Under the fire of the seventeen mortars in the rebel batteries, Anderson could reply only with a vertical fire from the guns of small caliber in his casemates, which was of no effect against the rebel bomb-proofs of sand and roofs of sloping railroad iron; but, refraining from exposing his men to serve his barbette guns, his garrison was also safe in its protecting casemates. It happened, therefore, that although the attack was spirited and the defense resolute, the combat went on for a day and a half without a single casualty. It came to an end on the second day only when the cartridges of the garrison were exhausted, and the red-hot shot from the rebel batteries had set the buildings used as officers’ quarters on fire, creating heat and smoke that rendered further defense impossible.
There was also the further discouragement that the expedition of relief which Anderson had been instructed to look for on the eleventh or twelfth, had failed to appear. Several unforeseen contingencies had prevented the assembling of the vessels at the appointed rendezvous outside Charleston harbor, though some of them reached it in time to hear the opening guns of the bombardment. But as accident had deranged and thwarted the plan agreed upon, they could do nothing except impatiently await the issue of the fight.
A little after noon of April 13, when the flagstaff of the fort had been shot away and its guns remained silent, an invitation to capitulate with the honors of war came from General Beauregard, which Anderson accepted; and on the following day, Sunday, April 14, he hauled down his flag with impressive ceremonies, and leaving the fort with his faithful garrison, proceeded in a steamer to New York.
President’s Proclamation Calling for Seventy-five Regiments—Responses of the Governors—Maryland and Virginia—The Baltimore Riot—Washington Isolated—Lincoln Takes the Responsibility—Robert E. Lee—Arrival of the New York Seventh—Suspension of Habeas Corpus—The Annapolis Route—Butler in Baltimore—Taney on the Merryman Case—Kentucky—Missouri—Lyon Captures Camp Jackson—Boonville Skirmish—The Missouri Convention—Gamble made Governor—The Border States
The bombardment of Fort Sumter changed the political situation as if by magic. There was no longer room for doubt, hesitation, concession, or compromise. Without awaiting the arrival of the ships that were bringing provisions to Anderson’s starving garrison, the hostile Charleston batteries had opened their fire on the fort by the formal order of the Confederate government, and peaceable secession was, without provocation, changed to active war. The rebels gained possession of Charleston harbor; but their mode of obtaining it awakened the patriotism of the American people to a stern determination that the insult to the national authority and flag should be redressed, and the unrighteous experiment of a rival government founded on slavery as its corner-stone should never succeed. Under the conflict thus begun the long-tolerated barbarous institution itself was destined ignobly to perish.