Quiet Sunday of Reflection

Sunday, March 17, 1861

Sundays have found themselves to be fairly quiet. This may not have always been the case, war being what it is. But for the time being, Sundays were days of reflection.

While Lincoln attended church services with General Scott, Captain John G. Foster, at Fort Sumter was reflecting on the events of the day before in a letter to General Joseph Totten, Chief Engineer of the Federal Army.

The rebels fired all of their batteries in what Foster believed was a salute to the visit of an important official, perhaps Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens.

While the guns pointed at Fort Sumter fired only blank cartridges, every other gun fired live ammunition. Each gun, whether shotted or not, fired three times.

Said Foster: “This firing enabled me to detect the positions and approximate calibers of the guns in these batteries.”

He then presented a map of Cummings Point on the northern tip of Morris Island.

Many of the guns had been moved from Castle Pinckney to Cummings Point to concentrate more fire upon the channel between the point and Sumter. In fact, this is where all of the improvements had been. More and more pieces of artillery were being placed to cover the channel. Boats that would be steaming into the channel in order to, for example, resupply Fort Sumter, would have to suffer under the mouths of these batteries.1

  1. Official RecordsSeries 1, Vol 1, p206-207. []
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