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CHAPTER XI.

OCTOBER, 1861

POSITION OF THE TWO GREAT ARMIES-EXPECTATIONS AND FEELINGS OF THE

PEOPLE GALLANT NAVAL EXPLOIT AT PENSACOLA-DESTRUCTION OF THE

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PRIVATEER JUDAH-OCCUPATION OF SHIP ISLAND-WESTERN VIRGINIA

FIGHT AT GREEN BRIER CREEK-ATTACK OF THE ENEMY AT CAPE HATTERASI -SURPRISE OF WILSON ZOUAVES AT SANTA ROSA'S ISLAND_ATTACK OF THC

BLOCKADING FLEET AT THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI BY THE RAM MANAS

SAS-FIGIIT AT LEBANON, MO.-FIGHT AT FREDERICKTOWN--FIGHT AT BLUE MILLS FERPY-BATTLE OF WILD CAT CAMP, KY.

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NHE corntry looked to tħe cool nights and temperate days of Jctober with . army,

which had been assembling and drilling all Summer, was to move, at once it was believed, and not only wipe out the disgrace of Bull Run, but give a fatal blow to the rebellion. The position in which affairs stood, seemed to make a forward movement inevitable. West of the Mississippi there ap-': ; peared to be no stable line of defense, and the waves of civil war drifted backward and forward over the distracted state. But east of the river the enemy had established his line with but a single break in it, clear to the Atlantic. Starting at Columbus, it crossed the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers on nearly the same parallel, to Bowling Green; and thence to the Alleghanies. From this to the Blue Ridge, there was an unoccupied interval. 'i'hen it commenced again, and keeping near or on the Potomac, swept on to Fortress Monroe. Along this line, a thousand miles in extent, chosen for its commanding position, were stationed, it was supposed, some three hundred thousand men in battle array. Confronting, and threatening it, were a half million of northern troops. A fierce collision somewhere could

PRIVATEER JUDAH DESTROYEL

159

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not be long delayed, and the general expectation was, that it would first take place in front of Washington. General McClellan was the hero of the hour, and to him the nation had transferred, without the least reservation, the unbounded confidence it had hitherto reposed in General Scott. The rebels had improved their time in fortifying their strong positions, and it was felt that the battle, whenever it should come, would be a bloody one.

The intense interest, however, with which the public watched these two mighty armies, was somewhat diverted by naval preparations for an attack along the Atlantic coast, and the evident near approach of a battle at fort Pickens. There was also a great and growing distrust of the ability of the administration, with its present Cabinet, to carry us through the mighty struggle on which we had entered. The public heart was in that feverish, angry, excited state, that always forebodes trouble. A great and sudden defeat might have whelmed the administration in utter ruin. It was evident that it was not aware on what precarious ground it stood. The army partook of this excited feeling of the people, and in passing through it, one was alarmed to see on what a thin crust the government at Washington rested. One of the strongest securities at this perilous crisis, was the unlimited confidence that all classes had in the patriotism and integrity of the President. It was the sheet anchor of the Republic.

In the mean time drops of comfort came from the southern coast. News was received of the destruction of the privateer Judah, near Pensacola, on the fourteenth of September, by a boat expedition, as she lay off Pensacola bay. Three boats, containing in all about an hundred men, sailors and marines, composed it; two of them were to attack the privateer, while the other should proceed to the shore and spike a battery which had been erected there. The attack was made

of 1

160

FIGHT AT GREEN BRIER..

Success.

at half past three in the morning, and resulted in complete

It was one of those daring, gallant actions for which our navy has always been distinguished. The privateer was burned, and the battery spiked, with the loss of only three or four killed and a dozen wounded. The three lieutenants commanding the boats, Russell, Blake, and Sproston, received the highest commendation for their skill and bravery. About the same time the news arrived of the occupation of Ship Island, which occurred on the twentieth. The rebels upon it, after setting fire to their barracks, and destroying the light-house, fled to the main land, leaving the place in possession of the federal forces. The capture of this island was important only in view of prospective operations on New Orleans and Mobile, as circumstances might direct.

From Western Virginia favorable reports continued to be received On the second of October, General Reynolds started from his camp at Elkwater, to make an armed reconnoissance of Lee's position, twelve miles distant on Green Brier river.

FIGHT AT GREEN BRIER CREEK.

Taxing with him five thousand men, and a heavy force of artillery, he set out from Cheat Mountain at midnight, and marched in dead silence over the rugged way. Colonel Kimball of the Fourteenth indiana, was ordered to move against the enemy's front and right, and push back his advanced regiments, while Milroy, after driving in the pickets, was to deploy to the left of his intrenchments, and force him within them. Just after daylight the latter came to Green Brier bridge, and found it occupied by the rebels. The Indianıúils, without waiting for orders, cast aside their knapsacks, and blankets, and with a loud cheer dashed on the bridge, clear. ing it with a bound. The regiments now came one after another gallautly into action, driving the enemy from the

REYNOLDS FALLS BACK.

161

hillsides and the valley, behind their intrenchments. The artillery was then ordered up, and soon thirteen guns were pouring their shot and shell into the works. The rebels replied, though some of their guns were hidden by the trees. For over half an hour, it thundered there in the Virginia mountains as if a tropical storm was bursting along the ridges. At length three of the enemy's guns were disabled, when his fire slackened. Soon after, a couple of rockets shot over the treetops where the enemy lay concealed, and b:irst in mid air—a signal for reinforcements that were farther off amid the hills. In a short time, a column several thousand strong, was seen streaming down the mountain in the rear, their artillery thundering before them. As they approached the fortifications, cheer after cheer went up from the rebels. Our infantry, exasperated at the shout, asked permission to storm the works, but Reynolds thinking it would be a useless sacrifice of life, and having accomplished all he sought, ordered the recall to be sounded, and the army took up its line of march to its old camp, with thirteen prisoners, having lost but eight killed and thirty-two wounded. Lee's mission to Western Virginia was evidently drawing to a close.

FIGHT AT CAPE HATTERAS.

One day after this, the rebels undertook to surprise a part of the troops stationed near Hatteras Inlet. Colonel Brown, with the Twentieth Indiana regiment, eight hundred strong, had its encampment about thirty miles from fort Hat. teras, and on the fourth about fifteen hundred men landed some three or four miles above him. As soon as he was apprised of it by his lookouts, he dispatched a messenger to Colonel Hawkins at the fort, informing him of what was going on, and stating that he should fall back on the fort. Soon after, another body of rebel troops commenced land

162

ATTACK ON CAPE HATTERAS

ing below him to cut off his retreat. Brown, made aware of their intentions, set on fire what he could not easily carry away, and immediately started his regiment on the doublequick through the heavy sand, and after a terrible march, succeeded in reaching the light-house in the evening. In the mean time, Hawkins, having received Brown's note, dispatched a messenger to Captain Lardner of the Susquehanna, lying near the shore, and hurried off six companies of Zouaves to meet and reinforce the retreating regiment. Captain Lardner quickly got the Susquehanna under way, and ordering the Monticello to double Cape Hatteras and proceed along the shore, at eight o'clock in the evening anchored within half gun-shot of the light-house. The Monticello had not proceeded far, when she caught sight of the enemy coming down in full pursuit, and over the woods on the other side of the shoals, the masts of several rebel vessels. The commander, Lieutenant Braine, immediately opened on them with shells, which exploding in their midst scattered them in all directions. Rolling up their flag, they made for a clump of trees for protection. The Monticello followed them, pitching its shells with fatal accuracy into their midst. Their triumphant march had been sadly interfered with, and fleeing like frightened deer, they at length reached the woods, abreast of which their vessels lay, and began to embark. The Monticello then shelled the vessels, sinking some of the boats laden with the fugitives, a part of whom rushed wildly into the water to wade to the launches, ducking their heads in the mean while to escape the shells that fell momentarily around them. The belt of land where they were first discovered, was not more than a third of a mile wide, so that they presented a fair mark to th: guns of the steamer, which for two hours played incessantle

upon them.

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