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Wendell Phillips (search for this): chapter 4
ce around them. Among these little affairs was one which we called Company K's skirmish, because it brought out the fact that this company, which was composed entirely of South Carolina men, and had never shone in drill or discipline, stood near the head of the regiment for coolness and courage,--the defect of discipline showing itself only in their extreme unwillingness to halt when once let loose. It was at this time that the small comedy of the Goose occurred,--an anecdote which Wendell Phillips has since made his own. One of the advancing line of skirmishers, usually an active fellow enough, was observed to move clumsily and irregularly. It soon appeared that he had encountered a fine specimen of the domestic goose, which had surrendered at discretion. Not wishing to lose it, he could yet find no way to hold it but between his legs; and so he went on, loading, firing, advancing, halting, always with the goose writhing and struggling and hissing in this natural pair of st
J. D. Rust (search for this): chapter 4
can sleep sound oa nights; and if the black and white babies do not quarrel and pull hair, we shall do very well. Colonel Rust, on arriving, said frankly that he knew nothing of the plans prevailing in the Department, but that General Hunter wask, about four miles away; the officers and men had been distinctly seen, and it would be quite possible to capture it. Colonel Rust at once sent me out with two hundred men to do the work, recalling the original scouts, and disregarding the appeals oree sheets in the wind. Another expedition was of more exciting character. For several days before the arrival of Colonel Rust a reconnoissance had been planned in the direction of the enemy's camp, and he finally consented to its being carried ception, which one correspondent asserted, I could never verify, and do not believe to have existed. It was stated by Colonel Rust, in his official report, that some twenty-five buildings in all were burned, and I doubt if the actual number was grea
R. Saxton (search for this): chapter 4
up the St. John's. There was not much stirring in the Department of the South early in 1863, and the St. Mary's expedition had afforded a new sensation. Of course the few officers of colored troops, and a larger number who wished to become such, were urgent for further experiments in the same line; and the Florida tax-commissioners were urgent likewise. I well remember the morning when, after some preliminary correspondence, I steamed down from Beaufort, S. C., to Hilton Head, with General Saxton, Judge S., and one or two others, to have an interview on the matter with Major-General Hunter, then commanding the Department. Hilton Head, in those days, seemed always like some foreign military station in the tropics. The long, low, white buildings, with piazzas and verandas on the waterside; the general impression of heat and lassitude, existence appearing to pulsate only with the sea-breeze; the sandy, almost impassable streets; and the firm, level beach, on which everybody wal
Rufus Saxton (search for this): chapter 4
carry the proclamation of freedom to the enslaved; to call all loyal men into the service of the United States; to occupy as much of the State of Florida as possible with the forces under your command; and to neglect no means consistent with the usages of civilized warfare to weaken, harass, and annoy those who are in rebellion against the Government of the United States. Trusting that the blessing of our Heavenly Father will rest upon your noble enterprise, I am yours, sincerely, R. Saxton, Brig.-Gen., Mil. Gov. Dept. of the South. Colonel Higginson, Comdg. Expeditionary Corps. In due time, after touching at Fernandina, we reached the difficult bar of the St. John's, and were piloted safely over. Admiral Dupont had furnished a courteous letter of introduction, Flag Ship Wabash, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., March 6, 1863. Sir,--I am informed by Major-General Hunter that he is sending Colonel Higginson on an important mission in the southerly part of his Department.
f the black soldiers all their favorite imagery of the Judgment-Day; and those who were not too much depressed by disappointment were excited by the spectacle, and sang and exhorted without ceasing. With heavy hearts their officers floated down the lovely river, which we had ascended with hopes so buoyant; and from that day to this, the reasons for our recall have never been made public. It was commonly attributed to proslavery advisers, acting on the rather impulsive nature of Major-General Hunter, with a view to cut short the career of the colored troops, and stop their recruiting. But it may have been simply the scarcity of troops in the Department, and the renewed conviction at Headquarters that we were too few to hold the post alone. The latter theory was strengthened by the fact that, when General Seymour reoccupied Jacksonville, the following year, he took with him twenty thousand men instead of one thousand,--and the sanguinary battle of Olustee found him with too few.
