February 11, 1861; The New York Herald

Since the secession movement commenced resignations in the army and navy have been plentiful. In the army two lieutenant colonels, two majors, eight captains, ten lieutenants and four cadets have resigned. In the navy three captains, three commanders, three pursers, two surgeons and two assistants, sixteen lieutenants, three masters, four midshipmen and twenty acting midshipmen, have retired from the service, believing that their first allegiance is due to the soil upon which they were born, and that they cannot under any circumstances draw the sword against the South. the resignation of these gentlemen, many of whom are dependent upon their pay for support, is another proof, if any more were needed, that the South is willing to give up everything for the sake of the principle at stake in this conflict.

SUNDAY 10

Warm spring day and very pleasant in the street. Went to Ch. with wife this morning. Doct Smith is something of a “fossil” in Theology, but is eloquent and earnest and a very industrious man, has preached in the same church (4 Presn) twenty one years. Took a walk with the boys round Lafayette Square this evening. The boys were much interested in the U.S. Soldiers which we frequently met, over one thousand now in the City. Very little trouble is now apprehended at the Inauguration, or before that time. There are four Batteries of flying Artillery here. Washington presents at the present time quite a military appearance.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

February 10, 1861; The New York Herald

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Feb. 9, 1861.

The President elect, having completed the first draft of his inaugural, is now busily engaged in arranging his domestic affairs. He attends to the minute details of the preparations for the impending removal of himself and family with his characteristic dutifulness. The close approach of his departure has rendered him unusually grave and reflecting. The parting with this scene of his joys and sorrows during the last thirty years, and a large circle of old and faithful friends, apparently saddens him, and directs his thoughts to the cherished past rather than the uncertain future. His interview with the more intimate of his friends are more frequent and affectionate, and visits of strangers are not encouraged; but, although more than ordinarily moved with tender feelings, he evidently fully realizes the solemnity of the mission on which he is about to enter, and is resolved to fulfill it firmly , fearlessly and conscientiously.

The following gentlemen will compose the suite of the President elect: – Col. Summer, Major Hunter, R. T. Lincoln (Bob), J. U. Nicholy, Private Secretary; J. Hay, Assistant Private Secretary; E. E. Ellsworth, of Zouave fame; Col. W. N. Lamon, Gov. Yates, Aid de Camp; Judge Davis, Hon. J. K. Dubois, Hon. O. H. Bowning, E. L. Baker, Editor of the Springfield Journal; G. C. Latham and R. Irwin.

Mr. Baker will return here for Indianapolis to escort Mrs. Lincoln and family to New York. MIss Baker will accompany Mrs. Lincoln and assist in doing the honors of the White House. Mrs. Edwards and Miss Wallace will not be in Washington as heretofore reported.

Mrs. Lincoln will start for St. Louis on Monday evening, to make additional purchases for the White House.

Dr. Rabe, Jas. R. McDonald and Thos. Fitch of San Francisco, are here urging the appointment of a California member of the Cabinet. Dr. Rabe is supposed to be willing to take either the Collectorship or Postmastership of San Francisco.

A member of the Georgia Secession Convention called and had a long talk with Mr. Lincoln yesterday noon. He tried to exact a positive committal on one of the compromise propositions from him, but was unsuccessful.

Some days since a box was expressed to Mr. Lincoln from Tennessee, no letter accompanying it. Some hesitation was at first felt to open it. This morning, however, his private secretary overturned the box, when it was found to contain a stuffed figure representing an African.

February 10, 1861; The New York Herald

Full details will be found in another column, of the most grave and momentous event that has yet occurred, in the progress towards civil war and military despotism, of the revolution which convulses the country. Two barks, two brigs, and a schooner, the property of citizens of this metropolis, were on Friday seized by authorities of Georgia in retaliation of the robbery by our police, under pretence that they were contraband of war, of goods belonging to individuals of that State. It is the first act of reprisals, at the south against abolitionist aggression in the non-slaveholding States. It is tantamount to a decree of non-intercourse, that may pave the way for open hostilities between members of a confederation, which, only two months ago, were bound together by ties it was fondly hoped could never be sundered. Every sober minded, intelligent, patriotic American citizen, will be startled and alarmed by it, and will shrink back with horror form the prospect of blood, carnage and internecine strife, which it threatens to inaugurate.

