to the governor of the State that no arms should be removed from the arsenal; neither did Captain Humphreys, military storekeeper. Consequently, I was surprised to receive his letter of the 18th, which I inclosed to you yesterday, desiring to have the muskets returned. My reply was also inclosed to you. What followed was as is described in the commencement of this letter.
To-day at 3 o'clock I received another letter from Captain Humphreys, a copy of which is inclosed, as is also my reply.
I should have mentioned above that on the 19th, when in town to see General Schnierle and allay any excitement relative to the muskets, I found to my surprise that there was no excitement except with a very few who had been active in the matter, and the majority of the gentlemen whom I met had not even heard of it.
The order of the Secretary of War of last night I must consider as decisive upon the question of any efforts on my part to defend Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney. The defense now can only extend to keeping the gates closed and shutters fastened, and must cease when these are forced.
I do not think that I am authorized to make the preparations for extreme measures described in my letter of yesterday, but shall wait until I receive your reply.
I would earnestly, but respectfully, urge that definite instructions be given me how to act in the emergency which, from the eagerness with which rumors and other causes are seized upon to maintain and increase the political excitement, will probably arise sooner or latter. Until I am directed to the contrary, I shall continue the work as at present on Fort Sumter and the preparations for the defense of Fort Moultrie.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Captain of Engineers.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
CHARLESTON, S. C., December 20, 1860.
Captain J. G. FOSTER,
U. S. Engineer Corps;
DEAR SIR: During an interview with Governor Pickens this morning he asked me whether or not I could state authoritatively that there had not been twenty enlisted men sent from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. I told him that my conviction was that such was not the case, and that I heard you make the statement yesterday to General Schnierle that you had but one enlisted men at Fort Sumter.
The governor requested as a favor that such assurance should be given him over the signature of an officer of the Army, and knowing that you requested General Schnierle to write you should any rumor obtain concerning you, I make known Governor Pickens' desire to you, and respectfully suggest that you send him immediately (as he said it was important that he had a [denial] of the rumor by night) such communication as you may deem best in the premises.
I regret exceedingly that you deemed it necessary to refer the matter of the issue of the forty muskets, &c., to Washington, for I know that such representations have gone on to the Department as will cause unnecessary excitement, and insure a censure of my course in the matter from the Ordnance Department.
Very respectfully, yours,
F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. Army.