Showing posts with label Ft Macon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ft Macon. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 1, 1862

FORT MACON. 

Martial law not being a very favorable institution for pleasure parties, I presume the usual May day festival is dispensed with here as I have not seen any parties out or demonstrations of any kind going on. I should think a May party here might be very successful as the woods abound with wild flowers in great variety and beauty. 

Fort Macon surrendered to Gen. Burnside last Friday evening, after a bombardment of eleven hours. The general succeeded in getting his siege guns in battery behind some sand ridges about half a mile in rear of the fort, unobserved by the garrison, and the first notice they had of his presence was a shot from one of the guns. After holding out for eleven hours and seeing they could make no defense and that there was no chance for escape, they hauled down their colors. By this surrender, 65 guns and 450 prisoners, with stores and ammunition, have fallen into our hands. Their loss was eight killed and twenty wounded. Our loss was one killed and five wounded. 

A good story is told in connection with the surrender of this fort to the Confederates. After the war broke out and they were seizing the forts, a strong force of Confederates, with a great flourish of trumpets, presented themselves one morning at the sallyport of the fort, demanding its immediate and unconditional surrender. Now it happened that the only occupants of the fort were an old ordnance sergeant and his wife who had been in charge of the property for many years. The old sergeant came to the gate, and looking over the crowd, said to the officer in command that under the circumstances he thought the garrison might as well surrender, but he would like the privilege of taking the old flag and marching out with the honors of war. To this the officer assented and the old sergeant hauled down the flag and winding it around him, he and his wife marched out, greatly to the surprise of the officer, who found that they two comprised the whole garrison. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 55

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. to John L. Motley, April 27, 1862

Boston, April 27, 1862.

My Dear Motley: I saw Lowell day before yesterday, and asked him if he had written as you requested and as I begged him to do. He told me he had, and I congratulated you on having a new correspondent to bring you into intelligent relations with American matters, as seen through a keen pair of Boston eyes, and a new channel through which your intense sympathies can be reached. I trust that between us you can be kept pretty well supplied with that particular kind of knowledge which all exiles want, and which the newspapers do not give—knowledge of things, persons, affairs public and private, localized, individualized, idiosyncratized, from those whose ways of looking at matters you know well, and from all whose statements and guesses you know just what to discount to make their “personal equation” square with your own. The general conviction now, as shown in the talk one hears, in the tone of the papers, in the sales of government stocks, is that of fast-growing confidence in the speedy discomfiture of the rebels at all points. This very morning we have two rebel stories that New Orleans has surrendered, its forts having been taken after some thirty hours' attack. At the same time comes the story that the rebels are falling back from Corinth.

Both seem altogether probable, but whether true or not the feeling is very general now that we are going straight to our aims, not, perhaps, without serious checks from time to time, but irresistibly and rapidly. The great interior communications of the rebels are being broken up. General Mitchell has broken the vertebral column of the Memphis and Charlestown Railroad, and while McClellan, with 130,000 men or more, is creeping up to Yorktown with his mounds and batteries, we see McDowell and Banks and Burnside drawing in gradually and sweeping the rebels in one vast battue before them. On the Mississippi, again, and its tributaries, our successes have made us confident. We do not now ask whether, but when. That truly magnificent capture of “No. 10” has given us all a feeling that we are moving to our ends as fate moves, and that nothing will stop us. I think the cutting of that canal through the swamps and forests ranks with the miracles of this war, with the Monitor achievement, and with the Burnside exploit, which last was so heroically carried out in the face of storms such as broke up the Spanish Armada. As for the canal, no doubt we see things in exaggerated proportions on this side, but to me the feat is like that of Cyrus, when he drew off the waters of the Euphrates and marched his army through the bed of the river. So of the Monitor — Minotaur, old Mr. Quincy said to me, “it should have been” — its appearance in front of the great megalosaurus or dinotherium, which came out in its scaly armor that no one could pierce, breathing fire and smoke from its nostrils; is it not the age of fables and of heroes and demigods over again?

And all this makes me think of our “boys,” as we used to call our men, who are doing the real work of the time — your nephews, my son, and our many friends. We have not heard so much of the cavalry, to which I believe Lawrence is attached. But Burnside! how you must have followed him in the midst of storm, of shipwreck, of trial by thirst, if not by famine, of stormy landings on naked beaches, through Roanoke, through Newbern, until at last we find him knocking at the back door that leads to Norfolk, and read this very day that the city is trembling all over in fear of an attack from him, while Fort Macon is making ready at the other end of his field of labor to follow Pulaski. I have heard of Lewis Stackpole; at one time they said his knee troubled him, that he was not able to march as he would like; but you must know more about this than I do. Of course my eyes are on the field before Yorktown. The last note from my boy was on a three-cornered scrap of paper, and began, “In the woods, near the enemy.” It was cheery and manly.

Wendell came home in good health, but for his wound, which was well in a few weeks; but the life he led here was a very hard one, — late hours, excitement all the time, — and I really thought that he would be better in camp than fretting at his absence from it and living in a round of incessant over-stimulating society. I think he finds camp life agrees with him particularly well. Did you happen to know anything of Captain Bartlett, of the Twentieth? I suppose not. He was made a captain when a junior in our college; a remarkable military taste, talent, and air. He lost his leg the other day, when setting pickets before Yorktown. His chief regret was not being able to follow the fortunes of the army any longer. I meant to have told you that my boy was made a captain the other day. He does not care to take the place, being first lieutenant under his most intimate friend Hallowell. The two want to go into battle together, like Nisus and Euryalus. How our little unit out of the six or seven hundred thousand grows in dimensions as we talk or write about it!

I wish I could give you an idea of the momentary phase of the public mind as I see its manifestations here, which are probably not unlike those elsewhere. I will tell you one thing which strikes me. People talk less about what is going on, and more quietly. There is, as I said, a feeling that the curtain is like to drop pretty soon on the first act of the drama, that the military part of the play will be mainly over in a few months. Not extermination, nor pacification, perhaps, but extinction of the hopes of the rebels as to anything they can do with great armies in the field, and the consequent essential break-up of the rebellion. But après? That, of course, is exercising those who have done croaking about the war. I dined at last week, with the Friday Club, and sat next –––. He was as lugubrious on what was to come after the war as he was a year ago with respect to its immediate danger. Then he could hardly bear to think that so accomplished an officer as General Lee was to be opposed to our Northern leaders. Yet who troubles himself very particularly about General Lee nowadays? He thinks there are to be such hatreds between North and South as have not been since the times of the Greek Republic. I suppose seventy years must be at the bottom of all this despondency. Not that everybody does not see terrible difficulties; but let us fight this quarrel fairly out, not patch it up, and it will go hard but we will find some way of living together in a continent that has so much room as this. Of the precise mode no man knoweth. . . .

Yours always,
O. W. H.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 252-6

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Diary of William Howard Russell: Monday, April 15, 1861

Up at dawn. Crossed by ferry to Portsmouth, and arrived at railway station, which was at no place in particular, in a street down which the rails were laid. Mr. Robinson, the superintendent, gave me permission to take a seat in the engine car, to which I mounted accordingly, was duly introduced to, and shook hands with the engineer and the stoker, and took my seat next the boiler. Can any solid reason be given why we should not have those engine sheds or cars in England? They consist of a light frame placed on the connection of the engine with the tender, and projecting so as to include the end of the boiler and the stoke-hole. They protect the engineer from rain, storm, sun, or dust. Windows at each side afford a clear view in all directions, and the engineer can step out on the engine itself by the doors on the front part of the shed. There is just room for four persons to sit uncomfortably, the persons next the boiler being continually in dread of roasting their legs at the furnace, and those next the tender being in danger of getting logs of wood from it shaken down on their feet. Nevertheless I rarely enjoyed anything more than that trip. It is true one's enjoyment was marred by want of breakfast, for I could not manage the cake of dough and the cup of bitter, sour, greasy nastiness, called coffee, which were presented to me in lieu of that meal this morning.

But the novelty of the scene through which I passed atoned for the small privation. I do not speak of the ragged streets and lines of sheds through which the train passed, with the great bell of the engine tolling as if it were threatening death to the early pigs, cocks, hens, and negroes and dogs which walked between the rails — the latter, by the by, were always the first to leave — the negroes generally divided with the pigs the honor of making the nearest stand to the train — nor do I speak of the miserable suburbs of wooden shanties, nor of the expanse of inundated lands outside the town. Passing all these, we settled down at last to our work: the stoker fired up, the engine rattled along over the rugged lane between the trees which now began to sweep around us from the horizon, where they rose like the bank of a river or the shores of a sea, and presently we plunged into the gloom of the primeval forest, struggling as it were, with the last wave of the deluge.

The railroad, leaving the land, boldly leaped into the air, and was carried on frailest cobweb-seeming tracery of wood far above black waters, from which rose a thick growth and upshooting of black stems of dead trees, mingled with the trunks and branches of others still living, throwing out a most luxuriant vegetation. The trestle-work over which the train was borne, judged by the eye, was of the slightest possible construction. Sometimes one series of trestles was placed above another, so that the cars ran on a level with the tops of the trees; and, looking down, we could see before the train passed the inky surface of the waters, broken into rings and agitated, round the beams of wood. The trees were draped with long creepers and shrouds of Spanish moss, which fell from branch to branch, smothering the leaves in their clammy embrace, or waving in pendulous folds in the air. Cypress, live-oak, the dogwood, and pine struggled for life with the water, and about their stems floated balks of timber, waifs and strays carried from the rafts by flood, or the forgotten spoils of the lumberer. On these lay tortoises, turtles, and enormous frogs, which lifted their heads with a lazy curiosity when the train rushed by, or flopped into the water as if the sight and noise were too much for their nerves. Once a dark body of greater size plashed into the current which marked the course of a river. “There's many allygaitors come up here at times,” said the engineer, in reply to my question; “but I don't take much account of them.”

When the trestle-work ceased, the line was continued through the same description of scenery, generally in the midst of water, on high embankments which were continually cut by black rapid streams, crossed by bridges on trestles of great span. The strange tract we are passing through is the “Dismal Swamp,” a name which must have but imperfectly expressed its horrors before the railway had traversed its outskirts, and the canal, which is constructed in its midst, left traces of the presence of man in that remnant of the world's exit from the flood. In the centre of this vast desolation there is a large loch, called “Lake Drummond,” in the jungle and brakes around which the runaway slaves of the plantations long harbored, and once or twice assembled bands of depredators, which were hunted down, broken up, and destroyed like wild beasts.

Mr. Robinson, a young man some twenty-seven years of age, was an excellent representative of the young American — full of intelligence, well-read, a little romantic in spite of his practical habits and dealing with matters of fact, much attached to the literature, if not to the people, of the old country; and so far satisfied that English engineers knew something of their business, as to be anxious to show that American engineers were not behind them. He asked me about Washington politics with as much interest as if he had never read a newspaper. I made a remark to that effect. “Oh, sir, we can't believe,” exclaimed he, “a word we read in our papers. They tell a story one day, to contradict it the next. We never know when to trust them, and that's one reason, I believe, you find us all so anxious to ask questions and get information from gentlemen we meet travelling.” Of the future he spoke with apprehension; “but,” said he, “I am here representing the interests of a large number of Northern shareholders, and I will do my best for them. If it comes to blows after this, they will lose all, and I must stand by my own friends down South, though I don't belong to it.”

So we rattle on, till the scene, at first so attractive, becomes dreary and monotonous, and I tire of looking out for larger turtles or more alligators. The silence of these woods is oppressive. There is no sign of life where the train passes through the water, except among the amphibious creatures. After a time, however, when we draw out of the swamp and get into a dry patch, wild, ragged-looking cattle may be seen staring at us through the trees, or tearing across the rail, and herds of porkers, nearly in the wild-boar stage, scuttle over the open. Then the engineer opens the valve; the sonorous roar of the engine echoes though the woods, and now and then there is a little excitement caused by a race between a pig and the engine, and piggy is occasionally whipped off his legs by the cow-lifter, and hoisted volatile into the ditch at one side. When a herd of cattle, however, get on the line and show fight, the matter is serious. The steam horn is sounded, the bell rung, and steam is eased off, and every means used to escape collision; for the railway company is obliged to pay the owner for whatever animals the trains kill, and a cow's body on one of these poor rails is an impediment sufficient to throw the engine off, and “send us to immortal smash.”

It was long before we saw any workmen or guards on the line; but at one place I got out to look at a shanty of one of the road watchmen. It was a building of logs, some twenty feet long by twelve feet broad, made in the rudest manner, with an earthen roof, and mud stuffed and plastered between the logs to keep out the rain. Although the day was exceedingly hot, there were two logs blazing on the hearth, over which was suspended a pot of potatoes. The air inside was stifling, and the black beams of the roof glistened with a clammy sweat from smoke and unwholesome vapors. There was not an article of furniture, except a big deal chest and a small stool, in the place; a mug and a teacup stood on a rude shelf nailed to the wall. The owner of this establishment, a stout negro, was busily engaged with others in “wooding up” the engine from the pile of cut timber by the roadside. The necessity of stopping caused by the rapid consumption is one of the désagrémens of wood fuel. The wood is cut down and stacked on platforms, at certain intervals along the line; and the quantity used is checked off against the company at the rate of so much per cord. The negro was one of many slaves let out to the company. White men would not do the work, or were too expensive; but the overseers and gangsmen were whites. “How can they bear that fire in the hut?” “Well. If you went into it in the very hottest day in summer, you would find the niggers sitting close up to blazing pine-logs; and they sleep at night, or by day when they've fed to the full, in the same way.” My friend, nevertheless, did not seem to understand that any country could get on without negro laborers.

By degrees we got beyond the swamps, and came upon patches of cleared land — that is, the forest had been cut down, and the only traces left of it were the stumps, some four or five feet high, “snagging” up above the ground; or the trees had been girdled round, so as to kill them, and the black trunks and stiff arms gave an air of meagre melancholy and desertion to the place, which was quite opposite to its real condition. Here it was that the normal forest and swamp had been subjugated by man. Presently we came in sight of a flag fluttering from a lofty pine, which had been stripped of its branches, throwing broad bars of red and white to the air, with a blue square in the upper quarter containing seven stars. “That's our flag,” — said the engineer, who was a quiet man, much given to turning steam-cocks, examining gauges, wiping his hands in fluffy impromptu handkerchiefs, and smoking tobacco — “That's our flag! And long may it wave — o'er the land of the free and the home of the ber-rave!” As we passed, a small crowd of men, women, and children, of all colors, in front of a group of poor broken-down shanties or log-huts, cheered — to speak more correctly — whooped and yelled vehemently. The cry was returned by the passengers in the train. “We're all the right sort hereabouts,” said the engineer. “Hurrah for Jeff Davis!” The right sort were not particularly flourishing in outward aspect, at all events. The women, pale-faced, were tawdry and ragged; the men, yellow, seedy looking. For the first time in the States, I noticed barefooted people.

Now began another phase of scenery — an interminable pine-forest, far as the eye could reach, shutting out the light on each side by a wooden wall. From this forest came the strongest odor of turpentine; presently black streaks of smoke floated out of the wood, and here and there we passed cleared spaces, where in rude-looking furnaces and factories people more squalid and miserable looking than before were preparing pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, and other naval stores, for which this part of North Carolina is famous. The stems of the trees around are marked by white scars, where the tappings for the turpentine take place, and many dead trunks testified how the process ended.

Again, over another log village, a Confederate flag floated in the air; and the people ran out, negroes and all, and cheered as before. The new flag is not so glaring and gaudy as the Stars and Stripes; but, at a distance, when the folds hang together, there is a considerable resemblance in the general effect of the two. If ever there is a real sentiment du drapeau got up in the South, it will be difficult indeed for the North to restore the Union. These pieces of colored bunting seem to twine themselves through heart and brain.

The stations along the roadside now gradually grew in proportion, and instead of a small sentry-box beside a wood pile, there were three or four wooden houses, a platform, a booking office, an “exchange” or drinking room, and general stores, like the shops of assorted articles in an Irish town. Around these still grew the eternal forest, or patches of cleared land dotted with black stumps. These stations have very grand names, and the stores are dignified by high-sounding titles; nor are “billiard saloons” and “restaurants” wanting. We generally found a group of people waiting at each; and it really was most astonishing to see well-dressed, respectable-looking men and women emerge out of the “dismal swamp,” and out of the depths of the forest, with silk parasols and crinoline, bandboxes and portmanteaux, in the most civilized style. There were always some negroes, male and female, in attendance on the voyagers, handling the baggage or the babies, and looking comfortable enough, but not happy. The only evidence of the good spirits and happiness of these people which I saw was on the part of a number of men who were going off from a plantation for the fishing on the coast. They and their wives and sisters, arrayed in their best — which means their brightest, colors-—were grinning from ear to ear as they bade good-by. The negro likes the mild excitement of sea fishing, and in pursuit of it he feels for the moment free.

At Goldsborough, which is the first place of importance on the line, the wave of the Secession tide struck us in full career. The station, the hotels, the street through which the rail ran was filled with an excited mob, all carrying arms, with signs here and there of a desire to get up some kind of uniform — flushed faces, wild eyes, screaming mouths, hurrahing for “Jeff Davis” and “the Southern Confederacy,” so that the yells overpowered the discordant bands which were busy with “Dixie's Land.” Here was the true revolutionary furor in full sway. The men hectored, swore, cheered, and slapped each other on the backs; the women, in their best, waved handkerchiefs and flung down garlands from the windows. All was noise, dust, and patriotism.

It was a strange sight and a wonderful event at which we were assisting. These men were a levy of the people of North Carolina called out by the Governor of the State for the purpose of seizing upon forts Caswell and Macon, belonging to the Federal Government, and left unprotected and undefended. The enthusiasm of the “citizens” was unbounded, nor was it quite free from a taint of alcohol. Many of the volunteers had flint firelocks, only a few had rifles. All kinds of head-dress were visible, and caps, belts, and pouches of infinite variety. A man in a large wide-awake, with a cock's feather in it, a blue frock-coat, with a red sash and a pair of cotton trousers thrust into his boots, came out of Griswold's Hotel with a sword under his arm, and an article which might have been a napkin of long service, in one hand. He waved the article enthusiastically, swaying to and fro on his legs, and ejaculating “H'ra for Jeff Dav's — H'ra for S'thern E’r’rights!” and tottered over to the carriage through the crowd amid the violent vibration of all the ladies' handkerchiefs in the balcony. Just as he got into the train, a man in uniform dashed after him, and caught him by the elbow, exclaiming, “Them's not the cars, General! The cars this way, General!” The military dignitary, however, felt that if he permitted such liberties in the hour of victory he was degraded forever, so, screwing up his lips and looking grave and grand, he proceeded as follows: “Sergeant, you, go be ––. I say these are my cars! They're all my cars! I'll
send them where I please — to –– if I like, sir. They shall go where I please — to New York, sir, or New Orleans, sir! And sir, I'll arrest you.” This famous idea distracted the General's attention from his project of entering the train, and muttering, “I'll arrest you,” he tacked backwards and forwards to the hotel again.

As the train started on its journey, there was renewed yelling, which split the ear — a savage cry many notes higher than the most ringing cheer. At the wayside inn, where we dined — pièce de résistance being pig — the attendants, comely, well-dressed, clean negresses were slaves — “worth a thousand dollars each.” I am not favorably impressed by either the food or the mode of living, or the manners of the company. One man made very coarse jokes about “Abe Lincoln” and “negro wenches,” which nothing but extreme party passion and bad taste could tolerate. Several of the passengers had been clerks in Government offices at Washington, and had been dismissed because they would not take the oath of allegiance. They were hurrying off full of zeal and patriotism to tender their services to the Montgomery Government.

*          *          *          *          *          *

I had been the object of many attentions and civilities from gentlemen in the train during my journey. One of them, who told me he was a municipal dignitary of Weldon, having exhausted all the inducements that he could think of to induce me to spend some time there, at last, in desperation, said he would be happy to show me “the antiquities of the place.” Weldon is a recent uprising in wood and log-houses from the swamps, and it would puzzle the archaeologists of the world to find anything antique about it.

At nightfall the train stopped at Wilmington, and I was shot out on a platform under a shed, to do the best I could. In a long, lofty, and comfortless room, like a barn, which abutted on the platform, there was a table covered with a dirty cloth, on which lay little dishes of pickles, fish, meat, and potatoes, at which were seated some of our fellow-passengers. The equality of all men is painfully illustrated when your neighbor at table eats with his knife, dips the end of it into the salt, and disregards the object and end of napkins. But it is carried to a more disagreeable extent when it is held to mean that any man who comes to an inn has a right to share your bed. I asked for a room, but I was told that there were so many people moving about just now that it was not possible to give me one to myself; but at last I made a bargain for exclusive possession. When the next train came in, however, the woman very coolly inquired whether I had any objection to allow a passenger to divide my bed, and seemed very much displeased at my refusal; and I perceived three big-bearded men snoring asleep in one bed in the next room to me as I passed through the passage to the dining-room.

The “artist” Moses, who had gone with my letter to the post, returned, after a long absence, pale and agitated. He said he had been pounced upon by the Vigilance Committee, who were rather drunk, and very inquisitive. They were haunting the precincts of the post-office and the railway station, to detect Lincolnites and Abolitionists, and were obliged to keep themselves wide awake by frequent visits to the adjacent bars, and he had with difficulty dissuaded them from paying me a visit. They cross-examined him respecting my opinion of Secession, and desired to have an audience with me in order to give me any information which might be required. I cannot say what reply was given to their questioning; but I certainly refused to have any interview with the Vigilance Committee of Wilmington, and was glad they did not disturb me. Rest, however, there was little or none. I might have as well slept on the platform of the railway station outside. Trains coming in and going out shook the room and the bed on which I lay, and engines snorted, puffed, roared, whistled, and rang bells close to my key-hole.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, p. 87-94

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, May 5, 1862

CAMP OPPOSITE FREDERICKSBURG, May 5, 1862.

I am very glad you saw Mrs. McClellan and were pleased with her. Although I don't think General McClellan thought much of me after I was appointed, yet I am quite sure my appointment was due to him, and almost entirely to him. At that time his will was omnipotent and he had only to ask and it was given. He told me himself that he had simply presented my name to the President, to which I replied that I considered that the same as appointing me; which I do, and for which I am not only grateful but proud, being prouder of such an appointment than if all the politicians in the country had backed me.

Since writing you, great events have taken place. Fort Macon fallen, New Orleans taken, and now we hear Yorktown and the Peninsula are evacuated.

I believe our movement to this place has been magnified, and they saw the danger to their rear and got away before it was too late. I think I wrote you, when in Alexandria, that this was the place for us to come to, and never could understand what we were sent to Manassas for, except because the enemy had been there before us. Great efforts are being made to repair the railroad, so as to bring up supplies, and I think we will be pushed on as fast as the road is completed.

McClellan will push on from West Point, at the head of York River, from whence there is also a railroad. He has a shorter distance, only forty miles, and we have sixty, but he will have one hundred thousand men to move and we only forty thousand, so that we will progress about evenly. We don't know whether they intend to abandon Virginia entirely, or whether they have only withdrawn from the Peninsula, between the York and James Rivers, and have taken up a position nearer Richmond.

Day before yesterday General McDowell invited me to meet at his quarters the Secretaries of State, Treasury and War, all of whom had come on a trip from Washington, and whom he very judiciously put into a wagon and drove them over the fifteen miles of road from Acquia Creek to this place, during which ride they were almost jolted to death and their lives endangered, owing to the dreadful condition of the road. He said to them: “Gentlemen, you can see for yourselves the character of the roads we have to draw our artillery and supplies over, and I assure you they are infinitely better now than they have been at any previous period of our operations since the frost began to leave the ground.” I was introduced to all of them and they were quite civil. I did not recall to Mr. Chase's1 recollection that I was a ci-devant pupil of his, not knowing how such reminiscences might be taken. After lunch we all crossed the river on a boat-bridge we have built, and took a turn through Fredericksburg. The place seemed deserted by all who could get away, there being but few white people, and they mostly old women and children. There are some very pretty residences in the town, though we only saw the outside of them. The papers will have informed you that Ord has been made a major general. They also state he is to have this division, but I think that is a mistake. The idea that McCall will voluntarily retire is absurd, and I don't see how with any show of justice they can put him aside.
__________

1 Secretary of the treasury.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 263-5

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Capture of Fort Macon

NEW YORK, May 3.

A special to the Tribune, giving an account of the capture of Fort Macon, says the fire of our batteries dismounted 13 guns and tore up the glacis and ramparts in the most effective manner.  Of 1,100 shots and shell thrown by them at the fort 560 struck the work.  The guns of the Fort were worked with skill and courage, but the hind hills of our position afforded complete protection to the men, and the hoisting of the white flag was followed by a conference with Gen. Parks [sic], and a suspension of hostilities until the following morning.  During the night the proposition to surrender was communicated to Gen. Burnside and in the morning articles of agreement were signed, and the garrison surrendered as prisoners of war, but were released on parole, and were allowed to take their private effects with them; the officers retained their side arms.  These were the terms originally proposed by Gen. Parks, but refused by Col. White, commandant of the fort.

The surrender of Fort Macon gives Gen. Burnside a port of entry with secure anchorage for his heaviest vessels.  It gives the Government another of the stolen fortifications with 50 guns, and 20,000 pounds of powder, with shot and shell in proportion, 400 stand of arms, and a large store of provisions, 420 prisoners and 30 horses.  It releases a portion of the blockading fleet for service elsewhere, and insures the retention of the district.

Gen. Burnside, in a general order congratulating Gen. Park on his victory, commands that the name “Fort Macon” be inscribed on the colors of the 4th and 5th R. I. regiments and the 8th Conn. Regiment.  The command of the fort was offered to Capt. Lewis Morris, 1st artillery, after the surrender, but declined and Col. Rodman, of the 4th R. I., was placed in charge.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Monday Morning, May 5, 1862, p. 1

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From Fortress Monroe


FORTRESS MONROE, April 5. – The Mobile Advertiser of the 4th has a special message from Memphis stating the Buell’s army reached Savannah, on the Tennessee river, and there had been brisk skirmishing, and great activity on both sides for the great struggle.


MOBILE, April 4. – Wednesday a Yankee force of 2,000 strong landed at Biloxi and cut the telegraph lines between Mobile and New Orleans.

There is authority from the War Department for saying that dispatches from Fortress Monroe, dated 3 P. M. Sunday had been received.

A reconnoissance had been made towards Yorktown.  The headquarters of our army are now about five miles from Yorktown.

There had been some cannonading, but with out injury on either side.


FORTRESS MONROE, April 5. – The latest intelligence received of the Virginia, otherwise Merrimac, is dated Norfolk, last night.  She was then coaling at the Navy Yard and was expected to come out to-day.  Capt. Pegram is still mentioned as likely to command her.

The Yorktown, Jamestown and Teazer and four other gunboats are at Norfolk.

A deserter who came in this morning reports the force on the Peninsula not so large as supposed.

Magruder’s headquarters are at Lee’s Mills.

Three tugs arrived from Newberne Thursday, bringing little news of interest.

Reports are current that Burnside has been ordered to evacuate Newberne within six days, and he replied that he would not.

The rebels at Goldsboro’, Raleigh and fort Macon still hold out.  Extensive preparations are being made for the reduction of the Fort. – A few shells had been already thrown at it.


FT. MONROE, April 7. – Nothing has been done in front, Yorktown except reconnoissance in that direction and some skirmishing.

A telegraph has been established at headquarters near Yorktown.

The Spaulding came in this morning from Shippings Point.  The rebel works abandoned there are quite formidable.  The rebels took off their guns.  Shippings Point is about eight miles from Yorktown, affording a fine base of operations.

A great crowd of Norfolk people assembled on the shore near Sewall’s Point on Sunday, including men, women and children, all eagerly engaged in watching the Yankees.

A Norfolk paper of this morning contains a dispatch from Mobile, dated the 6th inst., announcing the reception of news from Corinth that morning of a great battle – that the Confederates had taken Buell’s batteries, and a large number of prisoners.  It was expected that the whole Federal army would be swept away.  This is given as a specimen of the rebel mode of keeping up the spirits of the people, and the courage of the army.

– Published in the Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 12, 1862, p. 4

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fire in New York --- Investment of Beaufort

NEW YORK, April 10. – Last night a fire broke out in the five story marble building, No 69 Duane street, the premises of David Sterritt & Co., importers of laces and embroideries.  The entire building and its contents were destroyed.  Sterritt & Co.’s loss is supposed to be $50,000.  The first floor was occupied by Hoffman, Place & Co., dealers in gentleman’s furnishing goods.  The greater part of the stock was removed.  Loss about $5,000; said to be insured.  Loss on the building about $20,000.

The Times’ Beaufort letter of March 31st says Lieut. Hoxton, from Chippewa, landed yesterday and had an interview with Major Allen touching the arrangements for the capture of the Fort.

A guard from the Rhode Island 4th crossed over on Saturday and Sunday, taking possession of the beach south west of Fort Macon, and cutting off the communication with the cattle on which Colonel White has drawn heretofore for his supplies of fresh beef.  Thus, step by step, the fortification is surrounded by our forces and final attack will not be long delayed.

Guards have been placed aboard the British ships Reliance and Condor, found at Beaufort loaded with rosin and turpentine.

Since the conflagration after the battle at Newbern it is reported that some seven thousand barrels of spirits of turpentine have been consumed in this vicinity.  About 10,000 barrels are now loading for New York.

– Published in the Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 12, 1862, p. 3

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burnside's Advance On Beaufort

The New York Herald contains a letter from Newbern of the 27th of March, giving the particulars of Gen. Burnside’s advance on Washington and Beaufort.  On the 20th ult. six companies of troops left Newbern for Washington, under command of Col. Stevenson, in the transport Guide, under convoy of three gunboats.  They went down the Neuse river to Pimlico Sound, and thence up to Washington.  On Thursday night they anchored below the city, and the next morning, on reaching a point about seven miles from their destination, found the river so thoroughly obstructed that only one of the gunboats succeeded in getting past.  A portion of the troops went up on her and landed.  They were most cordially received by the inhabitants, among whom Union sentiments predominated.  On the same day the third brigade, under Gen. Parks, sailed to Slocum’s Creek, and thence went toward Beaufort by means of handcars on the railroad.  The brigade stopped at Morehead city, some little distance from Beaufort and Fort Macon, and dispatched a flag of truce to the Fort, demanding an unconditional surrender.  The commander, however, decided to fight a little before giving up, and accordingly refused compliance.  The result of this was, the Fort was to be immediately invested.  Gen. Burnside left for the scene of operations on the 25th, and it was expected that after the labor of transplanting and placing the ordnance in position, which would occupy several days, had been completed, the fort would soon be taken.

– Published in the Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 12, 1862, p. 2

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beaufort Occupied – Macon blown up – The Nashville Burned

FORTRESS MONROE, March 23, via BALTIMORE, 24. – The steamer Chancellor Livingston arrived from Hatteras last night.  Immediately after the occupation of Newberne our expedition to Beaufort was started by General Burnside.  The place was however evacuated before our troops approached, but Macon was blown up by the rebels, and the Steamer Nashville burned.  On the day General Burnside occupied Newberne 1,600 rebel troops were on the road between Goldsboro and Newberne.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Washington Items

LATER FROM ISLAND NO. 10.

WASHINGTON, March 24. – Col. Segur, representative from the Accomac district arrived here this morning confirming the intelligence about the privateer Nashville and Fort Macon being destroyed by the rebels.

Gen. Scott is here aiding the war Department by his advice.

Senator Lane of Indiana has received advices from Indiana of the formation of ten regiments of Indianians.

The Republican states that the President has removed Gen. Denver from the command of the Department of Kansas.

The entire national debt is now four hundred million dollars.


WASHINGTON, March 24. – Col. Van Amburg of the New York 22d Regiment, has been appointed Military Governor at Alexandria, Va.  Gen. Montgomery becoming Military Governor of Annapolis.

Letters from Port Royal declare the investment of Fort Pulaski complete.  Tatnal, with his flotilla carrying supplies of wood and water have been driven back.  It is believed the garrison will soon be forced to surrender.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was fully opened to-day for passengers and freight.

An immense quantity of bids, plans, specifications and models of iron-clad vessels have already been received at the Navy Department, for the sea-board and Western States.  One from Ericsoon for a vessel similar to the Monitor but 300 feet in length.

Secretary Welles has, in the name of the President, sent a letter of thanks to Lieut. Worden, in which he says the action of the Monitor with two guns, engaging a powerful armed steamer of at least eight guns, and repulsing her, has elicited general admiration and received the applause of the whole country.  He thanks him and commends him for the heroism displayed and the great service rendered, and adds, in the action on the 10th, the performance, power, and capacity of the Monitor must effect a radical changes in Naval warfare.

Representative Arnold introduced a bill to-day to make freedom national and slavery sectional.  It prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all territories now existing or hereafter to be formed or acquired in any way, in all places purchased or to be purchased by the U. S. for dock yards, arsenals, vessels on the high seas or national highways outside of State jurisdiction, and in all places where the National Government has exclusive jurisdiction and power.  Slaves in such places are declared to be free and may assert their freedom at any time thereafter, on the principle “once free always free.”

The House sent the Segur case to the Committee on Elections to-day.

Gen. Strong and Col. Munson, of the Tenth Indiana, were to-day confirmed Brigadier Generals.

The following nominations for Brigadier Generals were sent into the Senate to-day: Col. Dodge, 4th Iowa; Col. Canby, Commanding in New Mexico, and Major Weisel, Sixth U. S. Infantry, Kentucky.

Mr. Wickliffe introduced a bill to-day placing public lands and the proceeds of sales thereof, surveyed or unsurveyed, to the payment of the public debt.

Capt. Summers, of the Steamer Lake Erie No. 2, left Island No. 10 at 11 o’clock Sunday evening, and reports that about 10 o’clock a bright light was discovered in the direction of the Island.  It was thought by officers of the Erie that it proceeded from burning transports ignited by bursting shells from the mortars. – Nothing confirmatory of this report has been received at headquarters.  The river is rising rapidly.


On board Steamer D. F. Wilson,
Off Island No. 10,
March 24, 9 o’clock P.M.

Everything is quiet at Island No. 10.  The mortars continue firing all day and night at intervals of every half hour, mostly concentrated upon the upper battery which is now fairly silenced.  This battery has not replied for two days.  Only one gun can be seen in position and that is probably a [goll]*.  The batteries on the main shore and the Island are also mysteriously silent.  Their encampments grow smaller day by day and transports still continue flying about apparently carrying away troops.

The river is still rising rapidly and everything is overflowed.  The rebels are drowned out of some of their batteries, and are attempting to erect new ones, but the well directed fire of our mortars prevents them.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4.  *In the Indiana Messenger, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, March 26, 1862, p. 3, the Portland Daily Advertiser, Portland, Maine, Tuesday, March 25, 1862 and the New York Times, New York, New York, March 25, 1862 all give this word as “Quaker.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Nashville Captured

NEW YORK, March 25. – Further intelligence seems to confirm the capture of the Nashville but slightly damaged, and says Fort Macon is but very little injured.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4

Sunday, November 25, 2012

From North Carolina

BALTIMORE, March 24. – On Thursday last an expedition left Newbern in steamers, went down the river, struck the railroad, and took up march for Beaufort, with hand cars from Newbern.  No opposition was made to the advance of our forces.

On the evening of the 20th the rebels learned of our approach, blew up Fort Macon, fired the Nashville, and retreated across the river to Morehead City and Carolina city, and in the direction of Washington.  Beaufort was almost entirely evacuated by the people.  Our troops occupied the place the next day.

On the same day, the 20th, Gen. Burnside sent a force with several gunboats to Washington.  No opposition to our landing.  Our troops occupied the town, and the Union flag is now flying on the Court House.

There was nothing new at Newbern.

Our Pickets extend about eight miles toward Goldsboro’.

On Wednesday three men strayed beyond our lines, and were made prisoners by a troop of rebel cavalry.

The inhabitants are gradually returning to the town, and taking the oath of allegiance.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4

Sunday, November 4, 2012

From Fortress Monroe

BALTIMORE, March 26. – The Fortress Monroe correspondent of the Baltimore Union gives a report of two contrabands relative to the condition of the Merrimac.  She returned to Norfolk with six feet of water in her.  Six steamers  towed her up, and it was feared at first she would go down before her pumps could be rigged on board.  Her fires were extinguished shortly after hauling off from the Monitor.

These contrabands positively assert the death of Buchanan, and that the Lieutenant in command on Sunday, and seven seamen, and a number of wounded.  They positively assert the death and burial both of Lieutenant Miner, her second officer, and not Jones.

The Monitor stands out in the Roads, this side of Sewall’s Point, with steam up ready for action.  The greatest confidence is felt in the result.  She is in fine condition.

It is rumored that Yorktown or a considerable portion of it is burned.  A large fire was visible in that direction Sunday night.  A large fire was also seen to-day in the neighborhood of New Market Bridge, which seemed to be quite extensive.

The Cambridge reports that the Nashville, loaded with a valuable cargo of cotton and naval stores, ran the blockade last Tuesday night, which was dark, with lights extinguished.  She was abreast of the Cambridge before discovered.

On Sunday the Chippewa, a faster steamer arrived to take the place of the Cambridge.

Fort Macon and Beaufort are still in possession of the rebels.

On Sunday night the Sawyer guns at the Rip Raps made some capital shots at Sewall’s Point.  Tuesday morning one shell filled with new rebel fire exploded in the midst of the rebel parade ground, and it is believed to have done considerable damage.  The rebels fired at the Rip Raps but the balls fell short about fifty yards.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 3

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Escape of the Nashville

FORT MONORE, March 25. – The U. S. Steamer Cambridge arrived here this morning from the blockade off Beaufort, having left Sunday evening last.

