The telegraph conveyed from the
Secessionists to Floyd the astounding intelligence long before Anderson's despatch reached him. It flashed back the angry words
of the dismayed and foiled conspirator: "Intelligence has reached here this
morning (December 27) that you have abandoned Fort Moultrie, spiked your guns,
burnt the carriages and gone to Fort Sumter. It is not believed, because there
is no order for any such movement. Explain the meaning of this report." Anderson
calmly replied by telegraph: "The telegram is correct. I abandoned Fort Moultrie
because I was certain that if attacked my men must have been sacrificed, and the
command of the harbor lost. I spiked the guns and destroyed the carriages to
keep the guns from being turned against us. If attacked, the garrison would never have surrendered without a fight."
The soldiers in Sumter wished to fling out the National ensign defiantly before the dawn next morning; but Anderson, who was a devout man, wishing to impress upon his followers the lesson that upon God alone they were to rely in the great trial that was evidently before them, would not consent to the act until the return of the absent chaplain. He came at noonday, when the whole company in the fort gathered around the flagstaff, not far from a huge cannon. The commander, with the halyards in his hand, knelt at the foot of the staff, when the chaplain earnestly invoked the sustaining power of the Almighty. A loud Amen! fell from the lips of many; and then the brave Major hoisted the flag to the top of the staff. It was greeted with hearty cheers, and the band saluted it with the air of "Hail Columbia."
A boat now approached the fort from Charleston. It conveyed a messenger who bore to Major Anderson a demand from Governor Pickens, that the former should immediately leave Fort Sumter, and return to Fort Moultrie. The demand was courteously refused; and Anderson was denounced as a "traitor to the South," he being a native of Kentucky, a slave-labor State. The conspirators in Charleston and Washington were enraged. At the very moment when the flag was flung to the breeze over Sumter, Secretary Floyd, in cabinet meeting, was demanding of the President permission to withdraw Anderson from Charleston harbor. The President refused. A storm suddenly arose which produced a disruption in the cabinet, and Floyd was succeeded by Joseph Holt, a loyal Kentuckian, who wrote to Major Anderson that his movement in transferring the garrison from Moultrie to Sumter, "was in every way admirable, alike for its humanity and patriotism as for its soldiership." Words of cheer came for the Major from other quarters. The Legislature of Nebraska, sitting two thousand miles away from Fort Sumter, telegraphed to him "A Happy New Year" and cannon were fired in several places in honor of the event.
Heroism of Major Anderson - His Wife and Peter Hart - Robbery in the Interior Department - Flight of Secretary Floyd - Cabinet Changes - South Carolina Commissioners in Washington - Attempt to Reinforce and Supply Fort Sumter - Inauguration of Civil War at Charleston - Language of the Politicians - The People Bewildered-Fate of Leaders - "Secession" in Other States - Seizure of Public Property - Northern Sympathizers - Plan of the Secessionists - Dix's Order-Action in the Border States - Concessions Peace Convention - Adams's Proposition - Convention at Montgomery - Establishment of a Southern Confederate Government.
MAJOR ANDERSON and his little band of soldiers were in
extreme peril from the hour when they entered Fort Sumter. His friends knew that
he was exposed to treachery within and fierce assault from without, and were
very anxious. His devoted wife, daughter of General Clinch of Georgia, was an
invalid in New York. She resolved to go to her husband with a faithful servant
whom he might trust if she could find him. It was Peter Hart, who had been a
sergeant with Anderson in Mexico, and was warmly attached to his person. After
much search Mrs. Anderson found he was attached to the police force in New York,
and she sent for him. He came, accompanied by his wife. "I have sent for