Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/70

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60 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Agreement between the United States Government and South Carolina as to " Preserving the Status" of the Forts at Charleston.

Letter from General E. Capers and Statement of Ex-Governor Orr, of

South Carolina.

The following statement was made to me by Governor James L. Orr at the request of General T. W. Crawford, U. S. A.

Governor Orr dictated the statement and I wrote it down.

General Crawford had written to ask me if I could procure from Governor Orr any information respecting the reputed agreement be- tween the United States Government and the State of South Carolina in reference to a fixed status of the forts in Charleston harbor at the time of the State's secession.

Governor Orr was at the time of making the statement Judge of the Circuit Court and holding court in Greenville, S. C.

Ellison Capers, statement of james l. orr.

I retired from Congress on the 4th of March, 1859, hence was not present as a member when the arrangement was made between Mr. Buchanan and the South Carolina delegation with reference to the forts in Charleston harbor, early in December, i860.

Immediately after the passage of the ordinance of secession by the South Carolina Convention that body elected Messrs. Barnwell, Adams and Orr commissioners to go to Washington to arrange for a peaceable secession of the State, and for an arrangement by which the State should pay her proportion of the public debt of the United States and receive likewise her proportion of all the public property.

Before the Commission left Charleston, where the Convention was in session, Mr. Miles, one of the delegates, and also a member of Congress, announced to the Convention the arrangement which had been made between Mr. Buchanan and the delegation, securing a fixed military status in the harbor. He stated, and produced a mem- orandum to the effect, that the authorities of South Carolina should make no demonstration upon the forts or troops of the United States until notice should be given the President ; and he, on his part, stipu- lated that the garrison in Charleston harbor should not be reinforced, or the status of the situation changed without notice to the authorities of South Carolina.

The Commissioners went on to Washington and opened negotia- tions with the President.