Timeline of Events

January 11, 1861
The Charleston Mercury

WASHINGTON, December 10 - 4 p.m. - President BUCHANAN and Gen. SCOTT have both expressed their gratification, this morning, at the narrow escape of the Star of the West on the morning of the 9th from the batteries on Morris Island.

The general understanding is, that the Brooklyn will immediately go in search of the Star of the West, and will bring her into Norfolk, and that reinforcements will then be sent to Charleston under ample naval protection.

A large number of the Southern members still in Congress, called, in a body, on President BUCHANAN yesterday (Wednesday), and earnestly protested against sending any reinforcements, or any vessels of any kind to the South, unless the determined policy of the Administration was to provoke a bloody and disastrous civil war.

Gen SCOTT has gained entire control over the policy of the Administration. President BUCHANAN affects great surprise at the idea that the batteries in Charleston harbor should have opened fire upon the Star of the West yesterday morning.

The Constitution newspaper, of this morning published a letter from Vice President BRECKINRIDGE to the Governor of Kentucky, urging union among the Southern States as the only hope of escape from civil war.


WASHINGTON, January 10. - A telegraphic despatch from Charleston was received at the Navy Department, and was spoken of by Secretary TOUCEY in the Senate Chamber today. It was to the effect, that the Star of the West had anchored safely, and was discharging at Fort Sumter. The news elated the Republicans, but the Southern men would not believe it. Subsequent despatches turned the tables. The Republicans and the Administration were much mortified and disappointed at the result. A despatch from Hon. L.M. KEITT gave the particulars of the firing on the steamer, and satisfied the Southern men that the news of the safe arrival of the steamer was bogus...


The President today sent his long expected message to Congress. He regrets to say that matters instead of becoming better are worse, and hope is diminished. Alluding to the condition of the country, he sees no other alternative but collecting the revenue and protecting the public property as far as practicable under existing laws. His duty is to execute laws and not to say whether the laws are adequate. He says at the opening of the session he called attention to the danger to the Union, and recommended such measures of relief as he believed would have the effect of tranquilizing the country, and save it from peril in which it was needlessly and unfortunately placed. It was not necessary to repeat this opinion and recommendation. His conviction then expressed is unchanged. The right and duty to use military and naval force against those who illegally assail the Federal Government are clear and indisputable, but present a state of things beyond Executive control. We are, he says, in the midst of a great revolution, and he recommends to Congress to meet the present emergency, to which is reserved the power to declare war and restore peace to the country. On them rests the responsibility. After eulogizing the blessings conferred by the Union, he says should it perish, the calamity would be as severe in the Southern as the Northern States. The secession movement is chiefly made in misapprehension of the sentiments of the majority in the Northern States. Let the question be transferred from the political assembly to the ballot box. The people will redress grievances. In Heaven's name, let the trial be made before we plunge into the assumption that there is no alternative but civil war. Let us have reflection. Would that South Carolina had reflected! He appeals to Congress to say in their might, the Union shall and must be preserved by all constitutional means. He recommends Congress to devote themselves to prompt action with a view to peace. A division on the line of 3630 is suggested, as calculated to produce an adjustment. The danger is now on us. In several States the forts and arsenals have been seized by aggressive acts. Congress should endeavor to give these difficulties a peaceful solution. He states the reason why he had refused to send troops to Charleston harbor, believing this would have furnished a pretext, if not provocation on the part of South Carolina for aggression. referring to ANDERSON, he says that officer could not before he left Fort Moultrie have held that post 48 or 60 hours. He had warned his country of danger, and felt that the duty had been faithfully though imperfectly performed. He was conscious he meant well for his country.

A letter was included from ANDERSON in explanation, showing that he had orders to make the best defence, and concludes with saying that he intends to defend the District, and that the Union must be preserved.

JEFFERSON DAVIS has replied to the Message. He spoke of the high character of the Commissioners and correspondence transmitted, and presented their reply, which the President had returned. He asked that it should be read...

REF: The Charleston Mercury 11 JAN 1861.

The Civil War in South Carolina