Posts Tagged With: chronology of civil war

Sumter 150 Years Ago

150 years ago today, as I write this, the ‘War between the State’s began as Rebel forces began the unprovoked bombardment of Fort Sumter. Following is a selection of press releases and articles concerning this fateful day;(image is an exterior view of Sumter taken sometime after the bombardment, LOC image)

April 10.—The floating battery, finished, mounted, and manned at Charleston, was taken out of the dock last evening, and anchored in the cove, near Sullivan’s Island.

The people are not excited, but there is a fixed determination to meet the issue. The Convention has just adjourned, subject to the call of the president. Before adjourning, it passed resolutions approving the conduct of General Twiggs in resigning his commission and turning over the public property under his control to the authorities.

Governor Pickens was in secret session with the Convention. About 1,000 troops were sent to the fortifications to-day; 1,800 more go down to-morrow.

Messrs. “Wigfall, Chesnut, Means, Manning, McGowan, and Boyleston, have received appointments in General Beauregard’s staff. A large number of the members of tho Convention, after adjournment, volunteered as privates. About 7,000 troops are now at the fortifications. The beginning of the end is coming to a final closing. Fort Sumter will be attacked without waiting for the fleet. Everything is prepared against a land attack. The enthusiasm is intense, and the eagerness for the conflict, if it must come, unbounded.—JV”. Y. Day Boon.

—The officers of the District of Columbia militia were ordered to meet at 10 o’clock AM in consequence of information relative to a contemplated movement for the seizure of the city of Washington by the secessionists under Ben McCullough. Orders were issued for the militia to assemble at their armories.

Seven militia companies reported to General Scott, and between six and eight hundred of them volunteered for any service in which the President might desire them to act.—Times, April 11.

April 11.—The steamship Coatzacoalcos arrived at New York this morning, bringing home the Federal troops who were left in Texas without a commander, after the treason of General Twiggs.

—The Government at Washington is acting on positive information in taking all possible precautionary measures for the defense of, and the maintenance of peace at, that point.

A company of military were marched inside the capitol to-night, and a picket of guards is stationed on each of the roads leading into the city. This was done on no new information, but is among the signs of the revolution. A military company has not been within the walls of the capitol before since the war of 1812.

The oath of fidelity was administered to several companies of volunteers today. — World, April 12.

—Unusual activity now prevails in military circles in Pennsylvania. New companies are forming, and the old organizations are drilling frequently. The prospect of active service in the event of the breaking out of actual hostilities in the South, is exciting much discussion among the volunteer companies, and it is understood that several have already tendered their services to the Secretary of War, in case the Government should need their aid. It is also understood that in the event of an attack on the Government, the latter will make an early call upon Pennsylvania for men. Our volunteers labor under great disadvantages in respect to arras, and in a case of emergency many more men would be forthcoming than there are arms to place in their hands. —Phila. Press.

—This morning the Commissioners of the Confederate States left Washington. They are satisfied that no recognition of the Southern Confederacy will ever take place under the administration of President Lincoln. In their final communication they reflect severely on the Administration, taking the ground they have exhausted every resource for a peaceful solution of the existing difficulties, and that if civil war results, on the head of the Federal Government will rest the responsibility. They charge the Administration with gross perfidy, insisting that under the shelter of the pretext and assertion that Fort Sumter was to be evacuated, an immense armada has been dispatched to provision and reinforce that fort. They repeat they had almost daily indirect assurances from the Administration that Fort Sumter was positively to be abandoned, and that all the Government’s efforts were to be directed toward peace. The commissioners allege that the Government at Montgomery was earnestly desirous of peace; and that, in accordance with its instructions, as well as their own feelings, they left no means unexhausted to secure that much-desired end; but all their efforts having failed, they were now forced to return to an outraged people with the object of their mission unaccomplished; and they express the firm conviction that war is inevitable.—(Doc. 51.)— World, April 12.

—at 2 P. M. Colonel Chesnut and Major Lee, aids to General Beauregard, conveyed to Fort Sumter the demand that Major Anderson should evacuate that fort. Major Anderson replied at 6 P. M. that his “sense of honor and his obligations to his Government would prevent his compliance” with the demand. He informed the gentlemen verbally that he would be “starved out in a few days.”

