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On the 1st of March. Gen. Curtis issued an address to the people of the South-west. It was called forth in great measure by the studied misrepresentations and falsehoods which the rebels used every where in respect to the object had in view by our troops, and it entered into the subject fully, clearly and cogently. "The only legitimate object of the war is peace, and I adhere to this legitimate object. Peaceable citizens shall be protected as far as possible. The flight of our foes from their camps, and the imitation of their conduct by the citizens, in fleeing from their homes, leaving their effects abandoned, as it were, for the victors, have much embarrassed me in my efforts to preserve discipline in my command, as these circumstances offer extraordinary temptations. The burning of farms and fields of grain in Missouri, and extensive barracks and valuable mills in Arkansas by the enemy, has induced some resentments on the part of my troops, which
I have severely punished We
come to vindicate the Constitution, to preserve and perpetuate civil and religious liberty, xmder a flag that was embalmed in the blood of our revolutionary fathers. Under that flag we have lived in peace and prosperity until the flag of rebellion involved us in the horrors of civil war."
Although Gen. Curtis had succeeded
poisoned at Mud Town by eating poisoned food which the rebels left behind them. The gallant Captain Dolfert died, and Lieutenant Colonel Van Deutzh and Captain Schwan have suffered much, but are now recovering. The indignation of our soldiers is very great, but they have been restrained from retaliation upon tho prisoners of war."
in driving Price out of Missouri, he was well aware that it would require a severe struggle to maintain the advantage he had gained. Price, though actively pursued, had escaped without much loss, and his ranks having been considerably recruited and continuing to increase, he expected soon to be able to -drive the Union army out of Arkansas and regain his lost ground in Missouri. Curtis estimated the reinforcements received by Price to be some sixteen regiments, which, with the Arkansas volunteers and companies. placed him in command of at least 30,000 to 40,000 men, in and near the Boston Mountains.
On the other hand, Curtis's force in the face of the enemy in these early days of March, deducting the troops required for garrison duty, akng his extended line of communications, be sides a constant moving force to guard his train, left him ready for the field, surrounding or in the vicinity of Sugar Creek, where he had established his headquarters at the time, not more than 10,500 infantry and cavalry, with fortynine pieces of artillery, including a mountain howitzer. Early on the 15th of March, a cold, wintryish day, with snow on the ground, Van Dorn, the rebel commander, advanced to make an attack. The several divisions of our troops were ordered to take position and meet the enemy at Sugar Creek as soon as possibla Gen. Sigel, in bringing up his force from the vicinity of Bentonville, set out at two A.m., on the 6th; he advanced slowly, fighting and repelling the enemy in front, on the flanks and rear, for five Ch. IX.] THE BATTLE
and a half hours, when he was reinforced by Gen. Curtis. By this movement, SigeVs division was brought to the west end of Pea Ridge, where he formed a junction with Gen. J. C. Davis and Col. Carr. The men rested on their arms, on the night of the 6th, in waiting for the coming day's fight, which all knew was to be a serious and trying one.
At daylight, on the 7th of March, the battle was renewed, and with slight exception continued to rage furiously the whole day. Van Dorn had moved round Curtis's flank by the road crossing Pea Ridge, in order to cut off his retreat in case the rebels were successful . This had necessitated a change of front, so as to face the" road on which the enemy were still moving. The new line was formed under the enemy's fire,
| the troops moving in good order and with gallant bearing. In the centre, the battle was carried on with great fury, as also on the left wing; but our men nobly withstood the fierce assaults of the rebels, who lost two of their best generals, McCulloch and Mcintosh. Gen. Curtis having brought all four of his divisions to face the position which had been held in check, the troops bivouacked another cold and cheerless
I night on the field.
Again, at sunrise, on the 8th of March, the battle was begun by our men. The enemy fought desperately, furiously; but they were completely routed. Sigel pursued them for several miles towards Keetsville, and the cavalry still further. The rebel loss was estimated at 3,000 killed and wounded, besides more than 1,000
OF PEA RIDGE. 119
prisoners. Van Dorn, however, with out specifying particulars, makes his loss less than 1,000 in all. The aggregate loss of the killed, wounded and missing of all ranks on our side, was given by Gen. Curtis at 1,351.
