« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
proposed to land at a point two or three miles north of the batteries, while the vessels should shell the rebels out of their fortifications, and prepare the way for the detachment to complete the work by a decisive blow. The fortunes of war, however, gave the army a less opportunity for glory than had been anticipated.
Upon this information, which was duly re- | ported at head-quarters, but which had become somewhat ancient when the expedition finally sailed, General Scott ordered General Butler, in conjunction with Flag-officer Stringham, to prepare an expedition to attack and take the place, but not to attempt to hold it. The batteries were to be destroyed, and the "bulk-head," or narrow neck of channel which connects the inlet with the Albemarle Sound, was to be filled by sinking a wreck. This accomplished, the forces were to return to Old Point Comfort. Information that such an expedition had been projected was, as usual, communicated to the rebels through the columns of the New York newspapers; so loosely do we conduct our affairs. Yet so careful are we in some respects, that a large number of secessionists-prisoners
Nothing could be more pleasant than the passage down. The Minnesota, in which I was so extremely fortunate as to secure a passage, & nd from the deck of which I witnessed the events I am about to describe, led the way, but was soon passed by all the vessels except the Wabash. Of course the flag-ship was compelled to regulate her motions by those of the slowest of the fleet; that is why she was so slow. The Fanny, as she passed us, was a study. She is, you must know, merely a canal boat. She
fort on their way to Norfolk, were detained a week lest they should communicate some information on the subject, while our own newspapers were giving the enemy all the information needed. It is somewhat singular, too, that the journal, to which the rebels acknowledge the greatest indebtedness, is one which makes the most clamorous professions of loyalty, and which is most tempestuous in its calls for suppression of incendiary sheets.
of war-who had been sent to Old Point Com-rolled about like a tub, but somehow she held together, and was as sound as ever when I last saw her, on Friday, at Hatteras Inlet. But they were obliged to lash the boiler down to the deck with ropes. Lieutenant Crosby, who commanded her, went as a volunteer; he deserves much credit for his valor-perhaps less for his discretion.
It was two o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday when the Minnesota and the Wabash arrived off Hatteras, where the remainder of the fleet were found waiting orders. Proceeding to a position near enough to the inlet to enable us to see something of the ground which was to be operated upon, the Monticello was sent to make a reconnoissance of the point, with a view to ascertain whether any important changes had taken place, and to look out a proper location for landing. Nothing more could be done that night; so the vessels were taken to an offing. Orders were given for breakfast at four o'clock in the morning.
Under these circumstances the expedition left Old Point Comfort. Of what it accomplished, and how, I propose now to give you some account, as I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Notwithstanding my eyes are not of the best, I feel tolerably certain of whatever I thought I saw; as what I have heard has come from gentlemen, and experienced gentlemen, I feel sure that what I have heard is true. The expedition left Hampton Roads at a few minutes after one o'clock on Monday afternoon, precisely the hour agreed upon three days previously-a marvellous circumstance, truly, and one which promised very well for the success of the enterprise. It consisted of the Minnesota, the Wabash, the Pawnee, the Monticello, and the Harriet Lane, war vessels, the steamers George Peabody and Adelaide, transports, and the steam-tug Fanny. Two iron boats and two flat fishing boats, all intended to be used as surf-boats, were taken along, and also a dismasted schooner, which it was proposed to sink in the Bulk-head. The frigate Cumberland was expected to arrive off Hatteras to join the attack, and the Susquehanna, side-wheel steam ship-of-war, then overdue at Hampton Roads, was also under orders to follow as early as possible. The transports conveyed five hundred men of the New York Twentieth regiment, (German Turners,) with Colonel Weber and Lieutenant-Colonel Weiss, two hundred and twenty men of the New York Ninth, under Colonel Hawkins' command, two companies of the Union Coast Guard, (the Naval Brigade, as it was once called,) under Captain Nixon, and a company from the Second U. S. Artillery under Captain Larned. It was
Accordingly, at that hour all hands were called, and by two bells-that's five o'clock, you land lubber-the whole fleet was active with preparations for the conflict. The Monticello, the Pawnee, and the Harriet Lane were sent to cover and assist generally in landing the troops, and they took up a position about two miles and a half north of the forts, and near by the spot where lays the wreck of the barque Linwood, at which point it was thought possible to effect a landing. The Cumberland had come bravely to time, and was taken in tow by the Wabash, but a great deal of time was occupied in effecting these arrangements. The iron and flat boats were meanwhile filling with troops from the steamers, and the hundred marines who had been taken from the war vessels to increase the land forces. The Wabash went up to the battery first, drawing the Cumberland after her. The Minnesota followed, and as we drew near the point the two batteries and the barracks of the rebels were plainly visible. In the sound, beyond the narrow neck of land, several vessels-three steamers, some schooners under sail, and a brig laying at anchor under the guns of the forts-were clearly seen.
