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Full text of "Within Fort Sumter : or, A View of Major Anderson's garrison family for one hundred and ten days"

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120 NASSAU STREET, (Up Stairs). 


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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 

Southern District of New York. 


electbotyped by feinted by 

Smith & McDougal, Joseph Ettssell, 

82 & 84 Beeekman-st. T9 John-street. 












Within! Did you ever reflect how much, 
of which you know nothing, that word con- 
tains ? Of all that is presented to your eye 
you only see the exterior : of the within you 
are ignorant. Conjecture says a great deal, 
but who knows what is within the ocean's 
bosom — what is within the earth's crust — what 
is within the human heart? You meet your 
fellow man, you see the motion of his limbs, 
the play of his features, the glance of his eyes ; 
but you can not tell what is occupying his 

This train of thinking was induced by the 
many reports that were circulated while Major 
Anderson and his little band lay imprisoned 
in the Island Fortress of Charleston Bay. Even 
in what was passing outside and around, of 
which the public eye had range, Rumor contra- 


dieted herself; but, of what transpired within 
that wave-washed stronghold, prying conjecture 
was completely at fault. 

All is over now — the peril, the anxiety, the 
conflict — the result is known; and the details 
which led to that result — the inner works, upon 
which speculation so persistently blundered, 
may as well be known also. 

In December 1860, when the State of South 
Carolina desired to secede from the Federal 
Union, Major Anderson, of the 1st Regiment 
of U. S. Artillery, was in command of the 
forts of Charleston harbor; and, with his com- 
pany, was stationed at Fort Moultrie, on Sulli- 
van's Island. He saw the spreading commotion; 
and — as a Sea-Captain, in stormy weather, glass 
in hand, sweeping the horizon with his eye, 
uninterested in natural wonders or scientific 
questions, is wholly engrossed with the care 
and management of his ship — he thought not 
of political affairs, but studied only his duty 
as a servant of the Republic — an officer of the 
American Army. 

Situated as he then was, he found himself 
utterly weak in case of an attack — his fort 


was insecure, his garrison was small — he, there- 
fore, petitioned Government for more troops ; 
but received for reply that, as the movement 
would increase disaffection, the Administration 
preferred not granting his request unless ne- 
cessitated. He now looked round him, with a 
view to strengthening his position, as best he 
could. On a point of James Island, facing 
Fort Moultrie, west by south, stood Fort John- 
son, and between these, nearly in mid channel, 
an artificial Island had been raised, on which 
a fortification was built, now in course of com- 
pletion ; and here, with the waters to wall him 
in, and the shores all round the bay under 
range of his guns, Major Anderson decided to 
concentrate his little force. 

The island fort was now occupied by Cap- 
tain Foster, of the Engineer department, who 
was engaged in finishing its internal arrange- 
ments, mounting its heavy ordnance, &c, and 
Major Anderson urged him to hasten with the 
important work. 

On the 20th of December, a State Con- 
vention, then assembled in Charleston, unani- 
mously resolved on secession, and, on the 24th 


of that month the Declaration of South Caro- 
lina, withdrawing herself from the Federal 
Union, was publicly announced and acted upon. 
The excitement among the Revolutionists was 
intense, Fort Moultrie was in danger of attack, 
and, Captain Foster reporting to Major Ander- 
son the fitness of Fort Sumter for occupation, 
measures were immediately taken to effect a 
silent and speedy removal. 

On Wednesday evening, the 26th of Decem- 
ber, just after sun-set, three little schooners, 
with four or five barges, were anchored under 
the walls of Fort Moultrie; and the little 
company were busily engaged in the work of 
transferring their effects on board. The Sur- 
geon, with all the essentials of his office, and 
the Hospital furniture, were moved first; then 
the women, with their children and household 
treasures; next went the light arms and am- 
munition — the soldiers and their equipments; 
and last the officers, who, all through that 
night, had stood around their Commander, as 
true and brave men always do in hours of 

The flight was effected without discovery; 


though a watch had been posted at either side 
of the bay to observe their movements, as well 
as to look out for, and prevent the entrance of, 
re-enforcements. A friendly haze had filled 
the atmosphere, under whose cover the little 
fleet had sped; and "the watchman watched 
in vain." 

Major Anderson, before leaving Fort Moul- 
trie, had spiked the cannon, destroyed the car- 
riages, and cut down the flag staff; and the 
only regret expressed or felt was that the fort 
could not be blown up. 

Next morning the mist cleared away, the sun 
arose, and showed to Charleston and its sur- 
roundings the United States Flag floating 
proudly over Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie 
sitting in deserted gloom. Captain Foster, 
with a few of his men, had been left in the 
latter fort; but on its being taken possession 
of, as it immediately was, by the Revolutionists, 
he took boat and withdrew to Fort Sumter. A 
few hours and the Palmetto flag waved over 
Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinkney, and, in Charles- 
ton, over the Custom House, Post Office and 
U. S. Arsenal. 



In the afternoon the Governor of the State 
addressed a letter to Major Anderson request- 
ing to be informed whether the step he had 
just taken was by the order of his Government 
or upon his own responsibility ; and received 
for reply that the Major's recent act was his 
own, without any instructions from Govern- 
ment : he being in command of all the forts in 
that harbor occupied them at his discretion. 

The day following Major Anderson received 
the following dispatch, through telegraph, from 
the Secretary of War : 

"It is rumored here that you have spiked 
your guns, burned your carriages and moved to 
Fort Sumter. If so, you have violated your 
orders. Answer immediately." 

To which the Major replied, 

" The rumor is correct that I spiked my 
guns, burned my carriages, and moved my com- 
mand to Fort Sumter. I did so in the dis- 
charge of my duty." 

But Secretary Floyd's censure was not co- 
incided with by the Administration^ Major 
Anderson's course was not only justified, but 


Meanwhile the Commander of Fort Sumter 
is busily preparing for expected action. All is 
activity within the stronghold; the men en- 
gaged in strengthening defenses and mounting 
guns, the women in arranging the quarters. 
The latter soon discovered that the sudden and 
hasty removal had not been without inconven- 
ience, in a pecuniary sense, — furniture and 
clothes had been damaged, and small valuables 
lost; but there was no murmuring. To one 
couple the loss amounted to two hundred dol- 
lars' worth; but the wife smiled as she re- 
marked : 

"We have one another yet, though, thank 

All honor to such soldiers' wives ! May the 
country never supply to her fighting sons any 
less worthy ! 

The single men had less to lose, but they 
fared no better, for their barrack contained only 
empty walls. Bunks were put up, into which 
shavings were thrown, to serve as beds ; and 
rude, and hastily constructed tables and benches 
completed the furniture ; but, brave fellows, no 
thought of personal discomfort mingled with 


their deep sympathy in their commander's stern 
and trying position, and the all pervading feel- 
ing of every heart was the manly determination 
to do their whole duty to the last. 

And so they worked heartily, day after day, 
more securely fortifying their stronghold ; and 
feeling confident in its capacity for either resist- 
ance or attack, whichever might be demanded 
of it. Upreared from the water it was only 
assailable by a fleet ; and the outer wall, of 
solid, concrete masonry, twelve feet in thick- 
ness and sixty feet in hight, bid bold defiance 
to invading force. It was pierced for one hun- 
dred and forty guns, but was not furnished 
with much more than half that number. These, 
however, were mounted and placed in the most 
salient points, looking formidably forth on the 
surrounding scene, able and willing for effective 

Nor was the busy garrison unobservant of 
what was going on outside. They could see 
the Secessionists, also at work, restoring Fort 
Moultrie and building batteries. And ! how 
they longed to open the mouths of their cannon 
upon them, and put an end to preparations 


which, they knew, were intended for their own 
injury ! But no warlike demonstration would 
Major Anderson make, so long as the other 
party were willing to remain at peace ; besides 
that he had hopes of a favorable termination of 
the difficulty being effected in Washington. 

For some time the Major was kept ignorant 
of the views and purposes of the War Depart- 
ment — despatches not being committed to the 
mail lest they should be opened in Charleston. 
There might be re-enforcements sent to him, he 
knew not, he could only wait, and while wait- 
ing do the best his situation afforded. The 
approach of re-enforcements the Revolutionists 
also anticipated, and placed a force at Morris 
Island to prevent their entrance. 

