previous next
[126] The Richmond papers pathetically complained of the “telegraphic genius at Jackson.” The telegraphic geniuses at Young's Point and Milliken's Bend were far greater masters of the art of fiction. I will mention a case that preceded the investment. On the 3d of May, the tug Sturgis, with two barges, loaded with 400,000 rations and medical supplies, was ordered to pass the batteries, and tried to do so, carrying a picked guard. The late A. D. Richardson, representing the New York Tribune, Junius Henri Browne, of the Times, and somebody else of the World, volunteered for the passage. At 12.45 the tug was exploded by the batteries' fire, several men killed, others drowned, and the Scribes and Pharisees, clinging to bales of hay, with which the barges were fortified, drifted to land, were picked up and conveyed to a room in the court-house with other victims. They were treated as handsomely as circumstances allowed, and Richardson, in particular, a hearty fellow, made almost too good an impression, for he was so thoroughly full of faith in the resources of the Union and in the approaching downfall of Jeff Davis, that he cast a shadow of doubt over some young Confederates' breasts. They were all soon exchanged, going home by way of Richmond. They saw a few things from the windows of jails and cars, and wrote to their papers from Fortress Monroe most astonishing letters, containing revelations which they could hardly have been possessed of, unless they were members of the Cabinet of Mr. Davis.

Another correspondent of the Tribune essayed to describe the passage of eight gunboats on the 16th. He was evidently not so venturesome as Richardson, and his picture reads as those pictures look of shipwrecks, which no soul survives, in the illustrated papers, “by our special artist.” His coquetry with truth consisted in describing, as a mysterious and dreadful beacon that rose out of the earth at Vicksburg, the homely burning of some shanties in De Soto, which were set on fire to assist the aim of the artillery. The scene was terrific, and, no wonder, took on it for this correspondent a supernatural expression. But the war maps that were published were the greatest feats-quite distancing the creations of Ptolemy and Psalmanazar. The Herald had one representing “rebel batteries in the streets,” “rebel redoubts” on the same, “masked batteries” lying around loose, a tall signal station whose architect was the artist, and the Marine Hospital at the wrong end of the town. And every day some new version of victory thrilled across the wires. One hundred women were killed the first day, was one statement; a woman and two children fell at the first fire, said another. General C. C. Auger telegraphed, on the 23d of May, that “deserters report ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. D. Richardson (3)
Jefferson Davis (1)
Junius Henri Browne (1)
C. C. Auger (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 23rd (1)
May 3rd (1)
16th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: