War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0259 Chapter I. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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ment of the United States garrison from Fort Moultrie we were suddenly and unexpectedly precipitated into a situation which created the most hostile feelings, and were at the outset involved in the most scientific and expensive branches of modern warfare, where the most exact military knowledge and experience were required.

I felt this, and therefore telegraphed you to come by Charleston on your way to Mississippi, in order to consult on military matters, & c. I again sent to the governor of Georgia for General Twiggs, and then sent to you for a military engineer, as I desired the highest military approbation. Before taking the last step I earnestly wished the best military counsels.

Major Whiting is here, and thinks our energies have been too much directed to attacking Fort Sumter, and not enough to the defenses of the harbor, so as to prevent re-enforcements, & c. You will see him, and, of course, now we will await your orders and the directions of Congress, as we feel that our cause is common, and that it is due to our common government that we should do nothing to involve all the States united in a permanent war by any separate act of ours, unless it shall be necessary in self-defense or to prevent re-enforcements; but in the mean time I will go on with the same activity as ever in preparing our defenses and our men for any event that may arise.

We would desire to be informed if when thoroughly prepared to take the fort shall we do so, or shall we await your order; and shall we demand the surrender, or will that demand be made by you?

An answer to this by telegram is desired.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Montgomery, March 1, 1861.

Gov. F. W. PICKENS, Charleston, S. C.:

Your letter to President received. This Government assumes the control of military operations at Charleston, and will make demand of the fort when fully advised. An officer goes to-night to take charge.


Secretary of War.


Montgomery, March 1, 1861.

His Excellency F. W. PICKENS, Governor, & c.:

SIR: Your letter of the 27th ultimo addressed to the President has been referred by him to this Department for reply.

In controlling the military operations in the harbor of Charleston the President directs me to say that everything will be done that may be due to the honor and rights of South Carolina.

The President shares the feeling expressed by you that Fort Sumter should be in our possession at the earliest moment possible. But this feeling, natural and just as it is admitted to be, must yield to the necessity of the case. Thorough preparation must be made before an attack is attempted, for the first blow must be successful, both for its moral and physical consequences, or otherwise the result might be disastrous to your State in the loss of many of those whom we can least afford to spare. A failure would demoralize our people and injuriously affect us in the opinion of the world as reckless and precipitate.