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March 28. The vote of Louisiana on secession was published in the New Orleans papers, as follows: for secession, 20,448; against secession, 17,296. March 30. Mississippi convention ratified the Confederate Constitution, 78 to 7. ; April 3. A long and exciting cabinet meeting was held in Washington, to take into consideration the most judicious means of relieving Fort Sumter, enforcing the observance of the laws, and preparing for emergencies which might arise. Great activity was manifested in the Navy Department. South Carolina convention ratified the Confederate Constitution, 114 to 16. Rebel battery on Morris Island fired into a schooner. No one hurt. April 4. Virginia convention refused to submit a secession ordinance to the people, 89 to 45. April 7. General Beauregard notified Major Anderson that intercourse between the city of Charleston and Fort Sumter would no longer be permitted, and that he could receive no more supplies from the town. Steam transport Atlantic sailed from New York with troops and supplies. April 8. Lieutenant Talbot arrived in Charleston, as messenger from the Federal Government, and left again for Washington on the tenth. He held a conference with Governor Pickens and Gen. Beauregard, the nature of which was to obtain permission for an unarmed store-ship to take provisions to the starving garrison at Fort Sumter. Permission was refused. Whereupon Lieut. Talbot notified the Governor of South Carolina, in the name of the Federal Government, that supplies would be sent to Major Anderson, “peaceably if possible, otherwise by force.” Lieut. Talbot was not allowed to communicate with Major Anderson at Fort Sumter.
April 9, Steamers Illinois and Baltic sailed from New York with sealed orders. April 10. The floating battery of the rebels at Charleston having been finished, was mounted with four thirty-two pounders, two forty-two's, and manned by sixtyfour men, and anchored in a cove near Sullivan's Island, in a position commanding the barbette guns of Fort Sumter. South Carolina convention adjourned, subject to the call of the president. Before adjourning, it passed a resolution approving of the conduct of Gen. Twiggs in resigning his commission and turning over the public property in Texas to the State authorities. A special dispatch from Charleston, under date April 10, says: — “About seven thousand troops are now at the fortifications. Troops are pouring in from the interior in great numbers. One thousand men were sent to the fortifications to-day, and eighteen hundred more will go down tomorrow. Everything is ready for a collision. A battle is hourly expected, for Fort Sumter will be attacked without waiting for the ‘abolition fleet.” The beginning of the end is approaching.” April 11. The Confederate commissioners left Washington for Montgomery, satisfied that no recognition of their government would take place under President Lincoln. The commissioners alleged that the “Montgomery government was earnestly desirous for peace, and that in accordance with their instructions, as well as their own feelings, they left no means unexhausted to attain that much-desired end.” They charged the administration with gross perfidy, and expressed their firm conviction that war was inevitable, and that the responsibility would rest on the head of the Federal Government. Intense commotion was produced in Washington by the promulgation of an order calling out the entire militia of the District. It was soon ascertained, however, that the movement arose from precaution, and from the immediate necessity of means of defence, in consequence of information being received of a contemplated movement for the seizure of the city by the secessionists. Near midnight, orders were issued for the assembling of the militia at their armories in the morning, and officers were engaged during the forenoon summoning the men. Some twenty companies were inspected at noon. Washington bore a decidedly warlike appearance. Troops were marching and countermarching through the streets, and drums and fifes were heard in every direction. Several hundred men were mustered into service in the course of the afternoon. Four or five companies marched to the War Department and took the army oath to serve the United States faithfully against all enemies or opposers. The obligation was for three months unless sooner discharged. Thirty-two members of Schaffer's National Rifles resigned, rather than remain in the ranks under the “flag of the Union” in the present emergency. They were mostly, if not all, Southern men. Nearly a thousand men were enrolled in the regular service from the District militia. Those who refused to take the oath of allegiance were marched back to the armories, disarmed, and their names stricken from the roll.
While these preparations were being made in Washington for the defence of the national Capitol, and the calls of the War Department were responded to by many “stout hearts and strong arms,” Major Anderson and his little band of half-famished soldiers, in Fort Sumter, were visited by Senator Chesnut, who was deputized, with Chisholm and Lee, to carry a message from General Beauregard, demanding the immediate and unconditional surrender of the fort. Major Anderson replied that his “sense of honor and his obligations to his government would prevent his compliance” with the demand.
Perhaps it would be proper here to state, that one of the delusions which has served probably more than any other to encourage the secessionists, is the idea that the laborers and workmen of the North were all ready for insurrection from want of employment. They fancied the laboring classes of the North were on the point of starvation; that all the Southern States had to do was to commence the war and then stand still, and the Northern laborers would fight their battles for them. Alas, for their credulity, they will learn soon enough that Northern workmen are the truest friends and supporters of the Union, and that the laboring classes are the most loyal citizens, who would not allow this government to be trampled in the dust, in the day when the Constitution and the laws are to be enforced.
Gen. B. F. Butler, of Massachusetts, talking with a South Carolina commissioner, the latter is reported to have told him, that if Massachusetts should send ten thousand men to “preserve the Union” against Southern secession, she would have to fight twice that number of her own citizens at home who would oppose the policy. “By no means,” Mr. Butler replied. “When we come from Massachusetts we will not leave a single traitor behind, unless he is hanging on a tree.”
The following dispatch was received from Charleston, under date of April 11: “A formal demand for the evacuation of Fort Sumter was made at two o'clock today. Major Anderson refused to surrender. His reply is to the effect that to do so would be inconsistent with the duty he owes to his government. Hundreds of persons have been waiting for hours on the wharves, and other points of observation, to see the beginning of the conflict, among them a great number of ladies. The house-tops are covered with people, watching with feverish interest for the first signal of attack. The excitement in the city is intense; every train brings throngs of citizens and soldiers to town; twenty-two car loads came from Columbia to-night, and advices have just been received that Georgia has ready fifty thousand men armed and equipped for service. “A call has been made for three hundred mounted Volunteers as an extra patrol in the city to-night. Over one thousand have responded. The Sixteenth Regiment has also been ordered on duty; the Citadel Cadets are guarding the battery with heavy cannon. The movements at Fort Sumter are plainly visible with a glass. Major Anderson has been busy all day strengthening his position. “Senators Wigfall, Chesnut, Ex-Governor Manning of South Carolina, Hon. Wm. Porcher Miles, ex-member of Congress, and Pryor of Virginia, are on the staff of Gen. Beauregard, doing duty to-night; stirring times are at hand; the ball may open at any moment with great slaughter; thousands are waiting to see the attack commenced.” • It is estimated that between six and seven thousand men were stationed on Morris’ and Sullivan’s Islands and points along the coast. Every man capable of bearing arms was called out; and all to fight sixty men. Major Anderson fired a signal gun at ten o’clock in the morning, probably hoping to get a response from the “fleet” coming to his assistance. April 12. Hostilities commenced. At half-past four o'clock in the morning, Fort Moultrie began the bombardment of Fort Sumter, after which the batteries at Mount Pleasant, Cumming's Point, and the floating battery, opened a brisk fire with shot and shell. Everybody was in a ferment; some of those fighting were stripped to the waist. Fort Sumter remained silent, no signs of life or animation for two hours and a half, while the shot and shell flew thick and fast from seventeen mortars and thirty large guns, mostly columbiads, until seven o’clock, the