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BEAUREGARD ORDERED TO ATTACK IT.
the management of parties, and supposed that the principles so advantageously resorted to with them would be sufficient still-that promises and compromises would compose the trouble. He did not comprehend that the South was determined to be satisfied with nothing less than separation, and resolved to have that, no matter what it might cost.
The diverting of the Powhatan from the Sumter expedition, without the knowledge of the Secretary of the Navy, was not the only indication that other members of the administration could not, as yet, exert their proper influence. In the cabinet meetings at which Buchanan in his day had presided, the order of business had been conducted with precision and circumstance; he was, as Davis well said, "a stickler for the ceremony of power." But in the early months of Lincoln's administration such meetings were very far from being stately ceremonials. The President's unfamiliarity with formal affairs, and especially his genial disposition, had given them a different turn. Some of the most important movements were the result of conversations with his friend the Secretary of State, and occasionally they caused no little surprise to the other responsible cabinet ministers.
The secession authorities were now moved by three considerations: 1st. The failure of their commissioners to obtain an audience with the President in Washington (p. 22); 2d. The impending provisioning of the fort; 3d. The necessity of powerfully exciting the flagging enthusiasm of their people. They de termined, therefore, to send orders (April 10th) to Beauregard, whom they had placed in command at Charleston, to require the immediate surrender of the fort, and, if this were refused, to reduce it. Accordingly, on the next day, the demand was made by that officer, and compliance
Motives for attacking the fort.
with it promptly declined. But Anderson, the commandant of the fort, having remarked to the aids who had brought the summons that he should be starved out in the Proposals are made course of a few days, it was proposed to him that if he would state the time at which he must, under those circumstances, evacuate, and agree not to use his guns in the interval, unless Fort Sumter was fired upon, his assailants would abstain from attacking him. To this Anderson replied that he would evacuate the fort on the 15th instant, should he not receive, prior to that time, controlling instructions from his government, or additional supplies; that he would not, in the mean time, open fire, unless compelled to do so by some hostile act against the fort or against the American flag.
It is to be remarked that the main point of this negoand are declined tiation had reference to the expected relief fleet. Had Anderson accepted Beauregard's terms, he would have incapacitated himself from assisting or protecting the fleet in its attempt.
Beauregard now hastened the attack. The summons to surrender had been given at two o'clock in the afternoon; the letter of inquiry was dated at eleven of the same night, and before daybreak Anderson was notified that in an hour the batteries would open on him.
Fort Sumter has already been described (vol. i., p. 542); the force originally brought into it consisted of 55 artillerists, 9 officers, 30 laborers, 15 musicians; the artillerists had, however, been reduced to 35. No preparation had been made for resistance. There were only 700 cartridges. No means of pointing the guns properly were at hand; they could be fired only by guess. The garrison had no bread; the rice had been accidentally mixed with fragments of glass through the shattering of some window-panes. The wooden barracks had not been removed. So little prevision had been ex
Strength of the garrison.
PROPOSALS TO ANDERSON.
ercised that the spare material which could have been used for that purpose had not been turned into cartridge bags.
STRENGTH OF THE ASSAILANTS.
Strength of the
For many months the assailants had been permitted to construct their works unmolested. They assailants. had now 14 batteries of 30 heavy guns and 17 mortars which they could bring into play. One of these batteries on Morris Island was sheathed with railroad iron, and a floating structure was protected in the same manner. It was intended to be used as a battering raft, but, being found unsuitable, was grounded on Sullivan's Island and used as a fixed battery.
At the expiration of the notified hour fire was opened on the fort from a battery on James Island. Soon
Fire opened on the fortress,
afterward all the guns were in operation. In the course of thirty-four hours there were thrown into the work 2360 shot and 980 shell. There were about 3000 men engaged, and 4000 or 5000 in reserve.
and answered by it,
BOMBARDMENT OF THE FORT.
Fort Sumter made no reply for nearly three hours. At 7 o'clock on Friday morning, April 12th, 1861, Captain Abner Doubleday fired the first shot in the Civil War in defense of the American government.
It was very soon found that, in consequence of the se But the means of verity of the Confederate vertical fire, the defense fail. barbette guns from which alone, under the circumstances, shell could be thrown-could not be used. Anderson was restricted to his lower tier. In five hours he had exhausted his cartridges, and new ones had to be made out of blankets and articles of clothing. There were only six needles which could be used for sewing cartridge bags.
About noon on Friday the relief fleet was seen off the Bar from the fort, and signals were ex
changed with it. At dark the embrasures were closed, and no answer was made to the Confeder ate fire.
The relief fleet at hand.
The fort surrenders.
The barracks fired
On Saturday the reply of the fort was necessarily very languid. At about 9 o'clock the barracks by hot shot. were set on fire by the red-hot shot of the Confederates, and so dense was the smoke that the men could not see each other, nor breathe except through wet cloths. The flag-staff was repeatedly struck.
As the conflagration spread, the garrison found it necessary to close the magazine, and eventually to throw most of the powder brought from it into the sea. All but five barrels were thus disposed of. The flag, which again had been shot away, was nailed
to a temporary staff and raised on the ramparts. At the time when it was down, Mr. Wigfall, who had formerly been a United States Senator from Texas, appeared at one of the embrasures, and, representing himself as a messenger from Beauregard to offer terms, was admitted. He was shortly after succeeded by other officers, who stated that he had acted without Beauregard's knowledge. Terms of evacuation were, however, agreed upon.
In his letter to the Secretary of War, Anderson says, "Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until the quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, the gorge wall seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by flames, and its door closed from the effects of the heat, four barrels and three car
Anderson's report. tridges of powder only being available, and no provisions but pork remaining, I accepted the terms of evacuation offered by General Beauregard, being the same offered by him on the 11th inst., prior to the commencement of hostilities, and marched out of Fort Sumter on Sunday afternoon, the 14th inst., with colors flying and drums beating, bringing away company and private property, and saluting my flag with fifty guns.'
In Charleston the bells were chiming, the guns were firing, the ladies waving handkerchiefs, the Charleston. people cheering. It was regarded as the greatest day in the history of South Carolina. The gov ernor of the state, in a speech which he made to the citi zens on the evening of the evacuation, exultingly said, "We have humbled the flag of the United States. I say unto you it is the first time in the history of the country that the stars and stripes have been humbled. We have defeated their twenty millions; we have brought down in humility the flag that has triumphed for seventy years; but to-day-on this thirteenth day of April-it has been humbled, and humbled before the glorious little state of South Carolina."