網頁圖片
PDF

Cu. X.]

tion of the flotilla; on the approach of which to the town, a body of flying artillery ran away with all speed. Eight cannon and one schooner on the stocks were destroyed. Two schooners, with 4,000 bushels of corn were captured en the Sound, and six bales of cotton taken from the custom-house wharf. The next day, Lieut. JefFers, proceeded with several vessels to the mouth of the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal, and driving away some rebels there, sunk two schooners to obstruct navigation, and burned all that remained above water. A few days after, a reconnaissance was made by Capt. Rowan up the Chowan River as far as Winton, the capital of Hereford Co. Information had been given that there were several hundred Union men

1 there who desired protection; but when the Perry approached Winton, it was greeted with volleys of musketry from the high bank on the shore. The town was shelled in retaliation, and the buildings destroyed.

On the 18th of February, Commodore Goldsborough and Gen. Burnside, issued a joint proclamation in reference to the objects of their mission. It was addressed "To the People of North Carolina," and in earnest terms entreated their" attention: "The mission of our joint expedition is not to invade any

I of your rights, but to assert the authority of the United States, and to close with you the desolating war brought upon your state by comparatively a few bad men in your midst. Influenced infinitely more by the worst passions of human nature than by any show of elevated reason, they are still urging

119

you astray, to gratify their unholy purposes. They impose upon your credulity by telling of wicked and even diabol ical intentions on our part; of our desire to destroy your freedom, demolish your property, liberate your slaves, injure your women, and such like enormities; all of which, we assure you, is not only ridiculous, but utterly and wilfuliy false."

The governor of North Carolina, H. T. Clark, also issued a proclamation, Feb. 22d; but it was couched in the usual violent ai d extravagant language of southern officials, and charged " avarice and ambition" upon the government and supporters of the Union, as well as "a spirit of vengeful wickedness without a parallel in history," etc. In the preseivt, as in other cases, the. contrast is very marked, and every dispassionate reader cannot but be struck with it, and the conclusions to which it necessarily leads.

In consequence of the favorable results of the expedition thus far, Gen. Buraside turned his attention to another portion of the state. Washington, on Pamlico River, and Newbern, on the Neuse River, were the chief depots in this quarter for lumber, tar, turpentine and naval stores of the country. Newbern, in its size and position, was one of the chief cities in the state, and its population exceeded that of the capital, Raleigh, by several hundreds, and was second only to the seaport Wilmington. It was, moreover, by the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, immediately connected with Beaufort on the ocean forty miles below, and with Goldsboro' sixty miles in the interior, the chief station on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. Situated at the junction of two rivers, the Trent and the Neuse, once gained, it might, without difficulty, be held by gun boats. On every account, it was felt that its possession was of the first importance to our cause.

OPERATIONS AGAINST NEWBERN.

Early in March, the troops intended for the expedition against Newbern were embarked from Roanoke Island, and were ordered, with the naval force, to rendezvous at Hatteras Inlet. Captain Rowan was in command, Goldsborough having been recalled to the Chesapeake.* The military force was, in all, about 8,000, divided into three columns; the naval force consisted of six gun boats, with the transport vessels for the troops. On the evening of the 12th of March, the vessels anchored off the mouth of Slocum's Creek, about eighteen miles below Newbern. The next morning the landing was effected under cover of the gun boats; the roads, full of mud and mire, were in a fearful plight; and only twelve miles were gone over by night, when the column halted, a mile and a half from the rebel stronghold. The gun boats shelled the woods and protected the troops on their march; the enemy's works on the river were generally abandoned without fighting.

At seven o'clock, on the morning of the 14th of March, our troops were in motion, Gen. Foster being charged with the duty of attacking the enemy on the left, Gen. Reno on the right, and Gen.

* For a more full account of the operations against Newbern, see Woodbury's "Burnridc and the Ninth Army Corps," pp. 51-68.

Parke in front; the latter also was to act as a support to the other brigades For details reference must be had to the reports of the commanders; it is sufficient here to state that the engagement was severely contested; for four hours our troops fought bravely and steadily; and the rebels, who stoutly endeavored to repulse their onslaughts, were at last compelled to yield. The enemy's line of breastworks was very extensive and formidable, and was manned by about 6,000 men. Of course the capture of these works decided the fate of Newbern.

Gen. Burnside, the next day, issued a congratulatory and well deserved order, concluding with these words: "The General commanding directs, with peculiar pride, that as a well-deserved tribute to valor in this second victory of the expedition, each regiment engaged shall inscribe on its banner the memorable name, Newbern."

The enemy, who had fled in con.usion, burned and destroyed the bridges and the draw of the railroad bridge over the Trent, which prevented pursuit by our troops. Two hundred prisoners were taken, beside, several vessels, and a large quantity of ammunitio 1 and stores. Gen. Foster was appointed military governor of Newbern and its neighborhood. A week later, a force was sent up Pamlico River, as far as Washington, where our men were well received, and Union sentiments were freely expressed.

Other operations of a naval and military character on the southern c■ ast, early in 1862, may here, properly be noted. On a previous page we Ch. XJ

called attention to Captain Rodgers' success on the Chowan River. The next movement of interest took place in the month of January, and deserves honorable mention. The city of Savannah is about fifteen miles from the mouth of the river, and situate on the southern or right bank. The approach by water is defended by Fort Pulaski, on Cockspur Island, at the mouth of the river, and Fort Jackson, four miles below the city. Along the left bank of the Savannah is a succession of islands, and large and numerous ones interrupt the channel. Turtle and Jones Islands are two of these, the latter being bounded on two sides by the Mud and Wright Rivers, and on the other by the Savannah River. A daring reconnaissance was made by night, under the guidance of negro crew and pilots, through the intricate passages between the island and mainland. The depth and bearings of the channel were ascertained, and it was discovered that gun boats could pass by the Wright into the Savannah River. By unremitting night labor all the obstructions were removed, and a passage way secured.

On the 26th of January Capt. Rodgers made a reconnaissance in force up the Wright River. The rebel commodore, Tatnall, appeared with gun boats and scows; but was easily driven back. Capt. Rodgers not deeming it prudent to pass into the Savannah, near Fort Pulaski, our boats returned by the way which they went. A battery at Venus Point, on Jones Island, was erected, quietly but securely, notwithstanding the severity and tediousness of the work; another battery was planted in

125

a similar manner on Bird Island, opposite Venus Point; so that, to the astonishment of the rebels, Fort Pulaski was cut off from communication with the city of Savannah early in February, and the stronghold in which they so confidently trusted was exposed to siege and assault by the Union forces.

On the 27th of January, Capt. Davis, with eight vessels, and transports carrying some 2,400 troops, under General Wright, made a reconnaissance of Little Tybee River and the adjacent waters, for the purpose of carrying out the object proposed above, viz: the isolation of Fort Pulaski. Tatnall, with five vessels, made an attack upon the expedition, when, after half an hour's fight, two of the enemy's boats were driven back, and the others ran under the guns of the fort.

At the end of February, an expedition sailed from Port Royal, under Capt. Dupont and Gen. Wright, with the intention of reoccupying the principal points on the east coast of Florida. Fort Clinch, St. Mary's, and Fernandina were captured March 2d and 3d; Fort Clinch on Amelia Island was taken possession of and garrisoned. Fernandina, which was almost deserted, was occupied by the Union forces; so also was St. Mary's; at both places the preparations for defence were extensive, but the rebel troops were not there. Brunswick, in Georgia, was found in a similar condition, March 7th; and at Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida, no opposition was offered to the advance of our troops.

Commodore Dupont next visited Mosquito Inlet, fifty miles further south. His object was to establish an inside blockade and cut off the rebels from external help. Union sentiments and views were manifested on several occasions, and secession despotism was sub-, mitted to because of inability to resist it.

SUCCESSES OF RODGERS, DUPONT AND WRIGHT.

The only movement of any consequence towards Charleston was that by Gen. T. W. Sherman, on the 11th of February, when Edisto Island was occupied. This island is about twelve miles long and nine broad; it is also some ten miles from the mainland, twenty miles from the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, and forty miles from Charleston. The rebels had deserted the island entirely, leaving nothing but the negroes, and some cotton which was not burned before they ran away.

Turning from the narrative of naval and military operations, let us devote a few moments to another topic, not less interesting or important. The name of Washington, the father of his country, has always been, and always will be, held in the highest reverence and esteem by the American people. He is one of the few, the very few great men in the world's history whose name is pure from aught that is unworthy the patriot aud the Christian; and it is one of the best signs for good that our countrymen look upon him with affectionate admiration, and uniformly point to his life and career as the bright and glorious example to themselves and their children, in all time to come. The birthday of Washington has become a national holiday, and is observed as such every where and by all. When the 22d of February, 1862, arrived, it was felt to be especially appropriate, in the

loyal states, to pay marked attention tc it, and in every city, town and village the day received more than its accustomed honors, and the hearts of the people were cheered and encouraged there by. Both Houses of Congress, with the principal officers of the government, met at noon, in the chamber of the House of Representatives, and listened anew to the Farewell Address of Washington, as read by Mr. Forney, the secretary of the Senate. Besides reading the Address public orations were delivered in the larger cities, and there were military displays, ringing of bells, illuminations, and other festal observances.

It was not in the loyal states alone that the 22d of February was observed and made much of. Davis, and his fellowlaborers in a bad cause, took occasion to consummate a part of their plans on this famous day. The "provisional" arrangement of the confederate government had been brought to a close, and on the 22d of February, Jefferson Davis, as head of the "permanent" government, was inaugurated president over the " Confederacy." An inaugural address was also delivered, in which the chief leader in the Great Rebellion spoke of the position of affairs with a calm assurance and a confident certainty of ultimate success, mingling, at the same time, with his remarks a large infusion of bitterness and disappointment at the energy and resolution of. the loyal people in the North and West. A passage or two may not inaptly here be quoted:

"On this, the birthday of the man most identified with the establishment ot American Independence, and beneath

'al >UBLiC .

ACT

« 上一頁繼續 »