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					145
	Letter to the  Evening Post. 

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
of Fort Sumter, by adding a sense of humiliation
which is rapidly becoming deep and universal.
Few Charlestonians now allude to the subject with-
out bitterly-expressed regrets that the fort was not
attacked upon its occupation by Major Anderson,
denunciations of the treachery of President Bu-
chanan, assertions that he has played false from
first to last with the people of South Carolina, and
abjurgations on General Scott.  Not one in fifty
but believes  there will be a fight,  the bloodier
for its postponement.  More temporary lulls may
intervene, the responsibility may be pushed off
even to the verge of Lincoln s inauguration, but it
must be grappled with, for the federal government
does unquestionably mean NOT to give up Fort
Sumter it has, at last, definitely avowed this, ac-
cording to the words of Colonel Hayne s despatch
to Governor Pickens,  a flat refusal, insulting in
its tone.   In this the  fine baited delay  which
leaves us as we were four weeks ago, bating mili-
tary preparation, has ended.  What excuse is there
for further waiting?
	COMMENCE OF CHARLESTON.
  The fort her own, Charleston would have achieved
a perfect success in secession; without it, nothing
but detriment has accrued to her individually.  Few
vessels enter her menaced harbor, the underwriters
of Europe, believing her main channel blockaded,
divert the destination of their ships to other ports; 
the Tasman, the Canton and Paxton, cleared at
London, to wit.  Whatever the revolution results
in, our merchants sadly acknowledge that it will
take years to repair the damage done to Charleston
in effecting it.  Their exasperation, too, is all the
greater from the contrast presented by Georgia.
She secured her forts, seceded, temporarily tre-
bled her Savannah trade, and now beards New 
York by seizing six vessels as a forcible guaranty
for the delivery of arms which she yet indirectly
denies having purchased.  In Charleston this last
incident is spoken of with enthusiasm, blended
with envy.  South Carolina wishes  that heaven
has made her such another man  for ruler, as
Governor Brown.  His daring and audacity are con-
trasted with the presumed temporizing policy of
Governor Pickens in a manner by no means favor-
able to the latter.
  But as the supreme head his authority has de-
parted.  It now rests with Jefferson Davis, presi-
dent of the provisional government, which election
has given all but universal satisfaction, though
many of us would have preferred seeing him Secre-
tary of War, or Commander-in-Chief of the future
slaveholding republic.  As Vice-President, Senator
Stevens is more than acceptable.  Hitherto consi-
dered as a strong Union man, his going over to the

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
popular side is regarded as a triumph of ambition
over principle.
	     PREPARING FOR WAR.
  We now look for some definite action on the part
of the provisional government with respect to our
position, but we are continuing our preparations
for the inevitable assault upon that provoking fort
in our harbor.  As far as can be ascertained, these
are as follows:
  A shell battery at Cumming s Point, the nearest
point of attack, being less than three-quarters of a
mile distant.  This fort is defended by sand, pal-
metto logs and heavy facings of railroad iron.  It
mounts a certain number of columbiads (I do not
know how many) and a mortar, which are levelled
directly at the vulnerable side of Fort Sumter,
where its walls are said to be only three feet thick,
if Major Anderson has not increased them, as I do
not doubt the result will confirm.  Seawards this
battery presents a sharp, iron-cased angle, so that
any ball striking it is expected to ricochet off, with-
out effecting much damage.  The orifices for the
cannon, too, are provided with heavy iron coverings.
  Fort Johnson, one and three-quarters of a mile
distant from Fort Sumter, armed with cannon of
24 and 42  -pound calibre.
  Fort Moultrie, which I have described before, one
and one-eighth of a mile distance from Sumter,
with which its columbiads are now in range.  The
remainder of its armament consists of 42-pounders.
This fort will fare badly if Major Anderson opens
fire upon it.  It cannot be held very long.
  Castle Pinckney, at two and five-eighths of a
mile distance from Sumter too far off to be of any
service.
  One or two floating batteries are in the course of
construction at Mount Pleasant, and one, spoken of
in detail in a former letter, lying between State
and Palmetto wharf, off Charleston.  The huge
joists forming the floor, the beams of the sides and
roof, have been added within the last day or two,
but at least two weeks must elapse before this bat-
tery can be completed.  Its plan and construction are
generally condemned and it is pronounced a mere
 slaughter-pen  by those who pretend to know-
ledge on the subject.  I have none, and pass no
opinion.
              POSITION OF MAJOR ANDERSON.
  Respecting Major Anderson s condition there are
the most conflicting rumors.  That he obtains meat
and provisions from the Charleston markets is as
true as that it is generally condemned.  He may
have been reinforced by night by means of boats; 
the thing is possible and practicable.  On the re-
turn of Colonel Hayne, a report gained some cre-
dence that the Major had sent a dispatch to Gover-
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and fifty-five
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-02-10
Subject:Anderson, Robert; Brown, Joseph E.; Buchanan, James; Business; Castle Pinckney (Charleston, S.C.); Civil War; Davis, Jefferson; Firearms; Fort Johnson (S.C.); Fort Moultrie (S.C.); Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hayne, Colonel; Journalism; New York evening post.; Pickens, F.W.; Scott, Winfield; Secession; Stephens, Alexander Hamilton
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah; Georgia; New York, [New York]
Scan Date:2010-05-20

 

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.