Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 13 / Our Seacoast Defenses (9 July 1861)

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Page 13 / Our Seacoast Defenses (9 July 1861)

Correspondence | 1861-07-09
Transcription hitherto rendered us these services, for want of somebody else to practice
upon us, we deliberately set about plundering and befooling ourselves.

The Charleston Mercury 9 July 1861

Our Seacoast Defences

The large and extravagant orders for gun boats and light draught vessels,
issued by our enemies, naturally leads to the industry, for what uses are they
To this the reply is obvious. They are meant to penetrate the shallow
waters of the Southern coast, from Hatteras to the Rio Grande.
The next question with us is, as to the degree of preparation which we
have reach for resistance to this sort of invasion.
We have batteries, no doubt, at sundry accessible points; but these rather
contemplate an occasional assault of single cruisers, than heavy armaments,
numerous vessels, and thousands of them.
In the case of South Carolina, we are to ask assuming the malignant
purposes of the enemy to punish her as much as he can—in what way will he
attempt to read her vitally? He can hardly do so by land armies, passing
through Virginia or North Carolina.
Where, then, will she be found most accessible? That will be his enquiry.
He will hardly attempt anything of moment along the coast during the
malaria season; yet, even of that, we must not make ourselves too certain. A
dash at Fort Sumter some dark night might unlock the harbor and open the
State to future invasion. We must be on the watch, at once vigilant and
But, with harvest say October and November we may look to see him,
in force, somewhere along our coast; for which purpose he is now providing
his transports, launches and light draught gunboats.
His point will be to take Charleston, which will be his base of operations
for an advance into the interior.
This he really designs, unless his reverses in Virginia shall be such as
shall cool his appetite for war altogether.
But, we are to prepare for all chances and probabilities, and look out even
for the possibilities, assured, as we are, that the North is beginning to feel
that the secession of the Cotton States is their commercial ruin; and that, out
of the wrecks of their trade, we shall establish a magnificent empire, to
which their past prosperity shall be nothing.
As this conviction forces itself upon them, they will, in sheer desperation
make desperate efforts; not because of their patriotism for this quality we