Short Supplies at Fort Sumter

I remind you, I will not be posting daily work reports for either side.

By this communications we see that the men in Fort Sumter were not living the life of luxury, but they were far from starving. We also see that the intent of the fleet was not only to supply Anderson and his men, but also to re-enforce them. There is still no mention of slavery as the cause for the coming conflict.

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


[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

NAVY DEPARTMENT. Preliminary orders.-Steamers Pocahontas at Norfolk, Pawnee at Washington, Harriet Lane at New York (Treasury Department), to be under sailing orders for sea, with stores, &c., for one month. Three hundred men to be kept ready for departure from on board the receiving ships at New York.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

WAR DEPARTMENT. Preliminary.-Two hundred men to be ready to leave Governor’s Island in New York. Supplies for twelve months for one hundred men to be put in portable shape, ready for instant shipping. A large steamer and three tugs conditionally engaged. MARCH 28, 1861.


Page 228 Edited for content

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

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

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The provisions that I laid in for my force having become exhausted, and the supplies of the command being too limited to spare me any more, I am obliged to discharge nearly all my men to-day. I retain only enough to man a boat. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Engineers.


NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 1, 1861.


Fit out the Powhatan to go to sea at the earliest possible moment under sealed orders. Orders by a confidential messenger go forward to-morrow.



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Numbers 90.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 1, 1861.
(Received A. G. O., April 4.)

Colonel L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that everything is still and quiet, as far as we can see, around us. The South Carolina Secretary of War has not sent the authority, asked for yesterday, to enable me to send off the discharged laborers. Having been in daily expectation, since the return of Colonel Lamon to Washington, of receiving orders to vacate this post, I have kept these men here as long as I could; but now, having nearly completed the important work of cleaning up the area, &c., I am compelled, in consequence of the small supply of provisions on hand, to discharge them. An examination of the accompanying report of the A. A. C. S. will show that the supply of provisions brought over would, had the issues been limited to my command, have lasted for a longer period than that mentioned in my letter of December 26, 1860. I have not made frequent mention of the question of our rations, because the Department was kept fully informed, from time to time, of the state of our supply. Lieutenants Talbot and Hall gave full information in reference to it when they went on, and on the 27th of January a detailed statement was sent on, from which any one in the Commissary Department could have told, knowing the number of souls in the fort, including the Engineer laborers, the exact amount on hand at any given time.*

I told Mr. Fox that if I placed the command on short allowance I could make the provisions last until after the 10th of this month; but as I have received no instructions from the Department that it was desirable I should do so, it has not been done. If the governor permits me to send off the laborers we will have rations enough to last us about one week longer.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


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

Major ROBERT ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding:

MAJOR: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following list of provisions sold to Captain J. G. Foster, Corps of Engineers, for the subsistence of the employes in his department at this post, and have expressed the quantities in numbers of rations, viz:

Five and one-half barrels of pork-one thousand four hundred and sixty-seven rations.

Twenty barrels of flour-three thousand four hundred and eighty-five rations.

One hundred and eighty pounds hard bread-one hundred and eighty rations.

Two and one-half bushels of beans-one thousand rations.

One hundred and seventy-four pounds coffee-one thousand seven hundred and forty rations.

Seven hundred and seventy-four pounds sugar-five thousand one hundred and sixty rations.

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These provisions, which have necessarily been consumed by others, would have added to the time we have already been at this post subsistence for the following number of days, respectively:

Pork-Sixteen and twenty-seven-ninetieth days.

Flour and hard bread-Forty and sixty-five-ninetieth days.

Beans-Eleven and one-ninth days.

Coffee-Nineteen and one-third days.

Sugar-Fifty-seven and one-third days.

Or, with what is now on hand, at least thirty-five days of comfortable subsistence for the command, including the laundresses, who were sent away about two months ago.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,


Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, A. A. C. S.


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Numbers 92.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 3, 1861.

(Received A. G. O., April 6.)

Colonel L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we do not see them at work this morning. One of the guard-boats anchored at 8 o’clock last night (a schooner) about four hundred yards from the left shoulder angle of this work. She is still there.

The governor of South Carolina has not sent the permission alluded to yesterday, and to-day notice has been received that no butter can be sent down and only one quarter of a box of soap. These little matters indicate, perhaps, an intention to stop our supplies entirely. I must, therefore, most respectfully and urgently ask for instructions what I am to do as soon as my provisions are exhausted. Our bread will last four or five days.

Hoping that definite and full instructions will be sent to me immediately,

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



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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., April 4, 1861.


SIR: Your letter of the 1st instant occasions some anxiety to the President.

On the information of Captain Fox he had supposed you could hold out till the 15th instant without any great inconvenience; and had prepared an expedition to relieve you before that period.

Hoping still that you will be able to sustain yourself till the 11th or 12th instant, the expedition will go forward; and, finding your flag flying, will attempt to provision you, and, in case the effort is resisted, will endeavor also to re-enforce you. You will therefore hold out, if possible, till the arrival of the expedition.

It is not, however, the intention of the President to subject your command to any danger or hardship beyond what, in your judgment, would be usual in military life; and he has entire confidence that you will act as becomes a patriot and soldier, under all circumstances.

Whenever, if at all, in your judgment, to save yourself and command, a capitulation becomes a necessity, you are authorized to make it.




WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 4, 1861.

