previous next

[131] commander, Maj.-Gen. B. F. Butler, for his decision that the fort was impregnable; but we have the authoritative opinion of the Confederate commander, Col. Wm. Lamb, that this decision was absolutely necessary, and that the reason of the success of Maj.-Gen. A. H. Terry's second attack lay in the much more formidable character of the naval bombardment which preceded it, from seventy-five vessels instead of forty-one. Colonel Lamb emphatically said that ‘Admiral Porter was as much to blame as General Butler for the repulse.’1 The second and successful attack is vividly described by a Massachusetts officer, Capt. (now admiral) T. O. Selfridge, Jr., in the Century War Book, and it was one in which Massachusetts naval officers and sailors took an active part. ‘For the first time in the history of sieges,’ says Colonel Lamb, ‘the land defences of the works were destroyed, not by any act of the besieging army, but by the concentrated fire, direct and enfilading, of an immense fleet poured upon them without intermission, until torpedo wires were cut, palisades breached so that they actually afforded cover for assailants, and the slopes of the work were rendered practicable for assault.’2

Xxv. Massachusetts enlistments and casualties.

It is almost needless to point out that this preliminary narrative is in no sense a history of the Civil War, but merely a general sketch of the part taken in it by Massachusetts. The writer has, so far as possible, resisted the temptation to discuss the general management of military affairs, the success or failure of campaigns or even of particular battles, except so far as it bore on the Massachusetts contingent. His effort has been to treat all troops of this State as if they were one body of soldiers, included in the Union Army, but necessarily distributed on various services. This has of course been less easy than in dealing with a State like

1 Century War Book, IV, 646. Colonel Lamb repeated this statement to the writer even more emphatically, at Saratoga, in September, 1895, and also emphasized the assertion made in the above narrative, namely, that General Butler had himself to blame for this unjust reproach, on account of an unduly boastful and premature letter sent by him to Admiral Porter, which Lamb calls ‘a piece of romance.’ Compare Gordon's War Diary, pp. 366, 370, which gives a graphic account, but which is undoubtedly unjust to General Butler. For some of the criticisms of naval men, see Ammen's The Old Navy and the New, p. 405 For General Sherman's remark that General Butler ‘crawfished off,’ see Cowley's Leaves from a Lawyer's Journal, p. 150. The stigma was unjust, according to Colonel Lamb's testimony. For many documents, see Official War Records, 87, pp. 963-1026. The latest English naval critic, after careful review of the dispute, says ‘It must be doubtful whether an assault would have succeeded at this date.’ Wilson's Ironclads in Action, I, 140.

2 Century War Book, IV, 654.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (3)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
William Lamb (6)
B. F. Butler (5)
William R. Porter (2)
Henry Wilson (1)
A. H. Terry (1)
T. W. Sherman (1)
Thomas O. Selfridge (1)
G. H. Gordon (1)
Cowley (1)
Ammen (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.
September, 1895 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: