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FORT SUMTER AT REST AND IN ACTION.
Floating battery, dropped in their resonant | ming's Point iron battery,
Fort Sumter at Rest.
Sumter lay off in the waters, the centre of that appalling circle of fire. The early morning shadows had lifted from its ramparts to discover the Stars and Stripes floating from the garrison staff; but, it was as silent amid that storm as if no living soul | panted and fretted within its walls. It was the silence of duty-of men resolved on death, if their country called for the sacrifice. For months the little garrison had been pent up in the fortress, overworked and underfed; but, not a murmur escaped the men, and the hour of assault found all prepared for their leader's orders-to defend the fort to the last.
the Floating iron-clad bat- Sumter in Action. tery anchored off the end
of Sullivan's island, and the Enfilading battery on Sullivan's island-all of which were then pouring in a scathing storm of solid shot. To the mortar batteries on James' island and Mount Pleasant, and to Fort Johnson, but little attention was paid-only an occasional columbiad answering their terrific messengers to prove its defiance. The parapet guns were not served after a few rounds, as their exposed condition rendered it impossible to work them without a sacrifice of men-a sacrifice Anderson would not needlessly allow. Throughout all that fearful fray, the commander seemed never to lose sight of the men; and, that not a man was lost during the bombardment, reflects quite as much honor upon him, as the defense did honor to his devotion to duty.
The zeal of the men was The sentinels were removed from the para- so great that the second pet, the posterns closed, and the order given and third reliefs refused to for the men to keep close within the case- await their turns; hence, the number of dismates, until the call of the drum. Breakfast charges, during the first eight hours, led the was quietly served at six o'clock-the shot enemy to think that the fort must have been and shell of the enemy thundering against reinforced. The state of feeling among the the walls and pouring within the enclosure men may be inferred from an incident rewith remarkable precision. After breakfast, lated of a company of Irish laborers within disposition was calmly made for the day's the fort, not enlisted in the service. At first work. The casemates were supplied from they refused to assist in handling the heavy the magazines; the guns, without tangents or guns; but soon their ardor was enkindled, scales, and even destitute of bearing screws, and, ere long, every man was begrimed were to be ranged by the eyes and fired "by with the stains of battle. From that moguess;" the little force was told off in relays, ment until the cessation of firing, none composed of three reliefs, equally dividing labored more zealously or enthusiastically the officers and men. Captain Arthur than the Irish "irregulars"-as they were Doubleday took the first detachment, and fired jocosely named by the troops. Their devothe first gun at seven o'clock. The Captain tion, indeed, became reckless. An officer directed his guns at Moultrie, at the Cum-stated that, having ordered the barbette guns to be silenced, owing to the murderous * June 4th, 1776, Moultrie was bombarded by the fire made upon them by the rifled ordnance
British fleet from eleven A. M. until seven P. M., when the fleet drew off in a crippled condition. The fort was defended by Colonel Moultrie and 400 men, with a loss of fourteen killed and twenty-two wounded. The dead reposed in graves almost overshadowed by the smoke of the conflict of April 12th.
† See letter of Dr. W. H. Russell to London Times, dated Charleston, April 21st. The Dr. visited Sumter shortly after the evacuation, and saw the
of the Enfilading battery, he was surprised to hear a report from one of the exposed fortytwo-pounders. Proceeding to the parapet, he found a party of the workmen serving the gun. "I saw one of them," he stated,
asked. 'Hit it right in the centre,' was the reply, the man meaning that his shot had taken effect in the centre of the Floating battery."
Another officer present thus recorded the nature and effect of that literal rain of iron which, all the day long (Friday), poured in upon the still defiant walls:
"Shells burst with the greatest rapidity in every portion of the work, hurling the loose brick and stone in all directions, breaking the windows, and setting fire to whatever woodwork they burst against. The solid shot firing of the enemy's batteries, and particularly of Fort Moultrie, was directed at the barbette guns of Fort Sumter, disabling one ten-inch columbiad (they had but two), one eight-inch columbiad, one forty-twopounder, and two eight-inch sea-coast howitzers, and also tearing a large portion of the parapet away. The firing from the batteries on Cumming's Point was scattered over the whole of the gorge, or rear, of the fort. It looked like a sieve. The explosion of shells, and the quantity of deadly missiles that were hurled in every direction, and at every instant of time, made it almost certain death to go out of the lower tier of casemates, and also made the working of the barbette, or upper uncovered guns, which contained all our heaviest metals, and by which alone we could throw shells, quite impossible. During the first day there was hardly an instant of time that there was a cessation of the whizzing of balls, which were sometimes coming half a dozen at once. There was not a portion of the work which was not seen in reverse (that is, exposed by the rear,) from mortars."
The fire from the Cumming's Point battery (called the Stevens' iron battery) was particularly close and effective. Mounting several heavy Dahlgrens, and possessing a fine English (rifled) sixty-four-pounder, it proceeded deliberately to cut away the walls by sections, on the south-west side, and did more damage than all the combined guns of the other batteries. Anderson's heavy columbiads scarcely affected its mailed front. So, also, with the Floating battery-Sumter's metal did not disable it; and, through all the
bombardment, it served an
efficient part,-thus first The Bombardment practically demonstrating
the availability of such structures for harbor defense and assault.
At noon, Friday, the supply of cartridges in the fort was exhausted, when the blankets of the barracks and the shirts of the men were sewed into the required bags and served out. No instrument was in the fort for weighing the powder, thus forbidding all precision in the charge, and, as a consequence, much variation in planting the shot. When we add that the guns wanted both tangents, breech or telescopic sights-that wedges served instead of bearing screws, we can only express astonishment at the accuracy attained. Not a structure of the enemy escaped the solid balls of the columbiads and paixhans. The village of Moultrieville-a gathering of summer-houses belonging to citizens of Charleston-was completely riddled.
The fleet appeared off the harbor at noon, Friday. Signals passed between Anderson and the vessels, but no effort was made to run the gauntlet. Along Morris and Sullivan's islands were anchored small batteries, commanding the harbor entrance, expressly de signed to prevent the passage of vessels over the bar and up the channel. To have passed these only would have brought the vessel in range of the irresistible guns of Cumming's Point and of Moultrie. No wooden frame could have withstood their fearful hail. The only feasible plan was, under cover of the night, to run in with small boats; or, to force a landing on Morris island, and carry the batteries by assault. Either plan would have proven successful, if conducted with spirit, though it would have entailed much loss of life. Why it was not undertaken, is only explainable on the inference that Mr. Lincoln did not want to retain Sumter. The possession of the fort was a matter of no military importance; a blockade would render all the defenses of the harbor useless. The assault on the fort would serve to initiate the War for the Union, and thus instate the President's policy for the suppression of the rebellion. The refusal to withdraw the garrison from Charleston harbor unquestionably was the subtle key to unlock the national
THE BOMBARDMENT OF FORT SUMTER.
sympathies and to place | prove that the revolutionin Mr. Lincoln's hands the entire power of the loyal States. He counted well upon the madness of the Confederates, and simply opened the way for them to assail the Government by assaulting its garrison. This was the part for Fort Sumter to play; and, having played it successfully, it was not necessary to retain the position. The evacuation of the fortress, and the return to the North of its garrison, to excite public sympathy, would be worth more to the cause of the Union than the reinforcement and retention of the stronghold.* During Friday's bombardment the officers' barracks within the fort were several times set on fire by the exploding shells, but were quickly extinguished, chiefly through the exertions of a New York police officer, a Mr. Hart, who, having visited the fortress, tarried with Major Anderson to serve when the crisis His daring and coolness in suppressing the flames, obtained all praise.
Friday night the firing from the mortar batteries continued at intervals to keep the garrison from repairing damages or taking rest. Saturday morning, at the earliest light, the cannonading was resumed with redoubled fury. By eight o'clock the red-hot balls from the furnace in Moultrie came to
ists would use every means The Bombardment.
