopted by the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives on the 18th ultimo, I have the honor to state as follows;

According to the latest report of the Engineer officer having charge of the construction of the defenses of the harbor of Charleston, everything practicable had been done to place Fort Moultrie in an efficient condition, and, with a proper garrison, it was deemed susceptible of an energetic defense. There, were then employed at that work an officer and one hundred and twenty workmen, independent of regular garrison.*

On the evening of the 26th ultimo Maj. Robert Anderson, First Artillery, in command of the troops in Charleston Harbor, apprehensive of the safety of his command from the insecurity of the fort, and having reason to believe that the South Carolinians contemplated or were preparing to proceed to a hostile act against him, and desiring to prevent a collision and effusion of blood, evacuated Fort Moultrie, after leaving orders for spiking the cannon and disabling some of the carriages, and removed his forces to Fort Sumter, where they now are. Castle Pinckney was at the date of the latest report in good condition as regards preparation, and with a proper garrison as defensible as it can be made. One officer and thirty workmen were engaged in the repair of the cisterns, replacing decayed banquettes, and attending to other matters of detail.

Since the date of the reports referred to, Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney have been taken possession of by troops of the State of South Carolina, acting under the orders of the governor, and are now held by those troops, with all the armament and other public property therein at the time of their seizure. I inclose a statement (No. 1) of the number and description of ordnance and arms at the date of the last returns at Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, and Charleston Arsenal, respectively. That arsenal, with all its contents, was also taken possession of on the 30th ultimo by an armed body of South Carolina troops, acting under orders of the governor of the State, as represented in the following report of Frederick C. Humphreys, military storekeeper of ordnance, in charge, viz:

This arsenal was taken by force of arms by the militia of South Carolina, by order of Governor Pickens. The commanding officer was allowed to salute his flag before lowering it with one gun for each State now in the Union (thirty-two), and to take it with him, and the detachment to occupy the quarters until instruction from Washing ton can be obtained.

At that time the force under his control consisted of nine enlisted soldiers of ordnance and six hired men.

{p.130}

The other information asked for in regard to the number and description of arms “distributed since the 1st day of January, 1860, and to whom and at what price,” will be found in the accompanying statements (Nos. 2 and 3) from the Ordnance Bureau.** It is deemed proper to state, in further explanation of statement No. 2, that where no distribution appears to have been made to a State or Territory, or where the amount of the distribution is small, it is because such State or Territory has not called for all the arms due on its quotas, and remains a creditor for dues not distributed, which can be obtained at any time on requisition therefor.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War ad interim.

* See De Russy to Floyd, December 20, 1860, p. 99.

** Nos. 2 and 3 not found.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, December 21, 1860.

Fort Moultrie: 14 32-pounder guns, iron; 16 24-pounder guns, iron; 10 8-inch columbiads, iron; 5 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, iron; 4 24-pounder flank howitzers, iron; 2 12-pounder field howitzers, brass; 4 6-pounder field guns, brass. Total, 55.

Castle Pinckney: 4 42-pounder guns, iron; 14 24-pounder guns, iron; 4 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, iron. Total, 22.

United States Arsenal: 2 6-pounder field guns, old iron; 5 24-pounder field howitzers, old iron; 502 muskets, flint-lock, caliber .69; 5,720 same altered to percussion; 11,693 muskets made as percussion, caliber .69; 2,808 rifles, made as percussion, caliber .54; 6 same, altered with long-range sights; 566 Hall’s rifles, flint-lock; 4 carbines, percussion, rifled; 9 United States percussion carbines; 815 pistols, flint-lock; 300 pistols, made as percussion. Total, 22,430.

WM. MAYNADIER, Captain of Ordnance.

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NEW YORK, January 4, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, Washington, D. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: I had an interview with Mr. Schultz at 8 o’clock last evening, and found him to be, as you supposed, the commission, and together we visited Mr. M. O. Roberts. The latter looks exclusively to the dollars, whilst Mr. S. is acting for the good of his country. Mr. R. required $1,500 per day for ten days, besides the cost of 300 tons of coal, which I declined; but, after a long conversation, I became satisfied that the movement could be made with his vessel, the Star of the West, without exciting suspicion. I finally chartered her at $1,250 per day. She is running on the New Orleans route, and will clear for that port; but no notice will be put in the papers, and persons seeing the ship moving from the dock will suppose, she is on her regular trip. Major Eaton, commissary of subsistence, fully enters into my views. He will see Mr. Roberts, hand him a list of the supplies with the places where they may be procured, and the purchases will be made, on the ship’s account. In this way no public machinery will be used.

{p.131}

To-night I pass over to Governor’s Island to do what is necessary, i. e., have 300 stand of arms and ammunition on the wharf, and 200 men ready to march on board Mr. Schultz’s steam-tugs about nightfall tomorrow, to go to the steamer, passing very slowly down the bay. I shall cut off all communication between the island and the cities until Tuesday morning, when I expect the steamer will be safely moored at Fort Sumter.

I have seen and conversed with Colonel Scott, and also saw your daughter at your house. After leaving you, I obtained the key of the outer door of the office, but could nowhere find the key of your door or of mine, so failed to get the chart. This is of little moment, as the captain of the steamer is perfectly familiar with the entrance of Charleston.

I telegraphed you this morning, as follows:

Arrangements made as proposed; to leave to-morrow evening; send map.

I will now leave the office, where I am writing, to proceed to the island.

Very sincerely, General, your obedient servant,

L. THOMAS, Assistant Adjutant, General.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, New York, January 5, 1861.

Maj. T. H. HOLMES, Eighth Infantry, Superintendent Recruiting Service, Fort Columbus:

SIR: By direction of the General-in-Chief, you will detach this evening two hundred of the best-instructed men at Fort Columbus, by the steamship Star of the West, to re-enforce the garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

They will be furnished with arms, and, if possible, one hundred rounds of ammunition per man. Orders will be given to the proper officers of the staff department to furnish one hundred stand of spare arms and subsistence for three months.

The officers assigned to duty with the detachment are Lieuts. C. R. Woods, Ninth Infantry; W. A. Webb, Fifth Infantry; C. W. Thomas, First Infantry, and Asst. Surg. P. G. S. Ten Broeck, Medical Department, all of whom will report for duty to Major Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter.

Yours,

L. THOMAS.

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HEADQUARTERS, January 5, 1861.

First Lieut. CHARLES R. WOODS, Ninth Infantry, Fort Columbus:

SIR: The steamship Star of the West has been chartered to take two hundred recruits from Fort Columbus to Fort Sumter, South Carolina, to re-enforce the garrison at that post. You are placed in command of the detachment, assisted by Lieuts. W. A. Webb, Fifth Infantry; C. W. Thomas, First Infantry, and Asst. Surg. P. G. S. Ten Broeck, Medical Department. Arms and ammunition for your men will be placed on the steamer and three months’ supply of subsistence.

The duty upon which you are now placed by direction of the General-in-Chief {p.132} will require great care and energy on your part to execute it successfully, for it is important that all your movements be kept as secret as possible. Accordingly, on approaching the Charleston bar, you will place below decks your entire force, in order that only the ordinary crew may be seen by persons from the shore or on boarding the vessel. Every precaution must be resorted to to prevent being fired upon by batteries erected on either Sullivan’s or James Island.

Yours,

L. THOMAS.

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HEADQUARTERS OF ME ARMY, New York, January 5, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter:

SIR: In accordance with the instructions of the General-in-Chief, I yesterday chartered the steamship Star of the West to re-enforce your small garrison with two hundred well-instructed recruits from Fort Columbus, under First Lieut. C. R. Woods, Ninth Infantry, assisted by Lieuts. W. A. Webb, Fifth Infantry, C. W. Thomas, First Infantry, and Asst. Surg. P. G. S. Ten Broeck, Medical Department, all of whom you will retain until further orders. Besides arms for the men, one hundred spare arms and all the cartridges in the arsenal on Governor’s Island will be sent; likewise, three mouths’ subsistence for the detachment and six months’ desiccated and fresh vegetables, with three or four days’ fresh beef for your entire force. Further re-enforcements will be sent if necessary.

Should a fire, likely to prove injurious, be opened upon any vessel bringing re-enforcements or supplies, or upon towboats within the reach of your guns, they may be employed to silence such fire; and you may act in like manner in case a fire is opened upon Fort Sumter itself.

The General-in-Chief desires me to communicate the fact that your conduct meets with the emphatic approbation of the highest in authority.

You are warned to be upon your guard against all telegrams, as false ones may be attempted to be passed upon you. Measures will soon be taken to enable you to correspond with the Government by sea and Wilmington, N. C.

You will send to Fort Columbus by the return of the steamer all your sick, otherwise inefficient, officers and enlisted men. Fill up the two companies with the recruits now sent, and muster the residue as a detachment.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. THOMAS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., January 5, 1861.

To the PAYMASTER-GENERAL:

SIR: The governor of this State assumes the authority to interfere with my official duties. Mr. Pressley, the assistant treasurer, informed me a few days since that he had orders from the governor not to pay my checks to any one stationed at Fort Sumter, and asked me if I would give any more hereafter; to which I replied I would not refuse to pay accounts presented to me from there or any other place as long as I had {p.133} funds. I heard nothing more of the matter until this morning, when I called at the sub-treasury office. The clerk told me (Mr. Pressley not being there) that he had orders not to pay checks. I then expressed a wish to withdraw my funds, and was refused for the present-however, asked to call again on Monday, when the assistant treasurer would be there himself. My situation here as an officer of the Army is very unpleasant, and has been for some weeks past. I do hope a change will soon be made.

Very respectfully, &c.,

GEO. C. HUTTER, Paymaster, U. S. Army.

[Indorsement.]

PAYMASTER-GENERAL’S OFFICE, January 8, 1861.

The Paymaster-General respectfully submits, for the information of the Commanding General of the Army, the within copy of a letter from Major Hutter, reporting interference on the part of the governor of South Carolina with his official duties.

BENJ. F. LARNED, Paymaster-General.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 6, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Through the courtesy of Governor Pickens I am enabled to make this communication, which will be taken to Washington by my brother, Larz Anderson, esq. I have the honor to report my command in excellent health and in fine spirits. We are daily adding to the strength of our position by closing up embrasures which we shall not use, mounting guns, &c. The South Carolinians are also very active in erecting batteries and preparing for a conflict, which I pray God may not occur. Batteries have been constructed bearing upon and, I presume, commanding the entrance to the harbor. They are also to-day busily at work on a battery at Fort Johnson, intended to fire against me. My position will, should there be no treachery among the workmen, whom we are compelled to retain for the present, enable me to hold this fort against any force which can be brought against me, and it would enable me, in the event of a war, to annoy the South Carolinians by preventing them from throwing supplies into their new posts except by the out-of-the-way passage through Stono River. At present, it would be dangerous and difficult for a vessel from without to enter the harbor, in consequence of the batteries which are already erected and being erected. I shall not ask for any increase of my command, because I do not know what the ulterior views of the Government are. We, are now, or soon will be, cut off from all communication, unless by means of a powerful fleet, which shall have the ability to carry the batteries at the mouth of this harbor.

Trusting in God that nothing will occur to array a greater number of States than have already taken ground against the General Government,

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.134}

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, January 7, 1861.

COMMANDING OFFICER, DETACHMENT U. S. ARMY, On board steamship Star of the West, Supposed to be near Charleston, S. C.

SIR: This communication is sent through the commander of the U. S. steam sloop-of-war Brooklyn.

His mission is two-fold: First, to afford aid and succor in case your ship be shattered or injured; second, to convey this order of recall for your detachment in case it cannot land at Fort Sumter, to proceed to Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, and there await further orders.

In case of your return to Hampton Roads, send a telegraphic message here at once, from Norfolk.

Yours, very respectfully,

W. SCOTT.

P. S.–On arrival at Fort Monroe, land your troops and discharge the ship.

W. SCOTT.

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No. 17.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 9, 1861. (Received A. G. O., January 12.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith the correspondence which took place to-day between the governor of South Carolina and myself in relation to the firing by his batteries on a vessel bearing our flag. Lieutenant Talbot, whose health is very much impaired, will be the bearer of these dispatches, and he will be enabled to give you full information in reference to this and to all other matters.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosures.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 9, 1861.

To his Excellency the GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA:

SIR: Two of your batteries fired this morning upon an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of my Government. As I have not been notified that war has been declared by South Carolina against the Government of the United States, I cannot but think that this hostile act was committed without your sanction or authority. Under that hope, and that alone, did I refrain from opening fire upon your batteries. I have the honor, therefore, respectfully to ask whether the above mentioned act-one, I believe, without a parallel in the history of our country or of any other civilized government-was committed in obedience to your instructions, awl to notify you if it be not disclaimed, that I must regard it as an act of war, and that I shall not, after a reasonable time for the return of my messenger, permit any vessels to pass within range of the guns of my fort. In order to save, as far as in my power, the shedding of blood, I beg that you will have due notification of this my decision given to all concerned. Hoping, however, that your answer may be such as will justify a further continuance of forbearance upon my part, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.135}

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STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Headquarters, Charleston, January 9, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding Fort Sumter:

SIR: Your letter has been received. In it you make certain statements which very plainly show that you have not been fully informed by your Government of the precise relations which now exist between it and the State of South Carolina. Official information has been communicated to the Government of the United States that the political connection heretofore existing between the State of South Carolina and the States which were, known as the United States had ceased, and that the State of South Carolina had resumed all the power it had delegated to the United States under the compact known as the Constitution of the United States. The right which the State of South Carolina possessed to change the political relations which it held with other States under the Constitution of the United States has been solemnly asserted by the people of this State in convention, and now does not admit of discussion. In anticipation of the ordinance of secession, of which the President of the United States has received official notification, it was understood by him that sending any re-enforcement of the troops of the United States in the harbor of Charleston would be regarded by the constituted authorities of the State of South Carolina as an act of hostility, and at the same time it was understood by him that any change in the occupation of the forts in the harbor of Charleston would in like manner be regarded as an act of hostility. Either or both of these events, occurring during the period in which the State of South Carolina constituted a part of the United States, was then distinctly notified to the President of the United States as an act or acts of hostility; because either or both would be regarded, and could only be intended, to dispute the right of the State of South Carolina to that political independence which she has always asserted and will always retain. Whatever would have been, during the continuance of this State as a member of the United States, an act of hostility, became much more so when the State of South Carolina had dissolved the connection with the Government of the United States. After the secession of the State of South Carolina, Fort Sumter continued in the possession of the troops of the United States. How that fort is at this time in the possession of the troops of the United States it is not now, necessary to discuss. It will suffice to say that the occupancy of that fort has been regarded by the State of South Carolina as the first act of positive hostility committed by the troops of the United States within the limits of this State, and was in this light regarded as so unequivocal that it occasioned the termination of the negotiations then pending at Washington between the Commissioners of the State of South Carolina and the President of the United States. The attempt to re-enforce the troops now at Fort Sumter, or to retake and resume possession of the forts within the waters of this State, which you abandoned, after spiking the guns placed there, and doing otherwise much damage, cannot be regarded by the authorities of the State as indicative of any other purpose than the coercion of the State by the armed force of the Government. To repel such an attempt is too plainly its duty to allow it to be discussed. But while defending its waters, the authorities of the State have been careful so to conduct the affairs of the State that no act, however necessary for its defense, should lead to an useless waste of life. Special agents, therefore, have been off the bar to warn all approaching vessels, if armed or unarmed, and having troops to re-enforce {p.136} the forts on board, not to enter the harbor of Charleston, and special orders have been given to the commanders of all forts and batteries not to fire at such vessels until a shot fired across their bows would warn them of the prohibition of the State. Under these circumstances, the Star of the West, it is understood, this morning attempted to enter this harbor, with troops on board, and having been notified that she could not enter, was fired into. The act is perfectly justified by me. In regard to your threat in regard to vessels in the harbor, it is only necessary to say that you must judge of your own responsibilities. Your position in this harbor has been tolerated by the authorities of the State, and while the act of which you complain is in perfect consistency with the rights and duties of the State, it is not perceived how far the conduct which you propose to adopt can find a parallel in the history of any country, or be reconciled with any other purpose of your Government than that of imposing upon this State the condition of a conquered province.

F. W. PICKENS.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 9, 1861.

General TOTTEN:

MY DEAR SIR: I have only a moment to write by Lieutenant Meade who comes with dispatches from Major Anderson. I wish to assure you, however, that the officers of your corps are doing everything in their power to make this work impregnable, even with the present small garrison of seventy men. We even mount all the guns, as we can do it much more rapidly than the garrison. We have twenty-nine guns on the first tier and eleven on the barbette tier. Four 8-inch columbiads are ready to mount to-morrow. I shall place the 10-inch on the parade as mortars.

The firing upon the Star of the West this morning by the batteries on Morris Island opened the war, but Major Anderson hopes that the delay of sending to Washington may possibly prevent civil war. The hope, although a small one, may be the thread that prevents the sundering of the Union. We are none the less determined to defend ourselves to the last extremity. I am in want of funds, and would respectfully urge that as soon as possible $15,000 may be placed to my credit in New York. In haste.

Very respectfully,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–I beg to refer you to Lieutenant Meade[?] for particulars.

J. G. F.

[Memorandum.]

Received January 12 by Lieutenant Talbot, U. S. Army.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, January 10, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding at Fort Sumter, S. C.:

SIR: Your dispatches to No. 16, inclusive, have been received. Before the receipt of that of 31st December,* announcing that the Government {p.137} might re-enforce you at its leisure, and that you regarded yourself safe in your present position, some two hundred and fifty instructed recruits had been ordered to proceed from Governor’s Island to Fort Sumter on the Star of the West, for the purpose of strengthening the force under your command. The probability is, from the current rumors, of to-day, that this vessel has been fired into by the South Carolinians, and has not been able to reach you. To meet all contingencies, the Brooklyn has been dispatched, with instructions not to cross the bar at the harbor of Charleston, but to afford to the Star of the West and those on board all the assistance they may need, and in the event the recruits have not effected a landing at Fort Sumter they will return to Fort Monroe.

I avail myself of the occasion to express the great satisfaction of the Government at the forbearance, discretion, and firmness with which you have acted, amid the perplexing and difficult circumstances in which you have been placed. You will continue, as heretofore, to act strictly on the defensive; to avoid, by all means compatible with the safety of your command, a collision with the hostile forces by which you are surrounded. But for the movement, so promptly and brilliantly executed, by which you transferred your forces to Fort Sumter, the probability is that ere this the defenselessness of your position would have invited an attack, which, there is reason to believe, was contemplated, if not in active preparation, which must have led to the effusion of blood, that has been thus so happily prevented. The movement, therefore, was in every way admirable, alike for its humanity [and] patriotism, as for its soldiership.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War ad interim.

* Received January 5, 1861, p. 120.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 12, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL : The sudden resolution to send a joint commission to Washington enables me to write only a few lines to tell you that my operations are going steadily on. Seventeen guns are now mounted on the barbette tier, and in good working order. Four of these are columbiads. Owing to the breaking of the truck, we did not accomplish much yesterday beyond hoisting carriages to the terre-plein (upper). My force is gradually growing less and less, owing to the fears of the approaching conflict among the men. By to-night I may not have more than a dozen men for work. This is unavoidable, because it will not do to force the fearful or seditious men to remain. I shall, however, get nearly all the guns up before all leave. Yesterday a commission came from Governor Pickens to summon this fort to surrender. It was composed of General Jamison, Secretary of War, and Judge McGrath, Secretary of State of South Carolina. They subsequently (during the conference with us) moderated the matter somewhat, so as to have it understood that their demand was not to alter the present status. The major proposed to send a joint commission to Washington, which is accepted this morning, and Lieutenant Hall leaves for this purpose.

I received a dispatch from Mrs. Foster, after her arrival in Washington, which I understood to mean that I had to my credit there $1 000. This gives me great satisfaction, for I was becoming embarrassed for want of funds. You can rely upon my doing all that I can to secure {p.138} this work, and to strengthen the defense. I am most efficiently supported by Lieutenants Snyder and Meade, who are exerting themselves to the utmost, and I hope the Department will give them fall credit for their zeal and efficiency.

The temper of the people of this State is becoming every day more bitter, and I do not see how we can avoid a bloody conflict. I wish, therefore, to say to you that nearly all of my papers and vouchers are in my office in town, whence I have not been permitted to remove them. All of my personal effects are in the house that I occupied on Sullivan’s Island, with the exception of some few things that I have here. The suddenness of the movement over here did not permit me an opportunity to remove anything, and my active operations in the matter did not incline the authorities in my favor so as to permit me to remove anything afterwards. I shall, however, endeavor to leave everything relating to my responsibilities and accounts in as good order as possible. You must excuse my referring to these matters, which are partly personal, because if we are attacked, it may be by overpowering numbers, and I have made up my mind to defend the work, as far as I am concerned, to the last extremity. The main ship channel was closed yesterday morning by sinking four hulks across it, upon the bar. Last night a good deal of work was done on Fort Moultrie to defile it from the fire of this fort. There is a large steamer outside of the bar, apparently a man-of-war.

The health of the command is good, and their spirits excellent. In haste.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., January 12, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, U. S. Army:

Colonel Hayne, of South Carolina, is bearer of dispatches from the governor of his State. I accompany him from Major Anderson. We start on the two o’clock train this afternoon.

NORMAN J. HALL.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 14, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the facilities for mail communication between this fort and the city of Charleston have been restored by order of Governor Pickens. The arrangement is for one of my boats to receive the mail at Fort Johnson, whither it is to be brought every day at 12 o’clock, and to deliver the mail from the fort at the same time, to be taken to the office in the city. The reason assigned for this particular arrangement is, that it will avoid all chances for encounters and bloodshed between our boats’ crews and riotous persons on the wharves in the city. All letters from the Department will, in all probability, be received.

Since the hasty letter sent by Lieutenant Hall, nothing of marked importance has transpired. The Carolinians are hard at work on Fort Moultrie raising sand-bag and earth merlons between all the guns that look in this direction, in a similar manner to the merlons that I constructed {p.139} on the front facing the sand hills. The force on the island is about 700 men, as I saw them drilling this evening in about that number.

I think that they have transferred several of the guns from Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney to the batteries on Morris Island, with the object of strengthening them, since they have found by the firing on the Star of the West that they are well placed. There is another battery on the upper end of Sullivan’s Island, out of the reach of our guns, to guard the Maffitt Channel. The main ship channel is so much obstructed by the four hulks that they sunk in it on the 11th that vessels find the greatest difficulty in getting out or in, even with the harbor pilots, who know their position exactly. The middle channel is the only one that can be used with safety by vessels that wish to run the gauntlet with re-enforcements for us. I do not, however, consider it good policy to send re-enforcements here at this time. We can hold our own as long as it is necessary to do so. If any force is sent here it must have the strength and facilities for landing and carrying the batteries on Morris or Sullivan’s Island. The former will be the easier operation. But if the whole South is to secede from the Union, a conflict here and a civil war can only be avoided by giving up this fort sooner or later. We are, however, all prepared to go all lengths in its defense if the Government requires it. We have now, besides the twenty-nine guns mounted in the first tier (three 8-inch howitzers, five 42-pounders, and twenty-one 32-pounders), nineteen guns mounted on the third or barbette tier (six 8-inch columbiads, five 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, two 42-pounders, and six 24-pounders). These, are all well placed for firing on Fort Moultrie, Morris Island, and Fort Johnson. As fast as the remaining guns are mounted they will be distributed with the same object. Every precaution has been taken to secure the shutters for the embrasures and loopholes and the main gates. The latter have been re-enforced by a solid wall three feet thick by five feet high, with a narrow doorway of 20-inch width to serve for passage, and also for embrasure of an 8-inch howitzer in case of attack. A discharge of canister from this gun will sweep the wharf. The lanyard of this gun is carried back through a hole in the second gate. The lanyards of the two guns to sweep the landing to the right and left are also brought inside, to insure those guns being fired, even if the retiring guard forgets to do it while upon the outside A large number of shells have been arranged with friction tubes to be used with long lanyards, so that the shell, being rolled over or suffered to fall from the edge of the parapet, will explode as it gets to the end of the line. The room over the gateway has also been supplied with hand grenades.

The weather since the command has occupied the fort has been very bad, and the whole force, including the camp followers, have been suffered to quarter in the officers’ quarters. This, together with the firing of the guns at the gateway without raising the windows, by which most of the glass on the gorge and many of the sashes were broken, has caused considerable damage to the quarters. I regard it, however, as of small moment in comparison with the necessity for keeping the command well housed and also as well warmed as the small stock of fuel will allow. The damage to the windows has been repaired temporarily. I have regarded any expense not strictly required for the defense as unnecessary under the present aspect of affairs.

During the continuance of the present arrangements for the mail I will keep you fully informed of everything that transpires.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.140}

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WAR DEPARTMENT, January 16, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter:

SIR: Your dispatch No. 17, covering your correspondence with the governor of South Carolina, has been received from the hand of Lieutenant Talbot. You rightly designate the firing into the Star of the West as “an act of war, " and one which was actually committed without the slightest provocation. Had their act been perpetrated by a foreign nation, it would have been your imperative duty to have resented it with the whole force of your batteries. As, however, it was the work of the government of South Carolina, which is a member of this confederacy, and was prompted by the passions of a highly-inflamed population of citizens of the United States, your forbearance to return the fire is fully approved by the President. Unfortunately, the Government had not been able to make known to you that the Star of the West had sailed from New York for your relief, and hence, when she made her appearance in the harbor of Charleston, you did not feel the force of the obligation to protect her approach as you would naturally have done had this information reached you.

Your late dispatches, as well as the very intelligent statement of Lieutenant Talbot, have relieved the Government of the apprehensions previously entertained for your safety. In consequence, it is not its purpose at present to re-enforce you. The attempt to do so would, no doubt, be attended by a collision of arms and the effusion of blood-a national calamity which the President is most anxious, if possible, to avoid. You will, therefore, report frequently your condition, and the character and activity of the preparations, if any, which may be being made for an attack upon the fort, or for obstructing the Government in any endeavors it may make to strengthen your command.

Should your dispatches be of a nature too important to be intrusted to the mails, you will convey them by special messengers. Whenever, in your judgment, additional supplies or re-enforcements are necessary for your safety, or for a successful defense of the fort, you will at once communicate the fact to this Department, and a prompt and vigorous effort will be made to forward them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT.

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE, January 16, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT:

DEAR GENERAL: The habitual frankness of your character, the deep interest you take in everything that concerns the public defense, your expressed desire that I should hear and understand your views-these reasons, together with ail earnest wish to know my own duty and to do it, induce me to beg you for a little light, which perhaps you alone can shed, upon the present state of our affairs.

1. Is it the duty of the Government to re-enforce Major Anderson?

2. If yes, how soon is it necessary that those re-enforcements should be there ?

3. What obstacles exist to prevent the sending of such re-enforcements at any time when it may be necessary to do so?

I trust you will not regard it as presumption in me if I give you the crude notions which I myself have already formed out of very imperfect materials.

{p.141}

A statement of my errors, if errors they be, will enable you to correct them the more easily.

I. It seems now to be settled that Major Anderson and his command at Fort Sumter are not to be withdrawn. The United States Government is not to surrender its last hold upon its own property in South Carolina. Major Anderson has a position so nearly impregnable that an attack upon him at present is wholly improbable, and he is supplied with provisions which will last him very well for two months. In the mean time Fort Sumter is invested on every side by the avowedly hostile forces of South Carolina. It is in a state of siege. They have already prevented communication between its commander and his own Government, both by sea and land. There is no doubt that they intend to continue this state of things, as far as it is in their power to do so. In the course of a few weeks from this time it will become very difficult for him to hold out. The constant labor and anxiety of his men will exhaust their physical power, and this exhaustion, of course, will proceed very much more rapidly as soon as they begin to get short of provision.

If the troops remain in Fort Sumter without any change in their condition, and the hostile attitude of South Carolina remains as it is now, the question of Major Anderson’s surrender is one of time only. If he, is not to be relieved, is it not entirely clear that he should be ordered to surrender at once? It having been determined that the latter order shall not be given, it follows that relief must be sent him at some time before it is too late to save him.

II. This brings me to the second question: When should the re-enforcements and provisions be sent? Can we justify ourselves in delaying the performance of that duty?

The authorities of South Carolina are improving every moment, and increasing their ability to prevent re-enforcement every hour, while every day that rises sees us with a power diminished to send in the requisite relief. I think it certain that Major Anderson could be put in possession of all the defensive powers he needs with very little risk to this Government, if the efforts were made immediately; but, it is impossible to predict how much blood or money it may, cost if it be postponed for two or three months.

The fact that other persons are to have, charge of the Government before the worst comes to the worst has no influence upon my mind, and I take it for granted will not be regarded as a just element in making up your opinion.

The anxiety which an American citizen must feel about any future event which may affect the existence of the country is not less if he expects it to occur on the 5th of March than it would be if he knew it was going to happen on the 3d.

III. I am persuaded that, the difficulty of relieving Major Anderson has been very much magnified to the minds of some persons. From you I shall be able to ascertain whether I am mistaken or they. I am thoroughly satisfied that the battery on Morris Island can give no serious trouble. A vessel going in where the Star of the West went will not be within the reach of the battery’s guns longer than from six to ten minutes. The number of shots that could be fired upon her in that time may be easily calculated, and I think the chances of her being seriously injured can be demonstrated by simple arithmetic to be very small. A very unlucky shot might cripple her, to be sure, and therefore the risk is something. But then it is a maxim, not less in war than in peace, that where nothing is ventured nothing can be gained. The removal of the buoys has undoubtedly made the navigation of the channel more difficult. But there are pilots outside of Charleston, and {p.142} many of the officers of the Navy, who could steer a ship into the harbor by the natural land marks with perfect safety. This, be it remembered, is not now a subject of speculation; the actual experiment has been tried. The Star of the West did pass the battery, and did overcome the difficulties of the navigation, meeting with no serious trouble from either cause. They have tried it; we can say probatum est; and there is an end to the controversy.

I am convinced that a pirate, or a slaver, or a smuggler, who could be assured of making five hundred dollars by going into the harbor in the face of all the dangers which now threaten a vessel bearing the American flag, would laugh them to scorn, and to one of our naval officers who has the average of daring, “the danger’s self were lure alone.”

There really seems to me nothing in the way that ought to stop us except the guns of Fort Moultrie. If they are suffered to open a fire, upon a vessel bearing re-enforcements to Fort Sumter, they might stop any other vessel as they stopped the Star of the West. But is it necessary that this intolerable outrage should be submitted to? Would it not be an act of pure self-defense on the part of Major Anderson to silence Fort Moultrie, if it be necessary to do so, for the purpose of insuring the safety of a vessel whose arrival at Fort Sumter is necessary for his protection, and could he not do it effectually ? Would the South Carolinians dare to fire upon any vessel which Major Anderson would tell them beforehand must be permitted to pass, on pain of his guns being opened upon her assailants? But suppose it impossible for an unarmed vessel to pass the battery, what is the difficulty of sending the Brooklyn or the Macedonian in? I have never heard it alleged that the latter could not cross the bar, and I think if the fact had been so it would have been mentioned in my hearing before this time. It will turn out upon investigation, after all that has been said and sung about the Brooklyn, that there is water enough there for her. She draws ordinarily only sixteen and one-half feet, and her draught can be reduced eighteen inches by putting her upon an even keel. The shallowest place will give her eighteen feet of water at high tide. In point of fact, she has crossed that bar more than once. But apart even from these resources, the Government has at its command three or four smaller steamers of light draught and great speed, which could be armed and at sea in a few days, and would not be in the least troubled by any opposition that could be made to their entrance.

