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	Letter to the  Evening Post. 

[newspaper clipping: first column]
     {From an Occasional Correspondent.}
The Question of Fort Sumter Secret Preparations
  for the Attack The South Carolina Batteries A
  Belligerent Attitude The Rebel Flag General
	CHARLESTON, S. C., January 28, 1861.
  Amid the prodigious amount of unsolicited cor-
respondence with which Governor Pickens is at
present favored, there appeared a few days ago, in
an envelope bearing a northern postmark, the fol-
lowing bill:
 Major Anderson, U. S. A.:
	Dr. to the state of South Carolina,
One month s occupation of Fort Sumter   .$300 
  Whether intended as a Black Republican taunt
at the expense of the assumed creditor, or a stimu-
lant to the issuing of a writ of ejection at the can-
non s mouth, your occasional correspondent will
not take upon himself to decide.  It is certain, how-
ever, that the anonymous inditer hit upon the sub-
ject which, just now, is exercising all men s minds
in relation to this state and city.
   Will Fort Sumter be attacked, and when? 
these are the questions.  To the former of them I
have ventured upon a qualified assent, nor have
the past two days produced anything to induce a
a retraction of that opinion.  The preparations are
going on, secretly, swiftly and surely.  Not so much
of the first, though, as to prevent certain particu-
lars becoming matters of current conversation in
  Look upon the map of this city and its harbor,
and you will see at the near end of Morris Island,
where it approaches closest say to within three
quarters of a mile of a Fort Sumter a cape known
as Pelican s Point.  To that spot have been trans-
ported three columbiads, a 42-pound cannon, and
a formidable mortar, with ample supplies of shot
and shell, but, as yet what is estimated as an in-
sufficient quantity of gunpowder.  I have already
spoken of the strict military discipline forbidding
visits to James Island, hence accounts vary so
widely that nothing definite is ascertainable relative
to the batteries at Fort Johnson; they are, however,
approaching completion.  In addition to which, the
exercise of the most jealous caution does not pre-
vent our hearing of the construction of floating
batteries, though in what locality can only be
guessed at.
  On the opposite shore of Sullivan s Island, Fort
Moultrie, under the direction of Major Ripley, once
of the United States army, (the author, I believe,
of a History of the Mexican War,) has almost
attained its utmost state of efficiency.  Viewing it
shorewards from the main channel, you see on the

[newspaper clipping: second column]
ramparts huge heaps of sand-bags, covered with 
hides and faced with stout palmetto logs, while the
grim mouths of loaded cannon peer out from nar-
row embrasures similarly protected at least nine
of them levelled straight at Fort Sumter.  Inside,
I am informed, the aspect of the place is ominously
warlike, shot and shell and grape piled in sinister
symmetry beside the gun-carriages, the oven for
heating shot ready for instant use, the powder
magazine literally buried in sand-bags, and great
mounds of the same here, there, and everywhere.
  So, belligerently disposed and only biding her
time till everything be perfected and the word
given, South Carolina stands at the present hour.
And as resolute in his strong island fortress, with
the beautiful vilified flag of his country flying in
persistent disdain of the red, the white, the green
palmetto trees and half-moons on the antagonistic
ensigns which flout it on every side, wait Major
Anderson and his little band equal to whatever
lies before them.  Averse, as he has declared him-
self, to the shedding of fratricidal blood, the Major
will certainly neither surrender the fort at the sum-
mons of the state, nor hesitate to defend it to the
utmost; and as certainly South Carolina is pre-
committed to the attempt, come when it may.
  The popular impression here at present is that a
heavy, continuous bombardment, kept up from all
available quarters for, say twenty-four hours, must
effect a breach in the walls of Fort Sumter; that
the Major s force is insufficient to enable him to
work more than a few of his guns; that his ammu-
nition will be exhausted, when the fortress can be
carried by assault and escalade.  I need add nothing
to my previous testimony as to the spirit and desire
of the troops.  The young Pole who was accident-
ally shot the other day, and who died regretting that
his comrades would attack Fort Sumter without 
him, may be considered the sample exponent of the
popular feeling there are hundreds like him.
  You will see by the proceedings of the legislature
that we have adopted definite colors for a state flag,
not before it was necessary, for bad taste had run
riot in the ensigns before alluded to.  The colors
are undeniably pretty a dark blue ground with a
golden palmetto on a white oval in the centre, a
white crescent, the horns upwards, in the upper
flag-staff corner.  I commend you, too, to the re-
ports of our legislature relative to the advisability
of placing the arsenal in charge of the cadets, in-
stead of the volunteer troops, for confirmation of my
remarks as to the occasional insubordination and
inebriety of some of the latter.  The captain, Cun-
ningham, who proposed a reconsideration of the
report which he had previously submitted to the
legislature, on the ground that it had been disputed,
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and fifteen
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Civil War; Cunningham, Jack; Flags; Fort Johnson (S.C.); Fort Moultrie (S.C.); Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; James Island (S.C.); Journalism; Military; Morris Island (S.C.); New York evening post.; Pickens, F.W.; Ripley, R.S.
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina
Scan Date:2010-05-11


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.