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Star of the West
With the federal garrison under Maj. Robert Anderson moving from Fort Moultrie, on the shore of Charleston Bay to Fort Sumter, built on a rock shoal in the center of the bay, relief and re-supply became a major goal of the United States. To this end Winfield Scott picked the Brooklyn, a naval sloop to carry men and material to the beleaguered federal outpost. The ship was loaded with about 200 men, arms, munitions and supplies.
Upon receiving word that the Rebels had scuttled ships in the harbor to make the approach to the fort more difficult, and because the general and President Buchanan both felt that the approach of a heavily armed naval vessel might trigger an incident, General Scott chose to transfer the cargo from the Brooklyn to the Star of the West because of its shallower draft and because it was known to the citizens of Charleston (its route, New York to New Orleans brought it to the Rebel city on a regular basis). This was done in "secrecy," once the Brooklyn left port. Captain David Farragut, in command of the Brooklyn, was ordered to follow the Star of the West in case of an incident.
Unfortunately, just about everybody in the government, including Texas Senator Louis Wigfall and others knew of the deception and relayed the information south. Just before midnight the unarmed ship took a position outside the harbor, waiting for daybreak to begin the final run to Fort Sumter.
Forewarned of the approach of the Star, South Carolina Rebels opened fire on the ship from Morris Island as it entered the harbor in the main channel. As the ship came about, guns in Fort Moultrie began hurling cannon shot towards the ship as well. Maj. Robert Anderson decided not to defend the ship (the Rebels were firing at the ship and not at Fort Sumter). From the parapets of the fort the U. S. Army watched as the ship carrying its supplies and munitions turned around and returned to New York.
Following its capture near Indianola, Star of the West served in the Confederate Navy in the New Orleans as the St. Philip. She was scuttled in the Tallahatchie River in March, 1863.
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Star of the West was added in 2005
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