Chapter 12: operations on the coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
- Expedition against New Berne
-- Landing of the Army below the town, 305.
-- battle near New Berne, 306.
-- rout of the Confederates
-- flight of citizens, 307.
-- effect of the capture of New Berne, 308.
-- Christian work at New Berne
-- Mr. Colyer's schools, 309.
-- expedition against Fort Macon
-- the Nashville, 310.
-- preparations to assail Fort Macon, 311.
-- siege and bombardment of the Fort, 312.
-- Fort Macon and its vicinity in 1864, 313.
-- expedition to Albemarle Sound
-- battle of South Mills, 314.
-- operations in the rear of Norfolk
-- the coast of North Carolina in possession of National troops, 315.
-- blockade runners
-- expedition against Fort Pulaski, 316.
-- obstructions of the Savannah River, 317.
-- preparations to bombard Fort Pulaski, 318.
-- bombardment and capture of the Fort, 319.
-- expedition against Fort Clinch, and its capture, 320.
-- capture of Jacksonville, Florida, 321.
-- capture of St. Augustine, 322.
-- the Atlantic coast abandoned by the Confederates, 323.
-- expedition against New Orleans, 324.
-- National troops at Ship Island, 325.
-- proclamation of General Phelps, 326.
-- operations at Biloxi and Mississippi City, 327.
We left General Burnside
in Albemarle Sound
, after the capture of Roanoke Island
and the operations at Elizabeth City
, and Plymouth
preparing for other conquests on the North Carolina
For that purpose he concentrated his forces, with the fleet now in command of Commodore Rowan
having been ordered to Hampton Roads
), at Hatteras Inlet.
New Berne, the capital of Craven County
, at the confluence of the rivers Trent
, was his first object of attack.2
The land and naval forces left Hatteras Inlet on the morning of the 12th of March,
and at sunset the gun-boats and transports anchored off the mouth of Slocum's Creek, about eighteen miles from New Berne, where Burnside
had determined to make a landing.
His troops numbered about fifteen thousand.
The landing was begun at seven o'clock the next morning,
under cover of the gun-boats; and so eager were the men to get ashore, that many, too impatient to wait for the boats, leaped into the water, waist deep, and waded to the land.
Then they pushed on in the direction of New Berne, in a copious rain, dragging their heavy cannon,3
with great difficulty and fatigue, through the wet clay, into which men often sank knee deep.
The head of the column was within a mile and a half of the Confederate
works at sunset, when it halted and bivouacked.
During the night the remainder of the army came up in detachments hour after hour, meeting no resistance.
The gun-boats meanwhile had moved up the river abreast the army, the flag-ship Delaware
A shore-battery opened upon her at four o'clock in the afternoon, but was soon quieted by her reply.
The main body of the Confederates
, under the command of General Branch
, consisted of eight regiments of infantry and five hundred cavalry, with three batteries of field-artillery of six guns each.
These occupied a line of intrenchments extending more than a mile from near the river across the railway, supported by another line, on the inland flank, of rifle-pits and detached intrenchments in the form of corvettes and redans, for more than a mile, and terminating in a two-gun redoubt.
On the river-bank and covering
their left was Fort Thompson
, four miles from New Berne, armed with thirteen heavy guns; and other works and appliances, prepared by good engineering skill, for the defense of the river-channel against the passage of gun-boats, were numerous.4
At daylight on the morning of the 14th,
the army moved forward in three columns, under Generals Foster
, and Parke
A heavy fog lay for a short time upon the land and water, but it was soon dissipated.
, with the first brigade, marched up the main country road to attack Fort Thompson
and the Confederate
, with the second brigade, followed nearer the line of the railway, to fall upon their right; and Parke
, with the third brigade, kept such position that he might attack their front or assist the other two brigades.
began battle at eight o'clock.6
At the same time Reno
pushed on toward the Confederate
right flank, while Parke
took position on their front.
was supported on his left by the boat-howitzers, manned by Lieutenants McCook
, and Tillotson
, with marines and a detachment of the Union
Before the Confederate
center was placed a 12-pounder steel cannon, under Captain Bennett
, of the Cossack
, who was assisted in its management by twenty of that ship's crew; and on the left of the insurgents was Captain Dayton
's battery, from the transport Highlander
's brigade bore the brunt of the battle for about four hours. In response to his first gun, the assailed ran up the Confederate
flag with a shout, and opened a brisk fire which soon became most severe.
There was a hard struggle for the position where their intrenchments crossed the railway, and in this the Second Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut were conspicuous.
gave support to Foster
until it was evident that the latter could sustain himself, when the former, with his whole brigade excepting the Eleventh Connecticut, Colonel Mathews
, went to the support of Reno
in his flank movement, which that officer was carrying on with success.
After he had fought about an hour, he ordered the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Colonel Clark
, to charge a portion of the Confederate
It dashed forward at the double-quick, accompanied by General Reno
in person, and in a few moments was within the intrenchments, from which it was as speedily driven by two of Branch
This was followed by a charge of the Fourth Rhode Island upon a battery of five guns in its front, supported by rifle-pits.
The battery was captured, the National
flag was unfurled over it, and its occupants and supporters were driven pell-mell far away
from their lost guns and breast-works.
The victory was made complete by the aid of the Fifth Rhode Island and Eighth and Eleventh Connecticut.
All this while, Reno
was losing heavily from the effects of another battery.
So he called up his reserve regiment (the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartrauft
), and ordered it to charge the work.
It was done gallantly, and the Fifty-first New York, Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Ninth New Jersey participated in the achievement and the triumph.
, meanwhile, hearing the shouts on the left when the order to charge was given, had directed his brigade to advance along the whole line.
Pressed at all points, on front and flank, the Confederates
abandoned every thing and fled, pursued by Foster
to the verge of the Trent
The fugitives were more fleet than he, and, burning the railway and turnpike bridges behind them that spanned the Trent
(the first by sending a raft of flaming turpentine and cotton against it), they escaped.
So ended the battle of New Berne
The National squadron, in the mean time, had co-operated with the army in the attack on Fort Thompson
, and in driving the Confederates
from the other batteries on the shore.
When these were
Operations near New Berne. |
evacuated, the gun-boats passed the obstructions and went up to the city.
The Confederate troops had fired it in seven places, and then hurried to Tuscarora
, about ten miles from New Berne, where they halted.
Large numbers of the terrified citizens had abandoned their homes and fled to the interior.
No less than seven railway trains, crowded to overflowing with men, women, and children, left New Berne for Goldsboroa on the day of the battle.
“The town of New Berne
,” says Pollard
, “originally contained twelve hundred people; when occupied by the enemy, it contained one hundred people, male and female, of the old population.”
did not count the large number of colored loyalists who remained as “people.”
's brigade was taken over the Trent
and to the city wharves by some of Rowan
's boats, and took military possession of New Berne.
made the fine old mansion of the Stanley family,
in the suburbs of the town, his Headquarters, and there, on the following day, he issued an order, appointing General Foster military governor
of the city,, and directing the places of public worship to be opened on Sunday, the 16th, at a suitable hour, in order that the chaplains of the different regiments might holds divine service in them; the bells to be rung as usual.
On the same day Burnside
issued an order, congratulating his troops on account of the “brilliant and
hard-won victory,” and directed each regiment engaged in it to place the name of New Berne
on its banner.
In his report, he spoke in the highest terms of the courage and fidelity of his troops, and gave to the general-in-chief
) the credit of planning the expedition.8
In this battle the Nationals lost about one hundred in killed and four hundred and ninety-eight in wounded.
Among the former were Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Merritt
, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, and other gallant officer s and men. The loss of the Confederates
wa s much less in killed and wounded, but two hundred of them were made prisoners.9
The spoils of victory were many and important,;10
and the possession of the town of New Berne
, by which the Wilmington and Weldon Railway, the great line of travel between the North
and the South
, was exposed, gave to the National
cause in that region an almost in calculable advantage.
Its moral effect was prodigious, and greatly disheartened the enemies of the Government
, who saw in it “a subject of keen mortification to the South
In the midst of the horrors of war at New Berne, and almost before the smoke of battle was dissipated, the Christian
spirit of the friends of the Government
was made conspicuous in acts of benevolence by the generous deeds of Vincent Colyer
, a well-known citizen of New York, and the originator of the Christian commission of the army, whose holy ministrations, nearly co-extensive with those of the United States Sanitary commission, in the camp, the field, and the hospital, throughout almost the entire period of the war, will be considered hereafter.
was with Burnside
expedition for the two-fold purpose of distributing to the sick and wounded the generous contributions of patriotic and charitable citizens, and to exercise a fostering care of the poor and ignorant colored people, from whose limbs the hand of the loyal victor had just unloosed the shackles of hopeless slavery.
began his blessed work on Roanoke Island
in February, and now, at the middle of March, he was made busy in the same high vocation at New Berne.
When his labors in the hospitals were finished, he was placed in charge of the helpless of that town of every kind, by an order issued by Burnside
which read thus: “Mr. Vincent Colyer
is hereby appointed Superintendent of the Poor, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.”
12 Mr. Colyer
took for his headquarters a respectable dwelling in the town, and at once began the exercise of the most commendable form of benevolence, in finding remunerative employment for the healthy destitute.13
He opened evening schools for the education of the colored people, in which over eight hundred of the most eager; pupils were nightly seen, some of General Foster
's New England
soldiers acting as teachers.
But this promising, benevolent work was suddenly stopped by Edward Stanley
, who had been appointed
President military governor
of North Carolina
, and whose policy was that of a large class of Unionists
in border slave-labor States, namely, to preserve slavery, and, if possible, the Union
The closing of the schools was the first administrative act of the new governor, in conformity with the barbarous laws of North Carolina
, which made it, he said, “a criminal offense to teach the blacks to read.”
He also returned fugitive slaves to their masters; and the hopes of that down-trodden race in that region, which were so delightfully given in promises, were suddenly extinguished.14
Having taken possession of New Berne, Burnside
proceeded at once to further carry out the instructions of General McClellan
by leading a force
against Fort Macon
, that commanded the important harbor of Beaufort, North Carolina
, and Bogue Sound
That fort, with others, it will be remembered, was seized by Governor Ellis
, early in 1861,16
before the so-called secession of the State
Its possession by the Government
would secure the use of another fine harbor on the Atlantic coast
to the National
vessels engaged in the blockading and other service, an object of great importance.
It stands upon a long spit or ridge of sand, cast up by the waves, called Bogue Island, and separated from the main by Bogue Sound
, which is navigable for small vessels.
At the head of the deeper part of Beaufort harbor, and at the terminus of the railway from New Berne, is Morehead City
, thirty-six miles from the former; and on the northern side of the harbor is Beaufort
, the capital of Carteret County
, and an old and pleasant town, which was a. popular place of resort for the North Carolinians in the summer.
Into that harbor blockade-runners had for some time been carrying supplies for the Confederates
intrusted the expedition against Fort Macon
to the command of General Parke
, at the same time sending General Reno
to make further demonstrations in the rear of Norfolk
's forces were transferred by water to Slocum's Creek, from which point they marched across the country and invested Morehead City
, nine days after the fall of New Berne.
The latter place was evacuated.
On the 25th, a detachment, composed of the Fourth Rhode Island and Eighth Connecticut, took possession of Beaufort
without opposition, for there was no military force there.
In the mean time a flag had been sent to Fort Macon
with a demand for its surrender.
It was refused, the commander, Colonel Moses T. White
(nephew of Jefferson Davis
), declaring that he would not yield until he had eaten his last biscuit and slain his last horse.
Vigorous preparations were at once made to capture it, and on the 11th of April General Parke
made a reconnoissance in force on Bogue Spit, drove in the Confederate
pickets, and selected good points for the planting of siege-guns.
At that time regular siege operations commenced, and the garrison was confined within the limits of the fort, closely watched, for it was expected that in their supposed desperate
strait they might make a sudden and fierce sortie, but there was only some picket skirmishing occasionally.
Ordnance and ordnance stores were rafted over from a wooded point near Carolina City
by General Parke
, and batteries were constructed behind sand dunes on Bogue Spit.
were co-operating with them, and the garrison, composed of about five hundred North Carolinians, was cut off from all communication by sea and land.19
Three siege batteries were erected on Bogue Spit behind sand-hills, the sides and front being formed by sand-bags.
The most distant, under Lieutenant Flagler
, of the New York Third Artillery, was in the borders of a marsh, about fourteen hundred yards from the fort, and mounted four teninch
The second was about two hundred yards in front of it, under Captain Morris
, of the First Regular Artillery, and mounted three long 30-pound Parrott guns; and the third was one hundred yards still nearer the fort, composed of four 8-inch mortars, and commanded by Lieutenant Prouty
, of the Third New York Artillery.
When these batteries were completed, the gun-boats Daylight
(flag-ship); State of Georgia
, Commander Armstrong
; and Chippewa
, Lieutenant Bryson
, and the barque Gemsbok
, Lieutenant Cavendish
, took position for battle outside the Spit, within range of the fort.
came down from New Berne, and passed over to the batteries; and at six o'clock, on the morning of the 25th of April, Flagler
opened fire with his 10-inch mortars, directed by Lieutenant Andrews
of the Signal Corps, and his accomplished young assistant, Lieutenant Wait
The other batteries followed, and in the course of ten minutes the fort replied with a shot from Captain Manney
's 24-pounder battery on the terreplein.
The heavy columbiads and 32-pounders en barbette
joined in the cannonade, and at eight o'clock the fort, belching fire and smoke like an active volcano, was sending a shot every minute.
batteries were responding with equal vigor, and the war vessels were doing good service, maneuvering in an elliptical course, like Dupont
's at Port Royal
Entrance, and throwing heavy shot and shell upon the fortress.
But the roughness of the sea, caused by a southwest wind, compelled them to withdraw after fighting an hour and a quarter.
The land batteries kept at work until four o'clock in the afternoon, when a white flag, displayed on Fort Macon
, caused their firing to cease.
, of the garrison, came out with a proposition from Colonel White
to surrender; and before ten o'clock the next morning
the fort was in the possession of the National
forces, with about five hundred prisoners of war.21 Burnside
was present, and had the pleasure of seeing the ensign of the
Republic, and the new colors of the Fifth Rhode Island battalion, which had just been presented to it by the women of Providence
, unfurled over the fort.22
The writer visited and sketched Fort Macon
in December, 1864, while accompanying the expedition under General Butler
against Fort Fisher
The transports bearing his troops, and the Ben Deford
, his Headquarters ship, had been furnished with water and fuel for only ten days. Having waited three days at the place of rendezvous, twenty-five miles at sea, off Fort Fisher
, for the arrival of the war-vessels that were to co-operate with the soldiers, it was necessary to run up the coast seventy miles to Beaufort
for a new supply of fuel and water.
This gave the writer a wished for opportunity to visit Beaufort Harbor and its surroundings.
We entered it during one of the heaviest gales known on that coast for thirty years, and were detained there four days, during which time we visited the old town of Beaufort
, the more modern Morehead City
, Carolina City
, the Bogue Banks
or Spit, and Fort Macon
The latter is at the eastern point of the Spit, upon an elevation above the common level, composed of a huge mound of sand thrown up for the purpose.
The fort was built of brick and stone,
and named in honor of Nathaniel Macon
, a distinguished statesman of North Carolina
Built for defense against a foreign foe, its principal strength in
masonry and guns was toward the sea, and it perfectly commanded the narrow ship channel at the entrance to the harbor.
We found Fort Macon
very much in the condition in which Burnside
observed it when he entered it, excepting the absence of fragments of shot and shell and cannon and carriages, made by the National
On its wall, landward (seen in shadow in the engraving), that bore the brunt of the bombardment, were the broad wounds made by shot and shell; and here and there the remains of furrows made by them were seen on the parades, the ramparts, and the glacis.
