give up the keys to any person with my life. They replied that it was no use to be obstinate, for they had the magazine already in their possession, and that they had a party of twenty men around it, and were determined to keep it; if not by fair means, they would break it open. I considered a while and seen it was no use to persevere, for they were determined to have what ordnance stores there was at the post. I then told them if they would sign receipts to me for the ordnance and ordnance stores at the post, I would give it up to them. (There was no alternative left me but to act as I did.) They replied that they would do so. The receipt was signed, and [they] left fifteen men in charge of the post; the remainder proceeded to take Fort Caswell, which is in their possession by this time. I do not know what arrangement Ordnance Sergeant Dardingkiller made with them.
They have taken out of the magazine at this post nearly all the musket cartridges in it; they are also taking the guns out of the block-house and mounting them. I would have telegraphed long since, had I an opportunity of doing so, to the Department, but I could get no means of going to Wilmington-no person would hire me their horse or boat for that purpose. Please send me instructions how I am to act hereafter, as there is expected this afternoon 300 men from Wilmington, N. C., to occupy both posts.
They have not as yet decided what to do with me or Sergeant Dardinkiller. I expect they will send us away as soon as they get some kind of an organization amongst them.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Ordnance Sergeant, U. S. Army.
Colonel S. COOPER,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington City, D. C.
FORT JOHNSTON, N. C.,
January 10, 1861-11 o'clock a.m.
SIR: I respectfully wish to state that the party of citizens who took possession of Forts Johnston and Caswell yesterday has perceived their error. It seems that they were not sustained by the people which brought them into it, or caused them to create such an act of violence against the Federal Government. They were the leaders of a few fanatics in Wilmington, who sent a dispatch to this place that the Department had ordered the revenue cutter forward with troops to garrison Forts Johnston and Caswell, and that they should take possession of the forts before the Federal troops should arrive; that they would assist them with both men, money, and provisions. They failed to do so.
Then they came to both me and Sergeant Dardingkiller and asked us to take back the public property. I answered, Yes; if there was none of it broken, or none of the ammunition expended. It was returned in good order. As they deprived me of all quick communication with the Department, so that I might receive instructions how to act, I thought to do as I did. I wanted to go to Wilmington to telegraph this business to the Department, but when they found I was going on the schooner that runs between here and Wilmington as a passenger boat, the passengers chartered the boat from the owners to prevent me from going. I hope that the conduct of me and Sergeant Dardingkiller will