Captain G. V. FOX, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: It having been decided to succor Fort Sumter you have been selected for this important duty. Accordingly you will take charge of the transports in New York having the troops and supplies on board to the entrance of Charleston Harbor, and endeavor, in the first instance, to deliver the subsistence. If you are opposed in this you are directed

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to report the fact to the senior naval officer of the harbor, who will be instructed by the Secretary of the Navy to use his entire force to open a passage, when you will, if possible, effect an entrance and place both troops and supplies in Fort Sumter. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., April 4, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel HENRY L. SCOTT, A. D. C., New York:

SIR: This letter will be landed to you by Captain G. V. Fox, ex-officer of the Navy, and a gentleman of high standing, as well as possessed of extraordinary nautical ability. He is charged by high authority here with the command of an expedition, under cover of certain ships of war, whose object is to re-enforce Fort Sumter. To embark with Captain Fox you will cause a detachment of recruits, say about two hundred, to be immediately organized at Fort Columbus, with a competent number of officers, arms, ammunition, and subsistence. A large surplus of the latter-indeed, as great as the vessels of the expedition can take-with other necessaries, will be needed for the augmented garrison of Fort Sumter.

The subsistence and other supplies should be assorted like those which were provided by you and Captain Ward of the Navy for a former expedition. Consult Captain Fox and Major Eaton on the subject, and give all necessary orders in my name to fit out the expedition, except that the hiring of vessels will be left to others.

Some fuel must be shipped. Oil, artillery implements, fuses, cordage, slow-march, mechanical levers, and gins, &c., should also be put on board.

Consult, also, if necessary, confidentially, Colonel Tompkins and Major Thornton.

Respectfully, yours,


Communications between Beauregard and Anderson

Lincoln orders the invasion

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


[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., March 26, 1861.


U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

MY DEAR MAJOR: Having been informed that Mr. Lamon, the authorized agent of the President of the United States, advised Governor Pickens, after his interview with you at Fort Sumter, that yourself and command would be transferred to another post in a few days, and understanding that you are under the impression I intended under all circumstances to require of you a formal surrender or capitulation, I hasten to disabuse you, and to inform you that our countries not being at war, and wishing as far as lies in my power to avoid the latter calamity, no such condition will be exacted of you, unless brought about as the natural result of hostilities.

Whenever you will be prepared to leave the fort, if you will inform Governor Pickens or myself of your intentions relative thereto, we will be happy to see that you are provided with proper means of transportation out of this harbor for yourself and command, including baggage, private and company property. all that will be required of you on account of the public rumors that have reached us will be your word of honor as an officer and a gentleman, that the fort, all public property therein, its armament, &c., shall remain in their present condition, without any arrangements or preparation for their destruction or injury after you shall have left the fort.

On our part no objection will be raised to your retiring with your side and company arms, and to your saluting your flag on lowering it. Hoping to have the pleasure of meeting you soon under more favorable circumstances,

I remain, dear major, yours, very truly,



[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 26, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, and hasten to say that I needed no denial from you of the expression attributed to you. The moment I heard that you had said that I should not leave this fort without surrendering I remarked that it was not true, and that I knew you had not said so. I am much obliged to his excellency the governor and yourself for the assurances you give me, but you must pardon me for saying that I feel deeply hurt at the intimation in your letter about the conditions which will be exacted of me, and I must state most distinctly that if I can only be permitted to leave on the pledge you mention I shall never, so help me God, leave this fort alive.

Hoping that you do not mean what your words express, and in

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case cordially uniting with you int he wish that we may have the pleasure of meeting under more favorable circumstances,

I remain, dear general, yours truly,


Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.


[Inclosure Numbers 3.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., March 26, 1861.


U. S. Army, Commanding at Fort Sunter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

MY DEAR MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of this date, and hasten to disabuse you as to any intention on my part of wounding, in any manner whatsoever, the feelings of so gallant an officer by anything I may have written in my letter of this morning.

I only alluded to the pledge referred to by you on account of the high source from which the rumors spoken of appeared to come, and which, in the eyes of many officers of high standing, might be considered a sufficient reason for executing orders which otherwise they would not approve of; but I regret now having referred to the subject.

I remain, dear major, yours very truly,



[Inclosure Numbers 4.]

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

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I hasten, in reply to your kind and satisfactory note of yesterday afternoon, just received, to express my gratification at its tenor. I only regret that rumors from any source made you, for one moment, have the slightest doubt as to the straight path of honor and duty, in which I trust, by the blessing of God, ever to be found.

I am, dear general, yours sincerely,


Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 28, 1861.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Charleston, S. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: A military irregularity occurred yesterday, which I deem proper to mention to you. I heard, after your flag had returned to the city, that a parcel had been brought in the boat, and left, without my knowledge. Orders have been given which will prevent the recurrence of such an irregularity. Nothing should have been received from the boat except your letter. Trusting that in a few days we shall be placed in a position which will be more agreeable and acceptable to both of us than the anomalous one we now occupy,

I am, dear general, yours, truly,


Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.



Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.:

DEAR MAJOR: Your note of yesterday has just been received. I regret to hear of the irregularity complained of. When I approved of the parcel referred to being carried to Fort Sumter, it was supposed, as a matter of course, that it would not be received without your consent. No further privileges of the kind will hereafter be granted.

Hoping that we may soon meet on the same friendly footing as heretofore, I remain, dear major, yours, very truly,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 29, 1861.


SIR: I desire that an expedition, to move by sea, be got ready to sail as early as the 6th of April next, the whole according to memorandum attached, and that you co-operate with the Secretary of the Navy for that object.

Your obedient servant,


Plans to Re-enforce Fort Sumter by sea — it’s no secret

Plans to Reforce Sort Sumter by sea.

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

Inclosure E.]

Memorandum of Captain G. V. Fox.

WASHINGTON, D. C., February 8, 1861.

Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The proposition which I had the honor to submit fully in person is herewith presented in writing. Lieutenant Hall and myself have had several free conferences, and if he is permitted by the South Carolina authorities to re-enter Fort Sumter, Major Anderson will comprehend the plan for his relief. I consider myself very fortunate in having proposed a project which meets the approval of the General-in-Chief, and I ask no reward but the entire conduct of the part, exclusive of the armed vessels. The commander of these should be ordered to co-operate with me, by affording protection and destroying their naval preparations near the bar, leaving to me, as the author of the plan, the actual operations of relief. I suggest that the Pawnee be immediately sent to the Delaware Breakwater to await orders; the Harriet Lane to be ready for sea, and some arrangement entered into by which the requisite steamer and tugs should be engaged, at least so far as not to excite suspicion. I would prefer one of the Collins steamers. They are now being prepared for sea, and are of such a size and power as to be able fearlessly to run down any vessels which might attempt to capture us outside by a coup de main. I could quietly engage one and have her ready to start in twenty-four hours’ notice, without exciting suspicion. I shall leave for New York at 3.10 p. m., and any communication previous will find me at Judge Blair’s. If the Pawnee pivot-gun is landed it should certainly be remounted.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


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[Inclosure G.]

NEW YORK, February 23, 1861.

MY DEAR BLAIR: Mr. Blunt received a telegraph from General Scott a few days since which he thought indicated an adjournment of my plan; but I put the construction upon it that another was substituted for mine, and I feel certain it must be “boats.” To corroborate this the New York Times, of February 21, says: “Government has determined to relieve Fort Sumter by boats at night.” I consider this plan possible, and the alternative of mine, but inferior at every step. The distance from Fort Sumter to outside is five miles-an hour’s pull. From this point the open ocean, winter season, and at night, say two hundred men (requiring for six months five hundred and forty-six barrels of provisions) are to be put into boats, rowed over a very dangerous bar, and subjected for half an hour to a fire of grape from sixty guns. Besides, if a single tug (they have four) eludes Major Andersons’s vigilance, she would run in amongst these boats with perfect impunity to herself and utter destruction to them. I have made two cruises on the coast of Africa, where the passing of bars by boats, unless very light and in broad daylight, was considered the most dangerous duty we were subjected to, fatal accidents being common in the smoothest weather. Moreover, this plan has been spoken of publicly in connection with the U. S. ship Brooklyn, and from this fact is probably made a special study by the Charlestonians.

I simply propose three tugs, convoyed by light-draught men-of-war. These tugs are sea-boats, six feet draught, speed fourteen knots. The boilers are below, with three and a half feet space on each side, to be filled with coal. The machinery comes up between the wheel-houses, with a gangway on either hand of five to six feet, enabling us to pack the machinery with two or three thicknesses of bales of cotton or hay. This renders the vulnerable parts of the steamer proof against grape and fragments of shells, but the momentum of a solid shot would probably move the whole mass and disable the engine. The men are below, entirely protected from grape-provisions on deck. The first tug to lead in empty, to open their fire. The other two to follow, with the force divided, and towing the large iron boats of the Baltic, which would hold the whole force should every tug be disabled, and empty they would not impede the tugs. When such men as George W. Blunt,

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Charles K. Marshall, and Russell Sturgis, all seamen, give my plan the preference, it must have merit. At Kinburn, in the Black Sea, eight gunboats passed in the night forts mounting eighty guns-only one boat hit. The next day, in broad daylight, the Cracker (English) came out under their deliberate fire-distance nine hundred yards. The Vladimar (Russian steamer at Sebastopol) was under fire at various distances during the whole war, but her motion prevented her being disabled. How few of Dahlgren’s shots hit the target with all the elements of success he is capable of producing! I am sure I could convince the authorities of the preference that is due to his plan, if I could argue the plan instead of write it.

Sincerely yours,

G. V. FOX.


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WAR DEPARTMENT, March 19, 1861.

Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT:

DEAR SIR: The President requires accurate information in regard to the command of Major Anderson in Fort Sumter, and wishes a competent person sent for that purpose. You will therefore direct some suitable person to proceed there immediately, and report the result of the information obtained by him.

I am, sir, very respectfully,


Secretary of War.


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The within may do good and can do no harm. It commits no one.


The order of which this is a copy was presented to the President March 19, 1861.

G. V. Fox, formerly of the Navy, was selected by General Scott as the messenger, and approved by the President.

S. C.


Numbers 78.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 20, 1861.

(Received A. G. O., March 23.)

Colonel L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that last night they were unusually vigilant watching the entrance to this harbor. This morning we see them mounting a gun in battery Numbers 1, apparently clearing ground for platforms for a new battery on the sea shore, behind Numbers 2, and strengthening the covered way on the left of the iron battery. We see framework, perhaps for a large shed, to the right of the iron battery. They are evidently apprehensive that an attempt may be made to throw re-enforcements into this work. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


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

Major R. ANDERSON, First Artillery, Commanding:

MAJOR: I have examined the commissary supplies on hand, and find them to be in kind and amount as follows, viz:

Six barrels of flour; six barrels of hard bread; three barrels of sugar; one barrel of coffee; two barrels of vinegar; twenty-six barrels of pork; one-fourth barrel of salt; one and a half barrels of rice; three boxes of candles.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,


Second Lieutenant, First Artillery, A. A. C. S.


(Edited for content)

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

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

Last night a special messenger, Mr. Fox, arrived from Washington, and came down to the fort under the escort of Captain Hartstene, formerly of the United States Navy. After a confidential interview with Major Anderson, he left immediately for Washington.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Engineers.


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FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 13, 1861.

His Excellency Gov. F. W. PICKENS:

SIR: I have the honor herewith respectfully to inclose, for the consideration of your excellency, a note received yesterday by the clerk of Captain Foster from the beef contractor, which appears to show an interference with your excellency’s orders.

I am confident in the event of your excellency having made any change in your instructions in reference to my supplies I would have been promptly notified thereof. A similar interference may have prevented my receiving some boxes of solidified milk, which have been several days in the city to my address and which cannot have been detained on account of freight, as it was prepaid. This certainly would not, in the eyes of the transportation agent, come under the head of contraband of war or prohibited articles. It may be ass well for me to mention here a few points which have not received that attention to which I think they are entitled.

