[Sidenote] Doubleday, “Forts Sumter and Moultrie,” p. 19.
According to this report, while Colonel Gardner had been remiss in a few minor details, he had in reality been vigilant, loyal, and efficient in main and important matters. He had foreseen the coming danger, had advised the Government, and called for reenforcements; had recommended not only strengthening the garrison of Moultrie, but the effective occupation of both Sumter and Castle Pinckney; and had made an effort in good faith to remove the public arms and goods from their exposed situation in the arsenal in the city of Charleston, to the security of the fort. Though Southern in feeling and pro-slavery in sentiment, he was true to his oath and his flag; and had he been properly encouraged and supported by his Government, would evidently have merited no reproach for inefficiency or indifference.
But the fatal entanglement of Buchanan’s Administration with the slavery extremists had the double effect of weakening loyalty in army officers and building up rebellion among the Southern people. Instead of heeding the advice of Colonel Gardner to reenforce the forts, it removed him from command, and within two months the President submitted silently to the taunt of the South Carolina rebel commissioners that it was in punishment for his loyal effort to save the Government property. Whatever the motive may have been, the Government was now fully warned, as early as November 11, a week before the first secession jubilee in Charleston, and more than a month before the passage of the secession ordinance, of the imminence of the insurrection and danger to the forts. General Scott had warned it, Colonel Gardner had warned it, and now again Major Porter, its special and confidential agent, had not only repeated that warning, but his report had been made the basis of Government discussion in the change of commanders.
The action of the Government was unusually prompt. On November 11, as we have seen, Major Porter made his written report, and on the 13th he delivered to Major Robert Anderson in New York the order to take command of the forts and forces in Charleston harbor. Major Anderson, suitably qualified by meritorious service, age, and rank, was deemed especially acceptable for the position because he was a Kentuckian by birth, and related by marriage to a prominent family of Georgia. Such sympathies as might influence him were supposed to be with the South, and his appointment would not, therefore, grate harshly on the susceptibilities of the Charlestonians.