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NAVAL DISASTER BELOW NEW ORLEANS.

justified the choice which placed him at the head of this expedition. The successful issue of that expedition filled up the measure of his fame. General Sherman, his associate in command, was born in Rhode Island, and graduated at West Point in 1836. He served with distinction in the Florida war, and afterward proceeded with General Taylor to Mexico. He was breveted major for his brave and meritorious conduct at the battle of Beuna Vista, in February, 1847. After the commencement of the Rebellion, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the fifth artillery; and at the battle of Manassas had command of the battery which was designated by his name. The defeat which overtook him on that occa sion, in common with many other brave and skillful officers, did not dim the lustre of his reputation. He was subsequently elevated to the rank of brigadier-general, and placed in command of the land forces destined for the conquest of Port Royal.

While these important events were transpiring along the eastern seaboard, other incidents of inferior moment were occurring in the southwest. On the 12th of October, 1861, the Rebel forces below New Orleans gave evidence of their activity by the use of a naval instrument of warfare, or rather by the revival of a means of destruction which had been prevalent among combatants during ages which have long passed away. At half-past three o'clock, on the morning of the day just named, while the watch on board the Federal steamer Richmond were engaged in taking in coal from a schooner lying alongside, and while partial darkness still prevailed, they were astonished by the sudden approach of a steam battering ram toward the vessels. An alarm was instantly given, but before any means of protection could be employed, she struck the Richmond with tremendous violence, and stove a hole through her side. Three planks were torn away two feet below the water line, making an aperture of considerable dimensions. The ram then passed to the rear of the disabled vessel; but as she did so, the port guns of the Richmond were discharged at her. At this moment three large fire rafts of the enemy were seen approaching the Federal ships, accompanied by several Rebel steamers. The Federal commander, Captain John Pope, immediately signalled to the Vincennes, the Preble, and the Water Witch, to slip their cables, proceed down the southwest channel of the Mississippi, and pass over the bar. During the passage, and while the enemy were in chase of them, the Richmond and the Vincennes grounded, and thereby Curnished the Rebels a favorable opportunity for the use of their guns. The Federal ships, however, responded vigorously to their fire. After considerable effort, the grounded vessels were lightened, and conducted over the bar, after which the chase and the action ceased. The commanders of the several Federal vessels did not gain many laurels by their display of skill and heroism on this occasion.

A more brilliant incident soon after occurred near Springfield, Missouri.

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On the 25th of October, three hundred men, who formed the body-guard of General Fremont, under the command of a Hungarian refugee named Zagonyi, attacked a Rebel camp near that place, containing two thousand men. The movement was an extremely bold and sudden one, and its results were most advantageous. The Rebel troops were completely surprised, overpowered, defeated, and compelled to flee, not only in the utmost confusion, but also with considerable losses. It was a daring and praiseworthy achievement; but it was unfortunately the only successful movement of importance which was performed, during the administration. of that department by General Fremont, by any of the forces or officers under his command.

Soon after this event, on the 7th of November, three thousand five hundred Federal troops, under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, proceeded against a Rebel force stationed at the village of Belmont, in Missouri, nearly opposite to Columbus. General McClernand accompanied the expedition. The troops embarked at Cairo on a number of steamers, and proceeded as far as Lucas's Bend, three miles above Columbus, on the Missouri side of the river. At that point they landed. The Rebel encampment was placed on elevated ground several miles distant from the shore, and from their position they could clearly perceive the movements of the Federal forces. They therefore had ample time to prepare for their defence. As soon as the Union troops had disembarked, a large number of the Rebels, advancing from their camps, approached the river, and commenced an attack upon them. A running fight ensued over the entire distance which intervened between the river and the camp. The Federal troops pressed on with success, and each division seemed eager to gain the honor of having first reached the position of the enemy. That achievement was performed by the right division, led by Colonel Buford; and the twenty-seventh Illinois was the first regiment to unfurl the stars and stripes within the Rebel encampment.

That encampment contained about five thousand men, with an ample supply of arms and ammunition. Upon the arrival of the Federal troops at that point, a desperate and bloody combat ensued. The whole camp became the wide scene of tumultuous collisions, of hand-to-hand combats, of advancing and retreating columns, of the capture and recapture of guns, of the conflagration of tents, baggage, and stores, of slaughter and of death. In the end, the Rebel troops were compelled to give way, and to flee in the utmost confusion, leaving the Federal forces in possession of the field, and of their position.

Scarcely, however, had this important result been attained, when it was discovered that large and fresh masses of Rebels were rapidly ap proaching the scene of conflict, from the opposite side of the river, for the purpose of cutting off the return of the victors to their transports. These reinforcements came from Columbus, which was at that time strongly

INCIDENTS OF THE ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT.

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garrisoned by the enemy. Quickly and clearly discerning the position of affairs, General Grant gave the order to fall back to the boats. While executing this movement, the Union troops encountered the advancing Rebels; and as they had been compelled to fight their way to the captured camp, so they were now compelled to fight their way back again. They did it valiantly. They brought away with them several hundred prisoners, two cannon, and a quantity of arms and ammunition. They reached their boats after some very hard fighting, and then returned to Cairo. The conflict had lasted from ten o'clock in the morning till five in the afternoon. The loss was considerable on both sides; that of the Federal troops being about three hundred in killed and wounded, that of the enemy was perhaps greater. General Grant had two horses shot under him. A similar accident befell General McClernand. As a whole, the battle was a brilliant achievement on the part of the Federal troops, who executed a daring and difficult enterprise, with great bravery and resolu tion. The Federal forces employed on this occasion were from Illinois with the exception of the seventh Iowa regiment.

