James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
the Powhatan,1 the most important of the war-ships and the one carrying the equipment necessary for the undertaking, nothing could be accomplished, and no attempt was made to provision the fort. Administrative inefficiency, Sewards meddlesomeness and a heavy storm at sea conjoined to cause the failure of the expedition. Fox and his companions watched the bombardment, chafing at their powerlessness to render their brothers-in-arms any assistance.
Before leaving Sumter Beauregards aides notified Anderson in writing that in an hour their batteries would open on the fort. Anderson and his officers went through the casemates where the men were sleeping, waked them, told them of the impending attack and of his decision not to return the fire until after daylight. The first shell was from Fort Johnson; at half past four, it rose high in air and curving in its course burst almost directly over the fort.2 The next shot came from Cummings Point, fired, it is said, by a venerable secessionist from Virginia who had long awaited the glory of this day. The official account does not confirm the popular impression, but the Lieutenant-Colonel in command wrote that his men were greatly incited by the enthusiasm and example of this old Virginian who was at one of the Cummings Point batteries during the greater part of the bombardment.3 After Cummings Point all the batteries opened in quick succession; Sumter was surrounded by a circle of fire.4 Meanwhile the men in the fort, alive to the novelty of the scene, watched the shot and shell directed at them, until, realizing the danger of exposure, they retired to the bomb-proofs to
Note 1. The Powhatan had been detached and never arrived at Charleston. The Pocahontas arrived at 2 P.M., April 13. [back]