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Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Return of the Army-marriage-ordered to the Pacific coast-crossing the Isthmus-arrival at San Francisco (search)
d then remain with her own family at their St. Louis home until an opportunity offered of sending for her. In the month of April the regiment was assembled at Governor's Island, New York Harbor, and on the 5th of July eight companies sailed for Aspinwall [in Panama, reached July 16]. We numbered a little over seven hundred persons, including the families of officers and soldiers. Passage was secured for us on the old steamer Ohio, commanded at the time by Captain Schenck, of the navy. It hadrvals the rain would pour down in streams, followed in not many minutes by a blazing, tropical summer's sun. These alternate changes, from rain to sunshine, were continuous in the afternoons. I wondered how any person could live many months in Aspinwall, and wondered still more why any one tried. In the summer of 1852 the Panama railroad was completed only to the point where it now crosses the Chagres River. From there passengers were carried by boats to Gorgona, at which place they took
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 1., Chapter 6: Affairs at the National Capital.--War commenced in Charleston harbor. (search)
es to men had to yield to the public interest. It was evident that there were those in the Cabinet who could not be trusted. Dangers were thickening. Fortunately, the President listened to his new counselors, Secretary Holt and General Scott; and it was resolved to send troops and supplies to Fort Sumter by a more secret method than had yet been devised. Instead of employing a vessel-of-war for the purpose, the stanch merchant-steamer Star of the West, built to run between New York and Aspinwall, on the California route, was chartered by the Government and quickly laden with supplies. She was cleared for New Orleans and Savannah, in order to mislead spies. She left her wharf at New York at sunset on the 5th of January, and far down the bay she received, under the cover of thick darkness, four officers and two hundred and fifty artillerists and marines, with their arms and ammunition. She crossed the bar at Sandy Hook at nine o'clock the same evening, and proceeded to sea under
ov. 18, 1862. on her way from New York to Aspinwall, with the California passengers and freight; but the $250,000 which was to have been her ransom, being expressly payable six months after the recognition [by the United States] of the independence of the Southern Confederacy, has not yet fallen due. Such was the just alarm caused by this capture, while several National vessels were anxiously looking for the Alabama, that the Ariel dared not bring the specie from California that met her at Aspinwall, but left it there, until a gunboat was sent for it by the Government; and the specie continued to be so transmitted for some months thereafter. The merchant ships captured and destroyed by these freebooters were hundreds in number, and the value of vessels and cargoes amounted to many scores of millions of dollars. But the damage thus inflicted was not limited to this destruction-far from it. The paralysis of commerce — the transfer (at a sacrifice) of hundreds of valuable ships to Br
William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman ., volume 1, Chapter 5: California, New York, and Kansas. 1857-1859. (search)
ries for help. Instantly heaving his ship to, and lowering all his boats, he managed to pick up sixty or more persons who were floating about on skylights, doors, spars, and whatever fragments remained of the Central America. Had he not changed the course of his vessel by reason of the mysterious conduct of that man-of-war hawk, not a soul would probably have survived the night. It was stated by the rescued passengers, among whom was Billy Birch, that the Central America had sailed from Aspinwall with the passengers and freight which left San Francisco on the 1st of September, and encountered the gale in the Gulf Stream somewhere off Savannah, in which she sprung a leak, filled rapidly, and went down. The passengers who were saved had clung to doors, skylights, and such floating objects as they could reach, and were thus rescued; all the rest, some five hundred in number, had gone down with the ship. The panic grew worse and worse, and about the end of September there was a gen
f his mission. It is very well understood that he had a plan for introducing reinforcements, which had been submitted to members of the Cabinet, and was regarded as measurably practicable, but attended with the probability if not certainty of collision, which constituted the chief objection to its adoption. He is perfectly familiar with all the approaches to the harbor of Charleston, having been long connected with the Coast Survey, and had practical experience as the commander of one of Aspinwall's steamers. His scheme did not contemplate any serious danger in running the gauntlet of the batteries on the islands which guard the channels, but only in landing the men and provisions at Sumter, after it had been reached. If a fire was opened upon his transports from Fort Moultrie or the other batteries, it would be necessary for Sumter to silence them in order to discharge the reinforcements. Any attempt; therefore, looking to that object would almost inevitably lead to bloodshed, a
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Darien ship Canal, (search)
s of Darien; and the other, under Captain Shufeldt, of the navy, to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Three routes were surveyed across the narrow part of the Isthmus of Darien by Selfridge, and he reported all three as having obstacles that made the construction of a canal impracticable. He reported a route by the Atrato and Napipi rivers as perfectly feasible. It would include 150 miles of river navigation and a canal less than 40 miles in extent. It would call for 3 miles of rock cutting 125 feet deep, and a tunnel of 5 miles, with a roof sufficiently high to admit the tallestmasted ships. Selfridge estimated the entire cost at $124,000,000. The whole matter was referred in 1872 to a commission to continue investigations. A French company undertook the construction of a canal between Aspinwall and Panama in 1881, under the direction of Ferdinand De Lesseps (q. v.). After expending many millions of dollars, the project was abandoned in 1890. See Clayton-Bulwer treaty; Panama Canal.
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Poor, Charles Henry 1808-1882 (search)
Poor, Charles Henry 1808-1882 Naval officer; born in Cambridge, Mass., June 11, 1808; joined the navy in 1825; participated with distinction in numerous important actions during the Civil War. While in command of the sloop-of-war Saranac, in the Pacific fleet in 1863-65, he forced the government at Aspinwall to let a United States mailsteamer proceed on her way after it had been held to pay illegal dues. He also compelled the authorities at Rio Hocha, New Granada, who had insulted the American flag to raise and salute it. He was promoted rear-admiral in 1868 and retired in 1870. He died in Washington, D. C., Nov. 5, 1882.
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Strain, Isaac G. 1821-1857 (search)
Strain, Isaac G. 1821-1857 Naval officer; born in Roxbury, Pa., March 4, 1821. While yet a midshipman (1845), he led a small party to explore the interior of Brazil, and in 1848 explored the peninsula of California. In 1849 he crossed South America from Valparaiso to Buenos Ayres, and wrote an account of the journey, entitled The Cordillera and Pampa, Mountain and plain: sketches of a journey in Chile and the Argentine provinces. In 1850 he was assigned to the Mexican boundary commission, and afterwards (1854) led a famous expedition across the Isthmus of Darien, for an account of which see Harper's magazine, 1856-57. In 1856, in the steamer Arctic, Lieutenant Strain ascertained by soundings the practicability of laying an ocean telegraphic cable between America and Europe. He died in Aspinwall, Colombia, May 14, 1857.
y hands, before it would become necessary for me to proceed to my new rendezvous. I resolved to devote this interval to the waylaying of a California treasure-steamer, as a million or so of dollars in gold, deposited in Europe, would materially aid me, in my operations upon the sea. I could purchase several more Alabamas, to develop the nautical enterprise of our people, and assist me to scourge the enemy's commerce. There were two routes by which the California steamers returned from Aspinwall—one by the east end of Cuba, and the other by the west end. I chose the former for my ambuscade, as being probably the most used. To reach my new cruising-ground, I put my ship under sail, and made a detour by the way of the islands of Porto Rico and St. Domingo, passing through the Mona Passage, through which much of the West India commerce of the enemy passed, with the hope of picking up something by the way. We left our anchorage at Blanquilla on the 26th of November, and made the isla
son's shirt in the maw of the shark—the satisfaction of being put out of doubt, and knowing that his ship would be burned. The prize proved, upon being boarded, to be the Golden Rule, from New York, for Aspinwall. She belonged to the Atlantic and Pacific Steamship Company, and was filled with an assorted Cargo—having on board, among other things, masts, and a complete set of rigging for the United States brig Bainbridge, which had recently had everything swept by the board, in a gale at Aspinwall. Judging from the bills of lading found on board, some small portions of the cargo appeared to be neutral, but there being no sworn evidence to vouch for the fact, in the way of Consular, or other certificates, I applied the well-known rule of prize law to the case, viz., that everything found on board an enemy's ship is presumed to belong to the enemy, until the contrary is shown by proper evidence; and at about six P. M. applied the torch. The islands of St. Domingo and Jamaica were
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