NOVEMBER 17, 1861


The Only Reliable Account Yet Given to the Public

The following very full and highly interesting report of the battle of Belmont, we take from the Memphis Avalanche of the 15th.  That paper says: "We presented to our readers of this morning the only correct and reliable account of the great battle of Belmont which has yet been published.  The generals in command, our readers may rely, will vouch for the truth and accuracy of all its statements."

Columbus, November 13, 1861.

As there have been numerous incorrect reports published of the battle of Belmont, I propose now to give you a full and authentic report of the same.

Under instructions delivered in person by Major General Polk, on the morning of the 7th inst., Gen. Pillow crossed to the village of Belmont, on the Missouri shore, four regiments of his division, and as rapidly as possible, were placed in position about four hundred yards from the river bank, in line with Col. Tappan's regiment and Col. Beltshoover's battery, to receive the large force of the enemy advancing on the small encampment at that place.  These regiments from measles and diseases incident to the Mississippi bottom and absentees, had been reduced below 500 men for duty, as shown by the daily morning reports.  They were formed into line of battle with Col. Wright's regimented on the left of Col. Beltshoover's battery and with Cols. Pickett's, Freeman's, Tappan' and Russell's regiments (the last now under command of Lieut. Col. Bell,) on the right of the battery.  These regiments numbered about 2500 men.  Before the line of battle was formed three companies of skirmishers, taken from the regiments of Cols. Tappan, Pickett and Freeman, and under command of Adjutant Stith, of Freeman's regiment, were sent forward to check the advancing column, so as to give Gen. Pillow time to make the necessary disposition for battle.  Using the utmost possible dispatch, Gen. Pillow had only place the forces in position when the skirmishers were driven in, and the shock took place between the opposing forces.  Had the general in command been less pressed for time to make the necessary disposition of his small force, his imperfect knowledge of the surroundings of the field would, of itself, have embarrassed him.  But he had no choice of position no more time to make any reconnaissance--nor even a satisfactory disposition for occupying that field.

When the conflict commenced, and both lines were fairly engaged, our general soon observed the enemy's cavalry turning his left flank and hovering around, closing the field nearly to the river.  Having no cavalry at hand, he was under the necessity of detaching a portion of his force engaged with the enemy in front, (week as was that force,) to protect him from this body of cavalry, said to be four hundred and fifty strong.  For this purpose orders were given to Col. Wright to detach one company of his regiment.  He assigned this duty to Company A, then commanded by Lieut,. Ray.  Several attempts were made by the enemy's infantry to flank our right and left wings; but the attempt on the right was defeated by the deadly fire and firm attitude of that wing, composed of the regiment of Col. Russell and Col. Tappan, and commanded by Col. Russell, a brigade commander.  The attempt to turn the left was defeated by the well directed and destructive fire of Beltshoover's battery and Col. Wright's regiment, aided by a line of field forces, extending obliquely from the left into the bottom.  In these attempts of the enemy, and the movements of the troops, for this purpose, it was easy to see that the force was large enough to have surrounded Gen. Pillow's little force with triple lines.  Failing in these efforts to flank Gen. Pillow's position, he pressed forward to the advanced lines increased it firmly with this large reserve.

He advised Maj. Gen. Polk of his position, and of the strength of the enemy, and ask for support and a supply of ammunition--which was becoming short by the constant and heavy firing which was required to check the advance of the determined foe.  The two wings of the lines stood firm in unbroken for several hours, but the center, consisting of Col. Freeman's and Pickett's regiments, being in the open field and greatly exposed, once or twice gave way, that by the effort of their officers, and of Gen. Pillow's staff, promptly returned to the original position and continued the conflict.  At length Col. Beltshoover reported to Gen. Pillow that his ammunition was exhausted--Col. Bell had previously reported his regiment out of ammunition and Col. Wright that one battalion of his regiment had exhausted its ammunition.

Col. Beltshoover was directed to remove his line to the rear.  The team of one gun had run off with the limber, leaving the gun in position of battery.  The others were drawn to the riverbank and Col. Beltshoover applied to Gen. Pillow to assist him in removing the gun.  The right wing of Col. Wright's regiment was applied two for the purpose of directing a detailed men to remove the gun, that the regiment was so hotly engaged with the enemy and were in such close proximity to them, that the general thought it better to lose the gun than take a man from the small force which then held in check the enemies advance, pressing heavily upon the regiment.

Watson's battery being silenced for want of ammunition, and one regiment and a battalion having exhausted its supply, and the enemy's force being unchecked and more emerging into the edge of the field, Gen. Pillow ordered the line to use the bayonet.  The charge was made by the whole line, and the enemy driven into the woods.  Our line not broken kept up a deadly fire, but the enemy being supported by a large reserve, we were forced back to the original position, whilst that of the enemy advanced.

The charge was repeated, the second and third time forcing the enemy's line heavily against his reserve, with little results.  Finding it impossible longer to maintain his position without reinforcements and ammunition, Gen. Pillow ordered the whole line to fall back to the river bank.  In this movement his line was more or less broken, or companies mingled together.  When we reached the riverbank it had the appearance of a mass of men, rather than  organized companies and regiments.  In the rear of the mass was found Col. J. K. Walker's regiment which had been sent to Pillow's supported by Major General Polk.  He was ordered to advance his regiment as promptly as possible, to check the advance of the enemy's force, and hold them back so as to give time to revive the force up the riverbank and form the command.  Pillow's said to Walker that he would "cross through fallen timber, turn the enemy's position, and attack him in the rear." Col. Walker's regiment promptly advanced on the enemy's force in the open field, and held them in check until his line of fire and artillery had cut down a portion of the regiment, when it was forced back and sheltered itself under the bank of the river, from which position the regiment kept up a constant fire while it moved by the flank up the river bank.  The time thus obtained was of the highest possible importance to the operations of the day.  When the enemy's force reached the bank of the river they were met by the fire of Captain Smith's battery (of Gen. Cheatham's division) from the opposite side of the river.  This well directed fire, together with that of the heavy guns from the works above Columbus, made the enemy recoil from the front.


NOVEMBER 18, 1861


Their Destination Changed from Europe to the United States.

Our community was startled on Saturday with the report that Messrs. Slidell and Mason, who were going abroad as Ministers of the Southern Confederacy to England and France, had been arrested, and had arrived at Fortress Monroe, on their way to New York.  The news came under date of Fortress Monroe, Nov. 15th. The U. S. steamer San Jacinto, Commodore Wilkes, recently from the coast of Africa, has been cruising about the West Indies for six weeks, where she made the important arrest.

A special says that Slidell and Mason were taken from an English mail steamer on the 8th inst., off Bermuda. Lieut. Fairfax and three armed men went aboard from the San Jacinto, with five officers, and picked out the commissioners.  They made a feeble resistance, but were induced to leave.  The captain of the steamer rain and swore.  He called the U.S. officers piratical Yankees, etc. Eustis, one of the rebel secretaries, also resisted, but himself and colleague accompanied their employers into confinement.  Slidell had his wife and four children aboard, who were allowed to proceed to Europe.  All the private papers, documents, and instructions of Slidell and Mason were seized.

The San Jacinto will proceed to New York with her distinguished visitors.  Commodore Wilkes reported the news at headquarters in person, and is forwarded his dispatches to Washington.

Com.  Wilkes and interview with Gen. Wool, and expressed the opinion that he had done right, and said that right or wrong these men had to be secured, and if he had done wrong he could do no more than be cashiered for it.

Capt. Hunter of the steamer Delta, from Bermuda, at Halifax, reports that when he left Bermuda the British steamer Fingal and the rebel steamer Nashville were in port. The Fingal had transferred her cargo arms to the Nashville, and the latter had put Mason in Slidell and suite on board the Fingal, which would take them back to England, while the Nashville would run the blockade with the arms.

(Later accounts put the arrest many hundreds of miles from Bermuda, namely, in the Bahama channel, and the steamer was the Trent, and not the Fingal.  The Bermuda story is bosh.)



The action of Commodore Wilkes of the San Jacinto, in boarding on his own responsibility, an English mail streamer, a commercial vessel sailing under special contract with the British government on the high seas, and taking therefrom by force, and in violence of the wishes and the protest of the commander thereof, the notable rebel ambassadors Slidell and Mason, with their secretaries, is detailed in another column. The act was bold and plucky, requiring a moral courage more rare than the physical courage evinced by our Paul Jones, our Decaturs, our Lawrences, and our Porters. Let the case turn as it may, all must agree that Wilkes, in bearding the British lion in his den, assumed heavy responsibilities. He periled, as he well knew, and now says, his commission as an officer of the American Navy; he ran the risk of being cashiered; but he ran it for a patriotic purpose.

He broke through all red-tape restraints, and captured his men, secured their papers, their instructions, their letters of introduction, and all their diplomatic secrets; so much will be secured, even if, after the diplomatic delay and a wholesome dose of of confinement and Fort Lafayette, our government may think best, for diplomatic reasons, to let the perjured traitors go.

These men (Slidell and Mason) are fugitives from justice.  They were taken from the deck of a neutral vessel.  The British have done such things hundreds of times, both in the war of 1812, and so late as the Irish rebellion of 1848.  The French have done it, and justify doing it on principle.  But whether defensible as American principles of ocean law or not, it is defensible under the exceptional circumstances.  Commodore Wilkes did right, and has deserved well off his country, whatever may be the official findings of his superiors in office. The People will stand by him, whether the Administration does or not.  He has shown the grit of the right old fashioned true-blue sailor; his heart is in the right place, and if Government cashiers him, the PEOPLE will take him up, and possibly making the next President.  We want men who dare to be abnormal in an emergency.

The Southern Panic—The Rebels Raving

Baltimore, Nov. 16--Petersburg papers of the 14th are received.  They contained little news and appear very much in the dark as regards the operations of our fleet.  At Lynchburg, on the 13th, but not confirmed, that the Union men of Tennessee had taken possession of Bristol.

The panic was so great at Savannah that even the men were running away.  Small ware merchants, who were packing up their goods to leave have been notified by the authorities that they will not be permitted to carry off the goods.  The Republican is indignant at this cowardly desertion in time of danger, and urges Gen. Lawton to issue an order preventing any able bodied man under 60 years from leaving.

The Norfolk Day Book of yesterday contains the following:

"Macon, Ga., Nov. 14--The planters' convention adopted a resolution endorsing the defensive measures of the government, and recommending a discriminating duty of 20 per cent.  on productions of the United States; also that cotton planters, should the war continue and present crop remain on disposed of, should not planted next spring beyond the wants of home consumption."

"Savannah, Nov. 14--The federal fleet is reported to have passed Fernandina yesterday, bound south.  Great activity prevails in strengthening the defense's of the city, and a general feeling of security is manifested.  The same paper says the Fingal has arrived in Savannah with a cargo of war munitions, &c."

The Richmond Dispatch says: "We have information that the authorities of South Carolina have communicated with the government up on the subject of hoisting the black flag, to which allusion has been made since the attack upon the coast of that State."

"It is believed that Gen. Lee has received orders from the war department, urging that those captured must be remanded as prisoners of war, which will be disregarded by the authorities of South Carolina, and at the same course will be pursued which Gov. Wise adopted at the time of the John Brown raid.  When we are done with the invaders the Confederate government can have them."

NOVEMBER 19, 1861



The decent of a Federal army upon a portion of the Southern coast, peopled almost exclusively by slaves, brings us face to face with a question of emancipation.  That question cannot be "dodged" any longer; it is now up for decision in the highest court of appeal, that over which necessity presides.  We must make up our minds as to "what we will do with it," and that suddenly.

Our army is in the midst of a population of tens of thousands of slaves; of slaves who paid for freedom as all other men do; of slaves who are our friends, if we choose so to consider them, are most bitter enemies if you reject their friendship.  The story that they will, of their own accord, fight for their masters, will remain in bondage, is already exploded; no man in his senses believes that longer; the truth has appeared at the first trial, that fear, and fear alone, enslaves the black men of the South.

What is the duty of the people in this emergency?  Our rulers will never be guilty of the intolerable cruelty of sending the refugees of Beaufort back to their masters, to be scourged and tormented for the crime of having sought refuge from rebels under the flag of the stars and stripes!  Such a supposition is not to be entertained for a single instead; the Government must and will confiscate and then emancipate those men, and the government will claim and deserve the support of all true citizens in so doing.

The course of the administration upon this subject has, from the beginning, been judicious.  No violent annunciation of a future purpose has been made which might have had the effect of estranging many, who otherwise would have remained loyal; but, the administration has been content to wait, until, the progress of events having opened the eyes of the people, they were ready to endorse and rejoice over proceedings which, in the future and in theory only, they were disposed to condemn.  We never have criticized the administration for having adopted this policy; if it was not the best, under the circumstances, we did not feel competent to say why it was not the best; and, at the same time, we have labored to show that events were leading us, whether we would or no, towards the very crisis we have now reached, in order that the people might be prepared to meet that crisis when it came upon us.  We have no desire to refer to our own record upon this matter, accepting for the purpose of showing to those friends whose good opinion we highly value, that they were wrong in attributing to us feelings of enmity towards our administration, simply because we travelled a little ahead in the road which the administration itself marked out.  We have said a hundred times that the march of a Federal army over the territory of a slave State involved the necessity of emancipation upon a large scale; one of our armies has simply landed upon the Southern coast and the absolute truth of our statement is shown.

We must learn, in times of civil commotion, to look forward rather than around us; we have not reached a finality to-day, and we shall not reach a finality to-morrow.  There are many events, a great disaster to any of our armies, a servile insurrection upon a large scale, the interference of any great foreign power, which would change the aspect of affairs altogether, and dissipate our theories, as the sunshine dissipates the mist of morning.  Let us be careful how we condemn of our friends; they may believe, after all, the same as we do, only having looked further forward, believe a great deal more.

We have been censured more than once for saying that emancipation would become a necessity before the close of the war; we would now, in perfect kindness, ask those who have censured, if, in their opinion, the slaves of the Rhetts and Elliotts and Allstons and Barnwells, who have fled from their masters to Forts Walker and Beauregard, ought not to be emancipated and set at work in the trenches, or, in case of necessity, armed with the spare muskets sent, but Mr. Secretary Cameron, with the expedition, for that very purpose?  There can be but one answer to this question, and that an affirmative one; and every man who gives an affirmative answer is just precisely as much an emancipationist as we have ever been.  We believe in confiscating and setting free the slaves the rebels in arms.  Mr. Secretary Cameron, according to his own words, believes, not only in emancipating, but also in arming the freed the slaves against their masters, and we have no doubt whatever that the administration generally, if agree with Mr. Secretary Cameron; if we have sinned, it has been in good company.