In this anxious and clouded state of affairs 
the New Year opened upon the little garri- 
son at Fort Sumter. A few days, however, 
brought a cheering visit from the wife and the 
brother of the commander. ! those family 
ties — those sweet, home affections ! what would 
life be without them? — all drudgery — no re- 
spite ; all storm — no calm; all rough, thorny 
walking — no smooth, soft stopping place; all 


cold, and hard, and bitter, without one soothing, 
mollifying charm — ! thank God for love ! 

At last, on Wednesday morning, January 9, 
the long-looked-for succor appeared : a steamer 
bearing the American flag, was approaching. 
The garrison were in ecstacy : but their joy 
was soon turned to indignation, for scarcely had 
the vessel entered the waters of the harbor, 
when the revolutionary batteries opened fire 
upon her. The time for action seemed to have 
come now ; and every man rushed to his post, 
ready for the word of command. But the word 
came not. The Major stood on the rampart, 
the glass to his eye, scanning the scene, until 
the steamer, shocked and insulted at her rude 
reception, turned and put back to sea. Then 
the Major descended, retired to his apartment, 
and wrote a letter, which he deputed Lieu- 
tenant Hall to bear to the Governor. 

The boat with its white flag departed, while 
excitement reigned through the garrison. The 
men — even the women were wild with impa- 
tience to avenge the affront put upon their 
country's flag. A United States vessel fired 
into and the daring act unpunished ! It re- 


quired all the authority of the officers to keep 
the guns from speaking : it took all their affec- 
tion for, and all their faith in the judgment of 
their commander to keep the men still, while 
the women urgently offered their own assist- 
ance. One fair enthusiast bared her white 
arm, and, with a friction tube in her fingers, 
sprung to a gun, declaring she would fire it 
herself. She was a tall, young, bright-looking 
woman; a fine specimen of proud Virginia's 

"You have a great deal of courage," said 
Captain Doubleday, as he gently drew her back 
from the gun. 

" Courage !" she exclaimed — and her form 
became erect, and her eye lighted up, — " I 
should think, Sir, a soldier's wife ought to have 
courage !" 

This lady's husband, John H. Davis, was a 
Maryland er ; and here we may mention that of 
all the loyal hearts in that loyal little band, 
none beat more truly than those of natives of 
Southern States. 

Arrived at the Governor's head-quarters, 
Lieutenant Hall requested an interview, which, 


being immediately granted, he presented the 
letter of his chief, and awaited a reply. 
The letter was as follows : 

"To his Excellency the Governor of South Carolina. 

"Sir: — Two of your batteries fired this 
morning on an unarmed vessel bearing the flag 
of my Government. As I have not been noti- 
fied that war has been declared by South Caro- 
lina against the United States, I can not but 
think this a hostile act committed without your 
sanction or authority. Under that hope I 
refrain from opening a fire on your batteries. 
I have the honor, therefore, respectfully to ask 
whether the above mentioned act — one which, I 
believe, is without parallel in the history of our 
country, or any other civilized government — 
was committed in obedience to your instruc- 
tions, and notify you, if it is not' disclaimed, 
that I regard it as an act of war. And I shall 
not, after reasonable time for the return of my 
messenger, permit any vessel to pass within 
the range of the guns of my fort. 

"In order to save, as far as it is in my 
power, the shedding of blood, I beg you will 


take due notification of my decision for the 
good of all concerned. Hoping, however, your 
answer may justify a further continuance of 
forbearance on my part, 
" I remain, respectfully, 

" Robert Anderson. 

"Fort Sumter, January 9, 1S61." 

Governer Pickens, in reply, stated the posi- 
tion of South Carolina to the "United States, 
and said that any attempt to send United 
States troops to re-enforce Major Anderson, or 
to re-take the forts of South Carolina, was re- 
garded by the authorities of the State, as an 
act of coercion on the part of the United States 
Government. Due notice of this was sent to 
all approaching vessels ; and the Star of the 
West, despite of warning, having entered the 
harbor with troops, was, consequently, fired 

With this answer Lieutenant Hall retired. 
An escort conducted him to his boat, and he 
sped back to Fort Sumter, where Major Ander- 
son paced to and fro, under a grave conscious- 
ness of weighty responsibility. 

Upon receiving the Governor's reply Major 


Anderson decided upon a course which for the 
last hour had been revolving in his mind. He 
determined to have instructions from Washing- 
ton. He therefore desired his first Lieutenant 
to prepare for a journey thither, at the same 
time directing the Captain to order the men to 
retire from the guns, as no action would be 
taken at present. 

The same afternoon the boat and white flag 
again left Fort Sumter for Charleston, bearing 
Lieutenant Talbott, with the following letter. 

"To his Excellency the Governor of South Carolina. 

" Sir : — I have the honor to acknowledge the 
receipt of your communication, and say that 
under the circumstances I have deemed it 
proper to refer the whole matter to my Gov- 
ernment; and intend deferring the course in- 
dicated in my note this morning until the 
arrival from Washington of such instructions 
as I may receive. 

" I have the honor also to express the hope 
that no obstructions will be placed in the way, 
and that you will do me the favor of giving 
every facility for the departure and return of 


the bearer, Lieutenant T. Talbott, who is di- 
rected to make the journey. 
" I remain, respectfully, 

"Robert Anderson. 

"Port Sumter, January 9, 1861." 

Governor Pickens expressed his polite ac- 
quiescence in the request of Major Anderson, 
and immediately directed that every facility 
be afforded- Lieutenant Talbott to prosecute 
his journey, and every courtesy be extended 
to him, as the bearer of dispatches. 

These dispatches contained a statement of 
affairs at Fort Sumter, an account of the re- 
ception of the Star of the West, and an en- 
treaty for instructions. 

About this time rumors got afloat of dis- 
affection and mutiny among the soldiers of the 
fort; and the indignant blood rushed to the 
honest cheek of every man and woman of the 
little band as they read, in the newspapers, 
these cruel and injurious calumnies. They 
thirsted, more than ever, for an opportunity 
to display their staunch devotion to the cause 
of Government. Before their bravery was to 
be tested, now their honor was to be vindi- 


cated; and each heart panted for the hour 
when, either with their arms or their lives, 
they should wipe out the treacherous false- 

This feeling pervaded the whole company ; 
and when, on the 11th of January, commis- 
sioners from Charleston, under a flag of truce, 
came to Major Anderson to demand the sur- 
render of the fort, the reply was, 

" We will fire the Magazine, and be buried 
in one common ruin, before we will surrender !" 

The sentiment was echoed by loud and pro- 
longed cheers from every voice in the garrison. 

What use to propose base terms to such 

Still under the hope, however, of a peace- 
able adjustment of the national difference, Ma- 
jor Anderson consented to unite with South 
Carolina in sending a deputation to Washing- 
ton to ask the evacuation of Fort Sumter; 
and, accordingly, on the 12th of January, Lieu- 
tenant Hall, on the part of Major Anderson, 
and Colonel Hayne on that of South Carolina, 
departed on that mission. 

January 18 brought the return of Lieutenant 


Talbott, with the reply of the Administration 
to the despatches of which he had been the 
bearer ; by which the Commander of Fort Sum- 
ter was advised that his line of action was 
highly approved by his Government; that it 
was decided not to make another attempt at re- 
enforcing him at present ; and also instructing 
him to suffer no indignities to the American 
flag, — if any such were again offered, to open 
his batteries upon the perpetrators. 

The want of fuel began to be felt now in 
the garrison. The weather had been mostly 
pleasant, so that they had been permitted to 
use their store with economy; but it would 
hold out no longer — it must be replenished. 
With this view a boat containing nine men was 
sent to shore ; but the men were seized and 
made prisoners. The Governor, however, when 
made aware of the fact, ordered their discharge. 

And now another difficulty — the mails were 
untrustworthy. Major Anderson remonstrated, 
when it was proposed to him to send them to 
Fort Johnson — about half distance southwardly 
from Charleston to Fort Sumter. But this ar- 
rangement did not suit the Major, so he des- 


patched a telegram to Washington on the sub- 
ject. An immediate reply came, threatening 
to withdraw the Government support from the 
Charleston Post Office ; but the State was not 
ready to take that expense into her own 
hands, and the Fort Sumter mails, therefore, 
were treated with more respect. 

On the 19th January the marketing, with 
which the garrison had been hitherto supplied, 
was stopped. Captain Doubleday proceeded to 
Charleston to enquire the cause of the stop- 
page, and learned that orders to that effect 
had been received from the Governor. 

Nor yet did this dishearten the little garri- 
son : they had plenty of biscuit, salt-pork, and 
coffee, and declared they could live well on 
this fare until the time should come for them 
to strike a blow for "Uncle Sam." 

This cheerful submission of his gallant com- 
pany to the ills and annoyances of their lot 
considerably aided Major Anderson in main- 
taining his difficult post. Yet were not his 
public trials enough — his tender feelings must 
also suffer — the 21st of the month brought him 
a telegram informing him of the illness of his 


wife. And now, between professional care and 
private anxiety, the hero of Charleston Harbor 
enjoys but little repose. His heart palpitating 
with suspense, while his head still works in the 
cause of duty ; his thoughts straining home- 
ward at the same time that he is inspecting 
and superintending, with his own eyes, the 
most minute military detail ! ! honor your 
faithful servants, America! deal kindly with 
them ever! and, while you sleep on an easy 
bed, and eat your meat with cheerful appetite, 
forget not those who stand on your bulwarks — 
their breasts your shields, their lives your 
safeguard ! 

January 23d. The Southern Confederacy 
became organized. It was no longer the State 
of South Carolina, with which the Federal 
Government had to contend, but several States 
combined. An amicable settlement seemed 
farther off than ever. 

That an attack would soon be made upon 
Fort Sumter was evident: preparations with 
that intent were fast progressing; and this con- 
sideration, joined to the desire to reduce the 
consumption of his store of provisions, decided 


Major Anderson to send from the fort all but 
the efficient fighting men. 

To the soldiers' wives this was a distress- 
ing contingency ; but no word, no sign showed 
an unwillingness to comply with whatever was 
best under the circumstances. With smothered 
sighs and suppressed tears the women pre- 
pared to depart — very different was the cheer- 
ful alacrity with which the same preparation 
was entered upon a month before : poor things ! 
they left Moultrie with their husbands, they 
left Sumter tvithout them. 

January 25th the removal took place: the 
women and children, and such of the workmen 
as were not willing to serve in a military ca- 
pacity, left the fort — the strong and brave were 
alone. Perhaps it should have been written 
the stronger and braver, for many a woman and 
child departed that day who, to the utmost of 
their ability, would have done and dared as 
much as their husbands and fathers. This had 
been seen in all their bearing; and, even in 
the last hour, when the sobbing farewells were 
spoken, words of hopeful encouragement were 
all that flowed from their gentle lips — in not 


one case did affection breathe the dastardly 
counsel to self-preservation. 

"We have been seven years married/' said 
one, "and I never had reason to find fault 
with you; now, whatever may happen, I hnoio 
I shall never have cause to blush for you." 

"And I don't want you to think of us, Ben," 
said another, though her swollen eyes belied 
her words ; "the children and myself will get 
along, and you'll have enough to think of 

And another, holding a large, coarse hand 
between her own, and leaning her head against 
the brawny shoulder, whispered with quivering 

"May God bless, and take care o' you, 
Thomas, — I '11 never cease to pray for you ; 
but do your juty, clo your juty, darlint ;— 
God forbid that my love should intherfere 
with that." 

This last, from her tongue, was a child of 
green Erin; and her husband, Thomas Carroll, 
did his "juty" well, when the hour for duty 
came— and carried a wounded face away from 
Port Sumter. 


There was bright and beautiful weather in 
Charleston Harbor ; but the light was all gone 
from the stronghold over which the American 
banner waved. What were sparkling waters 
and gay sunshine to those who had just lost 
the sweet smile of woman — the merry laugh of 
childhood ? Nothing was around them, or be- 
fore them, now, but hard, stern service. 

And still were propagated those base reports 
of treason in the garrison of Fort Sumter. One 
story that was gravely published in a New 
York City newspaper, from the pen of its 
"own correspondent," was too cruelly malig- 
nant for any intelligent writer to be guilty of. 
It was stated that one of Major Anderson's 
men had a relative in Charleston, with whom 
he leagued to betray the fort ; but the con- 
spiracy was discovered, and the traitor con- 
demned to die. A boat was sent to the city 
to request the attendance of a priest to shrive 
a sick woman, whose real business, however, 
was to prepare the culprit for execution, and 
at sunrise, next morning, he was ignominiously 

It is pleasant to know that this heartless 


slander gained but little credence; and we 
would just say to the ingenious fabricator — 
we do not know him, but he knows himself, 
and he will see this — 

Open your Bible — if you have not one 
borrow it — look for the 20th chapter of the 
book of Exodus, and carefully read the 16th 

Since the garrison had entered the fort a 
great deal had been done in strengthening its 
defences, and improving its capacities. One 
side of the fortress was weaker than the others. 
Not having been built with reference to any 
but foreign foes, of course that side of the wall 
which looked homeward, had been raised with 
less attention to resistance and security than 
the outer ones. This, under present circum- 
stances, was a serious defect, and the very first 
to be remedied, as far as remedy was in the 
power of the occupants. Every man labored 
with energetic good-will. Their materials were 
turned to the most beneficial account, and some 
inventions of the officers attested a decided 
genius for overcoming difficulties. 

Of the effectiveness of their weapons they 


had no doubt, and only longed for an oppor- 
tunity to let their neighbors know it also. One 
day, about the 1st of February, the weather 
being extremely fine, the Revolutionists turned 
out for a grand parade and drill. The little 
garrison saw from their walls the gay display 
in the city; and the Major, wishing to gratify 
his men, ordered one of his columbiads, shotted 
with explosive ball, to be run out and fired. 
The report startled the bold recruits ashore ; 
and when the ball struck the water close by 
the wharf, sending spray to the house-tops, and 
raising foam for hundreds of yards around, the 
consternation was amusing to witness. 

Through the interference of the President of 
the Southern Confederacy, Fort Sumter was 
again supplied with marketing, and comparative 
comfort was experienced within its walls. 

The commission upon which Colonel Hayne 
and Lieutenant Hall had gone, in company, to 
Washington, had not succeeded. The Adminis- 
tration peremptorily refused to surrender Fort 
Sumter, or to yield one inch to the seceding 

On the 10th of February Lieutenant Hall 


returned to the fort, bearing much information 
to his commander of the purposes of Govern- 
ment and the sentiment of the Union party 
throughout the country. But with political 
affairs that isolated band had nothing to do : 
they had but one duty, to hold the trust com- 
mitted to them, or to resign it with their lives. 

Great concern was spread through the garri- 
son when, a few days after, Major Anderson 
was prostrated by sickness. His strength, of 
Both mind and body, had been taxed to the 
utmost during the last few months — it had 
given way at last. The alarm of the company 
magnified the misfortune, and exaggerated their 
beloved leader's danger. What if the enemy 
should seize this opportunity of attacking 
them ? Their officers were all brave and com- 
petent men; but who could fill the Major's 
place? and grave looks and muttered fears 
echoed "Who?" 

The anxiety communicated itself to the 
company's surgeon, Dr. Crawford, and caused 
him to desire a consultation. There was no 
apprehension of his skill being insufficient for 
the case 5 yet his wish was granted, a physi- 


cian was summoned from Charleston, which 
circumstance furnished food to the hungry pen 
of every "own correspondent" in the city. 
Ere their labored communications appeared in 
print, however, the gallant Major was on his 
feet again, and his fellow soldiers rejoicing in 
his restoration to health. 

February 22nd. This honored anniversary 
was celebrated with all due respect at Fort 
Sumter ; and the thirty-four guns composing 
our national salute, loudly reverberated over 
the waters and made the houses of Charleston 

In a few days a floating battery, which 
the Revolutionists had been constructing, was 
launched with much ostentation; but those 
whom it was intended to intimidate only smiled 
at its awkward appearance. It careened help- 
lessly, and floundered about with a stupid in- 
difference to breeze or rudder, while its war- 
ring capacity, or incapacity, was of an equally 
imbecile character. With a smile each of the 
garrison turned from a survey of this big toy, 
one young fellow archly observing : 

" When they get folks frightened with such 


a silly threat as that, it won't be the men of 
the gallant First." 

So many reports had been circulated of 
treason among the soldiers of Fort Sumter 
that the subject had now become stale. An 
altered edition must, therefore, be got out, and, 
one day, the Charleston Mercury published the 

"Not Improbable. — It was currently ru- 
mored upon the streets yesterday that Major 
Anderson, and Lieutenants Davis and Talbott, 
of the garrison of Fort Sumter, would, on the 
4th instant, resign their commissions in the 
United States army, and retire from the fort." 

Well done, Madam Rumor ! you capped the 
climax that time. If there is anything about 
your ladyship to be admired it is your au- 
dacity. And the temerity with which you 
state your most monstrous lies is only equaled 
by your unconsciousness of the utter contempt 
you excite in every honest mind ! 

Yet was it not malice alone that instigated 
the framing of this last slander : there was a 
subtle motive in the act. Major Anderson and 
Mr. Talbott were both Kentuckians, and Mr. 


Davis from the neighboring State of Indiana; — 
it was expedient to make it appear that the 
Southern Confederacy would be largely aug- 
mented on the 4th of March, and what more 
valuable auxiliaries could they receive than 
brave and distinguished officers of the Amer- 
ican Army? who more likely to sympathize 
with them than Southern and Western men? 
scatter amongst the people, then, the news — 
to the encouragement of the Secessionists, to 
the dismay of the Union party — that such 
names as Anderson, Talbott and Davis were 
to glitter on the rebel list. 

Of the American officers who did resign 
their commissions on the 4th of March, we 
shall mention Peter Gr. T. Beauregard, for with 
him we have to do. He immediately went 
over to the revolutionary army, was appointed 
Brigadier General of the forces in and around 
Charleston, and from henceforth was the act- 
ing power, against whose sagacity and expe- 
rience Major Anderson had to contend. 

This man, when in the United States Army, 
had been connected with the Engineer Depart- 
ment, and had actually been engaged in the 


of Fort Sumter. He knew, therefore, 
its strength and its capacity, was acquainted 
with its interior arrangements, and understood 
the nature of the facilities which its com- 
mander could bring to bear upon him. Of 
this knowledge he made good use in the 
planting of his batteries and the division of 
his troops ; and it was easy to see, as we 
looked out from our isolated post, on the prep- 
arations going on around, that it was no 
stranger foe who was arrayed against us, but 
a deserter from our country's standard. 

But the Major was on the alert, calm, watch- 
ful, resolute, no movement of the enemy escap- 
ing his observation, no counteracting resource 
forgotten or overlooked. He was prepared for 
any emergency; and the strong, firm expres- 
sion of brow, eye and lips told that the soul 
of a warrior dwelt within that small, slender 

On the 11th of March a shot was fired from 
Cumming's Point, which struck the docking 
outside Fort Sumter. Major Anderson imme- 
diately made ready to reply to this demon- 
stration, but scarcely were three of his em- 



brasures open when a boat was seen approach- 
ing with a white flag, the mission of which 
was to apologize to the Commander of Fort 
Sumter for the accidental shot, which had been 
fired, the officer alleged, through mistake. 
Whether it was really a mistake, or was done 
with the design of testing the promptness of 
the Island fortress it is hard to say; but, in 
either case, of the latter fact convincing proof 
was given. 

All through the month of March the little 
garrison lived quietly and worked steadily. In 
spare hours they read the papers, and talked 
enthusiastically of what they, each, could 
achieve, in honor of their flag, when permitted 
to put forth their strength. They troubled 
their heads little about politics in general; it 
was enough for them to know that the Union 
was assailed, and the Nation threatened with 

" I '11 tell you what it is, boys," said one 
of the privates, as he lounged on a bench in 
the yard, in the midst of a group of comrades, 
at the close of the day, " Government may be 
very wise in havin patience with these fellows : 


lettin' them seize national property through the 
country, an' makin' us sit still while they 're 
buildin' batteries all round us, to be used in 
attackin' ourselves ; but I don't see the good- 
nature in all this patience, the fools will have 
to be brought back to their senses, and the 
sooner it 's done the better." 

" You 're right in one sense," was replied by 
a sober looking man with a pipe in his mouth, 
" but may be Government 's waiting for them 
to do something treasonable, an' it 11 be easy 
to 6 bring them to their senses' when the coun- 
try goes about it." 

" Treasonable !" exclaimed the first speaker, 
not heeding the closing remark, H I 'd like to 
know if they hav' n't done enough that 's trea- 
sonable already; — why, what is their Confed- 
eracy but one big treason?" 

"It would be in your country," was the 
calm rejoinder, "where a man can be tried for 
his life for saying a word against king or gov- 
ernment ; but there 's more freedom here, and 
nothing less than taking up arms against the 
country constitutes treason." 

" More 's the pity then !" said the Irishman, 


earnestly, " I believe in liberty of speech, but 
if a disaffected faction can get up and band 
troops, seize Government property, supply them- 
selves with guns and ammunition, and build 
batteries, and yet not be guilty o' treason — 
why — they 've more freedom than 's good for 
them ; that 's what I say !" 

" Tat 's so !" exclaimed a solid built German, 
with an oath, as he rose to his feet, u an' if 
ever ter was treason, it's in tis harbor now; 
but if te Major would only say te word we 'd 
soon blow te treason out o' te tarn rascals if te 
were twice as many !" 

" I agree with you that, few as we are, we 
would be able to teach them a lesson," said he 
who had replied to the first speaker, " but the 
Major 's as ready to be at them as any of us — 
he 's only waiting for them to strike the first 

This man was right : the Major knew what 
he was doing. He saw that the crisis was ap- 
proaching, and went on with stout heart to 
meet it. It came at last. 

Toward the 1st of April the storage provi- 
sions had become so reduced in Fort Sumter 


that Major Anderson, in order to economize in 
that particular, arranged to send away the la- 
borers employed in the fort ; the State Author- 
ities, however, refused to suffer them to depart. 
Of this interference with his movements and 
the circumstance preceding — namely, the re- 
duction of his stock of provisions — the Major 
deemed it wise to apprise his Government ; he, 
therefore, sent Lieutenants Talbott and Snyder 
with a flag of truce to Charleston, the former, 
by courtesy of the Governor, to proceed to 
Washington with dispatches. After the officers 
went ashore, and pending the return of Lieu- 
tenant Snyder to the boat, the men who rowed 
it took the opportunity of procuring tobacco and 
some other luxuries, but the police followed 
them and seized their purchases. This was on 
the 4th of April, and in two days after an or- 
der was issued by the State prohibiting the gar- 
rison of Fort Sumter any further supplies from 
Charleston Market. 

Lieutenant Talbott made the journey to 
Washington and back in as short a time as pos- 
sible ; but on his return to Charleston he was 
refused permission to go to Fort Sumter. He, 


accordingly, returned immediately to Wash- 
ington. The instructions to Major Anderson, 
of which he was the bearer, were, however, 
forwarded to the fort, and duly received there. 
They informed the Major that Government 
would immediately send him a supply of pro- 
visions, but as to the course he should pursue, 
they referred him entirely to his own judgment, 
expressing the utmost confidence in his bravery 
and military tact. 

Upon this visit to Washington Mr. Talbott 
received promotion to a Captaincy, and, by the 
very next train for Charleston, returned thither 
as escort to Mr. Chew, a special messenger from 
the President to the Governor of South Ca- 

Mr. ' Chew's message was to inform Governor 
Pickens that it was the intention of the Gov- 
ernment to send provisions to Fort Sumter, 
which would be landed there peaceably if per- 
mitted, but, if not, would be landed by force. 
This message was delivered on the 8th of April, 
and, after its delivery, Captain Talbott and Mr. 
Chew returned to Washington without delay. 

