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ary of War, to see these poor creatures, who trusted to the protection of the arms of the United States, and who aided the troops of the United States in their enterprise, thus obliged to flee from their homes, and the homes of their masters who had deserted them, and become fugitives from fear of the return of the rebel soldiery, who had threatened to shoot the men who had wrought for us, and to carry off the women who had served us to a worse than Egyptian bondage. It was in this letter July 30. that General Butler asked the important questions, First, What shall be done with these fugitives? and, second, What is their state and condition? Then followed the consent of the Government to have them considered contraband of war, already noticed. See page 501. We have observed that the loyal people of the country were greatly disappointed and mortified by the affair at Great Bethel. That disappointment and chagrin were somewhat relieved by a victory obtained over insurgent tr
August 18th (search for this): chapter 21
respective staff officers, and Colonel (afterward General) Comstock, General Grant's representative. We were the only civilians, excepting Mr. Clarke, editor of a newspaper at Norfolk. A record of the events of that expedition will be found in another volume of this work. After the battle at Big Bethel, nothing of great importance occurred at Fortress Monroe and its vicinity during the remainder of General Butler's administration of the affairs of that department, which ended on the 18th of August, 1861. excepting the burning of Hampton on the 7th of that month. It was now plainly perceived that the insurgents were terribly in earnest, and that a fierce struggle was at hand. It was evident that their strength and resources had been underrated. Before any advance toward Richmond, or, indeed, in any other direction from Fortress Monroe might be undertaken, a great increase in the number of the troops and in the quantity of munitions of war would be necessary; and all that Genera
December 12th (search for this): chapter 21
of the village, where we remembered having seen fine stores and dwellings of brick, nothing was now to be seen but miserable huts, their chimneys composed of the bricks of the ruined buildings. It was a very sad sight. The sketches on this and the preceding page, made by the writer at the time, give an idea of the desolate appearance of the once flourishing town, over which the chariot of war rolled fearfully at the beginning of the struggle. Cabin and chimney. On Monday, the 12th of December, a cold, blustering day, we visited the Bethel battle-field, in company with Doctor Ely McClellan, of Philadelphia, then the surgeon in charge of the hospitals at Fortress Monroe, and Assistant Medical Director of the post. In a light wagon, drawn by two lively horses belonging to the doctor, we made a journey of about twenty-five miles during the short afternoon, attended by two armed outriders to keep off the bushwhackers or prowling secessionists with which the desolated country was
me discussion and considerable research concerning the true orthography of this locality and the origin of its name. The commonly received explanation is that, at one time, when the English colony at Jamestown was in a starving condition, the supply ships of Captain Newport were first seen off this point, and gave the beholders the good news of food at hand; hence the place was called Newport's News. History does not seem to warrant the acceptance of this theory, but furnishes a better. In 1619 Governor Yeardley established a representative government in Virginia, with simple machinery, and laid the political foundations of that State. This government was strengthened by his successor, Governor Wyatt, under whom were proper civil officers. In instructions to Wyatt occurs the following sentence:--George Sandis is appointed Treasurer, and he is to put into execution all orders of Court about staple commodities; to the Marshal, Sir William Newce, the same. This settles the point tha
August, 1620 AD (search for this): chapter 21
e spot where the first African who was sold as a slave in America first inhaled the fresh air of the New World, the destruction of the system of slavery, which had prevailed in Virginia two hundred and forty years, was thus commenced. The peninsula on which Fortress Monroe stands was the first resting-place of the early emigrants to Virginia, after their long and perilous voyage, and was named by them Point Comfort. There the crew of a Dutch vessel, with negroes from Africa, landed in August, 1620, and a few days afterward sold twenty of their human cargo to the settlers at Jamestown. So negro Slavery was begun on the domain of the United States. That master-stroke of policy was one of the most effective blows aimed at the heart of the rebellion; and throughout the war the fugitive slave was known as a contraband. An epigram, prophetically wrote the brilliant Major Winthrop, of Butler's staff, who fell in battle a few days later--an epigram abolished slavery in the United States.
of some of his great guns landward; and, unheeding the mad cry of the politicians, that it was an act of war, and the threats of rebellious men in arms, of punishment for his insolence, he defied the enemies of his country. Those guns taught Letcher prudence, and Wise caution, and Lee circumspection, and Jefferson Davis respectful consideration. The immense importance of the post was Fortress Monroe in 1861. this was the most extensive military work in the country. It was commenced in 1819, and was completed at a cost of two millions five hundred thousand dollars. It was named in honor of President Monroe. Its walls, faced with heavy blocks of granite, are thirty-five feet in thickness, and casemated below. It is entirely surrounded by a deep moat filled with water; and the peninsula, known as old Point Comfort, on which it is constructed, is connected with the main by a narrow isthmus of sand, and by a Bridge in the direction of the village of Hampton. The picture is a bird
January 12th, 1834 AD (search for this): chapter 21
militia, and followed by officers of the Army and Navy, the city authorities, and a large body of military and citizens. From there it was conveyed to Woodland Cemetery, in the vicinity of Philadelphia, when his father-in-law read the final funeral service, and he was buried with military honors. Over his remains his family erected a beautiful and unique monument of white marble, bearing the following inscriptions:--On the concave side, John T. Greble, First Lieutenant, U. S. A. Born January 12, 1834; killed at Great Bethel, June 10, 1861. On the convex side, seen in the engraving, John T. Greble, First Lieutenant, U. S. A. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The City Councils of Philadelphia adopted a series of resolutions relative to his death; and a portrait of the martyr, painted by Marchant, was presented to the corporation. The officers at Fortress Monroe had already, by resolution, on the 11th of June, borne testimony of their appreciation of their com
forts at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and the town of Wilmington, so famous as the chief port for blockade-runners. We were invited by General Butler to accompany him, and gladly embraced the opportunity to become spectators of some of the most stirring scenes of the war. Whilst waiting two or three days for the expedition to sail, we visited the battle-ground at Big Bethel, the site of Hampton, and the hospitals and schools in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe. Sixteen years before, 1848. the writer, while gathering up materials for his Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution, visited Hampton and the fortress, and traveled over the road from Yorktown to the coast, on which the battle at Great Bethel occurred. The aspect of every thing was now changed. The country, then thickly settled and well cultivated, was now desolated and depopulated. The beautiful village of Hampton, which contained a resident population of about fourteen hundred souls when the war broke out, had been
ed relic of the past, was now a blackened and mutilated ruin, with the ancient brick wall around the yard serving as a part of the line of fortifications cast up there by the National troops. The site of the town Ruins of St. John's Church. this is a view from the Yorktown road, and shows the front entrance to the Church. Close by that entrance we observed a monument erected to the memory of a daughter of the Rev. John McCabe, the rector of the parish when the writer visited Hampton in 1853. was covered with rude cabins, all occupied by negroes freed from bondage; and the chimney of many a stately mansion that was occupied in summer by some of the wealthiest families of Virginia, who sought comfort near the seaside, now served the same purpose for a cabin only a few feet square. Only the Court House and seven or eight other buildings of the five hundred that comprised the village escaped the conflagration lighted by General Magruder just after midnight on the 7th of August, 18
June, 1860 AD (search for this): chapter 21
riends, to allow his fine regiment an opportunity for active duties. During the few weeks it had encamped at Evansville, it had been thoroughly drilled by the most severe discipline. On the day after the receipt of the order, Wallace and his regiment were passing rapidly through Indiana and Ohio by railway, and were everywhere greeted by the most hearty demonstrations of good-will. At Grafton, it received ammunition; and on the night of the 9th, it reached the vicinity of Cumberland, June, 1860. where it remained, near the banks of the Potomac, until the next day. Its advent astonished all, and gave pleasure to the Unionists, for there was an insurgent force at Romney, only a day's march south from Cumberland, said to be twelve hundred strong; while at Winchester there was a much heavier one. General Morris, at Grafton, had warned Wallace of the proximity of these insurgents, and directed him to be watchful. Wallace believed that the best security for his troops and the safety o
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