The history of the facts which culminated in the reprisals that were witnessed, on Friday last, in the part of Savannah, is speedily told. Some weeks ago, merchandise was purchased in New York, by several Georgian gentlemen, including various descriptions of firearms, and their shipment was ordered to their destination. The relations of the States with one another were peaceful. Neither the federal government, nor any competent authority, had recognized the existence of a breach between sections of the republic, outside of the competency of Congress and the Chief Magistrate to heal. Either Governor Morgan or his advisers assumed, however, the responsibility of ordering the Metropolitan police to invade vessels lying in the harbor, and to seize upon such wares as, in their discretion, they might deem to be “of war.” No war had been declared anywhere, and no act could have been more offensive, uncalled for, unwarrantable, and illegal. It was an invasion of the rights of private property, almost without a parallel in modern times. Nevertheless, it was ruthlessly perpetrated. Immediately afterwards, ex-Senator Toombs, of Georgia, addressed a telegraphic despatch to the Mayor of this city, protesting against what had been done, and alluding to the inevitable consequences of such lawlessness. Mr. Wood’s reply is known. He disavowed participation with it, and declared that it met with his own disapproval, and was reprobated by the vast majority of the people. In the early part of the present week, another [click to continue…]

February 10, 1861; The New York Herald

The news from the South this morning is of the highest importance. The Southern Congress at Montgomery, Alabama, on Friday unanimously adopted a constitution for a provisional government. It is in substance the same as the constitution of the Union. It gives the congress ample power as regards the questions of revenue and taxation. It prohibits the importation of negroes from Africa and other foreign countries, as well as the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of the confederacy. The Congress yesterday unanimously elected Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, for President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, for Vice President of the Southern confederacy, and the President of the Congress was directed to appoint committees on Foreign Affairs, of Finance, on Military and Naval affairs, on Postal Affairs, on Commerce and on Patents. An ordinance was passed continuing in force, until repealed or altered by the Southern Congress, all laws of the Unites States in force or use on the 1st of November last. It is understood that under this law a tariff will be laid on all goods brought from the Unites States. The Provisional Government is now fairly under way.

The city was thrown into great excitement yesterday forenoon by the receipt of telegraphic despatches from Savannah announcing the seizure at that port, by order to the State authorities, of five vessels owned in New York, namely the bark D. Colden Murray, the brigs W. R. Kibby, Golden Lead and Adjuster, and the schooner Julia A. Hallock. This act of the authorities of Georgia was in retaliation for the illegal and unjustifiable seizure of arms in this city recently by the Metropolitan police, said arms being in process of shipment to Georgia. Later in the day the arms were restored to the agent of the owners. The seizure of these vessels also created considerable excitement in Washington among all parties. In the House Mr. John Cochrane offered a resolution calling on the Secretary of the Treasury for information on the subject, but the proposition was objected to. He will renew it on Monday and an inquiry into all the facts in the case will probably follow. Up to a late hour last night the government at Washington had received no official advices relative to the seizure. The public are furnished for the first time with a complete history of this conflict between Georgia and New York through the columns of the HERALD, this morning. [click to continue…]

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1861.

Mercury 20 this morning and the weather is quite moderate. The public mind seems to be much quieted and all seem to expect that a settlement will be made betwen the north and the border Slave States at least, in which case the “Cotton States” it is thought will ultimately come back. Seven have now seceded, Texas last. Business in the Pat office is increasing again. Some of the Examiners are quaking in their shoes for fear of being removed by the incoming Administration. I am quite indifferent about it. Was at “Willards” an hour tonight, 800 guests.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

February 9, 1861; The New York Herald

The President sent in a message to the House yesterday, embodying the correspondence between the government and Colonel Hayne, of South Carolina. The reply of Colonel Hayne to the last communication of the President was not received in time to be laid before the House, but will be found elsewhere in our columns. Colonel Hayne and Lieutenant Hall left Washington yesterday for Charleston.

Advices from Montgomery, Alabama, affirm that the Southern Congress is about to inaugurate a system of free trade for the Southern States, and, with a view to revenue, will levy an export duty of half a cent per pound on cotton. A poll tax will also be levied, so as to produce equality of taxation on the producing and consuming interests.

Delegates are to be appointed by Texas to the Montgomery Convention, as members of the conference, until a vote is taken on the ordinance of secession.

Today elections take place in Tennessee to decide whether the people of that State are in favor or opposed to holding a Convention, and also for the election of delegates. If the majority of the people vote in favor of a Convention the delegates elected will meet on the 25th inst.

Commander Edward G. Tilton committed suicide at his residence in WAshington, yesterday afternoon, by shooting himself in the head with a pistol. He is supposed to have been laboring under mental alienation.

February 9, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

WASHINGTON, February 6, 1861.

We behold a strange spectacle this bright, soft, spring-like morning. The Coercionists and Secessionists are both flinging up their hats at the same thing — both rejoicing over the submission triumph in Virginia. The Coercionists hail it as the harbinger of an abject surrender to Abolitionism. The Secessionists are delighted at this, as they believe, grave delusion — thinking its effect will be to preclude compromise, and so eventually carry Virginia out.

February 9, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

Whereas, By virtue of a resolution adopted by the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, power is given to the Governor, by and with the advice of the Executive Council, to declare and establish Martial Law over any of the coasts, islands and waters in and near Charleston harbor, whenever, in his judgment, the exigencies of the public service may require such a measure. Now, know ye, that I, FRANCIS W. PICKENS, Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the State of South Carolina, in the exercise of the authority thus given to me, do declare and proclaim that, from this time until further orders from me, MARTIAL LAW is established in and over Sullivan’s Island, and the waters and marshes adjacent.

1. No person, or persons, shall, in or upon the limits of Moultrieville, sell, dispose of, or give any spirituous liquors, without the permit, in writing, of the commanding officer at that Island.

2. No person, or persons, shall land upon the shores of Moultrieville, or depart therefrom, without the written permit of the commanding officer at that place, or Gen. DUNOVANT.

3. No person, or persons, living at Moultrieville shall communicate with any of the Posts established there, without the [click to continue…]

February 9, 1861; The New York Herald

We learn from our Washington correspondence of Thursday that Colonel Hayne, the South Carolina Commissioner to Washington to negotiate the surrender of Fort Sumter to the seceded republic, has failed in attaining the object of his mission, and has returned home. The mooted question then, recurs, will Fort Sumter be attacked by the South Carolina forces? We will add to this query: Will it pay South Carolina to attack it? We confess that at first we were inclined to the opinion that with its small garrison Fort Sumter could not hold out long against so large a numerical force as South Carolina has at their disposal, who would be aided in their assaults by the land works. Determined, however, to learn the probabilities in the case, we have carefully confined ourselves to historical analyses of naval and land warfare on which they should be based. In the first place, it is urged by competent military authority that the works at Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island, Cumming’s Point, Morris Island and Fort Johnson, now in the hands of the South Carolinians, are too remote from Fort Sumter to be effectual to breach the latter work in order to facilitate assault by water.

If Fort Sumter be intact, against any considerable injury from the land works of the South Carolinians, the only alternative left them is to carry the work by an assault by water. For this purpose, we learn that the South Carolinians are preparing an immense and novel floating water battery, which is thus minutely described: – It consists of a huge platform of pine beams about fourteen inches square, powerfully framed and bolted together and adapted to float upon the water. At one end thick planks of the same material and similarly fastened stretch upwards and onwards for about twenty feet, at an angle of perhaps seventy degrees, met at the top by a sharper and shorter one, from the summit of which a bomb proof roof will slope to the rear of the platform, joining another short projecting angle enclosing the battery on that quarter.

The taller end, faced exteriorly with three or four thicknesses of railroad iron, and provided on the inside with a lining of sand bags or cotton bales, is intended for the receipt of four cannon, forty two pounders, protruding from orifices cut for that purpose. At the best this new war machine is but an experiment, and if brought within range of the guns of Fort Sumter, may be rudely tested.

It is the opinion of many military men that if Fort Sumter be bombarded by the South Carolinians with a view to breach its walls or reduce its garrison, prior to a water assault and close attack, open their fire from the land works, it is in the [click to continue…]

February 9, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

MONTGOMERY, February 6, 1861.

Words are certainly very shadowy in their meaning. Whilst the Convention of South Carolina meant one thing, in the resolutions it passed inviting the other Southern States to meet her, to form a Provisional Government — the States accepting the invitation, in the very words of the South Carolina resolutions, mean another. Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama understand them to mean that this Congress shall form and put in motion a Provisional Government by any instrumentalities it may deem expedient, and that it should elect a President and Vice President, and legislate to any extent it pleases to accomplish this end — in fact, that this Congress is like the Congress of 1776. Accordingly, I understand, that after comparing ideas in the Convention, a Committee has been appointed which will report a Provisional Constitution, and a Provisional Government, which will leave in this body all power, by its legislation, to form, establish and carry on a Government in all its operations. In point of ability and efficiency, no body could be organized in the South better entitled to the confidence of the South. What they do, they will do thoroughly. They are very harmonious, I understand, in the great ends they are to accomplish; and it is not doubted that they will gather together all the resources of the South, physical and intellectual; to consummate the policy your State has so gallantly inaugurated. Everybody speaks in praise of your State; but as soon as Fort Sumter is mentioned, they are dumb, at least to me.

The Committee on the Provisional Government is expected to report today. If they do, before sunset you will have a Confederacy with a Constitution and Government, fully competent to defend it.

JEFFERSON DAVIS will most probably be elected the President, and a Georgian, Mr. COBB or Mr. TOOMBS, the Vice President of the Confederacy. Your delegation seem to be wisely pushing forward others rather than themselves, I presume, that the great cause they are engaged in may not be injured by any personal aspirations of theirs.

The Convention was in secret session yesterday until late in the evening. They meet today at 12 m.

—The Congress at Montgomery this evening unanimously agreed to a constitution and provisional government. They will go into immediate operation.—(Doc. 33.)—No propositions for compromise or reconstruction. After the vote on the constitution was taken, Jefferson Davis was elected President, and Alexander H. Stevens Vice-President of the Southern Confederacy, by the Congress.—(Doc. 34.)—Commercial Advertiser.

—Brigs W. R. Kibby and Golden Lead; barks Adjuster and C. Colden Murray; and schooner Julia A. Hallock, all owned in New York, were seized in the harbor of Savannah, by order of the Governor of Georgia, in reprisal for the seizure, in New York, of arms consigned to Georgia.—Baltimore American.

—The Little Rock arsenal, Arkansas, with 9,000 stands of arms, 40 cannon, and a large amount of ammunition, was surrendered to the State of Arkansas.—N. Y. Times, Feb. 11.

FRIDAY 8

Mercury down to 8 this morning, the coldest so far. It is 18 tonight, but no snow on the ground. The wind last night was terrific. It did much damage. Quite a fire occured on 7th St. (Incendiary). Went down to the Ave, bot Paleys Philosophy for twenty five cts, the New York papers. Heard no particular news and came home, found our next door neighbor Mr Bartlett, he staid an hour or two. He is in the State Dept and a Virginian. Col. Hayne of S.C. (Commr) has got his reply from the Govt to his demand for surrender of Ft Sumpter. An attack on it is now Expected.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

FRIDAY 8

Mercury down to 8 this morning, the coldest so far. It is 18 tonight, but no snow on the ground. The wind last night was terrific. It did much damage. Quite a fire occured on 7th St. (Incendiary). Went down to the Ave, bot Paleys Philosophy for twenty five cts, the New York papers. Heard no particular news and came home, found our next door neighbor Mr Bartlett, he staid an hour or two. He is in the State Dept and a Virginian. Col. Hayne of S.C. (Commr) has got his reply from the Govt to his demand for surrender of Ft Sumpter. An attack on it is now Expected.

FORT PICKENS, FLA., February –, 1861.

Hon. J. HOLT,  Secretary of War:

SIR: I have to report that since my last letter per Captain Sands, U. S. Navy, matters have assumed no different form. I am continuing the defenses of the fort, and with my command will soon have it prepared to repel an attack. I have now seventy-eight guns mounted and ready for action. I will put up to-morrow three 10-inch light mortars. I have no others. The casemate embrasures are closed, some with brickwork and others with stone and pieces of wood. These will be strengthened as time permits. I am making canister for some of my barbette guns, there being none in the fort. An abatis of brush is being placed about the exposed points of attack. I have two 10-inch columbiads mounted, in order to render inefficient any battery which may be erected on the opposite side. There are two others in the fort which can be mounted if necessary. All work has been stopped on these batteries, according to the promise of Colonel Chase. I do not think there are more than four hundred State troops occupying the fort and barracks opposite. Fort McRee is occupied, but no guns mounted to my knowledge.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant.,

A. J. SLEMMER,
First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Post.

February 8, 1861; The New York Herald

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 1861.

The following statement in relation to the surrender of the revenue cutter Robert McClelland is derived from an official source:

The cutter is one of the largest and best in the revenue service, just rebuilt and refitted. Her commander was Capt. Breshwood, of Virginia. On the 19th of January, four days after Secretary Dix took charge of the Treasury Department, he sent Mr. Wm. Hemphill Jones, chief clerk in the First comptroller’s office, to New Orleans and Mobile, to save, if possible the two cutters on service there. Capt. Morrison, a Georgian, commanding the Lewis Cass, at Mobile, must have surrendered here before Mr. Jones arrived. On the 29th of January the Secretary received the following telegraphic despatch from Mr. Jones: —

 

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 29, 1861.

HON. J. A. DIX Secretary of the Treasury: –

Capt. Breshwood has refused positively in writing to obey any instructions of the department. In this I am sure he sustained by the Collector and, I believe, acts by his advice. What must I do?

W. H. JONES, Special Agent.

 

To the despatch Secretary Dix immediately returned the following answer:

 

TREASURY DEPARTMENT WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 1861.

W. HEMPHILL JONES, New Orleans: –

Tell Lieutenant Caldwell to arrest Captain Breshwood, assume command of the cutter and obey the order through you. If [click to continue…]

February 8, 1861; The Vindicator, Staunton, Virginia

The return so far received from the election on Monday last, show that a majority of “Union”candidates have been chosen over their “Secession” opponents. The complete returns from the State will not be received in time for publication in our issue of this week. We are glad to perceive that our brethren of the press, in announcing the success of the “Union” men, are very carefully guarding against a misapprehension on the part of the Republican party at the North, of the position of the “Union” men elected. The term “Union men” has a very different meaning in Virginia from that generally applied to it at present in the North, and if the idea is taken up out of the State that the election of a majority of “Union” men is equivalent to the election of a majority in favor of quietly submitting to the rule of Lincoln and a Black Republican administration, they will find themselves most egregiously mistaken. We should be deeply grieved to think that Virginia had fallen so low as quietly to submit to that rule without a sufficient guarantee that every right of the South will be fully protected in the future. We do not believe that there will be even a “corporal’s guard” of actual submissionists in the Convention. Messrs. Botts and Clemens are considered “Union” men North of us–in Virginia, except by a few like themselves, they are looked upon as nearly as dangerous men as Seward himself. Of immediate secessionists there will probably be about 25. In the classification of a contemporary we see Gov. Wise put down as a Union man. Our Northern friends will hardly count upon much from him. If, as is very generally believed, the Convention now in session at Washington adjourns without accomplishing anything more to the purpose than the famous “Committee of 33″ of the House of Representatives, there will be scarcely anything left for a Convention to do, but to draw up an act of secession, and submit it immediately to the people, so that their action may be known, one way or the other, before the 4th of March. That anything will be done at Washington, we have little hope. Barely a majority of the Northern States are represented, and even these, by legislative authority, have so instructed their delegates as to prevent any conclusion being arrived at that will prove acceptable to the South. War–war–war–and nothing else but war, not only of words but deeds, against the South and its institutions, will satisfy the fanatical leaders of the Abolition party. The fate of the [click to continue…]

February 8, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

It is evident, to those who have watched events, that the future of the Cotton States is now in the balance, and will go up or down according to the course pursued by the members of the Cotton States Convention, now assembled at Montgomery. A Southern Confederacy, or a reconstruction of the old Union, are the alternatives. And, as the policy of that body tends to one or other of these results, so good or evil remain in store for our peoples.

For ourselves, we look upon a reconstruction of the Union as inevitable destruction — in the language of SEWARD, the of slavery. ‘New guarantees — with a people like those of the North, hostile in feeling, regardless of law, and through the fostering care of the Washington Government, increasing continually in power — would be giving the lamb to the wolf — the Southern States to emancipation and ruin as certain as the seasons run their course. Taught by experience, Black Republicanism, with a better knowledge of our people, would content itself now to hem us in, cut us off by detachment, and undermine our institutions, until becoming confessedly too weak to make efficient resistance, we should fall an easy prey to their fanaticism, ambition and rapacity.

This being our conclusion, we look upon a Southern Confederacy as the thing to be desired. Thus separately organized, we are fully masters of the position, and can control events by our great productive power, our importance to the civilized world, and our capacity for self defence in the game of war. With little on the part of any people to be made by assaulting us, in the shape of either honor or profit, and much to lose, especially in the matter of gain, we can command friendly relations. If we be but true to ourselves, our destiny is to be great and prosperous beyond example, for no peoples ever existed having the resources and advantages that we have.

The peoples of the Cotton States are fully prepared for a Southern Confederacy, and expect nothing else. But there are public men who hope, by postponement and delay, to toll them back into the Union, step by step — and the first step by putting off the organization and establishment of a permanent Government of the seceding States. We warn the public in time, that their eyes may be open to the danger. We trust that if such an effort is made at Montgomery, as there is reason to believe will be made, there will yet be sufficient sincerity, manhood and statesmanship in that body to put down the insidious proposition, under whatever plausible pretext it is professedly proposed. A Provisional Government, if it be deemed necessary for the military exigencies of the times, but a permanent Government also as soon as practicable.

February 8, 1861; Richmond Enquirer

Governor Letcher, accompanied by Col. Mumford, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the Adjutant General, visited the Armory on Wednesday, and made a minute inspection of every department thereof.

The Governor and suite arrived at the Armory at half past nine o’clock, and were received in true military style by Captain Dimmock, Lieutenants Gay and Kerr, and the men under their command. The guard, headed by the Armory Band, were drawn up on the parade ground, and when the Governor made his appearance they presented arms, and when were reviewed by him, and subsequently passed in review in common and quick time. The review being over, the Lieutenant commanding the parade presented himself before the Governor to ascertain his further wishes, whereupon the Governor expressed himself much pleased, and said that he intended to present the command with a flag for the use of the Armory, for which the Lieutenant expressed his thanks.

As the Governor was on his way to the armory in company with Captain Dimmock and the officials above mentioned, he asked the Captain if he had a flag hoisted, to which the Captain replied he had received no orders about the flag he was to hoist, and thereupon the Governor said, I now give you the order to hoist the State flag, (an order which was promptly carried out, for Captain Dimmock having none such at hand, immediately sent to the Capitol and procured one, and before the Governor got through with his inspection the glorious banner of this glorious State was floating proudly in the breeze from the flag-staff over the main gate.)

February 8, 1861; The New York Herald

Accounts from Charleston to the 4th inst., state that Major Anderson has been permitted by the State authorities to obtain supplies of fresh provisions from that city. It would appear that the chief reason why Major Anderson has not heretofore obtained supplies from Charleston is, that the dealers there would not make a contract, fearing, as is alleged, personal violence from their fellow citizens. The garrison at Fort Sumter were in cheerful spirits, and full prepared for any emergency. The State troops were actively engaged in preparations for an attack upon the fort.

The delegates to the Peace Convention at Washington waited in a body upon the President yesterday. No representatives of the press were admitted to the interview, and we have, therefore, no account of what was said on the occasion.

Both branches of Congress were engaged yesterday in discussing the crisis. In the Senate Mr. Wigfall, of Texas, made a speech in reply to the remarks of Mr. Johnson, of Tennessee. It is reported that a duel is likely to take place between these two Senators. In the House speeches were made by Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, and others. Mr. Corwin stated that he should not move to close the debate until a week from today.

In the United State Circuit Court yesterday the case of Gordon Hires, charged with the murder of six negroes, part of the crew of the bark Anna, was resumed and concluded, and the jury, after deliberating three quarters of an hour, rendered a verdict of manslaughter against the accused. The circumstances of the case have already been detailed.

February 8, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

MONTGOMERY, February 4.

The Convention (or as it is here called), the Congress, will meet today in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol, which, I understand, has been handsomely fitted up for their accommodation. It will probably not organize today, as the Louisiana and Texas delegation have not arrived. Your reporter will have but little to report about, for it is expected that the Congress will hold their sessions secret. But the fact is, the state of things are nearly as well known by outsiders as by the actors themselves. The lobby of the Exchange is a pretty respectable conversational Parliament. I learned from this august body that the Georgia project (which I detailed to you yesterday) for a Provisional Government, is by no means confined to the Georgia members. I heard two distinguished Alabamians, not members, however, of the Convention, strenuously advocating it as the only practical project for a Provisional Government. They argued thus: — this Convention was ordered by the several States, to establish, not a Provisional Constitution merely, but a Provisional Government. Whatever powers, therefore, are necessary to put into operation said Government, the Convention possesses. It can elect a President, and pass all laws necessary to make an efficient Executive. It can raise armies, and legislate on all matters the Provisional Government was established to secure. It is impossible, from the condition of the country, that a Provisional Constitution can be adopted, and be put into operation by the action of the State Convention, before the 4th of March next. It will take three weeks to bring together the members of the State Conventions in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. The streams, from the late rains, are all high — the roads are nearly impassable in some counties, and the mails reach their destination sometimes a fortnight after they are due. Under such circumstances, the Convention can only obey the direction to form a Provisional Government, prior the 4th of March, by acting itself. Such is the argument, and I think it will carry a majority of the Convention. Your delegation, I understand, say that your Convention never contemplated the action of this Convention, any further than to frame the fundamental law of the [click to continue…]

February 8, 1861; The New York Herald

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 1861.

Letters are received this morning from Charleston, bearing date February 4. Governor Pickens has yielded the point to allow Major Anderson to make his own contract for provisions, consisting chiefly of fresh meat. It was very difficult to find parties who would venture to make a contract, fearing they would be lynched, but a man was at last found, and the supply is being made twice each week, but only for immediate use, so that the State authorities can stop the supplies at any time.

The stories about mutiny and insubordination among Major Anderson’s men can find no better refutation than in the fact that many of the men have served their time out and are entitled to leave, but refuse to re-enlist, and declared they will never desert their post while Major Anderson remains or the flag waves over them, unless ordered away by their government. Some of these very men could have left with their wives on the 3d. inst., but preferred to part with their better halves than their gallant commander.

The same advices assert that the greatest activity is going on in Sullivan and Morris Islands, and especially at Point Cummings, in the erection of batteries and in other preparations for attack upon Fort Sumter, which will undoubtedly take place the moment Colonel Hayne returns, as he is now in possession of the government’s refusal to comply with the demand of South Carolina to surrender Fort Sumter. A large number of men have been at work night and day at Point Cummings every since Col. Hayne left, erecting earthen breastworks, said to be the best possible material for such purpose. They had a very large force engaged on Sunday, hearing it was supposed that Col. Hayne would return on Monday, and that hostilities would immediately commence.

Cummings Point Battery consists in part of three columbiads and mortars. It is three quarters of a mile south of Fort Sumter, being the nearest point of land; but the important fact attending Cummings Point Battery is, that it is directed against what is supposed to be the weakest place in Fort Sumter, which is three and a half feet thick and two hundred [click to continue…]

February 8, 1861; The Charleston Mercury

WASHINGTON, February 5, 1861.

The returns from Virginia, as given in the telegraphic columns of the morning papers, have greatly elated the Republicans. But the Secessionists are by no means discouraged. They expected the State to go against them, and trust to the rupture of the Peace Congress, the pluck of the Republicans and the sincerity of the Cotton States, for the eventual salvation of the State.

One thing, however, is now certain, and that is the inevitable delay occasioned by the success of the Virginia Submissionists, keeps all the Border States in until some time after LINCOLN’S inauguration. Your duty, therefore, is to go straight on, and organize the Government at Montgomery on a solid basis, just as though there were no other States besides the original seven. The fewer the men in the Convention, the more quickly and satisfactorily you can perfect your Constitution. What is most likely to interfere with your progress at Montgomery towards a permanent Government, is the designing opposition of men, who, whatever may be thought in South Carolina, and the South, are here believed to mean nothing that does not tend to promote an ultimate return to Washington. This is well known here, and to men not many degrees removed from Republicans. I am sorry to see that BONHAM and McQUEEN are neither in the Convention. They really desired to get rid of the Abolition alliance at once and forever, and might have been useful at Montgomery. It is obvious that your secession is due to the people, and not to the politicians. The new order of things demands new men, untainted by Federal contamination, and ambitious of achieving renown in the only path ever opened to them — that of a Southern Confederacy. Hence the wisdom of those like Alabama, which sent one only of the old regime to Montgomery.

Reports conflict as to the tenor of Col. HAYNE’s letter, which has at last reach the President; but the balance of opinion inclines to the belief that it is not an unconditional demand for the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter. It was asserted [click to continue…]