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the destruction of the palisades. "It was arranged," says Terry, in his report, "in consultation with Admiral Porter, that a heavy bombardment from all the vessels should commence early in the morning, and continue up to the/moment of the assault, and then it should not cease, but should be diverted from the points of attack to other parts of the work. It was decided that the assault should be made at three o'clock P.m.; that the army should attack on the western half . of the land face, and that a column of sailors and marines should assault at the north-east bastion. The fire of the navy continued during the night. At eight o'clock A.m. of the 15th of January, all of the vessels, except a division left to aid in the defence of our northern line, moved into position, and a fire, magnificent alike for its power and accuracy, was opened. ... At 2.25 P.m., all the preparations were completed, the order to move forward was given to Gen. Ames, and a concerted signal was made to Admiral Porter to change the direction of his fire. Curtis's brigade at once sprung from their trenches and dashed forward in line; its left was exposed to a severe enfilading fire, and it obliqued to the right so as to envelop the left of the land front; the ground over which it moved was marshy and difficult, but it soon reached the palisades, passed through them, and effected a lodgment on the parapet. At the same time the column of sailors and marines, under Capt. Breese, advanced up the beach in the most gallant manner, and attacked the northeast bastion; but, exposed to a murder
ous fire, they were unable to get up the parapet. After a severe struggle and a heavy loss of valuable officers and men, it became apparent that nothing could be effected at that point, and they were withdrawn. . . . On this side (between the work and the river), there was no regular parapet, but there was abundance of cover afforded to the enemy by cavities from which sand had been taken for the parapet, the ruins of barracks and storehouses, the large magazine, and by traverses, behind which, they stubbornly resisted our advance. Hand to hand fighting of the most desperate character ensued, the huge traverses of the land face being used successively by the enemy as breast work", over the tops of which the contending parties fired in each other's faces. Nine of these were carried one after the other i by our men. . . . Until six o'clock 'j P.m., the fire of the navy continued upon that portion of the work not occupied by us; after that time it was directed on the beach, to prevent the coming up of reinforcements, which it was thought might possibly be thrown over from the right bank of the river to Battery Buchanan. The fighting for the traverses continued till nearly nine o'clock, two more of them being canned; then a portion of Abbott's brigade drove the enemy from their last remaining strongholds, and the occupation of the work was completed. The same brigade, with Gen. Blackman's regiment, were immediately pushed down the Point to Battery Buchanan, whither many of the garrison had fled. On reaching the battery, all of the enemy who had not been previously captured
were made prisoners. Among them were the rebel Gen. Whiting and Col. Lamb, the commandant of the fort*
The losses in this expedition were, on the part of the navy, about 300; on the part of the land forces, about 700.
The capture of Fort Fisher was followed the next day by the blowing up by the rebels, of Forts Caswell and Campbell on the Old Inlet, and the abandonment of these and the works on Smith's Island and those at Smithville and Reeves's Point. These places were occupied by the navy. The whole number of guns captured in the defences, as reported by Admiral Porter, on the 20th of January, was 168. Gen. Terry reported the number of prisoners, 112 commissioned officers, and 1,971 enlisted men.f In his dispatch, enumerating the different forts taken, Ad
* Porter's report of his share in the capture of Fort Fisher gives many interesting details, and he states that, in his opinion, Fort Fisher was a stronger work than the famous MalakofF Tower, which Porter had an opportunity of examining shortly after its surrender to the British and French in the Crimea.
f In the list of the forts with their armaments taken possession of after the fall of Fort Fisher, is a sufficient explanation of the protection given for so long a time to the blockade runners: Reeves's Point, two 10-inch guns; above Smithville, two 10-inch guns; Smithville, four 10-inch guns; Fort Caswell, ten 10-inch guns, two
9- inch, one Armstrong, and four 32's (rifled), two 32's (smooth), three 8-inch, one Parrot twenty pounder, three rifled field pieces, three guns buried—twentynine guns. Forts Campbell and Shaw, six 10-inch, six 32's (smooth), one 32 (rifled), one 8-inch, six field pieces, two mortars—twenty-two guns. Smith's Island, three
10- inch, six 32's (smooth), two 32's (rifled), four field pieces, two mortars and seventeen guns. Reported at the other end of Smith's Island, six guns. Total captured, eightr-threo guns.
miral Porter adds: "We have found in each an Armstrong gun, with the 'broad arrow' on it and the name 'Sir William Armstrong' marked in full on the trunnels. As the British government claims the exclusive right to use these guns, it would be interesting to know how they came into forts held by the southern rebels. I find that immense quantities of provisions, stores, and clothing have come through this port into rebeldom. I am almost afraid to mention the amount, but it is enough to supply over 60,000 men. It is all English, and they have received the last cargo; no more will ever come this way."