Captain Talbott sincerely regretted his ab- 


sence from Fort Sumter in this her hour of 
need. He knew the crisis had come, and that 
a sharp, severe struggle was before the gallant 
garrison, and, ! how he chafed under the ne- 
cessity which compelled him away from the 
glory of sharing it with them. 

The garrison was now on the look-out for the 
expected supplies, which must reach in a few 
days or not enter. The cause was this. Sev- 
eral weeks before the Carolinians had blocked 
the ship channel, by sinking the hulls of large 
vessels therein, leaving only a narrow passage, 
through which skillful piloting was necessary to 
lead large ships into harbor. The Charleston 
pilots had been forbidden by their State Gov- 
ernment to steer into port any vessel bearing 
the United States Flag ; it would, therefore, be 
impossible for the fleet to enter except during 
a very high tide, which would occur on the 
10th and 11th of the month. Before that time, 
however, a storm arose which drove the vessels 
back; and when they at last arrived, it was 
too late — they could not enter. 

Meanwhile they were expected; and the 
South Carolina authorities concluded to hurry 


up matters before their arrival. Accordingly, 
at two o'clock on Thursday, April 11th, a for- 
mal demand was sent by General Beauregard 
to Major Anderson for the evacuation of Fort 
Sumter. The Major's reply was as follows : 

" Sir : — I have the honor to acknowledge the 
receipt of your communication, demanding the 
evacuation of this Fort, and to say in reply 
thereto that it is a demand with which I regret 
that my sense of honor and my obligations to 
my Government prevent my compliance. 

" Robert Anderson." 

The reception of this answer was imme- 
diately followed by a deputation from General 
Beauregard urging Major Anderson to evacuate, 
and proposing the most honorable terms, upon 
which he should be allowed to do so ; but the 
Major, feeling his own strength, besides expec- 
ting the fleet from Washington, determined to 
hold out, and the deputation, after a long inter- 
view, in which they earnestly sought to per- 
suade the Major to accept the offered terms, 
returned to Charleston to report their failure. 


It was late on Thursday night when this in- 
terview closed ; and at half past three o'clock, 
on Friday morning, the boat with its white flag, 
shrouded in darkness and mist, again drew up 
to the walls of Fort Sumter. It conveyed three 
of General Beauregard's Aid-de-camps, bearing 
the following notice : 

" Major Anderson : 

"By virtue of Brigadier General Beauregard's 
command, we have the honor to notify you that 
he will open the line of his batteries on Fort 
Sumter in one hour from this time." 

Punctual to the minute, at half past four 
o'clock, the first gun was fired on Fort Sumter. 

It was a dark, cloudy morning, not a star was 
visible, while a heavy mist covered earth and 
sea; but as through the sombre gloom came the 
brilliant flash of exploding shells from the bat- 
teries all around the bay, while the deep hoarse 
tones of talking cannon echoed over the waters, 
the scene was sublimely grand, and sensations 
wildly inspiriting swelled in every heart. 

Major Anderson alone was calm, though the 
swollen veins of his temples, the dilating nos- 


trils, the nervous lip, told that his great heart 
beat as ardently as any there. 

He would allow of no hurry : he wished that 
his command should husband their strength as 
it would all be needed. With this view he de- 
sired that they should breakfast before proceed- 
ing to action. 

Their simple meal was soon prepared. For 
a week they had been on short rations of salt 
pork, biscuit and coffee, with a little rice. This 
rice, the last they had received, had reached 
them through a rough sea, and, the boat being 
leaky, had become saturated with salt water. 
It had then been spread out in an empty room 
of the barracks to dry, with the expectation of 
its being very acceptable when the biscuit 
should give out. . That extremity was reached 
now. The last few biscuits were divided, and 
the cook was ordered to boil some rice; but, 
lo! the very first fire had shattered the win- 
dows of the room where the precious article 
was spread, and particles of glass were thickly 
strewn amongst the grain — the food was useless. 

But they still had a little pork and plenty of 
coffee ; and, thankful for this same, the brave 


fellows eat and drank, then filed in order to 
their places in the casemates. 

And all this time the enemy's shot rattled, 
thick and fast, around our stronghold, which did 
but little execution beyond affording the Major 
an opportunity of observing the efficiency of 
each battery employed against him, and of 
tracing the plan which he had to oppose. 

At five o'clock day began to break 5 but the 
heavy masses of clouds which obscured the sky, 
the sullen swell of the dark waters, the grey 
mist which hung, like a sombre veil, over na- 
ture's face, only became more apparent as the 
gathering light increased. 

Shortly after the huge clouds burst, and a 
deluge of rain rushed down upon the scene, 
as if commissioned to quench the matricidal 
fire leveled against Columbia's breast. But 
all in vain. The moaning wind — the splashing 
shower were scarcely heeded, or made but 
feeble sounds, while the hoarse bellowing of 
deep-mouthed cannon still rolled fiercely on. 
An hour, and the elements ceased to strive, 
the wailing storm was hushed, and a still but 
troubled sky looked down upon the scene. 


Meanwhile the Fort Sumter garrison coolly 
prepared for action. Major Anderson divided 
his command into three reliefs of four hours 
each, for service at the guns ; the first under 
charge of Captain Doubleday, assisted by Dr. 
Crawford and Lieutenant Snyder; the second 
under charge of Captain Seymour, assisted by 
Lieutenant Hall; and the third under charge 
of Lieutenant Davis and Lieutenant Meade. 
The laborers, over forty of whom were in the 
fort, were appointed to carry ammunition, help 
make cartridges and assist the gunners where 
their aid could be available. 

All was now ready, every man was in his 
place, and still, before giving the word to fire, 
our kind commander walked around to adminis- 
ter his last charge. 

" Be careful," he said, u of your lives ; make 
no imprudent exposure of your persons to the 
enemy's fire ; do your duty coolly, determinedly 
and cautiously. Indiscretion is not valor; reck- 
less disregard of life is not bravery. Manifest 
your loyalty and zeal by preserving yourselves 
from injury for the continued service of our 
cause ; and show your love to me by guarding all 


your powers to aid me through this important 

This admonition, delivered in sentences, with 
anxious brow and broken voice, will long be 
remembered by those who heard it : — no doubt 
it was the- fulcrum sustaining and steadying the 
power which cast such deadly force from Sum- 
ter's walls. 

It was just within ten minutes of seven 
o'clock when the order was given to fire. The 
first shot was from a forty-two pounder directed 
against the battery at Cumming's Point. Three 
of our guns bore upon this point and seven on 
Fort Moultrie. The famous floating battery — 
which, by the way, did not float at all, but 
stuck fast on a point of Sullivan's Island — also 
received some attention, besides a new battery 
in the same neighborhood, which had only been 
unmasked the day previous. 

Before our firing commenced — when the storm 
had cleared off sufficiently to enable us to see 
around us — we discovered a fleet, which we 
supposed to be our long-expected succor, out- 
side the bar. The Major signaled them, but 
the shoals being heavy and the tide low, they 


could not possibly cross. Shortly after this a 
fragment of a shell struck and cut through one 
the flag halliards ; but the flag, instead of 
falling, rose on the wind, and, with a whirl, 
flung the. remaining halliard round the top- 
mast, by which it was held securely all day : — 
Long live our gallant ensign ! 

To return. Major Anderson having opened 
fire continued to pour it forth with good effect. 
Almost every ball went home. One of the 
Fort Moultrie guns was soon disabled; the 
roofs and sides of the building were penetrated 
by shot ; the flag-staff was struck and the flag 
cut. The floating battery was struck seven- 
teen times ; its roof was penetrated, and several 
shots were sent square through it. The iron 
battery at Cumming's Point was struck several 
times, but not much impression was made. Two 
of its guns, however, were dismounted. The 
forty-two pound Paixhans of our lower tier 
worked well: not one of them opened her 
mouth without giving the enemy cause to 
shrink, while the ten-inch Columbiads of our 
second tier meant every word they said. The 
barbette guns were not inarmed. Early in the 


engagement three of them had been fired ; but 
the number of shells descending upon the terre- 
plain of the parapet, and the flanks and faces 
of the work being taken in reverse by the ene- 
my's batteries rendered the danger of serving 
in the ramparts so imminent that Major Ander- 
son quickly withdrew his men from them, and 
kept them in the casemates. 

When the cartridges became scarce, the men 
not engaged at the guns were employed to 
make them ; the sheets and bedding from the 
hospital being brought out and used for that 

Noon came, yet Fort Sumter was not hurt : 
the proud stronghold had resisted every effort 
to do it serious injury. A new species of at- 
tack, however, was now resorted to. The solid 
pile which was impervious to cold ball might 
feel the influence of hot shot, especially as the 
barracks were constructed mainly of timber; 
and so a red, hissing shower rushed from Fort 
Moultrie on this treacherous errand. 

The officers' quarters soon caught fire; — the 
roof of this elegant building, being taller than 
those adjoining, received the assault first, but 


the bursting of the cistern, on top, which oc- 
curred about the same time, prevented the con- 
flagration from spreading. Still down came the 
fierce hot shot upon the doomed dwellings, and 
were it not for the leaking cisterns, each of 
which had been perforated by ball, the whole 
would have been quickly consumed. 

The ball from the enemy's batteries con- 
tinued to rattle against the fort, and the lat- 
ter paid back the compliment with interest. 
A strong, determined will actuated our men, 
astonishing to find in so small a number, sur- 
rounded and hemmed in by an armament of 

"Aye ! there 's a great crowd o' them against 
us !" exclaimed one, as he leaned for a minute 
behind the column of an embrasure, "but it's 
the Republic they 're fightin' — not us — and, 
in the name of the Republic, we 're able for 

" To be sure we are !" was the hearty re- 
sponse, "seventy true men to seventy thou- 
sand traitors, and the true side is the strong- 

And at it they kept, loading and firing, firing 


and re-loading, without stopping for food or 
repose, except an occasional draught of coffee, 
to wash the powder from their throats, or a 
short rest for their weary shoulders against an 
arch or column. 

Nor, aU through the exciting day, did the 
officers ever flag in their duty. Cool, firm, and 
intrepid, with eyes like eagles, ears quick to 
hear, and limbs of agile motion, they saw every 
movement of the enemy, heard their leader's 
lightest command, and directed each action of 
their charge with a promptness and energy 
worthy the important occasion. 

The day seemed short, too, full as it was 
with labor and excitement; and the hearts 
which beat with hope and enthusiasm heeded 
not the flight of time. They would fain fight 
on after day had closed; but the sun went 
down in lowering gloom, night gathered over 
us murky and chill, and Major Anderson or- 
dered the firing to cease, and the men to eat 
some supper and to go to bed. 

The only supper they had was a little pork 
and coffee; but this, with a good sleep, would 
afford them some refreshment, preparatory to 


the next day's toil ; so they took it cheerfully 
and laid down. 

Still the enemy's fire continued. Even when, 
at seven o'clock, a mighty storm arose, and rain 
descended with the force of a cataract, an oc- 
casional bomb from one of the batteries mingled 
with the fury of the elements, as if bidding 
defiance to nature as well as law. 

The condition of the fort was now examined, 
and the injuries sustained were found to be as 
follows : The crest of the parapet had been 
broken in many places ; the gorge had been 
struck by shell and shot, and some of these 
had penetrated the wall to the depth of twelve 
inches. Several of the barbette guns had been 
injured; one had been struck by a ball and 
cracked ; one was dismounted and two had 
been thrown over by a recoil. The lower case- 
mates were uninjured, save one or two em- 
brasures a little broken on the edges. 

But the internal structure had received the 
most damage — the ivooden building which had 
been treated to hot shot. Nothing saved it 
from being consumed but the riddling of the 
cisterns which sent the water flowing after the 


fire as fast as the red balls kindled it ; and now 
the copious rain came down to quench every 
spark that might have remained in wall or 

Yet the pretty edifice was in a sad condition : 
between fire and water our pleasant quarters 
were spoiled. 

And here we would say, in parenthesis, to 
military engineers : Never use timber to build 
the barracks of a fort, nor raise the roof of 
your officers' quarters higher than the outer 
wall, unless you calculate upon deserting your 
colors, turning traitor to your cause, and head- 
ing a host in attacking that very fort. In such 
case you will find that having used that ma- 
terial will serve your purpose — as did Beau- 

That we should be again saluted with hot 
shot was pretty certain, and, the cisterns empty 
and the rain storm over, nothing could save 
the wood works from destruction. As much 
of the officers' effects as could be removed, 
were, therefore, carried to the casemates — the 
privates, many of whom were now sleeping 
soundly in their barracks, had not much to lose. 


The next morning rose fair and mild. The 
rain clouds had discharged their burden, and 
now a clear, calm sky looked down upon the 
scene. As day broke the firing from the ene- 
my's batteries was resumed, and our garrison 
arose and prepared to reply to them. The 
meagre breakfast of pork and coffee was again 
partaken, and at seven o'clock Fort Sumter 
opened fire, which was kept up vigorously dur- 
ing the remainder of the contest. 

The first few shots directed at Fort Moultrie 
sent the chimneys off the officers' quarters, and 
considerably tore up the roof; nearly a dozen 
shots penetrated the floating battery below the 
water line, and several of the guns on Morris 
Island were disabled. The clear state of the 
atmosphere to-day enables us to see some of 
the effects of our fire upon the enemy — all the 
effects we do not expect ever to learn. 

As anticipated, hot shot was fired again from 
Moultrie upon the doomed buildings inside Fort 
Sumter ; and at a little after eight o'clock the 
officers' quarters were ablaze. All the men, 
not on duty at the guns, exerted themselves to 
extinguish the fire, but it spread rapidly, ignit- 


ing here and there, as the red balls continued 
to drop, until every portion was in flames. 

Attention was now directed to the magazines, 
which were situated at each of the southern 
corners of the fort, between the officers' quar- 
ters and the barracks. An intimacy with the 
internal arrangements of the fort had, doubt- 
less, suggested to the gentleman in the opposite 
command the possibility of blowing up the gar- 
rison — hence the clever stratagem of firing the 
officers' quarters with hot shot; but against 
this danger Major Anderson provided by or- 
dering all the powder to be taken from the 
upper magazines, and the lower magazines to 
be shut tight and thick mounds of earth to 
be heaped round the doors, through which no 
amount of heat could penetrate. 

Afterwards, when the fire had spread through 
the barracks and reached the casemates, the 
Major ordered the powder, which had been 
removed thither from the magazines, to be 
thrown into the sea, and ninety barrels were 
thus disposed of. 

As the fire increased the situation of the gar- 
rison was distressing beyond description. The 


water from the cisterns, followed by floods of 
rain, had saturated the riddled and broken 
buildings so that they burned with a hissing, 
smoldering flame, sending forth dense clouds 
of vapor and smoke, which soon filled the whole 
fort, rendering it difficult to breathe. The men 
were often obliged to lie down in the casemates, 
with wet cloths over their faces, to gain tempo- 
rary relief. 

Still the valiant fellows continued to serve 
their guns, and bomb after bomb, resounding 
from Sumter's walls, told that the spirit of 
American loyalty was not to be subdued, even 
by fire. 

About half past twelve o'clock our flag-staff, 
which had been grazed several times, was shot 
through and the flag fell. Down, amid burning 
brands, surrounded by smoke and ruin, our 
war-worn ensign lay. 

It was but a moment, and the next our 
young Lieutenant, Mr. Hall, rushed through 
the fire and, dashing all impediments out of 
his way, seized the prostrate colors. A buzz 
of admiration, mingled with words of fear for 
the officer's safety, and every man started for- 


ward, straining his eyes through the smoke 
until the object of quest emerged to view, be- 
grimed with soot, choking and faint, his face 
and hair singed, his clothes scorched, and 
holding aloft, with almost spent strength, the 
rescued flag. A weak, but heartfelt cheer, 
from parched throats, greeted him as the pre- 
cious burden was taken from his blistered hands, 
and he sunk down exhausted. 

When the fire was all spent, the gay dwelling 
in ashes, and the noble fort was silent — stand- 
ing, proud as ever, in stern, strong nakedness — 
Mr. Hall's epaulets were found on the spot 
from which he had raised the flag. In rush- 
ing through the fire they had become heated, 
and, oppressing his shoulders, he tore them off. 
They were now burnt — all but one little bunch 
of gold wire, which was embedded in ashes. 
That little relic is in the writer's possession; 
treasured as one of the precious trifles belong- 
ing to History's store-house. 

In fifteen minutes from the fall of the flag it 
was up again ; a jury-mast was hastily raised, 
to which it was nailed, and it floated out as 
before. The honor of nailing it up belongs to 


Mr. Peter Hart, a New York gentleman, who 
had come to Fort Sumter some time before, to 
visit Major Anderson, with whom he had served 
in the Mexican war, and had remained at the 
fort as his guest. Though he took no part in 
the actual battle, yet he made himself useful to 
the garrison in many ways, of which this, re- 
corded, is not the least. 

And still the fire raged within and the can- 
non roared without. * The flames increased in 
strength and volume, the air became heated all 
through the fort ; but the more the little gar- 
rison suffered the harder they fought, and each 
ball that flew from their embrasures performed 
its errand well. 

At about half past one P. M. a boat was 
seen approaching from Cumming's Point. Ar- 
rived at Fort Sumter a gentleman sprang from 
it, and, with a white handkerchief tied to the 
point of his sword to represent a flag of truce, 
he ran up to a port-hole, which he entered, say- 
ing to a soldier, whom he met, 

" I wish to see the commandant — my name 
is Wigfall, and I come from General Beau- 
regard. " 


The soldier went to inform Major Anderson, 
and Mr. Wigfall passed into the casemate where 
he met Captain Foster and Lieutenant Davis. 
To them he also introduced himself, stating that 
he came from General Beauregard. Then he 
added excitedly : 

"Let us stop this firing. You are on fire, 
and your flag is down — let us quit !" 

Mr. Davis replied, 

"No, Sir, "our flag is not down. Step out 
here and you will see it waving over the ram- 

He ran out and looked up, but the smoke 
filled his eyes and he exclaimed, impatiently 
extending his sword : 

" Here 's a white flag, — will any body wave 
it out of the embrasure ?" 

Captain Foster said one of the men might do 
so, and Corporal Bingham, who was present, 
took it in his hand and jumped into the em- 
brasure. And so the first white flag that 
waved from Fort Sumter was Senator Wigfall's 
handkerchief, tied to the point of that gentle- 
man's sword ! 


But the firing still continued, when Mr. Wig- 
fall said : 

"If you will show a white flag from your 
ramparts, they will cease firing." 

Captain Foster replied : 

" If you request that a white flag shall ap- 
pear there while you hold a conference with 
Major Anderson, and for that purpose alone, 
Major Anderson may permit it." 

Major Anderson, at that moment came up, 
and the white flag was ordered to he raised. 

" Major Anderson," said Mr. Wigfall, " you 
have defended your flag nobly, Sir. You have 
done all that is possible for man to do, and 
General Beauregard wishes to stop the fight. 
On what terms, Major Anderson, will you 
evacuate this fort ?" 

(i Terms ?" said Major Anderson, raising him- 
self to his full hight, and speaking with em- 
phasis, "I shall evacuate on the most honorable 
terms, or — die here /" 

Mr. Wigfall inclined his head ; — respect for 
the glorious soul in that slight, frail form could 
not be withheld by even an enemy. 

"Will you, Major Anderson," he then asked, 


" evacuate this fort upon the terms proposed to 
you the other day ?" 

u On the terms last proposed I will," was the 

" Then, Sir, I understand that the fort is to 
be ours ?" 

" On those conditions only, I repeat." 

"Well, Sir, I will return to General Beau- 
regard," said Mr. Wigfall, and, bowing low, he 

The white flag was then hauled down, and 
the American flag run up. 

The Major now ordered that the firing should 
not be renewed, but that the men should take 
such refreshment as they had and rest awhile. 
Poor fellows ! they were nearly exhausted. 
Those who had not been engaged at the guns 
had been toiling to subdue the fire ; and faint 
for lack of food, and suffocating with smoke, it 
was only their giant hearts sustained them 

When the flames were at the highest the 
enemy blazed away the faster, in order to cut 
down the men who were working to extinguish 
the fire ; but a Divine shield was over them, 


and not one life of the gallant First was taken 
by traitor hands. 

Some "own correspondent" stated that the 
Major sent men outside the fort on a raft to 
procure water wherewith to quench the fire : — 
nonsense ! there was plenty of water inside for 
the purpose, if there had only been hands 
enough to use it; but the guns must be kept 
manned, so only those who could be spared 
from that duty gave attention to the burning 

Their exertions, however, were sufficient to 
prevent explosions and disaster to life. The 
fire was kept under, and prevented from com- 
municating with the magazines, until every 
ounce of powder was removed out of our reach 
also, for, when hostilities ceased, we had but 
four barrels and three cartridges on hand. 

But the fire had done its work, and was now 
gradually burning out. The barracks and offi- 
cers' quarters were destroyed; and as the 
smoke thinned away, so that the eye could 
penetrate the scene, nothing but charred and 
smoldering ruins were visible. 

About three o'clock P. M. a formal deputa- 


tion came to Major Anderson from General 
Beauregard and Governor Pickens, proposing 
the same terms as had been previously offered, 
except that they were not willing the Major 
should salute his flag. 

To this Major Anderson would not consent. 

About six o'clock came another deputation, 
consisting of Colonel Prior, Colonel Miles, Ma- 
jor Jones, and Captain Hartstein, and presented 
to Major Anderson General Beauregard's final 
terms. They were as follows. The garrison 
to march out with their side and other arms, 
with all the honors, in their own way and at 
their own time ; to salute their flag and take it 
with them, and to take all their individual and 
company property ; the enemy also agreeing to 
furnish transports, as Major Anderson might 
select, to any part of the country, either by 
land or water. 

With all this Major Anderson was satisfied 
except the last clause. He would not consent 
to accept traveling accommodations from the 
enemy beyond the use of a steam-tug to con- 
vey him to the Government vessels outside 
the bar. 


Outside the bar ! — Oh ! if they had been 
inside, what a different tale could the writer 
have told to-day ! 

This fleet comprised three steam transports, 
two sloops-of-war, one cutter and two steam- 
tugs. Had they been able to enter, and pour 
their men and provisions into Fort Sumter, the 
Stars and Stripes would be waving from its 
ramparts now. With enough men to work wa- 
ter upon the falling hot shot while enough re- 
mained at the guns, and with sufficient food to 
sustain them in their labors, under such a com- 
mander as Major Anderson, that fortress would 
have held out against a million foes. 

As before mentioned, on their way down they 
were met by a storm which drove them back 
and separated them. One of the transports, the 
Baltic, and the cutter, Harriet Lane, reached 
Charleston Harbor on Friday morning, but late 
for the high tide. In attempting to enter, the 
Baltic ran aground on a shoal, and was with 
difficulty got off. She then lay to, waiting for 
the steam-tugs ; but they had been blown out 
to sea, and did not arrive until after the evacua- 
tion, and the other transports were not seen. 


On Saturday the sloops arrived, and, failing 
the appearance of the tugs, they determined to 
force an entrance that night. All this time a 
strong gale was blowing, against which they, 
with difficulty, bore up; but, though seven 
miles distant, they heard the firing, and longed 
to get to the succor of the garrison. 

With the intention of appropriating a tug, 
the Harriet Lane chased a guard steamer into 
the harbor, but did not succeed in overhauling 
her. At last they seized a pilot, whom they 
induced, under promise of a large reward, to 
aid them ; but just then the firing ceased, and 
they felt that all they could do for Major An- 
derson and his little garrison now was to carry 
them away. 

All this we did not know while we were 
within Fort Sumter — we learned it afterwards ; 
but we did know the condition of the harbor — ■ 
the entrance encumbered with shoals, and even 
the narrow channel rendered still narrower by 
sunken hulls. We also knew that a storm was 
raging along the coast, and the entrance of 
large vessels, unless very skillfully piloted, was 
not only dangerous, but impossible. 


