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India steamer in order to proceed to England. None of the vessels sent out by government were fortunate enough to meet with the persons of whom they were in search; it was reserved for a ship returning from the coast of Africa to accomplish the capture of these dangerous rebels.

a proper force in waiting; he conduct. ed himself as an officer and a gentleman through a very unpleasant scene, mingled with expressions of decided hostility on the part of the officers and others on the English vessel; and Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their secretaries, Messrs. Eustis and Macfar land, were taken on board the Ameri can steamer. The families of Mr. Slidell and Mr. Eustis preferring to re


Captain Charles Wilkes, of the San Jacinto, a first class screw steamer, mounting 13 guns, having learned at Cienfuegos, in Cuba, that the Theodora main on the Trent, that vessel proceedhad run the blockade and reached ed on her voyage. Captain Wilkes Havana, resolved at once to secure the ran into Hampton Roads, on rebel "ambassadors " so soon as they set the 15th of November, and out for Europe. He reached Havana, reported immediately his doings to the October 31st, and found these gentle- authorities at Washington. The next men enjoying the hospitality of the day, he sailed for New York, and thence British consul and other sympathizing by order to Boston, where his prisoners friends, and waiting for the English were safely lodged in Fort Warren, steamer Trent, which was to leave November 24th. November 7th, for St. Thomas, and Captain Wilkes prepared an elabortranship her passengers there for South- ate dispatch, setting forth the grounds. hampton. Acting on his own convic- on which he justified the seizure of tions of the legality of his contemplat-" the embodiment of dispatches," as he ed act, Captain Wilkes made all need- shrewdly termed Mason and Slidell; ful preparation, and left port on the he also stated, that he would have 2d of November, to keep strict watch made a prize of the vessel, had it not for the Trent, and carry out his design been for an unwillingness to inconve of making prisoners of the men who nience the passengers on the Trent, who were engaged in treasonable practices were certainly innocent of any offence. against the government. The San Ja- "I concluded," said the gallant captain, cinto took up a position in the old in bringing his dispatch to a close, "to Bahama channel, some 250 miles from sacrifice the interests of my officers and Havana, and about nine miles from the crew in the prize, and suffered the light-house, Paredon del Grande, the steamer to proceed, after the necessary nearest point of Cuba at the time. detention to effect the transfer of these At noon, November 8th, the Trent commissioners, considering I had obmade her appearance; two shots were tained the important end I had in view, fired across her bows; and she was and which affected the interests of our speedily brought to by the San Jacinto. country and interrupted the action of Lieut. Fairfax was sent on board, with that of the confederates.

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British government could not allow such an affront to the national honor to pass without full reparation." Lord Russell insisted on the giving up of Mason and Slidell and their secretaries,

add that, having assumed the responsi- the English government determined to bility, I am willing to abide the result." demand peremptorily the restoration Captain Wilkes was highly lauded by of Mason and Slidell to British prothe press and the people generally, was tection. Earl Russell sent a special fêted by various public bodies, received messenger to Lord Lyons, Her Majesty's the special thanks of Secretary Welles minister at Washington, with a dis of the navy department, and a vote of patch, dated Nov. 30th, denouncing thanks from Congress. Various legal what had been done as "an act of viol authorities supported his action, and ence, which was an affront to the Brithe country at large was assured of tish flag, and a violation of internanot only the legality, but the positive tional law;" declaring that "the merit of his conduct on this occasion. It was observable, however, that the president, in his message, early in December, said nothing about the subject, and Mr. Seward, secretary of state, equally kept himself free from with "a suitable apology for the ag committment, until the news from Eng-gression which had been committed." land should manifest the spirit in War preparations were begun at once, which that government was disposed the fleet in American waters was or to view the matter. The wisdom of dered to be largely increased, and in the secretary's course was soon after every way the spirit of the English abundantly verified. He wrote to Mr. government and people was aroused, in Adams, stating the facts as narrated, apparent expectation that war with the and also that Captain Wilkes had United States was the only alternative. acted without instructions in what he Mr. Seward, who had been courte had done; and expressed the hope ously addressed by the ministers of "that the British government would France, Russia and Austria, deprecatconsider the subject in a friendly temper," being assured of the willingness and best disposition of the United States so to consider it.

As was to be expected, the affair produced no little excitement in England, and the rebels and their friends endeavored to make the most of it. The law officers of the crown pronounced Capt. Wilkes' act unjustifiable, and

ing the sustaining the action of Capt. Wilkes, communicated with Lord Lyons in the latter part of December. He went over the whole matter, correcting Earl Russell's dispatch as to the facts, and discussing at large the principles and views which governed the United States in the course the president had determined to pursue. The final result at which Mr. Seward

* The English press fairly overflowed with abusive in on the other side of the water, see Duyckinck's denunciation of Captain Wilkes, Secretary Seward," War for the Union,” vol. ii., pp. 124-150. Mr. Rusand the “Yankees" generally and in particular. For sell also in his " Diary," p. 573, infra, gives a lively a more full account of the seizure of the rebel commis- account of the current opinions and talk of the day sioners, and the style and manner of abuse indulged on this subject.

arrived was, that as Captain Wilkes key of the blockade had at last been had proceeded on his own convictions lost. These prospects were disappointof duty without instructions from the government, as he had not brought the Trent in as a prize and to be judged of by the proper court, and as what was claimed by England was precisely what the United States had always been contending for, the rebel ambassadors would be placed at once at the disposal of the British minister. This was done at the close of the month, and the great and formidable difficulty arising out of the Trent affair was settled without resort to hostilities between England and the United States.

ed by the weakness of the government at Washington, in surrendering the commissioners and returning them to the British flag. The surrender was an exhibition of meanness and cowardice unparalleled in the political history of the civilized world, but strongly characteristic of the policy and mind of the North."* This same writer indulges in various other paragraphs on this subject, berating Secretary Seward for his "unexampled shamelessness," his "contemptible affectation of alacrity," etc.; but we need not quote further. There can be no doubt that the course pursued by the government grievously disappointed our country's enemies at home and abroad.

The language of the London Times (January 11, 1862), as illustrating to some extent the prevailing tone of feeling in England in regard to these rebel commissioners, may fitly be given in closing the present chapter:-"We do sincerely hope that our countrymen will not give these fellows anything in the shape of an ovation. The civility that is due to a foe in distress is all that they can claim. We have returned them good for evil, and, sooth to say, we should be exceedingly sorry that they should will make for the good we have now done them. They are here for their own interest, in order, if pos sible, to drag us into their own quarrel, and, but for the unpleasant contingencies of a prison, rather dis

The disappointment to the rebels was extreme. They had exulted in the prospective advantages sure to come to them in case war were to break out between the two countries.* "This outrage," says Pollard, "when it was learned in the South, was welcome news, as it was thought certain that the British government would resent the insult, and as the boastful and exultant tone in the North, over the capture of the commissioners, appeared to make it equally certain that the government at Washington would not surrender its booty. War between England and the North was thought to be imminent. appointed, perhaps, that their detention has not Providence was declared to be in our provoked a new war. When they stepped on board favor; the incident of the Trent was the Trent they did not trouble themselves with the looked upon almost as a special dispen-thought of the mischief they might be doing an unsation, and it was said, in fond imagination, that on its deck, and in the trough of the weltering Atlantic, the

"The bubble has burst. The rage of the friends of compromise, and of the South, who saw in a war with Great Britain the complete success of the confederacy, is deep and burning, if not loud; but they all say they

ever be in a situation to choose what return they

offending neutral; and if now, by any less perilous devices, they could entangle us in the war, no doubt they would be only too happy. We trust there is no chance of their doing this, for impartial as the British public is in the matter, it certainly has no

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prejudice in favor of slavery, which, if anything, these gentlemen represent. What they and their secretaries are to do here passes our conjecture. They are personally nothing to us. They must not suppose, because we have gone to the verge of a great war to rescue them, that therefore they are precious in our eyes. We should have done just as much to rescue two of their own negroes; and had that been the object of the rescue, the swarthy Pompey and Cæsar would have had just the same right to triumphal arches and municipal addresses as Messrs. Mason and Slidell. So, please, British public, let's have none of these things. Let the


commissioners come up quietly to town and have their say with anybody who may have time to listen to them. For our part, we cannot see how anything they have to tell can turn the scale of British duty and deliberation. There have been so many cases of people and nations establishing an actual independence, and compelling the recognition of the world, that all we have to do is what we have done before, up to the very last year. This is now a simple matter of precedent. Our statesmen and lawyers know quite as much on the subject as Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and are in no need of their information or advice.”*




The Navy - Expedition to Hatteras Inlet under Stringham and Butler - Its importance - Reduction of the forts - Valuable results of the victory gained Repression here of blockade running-Fort Pickens - Rebels at Pensacola Operations there - Wilson's Zouaves attacked-The rebel batteries and works bombarded Result -Mouth of the Mississippi - Semmes and the Sumter - Ram Manassas Attack on our ships Capt. Hollins' report - Great preparations for another expedition - Sails under Dupont and Sherman for Port Royal-Bombardment of the forts at Hilton Head - Tremendous force and effect of our firing — Complete success- - The "stone fleet "- Gen. T. W. Sherman in South Carolina - Efforts to secure the cotton Negroes and plans for their improvement - Sherman's expedition against Port Royal Ferry - Affairs in Missouri-Colonel Sigel-Battle near Carthage ResultSigel retreats before Price to Springfield — Gen. Lyon determines to meet Price - Insufficiency of his force - Rebels driven at Dug Springs - Return to Springfield Plans of the generals - Sigel's movement - Lyon fights battle of Wilson's Creek or Oak Hill-Lyon killed - Severe loss-Gen. Fremont in Missouri- - Activity and zeal- - Cairo and Bird's Point reinforced-Fremont's proclamation and course Battle of Lexington - Fremont marches after Price Superseded by Hunter - No battle-Pursuit abandoned - Retreat - Halleck in command - Proclamation - Success of our troops - Gen. Grant and Belmont - The attack and result-Rebel success and boasting -General effect beneficial to cause of the Union.


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THE navy of the United States, which | and for recovering, so soon as might had become already quite numerous be, the several points of importance and formidable, was increased as rapid- along the coast, which had been seized ly as possible, and was henceforth des- upon or occupied by secessionists, fitted tined to exercise a powerful influence in out expeditions, at an early period, the great struggle for national preserva- which, in their results, were of the tion. The government, in carrying greatest service to the cause of the out its plans for crushing the rebellion, Union. This service was not only in

* See McPherson's "History of the Rebellion," pp. 338-343.

See Dr. Boynton's "History of the Navy during the Rebellion," vol. i., p. 89, etc.

The expedition sailed from Hampton Roads, August 26th, and the next afternoon anchored off the Inlet. At daylight, on the 28th, arrangements were made for landing the troops and for attacking the forts by the fleet. A heavy swell upon the beach prevented the landing of any number of the soldiers

what was actually accomplished against essential articles of foreign production the rebels, but also in demonstrating and utility. the power of our ships in operations against forts the land, as well as the excellent general efficiency of the navy. During the month of August, an expedition, partly military and partly naval, was fitted out at Fortress Monroe, the destination of which, 1861. for obvious reasons, was kept secret. It consisted of nearly 900 that day. About ten A.M., the fleet troops, well supplied and under com- opened fire on opened fire on Fort Hatteras and mand of General Butler, who had, on continued it till half-past one, P.M., the 13th, been relieved at the fort by when both forts hauled down their General Wool; the naval portion of flags, and the rebels deserted Fort Clark, the expedition was three large steam- which was taken possession of by our frigates and some eight or ten other men and the Union flag raised. Later vessels, with Commodore Stringham in in the day and early the next morning, command. Its destination, as it turned the bombardment was resumed, and out, was Hatteras Inlet, one of the told fearfully upon Hatteras. The rebel most important entrances to the exten- firing was of no great account, most of sive series of navigable waters on the their shot falling short, and the gunriver coast of North Carolina, through ners being evidently wanting in skill. the long range of sand islands which About eleven o'clock, a white flag was here serve as a barrier against the wild raised from the fort, and Capt. Barron, waves of the Atlantic. There were at the time in command, though formseveral of these passages-a shallow erly an officer in our navy, offered to one above at New Inlet, a near ap- surrender on condition of being allowed proach to Albemarle Sound; another of to retire with the garrison. Such terms more consequence below at Ocracoke; were of course refused, and as the case but this at Hatteras, hard by the light was hopeless, Barron concluded to surhouse at the Cape, was of most value. render on Gen. Butler's proposition, It was guarded by two protecting forts which was to give up everything and -Hatteras and Clark-recently erected be treated as prisoners of war. The by the rebels, and its deep harbor had result was, the capturing of 615 men, become notorious as a refuge for priva- with Barron, at that date acting secreteers, and an entrance for various trad-tary of the confederate navy, and ing vessels running the blockade. Major Bradford, chief of the confederate Evidently, it was necessary to deprive ordnance department; also, 1,000 stand the rebels, as soon as possible, of so of arms, 31 pieces of cannon, and a convenient a place for trade and supply large quantity of provisions and stores. ing North Carolina and Virginia with Our loss was trifling; and so well had

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