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.

  [Sidenote] Ibid., Nov 28, 1860, W.R.  Vol.  I., p. 77.

If Major Anderson had added no further word to the clear and straightforward statement and recommendation thus far quoted, his professional judgment and manly sense of duty would stand honorably vindicated before posterity.  But his language of loyalty, of wisdom, of humanity, of soldierly devotion, which ought to have elicited a reply as inspiring as a drum-roll or a trumpet-blast, brought him no kindred echo.  There was fear in the Executive Mansion, conspiracy in the Cabinet, treason and intrigue in the War Department.  Chilling instructions came that he might employ civilians in fatigue and police duty, and that he might send his proposed party of laborers to Castle Pinckney.  Meanwhile some of his suggestions would be under consideration; besides, he was cautioned to send his communications to the Adjutant-General or Secretary of War, with the evident purpose to forestall and prevent any patriotic order or suggestion which might otherwise reach him from General Scott.

Nevertheless, Anderson did not weary in his manifest duty.  His letters of November 28 and December 1, though perhaps not as full and urgent, are substantial repetitions of his former recommendations.  The growing excitement of the Charleston populace and the increasing danger to the forts are restated with emphasis.  He says that there appears to be a romantic desire urging the South Carolinians to have possession of Fort Moultrie.  Various reports come, that as soon as the State should secede the forts would be demanded, and if not surrendered, they would be taken.  All rumors and remarks indicate a fixed purpose to have these works.  The Charlestonians are drilling nightly, and making every preparation for the fight which they say must take place.

  [Sidenote] Anderson to Adjutant-General, Nov. 28, 1860.  W.R.  Vol. 
  I., pp. 78-9.

  [Sidenote] Ibid., Dec. 1, 1860.  W.R.  Vol.  I. pp. 81-2.

Once more he repeated that the security of Fort Moultrie would be more greatly increased by throwing garrisons into Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter than by anything that could be done in strengthening its own defenses.  He sent a detailed report of his command to force again upon the attention of the Department his fatal deficiency in numbers, and to show the practical impossibility of repelling an assault, or resisting a siege with any reasonable hope of success.  His letters reached the same inevitable conclusion:  “The question for the Government to decide—­and the sooner it is done the better—­is, whether, when South Carolina secedes, these forts are to be surrendered or not.  If the former, I must be informed of it, and instructed what course I am to pursue.  If the latter be the determination, no time is to be lost in either sending troops, as already suggested, or vessels of war to this harbor.  Either of these courses may cause some of the doubting States to join South Carolina.  I shall go steadily on preparing for the worst, trusting hopefully in the God of battles to guard and guide me in my course.”

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