As South Carolina seceded, things were looking bleak for the Union's forts in that state as well as elsewhere.
Making matters worse, the head U.S. Army commander, Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott was in ill health.
Lt.Col. G.W. Lay, delivered a message to the President of the U.S. about 3:30 p.m. on December 27, 1860, saying that no orders had been sent to Major Anderson at Fort Moultrie, nor had they received any reports from him.
The next day Col. Lay delivered another message to the secretary of War saying:
"Lieutenant-General Scott, who has had a bad night, and can scarcely hold his head up this morning."