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					47
	Letter to the  Evening Post. 

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
intended reinforcements to Major Anderson would
be incontinently subjugated or slaughtered by the
troops of South Carolina.*  And he read, at the
cost of a good deal of patience and some pushing,
the written echoes of these reports upon the Mer-
cury s bulletin, and the milder, more truthful ones
of the Courier.
  It was within an hour of noon, (I may remark, in-
cidentally, of a bright, sunny, lovely morning, befit-
ting a New York May,) when very much had been
done in the way of marching and countermarching
on the part of military young South Carolina, both
horse and foot, and uniforms were yet conspicuous
in the streets, when that  denominated Broad ex-
perienced a new sensation.  This was Lieutenant
Hall, with a flag of truce and a message from
Major Anderson to Governor Pickens.  Rumor and
the mob went before, beside and behind him, leav-
ing a broad trail in the rear.  The first pronounced
him a captured officer from the supposed sunken
steamer, one charged with offering terms of sur-
render of Fort Sumter, a spy, Major Anderson
himself; and the second regarded him anxiously.
I overheard suggestions of lynching him.  But on
he marched, accompanied by some South Carolina
officials, looking neither to the right nor the left 
first, mistakenly, to the City Hall, thence to the
Governor s residence on Meeting street.  Here he
remained for two and a half hours, the crowd await-
ing his appearance on the sunny street.  At 2 o clock
a carriage and two aids of the Governor relieved
him from their further attentions.
  You are acquainted with Major Anderson s mes-
sage and the Governor s answer.  We did not know
either till towards sunset, hence we spent the in-
tervening space in conjecture  The correspond-
ence, communicated to the legislature in evening
session, had scarcely elicited a unanimous burst of
assent to the resolutions proposed by Mr. Mullins,
endorsing the Governor s justification of the firing
into the Star of the West, when another message
from Major Anderson was placed before it, the more
pacific nature of which scarcely reached the public
ear till this morning.  So Major Ripley s  practice
firing  at Fort Moultrie startled us into running
hither and thither, inquiring whether Major Ander-
son had, indeed, fulfilled his supposed threat of
cannonading that fortification, and Charleston went 
to bed in an unpleasant state of uncertainty as to
the circumstances which might attend her awaken-
ing.  As usual, occasional rockets soared into the
night air, suggestive of treacherous  blue light 
communication between Fort Sumter and sympa-
thizers with its gallant defender within the revolted
city, and so sleep came done on man and Wed-
nesday ended.

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
  To-day has passed but a dull day a calm after a
little storm, but a treacherous one, ominous of a
greater.  We read in the newspapers of our yes-
terday s achievements, duly glorified, of  who
fired the first shot,  and of Washington vacilla-
tions, which were considered pacific, though not of
that character implied by the text,  First PURE, then
peaceful.   We even congratulated each other as
though those  fifteen or seventeen shots  had
achieved us a victory, unmindful or unregardful of
the echo they would create throughout the North.
We felicitated ourselves on the secession of Missis-
sippi, our first follower, and talked despitefully of
Alabama, whom we were all praising two days ago.
We spoke confidently of Louisiana, hoped that
North Carolina would emulate the example of
Georgia in taking her forts, execrated Tennessee,
and rather distrusted the action of Virginia, in spite
of the provocation of Harper s Ferry.  And the
wind blew the dust about our quiet, sunny streets,
and the day wore on, rumor growing rife again to-
wards the evening.
  As I write now, it is asserted that the Brooklyn
has been despatched hither upon the same errand
as the Star of the West, but prepared for resist-
ance, and less confidently urged that the last-named
steamer will accompany her.  What had been be-
fore projected, the blockading of the only channel
by which she can approach, by the sinking of a ship,
has been certainly accomplished.  So to-morrow
may witness the recommencement of hostilities.
There is no possibility of withdrawal on the part of 
this people; they have sown the wind and must
reap the whirlwind, and it is upon them.
  A paragraph or so [word missing] to the normal aspect of re-
volution here, and I conclude.  All business has
ceased in Charleston, and there must be, unques-
tionably, great suffering among the poorer classes,
though we read nothing and say little about it.
That either the city or the revolution is in the hands
of a ruffian mob, who overawe the more decent por-
tion of the citizens and compel them to contribute
whatever they may choose to demand, is simply not
true, as yet.  We may very possibly grow to it.
We are none the less living under as complete a
reign of terror as that of the first French revolution.
It is all the more perfect from its extreme quiet-
ness, from there being but few outward indications
of it, though these are suggestive enough.  Suspi-
cion, as Thackeray wrote of snobbery in England,
is  in the air ; we breathe it and are part of it.
As in Fauquier Tinville s time, we are all conjugat-
ing the verb,  I am suspected, thou are suspected,
he is suspected,  and with reason.  To be a South
Carolinian seems the only recognised guaranty of a
man s political opinions; every northerner is dis-
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page fifty-five
Description:Includes Gunn's newspaper account of the firing upon the ''Star of the West'' written for the ''Evening Post.''
Date:1861-01-10
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Brooklyn (Ship); Charleston courier.; Charleston mercury.; Civil War; Flags; Fort Moultrie (S.C.); Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hall, Lieutenant; Journalism; Military; Mullins; New York evening post.; Pickens, F.W.; Poverty; Ripley, R.S.; Secession; Star of the West (Ship)
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; Harper's Ferry, Virginia; Mississippi; Louisiana; Alabama; North Carolina; Georgia; Virginia; Tennessee
Coverage (Street):Meeting Street
Scan Date:2010-05-07

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen
Description:Describes Gunn's experience as a correspondent for ""The New York Evening Post"" in Charleston, South Carolina, in the aftermath of South Carolina's secession from the federal government, including a conflict between A.H. Colt and Mr. Woodward, a visit to Sullivan's Island, John Mitchel's tale of assisting with the lynching of an abolitionist, attending a celebration in honor of Benjamin Mordecai, Will Waud's arrival in Charleston, the scene in Charleston the day the ''Star of the West'' was fired upon by the Morris Island battery, pistol and rifle practice with various Charlestonians, a rumor in New York about his having been tarred and feathered in Charleston, a visit to the quarters of the ''Richland Rifles,'' witnessing a slave auction, and a visit to Colonel Bull's home.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Secession; Slavery; Slaves; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Charleston, South Carolina
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.