Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ch. XXVII.]

GENERAL BANKS AT NEW ORLEANS.

297

God for the results as far as they go. river, and restore both Vicksburg and May He have you in His keeping Port Hudson to their rightful owners. through whatever chances are before Gen. Butler had been relieved of his you. No country can ever fail that has command at New Orleans, in Decemmen capable of suffering what your ber, 1862. No special reason was ever iron-clads had yesterday to endure.” assigned for this act on the part of the

Hardly anything of importance oc- government; but it was generally supcurred in the department of the South posed that, as he had gone through for some time after this. We may, with some very severe and very odious however, note here the destructive labor, and was besides obnoxious to a raids, in the beginning of June, led by large number of citizens, to foreign Col. Montgomery, with several com consuls and such like, the authorities panies of negro soldiers, assisted by at the capital deemed it better to place gun boats at landings on the Combabee some one else in charge of the departRiver, where many valuable planta- ment, who might begin, as it were, tions were destroyed, and on the coast anew, and manage matters more quietof Georgia, where great damage was ly and satisfactorily all round. Gen. inflicted on Brunswick and Darien in N. P. Banks was the man selected, and an ascent of the Altamaha River. As the choice was considered to be a good to further operations against Charles one in every point of view. ton, it was considered necessary for suc- This able officer was engaged, in the cess that military occupation should be autumn of 1862, in fitting out an exhad of Morris Island, and that land bat-pedition in the North, the destination teries should be erected on that island of which was kept as secret as possible, to assist in the reduction of Fort Sum- but was supposed to be intended for ter. This being a work requiring espe. the South, and especially for the benecially engineering skill and ability, the fit of Texas. Having made all his arauthorities at Washington thought best rangements, Gen. Banks sailed from to relieve Hunter of his command, and, New York at the beginning of Decemearly in June, to send in his place Gen. ber, 1862,* with some fifty vessels and Q. A. Gillmore.

about 10,000 men, and on the 16th of In a former chapter (see p. 190), we the same month, at New Orleans, forgave an account of important opera- mally assumed command of the departtions in the department of the Gulf, ment of the gulf. His opening procla. and on the Mississippi River. We ask mation was judicious, conciliatory, and the reader again to take up the thread to the point. “The duty with which of the narrative, and note the operations which, in the summer of 1863, resulted * In company with Gen. Banks there sailed also a so gloriously for the Union cause as to court of Louisiana. For an interesting article

, giving

number of law officers, constituting the provisional break down the rebel power on the the history of this court, its appointment, the numerMississippi, cut off the " Confederacy” cisions, etc., see Appleton's “ Annual Cyclopædia” for

ous and instructive cases which came before it, its de. entirely from all aid west of the great 1863, pp. 770—776.

VOL. IV.-38.

I am charged,” he said, “ requires me end, and the history of the age will to assist in the restoration of the gov. leave no other permanent trace of the ernment of the United States. It is rebellion. Its leaders will have accommy desire to secure to the people of plished what other men could not have every class all the privileges of posses. done." * sion and enjoyment which are consist- When President Lincoln's Emancipaent with public safety, or which it is tion Proclamation was confirmed and possible for a beneficent and just gov- set forth as complete, on the 1st of Janernment to confer.

The Val. uary, 1863, (p. 272), portions of Louisiley of the Mississippi is the chosen seat ana, it will be recollected, were espeof population, product and power on cially exempted from its provisions. this continent. In a few years twenty. This left the condition of the negroes five millions of people, unsurpassed in subject to the laws of Congress which material resources and capacity for war, had been passed, and the exigencies of will swarm upon its fertile rivers. military rule in the department. The Those who assume to set conditions latter of course forbade vagrancy and upon their exodus to the Gulf

, count crime, as sources of disorder in the upon a power not given to man. The community.

The community. It was necessary in some country washed by the waters of the way to adjust the relations of capital Ohio, the Missouri and the Mississippi, and negro labor. This was done by can never be permanently severed. authorizing the Sequestration CommisThis country cannot be permanently di- sion sitting in the state, to establish vided. Ceaseless wars may drain its with the planters a proper system of blood and treasure, domestic tyrants or remuneration, for which the negroes foreign foes may grasp the sceptre of should be required to render faithful its

power, but its destiny will remain service. “This,” said Gen. Banks, unchanged. It will still be united.“may not be the best, but it is now God has ordained it."

the only practical system. Wise mou A week later, Banks addressed the will do what they can when they canpeople of Louisiana, setting forth the not do what they would. It is the conditions of the Emancipation Procla- law of success. In three years from mation of Mr. Lincoln in special refer- the restoration of peace under this vol- . ence to that state, in which he not only untary system of labor, the state of enjoined patience and forbearance on the difficult and unsettled relations of

* We are sorry to state here, for the credit of New master and slave, but also declared, in Orleans, that the riotously disposed people of the city,

elated at having got rid of Butler, were ready to abuse plain terms, that the rebellion must the leniency of his successor. Anonymous letters necessarily result in the destruction of filled with threats

, cheering of Jeff

. Davis in the streets, slavery. “The first gun at Sumter," and such like, brought forth from Gen. Banks a prompt

9 insulting language towards the military authorities, he remarked, “proclaimed emancipa- and severe rebuke. He also gave all concerned clearly tion. The continuance of the contest, and propriety “ with the sharpest severity known to

to understand, that he would punish violations of order there commenced, will consummate that the military laws."

CH. XXVII.]

FARRAGUT RUNS THE BATTERIES.

299

the past."

Louisiana will produce threefold the ble of defence, was beset by swamps produce of its most prosperous year in and other apparently invincible ob

stacles. Banks, at an early day, attempted The first movement of importance in to send reinforcements to Galveston, this quarter was made by the navy,

in Texas; but it was too late. Magruder aid of the operations of Grant and Por had captured the troops there at the ter against Vicksburg. At the beginbeginning of January (p. 278).

ning of February, it will be rememberThe next attempt, of a military kind, ed (p. 250) that Commander Ellet led in the department, was in the region the way in the Queen of the West in of the Bayou Teche, west of the Missis- the passage of the batteries at that sippi, where the rebels were commit- place, the design being to interrupt the ting depredations, aided by a gun boat enemy's supplies from the west of the named the Cotton. On the 11th of Mississippi. After inflicting much January, Gen. Weitzel crossed to Bra damage in this way, the vessel was shear City, and embarked his men for lost by the treachery of a pilot, while the ascent of the Atchafalaya, the cav- ascending Red River. On receiving alry and artillery proceeding by land. the news of this misfortune, Admiral The Cotton took refuge in the Bayou Farragut determined to run past the Teche, where she was not long after rebel batteries at Port Hudson, and asattacked by a gun boat, supported by sist the operations of Porter on the the troops under Weitzel. Matters river from above. The land forces of soon began to look so badly for the Banks were at the same time to threatrebels that they set the Cotton on fire en Port Hudson on the rear, and as far to prevent her capture. Having ac- as possible divert their attention from complished this result, the gun boats Farragut's movements. were withdrawn, and the troops return- This daring attempt on the part of ed to their encampment at Thibodeaux. Farragut, was made in the night of

In the early part of March, Banks Saturday, March 14th. At nine and a concentrated his force at Baton Rouge, half o'clock, P.m., he led the way at the

in number about 25,000 men. head of his fleet on the flag-ship Hart

Twenty miles above, the rebels ford, accompanied by the gun boat Alwere strongly entrenched at Port Hud- batross, made fast to her port side. son, the most important position held The other gun boats followed, and six by them on the Mississippi below mortar vessels were brought up to shell Vicksburg. Situated on an elevated, al- the works. As soon as the Hartford came most perpendicular cliff, at a contracted within range of the rebel batteries, a bend of the stream, where the narrowed sharp fire was opened upon her, which current ran with great violence, its for was returned with shot and shell. In midable line of batteries threatened de the midst of this fire she succeeded in struction to any hostile fleet, while on passing the batteries with the Albathe land side the approach, easily capa- | tross. The Richmond, Genessee and

1863.

Monongahela which followed, were The passage of the batteries by Far. not so fortunate, receiving injuries ragut enabled him, as we shall see furwhich prevented their passing the bat. ther on, to render material assistance to teries.

Porter and the army of Grant in the The Mississippi, the last in the line, passage of the Vicksburg batteries, and now advanced, and was pushing for- especially in the blockade of the Red ward successfully, when she grounded River. When this was accomplished, on the west bank of the river, exposed he left his flag-ship, the Hartford, above, to the enemy's batteries astern, on the and returned by the Atchafalaya to bow, and opposite to her. Finding it im- take part in the final operations for the possible, after intense effort, to get her reduction of Port Hudson. off, it was resolved to abandon her. The Banks's attention was now turned to engines were ordered to be destroyed, that part of Louisiana west of New the guns spiked, and the ship set on Orleans, and bordering on the Teche fire. The officers and crew were hur. River. Since the expedition of Weitzel ried on shore, and were nearly all saved. in January (see p. 299), the rebels in The fire raged on the ship for an hour, that quarter had erected new fortificawhen the water, flowing aft, settled her tions and concentrated their forces, aid. stern, and she gradually slid off into ed by a fleet of gun boats, at several the current, her guns discharging, and stations on the Teche River, with the shells on deck exploding in every direc intention, it was supposed, of threaten- . tion, until she was blown in pieces. ing New Orleans. Banks, suspending This was about half past five P.m. operations for the time against Port The officers and crew lost everything Hudson, advanced with his forces to except what they stood in. They Berwick, where he arrived on the 11th saved nothing, and they left nothing in of April, and commenced a series of acthe hands of the rebels.

tive movements, which speedily swept Banks, meanwhile, had led his troops the enemy from their strongholds from Baton Rouge in three divisions, throughout this central region from the under command of Gens. Augur, Gro- Gulf to the Red River. ver and Emory, to Springfield Cross At the outset of the march, on the Roads, about five miles from Port Hud 12th and 13th of April, there was a son. There was some skirmishing with prolonged engagement of Emory's and the rebel pickets, but no important ad. Weitzel's divisions with the

vance beyond. On the night enemy, at an entrenched posi

of the 14th of March, the can- tion in the vicinity of Pattersonville, at nonading of the fleet was distinctly heard by the soldiers, who also saw the date, “Had our land forces invested Port Hudson at light of the burning Mississippi. The this time, it could have been easily reduced, as its

garrison was weak. This would have opened commu. next day the troops, according to or- nication by the Mississippi with Gen. Grant at Vicksders, returned to Baton Rouge.

burg. But the strength of the place was not then

known, and Gen. Banks resumed his operations by * In Halle k's opinion, expressed at a subsequent the Teche and Atchafalaya."

1863,

1863.

CH. XXVII.)

OPERATIONS IN THE TECHE REGION.

301

the mouth of the Teche. After a series 17th of April, Grover met the rebels at of sharp encounters, the rebels, having Bayou Vermilion. They were strongly suffered a heavy loss, on the night of entrenched, with a battery of six pieces the 13th abandoned their positions. of artillery. After destroying the bridge

Meanwhile, Grover had, with the over the bayou, the enemy made a hasty force under his command, and a num retreat. Some delay occurred in rebuildber of transports and gun boats, as- ing the bridge; but on the 19th, the cended Grand Lake from Brashear City, march was resumed, and continued to and effected a landing in the enemy's the vicinity of Grand Coteau, and ou rear at Irish Bend. Having crossed the following day Opelousas was occuthe Teche at that place, our troops pied by our troops. A cavalry advance marched towards Franklin, and, on the was made to Washington, on the Cour14th of April, routed the rebels after tebleau, a distance of six miles. Gen. their retreat from the batteries below. Dwight was ordered to push forward These fled in confusion, burning, in through Washington towards Alexantheir retreat, two gun boats and a num-dria. This was done, with excellent ber of steamers on the Teche. Banks success, notwithstanding the rebels had advanced with his forces to New Iberia, destroyed several important bridges and took possession of and destroyed over the bayous in their retreat. Buttein the vicinity the extensive salt works, a-la-Rose was taken, on the 20th of which had been a constant source of April, by Lieut. Cooke of the supply to the rebels.

his

gun boat and four companies of in. On the 14th of April, our fleet en fantry, and thus was secured what countered the rebel ram Queen of the Banks called the key of the Atchafalaya. West, which, after her capture on the “We hold,” he said, “the key of the posiRed River, had been brought into the tion. Among the evidences of our vicAtchafalaya River, and had now de tory are 2,000 prisoners, two transports, scended to Grand Lake to attack the and twenty guns (including one piece advancing Union forces. As she was of the Valvado battery), taken; and moving onward to the assault, a shell three gun boats and eight transports from one of the gun boats exploded a destroyed. The Union loss in these en. box of ammunition on her deck, when gagements was very slight."* she was immediately enveloped in flames. Strenuous efforts were made

* While at Opelousas, Gen. Banks issued an order,

dated May 1st, 1863, in which he proposed to organize by the fleet to save the lives of her a corps d'armée consisting of negroes, to be designated crew, and ninety-five were taken from as the “Corps d'Afrique.” The plan was, to have the vessel and the water. About forty, senting all arms, infantry, artillery, and cavalry, with

eighteen regiments of 500 in each (9,000 in all), repre it was supposed, perished. The vessel appropriate uniforms, etc. There was more or less was burnt to the water's edge, but her diversity of opinion as to enlisting negroes and making

them part of the army. The experience, however, of guns were saved.

the next year, and Gen. Thomas's investigations and Banks lost no time in pushing vigor-labors in connection with negro enlistments, proved susly forward. On the evening of the ting down the rebellion.

navy, with

« PreviousContinue »