Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches
					127
	       Letter to the Post.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
	SOUTH CAROLINA.
		      
     {From an Occasional Correspondent.}
The Lull The Attack on Sumter Deferred Offend-
  ed Parties Major Anderson s Position The Har-
  bor Obstructions Swept Away The New Flag.
	CHARLESTON, S. C., February 3, 1861.
  During the latter half of the past week there has
been something of a lull in that portion of the dra-
ma of revolution here enacting.  The legislature
adjourned sine die, as you know, on Monday night
most of its members returning home within the two
subsequent days, thereby effecting a considera-
ble diminution in the number of guests at the Mills
and the Charleston hotels, and in the concourse
which nightly assembled in the halls of the same.
The crowd now thronging to those popular infor-
mal congresses is only exceptionally worthy of the
title.  One sees, perhaps, not more military caps and
uniforms, but in the absence of civilians these
naturally preponderate.  I may add of our late law-
makers, that all were of respectable and many of
distinguished appearance.x  Generally middle-aged,
attired in black, (in recognition of a once universal
American fashion which New York has learned to
ignore, after the English model,) my remarks in a
previous letter on the patrician physique of South
Carolinians will apply particularly to those consti-
tuting her recent legislature.
            THE ATTACK ON SUMTER DEFERRED.
  It broke up leaving us to discuss Fort Sumter, and
make preparations to take it.  Up to Thursday I
believe, the popular impression was that an assault
was imminent.  Now we have deferred it, and are
all looking to the action of the convention of se-
ceding states which meets to-morrow at Montgo-
mery, Alabama.  It is felt that nothing can be
hoped from Washington in response to the ultima-
tum of South Carolina, and that Colonel Hayne, un-
recognised or only dubiously admitted in his official
capacity, had better come home.  When the de-
mand for the rendition of Fort Sumter shall be
made in the name of a southern confederacy,
though as yet consisting but of six states, the gov-
ernment, however unwilling to grant it, will be ob-
liged to do so or accept the alternative of civil war.
That is how we stand at present.
  There are reasons within reasons, of course, for
this assent to temporary inactivity.  Some of our
cannon on James and Morris islands lack gun-car-
riages, we want more ammunition, and the floating
battery is incomplete.  I visited it yesterday; it
promises to be more formidable than I had antici-
pated.  The taller end, that where the cannon will
be placed, now presents a front of over seventy feet
in width, while eight port-holes are prepared for

[Gunn s handwriting]
     x See Page 189.

[newspaper clipping: second column]
their accommodation.  It then rises from the bot-
tom to a height of about twenty feet, and is at least
seventy in width from front to rear.  Carpenters
are at work on it continually.
  Notwithstanding these reasons for holding back,
the pause offends many, the Rhett-Mercury party
particularly.  They would willingly precipitate
matters, in the hope of securing the adherence and
complicity of the dubious border states, which they
represent as alternately cajoled and bullied by you
Black Republicans.  Secretly, too, they denounce
and openly condemn Governor Pickens, who is
reaping a plentiful harvest of the thorns besetting
authority.  He has even been waited upon by belli-
gerent Charlestonians, whom he knows how to 
answer.  The popular feeling, always prone to ex-
treme views in times of revolution, sides with the
Mercury.  But for the fact that this one has been, 
from the outset, under the control of authority,
Fort Sumter would have been attacked long ago.
The name of it is beginning to sound like a re-
proach in the ears of the more susceptible and
fiery-tempered South Carolinians.  I heard one,
not two nights ago, declare that he felt his blood
boil whenever he heard it mentioned, that his state
was stultified, shamed and disgraced in the eyes of 
the world as long as that flag flew there; that the
tearing it down might be counted cheap at the
cost of a thousand lives, of which his own should
be cheerfully laid down as the foremost.  And he
unquestionably spoke his convictions.
	 ANDERSON S POSITION.
  Major Anderson is no doubt perfectly well ac-
quainted with all that transpires here and at Wash-
ington.  He gets his mails regularly, thanks to the
action of the Postmaster-General, who, in the op-
posite case, would have deprived all Charleston of
them; he is in almost daily communication with
the Governor.  I know nothing reliable of his ob-
taining food from the Charleston markets; were it
so, I think that the Mercury (which yesterday
called attention to the horrible treason involved in
a lady s smuggling a pound of wax candles under
her crinoline to the beleaguered garrison!) would 
have improved the opportunity.  It is now supposed
that the Major will not be reinforced; that he has
written to Washington requesting present absti-
nene from all attempts towards it.
         THE HARBOR OBSTRUCTIONS SWEPT AWAY.
  It could be done without much difficulty, in spite
of the batteries on Morris, on James and Sullivan s
Islands, of the watch-boats, rockets and blue-lights
which are, each night, ready to start into action
upon an alarm of any attempt to enter the harbor.
For, first of all, know that the five ships sunk in the
main channel have entirely disappeared not a
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and thirty-seven
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-02-03
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Charleston mercury.; Civil War; Clothing and dress; Flags; Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hayne, Colonel; James Island (S.C.); Journalism; Morris Island (S.C.); New York evening post.; Pickens, F.W.; Rhett, R.B.; Sullivan Island (S.C.)
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; New York, [New York]; Montgomery, Alabama; Washington, [District of Columbia]
Scan Date:2010-05-11

 

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.