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GEN. BUTLER ON A SECRET EXPEDITION.
enemy by feints in different direc-shooters. The bridge being detions, advanced " directly on Golds-stroyed, Gen. Foster commenced a boro’; but did not reach that point, rapid retreat on Newbern, which he because of a concentration in his front effected without difficulty. His total of more than double his force, under loss in this expedition was 90 killed, Maj.-Gen. G. W. Smith," with regi- (including Col. Gray, 96th New ments drawn from Petersburg on the York, while charging at the head of one hand, and Wilmington on the his regiment at Kinston bridge), 478 other ; but the Wilmington and Wel wounded, and 9 missing. Smith's don Railroad bridge over the Neuse official report admits a Rebel loss of was fired by Lt. Geo. W. Graham, 71 killed, 268 wounded, and about 23d New York battery, after several 400 missing. Gen. Foster paroled who attempted the daring feat had 496 prisoners. Thus closed the year been picked off by the Rebel sharp- 1862 in North Carolina.
GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, having, with his headquarters at Boston.. after the capture of Fort Hatteras, When his 6,000 men had been fully returned to the North to find him- raised, and part of them dispatched, self an officer without soldiers or em- under Gen. J. W. Phelps, to Ship ployment, sought and obtained per- Island, he was stopped for a season mission from the War Department to by the lowering aspects of our relaraise, in the New England States, six tions with England, consequent on regiments of volunteers for special the seizure of Mason and Slidell; and confidential service. This un- whose ultimate surrender he prodertaking involved fitful collisions foundly deprecated, believing that a with the general efforts then being war waged against us by Great Britmade by the authorities of all the ain would double our effective miliStates to raise troops for service un- tary strength, while paralyzing that der Gen. McClellan; and Gen. B. of the Rebellion, by the spectacle of was peculiarly unfortunate in thus hostilities waged against us in our colliding with Gov. Andrew, of Mas- extremity by that nation, which very sachusetts, from which State he nat- many, alike in the North and in the urally expected the larger number of South, regarded as our hereditary foe. his troops. But his indefatigable en- The substitution' of Mr. Edwin M. ergy and activity at length triumphed Stanton for Gen. Simon Cameron, as over all impediments ; he having head of the War Department, caused meantime been appointed, in facili- some further delay, during which an tation of his enterprise, commander order was once issued to send Gen. of a new military department com- Butler's troops from Fortress Monroe posed of the six New England States, to Port Royal; but it was, on his reDec. 17. * Formerly of New York. Aug. 29, 1861. See Vol I., pp. 599–600. "Jan. 13, 1862.
monstrance, annulled before it had employed to arouse and embitter hosbeen acted on.
tility to the Union. Ship Island is one of quite a num
Mobile had been generally guessed ber of inconsiderable sand-bars which the object of Gen. Butler's mysteribarely rise above the level of the Gulf ous expedition, whose destination between the mouths of the Mississippi was not absolutely fixed even in the and the Bay of Mobile. It is accounted councils of its authors. An effort to 7 miles long by three-fourths of a mile rëannex Texas had been considered, in width, though its size, as well as its if not actually contemplated. It was shape, is usually altered by each vio- finally decided, in a conference belent inland-driving storm. It has a tween Secretary Stanton and Gen. good harbor at its western end, with Butler, that a resolute attempt should groves of pine and stunted oak at be made on New Orleans; and the far east; while fresh water is ob- though Gen. McClellan, when retained in plenty by sinking a barrel quested to give his opinion of the in the sand. Oysters and fish abound feasibility of the enterprise, reported in the encircling waters; while the that it could not be prudently underclimate in Winter is soft, sunny, and taken with a less force than 50,000 tropical. New Orleans bears 65 miles men, while all that could be spared W.S. W.; the mouth of Mobile Bay to Gen. Butler was 15,000, Presi50 miles E. N. E.; the mouths of the dent Lincoln, after hearing all sides, Mississippi from 90 to 110 S. S. W.; gave judgment for the prosecution. while Biloxi, on the Mississippi coast, A fortnight later, Gen. Butler went is but 10 miles due north. Here home to superintend the embarkation Gen. Phelps and his brigade, having of the residue of his New England landed early in December, spent the troops, 8,500 in number, 2,200 being Winter in very necessary drilling; the already on ship-board, beside 2,000, General having signalized his advent under Phelps, at the Island. Three by issuing an elaborate proclamation excellent Western regiments were to the loyal citizens of the South- finally spared him from Baltimore west, declaring Slavery incompati- by Gen. McClellan, swelling his force ble with free institutions and free on paper to 14,400 infantry, 580 arlabor, and its overthrow the end and tillery, 275 cavalry; total, 15,255 aim of our Government-a declara- men, to which it was calculated that tion most unlikely to increase the Key West might temporarily add number of White loyal citizens at two regiments, and Fort Pickens anthat time and in that quarter, while other, raising the aggregate to nearly pretty certain to be carefully kept 18,000. It in fact amounted, when from the knowledge of most others. collected at Ship Island, to 13,700. Its first result was a feeling of amaze
Gen. Butler set out from Hampment and dissatisfaction among a part ton Roads, in the steamship Misof Gen. Phelps's subordinates; while sissippi, with his staff, his wife, and a single copy, taken to the Missis- 1,400 men. The next night, the ship sippi shore, and dispensed to the first barely escaped wreck on a shoal off comer, was there eagerly diffused and Hatteras Inlet; and the next day was Dec. 4, 1861.
• Feb. 25, 1862, 9 P. M.
BUTLER'S VOYAGE TO SHIP ISLAND.
run hard upon the rocks five miles she moved forward a few feet and from land, off Cape Fear, while going was fairly afloat; slowly following at full speed. Her Captain, be the piloting Mount Vernon-the wildered, gave the order to let go the lead for a whole hour showing but bow anchor, when she instantly drove six inches of water under her keel. upon its fluke, piercing her forward At midnight, both came to anchor in compartments and letting in a deluge the Cape Fear, and were next mornof water. An hour later, she was ing, which was calin, on their way hard and fast upon Frying Pan to Port Royal, where the Mississippi Shoals, one compartment filled to the was unladen and repaired; but was water-line, and her forward berths run aground again while moving afloat, her Captain manifestly incom- down to the mouth of the harbor. petent, and now nearly distracted. The Captain was now deposed, ActThe coast in sight was strongly held ing-Master Sturgis, of the Mount by the enemy, whose horse patrol Vernon, appointed to his place; the could be descried from the ship; troops once more debarked, and the and any Confederate cruiser, darting ship pulled into deep water by the out from Cape Fear river, would help of all the tugs in port. She have found the steamship and all on again put to sea March 13th, having board an easy prey. An ordinary been eleven days in the port; and squall would very soon have broken seven more brought her safely in up the vessel and strewed her wreck sight of Ship Island; where so heavy along the sands.
a gale was blowing that landing Toward noon, a steamer hove in troops was for two days impossible. sight, which, cautiously approaching, It was the 25th of March when—30 proved to be the U. S. gunboat days from Hampton Roads—they Mount Vernon, of the squadron were debarked on that desolate sandblockading Wilmington. Her com- bank; where Gen. Butler was soon mander, O. S. Glisson, came on deep in consultation with Captains board, and placed his vessel at the Farragut and Bailey, of the Navy, service of Gen. Butler. A hawser as well as with his military associates. from the Mount Vernon was attached Of these, Lt. Godfrey Weitzel, who to the Mississippi, and many fruitless had for two years been stationed at attempts made to drag her off. Three Fort St. Philip, and who liad travhundred of the soldiers were trans- ersed all the adjacent country, ferred to the Mount Vernon; shells duck-shooting, was able to give the were thrown overboard; and every fullest and most valuable informadevice known to nautical experience tion. Gen. Butler made him his tried to move the imperiled ship-chief engineer. all in vain. As the sun went down, It was decided that the first attack the wind rose, and the waves swelled, on the forts defending the passage of till the huge ship began to roll and the Mississippi below New Orleans beat upon the rocks, the danger of should be made by the fleet; Capt. wreck constantly increasing. At Porter, with his 21 bomb-schooners, length, just after 7 P. M., and when anchoring below them and bombardthe tide was within an hour of flood, ing them till they should be reduced, or his ammunition nearly exhausted. Williams, and Col. Shepley; 100 carCapt. Farragut, with his larger and penters detailed to make scaling-ladstronger vessels, would remain just ders; 100 boatmen to manage the 30 out of fire as a reserve, awaiting the boats which were to make their way issue of the bombardment. That through the reedy creeks and marshes failing, he should attempt with his to the rear of Fort St. Philip. On steamers to run by the forts. If he the sixth day, 7 regiments and 2 batsucceeded in this, he would try to teries were embarked, awaiting the clear the river of the enemy's fleet, word to move from Capt. Farragut; isolate the forts, and push on so far but high winds and low tides obas circumstances should dictate. Gen. structed the movements of the fleet; Butler, so soon as Capt. Farragut several of the larger vessels being had passed, was to land his troops many days in getting over the bar; so from their transports in the rear of that Gen. Butler was obliged to disemFort St. Philip, and attempt to carry bark his troops and wear out another it by assault; while the enemy, sup- fortnight as patiently as he might. posing the swamps in that quarter Meantime, the Rebels alongshore, impassable, should be entirely absorb- who had by this time become satised in his contest with the fleet. The fied that New Orleans was aimed at, forts being thus reduced, the whole resorted to the expedients which had expedition would advance upon the proved effective with most of our city, in such manner as should then commanders up to that time, and seem expedient. Gen. Butler en- which stood them in good stead with gaged to have 6,000 men embarked on several for many months afterward. transports and ready for service in Having been compelled nearly to deseven days; Capt. Farragut sailing plete the Gulf region of soldiers in at once for the mouths of the river, order to make head against Grant to prepare his fleet for action. and Buell on the Tennessee, they
The troops were formed into three supplied their places with imaginary brigades, under Gens. Phelps and regiments and batteries in generous
The New Orleans journals, frequently hull between wind and water. We have an brought over from Biloxi, bristled with such abundant supply of incendiary shells, cupola awe-inspiring paragraphs as the following:
furnaces for molten iron, congreve rockets, and
fire-ships. "The Mississippi is fortified so as to be im- “Between New Orleans and the forts, there is passable for any hostile fleet or flotilla. Forts a constant succession of earthworks. At the Jackson and St. Philip are armed with 170 Plain of Chalmette, near Janin's property, there heavy guns (63-pounders, rifled by Barkley are redoubts, armed with rifled cannon which Britton, and received from England). The navi- have been found to be effective at five miles' gation of the river is stopped by a dam about a
A ditch 30 feet wide and 20 deep exquarter of a mile from the above forts. No flo- tends from the Mississippi to La Ciprione. In tilla on earth could force that dam in less Forts St. Philip and Jackson, there are 3,000 than two hours; during which it would be with- men; of whom a goodly portion are experienced in short and cross range of 170 guns of the artillery-men and gunners who have served in heaviest caliber, many of which would be served with red-hot shot; numerous furnaces for “At New Orleans itself, we have 32,000 inwhich have been erected in every fort and bat- fantry, and as many more quartered in the imtery.
mediate neighborhood. In discipline and drill, * In a day or two, we shall have ready two they are far superior to the Yankees. We have iron-cased floating batteries. The plates are 41 two very able and active Generals, who possess inches thick, of the best hammered iron, receiv- our entire confidence-Gen. Mansfield Lovell and ed from England and France. Each iron-cased Brig.-Gen. Ruggles. For Commodore, we have battery will mount twenty 68-pounders, placed old Hollins-a Nelson in his way."--N. 0. Pica80 as to skim the water, and strike the enemy's l yune, April 5, 1862.
THE DEFENSES OF NEW ORLEANS.
profusion; but these were not the to meet pressing exigencies on the forces required to paralyze such com- Potomac and higher Mississippi, or manders as Butler and Farragut. At the Tennessee; so that but about length, the joyful tidings reached 3,000 of these, neither well armed, the former from the latter that his well drilled, nor particularly well affleet was all over the bar, reloaded, fected to the cause, remained to disand ready for action; and that he pute the advance of the Yankee inhoped to move up the river next day. vaders. Two days later, Gen. Butler, with Gen. David E. Twiggs had been his 8,000 troops, was at the mouth rewarded for his stupendous treachof the river.
ery to the Union in Texas, by the New Orleans, situated on the left command of the Confederate defenses bank of the Mississippi, 100 miles of New Orleans, until stern expeabove its mouths, with the large rience proved him as incapable, susheet of water known as Lake Pont- perannuated, and inefficient, as even chartrain closely approaching it on our own Scott. At length, on a plea the north, and the smaller Lake of declining health, he was sent home Borgne some 20 miles distant on the to die; and Gen. Mansfield Lovell, east, was by far the largest and most who had abandoned a lucrative office important city of the Confederacy, under the Democratic municipality with a population of 170,000, and of New York to take service with the greatest export trade, just prior the Confederates, was appointed his to the war,
of any city in the world. successor. Unable to perceive the wisdom of On assuming command,' Lovell expatriating those magnificent feed- found the defenses of the great slaveers of its commerce, the Missouri, mart more pretentious than formithe Ohio, and the upper Mississippi, dable. The variety of water apa majority of its people had opposed proaches by Lakes Pontchartrain and Secession, until the carefully nursed Borgne, and the Bayous Barataria tempest of pro-Slavery folly, fury, and La Fourche, all needed defenses fanaticism, and ruffianism, stifled all against an enemy of preponderant outspoken dissent, about the time the naval force; while even the Missiswar was formally opened by the Con- sippi required fortifying and watchfederate attack on Fort Sumter. ing above as well as below, to render Thenceforward, New Orleans became the city entirely safe. Artillery by the virtual heart of the Confederacy; parks was indispensable; and a good and its immense wealth of coin and many guns had been supplied from produce was lavished in all directions the plunder of the Norfolk Navy in support of the military operations Yard, and elsewhere; but most of directed from Richmond. Regiment them were old, of moderate caliber, after regiment of Louisianians and unrifled, and every way unsuited to foreign residents were raised and the requirements of modern warfare. equipped here; but most of them He telegraphed to Richmond, to had, when the hour of peril came, Mobile, and other points, for heavier been drafted off, from time to time, and better cannon; but obtained very • April 16, 1862.
'Oct. 18, 1861.