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 18 / Our Sea Coast Defenses - Rifled Cannon (20 July 1861)

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Page 18 / Our Sea Coast Defenses - Rifled Cannon (20 July 1861)

Correspondence | 1861-07-20
Transcription loans or by treasury notes, or otherwise. In our right arms alone is our
To accomplish that defense, besides the aid of an able engineer, the
greatest essential is the superintendence and control of the ablest, most
energetic and accomplished artillery officer we can obtain.
It is a matter in which an artillery officer, alone, can be competent. It is a
matter of artillery, not of cavalry or of infantry practice. All .scruples should
be thrown aside (with respect to all parties), and the man for the work should
be put to do it. Too much is at stake for the indulgence of technicalities or of
personal feelings. The propriety of the requisition of this man should not be
questioned. Promptly, everything that he desires for the work should be
placed in his hands. Whether it be guns, or gun carriages, or labor, he should
have it. Great exertions and great expenditures and great intelligence, alone,
can right us through the coming storm.

Charleston Mercury 20 July 1861

Our Sea Coast Defenses-Rifled Cannon

Our people, we believe, are satisfied that with the demonic temper of the
North, this is to be no rose-water revolution; that the war upon which we
have just entered will be a savage one; that our second struggle for
independence will be characterized by malignity and hate as the first was,
and won, like that, after privation, suffering and endurance. At present, all
eyes are turned toward Virginia. The great issues there at stake, the doubtful
chances of the game, and the strategic moves of the two antagonists, are so
important and exciting as to fascinate the attention and divert it from other
and more quiet theatres of future action. But a skillful player, in pressing his
main. attack, should never lose sight of lesser chances, and, above all, never
expose a weak point to challenge the onslaught of a keen adversary. This
error, it seems to us, we are in danger of committing, unless we sometimes
turn our eyes from the well-fortified banks of the Potomac to the more
accessible shores of our own State.
It must be ever remembered, that in the eyes and thoughts of our
enemies South Carolina is the very head and front of this rebellion. Her
statesmen long taught and finally inculcated the heretical doctrines of States
Rights. The "overt act" of 1830, and the meditated "treason" of 1850 and
1851, rest on her shoulders alone; and the same "pestilent State" precipitated
the dissolution of the Union, and inaugurated this "ruinous war" to Northern
industry and commerce, by the memorable act of her Convention, on the 20th
of December, 1 861 [ 1860]. The first gun levelled against Federal authority
was, moreover, fired in her waters; and the defeat of the "gallant Anderson,"