Lincoln decides to NOT abandon Ft. Sumter, March 29th, 1861

President Lincoln, after seeking counsel, decides to reinforce Ft. Sumter and not abandon it to the South.

Harper’s Weekly, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 1861.

January 26, 1861 - Harper's Weekly
January 26, 1861 - Harper's Weekly


WE devote most of our space this week to illustrations of this memorable event. On pages 264 and 265 will be found a general picture of the BOMBARDMENT, SEEN FROM FORT JOHNSON. On page 260 we give a picture of the INTERIOR OF FORT SUMTER during the terrible rain of shot and shell from the Confederate batteries; and on page 261 an accurate MAP OF THE HARBOR OF CHARLESTON, showing the relative position of Sumter and of the batteries by which it was surrounded. We now subjoin, by way of record, a brief account of the transaction.

On 8th April Lieutenant Talbot and Mr. Chew, messengers from the President, informed General Beauregard that the Government would supply Major Anderson with provisions—which were denied him by the South Carolinians—peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must. General Beauregard referred the message to his Government at Montgomery, and was ordered to reduce the fort. He summoned Major Anderson to surrender on 11th. The reply was:

“I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, demanding the evacuation of this fort, and to say, in reply thereto, that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor and my obligations to my Government prevent my compliance.”

Accordingly at 4:27 A.M. on 12th fire was opened from Fort Moultrie on Fort Sumter. To this Major Anderson replied with three of his barbette guns, after which the batteries on Mount Pleasant, Cummings’s Point, and the Floating Battery opened a

brisk fire of shot and shell. Major Anderson did not reply, except at long intervals, until between seven and eight o’clock, when he brought into action the two tiers of guns looking toward Fort Moultrie and Stevens’s iron battery. The fire continued brisk all day. At 7 P.M. a heavy rain-storm caused a cessation of hostilities till 11 P.M. Major Anderson appears to have employed the interval in repairing damages. At or about 11 P.M. the fire recommenced, and a shell was thrown into Fort Sumter from each battery every twenty minutes (luring the night. With daybreak the heavy bombardment recommenced from all the batteries ; the fire was returned from Fort Sumter with vigor until about 8 A.M., when Fort Sumter was perceived to be on fire. Major Anderson’s fighting then slackened, but the fire of the besiegers increased in intensity. At about 10 A.M. Major Anderson lowered his flag to half-mast in token of distress ; perhaps as a signal to the United States vessels which were lying at anchor outside the bar, unable to get into the harbor so as to participate in the conflict. About half past ten one or two explosions took place in the fort ; it has since been ascertained that these proceeded from the heating of piles of shells. Meanwhile the fire progressed rapidly ; the whole roof of the barracks was a sheet of flame, and flames and smoke issued thickly from the casemates. At or about eleven Major Anderson ceased firing, and devoted his whole attention to putting out the fire. At about noon some of his men were noticed on the wharf of the fort handing in buckets of water ; the besiegers’ fire, which had never slackened, was at once directed upon them. In a few minutes afterward Major Anderson hauled down his flag. A boat then put off, containing ex-Governor Manning,  Major D. R. Jones,

and Colonel Charles Allston, to arrange the terms of surrender, which were the same as those offered on the 11th. These were official. They stated that all proper facilities would be afforded for the removal of Major Anderson and his command, together with the company arms and property, and all private property, to any post in the United States he might elect. Major Anderson stated that he surrendered his sword to General Beauregard as the representative of the Confederate Government. General Beauregard said he would not receive it from so brave a man.

The correspondent of the Press telegraphs on 14th:

” The last act in the drama of Fort Sumter has been concluded. Major Anderson has evacuated, and, with his command, departed by the steamer Isabel from the harbor. He saluted his flag, and the company, then forming on the parade-ground, marched out upon the wharf, with drum and fife playing ‘Yankee Doodle.’

” During the salute a pile of cartridges burst in one of the casemates, killing two men and wounding four others. One was buried in the fort with military honors. The other will be buried by the soldiers of South Carolina.

“The scene in the city after the raising of the flag of truce and the surrender is indescribable; the people were perfectly wild. Men on horseback rode through the streets proclaiming the news, amidst the greatest enthusiasm.

“On the arrival of the officers from the fort they were marched through the streets, followed by an immense crowd, hurrahing, shouting, and yelling with excitement.

” The number of soldiers in the fort was about seventy, besides twenty-five workmen, who assisted at the guns. His stock of provisions was almost exhausted, however. He would have been starved out in two more days.

“The entrance to the fort is mined, and the officers were told to be careful, even after the surrender, on account of the heat, lest it should explode.

“Several fire companies were immediately sent down to Fort Sumter to put out the fire, and any amount of assistance was offered.

” The fort is burned into a mere shell; not a particle of wood-work can be found. The guns on one side of the parapet are entirely dismounted, others split, while the gun. carriages are knocked into splinters.

“The flames have destroyed everything. Both officers and soldiers were obliged to lie on their faces in the case-mates to prevent suffocation.

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