Time 9.45. Boom! Whiz-z-z! The Wabash opens the action, and plants three shells. apparently directly in the small, or northern battery. The fort responds promptly, but a shout of derisive laughter from the gun deck is the comment, when its shot falls in the water at half the distance from the fort to the ship. Every gun-captain in the ship is anxiously waiting the order to fire. The word is passed, "No firing until it is ordered from the quarter-deck!" It is misunderstood on the gun-deck. Somebody says it is, "Fire when you're ready!" On the shore, half-way between the forts and the landing, twenty or thirty horses are running tow- During the action the scenes on the decks ard our troops, and twice as many cows are of the Minnesota were most exciting. What running in the opposite direction. Bang! goes do you think of arming negroes? Wouldn't a gun from the main deck, and a shell is landed Wendell Phillips have found a text for an oraalmost among the cows. At the same instant tion had he stood on that deck watching halfthe Harriet Lane sent a messenger of the same a-dozen contrabands, who came from the batsort among them, and the animals find their teries at Yorktown to seek the protection of way across the peninsula. Then the gunner Fortress Monroe, as they worked the after gun discovers his mistake. He thought he was of the upper deck? Certainly it was a sight firing at the enemy's cavalry as they charged which I little expected ever to see when I left up the beach. Now the order is understood, your office to take notes of the war. But opinand the men stand by their pieces, watching ions change very rapidly under the accelerating the effect of the shells which now go thick and influence of revolutionary times. First our solfast from the Cumberland and Wabash, and of diers were to quell servile insurrections. Then the shots which begin to come from the smaller they were to protect contrabands who should and upper fort. "Fire the pivot gun when relieve them of fatigue duty. Then the contrayou're ready!" is the order now passed for- band doctrine went down before a new comer, ward to Mr. Foster, and directly we get within looking very much like general emancipation. range a nine-inch shell is sent from the bow, And in the last days of August, in the first year and explodes just over Fort Clark. We pass of our civil war, the negro stands by the side inside of the other vessels, nearly a quarter of of the white man, fighting the battles of the a mile nearer the shore, and the fire, once country. Mr. Phillips may think this more opened from the Minnesota's batteries, is kept important than the capture of seven hundred up with the greatest rapidity while we remain prisoners with a flag-officer at their head, or within range. The enemy's shots come near even the possession of two rebel forts and a us, but do not quite reach us. The ship is put thousand stand of arms. At any rate, whether about so as to return, presenting the other the incident has any peculiar significance or broadside to the shore, and, as she wears, a not, let me say that the negroes worked wellcouple of shot drop under her stern at a dis-never better-and they evidently enjoyed the tance of a dozen yards or so. We go back business.
north of the other vessels, and returning again, And another lesson, as if to prove that this we are in season to see a shot dropped midway is no sectional war, no contest for subjugation: between the Wabash and Cumberland. An- I see in the bow of the vessel, commanding his other passes just over our bow, and drops be- division-no fire more rapid than his-no aim yond us; and so the firing is kept up constantly, more deadly-the stalwart form of a noble and manifestly with terrible effect upon the Kentuckian; and I know that elsewhere in the forts. fleet, Virginia and Maryland are represented by their sons, bravely battling for the Union. Who are fighting for their home?-those who, under the banners of the usurpers, are disputing the authority of the best government the world ever saw, or those who are fighting for their homes as they were?
The Susquehanna, which hove in sight very shortly after the commencement of the action, comes up in fine style and takes a hand in the fight after the first hour. The air is so filled with smoke that it is only occasionally that we get a view of the batteries on shore, both of which keep up a feeble attempt at responding. We had already seen that the surf was making great mischief with the landing of the troops. It was only with great difficulty and no small peril that troops were landed at all, and we now perceived that further attempts were aban-port-hole, the sponge was hanging in its place doned. The two wooden boats were entirely dripping with water, and the sailor stood dripdestroyed, and appearances indicated what was ping before his officer. He got a promotion afterward learned to be the fact, that the iron for his cool conduct. The reverend chaplain, boats had been swamped. How many troops I observe, too, sometimes almost forgets his
A noticeable incident happened on the gundeck. A sponger dropped his sponge overboard. Before the officer of the deck could utter a word of reproach, the man had jumped overboard, got back somehow mysteriously through the
were landed it was not easy to judge, but evidently only a small portion of the force. What would happen to them it was not easy to guess, but we had seen a party march out from Fort Clark early in the action, apparently for the purpose of making an attack—a purpose which, if ever entertained, was soon reconsidered; for, after making half the distance between the fort and the landing, the party turned back. What number of troops were in the forts we had no means of knowing, but it appeared probable that there were quite enough to give our forces much trouble.
bloodless to our side at least. But the victory was not yet won. The Monticello entered the inlet, and was steaming through in fine style, when, as she was within six hundred yards of the lower battery, the real state of affairs was Time, P. M. Three hours' cannonading announced by the booming of cannon from the from fifty-seven heavy guns had evidently pro- rebel battery. The gunboat responded promptduced an effect on the smaller and northern-ly, and for fifteen minutes a brisk fire was kept most fort. Of what had happened to the larger up, which it seemed probable would sink the work nothing could be ascertained, as we had vessel. All hands were called to quarters, and not at any time been in a position to obtain a the larger vessels prepared to resume the atgood view of it. The flag of the first had been tack. The Cumberland was, however, counted twice shot away, and twice it was promptly out, as, under the supposition that the fight was raised again. But the firing had been aban- over, she had been sent on her cruise. The doned almost altogether, and the rebels were Monticello finally got out of this awkward and evidently becoming discouraged-whether be- unpleasant hole in the wall, but not until sevcause guns were dismounted and the men killed, eral holes had been made in her hull, while her or because they were satisfied that they could topsail was badly torn and her port waist boat not touch the ships, could not be divined. But hung from a single davit. A carpenter was the Minnesota, which appeared to be the favor- despatched to her assistance. The Wabash, ite mark of the forts, had not been compli- Susquehanna, and Minnesota resumed the atmented for half an hour, when the cry was tack, and continued an hour or two, aided at raised, "They're running!" And, indeed, at last by the Cumberland, which promptly rethis moment the flags of both Fort Hatteras turned on hearing the sound of the heavy firing. and Fort Clark were hauled down; a consid-It was apparent, however, that the rebels had erable body of our troops, already landed, were taken to the bomb-proofs, for they paid but little seen hurrying with their colors toward the attention to us. Our friends had meantime small fort; in the sound beyond the inlet, withdrawn from Fort Clark to a safer localboats were seen laden with men, evidently in-ity. tent upon getting away as fast as possible, and General Butler telegraphed from the Harriet Lane a request for the fleet to cease firing. The signal was made, but the state of affairs was not understood on board all the ships as it was by the Minnesota. About thirty of our men were in and around Fort Clark, and had already raised the Union flag, when they were fired upon by the Monticello and Pawnee, under the impression, I suppose, that there was some trick in the matter, or perhaps upon knowledge that the enemy had merely with drawn from Fort Clark to Fort Hatteras. I could not see-indeed, from the position of the Minnesota at the time, it was not possible to see whether the guns were directed at one fort rather than the other. Be that as it may, several shells burst in the immediate vicinity of our own men. The Monticello and the Pawnee were instantly called back. The former reported that the inward battery was still in the hands of the rebels, and denied having fired without knowledge of the state of affairs. She was ordered to enter the inlet and discover what the hauling down of the flags meant, and was informed that our friends were in possession of the upper fort. So the Monticello proceeded on her way. Meanwhile, on board the flag ship it was considered settled that the day was ours. Why not? Both flags had been hauled down. The American flag had been raised in its place at Fort Clark. Of course the day was ours, and accordingly the gentlemen of the ward-room mess, who that morning had asked the surgeon all sorts of questions about wounds and the treatment thereof, met again to congratulate each other upon victory,
peaceful calling when a fine shot is made, or a broadside is poured into the forts-and finally I see him fleeing from temptation to the gundeck, where he enjoys himself in serving out coffee to the sailors.
Darkness began to come on, and with it the aspect of the weather became threatening. The order was passed "cease firing," and reluctantly the fleet was withdrawn. The Monticello, Pawnee, and Lane were ordered to remain as near the shore as possible, in order to protect our landed troops. The larger vessels then made an anchorage in the offing. The feeling throughout the ship at this time was that we were beaten. It seemed probable that the vessels stationed to protect our men on shore would be compelled to leave them to the mercy of the rebels, and it was very doubtful, too, if the weather would permit the resumption of the bombardment on the morrow. During the night the secessionists might make our soldiers prisoners, reinforce their own forts, repair damages, and be ready to show that they were not to be easily vanquished. "That fort isn't taken yet," was the desponding remark which was passed around the ship. And there were some remarks, too, about the necessity of proper surf boats with which all the troops might ha been ded. With the which should have been landed, the batteries, it was believed, might have been taken at the point of the bayonet. But as it was, we were beaten, temporarily at least; and the countenances of the ship's company showed very plainly that there were some who feared that the opportunity was lost irretrievably.
And what do you think of this little speech, made by the caterer to the ward-room gentlemen when they had gathered at seven o'clock to enjoy a dinner, for which hard work since fourteen hours before had given them some appetite: "Gentlemen, I am sorry to be com
pelled to announce that the ward-room dinner | fight. It had a queer look, certainly. It seemed has been stolen from the galley." Cold com- to me that the fleet was firing according to fort, wasn't it? The loss was soon made good, Magruder's tactics, of which I wrote you the however. "Same programme to-morrow!" other day-firing without regard to the queswas announced-that is, breakfast at 4 A. M., tion whether there was any enemy to fire at. and if possible a fight immediately after. But when I ventured to suggest to an old sailor that the rebels had evacuated the position, I got for answer this:
"Don't you be in a worry, young man ; you'll see enough of 'em before you get out o' this. They ain't in a hurry."
And accordingly at eight bells all hands were called again. The weather had driven the small vessels off shore during the night, and our little band of troops were left to protect themselves as best they could. But they were safe that was clear. Before seven o'clock they were seen advancing in good order toward Fort Clark. A large white steamer, which, as it subsequently appeared, was the Winslow, of the Confederate States navy, commanded by Mr. Arthur Sinclair, late of the United States navy, filled with troops, was in the sound, moving away from the forts, but quite near the shore of the peninsula. As the troops arrived at the point nearest the steamer, I saw the smoke of firing, which I at first supposed to come from musketry, but which actually came, as I have since heard, from a sand battery which had been hastily thrown up by Capt. Johnson of the Coast Guard, and in which he had placed two boat howitzers which were sent on shore with the troops the day before from the flag ship, and a six-pounder captured from the enemy by our men. The Winslow made excellent speed in getting out of the way, but remained in sight throughout the action which ensued. Capt. Nixon, with his company from the Coast Guard, had occupied the small fort during the night, and his presence there was made manifest by the display of the Stars and Stripes. From the shore it was reported, at an early hour, that the enemy had been largely reinforced during the night. The troops on shore were informed by General Butler of the design of the navy and warned to take care of themselves. The main body, under Col. Weber, therefore, took up a position And so, unless there was another cheat, the near Capt. Johnson's sand battery. The sev-fort was surrendered. General Butler had left eral small steamers were sent in shore to be in the flag ship in the Fanny a few minutes bereadiness to protect the land forces, and to aid fore, for the purpose of effecting a landing himin any new attempt which might be made at self, and was kind enough to offer me the privlanding the remainder. At about eight o'clock ilege of accompanying him-an invitation the Wabash and Susquehanna proceeded to take which, having no ambition for being announced up a position-this time at anchor-for attack, in the obituary column as "wrecked in a canal the latter in advance, or to the southward boat," I begged leave to decline-and I soon rather. She opened the fire at twenty minutes had reason to regret the declination. When past eight. The Wabash followed a minute af- the cheers of the sailors announced the result ter. Twenty minutes later the Minnesota found of the day, the General immediately directed an anchorage ground between the first named, his boat to the inlet, which he entered and and the action now commenced in good earnest, passed through. The rebel steamer Winslow but the shells evidently fell short of the fort, was then making the best of her way up the which was the object of attack. An hour after sound, and as the Fanny rounded the point a the firing was commenced, the Cumberland shell from the canal boat's rifled gun was sent came up in fine style and took up a position after her, but she was far out of range. Sevjust ahead, and perhaps fifty yards in shore eral schooners which had been laying near, from the Minnesota. Although we had now apparently for the purpose of witnessing the been firing very rapidly for more than an hour, sport, ran away as fast as the wind would carry no response had been heard from the fort. Nor them. was any flag shown therefrom. They had been reinforced largely, and yet they did not show
So I began to look for facilities for descending to the engine room. After enduring for an hour and a half, however, they finally opened their batteries, devoting their entire attention to the Cumberland. Their shots fell short generally fifty yards-one only, and that spentstriking the side of the ship. Neither party appeared to be making much headway. At half-past ten o'clock fifteen-second fuzes-tenseconds had been employed thus far-were ordered to be used thoughout the fleet. Fifteen minutes' delay occurred in preparing them on board the flag ship, during which time very few guns were fired. Finally, when they were ready, the men went to the work with renewed zeal. Three shells thrown consecutively from the pivot-gun-Mr. Foster's-fell within a very few feet of each other, near the ventilator of the magazine of Fort Hatteras. The shells flew terrifically, and all attempts at responding ceased. Half an hour more would have annihilated the enemy. They held their peace about twenty minutes, when, just at the instant that a broadside had been fired from the Minnesota, a white flag was shown from the large fort. The order was, of course, at once given to the fleet to "cease firing," but a few more shells were thrown before the command could be signalled. The sailors flew to the rigging, and from ship to ship rang the cheers of victory.
The Fanny remained at the point quite an hour. On shipboard it was suspected that the
rebels declined to surrender to the army, upon | iron surf boats, the only one which had been the ground that they had been defeated by the saved. And to show how much risk the solnavy. It appears, however, that Commodore diers incurred, in effecting a landing, let me Barron, of the Confederate States navy, had no say here-out of place otherwise than chronosuch squeamishness. By verbal and written logically-that, as the transport passed the flag messages he made known to General Butler hip, the boat which was dragging astern, sudthat he had seven hundred troops in the fort, denly, and as if from some magic cause fell into and fifteen hundred within call, meaning by a hundred pieces, leaving only a towing line to the latter, I suppose, the soldiers who were mark where it had been; so utter was the running away in the steamboats, with Arthur wreck, that it seemed that the boat must have Sinclair, late of the United States navy, at their been built upon the logical principles of the head; and that if he and his officers were al- deacon who constructed" the wonderful onelowed to march out with side-arms, and the hoss shay." men were permitted to retire without arms, he would consent, in view of the events of the day, to evacuate the premises and abandon the position.
In reply to this exceedingly refreshing proposition, General Butler intimated that he wasn't so jolly green by half as Mr. Barron took him to be; his compliments to Mr. Barron, and if that gentleman desired to capitulate unconditionally he would be received as a prisoner of war; but if he chose to refuse those terms, he might prepare for the consequences. Mr. Barron and his fellow-sufferers held a great talk.
Mr. Barron and his compatriots-or comtraitors, if that be the proper word-concluded to accept the bitter cup.
And accordingly, upon being informed that, as the expedition was a joint enterprise of the navy and the army, the surrender must be made jointly to the two commanders, Mr Barron, styling himself "Flag-officer C. S. N.," Mr. Martin, styling himself "Colonel Seventh Infantry, North Carolina Volunteers," and Mr. W. S. G. Andrews, styling himself "Major Commanding," availed themselves of General Butler's canal-boat-of-war as a means of transportation to the flag ship. And what, think you, were the feelings of Samuel Barron, as, on the way, he passed under the guns of the Wabash, which, six months since, he commanded, and against which he had just been directing his batteries? And what were his emotions as he stepped on the deck of the Minnesota to receive the greetings of devotedly loyal men, his comrades for so many years?
Gloomy enough, surely!
A form of capitulation was quickly drawn up, and signed by the contracting parties in accordance with the above mentioned stipulations, but somewhat singularly framed in one respect. Two of the parties are therein described as "Col. Martin, commanding the forces, and Major Andrews, commanding the same forces, at Fort Hatteras." Of the reason of this I will presently speak.
The documentary part of the transaction having been arranged, dispositions were at once made for formal and actual surrender. General Butler again proceeded in the canal boat, to the sound, followed by the Monticello and the transport steamers. The Harriet Lane, after some delay in obtaining a pilot, proceeded on the way. The Peabody towed one of the
The vessels arriving at the forts, the remainder of the Federal troops were now landed and drawn up in line. The Carolinians marched out of the fort, and, after inspection, were embarked on board the transports. Our troops march in; the Union flag waves over ine, and it is greeted with a salute fired from guns shotted for its humiliation. The victory was now completed in form as well as in substance. Darkness had now come on, and it was quite impracticable to attempt to transfer the captives to the flag ship before morning. Accordingly, nothing more is done by the victors, beyond caring for the wounded of the enemy, and counting up the result.
Hatteras Inlet is not of the easiest navigation. Its channel, like the policy of Mr. Buchanan's Administration, shifts in a night, puzzling the pilot, as the aforesaid policy puzzled the politicians. The Monticello passed through it easily, however. The Adelaide, following immediately after, grounded, and was saved only by the skill and exertions of her officers and crew. The Harriet Lane grounded, and so remained all night, and after her armament had been cast overboard, the chances appeared to be even that she will never float again.
This morning the prisoners were brought off in the transport Adelaide-all but flag-officer Barron, who remained on board the Minnesota, in the retirement of the cabin, after signing the articles of capitulation. Six hundred and ninety-two are to-night on board the Minnesota, and rather sorry-looking fellows they are. The most valuable, of course, is the flag-officer, who is, or rather was, before he became a prisoner of war, acting Secretary of Mr. Jefferson Davis' navy. Major James A. Bradford is the chief of the ordnance department of the Confederate States army. He would seem to be a valuable prize, but I heard one of our people remark that if Jeff. Davis' ordnance department was of the nature of our own, the Confederate States might congratulate itself upon the providential removal of its head, and from some correspondence which I have seen, I take it that the Confederate officers at the inlet are pretty much of the same opinion. Singularly enough, the correspondence taken at Fort Hatteras discloses the fact that the commanding officers there have been three months standing in the same relation to the general staff of the army,