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sentenced to be hanged; but President Lincoln deferred their execution, and most of them were ultimately set at liberty. Next summer—Gen. Pope being in command of this department— the irregular frontier line of settlements in the north-west was picketed by about 2,000 men; while Gen. Sibley moved westward from Fort Snelling in June, with some 2,500 infantry; Gen. Sully, with a body of cavalry being sent up the Missouri on boats to cooperate. The two commands did not unite; but Sibley found and fought “some of the hostile savages at Missouri Couteau, Big mound, Dead Buffalo lake, and Stony lake; killing or wounding some 130 of them; while Sully encountered" a band at Whitestone hill, routing them with heavy loss, and taking 156 prisoners. The remnant fled across the Missouri and evaded pursuit. This was the virtual close of the Sioux war. Our men on these
expeditions suffered terribly for water —a great drouth then prevailing on the plains.
Far West, Brig.-Gen. P. E. Connor, 1st California volunteers, commanding in Utah, on hearing" of Indian depredations by the Shoshonees on Bear river, western Idaho, marched thither (140 miles) through deep Winter Snows, wherein 75 of his men were disabled by frozen feet, and, with the residue, attacked "300 savages in their stronghold, killing 224; his own loss being 12 killed and 49 wounded. Four months later, Gen. Connor, with most of his force, traversed the region westward of the Rocky mountains so far north as old Fort Hall on Snake river, but found no enemy to combat.
These Indian hostilities, though inglorious and most unprofitable, subtracted considerably from our military strength, and added largely to our exhausting outlays during the trying year 1863.
X X. THE CAR O LIN A S, G E OR GIA, FLORIDA—1862–63.
THE Savannah river having, with iter of mud-formed, often sand-fringed its largest affluent, the Tugaloo, sea islands, matted over with a thin formed the boundary between South crust of grass-roots, covering a jellyCarolina and Georgia from their like mud several feet deep, resting northern verge, after a generally uneasily on a bed of light, semi-liquid south-east course of some 300 miles, clay. Fort PULASRI, on Cockspur passing, at the head of ship naviga- island (a mile long by half as wide), tion, near its mouth, its namesake was a carefully constructed brick Nacity, which is the commercial empo- itional fortress 25 feet above ground rium of Georgia, winds its sluggish by 7% thick, completely commanding way to the Atlantic through a clus- not only the main channel of the
*July 25–29, 1863. *Sept. 3. * January, 1863. ** Jan. 29.
Savannah, but all other inlets practicable for sea-going vessels to the city and the firm land above. IIaving early fallen an easy prey to the devotees of Secession, it was held by a garrison of 385 men, Col. C. II. Olmstead, 1st Georgia; its 40 heavy guns barring access to the river by our vessels, and affording shelter and protection to blockade-runners and Rebel corsairs. Very soon after our recovery' of Port Royal and the adjacent seaislands, Gen. T. W. Sherman directed’ Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore to reconnoiter this ugly impediment, and report on the feasibility of overcoming it. Gillmore obeyed; and re. ported” that the fort might be reduced by batteries of mortars and rifled guns planted on Big Tybee island, south-east of it, across the narrower southern channel of the Savannah, as also from Venus point, on Jones island, over two miles from Cockspur, in the opposite direction: and submitted his plan ; which was sent to Washington, returned approved, and the requisite ordnance and other enginery ultimately forwarded or collected. Meantime, the 46th New York, Col. R. Rosa, was sent" to occupy Big Tybee, and a detachment directed quietly to clear out the Rebel obstructions in “Wall's cut,” an artificial channel connecting New and Wright rivers, north of Cockspur, and completing an inland water passage from Savannah to Charleston. After some sharp fighting and four nights’ hard work, this was achieved;" and, after some farther delay, Venus point, on Jones island, north-west of the coveted fortress, was selected" as a point whereon
to place a battery, barring all daylight access to the beleaguered fort from above. To this point, mortars, weighing 8% tuns each, were brought through New and Wright rivers (each of them a sluggish tide-course between rush-covered islets of semiliquid mud); being patiently tugged across Jones island on a movable causeway of planks laid on poles— those behind the moving gun being taken up and placed in its front;' and thus the guns were toilsomely dragged across and placed in battery on strong timber platforms, constructed by night behind an artfully contrived screen of bushes and reeds to receive them. Just as the batteries were completed, the Rebel steamboat Ida passed down from Savannah to Pulaski, and the recoil of our guns fired at her sent all but one of them off the platforms; which had thereupon to be enlarged and improved. Soon, another battery was established on Bird island, a little nearer Cockspur: and next, vessels having arrived" in Tybee roads with heavy guns and munitions, the 7th Conn., 46th New York, and some detached companies, were employed in landing these on Big Tybee, constructing batteries and magazines, making roads of poles and plank, &c., &c. Nearly all this work had to be done by night, within range of Pulaski's guns—the outline presented to the enemy by the low bushes skirting the river being skillfully and gradually altered, night after night, so as to afford to the garrison no indication of the menacing work going on behind its friendly shelter. The moving of each gun over the quaking, treacherous bog, from its
point of debarkation to its designated position in battery, was the tedious, arduous task of 250 men, all performed under the cover of darkness: the men being forbidden to speak; their movements being directed by a whistle. When a gun slipped, as it often would, off the planks and ‘skids' supporting it, the utmost efforts were required to keep it from plunging straight down through the 12 feet of mud to the supporting clay, if no farther. Thus were the remnant of February and the whole of March intently employed—Maj.-Gen. Hunter, who had just succeeded" to the command of the department, with Brig.-Gen. Benham as district commander, visiting the works on Tybee island, and finding nothing in them to improve. At length, all was in readiness:" 36 10 to 13-inch mortars and heavy rifled guns being firmly planted in 11 batteries—the farthest two miles, the nearest less than a mile, from the doomed fort, with a dépôt and separate service magazine where they should be, and carefully considered
orders given to regulate the firing. And now the fort was summoned " in due form by Gen. IIunter—of course, to no purpose—whereupon, at Sł A. M., fire was deliberately opened, and kept up till dark—the mortars throwing very few of their shells within the fort; but the rifled guns chipping and tearing away its masonwork, until it became evident that, unless our batteries should be disabled, the fort would soon be a ruin. Five of the enemy's guns had already been silenced; while our widely scattered, low-lying, inconspicuous batteries had received no damage whatGVGr. During the ensuing night, four of our pieces were fired at intervals of 15 or 20 minutes each ; and at sunrise" our batteries opened afresh ; and now the breach, already visible, was steadily and rapidly enlarged: casemate after casemate being opened, in spite of a heavy and welldirected fire from the fort; until, at 2 P.M., a white flag was displayed from its walls, and the siege was ended. One only of our men had been killed, and no gun hit or otherwise damaged; the garrison had 10 of their 40 guns dismounted or otherwise disabled, and several men wounded—one of them fatally. They were especially impelled to surrender by the fact that our guns were purposely trained on their magazine, which must soon have been pierced and exploded had our fire continued. The credit of this almost bloodless conquest is primarily due to Quincy A. Gillmore, who was at once General and Engineer; Gen. Wiele, commanding under him the land forces, and Com'r John Rodgers their naval auxiliaries, who were employed only in transporting and landing the materiel. But the moral of this siege was the enormous addition made by rifling to the range and efficiency of guns. Our artillerists were as green as might be; and their gunnery—as evinced more especially by the mortar-firing—was nowise remarkable for excellence; but the penetration of a solid brick wall of seven feet thick at a distance of 1,650 yards by old 32s (now rifled) to a depth of 20 inches, and by old 42s to a depth of 26 inches, where the same guns, when smooth-bore, would have produced no effect whatever, was so unlooked-for by Gen. Gillmore that he afterward reported that, had he been aware at the outset of what this siege taught him, he might have curtailed his eight weeks of laborious preparation to one; rejecting altogether his heavy mortars and columbiads as unsuited to such service, and increasing, if that were desirable, the distance at which his nearer batteries were planted to 2,300 or even 2,500 yards.
* March 31. * April 9.
* April 10. *April 11.
A considerable flotilla of worthless
old vessels, picked up at various northern ports and taken down to our fleet blockading the entrance to Charleston harbor, being loaded with stone, were sunk" across one of the channels. A tremendous uproar was raised against this procedure, mainly by British sympathizers with the Rebellion, who represented it as an effort permanently to choke and destroy the harbor. This accusation is absurd. What was intended was to render it more difficult for blockaderunners, navigated by Charleston pilots, to run out and in under the screen of fog or darkness; and this result was probably attained. No complaint has since been made of any actual injury thus inflicted on the peaceful commerce of Charleston: on the contrary, it has been plausibly asserted that the partial closing of one of the passes, through which the waters of Ashley and Cooper rivers find their way to the ocean, was calculated to deepen and improve those remaining. Com. Dupont, in his steam frigate Wabash, with twenty other armed vessels, and six unarmed transports, conveying a brigade of volunteers, Gen. Wright, and a battalion of marines, Maj. Reynolds, setting out from Port Royal “swept down the coast to St. Andrew’s and Cumberland sounds; taking unresisted possession of Fort Clinch on Amelia island, Fernandina, St. Mary's, Brunswick,” Darien,” St. Simon's island, Jacksonville,” and St. Augustine; where Fort St. Mark—another of the old Federal coast defenses—was “répossessed” without bloodshed—Gen. Trapier, Rebel commander on this coast, having no force adequate to
* Jan. 23, 1862. * Feb. 28.
* March 9,
* March 13. * March 12.
Thus closed unhappily an enterprise |
Pensacola was evacuated by Brig.Gen. Thos. N. Jones, its Rebel commander; who burned every thing combustible in the Navy Yard, Forts McRae and Barrancas, the hospital, &c., &c., and retreated" inland with his command. The place was immediately occupied by Com. Porter, of the IIarriet Lane, and by Gen. Arnold, commanding Fort Pickens. Another naval expedition from Port Royal,” under Capt. Steedman, consisting of the gunboats Paul Jones and Cimarone, with three other steamboats, visited the Florida coast in the Autumn, shelling and silencing the Rebel batteries at the mouth of the St. John's. Gen. Drannan, with a land force of 1,575 men, with a fleet of six gunboats under Capt. Steedman, repeated this visit somewhat later;" expecting to encounter an obstinate resistance: but the IRebel works on St. John's bluff were evacuated—9 guns being abandoned—on his advancing to attack them; and he rétook Jacksonville without resistance, but found it nearly deserted, and did not garrison it. The IRebel steamboat Gov. Milton was found up a creek and captured. Gen. R. Saxton next dispatched,” on three transports, an expedition, composed of two negro regiments under Col. Thos. W. IIigginson, 1st S. C. Volunteers, which went up” to Jacksonville, captured it with little resistance, and held it as a recruiting station for colored volunteers. Two White regiments were
which was probably adequate to the soon afterward sent to reenforce complete recovery of Florida, though them; but hardly had these landed not able to hold it against the whole when a peremptory order came from
power of the Confederacy.
Gen. IIunter for the withdrawal of
—; May 9–10.