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A BRILLIANT CHARGE.
making the whole distance in nineteen hours, was before the place at three o'clock in the afternoon of the next day. But, rapid as had been his approach, the enemy were apprised of his coming, and stood drawn up in line of battle to receive him. The Union inhabitants came out of their houses as he passed, welcoming him with tears, but beseeching him not to advance, for the enemy were nearly two thousand strong. But this gallant officer had not made his forced march of fifty miles for nothing, and determined to give the rebels a taste of his steel before he returned. He thought too, perhaps, of Wilson's creek, near by. The rebels were drawn up in an open field, about half a mile from the city. The major had no time to waste in skirmishing, and pressed right on through the fire of the enemy's skirmishers, which emptied several saddles, till he came in sight of the main body just before him. Finding the place too confined' to form his men in, he galloped for two hundred and fifty yards down a lane, all the while exposed to a murderous fire, when he came upon a rail fence. Scattering this from his path, he emerged into the open field and formed his little band of a hundred and fifty, right in the enemy's camp. The next moment, the shrill bugle sounded the charge, the riders plunged their spurs into their horses, and raising their swords above their heads, dashed up the slope with a cheer. The enemy saw the clattering tempest close upon them, and giving but one volley, broke and fled. Through and through the disordered ranks this hundred and fifty swept like a hurricane, the sword drinking blood at every step. Horse and rider tumbled on the field, but the living kept on, shouting their war cry, “Fremont and the Union.” The infantry soon found shelter in the woods, when the bugle sounded the recall, they then rallied, turned and pursued the rebel cavalry, which had fled towards the town. Down through the streets like a torrent, came the decimated band, clearing them ou 184.
RESULT OF THE OHARGU. every side. Twenty times did these bold riders charge through the streets, till not a vestige of the enemy
remained. When the bugle finally sounded the recall, only two-thirds of the entire band drew up before their leader. They had marked their course, however, with destruction; having killed and wounded more than their entire number, besides taking twenty-seven prisoners.
SECRET NAVAL EXPEDITION-OVERTAKEN BY A STORM-JOY OF THE SOUTH
AND FEARS OF THE NORTH-DESCRIPTION OF THE WRECK-ARRIVAL OFF PORT ROYAL, HILTON HEAD, AND BAY ISLAND-PREPARATIONS TO ATTACK
THEM-GRAND APPEARANCE OF THE VESSELS-THE ATTACK-TIIE VICTORY
TERROR OF THE PEOPLE OF CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH-STRANGE INAC
TIVITY OF THE LAND FORCES-PROCLAMATIONS-TIMIDITY AND WEAKNESS
OF THE GOVERNMENTRETIREMENT OF SCOTT FROM PUBLIC LIFE-MC CLEL
LAN TAKES HIS PLACE-PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN HIM-GRAND REVIEW OF
THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
HE month of October closed up gloomily for the admin
istration, though it did not seem to be aware of it. There was deep dissatisfaction throughout the country with the manner in which things were conducted. In Missouri, Fremont was still continued in command, though the popular demand for his removal was very urgent. The defeat at Wilson's creek, and the fall of Lexington, had destroyed public confidence in his ability to manage his Gifficult department. Even his friends, the Blairs, had turned against him.
The conduct of affairs directly around Washington gave almost equal dissatisfaction. The beautiful month of October, so well fitted for active operations in the field, had passed, and November, with its dreary storms and impassable roads was close upon us. Throughout the entire month, almost every day had its rumor of an immediate advance upon Manassas.
Manassas. At one time it seemed certain that a sud. den flank movement was determined upon.
The enemy apo
DISSATISFACTION OF THE PEOPLE.
peared to think so too, and to suspect that it would be made down the Potomac; and suddenly extended his lines to the river at Aquia creek, thus presenting a front reaching from it to the Blue ridge. This river, too, was blockaded by the heavy batteries he had erected along the Virginia shore, so that the Capital had no water communication with fortress Monroe, except when some daring craft, taking advantage of a stormy night, ventured to run the gauntlet of their fire. This was felt to be a national disgrace, and the question was asked on every side, “Why is not the Potomac opened ?" The national heart became restive under the menacing presence of the rebel army at Manassas, and this blockade of the Capital by water. Delay of active operations was cheerfully acquiesced in during the warm, unhealthy season, but now there seemed no excuse for it. Was there not a splendid army around Washington, eager to advance? In the Winter, active campaigning in Virginia would be impossible on account of the roads. To leave every thing to be done in the few spring months would necessarily prolong the war another year,
and that would bankrupt the nation. Such was the language used on every side.
Besides, France and England were growing restive under the derangement which our blockade caused to their commerce, and if nothing was accomplished before spring, they would it was thought, demand its abandonment.
The Secretary of War was denounced on every side as inefficient, and was accused of being more anxious to make fat contracts for his friends than to save the country. The whole Cabinet was declared to be sound asleep. A nightmare seemed to rest on every thing, while there was a restlessness in the community that would not be allayed by excuses. Grand reviews were held in Virginia, but the country needed action. General Scott had to bear his share of the public complaint. He was too old and infirm to stand at the helm
PORT ROYAL EXPEDITION.
while the ship of state was struggling in such a storm. The west was especially discontented. It said, “Do something with the tens of thousands of brave men we have sent you, or send them back that we may use them.” The western mind can not brook inaction. Active itself, it demands action in others. It had rather be defeated once, and try again, than not try at all.
EXPEDITION TO PORT ROYAL.
One thing alone served to divert public attention from the inactivity of the army around Washington, and that was the departure of a secret naval expedition of grand proportions. Nearly twenty thousand land forces and marines together, the former under General Sherman, and a fleet of fifty vessels, eighteen of them men of war, commanded by Dupont, lest Hampton Roads on the twenty-ninth of October, and proceeded southward. Bad management had delayed its departure several days after the troops had embarked, thus losing the most beautiful portion of Indian summer; but at length it disappeared in the horizon, and the nation was in a state of intense excitement respecting its destination. Every point along our extensive coast was in turn suggested. The very mystery that enveloped the expedition increased the interest felt in its fate, while at the same time it magnified the importance of the results to be accomplished by it. Of one thing, all were certain, it would strike terror to the south.
It had been out but a few days, however, when one of the most terrific storms ever experienced in this latitude swept our coast. The triumph in anticipation was changed into alarm for its safety, and north and south--the fate of the Spanish Armada was revived in the memory of all. Many