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On Friday, before dinner, several of the vessels of the fleet beyond the bar were seen through the port-holes. They dipped their flags. The commander ordered Sumter's flag to be dipped in return, which was done, while the shells were bursting in every direction. [The flagstaff was located in the parade, which is about the centre of the open space within the fort.] Sergeant Hart saw the flag of Fort Sumter half-way down, and, supposing that it had been cut by the enemy's shot, rushed out through the fire to assist in getting it up. Shortly after it had been re-raised, a shell burst and cut the halyards, but the rope was so inter twined around the halyards, that the flag would not fall.
The cartridges were exhausted about noon, and a party was sent to the magazines to make cartridges of the remaining blankets and shirts, the sleeves of the latter being readily converted into the purpose desired. Another great misfortune was» that there was not an instrument in the fort by which they could weigh powder, which of course destroyed all attempt at accuracy of firing. Nor had they tangent scales, breech sides, or other instruments with which to point a gun.
When it became so dark as to render it impossible to see the effect of their shot, the port-holes were closed for the night, while the batteries of the secessionists continued their fire the whole night.
During Friday, the officers' barracks were three times set on fire by the shells, and three times put out under the most galling and destruc tive firing. This was the only occasion on which Major Anderson allowed the men to expose themselves without an absolute necessity. The guns on the parapet, which had been pointed the day before, were fired clandestinely by some of the men.
The firing of the rifled guns from the iron battery on Cummings Point became extremely accurate in the afternoon of Friday, cutting out large quantities of the masonry about the embrasures at every shot, throwing concrete among the cannoneers, slightly wounding one man, and stunning others. One piece struck Sergeant Kearnan, an old Mexican war veteran, on the head and knocked him down. Upon being revived, he was asked if he was hurt badly. He replied: "No; I was only knocked down temporarily," and he went to work again.
Meals were served at the guns of the cannoneers, while the guns were being fired and pointed. The fire commenced in the morning as soon as possible.
During Friday night the men endeavored to climb the flag-staff, for the purpose of fastening new halyards, the old ones having been cut by the shot, but found it impossible. The flag remained fast.
For the fourth time the barracks were set on fire early on Saturday morning, and attempts were made to put it out. But it was soon discovered that red-hot shot were being thrown into the fort with the greatest rapidity, and it became evident that it would be impossible to put oat the conflagration. The whole garrison was then set at work, or as many as could be spared, to remove the powder from the magazines. It was desperate work, rolling barrels of powder through the fire.
Ninety^ odd barrels had been rolled out through the flames, when the heat became so great as to make it impossible to get out any more. The doors were then closed and locked, and the fire spread and became general. The wind so directed the smoke as to fill the fort so full that the men could not see each other, and with the hot, stifling air, it was as much as a man could do to breathe. Soon they were obliged to cover their faces with wet cloths in order to breathe at all, so dense was the smote and so scorching the heat.
But few cartridges were left, and the guns were fired slowly; nor could more cartridges.be made, on account of the sparks falling in every part of the works. A gun was fired every now and then only to let the fleet and the people in the town know that the fort had not been silenced. The cannoneers could not see to aim, much less where the shot fell.
After the barracks were well on fire, the batteries directed upon Fort Sumter increased their cannonading to a rapidity greater than had been attained before. About this time, the shells and ammunition in the upper service-magazines exploded, scattering the tower and upper portions of the building in every direction. 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 obtained 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 embrasures. 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 fury.
All but four barrels were thus disposed of, and those remaining were wrapped in many thicknesses of wet woolen blankets. But three cartridges were left, and these were in the guns. About this time the flagstaff of Fort Sumter was shot down, some fifty feet from the truck, this being the ninth time that it had been struck by a shot. A man cried out, "The flag is down; it has been shot away!" In an instant, Lieutenant Hall rushed forward and brought the flag away. But the halyards were so inextricably tangled that it could not be righted; it was, therefore, nailed to the staff, and planted upon the ramparts, while batteries in every direction were playing upon them.
A few moments after, and a man was seen with a white flag tied to his sword, who desired admission. He was admitted through an embrasure. In a great flurry, he said he was General Wigfall, and that he came from General Beauregard, and added that he had seen that Sumter's flag was down. Lieutenant Davis replied, "Oh, sir! but it is up again." The cannonading meanwhile continued. General Wigfall asked that some one might hold his flag outside. Lieutenant Davis replied, " No, sir! we don't raise a white flag. If you want your batteries to stop, you must stop them." General Wigfall then held the flag out of an embrasure. As soon as he had done this, Lieutenant Davia directed a corporal to relieve him, as it was General Wigfall's flag.
Several shots struck immediately around him while he was holding it out, when he started back, and putting the flag in Wigfall's face,
said, " D n it; I won't hold- that flag, for they don't respect it.
They struck their colors, but we never did." Wigfall replied, "They fired at me thr#e or four times, and I should think you ought to stand it once." Wigfall then placed the white flag on the outside of the embrasure, and presented himself to Major Anderson, and said that General Beauregard was desirous that blood should not be unnecessarily shed, and also stated that he came from General Beauregard, who desired to know if Major Anderson would evacuate the fort, and that if he would do so he might choose his own terms.
After a moment's hesitation Major Anderson replied that he would go out on the same terms that he (Major Anderson) had mentioned on the 11th. General Wigfall then said: "Very well; then it is understood that you will evacuate. This is all I have to do. You military men will arrange everything else on your own terms."- He then departed, the white flag still waving where he had placed it, and the stars and stripes streaming from the flag-staff which had become the target of the rebels.
Shortly after his departure Major Lee, the Hon. Porcher Miles, Senator Chesnut, and the Hon. Roger A. Pryor, the staff of General Beauregard, approached the fort with a white, flag, and said they had come from General Beauregard, who had observed that the flag had been down and raised again a few minutes afterward. The General had sent over, desiring to know if he could render any assistance, as he had. observed the fort was on fire. (This was perhaps a delicate mode of asking for. a surrender.) Major Anderson, in reply, requested them to thank General Beauregard for the offer, but it was too late, as he had just agreed with General Beauregard for an evacuation. The three persons comprising the deputation, looked at each other blankly, and asked with whom? Major Anderson, observing that there was something wrong, remarked that General Wigfall, who had just left, had represented himself to be an aid to General Beauregard, and that he had come over to make the proposition.
After some conversation among themselves, they said to Major Anderson that Wigfall had not seen General Beauregard for two days. Major Anderson replied that Wigfall's 'offer and its acceptance had placed him in a peculiar position, friey then requested him to place in writing what General Wigfall had said to him, and they would lay it before General Beauregard.
Before this reached General Beauregard, he sent his Adjutant-General and other members of his staff, including the Hon. Roger A. Pryor and Governor Manning, proposing the same conditions which Major Anderson had offered to go out upon, with the exception only of not saluting the flag. Major Anderson said that he had already informed General Beauregard that he was going out. They asked him if he would not accept of the terms without the salute. M^jor Anderson told them, No; but that it should be an open point.
General Beauregard sent down to say that the terms had been accepted, and that he would send the Isabel or any other vessel at his command to convey Major Anderson and the troops to any port in the United States which he might elect.
No braver men ever lived than the defenders of Fort Sumter; but the ardor and endurance of musician Hall of Company E was remarked by every man in Sumter, and the company presented him with a testimonial. He was at the firing of the first guns, and fought on all day, and would not accept either of the three reliefs. He was up at the first shot the next day, and worked without cessation till night. His example and words of cheer had great effect. This is the more worthy of remark as he belonged to the musicians, and was not obliged to enter into the engagement at all.
Mr. Hart, a volunteer from New York, particularly distinguished himself in trying to put out the flames in the quarters, with shells and shot crashing around1 him. He was ordered away by Major Anderson, but begged hard to be permitted to remain and continue his exertions.
Never did famished men work more bravely than those who defended that fortress, knowing, as they did, that if successfully defended and held by them, there was not even a biscuit left to divide among them. They never would have left it while a protecting wall stood around them, had they been provided with provision and ammunition Every man was true and faithful to his post; hunger and want of ammunition alone caused them to leave Fort Sumter. They were exposed to a most terrible fire from all quarters, and it was only by exercising the utmost care that the officers were enabled to preserve the men from a terrible slaughter. Fort Sumter in itself was hardly worth the holding; had there been the full fighting complement of men within its walls, the fort would not have afforded suitable protection for one-half of them. The enemy's shot rained in upon and'about them like hail, and more men in Sumter would only have made greater havoc. As it was, the garrison proved fortunate in having escaped without the loss of one of those brave men who were willing to die for t^e flag winch waved over them.
The evacuation took place about o'clock on Sunday morning, after the burial with military honors of private Daniel Hough, who had been killed by the bursting of a gun. The men had been all the morning preparing cartridges for the purpose of firing a salute of one hundred guns. This done, the embarkation took place, the baad meanwhile playing Yankee Doodle.
STORMING OP FORT SUMTER, VIEWED FROM THE LAND.'
A person wf!o witnessed the bombardment of Fort Sumter from the harbor, gives this graphic account:
The terrific firing reached an awful climax at ten o'clock at night. The heavens were obscured by rain clouds, and it was as dark as Erebus. The guns were hJard distinctly, the wind blowing in shore. Sometimes a shell would burst in mid-air, directly over Fort Sumter. Nearlj all night long the streets were thronged with people, full of excitement and enthusiasm. The house-tops, the battery, the wharves, the shipping,—in fact every available place was taken possession of by the multitude.
The discharges of cannon gradually diminished as the sun rose. All the clouds, which rendered the night so dark-and dismal, disappeared as" day began to break, while the air became most beautiful, balmy, and refreshing. The streets were filled again with persons, male and female, old and young, white and black; some went to the battery, some to the wharves, and some to the steeples of the churches. *
A few random shots were fired from the Confederate batteries, to which Fort Sumter only' replied occasionally. Soon it became evident that Sumter was on fire, and all eyes were rivetted upon it. The dense smoke that issued from it was seen gradually to rise from the ramparts. Some supposed that this was merely a signal from Major Anderson to call in the fleet to aid him.