Friday, December 31, 2010


Richmond (Va.) Daily Dispatch
December 31, 1860

Fort Sumter Officers
(Fort Sumter, National Monument)
The evacuation of Fort Moultrie.

What is thought of it at the North.

The papers of the North, so far as the mails have brought them to us, since the announcement of Col. Anderson's coup de main, are generally commenting on that act, even on the part of conservative journals, in terms of approval. We make some extracts from these expressions of public opinion. The Philadelphia Ledger, a national and conservative journal, says:

In anticipation of the hostile assumptions by the State Convention, the United States officer in command of the fortresses in the harbor has placed himself in the best possible position to perform his duty to the General Government. He has removed his command from Fort Moultrie, where it was subject to attack, to Fort Sumpter, which commands the harbor, and is a work of great strength, and possibly able to resist any attempt to take it on the part of the misguided Secessionists, who are rapidly rushing on their fate. We infer from this movement that the Executive is determined to act according to the principles of action he laid down in his recent message; not to recognize any act of secession, and to defend the property of the General Government from attack and its laws from violation.--This is his duty, and this much the people of the country have a right to demand of him.

We hear persons deprecate this movement in Charleston harbor as a menace to South Carolina, and an act likely to lead to bloodshed. The responsibility of such a collision will not then rest with the Federal Government. South Carolina has been menacing the Government for some time. Its act of secession was a menace, for it openly repudiated the authority of the Government, and resolved to maintain its independence by force of arms if necessary. Every act since has been in the same direction, leading nearer to open hostility. This is lawless menace, which the Government has forborne to treat as rebellion till it comes to open resistance to the operation of the laws.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, also conservative, says:

There is so much wisdom, energy, and military forecast in this movement as to create the belief that it was mainly the work of the brave old Commander-in-Chief of our armies, General Scott. It would have been worse than folly to attempt to hold Fort Moultrie, weak and defenceless as it was, while Fort Sumter, the key to all the military works in the harbor of Charleston, was at the mercy of any mob that could charter a vessel and effect a landing on its wharf. As it is now, Major Anderson, with his little force, is "master of the position." This measure, though tardy, is in the right direction. A more thorough one might, and should have been, adopted by the Administration months ago, by placing full garrisons in all the forts, with arms, provisions and military stores equal to any probable exigency. This was General Jackson's policy in 1832, when its wisdom was fully vindicated. It placed a struggle for the possession of the forts out of the question, and, in consequence, was the most thorough preventive of collision and bloodshed that could have been adopted. We trust this present movement will have the same salutary result, and sincerely hope that now, when the Government has at last been aroused to its unmistakable duty in this matter, it will reinforce the garrisons at Charleston with every necessary adjunct in the shape of ships, men, arms and stores. "Better late than never."

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