About six weeks ago I sent, under cover to Colonel L. M. Hatch, quartermaster-general, a note from Sergeant Renehan, of this command, to his brother-in-law, asking him to send from Fort Moultrie his private property, which was already packed up, and I respectfully asked Colonel Hatch if he would be pleased to give it his attention. No reply has been received to my communication, nor have the articles been sent.

About a month since instructions were given by the honorable Secretary of War that Captain Foster’s private property on Sullivan’s Island, as well as some public papers in the office in Charleston, should be sent down. Neither the property nor the papers have yet been received here.

Early in January I sent some officers to Fort Moultrie for certain private property left there. They were received in so different a manner from the civility and courtesy that characterized the manner of Colonel De Saussure that I have not ventured to make another attempt to obtain possession of it, and I am thus cut off from regimental books (not public property) and office papers, valuable to us, and merely interesting to others.

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Some of the officers of this command have been put to considerable inconvenience and discomfort by the detention in the city of their hired servant, who left the post with a permit from the honorable Secretary of War. His detention after the discovery that the correspondence, at first characterized as a “very improper one,” proved to be “nothing more than what might have been expected between and silly persons in their situations,” is unwarranted. I attached no importance to this matter from the first, and so remarked to a gentleman who came down to see me in reference to it. No one, not even an owner of a slave, would have a right, under such circumstances, to prevent his return, and it was undoubtedly called for in this case by common civility and courtesy, as the officers have no opportunity of replacing him. In regard to packages arriving from time to time, through the express or otherwise, if it is necessary to trouble your excellency for special permits whenever articles of such minor importance as condiments, &c., are to be sent down to us, it is questionable with me whether it would not be better for us to do without them altogether, and to send instructions to the various express companies not to receive any packages destined for my command.

With sentiments of high consideration and regard,

I am, very respectfully, your excellency’s obedient servant,

Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.


Inclosure Numbers 2.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, S. C., March 15, 1861.


SIR: I am instructed by his excellency the governor to inform you that he is unwilling to modify his original permission that you should receive from the markets in this city such supplies of fresh meat and vegetables as you might indicate. A proper investigation will be instituted to inquire what obstacle has been interposed to the execution of the orders given on the subject.

I will inquire why Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch has not sent the private property of Sergeant Renehan which was left at Fort Moultrie.

With respect to the furniture left by Captain Foster in the house occupied by him before he left Sullivan’s Island, and the papers, &c., left in his office in this city, I reply that Captain Simonton was requested to separate the furniture claimed by Captain Foster from his own, and send it to Fort Sumter through the quartermaster-general. This has been delayed, I believe, chiefly on account of some reclamations on the part of Captain Simonton for injures done to his own furniture during the time the house was occupied by Captain Foster, and for rent. I have been informed that the matter has been attended to by Captain Simonton within the past few days, and I will take steps to have Captain Foster’s property sent ot him without delay. As to the papers, Mr. Legare, who was indicated by Captain Foster as a proper person to carry out his wishes, reported to me that he had collected and sent the papers, &c., to Captain Foster.

With respect to the property which you failed to recover from Fort Moultrie, I am informed by Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley that he sent word to you that if you would transmit an inventory of any articles of property left by you he would endeavor to collect and send them to you, but that he received no reply to his offer.

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As to the servant referred to in your letter, it is proper that I should say that I am unwilling to discuss any question of right or courtesy growing out of the case beyond the unquestionable privilege of a slave owner to permit or not, at his own pleasure, the return of his slave to a hostile fort; but, as you have put a different interpretation on the language employed by me in my letters on the subject than I designed, I desire to state what I did mean: “The very improper correspondence” between the slaves to which I alluded had reference ot the slaves alone, as information was given by the woman to the boy of operations in this city which were not proper to be communicated to any one in your garrison, and the reply of the boy clearly showed that his temper and principles had not been improved by a residence in Fort Sumter. The other words of mine, which you quote-“nothing more than what might have been expected between silly persons in their situation”-were meant as kind expressions on my part, to disabuse the minds of Dr. Crawford and other officers at the fort of any unfavorable impression upon me of a complicity on their part with the improper correspondence of idle negroes. I am, sir, respectfully, yours,



FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 17, 1861.

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

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 15th instant in reply to mine of the 13th to his excellency the governor.

I hasten to ask you to refer to my letter to his excellency, and you will see that I did not solicit any modification of his original permission about receiving supplies of fresh meat and vegetables. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement, and only called attention to a reported interference of it. I thank you for your promise in reference to the property of Captain Foster.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley did kindly offer to attend to collecting any “private property” left on the island by the officers, and I thanked him for having done so.

The property alluded to in my note is not, strictly speaking, private, but belongs to the regiment or post, and therefore was not, in my opinion, embraced in his offer. My object in mentioning this matter was to call attention to it, in order that such directions might be given regarding it as might be deemed proper.

I beg leave to assure you that I had no desire to discuss the question of right or of courtesy in reference to the treatment my officers received in the failure to return the hired boy, and my remarks were intended to apply to the professed owner of the boy, who, neglecting his duty as owner or master for months, had permitted the boy to hire himself out, every one supposing him to be free, and now, at a time when the exercise of his “undoubted right” puts gentlemen here to a serious inconvenience, for the first time asserts his rights of ownership.

His excellency mentions in his letter to me, received yesterday, that the boy is a slave, and, of course, that ends the matter. In justice to myself I must state that I did not intentionally place a forced construction on your words. The day your first letter was received about the boy a gentlemen came down to see me about the “improper correspondence,” which he was told had reference to the negroes joining us in the event

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of a collision. He remarked to his informants, as he told me, that he thought it a foolish story, advised them to say nothing about it, and said that he was certain, at all events, that I had no idea of anything of the kind, and came down to tell me of the rumor.

