on the ground of their being enrolled into the service of the State, and the subject is referred to you, you will, after fully satisfying yourself that the men are subject to enrollment, and have been properly enrolled under the laws of the United States, and of the State of South Carolina, cause them to be delivered up or suffer them to depart.
If deemed essential to the more perfect defense of the work, the leveling of the sand hills which command the fort would not, under ordinary circumstances, be considered as initiating a collision. but the delicate question of its bearing on the popular mind, in its present excited state, demands the coolest and wisest judgment. The fact of the sand hills being private property, and, as in under tood, having private residences built upon them, decides the question in the negative. The houses which might afford dangerous shelter to an enemy, being chiefly frame, could be destroyed by the heavy guns of the fort at any movement, while the fact of their being leveled in anticipation of an attack might betray distrust, and prematurely bring on a collision. Their destruction at the moment of being used as a cover for an enemy would be more fatal to the attacking force than if swept away before their approach.
An armed body, approaching for hostile purposes, would, in all probability, either attempt a surprise or send a summons to surrender. In the former case, there can be no doubt as to the course to be pursued.
In the latter case, after refusal to surrender and a warning to keep off, a further advance by the armed body would be initiating a collision on their part.
If no summons be made by them, their purpose should be demanded at the some time that they are warned to keep off, and their failure to answer and further advance would throw the responsibility upon them.
I am, &c.,
FORT MOULTRIE, S. C.,
Friday, December 14, 1860.
Colonel S. COOPER, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:
DEAR COLONEL: I inclose herewith a slip from the Charleston Mercury of 13th instant, mentioning from Washington correspondent Major Bell's [Buell's] mission to this place.
I told the major that it was likely they would get an inkling of it. I merely send this to show you the almost impossibility of keeping anything secret. Nothing here worthy of an "official"-a calm before the storm. Many think no attack will be made on me until after they are in position in Fort Sumter, and that they will drive me out with her guns. It is all conjecture. I shall, of course, prepare here for the worst.
All well and in fine spirits.
WASHINGTON, December 10.
Mr. EDITOR: A caucus was held here a few nights since of Senators and Representatives from the cotton States. It numbered about twenty-six, and represented the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,