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110

A LOYAL DEMONSTRATION.

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tured while straggling. A number of the islanders had followed them; and all had suffered much from hunger, thirst, and fatigue, during that exciting march of twenty-eight miles. The Confederate vessels were a part of the little fleet in that region, under the command of Lieutenant Lynch, who had lately abandoned his flag and joined the insurgents. The assailants fled back to Roanoke, and after that left Hatteras in the undisputed possession of the National forces. General Mansfield was sent from Washington with five hundred troops, to still further strengthen the position. He was soon relieved by Brigadier-General Thomas S. Williams, of the Regular Army.

While these events were transpiring, Colonel IIawkins, in pursuance of the humane and conciliatory policy of the Government toward misguided and misinformed inhabitants, issued a proclamation to the people of North Carolina, in which he exposed the misrepresentations of the intentions of the Government put forth by the conspirators and their allies, assuring them that the war was waged only against traitors and rebels (who were called to lay down their arms and have peace), and that the troops had come to give back to the people law, order, and the Constitution, and all their legitimate rights. To this there was a public response by the inhabitants in the immediate vicinity of Hatteras, who professed to be loyal. A conven

tion of the citizens of Ilyde County was held," which, by resolutions, offered the loyalty of its members to the National Govern

ment. A committee was appointed to draw up a statement of grievances, and a declaration of independence of Confederate rule was put forth, in form and style like that issued in 1776. A more important conven

tion was held at Hatteras a month later, in which appeared

representatives from forty-five counties in North Carolina. That body assumed the prerogatives of the State, and by a strong ordinance provided for the government of North Carolina in allegiance to the National Constitution. This promise of good was so hopeful that the President, by proclamation, ordered an election to be held in the First Congressional District of North Carolina. The people complied, and elected a representa

tive (Charles Henry Foster), but he was not admitted to Con

gress, because of some technical objection. This leaven of loyalty, that promised to affect the whole State, was soon destroyed by the strong arm of the Confederates in power.

a Oct. 12,

1861.

6 Nov, 18.

Nov. 27.

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· The Indiana Regiment was peculiarly unfortunate at IIatterns. In the nffair near Chicomicocomico, It had lost its stock of winter clothing. This disaster was followed by a fearful storm on the night of the 20 of November, which swept along the coast, and bringing the sea in with such violence that it subinerged Hatteras Island between the forts, threatening instant destruction to Fort Clark, the smaller one, occupied by the regiment. Its sick were piuch distressed by removal for safety; and nearly one-half of its new supply of winter clothing was swept away.

? This Declaration bore tho signatures of Rev. Marble Nish Taylor, of the North Carolina Methodist Conferenco, Caleb B. Stowe, and William O'Neal.

3 This inovement was brought prominently before the citizens of New York by Mr. Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, at a meeiing over which Mr. Bancroft, the historian, presided, in which he said that ** some 4,000 of the inhabitants living on the narrow strip of land on the coast had, on the first arrival of the troopa, flocked to take the oth of allegiance, and this had cut them off from their scanty resources of traffic with the interior. They rere a poor race," he said, “ living principally by fishing and gathering of yoakum, an evergreen of spontaneous growth, which they dried and exchanged for corn." The yoakum is a plant which is extensively used in that region as a snbstitute for tea.

The appeal of Mr. Taylor in behalf of these people was nobly responded to by generous gifts cf money, food, and clothing.

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a 1861.

Whilst the stirring events just mentioned were occurring on the coast of North Carolina, the vicinity of Fort Pickens, on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, had again become the theater of conflict. We have observed how that fortress was saved from seizure by the insurgents at Pensacola in the spring of 1861, and the arrival in June, at Santa Rosa Island (on which the fort stands), of the New York Sixth, known as Wilson's Zouaves.' These troops and a small blockading squadron, with a garrison in the fort, were stationed there for the purpose of securing from capture by the Confederates that fortress, whose possession was so much coveted by them. Although no serious hostilities occurred between these forces and the insurgents on the main, who threatened them, the former were not inert, but dispelled the uneasiness of camp and deck life by an occasional disturbance of the quiet of their foe, sometimes by threatening a descent on the coast, and at others by firing on some supply-vessel of the Confederates, moving in Pensacola Bay. On the night of the 2d of September," a party from Fort Pickens, under Lieutenant Shepley, burned the Dry Dock at the Navy Yard at Warrington; and, on the night of the 13th of the same month, about one hundred men, under Lieutenant John H. Russell, of Commodore Merwin's flagship Colorado, crossed over to the Navy Yard, and before daylight boarded a large schooner (the Judah), which was being fitted out as a privateer, and lying at the wharf there. They spiked a ten-inch columbiad, with which she was arn

rmed, and burnt her to the water's edge. By the use of muffled oars they eluded the vigilance of the sentinels until it was too late for useful resistance. This was a most daring feat, for at the Navy Yard near by there were at least a thousand Confederate soldiers. “ They were led by an officer with the courage of forty Numidian lions, and their success was perfect,” said an account of the affair written by an officer at the Navy Yard.