I regret exceedingly that your letter contains the remark it does in reference to the effect of a residence at Fort Sumter on the boy’s “temper and principles,” and I am satisfied that, upon further consideration, you will regret it.

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


Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.

(I find it somewhat amusing that the war who started the war to “free the slaves” would cpmplain about a slave not being permitted to serve him and his men.)

FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 26, 1861.

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

P. S.-A messenger from the President of the United States arrived yesterday about 2 o’clock, and after delivering his dispatches and having an interview with Major Anderson, departed about 3 o’clock. Mr. Lamon, I understand, was the gentleman’s name, and he was escorted to the fort from the city by Colonel Duryea, of the governor’s staff.


Captain, Engineers.


At this point I will stop. The relationship between the two countries seem to be friendly, respectful and cooperative. Upcoming will be an exchange between Beauregard and Anderson on the issue of surrendering Fort Sumter.

How To Prevent War!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


Edited for length, these reports deal mostly with landing men in Charleston harbor. Note that any action toward Ft. Sumter will likely cause war.




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But, in the first place, it is a necessary condition that the boats arrive off the harbor before night. If they can see to take these bearings, they can be seen from the shore. In the next place, it seems impossible to fit out any expedition, however small and unobtrusive, without arousing inquiry, and causing the intelligence to be transmitted by telegraph. We may be certain, therefore, that these tugs will be waited for by steamers lying in the channelway, full of men.

This mode of relieving Fort Sumter, or another by men in rowboats passing up the same channel, is so obvious that it is unreasonable to suppose it has not been duly considered and provided for, where so much intelligence and resource in military means have been displayed in the scheme of defense, and so much earnestness and energy in execution. We know that guard rowboats and steamers are active during the night; and that they have all the means of intercepting with certainty this little expedition, and overpowering it, by boarding- a commencement of war.

This attempt, like any other, will inevitably involve a collision.

This raises a question that I am not called on to discuss, but as to which I may say that if the General Government adopts a course that must be attended with this result, its first measure should not be one so likely to meet disaster and defeat; nor one, I may add, which, even if successful, would give but momentary relief, while it would open all the powers of attack upon the fort, certainly reducing it before the means of recovering Charleston Harbor, with all its forts and batteries and environs, can possibly be concentrated there.

Respectfully submitted.

J. G. T.


General Scott’s memoranda for the Secretary of War.

It seems from the opinions of the Army officers who have expressed themselves on the subject-all within Fort Sumter, together with Generals Scott and Totten-that it is perhaps now impossible to succor that fort substantially, if at all, without capturing, by means of a large expedition of ships of war and troops, all the opposing batteries of South Carolina. In the mean time-six or ten months-Major Anderson would almost certainly have been obliged to surrender under assault or the approach of starvation; for even if an expedition like that proposed by G. V. Fox should succeed once in throwing in the succor of a few men and a few weeks’ provisions, the necessity of repeating the latter supply would return again and again, including the yellow fever season. An abandonment of the fort in a few weeks, sooner or later, would appear,therefore, to be a sure necessity, and if so, the sooner the more graceful on the part of the Government.

It is doubtful, however, according to recent information from the South, whether the voluntary evacuation of Fort Sumter alone would have a decisive effect upon the States now wavering between adherence to the Union and secession. It is known, indeed, that it would be


charged to necessity, and the holding of Fort Pickens would be adduced in support of that view. Our Southern friends, however, are clear that the evacuation of both the forts would instantly soothe and give confidence to the eight remaining slaveholding States, and render their cordial adherence to this Union perpetual. The holding of Forts Jefferson and Taylor, on the ocean keys, depends on entirely different principles, and should never be abandoned; and, indeed, the giving up of Forts Sumter and Pickens may be best justified by the hope that we should thereby recover the State to which they geographically belong by the liberality of the act, besides retaining the eight doubtful States.

(This is a short post because of the information contained within. Not what Gen. Scott says about how to keep the remaining 8 Southern states in the Union and perhaps getting the states that have left the Union to return. This action may have settled the issue of war.)

Another Expedition To Ft. Sumter — Fanning the Flames of war

Another Expedition To Ft. Sumter — Fanning the Flames of war

I was not aware of a second expedition to Ft. Sumter before Lincoln sent his force in April which started the war. I will post information on that expedition regardless if this forces reaches Sumter or not. I will not be posting reports of work done on the fortifications for either side unless the report contains some very important information.



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


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., February 20, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel HENRY L. SCOTT, A. D. C., &c., New York:

See Captain Ward, commanding the North Carolina, receiving ship, and ask him to get his squadron ready as soon as he can, and let you know how many recruits he will want in addition to his marines; learn, also, what subsistence stores he will want, including a good quantity of desiccated vegetables; also coals, &c. See that he is supplied with everything for Anderson. I shall write to-morrow. No time now. Afraid of the wires.



Page 179

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., February 21, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel HENRY L. SCOTT,
Acting Adjutant-General, New York:

SIR: I inclose a copy of a memorandum made by Lieutenant Hall, showing what articles are required at Fort Sumter, in addition to the usual supplies of the Subsistence Department, which the General-in-Chief wishes you to take measures to procure and have transferred to Captain Ward of the Navy, if he can take them on his vessels.

Please also have prepared as large a supply of subsistence as Captain Ward can take, including desiccated vegetables and potted meats.

When the expedition under Captain Ward shall sail [time] he may require a detachment of from fifty to two hundred recruits, with or without officers, as he may wish. See that they are confidentially prepared for that service. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Page 180

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, New York, February 22, 1861.

[Colonel L. THOMAS, A. A. G.:]

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential letter of the 21st instant, conveying instructions of the General-in-Chief. I have already taken steps towards executing those instructions, by conferring with Captain Ward, of the Navy, and the quartermaster and commissary of subsistence on duty in this city. I shall see Major Thornton to-morrow. Captain Ward will not be able to take any bales of hay for bedding purposes, and at his suggestion I propose to send mattresses to Fort Sumter instead, unless objected to by the General-in-Chief. Captain Ward will provide the coal and wood which Lieutenant Hall’s memorandum calls for. In relation to clothing, I am unable to make out what the memorandum requires. Instead, therefore, of writing myself to Philadelphia, I beg that the necessary orders may be given from Washington to the clothing officers in Philadelphia to send to Colonel Tompkins here the clothing required by the memorandum, and the garrison flag and cord for lanyards on this same memorandum. I shall see that everything else on the memorandum is provided here, including such groceries as might be for sale to officers, &c. The clothing should be put up in small bales, so that it may be distributed among the vessels. Colonel Tompkins will attend to its proper marking after its arrival here. Please let me know as soon as you give the

Page 181

order to the clothing department. I saw Commodore Bruce, who will do all that he can, but hopes to receive instructions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


P. S.-I have arranged with Captain Ward to send all the stores, &c., on board the North Carolina, addressed to him. He will attend to their distribution among his vessels.

H. L. S., Lieutenant-Colonel.


Page 183

No. 53.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 23, 1861. [Received A. G. O.,

February 26.]

Colonel S. COOPER,


COLONEL: I have the honor to end herewith some slips from the Charleston Mercury of yesterday. That paper publishes everything that is calculated to bring on a collision. I do not consider the rumor worthy of the least attention, but it accounts for the increased vigor exhibited last night, and continued to-day, in pushing forward their works on Cummings Point and at Fort Moultrie. They were working at the former place until midnight last night, and a large force is busy there now on the parapet [in which openings are formed apparently for four embrasures], and in hauling up timbers from a raft. A large shed has been put up, which may be intended for a bomb-proof storehouse or a magazine. At Fort Moultrie the glaces is being rapidly extended, and it is high enough to cover their wall, as if they expected me to attempt breaching it. They are also at work this morning on the gun battery at Fort Johnson.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.



The special dispatches of the Mercury announcing that a stealthy re-enforcement of Fort Sumter had been determined on, and that Federal troops, in boats, night be expected at any moment that circumstances should happen to favor their attempt to reach the fort, were confirmed about 9 o’clock last night by telegrams received by the governor. Shortly afterwards dispatches came up from Fort Moultrie, stating that the lieutenant in charge of the harbor watch had reported that he was informed by a pilot that the steamship Daniel Webster had been seen by him off Cape Romain at noon. Notice as immediately given to the different posts. General Dunovant and Captain Hamilton proceeded immediately to Fort Moultrie; Major Stevens repaired to the Morris Island batteries. Everything was got in readiness for the expected visitors.

Up to the hour at which we go to press [half past 4 o’clock] there has been nothing seen either of the Daniel Webster or her boats. We are very sure that the gallant troops on Morris and Sullivan’s Islands will keep a bright lookout for both.

page 184


WASHINGTON, February 21-6 p.m.

There is the best of reason for believing that Holt designs re-enforcing secretly, by boats, at night. The re-enforcements have already been sent. You may look out for them at any moment. The programme is also to surround Fort Pickent with ships of war. That post is considered impregnable to the Southern forces. The whole anxiety of Scott and the coercionists centers now in Fort Sumter. There the Cabinet has determined that Lincoln shall find everything ready to his hand.

FORT SUMTER.-The Washington correspondents of Northern papers are continually disposing of this formidable post in divers ways. The last bulletin which we notice “settles the fact” in this summary style:

“I have just read a private letter from a citizen of South Carolina, formerly in Congress from that State, which states that Fort Sumter will be taken, at whatever cost of life, on or before the 4th of March next. The writer is himself to take part in the enterprise, and as he is also perfectly well informed in regard to the intentions of the State authoritities, it may be considered that this information settles the fact, if there is any doubt of it, that the fort is to be taken, and without reference to what the Montgomery government may advise or order on the subject.”

FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 23, 1861.


Page 187

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, February 28, 1861.


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

SIR: I acknowledge the receipt of your several communications, including No. 55, of the 25th instant. The Secretary of War directs me to send you the inclosed slip, and to say that the Peace Convention yesterday agreed upon the basis of a settlement of our political difficulties, which was reported to Congress. The Secretary entertains the hope that nothing will occur now of a hostile character.

I am, sir, &c.,




The Commissioners from the Southern Confederacy are expected to arrive here before the close of this week. They are accredited to the incoming administration, and pending the efforts to negotiate, nothing will be done calculated to disturb the public peace.

Page 196

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

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The news received yesterday by telegraph, to the effect that orders were issued to evacuate this fort, seems to have caused an almost entire cessation of work on the batteries around us. I am not ceasing work on the preparations, although I am taking an inventory of the materials on hand, and otherwise getting ready for such orders should they actually arrive.

I have received my vouchers from town, together with my own private books and papers that were in the office. All of the office furniture, records, maps, instruments, &c., are retained by the authorities. I have here, however, most of the most useful maps and drawings.

Unless otherwise directed I shall discharge my force when the orders for evacuation arrive, and leave with the command, with my assistants, and report to you at Washington.

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


Captain, Engineers.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 15, 1861.

The honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:

MY DEAR SIR: Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it? Please give me your opinion in writing on this question.*

Your obedient servant,



In reply to the letter of inquiry addressed to my by the President, whether, “assuming it to be possible now to provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it,” I beg leave to say that it has received the careful consideration, in the limited time I could bestow upon it, which its very grave importance demands, and that my mind has been most reluctantly forced to the conclusion that it would be unwise now to make such an attempt.

