The New York Times on Fort Sumter

by James Durney on April 12, 2011 · 0 comments

The New York Times

April 12, 1861

THE WAR IMMINENT.; Formal Demand for the Surrender of Fort Sumpter.  THE REFUSAL OF MAJ. ANDERSON.  The Bombardment Probably to Commence Immediately.  THE WAR FLEET OFF THE HARBOR.The Entire Government Forces Destined for Charleston. WARLIKE PREPARATIONS AT SAVANNAH.Departure of the Southern Commissioners from Washington. DISPATCH TO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

CHARLESTON, Wednesday, April 10. The Floating Battery is now in position, commanding the barbette guns of Fort Sumpter. It carries two thirty-four-pounders, two fortytwo-pounders, and sixty-four men. The Federal steamers are expected to-night. The city is filled with troops. CHARLESTON, Thursday, April 11. An officer has just arrived from Sullivan’s Island, and informs me that three steamers were seen hovering off the coast yesterday for a considerable time. Major ANDERSON fired a signal gun at 10 o’clock A.M. An opening on Fort Sumpter by the batteries is expected every moment. The Battery is crowded with people who wait in anxious expectancy. The troops continue to pour into the city, and all business is suspended. CHARLESTON, Thursday, April 11. The Citadel Cadets are guarding the Battery with heavy cannon, and thousands are waiting there to see the attack commence. One thousand mounted men and two thousand patrols, heavily armed, are guarding the city. Absolute secrecy is still observed as to all future movements. CHARLESTON, Thursday, April 11. I am enabled to send you important information exclusively. Ex-Senator CHESNUT, the Special Aid of the Governor, sent with Col. CHISHOLM and one of Gen. BEAUREGARD’s Staff, has just returned from Fort Sumpter with Major ANDERSON’s reply to the demand for an unconditional surrender. The answer returned is at present denied to me at headquarters, but there is no doubt that it is a flat refusal. Every man capable of bearing arms is called out.

CHARLESTON, Thursday, April 11. The excitement in the city has been intense, in consequence of rumors that a demand had been made for Fort Sumpter, and if refused, that an engagement would take place this evening at 8 o’clock. The demand for the evacuation of Fort Sumpter was made at 2 o’clock this afternoon, and Messrs. CHESNUT, CHISHOLM and LEE were deputised to carry the message from Gen. BEAUREGARD. Thousands of people assembled on the Battery this evening, in anticipation of the commencement of the fight at 8 o’clock. Two hundred mounted guards patrol the city. No fight, however, has occurred yet. The Harriet Lane is reported to be off the bar, and signals are displayed by the guard-boats and answered by the batteries. Immense crowds are now at the different newspaper offices, eagerly watching for news. ROGER A. PRYOR, of Virginia, has received an appointment in Gen. BEAUREGARD’s Staff. At this time the excitement has mostly subsided, and no conflict is looked for to-night. One more regiment went down to Morris Island to-day. CHARLESTON, Thursday, April 11 — Midnight. Gen. BEAUREGARD, at 2 o’clock this afternoon, demanded the surrender of Fort Sumpter, which Major ANDERSON declined to accede to, probably with a reservation. A large portion of our people are collected on the wharves, and Battery, and every accessible point facing the harbor, anxiously awaiting the result. The military in the city are under arms, but all is quiet. Another regiment will arrive here to-morrow. It is estimated that between 6,000 and 7,000 men are stationed on Morris and Sullivan’s Islands, and points along the coast. Gen. BEAUREGARD will leave at midnight for Morris Island. It is reported that the Harriet Lane was seen off the bar this evening. LATER. — It is currently reported that negotiations will be opened to-morrow between Gen. BEAUREGARD and Major ANDERSON about the surrender of Port Sumpter. Officers commanding different posts in the harbor and coast are on the alert, expecting an attempt will be made early in the morning to provision and reinforce Fort Sumpter.

April 13, 1861

The First Gun Fired by Fort Moultrie Against Fort Sumpter.; THE BOMBARDMENT CONTINUED ALL DAY.   Spirited Return from Major Anderson’s Guns.   The Firing from Fort Sumpter Ceased for the Night.   Hostilities to Commence Again at Daylight.   The Correspondence which Preceded the Bombardment.   The Demand for a Surrender and Major Anderson’s Refusal. THE RELIEF FLEET OFF THE HARBOR.   How the News is Recieved in Washington.

CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The ball has opened. War is inaugurated. The batteries of Sullivan’s Island, Morris Island, and other points, were opened on Fort Sumpter at 4 o’clock this morning.