Showalter (search for this): chapter 4
led two of the Maine men, and wounded two more. This was fired wide, but the numerous shots which followed were admirably aimed, and seldom failed to fall or explode close to our own smaller battery. It was the first time that the men had been seriously exposed to artillery fire,--a danger more exciting to the ignorant mind than any other, as this very war has shown. Take this for an example: The effect was electrical. The Rebels were the best men in Ford's command, being Lieutenant-Colonel Showalter's Californians, and they are brave men. They had dismounted and sent their horses to the rear, and were undoubtedly determined upon a desperate fight, and their superior numbers made them confident of success. But they never fought with artillery, and a cannon has more terror for them than ten thousand rifles and all the wild Camanches on the plains of Texas. At first glimpse of the shining brass monsters there was a visible wavering in the determined front of the enemy, and as
y-five,--either of which would be a good post for us. General Hunter is expected every day,; and it is strange he has not come. The very next day came an official order recalling the whole expedition, and for the third time evacuating Jacksonville. A council of military and naval officers was at once called (though there was but one thing to-be done), and the latter were even more disappointed and amazed than the former. This was especially the case with the senior naval officer, Captain Steedman, a South-Carolinian by birth, but who had proved himself as patriotic as he was courteous and able, and whose presence and advice had been of the greatest value to me. He and all of us felt keenly the wrongfulness of breaking the pledges which we had been authorized to make to these people, and of leaving them to the mercy of the Rebels once more. Most of the people themselves took the same view, and eagerly begged to accompany us on our departure. They were allowed to bring their clo
John D. Strong (search for this): chapter 4
nce. I was forbidden going any farther from camp, or attacking the Rebel camp, as my force comprised half our garrison, and should the town meanwhile be attacked from some other direction, it would be in great danger. I never shall forget the delight of that march through the open pine barren, with occasional patches of uncertain swamp. The Eighth Maine, under Lieutenant-Colonel Twichell, was on the right, the Sixth Connecticut, under Major Meeker, on the left, and my own men, under Major Strong, in the centre, having in charge the cannon, to which they had been trained. Mr. Heron, from the John Adams, acted as gunner. The mounted Rebel pickets retired before us through the woods, keeping usually beyond range of the skirmishers, who in a long line — white, black, white — were deployed transversely. For the first time I saw the two colors fairly alternate on the military chessboard; it had been the object of much labor and many dreams, and I liked the pattern at last. Nothing
Sunderland (search for this): chapter 4
ng we had yet seen in that region, as were the neatness and thrift everywhere visible. It had been built up by Northern enterprise, and much of the property was owned by loyal men. It had been a great resort for invalids, though the Rebels had burned the large hotel which once accommodated them. Mills had also been burned; but the dwelling-houses were almost all in good condition. The quarters for the men were admirable; and I took official possession of the handsome brick house of Colonel Sunderland, the established Headquarters through every occupation, whose accommodating flag-staff had literally and repeatedly changed its colors. The seceded Colonel, reputed author of the State ordinance of Secession, was a New-Yorker by birth, and we found his law-card, issued when in practice in Easton, Washington County, New York. He certainly had good taste in planning the inside of a house, though time had impaired its condition. There was a neat office with ample bookcases and no books
fort to fulfil their threats and burn it, by some nocturnal dash. The most valuable buildings belonged to Union men, and the upper part of the town, built chiefly of resinous pine, was combustible to the last degree. In case of fire, if the wind blew towards the river, we might lose steamers and all. I remember regulating my degree of disrobing by the direction of the wind; if it blew from the river, it was safe to make one's self quite comfortable; if otherwise, it was best to conform to Suwarrow's idea of luxury, and take off one spur. So passed our busy life for ten days. There were no tidings of reinforcements, and I hardly knew whether I wished for them,--or rather, I desired them as a choice of evils; for our men were giving out from overwork, and the recruiting excursions, for which we had mainly come, were hardly possible. At the utmost, I had asked for the addition of four companies and a light battery. Judge of my surprise when two infantry regiments successively arriv
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