Mrs. Chesnut has been recording for posterity the events surrounding the so-called “Battle of Fort Sumter.” Except she’s mostly not.
Mary Boykin Chesnut was a Southern lady in the purest tradition, born into South Carolina’s political nobility and educated at one of the finest boarding schools in Charleston. Women in such circumstances were expected to be well-educated, but not given much opportunity to USE their fancy brains. In retrospect, it might have been kinder to either keep them as ignorant as possible or let them DO stuff - but such were the mores of the day. So she read, she observed, and she wrote. Lots.
After Lincoln’s election in 1860, a number of Southern states – starting, of course, with South Carolina – began seceding from the Union. Or trying, at least – depending on who you asked. Soldiers and others who happened to find themselves in the South but remained loyal to the Union began finding their way north in anticipation of the coming conflict.
This meant by and large than any arms or other military property in the seceding states defaulted to the control of those siding with the South – them being the only ones left and all.