Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/493

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492 Southern Historical Society Papers.

troops as it thus became evident that the end was near. We, at Vinegar Hill, thought that now our time had surely come. We felt sure that the officers commanding the fleet would not look on and quietly see Anderson and his garrison roast, or surrender, to prevent such a catastrophe. But they continued quiet spectators of the scene.

The fire from the burning buildings soon silenced the guns of the Fort. Many of the garrison had to come out of the port holes to the stones at the base of the wall. Once they went back and re- sumed the fight. The men on our side felt like cheering the brave fellows. At length the flag disappeared, and we thought that the fight was over; but not so, it soon reappeared with the staff lashed to a gun-carriage on the parapet. Finally, however, after thirty-two and a-half hours' fighting, the white flag appeared, and firing ceased.

We soon learned that Anderson had agreed to surrender, and afterwards heard that Senator Wigfall, with W. Gourdin Young, of Charleston, had gone over to the Fort and offered to receive Ander- son's surrender. It was agreed that he might salute his flag and march his command out with the honors of war, retaining their arms and private baggage. Everything else in the Fort was to be sur- rendered to the Confederate States. After these terms were agreed upon, the white flag was raised. Wigfall had come before the firing ceased, and had made his way into the Fort through one of the port holes of a casemate.

Beauregard, seeing the white flag, sent Colonel James Chesnut, Captain Lee, Colonel Pryor, and Hon. William Porcher Miles, to communicate with Anderson. These gentlemen were astonished to find Colonel Wigfall in the Fort, and told Major Anderson that he had no authority to treat in Beauregard' s name. Anderson threat- ened to run up his flag and renew the fight, but, after further parley and communication with Beauregard, substantially the same terms were allowed. So ended the battle of Fort Sumter. The Fort was ours without the loss of a man.

While the negotiations with Anderson were pending, we saw from our battery at Vinegar Hill a sailing vessel coming across the bar with all of her canvass spread. We did know the mean- ing of this manoeuvre, and thought that perhaps the commander of the fleet had concluded to practice a strategem on us, and send reinforcements to Sumter in a vessel that would be taken for a mer- chantman engaged in trade on her way to Charleston. We did not think that a vessel bearing the United States flag would attempt to