War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0082 OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S. C. Chapter I.

Search Civil War Official Records

whether, when South Carolina secedes, these forts are to be surrendered or not. If the former, I must be informed of it, and instructed what course I am to pursue. If the latter be the determination, no time is to be lost in either sending troops, as already suggested, or vessels of war to this harbor. Either of these courses may cause some of the doubting State to join South Carolina.

I shall go steadily on, preparing for the worst, trusting hopefully in the God of Battle to guard and guide me in my course. I think it probable that in the present highly excited state of these people, the sending of the detachment of Engineer laborers to Castle Pinckney may bring on that collision which we are so anxious to avoid. I shall consult with Captain Foster on his return to the island, and if convinced that it will lead to that result, will assume the responsibility of suspending the execution of that plan for the present. This fort, in consequence of the unfinished state of our repairs, &c., is not in a condition for inviting an attack. Captain Seymour says that he is satisfied they intend erecting a battery on the upper end of this island, to command the inner channel. I do not know what course to advise. They are making every preparation (drilling nightly, &c.) for the fight which they say must take place, and insist on our not doing anything. We are now certainly too weak to fight. Were we to guard against a surprise, our men, if surrounded by only an undisciplined mob, would soon be worn out by fatigue.

I learn from Captain Ord that attempts have been made, by offers of heavy sums, to induce men at Old Point to join a Southern army. O have not heard that any attempts have been made to tamper with our men, who thus far cheerfully perform the arduous and ceaseless duties imposed upon them in consequence of the smallness of the command.

I ought, perhaps, to mention, as in indication of the expectation of the citizens of Charleston, that three fiends of the ladies of our officers have within a day or two been pressed most urgently to go to the city to stay with them there.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, First Artillery, Commanding.


December 1, 1860.


SIR: Your letter of November 28 has been received. The Secretary of War has directed Brevet Colonel Huger to repair to this city, as soon as he can safely leave his post, to return there in a short time. He desires you to see Colonel Huger, and confer with him prior to his departure on the matters which have been confided to each of you.

It is believe, from information thought to be reliable, that an attack will not be made on your command, and the Secretary has only to revere to his conversation with you, and to caution you that, should his convictions unhappily prove untrue, your actions must be such as to be free from the charge of initiating a collision. If attacked, you are, of course, expected to defend the trust committed to you to the best of your ability.

The increase of the force under your command, however much to be