Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Official Reports of the Operations in Charleston Harbor, S. C., December 20, 1860 – April 14, 1861: No. 26. – Joint reports of Maj. D. R. Jones, Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army; and Col. Charles Allston, jr., Commander H. T. Hartstene, C. S. Navy, and Messrs. William Porcher Miles and Roger A. Pryor, aides-de-camp

No. 26.

Joint reports of Maj. D. R. Jones, Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army; and Col. Charles Allston, jr., Commander H. T. Hartstene, C. S. Navy,  and Messrs. William Porcher Miles and Roger A. Pryor, aides-de-camp.

CHARLESTON, April 15, 1861.

SIR: We, the undersigned, beg leave to submit the following report of our visit to Fort Sumter, and of our interview with Major Anderson, on Saturday, the 13th instant, in obedience to your orders.

We arrived at the fort about a quarter to 3 o'clock p.m.; were met at the wharf by Captain Seymour, and were at once conducted to the presence of Major Anderson. We informed him that we came from you to say that, on learning the fort was in flames, and his flag down, you had sent Colonels Miles and Pryor and Captain Lee, members of your staff, to offer any assistance in your power, and that as soon as his flag of truce was hoisted you sent us to receive any propositions he might wish to make. Major Anderson said an exceedingly disagreeable and embarrassing mistake had occurred; that his flagstaff had been shot down, but that as soon as it could be done his flag was again hoisted.

Just at this time it was reported to him that General Wigfall was outside the fort demanding to see the commanding officer. Major Anderson said that he went out and met General Wigfall, who told him that he came from General Beauregard to demand the surrender of the fort, and urged Major Anderson to haul down his flag and run up a flag of truce; that General Beauregard would give him the same terms offered before the conflict began. Major Anderson then stated that he was much surprised to learn from Colonels Miles and Pryor and Captain Lee, who had arrived at the fort soon after he had lowered his flag, that although General Wigfall was on the staff of General Beauregard, he had been two days away from him, and was acting on the staff of some general on Morris Island; that as soon as he (Major Anderson) learned this, he told Captain Lee that he would immediately run up his flag and recommence his firing.

Major Anderson then read to us a note which he had sent to you by the hands of Captain Lee, in which he said that he would surrender the fort on the same terms offered by you in your letter to him on the 11th instant. On learning this we told him that we were authorized to offer him those terms, excepting only the clause relating to the salute to the flag, to which Major Anderson replied it would be exceedingly gratifying to him, as well as to his command, to be permitted to salute their flag, having so gallantly defended the fort under such trying circumstances, and hoped that General Beauregard would not refuse it, as such a privilege was not unusual. We told him we were not authorized to grant that privilege, and asked him what his answer would be if not permitted to salute his flag. He said he would not urge the point, but would prefer to refer the matter again to you, and requested us to see you again and get your reply.

Major Anderson requested us to say to Governor Pickens and yourself that, as an evidence of his desire to save the public property as much as possible, he had three times on Friday and twice on Saturday sent his men up to extinguish the fire under the heavy fire of our batteries, and when the magazines were in imminent danger of being blown up.

We then returned to the city and reported to you substantially as above.

We have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servants,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Colonel and A. D.C.
Brig. Gen. G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Provisional Army.

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 14, 1861.

GENERAL: In accordance with your order we have the honor to take the following report:

On Saturday, April 13, at about 7 o'clock p.m., we proceeded to Fort Sumter by your order to arrange finally the conditions of the evacuation. We presented your communication to Major Anderson, who, after perusing it, read it aloud to his officers, all of whom, we believe, were present. The major expressed himself much gratified with the tenor of the communication and the generous terms agreed to by you. We inquired of Major Anderson when he desired to leave, He said as soon as possible, and suggested 9 o'clock the next morning. It was arranged that the Catawba or some other steamer should convey the major and his command either directly to New York or put them on board the United States fleet then lying outside the bar, according as one or the other plan might be agreed upon after a conference with the commander of the fleet. Major Anderson requested us to take Lieutenant Snyder down to the fleet for the purpose of arranging the matter. This Captain Hartstene undertook to do.

We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servants,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Brigadier-General BEAUREGARD,
Comdg. Provisional Army, C. S. A.

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. 64-6; This report is quoted in Samuel Wylie Crawford’s The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861, p. 442.

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