It is not, however, necessary to go into these details, with which, I presume, you are fully acquainted. I admit that the state of things may be somewhat worse now than they were a week ago, and are probably getting worse every day; but is not that the strongest reason that can be given for taking time by the forelock?

I feel confident that you will excuse me for making this communication. I have some responsibilities of my own to meet, and I can discharge them only when I understand the subject to which they relate. Your opinion, of course, will be conclusive upon me, for on such a matter I cannot do otherwise than defer to your better judgment. If you think it most consistent with your duty to be silent, I shall have no right to complain.

If you would rather answer orally than make a written reply, I will meet you either at your own quarters or here in the State Department, as may best suit your convenience.

I am, most respectfully, yours, &c.,

J. S. BLACK.

{p.143}

No. 19.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 21, 1861. (Received A. G. O., January 24.)

Hon. J. HOLT, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters, dated the 10th and 19th [16th] instants, and to assure you that I am highly gratified at the unqualified approbation they contain of the course I felt it my duty (under Divine guidance, I trust) to pursue in the unexpectedly perplexing circumstances by which we were surrounded. I shall inclose herewith copies of my correspondence with the officials of this State, and also a copy of the Mercury, which contains an article in reference to supplies for my command.* You will understand at once the reasons for my course, which I hope will meet your approval. So many acts of harshness and of incivility have occurred since my removal from Fort Moultrie, which I have not deemed proper to notice or report, that I cannot accept of any civility which may be considered as a favor or an act of charity. I hope that the Department will approve of my sending (if the governor will permit it) our women and children to New York. They will be in the way here if we should, unfortunately, be engaged in hostilities, and they would embarrass me should I deem it proper to make any sudden move. We are trying daily to strengthen our position. We have now fifty-one guns in position, viz: In barbette, four 42-pounders three 32-pounders, six 24’s, six 8-inch columbiads, and five 8-inch sea-coast howitzers (24); in casemate, twenty-two 32-pounders and two 42-pounders, (24); and to guard the gateway, which has been nearly closed by a heavy stone wall, three 8-inch sea-coast howitzers; and we are now preparing platforms in the parade for the three 10-inch columbiads, which we are unable to raise to their proper positions. I shall have some of the lower embrasures, in which guns are mounted, closed. This will make our little command more secure. From the perfect isolation of our position here it is impossible for us to ascertain, with any degree of certainty, the character or extent of the preparations which are being made around us. Everything, however, shows that they are exerting all their energies to prevent the entrance of re-enforcements, and to prepare for attacking this work. Saturday night and yesterday (Sunday) they were very actively engaged at work on a battery (commenced Saturday morning) a few hundred yards south of a battery of three guns constructed within the last three weeks in front of Fort Johnson barracks. On Cummings Point, Morris Island, quite an extensive battery or batteries have been constructed within the last week. We think that there may be both mortars and heavy guns at this point. We see them moving heavy timbers, which may be intended for the construction of a bomb-proof. Judging from the great quantity of material which has been landed in that neighborhood, I think it probable that they may have strengthened the battery which fired on the Star of the West. The channel she came in has been closed, pretty effectually I imagine by four sunken vessels. Sand hills on Morris Island afford such safe positions for batteries that I fear we shall have to waste a great deal of ammunition before we can succeed in dislodging them from its batteries. Several distant shots have been heard from the direction the mouth of Stono Creek. I presume they have closed that by a heavy battery. It is reported that there is a battery guarding the entrance of the Maffitt Channel, and also that there is a battery of heavy guns on Sullivan’s Island (masked from our view by the houses) about three hundred yards to the west of the fort. Fort Moultrie has been {p.144} greatly strengthened during the last two weeks. Traverses have been erected along the sea front, and merlons, formed of sand bags and earth, constructed between the guns. These merlons, apparently well built, will afford very good protection for the carriages and men, and defilade the parade and greater portion of the quarters from our direct fire. It seems that they have repaired these carriages, and that all the guns are now in position on the sea front. I am, of course, unable to state with any accuracy the character of the armament of their batteries or the number of men they have under arms; we hear that the garrison on Sullivan’s Island, at Fort Johnson, Castle Pinckney (the parapet of which is strengthened by sand bags), and on Morris Island amount to about two thousand men. In reference to my communications with the Department, you must bear it in mind that that matter is entirely under the control of the governor of this State, who may, whenever he deems fit, entirely prohibit my forwarding any letters, or prevent my sending any messenger, to my Government. I shall, however, as long as I can do so, send daily a brief note to the Department, the reception of which will show that the channel is still open, and the failure will indicate that our communication has been cut off.

Trusting in God that He will be pleased to save us from the horrors of a civil war,

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Article from Mercury not found.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, January 19, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON:

SIR: I am instructed by his excellency the governor to inform you that he has directed an officer of the State to procure and carry over with your mails each day to Fort Sumter such supplies of fresh meat and vegetables as you may indicate. I am, sir, respectfully yours,

D. F. JAMISON.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 19, 1861.

Hon. D. F. JAMISON Executive Office, Department of War:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, stating that you are authorized by his excellency the governor to inform me that he has directed an officer of the State to procure and carry over with my mails each day to Fort Sumter such supplies of fresh meat and vegetables as I may indicate. I confess that I am at a loss to understand the latter part of this message, as I have not represented in any quarter that we were in need of such supplies. As commandant of a military post, I can only have my troops furnished with fresh beef in the manner prescribed by law, and I am compelled, therefore, with due thanks to his excellency, respectfully to decline his offer. If his suggestion is based upon a right, then I must procure the meat as we have been in the habit of doing for years, under an unexpired contract with Mr. McSweeney, a Charleston butcher, who would, I presume, if permitted, deliver the meat, &c., at this fort or at Fort Johnson, at the usual periods for such delivery, four times in ten {p.145} days. If the permission is founded on courtesy and civility, I am compelled respectfully to decline accepting it, with a reiteration of my thanks for having made it. In connection with this subject, I deem it not improper respectfully to suggest that his excellency may do an act of humanity and great kindness if he will permit one of the New York steamers to stop with a lighter and take the women and children of this garrison to that city. The confinement within the walls of this work, and the impossibility of my having it in my power to have them furnished with the proper and usual articles of food, will, I fear, soon produce sickness among them. The compliance with this request will confer a favor upon a class of persons to whom similar indulgences are always granted, even during a siege in time of actual war, and will be duly appreciated by me.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter.

P. S.–I hope that the course I have deemed it my duty to take in reference to the supplies will have a tendency to allay an excitement which, judging from the tenor of the paragraphs in to-day’s paper, I fear they are trying to get up in the city.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

HEADQUARTERS QUARTERMASTER’S DEPARTMENT, Charleston, January 19, 1861.

Major ANDERSON:

DEAR SIR: Inclosed please find copy of letter from Secretary of War. Not waiting your request, I shall send by the mail-boat in the morning two hundred pounds of beef and a lot of vegetables. I requested Lieutenant Talbot to ask you to let me know this evening what supplies you would wish sent daily. Very respectfully,

L. M. HATCH, Quartermaster-General, South Carolina Militia.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

HEADQUARTERS QUARTERMASTER’S DEPARTMENT, Charleston, January 19, 1861.

Colonel HATCH, Quartermaster-General:

You are ordered to procure and send down with the mails for Fort Sumter to-morrow a sufficient quantity of fresh meat and vegetables to last the garrison of Fort Sumter for forty-eight hours, and inform Major Anderson that you will purchase and take down every day such provisions from the city market as he may indicate.

D. F. JAMISON.

[Inclosure No. 5.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 20, 1861.

Col. L. M. HATCH Quartermaster-General:

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 19th instant, and also to state that as no arrangements have been made by me with your government in reference to supplies for this post, {p.146} I feel compelled to decline the reception of those supplies. I wrote to the honorable Secretary of War yesterday in reference to this matter.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. ANDERSON, Major, First U. S. Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 21, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the present condition of the batteries around us occupied or being erected by the troops of the State of South Carolina:

Fort Moultrie.–Until within eight days the work upon this fort, which was executed by several hundred negroes, was confined to the erection of three large traverses on the east half of the sea front, and the enlargement of another that I built upon the same face near the South angle. These traverses were of a size, sufficient to contain a temporary bomb-proof shelter, and really served only to screen from our enfilading fire only three guns on the face, and also to cover the South half of the officers’ quarters. The three columbiads at the south angle were not covered. But recently the work of preparation to screen themselves from the fire of Fort Sumter has taken a better turn, and the work done is really important. It consists of high and solid merlons, formed of timber, sand bags, and earth, raised between all the guns that can be brought to bear on this fort, from the west side of their fort, and in placing traverses or merlons so as to screen from enfilading fire all the guns upon the sea front which are arranged to fire upon the channel. The cheeks of the embrasures are of timber, apparently set on end, like palisades, which I think is objectionable; and I also notice that the exterior slope of the merlons is too great to resist the pressure of the earth, and that the sand bags are pressed out in one or two places. These errors are small, however, compared with the great advantage of these merlons, which from their height (about five feet) completely cover the quarters and barracks as high up as the eaves. The following sketch shows pretty nearly the present arrangement of the fronts that I can see:

From Fort Sumter seventeen guns in barbette and eight guns in casemate are now ready to fire on Fort Moultrie-twenty-five guns in all. {p.147} Of these, four are 8-inch columbiads, five are 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, eight are 42-pounders, and eight are 32-pounders. I have overhauled and fixed each carriage so that it works easily, and made, maneuvering implements, of which there were none here at first. Besides the above, a 10-inch columbiad is now being bedded by Lieutenant Snyder as a mortar, to throw shells into Fort Moultrie and upon Sullivan’s Island.

Battery on the upper or east end of the island.–Of this nothing definite is known, as it is out of sight, and also, I fear, shielded from our fire by intervening sand hills. Its object is to secure the east point of the island, and also have a fire upon the Maffitt Channel.

Battery on Sullivan’s Island west of Fort Moultrie.–This is situated about 300 yards to the west of the fort, and is built across a cross-street at a. (See sketch.) It is said to contain five guns, but being masked by old buildings and fences in front of it, I cannot tell whether or not it is so. It is intended to fire on Fort Sumter.

Castle Pinckney remains apparently as it was when taken, with the exception of sand bags, which are placed around the parapet apparently for the purpose of protecting the heads of their sharpshooters. It is reported that some of the guns have been taken from the Castle, to arm the new earth batteries on Morris Island and other places.

Battery at Fort Johnson.–This is a small earthen battery for three guns in embrasure, intended to fire on the channel. It is situated next to the old barracks, as shown in rough sketch in the margin. I judge of the calibers of the guns by their reports in firing for practice.

Second battery near Fort Johnson.–This is now in the process of construction. It appears to be for mortars, as no embrasures are made. It is of sufficient size for three guns or mortars.

Morris Island Battery.–This is the one that, fired on the Star of the West. It is about 2,400 or 2,500 yards from us, and concealed from view by intervening sand hills. It is a gun battery, and did contain two guns at first. Now I am confident that it contains at least four guns. The troops for the service of the batteries are quartered in the buildings constituting the smallpox hospital, over one of which their flag is flying, a red field with white palmetto tree upon it. The flag on Fort Johnson is similar, as is also the one on Castle Pinckney. That on Fort Moultrie is a white field with a green palmetto tree, and a red star in the corner.

Battery on Cummings Point.–This is apparently for mortars, and is of sufficient extent to contain six or eight. A large force of negroes has been at work upon it during the last week. A large quantity of timber has been hauled into it, apparently for shell-proof shelters as well as platforms; most of the timber was too large for platforms. This battery seems to be for mortars, as no embrasures are yet made. It is within good range of our heavy guns, of which four 8-inch columbiads, three 42-pounders, one 8-inch sea-coast howitzer, and six 24-pounders on the barbette tier bear upon it; besides, two 32-pounders in the lower tier can fire upon it. This will give a powerful fire. Still, they are apparently providing for it. I have no positive knowledge of the proposed armament of this battery, but I have heard twice from persons who would be apt to know that three mortars are already in it. These are probably the two trophy mortars from the arsenal and the 10-inch mortar from Fort Moultrie.

I have heard heavy firing several times, as though for practice, in the {p.148} direction of the Stono River, and I presume a small battery has been erected there to guard that approach to the city.

Of the garrison of Castle Pinckney I cannot judge very well. Of that, for Fort Moultrie and the other batteries on Sullivan’s Island I should judge the number to be about 800. On Morris Island about 500. At Fort Johnson about 100, which will probably be increased with the completion of the second battery to 200.

The temper of the authorities seems to have changed for the better since Mr. Hayne and Mr. Gourdin have been in Washington. The proposition to supply fresh meat and vegetables was made by Governor Pickens on the 19th, but declined by Major Anderson on the following day. A supply of fresh meat and vegetables that had been sent down yesterday by the South Carolina quartermaster-general was returned. In the letter declining the proffered supply Major Anderson requested Governor Pickens to allow the camp women and children to go to New York in the next steamer, and to allow a lighter to come down to take them and their effects to the steamer as she passes. No answer has yet been received to this request. The temper of the common people is not, however, so easily changed from the high pitch of excitement to which it has been wrought to a suddenly conciliatory course, the reasons for which they do not perceive.

Our hopes for a pacific solution of the present difficulties are very much increased since Lieutenant Talbot’s return.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.149}

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 22, 1861.

Hon. BENJAMIN FITZPATRICK, Hon. S. R. MALLORY, Hon. JOHN SLIDELL:

GENTLEMEN: The President has received your communication of the 19th instant,* with the copy of a correspondence between yourselves and others, “representing States which have already seceded from the United States, or will have done so before 1st of February next,” and Col. Isaac W. Hayne, of South Carolina, in behalf of the government of that State, in relation to Fort Sumter, and you ask the President “to take into consideration the subject of the correspondence.” With this request he has complied, and has directed me to communicate his answer.

In your letter to Colonel Hayne of the 15th instant,* you propose to him to defer the delivery of a message from the governor of South Carolina to the President, with which he has been intrusted, for a few days, until the President and Colonel Hayne shall have considered the suggestions which you submit. It is unnecessary to refer specially to these suggestions, because the letter addressed to you by Colonel Hayne, of the 17th instant, presents a clear and specific answer to them. In this he says: “I am not clothed with power to make the arrangement you suggest, but provided you can get assurances with which you are entirely satisfied that no re-enforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina, I will refer your communication to the authorities of South Carolina, and withholding the communication with which I am at present charged, will await further instructions.”

From the beginning of the present unhappy troubles, the President has endeavored to perform his executive duties in such a manner as to preserve the peace of the country and prevent bloodshed. This is still his fixed purpose. You, therefore, do him no more than justice in stating that you have assurances (from his public messages, I presume) that, “notwithstanding the circumstances under which Major Anderson left Fort Moultrie and entered Fort Sumter with the forces under his command, it was not taken, and is not held, with any hostile or unfriendly purpose towards your State, but merely as property of the United States, which the President deems it his duty to protect and preserve.” You have correctly stated what the President deems to be his duty. His sole object now is, and has been, to act strictly on the defensive and to authorize no movement against the people of South Carolina unless clearly justified by a hostile movement on their part. He could not have given a better proof of his desire to prevent the effusion of blood than by forbearing to resort to the use of force under the strong provocation of an attack (happily without a fatal result) on an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of the United States.

I am happy to observe that in your letter to Colonel Hayne you express the opinion that it is “especially due from South Carolina to our States, to say nothing of other slaveholding States, that she should, as far as she can consistently with her honor, avoid initiating hostilities between her and the United States, or any other power.” To initiate such hostilities against Fort Sumter would, beyond question, be an act of war against the United States.

In regard to the proposition of Colonel Hayne, “that no re-enforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that the public {p.150} peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility towards South Carolina,” it is impossible for me to give you any such assurances. The President has no authority to enter into such an agreement or understanding. As an executive officer he is simply bound to protect the public property so far as this may be practicable, and it would be a manifest violation of his duty to place himself under engagements that he would not perform this duty either for an indefinite or a limited period. At the present moment it is not deemed necessary to re-enforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request, and feels quite secure in his position. Should his safety, however, require re-enforcements, every effort will be made to supply them.

In regard to an assurance from the President “that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina,” the answer will readily occur to yourselves. To Congress, and to Congress alone, belongs the power to make war, and it would be an act of usurpation for the Executive to give any assurance that Congress would not exercise this power, however strongly he may be convinced that no such intention exists.

I am glad to be assured from the letter of Colonel Hayne that “Major Anderson and his command do now obtain all necessary supplies, including fresh meat and vegetables, and, I believe, fuel and water, from the city of Charleston, and do now enjoy communication by post and special messenger with the President, and will continue to do so, certainly until the door to negotiation has been closed.” I trust that these facilities may still be afforded to Major Anderson. This is as it should be. Major Anderson is not menacing Charleston, and I am convinced that the happiest result which can be attained is that both he and the authorities of South Carolina shall remain on their present amicable footing, neither party being bound by any obligation whatever, except the high Christian and moral duty to keep the peace, and to avoid all causes of mutual irritation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War.

* Not of record in War Department.

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No. 20.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 22, 1861. (Received A. G. O., January 25.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that with the exception of continued activity shown yesterday in extending the battery at Cummings Point (Morris Island), everything seemed to be quiet around us. Lieutenant Hall may bring on a copy of the private Navy Signal Book with the signals, and also the designation of the key (or number) agreed upon in concert with the Navy Department. This may be of service. Be pleased to ask Mr. Hall to bring me a supply of best thin ruled note paper, with envelopes. Being cut off from the city I cannot procure those indispensable articles.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–No reply as yet to my letter to the Hon. D. F. Jamison.

{p.151}

No. 21.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 23, 1861. (Received A. G. O., January 27.) Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith a copy of the reply of the Hon. D. F. Jamison to my letter to him about supplies for this garrison and the removal of our women and children, and also a copy of my acknowledgment of the same. I am highly gratified at the courtesy and proper tone of this reply.

The storm which was raging yesterday has continued with unabated severity up to the present moment, and has put a stop to all outdoor work., both with the South Carolinians and ourselves. It is now raining and blowing so heavily and the bay is so rough that I shall not venture to send our boat to Fort Johnson for the mail. Should the storm abate so that I can send our letters off in time for the evening mail I shall send them over. I see by the Coast Survey map that Maffitt’s and the Swash Channel are not the same. I was led into that mistake by an old pilot, who told me that Maffitt’s Channel was formerly called the Swash. I will thank you to be pleased, therefore, to erase the words “Swash or” in my letter to the honorable Secretary of War dated the 21st instant, and also to change the word “enfilade” into “defilade, " where in the same letter I am describing the work which has been recently executed at Fort Moultrie.*

I am, colonel, very respectfully, &c.,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* These corrections made in the text.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, January 21, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON:

SIR: In offering to permit you to purchase in this city, through the instrumentality of an officer of the State, such fresh supplies of provisions as you might need, his excellency the governor was influenced solely by considerations of courtesy; and if he had no other motive for refusing to any of your garrison free access to the city to procure such supplies, he would have been moved by prudential reasons for the safety of your people, in preventing a collision between them and our own citizens. As to the manner of procuring your supplies, his excellency is indifferent whether it is done by the officer referred to, or whether your market supplies are delivered to you at Fort Johnson by the butcher whom you say you have before employed. It is only insisted on that the supplies, if sent, shall be carried over in a boat under an officer of the State who takes to Fort Johnson your daily mails. His excellency desires me to say that he willingly accedes to your request as to the women and children in Fort Sumter, and that he will afford every facility in his power to enable you to remove them from the fort at any time and in any manner that will be most agreeable to them.

I am, sir, respectfully, yours,

D. F. JAMISON.

{p.152}

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 22, 1861.

Hon. D. F. JAMISON, Executive Office, Department of War, Charleston:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 21st instant, and to express my gratification at its tenor. I shall direct my staff officer to write to the contractor in reference to his supplying us with beef, and will communicate with you as soon as the necessary preliminaries are arranged, in order that you may then, if you please, give the requisite instructions for carrying them into effect. Be pleased to express to his excellency the governor my thanks for the kind and prompt manner in which he gave his consent to the proposed transfer of the women and children of this garrison. As there are on Sullivan’s Island the families of two of our non-commissioned officers, with their furniture, &c., and also a quantity of private property (including some musical instruments-not public property) belonging to this command, which the first commander of Fort Moultrie, Colonel De Saussure, sent me word he had collected and placed under lock and key, it will be necessary to permit the two non-commissioned officers to go to the island to assist in moving their families, &c. The lighter, it occurs to me, which will be needed to take the families to the steamer, had better go to the island for the property there before coming for the women and children here. As we are all very desirous of guarding against causing any unnecessary excitement, it will afford me great pleasure to have everything done in the most quiet way possible. I shall, consequently, cheerfully govern myself, as far as possible, by the views and wishes of his excellency in reference to this matter, and will be pleased to hear from you what they are. It is my wish, if the weather prove favorable, to ship the families in the Saturday steamer, or the first one after that day.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, January 24, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C. :

MAJOR: Your letter (No. 19) of the 21st instant, with inclosures, has been received. The Secretary will reply to it in a few days. Meantime the Secretary desires you to inform him what is the nature of the postal arrangements with your post, and whether they are satisfactory to you. Can you send messengers to Charleston for your mails, and is there danger of your men deserting if they are thus employed?

It is observed that you seal your letters with wax-a good precaution, without which there is no certainty that they have not been opened by unauthorized hands.

Please state whether the men sent up to attend a murder trial in Charleston made an attempt to desert, as reported in the papers.

I am, &c.,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

{p.153}

No. 22.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 24, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The storm continued until about daylight this morning. It is still cloudy, but the wind has abated sufficiently to enable our boat to take our mail over to Fort Johnson. I have written to our beef contractor in reference to furnishing us with beef, and also such vegetables as the doctor may deem suitable. The purchase of the latter will, I hope, under existing circumstances, be allowed. A letter has also been written to the agent of the New York line of steamboats about transporting our women and children to New York, where, I hope, the quartermaster will see that they are made comfortable. They will probably leave early next week.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 23.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 25, 1861.

COL. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: There is nothing worthy of mention, as far as I know, this morning, except the fact of the New York steamer Columbia having grounded in attempting to go out. She is in the Maffitt’s Channel, nearly in front of the Moultrie House; and as she went on when the tide was well up, there is a chance of her remaining where she is for some time. If the authorities here are in earnest about being willing to grant me marketing facilities, it seems to me they will not object to the Government sending us provisions, groceries, and coal from New York. We can get along pretty well with what we have, but some additions to our supplies would add greatly to our comfort. By burning the old buildings, and, if very hard pushed, the spare gun carriages, &c., we can keep up our necessary fires for three months.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 24.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 27, 1861. (Received A. G. O., January 30.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to state, in reply to your letter of the 24th instant, that our letters, &c., are sent by boat, daily, at 12 m., to Fort Johnson in a sealed package, addressed to the postmaster in Charleston, and that the return boat brings our mail in a package bearing the post-office seal. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement. The governor told Lieutenant Talbot, when he saw him on his return from Washington, that I might, if I chose, send up to the city for my mails, but that he thought it would not be judicious for me to do so. I do not apprehend that there would be the slightest danger of any of my men deserting if thus employed, but think they might be insulted or maltreated. The report to which you refer, about the attempt of the men who were sent to the city to attend a murder trial to desert, is absolutely and entirely false. Lieutenant Davis (who refused to take them, though offered arms by several persons and urged to accept them) says that the {p.154} men conducted themselves with the greatest propriety, and that, although handsomely entertained, they returned perfectly sober. I have not deemed it advisable to notice in any way the false reports which have originated in Charleston and elsewhere about us. I send herewith a slip containing two such reports. Lieutenant Meade states, and I have no doubt with entire truthfulness, that he made no statement whilst absent to any person about my preferences or my opinions, either military or political, and that the inferences given in the article in the Petersburg paper were not deducible from any facts stated by him. The other article, in the Baltimore paper, stating that a boat containing three of my men was fired into from Sullivan’s Island, is also entirely untrue. I cannot see the object to be attained by the circulation of such untruths. The object of one, which has been repeated more than once, that we are getting fresh provisions from the Charleston market, is apparent enough, viz, to show they are treating us courteously. But even that is not a fact. I send herewith a copy of a letter written to our former beef contractor about furnishing us with meat, &c., to which no reply has yet been received-why, I am unable to ascertain; so that, up to this moment, we have not derived the least advantage from the Charleston markets; and I can confidently say that none of my command desire to receive anything from the city for which we are not to pay. Under the daily expectation of the return of Lieutenant Ball, I have deferred sending in a memorandum of the commissary stores on hand. There are now here 38 barrels pork, 37 barrels flour, 13 barrels hard bread, 2 barrels beans, I barrel coffee 1/2 barrel sugar, 3 barrels vinegar, 10 pounds candles, 40 pounds soap, and 3/4 barrel salt. You will see from this that for my present command especially after the departure of our women and children) we shall have an ample supply of pork and bread. It is a pity that my instructions had not been complied with, which would have given us the small stores which are now deficient, and which we shall not object to receiving as soon as the safety of our country will admit of our getting them. Nothing of importance to report. The Columbia is still aground in the Maffitt’s Channel.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

FORT SUMTER, January 24, 1861.

Mr. DANIEL McSWEENEY:

SIR: I am directed by Major Anderson, commanding this post, to ascertain whether you will furnish such fresh beef and vegetables as may be required here; the beef upon the terms of the contract under which you supplied Fort Moultrie; the vegetables to be purchased by you for us at fair market prices; the whole to be delivered as hitherto, four times in ten days, at some wharf in Charleston, for transportation to Fort Johnson, where it will be received by this garrison. This arrangement which has been approved by the governor of South Carolina, it is desired shall go into effect immediately, and if you consent to it, you can send 184 pounds of fresh beef at a time, at such hour and wherever Quartermaster-General Hatch (120 Meeting street) may advise you. Of the vegetables you will be further directed. Please acknowledge the receipt of this as soon as possible, in order, if necessary, that other arrangements may be made.

Respectfully, your obedient Servant,

T. SEYMOUR, Captain, U. S. Army.

{p.155}

[Inclosure No. 2.]

Copy of extracts from Baltimore Sun and Petersburg Daily Express.

[By telegraph for the Baltimore Sun.]

THE LATEST FROM THE SOUTH.

FROM SOUTH CAROLINA-A BOAT FROM FORT SUMTER FIRED AT BY THE SOUTH CAROLINIANS-JEFF. DAVIS SPOKEN OF FOR PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY.

CHARLESTON, JANUARY 23.–The battery on the beach at Sullivan’s Island fired into a boat from Fort Sumter on Monday. There were three men in it, who approached the beach with muffled oars. The sentry at the battery hailed them and warned them off. Failing to obey the summons, the sentry fired musketry into the boat, when it turned round and went away. Soon after those at the battery heard a noise like the hauling up of a boat at Fort Sumter. One of the men in the boat is said to have been wounded badly. Their object is supposed to have been desertion, but some say it was a desperate effort to run the gauntlet of the sentries and spike the guns of the battery.

[The Daily Express, Petersburg, Va., Tuesday morning, January 22, 1861.]

COMING TO THE POINT-A PRACTICAL MOVEMENT.

THE POSITION OF MAJOR ANDERSON.–Lieut. R. K. Meade, of the Engineer Corps, at Fort Sumter, has been in our city, on a visit home, for several days past. Several gentlemen with whom he has conversed inform us that he speaks in the highest terms of Major Anderson, not only as a brave and fearless soldier, but as a strong and true Southern man, his position in the present state of affairs, however, rendering it impossible for him to take any other position before the people of the South and of the Union. He does not feel in the slightest complimented by the fanatical cannon firing in his honor at the North, and it is with pain, not fear nor even embarrassment, that he realizes the present attitude of the South towards him. That he loves the South, that he prefers it, every social tie gives ample testimony. He is bound by the holy ties of wedlock to one of the fairest of the fair of Georgia, a daughter of General Clinch. He has four devoted brothers, every one of whom, it is said, is a strong secessionist. Add to this that he is a Southerner by birth, and a descendant of Revolutionary sires, we need hardly more to give us assurance that he not only loves his native South, but will at the proper time, and in an honorable manner, draw the sword in her defense. These are simple inferences from facts as known. Not a syllable has fallen from the lips of Lieutenant Meade to lead to the remotest deduction that Major Anderson will not perform his whole duty to the Government of the United States. But that he will be hand in hand with the South as soon as he may be, with honor, relieved from his position, we have little to doubt.

MAJOR ANDERSON.–“A Comrade”-writes to the Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer concerning the late removal of Major Anderson to Fort Sumter, and in defense of his action and character. The conclusion is: “Major Anderson is a Southern man-born and raised in the noble old ‘Dark and Bloody Ground.’ He will be found on the side of the South when this government is dismembered, and, when his critical position has been properly understood, his name will be fully exonerated from the grave charges which have been made against it by those who have been deplorably misinformed upon all the points of military honor which have governed this truly gallant and meritorious officer.”

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 27, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that since the date of my last letter very little has been done by the troops of South Carolina around us, in consequence of the continued storm of rain and wind that has prevailed. The little that has been done comprises the completion of the mortar battery, situated to the southeast of Fort Johnson, on James Island, and the enlargement of the battery on Cummings Point by {p.156} extending it towards the east. It now occupies the position shown in red in the marginal sketch.* The position of the other battery on Morris Island is also shown in red. This is called by the Charlestonians “Fort Morris,” and I will so designate it in future.

The two or three guard-boats that the authorities have in use are, constantly employed in watching the bar, and evidently have signals by which they can communicate intelligence at night as well as in the day. On the morning of the 20th the steamer Columbia, Captain Berry (who was the first to hoist the palmetto flag on board his vessel), in leaving the harbor by the Maffitt Channel, ran on shore between the Moultrie House and Bowman’s Jetty, on Sullivan’s island. Despite all efforts to get her off at each high tide (and we have had several very high ones since), she still lies in the same position. The probability is that she will go to pieces if it should happen to blow hard from the south or eastward. The cause of this casualty is undoubtedly found in the fact that the taking up of the outer end of Bowman’s Jetty has caused a deposition below it, which has diminished the depth of water, so that a vessel has now to follow a winding course very much like the red [broken] line in the marginal sketch. The difficulty of navigating the sharp turn opposite where the Columbia now lies is very much increased by the opposite effects of flood and ebb tide, the latter tending to set the vessel on shore.

Going out in the haze of the morning, the Columbia probably failed to observe the turn of tide, and could not turn quickly enough, with a full head of steam, to clear the beach. Another of the steamers of the same line came in through the main ship channel last evening, being piloted in by one of the guard-boats.