OUR CHARLESTON DISPATCHES. Fort Sumpter has returned the fire, and a brisk cannonading has been kept up. No information has been received from the seaboard yet. The military are under arms, and the whole of our population are on the streets. Every available space facing the harbor is filled with anxious spectators. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The firing has continued all day without intermission. Two of Fort Sumpter’s guns have been silenced, and it is reported that a breach has been made in the southeast wall. The answer to Gen. BEAUREGARD’S demand by Major ANDERSON that he would surrender when his supplies were exhausted, that is, if he was not reinforced. Not a casualty has yet happened to any of the forces. Of the nineteen batteries in position only seven have opened fire on Fort Sumpter, the remainder are held in reserve for the expected fleet. Two thousand men reached this city this morning and embarked for Morris Island and the neighborhood. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The bombardment of Fort Sumpter continues. The Floating Battery and Stephens Battery are operating freely, and Fort Sumpter is returning the fire. It is reported that three war vessels are outside the bar. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The firing has ceased for the night, but will be renewed at daylight in the morning, unless an attempt is made to reinforce, which ample arrangements have been made to repel. The Pawnee, Harriet Lane, and a third steamer are reported off the bar. Troops are arriving by every train.

LATER DISPATCHES — HOSTILITIES STILL PRODEEDING. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The bombardment is still going on every twenty minutes from our morters. It is supposed that Major ANDERSON is resting his ment for the night. Three vessels-of-war are reported outside. They cannot get in. The sea is rough. Nobody is hurt. The floating battery works well. Troops arrive hourly. Every inlet is guarded. There are lively times here. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. The firing on Fort Sumpter continues. There are reviving times on the “Palmetto coast.” CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12 — 3 A.M. It is utterly impossible to reinforce Fort Shmpter, to-night, as a storm is now raging. The morter batteries will be playing on Fort Sumpter all night. FROM ANOTHER CORRESPONDENT. CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12. Civil war has at last begun. A terrible fight is at this moment going on between Fort Sumpter and the fortifications by which it is surrounded. The issue was submitted to Major ANDERSON of surrendering as soon as his supplies were exhausted, or of having a fire opened on him within a certain time. This he refused to do, and accordingly, at twenty-seven minutes past four o’clock this morning Fort Moultrie began the bombardment by firing two guns. To these Major ANDERSON replied with three of his barbette guns, after which the batteries on Mount Pleasant, Cummings’ Point, and the Floating Battery opened a brisk fire of shot and shell. Major ANDERSON did not reply except at long intervals, until between 7 and 8 o’clock, when he brought into action the two tier of guns looking towards Fort Moultrie and Stevens iron battery. Up to this hour — 3 o’clock — they have failed to produce any serious effect. Major ANDERSON has the greater part of the day been directing his fire principally, against Fort Moultrie, the Stevens and Floating Battery, these and Fort Johnson being the only five operating against him. The remainder of the batteries are held in reserve. Major ANDERSON is at present using his lower tier of casemate ordnance. The fight is going on with intense earnestness, and will continue all night. The excitement in the community is indescribable. With the very first boom of the guns thousands rushed from their beds to the harbor front, and all day every available place has been thronged by ladies and gentlemen, viewing the spectacle through their glasses. The brilliant and patriotic conduct of Major ANDERSON speaks for itself. Business is entirely suspended. Only those stores open necessary to supply articles required by the Army. Gov. PICKENS has all day been in the residence of a gentleman which commands a view of the whole scene — a most interested observer. Gen. BEAUREGARD commands in person the entire operations. It is reported that the Harriet Lane has received a shot through her wheelhouse. She is in the offing. No other Government ships in sight up to the present moment, but should they appear the entire range of batteries will open upon them. Troops are pouring into the town by hundreds, but are held in reserve for the present, the force already on the island being ample. People are also arriving every moment on horseback, and by every other conveyance.

CHARLESTON, Friday, April 12 — 6 P.M. Capt. R.S. PARKER brings dispatches from the floating battery, stating that up to this time only two have been wounded on Sullivan’s Island. He had to row through Major ANDERSON’S warmest fire in a small boat. Senator WIGFALL in same manner bore dispatches to Morris Island, through the fire from Fort Sumpter. Senator CHESNUT, another member of the staff of Gen. BEAUREGARD, fired a gun, by way of amusement, from Mount Pleasant, which made a large hole in the parapet. Quite a number have been struck by spent pieces of shell and knocked down, but none hurt seriously. Many fragments of these missiles are already circulating in the city. The range is more perfect than in the morning and every shot from the land tells. Three ships are visible in the offing, and it is believed an attempt will be made to-night, to throw reinforcements into Fort Sumpter in small boats. It is also thought, from the regular and frequent firing of Major ANDERSON, that he has a much larger force of men than was supposed. At any rate, he is fighting bravely. There have been two rain storms during the day, but without effect upon the battle. Everybody is in a ferment. Some of those fighting are stripped to the waist.

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