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GENERAL SHERMAN'S PROCLAMATION, &C.
of the awful sacrifices made by the devastation of
our property; the shedding of fraternal blood in
civilized world with the odious | The town of Beaufort was Sherman's Proclamasentiment that self-government found deserted-only one tion to the People. is impossible with civilized man. white man was there and "Fellow Citizens: I implore you to pause and re- he was too drunk to escape. The fine resiflect upon the tenor and consequences of your acts, dences were thrown open to the winds, and negroes were holding wild riot in parlors and chambers. Everywhere were evidences of a hasty exit-scarcely anything having been removed by the terror-stricken people. It was a foolish flight; had the inhabitants remained, none would have suffered in property or person. Yet, had any remained it would have been regarded an evidence of disloyalty to the South, so rigidly was the line drawn by those who made laws and created public sentiment in the South. No ocother object than to unlawfully disrupt the Confed-cupation of the place was made, however, at
battle, the mourning and wailing of widows and orphans throughout our land are insufficient to deter you from further pursuing this unholy war, then ponder, I beseech you, upon the ultimate, but not less certain result which its farther prosecution must necessarily and naturally entail upon your once happy and prosperous State. Indeed, can you pursue this fratricidal war, and continue to imbue your hands in the loyal blood of your countrymen, your neighbors, your friends, your kinsmen, for no
eracy of a great people-a Confederacy established
insurrection and rebellion. T. W. SHERMAN,
"Brigadier-General Commanding. "HEADQUARTERS, PORT ROYAL, S. C., Nov. 8, 1861." This was but a mere form, however, since no means existed whereby it could be placed before the Carolina people. No Southern paper, if possessed of a copy, would dare or care to reprint it. Any negro found with a copy of it in his possession was sure to receive bloody stripes as his reward. Any man willing to accept the proffered mercy would have been deemed a traitor and punished according ly by the rebel authorities, for they knew the meaning of treason and did not hesitate to apply the full rigor of the law to delinquents. For all of which reasons the proclamation fell as impotently as if it were written in an unknown tongue.
Saturday, November 9th, a reconnoissance was made up Broad and Beaufort rivers, by the gunboats Seneca, Pembina and Curlew.
that time, though two gunboats remained anchored off the main street. November 12th it was visited by the two Commandersin-Chief and again left to the negroes.
Extension of Fortifcations.
Meanwhile the work of unloading the fleet of transports was progressing, and the construction of wharves, depots, bar racks, &c., entered upon. The defenses were at once put in a good state of efficiency, while great exertions were put forth to add to their extent and strength. A careful topographical survey of Hilton Head island was made, and, at all points indicated by the engineers, defensive works were thrown up. In one month's time the position was deemed perfectly secure against any attack which the enemy might make.
Alarm of the People.
No attack, however, was meditated. The alarm and terrorism which followed upon the Federal descent and occupation, for a brief period left the entire area of country from Charleston and Savannah quite at the mercy of any invading force. The latter city was a scene of extreme excitement for the week following the fall of Fort Walker; women and children fled into the interior, while all males capable of bearing arms, were called to the field— expecting every hour to hear the sound of Federal guns booming up from below against Pulaski. Every step was taken, during the weeks succeeding the advent of the Yankees,' to save Savannah from what was deemed her impending calamity-its occupation by
Alarm of the People.
Sherman's forces. A dispatch from Charleston to Richmond, Nov. 17th, said: "The unexpected failure of our shore batteries at Bay Point
and Hilton Head to demolish at least one of
persons so drafted and warned wno shall neglect or
low waters forming an intricate but admira
the attacking vessels, has sadly shaken the popular confidence in the efficiency of our guns against the monster frigates and iron-ble inland communication between Charleston clad gunboats which they may have to encounter, and now, so alarmed are many of the sordid souls that infest all the Southern cities, that the effect may already be seen in the lengthening of freight trains which leave almost hourly for the interior. In Savannah the panic is even more general and decided, whole neighborhoods having been suddenly left deserted by the exodus of the wives and
children of those who are in arms at Fort
Pulaski and the batteries on the Savannah river." This was no fancy picture.
Rebel Preparations for Defense.
Charleston likewise was the scene of alarm; but with commendable energy -if energy in a bad cause can be commendable the State authorities prepared to contest any advance beyond the limits of the islands adjacent to Hilton Head. In the week of Nov. 10th-17th, numerous bodies of militia and volunteers occupied various points along the Savannah and Charleston railway; Port Royal ferry was strongly fortified; at Pocataligo, ten miles North of Port Royal islands, fortifications were thrown up and guns mounted; a large force under command of General Drayton gathered at Bluffton; while the Ninth and Twelfth South Carolina volunteers, and the Edisto and Beaufort ar
tillery took up a strong position on Port Royal island. Orders promulgated by General DeSaussure for the defense of Charleston were very stringeat, indicating a purpose to defend that city to the last extremity. One section of the order may be quoted as indicative of the manner in which military conscrip
tion was enforced :
"The commanding officers of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth regiments will promptly issue orders for the draft pointed out in section CXLVI., A. A., 1841, A. A., 1841, and will order the persons so drafted to be warned for duty, and the persons so warned will promptly assemble at the respective muster grounds, armed and equipped for duty. All
and Savannah, prevented the Federal forces from operating against the enemy at the points indicated. Sherman afterwards wrote,* in defense of his apparent inactivity at that time: "Immediately after effecting a landing at Port Royal-a place that had not been agreed upon to land until after the departure of the expedition-I studied the general state of affairs as far as I was able, and con
cluded that in consideration of the unlooked
for extent of the success of the combined expedition thus far, (which involved the capture of the whole coast from Edisto to Ossabaw Sound,) with a reenforcement of ten thousand men, five light draught steamers, a certain number of rowboats, and a certain additional amount of land transportation, a system of internal operations that would not conflict would be a great support to it, might be with the general plan of the campaign, but wisely conducted from Port Royal as soon as our positions were secured, and that would lead to the capture of Savannah and Fort Pulaski, and, as an immediate consequence, the whole coast south, and afterwards Charleston. This plan, as a generality, was proposed to the War Department, and the reenforcements and means as above, asked for.
“The plan for reducing Pulaski was fully and speedily approved, and the armament for the siege asked for was ordered. The armament, I believed, had mostly to be manufactured, and did not reach me in sufficient ・
quantity to authorize an effectual assault till the last of March. The general plan was much as the siege armament, the steamboats supposed to have been also approved, inas
and rowboats were ordered to be sent to me. But the steamers that were sent from New York in the latter part of December never
*Communication to National Intelligencer, July 26, 1862. See the same for a full exposition of his con duct of affairs in that department, up to March 30th, 1862.
SINKING OF THE STONE FLEET.
vessels ladened with stone
reached me-not one; the reason, I suppose, will some day come to light. The hundred rowboats, though I had been officially advised, in the middle of January, that they had been hurried on, never reached me until the 24th of March-five days before I was relieved from duty there, and even then but half the num- | harbor. She never was able to escape with ber that had been asked for. The reason for her heavy return load of cotton, but was this extraordinary delay, it is hoped, will finally burned to prevent her seizure by the also some day come to light. In the course Federalists. We have already referred to of the winter I received also a reenforcement this craft, [see foot Note, page 143,] as an of four regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, evidence of the gross violation or the Queen's and one harnessed light battery. So, unless proclamation of neutrality [see Appendix, the army could have been possessed with the page 474]. It is gratifying to know that, attributes of a Moses, my plans, or indeed any like many similar breaches of international system of internal operations, could not have comity, it resulted in heavy loss to the abetbeen carried out or pursued during the time tors of insurrection. I commanded the expedition."
The Stone Fleet.
The old vessels above adverted to were purchased in the North, from among the disabled and idle whalers, were loaded heavily with stone, and dispatched to the South, with orders to rendezvous at Hilton Head and Savannah. The design was to sink them in harbor channels and thus to render a blockade effective. Savannah being secure by the occupation of Tybee island, the vessels which had there rendezvoused were diverted to Charleston, where they were successfully submerged, December 19th and 20th, in the main ship channel, between Morris' and Sullivan's islands. They were so disposed as to prevent the exit or entrance of any craft, though not to bank up the waters and thus create sand bars. The Federal Government's wish was temporarily to obstruct the passage, in order to assist in the blockade at a season when it would be difficult and dangerous for the squadron to maintain its place off the station.* The passage called Maffit's channel was obstructed, a few days later. We may add, neither pas
With the insufficient means at his disposal for extended operations much was done. An expedition consisting of three gunboats proceeded (Nov. 24th) to Tybee island, off Savannah river-meeting with no opposition from the rebel fortifications at that point. A reconnoissance by General Sherman in person, was made Nov. 26th, to within half a league of Fort Pulaski, which saluted the party with several shells. Other reconnoissances followed, resulting in giving the Federal commanders a perfect knowledge of the enemy's disposition and strength. Beaufort was finally occupied on the night of Dec. 6th, when Stevens' brigade pitched their camps in and around the village. It was indeed a melancholy sight to witness those homes of ease and aristocratic association given over to desolation or to the wild revels of negroes, who, for the first time in their existence, knew no restraint. The village became hospital headquarters and afforded comfortable provision for the soldiers debilitated by the climate. Tybee island was formally occupied, a few days later, by the Forty-sixth New York regiment. December 20th, seven companies of the Seventh Connecticut, underment's business; and, in the next place, as if the Colonel Terry, landed, with materials for a permanent possession. Fort Pulaski opened on the transports bearing the troops, but without effect-the distance being too great for its guns. Thereafter Savannah harbor was so effectively sealed that the fleet of old
*The English Government protested against the sealing up of harbors by artificial process. As if, in the first place, it was any of the English Govern
English Government had not practised the same belligerent right in French harbors. Mr. Seward replied to the protest in effect that the United States Government held itself bound to resturn the obstructed harbors to efficiency after peace was restored.
sage was more than obstructed in name, for they were both used by the blockade runners ere three months had expired.
Great quantities of cotwere found on the islands, in spite of the burning ordered by the authorities. The gathering, packing and shipping of this much desired staple occupied a large force of negroes, who came in in such numbers as to form a colony of a very unique character. These people, deserted by their owners, sought the Federal lines without fear, although South Carolina masters sedulously disseminated among them the idea that every negro man, woman and child coming within reach of the Yankees would be sent immediately to Cuba for sale. It was an amusing sight to witness the quiet humor with which the slaves expressed their disbelief in any story of worse evils than they had, for generations, suffered. Acting under orders from the War Department, Sherman had them comfortably quartered; all were busily employed who were able to work, and, for the first time in their menial estate, received pay for their services; a corps of instructors was sent from the North, and the laws of South Carolina were so far set at defiance as to open schools and chapels for their instruction. The experiment there initiated proved to the world how great was the capacity of the negro for improvement, and forever gave a quietus to the convenient assumption of the slave breeder and owner that a negro was in his normal condition when treated as a beast of burden rather than as a human being.
Adventure of the
Many stirring adventures occurred during December. That of the steamer Mayflower may be referred to as illustrative of the "sport" which followed reconnoissances up the island rivers. This steamer attempted a running hydrographical survey of the Coosaw river, Dec. 18th. She proceeded without obstruction ten miles up the stream, when a long line of infantry, concealed in the dense woods lining the banks, opened a cutting fire. The steamer pushed on, however, determined to carry out her explorations. A six-pound howitzer in her bows, worked by a detachment of the Third Rhode Island volunteers, under Captain Day, scattered grape and cannister so freely in the thickets as to render the enemy comThe planters in the sec-paratively harmless. A masked battery was tion likely to be visited by encountered at a narrow section of the river, the Federalists quite gene- which suddenly betrayed four embrasures. rally sought to remove their negroes and to To turn in the stream was impossible: noconsume their cotton. A correspondent writ- thing remained but to run the gauntlet under ing from Charleston to a Richmond paper, a low head of steam, since the channel was under date of Nov. 21st, said: to be "felt," and the danger of grounding imminent. Captain Phillips, with a firmness quite admirable, kept on his course, receiving the fire of the battery at three hundred yards the Rhode Islanders answering with their single gun. It was a critical moment. The enemy's pieces were badly handled, shooting over their mark. One well served shot would have ended the steamer's voyage. The danger was passed in comparative safety,
Cotton Burning and
For the past five days gangs of negroes from the sea coast, ladened with such effects as they can carry, and followed by droves of mules and horses, have been passing through the city on their way to the back country. Night before last the whole atmosphere in the city, and for miles around, notwithstanding the bright moonlight was heavy and lurid. Many could not account for the phenomenon. It was the effect of the wholesale conflagration of cotton now going on at Edisto aud other islands
Adventure of the Mayflower.
SHERMAN'S WINTER OPERATIONS.
The Enemy at Port Royal Ferry.
only two balls cutting into | Beaufort, at the intersecthe steamer's upper words. tion of the Beaufort and She finally grounded when Coosaw rivers, was comnearing the ferry at Beaufort island, and lay manded by Confederate guns. there an hour in momentary expectation of ments were thrown up, and every preparation attack. Seeing her peril three boats, filled made to dispute any crossing at that point. with men from the New York Seventy-ninth On the last day of December an expedition (Highlanders) volunteers, put out to the res- designed to dislodge the enemy was started. cue. A section of a battery opened on the It was composed of four gunboats, under boats, but did not succeed in sinking them. general command of Captain Raymond RogThey reached the steamer in safety-the ers, and Stevens' brigade, with two additionRhode Islanders' howitzer, in the meantime, al regiments ordered up from Hilton Head. pitching shell into the rebels, keeping them This powerful demonstration caused the eneat a respectful distance. Reenforcements my to retire after a brief artillery skirmish. from the Eighth Michigan came up and leaving the ferry open to occupation at any effectually covered the steamer until she was time. The Confederates destroyed their works extricated from her peril. before retiring.
A series of important reconnoissances, projected by Commodore Dupont, occurred during the week, Dec. 15-22. It was executed by the gunboats Pawnee and Seneca, piloted by the little steamer Vixen, under command of Captain Boutelle, of the Coast Survey corps-the expedition being under the direction of Commander Percival Drayton, of the Pawnee. It proceeded up the coast to the mouth of the North Edisto river, where the negroes represented a strong battery to have been located. The work was discovered on Wardlaw island and fire opened on it; but, no answer being made, the small boats pulled ashore to find it deserted and partially destroyed. The gunboats penetrated several miles up the Edisto, discovering another silent fortification and securing a rebel schooner with her load of cotton and provisions. An encampment was found, from which four or five hundred brave defenders had fled ingloriously, leaving much camp and private property behind-all of which was appropriated, together with a store house filled with bacon and hominy. The work of observation continued up to Saturday, Dec. 21st, when the expedition returned to headquarters to report the enemy's sea coast defences all abandoned in the vicinity explored. The same week the South Edisto was visited to find it also abandoned.
The enemy retained possession of the several positions guarding land approaches to the interior. Port Royal ferry, ten miles from
Sherman's Winter Operations.
Sherman, referring to his operations during the winter, said: “Efforts were effectually made to isolate Pulaski from Savannah, and all the means we were able to bring to bear on that object were put to use. Had a few gunboats been able to get into the Savannah River, our batteries would have been erected on the mud flats in time to prevent the supplying of the fort with provisions, and thus insured its fall without the slow and expensive mode of bombardment. But, as it was, its fall was thereby hastened, and a threat upon Savannah, planned by Commodore Dupont and myself, which resulted in the quiet fall of Brunswick, Fernandina, St. Johns, and St. Augustine, materially assisted. The almost herculean task of collecting, landing, and setting up the immense siege armament on Tybee, was also successfully and energetically prosecuted and about completed.” . As the operations here referred to extended into the spring and summer of 1862, we leave their consideration to a future chapter.
Two other expeditions were fully determined upon during September and October, namely: one upon New Orleans and one upon North Carolina. The command of the first was confided to Major-General B. F. Butler— the other to Major-General Ambiose E. Burnside. They did not move, in force, however, until the winter was advanced; hence the record of their disasters and successes properly falls to a later date than that now under consideration.