Numbers 19.] FORT SUMTER, S. C., January 21, 1861
(Received A. G. O., January 24.)
Honorable J. HOLT, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters, dated the 10th and 19th [16th] instants,and to assure you that I am highly gratified at the unqualified approbation they contain of the course I felt it my duty (under Divine guidance, I trust) to pursue in the unexpectedly perplexing circumstances by which we were surrounded. I shall inclose herewith copies of my correspondence with the officials of this State, and also a copy of the Mercury, which contains an article in reference to supplies for my command.* You will understand at once the reasons for my course, which I hope will meet your approval. So many acts of harshness and of incivility have occurred since my removal from Fort Moultrie, which I have not deemed proper to notice or report, that I cannot accept of any civility which may considered as a favor or an act of charity. I hope that the Department will approve of my sending (if the governor will permit it) our women and children to New York. They will be int the way here if we should, unfortunately be engaged in hostilities, and they would embarrass me should I deem it proper too make any sudden move. We are trying daily to strengthen our position. We have now fifty-one guns in position, viz: In barbette, four 42-pounders, three 32-pounders, six 24's, six 8-inch columbiads, and five 8-inch sea-coast howitzers (24); in casemate, twenty-two 32-pounders and two 42-pounders, (24); and to guard the gateway, which has been nearly closed by a heavy stone wall, three 8-inch sea-coast howitzers; and we are now preparing platforms in the parade for the three 10-inch columbiads, which we are unable to raise to their proper positions. I shall have some of the lower embrasures, in which guns are mounted, closed. This will make our little command more secure. From the perfect isolation of our position here it is impossible for us to ascertain with any degree of certainty, the character or extent of the preparations which are being made around us. Everything however, shows that they are exerting all their energies to prevent the entrance of re-enforcements, and to prepare for attacking this work. Saturday night and yesterday (Sunday) they were very actively engaged at work on a battery (commenced Saturday morning) a few hundred yards south of a battery of three guns constructed within the last three weeks in front of Fort Johnson barracks. On Cummings Point, Morris Island, quite an extensive battery or batteries have been constructed within the last week. We thing that there may be both mortars and heavy guns at this point. We see them moving heavy timbers, which may be intended for the construction of a bomb-proof. Judging from the great quantity of material which has been landed in that neighborhood, I think it probable that they may have strengthened the battery which fired on the Star of the West. The channel she came in has been closed, pretty effectually I imagine, by four sunken vessels. Sand hills on Morris Island afford such safe positions for batteries that I fear we shall have to waste a great deal of ammunition before we can succeed in dislodging them from its batteries. Several distant shots have been heard from the direction the mouth of Stone Creek. I presume they have closed that by a heavy battery. It is reported that there is a battery guarding the entrance of the Maffitt Channel, and also that there is a battery of heavy guns on Sullivan's Island (masked from our view by the houses) about three hundred yards to the west of the fort. Fort Moultrie has been
*Article from Mercury not found.