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  January 9                                           January 11

January 10, 1861

New York Herald

Important from the South.

CHARLESTON, Jan. 9, 1861.

The Star of the West, in endeavoring to enter our harbor about daylight this morning, was opened upon by the garrison on Morris Island, and also by Fort Moultrie. The steamer put about and went to sea.

I have not been able to learn whether the steamer or any person on board was injured. The belief is that no injury was sustained by either the boat or those on board. Fort Sumter did not respond.

Lieut. Hall, of Fort Sumter, came over to the city about eleven o’clock with a flag of truce. He repaired to the quarters of the Governor, followed by a crowd of citizens. He was in secret communication with the Governor and Council for two hours. At two o’clock he was sent in a carriage with the Governor’s aids to the wharf, and returned to Fort Sumter. The object of his mission is not known. It is supposed that it related to the firing on the Star of the West.

The people are intensely exited.

There were no demonstrations against Lieut. Hall. There is a great curiosity to know what Lieut. Hall came for.

Our citizens were drawn in crowds to our wharves early this morning, in consequence of frequent reports of cannon from seaward. Some twelve or fifteen reports were heard, many of them proceeded from the works on Morris Island.


Lieutenant Hall closed his interview with the Governor and Council about two o’clock. The facts have not transpired. We learn from high authority that they are of a most threatening character.

The News.

The Star of the West arrived at Charleston yesterday forenoon, and the South Carolina troops at Morris Island and Fort Moultrie opened fire upon her. The steamer immediately put to sea. An officer from Fort Sumter, under a flag of truce, had an interview with the Governor and Council of South Carolina during the day, but the subject of the meeting had not transpired.

The Mississippi State Convention yesterday adopted the secession ordinance. Mississippi is therefore now out of the Union.

The acceptance of the post of Secretary of State by Mr. Seward in Mr. Lincoln’s Cabinet is announced.

Charleston Mercury

The War Begun. Engagement at Fort Morris.—Attempted Reinforcement of Fort Sumter.—The Star of the West is Fired Into and Driven Back.

The Citadel Cadets Fire the First Shotted Gun—The United States Flag Hauled Down—Three of the Shots Take Effect—The Steamer Puts to Sea with a Tender—What Major Anderson is going to do about it, etc., etc., etc.

The first gun of the new struggle for independence (if struggle there is to be) has been fired, and Federal power has received its first repulse.

About seven o’clock yesterday morning, our citizens were startled by the firing of heavy guns in the direction of Sullivan and Morris Islands. It was at once surmised that the steamship Star of the West, which has been reported by the special telegraphic correspondents of the MERCURY as having left New York with reinforcements and stores for Major ANDERSON, has attempted to pass the battery on Morris Island. Our reporters were immediately despatched to the entrance of the harbor, and after visiting all the fortifications now occupied by our troops, the following facts were elicited:


Yesterday morning, the sentries on Morris’s Island reported a steamship standing in the ship channel. The long roll was immediately beat, and all the troops were promptly under arms, Lieutenant Colonel J.L. BRANCH, of the Regiment of Rifles commanding. These comprised the Vigilant Rifles, Capt. TUPPER (90 men); the German Riflemen, Capt. SMALL (90 men); the Zouave Cadets, Lieut. CHICHESTER (45 men); and a detachment of 40 from the Citadel Cadet Corps. The last named body were at once marched to the battery, commanding the ship channel, which, at this point, passes within from one half to three quarters of a mile of the beach. At 7 o’clock, when the Star of the West had reached a point within range of the guns, Major STEVENS fired a shot across her bows, as a signal for her to heave to. After waiting three or four minutes, no diminution in the speed or change in the course of the steamer could be noticed. A moment after, the United States flag was run up at her foremast. The Star of the West continuing thus defiantly to pursue her course towards Fort Sumter, the order was given to the men at the Morris Island guns to open fire. Five rounds were accordingly discharged in quick succession. Two of these are reported to have taken effect, one forward and the other abaft the wheel. At the sixth discharge the Star of the West rounded to and steered outward towards the bar. At the same time, the ensign which she displayed immediately after the warning gun was lowered. Three more shots were fired from Fort Morris and three from Fort Moultrie, one of these latter, it is thought, took effect.

A gentleman on the Island reports that after the Star of the West had cleared the bar and proceeded a considerable distance beyond, a steam propeller, of about 350 tons burthen, joined her, apparently as a tender, and they steamed off together in an E.N.E. direction.

Thus terminated the first attempt of the Federal Government to reinforce the great stronghold of coercion in our harbor. The approach of the Star of the West to Fort Sumter, taken in connection with the facts that her clearance was for New Orleans, and that her troops were smuggled aboard outside the harbor of New York, proves clearly enough that the President has chosen the coercive policy, and that his officials will not hesitate to promote its success.


About ten o’clock, a boat bearing a white flag came from Fort Sumter towards the city. On its arrival at the wharf it was found to contain Lieut. HALL, of the garrison of Fort Sumter, with despatches for the Governor of the State. The presence of this officer in the city, owing to the events of the morning, gave rise to considerable excitement, and speculation was rife as to the object of his visit. During his interview with the Governor the public curiosity rose to the highest pitch, but it was two o’clock before the purport of his communication was made public. When the people learned that Major ANDERSON had sent to inquire whether the firing at Morris’s Island was sanctioned by the Governor, that the Governor had replied in the affirmative, and that Major ANDERSON had thereupon signified his intention of cutting off all communication by water between the city and our forts, the expressions of indignation were deep and universal. The most active measures were immediately set on foot to strengthen the forces at the various points about the harbor, and people were everywhere discussing how the threatened affront and injury should be resented. On his return Lieut. HALL was escorted to his boat by Gen. SUBER and Lieut. GIBBES.

Thus matters stood until half past 6 o’clock, when the white flag was again seen coming from Fort Sumter. This time the communication of Major ANDERSON, brought by Lieut. TALBOT, was of a less menacing character. It briefly stated that he designed deferring for the present the course indicated in his note of the morning, until the arrival from Washington of the instructions he might receive from his Government, and asked safe conduct for his bearer of despatches. The highly interesting correspondence between Major ANDERSON and Gov. PICKENS will be found in full in another part of today’s paper, among the proceedings of the House of Representatives.

The Ninth of January, 1861.

Great Events crowd rapidly one upon another. Three short weeks ago, and the greatest event of the century upon the Western Hemisphere was transacted in Charleston. The Union of the States of North America, was dissolved by the action of the State of South Carolina.

It appears to be a decree of history that upon all great revolutions or changes of the Government of a people, the red seal of blood must be set. Yesterday, the 9th of January, will be memorable to history. Powder has been burnt over the decree of our State, timber has been crushed, perhaps blood spilled. South Carolina will maintain her liberties and her independence whilst there is single shot in her lockers. Blind infatuation is driving our enemies forward, and stroke by stroke the liberties of the South are being welded and cemented together.

The expulsion of the steamer Star of the West from the Charleston harbor, yesterday morning was the opening of the hall of the Revolution. We are proud that our harbor has been so honored. We are more proud that the State of South Carolina, so long, so bitterly, so contemptuously reviled and scoffed at, above all others, should this proudly have thrown back the scoff of her enemies. Entrenched upon her soil, she has spoken from the mouth of her cannon, and not from the mouths of scurrilous demagogues, fanatics and scribblers. Condemned, the sanctity of her waters violated with the hostile purpose of reinforcing enemies in our harbor, she has not hesitated to strike the first blow, full in the face of her insulter. Let the United States Government bear, or return at their good will, the blow still tingling about her ears — the fruit of her own bandit temerity. We would not exchange or recall that blow for millions! It has wiped out a half century of scorn and outrage. Again South Carolina may be proud of her historic fame and ancestry, without a blush upon her cheek for her own present honor. The haughty echo of her cannon has ere this reverberated from Maine to Texas, through every hamlet of the North, and down along the great waters of the Southwest. The decree has gone forth. Upon every acre of the peaceful soil of the South armed men will spring up, as the sound breaks upon their ears; and it will be found that every word of our insolent foes has indeed been a dragon’s tooth sown for their destruction. And though grisly and traitorous ruffians may cry on the dogs of war, and treacherous politicians may lend their aid in deceptions, South Carolina will stand under her own Palmetto tree, unterrified by the snarling growls or assaults of the one, undeceived or deterred by the wily machinations of the other. And if that red seal of blood be still lacking to the parchment of our liberties, and blood they want blood they shall have and blood enough to stamp it all in red. For, by the God of our Fathers, the soil of South Carolina Shall be Free!

Diary of a Yankee in the Patent Office

by Horatio Nelson Taft

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 1861.—The weather is a little colder tonight, just freezing. Exciting news from Charleston. The Steamer Star of the West with troops to reinforce Maj Anderson was fired into yesterday and she turned off to Sea. Maj Anderson threatened the City with Bombs if she was again molested. We hear that she is in the Harbor landing her troops and stores at Fort Sumpter. It has been rumored this afternoon that the Gov of Virginia had ordered two Regiments to Harpers Ferry to take possession of the U S Arsenal &c, and that their passage through this City will be resisted by the Govt. I have not been well today, and have not been out of the house since dinner.

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Skedaddle e-journal is in its second year of publication. 

The first volume, with four issues, was published in 2004. Each issue contained a variety of articles, poems, and images, with no particular focus other than the American Civil War. 

In Volume 2, the focus is on day-to-day news from newspapers and other sources, starting with January 1, 1861 and ending on December 31, 1861.  In the initial issue of this volume, Lincoln is not yet inaugurated and the only state that has seceded is South Carolina.

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