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hat they must thank their own friends for their inevitable detention. I was by no means proud of their forlorn appearance, and besought Colonel Hawley to take them off my hands; but he was sending no flags of truce at that time, and liked their looks no better than I did. So I took them to Port Royal, where they were afterwards sent safely across the lines. Our men were pleased at taking them back with us, as they had already said, regretfully, S'pose we leave dem Secesh at Fernandina, General Saxby won't see 'em, --as if they were some new natural curiosity, which indeed they were. One soldier further suggested the expediency of keeping them permanently in camp, to be used as marks for the guns of the relieved guard every morning. But this was rather an ebullition of fancy than a sober proposition. Against these levities I must put a piece of more tragic eloquence, which I took down by night on the steamer's deck from the thrilling harangue of Corporal Adam Allston, one of ou
February 14th (search for this): chapter 3
owever, we had no other enemies to encounter. We did not yet know that we had killed the first lieutenant of the cavalry, and that our opponents had retreated to the woods in dismay, without daring to return to their camp. This at least was the account we heard from prisoners afterwards, and was evidently the tale current in the neighborhood, though the statements published in Southern newspapers did not correspond. Admitting the death of Lieutenant Jones, the Tallahassee Floridian of February 14th stated that Captain Clark, finding the enemy in strong force, fell back with his command to camp, and removed his ordnance and commissary and other stores, with twelve negroes on their way to the enemy, captured on that day. In the morning, my invaluable surgeon, Dr. Rogers, sent me his report of killed and wounded; and I have been since permitted to make the following extracts from his notes: One man killed instantly by ball through the heart, and seven wounded, one of whom will die.
ch then attached to the novel experiment of employing black troops. So obvious, too, was the value, during this raid, of their local knowledge and their enthusiasm, that it was impossible not to find in its successes new suggestions for the war. Certainly I would not have consented to repeat the enterprise with the bravest white troops, leaving Corporal Sutton and his mates behind, for I should have expected to fail. For a year after our raid the Upper St. Mary's remained unvisited, till in 1864 the large force with which we held Florida secured peace upon its banks; then Mrs. A. took the oath of allegiance, the Government bought her remaining lumber, and the John Adams again ascended with a detachment of my men under Lieutenant Parker, and brought a portion of it to Fernandina. By a strange turn of fortune, Corporal Sutton (now Sergeant) was at this time in jail at Hilton Head, under sentence of court-martial for an alleged act of mutiny,an affair in which the general voice of our
January 29th (search for this): chapter 3
river; but I was unwillingly convinced that, though the depth of water might be sufficient, yet her length would be unmanageable in the swift current and sharp turns. The Planter must also be sent on a separate cruise, as her weak and disabled machinery made her useless for my purpose. Two hundred men were therefore transferred, as before, to the narrow hold of the John Adams, in addition to the company permanently stationed on board to work the guns. At seven o'clock on the evening of January 29th, beneath a lovely moon, we steamed up the river. Never shall I forget the mystery and excitement of that night. I know nothing in life more fascinating than the nocturnal ascent of an unknown river, leading far into an enemy's country, where one glides in the dim moonlight between dark hills and meadows, each turn of the channel making it seem like an inland lake, and cutting you off as by a barrier from all behind,--with no sign of human life, but an occasional picket-fire left glim
January 24th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 3
f we could only unearth it. Some of our men had worked upon these very batteries, so that they could easily guide us; and by the additional discovery of a large flat-boat we were enabled to go to work in earnest upon the removal of the treasure. These iron bars, surmounted by a dozen feet of sand, formed an invulnerable roof for the magazines and bomb-proofs of the fort, and the men enjoyed demolishing them far more than they had relished their construction. Though the day was the 24th of January, 1863, the sun was very oppressive upon the sands; but all were in the highest spirits, and worked with the greatest zeal. The men seemed to regard these massive bars as their first trophies; and if the rails had been wreathed with roses, they could not have been got out in more holiday style. Nearly a hundred were obtained that day, besides a quantity of five-inch plank with which to barricade the very conspicuous pilot-houses of the John Adams. Still another day we were delayed,
January 23rd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 3
h four hundred and sixty-two officers and men, and two or three invited guests, and go down the coast on my own responsibility. We were, in short, to win our spurs; and if, as among the Araucanians, our spurs were made of lumber, so much the better. The whole history of the Department of the South had been defined as a military picnic, and now we were to take our share of the entertainment. It seemed a pleasant share, when, after the usual vexations and delays, we found ourselves (January 23, 1863) gliding down the full waters of Beaufort River, the three vessels having sailed at different hours, with orders to rendezvous at St. Simon's Island, on the coast of Georgia. Until then, the flag-ship, so to speak, was to be the Ben De Ford, Captain Hallett,--this being by far the largest vessel, and carrying most of the men. Major Strong was in command upon the John Adams, an army gunboat, carrying a thirty-pound Parrott gun, two ten-pound Parrotts, and an eight-inch howitzer. Capta
February 2nd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 3
separate expedition, and had destroyed extensive salt-works at Crooked River, under charge of the energetic Captain Trowbridge, efficiently aided by Captain Rogers. Our commodities being in part delivered at Fernandina, our decks being full, coal nearly out, and time up, we called once more at St. Simon's Sound, bringing away the remainder of our railroad-iron, with some which the naval officers had previously disinterred, and then steamed back to Beaufort. Arriving there at sunrise (February 2, 1863), I made my way with Dr. Rogers to General Saxton's bedroom, and laid before him the keys and shackles of the slave prison, with my report of the good conduct of the men, _ as Dr. Rogers remarked, a message from heaven and another from hell. Slight as this expedition now seems among the vast events of the war, the future student of the newspapers of that day will find that it occupied no little space in their columns, so intense was the interest which then attached to the novel expe
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