Monday, April 11, 2011

Beauregard Sends Final Request to Surrender

Since the secession of South Carolina in December, the Confederate authorities had requested that Fort Sumter be surredered many times, and Major Robert Anderson always refused. But after receiving the news that a relief expedition was being sent to the fort, General P. G. T. Beauregard, the Confederate commander in Charleston, South Carolina, gave Anderson one last chance to surrender the fort without bloodshed on April 11th, 150 years ago today.
General Beauregard
Beauregard sent this as the final request to surrender:

Headquarters Provisional Army, C. S. A. 
Charleston, April 11, 1861.
       Sir: The government of the Confederate States has hitherto foreborne from any hostile demonstrations against Fort Sumter, in hope that the government of the United States, with a view to the amicable adjustment of all questions between the two governments, 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. ... 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 and with so much fortitude, under the most trying circumstances, may be saluted by you on taking it down. Colonel Chestnut and Captain Lee will, for a reasonable time, await your answer.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Brigadier-General Commanding

To which Major Anderson replied,

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.

Major Robert Anderson
Beauregard, knowing that the fort was nearly out of provisions, asked Anderson when that would occur. Anderson replied that if they received no aditional instructions or provisions, and the Southerners did not attack, they would leave the fort at noon on April 15th, just four days away.


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