In coming to this conclusion I am free to say I am greatly influenced by the opinions of the Army officers who have expressed themselves on the subject, and who seem to concur that it is, perhaps, now impossible to succor that fort substantially, if at all, without capturing, by means of a large expedition of ships of war and troops, all the opposing batteries of South Carolina. All the officers within Fort Sumter, together with Generals Scott and Totten, express this opinion, and it would seem to me that the President would not be justified to disregard such high authority without overruling considerations of public policy.


*The following papers marked “Answer” and as inclosures “A”-“H,” are filed with the President’s inquiry; they were probably submitted to the Cabinet March 15, 1861.

Major Anderson, in his report of the 28th ultimo, says:

I confess that I would not be willing to risk my reputation on an attempt to throw re-enforcements into this harbor within the time for our relief rendered necessary by the limited supply of our provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same with a force of less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men.

In this opinion Major Anderson is substantially sustained by the reports of all the other officers within the fort, one of whom, Captain Seymour, speaks thus emphatically on the subject:

It is not more than possible to supply this fort by ruse with a few men or a small amount of provisions, such is the unceasing vigilance employed to prevent it. To do so openly by vessels alone, unless they are shot-proof, is virtually impossible, so numerous and powerful are the opposing batteries. No vessel can lay near the fort without being exposed to continual fire, and the harbor could, and probably would, whenever necessary, be effectually closed,, as one channel has already been. A projected attack in large force would draw to this harbor all the available resources in men and material of the contiguous States. Batteries of guns of heavy caliber would be multiplied rapidly and indefinitely. At least twenty-thousand men, good marksmen and trained for months past with a view to this very contingency, would be concentrated here before the attacking force could leave Northern ports. The harbor would be closed. A landing must be effected at some distance from our guns, which could give no aid. Charleston Harbor would be a Sebastopol in such a conflict, and unlimited means would probably be required to insure success, before which time the garrison of Fort Sumter would be starved out.

General Scott, in his reply to the question addressed to him by the President, on the 12th instant, what amount of means and of what description, in addition to those already at command, it would require to supply and re-enforce the fort, says:

I should need a fleet of war vessels and transports which, in the scattered disposition of the Navy [as understood], could not be collected in less than four months; 5,000 additional regular troops and 20,000 volunteers; that is, a force sufficient to take all the batteries, both in the harbor [including Fort Moultrie], as well as in the approach or outer bay. To raise, organize, and discipline such an army [not to speak of necessary legislation by Congress, not now in session] would require from six to eight months. As a practical military question the time for succoring Fort Sumter with any means at hand had passed away nearly a month ago. Since then a surrender assault or from starvation has been merely a question of time.

It is true there are those, whose opinions are entitled to respectful consideration, who entertain the belief that Fort Sumter could yet be succored to a limited extent without the employment of the large army and naval forces believed to be necessary by the Army officers whose opinions I have already quoted.

Captain Ward, of the Navy, an officer of acknowledged merit, a month ago believed it to be practicable to supply the fort with men and provisions to a limited extent without the employment of any very large military or naval force. He then proposed to employ four or more small steamers belonging to the Coast Survey to accomplish the purpose, and we have the opinion of General Scott that he has no doubt that Captain Ward at that time would have succeeded with his proposed expedition, but was not allowed by the late President to attempt the execution of his plan. Now it is pronounced from the change of circumstances impracticable by Major Anderson and all the other officers of the fort, as well as by Generals Scott and Totten, and in this opinion Captain Ward, after full consultation with the latter-named officers and the Superintended of the Coast Survey, I understand now reluctantly concurs.

Mr. Fox, another gentleman of experience as a seaman, who, having formerly been engaged on the Coast Survey, is familiar with the waters of the Charleston Harbor, has proposed to make the attempt to supply the fort with cutters of light draught and large dimensions, and his proposal has in a measure been approved by Commodore Stringham, but


he does not suppose or propose or profess to believe that provisions for more than one or two months could be furnished at a time.

There is no doubt whatever in my mind that when Major Anderson first took possession of Fort Sumter he could have been easily supplied with men and provisions, and that when Captain Ward, with the concurrence of General Scott, a month ago proposed his expedition he would have succeeded had he been allowed to attempt it, as I think he should have been. A different state of things now, however, exists. Fort Moultrie is now rearmed and strengthened; the principal channel has been obstructed; in short, the difficulty of re-enforcing the fort has been increased ten if not twenty fold.

Whatever might have been done as late as a month ago, it is too sadly evident that it cannot now be done without the sacrifice of life and treasure not at all commensurate with the object to be attained; and as the abandonment of the fort in a few weeks, sooner or later, appears to be an inevitable necessity, it seems to me that the sooner it be done the better.

The proposition presented by Mr. Fox, so sincerely entertained and ably advocated, would be entitled to my favorable consideration if, with all the light before me and in the face of so many distinguished military authorities on the other side, I did not believe that the attempt to carry it into effect would initiate a bloody and protracted conflict. Should he succeed in relieving Fort Sumter, which is doubted by many of our most experienced soldiers and seamen, would that enable us to maintain our authority against the troops and fortifications of South Carolina? Sumter could not now contend against these formidable adversaries if filled with provisions and men. That fortress was intended, as her position on the map will show, rather to repel an invading foe. It is equally clear from repeated investigations and trials that the range of her guns is too limited to reach the city of Charleston, if that were desirable.

No practical benefit will result to the country or the Government by accepting the proposal alluded to, and I am therefore of opinion that the cause of humanity and the highest obligation to the public interest would be best promoted by adopting the counsels of those brave and experienced men whose suggestions I have laid before you.


There was a signed copy of the within placed in the hands of President Lincoln.

(The guns of Sumter would shut down the use of the harbor for sea trade.)

After The Star of the West — From the ORs part 4

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


FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 13, 1861.

General JOS. G. TOTTEN,

Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

(Edited for length)

The guard-boats were unusually active last night, and rather trouble-some, too, for one of them, improving upon their ordinary tricks of run-

page 173

ning slowly past the fort at night with lights out, and close in to the fort, suddenly turned and headed directly in towards the fort. When very close our sentinel fired. The boat then sheered off and went out towards the bar. Loud voices and noises, as of riotous conduct, are reported as being heard on board.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Engineers.