After passing half an hour pleasantly with Captain King
, the commandant, and other officers of the garrison, and making the sketch on the preceding page, we departed for the Ben Deford
in the tug that took us from it and on the following day left the harbor for the waters in front of Fort Fisher
were operating at Beaufort Harbor, troops under General Reno
were quietly taking possession of important places on the waters of Albemarle Sound
, and threatening Norfolk
in the rear.
The movement was partly for the purpose of assisting Parke
in his siege of Fort Macon
, and partly to gain some substantial advantages on the Sounds
's force consisted of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first Pennsylvania, the Sixth New Hampshire, and a part of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York.
They advanced in transports up the Pasquotank
to within three miles of Elizabeth City
, and, landing cautiously in the night,
a part of them under Colonel Hawkins
were pushed forward to surprise and intercept a body of Confederates known to be about leaving that place for Norfolk
took with him portions of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York, and Sixth New Hampshire; and a few hours later he was followed by General Reno
and the remainder of the troops.
was misled by a treacherous or incompetent guide, and, marching ten miles out of his way, lost so much time that in retracing his steps he came in behind General Reno
Meanwhile the Confederates
had been apprised of the movement, and when the Nationals were within a mile and a, half.
of South Mills
, near Camden Court-house, they were assailed with grape and canister shot from the foe, who were in a good position with artillery, having a dense forest in their rear for a protection and cover, and swamps on their flanks.
The attack was bravely met. Reno
's superior numbers soon flanked the Confederates
, and the latter hastily withdrew.
A gun-boat under Captain Flusser
had, in the mean time, driven the foe out of the woods along the river-banks.
's Zouaves had made a gallant charge, but were repulsed, and in this the chief loss to the Nationals occurred.
They had fifteen killed, ninety-six wounded, and two made prisoners.
The loss of the Confederates
is not known.
They left thirty killed and wounded on the field.
This engagement is called the battle of South Mills
The defeat of the Third Georgia regiment in the fight produced much consternation in Norfolk
allowed his wearied troops to rest on the battle-field about six hours, when they returned to the boats.
For want of transportation, he was compelled to leave some of his killed and wounded behind.
, at the head of the Chowan
, at the mouth of the
; and Washington
, at the head of the Pamlico River
, were all quietly occupied by the National
This occupation so widely dispersed Burnside
's troops, which at no time numbered more than sixteen thousand, that he could no longer make aggressive movements.
The Government had no troops to spare to re-enforce him; and matters remained comparatively quiet in his department until the middle of July, when he was hastily summoned to Fortress Monroe
with all the forces he could collect; for the Army of the Potomac, on the Virginia Peninsula
, under General McClellan
, was then apparently in great danger.
promptly obeyed the summons, leaving General Foster
in command of the department.
During the four months of his campaign in that region, Burnside
had exhibited those traits of character that marked him as an energetic, sagacious, and judicious commander, and led to his appointment to more important posts of duty.
For the remainder of the year, the coasts of North Carolina
were in the, possession of the National
Its ports were closed, either by actual occupation or by blockading vessels, and its commerce ceased entirely, excepting such as was carried on by British blockade-runners.
These, in spite of the greatest vigilance of the blockading squadrons cruising off its entrances, constantly entered the Cape Fear River
, with military supplies and necessaries for the Confederates
, until the fall of Fort Fisher
, at the beginning of 1865.
These blockade-runners were steamships, built expressly
for the purpose, and were remarkable for strength and speed.
They drew but little water, and had raking smoke-stacks.
Every part of them was painted a gray color, so that they could not be seen even in a very light fog. Their achievements in supplying the Confederates
with arms, ammunition, and the necessaries and luxuries of life, will be considered hereafter.
A blockade-runner. |
on the coast of North Carolina
were engaged in movements on the coasts of South Carolina
, having for their first object the capture of Fort Pulaski
, and ultimately other important points and posts between the Savannah River
and St. Augustine
We have seen that at the close of 1861 the National
authority was supreme along the coast from Wassaw Sound
, below the Savannah River
, to the North Edisto
, well up toward Charleston
National troops were stationed as far down as Daufuskie Island
; and so early as the close of December, General Sherman
had directed General Quincy A. Gillmore
, his Chief Engineer
, to reconnoiter Fort Pulaski
and report upon the feasibility of a bombardment of it., Gillmore
's reply was, that it might be reduced by batteries of rifled guns and mortars placed on Big Tybee Island, southeast of Cockspur Island
, on which the fort stood, and across the narrower channel of the Savannah
; and that aid might be given from a battery on Venus Point
of Jones's Island, two miles from Cockspur, in the opposite direction.
While waiting orders from Washington
on the subject, the Forty-sixth New York, Colonel Rosa
, was sent to occupy Big Tybee.
At about this time
explorations were made by the Nationals for the purpose of finding some channel by which gun-boats might get in the rear of Fort Pulaski
. Lieutenant J. H. Wilson
, of the Topographical Engineers
, had received information from negro pilots that convinced him that such channel might be found, connecting Calibogue Sound
with the Savannah River
. General Sherman
directed him to explore in search of it. Taking with him, at about the first of January, 1862; seventy Rhode Island
soldiers, in two boats managed by negro crews and pilots, he thridded the intricate passages between the low, oozy islands and mud-banks in that region (always under cover of night, for the Confederates
had watchful pickets at every approach to the fort), and found a way into the Savannah River
above the fort, partly through an artificial channel called Wall's Cut, which had for several years connected Wright's
and New Rivers
reported accordingly, when Captain John Rogers
made another reconnoissance at night, and so satisfied himself that gun-boats could navigate the way, that he offered to command an expedition that might attempt it. Sherman
at once organized one for the purpose.