Russian Emancipation--It is probable that the serious disturbances in Russia, of which each steamer brings us news, are caused primarily by the emancipation policy avowed by the Emperor.  An attempt was made, gradually, to free the serfs, but the serfs, failing to draw a nice distinction, looked for immediate freedom and very naturally attribute their continued bondage, not to the Emperor, whom they esteem their friend, but to of the petty lords who have so long been their irresponsible tyrants.

Radical reforms, especially when the abuses have been of soul longstanding as those of Russia, are never effected without serious commotion, and in the present instance the Russian Government will probably find occasion to bring into requisition all its powers; while her vast empire is one great feature, where plots and conspiracies of a dangerous character are being formed, Poland is as restless as ever under the yoke, and requires constant and careful watch and guard.  In fact all Europe feels the restless impulse of the age and peoples are everywhere looking and struggling for some indefinite future good.

NOVEMBER 20, 1861



From Fortress Monroe the reports are that the rebels have assembled in considerable force at Great Bethel, and an attack upon Newport News is considered imminent. The gunboats Cambridge, Mount Vernon, and Lockwood have taken a position near at hand to be ready for any emergency.

The news from Kentucky is of great importance. General A. S. Johnston, lately appointed to the command of the rebel army of the Mississippi, is reported to be advancing into that state with 40,000 men, and it is surmised that he intends to make a descent upon Louisville, Lafayette, or perhaps Cincinnati. Gen. Thomas has ordered the national troops to concentrate to oppose the progress of the rebels. The report of the battle at Piketon has been very much exaggerated.

Along the Potomac everything is reported quiet. A party of soldiers belonging to the 15th N. Y. regiment while out foraging was captured by the rebels.

Accomac and Northampton Counties, Va., have been occupied by from 4000 to 5000 national troops, under Gen. Dix.

There is no prospect of any battle in Missouri. Price and McCulloch have gone to Arkansas.

From Port Royal the last news is through rebel sources to the 14th inst. Gen. Sherman had taken possession of Pinckney Island, and seized all the able-bodied Negro men, whom he had sent to the fleet. No attempt had yet been made to land on the main land. It is probable that 15,000 troops collected at Annapolis are intended to reinforce Gen. Sherman.

The great fleet, it is understood, has gone to Pensacola.

The tripartite treaty between England, France, and Spain, relative to intervention in the affairs of Mexico, was signed in London on he 31st ult.

Gens. Halleck and Hamilton arrived at St. Louis on Monday. The divisions of Hunter, Sturgis, and Pope have reached different points on the Pacific railroad where they will await orders from Gen. Halleck.

Secretary Welles has written a letter of thanks to Com. Dupont.

Messrs. Gwin, Benham, and Brant, who had been released on parole, were re-arrested on Sunday and conveyed to Fort Warren.


The authoritative accounts from the naval expedition fully confirm the news which first came to us through rebel channels. Success the most complete ad brilliant attended the expedition. The attack upon the forts was made in the most scientific and splendid manner, and in three hours from the commencement of the bombardment they were captured. A most satisfactory result is the small loss of life on board the fleet, and the small number who were wounded. It appears that the enemy were perfectly informed of the destination of the fleet. Jeff. Davis knew where it was going, and sent instructions t make preparations to meet it. Fortifications were constructed, and our officers were surprised at their great strength. Forty cannon of large caliber and manufactured in the most improved style were found in the forts. Our old acquaintance, Com. Tatnall was very soon glad to run his vessels up into the creeks out of harm’s way, and himself for the first time in his experience as a naval officer, probably, got ashore and ran for his life. The battle was fought entirely by the naval vessels. Gen. Sherman and his men were simply spectators of the combat, and took no part in it. In the evening of Thursday, after the forts had surrendered, fifteen thousand soldiers were safely landed on the beach. An expedition immediately went to Beaufort, when it was found that every white man in the place had fled except one, and he was drunk! The Negroes were found in abundance, deserted by their masters, and expecting protection from the invaders.

We hope that Government will follow up the blow which has now been struck at a vital part of the  rebel section. For some reason the success at Hatteras seemed to amount to very little. It should not be so here, and we believe it will not. An army of fifteen thousand good and true men is encamped on the most fertile section of South Carolina. It is reported that three thousand men from Gen. Butler’s division will leave Boston this week. Other reinforcements will soon follow, and lively times may be expected in that section during the coming winter.


It is now pretty generally admitted on all sides that the slavery question must be left to settle itself.  While a proclamation from the President emancipating the slaves of rebels would not be of the least value until those rebels are brought under military subjection, the end which would be aimed at if such a proclamation should be issued will be more summarily and directly reached by letting slave property take its chances in this war the same as any other property.  Slaves are not only property, but they are also men.  They are not only chattels, but they are intelligent chattels, and capable of comprehending some things about this war.  They are not only articles of merchandise, but they have the power of intelligent locomotion, and have an irresistible tendency to locomote toward any spot where they may be freed from bondage.  Let now our army obtain a firm foothold on the soil of South Carolina, and no proclamation from President Lincoln will be needed to cause a strong movement among the waters there. The presence of an army in Carolina will as surely extinguish the institution there as it has in the neighborhood of the Potomac and a Fortress Monroe.  Slavery cannot exist amid the clash of arms, and among scenes of mortal strife.  It demands quiet, and can only flourish when it is left entirely to itself.  War, and especially civil war, is a greater enemy to it then all the abolition societies and Christendom.  This enemy of the institution is now abroad in the land of giant proportions, and has just invaded the State where the slave power is the strongest.

All that is asked of the government and of the army now is that no especial guard or protection be thrown around the property of slaveholders.  Let it take its chance with other property in this war.  We do not ask for a proclamation of emancipation.  It would not be feasible or proper.  All that is ask is that the Negro be treated as a man and not as a slave by our army officers.  Neither General Sherman nor General McClellan have anything to do with slavery as such.  Under their commission they cannot become a slave catchers nor slave holders.

We feel no doubt that the same wise policy will be pursued in South Carolina which has been pursued in Virginia; and that the Government and our Generals will comply with Jefferson Davis' request to the very letter, and "let" the institution "alone."


The Palmetto State is in trouble. Its citizens had no expectation that the war was to be fought in their own state. Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were to bear the burdens and the cotton states were to reap all the benefits. But affairs have not turned out as they expected. The tide of war has turned, and they find themselves in the most imminent peril. Despair reigns in Charleston. Black flags were raised, and the papers talk about “laying the city in ashes” rather than submit to the Yankees. But this is all nonsense, pure South Carolina gasconade, and can impose on nobody. It has already been proved that the valiant Palmettoans possess the faculty of running to a remarkable extent. They have exhibited that faculty once, and they will again when they have an opportunity.


NOVEMBER 21, 1861


Scenes and Incidents During the Fight

The correspondent of the N. Y. World, writing from on board the Bienville, gives the following interesting incidents which came under his immediate observation.

During that terrible engagement of four and a half hours, not a seaman flinch from his duty or gunner stepped aside from his perilous labors, when, amid the thickest of the contest and between the cross-fires from both rebel forts, they plied the ramrods and sighted the guns with such fatal celerity and activity.

One of the powder boys on the Bienville, Wm. Henry Steele by name, reserves particular mention.  He is only fourteen years old, a bright, active fellow, and perform his duties with signal bravery.  It was his duty to hand cartridges to one of the gunners.  While the Bienville was in the thickest of the engagement of balls whistled fiercely over the deck and splashed about in the water, but he never wavered.  A large rifled shot struck the water some distance from the steamer, bounded upward, and crashing through the beam, poor through the bodies of two men standing near him at his gun, and wounded two others.  He handed his cartridge to the gunner, and, stepping over the bodies, brought a fresh supply of ammunition, with which he continued his labors.  After the fight, Capt. Steedman, in thanking his men for their noble conduct, especially commended the bravery of young Steele.  During a part of the time, the Bienville was the mark for almost the entire fire of both rebel batteries, and her crew displayed the greatest heroism.  The first shot fired at her struck, and was one of the most serious.  Her guns were in such constant use they became hot and almost leaped from the deck at each discharge.  It is really wonderful that her damage is so very immaterial.  Beyond a hole between decks, and another through the beam, just at the lower part of the gunwale, a cut shroud in a battered stove-pipe (not smoke stack,) she is unharmed.  The Wabash also came in for a large share of the fight.  The cannon shot past a longer deck and struck Thomas Jackson, the coxswain.  The ball nearly carried away one of his legs, leaving it so that it hung only by shreds of flesh and skin.  Leaning against a gun, he drew out his sheath-knife and tried to cut it off entirely.  The knife was too dull, and his shipmates hastened to him and carry him below.  He kept continually asking how the fight progressed, saying, "I hope we'll win; I hope we'll beat them." He died in two hours, his last words expressing happiness that he had done something for his country.

The effect of our fire on the fort's was terribly grand and majestic.  Some shots struck the beach before the fortifications, throwing up clouds of the yellow sand high is a ship's mast, driving its blinding shower in the faces of the

