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104 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements

Page 104 S. C., S. GA., MID. & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.

fenning, commanding Northern District, Department of the Sout, for duty. * * *

* * * *

By command of Major General J. G. Foster:


[35.] Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Charleston, S. C., June 22, 1864.

Major General J. G. FOSTER,

Commanding Department of the South, Hitlon Head:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 16th*, in reply to mine of the 13th* instant, has been received. As we have both been recently assigned to our respective commands, it may be well that we should understand correctly the circumstances under which the fire on this city was commenced and has been continued. You, I think, seem to be under some apprehension in regrd to the matter. First, you inaccurately assume that before opening fire on this city Major-General Gilmore, in accordance with the usuages of civilized warfare, notified General Beauregard of his intention, in order "that non-combatants might be removed, and thus women and children be spared from harm". Secondly, your evidently mistake the object of the bombardment. On the 21st of August last a letter without signature was sent from Major-General Gillmore's headquarters to General Beauregard, informing him that unless certain extraordinary conditions were complied with, or if no reply thereto was received within "four hours" after the delivery to the letter at Battery Wagner for transmimssion to Charleston, fire would be opened on the city from batteries already established. General Beuregard received that letter after 11 o'clock at night, and two hours later, when this city, was in profound repose, Major-General Gillmore opened fire on it and threw a number of the most destructive projectiles ever before used admist the sleeping and unarmed popultion. If Major-General Gillmore only desired to go through the barren from of giving notice of his intention, without allowing the non-combatants time of withdraw, he would have accomplished that useless end if his haste and eagerness to being his wicked work he had not forgotten to sign so important a letter. The time allowed was four hours from the delivery of the letter at Battery Wagner for transmission to General Beuaregard's headquarters, five miles distant. Major-General Gillmore knew very well that in the ordinary course to transmission all the time allowed would elapse before he cold receive a reply to his demand, and he knew quite as well that it was impossible in the brief space of time allowed to remove the non-combatants of a large and pupolous city. It is clear, therefore, that due time was not allowed and that the object of the notification was not "that non-combatants might be removed". You say:

Many months since Major-General, U. S. Army, notified General Beauregard, then commanding at Charleston, that city would be bombarded. This notice was given that non-combatants might be removed, and thus women and children be spared from harm. * * * That city is a depot for military supplies. It contains not merely arsenals, but also foundries and factories for the manufacture of munitions of war. In its ship-yards several armed iron-clads have been already completed, while other are still upon the stocks in course of completion. Its wharvers and the banks of the rivers on both side of the city are lined with batteries. To destroy these means of continuing the war is, therefore, our object and duty.


* See VOL. XXXV, Part II, pp. 134, 132, respectively.


Page 104 S. C., S. GA., MID. & E. FLA., & WEST. N. C. Chapter LXV.