OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 1, Part 1 (Charleston Campaign)
Page 198 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S.C. Chapter I.
Edited for length, these reports deal mostly with landing men in Charleston harbor. Note that any action toward Ft. Sumter will likely cause war.
MEMORANDUM OF DIFFERENT PLANS FOR RE-ENFORCING FORT SUMTER.
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.
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.)