this touched the old commodore to the quick, and he felt so outraged at the conduct of the mayor and people that he declared, if it were persisted in, it would subject the city to the fire of the fleet at any moment. After receiving another insulting note, Farragut, on the 30th of April, declined all further intercourse with J. T. Monroe and men of his stamp.

Porter, who had been left with his bomb vessels to secure the reduction of the forts, proceeded actively with his work. A demand was made for their surrender, which at first was refused; Porter thereupon opened fire upon them again, and sent six of his schooners and cut off the supplies and means of escape in the rear of Fort Jackson. Butler also, having landed at Quarantine in the rear of Fort St. Philip, cut off reinforcements from that quarter. The result was, that the men in the forts showed evident signs of mutiny, and Duncan, on a second demand, concluded to accept Porter's terms. This was on the 28th of April. Porter understood that the three steamers and the Louisiana, an immense iron-clad battery of 4,000 tons, which Farragut had unwittingly left behind him, had also surrendered, or were ready to surrender; but instead of that, the person in command of the vessels, named Mitchell, behaved most dishonorably, by setting fire to the battery and sending it to explode in the midst of our fleet. Providentially, the battery blew up when near Fort St. Philip, and our ships escaped without injury. Porter denounced the act of Mitchell as infamous, and on capturing the rebel steamers, he refused to

parole the officers, and sent them to the North as prisoners of war. The army officers and men were paroled, and conducted themselves with a propriety in striking contrast to the behavior of Mitchell and others in the rebel navy on this occasion. Fort Jackson was greatly injured by the bombardment, nearly 2,000 shells having been thrown into it, besides some 3,000 in the ditches and outer works.* Fort St. Philip was but little injured, as its fate depended on its companion across the river; when Jackson surrendered, St. Philip fell as a matter of course. By order of Butler the forts were garrisoned by the 26th Massachusetts, he himself proceeding with the rest of his troops to take possession of New Orleans; which, we may here state, he did, on the 1st of May.

The entire casualties in the fleet during the bombardment and ascent to the city were 40 killed, and 177 wounded. The rebels reported their loss in Fort Jackson at 14 killed, 37 wounded; probably their loss as a whole was larger than was ever acknowledged. The rebels lost six forts, Jackson, St. Philip, and Chalmette, on the river; Livingston, on the Gulf; and Piko and Morgan, on Lake Pontchartrain; beside two large earth works above the city. Some 1,200 prisoners were taken.

• Pollard, quoting Duncan's purposely exaggerated statement, says that 25,000 shells were thrown by our mortar boats without injuring Fort Jackson to any ex tent. Duncan " had no alternative but to give up the place. He surrendered in fact to his own garrison. The post probably could have been held, if the men had stood to their guns. He stated this in an address on the levee to the people, and while stating it, cried like a child."—" Writ Year of the War," p. 319.


[ocr errors]

Ch. XIII.]

Eighteen gun boats, including three iron rams and other expensive works, were taken or destroyed. The ram Mississippi, on which some $2,000,000 had been spent, was blown up to prevent its falling into our hands.

The importance of this great victory over the rebels cannot be too highly estimated. Its effect was deeply felt in the loyal states, as well as in those which were in arms against the government. It taught a lesson to enemies as well as friends at home and abroad. The rebels were unwilling to credit, nay, had scouted, the possibility of the capture of New Orleans. The supporters of the Union had hoped and wished for, rather than confidently expected success. On the one side were shame, mortification, rage, hatred; on the other a lofty exhilaration, a deep and profound assurance of the ultimate if not speedy trinmph of law and order. It was breaking the back-bone of the rebellion, as Porter said. It was, as the London Times phrased it, "putting the tourniquet on the main artery of the confederacy." It was, as a southern writer


confesses, a disaster which astounded the South, shook the confidence of the world in the boasting "confederacy," and led, by unavoidable steps, to the abandonment of the great Valley of the Mississippi. And though it is truo that other strong points on the Mis sissippi, as Port Hudson, and especially Vicksburg, were not taken for more than a year after the fall of New Orleans, yet this was the heaviest blow of all, and this demonstrated both the energy and power of the loyal states, and their settled determination to restore and preserve the integrity of the Union, at any and every cost.*

* New Orleans was '*a city which was the commercial capital of the South, which contained a population of 170,000 souls, and which was the largest exporting city in the world. The extent of the disaster is not to be disguised. It was a heavy blow to the confederacy; it annihilated us in Louisiana; separated us from Texas and Arkansas; diminished our resources and supplies by the loss of one of the greatest grain and cattle countries within the limits of the confederacy, gave to the enemy the Mississippi River, with all its means of navigation, for a base of operations ; and finally led, by plain and irresistible conclusion, to our virtual abandonment of the great and fruitful Valley of the Mississippi."—" F%rtt Year of the War," p. 321.


