washington, D. C, April 4, 1861.
Major Robert Anderson, U. S. Army:
Sir: Your letter of the 1st instant occasions some anxiety to the President.
On the information of Captain Fox he had supposed you could hold out till the 15th instant without any great inconvenience; and had prepared an expedition to relieve you before that period.
Hoping still that you will be able to sustain yourself till the nth or 12th instant, the expedition will go forward ; and, finding your flag flying, will attempt to provision you, and, in case the effort is resisted, will endeavor also to re-enforce you.
You will therefore hold out, if possible, till the arrival of the expedition.
It is not, however, the intention of the President to subject your command to any danger or hardship beyond what, in your judgment, would be usual in military life; and he has entire confidence that you will act as becomes a patriot and soldier, under all circumstances.
Whenever, if at all, in your judgment, to save yourself and command, a capitulation becomes a necessity, you are authorized to make it.
Secretary of War.
SOURCES: Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 382