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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Address before the Mecklenburg (N. C.) Historical Society. (search)
es of independence, and of having on its soil that battle-ground where Cornwallis received from Southern troops the first check in his career of victory — a check which ultimately led to his surrender. If we come to the war of 1812, Harrison and Jackson, beyond all question, gained the most laurels, as shown by the elevation of both of them to the Presidency for their military prowess. All concede that the brilliant land-fights of that war were in the defences of New Orleans, Mobile, Craney Island and Baltimore, and in these, on the American side, none but Southern troops were engaged. This war was unpopular at the North, and the defection of New England amounted almost to overt treason. Hence, the South furnished again more than her proportion of troops. Again, the Southern volunteers flocked North, while no Northern troops came South. If we read of the bloody battles in Canada, we are struck with the number of Southern officers there engaged, mostly general officers — Wilkin
heard thirty-two miles distant. In a despatch sent to the New York Times, from Fortress Monroe, under date of the fourteenth, we read: At four o'clock this morning a bright light was observed from Fortress Monroe in the direction of Craney Island. Precisely at half-past 4 o'clock an explosion took place which made the earth and water tremble for miles around. In the midst of the bright flame which shot up in the distance, the timbers and iron of a steamer could be seen flying throughat the officers and crew of the Merrimac passed through the adjoining county on the mainland about eight o'clock in the morning, to the number of two hundred. They said they were on their way to Suffolk on the line of the river leading from Craney Island to Norfolk. The Federals were so quick in their movements that our burning parties had scarcely made their escape from the various ship-yards ere Norfolk was again in the hands of the Yankees. Huger conducted his retreat with great order, a
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., The first fight of iron-clads. (search)
of 3March that we steamed down the Elizabeth River. Passing by our batteries, lined with troops, who cheered us as we passed, and through the obstructions at Craney Island, we took the south channel and headed for Newport News. At anchor at this time off Fort Monroe were the frigates Minnesota, Roanoke, and St. Lawrence, and sev safe, or, at all events, was not tenable by the enemy, and James River was partly guarded, for we could have retired behind the obstructions in the channel at Craney Island, and, with the batteries at that point, could have held the place, certainly until all the valuable stores and machinery had been removed from the navy yard. brave and faithful men; and that he acted wisely, the fight at Drewry's Bluff, which was the salvation of Richmond, soon after proved. She was run ashore near Craney Island, and the crew landed with their small-arms and two days provisions. Having only two boats, it took three hours to disembark. Lieutenant Catesby Jones and mys
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 15.58 (search)
about half their length above the water after the vessel had settled unevenly upon the river-bottom. This first act of the drama was over in about thirty minutes, but it seemed to me only a moment. The commander of the Congress recognized at once the impossibility of resisting the assault of the ram which had just sunk the Cumberland. With commendable promptness and presence of mind, he slipped his cables, and ran her aground upon The Merrimac passing the Confederate Battery on Craney Island, on her way to attack the Federal fleet. the shallows, where the Merrimac, at that time drawing twenty-three feet of water, was unable to approach her, and could attack her with artillery alone. But, although the Congress had more guns than the Merrimac, and was also supported by the land batteries, it was an unequal conflict, for the projectiles hurled at the Merrimac glanced harmlessly from her iron-covered roof, while, her rifled guns raked the Congress from end to end. A curious
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 15.59 (search)
e Cumberland and Congress. On the 8th of March, after coming in from picket duty, we went to Fort Monroe for the mail and fresh provisions, which we got on the arrival of the mail-boat from Baltimore. We returned to Newport News about 10 o'clock. After delivering the stores belonging to the Congress and Cumberland, we went to the wharf to lie until wanted. A little after dinner, about 12:30, the quartermaster on watch called my attention to black smoke in the Elizabeth River, close to Craney Island. We let go from the wharf and ran alongside the Cumberland. The officer of the deck ordered us to run down toward Pig Point and find out what was coming down from Norfolk. It did not take us long to find out, for we had not gone over two miles when we saw what to all appearances looked like the roof of a very big barn belching forth smoke as from a chimney on fire. We were all divided in opinion as to what was coming. The boatswain's mate was the first to make out the Confederate fl