The gallant conduct of all concerned in this expedition is spoken of, in the highest terms, by both Porter and Terry. "The troops fought like lions, and knew no such word as fail," said the former. "I should signally fail to do my duty," said the latter, "were I to omit to speak in terms of the highest admiration of the part borne by the navy in our operations. In all ranks, from Admiral Porter to his seamen, there was the utmost desire not only to do their proper work, but to facilitate in every possible manner the operations of the land forces." And, as Grant briefly remarks, in his report, "thus was secured, by the combined efforts of the navy and army, one of the most important successes of the war."
RESULTS OF FORT FISHER CAPTURE.
CLOSING OF THE YEAR: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REBEL ENORMITIES.
The approaching election for president — Fremont withdraws — Division in the democratic party — Active canvassing — Result — Lincoln re-elected by a large majority — Jeff. Davis and his lofty style of talking and promising—Rather gloomy realities, however—Thirty-eighth Congress, second session — Cabinet changes — Mr. Lincoln's message — Extracts from — The treasury and navy reports — Price's invasion of Missouri — Rosecrans in command in the department — Attack, by the rebels, on Pilot Knob — Pleasanton's cavalry operations — Result of the invasion — Grant's opinion—Sufferings of our officers and men in rebel prisons and dens — The United States Sanitary Commission — Report by gentlemen appointed to inquire into the matter — Horrible revelations — Extracts from the report — Conclusion as to rebel malignity — Efforts to mitigate suffering — Raids from Canada into the United States — St. Albans, Vermont, attacked — Steps taken — Attempt to fire New York city, in November — Not successful.
In a previous chapter (p. 455), we have given an account of the proceedings, in the summer of 1864, of the political conventions for the nomination of candidates for the presidency. As the autumn election approached, the canvassing became very active, and the issue settled at last between the supporters of the principles and policy which were represented, on the one hand, by Abraham Lincoln, and on the other, by George B. McClellan. Fremont, who had been nominated by "the radical democracy," deemed it best, on reflection, to withdraw from the field, and in a letter, dated at Boston, September 21st, gave his reasons for this course. He professed to be unchanged in his sentiments as to Mr. Lincoln; he "considered his administration, politically, militarily, and financially, a failure, and its necessary continuance a cause of regret to the country;" and he had, he said, no wish " to aid in the trinmphs of Mr. L:.ncoln, but to do his part toward preventing the election of the democratic candidate." As, however,
the republican party was pledged " to re-establish the Union without slavery," while the democrats of the Chicago convention, which nominated McClellan, were pledged to " separation or re-establishment with slavery," Fremont preferred to withdraw and leave the field clear for Abraham Lincoln.
The democratic party, who had George B. McClellan as candidate for the presidency, were by no means unanimous in favor of the platform laid down by the Chicago convention (p. 462). Men like Gen. Dix and others,* known as "war democrats," were entirely op
* Gen. Dix, in a letter written in October, said: "In calling for a cessation of hostilities, the members of the Chicago convention have, in my judgment, totally misrepresented the feelings and opinions of the great body of the democracy. The policy produced in its name makes it—so far as such a declaration can—what it has never been before, a peace party, degrading it from the eminence on which it has stood in every other national conflict. In this injustice to the country, and to a great party indentified with all that is honorable in our history, 1 can have no part. I can only mourn over the reproach which has been brought upon it by its leaders, and cherish the hope that it may hereafter, under the auspices of better counsellors, resume its ancient effective and beneficent influence in the administration of the government."
posed to any measures which looked toward the giving up the contest with the rebels, except by their being reduced to submission to the laws of the land; and, consequently, this division in the democratic ranks added virtually to the support of Mr. Lincoln. "The political canvass was prosecuted with energy and confidence in every section of the country. The main consideration which was pressed upon the public -mind was, that the defeat of Mr. Lincoln would be, in the eyes of the rebels, an explicit disapproval of the general line of policy he had pursued, and a distinct repudiation by the people of the northern states of the Baltimore declaration, that the war should be prosecuted to the complete and final overthrow of the rebellion. This view of the case completely controlled the sentiment and action of the people, and left little room or disposition for wrangling over the many petty issues to which such a contest gives birth. As the canvass advanced, the confidence of success increased (on the part of Mr.. Lincoln's friends), and received a still further impulse from the grand military victories which, in quick succession, began to crown the Union arms."* On both sides, the best talent was engaged, and speeches and addresses were made all through the country, in favor or against one or the other of the candidates. Various charges, of a more or less serious character, were made against the administration, in order to affect the election; but they did not produce much impression; while, on the other hand, events occurred which tended to
* Raymond's " Lift of Abraham Lincoln," p. 603.
damage the chances of success of the democratic candidate. One of these was, the discovery of an organized secret association in the western and northwestern states, controlled by prominent men among the democrats, whose object was, by its league of affiliated societies, to overthrow, by revolution, the existing administration, and render assistance, in every way possible, to the interests of the rebellion. Judge Advocate-General Holt, in an official report, gave conclusive proof of the existence and intents of this association; a considerable part of the democratic press, however, rather sneered at the matter, as something got up for political effect. There were also threats of raids and invasions along the northern frontiers, by rebel agents and sympathizers, which led to active measures, on the part of the government, to protect our exposed line next to Canada; and rumors were freely circulated of a proposed revolution, especially in New York city, if Mr. Lineoln were re-elected, all danger of which was effectually put an end to by. the sending a body of regulars from the Army of the James, under Gen. Butler, who took up their residence in New York for the purpose of precaution.
Happily, there was no need whatever of interference. The state elections, in September and October, in Vermont, Maine, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, resulted in large republican majorities; and m Maryland the new free state constitution was adopted. These clearly foreshadowed the termination of the contest. On the 8th of November, the presidential ele
tion was held. There was no disturbance or excitement; everything was conducted quietly and orderly; and, as was expected, it was decisive in its result. MeClellan received the votes of three states, viz., New Jersey, Delaware and Kentucky; Mr. Lincoln received in his favor the votes of all the other loyal states, twenty-three in number. The total of McClellan's vote was, 1,797,019; the total of Lincoln's vote was, 2,203,831, showing a popular majority of 406,812.
Early in November, Jeff. Davis addressed a message to the rebel congress, then in session at Richmond. It was couched in the usual style, confidently anticipating success, and earnestly urging all under his rule to activity and zeal in order to obtain it. Sherman's having obtained possession of Atlanta was made light of, and, as on former occasions, severe blows and losses were counted to be rather an advantage, or at least no material disadvantage. "If the campaign against Richmond," Davis went on to say, " had resulted in success instead of failure; if the valor of the army, under the leadership of its accomplished commander, had resisted in vain the overwhelming masses which were, on the contrary, decisively repulsed; if we had been compelled to evacuate Richmond as well as Atlanta, the Confederacy would have remained as erect and defiant as ever.* Nothing
* In an article in the Richmond Examiner, under date of February 27th, 1865, this extravagance of Da via was sharply criticised, and the folly and absurdity of attempting to maintain such ground as that set forth by the rebel chief abundantly manifested. Richmond, it was held, was absolutely essential to the life of the "Confederacy," and as the writer forcibly said, " from
could have been changed in the purpose of its government, in the indomitable valor of its troops, or in the unquenchable spirit of its people. The baffled and disappointed foe would in vain have scanned the reports of your proceedings, at some new legislative seat, for any indication that progress had been made in his gigantic task of con. quering a free people. The truth so patent to us must, ere long, be forced upon the reluctant northern mind. There are no vital points on the preservation of which the continued existence of the Confederacy depends. There is no military success of the enemy which can accomplish its destruction. Not the fall of Richmond, nor Wilmington, nor Charleston, nor Savannah, nor' Mobile, nor of all combined, can save the enemy from the constant and exhaustive drain of blood and treasure which must continue until he shall discover that no peace is attainable unless based on the. recognition of our indefeasible rights."
Severe and bitter complaints were made by Davis respecting the conduct of European nations in not recognizing the "Confederacy;" at the same time he said, "we seek no favor, we wish no intervention, we know ourselves fully competent to maintain our rights and independence against the invaders of the country." In speaking of the financial condition of affairs it was stated, that the total amount of the public
the hour of giving up the seat of government, our cause would sink into a mere rebellion in the estima. tion of foreign powers, who would cease to accord to us the rights of belligerents; while the enemy would be free to treat our officers and soldiers as traitors and criminals; so that every ' rebel' would fight thence forth vt th a halter round his neck."