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forts. All was silent on Hilton Head until the Wabash got directly abreast, when the guns of the fort which had beef trained on her, suddenly opened. Fort Beauregard, on the opposite side, responded; and the heavy shot came crashing through the rigging and spars, and tearing up the water on
Still not a shot replied. But as the second steamer came opposite the works, the three leading vessels opened their broadsides at once, and shot and shell from seventy-five guns fell in one wild crash, on the fort.
Each vessel in turn as it came alongside delivered its broadside, till the thunders shook the bay. The Wabash, as it moved slowly ahead, wheeled and came down alongside the fort on the opposite island, followed in single file by the fleet, delivering their broadsides as they passed. Again wheeling, they swept back, taking the first fort as before—and thus kept moving on in flame, describing a huge letter 0. It was a grand, terrific spectacle. Amid this rain of death, the men in the chains kept calling the soundings with the calm precision they would if only buoying out the channel, while the heavy shot fell on the doomed fortress as fast as a horse's feet beat the ground in a gallop. Said one of the aids of Dupont, who watched the fire from the deck of the flag-ship, "The Wabash was a destroying angel-hugging the shore ; calling the soundings with cold indifference; slowing the engine, so as to give only steerage; signaling to the vessels their various evolutions, and at the same time raining shells as with target practice, too fast to count.”
Thus for four hours, with only a little interval to cool the guns and rest the men, that line of vessels swept round and round on their destructive course until at length the rebels, unable longer to stand the horrible tempest of shot and shell, broke and fled for the main land. Some of the gun boats had got inside, and hugging the shore, poured an ertilading fire into the fort. Others outside did the same, till
it became too hot for mortal flesh to stand. At half past, three, the stars and stripes went up where the rebel flag had floated; and then from ship to ship the cheers arose, till they reached the transports in the distance, when the watching thousands took it up and sent it “strong and great against the sky.” The garrisons, in their wild dismay, left, every thing behind them. The commander of fort Walker, General Drayton, had a brother in our fleet, a captain, who helped to shell him out.
The sound of the heavy cannonading had been heard far inland; and when the news of the fall of the place reached Charleston and Savannah on either side, the utmost consternation seized the inhabitants. Men packed up
Men packed up their household goods and fled into the interior, expecting an immediate march inland of the invading forces, against whose victorious advance they had no adequate means of resistance. At the north the news of the victory was received with the most unbounded delight. . Not only had the flag been plant, ed on the rebellious soil of South Carolina, but it was looked upon as a 'mere preliminary step to an advance by the army
under Sherman. : To the amazement of the nation, : however, this officer contented himself with issuing a proclamation to the inhabitants, and then turned his aitention to building docks.:
Indeed; it had seemed for a time impossible to convince tlfe administration that there was not sufficient Union feeling ar the south to overthrow the rebels of itself the moment it dare speak. Like the belief that the slaves would rise the moment war was declared, it could only be eradicated by ihe stern evidence of facts. - East and west proclamations had followed the slightest success, until it seemed as though moré was expected from them than from. bayonets.
What definite idea the government had in this descent upon Port Royal, :does not appear. It was said to have
PURPOSE OF THE EXPEDITION.
been done that we might have a convenient port on the southern coast for the rendezvous, etc., of our ships in that region and in the gulf. But we already had Key West; be- . sides, why for that purpose did we need such an army there ? A few gun boats could hold the place securely. Some consoled themselves with the fact that we had opened a cotton port—a great desideratum to us and to Europe; but as time passed on, the positive advantage we had gained became less and less apparent. Sherman of course acted under orders in not advancing inland. The government, ignorant of the forces of the enemy along the coast, was doubtless afraid of some catastrophe. It had become nerv. ous, while at the same time it lacked the genius necessary to prosecute an offensive war. Bonaparte often succeeded by conduct that the world called rash, and attributed his success to luck alone. But he knew that moral power was half, even where every thing seemed to depend on hard blows. A disconcerted, frightened army, he knew, was already beaten; and a blow planted in the midst of terror needed not to be a very heavy one to complete the work of destruction. It is a truth that Generals seldom learn, that moral force is strong. er than artillery, and can be relied on with more absolute certainty. With the terror inspired by that sudden descent on the Carolina coast, the army under Sherman could, no doubt, have marched into Savannah without firing a gun. After this display of power, the panic-stricken inhabitants were amazed to see the victors turn their exclusive attention to building wharves and collecting negroes. The army lay for a long time on board the transports, without attempting to land, even, on the deserted island.
But while the navy was thus making its first essay along our coast, an important change took place in military affairs at Washington. The veteran Commander-in-Chief, Generai Siootto weighed down by age and infirmities, sent in his
RETIREMENT OF SCOTT.
resignation to the President. It was an affecting spectacle to see the old hero, who had carried our flag over so many victorious battle fields, lay down his sword forever. Taking his final leave of public affairs, he was escorted by a part of the Cabinet to New York; and on young McClellan now fell the mighty responsibility that he no longer felt able to sustain. Never did the eyes of a great nation turn with a more anxious solicitude, a warmer affection, and a deeper trust on any one man, than they did on McClellan. His words on the presentation of a sword to him by Philadelphia: "The war can not last long. It may be desperate. I ask in the futare forbearance, patience, confidence:" sank deep into the public heart. The former expression was supposed to indicate an immediate movement of the army of the Potomac or the enemy's lines at Manassas. A grand army was assembied at Washington--around the city every hight was dotted with encampments-heavy divisions were on the lower and upper Potomac on the Maryland shore, while a wilderness of encampments in Virginia stretched from below Alexandria to Lewinsville, some ten miles above the Capital. Every day the public ear was bent to catch the long roll of the drum, running from the center to each extremity, which should send this past host onward. But the mild, autumnal weeks wore slowly away, and still it came not.
Each one: asked his neighbor “what can it mean?" Now and then a cold storm reminded all of the coming on of winter, yet no provision was made for winter quarters—the tens of thousands of cavalry horses stood picketed in the open fields, exposed to the weather; and yet the order that was to bid. this mighty host march was not heard. But at length a grand review of all the divisions together that were located in Virginia was appointed. The interdict was taken off from Long Bridge, -no passes were required for that day, and all who wished might go to see it.
The announcement of tbie