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York harbor, on the 6th, and by the President's authority attempted to restore the original plan, but it was now too late. That frigate was not needed at Pensacola, and rendered no substantial assistance there. An adequate naval force was already concerned in supplying and reinforcing Fort Pickens, which was successfully accomplished without Porter's help.
The absence of the Powhatan destroyed whatever chance of success the Fox expedition had. Its commander went to sea on the Baltic, and arrived off Charleston harbor in entire ignorance of the withdrawal of the Powhatan — afterwards explained to him by the President as an “accident." There was, however, a deliberate design in the preparation of the orders in question, which Secretary Welles did not hesitate to connect with the following dispatch sent by Mr. Seward on the 7th — to Judge Campbell now gone South: “Faith as to Sumter fully kept. Wait and see.”
The date of the “accident” which detached the Powhatan from Fox's fleet, April ist, also belongs to another event which should be noticed in this connection. Hitherto Mr. Seward appears to have regarded his official position as akin to that of Prime Minister — practically the head of the Administration; or at least he aspired to that power. He now directly proposed an Administration “policy ”- assuming that as yet there was none — and that the President should give untrammeled authority to one of his executive officers who should be responsible for its execution.* The policy was in substance: (1) Non-resistance to the Confederates, and abandonment of the slavery issues; and (2) a belligerent attitude toward certain foreign powers - particularly France and Spain, the latter having just invaded San Domingo. Would not a foreign war, with Cuba in prospective, recall the “erring sisters” and secure a speedy restoration of the Union? That Mr. Seward had any other motive for desiring a war with Spain is hardly conceivable. However, he soon found that he had ventured too far, and received a response which definitely and finally settled all question as to his official relation to the President. What another chief executive might have deemed an unpardonable affront, was met with serene dignity, the superior informing his subordinate, in substance, that a "policy” had been duly announced in his inaugural, and that the duties to which the President had been called would not be devolved upon another.
* See Nicolay and Hay, “ Complete Works,” II., 29-30, for this communication and Lincoln's reply in full.
It is not to be asserted that the President ever cast any blame upon Mr. Seward for his part in the Powhatan matter; nor is it worth while to recall the free comments of Mr. Blair and Mr. Welles, at a later date, on what they probably never ceased to consider an improper expedient of the Secretary of State to evade a charge of bad faith in giving assurances unauthorized by the President.
Notice was given to the insurgent authorities at : Charleston of the dispatch of supplies for Major Anderson — in a pacific manner if not resisted by force. The only “ aggression " visible, the only “coercion " threatened, was the beleaguering of two Federal forts by armed men under orders from Montgomery.
On the 11th of April — the day on which the Fox
expedition was expected to reach its destination — General Beauregard, under instructions from the Confederate Secretary of War, demanded of Major Anderson the surrender of Fort Sumter. He replied that, unless supplied with provisions within three days, or restrained by further instructions from the Government, he would at the end of that time retire. At half-past 4 o'clock on the following morning fire was opened upon the fort. Thirty large guns and seventeen mortars threw shot and shell.
Anderson, dividing his slender garrison into relief parties and waiting until they had breakfasted at their usual hour, began his response at 7 o'clock, using only the lower tier of guns. Wooden barracks left standing were exposed to the hostile shells, which burst in every direction inside the walls. Before sunset the fire of the fort ceased, but at 7 o'clock next morning was renewed. Beauregard's batteries, partially active through the night, had been in full play again for more than an hour. Soon a shell set fire to the officers' quarters, and the men left their guns to put it out, and in another hour smothering masses of smoke were pouring out from the burning barracks, which had before been repeatedly in flames less serious. The men had worked from the first with enthusiasm, and continued working until further exertion was a torture. At length, the smoke becoming thicker and thicker and the endangered magazine having been emptied into the water, the gunners left their places for good. Not long after noon the flag-staff was cut by a missile, and while the flag was momentarily down, agile ex-Senator Wigfall shot out in a boat from Morris Island, bearing a white signal; was admit
ted by a port-hole of the fort, and through his unauthorized intervention terms of surrender were agreed upon, which Beauregard approved on the evening of Saturday.
The Baltic and some other vessels of the Fox expedition, delayed by a severe storm, had arrived within hearing of Beauregard's guns on Friday morning, too late for the original purpose, and unable to render any service except after the surrender. On Sunday afternoon, the 14th, Fort Sumter was evacuated, after a salute to its flag — a flag carefully preserved for another occasion. Except from the explosion of a gun in firing this salute (by which one man was killed and three wounded), there occurred from first to last, on either side, no recorded loss of life or serious personal injury. The fire from Fort Sumter, however, was certainly not ineffectual upon the hostile works. Outside the harbor, on Monday, the officers and men were taken on board the Baltic, which departed next day for New York.
Loyal Uprising — President Lincoln Calls for Seventy-five
Thousand Soldiers — Four More. States
Revolt — The Capital Isolated.
In the North, men of all classes and all parties were united in their patriotic ardor to avenge the fall of Fort Sumter and to maintain the national authority. New York, Philadelphia and the other great cities, whose interests had made so many people sensitively conservative, were at once decorated all over with national flags in token of the universal spirit. In every lesser city, in village, hamlet, factory or shop, on farms and waters, with or without symbols, the spirit was the same.
Immediately after Anderson's forced surrender was known at the White House, President Lincoln prepared his proclamation, issued on April 15th, declaring that, in seven States named, there were unlawful “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law”; and calling out the militia to the number of seventy-five thousand men, “ in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the law to be duly executed.” He appealed to all loyal citizens “to favor, facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our national Union,
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