It was stated that there were at this time 7,000 men around Fort Sumter under arms, and 140 pieces of ordnance of heavy caliber in position and ready for use.—Charleston Mercury.

April 12.—At 1 A. M. a second deputation from General Beauregard conveyed to Fort Sumter the message that if Major Anderson would name the time when he would evacuate, and would agree not to fire in the mean time upon the batteries unless they fired upon him, no fire would be opened upon Fort Sumter. To this Major Anderson replied that he would evacuate at noon on the 15th, if not previously otherwise ordered, or not supplied, and that he would not in the mean time open his fire unless compelled by some hostile act against his fort or the flag of his Government. At 3.30 A. M. the officers who received this answer notified Major Anderson that the batteries under command of General Beauregard would open on Fort Sumter in one hour, and immediately left.

The sentinels in Sumter were then ordered from the parapets, the posterns were closed, and the men ordered not to leave the bombproofs until summoned by the drum.

At 4.30 A. M fire was opened upon Fort Sumter from Fort Moultrie, and soon after from the batteries on Mount Pleasant, Cummings’ Point, and the floating battery; in all 17 mortars and 30 large guns for shot—mostly Columbiads. Meantime the garrison of Sumter took breakfast quietly at their regular hour, were then divided into three reliefs, each of which was to work the guns for four hours; and the fire of Sumter was opened at 7 A. M. from the lower tier of guns, upon Fort Moultrie, the iron battery on Cummings’ Point, two batteries on Sullivan’s Island, and the floating battery simultaneously. “When the first relief went to work, the enthusiasm of the men was so great that the second and third reliefs could not be kept from the guns.

As the fire of the enemy became warm, it was found that there was no portion of the fort not exposed to the fire of mortars. Shells from every direction burst against the various walls. Cartridges soon run out; there were no cartridge bags, and men were set to make them out of shirts. There was no instrument to weigh powder, and this, with the absence of breech-sides and other implements necessary to point guns, rendered an accurate fire impossible.

Fire broke out in the barracks three times, and was extinguished. Meals were served at the guns. At C P. M. the fire from Sumter ceased. Fire was kept up from the enemy’s batteries all night, at intervals of twenty minutes.—Tribune, Times, and Herald, April 13, 14, 15.

April 13.—Fire from the enemy’s batteries was resumed at daylight and from Fort Sumter at 7 A. M. At about 8 the officers’ quarters in Sumter took fire from a shell, and the work at the guns was necessarily somewhat slackened, as nearly all the men were taken away to extinguish the flames. Shells from Moultrie and Morris’ Island fell now faster than ever. Dense volumes of smoke still poured out of the barracks at 9, when the men were again sent to the guns. At 10 o’clock the halyards on the flag-staff were cut by a shell, and the flag ran down a little and stuck, so that it appeared to be displayed at half-mast. Several ships, one a large steamer, were in the offing at 10.30, and shots were fired at them from Morris’ Island and Fort Moultrie. About 11 o’clock the fire in the barracks again burst forth fiercely. Three piles of hand-grenades and shells, placed ready for use, became heated by it and exploded at intervals. The day was oppressively warm, and the heat of the fire added, made the atmosphere of the fort almost insufferable. At 12 the whole roof of the barracks was in flames and soon after men were set to work to take the powder out of the magazine, lest the heat should reach and explode it there. Ninety barrels were rolled out and the doors closed. The fire of Fort Sumter was now almost entirely relinquished, though from the other forts it was rather increased. Cartridges were nearly all gone, and owing to the flying sparks no more could be made. Smoke from the fire was blown into the fort so thickly that the men could not see one another. As the fire in the barracks spread from the officers’ to the men’s quarters, it became necessary to throw overboard the powder that had been taken from the magazines. All was thrown over but three barrels, which were wrapped around with wet cloths and left. From these the garrison was soon separated by the fire, and now only the cartridges in the guns were left. These were fired now and then to indicate that the fort was not silenced. Thus in truth the work was held while there was a cartridge to fire or powder enough accessible to make one. The flagstaff, which had been hit nine times, was cut at about 1, and the flag was then nailed to the cut piece, and so raised upon the ramparts. At this time both officers and men were compelled to lay flat upon their faces in the casemates, and hold wet cloths to their mouths to escape suffocation. Soon after Ex-Senator “Wigfall came to the fort with a flag of truce, which he wished held up while he spoke; but the batteries did not respect it. He, however, represented himself as an aid of General Beauregard, and agreed for the evacuation of Fort Sumter. It was afterward learned that he had spoken falsely, and had no authority whatever from General Beauregard.