A novel feature in the battle of Pea Ridge, or Elk Horn, as the rebels named it, was the employment of Indians, some 2,500 being under command of the rebel General Pike. They proved ot little service to those who had seduced them from their proper allegiance, and in their wild fury, they were guilty of acts which Gen. Curtis severely censured afterwards in a note to Van Dorn. Many of our soldiers, as he said, were found "tomahawked, scalped, and their bodies shamefully mangled," and he expressed a hope that the rebels were not going to carry on their resistance by means of a savage and barbarous warfare. Van Dorn made the best he could of the matter, in reply; hoped it was not true; and retorted, that prisoners had been murdered in cold blood by the German troops in our army. Quite probably here, as elsewhere, acts of cruelty were committed which could not be justified; but certainly the introducing of Indians was calculated to aggravate war's horrors and abominations.
Southern writers and chroniclers soften this defeat all they can, and claim that the substantial fruits of victory were with the rebels under Van Dorn. It was rather cold comfort, under the circumstances; but, such as it was, they were allowed to enjoy it to the fullest extent, Avithout let or hindrance.
BURNSIDE EXPEDITION: OPERATIONS ON THE SOUTHERN COAST.
Expedition under Burnside and Goldsborough — Size and extent — Sets sail — Rough and dangerous passage
— Tedious delays — Enemy strengthen their position — Attack on Roanoke Island — Surrender of the rebels — Mortification of Davis and secession — Expedition to Elizabeth city— Success— Edenton and Winton — Address to the people of North Carolina by Burnside and Goldsborough — Governor Clark's address
— Spirit of these — Importance of Newborn — Expedition against — Bravery of our troops — Bumside's congratulatory order — Other operations on the southern coast at this date — Exploration of interior passage to the Savannah River — Batteries planted — Fort Pulaski isolated — Reconnaissance of Little Tybee River — Operations of Dupont and Wright on the Florida coast — Fernandina, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, etc. — Union feeling in Florida — Edisto Island — Washington's birth day — How celebrated in 1802 in the loyal states — Davis and confederate government — Davis inaugurated — His address on the 22d of February — Extracts from, illustrating tone, temper, etc. — Davis's message to Confederate Congress — Admits serious disasters — Estimated size of the rebel army — Financial condition of the confederacy — A glimpse at the nature and terribleness of the struggle now going on.
J) D Ring the latter part of 1861, active preparations were being made at New York for fitting out another combined military and naval expedition, to operate against an important point or points on the southern coast. Everything was furnished which could in any wise tend to secure success; abundant material, a disciplined and gallant force, numbering 16,000 men, accomplished and well trained officers, etc. The military part of the expedition was under command of Gen. Burnside, the naval under Commodore Goldsborough. The three army brigades composing this force were commanded by Gens. J. G. Foster, J. L. Reno, and J. G. Parke. Commodore Goldsborough's squadron consisted of eighteen light draught steam gun boats, with an armament of fifty rifled cannon; it was divided into two columns for active service, led by Commanders
S. F. Hazard and S. C. Rowan. The
Thus prepared for its work, the Burnside expedition set sail from Annapolis on the 9th of January. Owing to dense fogs in the Chesapeake Bay, incident to the season, it did not reach Fortress Monroe till midnight of the 10th. The next day without detention, the order was given to sail, and Sunday, the 11th, saw the fleet at sea As had been generally supposed, while
the vessels were collecting, that they would be employed inside of the capes of Virginia, lout little anxiety had been felt respecting their sea going qualities. But now, when the well known dangers of Hatteras were taken into account, there was considerable apprehension entertained, and the result proved that this apprehension was well founded.
The first day out, there was much embarrassment from the fog on the coast, which greatly impeded progress. Monday was clear, with a heavy wind and rough sea, which caused the vessels to labor very heavily; by noon, however, most of them were inside of the bar at Hatteras Inlet, their first southern destination, in time to escape the unusually severe gale of Monday night and Tuesday. The anchorage was bad and the vessels jostled together. Some of the vessels were grounded and lost; others had to be sent back to Fortress Monroe. Weeks were spent in striving to secure passage through the narrow, perplexing, and violent channel. At length, however, by patience, mutual help, aud unwearied assiduity, General Burnside and Commodore Golds, borough saw the flotilla fairly embark ed on Pamlico Sound, and ready for action.
