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CHAP. XXI. and if not surrendered, they would be taken. All rumors and remarks indicate a fixed purpose to have these works. The Charlestonians are drilling nightly, and making every preparation for the fight which they say must take place.

Anderson to Adjutant-General, Nov. 28, 1860. W. R. Vol.

Once more he repeated that the security of Fort Moultrie would be more greatly increased by throwing garrisons into Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter than by anything that could be done in strengthening its own defenses. He sent a deI., pp. 78-9. tailed report of his command to force again upon the attention of the Department his fatal deficiency in numbers, and to show the practical impossibility of repelling an assault, or resisting a siege with any reasonable hope of success. His letters reached the same inevitable conclusion: "The question for the Government to decide-and the sooner it is done the better is, whether, when South Carolina secedes, these forts are to be surrendered or not. If the former, I must be informed of it, and instructed what course I am to pursue. If the latter be the determination, no time is to be lost in either sending troops, as already suggested, or vessels of war to this harbor. Either of these courses may cause some of the doubting States to join South Carolina. I shall go steadily on preparing for the worst, trusting hopefully in the Ibid., Dec. God of battles to guard and guide me in my

1, 1860.

W. R. Vol.

I., pp. 81-2.


While Anderson was thus penning the plain issue, as it lay in the clear light of a soldier's conception of right and conviction of duty, another pen was framing the reply agreed upon by the President and his advisers at Washington. Major

Anderson might have faith in the God of battles, CHAP. XXI. but what faith could he have in a Government holding one-third of a vast continent peopled by thirty millions of freemen which could not or would not, in face of the most urgent reiterated appeals and the most imminent and palpable necessity, send him two or three companies of recruits, when the possession of three forts, the peace of a city, the allegiance of a State, if not the tremendous alternative of civil war, hung in the balance?

"It is believed,"-so ran the reply, and apparently the final decision of the Government,-" from information thought to be reliable, that an attack will not be made on your command, and the Secretary has only to refer to his conversation with you, and to caution you that should his convictions unhappily prove untrue, your actions must be such as to be free from the charge of initiating a collision. If attacked, you are, of course, expected to defend the trust committed to you to the best of your ability. The increase of the force under your command, however much to be desired, would, the Secretary thinks, judging from the recent excitement produced on account of an anticipated increase, as mentioned in your letter, but add to that excitement and might lead to serious results."

This renunciation by the War Department of the proper show of authority and power, demanded by plain necessity and repeatedly urged by its trusted agents, must have touched the pride of Anderson and his brother officers. But a still deeper humiliation was in store for them. The same letter brought him the following notice: "The


General to

Dec. 1, 1860.
I., pp. 82, 83.

W. R. Vol

CHAP. XXI. Secretary of War has directed Brevet Colonel Huger to repair to this city as soon as he can safely leave his post, to return there in a short time. He desires you to see Colonel Huger, and confer with him prior to his departure on the matters which have been confided to each of you."

Abner Doubleday,

cences of

tér and

Colonel Huger was an ordnance officer of the army, then stationed for duty in Charleston, of "Reminis distinguished connections in that city, and having Forts Sum on that account as well as personally great local Moultrie," influence. What the precise nature of the instructions were, which the Department sent him, does not appear from any accessible correspondence. The result of the action which the two officers took thereunder is, however, less doubtful.

p. 42.

It appears to have been, in effect, a mission by two army officers of honorable rank, in obedience to direct commands from the Secretary of War, to humbly beg the Charlestonians not to assault the forts. Major Anderson on his part dismisses the distasteful mission with a significantly curt report: "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on the 4th of your communication of the 1st instant. In compliance therewith I went yesterday to the city of Charleston to confer with Colonel Huger, and I called with him upon the Mayor of the city, and upon several other prominent citizens. All seemed determined, as far as their influence or power extends, to prevent an attack by a mob on our fort; but all are equally decided in the opinion that the forts must be theirs after secession."

What a bitter confession for a brave and sensitive soldier, who knew that with half a company of artillerymen in Castle Pinckney, as he had

vainly demanded, the Charleston mob, with the CHAP. XXI. conspiring Governor and insurgent secession convention, would have been compelled to accept from him, as the representative of a forbearing Government, the safety of their roof-trees and the security of their hearthstones.

But, his duty was to obey, and so he resigned himself without a murmur to the hard conditions which had fallen to his lot. "I shall, nevertheless," adds Anderson, "knowing how excitable this community is, continue to keep on the qui vive and, as far as is in my power, steadily prepare my command to the uttermost to resist any attack that may be made. Colonel Huger designs, I think, leaving Charleston for Washington to-morrow night. He is more hopeful of a settlement of impending difficulties without bloodshed than I am."

Anderson to Adju

tant-Gen1860. W. R. pp. 87, 88.

eral, Dec. 6,

Vol. I.,


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ESS than a month intervened between the November election at which Lincoln had been chosen and the annual session of Congress, which would meet on the first Monday of December, and it was necessary at once to begin the preparation of the annual message. A golden opportunity presented itself to President Buchanan. The suffrages of his fellow-citizens had covered his political theories, his party measures, and his official administration with condemnation, in an avalanche of ballots.1 But the Charleston conspirators had within a very few days created for him a new issue overshadowing all the questions on which he had suffered political wreck. Since the 6th of November the campaign of the Border Ruffians for the conquest of Kansas, and the wider Congressional struggle for the possession of the Territories, might be treated as things of the past. Even had they still been pending issues, they paled into insignificance before the paramount question of disunion. Face to face with this danger, the adherents of Lincoln, of Douglas, of Bell, and the

1 There were 3,832,240 oppo- Lane, the Presidential ticket sition popular votes against championed by Mr.. Buchanan 847,953 for Breckinridge and and his adherents.

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