In Fort Sumter everything goes on quite smoothly. I have done little during the past week, on account of the storm, besides policing, removing materials, and strengthening the filling of the openings for the embrasures of the second tier. One 10-inch columbiad has also been put in position on the parade to throw shells into Fort Moultrie, and surrounded by a strong traverse to avoid all danger from a possible bursting of the piece. Although all of the cement and bricks are used up, and the extreme scarcity of fuel does not permit the burning of shells for lime, I can manage with dry stone to strengthen all parts that require {p.157} it. I do not propose to discharge my force of forty-three men at present, but to employ them at such work as from time to time becomes necessary. All of them will be of great service in case we have to sustain a cannonade, and the majority of them will also be of material aid in resisting a sudden attack. There is not a particle of truth in the many reports that have crept into the papers about mutinies, &c. The soldiers are in excellent spirits and full of confidence. Those of my men that I have discharged of late have left with great reluctance. In fine, the morale at present is very high.

The trouble that I had with my men soon after the command came over, which resulted in a rapid thinning out of the force, has long since ceased. Every man, however, that is discharged is beset as soon as he reaches town for information, and in some instances they have played upon the credulity of their questioners. In other instances, the information given has been magnified and distorted. And in one case, that of Lieutenant Davis, who went to town on the 19th in charge of four soldiers summoned as witnesses in a murder trial, an effort was made to convince him that his men, having been tampered with, had uttered threats against him, and that he should arm himself before trusting himself to come down with them alone in a boat. Lieutenant Davis declined their proffer of arms. It appears that there was no circumstance to warrant this attempt to place Lieutenant Davis in a false position towards his men, and to give cause for reports prejudicial to the fidelity of the soldiers. The report in the papers that the men attempted to jump out of the window to escape, is utterly without foundation. So, also, is the report that a boat from Fort Sumter in attempting to reconnoiter the battery on Morris Island, had been fired into by the sentry, and one man wounded. No boat has ever left Fort Sumter for such a purpose, and I question whether it was a boat that the sentry fired at. In fact, it is not safe to credit any reports coming from this region, except such as are favorable to the Government of the United States. Even the statements that emanated from high authority and were widely circulated, to the effect that this command was supplied with fresh provisions, &c., are not strictly true, for we have not as yet received any.

One lot was sent down on the 20th by the State authorities, which Major Anderson declined to receive. His proposition to get them from the regular contractor, and to pay for them, was accepted; but up to this time (10 a.m. of the 27th) we have not received anything from the contractor in town.

Lieutenant Meade returned on Wednesday, the 23d, but on account of the storm was not able to get to the fort before the following day. Both be and Lieutenant Snyder having volunteered for the duty, I have entered them upon the regular roster for guard duty, two of the officers of the command being sick, and one absent. It does not interfere with our regular duties.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

* Here omitted. See sketch in Foster to Totten, February 5, post.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 28, 1861.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: I have the pleasure to inform you that $5,000 was remitted on Saturday last, the 26th instant, to the assistant treasurer at New York, {p.158} to be held subject to your check, and that $10,000 in addition will be remitted to him, for the same purpose, to-day, in fulfillment of two other requisitions heretofore issued in your favor for $5,000 each, as already advised.

You will please return to Lieutenant Gillmore, out of these funds, the $1,500 placed by him to your credit with the assistant treasurer at New York, on the 10th instant, and he will be instructed to forward to you a proper receipt for the same.

This communication, and all subsequent letters, will be inclosed in an envelope, sealed with red wax, impressed with the Department seal, and it is desirable that all your future communications may be also sealed with wax, instead of the ordinary way.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. G. TOTTEN, Brevet Brigadier-General, and Colonel of Engineers.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 29, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 1.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: The South Carolinians are at work in large force on Cummings Point, apparently framing heavy timbers, for what purpose I am unable yet to state. They succeeded this morning, favored by a very high tide, in getting the Columbia off. I send herewith two slips cut from yesterday’s Mercury, which show unmistakably the animus of these people. They are determined to bring on a collision with the General Government. Everything around us shows this to be their determination and their aim. I had a contract made yesterday for the transportation of the women attached to this command. The number is much greater than the legal allowance, but under the present excited state of feeling toward our command it would not do to send to the city or to Sullivan’s Island any of the relatives of our soldiers’ wives who have been living with them. The number who will be sent (twenty) embraces those attached to the companies and the wives of the members of the band, and also the wives of the non-commissioned staff. Inclosed you will also receive the muster and pay rolls of this command, which have been signed by the husbands of the women. I will thank you to have them sent by the Pay Department to the paymaster in New York, with instructions to hand the pay to the women. I will thank you also to have the necessary instructions sent to New York for the rations, &c., for these women and children.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

OBITUARY.–Died, on Saturday night, at the Marine Hospital, Thaddeus S. Strawinski, aged 18 years and 7 days, from an accidental wound from a revolver. This promising young man was on duty in the Columbia Artillery at Fort Moultrie when the sad accident occurred. He was a noble fellow, and, just a week after entering the freshman class of the South Carolina College, with his spirited father joined the ranks at the call of the State. While on the litter being carried to the hospital he said to those who were conveying him: “Friends, O, how sorry I am you are to attack Fort Sumter without me!” During his sufferings he mourned that he could not be at the {p.159} taking of the fort. He was calm and resigned, and met his end prayerfully, with the Lord’s Prayer on his lips. A mother’s gentle influence soothed his dying hour, and a soldier’s spirit nerved a father’s heart to resign his son to his Creator. The sympathy of the whole community is with them in their bereavement.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

Mr. Yeadon, from the committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two houses on that clause of the appropriation bill which appropriates $30,000 for dredging Maffitt’s Channel, submitted a report recommending the adoption of the following: “For deepening or otherwise improving Maffitt’s Channel, $30,000, to be drawn by and expended under the direction of a commission, as follows: Messrs. George A. Trenholm, Henry Gourdin, George N. Reynolds, W. G. De Saussure, F. I. Porcher, Hugh E. Vincent, and the mayor of Charleston ex officio: Provided, The work shall not be resumed until Fort Sumter passes into the possession of the authorities of the State, and all the troops of the United States shall be removed from the harbor of Charleston.”

The report was agreed to.

Mt. Buist offered the following resolution:

“Resolved, That it is the opinion of the general assembly that no sessions of the courts of law or equity in this State should beholden so long as the Government at Washington has control of the fortress known as Fort Sumter.”

Ten members objecting, the resolution was ordered for consideration on Monday.

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No. 27.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 30, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 4.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: They are still busily engaged at work on Cummings Point. I am not yet certain what they are going to put there. There was very great activity and stir in the harbor last night. The lookout ship outside the bar displayed a light about half past 11, which was answered by rockets by the guard-boats, of which we noticed four on duty, and soon after two guns were fired from the battery on Morris Island, and at half past 1 o’clock this morning two guns were fired from Fort Moultrie. We could not see any vessels in the offing, but they might have been visible to those on the guard-boats (steamers). I do hope that no attempt will be made by our friends to throw supplies in; their doing so would do more harm than good. The steamboat company did not send down for our women and children yesterday as they promised; why, I do not know.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 28.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 31, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 4.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The South Carolinians are still busily engaged at work at two places on Cummings Point. They are using heavy timbers, which they square and frame. Last night they worked at least half the night. The agent of the New York steamers informed us yesterday that he could not get a lighter to come down for the women and children, but that he will send one for them to-morrow, so as to take them in the Saturday steamer. No reply, as yet, from the Charleston butcher, our beef contractor. I presume that he dare not send us any provisions, {p.160} for fear that he will be regarded as a traitor to South Carolina, for furnishing comfort and aid to her enemies. God save our country.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 29.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 31, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 4.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I hasten to write this letter, to be taken to the city by my friend, the Hon. Robert N. Gourdin, to say that the butcher has sent down a supply of fresh beef, with a note from him stating that he had not received my note, and that he did not, therefore, know of my order to him to continue my supplies as when I was in Fort Moultrie. He states that he sends the beef to-day in compliance with instructions from Mr. Gourdin, who has received a letter from me, in which I had alluded to my having written to him about it. He concluded by saying that he will cheerfully send what I require. Mr. Gourdin says that his that excellency the governor is very desirous that we shall receive our supplies regularly, and thinks that there can be no difficulty in reference to groceries also. Hoping in God that there can be no further difficulty of any sort in this harbor,

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 31, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter Of the 28th instant, informing me that $15,000 was placed to my credit with the assistant treasurer of the United States at New York. This relieves me from my present embarrassment. I shall, however, require $5,000 more for Fort Sumter by the end of the month of February.

The operations of the South Carolinians around us continue to be carried on with activity by means of a large force of negroes. The battery on Cummings Point, mentioned in my last letters, is being enlarged into a field work, the parapet of which is not sufficiently formed to distinguish the trace with accuracy. To the west of this field work they have commenced what appears to be a redoubt. This is quite near the western point of Cummings Point.

Steamers are quite active, especially at night, in delivering materials at this point. A very large quantity of timber has been delivered, in rafts, and used for revetments, platforms, and, apparently, bomb-proof shelters.

On Sullivan’s Island I have learned that the battery in the cross street opposite Dr. Ravenel’s house, also opposite where the chaplain, Rev. Mr. Harris (now at Fort Washington), lived, is for mortars, apparently, as no embrasures are formed, but that neither guns or mortars are, as yet, placed in it. The batteries on the island above Fort Moultrie are {p.161} two in number. The first is only a short distance above the Moultrie House, and about 1,460 yards above Fort Moultrie. It is armed with three guns, either 24-pounders or 32 pounders. It is not in sight of this fort, being in range of and beyond the Moultrie House. Its position is opposite that portion of the Maffitt Channel which comes closest to the island.

The second battery is at the upper or east end of the island, and is armed with two guns, 24 or 32 pounders.

The last information from the island gave the number of men there as 1,450. But of these a very large number are raw recruits for the regular regiment that they are forming.

In this fort we are hard at work perfecting the arrangements for defense and offense, and creating new ones. Three 10-inch columbiads and four 8-inch columbiads (for which there are no carriages) are arranged as mortars.

The women and children are to leave for New York to-morrow by steamer.

The authorities have promised to send over my private effects from Sullivan’s Island, but have declined to allow me, or anyone sent by me, to go over to collect them and pack them. I am, however, pleased to secure what I can in the way that is indicated by the authorities. I will write again in detail as soon as I can determine the trace of the works on Cummings Point.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., February 1, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding Fort Sumter, S. C.

MAJOR: The President deeming it unnecessary longer to detain Lieutenant Hall, he will start this afternoon for his post. By him I send this letter to inform you of the receipt of your several letters, up to No. 26, inclusive.

The matters pertaining to Colonel Hayne’s mission not being yet fully determined, I am unable to say more from the Secretary of War than that your course in relation to the tender of provisions from the governor of South Carolina, and in all other matters which have come to the knowledge of the Department, is approved to the fullest extent. I am, &c.,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

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No. 30.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 1, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Nothing unusual has occurred, as far as I know, around us. They are still engaged working on Cummings Point. The lighter is now here, loading with women, children, and baggage. They are to leave the city in the steamer for New York to-morrow. I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding

{p.162}

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., February 1, 1861.

Maj. T. H. HOLMES, Eighth Infantry, Commanding Fort Columbus, Governor’s Island, N. Y.:

SIR: About twenty women and children from Major Anderson’s command at Fort Sumter are on their way to New York, and application will probably be made to receive them at Fort Columbus. Should this be the case you will please make them as comfortable as circumstances will permit, and give rations to such as are properly laundresses of companies. If better quarters can be thus secured to them they can be sent to Fort Wood.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

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No. 31.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 2, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 6.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant, General:

COLONEL: I received a letter yesterday from Mr. Gourdin, in which he says: “I saw his excellency this evening, and he makes no objection to your groceries being sent you.” The South Carolinians were, we thought, occupied nearly all last night on the works at Cummings Point. One of them is now probably twelve or fifteen feet high, and appears to be bombproof, and may be intended to defilade a battery pointing on the channel from our fire. From the energy with which their operations are carried on it is evident that they regard them as very necessary, and that they consider that they are also important, and that they shall be pushed as rapidly as possible. The women and children are on board the steamer, but the wind is blowing so heavily that it is doubtful whether they will attempt to cross the bar with this tide.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 32.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 3, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Yesterday and last night, in consequence of the continuance of a storm of wind and rain, very little work was done, as far as we could observe, around us. The rain is still (11 a.m.) continuing. The steamer has not yet left the harbor with the women and children.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 33.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 4, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 6.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The South Carolinians continued to do as much work yesterday (Sunday) at Cummings Point as the storm permitted. The {p.163} work nearest to us now presents the appearance of a battery, having an inclined guard in front to glance our balls off. They are using large quantities of railroad bars in their constructions on that point. The New York steamer sailed yesterday with our women and children. I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 34.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 5, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 8.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The character of the work on the end of Cummings Point nearest to us is, I think, now pretty well established. It seems to be a bomb-proof, with embrasures for the guns, the embrasures cut in a sloped wall, formed of heavy timbers, which is now being covered with railroad bars. This battery, though too far off for doing much damage to our walls, unless they have or get heavy rifled guns, will be pretty safe from the effect of our horizontal fires. They appear to be at work today connecting this battery with one between it and the battery which fired on the Star of the West, by means of a covered way. Their engineering appears to be well devised and well executed, and their works, even in their present condition, will make it impossible for any hostile force, other than a large and well-appointed one, to enter this harbor, and the chances are that it will then be at a great sacrifice of life. Our 10-inch columbiads are now in position. One points towards the city, one towards Fort Moultrie, and the third can be directed either towards Fort Moultrie or Morris Island. They are at an angle of from 30˚ to 35˚. I tried a shell, a few evenings ago, and we calculated that from a charge of two pounds we got a range of about two thousand yards. I have also four 8-inch sea-coast howitzers planted in the area at an angle of 39˚. These bear upon Morris Island. I am now removing the pieces of flagging from the area of our work, as I want it clear, hoping that should any shells fall in it they will probably sink so deep that they will not do much, if any, damage. Captain Foster is engaged in experimenting with one of the iron shutters, trying to see whether we can use them in the lower embrasures. It is very desirable that these embrasures shall be made as secure as possible.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–Of course, in speaking of forcing an entrance, I do not refer to the little stratagem of a small party slipping in.

{p.164}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 5, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN Chief Engineer U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The sketch upon the margin below gives a pretty correct idea of the position of the works on Cummings Point, thrown up by the South Carolinians. Of course it is subject to errors, arising from the distance at which I am obliged to obtain the information by means of the spy-glass alone.

The lines of the work are not yet complete, the main efforts having been directed to getting ready those guns that are intended to fire upon this work. All the guns that I have indicated by a t are (or appear to be) in position and covered by bomb-proof roofs.

Those at a a are covered by heavy timbers, laid horizontally upon firm timber supports, similar to the marginal sketch. The revetment of the cheeks of the embrasures appear to be formed of palmetto logs, as also the revetment of the interior slope near the guns. The horizontal timbers are large 14-inch raft sticks, covered apparently by a lighter timber, or planking, running at right angles to the timbers. The guns at a a were being put upon their carriages (which I suspect, from their using a gin in the operation, are some of the barbette carriages {p.165} from Castle Pinckney or Fort Moultrie) at the time, I wrote to you this morning. Subsequently the rough opening of the embrasures was made and the revetment of the cheeks commenced.

The second bomb proof battery is built differently. The timbers on top are sloped at an angle of 45˚, about as in the sketch. They rest upon two horizontal supports parallel to the direction of the battery, one higher than the other, and these are supported by stout posts, about 5 feet from each other. Upon the timbers are placed at right angles a stout planking, and upon this again another covering running up and down. This last consists of railroad iron, apparently the T rail. The work has only progressed thus far, although there is no doubt that the whole is to be covered with sand. The guns are mounted and the openings for embrasures formed.

The work is carried on quite rapidly, considering the heavy nature of the work. The idea of covering the bomb-proof with iron and giving it an inclination is no doubt derived from the Sardinian method for forming the sides of a man-of-war, so as to deflect the shot.

A large force of negroes is employed in extending the embankment of the parapet so as to connect this battery with the field work.

The guard-boats are very active at night, and some are always on the watch by day.

Inside this fort the work of preparation goes steadily on. My force is now employed in clearing the parade of the stone flagging. I am also having all the material on hand made into sand bags.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.166}

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 6, 1861.

Hon. L. W. HAYNE, Attorney-General of the State of South Carolina:

SIR: The President of the United States has received your letter of the 31st ultimo,* and has charged me with the duty of replying thereto. In the communication addressed to the President by Governor Pickens, under date of the 12th of January,* and which accompanies yours, now before me, his excellency says:

I have determined to send to you Hon. L. W. Hayne, the attorney-general of the State of South Carolina, and have instructed him to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, to the constituted authorities of the State of South Carolina The demand I have made of Major Anderson, and which I now make of you, is suggested because of my earnest desire to avoid bloodshed, which a persistence in your attempt to retain the possession of that fort will cause, and which will be unavailing to secure to you that possession, but induce a calamity most deeply to be deplored.

The character of the demand thus authorized to be made appears under the influence, I presume, of the correspondence with the Senators to which you refer-to have been modified by subsequent instructions of his excellency, dated the 26th, and received by yourself on the 30th of January, in which he says:

If it be so that Fort Sumter is held as property, then as property, the rights, whatever they may be, of the United States can be ascertained; and for the satisfaction of these rights the pledge of the State of South Carolina you are authorized to give.

The full scope and precise purport of your instructions, as thus modified, you have expressed in the following words:

I do not come as a military man to demand the surrender of a fortress, but as the legal officer of the State-its attorney-general-to claim for the State the exercise of its undoubted right of eminent domain, and to pledge the State to make good all injury to the rights of property which arise from the exercise of the claim.

And lest this explicit language should not sufficiently define your position, you add:

The proposition now is that her (South Carolina’s) law officer should, under authority of the governor and his council, distinctly pledge the faith of South Carolina to make such compensation in regard to Fort Sumter and its appurtenances and contents, to the full extent of the money value of the property of the United States delivered over to the authorities of South Carolina by your command.

You then adopt his excellency’s train of thought upon the subject so far as to suggest that the possession of Fort Sumter by the United States, “if continued long enough, must lead to collision,” and that “an attack upon it would scarcely improve it as property, whatever the result, and if captured it would no longer be the subject of account.”

The proposal, then, now presented to the President is simply an offer on the part of South Carolina to buy Fort Sumter and contents as property of the United States, sustained by a declaration in effect that if she is not permitted to make the purchase she will seize the fort by force of arms. As the initiation of a negotiation for the transfer of property between friendly governments this proposal impresses the President as having assumed a most unusual form. He has, however, investigated the claim on which it professes to be based, apart from the declaration that accompanies it; and it may be here remarked that much stress has been laid upon the employment of the words “property” and “public property” by the President in his several messages. These are the most comprehensive terms which can be used in such a {p.167} connection, and surely, when referring to a fort or any other public establishment, they embraced the entire and undivided interest of the Government therein.

The title of the United States to Fort Sumter is complete and incontestable. Were its interest in this property purely proprietary, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, it might, probably, be subjected to the exercise of the right of eminent domain; but it has also political relations to it, of a much higher and more imposing character than those of mere proprietorship. It has absolute jurisdiction over the fort and the soil on which it stands. This jurisdiction consists in the authority to “exercise exclusive legislation” over the property referred to, and is, therefore clearly incompatible with the claim of eminent domain now insisted upon by South Carolina. This authority was not derived from any questionable revolutionary source, but from the peaceful cession of South Carolina herself, acting through her legislature, under a provision of the Constitution of the United States. South Carolina can no more assert the right of eminent domain over Fort Sumter than Maryland can assert it over the District of Columbia. The political and proprietary rights of the United States in either case rest upon precisely the same grounds.

The President is, however, relieved from the necessity of further pursuing, this inquiry by the fact that, whatever may be the claim of South Carolina to this fort, he has no constitutional power to cede or surrender it. The property of the United States has been acquired by force, of public law, and can only be disposed of under the same solemn sanctions. The President, as the head of the executive branch of the Government only, can no more sell and transfer Fort Sumter to South Carolina than he can sell and convey the Capitol of the United States to Maryland, or to any other State or individual seeking to possess it. His excellency the governor is too familiar with the Constitution of the United States, and with the limitations upon the powers of the Chief Magistrate of the Government it has established, not to appreciate at once the soundness of this legal proposition.

The question of re-enforcing Fort Sumter is so fully disposed of in my letter to Senator Slidell and others, under date of the 22d of January-copy of which accompanies this-that its discussion will not now be renewed. I then said: “At the present moment it is not deemed necessary to re-enforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request. Should his safety, however, require re-enforcements, every effort will be made to supply them.” I can add nothing to the explicitness of this language, which still applies to the existing status. The right to send forward re-enforcements when, in the judgment of the President, the safety of the garrison requires them rests on the same unquestionable foundation as the right to occupy the fortress itself.

In the letter of Senator Davis and others to yourself, under date of the 15th ultimo, they say: “We, therefore, think it especially due from South Carolina to our States, to say nothing of other slaveholding States, that she should, as far as she can consistently with her honor, avoid initiating hostilities between her and the United States or any other power”; and you now yourself give to the President the gratifying assurance that “South Carolina, has every disposition to preserve the public peace”; and, since he is himself sincerely animated by the same desire, it would seem that this common and patriotic object must be of certain attainment.

It is difficult, however, to reconcile with this assurance the declaration on your part that “it is a consideration of her (South Carolina’s) {p.168} own dignity as a sovereign, and the safety of her people, which prompts her to demand that this property should not longer be used as a military post by a Government she no longer acknowledges,” and the thought you so constantly present, that this occupation must lead to a collision of arms, and the prevalence of civil war.

Fort Sumter is in itself a military post, and nothing else and it would seem that not so much the fact as the purpose of its use should give to it a hostile or friendly character. This fortress is now held by the Government of the United States for the same objects for which it has been held from the completion of its construction. These are national and defensive, and were a public enemy now to attempt the capture of Charleston, or the destruction of the commerce of its harbor, the whole force of the batteries of this fortress would be at once exerted for their protection. How the presence of a small garrison, actuated by such a spirit as this, can compromise the dignity or honor of South Carolina, or become a source of irritation to her people, the President is at a loss to understand. The attitude of that garrison, as has been often declared, is neither menacing, nor defiant, nor unfriendly. It is acting under orders to stand strictly on the defensive, and the government and people of South Carolina must well know that they can never receive aught but shelter from its guns, unless, in the absence of all provocation, they should assault it, and seek its destruction. The intent with which this fortress is held by the President is truthfully stated by Senator Davis and others in their letter to yourself of the 15th of January in which they say, “It is not held with any hostile or unfriendly purpose towards your State, but merely as property of the United States, which the President deems it his duty to protect and preserve.”

If the announcement, so repeatedly made, of the President’s pacific purposes in continuing the occupation of Fort Sumter until the question shall have been settled by competent authority has failed to impress the government of South Carolina, the forbearing conduct of his administration for the last few months should be received as conclusive evidence of his sincerity; and if this forbearance, in view of the circumstances which have so severely tried it, be not accepted as a satisfactory pledge of the peaceful policy of this administration towards South Carolina, then it may be safely affirmed that neither language nor conduct can possibly furnish one. If, with all the multiplied proofs which exist of the President’s anxiety for peace and of the earnestness with which he has pursued it, the authorities of that State shall assault Fort Sumter and peril the lives of the handful of brave and loyal men shut up within its walls, and thus plunge our common country into the horrors of civil war, then upon them, and those they represent, must rest the responsibility.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War.

* Not of record in War Department.

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 6, 1861.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: I compliance with request communicated by your letter of the 31st ultimo, application has been made for $5,000, to be placed to your credit with the assistant treasurer at New York, and to be charged to {p.169} you on account of Fort Sumter. Personal effort will be made to secure this credit without delay, and you will be promptly informed as soon as the remittance is made.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. G. TOTTEN, Bvt. Brig. Gen., and Col. Eng.

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No. 35.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 6, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 9.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Nothing new. Still at work on Cummings Point, putting up iron shutters yesterday in the embrasures. They are, I suspect, pretty nearly ready over there. God grant that these people may not make the attack which they have so long threatened. I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 37.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 7, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 11.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The guard-boats were rather more on the alert last night than they have been for three or four nights previous. Last night we heard them, the South Carolinians, either at work on or moving pieces of iron. This morning they are at work, apparently either extending the bomb-proof on the seaward side or commencing to form a parapet for guns or a blind on that flank. I observe in the last English papers that a shipment of three rifled cannon has been made from England to Charleston. Such an addition to their battery would make our position much less secure than I have considered it; and if we are to have a collision, which God forbid, would render it necessary to send on re-enforcements in a few days after the commencement of hostilities.

I am, colonel respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 39.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 9, 1861. (Received. A. G. O., February 12.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the South Carolina troops continued their work yesterday, and they are also at work to-day on Cummings Point. The bomb-proof battery appears nearly finished, and there are now three guns (apparently heavy ones) mounted, bearing upon us, in a barbette battery about three hundred yards eastward of the bomb-proof battery, with which it appears to be connected by a covered way. They are also making some additions to, or making some alterations in, the mortar battery at Fort Johnson.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.170}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 9, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Nothing of marked importance has transpired since the date of my last letter. Your letters of the 2d and 6th are received. The South Carolinians on Cummings Point have been occupied in perfecting the embrasures and merlons for the three guns in the field work that bear most directly upon this fort, in connecting this battery with the bomb-proof iron-covered battery by a curtain, and in completing this latter battery and extending the parapet of its flanks. On Fort Moultrie the merlons between the guns looking in this direction have, been still farther raised, made roof-shaped on top, and supported more strongly by horizontal timbers, kept in place by braces extending across the embrasures at the top. I am now mining the wharf, and am also to arrange fougasses at different points on the exterior.

There does not appear to be very great activity among the South Carolinians, although the force is maintained the same.

I hear that five columbiads have arrived in the city from Richmond, and more are expected.

It is reported that the floating battery prepared in the city is a failure, the draught being greater than was expected.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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No. 40.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 10, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 13.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report everything quiet last night. This morning (Sunday) I see a few men at work-, apparently finishing the upper iron work on the slope of the bomb-proof battery. Three large cannon are visible this morning in the huge embrasures of the battery referred to yesterday, near the bomb-proof battery. We are preparing a few mines in front of and to the right and left of the entrance of our work. I would thank the honorable Secretary to give me instructions in reference to vessels bearing the flags of foreign governments in the event of the commencement of hostilities. I presume that no vessel should pass the fort.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 41.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 11, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

I have the honor to report the return of Lieutenant Hall, and to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st instant, communicating the gratifying approbation of the honorable Secretary of War of my course in relation to the tender of provisions by the governor of South Carolina, &c.

Everything was quiet yesterday and last night, as far as we could discover, around us. They are still at work with a small force on the {p.171} bomb-proof battery, near which they are now (12. m.) landing supplies from a steamer.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 42.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 12, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to say that everything around us appears quiet. They are now relieving the companies on Morris Island-the troops leaving would, we think, muster about 175. A steamboat is now landing ammunition and other stores at Cummings Point.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 43.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 13, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 16.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that nothing unusual has occurred, excepting that one of the South Carolina guard-boats came too near to our walls last night, as noticed in my letter to the Hon. D. F. Jamison a copy of which is herewith inclosed. Knowing that the Department would be interested in them, I shall send herewith three sketches, drawn by Captain Seymour, of this command, of Fort Johnson, Morris Island, and Fort Moultrie.* These sketches represent very prettily and accurately the batteries within our view, and other prominent objects in their vicinity, as seen through a spy-glass from our fort.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS, FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 13, 1861.

His Excellency F. W. PICKENS. Governor of South Carolina:

SIR: Knowing that your desire to prevent, and your determination, as far as in your power, to guard against the recurrence of anything calculated to add to the excitement which already unfortunately exists, I deem it my duty to report that the guard-boats, and occasionally small row-boats from Morris Island, have recently violated your orders by coming too near our walls. Yesterday morning one of the steamers-the General Clinch, I think-passed very near, and last night the guard-boats came nearer than was proper, twice-once about midnight, and again at 3.30 a.m.–when a steamer, although warned off by the sentinel, continued to approach, head on, until he fired his musket over her, when she altered her course. The gun-battery guard, I am happy to say, did not deem it necessary to fire.

Assuring you that every exertion will be made by me to guard against {p.172} any wrong act on the part of my command, and hoping that these boats will henceforth be more particular in obeying your instructions,

I am, sir, with sentiments of the highest regard, &c.

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 13, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that since the date of my last letter, the 11th, very little, apparently, has been done by the South Carolinians around us. The weather yesterday was quite pleasant, and a relief of some of the troops on Morris Island took place. I saw about 150 land, and was told that about the same number went away. A large number of negro laborers were likewise taken to the city, leaving only a small number at work on the parapet of the field work on Cummings Point.

This work appears to be nearly completed, and ready to open fire. In the iron bomb-proof are three heavy guns, believed to be, and from all reports are, 8-inch columbiads. The three guns farther to the left (our left) are probably 24 or 32 pounders. Those still farther to the left bearing on the channel and crossing their fire with the guns of Fort Moultrie, are of the same caliber. There is at least one gun in this position, and probably two. I cannot see them from the parapet on account of an intervening sand hill, but I saw a gin at work, at the position of one of the guns. Fort Morris and the lighthouse battery have probably been strengthened.

One mortar was lauded at Fort Johnson, and, it is reported, placed in the new battery to the south of Fort Johnson. Fort Moultrie has changed very little of late. A new flagstaff was erected a few days since, and the new State flag hoisted thereon. It is not a handsome, or pleasant flag to look at, being a dark-blue ground, with a white palmetto and crescent thereon. At a distance it is not unlike a black flag, with the piratical emblem (head and cross-bones) upon it.

In this fort the preparations continue with unabating activity. The open spaces which were left for the second-tier embrasures, and filled in with a brick wall after we entered the fort, were the weakest points to resist battering. I have had them re-enforced in various ways, some with a solid wall of stone flagging, others with irons and lumber, and others with earth packed in between two partitions of scantling and boards. This work is not yet completed. The cement and bricks gave out some time since. In a few days, however, I shall have these as secure as necessary.

The next step will be to secure from breaching fire the loopholed windows and piers between them on the gorge. I am preparing to plate the main ate with half-inch iron, to construct fougasses on the gorge and upon each face, and to make more complete arrangements for using shells and grenades over the parapet. Yesterday I completed the mines in the wharf, and the preparations for firing them. I also cut down the brick coping of the parapet on the gorge in front of one of the guns, so as to allow it to be depressed so as to sweep the end of the wharf. Upon trial it answered the expectations, and this morning the embrasure thus formed is being enlarged a little, so as to allow the canister (in bags) to strike nearer and sweep more of the wharf.

The guard-boats were unusually active last night:, and rather troublesome too, for one of them, improving upon their ordinary tricks of running {p.173} slowly past the fort at night with lights out, and close in to the fort, suddenly turned and headed directly in towards the fort. When very close our sentinel fired. The boat then sheered off and went out towards the bar. Loud voices and noises, as of riotous conduct, are reported as being heard on board.

