Sunday, December 13, 2009

Excerpts from the Journal of Horace Purdy, Danbury, January 10-14, 1861

Thursday January 10th 1861 Danbury

“There was about two inches of snow on the ground this morning. The papers today state that the Star of the West, carrying reinforcements to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter Charleston Harbor S. Carolina was fired into as she attempted to enter the harbor. She turned around an put out to sea.”

Friday January 11th 1861 Danbury

“Colder – no work in the shop. We did not get the news papers until the freight train came in at 2 o’clock. South Carolina has actually declared war against the United States. Major Anderson is now awaiting orders from the President through one of his Lieutenants who he has sent as a messenger to Washington. He will undoubtedly have orders to blockade the port and protect the Stars and Stripes. I painted a little upstairs after dinner. I attended the quarterly meeting of the Guards [Wooster Light Guard] in the eve. There was not a quorum present.”

Saturday January 12th 1861 Danbury

“I went into the street in the eve to get the news. The Star of the West has returned to N. York with her troops, she not being able to land at Fort Sumter. Out of 17 shots fired at her from Morris Island and Fort Moultry [sic] only two struck her. The President has determined to remain inactive and to send no troops to take the forts which are on the coasts of the Gulf States thinking that the secession difficulty can be managed better without arms than with. This is the news tonight in the N. York Evening Express.”

Monday January 14th 1861 Danbury

“No work in the shop. I waited there until the ca{rs?} came in and then went up for the papers. I brought them to the shop where we all read the news. The return of the Star of the West to N. York is confirmed. The troops were landed Sunday morning at their barracks on Governors Island. The war steamer Brooklyn is lying off Charleston Bay. It’s real object is not definitely known.”

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