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Civilized beginnings to a great carnage

The first shots of the American Civil War were fired on April 11, 1861. The scene: Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina. Before the bombardment began, a very civilized exchange took place between Brigadier-General G.T. Beauregard of the Confederate forces and Major Robert Anderson of the Union side.

Brigadier-General G.T. Beauregard

Charleston, S. C., April 11, 1861.

SIR: The Government of the Confederate States has hitherto forborne from any hostile demonstration against Fort Sumter, in the hope that the Government of the United States, with a view to the amicable adjustment of all questions between the two Government, and to avert the calamities of war, would voluntarily evacuate it.

There was reason at one time to believe that such would be the course pursued by the Government of the United States, and under that impression my Government has refrained from making any demand for the surrender of the fort. But the Confederate States can no longer delay assuming actual possession of a fortification commanding the entrance of one of their harbors, and necessary to its defense and security.

I am ordered by the Government of the Confederate States to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter. My aides, Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee, are authorized to make such demand of you. All proper facilities will be afforded for the removal of yourself and command, together with company arms and property and all private property, to any post in the United States which you may select. The flag which you have upheld so long as with so much fortitude, under the most trying circumstances, may be saluted by you on taking it down.

Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee will, for a reasonable time, await your answer.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major Robert Anderson

Commanding at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.
FORT SUMTER, S. C., April 11, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication demanding the evacuation of this fort, and to say, in reply thereto, that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor, and of my obligations to my Government, prevent my compliance. Thanking you for the fair, manly, and courteous terms proposed, and for the high compliment paid me,

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major, First Artillery, Commanding.

Charleston, S. C., April 11, 1861.

MAJOR: In consequence of the verbal observation made by you to my aides, Messrs. Chesnut and Lee, in relation to the condition of your supplies, and that you would in a few days be starved out if our guns did not batter you to pieces, or words to that effect, and desiring no useless effusion of blood, I communicated both the verbal observations and your written answer to my communications to my Government.

If you will state the time at which you will evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree that in the mean time you will not use your guns against us unless ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we will abstain from opening fire upon you. Colonel Chesnut and Captain Lee are authorized by me to enter into such an agreement with you. You are, therefore, requested to communicate to them an open answer.

I remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Shots were fired and a less civilized period began. Over 600,000 dead and great destruction left scars yet to heal.

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Posted by on April 12, 2011. Filed under War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Four Dinners
10 years ago

A driving student of mine had intended to bring me back a Confederate flag sticker for my car on a trip to North Carolina earlier in the year. I was shocked to here their illegal over there???