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Special Memorandum to Robert Anderson, December 11, 1860
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Documents
December 11, 1860 Under orders from Secretary of War John Floyd, General Don Carlos Buell visits Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter. Buell tells Anderson he may occupy any fort that he wants to if he is attacked or feels he is about to be attacked.
  Don Carlos Buell
  Fort Sumter
  Robert Anderson
  John Floyd

Memorandum of verbal instructions to Major Anderson, 1st Artillery, commanding at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina:

You are aware of the great anxiety of the Secretary of War that a collision of the troops with the people of this State shall be avoided, and of his studied determination to pursue a course with reference to the military force and forts in this harbor which shall guard against such a collision. He has, therefore, carefully abstained from increasing the force at this point, or taking any measures which might add to the present excited state of the public mind, or which would throw any doubt on the confidence he feels that South Carolina will not attempt by violence to obtain possession of the public works or interfere with their occupancy. But as the counsel and acts of rash and impulsive persons may possibly disappoint these expectations of the Government, he deems it proper that you shall be prepared with instructions to meet so unhappy a contingency. He has, therefore, directed me verbally to give you such instructions.

You are carefully to avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression, and for that reason you are not, without evident and imminent necessity, to take up any position which could be construed into the assumption of a hostile attitude. But you are to hold possession of the forts in this harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last extremity. The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than one of the three forts, but an attack on or attempt to take possession of either one of them will be regarded as an act of hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which you may deem most proper, to increase its power of resistance. You are also authorized to take similar defensive steps whenever you have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.

D.C. Buell, Assistant Adjutant-General.
December 11, 1860.

This is in conformity to my instructions to Major Buell.

John B. Floyd, Secretary of War.

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D.C. Buell
John B. Floyd
Major Anderson

Civil War Encyclopedia >> Documents

Special Memorandum to Robert Anderson, December 11, 1860 was last changed on - April 18, 2007
Special Memorandum to Robert Anderson, December 11, 1860 was added on - April 16, 2007

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