On the 2d of November, 1861, General Fremont was relieved from the administration of the Department of the West. During some time previous to that date, loud complaints had been made by men eminent in the civil and military service of the country, in regard to the manner in which he had conducted the affairs of his department. It was boldly charged that he was incompetent to fulfil the duties of his responsible position; that he was destitute of military skill; that he had given several hundred military commissions to men utterly unfit for them; that he had permitted contracts to be made, and had ratified and indorsed them, by which the Federal Government had been defrauded of immense sums of money; that all his operations were carried on at an enormous and superfluous expense; and that, notwithstanding that expense, little was accomplished during many months, except the erection of a few fortifications around St. Louis. For the purpose of ascertaining the truth of these charges Simon Cameron, then Secretary of War, visited St. Louis, accompanied by Adjutant-General Thomas. They reached that city on the 11th of October. They proceeded to examine into the state of affairs, and inspect the several camps in Missouri, including those at St. Louis, at Tipton and at Syracuse. At these places General Thomas collected the data which he subsequently emboided in a report, which was published and addressed to Mr. Cameron. In that report General Thomas alleged, that the evidence was conclusive, that Fremont might have reinforced General Lyon at Springfield, and might thus have averted one of the heaviest misfortunes of the war; that General Fremont had allowed himself to be surrounded by a number of adventurers and speculators, from various portions of the Union, by whom the Government had been defrauded of large amounts; that he had issued military commissions to incompetent men and to per

sonal favorites, who possessed no military knowledge or experience whatever; that by these and other offences, he had inflicted serious damage on the interests of the nation, and had retarded the operations of the war.

These charges, and the proofs which accompanied them, eventually produced a decisive effect on the mind of President Lincoln; and he felt compelled, though with much reluctance, to order the removal of General Fremont. He was succeeeded in his command by General Hunter, a veteran officer who had fought with great gallantry on several occasions. No reasonable and intelligent person doubted the integrity and the excellent intentions of General Fremont; and his removal was not intended by the President, nor was it regarded by the nation, as a stigma upon his pri vate character, or on his loyalty and patriotism. He at once acquiesced with dignity and grace in the orders of the Executive; and urged his offended and incensed troops, who at one time were disposed to mutiny, not to make the least display of dissatisfaction, but to serve his successor in office as faithfully as they had served himself. It may with truth be asserted, that no part of General Fremont's military administration did him so much honor, or evinced his personal excellence more clearly, than his spirit and manner in resigning it. With that superior wisdom and equity which generally marked the official conduct of President Lincoln during his administration, he readily detected where the real difficulty lay; and at a subsequent period evinced his appreciation of the merits of General Fremont, by appointing him to the command of the Mountain Department of Western Virginia.

MISSION OF MESSRS MASON AND SLIDELL.

CHAPTER XV.

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EUROPEAN RECOGNITION OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY-EFFORTS MADE TO OBTAIN ITMISSION OF MESSRS. MASON AND SLIDELL-THEIR ARREST ON BOARD THE TRENT-LEGALITY OF THAT ARREST-THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT DEMAND THEM-THEY ARE SURRENDEREDREASONS OF THEIR SURRENDER-DIPLOMATIC NOTE OF MR. SEWARD ON THE SUBJECT— ARGUMENT OF MR. SUMNER IN THE SENATE-THE BATTLE OF DRANESVILLE-INCIDENTS OF THE ENGAGEMENT-ITS RESULTS-GENERAL MCCALL-SKETCH OF HIS CAREER-DISMIS SAL OF MR. CAMERON FROM THE FEDERAL CABINET-THE WAR IN KENTUCKY-THE BATTLE OF MILL SPRINGS-INCIDENTS OF THE CONFLICT-BAYONET CHARGE OF THE NINTH OшIO REGIMENT-DEFEAT OF THE REBELS-DEATH OF GENERAL FELIX ZOLLICOFFER-HIS CHARACTER-RESULTS OF THE BATTLE OF MILL SPRINGS-SUBSEQUENT FLIGHT AND DISPERSION OF THE REBEL TROOPS.

THE crafty and resolute leaders of the Southern Rebellion labored from the beginning of their treasonable movements, with great zeal and earnestness, to obtain the approval and recognition of several of the most important European powers. To this end William L. Yancey and his associates had been sent abroad at an early stage of the rebellion. For this purpose Messrs. Mason and Slidell were selected in October, 1861, to follow them to Europe, as the envoys of the Confederate Government, to unite their efforts with those of their predecessors in accomplishing that desirable result. Scarcely had these commissioners sailed from Havana on board the British packet Trent, when they were arrested, through the vigilance and energy of an American officer. Captain Wilkes, who was already well known for his ability and usefulness in connection with the United States service, commanded the San Jacinto, then cruising in the West Indies; and having been informed, while stopping at Cienfuegos, that these diplomatic Rebels had escaped from the South, and that they had embarked on board the Trent for England, determined immediately to start in pursuit of them. It was while sailing in the narrowest part of the Bahama channel, that he was so fortunate as to encounter the packet. He immediately bore down upon her, fired a shot across hèr bows to bring her to, and sent two boats under the command of Lieutenant Fairfax, for the purpose of making the arrest. The Rebels were personally known to the Lieutenant; and he, having boarded the Trent, and having made known to her commander the purpose of his visit, demanded his prisoners. The furious and profane blustering of the British captain, the solemn and mock-heroic protests of the Rebels, the frantic screams of their wives and children, the blows even which were inflicted by fair and delicate hands on the manly physiognomy of the lieutenant, all availed nothing; and Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their two secretaries, descended with many grimaces from the deck of the

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