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273

PANIC AND PILLAGE.

was animation and exultation, and the inhabitants crowded to the sanctuary to offer up their thanksgivings for victory, when suddenly there passed through the streets the startling murmur, "Fort Donelson has surrendered." Faces turned pale with affright-the assembling congregations halted and anxiously inquired each of the other what it meant--the bells stopped pealing, and suddenly Governor Harris, dashed on horseback through the streets like a madman, shouting that the enemy was at the door. In an instant all was commotion and alarm. The frightened inhabitants rushed for their homes, and seizing such things as they could easily carry, jumped into carriages, omnibusses, carts, indeed every thing on wheels, and streamed a panic-stricken crowd from the city. The public stores were thrown open, into which the rabble rushed to pillage, and a scene of indescribable terror and madness followed. In the midst of the confusion, Johnston's columns entered the city, and marching through it struck southward for Murfreesborough. Ali day and night and next morning the panic continued, during which the city was under a reign of terror.

But the Federal gun boats not arriving, comparative tranquillity was restored, and the rebel stores began to be moved to a place of safety.

Thus fell Nashville, though our forces did not take formal possession of it till the next week. But little Union feeling was found among the inhabitants that remained, and it was evident the place would have to be held with the strong hand.

The rebel forces fled south, and it was uncertain where they would next make a stand. All eyes were now turned to Columbus, as the next stronghold to yield before our advancing columns.

In the mean time, Curtis, who had taken command of the

army in Missouri, had steadily pushed Price before him, till

274

CURTIS IN MISSOURI.

he had driven him over the Arkansas border, and was still pressing his retiring columns.

Thus closed the month of February in the valley of the Mississippi. East, scarce less stirring events had marked its passage, and every where the national arms were victorious.

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FEBRUARY, 1862.

APPEARANCE-THE

BURNSIDE ADVANCES WITH HIS FLEET TO ROANOKE ISLAND-ITS SPLENDID
ATTACK--LANDING OF THE TROOPS-THE ADVANCE
AGAINST THE ENEMY'S WORKS-GALLANTRY OF A CHAPLAIN-OF MIDSHIP-
MAN PORTER-THE VICTORY-ATTACK ON THE REBEL FLEET AT ELIZABETH
CITY BY CAPTAIN ROWANA FIERCE COMBAT--GALLANTRY OF ASSISTANT
GUNNER DAVIS-CAPTURE OF EDENTON-WINTON BURNED-INAUGURATION
OF DAVIS AT RICHMOND--READING OF WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL AD-
DRESS AT THE NORTH ON HIS BIRTH DAY-BATTLE NEAR FORT CRAIG IN
NEW MEXICO-GALLANTRY OF CAPTAIN MC RAE.

ΟΝ

N the same day, February fifth, that Foote was moving up the Cumberland to fort Henry, Burnside set sail with his fleet from Hatteras Inlet, where he had lain over three weeks, for Roanoke Island. Swept by successive storms he had, nevertheless, by herculean labors, sufficiently repaired his disasters to commence active operations.

The day was mild and balmy, and the fragmentary clouds went trooping lazily across the sky, as the fleet of sixty-five vessels swept majestically onward over the rippling waters, of the sound, towards its place of destination. In three compact columns-nearly two miles long-the watery aisles between, broken only here and there by a little propeller darting across to convey orders to the different vessels-it moved on, the embodiment of awful power. Piled with cannon and missiles of death, and loaded to the gunwales with ranks of brave men, that cloud of ships presented a spectacle never before witnessed on American waters. At sundown, being within ten miles of the southern point of the island, the signal to anchor floated from the flag ship, when the fleet rested for the night, and the mellow moonlight flooded the inspiring scene.

276

APPROACHING ROANOKE ISLAND.

The next morning at eight o'clock it was again under way. But the aspect of the heavens had changed, and dark, heavy clouds lay along the horizon, betokening a storm. At eleven o'clock it burst upon them and the entire squadron came to a halt. After a time the storm broke, and it moved slowly on again.

The weather was too dark to attempt the passage of the Roanoke Inlet that night, and the fleet again came to anchor. The following morning, the sun rose in a sky mottled with fleecy clouds, indicating fine weather, and soon the long line was once more under way.

The vessels continued slowly to approach the enemy's works till eleven o'clock, when the first gun from the flag ship broke the silence that brooded over the water. As the heavy echo rolled away, the signal was run up, "This day our country expects that every man will do his duty." The effect was electrical, and the men sprung to their guns with flashing eyes.

.

Roanoke Island, situated between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, and completely commanding the channel connecting them, had been carefully fortified by the rebels. Two strong works, mounting together twenty-two heavy guns, three of them one-hundred-pounders, rifled-four batteries of twenty-two guns-eight supporting steamers, and formidable obstructions in the channel, together with a garrison of three thousand men, constituted the means of defense relied upon by the enemy, and were deemed quite sufficient to repel any attempt of Burnside's fleet to pass up the sound.

By twelve o'clock the action became general—our squadron saluting the rebel batteries and gun boats by turns-and the steady roar of artillery, bursting of shells, with ever and anon the thunder crash of the one hundred-pound Parrott guns, made sea and shore tremble. Clouds of rolling smoke, now hugging the water, and now shooting out in fierce puffs,

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