« PreviousContinue »
work the batteries in turns each during cipally at the guns en barbette, soon made four hours.
great havoc among them, disabling one The first relief was under the com- ' ten-inch columbiad, one eight-inch co. mand of Captain Doubleday, of the lumbiad, one forty-two pounder, and two Artillery, and Lieutenant Snyder, of the eight-inch howitzers. At the same time, Engineer Corps. Upon this party ac- a large portion of the parapet, upon cordingly devolved the duty of opening which these guns were placed, was the fire, and at seven o'clock in the carried away, and Major Anderson was morning the first gun was fired by obliged to forbid his men to expose Doubleday. The fire was directed themselves there any longer in manning against the batteries at Cumming's the barbette, or uncovered, cannons. The Point, sixteen hundred yards distant; the garrison was thus limited to the use of iron floating battery, anchored about two the two lower tiers of guns, which were thousand yards away, and Fort Moultrie protected by casemates. and the additional batteries on Sullivan's An English rifle cannon, which had Island. The cannonade was kept up been presented to Charleston by an with great spirit for four hours; and such enthusiastic friend of secession at Liverwas the enthusiasm of the garrison, that pool, was fired with great accuracy. Its it was impossible to prevent the reliefs balls frequently entered the embrasures off duty from taking part in the work. of Fort Sumter, and on one occasion The fire told apparently with good effect slightly wounded four men. More misupon the walls of Fort Moultrie, the chief would have been done, had not a embrasures of which were considerably man been kept constantly on the lookdamaged. The battery on Cumming's out to cry, whenever the enemy fired, Point, however, seemed invulnerable, “shot” or “shell," as it happened to be shot and shell glancing harmlessly off so that our men could seek safety under from its mail of iron.
cover. Our soldiers never faltered at The enemy's fire was constant and their work, and even the laborers, though effective. Their shells burst in rapid at the beginning reluctant to handle the succession against all parts of the fort, guns, finally took hold and vied with the scattering the loosened brick and stone others in the dangerous service. in every direction, breaking the windows “We had to abandon one gun," and setting fire to whatever wood-work wrote one of the officers, “on account they touched. The gorge in the rear of of the close fire made upon it. Hearing the fort was already so pierced with the fire renewed, I went to the spot. I balls that it looked like a sieve.
there found a party of workmen engaged The enemy poured their heaviest fire in serving it. I saw one of them stoopon the parapet of the fort, and it became ing over, with his hands on his knees, impossible to go there without the cer-convulsed with joy, while the tears tainty of death. Their shot, aimed prin- rolled down his powder-begrimed cheeks.
FIRST DAY OF THE SIEGE.
'What are you doing here with that the fire, in order to raise it. As it rose, gun?' I asked. “Hit it right in the a ball really did come which divided the centre,' was the reply; the man meaning halyards, but the rope caught by the that his shot had taken effect in the wind twisted around the staff and held centre of the floating battery.”
| the flag in its place. The shot of the enemy was particu- A veteran sergeant, of the name of larly destructive to the barracks where Kearnan, who had served in the Mexthe officers had their quarters. Most ican campaigns, was struck on the head of the brick work was demolished, and by a portion of masonry shivered by a the interior, of wood, was in flames shot, and felled to the ground. On several times. As the day advanced, rising, he was asked if he were badly the fire was continued with more vigor hurt. "No," said he, “I was only by the enemy than ever, while Major knocked down temporarily.” The men Anderson soon found his ability to re- were now obliged to keep so close to spond greatly diminished. His car their work, that their meals were served tridges became exhausted about noon, to them while at their guns. The fire and he was forced to set his men to of the enemy became more brisk and work in the magazine, making them of accurate as the day was closing. Their blankets and shirts.
iron battery at Cumming's Point, with The frequent conflagration of the its rifled cannon, was making great officers' barracks was now a source of havoc, striking the embrasures at every increased annoyance and danger. Three shot. During Friday night some of our times they had caught, and three times men strove to climb the flagstaff and rig been put out. While extinguishing the new halyards in place of those which flames, the men were obliged to go out had been cut away, but could not sucupon the parapet, where, though di- ceed. The flag, however, still was flyrectly exposed to the thickest of the ing. At night, Major Anderson ordered shower of balls, they could not resist the the port-holes to be closed, and ceased temptation of discharging clandestinely active operations, but the enemy conthe cannon which had been loaded and tinued their fire. A shot or shell struck pointed on the day before, ready to fire. against the walls, within which the little
The soldiers throughout exhibited garrison was cooped up, about every fifgreat daring. On Friday, when some teen minutes during the whole night. of our vessels outside having saluted the Major Anderson stationed until next fort, Major Anderson ordered his flag to morning a non-commissioned officer and be lowered and raised in response, Ser four men at each salient embrasure, to geant Hart, catching a glance at it just be in readiness for any boats that might as it was descending, and thinking it had come, whether from friend or foe, as been cut away by a shot, rushed out relief from the fleet outside or an assault into the open parade in the thickest of from the enemy was not improbable.
On Saturday morning the officers' cloths, and often thus to lie prostrate quarters again caught fire from the burst- on the ground. Some, however, manApril ing of a ten-inch shell discharged aged to grope their way to the cannon.
13. by the enemy. It was now found | A gun was occasionally fired, to give the impossible even to make the attempt to fleet and the enemy notice that the garput out the conflagration, as red-hot rison still held out, but the cannoneers shot were pouring constantly into the could not see to aim, and the cartridges fort, and from the general ruin the ex | had became so scarce that there was posure was so great. The main gates hardly a cannon wad left. As the
ere already destroyed, so that five hun- sparks flew thick in every direction, it dred men could have readily formed in was impossible to attempt to make fresh the gorge and marched in without oppo cartridges. The men at the same time sition. The walls, too, were so weak- had become prostrate, as much in conened, it was feared that each shot might sequence of their constant working at pierce or prostrate them. The fire of the guns as for want of proper food. the barracks spread rapidly, and was They had eaten their last biscuit thirtysoon sweeping up all the wood-work of six hours previous. the fortress.
In the mean time the enemy increased Great fears were now entertained for their fire, which, added to the conflagrathe safety of the magazine. Every man tion, the heat and the smoke, the crash who could be spared was put to work | and the ruin, produced a scene of indein removing the powder. Ninety-six scribable awe and confusion. “The
ls were rolled out through the crashing of the shot, the bursting of the flames, at the imminent hazard of life, shells, the falling of walls, and the roar and most of them flung into the sea. of the flames made,” reported an eyeTwo hundred were left behind, as it was witness, “a pandemonium of the fort." found impossible to make any further Now, to add to the horror of the effort, in consequence of the excessive scene, the shells and ammunition in the heat, to remove them. The doors of upper service-magazines exploded, scatthe magazine were now closed and tering the tower and upper portions of locked, but there was a constant dread the structure in every direction. "The of an explosion as the flames gathered crash of the beams, the roar of the about the whole structure.
flames, the rapid explosion of the shells, The direction of the wind was such and the shower of fragments of the fort, that it blew the smoke into the fort, and with the blackness of the smoke, made so filled it that the men could no longer the scene," wrote one wh see each other, and the air became so " indescribably terrific and grand." hot and stifling that it was almost im- The conflagration continued to spread, possible to breathe. They were finally and having reached the men's quarters, forced to cover their faces with wet soon enveloped them in flames. The
barrels of powder which had been taken General Beauregard ;" while he added, out of the magazine and retained for with great agitation, “let us stop this use, were now in danger of explosion. firing. You are on fire, and your flag is All but four were accordingly thrown down. Let us quit.” through the embrasures into the water, Lieutenant Davis replied : and those which were left were wrapped “No, sir-our slag is not down. Step in many thicknesses of wetted woollen out here and you will see it waving over blankets. The garrison was now re- the ramparts." duced to its last three cartridges, and “Let us quit this,” exclaimed the those were already in the guns. agitated Wigfall. “Here's a white flag
The flagstaff, which seemed to have [handing his handkerchief]—will anybeen the constant aim of the enemy, had body wave it out of the embrasure ?”
eady eight times, when it " That is for you to do, if you choose,"? received a ninth shot, which broke it at was the reply ; to which Wigfall reabout fifty feet from the truck and joined : brought down the flag. “The flag is “If there's no one else to do it, I down—it has been shot away!" was the will ;" and jumping into the embrasure cry, when Lieutenant Hall rushed out through which he had just crawled, he and brought it in safely. It was found waved his white handkerchief toward impossible, from the entanglement of Fort Moultrie. The firing, however, of the halyards, to hoist it again, and it was the enemy still continued, to the evident accordingly nailed to the broken staff disappointment of Wigfall, who, after and planted upon the ramparts in the repeated requests on his part, was remidst of a shower of shot and shell from lieved from his hazardous position by a the enemy's busy batteries. Soon after corporal who took his place and waved the flag had fallen, and toward the close the flag. The enemy, however, still
in presented himself at one gave it no heed, and the corporal, finding of the embrasures of the fort in a boat, the shot falling thick and fast about with a white handkerchief tied to a him, leaped down from the embrasure, sword, asking to see Major Anderson. exclaiming : “ Damn it! they don't reIn his impatience, however, to get under spect this flag—they are firing at it.” cover, he climbed up, and was crawling “They fired at me two or three times, through the embrasure when he was and I stood it," answered Wigfall, “and told that Major Anderson was at the I should think you might stand it once." main gate. He, however, did not heed As he spoke, he turned toward the what was said, but continued to make officers and added : “ If you will show his way into the fort, where, on landing, a white flag from your ramparts, they he said, hurriedly :
will cease firing.” Lieutenant Davis “I wish to see Major Anderson ; I replied: “If you request that a flag am General Wigfall, and come from shall be shown there while you hold a
conference with Major Anderson, and A. Pryor, the staff of General Beaurefor that purpose alone, it may be done.” gard, approached the fort with a white
At this moment Major Anderson came flag, and said they came from General up, and Wigfall said to him : "I am Beauregard, who had observed that the General Wigfall, and come from General | flag had been down and raised again a Beauregard, who wishes to stop this.” few minutes afterward. The General
The Major, rising on his toes, and had sent over, desiring to know if he coming down firmly on his heels, ex- could render any assistance, as he had claimed, “Well, sir !"
observed that the fort was on fire. Ma“Major Anderson,” resumed Wigfall, jor Anderson, in replying, requested “you have defended your flag nobly, them to thank General Beauregard for sir. You have done all that is possible the offer, but it was too late, as he had for man to do, and General Beauregard just agreed with General Beauregard wishes to stop the fight. On what for an evacuation. The three, comterms, Major Anderson, will you evacu- prising the deputy, looked at each other ate this fort ?"
blankly, and asked with whom ? Major "General Beauregard is already ac- | Anderson, observing that there was quainted with my only terms,” replied something wrong, remarked that Genthe Major.
eral Wigfall, who had just left, had rep"Do I understand that you will evac- | resented himself to be the Aid of General uate upon the terms proposed the other Beauregard, and that he had come over day ?"
to make the proposition. “Yes, sir, and on those conditions After some conversation among them
selves, they said to Major Anderson that "Then, sir,” said Wigfall, “I under- Wigfall had not seen General Beauregard stand that the fort is to be ours ?" for two days. Major Anderson replied
“On those conditions only, I repeat,” that General Wigfall's offer and its acfirmly declared Anderson.
ceptance had placed him in a peculiar po"Very well—that's all I have to do. sition, and ordered the United States flag You military men will arrange every- to be raised again. They then requested thing else on your own terms,” said the him to place in writing what General modest Wigfall, and retired.
Wigfall had said to him, and they would He now left in his boat, his white lay it before General Beauregard, and handkerchief waving from the rampart at the same time urged him to leave the where it had been placed at his request, flag down in the meanwhile, with which but the United States flag nailed to the request Anderson complied. broken staff was no longer standing. After the note reached General Beau
Shortly after his departure, Major regard, he sent his adjutant-general and Lee, the Honorable Porcher Miles, Sen- other members of his staff, including the ator Chesnut, and the Honorable Roger Honorable Roger 1. Pryor and Gover