The rebel steamer Nashville escaped from the harbor of Beaufort on Tuesday night, the 18th inst., having run the blockade.  The U. S. vessels at the place were the Cambridge and Barrant Gemstock [sic], a sailing vessel.  The blockading vessels had news of the capture of Newberne and were on the lookout for the Nashville, but they were not numerous enough to prevent her escape.  The Gembrook [sic] first saw the Nashville and immediately telegraphed to the Cambridge that she was coming out.  The Cambridge followed the Nashville and fired a number of shots at her with the hope of getting her into a fight, but the superior speed of the Nashville soon put her at a safe distance.  Two of the shots from the Cambridge were supposed to have struck the Nashville.

The bark Glenn, which has been blockaded in the harbor of Beaufort for some time, was set on fire by the rebels on Sunday, and was still burning when the Cambridge left, in the evening.  The Glenn was supposed to be fitting out as a privateer.  The burning of this vessel was doubtless preparatory to an evacuation of the place.

Fort Macon had not been blown up by the rebels at the last advices.

The bark Gembrook and steamer State of Georgia were left at the station by the Cambridge.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 3

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aquia Creek Abandoned


Fort Macon and the Towne of San Augustine and Jackson abandoned by the Rebels.

WASHINGTON, March 19. – The brig Leslie, which arrived last night, reports that when she passed Aquia, the buildings and wharf there were burning.  It is supposed the rebels have evacuated after firing the place.

Dispatches received from Com. Dupont announces that the United States flag floats over Fort Macon, at San Augustine, Florida.  The town surrendered without fighting.  The town authorities received Com. Rogers in the Town Hall, and being assured he would protect loyal citizens, they raised the flag with their own hands.  The rebels evacuated the night before our gunboats appeared.

Jackson, Fla., also surrendered.  The Governor of Florida recommended the earliest evacuation of East Florida.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 22, 1862, p. 3

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fire in New York, - Later from Burnside

NEW YORK, April 10.

Last night a fire broke out in a five story marble building, No. 69, Duane St., premises of David Stimmitt & Co., importers of lace and embroidery.  The entire building and its contents were destroyed.  Stimitt & Co’s. loss supposed to be $50,000.  The first floor was occupied by Hoffman, Place & Co., dealers in gents furnishing goods; the greater part of the stock was removed.  Loss, about $5,000, said to be insured.  Loss on the building about $20,000.

The Times’ Beaufort letter of March 31st also says: Lieut. Hoxton from the Chippewa landed yesterday and had an interview with Major Allen, touching the arrangements for the capture of the fort.  A guard from the R. I. 4th crossed over on Saturday and Sunday taking possession of the beach southwest of Fort Macon, and cutting off all communication with the cattle, on which Col. White has drawn heretofore for his supplies of fresh beef.  Thus step by step the fortification is surrounded by our forces and a final attack will not be long delayed.

Guards have been placed aboard the British ships Reliance and Condor, found at Beaufort laden with rosin and turpentine.

Since the conflagration after the battle at Newbern, it is reported that some 7,000 barrels of spirits of turpentine have been consumed in this vicinity.  About 10,000 barrels are now loading for N. Y.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Friday Morning, April 11, 1862, p. 1

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Southern News

FORT MONROE, April 5.

Latest intelligence received of the Merrimac, is that she was at Norfolk last night.  She was then coaling at the navy yard, and was expected to come out to-day.  Capt. Pegram is mentioned as likely to command her.

The Yorktown, Jamestown, and Teaser, and four other gunboats are at Norfolk.

A deserter come in this morning, reports a force on the peninsula, but not so large as supposed.

Magruder’s headquarters are at Lee’s Mills near Williamsburg.

Three tugs arrived from Newbern Thursday bring little of interest.

A report is current that Burnside has been ordered to evacuate Newbern within six days, and that he replied that he would meet the rebels at Goldsboro and Raleigh.

Fort Macon still holds out.  Extensive preparations for its reduction are progressing.  A few shells have been already thrown into it.  Cannonading has been heard all day from the direction of Yorktown.  It is rumored the town has been burnt.  No official report received.  Rumor probably incorrect.

A flag of truce to-day brought the following released prisoners from Richmond: - Col. Buford, Lieut. Van Horn and Colonel Bliss, U. S. A., taken prisoners in Texas, and Col. Woodruff, 1st Kentucky regiment, taken in Kentucky.

The Mobile Advertiser of April 4th has a special message from Memphis, stating that Buell’s army reached Savannah on the Tennessee river, and there had been brisk skirmishing, and great activity on both sides for the great struggle.


MOBILE, April 4.

Wednesday a Yankee force, 2000 strong, landed at Biloxi and cut the telegraph liens between Mobile and New Orleans.


NEW YORK, April 7.

The steamer Atlantic arrived from Port Royal.  Among her passengers are Gen. Sherman and staff.

Advices from Jacksonville 1st, states an attack was expected there from two Mississippi and one Florida guerilla regiments, a battery and troops of horse.

Gen. Wright is confident in sustaining himself.

The rebel yacht America, has been raised by our naval force, and with the steamer Daylight is a prize.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, April 8, 1862, p. 1

Monday, October 17, 2011

From Burnside’s Expedition

FT. MONROE, March 29.

The steamer Suwanee has arrived from Newbern.  Burnside has taken possession of Beaufort.  There was no show of resistance by the rebels and no property was burned.  Fort Macon is still occupied by about 500 rebels, but they were entirely cut off from all communication with their friends and must soon surrender.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, April 1, 1862, p. 1