Reports of and correspondence with Ordnance Storekeeper F. C. Humphreys, U. S. Army, in reference to seizure of Charleston Arsenal.
OPERATIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR, S.C.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 1 [S# 1] CHAPTER I.

CHARLESTON, December 28, 1860.

Capt. WM. MAYNADIER,
Ordnance Bureau:

    A body of South Carolina military now surround the arsenal outside, however of the inclosure, but denying ingress or egress without countersign. The officer in command disclaims any intention of occupancy, and the United States flag is undisturbed. I await instructions.

F. C. HUMPHREYS.


CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S. C.,
December 29, 1860.

Capt. WM. MAYNADIER,
In charge of Ordnance Bureau, Washington, D.C.:

    SIR: I reported by telegraph on the 28th instant that this arsenal was surrounded by a body of South Carolina militia, and that myself and the command are not allowed to pass in or out without a countersign. Those in authority disclaim any intention of occupying the post, nor do they molest the flag. I asked for instructions, but have received none.
    I protest (the disclaimer notwithstanding) that this post is to all intents and purposes in the possession of the South Carolina troops, and also against the indignity offered me as an officer of the United States Army, to say nothing of the annoyance the entire command is subjected to by this measure.
    I shall, therefore, unless otherwise instructed from the War Department, make a formal protest against the posting of sentinels around this arsenal, and request that they be removed, which, if denied, I shall consider an occupancy of it by the State, and shall haul down my flag and surrender.
    I respectfully submit that such a course is proper, and due to myself and the position I occupy as commanding officer.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance, Commanding.

[Indorsement.]

ORDNANCE OFFICE,
January 17, 1861.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

WM. MAYNADIER,
Captain of Ordnance.

[Inclosure.]

Abstract from muster-roll of F. C. Humphreys, military storekeeper of ordnance, dated to include the 30th day of December, 1860.

    Present: Brevet Col. Benjamin Huger, who assumed command November 20, by order of the Secretary of War, and who was absent under orders from the Adjutant-General's Office, dated December 1, 1860, and assumed his former duty at Pikesville, Arsenal, by instructions of the Secretary of War, dated December 15, 1860.
    F. C. Humphreys, military storekeeper, who resumed command of post December 7, 1860. fourteen enlisted men.

F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper, U. S. Army.


CHARLESTON, S.C.,
December 30, 1860.

Capt. MAYNADIER,
In charge of Ordnance Bureau.

SIR: This arsenal has to-day been taken by force of arms. What disposition am I to make of my command?

F. C. HUMPHREYS.


CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S.C.
December 31, 1860

Capt. WM. MAYNADIER,
In charge of Ordnance Bureau, Washington, D.C.

    SIR: I have the honor to submit the correspondence relative to the surrender of this post yesterday to the authorities of this State. Trusting that my course may meet the approval of the Department,

I am, sir, very respectfully,
F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. A.

[Inclosures.]

CHARLESTON, December 30, 1860--10 o'clock a.m.

Capt. F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance. 

    SIR: I herewith demand an immediate surrender of the U. S. Arsenal at this place and under your charge, and a delivery to me of the keys and contents of the arsenals, magazines, &c.
    I am already proceeding to occupy it with a strong armed detachment of troops.
    I make the demand in the name of the State of South Carolina and by virtue of an order from its governor, a copy of which is inclosed.

Very respectfully,
JOHN CUNNINGHAM,
Colonel Seventeenth Reg. Inf., S.C.M.


HEADQUARTERS, CHARLESTON, S.C.,
December 29, 1860.

Col. JOHN CUNNINGHAM

    SIR: In the morning, after reporting yourself to Major-General Schneirle, and informing him of this order, you are directed to get from him a detachment of select men, and in the most discreet and forbearing manner you will proceed to the U. S. Arsenal in Charleston, and there demand, in my name, its entire possession, and state distinctly that you do this with a view to prevent any destruction of public property that may occur in the present excited state of the public mind, and also as due to the public safety. You will then proceed to take, in the most systematic manner, a correct inventory of everything in said arsenal, and the exact state of all arms, &c.
    You will read this order to Captain Humphreys, who is the United States officer at the arsenal.
    I do not apprehend any difficulty in giving up the same, but if refused, then you are to take it, using no more force than may be absolutely necessary, and with the greatest discretion and liberality to Captain Humphreys, who is at perfect liberty to remain in his present quarters as long as it may be agreeable for himself, and he is requested to do so. Report as soon as possible to me.

F. W. PICKENS.


CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S.C.,
December 30, 1860.

Col. JOHN CUNNINGHAM,
Seventeenth Regt. Inf., S.C. M.

    SIR: I am constrained to comply with your demand for the surrender of this arsenal, from the fact that I have no force for its defense. I do so, however, solemnly protesting against the illegality of this measure in the name of my Government.
    I also demand, as a right, that I be allowed to salute my flag, before lowering it, with one gun for each State now in the Union (32), and that my command be allowed to occupy the quarters assigned them until instructions can be obtained from the War Department.

Very respectfully,
F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. Army.


CHARLESTON, S. C.,
January 1, 1861.

Capt. WM. MAYNADIER,
Charge of Ordnance Bureau.

What disposition shall I make of the detachment under my command? We are very unpleasantly situated here.

F. C. HUMPHREYS,
U. S. Army.


ORDNANCE OFFICE,
January 2, 1861.

F. C. HUMPHREYS,
U. S. Arsenal, Charleston, S.C.:

    I want a report in detail of what has occurred; of the present position and condition of your command and property; as regards quarters and other accommodations, freedom of movement, and any statements or views in the matter that you may deem proper for a full understanding.

W. MAYNADIER,
Captain of Ordnance.


CHARLESTON ARSENAL, S.C.,
January 3, 1861.

Capt. WM. MAYNADIER,
In charge of Ordnance Bureau, Washington, D.C.

    SIR: I received your dispatch last night and sent a reply by telegraph. I will now proceed to make a detailed report of the facts relative to the surrender of this arsenal, which I should have done before but that my time has been fully occupied in getting proper vouchers for the property recently in my charge.
    On Sunday morning last Colonel Cunningham marched a strong detachment of armed men into this arsenal (having several days before entirely surrounded it outside of the inclosure) and demanded the surrender in the name of South Carolina and by order of Governor Pickens. Having no force to make a defense, I surrendered under a protest, and demanded the privilege of saluting my flag before lowering it and of taking it with me, and that the command should occupy the quarters until instructions could be received from the War Department, which was granted.
    Soon after, the arsenal and magazine were both opened, and the property has been constantly issued since--arms, ammunition, accouterments, &c.
    Myself and men and our families are very unpleasantly situated. There are some 200 men here constantly, and we are in actual danger from accident when so many inexperienced persons are at every turn with loaded arms. Our movements are watched and restricted, and I would earnestly request that we may be moved elsewhere. The times are so unsettled that I have not issued to my command this month either subsistence or fuel--in fact, we have no conveniences for anything, and all is confusion and turmoil.
    I understand that all communication with Fort Sumter is cut off, and that a barge with its men from that post has been captured at the city wharf and are held in durance.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
F. C. HUMPHREYS,
Military Storekeeper Ordnance, U. S. Army.

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