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it was true that two hundred and fifty regulars had been dispatched from New York to reinforce Major Ander
Mr. Holt refused to answer the question, on the ground that Mr. Thompson had announced that he should resign when Mississippi decided to go out of the Union, and as she had, according to the latest reports, so decided, he was of the opinion that Mr. Thompson was the last man in the world to be informed of the detail of operations of the War Department.
Secretary Thompson then telegraphed Judge Longstreet, at Charleston, that troops had been ordered to reinforce Major Anderson, and immediately resigned his seat in the cabinet.
Three days previous, Mr. Toucey, Secretary of the Navy (although previously urging the reinforcement of Major Anderson), now, in company with Secretary Thompson, called upon the President, and informed him that he had heard of the movement of troops in New York, and that he wished to know the facts. The imbecile President stated that if any such orders had been given, he would have them revoked. He accordingly authorized the Secretary of War to telegraph the commander of the “ Star of the West” to land the troops at Norfolk, or Fort Monroe, and not to go to Charleston ; but the vessel had departed before the dispatch reached there.
The most intense excitement prevailed among the senators and representatives from the gulf and cotton States. They regarded the reinforcement of Major Anderson as a declaration of war, and telegraphed the Charlestonians to sink the vessel, if possible, before she landed her cargo.
Lieut. Chapman and Master Mills, of the ship Brooklyn, resigned.
National salutes were fired in honor of the battle of
New Orleans and the bravery of Major Anderson, in nearly all the principal towns and cities of the Northern States.
January 9. The “Star of the West," bearing reinforcements for Major Anderson, was fired into in Charleston harbor. The ship immediately displayed the “stars and stripes." As soon as the flag was unfurled the fortifications fired a succession of heavy shots. The vessel continued on her course with increased speed, but finding it impossible to reach the fort without heavy loss, concluded to retire, and put about and went to sea, the batteries still firing upon her until their shot fell short. Only two out of seventeen shots took effect upon her.
Lieut. Hall was then dispatched by Major Anderson to Governor Pickens, to know whether the authorities of Charleston authorized the firing. Upon learning from Governor Pickens that the act was justified by him, and also that his (Anderson's) position in the harbor had only been “ tolerated,” – that it was only by forbearance that the State had so long permitted him to remain there, - Major Anderson deemed it proper to refer the matter to his government; therefore signified to Governor Pickens his intention of deferring all further action in the case until he should receive instructions from Washington, and expressed the hope that no obstructions would be placed in the way, and that he, the Governor, would give every facility for the safe departure and return of Lieut. T. Talbot, as “bearer of dispatches” to the President of the United States; which was granted, and Lieut. Talbot left Charleston late the same evening for Washington.
The Mississippi State convention passed an ordinance of secession. Great illumination at night; guns were fired and fireworks let, off in honor of the event.
January 10. South Carolina took possession of the steamship Marion, to be used in the service of the State, by the Governor's orders, but afterwards returned her to the owners, Carolina paying damages.
The Florida convention passed an ordinance of secession.
Fort McRae, at Pensacola, was seized by Florida.
January 11. Alabama State convention adopted an ordinance of secession, 61 to 39. After the adoption of the ordinance of secession by Alabama, the doors of the hall were opened to visitors, and a splendid flag, presented by the ladies of Alabama, was conveyed to the president's stand, and formally presented to the convention. It was immediately raised over the Capitol, amidst the ringing of bells, the firing of cannon, and the cheering of the people. The most intense enthusiasm prevailed.
Judge Jones, of the United States District Court, for the Southern District of Alabama, declared the court " adjourned forever."
The United States arsenal at Baton Rouge, and Forts Pike, St. Phillip and Jackson, were seized by Louisiana State troops, without resistance.
Major Haskins, with two companies, refused to surrender the Baton Rouge arsenal; but, being surrounded by six hundred men, he surrendered, as the “better part of valor.” The excitement at New Orleans was very great.
Grand banquet given to John B. Floyd, at Richmond, Va., at which the following sentiment was given :-“ The Hon. John B. Floyd, the worthy son of a “noble sire.' All honor to the Virginian who spurns the trappings of a federal place, respects a mother's riglits, and resents a mother's wrongs." (Music, and three cheers for Floyd.)
January 12th. Fort San Carlos de Barrancas and the navy yard at Pensacola were seized by Florida troops.
Lieut. Slemmer, in command of Fort Pickens, refused to surrender that fort. The following letter to the Florida commissioner is brief and to the point:
“FORT PICKENS, PENSACOLA HARBOR, January 16, 1861.
“Col. William H. Chase, Commissioner for the State of
SIR, — Under the orders we now have from the War Department, we have decided, after consultation with the government officers in the harbor, that it is our duty to hold our position until such force is brought against us as to render it impossible to defend it; or until the political condition of the country is such as to induce us to surrender the public property in our keeping to such authorities as may be delegated legally to receive it. We deprecate, as much as you or any individual can, the present condition of affairs, or the shedding of the blood of our brethren. In regard to this matter, however, we must consider you the aggressors, and, if blood should be shed, that you are responsible therefor.
“ Signed, by order of A. J. SLEMMER, First Lieut. First Artillery, commanding,
“ J. H. GILMAN, Second Lieut. Artillery,
Acting Post Adjutant of Post."
January 16th. Colonel Hayne, in the name of Governor Pickens, demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter.
The people of South Carolina demanded of Major Anderson the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter, and notified him that they intended to take it, “ cost what it would.” Major Anderson informed them that he had no authority to act otherwise than to defend himself. He was willing, however, to refer the subject to the government, and that the President could take such action as he
Accordingly, Colone! Hayne was dispatched to Washington, and demanded of the President the immediate removal of Major Anderson and his forces from Fort Sumter, as the only means of preventing war and its long train of calamities. He informed the President that South Carolina “was determined to take it at all hazards," and that, to avoid bloodshed, he had been authorized to negotiate for its purchase, and also of other public property in South Carolina; but if the President refused to enter into negotiation, and declined to give it up to the State, then they are “ determined to take it,” let what will come; that the “stars and stripes” that wave over Sumter must come down, if not peaceably, then forcibly.
The President refused to receive him in any official capacity.
January 17th. South Carolina voted to organize the nucleus of a standing army.
January 18th. Virginia legislature appropriated one million dollars for the defence of the State. January 19th.
State convention of Georgia adopted an ordinance of secession, 208 to 89. Alexander H. Stephens and Herschel V. Johnson voted in the negative. Tennessee legislature called a State convention.
January 23d. Mr. Etheridge, of Tennessee, in a speech in Congress, declared secession to be “rebellion," and should be put down at any cost.
January 24th. The United States arsenal at Augusta, Georgia, was surrendered to Governor Brown.
January 26th. The Louisiana State convention adopted an ordinance of secession, 113 to 17.
January 28th. Texas State convention met at Austin.
January 30th. Revenue cutters Cass, Captain J. J. Morrison, and McClelland, Captain Breshwood, surrendered to the Louisiana authorities by their commanders.
The United States Branch Mint and Custom House at New Orleans were seized by the State authorities.
February 1st. The Texas convention passed a secession ordinance, subject to ratification by the people.
February 4th. The rebel delegates met at Montgomery, Alabama, to organize a confederate government. Howell Cobb was chosen chairman.