[merged small][ocr errors]


rhe rebels retreat from Torktown — Pursuit by our troops towards Williamsburg — Attack on the enemy — Victory over the enemy at Williamsburg— Advance towards Richmond — Rain and mud — Capture of Nor folk — Destruction of the Merrimac—Fortifications at Craney Island, and Gosport Navy Yard abandoned — James River, and affair at Drury's Bluff— The rebels, and line of the Chickahominy — Bottom's Bridge — Importance of—Encampment at White House — Approach towards Richmond—Views of the rebels as to holding it—Chickahominy crossed by Keyes' and Heintzelman's corps — Casey in advance at Seven Pines— Bridges to be built—Rise in the rivor — Porter's victory at Hanover Court House — Plans of Johnston to prevent McDowell joining McClellan — McDowell ordered to go to Banks's help — Very unfortunate for McClellan —Johnston's hopes in the attack — Violent storm — Attack, May 31st, at Seven Pines — Johnston's forces — Keyes and Casey's condition — Casey driven back—Fierce onslaught of the enemy — Sumner's opportune arrival — Night ends the conflict — Renewed early next morning, June 1st — Severe fighting for several hours — Rebels put to flight — Losses on both sides heavy —Pollard's statements — Prince de Joinville's remarks.

Early on Sunday morning, May 4th, 1862, McClellan entered Yorktown, and the flag, of the Union was planted upon the vast and formidable works just abandoned by the rebels (see p. 140). It was mortifying, certainly, to have been thus kept at a stand-still for a whole month, and to have been so effectually deceived by the rebels, as that they were allowed to escape without harm or loss, and to carry off with them everything except such bulky articles as could not be moved. But the commanding general did not waste time in useless complaining. He immediately sent off all his cavalry and horse artillery in pursuit, supported by infantry. "No time," he said, in his dispatch," shall be lost. The gun boats have gone up York River. Gloucester

is also in our possession. I shall push the enemy to the wall."*

The retreating forces, it was found, had taken the direct road from Yorktown to Williamsburg, some 12 miles nearer Richmond. There was another road on the left, which crossed Warwick River at Lee's Mills, and unit.


ing with the former made a

fork near Williamsburg. At this point

the rebels had erected a strong bastioned

* McClellan denounced the fiend-like behavior of those who were so constantly asserting that the Union army was a horde of savages, and the like: •' The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct, in placing torpedoes within tho abandoned works, near wells and springs, and near flagstaffs, magazines, telegraph offices, in carpet bags, barrels of flour, etc . Fortunately, we have not lost many men in this manner—some four or five killed, and perhaps a dozen wounded. I shall make the prisoners remove them at their own peril."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

earth-work, flanked by a line of redoubts, protected in front by abattis; extending across the isthmus of dry land to the swamps on either side. Here the enemy remained in force, evidently determined to oppose, to the fullest extent, the advance of our troops. Stoneman, with the cavalry and four batteries of horse artillery, took the lead in the pursuit, the divisions of Hooker and Kearney following as rapidly as possible. Stoneman made an attack, with no special result. Gen. Hooker came up in the course of the night, and early the next morning, attacked the rebel works, Fort Magruder and the rest; but after a hard fight, was compelled to give way. Kearney and his division, having arrived on the field about four P.m., dashed into the battle. The rifle pits were taken; the enemy's rear was gained; and they lost the day. The victory was complete, the rebels retreating in great haste; but our loss was very heavy, there being 456 killed, 1,400 wounded, 372 missing, total, 2,228. The committee on the conduct of the war were rather tart in speaking of this battle, asserting that "there was no controlling mind in charge of the movements; there was uncertainty in regard to who was in command; each general fought as he considered best."

The miserable condition of the roads rendered pursuit by cavalry of little avail, and the commanding general found his hands full in the urging forward the bringing up supplies of various kind3, provisions, ammunition, forage, etc. This had to be done principally by water. By degrees, though

VOL. IV—21

slowly. McClellan advanced towards the capital of the "confederacy." Franklin's division, with others, were sent by water from Yorktown to the right bank of the Pamunkey, in the vicinity of West Point. Early on the 7 th of May, when Franklin had disembarked, the rebels determined to attack him, in order to gain all the time possible for retreat, and for the strengthening the various works about Richmond. The action was continued for several hours, and the rebels were finally driven off the field.

By the 16th of May, despite the rain and mud, the different divisions of the army were concentrated at White House, on the Pamunkey, a few miles above West Point. A permanent depot was at once established at White House, with reference to future and important operations. By the 26th of May, the railroad was in working order as far as the Chickahominy, and the railroad bridge across that stream was nearly completed.

Meanwhile, an important event in Eastern Virginia had occurred, in the capture of Norfolk. Hopes had been entertained for some time that this capture would be accomplished; but as yet nothing of moment had been done. A few days after the fall of Yorktown, Gen. Wool took command of an expedition from Fortress Monroe, landing at Willoughby's Point, about eight miles from Norfolk, at daylight, on the 10th of May. The rebel troops abandoned the place, and by the telegraph of that same night, the cheering news was announced to the country "Norfolk is ours."


Very early the next morning (Sunday, May 11th), a bright light was observed from Fortress Monroe in the direction of Craney Island, which was supposed at first to be a signal of some description from the Merrimac or Virginia.* It was closely watched from various quarters, and at half-past four o'clock an explosion took place, which made the earth and water tremble for miles round. In the midst of the flames which shot up in the distance, the timbers and iron of the monster steamer could be seen flying through the air. A naval reconnaissance being made, it was found that the rebels, in order to secure the aid of Gen. Huger with his troops (some 18,000), in the immediate vicinity of Richmond, had abandoned the powerful fortifications at and near Craney Island, destroying all they could by fire at the Gosport navy yard, the shipping, steamboats, etc., and leaving behind large quantities of powder and other articles of especial value to the secession cause.

The James River being now open, by the abandonment of the land batteries at the entrance, several United States vessels were sent to reconnoitre the

• We have before alluded to the destruction of the Merrimac (p. 138). We may also state here, that Tatnall, the officer in command, was censured severely for his action in the matter. Pollard says that it was "unnecessary and wanton, and occasioned an amount of grief and rage in the confederacy such as had not yet been exhibited in the war." "The vessel was destroyed in great haste by Commodore Tatnall, who, in the dead hour of the night, aroused from his slumbers, and acquainted with the decision of the pilots (that they could not carry the vessel above the Jamestown Flats), ordered the ship to be put ashore, landed his crew in the vicinity of Craney Island, and blew to the four winds of heaven the only naval structure that guarded the water approach to Richmond. '—" Second Year of the War," p. 27.

river as far as was possible. Threo iron-clads and two steam gun boats pushed their way cautiously up the James, and arrived, on the 14th of May, within about ten miles of Richmond. Two miles further on, at Ward's or Drury's Bluff, resistance was made to their advance by a heavy battery and obstructions in the river. After a spirited but unsuccessful engagement, our vessels gave up the contest. The gun boats continued to hold possession of the extended line of navigation below, but the advantage gained was for the present of less importance, while the York River, on the other side of the peninsula, was made the exclusive channel of communication with the advancing Army of the Potomac.

After the retreat from Yorktown, the rebels gradually withdrew within tho line of the Chickahominy, with the evident purpose of making a most strenuous effort to repulse McClellan from the vicinity of Richmond. The York River and Richmond Railroad, running nearly due east and west, crossed the Chickahommy near Bottom's Bridge, about eleven miles distant from the capital of Virginia. It was on the left or southerly bank of the river, and along the line of the railroad, which separated here from the river at an acute angle, with the apex at the bridge, that several of the most important battles of the campaign were fought.

On the 15th of May, McClellan had gathered the several divisions of his army in the large plain at Cumberland, on the south bank of the Pamunkey, where a vast encampment was formed, covering some 20 square miles. White

« 上一頁繼續 »