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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 245 [1876]

              [loose newspaper clipping]
REMINISCENCES OF FORTS SUMTER AND MOULTRIE
      IN 1860-61.  By Abner Doubleday, Brevet Major-
     General, U. S. A.  New York : Harper & Brothers
     Publishers.  1876.
  The author of this book was, at the time of the stir-
ring events it narrates, a captain in the United States
Army, and the next highest in command to Colonel
Gardner before he was relieved, and after that to the
famous Major Anderson.  He was, he says, the only
abolitionist among the officers, and the only one to-
wards whom the rabid secessionists of Charleston had
any personal ill-will.  He dissented very strongly
from the timid policy of Major Anderson, and, had he
been in command, it is very likely not only that Sum-
ter would not have capitulated, but that the city of
Charleston itself might have been retained by the
U. S. forces.
  The distaste which Major Anderson felt for the con-
test with his countrymen even when he was absolutely
forced into it, is illustrated by his thanking God,
when some one told him, after the surrender, that his
shots had caused but little damage.
  There were numerous ludicrous events connected
with the siege; one of these is narrated as follows:
�The South Carolina officers, at this period, spent
much of their time in discussing military problems.
One of these, which was afterward referred to us for
solution, occasioned us much amusement.  All cannon
balls used in the army, and exposed to the weather,
are coated with a varnish of coal-tar to protect them
from rust.  Many of those we left behind, at Fort Moul-
trie, were in piles near the guns, and when the carriages
were burned, the tar melted, ran down in streams and
coagulated in lumps.  It was immediately reported 
that before leaving we had taken great pains to tar
the balls to render them useless.  The problem which
puzzled the military savants of Charleston was to de-
termine in what way cannon balls were ruined by tar.
Some months afterward, when we evacuated Fort
Sumter, one of the officers, who had been much inter-
ested in this subject, took Seymour aside and asked
him confidentially if he had any objection to tell him
why we tarred our balls, assuring them most earnestly
that they could scrape it all off.	           H. A. R.               
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