Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 12, 1861 (Friday) Preparing to Attack Fort Sumter

Floating battery at Sullivans Island.

HEADQUARTERS, April 12, 1861

Dear General:  Plan of battle just determined on at Gregg's quarters.  Whiting, Huger, Gregg, Trapier, and Simons all agree that we greatly need infantry to defend the batteries from assault.  Four large steamers are plainly in view, and standing off the bar all day.  Unanimous opinion that a landing will be attempted, and fears that some of the batteries will be taken, unless supported.  Have made the best distribution of the troops we have, but need every man you can send.  Should you not be here personally to direct?  Such is the general opinion.  I send this by order of Simons, who is at Gregg's and left me here to write, and send without delay.

Very respectfully,


P.S.-We have no glass here, and have to rely entirely upon the eye to examine steamers.  Four plainly in sight, and another vessel out a short distance.  Fight expected tonight.

Written from Charleston, SC on the opening day of the war.  Wigfall had resigned from the US Senate on March 23 and writes here to General P.T. Beauregard regarding preparations for the shelling of Fort Sumter and defense of the batteries from the perceived threat of a Union landing party.  Wigfall went on to lead the Texas Brigade before resigning to serve in the Confederate Congress.  He regarded himself as a miltary genius, but was alone in that belief.

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