Page images

posed a portion of his forces to guard to the rear of the magazine on the oppo-
against any attack by the enemy from site angle of the fort."
the marshes to the west, personally took "In this state of things,” he adds, “I
charge of the batteries. “The shell prac- felt sure that we would soon be called to
tice," he says, “especially during the peel off the whole scarp-wall from the
early part of the night, while the moon front of the casemates of the south-east
was up, was reported to be most success- front, making a breach greatly larger
ful, or fully as accurate as by daylight." than the small garrison could defend,

The regular fire from all the batteries with, probably, another smaller breach one of which, nearest the fort, had been upon the opposite side, and I at once dereinforced by a serviceable detachment termined that, if the resistance was conof a hundred sailors, sent by Flag Officer tinued, it would be best, and entirely Dupont, from the Wabash, in the harbor, practicable, to storm the fort successfully reopened briskly in the morning. The within thirty to forty hours. And I had certainty as to direction and distance, it given directions to General Gillmore to was observed, was “greatly beyond that have suitable scaling ladders prepared of the previous day, especially on the part for the purpose, and was arranging for of the enemy, there being scarcely any the proper forces, boats, etc., when, at exposure of our force that did not draw about two P. M., we discovered a white a close shot, while the embrasures and flag thrown up, and the rebel flag, after parapets of our batteries were most ac- telling out to the winds for a few minutes curately reached." The fire of the be- at half mast, came slowly to the ground.” sieging batteries soon began to tell with General Benham then, as commandfearful effect upon the fort. Commander er of the district, made preparations C. R. P. Rogers, who, with Lieutenant to receive the surrender of the fort. John Irwin, had charge at battery In consideration of his eminent serSigel, of the detachment from the Wa- vices throughout the whole progress of bash, reports that, “In spite of a high the siege and bombardment, General wind the firing from the rifled guns and Gillmore was sent to arrange the terms of columbiads was excellent, the former bor- capitulation. By the articles, as adjusting into the brick face of the wall like ed and signed by him and Colonel Olmaugers, and the latter striking and stead "the fort, armament, and garrison breaking off great massess of masonry were surrendered to the forces of the which had been cut loose by the rifles.” United States ; the officers and men of On visiting the batteries at noon General the garrison were allowed to take with Benham found that “an embrasure at them all their private effects, such as the breached point, which was much en- clothing, bedding, books, etc., -this not larged on the previous day, was now including their private weapons ; while opened to fully the size of the recessed the sick and wounded, under charge of arch, or some eight or ten feet square, the hospital steward of the garrison, were and the adjacent embrasures were rapidly to be sent under a flag of truce, to the being brought to a similar condition. At Confederate lines, and at the same time, about noon the whole mask and parapet the men to be allowed to send any letwall of the casemate first injured fell into ters they may desire, sụbject to the inthe ditch, raising a ramp quite visible to spection of a Federal officer.” In comus, and soon after the corresponding municating the terms of surrender to parts of the adjacent casemates began to General Hunter, General Benham refall, the Parrott and James' shot passing minded him that the day on which they quite through, as we could see the heavy were signed was “the anniversary of the timber blindage in rear of the casemates, opening of the fire upon Fort Sumter by



the rebels last year.” The garrison of this matter in a very striking light. the fort was found to consist of 385 men, Comparing the results at Pulaski with the including a full complement of officers. estimate of Sir W. Dennison of the vaSeveral of them were severely, and one rious siege operations in Spain during the fatally wounded. The total loss on the Peninsular War, be concluded that “it Union side was one man killed. None may be briefly and safely announced of the pieces on Tybee island were that the breaching of Fort Pulaski at struck.

