might re-enforce you at its leisure, and that you regarded yourself safe in your present position, some two hundred and fifty instructed recruits had been ordered to proceed from Governor's Island to Fort Sumter on the Star of the West, for the purpose of strengthening the force under your command. The probability is, from the current rumors of to-day, that this vessel has been fired into by the South Carolinians, and has not been able to reach you. To meet all contingencies, the Brooklyn has been dispatched, with instructions not to cross the bar at the harbor of Charleston, but to afford to the Star of the West and those on board all the assistance they may need, and in the event the recruits have not effected a landing at Fort Sumter they will return to Fort Monroe.
I avail myself of the occasion to express the great satisfaction of the Government at the forbearance, discretion and firmness with which you have acted, amid the perplexing and difficult circumstances in which you have been placed. You will continue, as heretofore, to act strictly on the defensive; to avoid, by all means compatible with the safety of your command, a collision with the hostile forces by which you are surrounded. But for the movement so promptly and brilliantly executed, by which you transferred your forces to Fort Sumter, the probability is that ere this the defenselessness of your position would have invited an attack, which, there is reason to believe, was contemplated, if not in active preparation, which must have led to the effusion of blood, that has been thus so happily prevented. The movement, therefore, was in every way admirable, alike for its humanity [and] patriotism, as for its soldiership.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of War ad interim.
FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 12, 1861
General JOS. G. TOTTEN,
Chief Engineer U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: The sudden resolution to send a joint commission to Washington enables me to write only a few lines to tell you that my operations are going steadily on. Seventeen guns are now mounted on the barbette tier, and in good working order. Four of these are columbiads. Owing to the breaking of the truck, we did not accomplish much yesterday beyond hoisting carriages to the terre-plain (upper). My force is gradually growing less and less,owing to the fears of the approaching conflict among the men. By to night I may not have more than a dozen men for work. This is unavoidable, because it will not do to force the fearful or seditious men to remain. I shall, however, get nearly all the guns up before all leave. Yesterday a commission came from Governor Pickens to summon this fort to surrender. It was composed of General Jamison, Secretary of War, and Judge McGrath, Secretary of State of South Carolina. They subsequently (during the conference with us) moderated the matter somewhat, so as to have it understood that their demand was not to alter the present status. The major proposed to send a joint commission to Washington, which is accepted this morning, and Lieutenant Hall leaves for this purpose.
I received a dispatch, from Mrs. Foster, after her arrival in Washington, which I understood to means that I had to my credit there $15,000. This gives me great satisfaction, for I was becoming embarrassed for want of funds. You can rely upon my doing all that I can to secure