-- And The War Came --

Friday April 12, 1861

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Final Negotiations at Fort Sumter

At about 1 a.m., four aides returned to Fort Sumter with Beauregard's conditions. Anderson consulted at length with his officers, perhaps stalling until the expedition might arrive, perhaps deliberating over a tough decision. Finally, he returned a response loaded with conditions: he agreed to evacuate Sumter by noon on April 15 "should I not receive prior to that time controlling instructions from my Government, or additional supplies." He also agreed not to fire upon Beauregard's forces during this period, "unless compelled to do so by some hostile act against this fort or the flag of my Government . . . ."

At 3:20 a.m., after considering Anderson's reply, the aides notified Anderson that General Beauregard "will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time."

At 3:30 a.m., the aides departed from Fort Sumter, proceeded to one of the surrounding forts, Fort Johnson, and gave the commanding officer the order to open fire at the time indicated.


Bibliography: OR, pp. 13-14, 18, 305; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 4: 46-47; Swanberg, First Blood, pp. 295-98.

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