Confederate Military History, Vol. 5: South Carolina

Confederate Military History, Vol. 5: South Carolina.

This work spanning fifteen extensive volumes is the result of contributions by many Southern men to the literature of the United States that treats of the eventful years in which occurred the momentous struggle called by Mr. A. H. Stephens “the war between the States.” These contributions were made on a well-considered plan, to be wrought out by able writers of unquestionable Confederate record who were thoroughly united in general sentiment and whose generous labors upon separate topics would, when combined, constitute a library of Confederate military history and biography. According to the great principle in the government of the United States that one may result from and be composed of many – the doctrine of E pluribus unum–it was considered that intelligent men from all parts of the South would so write upon the subjects committed to them as to produce a harmonious work which would truly portray the times and issues of the Confederacy and by illustration in various forms describe the soldiery which fought its battles. Upon this plan two volumes – the first and the last-comprise such subjects as the justification of the Southern States in seceding from the Union and the honorable conduct of the war by the Confederate States government; the history of the actions and concessions of the South in the formation of the Union and its policy in securing the existing magnificent territorial dominion of the United States; the civil history of the Confederate States, supplemented with sketches of the President, Vice-President, cabinet officers and other officials of the government; Confederate naval history; the morale of the armies; the South since the war, and a connected outline of events from the beginning of the struggle to its close. The two volumes containing these general subjects are sustained by the other volumes of Confederate military history of the States of the South involved in the war. Each State being treated in separate history permits of details concerning its peculiar story, its own devotion, its heroes and its battlefields. The authors of the State histories, like those of the volumes of general topics, are men of unchallenged devotion to the Confederate cause and of recognized fitness to perform the task assigned them. It is just to say that this work has been done in hours taken from busy professional life, and it should be further commemorated that devotion to the South and its heroic memories has been their chief incentive. This volume five out of fifteen, covering the Civil War in South Carolina.

Confederate Military History, Vol. 5: South Carolina

Confederate Military History, Vol. 5: South Carolina.

Format: eBook.

Confederate Military History, Vol. 5: South Carolina.

ISBN: 9783849661984.


Excerpt from the text:






From the time that the election of the President was declared, early in November, 1860, the military spirit of the people of South Carolina was thoroughly awake. Secession from the Union was in the air, and when it came, on the 20th of December following, it was received as the ultimate decision of duty and the call of the State to arms. The one sentiment, everywhere expressed by the vast majority of the people, was the sentiment of independence; and the universal resolve was the determination to maintain the secession of the State at any and every cost.

The militia of the State was, at the time, her only arm of defense, and every part of it was put under orders.

Of the State militia, the largest organized body was the Fourth brigade of Charleston, commanded by Brig.-Gen. James Simons. This body of troops was well organized, well drilled and armed, and was constantly under the orders of the governor and in active service from the 27th of December, 1860, to the last of April, 1861. Some of the commands continued in service until the Confederate regiments, battalions and batteries were organized and finally absorbed all the effective material of the brigade.

This efficient brigade was composed of the following commands:

First regiment of rifles: Col. J. J. Pettigrew, Lieut.-Col. John L. Branch, Maj. Ellison Capers, Adjt. Theodore G. Barker, Quartermaster Allen Hanckel, Commissary L. G. Young, Surg. George Trescot, Asst. Surg. Thomas L. Ozier, Jr. Companies: Washington Light Infantry, Capt. C. H. Simonton; Moultrie Guards, Capt. Barnwell W. Palmer; German Riflemen, Capt. Jacob Small; Palmetto Riflemen, Capt. Alex. Melchers; Meagher Guards, Capt. Edward McCrady, Jr.; Carolina Light Infantry, Capt. Gillard Pinckney; Zouave Cadets, Capt. C. E. Chichester.

Seventeenth regiment: Col. John Cunningham, Lieut.-Col. William P. Shingler, Maj. J. J. Lucas, Adjt. F. A. Mitchel. Companies: Charleston Riflemen, Capt. Joseph Johnson, Jr.; Irish Volunteers, Capt. Edward McGrath; Cadet Riflemen, Capt. W. S. Elliott; Montgomery Guards, Capt. James Conner; Union Light Infantry, Capt. David Ramsay; German Fusiliers, Capt. Samuel Lord, Jr.; Palmetto Guards, Capt. Thomas W. Middleton; Sumter Guards, Capt. Henry C. King; Emmet Volunteers, Capt. P. Grace; Calhoun Guards, Capt. John Fraser.

First regiment of artillery: Col. E. H. Locke, Lieut.-Col. W. G. De Saussure, Maj. John A. Wagener, Adjt. James Simmons, Jr.

Light batteries: Marion Artillery, Capt. J. G. King; Washington Artillery, Capt. George H. Walter; Lafayette Artillery, Capt. J. J. Pope; German Artillery (A), Capt. C. Nohrden; German Artillery (B), Capt. H. Harms.

Cavalry: Charleston Light Dragoons, Capt. B. H. Rutledge; German Hussars, Capt. Theodore Cordes; Rutledge Mounted Riflemen, Capt. C. K. Huger.

Volunteer corps in the fire department: Vigilant Rifles, Capt. S. V. Tupper; Phœnix Rifles, Capt. Peter C. Gaillard; Ætna Rifles, Capt. E. F. Sweegan; Marion Rifles, Capt. C. B. Sigwald.

Charleston, the metropolis and seaport, for a time absorbed the interest of the whole State, for it was everywhere felt that the issue of secession, so far as war with the government of the United States was concerned, must be determined in her harbor. The three forts which had been erected by the government for the defense of the harbor, Moultrie, Castle Pinckney and Sumter, were built upon land ceded by the State for that purpose, and with the arsenal and grounds in Charleston, constituted the property of the United States.

The secession of South Carolina having dissolved her connection with the government of the United States, the question of the possession of the forts in the harbor and of the military post at the arsenal became at once a question of vital interest to the State. Able commissioners, Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams and James L. Orr, were elected and sent by the convention of the State to treat with the government at Washington for an amicable settlement of this important question, and other questions growing out of the new relation which South Carolina bore to the Union. Pending the action of the commissioners in Washington, an unfortunate move was made by Maj. Robert Anderson, of the United States army, who commanded the only body of troops stationed in the harbor, which ultimately compelled the return of the commissioners and led to the most serious complications. An understanding had been established between the authorities in Washington and the members of Congress from South Carolina, that the forts would not be attacked, or seized as an act of war, until proper negotiations for their cession to the State had been made and had failed; provided that they were not reinforced, and their military status should remain as it was at the time of this understanding, viz., on December 9, 1860.

ort Sumter, in the very mouth of the harbor, was in an unfinished state and without a garrison. On the night of the 26th of December, 1860, Maj. Robert Anderson dismantled Fort Moultrie and removed his command by boats over to Fort Sumter. The following account of the effect of this removal of Major Anderson upon the people, and the action of the government, is taken from Brevet Major-General Crawford’s “Genesis of the Civil War.” General Crawford was at the time on the medical staff and one of Anderson’s officers. His book is a clear and admirable narrative of the events of those most eventful days, and is written in the spirit of the utmost candor and fairness. In the conclusion of the chapter describing the removal, he says:


The fact of the evacuation of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson was soon communicated to the authorities and people of Charleston, creating intense excitement. Crowds collected in streets and open places of the city, and loud and violent were the expressions of feeling against Major Anderson and his action…. [The governor of the State was ready to act in accordance with the feeling displayed.] On the morning of the 27th, he dispatched his aide-de-camp, Col. Johnston Pettigrew, of the First South Carolina Rifles, to Major Anderson. He was accompanied by Maj. Ellison Capers, of his regiment. Arriving at Fort Sumter, Colonel Pettigrew sent a card inscribed, “Colonel Pettigrew, First Regiment Rifles, S.C.M., Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, Commissioner to Major Anderson. Ellison Capers, Major First Regiment Rifles, S.C.M.” … Colonel Pettigrew and his companion were ushered into the room. The feeling was reserved and formal, when, after declining seats, Colonel Pettigrew immediately opened his mission: “Major Anderson,” said he, “can I communicate with you now, sir, before these officers, on the subject for which I am here?” “Certainly, sir,” replied Major Anderson, “these are all my officers; I have no secrets from them, sir.”

The commissioner then informed Major Anderson that he was directed to say to him that the governor was much surprised that he had reinforced “this work.” Major Anderson promptly responded that there had been no reinforcement of the work; that he had removed his command from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, as he had a right to do, being in command of all the forts in the harbor. To this Colonel Pettigrew replied that when the present governor (Pickens) came into office, he found an understanding existing between the previous governor (Gist) and the President of the United States, by which all property within the limits of the State was to remain as it was; that no reinforcements were to be sent here, particularly to this post; that there was to be no attempt made against the public property by the State, and that the status in the harbor should remain unchanged. He was directed also to say to Major Anderson that it had been hoped by the governor that a peaceful solution of the difficulties could have been reached, and a resort to arms and bloodshed might have been avoided; but that the governor thought the action of Major Anderson had greatly complicated matters, and that he did not now see how bloodshed could be avoided; that he had desired and intended that the whole matter might be fought out politically and without the arbitration of the sword, but that now it was uncertain, if not impossible.

To this Major Anderson replied, that as far as any understanding between the President and the governor was concerned, he had not been informed; that he knew nothing of it; that he could get no information or positive orders from Washington, and that his position was threatened every night by the troops of the State. He was then asked by Major Capers, who accompanied Colonel Pettigrew, “How?” when he replied, “By sending out steamers armed and conveying troops on board;” that these steamers passed the fort going north, and that he feared a landing on the island and the occupation of the sand-hills just north of the fort; that 100 riflemen on these hills, which commanded his fort, would make it impossible for his men to serve their guns; and that any man with a military head must see this. “To prevent this,” said he earnestly, “I removed on my own responsibility, my sole object being to prevent bloodshed.” Major Capers replied that the steamer was sent out for patrol purposes, and as much to prevent disorder among his own people as to ascertain whether any irregular attempt was being made to reinforce the fort, and that the idea of attacking him was never entertained by the little squad who patrolled the harbor.

Major Anderson replied to this that he was wholly in the dark as to the intentions of the State troops, but that he had reason to believe that they meant to land and attack him from the north; that the desire of the governor to have the matter settled peacefully and without bloodshed was precisely his object in removing his command from Moultrie to Sumter; that he did it upon his own responsibility alone, because he considered that the safety of his command required it, as he had a right to do. “In this controversy,” said he, “between the North and the South, my sympathies are entirely with the South. These gentlemen,” said he (turning to the officers of the post who stood about him), “know it perfectly well.” Colonel Pettigrew replied, “Well, sir, however that may be, the governor of the State directs me to say to you courteously but peremptorily, to return to Fort Moultrie.” “Make my compliments to the governor (said Anderson) and say to him that I decline to accede to his request; I cannot and will not go back.” “Then, sir,” said Pettigrew, “my business is done,” when both officers, without further ceremony or leave-taking, left the fort.

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