This appalling conflagration seemed to inflame the zeal of the assailants. The entire circle of attack blazoned with fire, and the air was cut up into hissing arches of smoke and balls. The rebel general-in-command had stated that two hours, probably, would suffice to reduce the fortress, but twenty-eight hours had not accomplished the work; and now, as the besiegers beheld another and more invincible power coming to their aid, they acknowledged the service rendered, by frenzied shouts and redoubled
*The President, upon this occasion as upon others at a later date, displayed extraordinary sagacity. The London Times of April 10th wrote: "Thus the critical days and weeks fly by, and we know no more of the plans of the American Government, and, for aught we can see, the American Government knows no more of its plans, than on the first day when it acceded to office with a manifesto, the interpretation of which has exercised all the controversial talent of the country, and hitherto without leading to any conclusion. ** While the Coun-service at their guns. It must have been a cils of the North are thus vacillating and undecided, the men of the South are working out the problem they have undertaken with every appearance of calmness and deliberation." The "Thunderer's" prescience was not then capable of penetrating deeper into the mysteries of diplomatic strategy than its correspondent, Mr. Russell, was, afterward, capable of
apprehending the spirit and capacity of the Northern
people. That apparent hesitancy demonstrated that Mr. Lincoln had a policy, as wise as it was far-reaching in its aims-that the "Councils of the North" were neither "vacillating nor undecided."
moment to inspire the enthusiasm of seven thousand sons of the South, when flames and suffocation came to assist in reducing eighty half-starved and exhausted men.
About noon of Saturday, the upper service magazine exploded, tearing away the tower and upper portions of the fort, and doing
more havoc than a week's bombardment could have effected. One who was present wrote: "The crash of the beams, the roar of the flames, the rapid explosion of the
shells, and the shower of fragments of the fort, with the blackness of the smoke, made the scene indescribably terrific and grand. This continued for several hours. Meanwhile, the main gates were burned down, the chassis of the barbette guns were burned away on the gorge, and the upper portions of the towers had been demolished by shells.
"There was not a portion of the fort where a breath of air could be got for hours, except through a wet cloth. The fire spread to the men's quarters, on the right hand and on the left, and endangered the powder which had been taken out of the magazines. The men went through the fire and covered the barrels with wet cloths, but the danger of the fort's blowing up became so imminent, that they were obliged to heave the barrels out of the embrazures. While the powder was being thrown overboard, all the guns of Moultrie, of the iron floating battery, of the enfilade battery, and the Dahlgren battery, worked with increased vigor.
The Flag of Truce.
this firing. You are on fire; your flag is down; let us quit !" "No, sir, our flag is not down!" was the answer of Davis. "Look out upon the ramparts-it is waving there." Without noticing the answer, he excitedly asked: "Will no one wave a white flag?" "That is for you to do," was Davis' reply. "If you want the firing to stop, you must stop it." Whereupon Wigfall stepped into the embrasure, and held forth the handkerchief fixed on his sword. Davis ordered a corporal to relieve the General, as the shot flew furiously around the exposed spot. No attention being paid by the enemy to the signal, the corporal indignantly returned it, saying, with a soldier's oath, "They don't respect your flag. I won't hold it!" Wigfall then asked that it might be shown from the ramparts. Davis said: "If you request the flag to be shown while you hold a conference with Major Anderson, and for that purpose alone, it may be done." Major Anderson came up at that moment, when the "irrepressible" Texan introduced himself in these "All but four barrels were thus disposed terms: "I am General Wigfall, and come of, and those remaining were wrapped in from General Beauregard, who wishes to stop many thicknesses of wet woolen blankets. this." "Very well, sir !" was Anderson's reBut three cartridges were left, and these ply, as he slightly lifted his person and came were in the guns. About this time the flag- down solidly on his heels. "Major Anderstaff of Fort Sumter was shot down, some son," continued Wigfall, "you have defendfifty feet from the truck, this being the ninth ed your flag nobly; you have done all that time that it had been struck by a shot. The it is possible for man to do, and General men cried out: 'The flag is down; it has Beauregard wishes to stop the fight. On been shot away!' In an instant, Lieutenant what terms will you evacuate the fort?" Hall rushed forward and brought the flag Looking him sharply in the face, Anderson away. But the halliards were so inextricably replied, with much decision: "General Beautangled, that it could not be righted; it was, regard is already acquainted with my terms" therefore, nailed to the staff, and planted-referring to his (Anderson's) note of the upon the ramparts, while batteries in every 11th. "I have no other terms to offer." Wigdirection were playing upon them.”