secession gunners like volleys of small shot, sometimes driving them from their guns and sometimes forcing them to fall upon their faces.  Some shots and shells fell directly in the fort among the rebels, and, bursting in a moment after, literally tore everything near them in pieces, occasionally dismounting a gun, and mingling broken caissons, carriages, splinters of timber, tufts of sod, and fragments of men in horrible confusion, blackened by the hot balls, and red with human blood.  Other missiles whizzed over the fort on the long plain behind, or still further on, crashed among the woods in a continual shower, through which the rebel reinforcements dared not venture to relieve the gunners at the batteries.  At Hilton Head two red-shirted gunners labored actively at a large rifled cannon on the right of the work, loading and firing it with the greatest rapidity and daring.  During a lull in the firing, while the fleet was winding the batteries to take a position for another brush, the red-shirted gunners sat on the parapet alone, all the others having retired to the interior of the works.  A shell from one of the gunboats in Skull Creek struck on the parapet, and burst with a white smoke cloud in the battery.  When the smoke cleared away the red shirts were gone, doubtless killed by the ball.  The sight of a bomb fired through the air is a spectacle of impressive interest, and during the fight these deadly missiles made continual paths through the air like scores of fiery meteors crossing and re-crossing each other's orbits in all directions.  Each bomb rises upward, gracefully curving and descending with the same speed with which it rises, leaving a thin mark of white smoke along its path, that fades purple and then to a pale blue that vanishes in the light air.  A few burst before striking the ground, and produced the beautiful an unusual spectacle of an aerial explosion, thousands of fragments scattering of the space for a musket shot distance around.

When the Seventh Connecticut regiment in the Fourth New Hampshire landed, dead were seen on every side.  One of the largest guns was dismounted, and by its side was a mingled pool of flesh and brains and blood, reddening the splintered fragments of beams and the sandy earth.  It was the last of a secession gunner.  Throughout all the interior of the fort the sanguinary signs, clots of hair and shattered bones, testified to the efficacy of our fire.  Three wounded men were found in a dying condition, having been shamefully neglected by their surgeons.  One had a shattered arm, and might have been saved, but had not been attended to, and it was now black with mortification.  In the evening our dead were buried in a beautiful grove of palmetto, orange and fig trees, just a little distance outside the fort.  Over each grave a guard of marines fired a farewell volley, and a neat board at the head chronicled the names of each.  A mockingbird whistled from a neighboring palmetto as the band concluded a dirge.

NOVEMBER 22, 1861


We ask the attention of all loyal men to the following startling summary of facts from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Organized treason exists in the State in the shape of “Knights of the Golden Circle,” to an extent, and of material so incredibly great, as to jostle the credulity of the quiet and honest loyal citizens in the truth of any public exposé. It is a secret organization, its workings ingenious, its votaries led on by easy degrees from first approach through promises, pledges and obligations to the most terrific and Heaven-daring oaths that ever shook the nerves of Demons. The late arrests startle the slumbering nerves of the incredulous, and the flippant doubt gives way to an interrogative faith. Still the published oaths are doubted, still the extent of the organization, and the might names on the roll which so long and so fully commanded the confidence of the people at the polls; the object and the preparation are thought to exist more in imagination than reality. Government officers were slow to believe, and had the people the evidence now before the Government, they would startle with alarm. The object of the organization in is present phase is to upset the Federal authority by a preconcerted rising at a given signal from the Southern rebels, looking to plunder for their reward. Large quantities of arms are secreted in different parts of the State, awaiting the hour for home massacre to commence. In one instance, 12,000 stand of arms entering this State from the Lakes, were secreted within three miles of the Lake shore for a long time, when, fearing revelation of their whereabouts by a traitor in the Circle, they were suddenly removed, and the track lost. An emissary, now of the rebel army, threaded this State with a peddler’s wagon, ostensibly to sell dry goods, but really to establish “Knights’ Circles.” An important letter written by him to another “Knight,” was taken from the Post-office by an obscure mechanic whose name was the same, and at once given to the Government on account of its treasonable contents. The letter failing to reach the friend addressed, the itinerant treasonous peddler became alarmed, and rushed off to the South, and is now in active duty as a General under Davis. That letter has a list of great names, members of the order, ex-judges, ex-M.Cs, Sheriffs, &c., which it is not policy yet to publish. Persons have gone into it b y insinuating degrees till at length their eyes have been fully open to the prospective bloody culmination, and through very fear they have fled for their lives. Others les advanced have reported to the Government their folly, regrets, alarms, and promised to advance farther for the good of society, and for the purpose of such complete exposure as should work its effectual overthrow, but in every instance have come to a point where their hearts have failed them, and they have utterly refused  to reveal or advance, and have left the State in hot haste. Their most important ceremonies are not allowed to be in writing, and therefore it is difficult to reach documents of importance; and such letters and papers as they keep are buried or secreted, as are their arms. Had Louisville fallen and Cincinnati been attacked, Ohio would have seen a blood red dawn from which Heaven defend her. Had St. Louis fallen, Illinois and Indiana would have opened the fruits of the “Knights of the Golden Circle.” Had the rebel army crossed the Potomac into Maryland, soon after Bull Run, 20,000 stand of arms, well laid down in oil, would have suddenly emerged from Baltimore Bay. There is scarcely a county in Ohio but has its lodge of “Knights of the Golden Circle,” laboring in the cause of the rebels South. We have but pointed as the exposures scarcely in the future, nor need we point at the political wing now nursing it, and from which it wins its recruits, but see for yourselves who are nearest allied or in sympathy with armed rebellion, and “watch.”

