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31 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 31 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

At 11 p.m. I sent my aides with a communication to Major Anderson based on the foregoing instructions.* It was placed in his hands at 12.45 a.m. 12th instant. He expressed his willingness to evacuate the fort on Monday at noon if provided with the necessary means of transportation, and if he should not receive contradictory instructions from his Government or additional supplies, but he declined to agree not to open his guns upon us in the event of any hostile demonstrations on our part against his flag. This reply, which was opened and shown to my aides, plainly indicated that if instructions should be received contrary to his purpose to evacuate, or if he should receive his supplies, or if the Confederate troops should fire on hostile troops of the United States, or upon transports bearing the United States flag, containing men, munitions, and supplies designed for hostile operations against us, he would still feel himself bound to fire upon us, and to hold possession of the fort.

As, in consequence of a communication from the President of the United States to the governor of South Carolina, we were in momentary expectation of an attempt to re-enforce Fort Sumter, or of a descent upon our coast to that end from the United States fleet then lying at the entrance of the harbor, it was manifestly an imperative necessity to reduce the fort as speedily as possible, and not to wait until the ships and the fort should unite in a combined attack upon us. Accordingly my aides, carrying out my instructions, promptly refused to accede to the terms proposed by Major Anderson, and notified him in writing that our batteries would open upon Fort Sumter in one hour. This notification was given at 3.20 a.m. of Friday, the 12th instant. The signal shell was fired from Fort Johnson at 4.30 a.m. At about 5 o'clock the fire from our batteries became general. Fort Sumter did not open fire until 7 o'clock, when it commenced with a vigorous fire upon the Cummings Point iron battery. The enemy next directed his fire upon the enfilade battery on Sullivan's Island, constructed to sweep the parapet of Fort Sumter, to prevent the working of the barbette guns and to dismount them. This was also the aim of the floating battery, the Dahlgren battery, and the gun batteries at Cummings Point.

The enemy next opened on Fort Moultrie, between which and Fort Sumter a steady and almost constant fire was kept up throughout the day. These three points-Fort Moultrie, Cummings Point, and the end of Sullivan's Island, where the floating battery, Dahlgren battery, and the enfilade battery were placed-were the points to which the enemy seemed almost to confine his attention, although he fired a number of shots at Captain Butler's mortar battery, situated to the east of Fort Moultrie, and a few at Captain James' mortar batteries at Fort Johnson.

During the day (12th instant) the fire of my batteries was kept up most spiritedly, the guns and mortars being worked in the coolest manner, preserving the prescribed intervals of firing. Towards evening it became evident that our fire was very effective, as the enemy was driven from his barbette gun which he attempted to work in the morning, and his fire was confined to his casemated guns, but in a less active manner than in the morning, and it was observed that several of his guns en barbette were disabled. During the whole of Friday night our mortar batteries continued to throw shells, but, in obedience to orders, at longer intervals. The night was rainy and dark, and as it was almost confidently expected that the United States fleet would attempt to land troops upon the island troops upon the islands or to throw men into Fort Sumter by

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*For the correspondence with Major Anderson above referred to see inclosures to report Numbers 6, pp. 13-15.

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Page 31 Chapter I. OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C.

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