brigade, still as those highwaymen, calling themselves the Sixty-sixth North-Carolina volunteers, and the “State defenders,” were constantly lurking in the neighborhood and nightly firing on our pickets, and as they had not returned the colored soldier they had taken, a “gorilla” hunt was determined upon. Accordingly, a force of five hundred men, under Colonel Holman, was sent against Captain Elliott's band of robbers, whose camp was known to be located near the town. Following the Hertford road six miles, to what is called the “Sandy cross-road,” and following this three miles, the men were deployed and ordered to advance through the swamp. In half an hour the discharge of musketry and shouts from the colored boys proclaimed that the camp of the Sixty-sixth had been discovered. The valiant “State defenders” fled in confusion at the first fire, leaving their arms and several fine horses behind. The camp was burned, with two large buildings, containing their winter store of forage and provisions. In the neighborhood, the dwelling-house and barns of William T. Wright, their Commissary, were also burned, as were subsequently the house and barn of Lieutenant Munden. Having carried out his orders, Colonel Holman then returned to Elizabeth City with his trophies and one guerrilla as prisoner. The next morning General Wild received a letter from the guerrilla chief, stating that the colored soldier had been sent to Raleigh, but that he would set out at once for that city, see Governor Vance, and have him returned. At the commencement of the war General Wild was practising medicine in Brookline, Massachusetts. That he understands the guerrilla pathology, and can give a prescription that will cure every time, I think the Pasquotank bushwhackers will acknowledge. On the fifteenth instant, Brigadier-General Wessel arrived from Plymouth on the steamer Massasoit. The two Generals remained an hour in consultation, when the Massasoit left for Roanoke Island. General Wessel's district comprises the territory adjacent to the Albemarle Sound, and his command consists of the One Hundred and First and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania, and the Eighty-fifth and Ninety-sixth New-York. His headquarters are at Plymouth. The General's headquarters are besieged from daylight until dark by persons desiring passes to and from the country, to reclaim horses and carts taken for the removal of the effects of the slaves; to have guards stationed at their houses; to take the oath of allegiance, etc., etc. The General imposes very little office work on the members of his staff, doing nearly all the writing himself. Having but one arm, this is especially laborious, but it is his way. Nothing, however trivial, escapes his notice, and he personally superintends every thing. The money in circulation here is confederate treasury notes and State currency. The day after my arrival, I saw some of our officers purchasing confederate notes of the citizens to send home as souvenirs of rebeldom. The price paid in United States postage currency was ten cents for a dollar. Corn, of which the country is full, costs in rebel shinplasters, four dollars a bushel; in State currency, two dollars; in United States money it could probably be bought for twenty-five cents. Ordinary women's shoes cost in the money of the Southern Confederacy, one hundred dollars a pair. As I have before remarked, there is not a store open in the city, and the inhabitants depend exclusively for the few necessary articles they obtain upon smuggling through our lines from Norfolk. Coffee and tea are unknown luxuries. A grand expedition to Husford, in conjunction with Captain Flusser's gunboats, having been abandoned through a misunderstanding, the surrounding region having been cleared of slaves, the guerrillas effectually chastised, General Wild's mission in Elizabeth City had been fulfilled, and preparations were made to evacuate the place, the steamer Coleman and three schooners were loaded with contrabands and their effects, and a final contribution sent to the flourishing colony on Roanoke Island. Two hundred men, under command of Captain Frye, were sent to a point near the mouth of the Pasquotank, with orders to scour the country to Currituck Sound. The long train of wagons to accompany the main column was ordered to be in readiness by daylight the next morning, and lastly a courtmartial was convened to try the prisoners in our possession, now numbering about twenty. Of these, eight were found guilty of various offences, and ordered to be taken to Norfolk; two were retained as hostages; the guerrilla was sentenced to death, and the rest were ordered to be discharged. The following morning the pickets were called in, and the column moved, and in the midst of a drenching rain the place was evacuated, having been held six days. About noon, the sun coming out, a halt was ordered. The General and his staff rode forward to a small, unfinished building, designed for a post-office, standing upon a knoll at a cross-roads. Sufficient boards and laths were knocked off to afford an unobstructed view of the proceedings from two sides; when one of the officers, producing a cord, tied a hangman's knot at one end of it, and, standing upon the head of an empty cider-barrel, made the other fast to one of the joists overhead. After considerable experimenting, the barrel was made to serve for both the scaffold and the drop, being ingeniously balanced upon one of the floor-timbers, and held in place by a wedge which could be instantly removed. From this to one of the windows a board was laid, and thence another to the ground outside, forming an inclined plane. Meanwhile, most of the officers had riden forward, and tied their horses to the fence of an adjacent farm-house, whose inmates had closed all the window-blinds, and a crowd of colored soldiers encircled the building, watching in silence these ominous proceedings. Lieutenant-Colonel Shurtliff, of the Fifth United States, was appointed spiritual adviser to the
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
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.