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    Ordinance Order for Munitions on Sullivan's Island Signed "J. Johnston." Two pages, 5.25" x 8.25", Sullivan's Island; April 10, 1861. The order, approved by Johnston, includes requests for Minnie musket, musket, and rifle cartridges, and includes the following note: "The Col. begs me to say that he wishes to increase his supply of ammunition to 100 rounds to guard against accident. We will take care of it and see that it is not waisted [sic] and return it (of course) if not used. Our communication may be cut off and we understand the other troops have been supplied at the above rate."

    The complex of forts in Charleston Harbor had been the site of frenetic action ever since December 1860, when South Carolina withdrew from the Union. On December 26, 1860, the Union commander, Major Anderson, abandoned Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island and moved his headquarters over to Fort Sumter. In early January, the Rebels seized Moultrie and Fort Pinckney, and took the Federal arsenal in Charleston. Anderson and his men were cut off from the outside, and Lincoln ordered that the fort be re-supplied. A navy supply ship, the Star of the North, came into the harbor in January, only to flee when Confederate guns opened fire. Lincoln did not make any attempt to re-supply the fort until the first days of April 1861. He informed Gov. Pickens that only food and supplies were on the way, and that no guns and men would be thrown in. Beauregard, the Confederate commander, issued an ultimatum, and then commenced shelling at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. The cannon that launched the first shots came from Fort Johnson on James Island, but Ripley's batteries on Sullivan's Island soon joined the fray, pounding the Union garrison for 24 straight hours, until the massive destruction to the walls and fires inside made further resistance futile.

    An incredible military document, written just days before the bombardment of Fort Sumter - the opening shots of the Civil War. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Conditions: Flattened folds, with light toning at the edges. Else very fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 293

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