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Collection Number: 03330-z

Collection Title: Wilmot G. DeSaussure Order-Book, 1860-1861

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Abstract Lieutenant Colonel Wilmot Gibbes DeSaussure (1822-1886) of the 1st Artillery Regiment of the South Carolina Militia, which was later absorbed into the Army of the Confederate States of America, commanded Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, December 1860-January 1861, and artillery at Morris Island, March-April 1861, in the harbor of Charleston, S.C. He served in the South Carolina legislature, 1848-1864. The collection is an order-book kept by DeSaussure that contains orders he received and sent during the secession crisis, 27 December 1860-2 January 1861 and 1 March-30 April 1861. The break in entries was occasioned by DeSaussure's leaving to assume his legislative duties. Included are several long reports describing in detail the siege of Fort Sumter and the progress of the bombardment.
Creator DeSaussure, Wilmot G. (Wilmot Gibbes), 1822-1886
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Wilmot G. DeSaussure Order-Book #3330-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed September 2004) available.
  • Reel 1: Folder 1 of 1
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Felix H. Kuntz of New Orleans, La., in January 1958.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Wilmot Gibbes DeSaussure was born on 23 July 1822 in Charleston, S.C., the son of Henry William DeSaussure, who was a lawyer, director of the United States Mint, and chancellor of South Carolina. Wilmot G. DeSaussure was a lieutenant colonel in the 1st Artillery Regiment of the South Carolina Militia, which was later absorbed into the Army of the Confederate States of America. DeSaussure commanded Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, December 1860-January 1861, and artillery at Morris Island, March-April 1861, in the Charleston harbor.

DeSaussure was a member of the South Carolina legislature, 1848-1864. On 4 July 1876, he was elected the tenth president of the Society of Cincinnati (his father had been the eighth president) in Charleston. Like the other nine presidents of the Society before him, DeSaussure held this office until his death.

DeSaussure died in Florida, where he had been taken for his health, on 1 February 1886. His remains were returned to Charleston and, after a funeral service at St. Philip's Church, were interred in Magnolia Cemetery.

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The collection is an order-book kept by Lieutenant Colonel Wilmot G. DeSaussure of the 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment during the Civil War. The order-book contains orders he received and sent while stationed at the Charleston, S.C., harbor during the secession crisis, 27 December 1860-2 January 1861 and 1 March-30 April 1861. The break in entries was occasioned by DeSaussure's leaving to assume his duties in the South Carolina legislature. Included are several long reports describing in detail the siege of Fort Sumter and the progress of the bombardment.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Order-Book, 27 December 1860-30 April 1861.

1 item.

Order-book kept by Lieutenant Colonel Wilmot Gibbes DeSaussure containing copies of orders received and sent by DeSaussure of the 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment at the Charleston, S.C., harbor during the secession crisis, 27 December 1860-2 January 1861 and 1 March-30 April 1861. The orders come from two distinct periods separated by an interval, 2 January-1 March 1861, when DeSaussure was relieved of command in order to attend to his duties as a member of the South Carolina legislature.

Orders from the first period, 27 December 1860-2 January 1861, relate to events immediately following the evacuation of Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney by federal forces on the night of 26 December 1860. The orders, most of which were issued by Governor Francis W. Pickens, are concerned with taking possession of Fort Moultrie by South Carolina forces, its rehabilitation, and plans to prevent reinforcement of Fort Sumter by the United States government. Several of the orders relate to an elaborate system of codes and signals devised by the South Carolinians for communication among the city of Charleston, Fort Moultrie, and the several posts in Charleston harbor.

The second set of orders begins on 1 March 1861 when DeSaussure returned to command of his regiment, then stationed on Morris Island. Many of the orders from this period were issued by General P. G. T. Beauregard, who was then in command of the Provisional Confederate forces in and around Charleston. Orders relate to disposition of troops and location of batteries on Morris Island and Cummings Point; to camp routine, signals, and use and conservation of ammunition; a court martial; and preparations for actions should Fort Sumter open fire on the Confederate positions. One order, issued during the bombardment of Fort Sumter on 13 April, outlines procedures to be followed when and if the Fort lowered its flag. Orders after the surrender of Fort Sumter provide for the occupation of the Fort, for hoisting the Confederate flag, and for allowing the garrison to withdraw with the honors of war. Several long reports describe in detail the attack on the Fort by the Confederates and the progress of the bombardment.

The orders end on 30 April 1861 when DeSaussure and his command on Morris Island were relieved and ordered to report to the adjutant general in Charleston for further orders.

Folder 1

Order-book, 1860-1861 #03330-z, Series: "Order-Book, 27 December 1860-30 April 1861." Folder 1

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Processing Information

Processed by: James W. Patton, February 1958

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, September 2004

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