Page images
PDF
EPUB

the state of the roåds, and the necessity development of the plans of the comof bringing up supplies, for more than mander-in-chief. When, however, Yorkforty-eight hours after the battle of Wil- town fell, General Wool held himself in liamsburg-General McClellan tells us it readiness for an early demonstration. was impossible even to feed the men on On Thursday, the 8th, four days after the ground where they stood-could the surrender of Yorktown, as we are effect little in pursuit. The march was informed in a graphic recital of the events early pushed forward. On the 9th Gen- which followed, written by one well qualeral McClellan telegraphed to the de- ified by his peculiar opportunities to prepartment, “My troops are in motion, sent an accurate narrative of the circumand in excellent spirits. They have all stances, the Honorable Henry J. Raythe air and feelings of veterans. It would mond, at the time on a visit to Fortress do your heart good to see them. I have Monroe, “ the little steam-tug J. B. White effected a junction with Franklin." It came in from Norfolk, having deserted was not, however, till the 16th of May from the rebel service. She had been that the different divisions of the army sent to bring in a couple of schooners were concentrated at White House, on from the mouth of Tanner's creek; the the Pamunkey, a few miles above West officers in charge of her being Northern Point, a place named after a famous resi- men, and having been long desirous of dence of the Lee family, celebrated in the escaping from the rebel régime, considerpersonal history of Washington, and a lo- ed this a favorable opportunity for effectcality destined to be the base of operations ing their object. They slipped past in the further advance upon Richmond. Craney island without attracting any

In the meantime an important event hostile observation, and then steered in eastern Virginia had occurred in directly for Newport News. On arrivthe capture of Norfolk. There had ing they reported to General Wool that been no little talk of this desirable the rebel troops were evacuating Norfolk event from time to time, and much had —that very many had already gone, and been expected from the operations of that not over two or three thousand rethe army in North Carolina, which prom- mained, and even therje, it was confiised seriously to threaten the city in the dently believed, would very speedily be rear. Nothing, however, was accom- withdrawn. They were men of intelliplished till the fall of Yorktown, and gence and of evident sincerity, and their the advance of McClellan's army to statements commanded full confidence. ward Richmond, with the gathering forces Under these circumstances, General Wool of the navy in Hampton roads, imme- decided to make a military demonstradiately endangered the position. In tion upon Norfolk. A large body of accordance, then, with a policy forced troops was embarked upon the transports upon the Confederates by experience, lying in the roads, and all preparations they prepared to anticipate the possible were made with a view to a landing on or impending blow, withdraw their troops Sewell's Point during Thursday night. and narrow their lines of defence of the Several of our vessels were sent to shell beleaguered capital. For some time pre- the point during the preceding day, and viously, we are told, General Wool, com- they did it with a good deal of effect. manding at Fortress Monroe, had been But they received very vigorous replies of opinion that Norfolk might be taken from the batteries there, and were finally without great cost, but nothing definite put to flight by the appearance of the had been undertaken for want of a prop- Merrimac, which came ip to take part in er coöperation of the land and naval the couflict. This vigorous demonstraforces, and in accordance with the slow tion on the part of the icbels satisfied the

GENERAL WOOL ADVANCES UPON NORFOLK.

425

military authorities that the attack could eral Wool decided upon an immediate not safely be made at that time, or at march upon Norfolk from that point, and that point. The troops were accordingly orders were at once issued to carry it disembarked on Friday morning, and the into effect. The steamer Adelaide, which expedition was for the time abandoned. was filled with freight and passengers

On Friday, Secretary Chase, who had for Baltimore, was stopped half an hour been spending several days here, as had before her time of sailing, and with half also President Lincoln and Secretary a dozen others, was at once occupied by Stanton, learned from a pilot familiar the infantry and artillery destined for with the coast, that there was a place the expedition. They began to embark where a landing could be effected a mile at about four o'clock, on Friday afteror so beyond Willoughby point--and noon, and by midnight several of them that a very good road led directly from had started for the opposite shore. A that shore to Norfolk. In company with vigorous bombardment was opened from General Wool and Colonel T. J. Cram, the Rip Raps upon Sewell's point, and of the topographical engineers, Secretary kept up for two hours, to induce the beChase, on Friday, crossed over in the lief that this was the intended point of steam revenue-cutter Miami, and sent a debarkation. The steamers crossed over, boat to sound the depth of water and ex- and at daylight preparations were made amine the shore with a view to a land- for landing. The shore is a smooth, ing for troops. While doing so, they sandy beach--the sand being very deep perceived signs of a mounted picket as you leave the water, and suddenly guard on the shore above, and not deem- rising into long mounds ten or fifteen ing it safe to venture too far, they pulled feet high, thrown up by the heavy winds back for the Miami. On their way, how- blowing in upon the shore, and forming ever, a woman was seen in a house on a complete breastwork around the fields shore waving a white flag. The boat's which they invade. The water, shallow crew at once returned, and were told by at the shore line, deepens very gradually, the woman that her husband had fled to and only at some fifty feet out becomes the woods to avoid being forced into the deep enough for vessels drawing five or rebel service by the mounted scouts who six feet of water. Three or four canal came every day to find him, and that on boats were towed over, and placed side his last departure he had instructed her by side lengthwise of the coast-an into wave a white flag on the approach of clined platform was constructed to the any boats from the Union side. She gave land, and this served for a temporary the party a good deal of valuable infor- wharf across which the troops, cannon, mation concerning the roads, and the and other indispensables of the expedicondition of the country between there tion were landed. The infantry regiand Norfolk. Secretary Chase and Col- ments were landed first, and started at onel Cram went ashore and satisfied once upon their march. The negroes, themselves that a landing was perfectly who alone remained behind, said that a feasible. On returning to Fortress Mon- mounted picket had been there the day roe they found that President Lincoln before, but had lest, saying that the and Secretary Stanton, on examining the Union men were coming over in a day maps, had been led to make a similar ex- or two. The troops were landed and ploration, and had come to a similar con- started forward in the following order : clusion, though the points at which the 20th New York, Colonel Max Weber ; two parties had struck the shore proved 16th Massachusetts, Colonel P. T. Wyto have been a mile or two apart.

99th New York, Colonel Ward" The result of all this was that Gen- rop; 1st Delaware, Colonel J. W. Andrews; 58th Pennsylvania ; 10th New town. Just before reaching it they were York, Colonel Bendix ; one hundred met by a flag of truce, to which an officer mounted riflemen ; Follett's battery, light was at once sent forward to inquire its artillery, six pieces ; Howard's battery, object.

man;

object. Receiving the information that four pieces.

it was to treat for the surrender of the "One leading object of pushing forward city, the officer returned, and General the infantry rapidly was to secure, if Wool and staff, with Secretary Chase, possible, the bridge across Tanner's creek, advanced to meet the mayor of the city, by which the route to Norfolk would be who had come out under the flag. Both shortened several miles. The route lay parties dismounted and entered a cottage through pine woods, and over roads in by the roadside, when the mayor informonly tolerable condition. At about one ed the general of the evacuation of the o'clock the leading regiment, under Max city, and of the object of his visit. It Weber, came to the bridge and found it seems that a meeting was held at Norfolk burning, having just been set on fire by some days since, not long, probably, after a body of men who had planted a couple the evacuation of Yorktown was resolved of small guns on the opposite bank, upon, of the rebel secretary of war, Genwhich they opened upon our advance. eral Huger, General Longstreet, and General Mansfield, who had come over some others of the leading military from Newport News, at General Wool's authorities, at which it was determined request, to join the expedition, thought not to attempt to hold the city against this indicated an intention to resist the any demonstration of the national forces further progress of our troops, and that to effect its capture. This decision was nothing could be done without artillery followed by the withdrawal of the main and a larger force. He accordingly body of the troops ; and this (Saturday)

; started back to hurry up the batteries, morning, after it was understood that and to provide for bringing over a por- our troops had landed at Ocean View, tion of his command as a reinforcement. and were advancing upon the city, GenGeneral Wool, however, meantime de- eral Huger addressed a letter to Mayor cided to push forward. The column Lamb, in which he stated that “the marched back about two miles and a troops which formerly defended this half to a point where a diverging road neighborhood having been removed elseled around the head of Tanner's creek, where by order of the government, I have and took that route to Norfolk. Nothing not the means to defend the city, and further was heard from the party that have ordered the forces off, and turn over had fired upon our column, and it was the charge of the city to yourself and its evident that the demonstration was civil officers." merely intended to protect them in the Upon receiving this note, the mayor destruction of the bridge. They fired immediately convened the select and about a dozen shots, none of which took common councils of the city, and a comeffect.

mittee was appointed to "coöperate with "Our troops pushed rapidly forward the mayor in conferring with the Federal despite the heat of the day, and at five military commander, and assuring him o'clock reached the intrenched camp, that no resistance can or will be made to some two miles this side of Norfolk, the occupation of the city by the United which had been very strongly fortified States forces, but that the citizens expect with earth works on which were mounted and claim protection to persons and twenty-nine pieces of artillery. No property during such occupation." troops were in the place, and our forces The committee, accordingly, were now passed through it on their way to the present, with the mayor, surrendering

NORFOLK SURRENDERED.

427

the city and asking protection for the the commanding general issued the folpersons and property of the citizens. lowing-General order No. 1. HeadGeneral Wool replied that his request quarters Department of Virginia, Norwas granted in advance---that the gov- folk, May 10, 1862. The city of Norfolk ernment of the United States had not the having been surrendered to the governslightest wish or thought of interfering ment of the United States, military poswith the rights of any peacable citizen, session of the same is taken in behalf of and that all should have full protection the national government by Major-Genigainst violence of every kind. The first eral John E. Wool. Brigadier-General thing he had done on setting out in the Viele is appointed military governor for morning had been to issue an order, pro- the time being. He will see that all cithibiting, under the severest penalties, izens are carefully protected in all their any interference whatever with the pri- rights and civil privileges, taking the utvate property or rights of any citizen, most care to preserve order and to see and this prohibition should be enforced that no soldier be permitted to enter the with the utmost rigor. He begged the city except by his order, or by the writmayor to rest assured that everything he ten permission of the commanding officer had asked should be granted. A gen- of his brigade or regiment, and he will eral conversation then took place between punish summarily any American soldier the officials on each side, in which their who shall trespass upon the rights of any sentiments and opinions were freely in- of the inhabitants. Immediately after terchanged. Special stress was laid by issuing this order General Wool, with the city representatives on the fact that his staff and Secretary Chase, withdrew, they had discountenanced, in every way and rode back in the carriage used only possible, all the propositions that had this morning by General Huger, across been made for the destruction of private the country to Ocean View, the place property, and the burning of the bridge of debarkation, which they reached at across Tanner's creek was characterized a little after eight o'clock.

The only as an utterly useless and unauthorized report of the surrender of the city act. Captain Cornick said that if the which preceded them was brought by government had ordered the city to be a negro, who arrived about twenty minburned, he should of course have submit- utes in advance, and said that he left ted; but he had given public notice that Norfolk at half-past five o'clock, and that if any member of any vigilance commit- he then saw a body of our horsemen and tee, or anybody else without full author- one regiment of infantry inside the ity from the government, should attempt works. He had walked all the way, and to set his house on fire, he would shoot his report was speedily confirmed by him on the spot. The mayor concurred the appearance of the general in person, in these sentiments, and expressed the who at once went on board the steamstrongest determination to do everything boat Pioneer, and returned to Fortress in his power for the preservation of the Monroe-stopping on the way to anpublic peace and of social order. nounce the result to the flag-officer of

"The party then broke up to go to the fleet on board the Susquehanna."* the city ball for the formal inauguration It was eleven o'clock at night when Genof the new military authorities. The eral Wool returned to Fortress Monroe. mayor invited General Wool and Secre- At midnight Secretary Stanton, who was tary Chase to ride with him in his car- there to greet bim, in a dispatch to riage, and they proceeded together, fol- Washington, recapitulating the events lowed by the general's body guard and

Editorial Correspondence Nero York Times the troops. After entering the city hall View, opposite Fortress Monroe, May 10, 1862.

Ocean

of the day, announced to the country, ant T. F. Eldridge from the Dragon, had Norfolk is ours.'

landed with an armed crew and taken These were the incidents of Satur- down the rebel flag. substituting the day. On Sunday a striking catastro-stars and stripes' amid the hearty chcers phe crowned the busy drama of the of the crew. Captain Case immediately week, which had commenced with the reported the fact to the President and evacuation of Yorktown. About four secretary of war, who received the cono'clock in the morning a bright light was firmation of the picket boats with great observed from Fortress Monroe in the satisfaction.

. direction of Craney island, which was "At the request of the President, Capsupposed at first to be a signal of some tain Case immediately proceeded to Cradescription from the Merrimac. Pre- ney island to ascertain is the works were cisely at half-past four o'clock, continues evacuated, in company with the fleet, the report to the associated press, "an which was then advancing. Your corexplosion took place which made the earth respondent and Captain Phillips were and water tremble for miles around. In courteously invited by Captain Case to the midst of the bright flame which shot accompany him on the expedition, which up in the distance, the timbers and iron was soon under way, and overtook and of the monster steamer could be seen fly- passed all the vessels of war that had ing through the air. No doubt was en- started in advance of us except the Montertained that the veritable Merrimac itor and Naugatuck, which were moving had ceased to exist. Flag-Officer Golds- ahead on their way to Norfolk, having borough, on receiving this report, order- passed by Sewell's point and Craney ed two armed naval tugs, the Zouave and island. As we neared Craney island we Dragon, to proceed toward Craney island found this immense fortress apparently on a reconnoissance, and ascertain the abandoned, though three rebel flags were truth of the rumor. Immediately after floating from very tall staffs in different they had turned the point, the Monitor parts of the works. Captain Case, when and E. A. Stevens steamed up in the within half a mile of the shore, ordered same direction, followed by the San Ja- a shot to be fired to test the fact of evaccinto, Susquehanna, Mount Vernon, Sem- uation. The only sign of life that the inole, and Dacotah. It was a most beau- shell produced was the appearance on tiful sight, and attracted throngs of spec- the shore of two negro men. A boat was tators along the whole line of Old Point. immediately lowered, and through the Some were disposed to discredit the an- courteous attention of the commandant, nouncement that the Merrimac was des- I accompanied it to the shore to particitroyed, and as the vessels passed up to pate in the honor of lowering the rebel Craney island the excitement became in- emblems, and substituting the pride of tense. .

In the mean time, two tug-boats America' in its place. Commander Case were seen coming on toward the fortress was the first loyal man that pressed his at full speed, each endeavoring to outvie foot on the soil of this treasonable strongthe other, and when nearing the wharf, hold. Without thought of torpedoes or the radiant countenance of Captain Case, infernal machines, the gallant commandof the Minnesota, gave assurance that ant rushed to the flagstaff and halliards, the news they brought was of a most and they being in good order, the old gratifying character. The report was flag was soon given to the breeze. true ; he had met parts of the floating "The forts on the island are in four or wreck. All the earthworks at Craney five separate sections. They are conisland appeared to be abandoned, though structed with the best engineering skill, the rebel flag was still flying. Lieuten- and most admirable workmanship, and

« PreviousContinue »