Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.
had returned to the humdrum of their routine employments.  It was, therefore, in uninterrupted quiet that on the 23d of November he in company with Captain Foster made a tour of inspection to the different forts, and on the same day wrote out and transmitted to the War Department a somewhat detailed report of what he saw with eyes fresh to the scenes and surroundings, which, as he already felt, were to become the subjects of his most intense solicitude.  On the main point, indeed, there was no room for doubt.  Agreeing with General Scott, with Colonel Gardner, and with Major Porter, he gave the Government its fourth warning that the harbor must be immediately and strongly reenforced.

  [Sidenote] Anderson to Adjutant-General, November 23, 1860.  W.R. 
  Vol.  I., p. 74.

...  The garrison now in it [Moultrie] is so weak as to invite an attack, which is openly and publicly threatened.  We are about sixty, and have a line of rampart of 1500 feet in length to defend.  If beleaguered, as every man of the command must be either engaged or held on the alert, they will be exhausted and worn down in a few days and nights of such service as they would then have to undergo.

Such, in brief, was the condition of the fort he had been sent to hold.  Moultrie was clearly the weak point of the situation.  Already informed, to some extent at least, by the superior military genius of General Scott, in his recent interviews with that distinguished commander, Major Anderson now more forcibly, from personal inspection, comprehended its strong points.  What was then perfectly obvious to the trained military insight of Scott and Anderson is now in the light of historical events quite as obvious to the civilian.  Look at any good map of Charleston harbor, and it will be seen that the city lies on the extreme point of a tongue of land between the Ashley and Cooper rivers, every part being within easy range under the guns of Castle Pinckney, on a small island, three-quarters of a mile distant.  Four miles to seaward is the mouth of the harbor, and nearly midway therein stood the more extensive and imposing work of Fort Sumter, its guns not only sweeping all the approaches and ship-channels, but the shores and islands on either hand.  It needs but a glance at the map to see that with proper garrisons and armaments Fort Sumter commanded the harbor. and Castle Pinckney commanded the city.

If the Government could hitherto plead ignorance of these advantages against the rising insurrection, that excuse was no longer left after the report of Major Anderson.  In this same report he calls attention to them in detail.  Though not in a complete state of defense, he gives notice that Fort Sumter “is now ready for the comfortable accommodation of one company, and indeed for the temporary reception of its proper garrison.  Captain Foster states that the magazines (four) are done and in excellent condition; that they now contain forty thousand pounds of cannon-powder and a full supply of ammunition for one tier of guns.  This work [Sumter] is the key to the entrance of this harbor; its guns command this work [Moultrie], and could soon drive out its occupants.  It should be garrisoned at once.”

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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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