If it should happen that supplies are sent to us by the Government, would it not be well to include cement and bricks enough to form some embrasures on the second tier?

I propose, if it meets your wishes, to write every day, if only a line, so that you may know if there is any interruption of the communication.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–Please excuse the half sheets, for our paper is getting scarce.

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No. 44.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 14, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 21.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report everything quiet, as far as we know, around us. Yesterday a few workmen were occupied apparently fitting the blinds in the embrasures of the bomb-proof battery on Cummings Point. A gun was fired yesterday in the direction of the channel from a point just eastward of the battery between the bomb-proof battery and the one which fired on the Star of the West, showing that vessels will be under fire from Morris Island after they pass the first battery.

I inclose another sketch * by Captain Seymour, showing the appearance of our area-battery of one 10-inch columbiad and four 8-inch sea-coast howitzers; also, a ground-plan indicating the positions and bearings of the guns in the area. These little memoranda, kindly and cheerfully prepared by the captain, give clearer views of the batteries than I could by my letters.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.

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No. 45.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 15, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I find that the adjutant made a mistake yesterday in not sending the sketch mentioned in my letter. He thinks that there was something in the envelope when he put the letter in which he supposed was the sketch. I have added another sketch to-day exhibiting the direction of and giving the distances from the walls of our work to the surrounding batteries, &c. I send also a copy of the reply of the Hon. D. F. Jamison to my communication in reference to the guard-boats. Like every other letter I have had from him, it is courteous and straightforward. I have the honor to report that for the last twenty-four hours nothing unusual has been noticed as having occurred around us. Yesterday afternoon there was loud and long-continued cheering at Cummings Point, but on what account we know not.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.174}

[Inclosures.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, S. C., February 14, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON:

SIR: Renewed instructions have been given to the officers commanding the night boats to keep at a proper distance from Fort Sumter, so as to prevent any collision between our people and your troops, and I hope you will have no further cause of complaint on the subject. I have instructed Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch, quartermaster-general, to send over to Fort Sumter the bundle and package mentioned in the note of Dr. Crawford.

I am, sir, respectfully yours,

D. F. JAMISON.

{p.175}

No. 46.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 16, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 19.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we cannot see that any work is being carried on at either of the works in sight, except that at Fort Moultrie they appear to be making some changes. They may, perhaps, be engaged in removing some of the heaviest of the guns of their battery, either to place them in the floating battery or on Morris Island, where their fire would be more effective against this work than it would be from Fort Moultrie. By the by, I should like to be instructed on a question which may present itself in reference to the floating battery, viz: What course would it be proper for me to take if, without a declaration of war, or a notification of hostilities, I should see them approaching my fort with that battery? They may attempt placing it within good distance before a declaration of hostile intention. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

The wind is freshening as though it may be the commencement of a storm.

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No. 47.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 17, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 21.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith No. 44 [14th instant], which was accidentally omitted when the mail was made Lip on the 14th instant. I shall hereafter give my personal attention to the mailing of my letters for your office.

We could not see any work prosecuted yesterday except that by small gangs of negroes who were shoveling sand at the western end of the bomb-proof battery on Cummings Point.

I saw in the Charleston papers of yesterday a call by the chief engineer for laborers to be engaged at work on the harbor defenses.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 17, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Everything is quiet, and there are no evidences of the presence of many troops around us, nor of military preparation. The assumption of all questions relating to forts, arsenals, &c., by the Congress of the Southern Confederacy appears to have placed a sudden check upon the military enterprise of the South Carolinians. The only operation performed yesterday was the firing of three shots from the iron bomb-proof battery on Cummings Point, apparently for the purpose of trying the embrasure shutters. These shutters appear to be of iron, and are arranged like a, trap-door, with a hinge at the upper edge, So that two men can open it-having, probably, a counterpoise in the interior.

{p.176}

I think these batteries can be destroyed by our fire by concentrating it upon one embrasure at a time, and aiming at the embrasure itself.

I cannot yet determine what is being done at Fort Moultrie. In addition to the sand bags, which raises the sole of the exterior about two feet, the whole embrasure is filled with a large bag of wool or cotton. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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No. 48.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 18, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we did not observe that any work was being carried on within view yesterday except by a small party of negroes, engaged in extending the covered way from the bombproof battery in the direction of the steamboat landing near it. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 49.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 19, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the South Carolinians are still at work near the bomb-proof battery on Cummings Point. I am not certain as to their intentions. The accompanying sketch, just taken by Captain Seymour, shows the appearance of their work as we see it from our walls.*

We are daily adding to our defensive arrangements. I have had the parapet cut down in front of one of the 24-pounders on the gorge, which, by a slight alteration of the carriage, &c., enables me to get a depression of 18 1/2˚, thus commanding, with a charge of canister, the greater portion of the wharf and the right basin. I am also having some of the flagging removed at the base of the wall in various places, thus obstructing their movements in the event of their effecting a landing at the base of our work.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–Since the above letter was written, the inclosed copy was handed me of the proceedings of the council of administration on the application of the Rev. Mr. Menes, of Bath, Me., for the chaplaincy of this post. Although very desirous of having the privilege of having a chaplain here, I cannot but think that in the present condition of affairs, and this, too, not having been designated as a chaplaincy post, it would not be expedient to have one now sent us. I appreciate very highly the motives which appear to have governed the reverend gentleman in making his application, and regret that it has not been deemed proper to ask that his request should be granted.

Respectfully,

R. A.

* Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.

{p.177}

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., February 20, 1861.

Lieut. Col. HENRY L. SCOTT, A. D. C., &c., New York:

See Captain Ward, commanding the North Carolina, receiving ship, and ask him to get his squadron ready as soon as he can, and let you know how many recruits he will want in addition to his marines; learn, also, what subsistence stores he will want, including a good quantity of desiccated vegetables; also coals, &c. See that he is supplied with everything for Anderson. I shall write to-morrow. No time now. Afraid of the wires.

WINFIELD SCOTT.

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No. 50.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 20, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 23.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the work, a sketch of which was sent yesterday, is this morning nearly as high as the bomb-proof battery. Another battery has been discovered on Morris Island, just under the point of the woods, and to, the right of and near to the battery from which the Star of the West was fired upon. See sketch of that island forwarded in No. 45. *

They are also extending the glacis in front of the southwest face of Fort Moultrie.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Not, found, but see inclosure in Foster to Totten, April 5, post.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 20, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL: Not having yet been able to obtain my papers from the office in the city, although I have made arrangements by which I shall soon get them, I thought it best to send off at once the monthly paper, and then to make out and send the cash statements and quarterly returns as soon as I obtain my vouchers from town. I therefore inclose to-day the following, viz:

Report of operations for Fort Sumter for December, 1860.

Report of operations for preservation of site of Fort Moultrie for December, 1860.

Report of operations for Castle Pinckney for December, 1860.

The operations of the South Carolinians around us are principally confined to their line of works on Cummings Point, westward towards the extreme point of the land. The negroes that were brought down day before yesterday are, still at work upon the embankment of the parapet of this extension. It is probably their intention to form either a mortar battery or another breaching battery. The work, however, does not advance very rapidly. This is partly due to the weather, which, with the exception of some few pleasant days, has been excessively unfavorable to field operations, almost from the very day we came {p.178} from Fort Moultrie. In addition, it strikes me that there is no great vigor exhibited in hurrying forward the work at present.

The arrangement that I spoke of above for getting my vouchers and the records of the office is this: General Jamison, Secretary of War of South Carolina, in reply to a request from me either to allow my former clerk to collect and send down my papers, &c., or to permit my present clerk to go to town for this purpose, has informed me that he has directed my former clerk (now Lieut. Jos. J. Legare, South Carolina Engineer Corps) to collect and send to me all the property in my office in town, belonging to me or the Government of the United States, that I might want. I have accordingly written to send all the vouchers, papers, records, and maps.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

[Inclosures.]

JANUARY 1, 1861.

Extract from report of operations at Fort Sumter, S. C., for the month of December, 1860.

The operations of the month were steadily increased from the 1st to the 26th. The casemate arches were completed; the bluestone flagging of the first tier inside of the outer traverse circles was laid on the two faces and a part of the right flank; all of the traverse stones of the first tier were reset; the granite flagging of the second tier on the right face was laid; the construction of the embrasures of the second tier was commenced, and the finishing of the east barrack was also commenced.

On the night of the 26th Major Anderson transferred his command from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and assumed command of the fort. The Engineer force broke up on the morning of the 28th, and the majority of the men left the fort. The regular work was then stopped, and all the remaining force was at once put at work mounting guns, under charge of Lieutenant Snyder, and otherwise preparing to meet and repulse any attack that the forces of the State might make upon us.

The few remaining days of the month were thus employed. A considerable quantity of material remaining on hand was of great value in making the preparations, and everything was freely used for this purpose.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 1, 1861.

Extract from report of operations at preservation of the site of Fort Moultrie the month of December, 1860.

...

The operations of the month were brought to a sudden close by the evacuation of the fort by Major Anderson’s command, on the night of the 26th of December, and its occupation by the troops of South Carolina on the following evening. My letters previous to that time gave so full an account of the work being done that it is unnecessary to repeat it here, especially as the report is delayed much beyond the usual time.

Respectfully submitted.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

{p.179}

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FORT SUMTER, January 1, 1861.

Extract from report of operations at Castle Pinckney, Charleston Harbor, S. C., for the month of December, 1660.

...

The operations of the month comprise the organization of the messing and lodging arrangements for the party, the policing of the work, the putting all the guns and carriages in good working order, the repairing and securing of the embrasure shutters and the main gate, the rebuilding of the cistern in the east circular half bastion, and the commencement to rebuild the wooden banquettes in the half bastions. The work, with all the property that it contained, was forcibly taken possession of on the afternoon of the 27th, by the troops of South Carolina, an entrance being effected by scaling the wall at the circular bastion by means of ladders.

Lieut. R. K. Meade, Corps of Engineers, in charge, was suffered to withdraw to Fort Sumter, where he reported to me.

Respectfully submitted.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., February 21, 1861.

Lieut. Col. HENRY L. SCOTT, Acting Adjutant-General, New York:

SIR: I inclose a copy of a memorandum made by Lieutenant Hall, showing what articles are required at Fort Sumter, in addition to the usual supplies of the Subsistence Department, which the General-in-Chief wishes you to take measures to procure and have transferred to Captain Ward of the Navy, if he can take them on his vessels.

Please also have prepared as large a supply of subsistence as Captain Ward can take, including desiccated vegetables and potted meats.

When the expedition under Captain Ward shall sail (time yet uncertain) he may require a detachment of from fifty to two hundred recruits, with or without officers, as he may wish. See that they are confidentially prepared for that service.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. THOMAS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 51.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 21, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that they are still busily occupied extending the work at Cummings Point, and also the glacis at Fort Moultrie. We are placing the heavy pieces of wrought iron, intended for the second tier of embrasures, in the outer recesses of the windows of the second-story gorge front. They will act as good fenders there.

I am, colonel, very respectfully your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.180}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 21, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a roll of letter paper from the Engineer Office. The work on the hostile batteries on Cummings Point continues slowly.

This morning a flag was raised up on a flagstaff situated nearly in the middle of the north front of the portion of the entrenchments denominated the “field work” in my letter of the 27th. January. The body of the flag is red, with a blue union in the upper staff corner, having upon it the palmetto and crescent in white.

My operations continue. The plating of the outer gate with half-inch iron will be completed at noon to-day. The placing of the cheek irons for the embrasures in the recesses of the windows on the gorge, second tier, has been carried as far as the main gate from the southeast angle. The irons are placed as shown in the margin. Stones are placed in the recesses on the first tier. These, although not as good as they might be, will answer for the present, and if broken by a breaching fire call be more easily replaced than they could be if they were on the second tier.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, New York, February 22, 1861.

[Col. L. THOMAS, A. A. G.:]

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential letter of the 21st instant, conveying instructions of the General-in-Chief. I have already taken steps towards executing those instructions, by conferring with Captain Ward, of the Navy, and the quartermaster and commissary of subsistence on duty in this city. I shall see Major Thornton to-morrow. Captain Ward will not be able to take any bales of hay for bedding purposes, and at his suggestion I propose to send mattresses to Fort Sumter instead, unless objected to by the General-in-Chief. Captain Ward will provide the coal and wood which Lieutenant Hall’s memorandum calls for. In relation to clothing, I am unable to make out what the memorandum requires. Instead, therefore., of writing myself to Philadelphia, I beg that the necessary orders may be given from Washington to the clothing officers in Philadelphia to send to Colonel Tompkins here the clothing required by the memorandum, and the garrison flag and cord for lanyards on this same memorandum. I shall see that everything else on the memorandum is provided here, including such groceries as might be for sale to officers, &c. The clothing should be put up in small bales, so that it may be distributed among the vessels. Colonel Tompkins will attend to its proper marking after its arrival here. Please let me know as soon as you give the {p.181} order to the clothing department. I saw Commodore Bruce, who will do all that he can, but hopes to receive instructions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. L. SCOTT.

P. S.–I have arranged with Captain Ward to send all the stores, &c., on board the North Carolina, addressed to him. He will attend to their distribution among his vessels.

H. L. S., Lieutenant-Colonel.

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No. 52.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 22, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that they are forming three embrasures in the work near the bomb-proof battery. We are, as I write (12. m.), firing a national salute from our battery in honor of the day.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 22, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington D. C.:

GENERAL: The work on the third breaching battery on Cummings Point has progressed so that the embrasures, three in number, are being commenced. Some work was also done on Fort Moultrie yesterday and the day before; at least it was commenced the day before. This consists of a parapet of earth in front of the scarp wall of the front that faces us, apparently intended to serve as a glacis, as it rises to the height of the cordon. It is revetted on the side next the scarp wall with barrels, and has a pretty steep slope upon the side towards us.

The parallelogram a b shows its position very nearly. This sketch in black* shows in a rough way the condition of the fort when we left it, {p.182} being bordered on all sides but one with a shallow wet ditch and picket fence, which fence was again protected by a small glacis in front of it. The large glacis on the sea front was very nearly completed, and the second caponiere would have been completed and the guns mounted in four days.

This morning at sunrise a salute of thirteen guns was fired from Castle Pinckney. I understand that Major Anderson has ordered a salute to be fired at noon to-day.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

* In original sketch a b is drawn in red.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, February 23, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

SIR: It is proper I should state distinctly that you hold Fort Sumter as you held Fort Moultrie, under the verbal orders communicated by Major Buell,* subsequently modified by instructions addressed to you from this Department, under date of the 21st of December, 1860.

In your letter to Adjutant-General Cooper, of the 16th instant, you say:

I should like to be instructed on a question which may present itself in reference to the floating battery, viz: What course would it be proper for me to take if, without a declaration of war or a notification of hostilities, I should see them approaching my fort with that battery? They may attempt placing it within good distance before a declaration of hostile intention.

It is not easy to answer satisfactorily this important question at this distance from the scene of action. In my letter to you of the 10th of January I said:

You will continue, as heretofore, to act strictly on the defensive, and to avoid, by all means compatible with the safety of your command, a collision with the hostile forces by which you are surrounded.

The policy thus indicated must still govern your conduct.

The President is not disposed at the present moment to change the instructions under which you have been heretofore acting, or to occupy any other than a defensive position. If, however, you are convinced by sufficient evidence that the raft of which you speak is advancing for the purpose of making an assault upon the fort, then you would be justified on the principle of self-defense in not awaiting its actual arrival there, but in repelling force by force on its approach. If, on the other hand, you have reason to believe that it is approaching merely to take up a position at a good distance should the pending question be not amicably settled, then, unless your safety is so clearly endangered as to render resistance an act of necessary self-defense and protection, you will act with that forbearance which has distinguished you heretofore in permitting the South Carolinians to strengthen Fort Moultrie and erect new batteries for the defense of the harbor. This will be but a redemption of the implied pledge contained in my letter on behalf of the President to Colonel Hayne, in which, when speaking of Fort Sumter, it is said:

The attitude of that garrison, as has been often declared, is neither menacing, nor defiant, nor unfriendly. It is acting under orders to stand strictly on the defensive, and the government and people of South Carolina must know that they can never receive aught but shelter from its guns, unless, in the absence of all provocation, they should assault it and seek its destruction.

{p.183}

A dispatch received in this city a few days since from Governor Pickens, connected with the declaration on the part of those convened at Montgomery, claiming to act on behalf of South Carolina as well as the other seceded States, that the question of the possession of the forts and other public property therein had been taken from the decision of the individual States and would probably be preceded in its settlement by negotiation with the Government of the United States, has impressed the President with a belief that there will be no immediate attack on Fort Sumter and the hope is indulged that wise and patriotic counsels may prevail and prevent it altogether.

The labors of the Peace Congress have not yet closed, and the presence of that body here adds another to the powerful motives already existing for the adoption of every measure, except in necessary self-defense, for avoiding a collision with the forces that surround you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT.

* See Major Buell’s memorandum, December 11, 1860, p. 89.

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No. 53.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 23, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 26.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith some slips from the Charleston Mercury of yesterday. That paper publishes everything that is calculated to bring on a collision. I do not consider the rumor worthy of the least attention, but it accounts for the increased vigor exhibited last night, and continued to-day, in pushing forward their works on Cummings Point and at Fort Moultrie. They were working at the former place until midnight last night, and a large force is busy there now on the parapet (in which openings are formed apparently for four embrasures), and in hauling up timbers from a raft. A large shed has been put up, which may be intended for a bomb-proof storehouse or a magazine. At Fort Moultrie the glacis is being rapidly extended, and it is high enough to cover their wall, as if they expected me to attempt breaching it. They are also at work this morning on the gun battery at Fort Johnson.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding

[Inclosures.]

FEDERAL RE-ENFORCEMENTS AT HAND.

The special dispatches of the Mercury announcing that a stealthy re-enforcement of Fort Sumter had been determined on, and that Federal troops, in boats, might be expected at any moment that circumstances should happen to favor their attempt to reach the fort, were confirmed about 9 o’clock last night by telegrams received by the governor. Shortly afterwards dispatches came up from Fort Moultrie, Stating that the lieutenant in charge of the harbor watch had reported that he was informed by a pilot that the steamship Daniel Webster had been seen by him off Cape Romain at noon. Notice was immediately given to the different posts. General Dunovant and Captain Hamilton proceeded immediately to Fort Moultrie; Major Stevens repaired to the Morris Island batteries. Everything was got in readiness for the expected visitors.

Up to the hour at which we go to press (half past 4 o’clock) there has been nothing seen either of the Daniel Webster or her boats. We are very sure that the gallant troops on Morris and Sullivan’s Islands will keep a bright lookout for both.

{p.184}

SECOND DISPATCH.

WASHINGTON, February 21-6 p.m.

There is the best of reason for believing that Holt designs re-enforcing secretly, by boats, at night. The re-enforcements have already been sent. You may look out for them at any moment. The programme is also to surround Fort Pickens with ships of war. That post is considered impregnable to the Southern forces. The whole anxiety of Scott and the coercionists centers now in Fort Sumter. There the Cabinet has determined that Lincoln shall find everything ready to his hand.

FORT SUMTER.–The Washington correspondents of Northern papers are continually disposing of this formidable post in divers ways. The last bulletin which we notice “settles the fact” in this summary style:

“I have just read a private letter from a citizen of South Carolina, formerly in Congress from that State, which states that Fort Sumter will be taken, at whatever cost of life, on or before the 4th of March next. The writer is himself to take part in the enterprise, and as he is also perfectly well informed in regard to the intentions of the State authorities, it may be considered that this information settles the fact, if there is any doubt of it, that the fort is to be taken, and without reference to what the Montgomery government may advise or order on the subject.”

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 23, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that the work upon the batteries on Cummings Point was continued last night until 12 o’clock. This increased activity seemed to have been consequent upon the visit of some official of rank, probably Governor Pickens, to these batteries in the afternoon. Guns were fired from the batteries and from Fort Moultrie in considerable numbers about the same time that the steamers [arrived] bearing the person or persons who were visiting the batteries, and were either salutes of six and seven guns each or were merely practice firing. The principal work consists of that upon the battery that I reported yesterday as being in process of construction, and upon the erection of sheds of this form which you perceive can be turned into bomb-proofs, covering them with earth. One of these, situated at the extreme western point of Cummings Point, is already up, and a sufficient number of rafts were towed there last night to construct two or three more.

At Fort Moultrie a force of about fifty laborers is still at work embanking the glacis in front of the face towards us. Yesterday I completed placing the cheek irons for the embrasures in the recesses of the windows on the gorge, and to-day I shall charge the fougasses on the esplanade at the gorge, and then commence clearing the parade of rubbish. I have also to take down another temporary building to obtain fuel. I have a second one yet standing, that will furnish fuel as long as the provisions will last. The weather is very pleasant and warm.

I received from the Department another roll of writing paper to-day, with two bundles of envelopes, one of large and the other of medium letter size.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.185}

No. 54.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 24, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that operations mentioned in No. 53 were continued through the day. Early this morning a few negroes were seen shoveling sand at the new battery on Cummings Point, but, perhaps, in respect for the day, the work appears to be now suspended.

I feel that I have omitted too long placing officially on record the expression of my acknowledgments and thanks for the kindness shown by Asst. Surg. S. W. Crawford, Medical Department, and Lieutenants Snyder and Meade, U. S. Engineer Corps, in volunteering to relieve the company officers of this post by taking their turns as officers of the day.

Dr. Crawford commenced taking his tour as officer of the day regularly soon after we came over here, and Lieutenants Snyder and Meade offered their services as soon as they felt themselves at liberty to do so. I am under many obligations to these gentlemen for their having thus come forward to the relief of their brother officers, on whom the duties of the post were pressing very heavily.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 55.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 25, 1861. (Received A. G. O., February 25.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army :

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that yesterday, after midday, large parties were at work at Cummings Point on a new battery and on the covered way leading from the bomb-proof battery to the first battery to the eastward of it, and also on the gun battery at Fort Johnson. They are placing muck on the mortar battery at Fort Johnson. This morning a large force is engaged on the covered way on Cummings Point, and smaller parties on the new battery this side of the bomb-proof battery, and extending the glacis at Fort Moultrie. I am having some of my guns moved from the right to the left face of this fort, where they will be equally effective for the purpose I wish them, and will be safe from the fire of the Morris Island battery constructed to take them in the flank.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 25, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL:

The sudden change from the warm temperature of yesterday to the cold and wind of to-day seems to have a chilling effect upon the negro laborers employed on the parapet of the new battery at Cummings Point, and they have been mostly withdrawn and placed at work in the ditch of the curtain connecting the iron bomb-proof battery and the {p.186} three-gun battery in the field work to the east. The high wind of last night blew down the storehouse and quarters that I mentioned yesterday and the day before.

At the mortar battery south of Fort Johnson a party commenced work soon after dinner yesterday (Sunday) and worked until night, throwing up a mass of muck in front of and against the parapet, apparently to protect it from the wash of the surf, and also to increase its thickness.

On Fort Moultrie they are still at work at the glacis. It appears now that it is not so nearly parallel to the face that fronts us as I drew it in my letter two days since, but rather inclines to be parallel with the beach. It is already extended so as to cross “Fort street.” It is evident that this may be used as a shelter for a line of mortars, but I hardly believe it will be so used, as there is already built a battery for mortars lower down the island.

The South Carolinians had only three or four mortars, and I have heard of the arrival of but three since the commencement of hostile preparations.

The health of the command is very good, with no sickness among the officers or men of sufficient importance to take them from a single day’s ditty. Major Anderson is and has been well, and there was no foundation for the report of his illness.

I received yesterday a note from Captain Wright, containing some interesting private information, and take this means of acknowledging it, so that he may know that it was received.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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No. 56.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 26, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that they appear to be strengthening the covered way on Cummings Point, and that they are this morning fitting in the timber frame for the third embrasure of the battery at the end of the point nearest to us. They are still at work on the glacis at Fort Moultrie, and appear to have extended wings back from the mortar battery near Fort Johnson.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 26, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Very little appears to be done since yesterday, although quite a large force of laborers have been at work upon the third breaching battery and upon the curtain connecting the first and the second (the iron bomb-proof battery). A second embrasure was formed in the third battery. The work upon the curtain has apparently for object to excavate the ditch deeper, throwing out all the sand that had blown in, and to make the parapet stronger. It will thus serve as an admirable {p.187} position for a line of mortars. The work on the other batteries around us was hardly worthy of note yesterday.

The troops on Fort Moultrie practiced with ball to obtain the ranges of the channel and especially of that point in the main channel where it turns towards the city. The buoy on this side of the channel at this point is five-eighths of a mile from us, in a direction a little south of east. The practice was excellent, all the shot striking the water nearly in the same spot; so it will be seen that the ranges are well understood now, and any vessel coming in must not expect to fare as well as the Star of the West.

The second fougasse on the gorge was charged, means for firing arranged, and the stone loaded upon it during the day yesterday.

I am to submit to-day to Major Anderson a written memorandum of the condition of the work and its capabilities to resist a bombardment, together with any additional preparations that I have to suggest. He also requires the same of Lieutenants Snyder and Meade.

I am now taking down a third temporary building to obtain fuel. There are two other buildings remaining, besides which are twelve gun carriages. I have a small quantity of new lumber reserved for emergencies. Our supplies and mails come from town as usual.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, February 28, 1861.

Maj. R. ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: I acknowledge the receipt of your several communications, including No. 55, of the 25th instant. The Secretary of War directs me to send you the inclosed slip, and to say that the Peace Convention yesterday agreed upon the basis of a settlement of our political difficulties, which was reported to Congress. The Secretary entertains the hope that nothing will occur now of a hostile character.

I am, sir, &c.,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure.]

The Commissioners from the Southern Confederacy are expected to arrive here before the close of this week. They are accredited to the incoming administration, and pending the efforts to negotiate, nothing will be done calculated to disturb the public peace.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 28, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Yesterday and to-day being pleasant, the work upon the Cummings Point batteries has progressed well. The third battery for breaching is nearly completed, three embrasures being fully constructed and a fourth nearly so. Four 24-pounder guns were landed yesterday, evidently to arm this battery. They were upon siege carriages.

{p.188}

The work that I spoke of in my last letter as being commenced upon the middle of the curtain, connecting the first breaching battery and the second, has not sufficiently developed itself to be positive in its character, but it appears to be a large magazine and a battery for three or more guns. A considerable force is also at work on that portion of the field work looking towards Fort Moultrie and the channel, but I cannot see what is being done. I have no doubt that it is the construction of one or more embrasures, in addition to the one there before, to fire on the channel. The floating raft intended to be used to breach the walls of this fort was launched yesterday in town. I can see it with my glass. The iron does not appear to have been yet put upon the timber. If I am correct in this, it will require several days to prepare it for action.

Yesterday I was principally employed in demolishing the temporary building for fuel, removing materials, &c., of blacksmith shop to the casemates, clearing the parade, &c.

I have strongly recommended the increasing of the present armament of the gorge (six 24-pounders) at once, by means of the casemate carriages, so altered as to answer for barbette carriages, but the recommendation has not yet been acted on.

I did not write to the Department yesterday morning, having been closely employed until it was too late to do so before the mail closed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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No. 59.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 1, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that nothing unusual occurred to-day, except the arrival from the city of a steamboat, fully loaded with troops, at Sullivan’s Island. The works around us are being carried on with the same activity as heretofore. Yesterday some guns were fired from a battery on Sullivan’s Island to the eastward of the Moultrie House.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 1, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that nothing of importance connected with the hostile batteries around us has transpired since I wrote yesterday. The work then in progress on the batteries on Cummings Point has continued steadily, but without any marked activity; the fourth embrasure in battery No. 3 (breaching) is revetted and the parapet nearly finished; the work on the curtain of 1 and 2 is either a magazine or a bomb-proof of timber to be used as a battery, like battery No. 2. Little of note is observed at Fort Moultrie. The large bag of cotton or wool still remains in each embrasure precisely as it was placed some time ago which makes me now believe that the guns on that face have really been dismounted to be used in other batteries.

{p.189}

The guns looking toward the channel are covered by high and solid merlons so that they cannot be taken in flank, and are kept in good working order, as is evidenced by their frequent practice. Last evening the South Carolinians practiced from the batteries on Cummings Point, from. Fort Moultrie, and from the channel battery above the Moultrie House, on Sullivan’s Island. I cannot obtain with the glass satisfactory observations of what is being done with the floating breach battery or “raft.” I am inclined to think, however, from information, that there is a distrust of its success in the minds of many military men in the city. I think it can be destroyed by our fire before it has time to do much damage.

I received yesterday, directions from Major Anderson which I gladly proceeded to execute, to the effect to increase the armament of the barbette tier in the way recommended by all the Engineer officers. I have put Lieutenant Snyder and the whole gang of workmen at this work. We will adapt one casemate carriage to serve for barbette and mount one 42-pounder to-day.

In obedience to requirement all the officers handed in to Major Anderson “confidential” estimates of the force necessary to insure a re-enforcement of this fort, or to relieve it, yesterday morning. These were sent to Washington.* My estimate was as follows: To land and carry the batteries on Cummings Point and Morris Island, 3,000 regulars, or 10,000 volunteers; to land and carry the batteries on Sullivan’s Island (at the same time), 3,000 regulars, or 10,000 volunteers more; to hold the above positions after taking them, 10,000 regulars, or 30,000 volunteers. The forces to be overcome in the attack are supposed to be those of the South Carolinians, aided by troops that may be gathered from the adjoining States at short notice.

If time be, given for concentration of the troops of this section the above estimate will be inadequate.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

* See inclosure D, following Lincoln to Cameron, March 15, p. 202.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 2, 1861.

[General TOTTEN:]

GENERAL: There is very little activity to be observed in the surrounding batteries this morning, although the weather is remarkably fine. The little that is being done is in the field work on Cummings Point, which is being enlarged to the eastward, evidently with a view of covering the whole of this point with the work, having the parapet as near high-water line as practicable, as it now is in that portion of the work towards us. The batteries will then all be included in a continuous line, extending from the point towards the entrance to “Light-house Creek,” around to the seaward. The breaching battery No. 3 is completed, as is also the work on the middle of the curtain of 1 and 2, which is a mortar battery with a magazine.

The cheering news from Washington of the action of the Peace Conference and of the House of Representatives gave us great satisfaction.

One 42-pounder gun was put in position and the carriage put in good order, so that the gun can be used with more effect than the others on the barbette tier. Three 32-pounders are being removed to the gorge, {p.190} and as soon as this is done a 42-pounder will next be mounted there. After this, we will make an effort, with some new blocks that we have made, to raise a 10-inch columbiad and to mount it at the right gorge angle.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

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No. 63.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 5, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that parties are working to-day on the mortar battery at Fort Johnson, which they are making higher and stronger, and on the Morris Island batteries, numbered on Captain Seymour’s sketch Nos. 1, 9, and 10. They, are filling the embrasures in this last battery, in which we see that one gun has been placed. They are also at work on the covered way connecting Nos. 9 and 7.*

I presume, from the movements around us yesterday, that Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard assumed command and made an inspection of the forts, &c., in this harbor, which are garrisoned by the South Carolina troops.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 5, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: The work on the Cummings Point batteries continues steadily. This morning the greatest number of laborers seem to be employed in repairing the injuries to the parapets caused by the wind of yesterday and the wind and rain of last night. The work in the third breaching battery yesterday indicated that the platforms for the guns were being laid, and that it was being made ready for its guns; one, 24-pounder has stood in front of it for three days. A small working party is still engaged upon the mortar battery on James Island. It is reported from the city that the floating battery does not come up to anticipations, inasmuch as it draws seven feet of water without its armament, and requires a counterpoise on the reverse to counteract the tendency to tip towards the front, Owing to the weight of the shield on that side. Yesterday three steamers landed troops and supplies on Cummings Point, and appearances indicated that preparations were making for immediate action in case the news from Washington exhibited a coercive policy on the part of the administration. It is reported that General Beauregard visited the batteries on Cummings Point yesterday.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.191}

No. 64.]

FORT SUMTER, March 6, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 9.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that a very large re-enforcement was landed last night at Cummings Point and bivouacs near No. 10. This morning it was marched out of sight, around the point of the island. Yesterday the three other guns were mounted in No. 10, thus completing its armament of four heavy pieces. They continued working yesterday it the places mentioned in my report, and are still so occupied to-day. A party has also been at work this morning on the Fort Moultrie glacis. Everything indicates activity and determination.

I had the honor to present in No. 58* my opinion of the strength of the army which will be necessary to force an entrance into the harbor. The presence here, as commander, of General Beauregard, recently of the U. S. Engineers, insures, I think, in a great measure, the exercise of skill and sound judgement in all operations of the South Carolinians in this harbor. God grant that our country may be saved from the horrors of a fratricidal war!

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* No. 58, and several other of Anderson’s letters, not found.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 6, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that during the day, and especially towards night, unusual activity was observed among the South Carolinians around us. Several steamer loads of men were landed on Cummings Point. The number was greater than the arrangements for shelter, apparently, for I observe quite a large number grouped about their bivouac fires this morning. Their suffering must have been considerable during the night, for the weather suddenly changed from the warm temperature of the preceding days to a high degree of cold for this climate, the wind blowing fresh from the north.

I learn that portable hot-shot furnaces have been furnished to several, and probably all, of the batteries. The mortar battery on James Island, south of Fort Johnson, is armed, but the number of mortars is not ascertained. The magazine in the flank of this battery is also finished. The mortar battery on Sullivan’s Island, west of Fort Moultrie, is also armed.

All the batteries on Morris Island are armed. The guns range from 32-pounders down, with the exception of the iron bomb-proof, which is (I think, from all reports and observations) armed with 8 inch columbiads-three of them.

The raft does not meet expectations. It is being covered with railroad strap-iron instead of the T rail. This has a cross-section of about three-fourths or one inch by two inches or two and a half inches. They are now ironing the top portion, the front not being yet commenced. Two 8-inch columbiads are lying on the wharf ready to be put on board. I do not think this floating battery will prove very formidable.

We have not yet received the inaugural address of President Lincoln, although it is reported from town that it is coercive in its character, and that much excitement prevails.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.192}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 7, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The increased activity exhibited in the batteries of the South Carolinians yesterday continues this morning. The work on Morris Island is mostly confined to the strengthening of breach battery No. 3. On James Island a considerable force is still engaged in strengthening the mortar battery. Generally speaking, there is more earnestness exhibited now than for several days previous to the 5th instant. The Confederate flag was displayed yesterday from the custom-house. General Beauregard is, it is understood, in command of the forces here under the authority of the Confederation. The reception on Morris Island that we observed on the 4th was that of Governor Pickens and General Beauregard.

I have received the two letters of the 2d and a copy of Major Mordecai’s report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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No. 67.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 9, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 12.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we can see the South Carolinians engaged this morning strengthening and extending considerably what we, supposed to have been intended for a mortar battery at Fort Johnson. Small parties are also working at Nos. 9 and 10, and a very heavy force at the bend of the island, this side of No. 1. Whether they are constructing another battery there, or strengthening One that is already there, I cannot tell. One of my officers reports that he has counted nine 24-pounders which have been landed at Cummings Point within a week. Yesterday he saw several shot or shells, which appeared to be about eight inches in diameter. They are certainly busy strengthening the batteries already constructed, and probably adding others.

It appears to me that vessels will even now, from the time they cross the bar, be under fire from the batteries on Morris Island until they get under the walls of this work. I do not speak of the batteries which have been constructed on Sullivan’s Island, as I am not certain of their positions. Fort Moultrie will, of course, be a very formidable enemy.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 9, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Soon after I closed my letter* for the mail yesterday, and while two officers were getting ready to bear a letter from Major Anderson demanding an explanation, all officer from Cummings Point, Major Stevens, came with a white flag and a letter from the commanding officer Colonel Gregg, offering an ample apology. It appears that in practicing {p.193} at drill the fact of one of the guns being shotted was forgotten, and hence the occurrence.

I commence this morning to close the openings of the loopholes on the first tier solidly with stone. In raising the second 10-inch columbiad from the parade to the terre-plein yesterday afternoon the strap of the upper block broke when the gun was nearly up, and it fell, breaking the cross-pieces of the derrick, striking the end of the casemate arch of the first tier, and burying itself one-half its length in the ground. No one was injured, for the first signs of giving way had been observed and every one made to stand clear. The injury to the derrick will be soon repaired and the columbiad again hoisted.

Last night a severe storm of wind and rain arose, which lasted all night, and bids fair to be renewed to-day.

The men in the batteries on Morris Island are actively at work repairing damages to the parapets and in extending the field work around on the channel side of Cummings Point and forming new batteries there. Three or four 24-pounders on siege carriages were landed yesterday. I have before reported that the evident intention was to form a large field work entirety covering the point. Its present extent will require one thousand men to defend it, and the work still continues.

I have omitted to report previously that a guard ship, or bark, is anchored on the main ship bar, apparently as a signal ship; also, that the two revenue cutters taken from the Government are usually anchored on the side of the main ship channel towards Cummings Point-one of them northeast of the point and the other more to the north of it. They are armed with guns or howitzers, probably of small caliber.

The storm of last night swamped one of the boats here. It was the Fort Moultrie barge, brought over with the command.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

* Letter not found, but see Beauregard to Walker, March 9, Confederate Correspondence, &c., post.

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No. 68.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 10, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we see only two parties, both quite large ones, at work to-day-one at the new battery, mentioned yesterday, near Fort Johnson, and the other on Morris Island, at the bend of the island, near No. 1. My command, thank God, is quite well, and in fine spirits.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 69.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 11, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, perhaps in consequence Of the prevalence of a high and cold wind, very little work appears to be going on around us. A few persons have been at work at the new battery near Fort Johnson, at Fort Moultrie, and also at the battery which fired on the Star of the West.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.194}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 11, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: The sudden change of temperature from the warmth of yesterday to the cold of last night and this morning seems to have checked the ardor of the laborers on the field work on Cummings Point, as but little activity is observed this morning. The work on the extension of the line of parapet on the channel side towards the Star of the West battery, still continues. Very little else appears to be doing. We are still steadily at work, and will try the second 10-inch columbiad again to-day.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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No. 70.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 12, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the pleasure of reporting that Lieutenant Snyder has succeeded in raising another 10-inch columbiad, which I shall place in barbette on the left flank, upon the 8-inch columbiad platform nearest to the gorge. We do not see that they are at work this morning, except a small party, which is getting up some heavy timbers at the Cummings Point wharf.

The weather is delightful now, but a few of the men are suffering from colds.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 12, 1861.

General Jos G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The line of intrenchments on the channel side of Cummings Point, or rather of Morris Island, is now extended down to the rear of the Star of the West battery. This line is composed of redoubts, connected by lines of parapet serving for curtains. The rear of the redoubts, or the parts towards us, are raised so high as to secure them from our reverse fire. There is one in rear of the Star of the West battery, situated on the top of the sand hill, which conceals that battery from our view, and two more, between this and the works on Cummings Point. Both of these are situated on sand hills, and well protected in their rear, as described above.

The weather being unusually pleasant, their operations are actively carried on this morning. Other work is being done farther down the beach, say six hundred yards below the Star of the West battery. I cannot make it out at present. It is probable that it is to be another small battery to fire on the channel, and to be closed in the rear.

I am inclined to think, from the materials that have been carried in that direction, that the defenses at the mouth of the Stono have been much strengthened. This river was an avenue by which and Wappoo Creek the city could be approached by vessels drawing less than eight feet of water. The defense of this point has, therefore, not been neglected. {p.195} The idea seems to be to place their batteries all along the beach between Cummings Point and Light-house Inlet (which is also fortified), so that a landing must be attempted under the lire of at least one battery. Some little work is being done on Fort Moultrie, strengthening the merlons of the guns on the sea front.

It now appears that the rear of Fort Johnson is protected by a line of intrenchments which comes out on the beach a little above the mortar battery, and probably ruins across to the old Martello Tower, situated about 500 yards southeast of the wharf, near the beach.

No unusual movements are observed, except the firing of one gun in the city at about 11 1/2 o’clock last night. A negro boy, escaping from the city, came down last night about 11 o’clock in a canoe to this fort. He was at once sent back. The guard-ship anchored inside the main ship bar has, I observed, housed her topmasts.

We did not get up the 10-inch columbiad yesterday for want of time. The work of filling the openings on the gorge, first tier, with solid stone is progressing satisfactorily.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain., Engineers.

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No. 71.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 13, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army;

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we see only a small party engaged this morning raising the parapet of the work usually alluded to as the mortar battery, near Fort Johnson. Yesterday afternoon about a hundred blank cartridges were fired from Fort Moultrie, on what occasion we know not. This firing showed us that all the guns are in position on that work. Our sick-list is slightly on the increase; five are reported sick this morning.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 13, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The work upon the redoubts on the channel side of Morris Island still continues quite actively. It is confined to those described in yesterday’s letter. The pacific news by telegraph on the 11th seems, to have created a pleasant feeling in those around us, if we may judge by the quantity of powder that they burned yesterday. About one hundred and fifty guns in all were fired, but not with regularity; of this number Fort Moultrie fired about one hundred guns. The remainder were fired from the Maffitt Channel battery, above the Moultrie House, and from the batteries on Morris Island.

We got up the 10-inch columbiad yesterday, and transported it to its carriage. To-day it will be mounted at the west gorge angle. One-third of the loophole openings on the first tier of the gorge are solidly closed with stone, with lead run into the joints.

A third temporary building is being demolished to obtain fuel. When the supply from this is exhausted the blacksmith shop will have to be {p.196} pulled down, and in order to prepare for this I have moved the bellows and apparatus into one of the second tier casemates. The weather is very pleasant. I received the Department letter of the 8th instant.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 14, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, A C.:

GENERAL: The news received yesterday by telegraph, to the effect that orders were issued to evacuate this fort, seems to have caused an almost entire cessation of work on the batteries around us. I am not ceasing work on the preparations, although I am taking an inventory of the materials on hand, and otherwise getting ready for such orders should they actually arrive.

I have received my vouchers from town, together with my own private books and papers that were in the office. All of the office furniture, records, maps, instruments, &c., are retained by the authorities. I have here, however, most of the most useful maps and drawings.

Unless otherwise directed I shall discharge my force when the orders for evacuation arrive, and leave with the command, with my assistants, and report to you at Washington.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 15, 1861.

The honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:

MY DEAR SIR: Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it? Please give me your opinion in writing on this question.*

Your obedient servant,

[A. LINCOLN.]

* The following papers marked “Answer” and as inclosures “A”-“H,” are filed with the President’s inquiry; they were probably submitted to the Cabinet March 15, 1861.

–––

Answer.

In reply to the letter of inquiry addressed to me by the President, whether, “assuming it to be possible now to provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it,” I beg leave to say that it has received the careful consideration, in the limited time I could bestow upon it, which its very grave importance demands, and that my mind has been most reluctantly forced to the conclusion that it would be unwise now to make such an attempt.

In coming to this conclusion I am free to say I am greatly influenced by the opinions of the Army officers who have expressed themselves on the subject, and who seem to concur that it is, perhaps, now impossible to succor that fort substantially, if at all, without capturing, by means of a large expedition of ships of war and troops, all the opposing batteries of South Carolina. All the officers within Fort Sumter, together with Generals Scott and Totten, express this opinion, and it would seem to me that the President would not be justified to disregard such high authority without overruling considerations of public policy.

{p.197}

Major Anderson, in his report of the 28th ultimo, says:

I confess that I would not be willing to risk my reputation on an attempt to throw re-enforcements into this harbor within the time for our relief rendered necessary by the limited supply of our provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same with a force of less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men.

In this opinion Major Anderson is substantially sustained by the reports of all the other officers within the fort, one of whom, Captain Seymour speaks thus emphatically on the subject:

It is not more than possible to supply this fort by ruse with a few men or a small amount of provisions, such is the unceasing vigilance employed to prevent it. To do so openly by vessels alone, unless they are shot-proof, is virtually impossible, so numerous and powerful are the opposing batteries. No vessel can lay near the fort without being exposed to continual fire, and the harbor could, and probably would, whenever necessary, be effectually closed, as one channel has already been. A projected attack in large force would draw to this harbor all the available resources in men and material of the contiguous States. Batteries of guns of heavy caliber would be multiplied rapidly and indefinitely. At least twenty thousand men, good marksmen and trained for months past with a view to this very contingency, would be concentrated here before the attacking force could leave Northern ports. The harbor would be closed. A landing must be effected at some distance from our guns, which could give no aid. Charleston Harbor would be a Sebastopol in such a conflict, and unlimited means would probably be required to insure success, before which time the garrison of Fort Sumter would be starved out.

General Scott, in his reply to the question addressed to him by the President, on the 12th instant, what amount of means and of what description, in addition to those already at command, it would require to supply and re-enforce the fort, says:

I should need a fleet of war vessels and transports which, in the scattered disposition of the Navy (as understood), could not be collected in less than four months; 5,000 additional regular troops and 20,000 volunteers; that is, a force sufficient to take all the batteries, both in the harbor (including Fort Moultrie), as well as in the approach or outer bay. To raise, organize, and discipline such an army (not to speak of necessary legislation by Congress, not now in session) would require from six to eight months. As a practical military question the time for succoring Fort Sumter with any means at hand had passed away nearly a mouth ago. Since then a surrender under assault or from starvation has been merely a question of time.

It is true there are those, whose opinions are entitled to respectful consideration, who entertain the belief that Fort Sumter could yet be succored to a limited extent without the employment of the large army and naval forces believed to be necessary by the Army officers whose opinions I have already quoted.

Captain Ward, of the Navy, an officer of acknowledged merit, a mouth ago believed it to be practicable to supply the fort with men and provisions to a limited extent without the employment of any very large military or naval force. He then proposed to employ four or more small steamers belonging to the Coast Survey to accomplish the purpose, and we have the opinion of General Scott that he has no doubt that Captain Ward at that time would have succeeded with his proposed expedition, but was not allowed by the late President to attempt the execution of his plan. Now it is pronounced from the change of circumstances impracticable by Major Anderson and all the other officers of the fort, as well as by Generals Scott and Totten, and in this opinion Captain Ward, after full consultation with the latter-named officers and the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, I understand now reluctantly concurs.

Mr. Fox, another gentleman of experience as a seaman, who, having formerly been engaged on the Coast Survey, is familiar with the waters of the Charleston Harbor, has proposed to make the attempt to supply the fort, with cutters of light draught and large dimensions, and his proposal has in a measure been approved by Commodore Stringham, but {p.198} he does not suppose or propose or profess to believe that provisions for more than one or two months could be furnished at a time.

There is no doubt whatever in my mind that when Major Anderson first took possession of Fort Sumter he, could have been easily supplied with men and provisions, and that when Captain Ward, with the concurrence of General Scott, a month ago proposed his expedition he would have succeeded had he been allowed to attempt it, as I think he should have been. A different state of things now, however, exists. Fort Moultrie is now rearmed and strengthened in every way; many new land batteries have been constructed; the principal channel has been obstructed; in short, the difficulty of re-enforcing the fort has been increased ten if not twenty fold.

Whatever might have been done as late as a month ago, it is too sadly evident that it cannot now be done without the sacrifice of life and treasure not at all commensurate with the object to be attained; and as the abandonment of the fort in a few weeks, sooner or later, appears to be an inevitable necessity, it seems to me that the sooner it be done the better.

The proposition presented by Mr. Fox, so sincerely entertained and ably advocated, would be entitled to my favorable consideration if, with all the light before me and in the face of so many distinguished military authorities on the other side, I did not believe that the attempt to carry it into effect would initiate a bloody and protracted conflict. Should he succeed in relieving Fort Sumter, which is doubted by many of our most experienced soldiers and seamen, would that enable us to maintain our authority against the troops and fortifications Of South Carolina? Sumter could not now contend against these formidable adversaries if filled with provisions and men. That fortress was intended, as her position on the map will show, rather to repel an invading foe. It is equally clear from repeated investigations and trials that the range of her guns is too limited to reach the city of Charleston, if that were desirable.

No practical benefit will result to the country or the Government by accepting the proposal alluded to, and I am therefore of opinion that the cause of humanity and the highest obligation to the public interest would be best promoted by adopting the counsels of those brave and experienced men whose suggestions I have laid before you.

[Indorsement.]

There was a signed copy of the within placed in the hands of President Lincoln.

SIMON CAMERON.

MARCH 17, 1875.

[Inclosure A.]

MEMORANDUM OF DIFFERENT PLANS FOR RE-ENFORCING FORT SUMTER.

Memoranda read before the President and Cabinet, General Scott and Commodore Stringham, and Mr. Fox, late of the Navy, Washington, March 15, 1861, by Bvt. Brig. Gen. Joseph G. Totten, Chief of Engineers.*

The obstacles to the relief of Fort Sumter are natural or artificial obstacles to navigation, and military opposition.

The main channel in its best natural state would not admit the passage {p.199} of vessels larger than sloops of war; so that, before it was obstructed, a naval attack, to be very formidable, must have consisted of many vessels of this kind.

In designing the defenses of Charleston Harbor, therefore, it was considered that Fort Sumter, with Castle Pinckney, would suffice, with some improvement of Fort Moultrie, and the erection of batteries in time of war on James island at the position called Fort Johnson. A deeper entrance would have demanded a stronger system.

The South Carolina troops have strengthened Fort Moultrie and added batteries thereto; they possess Castle Pinckney; they have erected batteries at Fort Johnson, and, not having Fort Sumter, they have planted a number of guns (number not known) on Morris Island.

These last do not, certainly, bring their system up to that which included Fort Sumter; but they, as is represented, have, also so blocked the main channel, or made its navigation so intricate, that only vessels light in draught can enter-vessels unavoidably weak to resist and impotent to assail.

If we suppose a squadron of war vessels as large as can be forced through the impediments of the main bar to have overcome that difficulty, and, under pressure of steam, to advance in daylight (as I think would be indispensable), they would suffer greatly from the fire of Morris Island, Fort Moultrie, and its adjacent batteries-but they would suffer much less than the small vessels, because much stronger and with vital parts better secured, and because their own fire would, to a certain extent, keep under, and, to a great degree, render uncertain the fire of the batteries. But whether larger or smaller, the vessels have not merely to pass the fire of the batteries-they must remain exposed to it. Because, before getting beyond the fire of Fort Moultrie, they come within scope of Fort Johnson, and while yet under the guns of these batteries they will be reached by Castle Pinckney. There is no point of shelter within these waters; and although the squadron of heavy sloops might survive the dangers of the passage, they could not long endure the cannonade that would be concentrated on any anchorage. In these very waters, this problem was settled in the Revolutionary War by the contest between the squadron of Sir Peter Parker and the single work of Fort Moultrie-then certainly not more powerful than now.

To enable the supposed squadron to remain, it is indispensable that a military force should capture the batteries from the land, and be strong enough, besides, to hold possession against the troops now assembled in and around them, and those that would rapidly come from the interior.

Should small vessels attempt this entrance by daylight, their destruction would be inevitable; at any rate, the chances of getting through would be too slender to justify any such enterprise. We have certain information that there is much practice with these guns, and that the practice now is good. If this risk were to be run by daylight, the vessels might have a draught of about eight feet, and could use the “Swash Channel,” or a passage between this and the main channel, or, finally, the latter. But I must repeat that unless we were to find a degree of inaptness and imbecility, and a want of vigilance and courage that we have no right to assume, this attempt by daylight with small vessels, even of great speed, must fail.

There remains another project, namely, to enter at night by the “Swash. Channel” with a few (two or three) fast steam-tugs, having a draught of only (or about) five feet. To do this it will be necessary to take position before dark off this channel, so as to get upon the proper leading line to be followed after dark by the ascertained course, {p.200} or, possibly, by the bearing of the lights of Fort Sumter. With proper precautions in screening the lights and fires of the boats, &c., I think the risk would not be so great, considering only the batteries, as to deter from this attempt, provided the object were of very great importance. I should expect one or two, perhaps all, of these vessels to reach Fort Sumter, and the shoal upon which they must be grounded-provided no other impediments awaited them.

But, in the first place, it is a necessary condition that the boats arrive off the harbor before night. If they can see to take these bearings, they can be seen from the shore. In the next place, it seems impossible to fit out any expedition, however small and unobtrusive, without arousing inquiry and causing the intelligence to be transmitted by telegraph. We may be certain, therefore, that these tugs will be waited for by steamers lying in the channelway, full of men.

This mode of relieving Fort Sumter, or another by men in rowboats passing up the same channel, is so obvious that it is unreasonable to suppose it has not been duly considered and provided for, where so much intelligence and resource in military means have been displayed in the scheme of defense, and so much earnestness and energy in execution. We know that guard rowboats and steamers are active during the night; and that they have all the means of intercepting with certainty this little expedition, and overpowering it, by boarding-a commencement of war.

This attempt, like any other, will inevitably involve a collision.

This raises a question that I am not called on to discuss, but as to which I may say that if the General Government adopts a course that must be attended with this result, its first measure should not be one so likely to meet disaster and defeat; nor one, I may add, which, even if successful, would give but momentary relief, while it would open all the powers of attack upon the fort, certainly reducing it before the means of recovering Charleston Harbor, with all its forts and batteries and environs, can possibly be concentrated there.

Respectfully submitted.

J. G. T.

* See also General Totten to Secretary of War, April 3, 1861, post.

[Inclosure B.]

General Scott’s memoranda for the Secretary of War.

It seems from the opinions of the Army officers who have expressed themselves on the subject-all within Fort Sumter, together with Generals Scott and Totten--that it is perhaps now impossible to succor that fort substantially, if at all, without capturing, by means of a large expedition of ships of war and troops, all the opposing batteries of South Carolina. In the mean time-six or ten months-Major Anderson would almost certainly have been obliged to surrender under assault or the approach of starvation; for even if an expedition like that proposed by G. V. Fox should succeed once in throwing in the succor of a few men and a few weeks’ provisions, the necessity of repeating the latter supply would return again and again, including the yellow-fever season. An abandonment of the fort in a few weeks, sooner or later, would appear, therefore, to be a sure necessity, and if so, the sooner the more graceful on the part of the Government.

It is doubtful, however, according to recent information from the South, whether the voluntary evacuation of Fort Sumter alone would have a decisive effect upon the States now wavering between adherence to the Union and secession. It is known, indeed, that it would be {p.201} charged to necessity, and the holding of Fort Pickens would be adduced in support of that view. Our Southern friends, however, are clear that the evacuation of both the forts would instantly soothe and give confidence to the eight remaining slaveholding States, and render their cordial adherence to this Union perpetual.

The holding of Forts Jefferson and Taylor, on the ocean keys, depends on entirely different principles, and should never be abandoned; and, indeed, the giving up of Forts Sumter and Pickens may be best justified by the hope that we should thereby recover the State to which they geographically belong by the liberality of the act, besides retaining the eight doubtful States.

[Inclosure C.]

Lieutenant Hall’s notes.

I have the honor to state that I could not concur with Captain Rodgers, with whom I was directed to confer, in his plan for the entrance of the harbor of Charleston with men and provisions for Fort Sumter. He proposes to procure a vessel (steamboat), With a draught of not over six and one-half feet, in some Northern port, and with the cargo to be cleared for Charleston, letting it be known, as if in confidence, that the design is to force a landing on the southern extreme of Morris Island; to carry the batteries by the rear and destroy the channel; to bring in the vessel, the vessel to regulate her speed so as to arrive off the bar in a dark night and at high tide, and to proceed through the Swash Channel with her lights extinguished; in case of discovery and being fired at, to drop a cork with a light in it, which would deceive the gunners If the batteries are lighted up the men cannot see in the distance; if they are not, the lights will not be visible. The commander is to be allowed to back his vessel in case of a storm on the way down.

My objections to this plan are very numerous. In the first place, the deception would be apparent, as no one would attempt a forced landing with means possible to such a vessel. Secondly, not being a sea-going vessel the danger to life and the success of the undertaking is so great as to appear imprudent at best. Thirdly, it is unsafe to calculate upon not being seen off the bar, as a number of watch vessels, some with troops and cannon, are stationed off and along the entrance. Fourthly, even though the above dangers should all be safely passed and it should prove a moonless night and high tide at a proper time, still a chance shot through the machinery would defeat the enterprise.

The plan is grounded upon the most fortunate and improbable circumstances. It might succeed; but I think failure would be the rule. By an examination of the chart of the harbor of Charleston it will be seen that the Swash Channel passes outside the range of all the batteries erected along the entrance, except, perhaps, the small one near Cummings Point (of one 32-pounder and one 12-pounder), and this can be safely neglected. Fort Moultrie can bring several guns to bear for a mile and a half (not ten minutes), but their field has been greatly reduced by the traverse with small embrasures lately thrown up on the parapet. Considering as effective all the means in the hands of those hostile to the undertakings, the following are at present to be noticed: The channel will not admit of more than six and one-half feet draught with ease in sailing; at least one steamer with troops and field guns will be near the bar; a line of pilot schooners and signal vessels form a cordon outside the bar; the main ship channel is obstructed with sunken ships; Maffitt’s Channel is raked and crossed by the fires of Moultrie and batteries {p.202} placed along Sullivan’s Island; the buoys and range lights are removed; the anchorage, except a small area, is under the fire of gun’s from the several fortified points; the Swash Channel is readily followed by ranging Fort Sumter on St. Michael’s till within five hundred yards of the fort, where a detour to the right will be necessary. Carefully navigated, passing very near the north side of the fort, the vessel may be brought to the wharf at high tide. If not successful, small boats may be furnished by the fort. The only effective guns are those of Fort Moultrie on this entrance. I have the honor to propose that a war vessel (the Brooklyn best) be dispatched with two schooners and two ordinary, steam-tugs, each of not more than six feet and a half draught, and under the same pretension as that first proposed, and this combination will give color to the rumor. One of the schooners is to be loaded with provisions entirely, and the bay is to be stored on the starboard. The other, with some provisions, is to carry the troops. The vessels arrived off the bar, the Brooklyn can keep all hostile vessels at a distance and make the following arrangement:

The vessel with provisions is to be placed upon the right, next a screw-tug, next the vessel with troops, and again a tug. The right-hand vessel will cover those on the left, protecting from fire the troops and means of locomotion. The vessels should arrive off the bar two hours before high tide, so that the tide will be rising all the way in, and if grounded may be floated off in a short time. To prevent vessels from the city and the cutters inside the harbor from interfering, the fort shall be signaled, and will reply by lowering its flag or showing a light, and will prevent any vessel going out. Signals should be agreed upon, and the time, day or night, also. Two field pieces, loaded with canister, might be used to meet a desperate attempt to board the vessels. The hay in bales should be wet, to prevent heated balls from setting fire to the vessels.

[Inclosure D.]

Opinions of various officers.

George W. Snyder, lieutenant of Engineers, February 28, 1861: 4 regiments or 4,000 men; 4 vessels of war.

Lt. K. Meade, jr., second lieutenant of Engineers, February 28, 1861: 5,000 men, at least; supported by gunboats.

S. W. Crawford, February 28, 1861: 4,000 men, supported by the Navy.

Norman J. Hall, second lieutenant, First Artillery, February 28, 1861: 3,500 men; 7 war vessels.

J. C. Davis, first lieutenant, First Artillery, February 28, 1861: 3,000 men; 6 war vessels.

Theodore Talbot, first lieutenant, First Artillery, February 28, 1861: 3,000 men and naval vessels.

T. Seymour, brevet captain and lieutenant, First Artillery, February 28, 1861.*

A. Doubleday, captain, First Artillery, February 28, 1861: 10,000 men and Navy.

J. G. Foster, captain of Engineers, February 28, 1861: 6,000 regulars or 20,000 volunteers to take them; 10,000 regulars or 30,000 volunteers to hold them.

Captain Ward, who came here believing it practicable, abandoned it after consultation with General Scott. General Scott and the Chief of the Coast Survey, Mr. Foster, evidently a man of sound sense and experience as a seaman, who is acquainted with the waters, having formerly {p.203} been attached to the Coast Survey, proposed to make the attempt with cutters of light draught and large dimensions. He was in a measure sustained by Commodore Stringham, but did not suppose provisions for more than one or two months could be furnished at a time.

* See p. 197.

[Inclosure E.]

Memorandum of Capt. G. V. Fox.

WASHINGTON, D. C., February 8, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The proposition which I had the honor to submit fully in person is herewith presented in writing. Lieutenant Hall and myself have had several free conferences, and if he is permitted by the South Carolina authorities to re-enter Fort Sumter, Major Anderson will comprehend the plan for his relief. I consider myself very fortunate in having proposed a project which meets the approval of the General-in-Chief, and I ask no reward but the entire conduct of the part, exclusive of the armed vessels. The commander of these should be ordered to co-operate with me, by affording protection and destroying their naval preparations near the bar, leaving to me, as the author of the plan, the actual operations of relief. I suggest that the Pawnee be immediately sent to the Delaware Breakwater to await orders; the Harriet Lane to be ready for sea, and some arrangement entered into by which the requisite steamer and tugs should be engaged, at least so far as not to excite suspicion. I would prefer one of the Collins steamers. They are now being prepared for sea, and are of such a size and power as to be able fearlessly to ran down any vessels which might attempt to capture us outside by a coup de main. I could quietly engage one and have her ready to start in twenty-four hours’ notice, without exciting suspicion: I shall leave for New York at 3.10 p.m., and any communication previous will find me at Judge Blair’s. If the Pawnee pivot-gun is landed it should certainly be remounted.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

G. V. FOX.

[Inclosure F.]

ST. GERMAIN HOTEL, NEW YORK, February 6, 1861.

Since the repulse of the steamer Star of the West at Charleston it may be assumed that all the channels over the bar are obstructed, but as the bar is more than four miles in length the spaces between these channels are too extensive to be closed; therefore at high-water and smooth sea the harbor is perfectly accessible to vessels drawing, say, seven feet of water. The United States have no steamers of this draught. The skillful officers at Charleston, aware of this fact, will conclude that relief must go in at high water in boats or light-draught steamers, incapable of bearing a very offensive armament. They will be perfectly prepared for such attempts by arming and heavily manning all the steamers they possess, and at the critical moment will throw themselves alongside of the relief vessels, and thus jeopardize the movement by the very detention of the conflict. To elude their vigilance or attempt a stratagem, however ingenious, I consider too liable to failure. I propose to put the troops on board of a large, comfortable sea steamer, and hire two powerful light-draught New York tug-boats, having the necessary stores on board; these to be convoyed by the U. S. steamer Pawnee, now at Philadelphia, and the revenue cutter Harriet Lane. (The Pawnee is the {p.204} only available steam vessel of war north of the Gulf of Mexico, draws twelve feet of water, and has seven heavy guns. As a steamer, she seems to be a failure, but may be got ready for this emergency; at least she is, unfortunately, our only resource.) The Harriet Lane I understand to be an excellent and efficient vessel; but either of these steamers alone may be liable to capture by an overwhelming force.

Arriving off the bar I propose to examine by day the naval preparations and obstructions. If their vessels determine to oppose our entrance (and a feint or flag of truce would ascertain this) the armed ships must approach the bar and destroy or drive them on shore. Major Anderson would do the same upon any vessels within the range of his guns, and would also prevent any naval succor being sent down from the city. Having dispersed this force the only obstacles are the forts on Cummings Point and Fort Moultrie, and whatever adjacent batteries they may have erected distant on either band from mid-channel about three-quarters of a mile. At night, two hours before high water, with half the force on board of each tug within relieving distance of each other, I should run in to Fort Sumter.

[Inclosure G.]

NEW YORK, February 23, 1861.

My DEAR BLAIR: Mr. Blunt received a telegraph from General Scott a few days since which he thought indicated an adjournment of my plan; but I put the construction upon it that another was substituted for mine, and I feel certain it must be “boats.” To corroborate this the New York Times, of February 21, says: “Government has determined to relieve Fort Sumter by boats at night.” I consider this plan possible, and the alternative of mine, but inferior at every step. The distance from Fort Sumter to outside is five miles-an hour’s pull. From this point the open ocean, winter season, and at night, say two hundred men (requiring for six months five hundred and forty-six barrels of provisions) are to be put into boats, rowed over a very dangerous bar, and subjected for half an hour to a fire of grape from sixty guns. Besides, if a single tug (they have four) eludes Major Anderson’s vigilance, she would run in amongst these boats with perfect impunity to herself and utter destruction to them. I have made two cruises on the coast of Africa., where the passing of bars by boats, unless very light and in broad daylight, was considered the most dangerous duty we were subjected to, fatal accidents being common in the smoothest weather. Moreover, this plan has been spoken of publicly in connection with the U. S. ship Brooklyn, and from this fact is probably made a special study by the Charlestonians.

I simply propose three tugs, convoyed by light-draught men-of-war. These tugs are sea-boats, six feet draught, speed fourteen knots. The boilers are below, with three and a half feet space on each side, to be filled with coal. The machinery comes up between the wheel-houses, with a gangway on either hand of five to six feet, enabling us to pack the machinery with two or three thicknesses of bales of cotton or bay. This renders the vulnerable parts of the steamer proof against grape and fragments of shells, but the momentum of a solid shot would probably move the whole mass and disable the engine. The men are below, entirely protected from grape-provisions on deck. The first tug to lead in empty, to open their fire. The other two to follow, with the force divided, and towing the large iron boats of the Baltic, which would hold the whole force should every tug be disabled, and empty they would not impede the tugs. When such men as George W. Blunt, {p.205} Charles K. Marshall, and Russell Sturgis, all sea-men, give my plan the preference, it must have merit. At Kinburn, in the Black Sea I eight gunboats passed in the night forts mounting eighty guns-only one boat hit. The next day, in broad daylight, the Cracker (English) came out under their deliberate fire-distance nine hundred yards. The Vladimar (Russian steamer at Sebastopol) was under fire at various distances during the whole war, but her motion prevented her being disabled. How few of Dahlgren’s shots hit the target with all the elements of success he is capable of producing! I am sure I could convince the authorities of the preference that is due to this plan, if I could argue the plan instead of write it.

Sincerely yours,

G. V. FOX.

[Inclosure H.]

NEW YORK, March 1, 1861.

DEAR BLAIR:

I just met Russell Sturgis, who has charge of most of the tow-boats in the harbor, and he informs me that the Charleston authorities have opened negotiations here for the purchase of two tugs, and that the two proposed are two of the three I had selected, being the only three really fit for the work in the whole city. I thought it best to give you this information at once, as the probability of re-enforcing Fort Sumter except by landing and capturing their forts will be lessened with such fine boats as I have described in their possession. Captain Sturgis has put these boats in order, notwithstanding my plan has the go-by, for we all feel that a severe discussion must bring it up again.

I met a Navy officer to-day who has just received a letter from Hartstene. He is captain in the S. C. Navy with the same pay as a U. S. captain, and has charge of the coast defenses. He thinks he has prevented an attack upon Sumter so far, but says it will soon be done, and will be a very sanguinary affair. Paul Hamilton, esq., commands the floating battery now launched. They have four tugs, which do not amount to much compared to one of these powerful New York ones.

...

I wrote you last Sunday in full. Write me as soon as anything definite is done.

Yours,

G. V. FOX.

Direct your letters care of A. H. Lowery, 77 Nassau street, and I get them in the morning, otherwise not until p.m. I trust you and the General will give me a hand in this business. He seems most favorably disposed towards me.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 15, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have nothing to report respecting the operations of the South Carolinians around us. Their works seem to be at a standstill, and most of the men, both military and laboring, are withdrawn from them. I noticed last evening that one gun was fired from the iron-clad floating battery in town, thus indicating that its armament has been placed on board. A storm of wind is prevailing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

{p.206}

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 16, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Considerable activity is exhibited this morning in the batteries on Morris Island and in the vicinity of the mortar battery on James Island. Three steamers have landed on Cummings Point quite a large number of men, both laboring and military, with three barbette carriages and four guns, either 24 or 32 pounders, and quite a large quantity of supplies. The operations, however, which are not fully defined at this time, appear to be directed to the continuation of the works of defense on the channel side, and also to the further strengthening of the works as far down the beach as the light-house and mouth of the Stono River. On James Island the work is confined to the construction of about one hundred and fifty yards of covered way oil the beach, connecting the mortar battery and the flank of the line of intrenchments in rear of Fort Johnson, where it comes oat on the beach.

I am still engaged in filling up the exterior openings of the first-tier loopholes on the gorge. One-half of the gorge is thus strengthened. I have put the two 10-inch columbiads in good working order. The opening through the masonry wall in rear of the main gate has also been lined with iron plate in such a way that the main gate may not be shaken when the 8-inch howitzer in rear is fired through the opening. I am also clearing the parade of rubbish.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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No. 74.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 16, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that after an apparent partial suspension for two or three days of work around us, they have resumed with a good deal of activity. Quite a large party is now at work near Fort Johnson, at the point designated “Apparently a covered way” on the accompanying sketch by Captain Seymour.* Four barbette carriages and guns were landed yesterday afternoon at Cummings Point, and we see this morning that they are removing the armament from the parapet of Castle Pinckney. Thence, probably, came the barbette guns and carriages we have seen landed at different times at Cummings Point. The works on Morris Island will, I presume, be found to be very heavily and well armed.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* Here omitted. To appear in Atlas.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 17, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: The unusual activity observed and reported yesterday morning in the surrounding batteries was due to preparations for receiving some distinguished person who visited them in the afternoon. {p.207} It is supposed that this was Vice-President Stephens, of the so-called Southern Confederacy. Three, rounds were fired from all the batteries on Morris Island, except No. 1, apparently as much for practice as for saluting, for most of the guns not pointed in this direction were shotted. This firing enabled me to detect the positions and approximate calibers of the guns in these batteries.

The marginal sketch represents this roughly:

No. 1. Battery of sand and palmetto logs, four 24-pounders.

No. 2. Iron-clad battery, three guns 42-pounders or 8-inch columbiads.

No. 3. Battery of sand and palmetto logs, three guns, 24-pounders or 32-pounders.

No. 4. Battery of sand and palmetto logs, with one 8-inch columbiad or 8-inch sea-coast howitzer.

No. 5. Star of the West battery, five guns, 24-pounders or 32-pounders.

a is a large magazine; b, c, d are defenses of the character of redoubts on top of three sand hills.

There were two guns at each round fired from the light-house battery.

Three or four more guns were landed yesterday with barbette carriages, and most of them (in fact, all that are removed from the landing which is in front of battery No. 1, where there is deep water close in shore) were carried around upon the channel side. One, at least, was placed in battery No. 4, making four guns in that battery at present.

These guns with barbette carriages came from Castle Pinckney, nearly the whole of the upper tier of which is being removed for this purpose. None of the guns from Fort Moultrie bearing upon this fort or the channel have been removed. No work is being done on the batteries looking towards us. All preparations are directed to strengthening the channel batteries very much, and to covering the present batteries in the rear, which was before open.

No work of any magnitude is being done on Cummings Point to-day (Sunday). On James Island the work on the covered way connecting the flank of the line of intrenchments and the mortar battery is being continued.

The weather is pleasant, although there are indications of a storm brewing.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

{p.208}

No. 76.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 18, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 20.)

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. &Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that they removed at 11 o’clock last night the middle ship-channel buoy No. 3. We do not observe any parties at work this morning, except a very small one near the bombproof battery on Cummings Point. On Saturday afternoon several guns were fired on Morris Island. We were thereby enabled to count and mark the positions of twenty-three guns. The mortar batteries did not fire.

Our men are all in good spirits, and although the weather is unfavorable to-day, our sick-list is not increasing.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 18, 1861.

General J. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL: Being Monday morning, the working parties have not at this time been brought down from town, consequently very little appears to be, doing on Morris Island. During yesterday and last night some more guns and barbette carriages were landed on Cummings Point, the exact number of which I could not ascertain. Seven barbette-top carriages are now lying on the beach. These, as I have reported, have been removed from Castle Pinckney, and the city papers state that twenty had been ordered to be thus removed by General Beauregard.

A small party of laborers is still at work on the covered way connecting the mortar battery on James Island with the left flank of the line of intrenchments in rear of Fort Johnson.

The weather is misty, with indications of a storm.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–The channel buoy, about half a mile east of this fort (shown on Cost Survey map), was removed last night.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, March 19, 1861.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT:

DEAR SIR: The President requires accurate information in regard to the command of Major Anderson in Fort Sumter, and wishes a competent person sent for that purpose. You will therefore direct some suitable person to proceed there immediately, and report the result of the information obtained by him.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

SIMON CAMERON. Secretary of War.

{p.209}

[Indorsements.]

The within may do good and can do no harm. It commits no one.

WINFIELD SCOTT.

The order of which this is a copy was presented to the President March 19, 1861.

G. V. Fox formerly of the Navy, was selected by General Scott as the messenger, and approved by the President.

S. C.

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No. 77.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 19, 1861.

Col. S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that all is still, within the range of our observation. The snow squall we had this morning, and the consequent coldness of the air, would have a tendency to check their operations. We are, thank God, doing very well. The paymaster is now paying off this command.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 78.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 20, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 23.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, last night they were unusually vigilant watching the entrance to this harbor. This morning we see them mounting a gun in battery No. 1, apparently clearing ground for platforms for a new battery on the sea shore, behind No. 2, and strengthening the covered way on the left of the iron battery. We see framework, perhaps for a large shed, to the right of the iron battery. They are evidently apprehensive that an attempt may be made to throw re-enforcements into this work.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 20, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL : The operations on Morris Island are still solely confined to strengthening the channel batteries and to creating successive points of defense to a land attack coming up the beach, as small redoubts on top of sand hills, intrenched houses, &c. All operations looking to an attack on this fort have ceased. The throats of the embrasures of battery No. 3 (see letter of the 17th) have been closed with sand bags, and the guns may be removed to the channel side, although I doubt it, from the fact that we have seen them land seven guns with carriages from Castle Pinckney. They are now engaged in mounting additional guns in battery No. 4.

All the batteries bearing on the channel are being increased in {p.210} strength, and probably new batteries out of sight are being constructed, for the large working party constantly employed on the point up to this time is now nowhere to be seen. The guns are being mounted by their soldiers. A few hands are at work on the covered way near the mortar battery on James Island.

Very little was done here yesterday, on account of the weather. It is, however, quite pleasant to-day. I have nearly finished filling up the openings of the first tier of loopholes on the gorge. In case the order arrives to evacuate this fort, is it the wish of the Department that I shall remove all the Engineer material that I can?

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–I feel sure that I have sufficient funds to pay all dues up to the 1st of April, but lest some unforeseen circumstance should arise which would make it necessary to have more money, I would respectfully ask that Lieutenant Gillmore be instructed to honor my checks on the assistant treasurer (in case I am forced to overdraw), say to one thousand dollars.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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No. 79.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 21, 1861.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that a quantity of iron was unloaded about 11 o’clock last night from a steamboat at Cummings Point. We see the work mentioned yesterday is being prosecuted this morning. Nothing else has occurred attracting attention since my last letter, except the firing yesterday afternoon of some two hundred blank cartridges from the Fort Moultrie battery.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 21, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: The work on the channel batteries on Morris Island still continues. A large quantity of material, lumber, and apparently railroad iron was landed last night on the beach at Cummings Point. Quite a large number of troops are kept here and also on Sullivan’s Island.

A liberal expenditure of powder was made yesterday at Fort Moultrie in firing blank cartridges, apparently to accustom the men to rapid firing. All the guns on the channel front and the front in this direction were fired several times in rapid succession, making over two hundred guns in all. The work on the covered way leading to the mortar battery on James Island is still slowly continued. There does not appear to be much work on the intrenchments themselves going forward, probably in consequence of the high wind that is prevailing. More, however, is being done in mounting guns. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.211}

No. 80.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 22, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 25.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that a few men are working this morning at the large battery near Fort Johnson and also on Cummings Point behind battery No. 2.

I have examined the point alluded to by” Mr. Fox last night. A vessel lying there will be under the fire of thirteen guns from Fort Moultrie, and Captain Foster says that at the pan-coupe, or immediately on its right-the best place for her to land-she would require, even at high tide, if drawing ten feet, a staging of forty feet.

The Department can decide what the chances will be of a safe debarkation and unloading at that point under these circumstances.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 21, 1861.

Maj. R. ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding:

MAJOR: I have examined the commissary supplies on hand, and find them to be in kind and amount as follows, viz:

Six barrels of flour; six barrels of hard bread; three barrels of sugar; one barrel of coffee; two barrels of vinegar; twenty-six barrels of pork; one-fourth barrel of salt; one and a half barrels of rice; three boxes of candles.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

NORMAN J. HALL, Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, A. A. C. S.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 22, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: Everything appears to be quiet this morning in the batteries around us. Night before last the South Carolinians put down again the buoy that had been taken up a few nights before from its position, about half a mile to the east of this fort. It appears, however, that it was not replaced in the former position, but placed upon the opposite side of the channel.

Last night a special messenger, Mr. Fox, arrived from Washington, and came down to the fort under the escort of Captain Hartstene, formerly of the United States Navy. After a confidential interview with Major Anderson, he left immediately for Washington.

With respect to this fort, I have filled all the loophole openings on the first tier with solid stone. All the openings are now closed, with the exception of five near the ends of the gorge, which had been partially filled with a 9-inch brick wall. I am now completing the filling of these with lead concrete.

I am also building traverses in front of the hospital, which is on the first floor of the quarters, and in front of the ordnance storeroom, to shield them from shells from Fort Moultrie.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.212}

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ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, March 23, 1861.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 17th, 18th, and 19th instants. For these and the previously received diurnal reports, the results of your vigilant observations and evidences Of your devotion to your duties and loyalty to the Government, be pleased to accept the thanks of this Department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. G. TOTTEN, Brevet Brigadier-General, and Colonel of Engineers.

–––

No. 81.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 23, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 27.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we see them at work at the large battery near Fort Johnson, behind which they appear to be constructing something with heavy timbers, and at battery No. 1, on Morris Island, which they are extending. At the last firing from this battery both shot and shell were thrown. They are also at work on a new battery, not far from the Moultrie House, on Sullivan’s Island. This makes, as far as we can judge, four batteries between the fort and the east end of the island. As we are very deficient in ammunition, I have directed the quartermaster to turn over to the Ordnance Department a quantity of flannel shirts, from which I shall have cartridge bags made.

Our sick-list is the same as when last mentioned. They practice daily, firing shot and shell in the direction of the junction of the Swash and Main Channels. Their practice is pretty good. They are firing now from heavy mortars in rear of the iron-plated battery on Cummings Point. I have no ammunition to spare, and, therefore, do not show them our proficiency in artillery practice.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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No. 82.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 24, 1861.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I do not see them working anywhere this (Sunday) morning, except at the large battery at Fort Johnson. I omitted mentioning that buoy No. 3 has been pat down again, but, I think, not exactly in the place it formerly occupied. Everything was quiet and still last night. Our sick-report has only four today.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.213}

No. 83.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 25, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 28.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. A.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that everything is quiet around us, and that we do not see any work being prosecuted except that at, the new battery at Fort Johnson. They are practicing this morning with shells from the columbiads at Fort Moultrie and from a mortar battery between Nos. 9 and 10.

I inclose herewith a report of the condition of our fort. It will be seen that a great deal of work has been done since we came in. We are now about finishing the closing of the openings in the gorge-a measure first suggested by Captain Doubleday.

I have not noted the different operations we have been engaged in from time to time, as I did not deem them of sufficient importance to require it.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 24, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding:

SIR: In accordance with verbal instructions given by you, we have the honor to submit the following report upon the condition of Fort Sumter when occupied December 26, 1860, the measures taken to put it in a state of defense, and its present condition:

Condition of the work December 26, 1860.

The barbette tier was ready for its armament: Three 24-pounders were mounted at the left and three more were ready to be mounted at the right gorge angle.

The second tier of arches was not ready for its guns. The embrasures were not yet placed, and forty-one openings, eight feet square, were left in the scarp wall for this purpose. Those on the flanks (20) were closed only with a sheathing of 1-inch boards; the remainder, on the faces (21), were either entirely open or closed with three courses of brick dry-laid, {p.214} or, as on the left face, with two courses laid in mortar; some few were only half closed. One 32-pounder was mounted, for experimental purposes, on the right flank.

First tier.–Eleven 32-pounders were mounted on the left face. Guns could be mounted throughout. The forty-one embrasures were closed with the ordinary 6-inch wooden shutters, secured with a wooden brace and rope lashing. Two small posterns in the gorge angles were closed, each with two doors, the outer hooked, the inner barred. The soldiers’ quarters were unfinished, and as those portions that were tenable were occupied by workmen, the transferred garrison was placed in the officers’ quarters, which were completed.

The parade was crowded with temporary wooden buildings (6), used as shops and storehouses, with a large amount of flagging, lumber, sand, shell, and brick, and with the ordnance, consisting of sixty-six guns with their carriages and 5,600 shot and shell. The communications through these incumbrances were very difficult.

The main postern was closed by two gates, each of two 4-inch leaves, secured with wooden cross-bars; they were loopholed and were weak and insecure.

On the gorge seven loopholed doors were closed with 5-inch wooden shutters; twelve magazine ventilators with wooden shutters at the throat; fifty-one loopholed windows were, not closed. The esplanade and wharf were much incumbered with flagging, sand, and brick, and by two apparatuses, twelve feet high and attached to the scarp wall, for hoisting boats.

The garrison transferred from Fort Moultrie consisted of seven officers, seventy-six enlisted men, and forty-five women and children. There were three officers, one enlisted man, two hundred and five laborers, and one woman at Fort Sumter. One hundred and fifty of the laborers were discharged within a few days, and the women and children were shipped to New York early in February, 1861, leaving at this date a garrison consisting of ten officers, seventy-five enlisted men, and fifty-five laborers. There has been and is an ample supply of water and a sufficiency of fuel, principally in the shape of lumber, flooring, and gun carriages.

Immediately after the transfer of the garrison to this place, and your assuming command, instructions were given to limit the defense to the barbette and first tier, closing all openings in that tier, except three or four at each angle, where guns were to be mounted, and all openings in the second tier, permanently and securely. The first labors were directed to mounting the proposed armament, and to closing these openings, after which such defenses were prepared as the situation of the garrison suggested, until this date, when the condition of the work is as follows:

Barbette tier.–The armament is fully described in the accompanying figure.* It consists, in all, of twenty-seven guns, one of which, a 42-pounder I is mounted at the left shoulder angle on a casemate carriage placed on the chassis of a 10-inch columbiad, and a 24-pounder at the left gorge angle is so arranged and the parapet so cut away that it can be depressed to 180 and fired upon the end of the wharf. Several machicoulis galleries of 1 1/2-inch plank (five lined with 1/2-inch iron plate) are placed on the parapet, one on the center of each face and flank, and three on the gorge, over and commanding the main postern; 225 shells, mostly 8-inch, are arranged as grenades, to be rolled off the parapet and exploded by means of a lanyard of proper length. Thunder-barrels are placed at each angle and over the main gate; fragments of stone, brick, {p.215} &c., along the breast-height for missiles; twenty-three flights of steps lead to the parapet; ammunition in limber-boxes is placed convenient for instant use, and grape, canister, shot, and shell in abundance at each gun. Some five hundred cartridge bags have been made. The powder is well stored in the first-story magazine in the left gorge angle.

Second tier.–The 32-pounder on the right flank is dismounted; the forty-one 8-foot square openings are securely closed by a 3-foot brick wall, laid in cement, and backed in twenty-seven by two feet of sand, kept in place by a sheathing of boards or by barrels, in eight by two feet of flagging-stones, laid dry, and in six by dry brick, or re-enforced only by piles of finishing-stuff and flooring-boards.

First tier.–The armament consists of twenty-seven guns, and is fully described in the plan adjoined.** There are eighteen guns ready for instant service, sixteen of the embrasures in front of which are closed with the original 6-inch wooden shutter, and also with an inner 6-inch shutter fitting close to the throat, and through the center of which a link from the outer shutter passes; an iron key tightens both firmly together. Two are closed by iron shutters of 1/2-inch iron plate; all are further see-tired by a 10-foot brace abutting against the gun run “from battery.” Where guns are mounted (9), but not required for immediate use, the embrasures (9) are closed temporarily, in addition to the outer shutter, by stone flagging, notched to fit the throat and laid flat, or by brick laid in mortar. There are fourteen embrasures, behind which guns are not mounted, of which eight., on the flanks, are closed by an 18-inch brick wall laid in mortar against the outer shutter; one by the dry-stone flagging, and the remainder (five) on the right face, by an entire embrasure filling of brick and stone laid in mortar.

The doors of the two posterns on the flanks are strengthened by 3-foot brick walls laid in mortar against the outer doors.

On the parade four 8-inch and one 10-inch columbiads are mounted as mortars (see preceding plan), and point to Morris Island and Charleston. All the temporary buildings and the lumber have been removed for fuel, the flagging turned on edge against the quarters or in the ends of the casemates, the shell spread on the walks, the sand and brick used, with a stone revetment, for splinter-proof traverses about the guns and in front of the hospital. The lantern has been removed from the light-house and placed on a platform in the center. The entire parade is clear.

Main postern.–A stone and brick wall laid in cement is built against the outer gate, to within four feet of the lintel. It is three feet six inches thick and six feet high. Through it is a manhole one foot eleven inches wide. An 8-inch sea-coast howitzer on a casemate-top carriage only looks through the manhole. In the door above the wall are four loopholes, reached by steps. One leaf of the gate is firmly bolted shut; the other can be opened or securely shut, and through it and corresponding with the manhole in the wall is a manhole closed by a door. The outside of the gate and inside of the small door are covered with 1/2-inch iron. The inner door is fastened with a wooden cross-bar, and has a manhole closed by a door; there are four loopholes in it, and two {p.216} in the cross wall to which it is hung. Material is at hand with which to close the outer door permanently. The walls of the stairways leading to the second floor are closed with 14-inch plank, and openings over the postern are arranged for throwing grenades.

The gorge.–In the second story the thirty-four windows and six magazine ventilators are protected by placing in each two wrought-iron embrasure jams, eight inches thick and three feet six inches long, permitting of musketry fire over them. In the first story the seven doors are closed with a 5-inch wooden shutter, against which, outside, is built a 9-inch brick wall, laid in cement, and outside this a pintle stone, 8 feet by 2 feet 2 inches by 1 foot 3 inches, with pieces of flagging, fastened in with wooden wedges and melted lead; the six magazine ventilators by large stones and lead against the wall and shutter; and fifteen windows are closed by the pintle stone and flagging, fastened with the wedges and lead. In all these openings the filling is placed against the offset at the throat, by which a solid wall, two feet thick and well secured in the rear, has been obtained.

On the esplanade two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers are mounted on casemate carriages only, one each side of the main gate, to sweep the gorge and the approaches to it. The stone, &c., has been removed, leaving only a row along the edge to prevent grenades rolling off. Two fougasses, of 12 feet diameter, charged with 50 pounds of powder, are placed against the foot of the scarp wall, one in the center of each half gorge. Two mines, charged with 25 pounds of powder, are sunk in the wharf 40 feet apart. A wooden fence, 8 feet high, at each end of the esplanade, extends from the scarp to low water. The stones of the enrockment in front of embrasures to be opened are removed. A deep cut in the enrockment on the left flank obstructs communication.

Respectfully submitted.

G. W. SNYDER, First Lieutenant of Engineers, U. S. Army. T. SEYMOUR, Brevet Captain and First Lieutenant, First Artillery.

[Indorsement.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 25, 1861.

Report exhibiting the work done at Fort Sumter since its occupation by the present garrison, and its condition at this date. Confidentially communicated for the information of the War Department.

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* These diagrams are supplied by those following Foster to Totten, March 27, p. 225.

** These diagrams are supplied by those following Foster to Totten, March 27, p. 225.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 25, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN. Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington D. C. :

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that everything is quiet around us, and, with the exception of a few men at work on a temporary building adjoining the James Island mortar battery, no work appears to be in progress. I shall finish to-night the solid filling of the last of the {p.217} exterior loophole openings on the first tier of the gorge, also the construction of the large splinter-proof traverse in front of the hospital. To-morrow I shall cut away a small portion of the brick interior slope so as to allow the 10-inch columbiad at the west gorge angle, barbette tier, to be traversed sufficiently to fire on the Cummings Point batteries. The construction of a second splinter-proof traverse to cover the front of the magazine and ordnance room, will also be commenced. I am having an inventory taken of all Engineer property, in accordance with your directions of the 21st instant, received yesterday. I regret that I am not able to make the return of property for the third and fourth quarters of 1860, in consequence of all papers relating to the subject (except the vouchers) being withheld by the authorities of South Carolina. The reason that I delayed so long to make, the property return for the third quarter is this: The commencement and rapid increase of the work upon the fortifications in this harbor during the last month of this quarter and the three mouths of the following quarter took all my time and attention, and the purchases in town and settlement of freight bills and accounts, took all the time of my clerk, Mr. Legare. I finally hired another man to assist him to bring up the accounts and to enable him to make the return of property, but before this was done they desired to secede from the office. I insisted that Mr. Legare should finish the property return, which he promised to do; but before he had finished it the State seceded, and he left the office. My overseer also left me suddenly on the 28th of December, and the hurry of preparation for defense prevented me taking an inventory of property at that time.

A considerable amount of material has been used in these preparations. I can assure you, however, that everything used has been well applied and was necessary. Trusting that the above explanation of the circumstances that prevented ray making the required returns may be found satisfactory,

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

–––

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, March 26, 1861.

Capt. J. G. FOSTER, Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: In compliance with your request in letter of the 20th instant the sum of $1,000 will be placed to your credit with the assistant treasurer at New York on account of Fort Sumter, and to guard against the chance of its not being available in time, through the inability of the Treasurer to provide the money, instructions will be given to Lieutenant Gillmore to see that your checks upon the assistant treasurer to that amount are honored.

It is hoped that in case of the evacuation of Fort Sumter you will be able to bring away the books, drawings, papers, and perhaps light articles of value in your care, but it can hardly be expected that you can secure the heavy articles of property. You should, however, do so if you can.

Should the fort be evacuated, you will, as suggested in your letter of the 14th instant, leave with the command, and report in person, with your assistants, Lieutenants Snyder and Meade, at this Department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. G. TOTTEN Brevet Brigadier-General, and Colonel of Engineers.

{p.218}

No. 84.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 26, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 29.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL : I have the honor to report that quite a large party is busy this morning on what is probably a bombproof in rear of the large work near Fort Johnson. They have extended and heightened several of the works on Morris Island, particularly No. 1 of Captain Seymour’s sketches.

We are constructing splinter-proofs on the parade, and closing the opening in the gorge wall. I have the honor to mention that Mr. Lamon, from Washington City, visited me yesterday.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

P. S.–I inclose herewith a correspondence between the South Carolina officials and myself in reference to some points to which attention was called some time since. Expecting a reply to my last communication, I have delayed sending these letters off, but now do so, as no rejoinder will probably be made.

Respectfully,

R. A.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 13, 1861.

His Excellency Gov. F. W. PICKENS:

SIR: I have the honor herewith respectfully to inclose, for the consideration of your excellency, a note received yesterday by the clerk of Captain Foster from the beef contractor, which appears to show an interference with your excellency’s orders.

I am confident in the event of your excellency having made any change in your instructions in reference to my supplies I would have been promptly notified thereof. A similar interference may have prevented my receiving some boxes of solidified milk, which have been several days in the city to my address and which cannot have been detained on account of freight, as it was prepaid. This certainly would not, in the eyes of the transportation agent, come under the head of contraband of war or prohibited articles. It may be as well for me to Mention here a few points which have not received that attention to which I think they are entitled.

About six weeks ago I sent, under cover to Col. L. M. Hatch, quartermaster-general, a note from Sergeant Renehan, of this command, to his brother-in-law, asking him to send from Fort Moultrie his private property, which was already packed up, and I respectfully asked Colonel Hatch if he would be pleased to give it his attention. No reply has been received to my communication, nor have the articles been sent.

About a month since instructions were given by the honorable Secretary of War that Captain Foster’s private property on Sullivan’s Island, as well as some public papers in the office in Charleston, should be sent down. Neither the property nor the papers have yet been received here.

Early in January I sent some officers to Fort Moultrie for certain private property left there. They were received in so different a manner from the civility and courtesy that characterized the manner of Colonel De Saussure that I have not ventured to make another attempt to obtain possession of it, and I am thus cut off from regimental books (not public property) and office papers, valuable to us, and merely interesting to others.

{p.219}

Some of the officers of this command have been put to considerable inconvenience and discomfort by the detention in the city of their hired servant, who left the post with a permit from the honorable Secretary of War. His detention after the discovery that the correspondence, at first characterized as a “very improper one,” proved to be “nothing more than what might have been expected between any silly persons in their situations,” is unwarranted. I attached no importance to this matter from the first, and so remarked to a gentleman who came down to see me in reference to it. No one, not even an owner of a slave, would have a right, under such circumstances, to prevent his return, and it was undoubtedly called for in this case by common civility and courtesy, as the officers have no opportunity of replacing him.

In regard to packages arriving from time to time, through the express or otherwise, if it is necessary to trouble your excellency for special permits whenever articles of such minor importance as condiments, &c., are to be sent down to us, it is questionable with me whether it would not be better for us to do without them altogether, and to send instructions to the various express companies not to receive any packages destined for my command.

With sentiments of high consideration and regard,

I am, very respectfully, your excellency’s obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, S. C., March 15, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON:

SIR: I am instructed by his excellency the governor to inform you that he is unwilling to modify his original permission that you should receive from the markets in this city such supplies of fresh meat and vegetables as you might indicate. A proper investigation I will be instituted to inquire what obstacle has been interposed to the execution of the orders given oil the subject.

I will inquire why Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch has not sent the private property of Sergeant Renehan which was left at Fort Moultrie.

With respect to the furniture left by Captain Foster in the house occupied by him before he left Sullivan’s Island, and the papers, &c., left in his office in this city, I reply that Captain Simonton was requested to separate the furniture claimed by Captain Foster from his own, and send it to Fort Sumter through the quartermaster-general. This has been delayed, I believe, chiefly on account of some reclamations on the part of Captain Simonton for injuries done to his own furniture during the time the house was occupied by Captain Foster, and for rent. I have been informed that the matter has been attended to by Captain Simonton within the past few days, and I will take steps to have Captain Foster’s property sent to him without delay. As to the papers, Mr. Legare, who was indicated by Captain Foster as a proper person to carry out his wishes, reported to me that he had collected and sent the papers, &c., to Captain Foster.

With respect to the property which you failed to recover from Fort Moultrie, I am informed by Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley that he sent word to you that if you would transmit an inventory of any articles of property left by you he would endeavor to collect and send them to you, but that he received no reply to his offer.

{p.220}

As to the servant referred to in your letter, it is proper that I should say that I am unwilling to discuss any question of right or courtesy growing out of the case beyond the unquestionable privilege of a slave owner to permit or not, at his own pleasure, the return of his slave to a hostile fort; but, as you have put a different interpretation on the language employed by me in my letters on the subject than I designed, I desire to state what I did mean: “The very improper correspondence” between the slaves to which I alluded had reference to the slaves alone, as information was given by the woman to the boy of operations in this city which were not proper to be communicated to any one in your garrison, and the reply of the boy clearly showed that his temper and principles had not been improved by a residence in Fort Sumter. The other words of mine, which you quote-"nothing more than what might have been expected between silly persons in their situation” were meant as kind expressions on my part, to disabuse the minds of Dr. Crawford and other officers at, the fort of any unfavorable impression upon me of a complicity on their part with the improper correspondence of idle negroes.

I am, sir, respectfully, yours,

D. F. JAMISON.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 17, 1861.

Hon. D. F. JAMISON, Executive Office, Department of War:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 15th instant in reply to mine of the 13th to his excellency the governor.

I hasten to ask you to refer to my letter to his excellency, and you will see that I did not solicit any modification of his original permission about receiving supplies of fresh meat and vegetables. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement, and only called attention to a reported interference of it. I thank you for your promise in reference to the property of Captain Foster.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley did kindly offer to attend to collecting any “private property” left on the island by the officers, and I thanked him for having done so.

The property alluded to in my note is not, strictly speaking, private, but belongs to the regiment or post, and therefore was not, in my opinion, embraced in his offer. My object in mentioning this matter was to call attention to it, in order that such directions might be given regarding it as might be deemed proper.

I beg leave to assure you that I had no desire to discuss the question of right or of courtesy in reference to the treatment my officers received in the failure to return the hired boy, and my remarks were intended to apply to the professed owner of the boy, who, neglecting his duty as owner or master for months, had permitted the boy to hire himself out, every one supposing him to be free, and now, at a time when the exercise of his “undoubted right” puts gentlemen here to a serious inconvenience, for the first time asserts his rights of ownership.

His excellency mentions in his letter to me, received yesterday, that the boy is a slave, and, of course, that ends the matter. In justice to myself I must state that I did not intentionally place a forced construction on your words. The day your first letter was received about the boy a gentlemen came down to see me about the “improper correspondence,” which he was told had reference to the negroes joining us in the event {p.221} of a collision. He remarked to his informants, as he told me, that he thought it a foolish story, advised them to say nothing about it, and said that he was certain, at all events, that I had no idea of anything of the kind, and came down to tell me of the rumor.

I regret exceedingly that your letter contains the remark it does in reference to the effect of a residence at Fort Sumter on the boy’s “temper and principles,” and I am satisfied that, upon further consideration, you will regret it.

I am, sir, respectfully, yours, &c.,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 26, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN. Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have nothing of interest to report connected with operations in the batteries around us. There seems to be a general lack of activity, and the little that is being done is at the channel batteries on Morris Island and the mortar battery on James Island. The indications of a coming storm appear. In this fort the closing of the exterior openings in the first tier of the gorge is completed, and the work on the splinter-proof traverses continued. The sixth and last temporary building on the parade is being demolished for fuel. Some lumber and one condemned gun carriage have already been burned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–A messenger from the President of the United States arrived yesterday about 2 o’clock, and after delivering his dispatches and having an interview with Major Anderson, departed about 3 o’clock. Mr. Lamon, I understand, was the gentleman’s name, and he was escorted to the fort from the city by Colonel Duryea, of the governor’s staff.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

–––

No. 85.]

FORT SUMTER, S.C., March 27, 1861. (Received A. G. O., March 30.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that three heavy guns were landed yesterday at Cummings Point, and that this morning we can only see that they are working at the place at Fort Johnson mentioned in yesterday’s letter. I send herewith a correspondence which has taken place since my last date between Brigadier-General Beauregard and myself. They may have misunderstood a remark which I have made, viz, that if attacked, and I found that I could not hold possession of the fort, that I would blow it up, sacrificing our lives in preference to permitting ourselves to fall into their hands. I hope that the authorities here now understand distinctly that I shall give no pledges whatever. I shall do nothing which is not fully justified by the highest sense of honorable and straightforward dealing, and will not permit from any source any insinuation {p.222} that I have acted in any other manner in the performance of my duty, &c., here.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., March 26, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.

MY DEAR MAJOR: Having been informed that Mr. Lamon, the authorized agent of the President of the United States, advised Governor Pickens, after his interview with you at Fort Sumter, that yourself and command would be transferred to another post in a few days, and understanding that you are under the impression I intended under all circumstances to require of you a formal surrender or capitulation, I hasten to disabuse you, and to inform you that our countries not being at war, and wishing as far as lies in my power to avoid the latter calamity, no such condition will be exacted of you, unless brought about as the natural result of hostilities.

Whenever you will be prepared to leave the fort, if you will inform Governor Pickens or myself of your intentions relative thereto, we will be happy to see that you are provided with proper means of transportation out of this harbor for yourself and command, including baggage, private and company property. All that will be required of you on account of the public rumors that have reached us will be your word of honor as an officer and a gentleman, that the fort, all public property therein, its armament, &c., shall remain in their present condition, without any arrangements or preparation for their destruction or injury after you shall have left the fort.

On our part no objection will be raised to your retiring with your side and company arms, and to your saluting your flag on lowering it. Hoping to have the pleasure of meeting you soon under more favorable circumstances,

I remain, dear major, yours, very truly,

G. T. BEAUREGARD.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 26, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

My DEAR GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, and hasten to say that I needed no denial from you of the expression attributed to you. The moment I heard that you had said that I should not leave this fort without surrendering I remarked that it was not true, and that I knew you had not said so. I am much obliged to his excellency the governor and yourself for the assurances you give me, but you must pardon me for saying that I feel deeply hurt at the intimation in your letter about the conditions which will be exacted of me, and I must state most distinctly that if I can only be permitted to leave on the pledge you mention I shall never, so help me God, leave this fort alive.

Hoping that you do not mean what your words express, and in that {p.223} case cordially uniting with you in the wish that we may have the pleasure of meeting under more favorable circumstances,

I remain, dear general, yours truly,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., March 26, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.

My DEAR MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of this date, and hasten to disabuse you as to any intention on my part of wounding, in any manner whatsoever, the feelings of so gallant an officer by anything I may have, written in my letter of this morning.

I only alluded to the pledge referred to by you on account of the high source from which the rumors spoken of appeared to come, and which, in the eyes of many officers of high standing, might be considered a sufficient reason for executing orders which otherwise they would not approve of; but I regret now having referred to the subject.

I remain, dear major, yours very truly,

G. T. BEAUREGARD.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

FORT SUMTER, S.C., March 27, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I hasten, in reply to your kind and satisfactory note of yesterday afternoon, just received, to express my gratification at its tenor. I only regret that rumors from any source made you, for one moment, have the slightest doubt as to the straight path of honor and duty, in which I trust, by the blessing of God, ever to be found.

I am, dear general, yours sincerely,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 27, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL: The only work being done this morning in the surrounding batteries is on Cummings Point, where small parties, apparently of soldiers, are at work on the parapets of battery No. 3 (looking towards Fort Moultrie) and the redoubt on the sand hill in rear of the Star of the West battery. They appear to be repairing the damages caused by the wind and rain of yesterday and last night. More guns were landed on Cummings Point, but bow many I cannot tell. Three of them, apparently 24-pounders on siege carriages, are now on the beach at the place of landing.

Two messengers from the city, Lieut. S. W. Ferguson, formerly of the Army, and Colonel Chisolm, came yesterday as bearers of a letter to Major Anderson from General Beauregard.

My operations are confined to the collection and counting of materials, {p.224} clearing of the parade, construction, of splinter-proof traverse in front of ordnance room, and cutting of interior slope of parapet, so as to allow the 10-inch columbiad at the west gorge angle to traverse so as to fire on all the batteries on Cummings Point.

It was with great pleasure that I received the expressions of the approval of the Department contained in your letter of the 23d.

I inclose herewith a sketch showing the arrangement of guns, &c., on the first and third tiers of this work.* This arrangement will probably not be altered unless active operations be commenced against the work.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

[Indorsement.]

Left with Assistant Adjutant-General Townsend for the information of General Scott. Returned to Engineer Department April 2, 1861.

H. G. W.

* For sketch see p. 225.

–––

No. 86.]

FORT SUMTER, S.C., March 28, 1861.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that everything was quiet last night. As we do not see the iron-plated floating battery this morning in the position it has occupied for some time, it is probable that it has been moved to guard some one of their exposed entrances. They are still engaged at the new work at Fort Johnson.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 28, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Very little is being done in the hostile batteries beyond the repairing of damages to parapets, except at the James Island mortar battery, where about fifty men are at work on the covered way to the left flank of the intrenchments, and upon an extension of the battery to the right. The floating battery was moved from her moorings last night, and removed to some place not within sight. The city papers stated some days since that she was to be taken to the mouth of the Stono, and it is probable that she was taken down there, on the high tide of last night, through Wappoo Creek.

The two messengers of the day before came again yesterday, with a second communication from General Beauregard to Major Anderson. Upon the whole, appearances are very pacific in this harbor at present, and no hostile demonstrations are made, or great activity in preparation exhibited. The three siege guns still remain in the same position oil the beach at Cummings Point.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

{p.225}

[Inclosure.]

{p.226}

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 28, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that there is a general suspension of operations in the batteries around us. The guns and materials on the beach on Cummings Point remain in precisely the same position they have occupied for three days. No repairs of parapets even are in progress, and it is reported that the sling-cart was removed to the city yesterday. At the mortar battery on James Island, where a few hands have been constantly at work for some time, there is now no appearance of labor.

I have received your letter of the 26th, and will follow its instructions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 28, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: A military irregularity occurred yesterday, which I deem proper to mention to you. I heard, after your flag had returned to the city, that a parcel had been brought in the boat, and left, without my knowledge. Orders have been given which will prevent the recurrence of such an irregularity. Nothing should have been received from the boat except your letter. Trusting that in a few days we shall be placed in a position which will be more agreeable and acceptable to both of us than the anomalous one we now occupy,

I am, dear general, yours, truly,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

–––

HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY CONFEDERATE STATES, Charleston, S. C., March 29, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

DEAR MAJOR: Your note of yesterday has just been received. I regret to hear of the irregularity complained of. When I approved of the parcel referred to being carried to Fort Sumter, it was supposed, as a, matter of course, that it would not be received without your consent. No further privileges of the kind will hereafter be granted.

Hoping that we may soon meet on the same friendly footing as heretofore, I remain, dear major, yours, very truly,

G. T. BEAUREGARD, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

–––

EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 29, 1861.

Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:

SIR: I desire that an expedition, to move by sea, be got ready to sail as early as the 6th of April next, the whole according to memorandum attached, and that you co-operate with the Secretary of the Navy for that object.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

{p.227}

[Inclosure No. 1.]

NAVY DEPARTMENT. Preliminary orders.–Steamers Pocahontas at Norfolk, Pawnee at Washington, Harriet Lane at New York (Treasury Department), to be under sailing orders for sea, with stores, &c., for one month. Three hundred men to be kept ready for departure from on board the receiving ships at New York.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

WAR DEPARTMENT. Preliminary.–Two hundred men to be ready to leave Governor’s Island in New York. Supplies for twelve, months for one hundred men to be put in portable shape, ready for instant shipping. A large steamer and three tugs conditionally engaged.

MARCH 28, 1861.

–––

No. 87.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 29, 1861.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report everything quiet. The sling-cart was removed from Morris Island last evening, showing, probably, that they have finished for the present the moving of guns, &c., on that island. We see nothing going on but the continued prosecution of the work at Fort Johnson. The sick-report embraces eight to-day, but all the cases, with the exception of two of rupture, are slight.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 88.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 30, 1861.

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to say that we see them engaged this morning as reported yesterday. They have commenced filling up the embrasure in the battery at the landing at Cummings Point.

On further reflection, it occurs to me that the floating battery may have been towed down to some point whence it may be brought at high tide through, perhaps, Light-house Creek, to the position intended near us.

I see that there is a small troop of cavalry on Sullivan’s Island.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 30, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Everything is quiet. The embrasures of the breaching battery No. 1 are closed, two of them with sand bags laid in solidly, and two with more temporary screens. Some men are at work oil battery No. 3, apparently closing its three embrasures more solidly than before, with sand bags. No other work appears in progress on Morris Island. {p.228} On James Island a party of fifty men are at, work extending and enlarging the mortar battery at its right flank. This is evidently to be so enlarged and furnished with guns as to constitute the strong point on which rests the left flank of the line of intrenchments which covers Fort Johnson, and perhaps the city on that side. In this fort, the splinter-proof traverses being completed and the parade well cleared, the men are at work hoisting to the terre-plein the 32-pounder chassis, to be used for temporary traverses between the guns.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain of Engineers.

–––

No. 89.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 31, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 4.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we do not see any work going on this morning. Yesterday, in consequence of the members of the Convention coming down, a great deal of firing of shot and shell took place at Fort Moultrie and from the batteries on Morris Island.

The three batteries outside of the Star of the West have certainly guns of very heavy caliber; this we know from the great extent of the ranges and from the reports.

As our provisions are very nearly exhausted, I have requested Captain Foster to discharge his laborers, retaining only enough for a boat’s crew. I hope to get them off to-morrow. The last barrel of flour was issued day before yesterday.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 31, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN. Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. :

GENERAL: Yesterday the members of the State Convention visited the batteries on Morris Island and Fort Moultrie, and from both places extensive firing took place in honor of the event. This gave me an opportunity of observing what batteries have been increased in strength since my last report on this subject.

The following is the present armament very nearly, viz:

Battery No. 1.–Four guns. Embrasures closed by sand bags. Not fired yesterday.

Mortar battery between Nos. 1 and 2.-Three mortars. Fired yesterday. These have practiced much lately, to obtain the range and length of fuse for this fort.

Battery No. 2, iron clad.–Three heavy guns. Two of them fired yesterday.

Battery No. 3.–Three guns. Embrasures closed with sand bags. Did not fire.

Mortar battery between Nos. 3 and 4-Two mortars. Fired yesterday.

Battery No. 4.–Three guns. Two fired.

Battery No. 5.–Four heavy guns, one columbiad or 8-inch sea-coast. {p.229} howitzer. Two fired yesterday. I think there are six guns in this battery, although only four have been seen to fire.

Star of the West battery.–Four heavy guns, one of them an 8-inch columbiad or 8-inch sea-coast howitzer. All fired yesterday.

Battery No. 7.–These guns are not all in the same battery, but are distributed along the beach apparently in three batteries. Eleven guns fired yesterday. All were very heavy guns except two, which I think were field pieces in a sort of second tier at a and b.

Above these batteries, on the sand hills, is a line of intrenchments surrounding a house, and also several tents. The field pieces are apparently at a and b, capable of being used to defend the flanks of this intrenchment, and to fire on the channel. Their rear is covered, each with a traverse.

It was evident in this firing that not all the guns in position were fired.

At Fort Moultrie the firing exhibited the same complete armament as last reported.

The provisions that I laid in for my force having become exhausted, and the supplies of the command being too limited to spare me any more, I am obliged to discharge nearly all my men I to-day I retain only enough to man a boat.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

–––

NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 1, 1861.

To the COMMANDANT OF THE NAVY-YARD, Brooklyn N. Y.:

Fit out the Powhatan to go to sea at the earliest possible moment under sealed orders. Orders by a confidential messenger go forward to-morrow.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

{p.230}

No. 90.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 1, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 4.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that everything is still and quiet, as far as we can see, around us. The South Carolina Secretary of War has not sent the authority, asked for yesterday, to enable me to send off the discharged laborers. Having been in daily expectation, since the return of Colonel Lamon to Washington, of receiving orders to vacate this post, I have kept these men here as long as I could; but now, having nearly completed the important work of cleaning up the area, &c., I am compelled, in consequence of the small supply of provisions on hand, to discharge them. An examination of the accompanying report of the A. A. C. S. will show that the supply of provisions brought over would, had the issues been limited-to my command, have lasted for a longer period than that mentioned in my letter of December 26, 1860. I have not made frequent mention of the question of our rations, because the Department was kept fully informed, from time to time, of the state of our supply. Lieutenants Talbot and Hall gave full information in reference to it when they went on, and on the 27th of January a detailed statement was sent on, from which any one in the Commissary Department could have told, knowing the number of souls in the fort, including the Engineer laborers, the exact amount on hand at any given time.*

I told Mr. Fox that if I placed the command on short allowance I could make the provisions last until after the 10th of this month; but as I have received no instructions from the Department that it was desirable I should do so, it has not been done. If the governor permits me to send off the laborers we will have rations enough to last us about one week longer.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

* See also inclosure to Major Anderson’s letter of March 22, p. 211.

[Inclosure.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 1, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding:

MAJOR: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following list of provisions sold to Capt. J. G. Foster, Corps of Engineers, for the subsistence of the employés in his department at this post, and have expressed the quantities in numbers of rations, viz:

Five and one-half barrels of pork-one thousand four hundred and sixty-seven rations.

Twenty barrels of flour-three thousand four hundred and eighty-five rations.

One hundred and eighty pounds hard bread-one hundred and eighty rations.

Two and one-half bushels of beans-one thousand rations.

One hundred and seventy-four pounds coffee-one thousand seven hundred and forty rations.

Seven, hundred and seventy-four pounds sugar-five thousand one hundred and sixty rations.

{p.231}

These provisions, which have necessarily been consumed by others, would have added to the time we have already been at this post subsistence for the following number of days, respectively:

Pork-Sixteen and twenty-seven-ninetieths days.

Flour and hard bread-Forty and sixty-five-ninetieths days.

Beans-Eleven and one-ninth days.

Coffee-Nineteen and one-third days.

Sugar-Fifty-seven and one-third days.

Or, with what is now on hand, at least thirty-five days of comfortable subsistence for the command, including the laundresses, who were sent away about two months ago.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

NORMAN J. HALL, Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, A. A. C. S.

–––

APRIL 1, 1861.

Extract from report of operations for the month of March, 1861, at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.

The operations of the month comprise the mounting of two 42-pounders-one at the left shoulder angle and the other at the west gorge angle-by means of a casemate-top carriage adapted to 10-inch columbiad chassis; the elevating to the terre-plein of two 10-inch columbiads with their carriages, and mounting them-one at the west gorge angle and the other at the east gorge angle; moving two 32-pounders from the left face to the gorge, and remounting them; closing up the exterior loophole openings of the first tier on the gorge by large blocks of stone, with the interstices filled with molten lead; erecting two large splinter-proof traverses on the parade-one in front of the hospital and the other of the ordnance room; hoisting the surplus gun carriages to the terre-plein, and commencing to form splinter-proof traverses of them; making implements for serving the guns, and better fastenings for the main gates, and iron casing to the manhole door through the same.

Respectfully submitted.

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

–––

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 2, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: Owing to a dense fog which has prevailed since, last evening nothing can be seen beyond a few yards from the fort. There are no indications to believe that there is any movement on foot, or that the state of partial inactivity last reported has been at all changed. The necessary permit from the governor for the discharged men to laud at Fort Johnson did not arrive in season yesterday, consequently they remained, and will probably leave at 12 m. to-day.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

{p.232}

No. 91.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 2, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 5.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have, the honor to report everything quiet, and, as far as we can see, no work going on.

I received to-day a copy of General Orders No. 7, assigning Brevet Captain Talbot to duty in the Adjutant-General’s Department. The captain having remained with this garrison daring our imprisonment in this fort is very desirous of being permitted to stay as long as the command does, and as we have, so few officers I shall take the liberty of keeping him a few days longer, until I am certain there will be no need of his services.

Our sick-list is, I am sorry to say, on the increase. The doctor reports this morning two cases of dysentery. The governor has not yet given authority for me to send off the Engineer employés.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 92.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 3, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 6.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we do not see them at work this morning. One of the guard-boats anchored at 8 o’clock last night (a schooner) about four hundred yards from the left shoulder angle of this work. She is still there.

The governor of South Carolina has not sent the permission alluded to yesterday, and to-day notice has been received that no butter can be sent down and only one quarter of a box of soap. These little matters indicate, perhaps, an intention to stop our supplies entirely. I must, therefore, most respectfully and urgently ask for instructions what I am to do as soon as my provisions are exhausted. Our bread will last four or five days.

Hoping that definite and full instructions will be sent to me immediately,

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

WASHINGTON, April 3, 1861.

To the SECRETARY OF WAR:

Under the strongest convictions on some military questions upon which great political events seem about to turn, I feel impelled to state them, since they are of a nature to derive, possibly, a little weight from my official relation to them, and since, moreover, circumstances might cause my failing to make the statement in time to be considered as a grave delinquency. I refer particularly to the question of defending or abandoning Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens.

Fort Sumter.–In addition to what I have heretofore said as to the impracticability of efficiently re-enforcing and supplying this fort, I will now say only that if the fort was filled with men and munitions it could {p.233} hold out but a short time. It would be obliged to surrender with much loss of life, for it would be bravely and obstinately defended, and the greater the crowd within the greater the proportionate loss. This issue can be averted only by sending a large army and navy to capture all the surrounding forts and batteries, and to assemble and apply these there is now no time. If we do not evacuate Fort Sumter it will be wrested from us by force.

Fort Pickens.–Were this fort provided with a garrison of eight hundred or one thousand good soldiers, fully supplied with everything necessary to the best defense, and ably commanded, its utmost term of resistance would be about three weeks-rather less than more. Were the besieging array practiced in the wax of sieges, it would hardly be maintained for a fortnight. With a garrison of three hundred to five hundred men only, and in its present destitution of essential means, its siege supplies consisting of guns and ammunition merely, and these scanty and not of the best kind, the siege must be a very short one. But even the making good the deficiencies would, as stated above, only defer the issue for a week or so. In any case a quick surrender would be inevitable.

Regarding the fort independently of co-operation on one side or the other of a naval force, or of other fortifications in the harbor, these conclusions are not to be doubted, without disregarding all military experience. The occupation by the investing forces of the shore opposite, with numerous batteries pouring their showers of shot and shell into the fort, while the regular siege operations upon Santa Rosa Island were going on, would materially abridge the term of resistance. A naval force uniting in the defense, but confined to the waters outside of the harbor, might, to a certain extent, increase the casualties of the besiegers, but would not materially retard the operations. In that case the approaches would be pushed along the inshore face of the island, leaving the breadth of the island, with its sand hills and ridges, between them and the ships; and, moreover, two or three batteries planted on the out-shore face, and sheltered from the fire of the fort by sand hills and traverses, would compel ships to keep an out-of-range offing. Could this naval force act upon the bay side of Santa. Rosa Island as well as upon the sea side, the progress of a siege, if practicable at all, might be greatly retarded. Under such circumstances this kind of attack would hardly be undertaken. Were the investing forces numerous and enterprising they might, nevertheless, even then attempt a coup de main; and, provided the garrison were weak in numbers, and worn out by a protracted cannonade and bombardment from the opposite shore, the chances of success would warrant the attempt.

But I consider that the passing or vessels of war into the bay would be a very hazardous proceeding in the face of Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, its advanced battery, and several other batteries that all account’s agree in stating have been erected and mounted along the shore, from the navy-yard inclusive to and beyond the light-house. It is possible, however, that this channel might be passed at night by swift war steamers without utter destruction, and there might be retained by one or more of them enough efficiency to prevent the hostile occupation of the lower part of Santa Rosa Island, and the prosecution there of siege operations against Fort Pickens. In such event resort would certainly be had to cannonade and bombardment from the batteries on the opposite shore, and these plied with vigor and perseverance would at last reduce the fort to a condition incapable of resisting vigorous assault, since the garrison would be exhausted, and the means of defense on the cannonaded {p.234} side have little efficiency left to them. The masonry on that part of the fort is exposed to sight, and to battering from top to bottom, and is pierced besides by a gateway and numerous embrasures, greatly weakening it. Every shot fired from the other shore would strike the walls, and every shell fall within them. With a brave and well-supplied garrison there would be an obstinate holding out, no doubt, but a surrender would at last close a scene in which on our side no other military virtues had room for display but fortitude and patience. The response of the fort to shot and shell would be by shot and shell, but with little proportionate chance of injury to the enemy’s impassive batteries of sand.

This last mode of attack could be prevented, even with the command of the inner waters only, by landing upon the main shore a military force sufficient to capture all these forts and batteries, including She navy-yard Admitting the supposition (quite unreasonable as I estimate our available army force) that we can before it is too late disperse the 3,000 or 5,000 men now in hostile array there and regain these possessions, what then? The Confederate States can assemble a large additional military force at Montgomery by railroad, and throw it down also by railroad upon Pensacola. Here there would be the struggle between the-two armies-on land, and not between forts and batteries.

The question that next arises is not whether this great nation is able with time to supply ample means in soldiers and munitions for such a conflict, but whether, having expended nearly all its ready strength in reconquering the harbor fortifications and navy-yard, it could send timely and adequate re-enforcements. With our present military establishment and existing military laws I do not see how this would be possible before all that had been gained would be lost.

The seceded States, considering themselves as in a state of quasi warfare, see that if there is to be a struggle the very utmost of their military energies and resources will be called for. They see, besides, that to contend with the greater chance of success they must profit by our present state of military weakness, and under the first glow of a great political change they rush ardently into the requisite preparations. Upon the battle-field of Pensacola or its environs they are now stronger than we can become without, the help of Congress, and they can and will augment their strength there if necessary beyond anything we can hope to do for yet many months.

The above and much like reasoning convince me that we cannot retain Fort Pickens, provided the other side is really in earnest, and follows up with like promptitude and energy their early military preparations. If we do not vacate this fort the result predicted as to Fort Sumter will certainly be realized here also-it will be taken from us by violence.

Should the above reasoning not meet acceptance, or for political reasons should it be decided to hold and defend this fort to the last., then I have to say that every soldier that can be spared should be sent to its relief with the utmost dispatch, accompanied by military supplies of every kind and in the greatest abundance.

To supply in some sort the want of a naval force within the bay as large a force as, can be spared from the immediate protection of the fort should be encamped upon Santa Rosa Island at some distance from the fort, maintaining communication with it and detaching parties to watch the upper part of the island. These will give timely notice of the entrance thereupon of hostile troops, and will prevent the erection of batteries against our ships lying off shore, through which all supplies for the fort must be derived.

{p.235}

While the fort is uninjured many men need not remain within its walls to secure it from surprise or escalade. Of course the detached troops must be kept within reach of quick recall. Such measures may delay somewhat, though neither these, nor any others now within our reach will, in my opinion, prevent the loss of Fort Pickens.

I present these thoughts to the consideration of the Secretary of War, and, if he thinks them of sufficient interest, to the perusal of the President, because they force themselves from me by the vehemence of the convictions.

Treating it purely as a professional question, I do not presume to advise as to the policy of the Government in this connection, merely presenting what seem to me to be incontrovertible facts and inevitable consequences of a military nature, that may, perhaps, be allowed to bear upon the political question.

Having no personal ambition or party feeling to lead or mislead me to conclusions, I have maturely studied the subject as a soldier bound to give all his faculties to his country, which may God preserve in peace!

Respectfully submitted.

JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., April 4, 1861.

Major ROBERT ANDERSON, U. S. Army:

SIR: Your letter of the 1st instant occasions some anxiety to the President.

On the information of Captain Fox he had supposed you could hold out till the 15th instant without any great inconvenience; and had prepared an expedition to relieve you before that period.

Hoping still that you will be able to sustain yourself till the 11th or 12th instant, the expedition will go forward; and, finding your flag flying, will attempt to provision you, and, in case the effort is resisted, will endeavor also to re-enforce you.

You will therefore hold out, if possible, till the arrival of the expedition.

It is not, however, the intention of the President to subject your command to any danger or hardship beyond what, in your judgment, would be, usual in military life; and he has entire confidence that you will act as becomes a patriot and soldier, under all circumstances.

Whenever, if at all, in your judgment, to save yourself and command, a capitulation becomes a necessity, you are authorized to make it.

Respectfully,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 4, 1861.

Capt. G. V. Fox, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: It having been decided to succor Fort Sumter you have been selected for this important duty. Accordingly you will take charge of the transports in New York having the troops and supplies on board to the entrance of Charleston Harbor, and endeavor, in the first instance, to deliver the subsistence. If you are opposed in this you are directed {p.236} to report the fact to the senior naval officer of the harbor, who will be instructed by the Secretary of the Navy to use his entire force to open a passage, when you will, if possible, effect an entrance and place both troops and supplies in Fort Sumter.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, April 4, 1861.

Col. D. D. TOMPKINS, A. Q. M. G., No. 6 State street, New York:

SIR: By direction of the Secretary of War you will charter such vessels as Capt. G. V. Fox, the bearer of this, may designate; for such time and with such supplies as he may indicate.

I am, sir, &c.,

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.

–––

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., April 4, 1861.

Lieut. Col. HENRY L. SCOTT, A. D. C., New York:

SIR: This letter will be handed to you by Capt. G. V. Fox, ex-officer of the Navy, and a gentleman of high standing, as well as possessed of extraordinary nautical ability. He is charged by high authority here with the command of an expedition, under cover of certain ships of war, whose object is to re-enforce Fort Sumter.

To embark with Captain Fox you will cause a detachment of recruits, say about two hundred, to be immediately, organized at Fort Columbus, with a competent number of officers, arms, ammunition, and subsistence. A large surplus of the latter-indeed, as great as the vessels of the expedition can take-with other necessaries, will be needed for the augmented garrison of Fort Sumter.

The subsistence and other supplies should be assorted like those which were provided by you and Captain Ward of the Navy for a former expedition. Consult Captain Fox and Major Eaton on the subject, and give all necessary orders in my name to fit out the expedition, except that the hiring of vessels will be left to others.

Some fuel must be shipped. Oil, artillery implements, fuses, cordage, slow-match, mechanical levers, and gins, &c., should also be put on board.

Consult, also, if necessary, confidentially, Colonel Tompkins and Major Thornton.

Respectfully, yours,

WINFIELD SCOTT.

–––

No. 93.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 4, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 6.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to send herewith a report of the circumstances attending a firing yesterday afternoon by the batteries on Morris Island at a schooner bearing our flag, bound from Boston to Savannah, {p.237} which, erroneously mistaking the light-house off this harbor for that of Tybee, and having failed to get a pilot, was entering the harbor.

The remarks made to me by Colonel Lamon, taken in connection with the tenor of newspaper articles, have induced me, as stated in previous communications, to believe that orders would soon be issued for my abandoning this work. When the firing commenced some of my heaviest guns were concealed from their view by planking, and by the time the battery was ready the firing had ceased. I then, acting in strict accordance with the spirit and wording of the orders of the War Department, as communicated to me in the letter from the Secretary of War dated February 23, 1861, determined not to commence firing until I had seat to the vessel and investigated the circumstances.

The accompanying report presents them. Invested by a force so superior that a collision would, in all probability, terminate in the destruction of our force before relief could reach us, with only a few days provisions on hand, and with a scanty supply of ammunition, as will be seen by a reference to my letter of February 27, in hourly expectation of receiving definite instructions from the War Department, and with orders so explicit and peremptory as those I am acting under, I deeply regret that I did not feel myself at liberty to resent the insult thus offered to the flag of my beloved country.

I think that proper notification should be given to our merchant vessels of the rigid instructions under which the commanders of these batteries are acting; that they should be notified that they must, as soon as a shot is fired ahead of them, at once round to and communicate with the batteries.

The authorities here are certainly blamable for not having constantly vessels off to communicate instructions to those seeking entrance into this harbor.

Captain Talbot is relieved, of course, by order No. 7, from duty at this post. I avail myself of this opportunity of stating that he has been zealous, intelligent, and active in the discharge of all his duties here, so far as his health permitted him to attempt their performance. I send him on with these dispatches, to give the department an opportunity, if deemed proper, to modify, in consequence of this unfortunate affair, any order they may have sent to me. I will delay obedience thereto until I have time to receive a telegram after Captain Talbot’s having reported to the War Department.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT SUMTER, April 3, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, U. S. Army, Commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor:

MAJOR: In obedience to your directions, we visited Cummings Point and the schooner, bearing the United States flag, which was tired into by the batteries on Morris Island, and respectfully present the following statement concerning the affair:

The commanding officer on Morris Island, Lieut. Col. W. G. De Saussure, stated that a schooner with the United States flag at her peak endeavored to enter the harbor this afternoon about 3 o’clock; that in accordance with his orders to prevent any vessel under that flag from entering the harbor, he had fired three shots across her bows, and this not {p.238} causing her to heave to, he had fired at her, and had driven her out of the harbor; that he thought one or two shots had taken effect, and that if he had a boat that could live to get out to her he would send and see if she were disabled, and inform Major Anderson at once, but that he had no proper boat, as the schooner was at anchor in a very rough place; that, the revenue cutter had gone out to examine her condition. We ascertained the schooner to be the Rhoda H. Shannon, Joseph Marts, master, of Dorchester, N. J., bound from Boston to Savannah with a cargo of ice, having left the former place on March 26. On account of unfavorable weather, the master had obtained but one observation, and that was an imperfect one on yesterday. On his arrival off Charleston Bar, supposing himself to be off Tybee, and seeing a pilot-boat, he directed one of his men to hold the United States flag in the fore rigging as a signal for a pilot. As none came, the flag was taken down in a few minutes, and the master undertook to bring his vessel into the harbor without a pilot. He did not discover that he was not in Savannah Harbor until he, had crossed the bar and had advanced some distance in the harbor. As he was passing Morris Island, displaying no flag, a shot was fired from a battery on shore across the bows of the schooner. The master states that he thought they wished him to show his colors, and that he displayed the United States flag at his peak. One or two shots were then fired across the schooner’s bows, but he did not know what to do or what the people on shore wished him to do; that he kept the vessel on her course until they fired at her, and one shot bad gone through the mainsail, about two feet above the boom, when he put her about and stood out to sea, anchoring his vessel in the Swash Channel, just inside of the bar; that the batteries kept on firing at his vessel for some time after he had turned to go out to sea.

The master of the schooner stated that before leaving Boston, he bad learned how affairs stood in Charleston Harbor and that Fort Sumter was to be given up in a few days; that they had established a new confederacy down South.

After satisfying ourselves that the vessel was uninjured, and as she was lying in a very rough place, we advised the master to move his vessel-either to stand out to sea and go on to Savannah, or to come into the harbor and anchor.

On our return we stopped at Cummings Point, and stated the facts to Lieutenant-Colonel De Saussure. He said that the vessel would not be molested if she came into the harbor.

The schooner weighed anchor a short time after we left, and stood in towards Morris Island for some distance, but finally turned about and went to sea.

Respectfully submitted.

T. SEYMOUR, Captain, First Artillery. G. W. SNYDER, Lieutenant of Engineers.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 4, 1861.

His Excellency Governor PICKENS, Charleston, S. C.:

GOVERNOR: I have the honor respectfully to request that you will be pleased to issue such instructions as will enable Bvt. Captain Talbot, recently promoted, to report himself at Washington City, in compliance with orders he has received.

{p.239}

Lieutenant Snyder is directed I to give your excellency a detail of the statement made to him yesterday by the captain of the schooner which was fired upon by the batteries on Morris Island. I regret very much that there were no boats to warn her, or to give her instructions as to the course of conduct she would have to pursue in entering the harbor, and I regret, too, that the firing was continued after she had turned and was attempting to leave the harbor. Believing that the fortunate issue of this affair, without injury or loss of life, was providential, and still hoping that God will so direct the counsels of all in authority that we shall soon be relieved from our unpleasant position,

I have the honor to remain, with sincere regard, your obedient servant,

ROBT. ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 4, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: The permit for my men* to leave did not arrive yesterday, and I have put them at work again until it does arrive.

Yesterday, at about 2 o’clock, the batteries on Morris Island commenced firing at, a schooner that was entering the harbor when she was about up with the channel buoy (channel buoy No. 3, Coast Survey Chart of 1858), or about one mile from this fort.

The first shots were fired in front of her, and the subsequent ones directly at her. The schooner hoisted the American flag. After receiving a few shots she turned about to run out through the Swash Channel. After a few more shots she lowered the American flag, but stood on her course until nearly or quite out of range of the guns of the batteries, when she came to and anchored. The batteries on Morris Island continued firing at her-at least, one of them did-until she anchored. Major Anderson sent a boat with. Captain Seymour and Lieutenant Snyder to ask the reasons for the firing from the commanding officer on Morris Island, and also to obtain permission to board the vessel and ascertain her condition, object of visit, &c.

The main points of the reports of these officers upon their return were, that the officer in command on Morris Island, Colonel Wilmot De Saussure, acted by orders from his Government, one of which was to force a vessel to show her colors by firing across her bows, and another to fire on any vessel attempting to enter with the American flag flying.

The vessel was ascertained to be the Rhoda H. Shannon, from Boston to Savannah, loaded with ice. She was a schooner of 180 tons burden.

Her captain was an ignorant man, and, owing to thick weather and making a mistake in his reckoning, mistook this harbor for the one to which he was bound. He did not know what they wanted him to do.

None of the shots struck his vessel, and only one struck anything about the vessel, and that passed through one of his sails, about two feet above the boom.

I obtained more important information through Lieutenant Snyder of the channel batteries than I possessed before.

In the short time before this letter is to go I can only say that all the {p.240} guns on the channel side, commencing with No. 4, inclusive, are en barbette, although well protected from our fire, and also from flank fire, by high traverses. From No. 4 to No. 71 inclusive, 17 guns were seen, apparently very heavy, most of them.

Capt. T. Talbot goes to Washington with dispatches. No supplies came from the city yesterday.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

P. S.–The revenue cutter still lies off the left shoulder angle, and during the firing ran up the Confederate flag and kept it flying.

J. G. F.

* Thirty discharged employés.

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NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 5, 1861.

Capt. SAMUEL MERCER, Commanding U. S. S. Powhatan, New York:

SIR: The United States steamers Powhatan, Pawnee, Pocahontas, and Harriet Lane will compose a naval force, under your command, to be sent to the vicinity of Charleston, S. C., for the purpose of aiding in carrying out the objects of an expedition of which the War Department has charge.

The primary object of the expedition is to provision Fort Sumter, for which purpose the War Department will furnish the necessary transports. Should the authorities at Charleston permit the fort to be supplied, no further particular service will be required of the force under your command, and after being satisfied that supplies have been received at the fort, the Powhatan, Pocahontas, and Harriet Lane will return to New York, and the Pawnee to Washington.

Should the authorities at Charleston, however, refuse to permit or attempt to prevent the vessel or vessels having supplies on board from entering the harbor, or from peaceably proceeding to Fort Sumter, you will protect the transports or boats of the expedition in the object of their mission-disposing of your force in such manner as to open the way for their ingress and afford, so far as practicable, security to the men and boats, and repelling by force, if necessary, all obstructions towards provisioning the fort, and re-enforcing it; for in case of resistance to the peaceable primary object of the expedition a re-enforcement of the garrison will also be attempted. These purposes will be under the supervision of the War Department, which has charge of the expedition. The expedition has been intrusted to Capt. G. V. Fox, with whom you will put yourself in communication, and co-operate with him to accomplish and carry into effect its object.

You will leave New York with the Powhatan in time to be off Charleston Bar, ten miles distant from and due cast of the light-house, on the morning of the 11th instant, there to await the arrival of the transport or transports with troops and stores. The Pawnee and Pocahontas will be ordered to join you there at the time mentioned, and also the Harriet Lane, which latter vessel has been placed under the control of this Department for this service.

On the termination of the expedition, whether it be peaceable or otherwise, the several vessels under your command will return to the {p.241} respective ports, as above directed, unless some unforeseen circumstance should prevent.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.

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No. 94.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 5, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 8.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report everything still and quiet, and to send herewith the report of Lieutenant Snyder, who I sent yesterday with a short note and a verbal message to the governor of South Carolina. No reply has been received to my note.

I cannot but think that Mr. Crawford has misunderstood what he has heard in Washington, as I cannot think that the Government would abandon, without instructions and without advice, a command which has tried to do all its duty to our country.

I cannot but think that if the Government decides to do nothing which can be construed into a recognition of the fact of the dissolution of the Union, that it will, at all events, say to me that I must do the best I can, and not compel me to do an act which will leave my motives and actions liable to misconception.

I am sure that I shall not be left without instructions, even though they may be confidential. After thirty odd years of service I do not wish it to be said that I have treasonably abandoned a past and turned, over to unauthorized persons public property intrusted to my charge. I am entitled to this act of justice at the hands of my Government, and I feel confident that I shall not be disappointed. What to do with the public property, and where to take my command, are questions to which answers will, I hope, be at once returned. Unless we receive supplies I shall be compelled to stay here without food, or to abandon this post very early next week.

Confidently hoping that I shall receive ample instructions in time,

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 4, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, U. S. Army, Commanding Fort Sumter:

MAJOR: In compliance with your directions, I went under a flag of truce, to the city of Charleston, in company with Captain Talbot, and had an interview with Governor Pickens and General Beauregard. In, the interview with the governor, Captain Talbot only being present, I stated all the circumstances connected with the visits of Captain Seymour and myself to Cummings Point and the schooner Rhoda H. Shannon, which had been fired into by the batteries on Morris Island, on the 3d instant. I called his attention to the fact that he bad not complied with his own proposition, to warn all vessels bearing the United States flag not to enter the harbor. The governor replied that he and General Beauregard, with their staff officers, were standing on the piazza of the Moultrie House, on Sullivan’s Island, and saw the whole affair, and {p.242} that my statement corroborated entirely his own personal observation, although it differed slightly from the report of Colonel De Saussure, the commanding officer on Morris Island. The governor said that the commander of the vessel whose duty it was to warn vessels not to enter the harbor had left his post, and had reported that the weather was too boisterous and the sea too rough for him to go out to the schooner Shannon; that this commander had already been sent for, and would be dismissed; that the commander of the cutter would be reprimanded for not going out and examining whether the Shannon were disabled; and that peremptory orders had been sent to Morris Island to stop this random firing.

The governor also said that if Major Anderson deemed it his duty to send out, under unfavorable circumstances, and examine the condition of the schooner Shannon, it was doubly theirs, imposed by humanity, and also by the commercial interest of their harbor.

General Beauregard was invited in, and I repeated what I bad said to Governor Pickens to him. The general replied in the same terms as the governor, adding that the practice firing on Morris Island would take place at particular hours.

There was an objection made to Captain Talbot leaving Fort Sumter for Washington, but this was finally overruled and the captain allowed to depart. The governor said that orders bad been received from Montgomery not to allow any man in the ranks, or any laborers, to leave Fort Sumter, and not to allow Major Anderson to obtain supplies in Charleston; that Mr. Crawford, a commissioner from the Confederate States, now in Washington, had sent a dispatch to him stating that he was authorized to say that no attempt would be made to re-enforce Fort Sumter with men or provisions, but that Mr. Lincoln would not order Major Anderson to withdraw from Fort Sumter, and would leave him to act for himself; also, advising the governor not to allow any supplies to be cut from the city to Fort Sumter.

I called the attention of both General Beauregard and Governor Pickens to the schooner lying near the left flank of Fort Sumter. They said they knew nothing of her, but would send and ascertain, and direct her to move further from the fort. Governor Pickens remarked that as they were now acting under the authority of the Confederate States he had consulted with General Beauregard, who was now in command of the troops stationed here.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. W. SNYDER, First Lieut. of Engineers, U. S. Army.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 5, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I wrote yesterday by Captain Talbot, who left here at 12 m., as bearer of dispatches from Major Anderson to the Government. Lieutenant Snyder accompanied him to the city as bearer of a communication to the governor and General Beauregard, relating to the firing upon the schooner Rhoda H. Shannon, and to the presence of the revenue cutter so near the walls of this fort. The result of this mission, so far as I understand it, is this: First, Captain Talbot, after some consultation was permitted by the authorities to proceed to Washington. Second, it was stated that no Engineer employé or enlisted mail would {p.243} be permitted to leave the fort until the command was withdrawn, in consequence of a dispatch from Commissioner Crawford, at Washington, to the effect that “I am authorized to say that this Government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter without notice to you [Governor Pickens]. My opinion is that the President has not the courage to execute the order agreed on in Cabinet for the evacuation of the fort, but that he intends to shift the responsibility upon Major Anderson by suffering him to be starved out”; and that no more supplies for the fort could come from the city. Third, that more stringent orders would be given to regulate the firing from the batteries and to restrict random firing, not, however, changing in the least the order to fire on any vessel attempting to force her way in after being warned off. Fourth, disclaiming any knowledge of the revenue cutter so near the walls, and expressing a determination to investigate the subject.

In returning from the city Lieutenant Snyder called for the mail at Fort Johnson, where he also took on board a small supply of beef and cabbages, which had come from the city the day before, too late for our boat. Soon after the return of the boat from town, the cutter moved her anchorage to a position about four hundred yards from the left shoulder angle. My force is now at work putting up splinter-proof traverses on the terre-plein.

My supplies of provisions that I laid in before the commencement of the investment were yesterday reduced to one half-barrel of cornmeal, one-seventh barrel of grits, and eleven codfish. Everything else that is necessary for the support of the Engineer force is drawn from the scanty stores of the command.

There appears to be no unusual activity in the surrounding batteries, owing, perhaps, to a high wind which has prevailed for three days.

I inclose a sketch of the batteries and number of guns, based upon the observations of Lieutenant Snyder. Captain Talbot can give you any detailed information that may be required.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

[Inclosure on next page.] {p.244} {p.245}

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 6, 1861.

Capt. THEO. TALBOT, Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: You will proceed directly to Charleston, S. C., and if on your arrival there the flag of the United States shall be flying over Fort Sumter, and the fort shall not have been attacked, you will procure an interview with Governor Pickens, and read to him as follows:

I am directed by the President of the United States to notify [you] to expect an attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only, and that if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in provisions, arms, or ammunition will be made without further notice or in case of an attack upon the fort.

After you shall have read this to Governor Pickens, deliver to him the copy of it herein inclosed, and retain this letter yourself.

But if on your arrival at Charleston you shall ascertain that Fort Sumter shall have been already evacuated or surrendered by the United States force, you will seek no interview with Governor Pickens, but return here forthwith.

Respectfully,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

–––

No. 95.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 6, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 9.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. A.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that everything is quiet around us. The schooner (she is a revenue cutter) reported as lying near our work still remains there. One of her officers boarded our mail-boat yesterday, and said that his orders were not to permit any boat to pass from Fort Sumter to the shore without bearing a white flag. I do not believe that General Beauregard has either placed her where she is or given her those orders, and I have written to him to-day in reference to it.

A mortar battery near Mount Pleasant is firing shells this morning. I have also called the general’s attention to that firing, as some of the shells have burst nearer to us than is safe. The truth is that, the sooner we are out of this harbor the better. Our flag runs an hourly risk of being insulted, and my hands are tied by my orders, and if that was not the case, I have not the power to protect it. God grant that neither I nor any other officer of our Army may be again placed in a position of such mortification and humiliation.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, New York, April 6, 1861.

Lieut. CHARLES R. WOODS, Ninth Infantry, Act. Supt. East. Dept., R. S., Fort Columbus, N. Y.:

SIR: The General-in Chief desires that two hundred recruits from Fort Columbus be at once organized into two companies, and held in readiness for embarkation on Monday next, the 8th instant.

{p.246}

A proper proportion of non-commissioned officers will be included in the detachment, which must be fully supplied with arms, ammunition, and subsistence.

First Lieut. Edward McK. Hudson, Fourth Artillery, First Lieut. R. O. Tyler, Third Artillery, and Second Lieut. C. W. Thomas, First Infantry, are assigned to duty with the recruits.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant

H. L. SCOTT, Lieutenant-Colonel and A. D. C., Act. Adjt. Gen.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 6, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have nothing new to communicate this morning connected with the batteries on Morris Island or the other batteries of which I have before written. Nothing appears to be doing except making the necessary repairs to embrasures, parapets, &c.

A mortar battery situated on the shore, a little to the east of Mount Pleasant, commenced practicing yesterday and this morning, throwing the shells very near this fort. It is situated about 13 degrees to the east of north, on a line drawn from the center of this work. This battery, with the one on Sullivan’s Island, the two on Morris Island, and the one on James Island, will enable the besiegers to reach every part of this work with their shells. Against these the casemates must prove the principal protection, for, with the exception of the splinter-proof traverses formed of the gun carriages, I have not enough timber or sand bags to form shell-proof shelters on the terre-plein. The revenue cutter (former buoy-tender) lies in the same position. The only supplies received yesterday were some vegetables that came from the city to Fort Johnson two days before. None came from the city. I received yesterday General Orders Nos. 6 and 7. The mail continues to be delivered regularly.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Captain, Engineers.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 6, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: I deem it my duty to call your attention to the fact that some of the shells fired this morning from the mortar battery at Mount Pleasant have exploded so near this work as to render the further firing dangerous to the occupants of this fort, unless the direction of the mortar is changed. I hope, therefore, that, to guard against the possibility of such an event (one, I know, that you would never cease to regret), you will issue such orders as are proper in the case. I think it as well, too, to mention another thing which occurred yesterday and has annoyed us. You know that since January 14, I have, in accordance with a suggestion from and an arrangement made by his excellency Governor Pickens, been sending my mails to and receiving them from Fort Jackson about 12 o’clock daily. Although I did not deem it necessary to do so, I have always had a white flag in the boat. As she is dispatched, however, in accordance with the instructions of the executive, and is (the whole distance) in view of and under protection of {p.247} the guns of this fort and of Fort Johnson, the case does lot really require the use of that flag. Nothing has ever been said about it until yesterday, when on its return from Fort Johnson with my mail she was stopped by a row-boat from the vessel which remains anchored off the left flank of this fort (the one about which Lieutenant Snyder spoke to his excellency and yourself, and of which you said you knew nothing), and an officer in charge told my men that his orders were not to let any boat go from Fort Sumter to the shore without a white flag and that he must raise it. I do not believe that you have given these orders, and I am unwilling that my officers shall leave here, as we hope to do in a few days, under the impression that you have either had that vessel placed so much nearer to us than any vessel has ever been anchored before or given her such orders. I have never regarded myself as being in a hostile attitude towards the inhabitants of South Carolina, and have been very particular in treating every one who has approached me or with whom I have had any intercourse with the greatest civility and courtesy. I hope that you will at once give your attention to both these matters, and I most earnestly hope that nothing will ever occur to alter, in the least, the high regard and esteem I have for so many years entertained for you.

I am, dear general, yours, very truly,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

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CHARLESTON, S. C., April 7, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

DEAR MAJOR: Your letter dated yesterday was received by me this morning, and I regret to learn that the firing from the mortar battery yesterday was so directed as to render the explosion of the shells dangerous to the occupants of Fort Sumter. The attention of the officer in command of the battery was called to the manner of his firing yesterday, and orders will be sent to him to-day not to practice again in the same direction.

In regard to the vessel lying near Fort Sumter, orders were given by me, as early as the 4th instant, for its removal to some other point, and if it, has not been done steps will be taken to have it removed forthwith.

The orders to hail boats passing to and from Fort Sumter without a white flag was not intended by me to apply to your mail-boat at 12 M., and orders will be given to the proper officers to allow it to pass as heretofore. Let me assure you, major, that nothing shall be wanting on my part to preserve the friendly relations and impressions which have existed between us for so many years.

I am, major, very truly, yours,

G. T. BEAUREGARD, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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No. 96.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 7, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 13.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we do not see any work going on around us. There was more activity displayed by the guard {p.248} boats last night than has been clone for some time. Three of them remained at anchor all night and until after reveille this morning, near the junction of the three channels. You will see by the inclosed letter, just received from Brigadier-General Beauregard that we shall not get any more supplies from the city of Charleston. I hope that they will continue to let us have our mails as long as we remain. I am glad to be enabled to report that there have been no new cases of dysentery, and that the sick-list only embraces six cases to-day.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS OF THE PROVISIONAL ARMY, C. S., Charleston, S. C., April 7, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

SIR: In compliance with orders from the Confederate Government at Montgomery, I have the honor to inform you that, in consequence of the delays and apparent vacillations of the United States Government at Washington relative to the evacuation of Fort Sumter, no further communications for the purposes of supply with this city from the fort and with the fort from this city will be permitted from and after this day. The mails, however, will continue to be transmitted as heretofore, until further instructions from the Confederate Government.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, New York, April 8, 1861.

First Lieut. EDWARD McK. HUDSON, Fourth Artillery, Comdg. U. S. troops on the steamer Baltic :

SIR: I am instructed by the General-in-Chief to say to you that the destination of the two hundred recruits embarked on the steamer Baltic is Fort Sumter, and that “Capt. G. V. Fox, ex-officer of the Navy, and a gentleman of high standing, as well as possessed of extraordinary nautical ability, has been charged by high authority in Washington with the command of the expedition, under cover of certain ships of war.”

You will accordingly be governed by the instructions of Captain Fox.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. L. SCOTT, Lieutenant-Colonel and A. D. C., Act. Adjt. Gen.

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HDQRS. PROV. FORCES CONFEDERATE STATES, Charleston, S. C., April 9, 1861.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C.:

SIR: Your favor of this day has just been received, through Captain James.* The private letters you refer to in the mail of yesterday were {p.249} sent to their destination, but the public ones were sent to the Confederate Government at Montgomery, in return for the treachery of Mr. Fox, who has been reported to have violated his word given to Governor Pickens before visiting Fort Sumter.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* See Anderson to Thomas, April 10, 1861, p. 249; and for copies of Anderson’s and Foster’s dispatches of April 8, seized by the Confederate authorities, see Pickens to Walker, April 9, 1861, pp. 292-294.

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No. 99.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 10, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 26.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant, General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the man who has charge of our mails on his return trip yesterday brought no mail, but a communication from General Beauregard, herewith inclosed. I immediately sent him back with a note to the commanding officer of Fort Johnson, requesting him to return our mail bag, which was done.

The South Carolinians continued all day yesterday the vigorous prosecution of the works mentioned in 97 and 98, and this morning shows that the parapets and traverses have been both heightened and strengthened.

Last night the guard-boats, of which we saw eight on duty, were very vigilant guarding all the channels, and we see signal vessels very far out beyond the bar. The garrisons of Castle Pinckney and Fort Johnson, and of the batteries on Morris Island, have been strengthened yesterday and this morning.

A detachment of about sixty horsemen was landed this morning at Cummings Point.

This morning we see another gun, the fourth, in the new battery on Sullivan’s Island. This battery will bear directly upon any boat attempting to laud stores at the left flank, and will, independently of the shower of shells which will be thrown over our fort, soon drive us from our barbette guns on both flanks. All we can do after that will be to use the guns of the lower tier. We have bread enough by using (as we have been doing for two days) but half rations to last until dinner time on Friday.

My command is in fine spirits, but I see that the long confinement, with the constant excitement, is telling on them. None of us could endure fatiguing labor for any length of time. I shall direct all the command to sleep to-night in the bomb-proof.

We are busy constructing a traverse to guard the gate from the fire of the batteries on Cummings Point, preparing sinks inside, making arrangements for a hospital for the wounded. &c., placing the ammunition in secure positions under the second tier of casemates convenient for use, &c.

We shall make every preparation for the attempted landing, and I have already had the embrasure--the only one that can be used-cut large enough to receive a barrel.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

{p.250}

[Inclosures.]

HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY C. S., Charleston, S. C., April 8, 1861-8 p.m.

Maj. ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that from and after this day no mails will be allowed to go to or come from Fort Sumter until further instructions from the Confederate Government at Montgomery.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD. Brigadier-General, Commanding.

FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 9, 1861-2.15 p.m.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge to have this moment received your favor of 8 p.m., April 8, notifying me that from and after that date no mails would be allowed to go to or come from Fort Sumter, and respectfully request that you would be pleased to have the mail or mails which were forwarded prior to the receipt of your notification returned to this post.

Confidently hoping that you will comply with the request,

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

–––

No. 100.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C.; April 11, 1861. (Received A. G. O., April 26.)

Col. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C. :

COLONEL: Although not permitted to send off my daily report, I shall continue, as long as I can, to prepare them, so that if an opportunity is afforded me I shall have them ready. I have the honor to report that everything around us shows that these people are expecting the arrival of a hostile force, and they are making most judicious arrangements to prevent the landing of any supplies at this fort. Yesterday and this morning the garrisons of the works around us were re-enforced. Last night rockets were thrown up from Charleston and Mount Pleasant, about 12 o’clock, and a row-boat, bearing a red light, came down from Charleston and communicated with the guard-boats, consisting, as far as we could observe, of seven steamers and four schooners, and returned to the city about four this morning.

We see the iron floating battery this morning at the west end of Sullivan’s Island, admirably placed for pouring a murderous fire upon any vessel attempting to lay alongside our left flank, and also well situated for enfilading the flanks of this work. With all our watchfulness-and I think no garrison was ever blessed with a more vigilant set of men-none observed the bringing down of that raft. They have also commanded another battery, say about eighty yards from the west end of Sullivan’s Island.

They appear to be, determined to get as powerful a fire as possible on the point designated as the one where provisions are intended to be landed, and, had they been in possession of the information contained in your letter of the 4th instant, they could not have made better arrangements {p.251} than those they have made, and are making, to thwart the contemplated scheme.

The least dangerous course would be for the officer in charge of the supply vessel, after passing Cummings Point, to run to our wharf and round to, alongside the west face of it. He would thus avoid, whilst unloading, the fire from Fort Moultrie, the batteries at the west end of Sullivan’s Island, and of the iron floating battery, only being exposed to the fire of the batteries in this end of Cummings Point and of Fort Johnson, and at low tide the vessels would be protected by the wharf from the fire from Cummings Point It would be hot work unloading her, but not so bad as at the other place. We nearly finished last night a traverse, designed to protect our right flank barbette guns from the enfilading fire of the guns on the west end of Sullivan’s Island, and we, shall, God willing, strengthen that one, and complete the traverse to the left of the main entrance. The officers and men, thank God, are in pretty good health; and, although feeling aware of the danger of their position, have greater anxiety about the fate of those whom they expect to come to their succor than they entertain for themselves.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

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WASHINGTON, D. C., April 12, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience to your instructions, dated April 6, 1861, I left Washington on the evening of the same day in company with Mr. R. S. Chew, and arrived at Charleston, S. C., on the evening of the 8th instant. Immediately after my arrival I visited Governor Pickens, and, having informed him of the nature of my written instructions, stated that Mr. Chew had requested me to ask his excellency for an interview at his earliest convenience. The governor replied that he would receive Mr. Chew at once, and shortly after I accompanied Mr. Chew to the governor’s quarters. Mr. Chew read to the governor, in my presence, a message from the President of the United States, handing him a copy of the same, which was compared by the governor. The governor stated to Mr. Chew that, South Carolina having ratified the constitution of the Confederate States, General Beauregard now had charge of military affairs in the vicinity of Charleston, and that, as General Beauregard was near at hand, he would desire to have him present at the interview. To this Mr. Chew assented, and General Beauregard having been called into the room, The governor read and handed to him the copy of the message which he bad just received.

In compliance with your verbal instructions, I asked Governor Pickens if I would be permitted to proceed to Fort Sumter for the purpose of remaining on duty at that post. The governor referred me to General Beauregard for an answer, by whom the request was peremptorily refused. I then asked if I would be permitted to hold communication with Major Anderson at Fort Sumter, with the distinct understanding that after such interview I should immediately return to Charleston. This was also refused, General Beauregard remarking that no communication whatever would be permitted with Major Anderson, except to convey an order for the evacuation of the fort, such being the instructions received from Montgomery.

{p.252}

I then informed Governor Pickens and General Beauregard that I had no further official business to transact with them, and that it was the desire of Mr. Chew and myself to start North that night. Both replied that there would be no obstruction to our departure, and each of them detailed an officer of the staff to escort us to the railroad depot. We left Charleston at 11 o’clock p.m. on the 8th instant, arriving here this morning. We were detained several hours at Florence, S. C., and at Richmond, Va., in consequence, of the railway trains failing to connect at those places. I brought back with me the sealed dispatch for Major Anderson, intrusted to my care by the President.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THEO. TALBOT, Brevet Captain, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6