and compelled to return. The steamers Philadelphia, Baltimore, Powhattan, and Mount Vernon, of the Acquia Creek line, recently taken possession of by the Federal Government, are cruising on the Potomac, all heavily armed. Southern troops are concentrating in the vicinity of Norfolk. An Alabama regiment of 1,100 men, and eighty cadets of the same State, have arrived, and encamped in the vicinity of Fort Norfolk. The Virginians have five batteries erected in Norfolk harbor; one on Craney Island; one at Sandy Point; one at the Hospital; one near Fort Norfolk, and one on the Bluffs three miles from the Hospital.--N. Y. Evening Post, May 11. J. Lawrence Keese, a private in the 8th Company of the 7th Regiment of New York, was accidentally shot at Washington. He was standing in front of his tent washing his hands, when a musket fell from a stack of arms within a few feet of him, and went off, the ball entering his side, passing through his lungs, and killing him almost instant
ange she fired a shot across her bows, followed by several shells. The greatest consternation prevailed for a time on board the Express, which is an unarmed steamer, and the schooner Sherwood, employed to bring water from Newport News, which was at the time in tow, was cut adrift. The Sherwood was immediately deserted by her crew, consisting of four men, who escaped by the small boat to Newport News, and drifting down with the tide, was taken possession of by the rebel tug and towed to Craney Island. Her captain stuck to her, and was taken prisoner. The tugboat subsequently made her appearance for the second time, but the Express had crowded all steam on, and reported the circumstance to the flagship. After a long delay the gunboats started, and steaming toward the scene, threw a few shells into Sewell's Point and Pig Point batteries, without producing any effect. But for the delay in the gunboats getting to the spot, the rebels might have been intercepted, and the schooner save
er gun, at Newport News, Va., burst while being fired. Privates Josiah Jones, of Company C, and James Shepard, of Company B, of the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts regiment, were instantly killed, and W. W. Bowman, of Company I, same regiment, was seriously injured. Jones belonged in Greenpoint, Long Island, and Shepard in Lowell, Mass. Four or five other persons, who were in the vicinity, were also injured, but none of them seriously. A flag of truce was sent from Fortress Monroe to Craney Island, Va., early this morning, to inform General Huger that the prisoners of war from Fort Warren, had arrived. The bark was accordingly towed up opposite Sewell's Point, by the steamer Rancocas, and the tug Adriatic; and at about one o'clock, the rebel steamer West-Point came out from Norfolk, and the prisoners were transferred. They numbered four captains, three first lieutenants, six second lieutenants, two third lieutenants, and three hundred and eighty-four others, rank and file, and colo
ought fourteen thousand rebels, under General Jackson, at McDowell, in Virginia, from six till nine P. M., when they fell back to the town of Franklin in good order. (Doc. 10.) The bombardment of the rebel batteries on Sewell's Point and Craney Island was actively carried forward by the Monitor, the Naugatuck, and other vessels of the fleet. The Merrimac finally appeared, but as she evinced a disinclination to come out into the roadstead, and the National vessels were equally disinclined C., as a port of entry. The iron-clad gunboats Galena, Aroostook, and Port Royal left Fortress Monroe and started up James River, at six o'clock this morning. Immediately after their departure, the rebel tug, F. B. White, came out from Craney Island, having left Norfolk this morning with a crew and two citizens on board, on a mission to Tannery Point, but they run over to Newport News, and surrendered to General Mansfield!--Baltimore American, May 9. Three brigades of General Buell'
ut. Walker and ten men of the Kansas Sixth. Cleveland broke away from the guard, and was killed while attempting to escape. One of his band named Barbour, was arrested at the same time, and taken to Fort Leavenworth for safe keeping. Craney Island, Va., was abandoned by the rebels yesterday, and to-day the National forces took possession of the fortifications and raised the flag of the United States. One hundred and forty of Morgan's cavalry at noon to-day captured forty-eight freigh officer and three or four soldiers. The rebels burned all the cars except two, and the locomotive.--Louisville Journal, May 12. The rebel iron-clad steamer Merrimac (Virginia) was blown up by order of her commander at her anchorage off Craney Island, Va.--(Doc. 12.) A letter from Albuquerque, New Mexico, of this date, says: The Texans have continued their retreat to El Paso, and will leave the country entirely. They were greatly demoralized, broken up in bands, and devastating the
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