Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

land force, Gen. Grant gave earnest at- papers, that the enemy were never entention to the furnishing it. During lightened as to the object of the exthe latter part of November and early plosion until they were informed by the in the month following, a most formid. northern press.” able armada, over seventy vessels in all, Porter, on the morning of December under Admiral Porter, was gathered in 24th, gave order to engage the forts, Hampton Roads at the beginning of which was gallantly done, and in little December; and a force of 6,500 men, more than an hour after the first shot taken from Butler's troops, was added, was fired, not a shot came from the fort. Gen. Weitzel being designated as their On the 25th, all the transports had commander. Grant, having learned that arrived, and Porter and Weitzel, after Bragg had gone to Georgia, taking with a conference, determined that, while him the larger part of the forces about the ships attacked the forts, as before, Wilmington, deemed it the opportune the troops should land and assault them. moment to urge forward the expedition. if possible, under the heavy fire. The He wrote out full and careful instruc- ships did their duty thoroughly; but tions, intending them for Weitzel but after some 3,000 men had been landed, sending them through Butler, who ac and a close approach made to the works, companied the expedition, and was the troops were re-embarked, by order greatly interested in a projected ex- of Butler, and, as Grant says, “in diplosion of a powder-boat. After some rect violation of the instructions given.” delays, the fleet sailed, on the 13th of This was accomplished by the morning

December, and arrived at the of December 27th. Porter was very

place of rendezvous, off New In. much mortified at the course pursued let, near Fort Fisher, on the evening of by the troops, and believed the assault the 15th. Porter was hindered, for two entirely practicable. “I don't pretend," or three days, having put in at Beau- said Porter, “to put my opinion in opfort, to get ammunition for the monitors. position to that of Gen. Weitzel, who A heavy gale set in from the south-west, is a thorough soldier and able engineer, and the sea becoming very rough, made and whose business it is to know more it difficult to land troops; the supply of assaulting than I do. But I can't also of water and coal being nearly ex- help thinking that it was worth while hausted, the transport fleet put back to to make the attempt, after arriving so Beaufort to replenish; this, with the far.

We have not commenced state of the weather, delayed the return firing rapidly yet, and could keep any to the place of rendezvous until the rebels inside from moving their head 24th of December. “The powder-boat,” until an assaulting column was within as Grant sarcastically says, “was ex- twenty yards of the works. I wish ploded on the morning of the 24th, be some more of our gallant fellows had fore the return of Gen. Butler from followed the officer who took the flag Beaufort; but, it would seem, from the from the parapet, and the brave fellow notice taken of it in the southern news- who brought the horse out from the

1864.

[ocr errors]

CH. XVI.]

EXPEDITION UNDER GENERAL TERRY.

499

fort. I think they would have found thus far proved unsuccessful. He seit an easier conquest than is supposed."* lected for commander of the expedition

Butler returned with his troops to Gen. A. H. Terry, an officer of some Hampton Roads, and shortly after was note, though young in years, and

gave superseded by Gen. E. O. C. Ord, who him the same troops that composed the took command of the department of former expedition, together with a briVirginia and North Carolina. Butler, gade of about 1,500 men, and a small whose active connection with the war siege train. Terry sailed from Fortress was now brought to a close, issued a Monroe on the 6th of January, 1865, farewell address to the “ Army of the and two days after, arrived off Beau: James," in which, after considerable fort, N. C. A violent storm set in, and flourish as to the glory of being able for several days nothing could be done, to say, “I, too, was of the Army of the except to care for the safety of the vesJames," he bestowed a severe side- sels and wait for better weather. On thrust upon the lieutenant-general: the 12th, the fleet again got under way,

Knowing your willing obedience to and reached its destination about nightorders, witnessing your ready devotion fall, but too late to land the troops. of

your blood in your country's cause, Under cover of the fleet, the disembark. I have been chary of the precious charge ation took place the next morning, and confided to me. I have refused to order about 8,000 men, with rations for three useless sacrifices of the lives of such days, ammunition, tools, etc., were land- . soldiers, and I am relieved from your ed, by three o'clock P.m. · After prepacommand. The wasted blood of my ration of a defensive line across the men does not stain my garments. For peninsula, to protect the rear, and a my action I am responsible to God and careful reconnaissance, on the 14th of my country.”+

January, it was decided by Gen. Terry Porter, who was dissatisfied with the and Admiral Porter to attempt an asresult, remained with his fleet off Fort sault the next day, provided that, in Fisher, and sent word to the secretary the meantime, the fire of the navy of the navy, expressing his conviction should so far destroy the palisades as that, under a proper leader, the fort to make one practicable. could be taken. Grant thereupon very Porter at once placed a division of gladly resumed the effort which had his vessels in a position to accomplish

66

* Grant was quite indignant at Butler's conduct. commander at Wilmington, wrote to Davis, in this He never expected Butler to interfere, and supposed wise: The enemy has re-embarked under the cover that of course Weitzel received his instructions, which, of his fleet. His movement is not developed. I have it seems, never took place; and further, as Grant states, visited Fort Fisher, and find the damage slight, exin his report,

on return of the expedition, officers and cepting the buildings not necessary for defence. Only men, Gen. Curtis being of the number, voluntarily re- two guns were disabled. The marks remaining indiported to me that when recalled, they were nearly into cate that the bombardment was very heavy. Gen. the fort, and, in their opinion, it could have been taken Whiting, commanding the defences at the mouth of the without much loss." Early in January, 1865, Butler river; Col. Lamb, commanding the fort, and the officers was relieved of his command, at Grant's request. and men comprising the garrison, deserve especial

+ The rebel leaders were disposed to claim a victory, commendation for the gallantry, efficiency, and for seeing that Fort Fisher was not taken. Bragg, the titude displayed under very trying circumstances.”

1865.

the destruction of the palisades. “It ous fire, they were unable to get up the was arranged,” says Terry, in his re- parapet. After a severe struggle and port, “in consultation with Admiral a heavy loss of valuable officers and Porter, that a beavy bombardment men, it became apparent that nothing from all the vessels should commence could be effected at that point, and they early in the morning, and continue up were withdrawn.

On this side to the moment of the assault, and then (between the work and the river), there

it should not cease, but should was no regular parapet, but there was

be diverted from the points of abundance of cover afforded to the eneattack to other parts of the work. It my by cavities from which sand had been was decided that the assault should be taken for the parapet, the ruins of barmade at three o'clock P.m.; that the racks and storehouses, the large magaarmy should attack on the western half zine, and by traverses, behind which .of the land face, and that a column of they stubbornly resisted our advance. sailors and marines should assault at Hand to hand fighting of the most desthe north-east bastion. The fire of the perate character ensued, the huge tranavy continued during the night. At verses of the land face being used suceight o'clock A.m. of the 15th of Janu- cessively by the enemy as breast work, ary, all of the vessels, except a division over the tops of which the contending left to aid in the defence of our north parties fired in each other's faces. Nine ern line, moved into position, and a fire, of these were carried one after the other magnificent alike for its power and ac- by our men.

Until six o'clock curacy, was opened.

At 2.25 P.M., the fire of the navy continued upon P.M., all the preparations were com- that portion of the work not occupied pleted, the order to move forward was by us; after that time it was directed given to Gen. Ames, and a concerted on the beach, to prevent the coming up signal was made to Admiral Porter to of reinforcements, which it was thought change the direction of his fire. Curtis's might possibly be thrown over from brigade at once sprung from their the right bank of the river to Battery trenches and dashed forward in line; Buchanan. The fighting for the traits left was exposed to a severe enfilad- verses continued till nearly nine o'clock, ing fire, and it obliqued to the right so two more of them being carried; then as to envelop the left of the land front; a portion of Abbott's brigade drore the ground over which it moved was the enemy from their last remaining marshy and difficult, but it soon reach- strongholds, and the occupation of the ed the palisades, passed through them, work was completed. The same bri. and effected a lodgment on the parapet. gade, with Gen. Blackman's regiment, At the same time the column of sailors were immediately pushed down the and marines, under Capt. Breese, ad Point to Battery Buchanan, whither vanced up the beach in the most gal. many of the garrison had fled. On lant manner, and attacked the north- reaching the battery, all of the enemy east bastion; but, exposed to a murder- who had not been previously captured

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ch. XVI.]

RESULTS OF FORT FISHER CAPTURE.

501

were made prisoners. Among them miral Porter adds: “We have found were the rebel Gen. Whiting and Col. in each an Armstrong gun, with the Lamb, the commandant of the fort.* broad arrow' on it and the name Sir

The losses in this expedition were, William Armstrong' marked in full on on the part of the navy, about 300; on the trunnels. As the British governthe part of the land forces, about 700. ment claims the exclusive right to use

The capture of Fort Fisher was fol. these guns, it would be interesting to lowed the next day by the blowing up know how they came into forts held by the rebels, of Forts Caswell and by the southern rebels. I find that Campbell on the Old Inlet, and the immense quantities of provisions, stores, abandonment of these and the works and clothing have come through this on Smith’s Island and those at Smith- port into rebeldom. I am almost afraid ville and Reeves's Point. These places to mention the amount, but it is enough were occupied by the navy. The whole to supply over 60,000 men. It is all number of guns captured in the de. English, and they have received the fences, as reported by Admiral Porter, last cargo; no more will ever come this on the 20th of January, was 168. Gen. way.” Terry reported the number of prisoners, The gallant conduct of all concerned 112 commissioned officers, and 1,971 in this expedition is spoken of, in the enlisted men. In his dispatch, enume highest terms, by both Porter and rating the different forts taken, Ad. Terry. “The troops fought like lions,

* Porter's report of his share in the capture of Fort and knew no such word as fail," said Fisher gives many interesting details, and he states the former. “I should signally fail to that, in his opinion, Fort Fisher was a stronger work do my duty," said the latter, “were I opportunity of examining shortly after its surrender to to omit to speak in terms of the high

est admiration of the part borne by the + In the list of the forts with their armaments taken possession of after the fall of Fort Fisher, is a sufficient navy in our operations. In all ranks, explanation of the protection given for so long a time from Admiral Porter to his seamen, to the blockade runners: Reeves's Point, two 10-inch there was the utmost desire not only guns ; above Smithville, two 10-inch guns ; Smithville, four 10-inch guns; Fort Caswell, ten 10-inch guns, two to do their proper work, but to facili9-inch, one Armstrong, and four 32's (rifled), two 328 tate in every possible manner the ope(smooth), three 8-inch, one Parrot twenty pounder, rations of the land forces.” And, as three rifled field pieces, three guns buried—twentynine guns. Forts Campbell and Shaw, six 10-inch, six Grant briefly remarks, in his report, 32's (smooth)

, one 32 (rifled), one 8-inch, six field pieces, “ thus was secured, by the combined two mortars-twenty-two guns. Smith's Island, three 10-inch, six 32's (smooth), two 32's (rifled), four field efforts of the navy and army, one of pieces, two mortars and seventeen guns. Reported at the most important successes of the the other end of Smith's Island, six guns. Total captured, eighty.tbrea guns.

war."

I

[ocr errors]

the British and French in the Crimea.

a

CHAPTER XVII.

1864.

CLOSING OF THE YEAR: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION : REBEL ENORMITIES.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

1864.

The approaching election for president — Fremont withdraws — Division in the democratic party — Active

canvassing - Result — Lincoln re-elected by a large majority — Jeff. Davis and his lofty style of talking and promising – Rather gloomy realities, however - Thirty-eighth Congress, second session — Cabinet changes - Mr. Lincoln's message - Extracts from — The treasury and navy reports - Price's invasion of Missouri — Rosecrans in command in the department - Attack, by the rebels, on Pilot Knob - Pleasanton's cavalry operations — Result of the invasion - Grant's opinion – Sufferings of our officers and men in rebel prisons and dens — The United States Sanitary Commission - Report by gentlemen appointed to inquire into the matter — Horrible revelations - Extracts from the report Conclusion as to rebel malignity - Efforts to mitigate suffering - Raids from Canada into the United States — St. Albans, Vermont, attacked - Steps taken — Attempt to fire New York city, in November — Not successful.

In a previous chapter (p. 455), we, the republican party was pledged “ to have given an account of the proceed- re-establish the Union without slavery," ings, in the summer of 1864, of the while the democrats of the Chicago conpolitical conventions for the nomina- vention, which nominated McClellan, tion of candidates for the presidency. were pledged to “separation or re-estah. As the autumn election approached, the lishment with slavery,” Fremont pre

canvassing became very active, ferred to withdraw and leave the field

and the issue settled at last be- clear for Abraham Lincoln. tween the supporters of the principles The democratic party, who had and policy which were represented, on George B. McClellan as candidate for the one hand, by Abraham Lincoln, and the presidency, were by no means unani. on the other, by George B. McClellan. mous in favor of the platform laid down Fremont, who had been dominated by by the Chicago convention (p. 462). “the radical democracy," deemed it best, Men like Gen. Dix and others,* known on reflection, to withdraw from the field, as “war democrats," were entirely opand in a letter, dated at Boston, Sep

* Gen. Dix, in a letter written in October, said: "In tember 21st, gave his reasons for this calling for a cessation of hostilities, the members of course. He professed to be unchanged the Chicago convention have, in my judgment, totally

misrepresented the feelings and opinions of the great in his sentiments as to Mr. Lincoln; he body of the democracy. The policy produced in its “considered his administration, politic name makes it—so far as such a declaration can—what

it has never been before, a peace party, degrading it ally, militarily, and financially, a failure, from the eminence on which it has stood in every other and its necessary continuance a cause national conflict. In this injustice to the country, and of regret to the country;" and he had, to a great party indentified with all that is honorable

in our history, I can have no part. I can only mourn he said, no wish to aid in the triumphs over the reproach which has been brought upon it by

“ of Mr. Lincoln, but to do his part to its leaders, and cherish the hope that it may hereafter

, ward pr venting the election of the ancient effective and beneficent influence in the ad.

under the auspices of better counsellors, resume its democratic candidate." As, however, ministration of the government.”

.

« PreviousContinue »