Can it be possible with such evidence before our eyes, that the loyal people of Ohio will longer doubt the existence of a secret oath-bound association in this State, more dangerous to public liberty than the armed thieves, pirates and assassins who openly proclaim their determination to overthrow our glorious Government? The Union menaced by such secret scroundrelism, it becomes the duty of every loyal man in the State to be on the lookout for these stealthy assassins of public liberty. Remember they organized the Southern rebellion which has stricken down the liberties of the Southern people, and that upon the demoralization of the Northern people depends their entire success. Is it then any wonder that they should strive to extend their devilish order into the free States? And as political depravity is not circumscribed by State lines, we cannot hope that Ohio has escaped the contamination of their devilish presence. The refusal of a large portion of the people of this State to join the Union movement may, we think, be fairly attributed to the machinations of these black-hearted traitors.


Bucyrus Journal--Down in Kentucky, in the region of Muldraugh’s Hill, lived an ardent Unionist named M’Kinley, formerly a resident of this county, and now staying, for the time being, among his relatives north-east of Bucyrus.

When General Buckner with his horde of outlaws invaded that part of Kentucky, M’Kinley was a doomed man. He had been plain and out-spoken in his Unionism, and had made efforts to rally the Union men of his neighborhood, and aid the Government in beating back the invaders. No sooner had Buckner’s forces [taken] possession of the country than the burning, hanging, waste and desolation that have followed secession commenced. M’Kinley was among the first victims. His house and barns were burned, his crops destroyed, his valuables seized, and his Negroes impressed into the rebel service, he barely escaping with his life.

Among his Negroes was one for whom he felt a particular interest—a stalwart, full-blooded Negro, enumerated in his schedule of property as “John.” John had been raised upon the plantation, was extremely intelligent, and was faithful and honest. Three years ago he married a quadroon belonging to a neighboring planter, and his master, to show his respect for his faithful property, purchased her. Two children were born to them, and they had lived as happily as is possible for intelligent beings in a state of servitude. When his master fled, he urged John to accompany him, but the faithful fellow refused. He would stay, and endeavor to save something from the wreck, and so far as in his power to keep matters in some sort of shape. For security he occupied a cabin in the forest some distance from the former quarters.

One day about six weeks ago, he was returning from a tour over the plantation; while yet some distance from his cabin, he was startled by loud screams in the direction of the cabin. Apprehending evil, he sprang forward with lightning speed, and in a few moments was in his dwelling.

As he entered at one door, a brawny scoundrel escaped from the other. His wife lay upon the floor, half crazed, and the broken furniture showed that a desperate struggle had taken place in the room. A few words explained it all. A scouting party of the secession army had entered the house, violated her person, destroyed what little property the house contained, and fled. Knowing the road they must take to reach their camp, he took a shorter route, and saw them pass. He knew them all. They were residents of the neighborhood, ten in number, and the very men who had been instrumental in bringing the vengeance of the rebels upon the head of his master.

The next day he took his family to the Federal camp, sought out Colonel Gibson’s regiment, and to his great joy found in it a company (Captain Keller’s) from the county that his master was in. Captain K. and his company made the necessary arrangements, and sent his family to the owner at Bucyrus.

Captain Keller furnished him with arms and provisions, and John returned alone, to work out his own vengeance in his own way. He hung around the rebel camp, night and day, and watched, lynx-eyed, their out goings and in comings. Every day he had opportunities of shooting rebel soldiers, but he had his game, and would touch nothing less. Finally he shot one, picking him off as he sat at the camp fire. Another and another were killed, until five of the ten slept their last sleep. Then two of them, scouting in company, were met, and both killed, one shot, and the other in a desperate hand to hand encounter. The remaining three, stricken with fear, kept close in camp, but to no purpose. One was stabbed in his tent, another struck own while on guard, and the last was shot in day-light almost in the middle of camp. Terrible was the crime, and terribly it was avenged.

John is now in Colonel Gibson’s regiment, employed as a scout, and a more valuable man is not in the service. His family are being well cared for.

NOVEMBER 23, 1861


The following description of the appearance of Beaufort after the desertion of its inhabitants is from a private letter received from an officer of Captain Du Pont’s fleet. The sentiments expressed by the author at the desolation occasioned in a most charming spot by the madness of its inhabitants, are such as do honor to his humanity and his patriotism alike:

Flag-Ship Wabash,
Port Royal Harbor, Nov. 14, 1861.

Day before yesterday, Tuesday, I went with Du Pont, General Sherman, and a large party, with an escort of three gun-boats, to Beaufort, and there and on the way up and down, I passed one of the most interesting and one of the maddest days of my life. Beaufort is situated on the river of the same name, called in the official atlas of South Carolina, Port Royal river, about 14 miles from Hilton Head; as you will see by the common maps. The banks of the river are low and the wide mouth gradually narrows on approaching the town. But, though the shores are not diversified by varying or striking scenery, there is a great deal of quiet beauty in the very rural character of the ground, the principal feature of which is the cheerful open glades, surrounded by mossy forest trees, conspicuous among which is the live oak. Some of these little sunny nooks possessed the greatest charm and suggested many a romantic thought. The banks are occupied by plantations on both sides, and the buildings, some of which were large and symmetrical enough to be attractive in themselves, added greatly to the effect of the quiet, domestic scenery. The plantations were all deserted, except by the blacks who stood in groups composed of both sexes, young and old, to see us pass. The right bank of the river rises some eight miles, and the remains of two forts are visible—one very old to resist the invasion by the Spaniards, of the Province in 1673, or to meet the successful attack in 1683—the other, recent, having been built to defend the town from the English in the war of 1812.

The town of Beaufort appears at some distance on ascending the river. It is beautifully situated, and quite imposing in appearance. We knew already that it had been deserted by the terrified inhabitants and partly plundered by the Negroes, and, in approaching it as an enemy and a successful one, I must confess that notwithstanding my being a Yankee, I felt no exultation, but rather sorrow only and pity. We had [been] sent up to take possession of Beaufort the second day after the victory, and Du Pont finding the town abandoned, and the best houses pillaged by the slaves, had given orders to have the destruction of property arrested. From the anchorage off the town we had a fine view of the river front, which is really very imposing. Many of the private buildings are large and handsome, the grounds are in good order, and the bank in front is frequently terraced and walled outside. Everything indicated wealth and refinement. I pause for a moment on this external appearance; it is most melancholy to take the next step.

When we landed, we found a scene of desolation and ruin in some places almost too painful to dwell upon. The only people we saw were the Negroes standing at the corners, or wandering through the streets looking in stolid amazement. The absence of population in a compact, well-built town, was in itself, a most melancholy sight. We went into a large store which had been completely emptied. It was evidently a store of some pretension. It extended through the length of a large building, and was well fitted with shelves, boxes and counters. The removal of the property must have been made by the owners, but the haste with which it was done was shown by the broken boxes, &c., lying about, and by the

littered, wet, and disordered condition of the floor. This store or shop was the type of many others. And the same of the houses. We went over one or two near the water and were more than satisfied. In one the outer doors were open and the whole house was exposed, up-stairs doors had been wantonly broken—mahogany doors—furniture, books, beds, plated ware, family bibles, knitting needles, a sewing machine, a safe not opened but tried, little things belonging to children (my heart ached to think of it)—great things belonging to grown people, the familiar tokens of domestic life, the small low rocking-chair of the nursery, the picture book, the baby house, all lay in their respective rooms so broken and scattered, such signs of desolation and woe, of flight and terror, that I was almost appalled when I looked at it, and remembered that this was my own country. This is indeed civil war. And to remind you still more of the civil wars of the Roses as depicted in the three plays of Henry VI, the commander of one of the vessels in our squadron is brother of the General who commanded at Fort Walker, Hilton Head.

I must speak particularly of one, the last of the houses I entered at Beaufort. It belonged, I think, to a Mr. Haywood. It had the character of an old hospitable mansion, belonging to a gentleman of wealth and family. The hall was spacious, the staircase handsome and somewhat carved, as we see in our old-fashioned houses. The drawing-rooms were large, and formed with the hall and library, or dining room, if it was a dining room, ample space for the entertainment of a large company. . . On the first floor there was a bedroom and a suite in the French style, and all the bedsteads here and up the stairs were massy and large four-posters. There was in this house and very many others just such marks of age, and honor, as in Longfellow’s house, for example, with this difference, however, and a very material difference, that the houses were owned and occupied by the descendants of their builders. Port Royal was the first place of settlement in South Carolina, in its neighborhood are the richest plantations of sea-island cotton, and the old families enriched by the increased cultivation of this staple, and distinguished by the number of their slaves have grown into an aristocracy; which is not a bit the less real, because it has no titles.

One letter was found in Beaufort from a Mr. Robert _____, at Manassas, to his mother in which he says, alluding to some friends, “You remember my promising them a Yankee skull for a drinking cup,” and adds, further on, “Maybe you would like one, too, to put on your whatnot, would you not?” I quote from the original letter before me. And yet, with all this hate staring me in the face, I had no other feeling than sorrow, sorrow, sorrow, that it should be so.

Before we came the work of destruction was proceeding rapidly, but we arrested it. We were struck with the language of the Negroes sometimes. One of them said, “They didn’t think you could do it, massa.” Another said the Negroes stopped plundering because “the Yankees said they would shoot them if they didn’t.”

It appears that the inhabitants, who have left their plantations, as well as the town, are much more afraid of the slaves than of us. They boasted that they would arm their slaves to defend themselves against us, and now they run from these very slaves, who were to be their protectors. They are the victims of their own wrong deeds in part; and in part they are keeping up appearances by not returning to Beaufort. They have said that we would not respect the common humanities of war, and they must act out this theory—which is one of their means of exciting the common people—by running from their homes.


  Having trouble with a word or phrase? Email the transcriptionist.