Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant) (1818-1893) to Robert Anderson

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01127.02 Author/Creator: Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant) (1818-1893) Place Written: Charleston, South Carolina Type: Manuscript letter Date: 11 April 1861 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 22 x 28 cm.

Summary of Content: Pencil copy of Beauregard's letter to Anderson demanding that Fort Sumter be surrendered and evacuated. Will permit that the flag "may be saluted by you upon taking it down." Page two contains pencil drawn copy of the watermark, and page three a penciled copy of the stationery impress mark. This copy differs slightly from the official version of this letter.

Full Transcript: Headquarters, Provisional Army
Charleston, SC April 11, 1861.

The government of the Confederate States has hitherto forbourne from any hostile demonstrations against Fort Sumter in the hope that the Government ...of the United States, with a view to the amiable adjustment of all questions between the two governments, and to avoid the calamities of war, would voluntary evacuate it. There was reason, at one time to believe that such would be the [struck: case] [inserted: course] pursued by the government of the United States, and under that impression my Government has refrained from making any demands for the surrender of the Fort.
But the Confederate States can no longer delay assuming actual possession of a fortification commanding the entrance of one of their harbors and [struck: necessary] [inserted: necessity] to it.
I am ordered by the Government of the Confederate States to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter. My aids, Col. Chestnut and Capt Lee are authorized to make such demand of you. The proper facilities will be afforded for the removal of yourself yourself and command, together with [struck: with] company arms and property, and all private property - to any post in the United States which you may elect. The flag which you have upheld so long, and with so much fortitude, under the most trying circumstances [2] may be saluted by you on taking it down.
Col[struck: onel] Chestnut and Capt. Lee will for a reasonable time await your answer.
I Am, Sir,
Very Respectfully
[struck: Your obed'tt Svt]
Your obt Serv't
G. T. Beaureguard
Brig Genl. Commg[strikeout]

Major Robert Anderson
Commanding at Fort Sumter
Charlestown Harbor

(Copy for the original
on communal letter paper, ruled.
The water mark the Union)
shield thus.

The Stamp-Capitol of the US.
This letter is marked at the hand.
"Recd & ansd Th Apl11, 4 pm
See More

People: Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant, 1818-1893
Anderson, Robert, 1805-1871

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: American FlagMilitary HistoryCivil WarImmigration and MigrationSurrenderConfederate General or LeaderConfederate States of America

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources