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[317] and the guidance of public affairs. They travel and read, love field sports, racing, shooting, hunting, and fishing, are bold horsemen, and good shots. But, after all, their state is a modern Sparta — an aristocracy resting on a helotry, and with nothing else to rest upon. Although they profess (and I believe, indeed, sincerely) to hold opinions in opposition to the opening of the slave trade, it is nevertheless true that the clause in the Constitution of the Confederate States which prohibited the importation of negroes, was especially and energetically resisted by them, because, as they say, it seemed to be an admission that slavery was in itself an evil and a wrong. Their whole system rests on slavery, and as such they defend it. They entertain very exaggerated ideas of the military strength of their little community, although one may do full justice to its military spirit. Out of their whole population they cannot reckon more than 60,000 adult men by any arithmetic, and as there are nearly 30,000 plantations, which must be, according to law, superintended by white men, a considerable number of these adults cannot be spared from the state for service in the open field. The planters boast that they can raise their corps without any inconvenience by the labor of their negroes, and they seem confident that the negroes will work without superintendence. But the experiment is rather dangerous, and it will only be tried in the last extremity.

It is said that “fools build houses for wise men to live in.” Be that true or not, it is certain that “Uncle Sam” has built strong places for his enemies to occupy. To-day I visited Fort Pulaski, which defends the mouth of the Savannah River and the approaches to the city. It was left to take care of itself, and the Georgians quietly stepped into it, and have been busied in completing its defences, so that it is now capable of stopping a fleet very effectually. Pulaski was a Pole who fell in the defence of Savannah against the British, and whose memory is perpetuated in the name of the fort, which is now under the Confederate flag, and garrisoned by bitter foes of the United States.

Among our party were Commodore Tatnall, whose name will be familiar to English ears in connection with the attack on the Peiho Forts, where the gallant American showed the world that “blood was thicker than water;” Brigadier-General Lawton, in command of the forces of Georgia, and a number of naval and military officers, of whom many had belonged to the United States regular service. It was strange to look at such a man as the Commodore, who for forty-nine long years had served under the Stars and Stripes, quietly preparing to meet his old comrades and friends, if needs be, in the battle-field — his allegiance to the country and to the flag renounced, his long service flung away, his old ties and connections severed — and all this in defence of the sacred right of rebellion on the part of “his State.” He is not now, nor has he been for years, a slave-owner; all his family and familiar associations connect him with the North. There are no naval stations on the Southern coasts, except one at Pensacola, and he knows almost no one in the South. He has no fortune whatever, his fleet consists of two small river or coasting steamers, without guns, and as he said, in talking over the resources of the South, “My bones will be bleached many a long year before the Confederate States can hope to have a navy.” “State rights!” To us the question is simply inexplicable or absurd. And yet thousands of Americans sacrifice all for it. The river at Savannah is broad as the Thames at Gravesend, and resembles that stream very much in the color of its waters and the level nature of its shores. Rice-fields bound it on either side, as far down as the influence of the fresh water extends, and the eye wanders over a flat expanse of mud and water, and green osiers and rushes, till its search is arrested on the horizon by the unfailing line of forest. In the fields here and there are the white-washed square wooden huts in which the slaves dwell, looking very like the beginnings of the camp in the Crimea. At one point a small fort, covering a creek by which gun-boats could get up behind Savannah, displayed its “garrison” on the walls, and lowered its flag to salute the small blue ensign at the fore which proclaimed the presence of the Commodore of the Naval Forces of Georgia on board our steamer. The guns on the parapet were mostly field-pieces mounted on frameworks of wood instead of regular carriages. There is no mistake about the spirit of these people. They seize upon every spot of vantage ground and prepare it for defence. There were very few ships in the river; the yacht Camilla, better known as the America, the property of Captain Deasy, and several others of those few sailing under British colors, for most of the cotton ships are gone.

After steaming down the river about twelve miles, the sea opened out to the sight, and on a long, marshy, narrow island near the bar, which was marked by the yellowish surf, Fort Pulaski threw out the Confederate flag to the air of the Georgian 1st of May. The water was too shallow to permit the steamer to go up to the jetty, and the party landed at the wharf in boats. A guard was on duty at the landing — tall, stout young fellows, in various uniforms, or in rude mufti, in which the Garibaldian red shirt and felt slouched hats predominated. They were armed with smooth-bore muskets (date 1851), quite new, and their bayonets, barrels, and locks were bright and clean. The officer on duty was dressed in the blue frock-coat dear to the British linesman in days gone by, with brass buttons, emblazoned with the arms, of the State, a red silk sash, and glazed kepi, and straw-colored gauntlets.

Several wooden huts, with flower gardens in

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