It was this knowledge which necessitated the 
evacuation. As long as there was any hope of 
being enabled to maintain his post Major An- 
derson would not quit it upon any terms ; and 
even when that hope was dead, he did not re- 
linquish the fort without exacting the most 
honorable conditions. 

And now all was arranged according to the 
Major's dictation, nothing remained but for the 
garrison to pack their effects and prepare to 
depart. This occupied great part of the night, 
and the next morning a Charleston steamer was 
in attendance to convey them to the fleet. The 
baggage was placed on board, then the men 
were drawn up under arms, on the parade, and 
a portion told off, as gunners, to salute their 

And now came the last solemn ceremony, to 
end even more solemnly than we expected. 
The guns began to fire. One after another 
their loud voices rolled out upon the Sabbath 
air until fifty were counted, and then — an ex- 
plosion, a cry, a rush, and every gun was silent. 
A pile of cartridges, containing eighty pounds 
of powder, had been laid inside the bomb-proof, 


on the parapet, convenient to one of the guns. 
Among these cartridges a spark had fallen, and 
while the guns were firing, and the soldiers 
cheering, the powder exploded, tearing the 
strong sheets of iron, of which the bomb-proof 
was composed, into fragments, and scattering 
them abroad like feathers, at the same time 
sending a shock — a thrill of horror to every 
heart, for a group of men had been standing 
round, and Oh ! where were they now ? 

A few moments and anxious faces were 
gathered to the scene of the disaster: — sad 
scene ! — one of our brave fellows was dead — 
quite dead — rent almost in two; another was 
dying — fractured in every limb; another yet 
so mutilated that the Doctor only shook his 
head, and six others more or less injured. 

The departure of the garrison was, of course, 
delayed by this accident — the dead and the 
wounded must be cared for; yet the process of 
evacuation must be concluded, and so, while 
with tender hands and moist eyes the soldiers 
removed their bleeding comrades, the flag, in 
vindicating whose honor this warm blood was 



spilt, drooped its proud pinions and slowly 
descended from the ramparts. 

All that men in their circumstances could do 
was then done by the garrison for the dead and 
wounded : the former was prepared for de- 
cent burial, the latter tended with the kindest 

The enemy, impatient to take possession of 
the fort, now arrived. Governor Pickens and 
General Beauregard with their aids landed and 
entered, but, seeing what had occurred, imme- 
diately tendered every assistance. A minister 
was accordingly sent for to Charleston, to per- 
form the service for the dead, and physicians 
to take charge of those whom we should be 
obliged to leave behind living. Meanwhile a 
strong coffin was put together, a grave dug in 
the parade, and, shortly after the clergyman 
arrived, the funeral proceeded. 

With military honors the scarcely cold re- 
mains were buried : the Major heading the pro- 
cession with crape upon his sword. With the 
rites of the Church the coffin was lowered into 
the grave, and, awaiting the resurrection, when 
the justice of every cause shall be righteously 


proved, Daniel Howe was left sleeping in Fort 

The wounded men, all but two who were 
quite unfit to bear the voyage, were then re- 
moved to the steamer. These, under promise 
of the kindest treatment, were trusted to the 
hospitality of the South Carolinians; one of 
them, George Fielding was, therefore, conveyed 
to the Charleston Hospital, the other, Edward 
Galway, whose hours were numbered, was made 
as comfortable as possible in the fort. 

These sad details arranged, Major Anderson 
issued his final orders for embarkation; and, 
carrying their flag and even its shattered mast, 
with band playing Yankee Doodle, the garrison 
marched out of the fort and went on board the 
steamer. As the Major emerged from the gate 
the music changed into Hail to the Chief : — 
simple tribute but no less heart-felt ! 

It" was now late in the afternoon, and the gar- 
rison had eaten nothing since their scanty break- 
fast of pork and coffee; it would, therefore, 
have been most desirable to have got out on 
board the transport without delay; but the state 
of the tide was such that the little steamer 


could not move, and all night she lay under the 
walls of Fort Sumter. Had they had only their 
own discomforts to think of, they would have felt 
more the inconveniences of that long delay with- 
out food or resting places ; hut thoughts of their 
dying comrade in the fort, whose groans almost 
reached their ears, filled their minds, even to 
the exclusion of self. Before they left, however, 
the sufferer was released. An officer came on 
board the steamer to inform Major Anderson 
of the death of Edward Galway, and to assure 
him that the deceased should he buried beside 
Howe, with the honors due to a brave soldier. 

Those two men, Daniel Howe and Edward 
Galway, were natives of Ireland — the first from 
the County Tipperary, the last from the County 
Cork. They fought in the defence of our flag, 
they died in doing it honor: — their blood was 
the first that flowed — their lives were the first 
that were sacrificed in the cause of our glorious 

Early on Monday morning, April 15th, with 
the rising of the tide, the Isabel, on board which 
our garrison lay, steamed out of the Charleston 
waters to where the United States vessels lay, 


waiting to receive the gallant freight. The 
little band were welcomed with cheers by the 
fleet, and the Baltic, on board which they were 
taken, felt honored by their presence. Every 
preparation had been made for their comfort, 
and nothing that could be done to atone for 
their past privation was neglected. 

The Sumter flag, which had floated over the 
Isabel, was immediately hoisted on the Baltic, 
and a salute fired; and then Major Anderson 
was observed to bow his head and weep. 

What, tears ? Yes, Reader, tears ! We 
don't conceal the fact. Great men can feel. 
It was told of Xerxes — why not tell it of our 
own loved hero ? He looked up at his flag, tat- 
tered and begrimed, yet free as ever ; he looked 
round at his comrades, wan and weary, but with 
hearts of stoutest metal, and emotion mastered 
him — he bowed his head and wept. 

The Baltic was soon under weigh ; and, after 
a pleasant run of three days reached Sandy 
Hook, where she was boarded by the Medical 
Staff from Staten Island, and quite a crowd of 
gentlemen who had come in boats, from New 
York, to meet her. 


Here Major Anderson wrote the following 
dispatch to the War Department. 

" Steamship Baltic, off Sandy Hook, 
"Thursday, April 18, 1861. 

"Hon. S. Cameron, Secretary of War, Washing- 
ton, D. 0. : 
"Sir: — Having defended Fort Sumter for 
thirty-four hours, until the quarters were en- 
tirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, 
the gorge wall seriously injured, the magazine 
surrounded by flames, and its door closed from 
the effect of the heat, four barrels and three 
cartridges of powder only being available, and 
no provisions but pork remaining, I accepted 
terms of evacuation, offered by General Beau- 
regard, being the same offered by him on the 
11th instant, prior to the commencement of 
hostilities, and marched out of the fort, Sunday 
afternoon, the 14th instant, with colors flying 
and drums beating, bringing away company and 
private property, and saluting my flag with 
fifty guns. 

" Robert Anderson, 
" Major First Artillery." 


It was a bright, sunny day as the Baltic 
steamed up New York Harbor, saluted by the 
firing of cannon from the forts, and by the 
ringing of bells and waving of flags from the 
city as she approached. The late garrison of 
Fort Sumter was drawn up on her quarter-deck, 
considerably restored in appearance by good 
food and rest; and the Major, surrounded by 
his officers, stood on the wheel-house, still look- 
ing pale and care-worn, his expressive features 
quivering with emotion as he acknowledged the 
salutations of the people. 

All is now told — as far as a hasty sketch can 
tell it — of what transpired within Fort Sumter : 
of the energy, courage and determined will 
which sustained that little garrison to the last. 
And now you talk of promoting Major An- 
derson : — promote Major Anderson ! — Could you 
promote the lion among beasts — the eagle among 
birds ? could you exalt Sorata among mountains, 
or dignify the Amazon among streams ? could 
you give distinction to the North Star, or 
brighten the sun-beam ? as well might you at- 
tempt to elevate one who has arisen on the 
pinions of his own grand spirit to the hill- 


top of glory. No, fellow-countrymen, you can 
not promote Major Anderson! You can give 
no higher rank to the premier of his contem- 
poraries — you can confer no prouder title on 
the Hero of Charleston Harbor.