Sunday, November 13, 2016

Major Robert Anderson to Colonel Lorenzo Thomas, April 5, 1861

No. 94.]
fort Sumter, S. C., April 5, 1861.
(Received A. G. O., April 8.)
Colonel L. Thomas, Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

Colonel: I have the honor to report everything still and quiet, and to send herewith the report of Lieutenant Snyder, whom I sent yesterday with a short note and a verbal message to the Governor of South Carolina. No reply has been received to my note.

I cannot but think that Mr. Crawford has misunderstood what he has heard in Washington, as I cannot think that the Government would abandon, without instructions and without advice, a command which has tried to do all its duty to our country.

I cannot but think that if the Government decides to do nothing which can be construed into a recognition of the fact of the dissolution of the Union, that it will, at all events, say to me that I must do the best I can, and not compel me to do an act which will leave my motives and actions liable to misconception.

I am sure that I shall not be left without instructions, even though they may be confidential. After thirty odd years of service I do not wish it to be said that I have treasonably abandoned a post and turned over to unauthorized persons public property intrusted to my charge. I am entitled to this act of justice at the hands of my Government, and I feel confident that I shall not be disappointed. What to do with the public property, and where to take my command, are questions to which answers will, I hope, be at once returned. Unless we receive supplies, I shall be compelled to stay here without food or to abandon this post very early next week.

Confidently hoping that I shall receive ample instructions in time,

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Robert Anderson,
Major First Artillery, Commanding.

SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 1 (Serial No. 1), p. 241; Samuel Wylie Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 391-2

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