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The Flag Replaced on Sumter A Personal Narrative   By: (1845-1913)

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First Page:

THE

FLAG REPLACED ON SUMTER.

A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

BY

WILLIAM A. SPICER.

READ BEFORE THE

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

FEBRUARY, 1884.

PROVIDENCE: PRINTED BY THE PROVIDENCE PRESS COMPANY. 1885.

COPYRIGHT, 1885.

[Illustration: THE ATTACK ON FORT SUMTER IN APRIL, 1861.]

THE FLAG REPLACED ON SUMTER.

"What's hallowed ground? 'Tis what gives birth To sacred thoughts in souls of worth! Peace! Independence! Truth!" Campbell.

[Illustration]

Immediately upon the election of Abraham Lincoln as President, in November, 1860, a predetermined plan of secession was entered upon by the leading public men of the South, on the plea that his election was dangerous the interests of slavery. In February, 1861, seven of the slave States having united in the movement, an independent government was organized, under the name of the Southern Confederacy, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President with great pomp, at Montgomery, Alabama; so that on the fourth of March, the day of Mr. Lincoln's inauguration at Washington, the flag of the United States was flying at only three points south of the Capital, viz: Fort Sumter, Fort Pickens, and Key West.

South Carolina naturally led the scheme of disunion, passing the ordinance of secession on the twentieth of December, 1860, and immediately proceeding to secure possession of the national property in the State, particularly the forts in Charleston harbor.

To prevent this, Major Robert Anderson, an able and loyal southern officer, commanding a small garrison of United States troops in Fort Moultrie, hastily removed, on the night of the 26th of December, to Fort Sumter, a much stronger but unfinished fortress in the middle of the harbor, hoping to maintain his position there till reinforced. But before this could be effected by President Lincoln, who had plainly advised Governor Pickens of his intention, a formal demand for the surrender of the fort was made by General Beauregard, commanding the rebel forces, which being promptly refused by Major Anderson, the order to reduce the fort was given by the Confederate government. On the morning of Friday, the twelfth of April, 1861, at half past four, the first shot was fired upon Fort Sumter, which aroused and excited the nation, and begun the war of the Rebellion. For two days the assault continued, when after a most gallant defense by the little garrison of eighty men, Major Anderson was compelled to accept terms of evacuation. On Sunday afternoon, April 14th, he marched out of the fort with colors flying and drums beating, saluting the United States flag, as it was lowered, with fifty guns.

There was great rejoicing in Charleston. Thousands had assembled at the Battery, excited spectators of the scene. They exultingly beheld the banner of the Republic lowered, and the flags of South Carolina and the Southern Confederacy raised defiantly over the ramparts of Fort Sumter.

Governor Pickens, the bustling and blustering State executive, thus addressed the populace:

"We are now one of the Confederate States, and they have sent us a brave and scientific officer, to whom the credit of this day's triumph is due. We have defeated their twenty millions. We have humbled the flag of the United States before the Palmetto and Confederate, and so long as I have the honor to preside as your chief magistrate, so help me God, there is no power on this earth shall ever lower from that fortress those flags, unless they be lowered and trailed in a sea of blood. I can here say to you it is the first time in the history of this country that the stars and stripes have been humbled. That flag has never before been lowered before any nation on this earth. But to day it has been humbled, and humbled before the glorious little State of South Carolina."

But Governor Pickens little dreamed that the discharge of his guns upon the United States flag at Fort Sumter would awaken such an outburst of patriotism as immediately followed all over the North, uniting the people of all classes in a determination to maintain the majesty of the Union, and vindicate the honor of the flag... Continue reading book >>




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