The land troops were placed in charge of General Viele
and the gun-boats were commanded by Rogers
Another mixed force, under General H. G. Wright27
, was sent to pass up to the Savannah River
, in rear of Fort Pulaski
, by way of Wassaw Sound
, Wilmington River
, and St. Augustine Creek
The latter expedition found obstructions in St. Augustine Creek
; but the gunboats were able to co-operate with those of Rogers
in an attack
on the little flotilla of five gun-boats of Commodore Tatnall
, which attempted to escape down the river from inevitable blockade.
was driven back with two of his vessels, but the others escaped.
The expedition, having accomplished its object of observation, returned to Hilton Head
, and the citizens of Savannah
believed that designs against that city and Fort Pulaski
Yet the Confederates
multiplied the obstructions in the river in the form of piles, sunken vessels, and regular chevaux-de-frise;
and upon the oozy islands and the main land on the right bank of the river they built heavy earthworks, and greatly enlarged and strengthened Fort Jackson
, about four miles below the city.
Among the most formidable of the
new earthworks was Fort Lee
, built under the direction of Robert E. Lee
, after his recall from Western Virginia
, in the autumn of 1861.
Soon after the heavy reconnaissance of Rogers
, the Nationals made a lodgment on Jones's Island, and proceeded, under the immediate direction of General Viele
, to erect an earthwork on Venus Point
, which was named Battery Vulcan.
This was completed on the 11th of February, after very great labor,29
and with a little battery on Bird Island
（Battery Hamilton), effectually closed the Savannah River
in the rear of Fort Pulaski
That fortress, as we have already observed,30
was a strong one on Cockspur Island
, which is wholly a marsh.
Its walls, twenty-five feet in height above high water, presented five faces, and were casemated on all sides, and mounted one tier of guns in embrasures and one en barbette
The absolute blockade of Fort Pulaski
may be dated from the 22d of February.
Preparations were then made on Tybee Island
to bombard it. Nearly all of the work had to be done in the night, and it was of the same laborious nature as that performed on Jones's Island.
It took about two hundred and fifty men to move a single heavy gun, with a sling-cart, over the quaking mud
jelly of which Tybee Island
is composed; and it was often with the greatest difficulty that it was kept from going down twelve feet to the bottom of the morass, when, as sometimes it happened, it slipped from the causeway or a platform.31
Patiently the work was carried on under the supervision of General Gillmore
, who was in chief command, and on the 9th of April eleven batteries, containing an aggregate of thirty-six guns, were in
readiness to open fire on the fort.32
On that day the commanding General
issued minute orders for the working of the batteries, which was to corn mence at daybreak the next morning.33
General David Hunter
, who had just succeeded General Sherman
in the command of the Department, arrived at Tybee
on the evening of the 8th, accompanied by General Benham
as district commander.
At sunrise on the morning of the 10th, Hunter
sent Lieutenant J. H. Wilson
to the fort, with a summons to the commander of the garrison (Colonel Charles H. Olmstead
, of the First Georgia Volunteers) to surrender.
It was refused, the commander saying, “I am here to defend this fort, not to surrender it,” and at a quarter past eight o'clock the batteries opened upon it. They did not cease firing until night, when five of the guns of the fortress were silenced, and the responses of the others were becoming feeble.
All night long, four of Gillmore
's guns fired at intervals of fifteen or twenty minutes; and at sunrise the next morning
the batteries commenced afresh, and with the greatest vigor.
It was soon evident that the fort, at the point on which the missiles from the three breaching batteries (Sigel, Scott, and McClellan
) fell, was crumbling.
A yawning breach was visible; and yet the fort kept up the fight gallantly until two o'clock in the afternoon, when preparations were made to storm it. Then a white flag displayed from its walls caused the firing to cease, and the siege to end in its surrender.
Ten of its guns were dismounted; and so destructive of masonry had been the Parrott projectiles (some of which went through the six or seven feet of brick walls) that there was imminent
danger of their piercing the magazine and exposing it to explosion.35
, who were under the immediate command of General Viele
, had only one killed. The Confederates had one killed and several wounded.
It was a very hard fought but almost bloodless battle.
The spoils of victory were the fort, forty-seven
heavy guns, a large supply of fixed ammunition, forty thousand pounds of gunpowder, and a large quantity of commissary stores.
Three hundred men were made prisoners.36
By this victory, won on the first anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter
the port of Savannah
was sealed against blockade-runners.
The capture of Fort Jackson
above, and of the city, would have been of little advantage to the Nationals then, for the forces necessary to hold them were needed in more important work farther down the coast.
were besieging Fort Pulaski
, Commodore Dupont
and General Wright
were making easy conquests on the coast of Florida
left Port Royal
on the 28th of February,
in the Wabash
, with twenty armed vessels, and six transports bearing land forces, and on the 1st of March arrived in St. Andrew's Sound
, north of Cumberland
and St. Andrew's Islands
Leaving the Wabash
raised his flag on the smaller war vessel Mohican
, and, at ten o'clock on the 2d, the fleet anchored in Cumberland Sound
, between Cumberland Island
and the Georgia
Its destination was Fort Clinch
northern extremity of Amelia Island
, a strong regular work, and prepared by great labor for making a vigorous defense.
Outside of it, along the shores, were heavy batteries, well sheltered and concealed behind sand-hills on their front, while on the southern extremity of Cumberland Island
was a battery of four guns.
These, with the heavy armament of Fort Clinch
, perfectly commanded the waters in the vicinity.
had expected vigorous resistance at Fort Clinch
, and he was incredulous when told by a fugitive slave, picked up on the waters, that the troops had abandoned it, and were fleeing from Amelia Island
The rumor was confirmed, and Dupont
immediately sent forward Commander Drayton
, of the Pawnee
, with several gunboats, to save the public property there and prevent outrages.
He then returned to the Wabash
, and, going outside, went down to the main entrance to Fernandina harbor.
There he was detained until the next morning.
had sent Lieutenant White
, of the Ottawa
, to hoist the National
flag over Fort Clinch
The Union Generals. |
was the first of the old National forts which was “repossessed” by the Government
The Confederates fled from the village of Fernandina
near the fort, and also from the village of St. Mary's
, a short.
distance up the St. Mary's River
These were at once occupied by National forces.
was garrisoned by a few of General Wright
's troops, and Commander C. R. P. Rogers
, with some launches, captured the Confederate steamer Darlington
, lying in the adjacent waters.
The insurgent force was utterly broken up. “We captured Port Royal
wrote to the Secretary of the Navy
and Fort Clinch
have been given to us.”
News reached Dupont
that the Confederates
were abandoning every post along the Florida coast
, and he took measures to occupy them or hold them in durance.
was sent with three gun-boats to Brunswick
, the terminus of the Brunswick
He took possession of it on the 9th of March.
The next day he held the batteries on the islands of St. Simon
, and on the 13th he proceeded with the Potomska
through the inland passage from St. Simon's Sound
, on the Altamaha River, in Georgia
This place, like Brunswick
, was deserted, and nearly all of the inhabitants on St. Simon
's and neighboring islands had fled to the main.
In the mean time Dupont
sent a small flotilla, under a judicious officer, Lieutenant Thomas Holdup Stevens
, consisting of the gun-boats Ottawa
, and Huron
, with the transports I. P. Smith
, to enter the St. John's River
, twenty-five miles farther down the coast, and push on to Jacksonville
, and even to Pilatka
, if possible.
on the evening of the 11th of March,
and saw large fires in that direction; and on the following day he appeared before the town, which was abandoned by the Confederate
The fires had been kindled by order of General Trapier
, the insurgent commander of that district, who directed the houses, stores, mills, and other property of persons suspected of being in favor of the Union
, to be burnt.
Under that order, eight immense saw-mills and a vast amount of valuable lumber were burned by guerrillas.
On the appearance of Stevens
's flotilla, the corporate authorities of the town, with S. L. Burritt
at their head, went on board his vessel (the Ottawa
) and formally surrendered the place.
The Fourth New Hampshire, Colonel Whipple
, landed and took possession, and it was hailed with joy by the Union
people who remained there.
Two days before Jacksonville
was surrendered to Stevens
, Fort Marion
and the ancient city of St. Augustine
, still farther down the coast,40
were surrendered to Commander C. R. P. Rogers
, who had crossed
the bar in the Wabash
. With a flag of truce, and accompanied by Mr. Dennis
, of the Coast Survey, he landed, and was soon met by the Mayor
of the town, who conducted him to the City Hall, where he was received by the Common Council.
He was informed that two Florida
companies, who had garrisoned the fort, had left the place on the previous evening, and that the city had no means for resistance, if there was a disposition to fight.
On assuring the authorities of the kind intentions of his Government toward all peaceful citizens, they formally resigned St. Augustine
into his hands.
, a decayed castle of heavy walls, built by the
Spaniards early in the last century (and which was seized by the insurgents early in 186141
), with its dependencies, passed into the hands of the Nationals.
On the top of the broad walls of the fort, huts and tents were soon erected.
The capture of St. Augustine
was followed by a visit of National gunboats to Musquito Inlet, fifty miles farther down the Florida coast
, into which it was reported light-draft vessels were carrying English arms and other supplies for the Confederates
, which had been transhipped from the British
port of Nassau
The boats were the Penguin
, Lieutenant Budd
, who commanded the expedition, and the Henry Andrew
, Acting-master Mather
On their arrival, a small boat expedition, composed of forty-three men, under Budd
, was organized for a visit to Musquito Lagoon.
While returning, the two commanders, who were in one boat, landed at an abandoned earthwork and dense grove of live oaks.
There they were fired upon by the concealed foe. Budd
, and three of the five men composing the boat's crew, were killed, and the remaining two were wounded and made prisoners.
The other boats were fired upon when they came up, and their passengers suffered much; but under the cover of night they escaped.
In this expedition the Nationals lost five killed and eleven wounded. Had it been entirely successful, all Florida
might have been brought under the control of the National
forces for a time, for there was panic everywhere in that region after the fall of Fort Pulaski
was soon afterward evacuated
by the Confederate General
, T. N. Jones
, who burnt every thing that he could at the navy yard, at the hospital, and in Forts McRee
, and retreated toward the interior.
But, as events proved, the Nationals could not have held Florida
at that time.
Because of their weakness in numbers, their conquests resulted, apparently, in more harm than good to the Union
At first, the hopes
they inspired in the breasts of the Union
people developed quite a wide-spread loyalty.
A Union convention was called to assemble at Jacksonville
on the 10th of April, to organize a loyal State Government, when, to the dismay of those engaged in the matter, General Wright
prepared to withdraw his forces, two days before the time when the convention was to meet.
would of course return, so the leaders were compelled to fly for their lives with the National
troops, instead of attempting to re-establish a loyal government.
In consequence of a sense of insecurity caused by this event, very little Union feeling was manifested in Florida
during the remainder of the war.
returned to Port Royal
on the 27th of March, leaving a small force at different points to watch the posts recovered.
He found Skiddaway
and Greene Islands
abandoned by the Confederates
, and the important Wassaw
and Ossabaw Sounds
and the Vernon
and Wilmington Rivers
entirely open to the occupation of National forces.
So early as the 11th of February, General Sherman
, with the Forty-seventh New York, had taken quiet possession of Edisto Island
, from which all the white inhabitants had fled, burning their cotton on their departure.
By this movement the National
flag was carried more than half way to Charleston
And so it was, that on the first anniversary of the attack on Fort Sumter
, the entire Atlantic
and Gulf coast, from Cape Hatteras
to Perdido Bay
, excepting, the harbor of Charleston
and its immediate surroundings, had been abandoned by the insurgents, and the National
power was supreme.
and the new Commander
of the Department of the South (General Hunter
was now a coveted prize, and they made preparations to attempt its capture.
That movement we will consider hereafter.
Turning again to Hampton Roads
, we see General Butler
and some troops going out upon another expedition, with his purpose a profound secret, but which proved to be one of the most important movements of the first year and a half of the war. It was the expedition against New Orleans.
We have seen42
that so early as September, 1861, General Butler
was commissioned by the Secretary of War
to go to New England
and “raise, arm, and uniform a volunteer force for the war,” to be composed of six regiments.
Unavoidable collision with the efforts of State authorities to raise men ensued, and at one time it seemed as if Butler
's mission would be fruitless.
To give him more efficiency, the six New England
States were constituted a Military Department, and Major-General Butler
was made its commander while engaged in recruiting his division.
He worked to that end with untiring energy, in the face of opposition; and it was not long before his six thousand troops and more were ready for the field.
The Government had then turned its attention to the posts on the Gulf of Mexico
and its tributary waters, and the seizure of Mobile
and New Orleans, and the occupation of Texas
, formed parts of its capital plan of operations in that region.
was called upon to suggest the best rendezvous for an expedition against Mobile
He named Ship Island
, off the coast of Mississippi
between Mobile Bay
and Lake Borgne
(a low sand-bar, lying just above low water, and averaging seven miles in length and three-fourths of a mile in width), as the most eligible point for operations against any part of the Gulf Coast
Thither some of his troops were sent, in the fine steamship Constitution
, under General J. W. Phelps
, whom Butler
well knew, and honored as a commander at Fortress Monroe
returned, and two thousand more of the six thousand men embarked, when an electrograph said to Butler
, in Boston
, “Don't sail.
The Government was then trembling because of the seeming imminence of war with Great Britain
, on account of the seizure of Mason
They were in Fort Warren
, and the British Government
had demanded their surrender.
This made the authorities at Washington
pause in their aggressive policy, to wait for the development of events in that connection.
But the tremor was only spasmodic, and soon ceased.
The work against treason was renewed with increased vigor.
Edwin M. Stanton
, who was in Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet during the closing days of his administration43
--a man possessed of great physical and mental energy, comprehensiveness of intellectual grasp, and great tenacity of will, had superseded Mr. Cameron
as Secretary of War
and a conference between him and General Butler
resulted in a decision to make vigorous efforts to capture New Orleans, and hold the lower Mississippi
When that decision was referred to General McClellan
, the latter thought such an expedition was not feasible, for it would take fifty thousand men to give it a chance of success, and where were they to come from?
He was unwilling to spare a single man of his more than two hundred thousand men then lying at
ease around Washington City
His question was promptly answered.
was all aglow with enthusiasm, and its sons were eagerly flocking to the standard of General Butler
, who asked for only fifteen thousand of it. On for the expedition.
Already more than twelve thousand were ready for the field, under his leadership.
Two thousand were at Ship Island
; more than two thousand were on ship-board in Hampton Roads
; and over eight thousand were ready for embarkation at Boston
gave the project his sanction.
The Department of the Gulf
was created, and General Butler
was placed in command of it. On the 23d of February
he received minute orders from General McClellan
to co-operate with the navy, first in the capture of New Orleans and its approaches, and then in the reduction of Mobile
, and Baton Rouge
, with the ultimate view of occupying Texas
To his New
troops were added three regiments, then at Baltimore
, and orders were given for two others at Key West
and one at Fort Pickens
to join the expedition.
On paper, the whole force was about eighteen thousand, but when they were all mustered on Ship Island
they amounted to only thirteen thousand seven hundred.
Of these, five hundred and eighty were artillerymen and two hundred and seventy-five were cavalry.
