NOTE. This letter was received, without General Gillmore's signature, at 10.45 p.m., August 21, 1863, and was returned with the following indorsement:
CHARLESTON, S. C., August 21, 1863.
This paper is returned for the signature of the writer.
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
At 9 a.m. August 22, 1863, it was returned to these headquarters, bearing General Gillmore's signature.
Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., August 23, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded for information of War Department.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
[Inclosure No. 2.]
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., August 22, 1863.
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Morris Island, S. C.:
SIR: Last night, at fifteen minutes before 11 o'clock, during my absence on a reconnaissance of my fortifications, a communication was received at these headquarters, dated headquarters Department of the South, Morris Island, S. C., August 21, 1863, demanding the "immediate evacuation of Morris Island and Fort Sumter by the Confederate forces," on the alleged grounds that "the present condition of Fort Sumter, the rapid and progressive destruction which it is undergoing from my batteries, seem to render its complete demolition within a few hours a matter of certainty:" and that if this demand were" not complied with, or no reply thereto were received within four hours after it is delivered into the hands of your [my] subordinate commander at Fort Wagner for transmission," a fire would be opened on the city of Charleston "from batteries already established within easy and effective range of the heart of the city." This communication to my address was without signature, and was, of course, returned.
About half-past 1 this morning, one of your batteries did actually open and throw a number of heavy rifled shells into the city, the inhabitants of which, of course, were asleep and unarmed.
About 9 o'clock this morning, the communication alluded to above was returned to these headquarters, bearing your recognized official signature, and it can now be noticed as your deliberate, official act.
Among nations not barbarous the usages of war prescribe that when a city is about to be attacked timely notice shall be given by the attacking commander, in order that non-combatants may have an opportunity for withdrawing beyond its limits. Generally the time allowed is from one to three days; that is, time for a withdrawal, in good faith, of at least the women and children. You, sir, give only four hours, knowing that your notice, under existing circumstances, could not reach me in less than two hours, and that not less than the same time would be required for an answer to be conveyed