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32 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 32 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

means of boats, the greatest vigilance was observed at all our channel batteries, and by our troops on both Morris and Sullivan's Islands.

Early on Saturday morning all of our batteries reopened upon Fort Sumter, which responded vigorously for a time, directing fire specially against Fort Moultrie. About 8 o'clock a.m. smoke was seen issuing from the quarters of Fort Sumter. Upon this the fire of our batteries was increased, as a matter of course, for the purpose of bringing the enemy to terms as speedily as possibly, inasmuch as his flag was still floating defiantly above him. Fort Sumter continued to fire from time to time, but at long and irregular intervals, amid the dense smoke, flying shot, and bursting shells. Our brave troops, carried away by their natural generous impulses, mounted the different batteries, and at every discharge from the fort cheered the garrison for its pluck and gallantry, and hooted the fleet lying inactive just outside the bar.

About 1.30 p.m., it being reported to me that the flag was down (it afterwards appeared that the flag-staff had been shot away), and the conflagration from the large volume of smoke being apparently on the increase, I sent three of my aides with a message to Major Anderson to the effect that seeing his flag no longer flying, his quarters in flames, and supposing him to be in distress, I desired to offer him any assistance he might stand in need of. Before my aides reached the fort the United States flag was displayed on the parapet, but remained there only a short time, when it was hauled down and a white flag substituted in its place. When the United States flag first disappeared the firing from our batteries almost entirely ceased, but reopened with increased vigor when it reappeared on the parapet, and was continued until the white flag was raised, when it ceased entirely. Upon the arrival of my aides at Fort Sumter they delivered their message to Major Anderson, who replied that he thanked me for my offer, but desired no assistance.

Just previous to their arrival Colonel Wigfall, one of my aides, who had been detached for special duty on Morris Island, had, by order of Brigadier-General Simons, crossed over to Fort Sumter from Cummings Point in an open boat, with private Gourdin Young, amidst a heavy fire of shot and shell, for the purpose of ascertaining from Major Aderson whether his intention was to surrender, his flag being down and his quarters in flames. On reaching the fort the colonel had an interview with Major Anderson, the result of which was that Major Anderson understood him as offering the same conditions on the part of General Beauregard as had been tendered him on the 11th instant, while Colonel Wigfall's impression was that Major Anderson unconditionally surrendered, trusting to the generosity of General Beauregard to offer such terms as would be honorable and acceptable to both parties. Meanwhile, before these circumstances were reported to me, and in fact soon after the aides whom I had dispatched with the offer of assistance had set out on their mission, hearing that a white flag was flying over the fort, I sent Major Jones, the chief of my staff, and some other aides, with substantially the same propositions I had submitted to Major Anderson on the 11th instant, with the exception of the privilege of saluting his flag. The Major (Anderson) replied, "it would be exceedingly gratifying to him, as well as to his command, to be permitted to salute their flag, having so gallantly defended the fort under such trying circumstances, and hoped that General Beauregard would not refuse it, as such a privilege was not unusual." He further said he "would not urge the point, but would prefer to refer the matter again to me." The point was, therefore, left open until the matter was submitted to me.

Previous to the return of Major Jones I sent a fire engine, under Mr.


Page 32 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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