Timeline of Events

January 8, 1861
The New York Herald

The rumors which prevailed in this city on Sunday last that there was 'something in the wind' about Governor's Island, were the cause of great excitement and public concern. the report, which it now appears was not altogether unfounded, was to the effect that a considerable body of federal troops had been quietly removed from the island garrison to some unknown point. The peculiar situation of affairs in South Carolina, of course, very naturally pointed to that region of country as the destination of the troops. The embarkation and transfer of the soldiers, it is said, were effected during Saturday night last with as little noise as possible. The steamer Star of the West, which arrived at this port from Havana on Monday last, was, as far as we have learned, the capacious vessel selected for the conveyance of the military and warlike stores which were to be sent south. According to the usual practice and in accordance with public advertisement, this steamer should have left New York for Havana and New Orleans yesterday, or this morning; but instead of this, she suddenly disappeared from the harbor at a time when no one expected her departure. The fact is that private arrangements are said to have been made for the charter of the vessel, and the preliminary management had been conducted with so much skill and prudence that nothing was known to the public until the steamer was far away on her trip. It was not long, however, before a ubiquitous reporter got upon the scent. All the secrecy and mystery of the Governor's Island folks were useless to blind his clear vision. But as all communication with the island was positively interdicted, it was next to impossible to obtain anything like reliable information. That the troops had been embarded during Saturday night, and that the steamer had slipped her cables and put to sea early on Sunday morning, there was scarcely any doubt at all expressed. There were wakeful watchers enough between the Battery and Hamilton avenue to observe the stealthy midnight movement of blue coated soldiery, but the only difficulty was to ascertain their destination. Some people thought that they were sent to Washington, others that they were intended to garrison and protect unoccupied federal forts, but the majority were very clearly of opinion that Fort Sumter and Major Anderson had something to do with the movement.

It is very well known that a good deal of activity has been manifested in the enlistment of recruits on Governor's Island for several weeks past. The drum call has rattled on the island early and late and passengers by the ferry boats cannot have failed to witness the unceasing industry evinced in the drilling of raw recruits. Since communication with the island has been suspended, by order of the officers in command, but very few soldiers are to be seen moving about the island, and until fresh recruits are enrolled it will be some time before such active exercises are again witnessed there.

The difficult position of Major Anderson in Fort Sumter had, it is rumored, attracted the attention of the merchants of New York. Everybody seemed to approve of the action of this officer, and while some of his admirers were thundering forth salvos of artillery in his honor through various parts of the country, the more practical men were seeking to send him prompt and effectual relief. For several days past a number of wealthy merchants of this city had been making arrangements to send him supplies and reinforcements. This was not with the intention of exciting the people of South Carolina, but for the purpose of placing the gallant Major and his little garrison in a position to maintain themselves against any sudden and formidable attack. Money, it is said, was freely forthcoming from all sides, and the number of men to be sent as well as the other necessary preliminaries were fully settled on Friday night.

The proposed commander of the expedition had procured all the supplies necessary for the occasion such as preserved meats, dessicated vegetables, coal, and other articles of which the garrison of Fort Sumter was supposed to be greatly in need.

Everything was in readiness for the departure of the expedition on Saturday morning, when it was discovered that the government had anticipated the patriotic purpose of the parties concerned, and that Lieutenant General Scott had telegraphed orders to this city, for the immediate embarkation of two hundred and fifty men, with all the necessary munitions of war, and that the force should be instantly dispatched to the South. The astute and wary commander of the American forces was, it appears, not satisfied with a mere telegraphic message in so important a matter. After telegraphing he despatched Col. Thomas, in person to this city, to see to the chartering of the Star of the West, and all the other necessary arrangements. It, therefore, seems that strong reinforcement have been sent to the relief of Major Anderson, and we may now, momentarily look for very important intelligence from South Carolina. The Star of the West will reach Charleston sometime this afternoon, and we may fairly anticipate the reception of telegraphic advices before evening. The troops and provisions thus sent will of course, be thrown in the besieged fortress at all hazards; and if all the circumstances which have transpired be strictly correct, it will be little less than a miracle to prevent a hostile collision. Under all circumstances, the garrison of Fort Sumter are reported to be determined not to surrender, and it is well known that the small corps of soldiers have sworn to stand firmly to one another and their commander. The intelligence that is now expected form Charleston is big with importance and the fate of the nation. In the present excited state of the south it is next to impossible that Major Anderson's reinforcements can be landed without resistance, and the results might prove the beginning of a very serious affair.

We also learn that an order has been received in this city from the War Department, directing all the available troops on this station to be mustered, and critically inspected at Governor's Island on Thursday next. That no man may be absent at roll call, the utmost strictness is exercised in making out the daily liberty lists, and no soldier is allowed to leave the island except by special permission. All the remaining troops in garrison are held in readiness for immediate departure.

As we said before, there is much mystery connected with the movements on the island. Nothing is allowed to transpire that can by any possibility be concealed. To an enquiry made of an officer by one of our reporters, he received the reply, in the classic language of congress, that the whole thing was 'a - lie.'

The steamship Columbia from Charleston arrived here yesterday afternoon with fifty four cabin passengers, some of whom had been employed on the works at Fort Sumter. A reporter of this paper had a conversation with one of these passengers. He states that the excitement in South CArolina is as great now as ever. Everything there is at fever heat. He also informs us that the reports about the sufferings of the people of Charleston are utterly false. There is no dissatisfaction among the troops, nor any necessity for forced loans. The supplies from the interior were as large as usual.

Every precaution had been taken to protect the harbor of Charleston and to prevent the possibility of the entrance of any vessels, especially at night. The buoys have all been removed, and the pilots are interdicted from bringing vessels into port. It is therefore almost impossible for any vessel to enter Charleston harbor at the present time. REF: The New York Herald 08 JAN 1861.

The Civil War in South Carolina