1,700 yards, did not require as great an It is mentioned by General Gillmore expenditure of metal, although but fiftyas a noticeable circumstance, connected eight per cent of it was thrown from rifled with the siege, that with the exception guns, as the breaches made in Spain with of the sailors from the Wabash, there smooth bores exclusively at 500 yards. were no artillerists of any experience in the former case the wall was good whatever engaged in the bombardment. brick masonry, laid in lime mortar, and “Four of the batteries were manned by backed by heavy piers and arches ; in the Rhode Island volunteer artillery, the latter, rubble masonry backed by who were conversant with the manual of earth."* the pieces, but had never been practiced The reduction of Fort Pulaski was not at firing. All the other pieces were the only achievement of consequence acserved by infantry troops, who had been complished in the department this seaon constant fatigue duty, and who re- son. An expedition to Florida, set on ceived all their instruction in gunnery at foot in February, proved entirely sucsuch odd times as they could be spared cessful in its object of taking possession from other duties, during the week or ten of the forts and chief ports of that State days preceding the action."

along the sea coast. On the last day of The most important deduction from the month a fleet of no less than twenty the operations so scientifically carried on war vessels, led by the steam frigate in this attack, was the value, in siege op- Wabash, Commodore Dupont's flag-ship, erations, of the new rifled ordnance. with seven transports, carrying the bri" This siege," says General Benham, "is, gade of General H. G. Wright, sailed as I would remark, the first trial, at least, from Port Royal. On reaching St. Anon our side the Atlantic, of the modern drew's sound, on the coast of Georgia, heavy and rifled projectiles against forts on the 2d of March, it was the intention erected, and supposed to be sufficiently of .Commodore Dupont to carry the feet strong, prior to these inventions, almost through the inner Cumberland sound, equaling, as it would appear, the revolu- which separates Cumberland island from tion accomplished in naval warfare by the main land, with the view of turning the iron-clad vessels recently construct the heavy works on the south end of the ed.” “The result of this bombardment," island, and on the north end of the opposays General Hunter, “must cause, I am site Amelia island, the two points at the convinced, a change in the construction entrance to St. Mary's and Fernandina. of fortifications as radical as that fore-Commodore Dupont, however, learning shadowed in naval architecture by the on his arrival at St. Andrew's, where his conflict between the Monitor and Merri- flag was transferred to the Mohican, “from

No works of stone or brick can a contraband who had been picked up at resist the impact of rifled artillery of sea, and from the neighboring residents heavy calibre." A single illustration from the admirable report of General April 18, 1862.

* Major-General Hunter to the Hon. E. M. Stanton,

Brigadier-General Benham to Major. Gillmore, where much interesting infor- General Hunter, April 12, 1862. General Gillmore's Ro mation will be found on this subject, puts port to General Totten, Chief Engineer, U. 8, A., April 30,



on the Cumberland island, that the rebels where, at the old town, a white flag was had abandoned in haste the whole of the displayed on the shore. Soon after, on defences of Fernandina, and were seen at passing new Fernandina, a short distance that moment retreating from Amelia beyond, on the Amelia river, inside of island, carrying with them such of their the island of that name on which the munitions as their precipitate flight would town is situated, a few rifle shots were allow, detached the gunboats and armed fired from some bushes, and a railroad steamers of light draft, and placed them train was perceived, just starting on the under command of Commander P. Dray- road crossing the State to Cedar Keys ton, of the steam sloop Pawnee, and or- on the Gulf. “As it was naturally supdered him to push through the sound posed to contain soldiers escaping,” says with the utmost speed, to save the pub- Commander Drayton, “I directed Lieutenlic and private property from threatened ant Stevens (commanding the Ottawa) destruction, to prevent the poisoning of to try and stop it; and the road passing the wells, and to put a stop to all those for some distance near the river, and we outrages by the perpetration of which the going at full speed, there was an opporleaders of this nefarious war hope to de- tunity of firing several shots at the two ceive and exasperate the Southern peo- locomotives attached to the train, which, ple."* Commander Drayton proceeding however, did not prevent its escape on his errand; found the navigation quite across the railroad bridge, which is four intricate, and was compelled to leave a miles from the town, and it was soon lost portion of his fleet midway at the flats, in the woods on the other side. We where the tides meet in the sound from afterwards found on the track the bodies the north and the South. Continuing on of two men who had been killed by our with the Pawnee, the Huron, and Otta- shots, one of whom was a soldier, and the wa, all except the last grounded when report was that ex-Senator Yulee was on only three miles distant from Fort Clinch board one of the cars, and had also been at the extremity of Cumberland island. struck ; but this I think, was a mistake." Commander Drayton then pushed on In the meantime, a small steamer, named with the Ottawa, and three armed the Darlington, was discovered attemptlaunches of the Wabash, which had ac- ing to escape up the narrow creek crosscompanied his squadron, with a company ed by the railroad, and passed through of sailors under command of Commander the draw just after the train had gone C. R. P. Rodgers. Finding Fort Clinch, by The Ottawa, unable to follow her as had been reported, deserted, no stop from the shallowness of the stream, and was made at this point, beyond sending failing to reach her with her guns, Coma boat on shore to hoist the American mander Rogers pushed on with his armflag as a signal to Commodore Dupont, ed launches, and captured her. “There who was on his way by sea to the St. were passengers,” says Commodore DuMary's. It was, as Commodore Dupont pont, “including women and children, remarks," the first of the national forts aboard the Darlington, and yet the brutal on which the ensign of the Union has captain suffered her to be fired upon, and resumed its proper place since the first refused to hoist the white flag notwithproclamation of the President of the standing the entreaties of women. No United States was issued."

one was injured. I sent the captain of From the Cumberland Sound, Com- the steamer home a prisoner. His name mander Drayton crossed, in the Ottawa, is Jacob Brock. He is a native of Verthe mouth of the harbor to Fernandina, mont, but has been a resident of Florida

for twenty-three years." * Report of Commodore Dupont. Harbor of Fernandina,

The same night Commander Rodgers

March 4, 1862.



went ten miles up the St. Mary's with encounter a well-constructed and natuthe Ottawa, and took possession of the rally-masked battery at the town, which town of St. Mary's, driving out a picket commands the access to the inner anof the enemy's cavalry, while Commander chorage. We are told that General Lee Drayton proceeded to bring up the Paw- pronounced the place perfectly defensinee and Huron, which had been left in ble; we are not surprised at this, if true. Cumberland sound. In the morning, on We captured Port Royal, but Fernanhis arrival before the town, Fernandina dina and Fort Clinch have been given to was formally occupied. Most of the in- us." Among the thirteen heavy guns left habitants had fled with the military force behind by the enemy, were one 80,

and at the station, in accordance with the one 120-pounder, rifled. Among other policy of the enemy to abandon the rescued property, two locomotives and works on the approach of an irresistible three cars were brought in from the railforce. The forts and batteries of the way, and a quantity of rosin, turpentine, harbor, if defended, might have given and cotton, was preserved from destructhe fleet some trouble. “I visited,” says tion. A liberal policy was pursued toCommander Rogers. “Fort Clinch and ward the inhabitants by General Wright, the town (Fernandina), and the earth- who was assigned to the command of the works on the sea face of the island. It is station. All persons, whether white or impossible to look at these preparations colored, on registering themselves at the for a vigorous defence, without being office of the provost marshal, would resurprised that they should have been ceive protection in person and property. voluntarily surrendered. The batteries Lieutenant Commanding Stevens, in on the north and north-east shores are the Ottawa, in his reconnoissance up the as complete as art can make them. Six St. Mary's river, ascended to a point are well concealed, and protected by called Woodstock Mills, about fifty miles ranges of sand hills on front, contain per- from Fernandina, in the vicinity of which, fect shelter for the men, and are so small, near the brickyard, the plantation of a and thoroughly covered by the natural Mrs. Downes, he was assaulted from both growth, and by the varied contours of sides of the river, there a hundred yards the land, that to strike them from the wide, by a force of riflemen. He replied water would be the mere result of chance. with grape and canister and small arms, A battery of six guns, though larger, and “killing and wounding a large number." therefore affording a better mark, is A large body of cavalry was scattered equally well sheltered and masked. The by a five-second 11-inch shell thrown batteries and the heavy guns mounted on among them, and the fire of another Fort Clinch, command all the turnings of party of the enemy in ambush on the the main ship-channel, and rake an ap- shore, was effectually anticipated by a proaching enemy. Besides these, there heavy discharge from the guns on board. was another battery of four guns on the What with soothing the occupants of the south end of Cumberland island, the fire plantations which he visited, promising of which would cross the channel inside protection to the peacable, and punishof the bar. The difficulties arising from ing the foe in arms, Lieutenant Stevens the indirectness of the channel, and from returned from his excursion of a few the shoalness of the bar, would have days, impressed with the live oak, and added to the defences by keeping the ap- other productions of the country, and proaching vessels a long time exposed to sanguine of the future. “I am quite fire, under great disadvantages; and confident,” says he, in his report, " that when the ships of an enemy had passed our visit will be productive of good, both all their defences, they would have to to those well disposed, and to our enemies, who have been taught a lesson they protection to all good citizens, the party will not soon forget. From my observa- returned to their vessels.

A few days tion, such a thing as free speech among later, on the 13th, Commander Godon them is a tradition, and the reign of ter- proceeded up the passage inside of St. ror rules everywhere; still, those I saw Simon's island, toward Darien, on the were very grateful for the assurances Altamaha river, hoping to get possession given, and I doubt not many of them of one or two rebel steamers of which he will avail themselves of our protection." had heard in that quarter. His vessels,

In communicating these first results of however, being detained by obstructions his expedition to the Navy Department in the channel, the steamers had time to on the 4th of March, Commodore Dupont escape up the Altamaha. Darien, he informed Secretary Welles that one of learnt, was deserted, a company of horsehis leading objects, the control of the men only remaining in the town to burn whole sea-coast line of Georgia, and con- it on the approach of the Union forces. sequently, of the State, was already se- “I have been,” reported Commander cured. “The report,” he wrote, “ that Godon to Flag-Officer Dupont, on the the fortifications at St. Simon's, armed 16th of March, “from one end of St. with heavy columbiads, had been aban- Simon's island to the other.

But one doned, which first reached me at Port white man is left on it. I saw him ; he Royal, is confirmed. This being the is with his aged mother and child ; he case, the entire sea-coast of Georgia is had never been in the army, refused to now either actually in my possession, or leave his house, and was in moral dread under my control, and thus the views of of our coming, as the military had in the government have been accomplish- formed him that we came for the purpose

To secure further advantages in of destroying even the women and chilthis direction, Commander S. W. Godon dren. We procured beef for the vessels was sent on the 8th of March, from Fer- at this plantation, for which we paid the nandina, with the Mohican, Pocahontas price he asked, and furnished the family and Potomska, from the fleet to St. with some articles, such as coffee, salt, Simon's Sound. The fort at that place, etc., which articles they had not even seen and at the neighboring Jekyl island, for months. All the blacks had been commanding the channel to the port of removed from St. Simon's, and at Doboy Brunswick, were, as was expected, found we met the only negro seen, who was old, deserted. On approaching Brunswick a and alone in the place. He had been the fire was seen which proved to be the father of thirteen children, but he informconflagration of the depot and wharf of ed me that every one had been sold as the railway leading to Pensacola, set on they reached about eighteen years of fire by the retreating soldiers. The cars age, and, as he graphically expressed it, were moving off at full speed in the for pocket money for his master.” woods. Lieutenant Balch, of the Poca- In another direction, Commodore Duhontas, landed with a party of marines pont was pushing his easy conquests. and riflemen, with two 12-pounder guns; À visit to the St. John's river, about but found the place deserted. The na- twenty-five miles below along the coast, , tional flag was then raised. The proper- naturally followed the occupation of ty found ready for removal was reli- Fernandina. The expedition, as organgiously respected, and such houses as ized by Commodore Dupont, embraced were not open, were not even entered. the four regular gunboats Ottawa, SenAfter placing proclamations on the pub- eca, Pembina, and Huron, with the lic buildings urging the inhabitants to Isaac Smith and Ellen, and was placed rcoccupy their houses, and promising in charge of Lieutenant Commanding

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »