Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XII.

Excitement in the North in regard to Fort Sumtcr.- Precarious position of Major Anderson and his Garrisón.-Opinion

of General Scott. – No effort to sustain Fort Sumter reported.-Effect of the Intelligence.-Government at last resolved to make an Attempt.-Change of Feeling at the North.--Preparations of the Federal Government.-A Fleet got Ready.-Its Composition and Force.-The proposed destination uncertain.--Arrival at the Rendezvous at Charleston.--Non-arrival of the Tug-boats.-Defeat of purpose. ---Schemes concocted.-Failure.--Fort Sumter. --The Artificial Island. -Construction and Cost.–The Fortress.--Its Character.-Strength and number of Guns.-Its incompleteness.- Its Position and Distances.-Its meagre Garrison.- Activity of the Enemy:-Skilful Engineering of Beauregard. -Description of Fort Moultrie.--Its Strength and Armament.--The Iron Battery at Point Cum. mings. — The Floating Battery.--Its Construction and Efficiency.-The Batteries at Fort Johnson.—Their Strength and Construction. The Force of the Enemy.- Defences of Charleston.-Skill of Beauregard.-Life of Beauregard.Birth.-A Cadet at West Point.--Curious change of Name.--His Father.-Ducal descent of his Mother.-Graduation of Beauregard.-His Services in the War with Mexico.-Differs in opinion with his superior.- Beauregard's Judgment Triumphant.-Rewards of Gallantry.---Another illustration of superior Judgment and another Triumph.Return to Louisiana.--Honor to the young Hero.--Government appointments.- Personal appearance and character. --Becomes a Secessionist.-Correspondence between Beauregard and Anderson.-Opening of the Fire upon Fort Sumter.--Extent of Fire surprising. -- Tardy Response of Major Anderson.-Division of his Garrison.--Who fired the first Gun? - Enthusiasm of the Men. Effect of the Fire. --The Enemy's Vigor.---The Parapet of Fort Sumter dreadfully damaged.- Danger to Life.-Havoc among the Guns en barbette. The effect of the Enemy's Rifled Cannon.- On guard.—“Shot or Shell.”—The laborers at the Guns.—A Hit in the Centre. --The Barracks on Fire.Danger of the Magazine.--Continued Conflagration. --The descent of the Flag.-Only a Salute.- A genuine Shot. The Flag still flying.-"Knocked down temporarily.”--Cessation of the Fire of Fort Sumter during the Night.The Enemy still firing. - Attempt to rig new Halyards for the Flag.--Expecting Aid or an Assault.- Saturday Morning - The Contlagration of the Barracks continuing. --Its Effect --Terrific Scene.--Danger of an Explosion.- Powder thrown overboard. -- Scarcity of Cartridges.-An Explosion --The Crash. -- Breaking of the Flagstaff.--Flag nailed to its Place.--Arrival of a Stranger through an Embrasure.--The agitated Wigfall. His purpose. --Displays his white Handkerchief.--An uncomfortable Post.--An Interview with the Major.—“ I am General Wigfall." -- Departure of Wigfall. -- An unauthorized Messenger.--Commissioners from Beauregard. --Interview with Major Anderson. --Hoisting of the White Flag.--Terms of Surrender agreed upon.--Departure of Major Anderson and his Garrison.Firing of Salute to the United States Flag.--Accident.--Major Anderson sails for New York.

The public mind at the North had and naval force as the Government at

been greatly excited in regard to that time could not command, to rein0" Fort Sumter. The position of force Fort Sumter. Anderson's masMajor Anderson with his meagre garri-' terly movement, in quitting Fort Moulson was known to be very precarious, trie, and his resolute and protracted besieged as he was by the powerful support of the flag of the United States, works in Charleston harbor, with an in- while surrounded by those who with furiated mob of seven thousand men to intense hostility were resolutely bent defend them, and cut off from all com- | upon dishonoring it, had won for him munication by land or sea. The highest the sympathy of the whole country. military authority of the Union, Lieu- When, therefore, it was authoritatively tenant-General Scott, was reported to declared again and again that no effort have given it as his opinion that it was could or would be made to sustain him, impracticable, without such a military | an anguish of despair wrung every

UNITED STATES EXPEDITION TO FORT SUMTER.

139

patriotic heart. A sudden change, how- of five guns and a crew of ninety-six ever, came with the rumor that the men. Government had at last determined at Three of the largest and swiftest of all hazards to make the attempt, and the merchant steamers hitherto engaged the desponding nation was once more in peaceful commerce had been charcheered with hope.

tered, and now laden with armed men The Federal authorities were evi- and munitions of war joined the exdently preparing for some momentous pedition. The Atlantic, with three hunmovement. Orders had been issued to dred and fifty-eight troops, com- April have the vessels of war at the various posed of Companies A and M of 7. navy yards immediately detailed for the Second Artillery, Companies Cand H service. A number of large merchant of the Second Infantry, and Company A steamers and sailing vessels had been of Sappers and Miners, from West Point, chartered. The garrisons of the various steamed out of the harbor of New forts in the Northern harbors had been York on the morning of Sunday, April got ready to embark. The recruiting 7th. Two days after, the Baltic folin the large cities for sailors and soldiers lowed, with a hundred and sixty April had been stimulated to unusual exertion. troops, Companies C and D, which 9. Finally, a fleet was got ready and sailed, had been lately recruited and stationer and although the Government strove to at Governor's Island, in New York bay. keep its destination a secret, all sus. On the same day the Illinois put to sea pected, as they hoped, that it was with three hundred troops, made April Charleston. The vessels sailed from the up of Companies B, E, F, G, and H, 9. various ports where they happened to of a detachment of Company D, and be, to meet at a certain rendezvous de two companies of the Second Infantry termined upon. The steam sloop of gathered from the recruits at Governor's war Pawnee, Captain S. C. Rowan, of Island, Bedloe's Island, and Fort Hamten guns, and with two hundred men, 1 ilton. sailed from Washington with sealed Two steam-tugs—the Yankee, which orders on the inorning of Saturday, sailed on Monday, the 8th of April, April April April 6th. On the afternoon of and the Uncle Ben, which followed 8. 6th, the same day, the steam sloop of on the day after-completed this hurriedwar Powhatan, of eleven guns, and with ly gathered but not unimposing naval two hundred and seventy-five men, left force. the Brooklyn navy yard.

Thirty launches were also distributed On the following Monday, the revenue among the larger steamers, to be used April cutter Harriet Lane, after having for the purpose of landing the troops

8. exchanged her revenue flag for that through the surf under the cover of the of the United States, sailed from the fire of the armed vessels, or, being proharbor of New York with an armament tected with sand-bags, and armed with swivel guns and riflemen, to aid in the council, determined to make an effort attack of batteries.*

for the relief of Major Anderson who Of this force, though the whole was was already under shot, for as soon as supposed by the people to be destined the first rockets had been sent up to for Charleston, only the Powhatan, the signalize the concentration of the fleet, Pawnee, the Harriet Lane, the Baltic, the enemy had opened fire. The plan and the steam-tugs sailed for that port. agreed upon was to hoist out the small The rest took their course for the Gulf boats and launches, load them with men of Mexico, to reinforce the garrisons of and stores, and to tow them as far as the Federal forts on the coasts of Ala- possible, and then, while covering them bama and Florida.

with the guns of the steamers, to send The Pawnee, the Harriet Lane, and them in alone. This, however, failed in April the Baltic reached the rendezvous consequence of the Baltic having got

12. off Charleston on the 12th of aground during the night, while pr April, but the Yankee and Uncle Ben rations were being made to disembark had failed to arrive, having been de- her stores and troops. Other schemes tained by unfavorable weather. The were devised, but before they could be orders of the fleet were, that unarmed put into execution, the time for action boats should first be sent in with stores ; had past. Fort Sumter had fallen. but if they were fired upon, an effort Fort Sumter had been considered one was to be made to relieve the fort by of the strongest works in the United force. Without the tug-boats, the pro- States. The island upon which it is posed object of the expedition could not built was artificially constructed by be effectually accomplished, as the only placing upon the original sand and mud unarmed steamer, the Baltic, was of too a large quantity of refuse granite, great a draught of water to pass the brought from Northern quarries, and bar of Charleston, and the steam-tugs pressing it deeply down until an unwere alone capable of approaching the yielding foundation was laid. This fort through the shallow water. The alone cost the labor of ten years and an naval commanders, however, after a expense of five hundred thousand dol

lars, to which another half million was The whole force may be thus recapitulated : Vessels.

Guns. Men.

added before the completion of the Sloop of war Pawnee........

. 10 200

whole fort. The walls of the fortificaSloop of war Powhatan.... Cutter Harriet Lane.....

tion, composed of brick and compact

· 5 96 Steam transport Atlantic. ......

concrete, are sixty feet in height and Steam transport Baltic..

from eight to twelve feet in thickness. Steam transport Illinois......... Steam-tug Yankee.................. Ordinary crew.

The fort is pentagonal, and is pierced Steam-tug Uncle Ben................ Ordinary crew. for three tiers of guns, on all sides but Total number of vessels. .................... 8 Total number of guns (for marine service). ...... 26

the southern, where are the sally-ports Total number of men and troops.................1,380 | and docks, which had been left unpro

TS

275

[ocr errors]

160 300

.........

FORTS AT CHARLESTON.

141

TO

ONCE

vere

tected, as it looks toward the land, and guns of Fort Sumter was estimated at the work had been mainly intended as a three miles, which placed the city of defence against attack from the sea. . Charleston beyond reach of its fire.

Although it was originally designed Six hundred men would have been to have armed the fort with one hun- required fully to garrison the fort and dred and forty cannon of various cali- work the guns; but Major Anderson bres, there were but seventy-five in could only muster one hundred and position when the enemy opened fire. nine, * of whom thirty were laborers. Of these, eleven were Paixhans, and a and fifteen composed the band. number, thirty-two pounders, four of The enemy had diligently improved which were en barbette, and uncovered, every moment in strengthening the Fedand being on pivots could be made to eral forts they had taken possession of, take a wide range. Fort Moultrie was and in adding new works, under the within command of nine of the Paix- skilful direction of General Beauregard, hans, and the two others pointed toward once esteemed as among the ablest offiCastle Pinckney, too far distant, how- cers of engineers in the United States ever, to be within range. Most of the service. large columbiads in the fort were not Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Isla yet mounted. The magazines were well had been repaired, its dismantled guns supplied with ammunition, sufficient it unspiked and mounted again, and the was thought for a year, and artificial | lateral spaces between the cannon prowells had been constructed capable of tected by sand-bags, to secure them holding a supply of water for the same against a flank fire. Though a weak period.

work, in comparison with Fort Sumter, The distauce from Fort Sumter to its walls, built of brick, capped with Charleston is three miles and three stone and filled in with earth, presented eighths of a mile. Together with Fort a solid enclosure of nearly sixteen feet Moultrie, which had been abandoned by in thickness. Its original armament Anderson, Sumter was surrounded by Cumming's Point and Fort Johnson, The garrison was thus composed : where strong works had been con

omcers. Rank, Regiment or Corps.

R. Anderson .. Major .........1st Artillery .. July 1, 1825.... Ky.. structed and mounted, and a floating

S.W. Crawford. Ass't Surgeon., Medical Staff .. March 10, 1851 Penn. battery. From Fort Moultrie, Fort

A. Doubleday.. Captain. ...... 1st Artillery ...July 1, 1842....N. Y.

T. Seymour.... Captain ....... 1st Artillery ...July 1, 1846.... Vt. Sumter is distant one and one-eighth T. Talbot.. ...1st Lieut. . ... 1st Artillery ... May 22, 1847...D. C.

Jeff. C. Davis.. 1st Lieul... ...1st Artillery ...June 17, 1848.. Ind. of a mile ; from Cumming's Point three J. N. Hall. ...2d Lieut. ......1st Artillery ...July 1, 1849 ...N. Y.

J. G. Foster.... Captain ....... Engineers .....July 1, 1846 ...N. H. fourths of a mile ; from Fort Johnson one and one fourth of a mile; while the R. K. Meade... 2d Lieut....... Engineers .....July 1, 1857... Va. floating battery had been anchored about a half a mile on the weak side of Sumter. The greatest range of the |

La

Original Entry
into Service

Born in

G. W. Snyder.. 1st Lieut....... Engineers .....July 1, 1956....N. Y

.......................

9

.......................

15

Officers .....................
Band .........................
Artillerists ..
Laborers .....

[ocr errors]

..... 109

I

.

.

.

[blocks in formation]

was

was composed of eleven guns of heavy floating hospital, to provide for the orcalibre and several powerful mortars. | dinary emergencies of war.

On Cumming's Point the enemy had At Fort Johnson—so called from its erected a battery made of thick logs of being the site of an old work no longer yellow pine. This was covered with a existing—on James' Island, two long slanting roof of the same material which batteries were erected of sand, and had been rendered ball-proof by railroad mounted with heavy cannon and moriron dovetailed and riveted together. tars. Other temporary structures were The port-holes were supplied with iron raised, some of palmetto logs, and othshutters, which opened as the guns were ers of earth and sand, on Morris and thrust out to fire, and fell as they re- Stono islands, Hadril's Point, and other coiled after a shot, and thus shut in the parts of the harbor, which bore on its artillerists within an iron-bound and im- approaches, or upon Fort Sumter. penetrable cover. This novel battery A large force, said to have amounted was mounted with three columbiads, to over seven thousand men, had been which bore directly on the southern and mustered to the defence of Charleston. weakest side of Fort Sumter.

Four thousand of these were manning The most curious, and not the least the works in the harbor, while the rest effective, perhaps, of the enemy's works, were held in reserve on Sullivan and was the floating battery, which in the Morris islands and in Charleston, to be course of its construction had given rise ready to repel any attack by land. to much speculation and not a little rid- | The city itself was immediately deicule. This, too, was constructed of fended by the fort at Castle Pinckney, heavy pine logs and faced with a double and cannon on the Battery in front of layer of railroad iron. It was about a Charleston. These, however, could only hundred feet in length and twenty-five be of service in case the above works in width. Its face presented an angle had failed to keep out any intruder. horizontally disposed, formed by its re- Castle Pinckney is situated at the southtreating roof and the front wall inclining ern extremity of Shute's Folly Island. backward as it descended to the water. Its armament consists of some thirtyIt was mounted with four guns of the two pounders, columbiads, and mortars, heaviest calibre, which were said to re- amounting in all to about twenty-five quire sixty men to work them. A mag- pieces. Its walls are six feet in thickazine for ammunition was built in the ness, and are pierced for one row of hold, below the water-line, and lined guns, while there is another en barbette. with sand-bags, laid seven feet thick, not The work is small, and of little importonly to protect it from shot, but to act ance in an attack from the sea. All the as ballast necessary to counterpoise the old defences had been greatly improved, heavy armament above. To the stern and new ones constructed, by the skilful of this strange structure was attached al engineering of General Beauregard, the

« PreviousContinue »