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BRIGHTER PROSPECTS OBSERVED.
loose ten millions of dollars, and saved many first-class mercantile houses from failure. General John A. Dix, of New York, soon afterward" January 11, succeeded Cobb as Secretary of the Treasury, and confidence in its management and soundness was restored. The portentous clouds of a commercial panic were dispersing when South Carolinians declared the Union to be dissolved, and there was an equipoise in the mind of the people of the Free-labor States, in view of their financial condition, which made them strong and hopeful.
While, as we have observed, all, and especially heavy merchants and manufacturers, deprecated national disturbance, and were willing to make costly sacrifices for the sake of peace and quiet, there were seen in the North great calmness, firmness, and steadiness among the masses of the people, which indicated confidence in their material and moral strength, and a com sciousness of having done no wrong to the constituents of their turbulent maligners, the politicians of the South. They were sensible of the existence of sufficient virtue to save the Republic, and they resolved to plant their feet firmly on the Constitution, and fight manfully against the banded enemies of our nationality.
The people, after the opening of Congress, had no hope of aid in the impending struggle from the Chief Magistrate of the nation, then sitting in the chair of Washington and Jackson; but their hearts were amazingly strengthened by the oracular utterances of the accredited organ of the President elect, when it said:-"If South Carolina does not obstruct the collection of the revenues at her ports, nor violate another Federal law, there will be no trouble, and she will not be out of the Union. If she violates the law, then comes the tug of war. The President of the United States, in such an emergency, has a plain duty to perform. Mr. Buchanan may shirk it, or the emergency may not exist during his administration. If not, then the Union will last through his term of office. If the overt act, on the part of South Carolina, takes place on or after the 4th day of March, 1861, then the duty of executing the laws will devolve upon Mr. Lincoln."
1 The Journal, published at Springfield, Illinois, the home of the President elect.
THE FORTS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR.
EVENTS IN CHARLESTON AND CHARLESTON HARBOR IN DECEMBER, 1860. THE CONSPIRATORS ENCOURAGED BY THE GOVERNMENT POLICY.
AAAAVENTS that transpired in the harbor of Charleston during the latter part of December, 1860, were quite as exciting as those in the city of Charleston. There are four military works there belonging to the National Government, namely, Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, and Fort Johnson.
Castle Pinckney is situated upon the southern extremity
Fort Moultrie is on Sullivan's Island, between three and four miles from Charleston, near the site of the famous little palmetto-log fort of that name, which defied the British fleet in 1776. At the time we are considering, it was
in reality only a large inclosed water-battery, constructed with an outer and inner wall of brick, capped with stone, and filled between with sand, and presenting a solid mass about sixteen feet in thickness. It was built with salient and re-entering angles on all sides, having a front on the southeast, or water side, of about three hundred feet, and a mean depth of about two hundred and forty PLAN OF FORT MOULTRIE IN DECEM feet. During the autumn, about one hundred and seventy men had been employed by the post com
Explanation of the Diagram.-A, gate and draw-bridge; B, B, B, B, abutments commanding the gate and approaches; C, C, old sally-ports; D, moat; E, E, bastionettes commanding moat; F, furnace for heating shot; G, powder-magazine; II, barracks; I, officers' quarters; J, kitchen, storehouses, &c.
FORT SUMTER AND ITS COMMANDERS.
mander, Colonel John L. Gardner, of the First Regiment of Artillery, in repairing, making additions, and generally strengthening the fort. the only one of the four that was garrisoned.
SOUTH VIEW OF FORT MOULTRIE.
Fort Sumter, then the largest and by far the best of the strongholds, stands in the middle of the entrance to Charleston Harbor proper, on the southwestern edge of the ship-channel, and nearly three and a half miles from the city. It was a work of solid brick and concrete masonry, a truncated pentagonal in form, and built upon an artificial island resting on a mud-bank. The island was constructed of chips from New England granite-quarries, carried there during a period of ten consecutive years,
at the cost of half a million of dollars. The fort itself cost another half million. The walls were sixty feet in hight, and from eight to twelve feet in thickness, the weakest part being on the south or Morris Island side. It was pierced for three tiers of guns on the north, east, and west sides. The two lower tiers were under bomb-proof casemates. The first was designed for 42-pounder Paixhans, and the second for 8 and 10-inch Columbiads. The third tier was open, so that the ordnance, to consist of mortars and 24-pounder guns, would be en barbette, or nearly so, there being embrasures. Its complement of heavy guns was one hundred and forty, but only seventy-five were now in the work. For some time a large number of men had been employed in mounting ordnance there, and otherwise putting the fort in order for defense, yet there was no regular garrison to man it.
PLAN OF FORT SUMTER IN 1860.1
Fort Johnson, on James Island, directly West from Fort Sumter, was of but little account then as a fortification. It was a relic of the old war for Independence.
In October, 1860, Colonel Gardner was removed from the command in Charleston Harbor, by Floyd, for attempting to increase his supply of ammunition, and Major Robert Anderson, a native of Kentucky, and a meritorious officer in the war with Mexico, was appointed to succeed him in November. He arrived there on the 20th, and assumed the command. He was convinced, from the tone of conversation and feeling in Charleston, and the military drills continually going on there, with other preparations of like nature, that the conspirators had resolved to inaugurate a revolution. "That there is a settled determination," he said, in a letter to Adjutant-General Cooper, on the 23d of November, " to leave the Union and to obtain possession of this
1 Explanation of the Diagram.—A, wharf; B, B. esplanade; C, sally port; D, right gorge angle; E, left gorge angle; F, right flank; G, left flank; II, right shoulder angle; I, left shoulder angle; K, right face; Z. left face; M, salient; N, parade.
2 History of the War for the Preservation of the Union by Lorenzo H. Whiting. t. 145,
ANDERSON'S APPEAL FOR STRENGTH.
work [Moultrie], is apparent to all." In that letter, which subsequent events converted into a most important historical document, he announced to the Government the weakness of the forts in Charleston harbor, and urged it to take immediate and effective measures for strengthening them. He told the Secretary of War that Fort Moultrie was so weak as to invite an attack, then openly threatened, for the garrison was only between fifty and sixty in number, and had a line of ramparts to defend, fifteen hundred feet in length. "Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney," he said, "must be garrisoned immediately, if the Government determines to keep command of this harbor." Sumter, he said, was supplied with forty thousand pounds of cannonpowder and ammunition sufficient for one tier of guns, but was lying at the mercy of insurgents. Should they take pos
session of it, its guns would command Fort Moultrie, and soon drive out its occupants. Sumter was the key to the harbor; and Castle Pinckney was so near the city, and utterly undefended, that the Charlestonians considered it already in their possession. He informed. the Government that two heavy mortars had been taken to the Arsenal in Charleston, several months before, with the professed design of having them repaired, but they had never been returned; and that Captain Foster had actually been requested, by the adjutant of a South Carolina regiment, to show him the roll of his workmen on the fort, that they might be enrolled by the State authorities for military duty, as they were organizing and drilling men in Charleston and elsewhere.
"The clouds are threatening," wrote the patriotic Anderson, "and the storm may burst upon us at any moment. I need not say to you how anxious I am, indeed determined, as far as honor will permit, to avoid collision with the citizens of South Carolina. Nothing will, however, be better calculated to prevent bloodshed, than our being found in such an attitude that it would be madness and folly to attack us. I do, then," he repeated, "most earnestly entreat that a re-enforcement be immediately sent to this garrison, and that at least two companies be sent to Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney; half a company, under a judicious commander, sufficing, I think, for the latter work. I feel the full responsibility of making the above suggestions, because I firmly believe that, as soon as the people of South Carolina learn that I have demanded re-enforcements, and that they have been ordered, they will occupy Castle Pinckney and attack this fort." If these precautionary measures should be taken, he said, "I shall feel that, by the blessing of God, there may be a hope that no blood will be shed, and that South Carolina will attempt to obtain possession of the forts in the harbor by diplomacy, and not by arms. If we neglect, however, to strengthen ourselves, she will, unless these works are surrendered on her first demand, most assuredly attack them immediately. I will thank the Department to give me special instructions, as my position here is rather politico-military than a military one. . . . Unless otherwise directed, I shall make future communi
ALARM AMONG THE CONSPIRATORS.
cations through the regular channels;" that is, through Lieutenant-General Scott, the general-in-chief.
Major Anderson did not suspect, that in addressing the chief of the War Department of his Government through the Adjutant-General, he was assailing ears deafened to such patriotic appeals by rank treason, and that he was laying before confederates of South Carolina politicians information of the weakness of national forts, that would give them pleasure rather than pain. Yet it was so. Adjutant-General Samuel Cooper, a native of the State of
New York, had married a sister of Senator Mason, one of the arch-conspirators of Virginia, and was doubtless fully informed of the plans of the public enemies; for on the 3d of March, 1861, a little more than three months later, he left his office at Washington, hastened to Montgomery, Alabama, the head-quarters of the confederated conspirators, and was by them made adjutantgeneral of the insurgent forces, then preparing for the revolt. John B. Floyd, the Secretary of War, was, at the very time we are considering, stripping the arsenals of the North of guns and ammunition, and transferring them to the South, for the use of the conspirators. Let us look at the testimony of official records on this point.
From the beginning of the session, there was evident alarm among the conspirators in Congress whenever there was any intimation that official inquiry would be made concerning the condition of forts and arsenals in the Slave-labor States. When, on the 20th of December, Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, called up a resolution he had offered in the Senate, asking the President for information concerning the condition of the forts and arsenals at Charleston, and their relation to the National Government and citizens of South Carolina, and for the official correspondence on the subject, Hunter and Mason of Virginia, Davis of Mississippi, Saulsbury of Delaware, and others, vehemently opposed it, on the pretext that such action would tend to increase the excitement in the public mind. On that occasion, Davis made a peculiar exhibition of his dishonesty and flimsy sophistry. He said such an inquiry would inflame the public mind, and result in an "irreparable injury to the public peace and future hopes of those who look forward to an amicable solution of existing difficulties." He (the President) had no power to increase the garrison at Fort Moultrie, and, if he had, the act would be unwise. He had heard that the troops in Fort Moultrie were hostile to the city of Charleston. If so, they ought to be removed. He hoped there would be no collision. He hoped the troops would simply hold the fort until peaceably transferred to other duty; "but if there is danger," he said, "permit me here to say that it is because there are troops in it, not because the garrison is too weak. Who hears of any danger of the seizure of forts where there is no garrison?
Major Anderson's MS. Letter-book.