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preparing for war
Confederate preparations at Cummings Point, Morris Island. The inclined Ironclad Battery is at the left.
From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 30, 1861.

Preparations for War

Fort Sumter was now preparing for attack. Thirty-eight more guns were mounted in the first tier of casemates and along the parapet, including heavier "42 pounders" and Columbiads. Five Columbiads were mounted in the parade as mortars and three howitzers about the sally port in the gorge. By April 12, a total of 60 guns was ready. "Bombproof" shelters and "splinter-proof" traverses were constructed on the parade ground and along the parapet. Overhanging galleries were built out from the parapet at strategic points for dropping shells on an assaulting force. Special protection was given the gateway. Left unarmed, however, was the second tier of casemates; the 8-foot-square openings in the outer wall were bricked up. The small size of Major Anderson's garrison did not permit manning it.

Charleston, too, prepared. In addition to routine preparations at Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie, additional batteries were prepared on Sullivan's Island, at Cummings Point on Morris Island, and outside Fort Johnson. An "ironclad" Columbiad battery, constructed of inclined logs plated with iron, was mounted at Cummings Point. Meanwhile, Governor Pickens permitted Anderson to buy fresh meat and vegetables in town to supplement his garrison "issue" supply.

On February 4, 1861, delegates from six seceding States—South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana—had met at Montgomery, Ala., to form the Confederate government. A constitution had been adopted and Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, had been elected President and inaugurated on February 18. Texas came into the Confederacy on March 2. By this time all forts, arsenals, and navy yards in the seceding States had been seized by the Confederate government without resistance, except Fort Pickens on Pensacola Bay in Florida, two minor forts (Jefferson and Taylor) on and near the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter. Because of its association with the "hotbed of secession" and because of Major Anderson's dramatic move, Fort Sumter had assumed undeserved importance.

On March 3, Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard took command of the Confederate troops at Charleston. Like Major Anderson, Beauregard was a veteran of the Mexican War. He was a member of a Louisiana family of distinguished French lineage. Late captain in the United Stares Army, he had served briefly as superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point as recently as January. Once, years back, he had studied artillery there under Major Anderson; now, pupil confronted master.


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