The hesitation of Virginia to join the Confederacy gave the leaders in South Carolina many misgivings as to her "patriotism;" but two of her sons, who were in Charleston at this crisis, gave them assurance of her "fidelity to the cause." These were Edmund Ruffin, a gray-haired old man, and Roger A. Pryor, a young lawyer, who had served a term in the National Congress. Pryor was serenaded on the evening of the 10th of April (1861) and in response to the compliment he made a characteristic speech. "Gentlemen," he said, "I thank you especially that you have at last annihilated this cursed Union, reeking with corruption and insolent with excess of tyranny. Thank God it is at last blasted and riven by the lightning wrath of an outraged and indignant people. Not only is it gone, but gone forever. . . . Do not distrust Virginia. As sure as tomorrow's sun will rise upon us, just so sure will Virginia be a member of the Southern Confederacy. And I will tell you, gentlemen," said Mr. Pryor with great vehemence of manner, "what will put her in the Southern Confederacy in less than an hour by Shrewsbury clock-strike a blow! The very moment that blood is shed, old Virginia will make common cause with her sisters of the South."
This cry for blood was telegraphed to Montgomery, when a member of the Alabama Legislature (Mr. Gilchrist) said to Davis and his cabinet: "Gentlemen, unless you sprinkle blood in the faces of the people of Alabama, they will be back in the old Union in less than ten days." Beauregard was at once ordered to shed blood if necessary, and so "fire the Southern heart." That officer sent a deputation to Major Anderson to demand the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter. The supplies for the garrison were nearly exhausted, and Anderson replied: "I will evacuate the fort in five days if I do not receive controlling instructions from my Government." Davis knew better than Anderson that vessels were on their way with supplies for the fort, and he instructed Beauregard to act accordingly. So, at a little past three o'clock in the morning of the 12th of April, that officer announced to Anderson, that within one hour the batteries, which then formed a semi-circle around Sumter, would open upon the fort. The military in Charleston had been summoned to their posts early in the evening, in anticipation of this movement, and a call was made by telegraph to the surrounding country to send four thousand men into the city.
At the appointed hour the heavy booming of a cannon on James Island awakened the sleepers in Charleston, and the streets were soon thronged with people. From the broad throat of a mortar a fiery