After The Star of the West, From the ORs, part 2

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 1, Part 1 (Charleston Campaign)


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


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

I am, sir, respectfully, yours,


Page 152

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

Hon. D. F. JAMISON,,

Executive Office, Department of War, Charleston:

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

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.




First Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C.:

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

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

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

I am, &c.,




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

Colonel S. COOPER,


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

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


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


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

Colonel S. COOPER,


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

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


Page 153

FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 27, 1861. [Received A. G. O., January 30.]

Colonel S. COOPER,


COLONEL: I have the honor to state, in reply to your letter of the 24th instant, that our letters, &c., are sent by boat, daily, at 12 m., to Fort Johnson in a sealed package, addressed to the postmaster in Charleston, and that the return boat brings our mail in a package bearing the post-office seal. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement. The governor told Lieutenant Talbot, when he saw him on his return from Washington, that I might, if I chose, send up to the city for my mails, but that he thought it would not be judicious for me to do so. I do not apprehend that there would be the slightest danger of any of my men deserting if thus employed, but think they might be insulted or maltreated. The report to which your refer, about the attempt of the men who were sent to the city to attend a murder trial to desert, is absolutely and entirely false. Lieutenant Davis [who refused to take them, though offered arms by several persons and urged to accept them] says that the

page 154

men conducted themselves with the greatest propriety, and that, although handsomely entertained, they returned perfectly sober. I have not deemed it advisable to notice in any way the false reports which have originated in Charleston and elsewhere about us. I send herewith a slip containing two such reports. Lieutenant Meade states, and I have no doubt with entire truthfulness, that he made no statement whilst absent to any person about my preferences or my opinions, either military or political, and that the inferences given in the article in the Petersburg paper were not deducible from any facts stated by him. The other article, in the Baltimore paper, stating that a boat containing three of my men was fired into from Sullivan’s Island, is also entirely untrue. I cannot see the object to be attained by the circulation of such untruths. The object of one, which has been repeated more than once, that we are getting fresh provisions from the Charleston market, is apparent enough, viz, to show they are treating us courteously. But even that is not a fact. I send herewith a copy of a letter written to our former beef contractor about furnishing us with meat, &c., to which no reply has yet been received-why, I am unable to ascertain; so that, up to this moment, we have not derived the least advantage from the to this moment, we have not derived the least advantage from the Charleston markets; and I can confidently say that none of my command desire to receive anything from the city for which we are not to pay. Under the daily expectation of the return of Lieutenant Hall, I have deferred sending in a memorandum of the commissary stores on hand. There are now here 38 barrels pork, 37 barrels flour, 13 barrels hard bread, 2 barrels beans, 1 barrel coffee, 1/2 barrel sugar, 3 barrels vinegar, 10 pounds candles, 40 pounds soap, and 3/4 barrel salt. You will see from this that for my present command [especially after the departure of our women and children] we shall have an ample supply of pork and bread. It is a pity that my instructions had not been complied with, which would have given us the small stores which are now deficient, and which we shall not object to receiving as soon as the safety of our country will admit of our getting them. Nothing of importance to report. The Columbia is still aground in the Maffitt’s Channel.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


FORT SUMTER, January 24, 1861.


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

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, U. S. Army.


page 159

[Inclosure No. 2.]

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

The report was agreed to.

Mr. Buist offered the following resolution:

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

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


FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 30, 1861. [Received A. G. O.,

February 4.]

Colonel S. COOPER,


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



FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 31, 1861. [Received A. G. O.,

February 4.]

Colonel S. COOPER,


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

page 160

for fear that he will be regarded as a traitor to South Carolina for furnishing comfort and aid to her enemies.

God save our country.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

( Note that South Carolina has made every effort to comply with major Anderson’s requests.)


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