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38 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 38 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

hauled down. I became certain afterwards, on a visit to Fort Sumter, that the flagstaff was shot away, for it bore the marks of many balls. Only two shots were fired from our batteries on this island after the flag fell. I suspended the firing, however, and on a consultation with Ex-Governor Manning, Colonel Chesnut, and Colonel Wigfall, members of your staff, I sent Colonel Wigfall, accompanied by Private Gourdin Young, of Palmetto Guard, with a white flag to Fort Sumter to inform Major Anderson that I observed his flag was down, and to inquire whether he would surrender to you. Colonel Wigfall, with great gallantry and his accustomed indifference to danger, accompanied as I have mentioned, proceeded in a boat in the midst of the continued fire from our batteries other than at this island. Before he reached Fort Sumter I distinctly saw the flag of Fort Sumter flying on the northeast corner of the fortress, but very much masked by the gable of the quarters and the smoke and flame. It was too late to recall Colonel Wigfall, and he accomplished his missing. Soon after he reached the fortress a white flag was substituted for that lately put up, and the firing ceased on both sides. The firing of Fort Sumter had continued after the flag had fallen.

At 2.15 p.m. Colonel Wigfall returned and announced that Major Anderson surrendered unconditionally to Brigadier-General Beauregard, of the C. S. Army. The announcement was received with the greatest enthusiasm, and Colonel Wigfall and Private Young were borne from the boat in triumph by the troops. Colonel Wigfall, accompanied by Ex-Governor Manning, Colonel Chesnut, and Captain Chisolm of your staff, then proceeded to report to you.

In the afternoon, before sundown, a boat from the fleet was brought to by a shot from Lieutenant-Colonel Lamar's battery, and landed Lieutenant Marcy, U. S. Navy. He asked me if I would give him permission to go to Fort Moultrie to inquire whether Major Anderson had surrendered, and whether he and his command could be taken out of the harbor by a vessel of the fleet, or a merchant vessel with them, or by their boats. I replied that so far as it was necessary to go to Fort Moultrie to learn whether Major Anderson had surrendered, I could, and did, give him the information, and so far as the removal of Major Anderson's command out of the harbor was concerned, we could furnish the requisite transportation, but that the commanding general of our army was at hand, and that he would be communicated with, and that Lieutenant Marcy could have the answer at 9 a.m. the next day, at the same place. I sent Captain Ben. Allston to you before dark with a dispatch to this effect, under the signature of Major Whiting. Subsequent events were managed by yourself or under your direction and control.

Besides the batteries actively engaged in the action, I cannot too highly commend the other batteries on the channel. The untiring zeal, watchfulness, and eagerness of the officers and men of the commands to participate in the defense of their country must fill the hearts of their fellow-citizens with the liveliest emotions of gratitude and pride.

I felt constrained to refuse permission to Captain A. J. Green, of Columbia Artillery, and his gallant corps to open fire on Fort Sumter, although he solicited permission to participate in the contest. Whilst the credit of the battle will necessarily be more permanently associated with those who managed the instruments of warfare, I cannot conclude this report without inviting your attention to the infantry. In the midst of the greatest exposure to the most inclement weather, many hundreds bivouacking in the open air without any covering, many more sheltered by wide burrows in the sand hills, not a murmur of complaint escaped


Page 38 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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