Shortly after the flåg had disappeared, Louis T. Wigfall, late United States Senator from Texas, appeared at one of the embrasures, bearing a white flag, and begging admittance. Crawling in, he demanded to see Anderson, saying he came from General Beauregard. He was met by Captain Foster, Lieutenant Mead, and Lieutenant Davis, to whom he exclaimed: "I am General Wigfall, and come from General Beauregard; I wish to see Major Anderson. Let us stop
fall bowed, as his face lit up with a combin ed sense of his own importance, and that of his mission. "Then I understand you will evacuate?" "Yes, sir, on my already known terms." "Then, all I have to do is, to leave you military men to arrange everything your own way. Good day, sir!" Wigfall disappeared through the embrasure, into his small boat, leaving his little white flag still on the ramparts.
What was Anderson's mortification soon to learn that Wigfall was diplomatizing and
ANDERSON'S TERMS OF EVACUATION ACCEPTED.
The Flag of Truce.
Anderson's Terms of
The conflict was ended. The batteries had ceased their fire with the departure of the first deputation, under a flag of truce, to the fortress; and, by four o'clock, Charleston harbor was as silent as if its serene atmosphere had not been disturbed by the shock of battle. Anderson's men rested from their labors in peace. Assistance was volunteered to quench the fire, by the Charleston fire department; and when darkness reigned over all, the wearied sank to rest, conscious of duty done, and that the country's benediction awaited them.
conquering on his own re- | unquestionably they would sponsibility! A few mo- have filled many a South- Evacuation accepted. ments after his exit through ern home with mourning. the embrasure, another boat pulled up at the landing, when several of General Beauregard's staff, bearing a white flag, were admitted. They said they came to offer the assistance of the commanding General to put out the fire. Anderson, thanking them for their offer, replied, that he had just agreed to an evacuation. The staff opened their eyes in wonder. "With whom had he agreed ?" “Wigfall, who professed to represent General Beauregard !" The staff expressed surprise, confessing to Anderson that the Texan had acted without authority. The Major saw, at once, how egregiously he had been imposed upon by the wandering mountebank. It was too late, however, to remedy the imposture, for Wigfall undoubtedly had immediately sought Beauregard's quarters. The Major expressed his mortification and his purposes in an order to Lieutenant Davis to run up his flag, in full view. The pride and sense of duty of the brave defender were aroused, and the deputation foresaw that he would perish in his fortress rather than submit to new terms or to further negotiations. After a brief conference Evacuation accepted. among the Southern men, they requested him to allow matters to remain in statu quo until they should confer with their commander. This was done; and, ere long, a second commission from Beauregard's staff pulled over to the fort, bearing an acceptance of the terms proposed to Wigfall. This acceptance was regarded by the revolutionists as an act of great magnanimity, since Anderson's reduction to an unconditional surrender was but the question of a few hours at most. The gallant bearing of the Major and his men had won the admiration of the assailants; and none, apparently, were more rejoiced at the safety of every man of the garrison, than the leading officers of the assailants. Anderson, when told that the Confederates had not lost a man, expressed his gratification at the bloodless result-a result owing much to the illy-prepared condition of Sumter's armament.
Anderson's Terms of
Had Anderson's fine artillerymen been provided with properly-equipped guns,
During the bombardment, a vast concourse of people gathered in Charleston, and lined the wharves and promenade, to witness the sublime contest. The surrounding country poured in its eager, excited masses, to add to the throng. Men, women, and children stood there, hour after hour, with blanched faces and praying hearts; for, few of that crowd but had some loved one in the works under fire. Messengers came hourly from the several positions, to assure the people of the safety of the men. The second day's conflict found the city densely-filled with people, crowding in by railway and private conveyances, from the more distant counties, until Charleston literally swarmed with humanity, which, in dispersing, after the evacuation, played the important part of agents to "fire the Southern heart" for the storm which their madness had evoked.
The evacuation took place Sunday morning, commencing at half-past nine. The steamer Isabel was detailed to receive the garrison, and to bear it to any port in the North which Anderson might indicate. The baggage was first transferred to the transport; then the troops marched out, bearing their arms; while a squad, specially detailed, fired fifty guns as a salute to their flag. At the last discharge, a premature explosion killed one man, David Hough, and wounded three-the only loss and injury which the men suffered in the eventful drama. The troops then lowered their flag and marched out with their colors flying,