The Surrender of Fort Sumter; First Union Dead

Sunday, April 14, 1861 News of the bombardment had spread to Washington, Boston and New York, where Walt Whitman purchased an extra near the Metropolitan Hotel. A crowd gathered around him as he read the news. Silence fell over them in the dark morning. After a minute or two, they faded away.1 In Washington, PresidentRead More

The Firing and Fires of Fort Sumter

Saturday, April 13, 1861 The second day of the bombardment of Fort Sumter began much like the first. The Confederate fire had slacked during the night to almost nothing. But at 4am, its rapidity increased and the Union soldiers found themselves taking shelter inside their casemates, eating whatever meager breakfast they could find. Major Anderson,Read More

The Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Friday, April 12, 1861 The small row boat carrying the three messengers sent to Fort Sumter docked on James Island around 4am. They carried Anderson’s regret that he could not surrender and orders from General Beauregard to fire upon the Federal fort at 4:30. Orders had been given to watch for a signal shot fromRead More

Open Fire In One Hour

Thursday, April 11, 1861 Near the hour of three o’clock, an officer of Fort Sumter watched a small boat bearing a white flag make it’s way out to the fort. It landed and three gentlemen stepped walked towards him. James Chesnut, ex-Senator and now aide de camp for General Beauregard, asked if they could meetRead More

The Treachery of Mr. Fox

Tuesday, April 9, 1861 The mail going to and from Fort Sumter had been cut off. However, not only was it stopped, the last bag of mail was seized and read by the Confederates. The bag was brought to Governor Pickens’s office where he, General Beauregard and Judge Andrew Gordon Magrath were gathered. It wasRead More

Charleston Learns of Fort Sumter Mission

Monday, April 8, 1861 At two o’clock in the afternoon, a secretary for the Confederate Commissioners in Washington called upon Secretary of State Seward at his office. Having been informed that they would be dropping by, Seward was absent, leaving a letter dated March 15 in his place. It was formal and full of harshRead More

Faith as to Sumter Fully Kept. Wait and see.

Sunday, April 7, 1861 The squeeze was being put to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter. The Confederate Commissioners, still in Washington had received a telegram from South Carolina Governor Pickens attempting to suss out the conflicting rumors. They wired back that they were going to call upon Secretary of State Seward the next day atRead More

Tying Up Loose Ends with the Powhatan, Lincoln, Seward and Welles

Saturday, April 6, 1861 A messenger from Captain Israel Vogdes, commander of the troops that were to reinforce Fort Pickens, arrived in Washington to see the President. This story will take some telling, so hold on. Back on March 12th, General Scott had ordered Fort Pickens to be reinforced. The USS Brooklyn was selected forRead More

The USS Powhatan Ordered to be in Two Places at Once

Friday, April 5, 1861 Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles sent the orders to put Fox’s plan to resupply Sumter into action. Lincoln had read, approved and signed the orders giving Captain Samuel Mercer, commander of the USS Powhatan instructions to ready his ship and assume command over the Pocahontas, Pawnee and Harriet Lane forRead More

Virginia Totters on the Edge; Orders for Sumter

Thursday, April 4, 1861 Union sympathy in the deeper South was gone. The trip Lamon and Hurlbut made to Charleston proved that. But what about Virginia? The border state had been holding an on again, off again secession convention since early January. Lincoln, wishing to take the true pulse of nationalism in Virginia, sent George W.Read More