War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0313 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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would be our national destruction consummated. This could not be allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison, and ere it would be reached Fort Pickens might be reinforced. This last would be a clear indication of policy and would better enable the country to accept the evacuation of Fort Sumter as a military necessity. An order was at once directed to be sent for the landing of the troops from the steamship Brooklyn into Fort Pickens. This order could not go by land but must take the longer and slower route by sea. The first return news from the order was received just one week before the fail of Fort Sumter. The news itself was that the officer commanding the Sabine, to which vessel the troops had been transferred from the Brookly, acting upon some quasi armistice of the late Administration (and of the existence of which the present Administration, up to the ts dispatched, had only too vague and uncertain rumors to fix attention), had refused to land the troops. To now reinforce Fort Pickens before a crisis would be reached at Fort Sumter was impossible-rendered so by the near exhaustion of provisions in the latter-named fort. In precaution against such a conjuncture, the Government had a few days before commenced preparing an expedition, as well adapted as might be, to relieve Fort Sumter, which expedition was intended to be ultimately used or not, according to circumstances. The strongest anticipated case for using it was now presented, and it was resolved to send it forward. As bad been intended, in this contingency, it was also resolved to notify the Governor of South Carolina that he might except an attempt would be made to provision the fort, and that if the attempt should not be resisted there would be no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the fort. This notice was accordingly given, whereupon the fort was attacked and bombarded to its fall without even awaiting the arrival of the provisioning expedition.

It is thus seen that the assault upon the reduction of Fort Sumter was in no sense a matter of self-defense on the part of the assailants. They well knew that the garrison in the fort could by no possibility commit aggression upon them. They knew- they were expressly notified-that the giving of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison was all which would on that occasion be attempted unless themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more. They knew that this Government desired to keep the garrison in the fort, not to assail them, but merely to maintain visible possession, and thus to preserve the Union from actual and immediate dissolution, trusting, as herein-before stated, to time, discussion, and the ballot-box for final adjustment; and they assailed and reduced the fort for precisely the reverse object-to drive out the visible authority of the Federal Union and thus force it to immediate dissolution. That this was their object the Executive well understood, and having said to them in the inaugural address, "You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors," he took pains not only to keep this declaration god, but also to keep the case so free from the power of ingenious sophistry as at Fort Sumter, with, its surrounding circumstances, that point was reached. Then and thereby the assailants of the Government began the conflict of arms, without a gun in sight or in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the fort sent to that harbor years before for their own protection and still ready to give that protection in whatever was lawful. In this act, discharging all else, they have forced upon the country the distinct issue, "Immediate dissolution or blood."