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authorities. His communication to Governor Pickens explained why he did not open fire on the assailants.
In that letter, he said to the Governor, "Two of your batteries fired, this morning, upon an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of my Government. As I have not been notified that war has been declared by South Carolina against the Government of the United States, I cannot but think that this hostile act was committed without your sanction or authority. Under that hope, and that alone, did I refrain from opening fire upon your batteries.”
In reply, the Governor informed him that his letter had been received, and that “certain statements in it very plainly showed that he, (the Major), had not been fully informed, by his Government, of the precise relations which then existed between it and the State of South Carolina; that the political connection formerly existing between them had ceased; that the Government of the late United States had been officially notified of that fact,” and though it still retained possession of Fort Sumter, he plainly intimated that it had been obtained dishonorably.
TREASON OF GENERAL TWIGGS.
THE annexation of Texas had cost the United States, through the Mexican war, a hundred millions of dollars, beside many valuable lives. In addition to all that, the Government undertook to pay the debts of Texas, amounting to some ten millions more. All the indemnity the Government had, for so vast an outlay, was, that the public lands of Texas were ceded to it. Being thus out of debt and in the Union, with an enlarged boundary, acquired by the United States' arms, she caught the secession fever, claiming that by secession she would re-acquire all the domain she had formerly ceded to the United States. General Houston resisted to the last the call for a convention, and yielded only, when it was clear that it would be called without his authority, if he would not concur. The convention met on the first day of February, 1861, and passed a secession ordinance with but little opposition.
General Twiggs, who had been in command of the Texas department for several years, was suspected of disaffection to the Government; and Colonel Waite, who was then at Camp Verde, in Texas, was ordered to relieve General Twiggs of his command, immediately on his arrival at San Antonia. Before his arrival, however, General Twiggs, who it appears had been treating for the purpose with the secessionists as early as the 7th of February, surrendered, on the 18th, all the Government property and troops in his command to Texas, comprising nearly one-fourth of the whole effective military force of the United States, at that time. Thus, by a perfidy that might well astonish the nation, was an army of 3,000 men and 121 officers, composing a regiment of cavalry, thirty-three companies of infantry, and five companies of artillery, stationed in thirteen forts and ten camps, fully provisioned and equipped, together with 35,000 stands of arms, 26 pieces of mounted artillery and 44 pieces unmounted, 1,800 mules, 950 horses, 500 wagons, 500 sets harness, $250,000 in tools, wagon materials, nails, iron and horse-shoes, $7,000 in corn,
$75,000 in commissary stores, $150,000 in clothing, $400,000 in ordnance stores, and $55,000 Government funds, worth in the aggregate from two to three millions of dollars; all turned over to insurgents and Rebels, to be used against the Government (except the men), and all, including the glorious flag of our Union, surrendered without a shot being fired. By the perfidious surrender of that important department, the Government lost and the Rebel cause gained advantages, naval, military and commercial, beyond the power of money to estimate, or of language to express.
The officers and men were not surrendered as prisoners of war, for the very good reason that there was no war: the object being to get them out of the State, that the State might be forced out of the Union, while the Government would be powerless to prevent it. It was, therefore, stipulated by the joint commission of Twiggs* and the rebels, that the officers and men, who were mostly stationed at and around San Antonia, and on the line of the Rio Grande, should be marched to the coast unmolested, with their side arms, and thence shipped to the North; but hundreds of them, on nearing the coast, were captured as prisoners of war, disarmed and discharged on parole. Why Colonel Waite, (who, by order of Government, superseded Twiggs on the 19th, being the next day after the stipulated treason,) carried out that stupendous iniquity on his arrival, instead of countermanding it, when as yet nothing had been given up and no movement made, is another cause for astonishment, not satisfactorily explained. All the opposing force was Ben McCulloch's five or six hundred mounted
* Major Vinton, Major Macklin, and Captain Whitely, on the part of Twiggs.
ragamuffin rangers--a force not at all adequate to the enforcement of the treachery of Gen. Twiggs. The pretence that “they were betrayed into the hands of the enemy," has but little plausibility, unless it be admitted that there was a general conspiracy among the officers for that purpose.
This was a heavier dose of treason than Mr. Buchanan's non-coercion philosophy could ignore, or bear, without making some sign. He had hoped to be able to pass the few remaining days of his official term in letting things in general fortuitously slide, and things in particular go with the general drift. But this was a case of such flagitious enormity, that something must be done. Not merely the horse, but the whole caravan was stolen. As it was too late to lock the stable-door, and the thief, if not non est inventus, was probably non est come-at-ibus, the thing. remaining to be done was to give him a bad name. So, thereupon, on the 1st day of March, 1861, by orders emanating from the War Department, “Brigadier-General David E. Twiggs was dismissed from the army of the United States, for treachery to the flag of his country.”
LIEUTENANT SLEMMER SAVES FORT PICKENS.
On the 12th of January, 1861, Commodore Armstrong, being in command at the Pensacola Navy Yard, basely surrendered it, without resistance, to the demand of Major Chase (in behalf of Florida), who also seized Fort Barrancas, and a large amount of cannon, shells, powder, coal, &c.
The intention of the Rebels was to have seized Fort Pickens also, but Lieutenant Slemmer, who had been in command of Fort McRae, aware of their purpose, adopted the same course that Major Anderson had done at-Charleston by abandoning Fort McRae and occupy. ing Fort Pickens, two days previously; much to the chagrin of the Rebels, as it commanded the Navy Yard and Fort McRae also; besides being a stronger work, and mounting 240 guns, while Fort McRae had but 161. Failing in their designs on Fort Pickens, the Rebels immediately seized this latter fort.
Though with a force of but 80 men, Lieutenant Slemmer was now secure from any attack; and might have destroyed the Navy Yard, yet he forbore, and carefully avoided collision, acting strictly on the defensive, in conformity to the orders of an imbecile Executive, whose anxious purpose evidently was, at whatever expense of fidelity and duty, to defer the bursting of the impending storm, till the advent of the in-coming administration.
Commodore Armstrong's excuse for his dereliction, was, that three-fourths of the 60 officers and men in his command were secessionists, and would have revolted, had he attempted resistance to the demand of Major Chase, who had over 400 hundred men. But the Commodore did not put his men to the test. It was more in accordance with his secession proclivities to speak for them. He did so; but who knows how truthfully? It certainly would not have been difficult for him to have influenced them to be true to the flag