Meanwhile, the rebels, aware of the purpose of the expedition, took occasion to strengthen the defences, and gather a large body of North Carolina and Virginia troops at Roanoke Island^ a position which commands the channel separating the waters of Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds. There was besides a fleet of gun boats, and ready
means of reinforcements by railroad communication with Virginia and the northern part of the state.
As it was a matter of necessity to dislodge the rebels at Roanoke, the expedition set sail from Hatteras for that purpose, on the 5 th of February. Fifteen gunboats led tie way, followed at an interval of a mile by the armed transports, and side-wheel steamers. The naval vessels, placed un
der the immediate command of Commander Rowan, were formed in three separate columns, and as the day was clear and the wind favorable, the entire fleet of seventy vessels presented a striking picture as they slowly advanced toward Roanoke. At sunset they anchored within sight of the island. The next day being foggy and wet, nothing was undertaken beyond a reconnaissance of Croatan Sound, as the passage is called which separates Roanoke from the mainland. Friday, the 7th, was foggy in the morning, but about 10 o'clock it cleared up sufficiently for the advance. An active bombardment of Fort Bartow, at Pork Point, on the upper part of the island, ensued, doing some damage to the enemy's works, while another portion of the gun boats was engaged in firing at the rebel vessels at long range.
In the course of the afternoon the army transports came up, and after considerable difficulty, our troops were safely landed. The process was tedious and comfortless, the men having to wade through water and mud, and a great part of the night being thus occupied; added to this, a cold rainstorm made the position of our troops exceed
ingly cheerless during the night. But the morning found them ready for action. General Foster promptly got his men in order, and after marching a mile and a-half came in sight of the enemy's position. It was capitally chosen, protected on the right and left by a morass deemed impassable, and stretching across nearly the entire width of the island. A bayonet charge was undertaken by the Zouaves, which so frightened the rebels that they abandoned their guns and ran away This assured the entire defeat of the enemy, and though they made a stubborn resistance, they surrendered unconditionally, and Roanoke Island became ours, with its heavy guns and batteries, and eight steamers, each mounting two guns.
The complete success attained by our arms on this occasion was equally surprising and mortifying to the authorities at Richmond. Jefferson Davis, in his message to the Confederate Congress, Feb. 25th, expressed the hope that matters were not so bad as they appeared to be in regard to the "discomfiture at Roanoke Island and the fall of Fort Donelson." He was waiting for further information, but at the same time confessed: "enough is known of the surrender of Roanoke Island to make us feel that it was deeply humiliating, however imperfect may have been the preparations for defence.'1*
The victory at Roanoke Island was
• Pollard speaks with unusual bitterness of this result, which lost to the rebels a position "only second in importance to Fortress Monroe." He details at length the urgency of the confederate General Wise for reinforcements, and the curt manner in which he was treated by J. P. Benjamin, rebel secretary of
immediately followed up by an expedition, under commaud of Captain Rowan, sent in pursuit of the fleet of the enemy, which had fled up the Albemarle Sound, a distance of some thirty or forty miles, into Pasquotank River, toward Elizabeth City. Captain Rowan sailed from Roanoke on the afternoon of Sunday, and arrived at ig62 the mouth of the river at night. The following morning, the 10th of February, the fleet ascended the river, and at eight o'clock came upon the enemy's gun boats, consisting of seven steamers and a schooner armed with two heavy 32-pounders, drawn up in front of the city. A brief but spirited contest ensued; the enemy set their! boats on fire, and the crews escaped as best they could; the fort on Cobb's Point, mounting four guns, was abandoned; and in less than an hour the rebels were entirely defeated, and the flag-ship Delaware was moored to the wharf at Elizabeth City. After the gun boats were deserted, the rebels commenced setting fire to the principal buildings in the city, most of the people having fled. Captain Rowan, however, by prompt action, succeeded in checking this wild proceeding.
Elizabeth City was taken possession of by the Union forces the day after the engagement. On the 12th of February, Edenton, at the west end of Albemarle Sound, was visited by a por
war (no favorite with Pollard, by the way), and he lays upon Benjamin and his fast friend Davis the whole blame of the disaster, " which unlocked all North-eastern North Carolina to the enemy, and exposed Portsmouth and Norfolk to a rear approach of the most imminent danger.' —" First Year of the War," pp. 237234