P. S.-Please excuse the half sheets, for our paper is getting scarce.


Page 174

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF WAR, Charleston, S. C., February 14, 1861.


SIR: Renewed instructions have been given to the officers commanding the night boats to keep at a proper distance from Fort Sumter, so as to prevent any collision between our people and your troops, and I hope you will have no further cause of complaint on the subject. I have instructed Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch, quartermaster-general, to send over to Fort Sumter the bundle and package mentioned in the note of Dr. Crawford.

I am, sir, respectfully yours,



I wanted to keep this letter and the reply together, therefore it is out of order for the ORs. Not much happens between this letter and the reply except each side continues to work on fortifications. GP

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


FORT SUMTER, S. C., February 16, 1861. [Received A. G. O., February 19.]

Colonel S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that we cannot see that any work is being carried on at either of the works in sight, except that at Fort Moultrie they appear to be making some changes. They may, perhaps, be engaged in removing some of the heaviest of the guns of their battery, either to place them in the floating battery or on Morris Island, where their fire would be more effective against this work than it would be from Fort Moultie. By the by, I should like to be instructed on a question which may present itself in reference to the floating battery, viz: What course would it be proper for me to take if, without a declaration of war, or a notification of hostilities, I should see them approaching my fort with that battery? They may attempt placing it within good distance before a declaration of hostile intention.

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


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

The wind is freshening as though it may be the commencement of storm.


Page 182

WAR DEPARTMENT, February 23, 1861.


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

SIR: It is proper I should state distinctly that you hold Fort Sumter as you held For Moultrie, under the verbal orders communicated by Major Buell,* subsequently modified by instructions addressed to you from this Department, under date of the 21st of December, 1860.

In your letter to Adjutant-General Cooper, of the 16th instant, you say:

I should like to be instructed on a question which may present itself in reference to the floating battery, viz: What course would it be proper for me to take if, without a declaration of war or a notification of hostilities, I should see them approaching my fort with that battery? They may attempt placing it within good distance before a declaration of hostile intention.

It is not easy to answer satisfactorily this important question at this distance from the scene of action. In my letter to you of the 10th of January I said:

You will continue, as heretofore, to act strictly on the defensive, and to avoid, by all means compatible with the safety of your command, a collision with the hostile forces by which you are surrounded.

The policy thus indicated must still govern your conduct.

The President is not disposed at the present moment to change the instructions under which you have been heretofore acting, or to occupy any other than a defensive position. If, however, you are convinced by sufficient evidence that the raft of which you speak is advancing for the purpose of making an assault upon the fort, then you would be justified on the principle of self-defense in not awaiting its actual arrival there, but in repelling fore by force on its approach. If, on the other hand, you have reason to believe that it is approaching merely to take up a position at a good distance should the pending question be not amicably settled, then, unless your safety is so clearly endangered as to render resistance an act of necessary self-defense and protection, you will act with that forbearance which has distinguished you heretofore in permitting the South Carolinians to strengthen Fort Moultrie and erect new batteries for the defense of the harbor. This will be but a redemption of the implied pledge contained in my letter on behalf of the President to colonel Hayne, in which, when speaking of Fort Sumter, it is said:

The attitude of that garrison, as has been often declared, is neither menacing, nor defiant, nor unfriendly. It is acting under orders to stand strictly on the defensive, and the government and people of South Carolina must know that they can never receive aught but shelter from its guns, unless, in the absence of all provocation, they should assault it and seek its destruction.

Page 183

A dispatch received in this city a few days since from Governor Pickens, connected with the declaration on the part of those convened at Montgomery, claiming to act on behalf of South Carolina as well as the other seceded States, that the question of the possession of the forts and other public property therein had been taken from the decision of the individual States and would probably be preceded in its settlement by negotiation with the Government of the United States, has impressed the President with a belief that there will be no immediate attack on Fort Sumter, and the hope is indulged that wise and patriotic counsels may prevail and prevent it altogether.

The labors of the Peace Congress have not yet closed, and the presence of that body here adds another to the powerful motives already existing for the adoption of every measure, except in necessary self-defense, for avoiding a collision with the forces that surround you. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


(Ending this section and getting back in order as posted to the ORS. I will spend some time reading ahead to familiarize myself with what is coming up)

After The Star of the West– From the ORs part 3

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


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

February 4.]

Colonel S. COOPER,


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


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


Page 161

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


Commanding Fort Sumter, S. C.:

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

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



(The war dept. knew Anderson and his men were getting supplies from Charleston!!!)


Page 162

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

Major T. H. HOLMES,

Eighth Infantry, Commanding Fort Columbus,

Governor’s Island, N. Y.:

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

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




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


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 6, 1861.

Hon. I. W. HAYNE,

Attorney-General of the State of South Carolina:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


*Not of record in War Department.

Page 167

connection, and surely, when referring to a fort or any other public establishment, they embraced the entire and undivided interest of the Government therein.

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

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

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

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

It is difficult, however, to reconcile with this assurance the declaration on your part that “it is a consideration of her [South Carolina’s]

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own dignity as a sovereign, and the safety of her people, which prompts her to demand that this property should not longer be used as a military post by a Government she no longer acknowledges,” and the thought you so constantly present, that this occupation must lead to a collision of arms, and the prevalence of civil war.

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

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

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

(The Union or Federal governments position regarding Fort Sumter is stated very clear here. There are more than likely some South Carolina documents that related to this communication which if found will be posted later. As we can see the issue of Fort Sumter is the first and foremost issue facing both the Confederate and Federal governments. Has anyone noticed that slavery has not been mentioned as an issue as the two countries head toward war?)