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r^ '■ ~< r-&JZ.r~>^ ■•V^^^v-K-V^
WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
BY ONE OF THE COMPANY.
r N. TIBBALS & CO., 120 NASSAU ST., (Up Stairs).
HERO OF FORT SUMPTER
MAJ. R. ANDERSON,
XJ. S. A.
WITHIN FORT SUMTER
A VIEW OF MAJOR ANDERSON'S GAR-
RISON FAMILY FOR ONE HUNDRED
AND TEN DATS. ;'
BY ONE OF THE COMPANY.
N. TIBBALS & COMPANY,
120 NASSAU STREET, (Up Stairs).
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
N. TIBBALS & C O.,
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 FORT SUMTER.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE
AND HIS GARRISON FAMILY
IN FORT SUMTER?
WELL HERE IS A CORRECT PICTURE OF
OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS,
WIYES &HD CHILDREN.
FLAG,— TRAGEDY,— EVACUATION,— AND ALL.
BY ONE OF THE COMPANY.
KEEP THE BOOK AS A MEMORIAL.
WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
b WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
Situated as he then was, he found himself
utterly weak in case of an attack — his fort
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 7
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
On the 20th of December, a State Con-
vention, then assembled in Charleston, unani-
mously resolved on secession, and, on the 24th
8 WITHIN FORT SUMTER
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;
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 9
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
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.
10 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 11
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-
"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
12 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 13
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
14 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 15
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
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
Arrived at the Governor's head-quarters,
Lieutenant Hall requested an interview, which,
16 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 17
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
18 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 19
the bearer, Lieutenant T. Talbott, who is di-
rected to make the journey.
" I remain, respectfully,
"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-
20 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 21
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-
22 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 23
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
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
24 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
.WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 25
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
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
26 WITHIN FORT 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
WITHIN FOET SUMTER. 27
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
28 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 29
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
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-
30 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 31
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.
32 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 33
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-
34 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
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 :
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 35
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,
36 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 37
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
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,
38 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 39
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
40 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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.
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 41
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-
42 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 43
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.
44 WITHIN PORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 45
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-
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
46 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 47
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
48 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 49
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
50 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 51
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
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.
52 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 53
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
54 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
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
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 55
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
56 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 57
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 !
58 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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,
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 59
" 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,
60 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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-
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 61
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
62 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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.
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 63
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
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.
64 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
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,
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 65
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
66 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 67
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
68 WITHIN FOKT SUMTER.
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,
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 69
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.
70 WITHIN FORT SUMTER.
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
" Robert Anderson,
" Major First Artillery."
WITHIN FORT SUMTER. 71
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-
72 WITHIN FORT SUMTER. VV*
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.