On the day after receiving his instructions, General Butler
and hastened to Fortress Monroe
To Mr. Lincoln
he said, “Good-bye, Mr. President
; we shall take New Orleans or you'll never see me again ;” and with the assurance of Secretary Stanton
, that “The man who takes New Orleans is made a lieutenant-general,” 44 Butler
embarked at Hampton Roads
accompanied by his wife, his staff, and fourteen hundred troops, in the fine steamship Mississippi
. Fearful perils were encountered on the North Carolina
coast, and vexatious delay at Port Royal
and it was thirty days after he left the capes of Virginia
before he debarked at Ship Island
There was no house upon that desolate sand-bar, and some charred boards were all the materials that could be had for the erection of a shanty for the accommodation of Mrs. Butler
The furniture for it was taken from a captured vessel.
When the war broke out, there was an unfinished fort on Ship Island
, to which, as we have observed, Floyd
, the traitorous Secretary of War
, had ordered heavy guns.46
The insurgents of that region took possession of it in considerable force
and, during their occupation of it for about two months, they made it strong and available for defense.
They constructed eleven bomb-proof casemates, a magazine and barracks, mounted twenty heavy Dahlgren guns, and named it Fort Twiggs.
When rumors of a heavy naval force approaching reached the garrison, they abandoned the fort,
burnt their barracks, and, with their cannon, fled to the main.
On the following day, a small force was landed from the National
, and took possession of the place.
They strengthened the fort by building two more casemates, adding Dahlgren
and rifled cannon, and piling around its outer walls tiers of sand-bags, six feet in depth.
Then they gave it the name of their vessel, and called it Fort Massachusetts.47
arrived there with General Phelps
and his troops48
on the 3d of December, and on the following day
he issued a proclamation to the loyal inhabitants of the south-western States, setting forth his views as to the political status of those
States and the slave-system within their borders.
It pointedly condemned that system, and declared that it was incompatible with a free government, incapable of forming an element of true nationality, and necessarily dangerous to the Republic
, when assuming, as it then did, a political character.
He pictured to them the blessings to be derived from the abolition of slavery,
and declared that his motto and that of his troops coming among them was, Free labor and working-men's rights.
This proclamation astonished Phelps
's troops, provoked the pro-slavery officers under his command, and highly excited the people to whom it was addressed, who heard it, and who used it effectually in “firing the Southern
heart” against the “abolition Government” at Washington
It was too far in advance of public opinion and feeling at that time, and General Butler
, whose views were coincident with the tenor of the proclamation, considering it premature, and therefore injudicious, said, in transmitting his brigadier's report of operations at Ship Island
, that he had not authorized the issuing of any proclamation, “and most certainly not such an one.”
So General Phelps
and those of his way of thinking were compelled to wait a year or two before they saw a public movement toward the abolition of slavery.
All winter Phelps
and his troops remained on the dreary little island, unable, on account of great and small guns in the hands of the neighboring insurgents, to gain a footing on the adjacent shore, and waiting in painful anxiety, at the last, for the arrival of General.
and the remainder of his command, who, at one time it was feared, had gone to the bottom of the sea. Their advent produced joy, for the troops well knew that the stagnation of the camp would soon give place to the bustle of preparations for the field.
That expectation was heightened when, a few hours after he landed, Butler
was seen in conference with Captains Farragut
, of the navy, who were there, in which his Chief of Staff
, Major George C. Strong
, and his Chief Engineer
, Lieutenant Godfrey Weitzel
(both graduates of West Point
The latter had been engaged in the completion of the forts below New Orleans, and was well acquainted with all the region around the lower Mississippi
At that conference, a plan of operation against the forts below New
and the city itself was adopted, and was substantially carried out a few weeks later.
While preparations for that movement were in progress, some minor expeditions were set on foot.
One against Biloxi
, a summer watering-place on the Mississippi Main
, was incited by the conduct of some Confederates who violated the sanctity of a flag of truce, under circumstances of peculiar wickedness.
A little girl, three years of age, the daughter of a physician and noted rebel of New Orleans, was cast upon the shore at Ship Island
after a storm, in which it was supposed her father had perished.
She was kindly cared for by Mrs. Butler
; and, as the child knew the name of her grandfather in New Orleans, the General
determined to send her there.
Fo<*> that purpose Major George C. Strong
, General Butler
's chief of staff, too<*> her, in a sloop, under a flag of truce, to Biloxi
, with money to pay he<*> expenses to New Orleans.
There she was left to be sent on. The sloo<*> grounded on her return in the evening, and, while in that condition, an attempt was made to capture her by men who had been witnesses of Major Strong
's holy errand.
By stratagem he kept the rebels at bay until a gun-boat came to his rescue.
On the following day, an avenging expedition, commanded by Major Strong
, proceeded to Biloxi
It was composed of two gun-boats (Jackson
and New London
), and a transport with the Ninth Connecticut, Colonel Cahill
, and Everett
's battery on board.
Fortunately for the Biloxians, they were quiet.
Their place was captured without opposition, and the Mayor
was compelled to make a humble apology in writing for the perfidy of his fellow-citizens in the matter of the flag of truce.
, Major Strong
went westward to Pass Christian
While his vessels lay at anchor there that night, they were attacked by three Confederate gun-boats, that stole out of Lake Borgne
The assailants were repulsed.
then landed his troops, and, making a forced march, surprised and captured a Confederate camp three miles distant. The soldiers had fled.
The camp was destroyed, and the public stores in the town on the beach were seized and carried away.
also captured Mississippi City.
Tail-piece — ruins of the steamer Nashville.|