The Confederates soon became the aggressors. Early in October, they made an attempt to surprise and capture Wilson's troops on Santa Rosa Island. About fourteen hundred picked men, chosen mostly from Georgia troops and from some Irish volunteers, and commanded by General Anderson, assisted by General Ruggles, crossed Pensacola Bay in the evening on several steamers, and at two o'clock in the morning landed at Deer Point, on Santa Rosa Island, four or five miles eastward of the encampment of the Zouaves. Anderson divided his force into three columns, and in this order marched upon the camp, wherein there was no suspicion of danger near. The pickets were suddenly driven in, and the Zouaves were completely surprised. The Confederate war-cry was,

“ Death to Wilson! no quarter!" The Zouaves fought desperately in the intense darkness, while being driven back by superior numbers to the cover of batteries Linco'n and Totten, situated

6 October 9.

1 Bee chapter XV., volume I.

? Lieutenant Russell lost three men killed and twelve wounderl. The planning and fitting out of the expedition was intrusted to Captain Bailey, of the Colorado. Lientenant Russell was promoted to Coinmander on the 4th of October.

3 Common report had given to Wilson's men the character of being mostly New York - roughs," and the people of the South were taught to believe that they were selected for the purpose of plunder and rapine. It was on that account that the troops Pensacola hated them, and resolved to give them no quarter. Wilson, in a characteristic letter to General Arthur, of New York, reporting the affair, says, aliuding to wild rumors on 3 See page 871, volume I.

112

BATTLE ON SANTA ROSA ISLAND.

one on each side of the island, and about four hundred yards from Fort Pickens. They numbered only one hundred and thirty-three effective men. They were met in their retreat by two companies, under Major Vogdes, sent out of the fort by Colonel Harvey Brown, its commander, to aid them. Two other companies, under Major Arnold, immediately followed, and the combined force returned and charged upon the Confederates. The latter had already plundered and burnt the camp,' and were in a disorganized state. In this condition they were driven in great confusion to their vessels, terribly galled by the weapons of their pursuers. As the vessels moved off with the retreating assailants, several volleys of musketry were poured upon them, and one of the launches, loaded with men, was so riddled by bullets that it sank. In this affair the Nationals lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, sixty-four men. Among the latter was Major Vogdes. The Confederates lost about one hundred and fifty, including those who were drowned. Such was the confusion in which they fled to their boats, that, according to the statement of one of their officers, they shot down their own friends in numbers. “Night skirmishing is a dangerous business,” he said, “especially in an unknown country, as was the Island of Santa Rosa.” So ended THE BATTLE OF SANTA Rosa ISLAND.

Fort Pickens had been silent during the entire summer and autumn of 1861, until late in November, when its thunders were heard for miles along the coast, mingling with those of some vessels of war there, in a combined attack upon the forts and batteries of the Confederates on the main. The garrison at Fort Pickens then numbered about thirteen hundred men, under Colonel Brown. The number of the Confederates, whose works stretched along the shore, from the Navy Yard to Fort McRee, in a curve for about four miles, was about seven thousand, commanded, as in the spring, by General Braxton Bragg. His defenses consisted of Forts McRee and Barrancas, and fourteen separate batteries, mounting from one to four guns each, many of which were ten-inch columbiads, and several thirteen-inch sea-coast mortars.

Having determined to attack Bragg's works, Colonel Brown invited flagofficer McKean, who was in command of the little blockading squadron there (composed of the Niagara, Richmond, and Montgomery), to join him. MeKean prepared to do so, and at a little before ten o'clock, on the morning of the

22d of November, the heavy guns of Fort Pickens opened upon

some transports at the Navy Yard. This was the signal for McKean to act. The Niagara was run in as near Fort McRee as the depth of water would allow, accompanied by the Richmond, Captain Ellison. The latter became instantly engaged in a hot contest with the fort and the water

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the main after the fight, “ They are exhibiting my head and hair in Pensacola--the reward is already claimed ; also an old flag which I nailed to a flagstaff on the 4th of July, which has been hanging there ever since: nothing left, however, but the stars. The leaders have cut it up in pieces, and have pinned it on their hosoms as a trophy. Every one in Pensacola has my sword and uniform. I must have a large quantity of hair, and plenty of swords and uniforms. They say if I was to be taken alive, I was to be put in a cage and exhibited."

* This carnp was on the sea-side of the island, a short mile from Fort Pickens. The tents were arranged in parallel lines, formning pleasant avennes, and each was sheltered by a canopy of boughs and shrubs, to protect it from the hot sun. Santa Rosa Island is a long and narrow sand-bank, with an average width of about half a mile.

: Report of Colonel Harvey Brown to Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend, October 11th, 1861; also of Colonel Wm. Wilson to General Arthur, October 14th, 1861; Correspondents of the Atlantic Intelligencer and Augusta Constitutionalist. See map of Pensacola Bay and vicinity, on page 868, volume I.

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THE BOAST OF HOLLINS.

