« PreviousContinue »
into the magazine himself, and extinguish the fire. Without a moment's hesitation, he jumped into the perilous place, and giving orders to keep up the fight, he passed up powder with one hand, and buckets of water down with the other, until the fire was quenched.
On entering the magazine and seeing the gunner sitting so quietly on the powder-barrel, he thought he was either shirking his duty, or bewildered by fear, and asked him sternly what he was doing there. “Ah, Sir," said the splendid fellow. “this 'ere shell have stove off the head of the barrel, and if I get up, a little spark might fall in, and blow us all to smithereens in a minute.” Courage like this of Captain Chaplin and his quarter gunner has seldom been shown in any navy, and their conduct should be noted among the brightest incidents of the war.
Search the wide world over, and still you will find
GENERAL BUTLER'S ACCOUNT OF HIS RECRUITING OPERA
TIONS IN LOUISIANA.
EXTRACTED FROM HIS TESTIMONY BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE
CONDUCT OF THE WAR.
"I ISSUED an order that any Confederate soldier, who chose to desert and leave the Rebel army, might come into New Orleans and register his name.
“There had come into New Orleans, up to this time, something over 6,000 men, who had been soldiers in the Rebel army, and registered themselves as paroled prisoners; so that I had in New Orleans nearly twice as many men who had been soldiers in the Confederate army as I had of Union soldiers.
“I had asked for leave, which had been granted, to recruit my regiments. I recruited in Louisiana all my old regiments up to the full standard; raised two new white regiments, and four companies of cavalry-all of men living in Louisiana. They fought bravely at Baton Rouge. Out of 460 men of the 14th Maine, who were in line, 200 of them were recruits from Louisiana. They, of course, were healthy men, not having suffered the troubles either of Camp Parapet or Vicksburg.
“I ordered $8 a month to be paid out of the provost fund to the widows and mothers of quite a number of Louisiana soldiers that were killed under our flag, because I knew it would take a long time to get it from Washington, and I wanted to encourage others to enlist. The provost fund was made up of fines and forfeitures, sales of confiscated property, and two dollars charged for each pass, &c.
“I asked for liberty to raise 5,000 native Louisianians, and raised nearly that number, including recruits in the old regiments. White recruiting began then to fall off, because of the high wages beginning to be paid for white labor on the plantations, in order to save the sugar crop where the negroes had left.
“I had written to Washington for reinforcements, but they replied that they could not give me any, though they wrote that I must hold New Orleans at all hazards. I determined to do that. if for no other reason, because the Rebels had offered a reward for my head, and it would have been rather inconvenient to me to have.lost it.
“Upon examining the records, I found that Governor Moore, of Louisiana, had raised a regiment of free colored people, and organized and officered it; and I found one of his commissions. I sent for a colored man, as an officer of that regiment, and got some fifteen or sixteen of the officers together-black, and mulatto, light and dark colored—and asked them what they meant by being organized under the Rebels.
“They said they had been ordered out, and could not refuse; but that the Rebels had never trusted them with They had been drilled in company drill.
I asked them if that organization could be resuscitated, provided they were supplied with arms. They said that it could. Very well, I said, then I will resuscitate that regiment of Louisiana militia.
“T, therefore, issued an order, stating the precedent furnished by Governor Moore, and in a week from that time, I had in that regiment a thousand men, reasonably drilled, and well-disciplined; better disciplined than any other regiment I had there, because the blacks had always been taught to do as they were told. It was composed altogether of freemen; made free under some law.
“There was a very large French and English population in Louisiana. I ascertained that neither French nor English law permitted French or English subjects to hold slaves in a foreign country. According to the French law, any French citizen holding slaves in a foreign country, forfeits his citizenship. According to the British law, any Englishman holding slaves in a foreign country, forfeits one hundred pounds.
“ I, thereupon issued an order, that every person should register himself; the loyal as loyal; French subjects, as French subjects; English subjects, as English subjects, &c., under their own hands, so that there could be no mistake in the books of the Provost Marshal. That was accordingly done.
“I then said to those who claimed to be French and English subjects: 'According to the law of the country to which you claim, by this register, to owe allegiance, all the negroes claimed by you as slaves are free, and being free, I may enlist as many of them as I please.' And I accordingly enlisted one regiment and part of another, from men in that condition.
“We had a great many difficulties about it. But the English Consul came fairly up to the mark, and decided that the negroes claimed as slaves by those who had registered themselves as British subjects, were free; so that I never enlisted a slave. Indeed, it was a general order, that no slave should be enlisted.
“I sent an expedition under General Weitzel to Donaldsonville, and swept down through that country to Berwick Bay; drove out the enemy, who were there in considerable force, and brought the whole of that region, from one end to the other, within the Union lines.
“In taking possession of that district, which had heretofore been in possession of the enemy, we obtained possession of a region of country containing more sugar plantations, and more slaves, than any other portion of Louisiana. Some 15,000, perhaps 20,000 slaves came, by that one expedition, under our control; and, as Congress had passed a law declaring that all slaves held by Rebels, in regions that after
ward should come into our possession, should be free, all those slaves became free.
“I enlisted a third regiment, and two batteries of heavy artillery, from among those negroes thus made free. Two of these colored regiments were employed in guarding the Opelousas Railroad, running from Algiers to Berwick Bay, and when I left there they were still thus employed.
"I turned over to my successor, of soldiers, 17,800, including the black regiments, though I had but 13,700 to start on.”
SCENE IN THE CAPITOL GROUNDS, WASHINGTON.
An amusing scene is represented by a newspaper correspondent, as having occurred in August, 1862, in the capitol grounds at Washington. IIe says:
While on the steamer Adelaide, the Fortress Monroe boat from Baltimore, I became acquainted with a Mr. Graves, an English gentleman from Manchester, who was on his way to the fortress for the purpose of making a visit to the army of the Potomac. When the army evacuated Harrison Landing he started for Washington, and it was within half an hour after he left there, that an amusing scene occurred, of which the following is his own version.
He entered the capitol grounds and asked an officer whom he met, what that magnificent structure was used for? (meaning the capitol.)