In and Around Fort Sumter

Tuesday, February 26, 1861

When last we left Fort Sumter, we learned that it was not for sale. Since that time, military conditions outside the fort, around Rebel-held Charleston Harbor, were improving (from a Southern point of view). According to Sumter’s officers, the Rebels were constructing a new battery on Cummings Point as well as at Fort Johnson. Major Anderson was moving some of his guns around so they would be mostly out of danger of a flanking fire.

The Rebel troops at Fort Moultrie had been practicing their artillery fire. Their fire was concentrated on the main ship channel in order to counter attack any US ships that might attempt to enter the harbor or reinforce Fort Sumter.

South Carolina had three mortar guns prior to the military build up and Anderson had heard of three more coming not long ago. Fort Moultrie seemed to be preparing to receive a couple.

US forces in Fort Sumter were carefully noting the smallest changes to the surrounding forts and batteries. There really wasn’t much else to do. Mail and supplies were still coming from town, but these supplies didn’t seem to include lumber.

Captain Foster reported that he was taking down a third temporary building to use the wood as fuel. He had his eye on two other buildings and a few gun carriages for similar purposes.1


In Washington, President-elect Lincoln was besieged by office seekers and lobbyists. Seward was, of course, there, along with Vice-president-elect Hannibal Hamlin, who brought along a few senators to talk Lincoln into doing something to keep the border slave states (Maryland, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Delaware) from seceding.

Lincoln then dropped in on the Senate, asking the Republican senators who they would pick for the Secretary of the Treasury position. Salmon P. Chase won in this little impromptu election, but Lincoln would have the final say.

In the evening, Lincoln was again asked to back away from things that he had said. His speeches en route to Washington had rankled more than a few Virginians. He entertained the Southerners with stories and repeated that he didn’t believe slavery should extend into the territories. They basically agreed to disagree.2

  1. Official Records Vol. 1, p185-187. []
  2. Days of Defiance by Maury Klein. []
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