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68 Series I Volume I- Serial 1 - Charleston

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Page 68 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

ammunition, &c., and it has been suggested by the Engineer officer in charge of the work that a few small-arms placed in the hands of his workmen for the protection of the Government property there might be a useful precaution. If the measure should, on being communicated, meet with the concurrence of the commanding officer of the troops in the harbor, I recommend that I may be authorized to issued forty muskets to the Engineer officer.

With much respect,

H. K. CRAIG,

Colonel of Ordnance.

[Indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT,

October 31, 1860.

Approved:

J. B. FLOYD,

Secretary of War.

FORT MOULTRIE, S. C., November 5, 1860.

Colonel H. K. CRAIG,

Chief of Ordnance, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: Your communication of 1st instant, with its inclusive, in reference to placing forty muskets in the hands of the Engineer officer in charge of Fort Sumter as a precautionary measure proper to this time of excitement, is received. My views are asked on two, or rather three points:

1st. On that which forms the condition of the Secretary's approval of the issue, namely, that I concur in its expediency;

2nd. On the "propriety" of placing the arms in the hands of hired men for the purpose indicated; and,

3rd. On the "expediency" of doing so.

To the first I reply that I have already said in effect, on my post return for last month, that while I do not apprehend that any attempt upon the United States works here will receive the countenance of the State or city authority, it is by some thought that a tumultuary force may be incited by the feeling of the time, and invited by the present disordered condition of the works to make such an attempt without it, and that this possibility makes it incumbent on me to provide as far as I may against, it, and forty additional musketeers would then be desirable.

As to the "propriety" of the issue I see no objection. The arms need not be delivered to the men selected by the Engineer officer till the occasion should actually obtain. The workmen in charge of the property are bound on principles of common law to defend it against purloiners, to say nothing of the 96th Article of War, applicable to all "persons whatsoever receiving pay from the United States."

The "expediency" of the measure is quite another question of less obvious features.

There are one hundred and nine men at Fort Sumter, most of them laborers of foreign nativity, of whom it is prudent to be somewhat suspicious, for I am just informed that on some of them being questioned (as is the wont of the times) on the point of their proclivity in the event of secession, replied to the effect that they were indifferent, and intimated that the largest bribe would determine their action, and they


Page 68 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

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