[Sidenote] Foster to De Russy, Nov. 14, 1860, W.R. Vol. I., p. 73.
By the 14th of November Captain Foster had removed the sand which had drifted against the walls, repaired the latter, and supplied certain expedients in the way of temporary obstructions and defenses which were suggested by his professional skill, and available within his resources. “I have made these temporary defenses as inexpensive as possible,” he writes, “and they consist simply of a stout board fence ten feet high, surmounted by strips filled with nail-points, with a dry brick wall two bricks thick on the inside, raised to the height of a man’s head, and pierced with embrasures and a sufficient number of loop-holes. Their immediate construction has satisfied and gratified the commanding officer, Colonel Gardiner, and they are, I think, adequate to the present wants of the garrison.”
Of what avail, however, all the resources of engineering science, where forts were absolutely soldierless, and their walls without even a solitary sentinel? This was the condition of Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, after weeks of warning and positive entreaty to the Government at Washington, by engineer, inspectors, and commandants alike, all without having brought one word of encouragement or a single recruit.
But though the President and Secretary of War neglected their proper duty, Captain Foster did not remit his efforts. The exposed condition of these two priceless forts was the daily burden of his thoughts. Under Colonel Gardiner he had asked for forty muskets to arm his workmen to defend Sumter. The engineer bureau at Washington, seconding the suggestion, had obtained the approval of the Secretary of War, and had issued the order to the storekeeper of the Charleston arsenal. But when the matter was brought to the notice of Colonel Gardiner he objected. He was unwilling that this expedient, of doubtful utility at best, should serve as an excuse to the Secretary of War to refuse to send him the substantial reenforcement of two regular companies and fifty drilled recruits which he had requested.
[Sidenote] Foster to De Russy, Nov. 24, 1860. W.R. Vol. I., p. 77.
[Sidenote] Ibid., Dec. 2, 1860.
[Sidenote] Indorsement, Dec. 6 and 7. W.R. Vol. I., pp. 83, 84.
[Sidenote] Wright to Foster, Nov. 28, 1860. W.R. Vol. I., p. 78.
[Sidenote] Foster to De Russy, Dec. 2, 1860.
[Sidenote] Indorsement, Dec. 6 and 7.
It has already been stated how Colonel Gardiner, instead of obtaining his reenforcements, lost his command, and as a consequence Captain Foster’s order for the forty muskets was duly put to slumber in a pigeon-hole at the arsenal. When Major Anderson arrived and assumed control he not only, as we have seen, repeated the demand for additional troops, but recognizing at a glance the immense interests at stake had himself renewed to Captain Foster the suggestion about arming some engineer workmen. Captain Foster promptly made the application to the department for permission, and soon after for arms. Permission came in due course of mail; but by this time Secretary Floyd would issue no order for the hundred muskets asked for.