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In Their Own Words

January 23, 1861

Augusta Arsenal Commander Asked for Instructions

Following receipt of Gov. Brown’s demand for the surrender of the U.S. Arsenal in Augusta, arsenal commander Capt. Arnold Elzey telegraphed Col. Samuel Cooper, U.S. Army Adjutant General, with the following message:

“SIR: I am just officially informed by the governor of Georgia, now in Augusta, supported by a superior military force, that Georgia having resumed exclusive sovereignty over her soil, it has become his duty to require me to withdraw the troops under my command at the earliest practicable moment from the limits of the State. He declares his intention to take possession of the arsenal, and proposes to receipt for the public property and account for the same on adjustment between the State of Georgia and the United States of America. He further declares that the retention of the troops upon the soil of Georgia after remonstrance is, under the laws of nations, an act of hostility, claiming that the State now is not only at peace but anxious to cultivate the most amicable relations with the United States Government, and that an answer from me to his demand is, required at 9 o’clock a.m. to-morrow. An immediate answer to this communication is respectfully requested.”

Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, DC: Government Publications Office, 1880-1900), Vol. I, p. 321-322.