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a Nov. 23,

1861.

battery, and was soon joined in the fight by the Niagara. The guns of Fort Pickens were also brought to bear upon Fort McRee; and at noon the artillery of the former and of Battery Scott, and also of the two vessels, were playing upon the devoted fortress and the surrounding batteries. The guns of McRee were all speedily silenced. but one. Those of Barrancas were soon reduced to feeble efforts; and from those at the Navy Yard, and one or two other batteries, there was no response for some time before the close of the day.

The bombardment from Fort Pickens was resumed early the next morning," but, owing to the shallowness of the water, the vessels could not get within range of Fort McRee. The fire of Pickens was less rapid, but more effective than the day before. McRee made no response, and the other forts and the batteries answered feebly. At three o'clock in the afternoon, a dense smoke arose from the village of Warrington, on the west of the Navy Yard, and at about the same time buildings in Wolcott, at the north of the yard, were in fames. These villages were fired by the missiles from the fort, and large portions of them, as well as of the Navy Yard, were laid in ashes. The bombardment was kept up until two o'clock the next morning, when it ceased.'

After this bombardment of two days, there was quiet on Pensacola Bay until the first day of the year, when another artillery duel

January 1, occurred, lasting nearly twelve hours, but doing very little damage to either party.

Looking farther westward, along the Gulf of Mexico, we observe little sparks of war threatening a conflagration at several points, at about the time when the events we have just considered were occurring on the shores of Pensacola Bay. One of the most notable of these minor hostilities was exhibited at the mouth of the Mississippi River, on the 12th of October, and was first announced by Captain Hollins, an old officer of the National navy, whose merits were much below his pretensions, as the Confederates, to whom he offered his services when he abandoned his flag, in May, 1861, soon learned to their cost. IIollins startled the public with a telegraphic dispatch to his employers at Richmond, boasting of a successful attack on the National blockading fleet at the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi. He claimed to have driven all the vessels aground on the bar there, sinking one of them and “peppering well” the others. The official account of this affair showed the following facts:

J. S. Hollins was placed in command of a peculiarly shaped iron-clad vessel called a “ram," and named Manassas. At about four o'clock in the morning this ram was seen approaching the little blockading squadron, consisting of the war steamer Richmond, sloops-of-war Vin- October 12, cennes and Preble, and steam-tender Water- Witch, all under the

1562.

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1 Report of Colonel Brown, November 24th, 1861; also of Commodore McKean to Secretary Welles, November 20th, 1861; report of General Bragg to Samuel Cooper, November 27th, 1561.

? The following is a copy of the dispatch, dated at Fort Jackson, below New Orleans, October 12th, 1801 : " Last night I attacked the blockaders with my little fleet. I succeeded, after a very short struggle, in driving them all nground on the Southwest Pass bar, except the Preble, which I sunk.

" I captnred a prize from them, and after they were fast in sand I peppered them well. There were no casualties on our side. It was a complete success.—Hollins."

VOL. II.-3

114

CONFLICT AT SOUTHWEST PASS.

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J. S. HOLLINS.

command of Captain John Pope. The Manassas was close to the Richmond before she was discovered, and by the time the watch could give the alarm, her iron prow had struck the vessel " abreast the port fore-channels,” tearing

a coal schooner that was alongside from her fastenings, and staving a hole in the ship's side, about five inches in circumference, two feet below the waterline. The ram then drew off, and, passing aft, made an ineffectual attempt to breach the Richmond's stern. The crew of the assailed vessel had promptly hastened to quarters at the first alarm, and, as the monster passed abreast of the ship in the darkness, had given it a volley from the port battery, but with what effect was not known until some time afterward.

A signal of danger had been given to the other vessels. They at once

slipped their cables and got under way, with orders to run down to the Pass, while the Richmond should cover their retreat. This was done at five o'clock. In an attempt to pass the bar, the Richmond and Vincennes grounded, at about eight o'clock, in the morning, where they were bombarded for a while by the Manassas, and some fire-rafts were sent down to burn them. A little later, Commander Robert Handy, of the Vincennes, mistaking the meaning of a signal from Pope, abandoned his ship, placed a slow match at the magazine, and with his officers and crew fled, some to the Richmond and some to the Water Witch. Happily, the fire of the match expired, and Handy and his men returned to the ship and saved her. The fire-rafts sent down by Hollins were harmless, and at ten o'clock the Confederate “Commodore” withdrew and ran up to Fort Jackson, to send news of his great “victory” to Richmond, The only damages inflicted by Hollins were slight bruises on the coal schooner, sinking a large boat, and staving Captain Pope's gig. When his dispatch and the facts were considered together, they produced great merriment throughout the country at the expense of the weak Confederate “Commodore.”

The Manassas would have been a formidable enemy to the blockaders at the mouth of the Mississippi, in the hands of a competent officer. It was so considered by the Government; and the apprehension that others of like character might be speedily fitted out at New Orleans, hastened the preparations already commenced for sending an expedition to the Lower Mississippi, for the purpose of controlling it and its connecting waters, and taking possession of the great commercial city on its banks. This expedition and its results will be hereafter considered.

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1 This eqnadron had been placed there by Flag-officer McKean, commander of the squadron off Pensacola, for the purpose of guarding the several entrances to the Mississippi, and erecting a battery at the head of the passes, which would command the entire navigation of the river.

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