At 12.55 P. M. the flag of Fort Sumter was drawn down, and the fort was surrendered soon after upon honorable terms; the garrison to carry away the flag of the fort, and all company arms and property, and all private property; and all proper facilities to be afforded for their removal to any post in the United States the commander might elect.

No men were hurt in Sumter by the fire of the enemy. It is reported by the secessionists that no men were either killed or wounded upon their side.

A boat from the United States squadron outside, with a flag of truce, arrived at Morris’ Island, with a request to be allowed to come and take Major Anderson and his forces. — {Doc. 52.)—Tribune, Times, Herald, and World.

—A Dispatch from Montgomery, Ala., says that Fort Pickens was reinforced last night. — {Doc. 53.)

—To-day the President expelled from the Federal army, for refusing to act on a particular service, Captain William B. St. Johns, of the Third Infantry, and First Lieutenant Abner Smead, of the First Artillery.

—The Legislature of Pennsylvania passed the war bill without amendment last evening. Previous to its passage, the news of the bombardment of Fort Sumter was announced, and produced a profound sensation. The bill appropriates five hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of arming and equipping the militia; authorizes a temporary loan; provides for the appointment of an Adjutant-General, Commissary-General, and Quartermaster-General, who, with tho Governor, aro to have power to carry the act into effect. —Philadelphia Enquirer

—To-day the Virginia Commissioners were formally received by the President at Washington, when they presented the resolutions under which they were appointed.—{Doc. 54.)

—The attack upon Fort Sumter, and its surrender, instead of depressing, fires and animates all patriotio hearts. One deep, strong, overpowering sentiment now sweeps over the whole community—a sentiment of determined, devoted, active loyalty. The day for the toleration of treason—treason to the Constitution in defiance to the laws that we have made!—has gone by. The people have discovered that what they deemed almost impossible has actually come to pass, and that the rebels are determined to break up this Government, if they can do it. With all such purposes they are determined to make an end as speedily as may be.—{Doe. bo.)—Times, April 15.

—Bishop Lynch, Eoman Catholic, at Charleston, S. 0. celebrated the bloodless victory of Fort Sumter with a Te Deum and congratulatory address. In all the churches allusions were made to the subject.

The Episcopal Bishop, wholly blind and feeble, said it was his strong persuasion, strengthened by travel through every section of South Carolina that the movement in which the people were engaged was begun by them in the deepest conviction of duty to God; and God had signally blessed their dependence on him. If there is a war, it will be purely a war of self defense.—Tribune, April 16.

—General Beauregard, in general orders to-day, congratulates “the troops under his command on the brilliant success which has crowned their gallantry, by the reduction of the stronghold in the harbor of Charleston.”— {Doc. 56.)

Categories: articles, civil war, Education, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, history, preservation, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maine in the Civil War








As I write this particular post we are just three short weeks away from the 150th anniversary of the shots that began the War Between the States, or what we call the US Civil War. Conflict between the North and the South actually began in 1860, but we look back in time and find that Fort Sumter seems to have been the rallying act that history has pegged as the turning point. In reality, military actions had been ongoing for months, and we find that the point of no return was reached in December of 1860. In fact, Ft Moultrie was evacuated on 26 December, with the guns having been spiked and the carriages destroyed while the troops were transported to Ft. Sumter.

Maine was one of the first responders to Abraham Lincolns call to arms, and over the next few months I’m going to be chronicling the history of our involvement in that conflict. April 12th of 1861 was the day war erupted when the newly formed confederacy opened fire on the US forces in the fort. An act that forever, and irrevocably, changed the destiny of this nation.

Here are some of the highlights from the month of March, 1861;

March 1.—General Twiggs was expelled from the army of the United States. The following is the official order for his expulsion:

War Department, } Adjutant-general’s Office, Washington, March 1,1861. The following order is published for the information of the army:

“War Department, March 1, 1861.”By the direction of the President of the United States, it is ordered that Brigadier-General David E. Twiggs be and is hereby dismissed from the army of the United States for his treachery to the flag of his country, in having surrendered on the 18th of February, 1861, on the demand of the authorities of Texas, the military posts and other property of the United States in his department and under his charge. J. Holt, Secretary of War. “By order of the Secretary of War.

“S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.” —Evening Post, March 4.

—the Secretary of War at Washington received a dispatch from Major Anderson, in which he contradicts the statement that President Davis had been to Charleston. He says that the report that he had been sick is without a particle of foundation. He is in good health, as is also his little band of soldiers. Affairs in Charleston harbor are arriving at a point when further delay on their part will be impossible. Their extensive works of defense and attack are nearly if not quite completed.

The feeling between the authorities and Major Anderson continues to be friendly, and ho is allowed all the facilities that ho could expect. Fresh provisions and marketing are supplied in abundance. Ho experienced no difficulty in sending or receiving his mail matter. — Washington Star.

March 2—The revenue cotter Dodge was seized in Galveston Bay, by order of the authorities of Texas. The officer in command resigned, as Breshwood did at New Orleans, and tendered his services to the rebels.—Times, March 6.

March 4.—Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated at Washington, sixteenth President of the United States, he kissed the thirty-four States of the Union as represented by thirty-four young ladies.

The inauguration procession proceeded to the east portico of the capitol, in front of which a platform had been erected. Every available space in the vicinity was packed with a curious crowd of spectators. Everything being in readiness, Senator Baker, of Oregon, came forward and introduced Mr. Lincoln in these simple words: “Fellow-citizens: I introduce to you Abraham Lincoln, the President-elect of the United States of America.” Mr. Lincoln then advanced to a small table, which had been placed for his accommodation, and proceeded to deliver his inaugural address, every word of which was distinctly heard on the outskirts of the swaying crowd. The oath of office was then administered to Mr. Lincoln by Chief Justice Taney; the procession was again formed, Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the White House, and was duly installed in the office of President of the United States.—{Doc. 42.)

—A State Convention declared Texas out of the Union and Governor Houston issued his proclamation to that effect.

March 5.—General Peter G. T. Beauregard, lately a major in the United States Engineer Corps, was ordered by Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy, to proceed to Charleston and take command of the forces there assembled, and to be assembled for the investment of Fort Sumter.—Herald, March 7.

—In the Texas State Convention, a letter was received from General Wall, enclosing a letter from the Secretary of War of the Confederate States, in relation to the military complications in Texas. President Davis instructs the Secretary of War to say that he is disposed to assume every responsibility compatible with the relations of the Federal Government to Texas. Davis considers it due to international courtesy that the Government of the Confederate States (Texas included, after her withdrawal from the United States) should accord to the troops belonging to the Federal Government a reasonable time within which to depart from her territory. Should the Federal Government refuse to withdraw them, President Davis does not hesitate to say, that all the powers of the Southern Confederacy shall be promptly employed to expel them. General Waul says that the possibility of settling difficulties by a reconstruction of the old Union is never alluded to in the Congress, and that the proposal would receive about the same encouragement as a proposition to re-annex Texas to the States of Mexico.—Evening Post, March 20.

—The President’s inaugural meets with a varied reception throughout the country. The South pronounces it warlike, while a greater portion of the North considers it conservative. — (Doc. 43.)

March 6.—Fort Brown, Texas, was finally surrendered by arrangement between Captain Hill and the Texas Commissioners.—Galveston Civilian, March 11.

March 9.—The Southern Confederacy Congress passed an act for the establishment and organization of the army of the Confederate States.—(Doc. 44.)—Times, March 15.

March 12.—The London News of to-day publishes a strong protest against recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the British Government.—(Doc. 45.)

March 14.—The act, passed by the Florida Legislature, defining treason, became a law by the approval and signature of the Governor. It declares that in the event of any actual collision between the troops of the late Federal Union and those in the employ of the State of Florida, it shall be the duty of the Governor of the State to make public proclamation of the fact; and thereafter the act of holding office under the Federal Government shall be declared treason, and the person convicted shall suffer death.Evening Post, March 26.

March 18.—Supplies were cut off from Fort

Pickens and the fleet in the Gulf of Mexico — (Doc. 46.)

March 20.—At about 7 o’clock this evening, Lieutenant Homer, in command of the Continentals, at drill was informed that there was a sloop lying at the wharf at the foot of Spanish alley in Mobile, which was laden with supplies for the United States fleet outside, between that place and Pensacola. A detachment of the company was on drill at the time, and Lieutenant Homer immediately ordered them down to the point mentioned, and then and there took charge of the little sloop Isabel. She was laden with beef, pork, barrels of eggs, etc. The person in charge acknowledged that these supplies were intended for the fleet outside.—Mobile Tribune, March 21.

—Correspondence between Mr. Secretary Seward and the Commissioners from the Confederate States is published.—(Doc. 47.)

March 21.—A. H. Stephens, Vice-President of the “Confederate States” of the South, delivered a speech at Savannah, Ga. It is intended to be a vindication of the new features in the constitution, which has been adopted for their government.—(Doc. 48.)

March 22.—Governor Pettus, of Mississippi, in accordance with the order of the President of the Confederate States, issued a proclamation calling upon the organized military of the State for fifteen hundred infantry.— Georgia Republic, March 25.

—Dr. Fox, of the United States navy, a special messenger from the Government to Major Anderson, reached Charleston and visited Fort Sumter by permission, in company with Captain Hartstein.

“Intercepted dispatches”—by which we are to understand “stolen letters”—subsequently disclosed to the authorities in Charleston, it is said, that Mr. Fox employed tins opportunity to devise and concert with Major Anderson a plan to supply the fort by force; and that this plan was adopted by the United States Government.— Times, March 23 and April 13.

—A Meeting was held at Frankfort, Ala., at which the following resolutions, among others of a similar character, were passed:

Resolved, That we approve the course pursued by our delegates, Messrs. Watkins and Steele, in convention at Montgomery, in not signing the so-called secession ordinance. That secession is inexpedient and unnecessary, and we are opposed to it in any form, and the more so since a majority of tho slavo States have refused to go out, either by what is called “southern cooperation,” or “precipitate secession;” and that the refusal to submit the so-called secession ordinance to the decision of the people is an outrage upon our right and liberty, and manifests a spirit of assumption, unfairness, and dictatorship.

Resolved, That our congressional nominee, if elected, is to represent us in the United States Congress, and not in the Congress of this so called “Southern Confederacy.”—Tuscumbia North Alabamian.

—The Montgomery Mail protests against the word stripes:

“”We protest against the word ‘stripes,’ as applied to tho broad bars of the flag of our confederacy. The word is quite appropriate as applied to the Yankee ensign or a barber’s polo; but it does not correctly describe tho red and white divisions of the flag of the Confederate States. The word is bars—wc have removed from under the stripes.”—“World, April 2.

March 25.—Colonel Lamon, a Government messenger, had an interview at Charleston with Governor Pickens and General Beauregard.— Times, Marsh 20.

—The rumors from Charleston are very conflicting concerning the evacuation of Fort Sumter. One report states that Major Anderson is strengthening his position; another that he has received orders to evacuate the fort and report himself for duty at Newport barracks, and that the officers are packing their goods in expectation of immediate departure. The truth of the matter will probably be known in a day or two.—Evening Post.

March 28.—Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, sent a message to the convention of that State, informing it that six hundred men would be required to garrison the forts in Charleston harbor; besides giving other important details respecting the financial condition of the State.*

—The actual vote of the State of Louisiana on secession is given by the New Orleans papers of to-day as follows: For secession, 20,448; against it, 17,29G. — World, April 4.

March 80.—The Mississippi State Convention, at Jackson, ratified the Constitution of the Confederate States, by a vote of 78 to 7. — Tribune, April 1

Categories: civil war, Education, events, headlines, historic preservation, history, Maine, preservation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: