Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

The Confederato
had nothing but the welfare of so irreconcilably at variance,

The Confederate
Commissioners' last the people of the two Confede. It is this variance that has Commissioners' last
Communication. racies at heart.

broken up the old Union, the Communication. “ Your Government has not chosen to meet the disintegration of which has only begun. It is proper, undersigned in the conciliatory and peaceful spirit bowever, to advise you that it were well to dismiss in which they are commissioned. Persistently the hopes you seem to entertain that, by any of the wedded to those fatal theories of construction of the modes indicated, the people of the Confederate States Federal Constitution always rejected by the states- will ever be brought to submit to the authority of the men of the South, and adhered to by those of the Government of the United States. You are dealing Administration school until they have produced with delusions, too, when you seek to separate our their natural and often-predicted results of the people from our Government, and to characterize destruction of the Union, under which we might the deliberate, sovereign act of the people as a have continued to live happily and gloriously to perversion of a temporary and partisan excitegether, had the spirit of the ancestry who framed ment. If you cherish thesc dreams you will be the common Constitution animated the hearts of all awakened from them, and find them as unreal and their song--you now, with a persistence untaught and unsubstantial as others in which you have recently uncured by the ruin which has been wrought, refuse indulged. The undersigned would omit the perto recognize the great fact presented to you of a formance of an obvious duty were they to fail to complete and successful revolution; you close your make known to the Government of the United States eyes to the existence of the Government founded that the people of the Confederate States have deupon it; and ignore the high duties of moderation clared their independence with a full knowledge of and humanity which should attach to you in dealing all the responsibilities of that act, and with as firm with this great fact. Had you met the issues with a determination to maintain it by all the means with the frankness and manliness with which the under- which nature has endowed them, as that which sus. signed were instructed to present them to you and tained their fathers when they threw of the author. to treat them, the undersigned had not now the ity of the British crown. melancholy duty to return home and tell their Gov- “The undersigned clearly understand that you ernment and their countrymen that "their earnest have declined to appoint a day to enable them to and ceaseless efforts in behalf of peace had been lay the objects of the mission with which they are futile, and that the Government of the United States charged, before the President of the United States, meant to subjugate them by force of arms.

because so to do would be to recognize the inde. Whatever may be the result, impartial history pendence and separate nationality of the Confedewill record the innocence of the Government of the rate States. This is the vein of thought that perConfederate States, and place the responsibility of vades the Memorandum before us. The truth of the blood and mourning that may ensue upon those history requires that it should distinctly appear upon wbo have denied the great fundamental doctrine of the record that the undersigued did not ask the American liberty, that governinents derive their Government of the United States to recognize the just powers from the consent of the governed,' | independence of the Confederate States. They only and who have set naval and land armaments in mo- asked audience to adjust, in a spirit of amity and tion to subject the people of one portion of the land peace, the new relations springing from a manifest to the will of another portion. That that can never and accomplished revolution in the Government of be done while a freeman survives in the Confederate the late Federal Union. Your refusal to entertain States to wield a weapon, the undersigned appeal these overtures for a peaceful solution, the active to past history to prove. These military demon- naval and military preparations of this Government, strations against the people of the Seceded States and a formal notice to the commanding General of are certainly far from being in keeping and consist- the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston, ency with the theory of the Secretary of State, that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter maintained in his Memorandum, that those States by forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the are still component parts of the late American undersigned, and can only be received by the Union, as the undersigned are not aware of any con- world, as a declaration of war against the Confedestitutional power in the President of the United rate States; for the President of the United States States to levy war without the consent of Congress, knows that Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned upon a foreign people, much less upon any portion without the effusion of blood. The undersigned, in of the people of the United States.

behalf of their Government and people, accept the “ The undersigned, like the Secretary of State, gage of battle thus thrown down to them; and ap. have no purpose to invite or engage in discussion' pealing to God and the judgment of mankind for the of the subject on which their two Governments are righteousness of their cause, the people of the

[blocks in formation]

em

The Confederate Confederate States will defend just exposition of the facts of The Confederate
Commissioners' last

their liberties to the last,against the case. The intervening Commissioners' last
Communication.
this flagrant and open attempt twenty-three days were

Communication. at their subjugation to sectional power.

ployed in active unofficial efforts, the object of which “ This communication cannot be properly closed was to smooth the path to a pacific solution, the diswithout adverting to the date of your Memorandum. tinguished personage alluded to co-operating with the The official note of the undersigned, of the 12th

undersigned; and every step of that effort is recordMarch, was delivered to the Assistant Secretary of ed in writing, and now in possession of the underState on the 13th of that month, the gentleman who signed, and of their Government. It was only when delivered it informing him that the Secretary of all these anxious efforts for peace had been exhaustthis Commission would call at twelve o'clock, noon, ed, and it became clear that Mr. Lincoln had deteron the next day, for an answer. At the appointed mined to appeal to the sword, to reduce the people bour, Mr. Pickett did call, and was informed by the

of the Confederate States to the will of the section Assistant Secretary of State that the engagements

or party whose President he is, that the underof the Secretary of State had prevented him from signed resumed the official negotiation temporarily giving the note his attention. The Assistant Secre. suspended, and sent their Secretary for a reply to tary of State then asked for the address of Messrs. their official note of March 12th. Crawford and Forsyth, the members of the Com- “ It is proper to add that, during these twentymission then present in this city, took note of the three days, two gentlemen of official distinction as address on a card, and engaged to send whatever high as that of the personage hitherto alluded to, reply might be made, to their lodgings. Why this aided the undersigned as intermediaries in these was not done it is proper should be here explained. unofficial negotiations for peace. The Memorandum is dated March 15th, and was not

“ The undersigned, Commissioners of the Condelivered until April 8th. Why was it withheld during federate States of America, having thus made anthe intervening twenty-three days?

In the post

swer to all they deem material in the Memorandum script to your Memorandum you say it · was de. filed in the Department on the 15th of March last, layed, as was understood, with their (Messrs. For have the honor to be, syth and Crawford's) consent.' 'This is true ; but

“ JOHN FORSYTH, it is also true that on the 15th of March, Messrs.

“ MARTIN J. CRAWFORD, Forsyth and Crawford were assured by a person

" A. B. ROMAN." occupying a high official position in the Govern- A true copy of the original, by me delivered to ment, and who, as they believed, was speaking by Mr. F. W. Seward, Assistant Secretary of State of authority, that Fort Sumter would be evacuated

the United States, at eight o'clock in the evening within a very few days, and that no measure chang- of April 9th, 1861. ing the existing status prejudicially to the Confede

“ Attest, J. T. PICKETT, rate States, as respects Fort Pickens, was then

Secretary, &c., &c." contemplated; and these assurances were subse

"* DEPARTMENT OF STATE, quently repeated, with the addition that any contemplated change as respects Pickens, would be

“ Messrs. Forsyth, Crawford, and Roman, having notified to us. On the 1st of April we were again been apprised by a Memorandum which has been informed that there might be an attempt to supply delivered to them, that the Secretary of State is not Fort Sumter with provisions, but that Governor at liberty to hold official intercourse with them, Pickens should have previous notice of this at

will, it is presumed, expect no notice from him of tempt. There was no suggestion of any reinforce the new communication which they have addressed ments. The undersigned did not hesitate to believe

to him under date of the 9th inst., beyond the simthat these assurances expressed the intentions of ple acknowledgment of the receipt thereof, which the Administration at the time, or, at all events, of he hereby very cheerfully gives." prominent members of that Administration. This “A true copy of the original received by the delay was assented to, for the express purpose of

Commissioners of the Confederate States, this 10th attaining the great end of the mission of the under- day of April, 1861.

J. T. PICKETT, signed, to wit: a pacific solution of existing complications. The inference deducible from the date

“Secretary, &c., &c." of your Memorandum, that the undersigned had, of

The excitement attend

Withdrawal of the their own volition and without cause, consented to ant upon the vast military

Commissioners. this long hiatus in the grave duties with which they preparations then making were charged, is therefore not consistent with a by the Federal authorities, in Washington as

[ocr errors]

« . }

" Attest,

for the Acimin is

tration.

well as in Philadelphia, New York, and Boss Richmond, with the knowledge and assent ton, rendered the movements of the South of the Executive at Montgomery. General ern Commissioners scarcely noticed or noted. Scott trusted more to his own vigilance and Their mission never had the sympathy of power of arms than to Southern honor, and, any large class in the loyal States, and the in every instance, frustrated the designs entreatment of the entire question, by Mr. tertained against the city, by traitors within Seward, obtained the endorsement of nine- it and rebels in arms without. tenths of the people*--such was the majority A dispatch from Wash

Powerful Sympathy in favor of the policy of resistance to revolu- ington, April 10th, said : tion. The Commissioners left Washington “Mr. Lincoln, and the for tlie South, on the morning of April 10th. great majority of the Cabinet who entertain

In Washington all was the policy inaugurated, are receiving hourly Attempt to Seize

stir and excitement. The assurances of the favor with which that Washington.

presence of Colonel Ben policy is received. The North seems a unit; McCullough, in the vicinity of the Capital, but it is not the North alone that sends the gave currency to the rumor of a coup de main, most hearty commendations. Strange as it which the hardy Texan was already pre- may seem, the Border States are quite as pared to execute. Report had it that three earnest as the North. They seem to hail thousand Virginians and a large body of the positive position of the Administration Maryland rowdies were already enlisted in the as a prospective bulwark, protecting them enterprise of securing the Capital of the from the desolation, anarchy, and taxation Union—which, in event of hostilities between of secession. I shall be much mistaken, if the sections, would become a point of im- the results do not prove that a firm maintemense strategic and moral importance. The nance of the rights of the General Governlynx-eye of the General-in-Chief was on the ment is the sole preventive of Border State conspirators, however; and the enrollment secession." This indicated the state of pubof the District Militia, (April 8–12th,) under lic sentiment very correctly, so far as it apcommand of Adjutant-General McDowell, plied to the Free States. Throughout the (afterward Major-General,) together with North the slumbering fires of patriotism the presence in the city and vicinity of sev- were hourly gathering strength, and only eral strong detachments of United States awaited the boom of Sumter's guns to burst troops, (regulars,) served to disconcert the forth in mighty strength against the revoluschemes of the reckless ranger. That the tionists. The Border States were so divided çapture of the Capital was contemplated, in sentiment and sympathy, that their loyalty admits of no doubt ; indeed, there is evi- was questioned-a doubt only confirmed by dence that the plan of assault, and the dis- the negative, and not too courteous, reply to position of the command, were matured at 'the President's call for troops.

* See Appendix page 472, for the exposition made by Judge Campbell. The Southern view of the course pursued by Mr. Seward, it will be there seen, is that he acted with persistent deception and treachery.

[blocks in formation]

ence.

Upon the reception of in

" CHARLESTON, April 10. Initial Correspond

formation that the Federal “ L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
Government designed to

“ The demand will be made to-morrow at twelve o'clock.

“ G. T. BEAUREGARD." provision Fort Sumter, the following note winged its way over the wires :

“ MONTGOMERY, April 10. “ CHARLESTON, April 8th.

“ Gen. BEAUREG ARD, Charleston : “ L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:

"Unless there are especial reasons connected An authorized messenger from President Lin

with your own condition, it is considered proper coln just informed Governor Pickens and myself that you should make the demand at an early hour. that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter peace

L. P. WALKER, Sec. of War." ably, or otherwise by force.

CHARLESTON, April 10. “(Signed,) G. T. BEAUREGARD.” “ L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War, Montgomery : No answer was returned until April 10th. “ The reasons are special for twelve o'clock. The issue now forced, of initiating war or of

“ G. T. BEAUREGARD." acknowledging the supremacy of the United “ HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY C.S.A., !

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 11, 1861-2 P. M. S States Government over its forts, compelled

“ SIR: The Government of the Confederate States the Secessionists to pause for a moment be- has hitherto forborne from any hostile demonstrafore taking the responsible step. A prolonged tion against Fort Sumter, in the hope that the council of the leading chiefs of the secession Government of the United States, with a view to conspiracy was held at Montgomery, where the amicable adjustment of all questions between many of them were gathered. The war ele- the two Governments, and to avert the calamities ment which they had evoked now held the of war, would voluntarily evacuate it. There was mastery. If they would have chosen the reason at one time to believe that such would be calmer and more discreet course of allowing the course pursued by the Government of the United the fort to be provisioned, the twenty thou- States; and under that impression my Government sand wild spirits in arms would have precipi- has refrained from making any demand for the sur

render of the fort. tated the conflict. If the leaders would lead

“ But the Confederate States can no longer delay they must not be led, now that the revolution assuming actual possession of a fortification comhad to encounter opposition in the field. The manding the entrance of one of their harbors, and programme was determined upon, and the

necessary to its defense and security. following correspondence rapidly followed :

“I am ordered by the Government of the Con

MONTGOMERY, 10th. federate States to demand the evacuation of Fort “Gen. G. T. BEAUREGARD, Cbarleston :

Sumter. My Aids, Colonel Chesnut and Captain “If you have no doubt of the authorized character Lee, are authorized to make such demand of you. of the agent who communicated to you the inten- All proper facilities will be afforded for the removal tion of the Washington Government, to supply Fort of yourself and command, together with company Sumter by force, you will at once demand its evacu- arms and property, and all private property, to ation, and if this is refused, proceed in such a man- any post in the United States which you may elect. ner as you may determine, to reduce it. Answer. The flag which you have upheld so long and with

“ L. P. WALKER, Sec. of War." 80 much fortitude, under the most trying cir.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

S.C.,}

comstances, may be saluted by you on taking it enter into such an agreement with you. You are down.

therefore requested to communicate to them an “ Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee will, for a open answer. reasonable time, await your answer.

“I remain, Major, very respectfully, I am, sir, very respectfully,

“ Your obedient servant, “ Your obedient servant,

“G. T. BEAUREGARD,' “ G. T. BEAUREGARD,

“ Brigadier-General Commanding. • Brigadier-General Commanding. “Major ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort “ Major ROBERT ANDERSON, Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor. S. C." Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C."

HEADQUARTERS, Fort SUYTER, S.C.,

2.30 a. M., April 12, 1861.
“ HEADQUARTERS, Fort SUMTER, S.C., |
April 11th, 1861.

“ GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge GENERAL : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your second communication of*the the receipt of your communication demanding the 11th inst., by Colonel Chesnut, and to state, in reevacuation of this fort; and to say in reply theretoply, that cordially uniting with you in the desire to that it is a demand with which I regret that my avoid the useless effusion of blood, I will, if prosense of honor and of my obligations to my Govern

vided with the proper and necessary means of ment prevent my compliance.

transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon on Thanking you for the fair, manly, and cour

the 15th instant, should I not receive, prior to that teous terms proposed, and for the high compliment time, controlling instructions from my Government, paid me,

or additional supplies; and that I will not, in the “I am, General, very respectfully,

mean time, open my fire upon your forces, unless “ Your obedient servant,

compelled to do so by some hostile act against this “ ROBERT ANDERSON,

fort, or the flag of my Government, by the forces “ Major U. S. Army, Commanding.

under your command, or by some portion of them, “ To Brigadier-General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Com

or by the perpetration of some act showing a hosmanding Provisional Army, C. S. A."

tile intention on your part against this fort, or the

flag it bears. “ MONTGOMERY, April 11.

“I have the honor to be, General, “ Gen. BEAUREGARD, Charleston :

" Your obedient servant, “ We do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort

“ ROBERT ANDERSON, Sumter, if Major Anderson will state the time at

“Major U. S. A. Commanding. which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and

To Brigadier-General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Com. agree that, in the mean time, he will not use his

manding Provisional Army, C. S. A." guns against us, unless ours should be employed

" Fort SUITER, S. C., against Fort Sumter. You are thus to avoid the

April 12, 1861, 3.20 A. M. eflusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be re

“Sir: By authority of Brigadier-General Beau. fused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to regard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the be most practicable.

Confederate States, we have the honor to notify “ L. P. WALKER, Sec. of War."

you that he will open the fire of his batteries on “ HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL ARMY C. S. A., Fort Sumter in one hour from this time, CHARLESTON, April 11, 1861-11 P. M.

“ We have the honor to be, very respectfully, “ MAJOR : In consequence of the verbal observa

“ Your obedient servants, tions made by you to my Aids, Messrs. Chesnut and

“ JAMES CHESNUT, Jr., Aid-de-Camp. Lee, in relation to the condition of your supplies,

“STEPHEN D. LEE, Captain S. C. and that you would in a few days be starved out if

Army and Aide-de-Camp. our guns did not batter you to pieces-or words to

Major ROBERT ANDERSON, United States Army, that effect ;-and desiring no useless effusion of

Commanding Fort Sumter." blood, I communicated both the verbal observation

Punctually, at the hour and your written answer to my communication to

indicated-twenty minutes Opening of the Fire my Government.

“ If you will state the time at which you will past four A. M.--the roar evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree that in the mean

of a mortar from Sullivan island announced time you will not use your guns against us, unless the war begun. A second bomb from the ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we

battery followed; then Fort Moulwill abstain from opening fire upon you. Colonel trie answered with the thunder of a columChesnut and Captain Lee are authorized by me to biad; Cumming's Point next, and the

66

64

san

« PreviousContinue »