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Foreign and Colonial News

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1087, p. 408.

May 4, 1861

FOREIGN AND COLONIAL NEWS.
AMERICA.

The startling news was received late on Thursday se'nnight of the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter on the 13th of April. We were enabled to give in the greater part of our last Impression the telegraphic summary of the proceedings at Charleston, and up to the time of our going to press with this week's Number no detailed account had come to hand. The cannonading was commenced by General Beauregard at four o'clock on the morning of the 12th of April, and Major Anderson vigorously returned the fire. Hostilities continued until the following day, when the fort appears to have sustained so much damage as to render its further defence hopeless, and Major Anderson then surrendered. Some steamers sent to relieve the fort were outside the harbour, but took no part in the conflict. No lives were lost on either side; in fact, one despatch states that no one was even hurt. Major Anderson and his men left Charleston on the 15th in the steamer Baltic for New York. The general character of the operations as gathered from the Charleston telegrams, which are, however, little to be relied on, has been thus indicated:—All the proceedings at Charleston were carried on much as a cricket-match or an eight-oar race might take place in this country. The highest courtesy seems to have been shown on both sides. The ladies turned out to grace the contest. A good shot from Fort Sumter was as much applauded as a good shot from Fort Moultrie. When the American flag was shot away General Beauregard sent Major Anderson another to fight under; when the fort was found to be on fire the polite enemy, who had with such intense energy laboured to excite the conflagration, offered an equally energetic assistance to put it out. When the dispossessed enemy passed through the streets of Charleston the cheering of the people was frantic. The only indignation felt throughout the affair was at the conduct of the American flotilla, which kept outside, and did not come into harbour and take part in the fray. The Southerners resented this as an act of treachery towards their favourite enemy, Major Anderson. The courtesies, indeed, were more fatal than the hostilities, for, whereas no life was destroyed by the guns fired in anger, two men were killed and four wounded by the peaceful salute fired afterwards.

The news of the capture of Fort Sumter had naturally occasioned intense excitement at Washington and throughout the country. There was a feeling that the safety of the Federal capital itself would soon be menaced, and preparations were being made for its defence.

President Lincoln has issued a proclamation calling out the militia of the several States of the Union, to the number of seventy-five thousand, and announcing that this force will probably be employed in the recapture of the forts which have been seized by the Southern revolutionists. He likewise summons an extra session of Congress, but the senators and representatives are not to assemble till the 4th of July next—the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The proclamation treats the Secessionists as rebels, and commands all persons who are in arms against the United States to disperse within twenty days. The document, which is dated the 15th of April, was signed by Mr. Lincoln, and countersigned by Mr. Seward.

On the previous day Mr. Lincoln received the Commissioners appointed by the Virginia Convention to ascertain his intentions; and, in answer to their inquiries, he expressed his determination not only to hold all the forts now in possession of the Government, but to retake those which have been captured, "and, in any event, to the best of his ability, repel force by force."

The Northern States, we are told, responded enthusiastically to the President's call, New York having voted 30,000 men and 3,000,000 dollars. Volunteers are freely offering their services.

But, on the other hand, the Governors of Kentucky, North Carolina, and Missouri have refused to supply any troops; and Virginia has seceded formally from the Union. The Southern Confederacy is vigorously preparing for hostilities on a large scale; for President Jefferson Davis has published a proclamation authorising the issue of letters of marque—a measure which will fill with alarm the shipowners of New York and New England; and we are told that the Montgomery Government will call out 150,000 volunteers.

Extensive preparations continued to be made for the defence of Washington against any attack of the Secessionists, and Federal troops were assembling there. The Federal squadron, having on board Major Anderson and his garrison, had sailed from Charleston for New York.

The tenour of the American advices brought by the Canadian on Wednesday is such as to destroy any hope which remained that a civil war on a great scale could be averted. President Lincoln has issued a proclamation declaring all the ports of the seceded States in a state of blockade. North Carolina has seized the Federal forts and arsenals within the State, and has thus seceded as practically, if not as formally, as South Carolina itself. One of the first acts of the Virginians after hoisting the Southern flag was to assail the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry; and the Federal Commissioners, not having sufficient force to defend the place, destroyed the buildings and stores, and fled into Pennsylvania, with the loss of three of their men. At Norfolk the Virginians attempted to block up the harbour so as to prevent the egress of the Federal vessels from the Navy-yard; but they were compelled, we are told, to remove the obstructions by the vigorous conduct of the Captain of a United States' ship of war, who threatened to level the town with his guns if they persisted in their endeavour. In Maryland there has been a sanguinary collision between the Northerners and the Southerners at Baltimore. A regiment of Massachusetts volunteers, on its way to Washington for the defence of the Federal capital, was assailed by a Secessionist mob in the streets of Baltimore. In the fierce affray which followed eleven men were killed, and many were wounded. About 5000 Federal troops and militia have been assembled at Washington, and reinforcements are constantly arriving. All the bridges have been destroyed between Baltimore and Washington. If we may believe the New York Evening Post, President Jefferson Davis, at the head of the Southern Confederacy's army, was within twenty-four hours' march of Washington. Fort Pickens had been relieved by the Federal squadron, which had increased its garrison to 800 men; but the reinforcements seem to have been landed without any hostilities with the Southerners, under General Bragg. All the Slave States—as we are assured, and no doubt with truth—are "arming for the defence of the South;" and the whole of the Montgomery Government's loan of 15,000,000 dollars is said to have been subscribed.

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