April 26th.—Doleful dumps, alarm-bells ringing. Telegrams say the mortar fleet has passed the forts at New Orleans. Down into the very depths of despair are we.
April 26.—The United States steamer Flambeau, under the command of Lieut. Commanding Upshur, captured the schooner Arctic, under English colors, about seven miles below Stono, S. C—N. Y. Tribune, May 6.
—This afternoon, the pickets of colonel Donnelly’s brigade, stationed eight miles from Harrisonburgh, Va., on the Gordonsville road, were attacked by a large force of Ashby’s rear-guard, and driven back. One man, named Isaac Zelly, of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania regiment, was killed, and three others wounded. The reserve of the Forty-sixth, and a section of Hampton’s battery then advanced and repulsed the rebels. They retreated to a wood, where several of the Union shells burst in their very midst, and a wagon was seen gathering up and carrying off their dead and wounded. — New – York Times, April 29.
—The rebel General, Albert Pike, issued a proclamation complimenting the Indian allies for their bravery at the battle at Pea Ridge, Ark. N. Y. Tribune, May 2.
—President Lincoln, at Washington, visited the French frigate Gassendi to-day—it being the first time a President of the United States ever went aboard a foreign man-of-war. He was received with the honors paid to crowned heads, the same as usually shown the Emperor. The yards were manned by the crew, who shouted; “Vive le President”
The Secretary of State and Captain Dahlgren accompanied the President. The French Minister was on board to receive the party.—National Intelligencer, April 28.
—Gen. McClellan sent the following to the War Department, at Washington:
“Early this morning an advanced lunette of the rebels, on this side of the Warwick, near its head, was carried by company H, First Massachusetts regiment. The work had a ditch six feet deep, with a strong parapet, and was manned by two companies of infantry, no artillery. Our men moved over open, soft ground, some six hundred yards, received the fire of the rebels at fifty yards, did not return it, but rushed over the ditch and parapet in the most gallant manner. The rebels broke and ran as soon as they saw that our men intended to cross the parapet. Our loss was three killed, and one mortally, and twelve otherwise wounded. We took fourteen prisoners, destroyed the work sufficiently to render it useless, and retired. The operation was conducted by Gen. C. Grover, who managed the affair most handsomely. Nothing could have been better than the conduct of all the men under fire. The supports, who were also under artillery fire of other works, were companies of the First and Eleventh Massachusetts. In spite of the rain our work progresses well.”
The following is the list of killed and wounded, all belonging to company H, First Massachusetts regiment. Killed: George P. Noyes, Wm. D. Smith, and Walter B. Andrews. Wounded: Allen A. Kingsbury, company H, mortally; George L. Stoddart George H. Campbell, Wm. H. Montague, Thos. Crittick, Horace A. Sommers, Geo. H. Stone, Wm. H. Lane, O. C. Cooper, Wm. T. Wright, James W. Spooner, William P. Hallowe, Thomas Archer.—(Doc. 150.)
—The schooner Belle was captured about thirty miles off Charleston, S. C, by the U. S. steamer Uncas.—The schooner Mersey was captured off the coast of Georgia by the U. S. steamer Santiago de Cuba.—N. Y. Tribune, May 6.
—A Battle was fought at Neosho, Mo., between one hundred and forty-six men of the First regiment of Missouri cavalry, under the command of Major Hubbard, and six hundred Indians, commanded by Cols. Coffee and Stainwright, resulting in the defeat of the latter party. Major Hubbard killed and wounded thirty of the savages, besides capturing sixty-two prisoners, seventy horses, and a large quantity of arms.—(Doc. 151.)
Headquarters Porter’s Division, 3d Army Corps,
Camp Winfield Scott, April 25.
Dear Father, — Last night about ten o’clock we received a dispatch from the headquarters of the corps, telling us to change the countersign, and the position of our guards and pickets, as a high officer had deserted to the enemy. The changes were made, and every preparation made for meeting an attack from the rebels, but none occurred. The officer, I hear, was Colonel _______, and it is not known whether he was captured or whether he deserted.
I had a letter from you last night in which you asked me what I did every day. My duties for the last week or two have been very light, consisting in getting out the countersign, which, together with day and night signals, is written on pieces of paper, sealed, and sent out to the different commanders in the division. I have also been to ride with the general to the different batteries, and also have gone every other day to General Heintzelman’s for any dispatches which might be there. General H.’s head-quarters are about a mile from here near the saw-mill. Grant Johnson from Boston is on General H.’s staff. This saw-mill is on the Yorktown road, about a mile and three quarters from their batteries, and was left uninjured by the rebels when they retreated. They had used it for sawing wood to make barracks, and timber to mount their cannon on. I can’t imagine why they left it whole, unless it was that we came upon them unawares. Indeed, one of their men said that they did not expect us for a week, and when we advanced thought that we only meant to make a reconnoissance, as we did once before when we advanced to Big Bethel from Hampton.
I have to take messages to the different brigade or regimental commanders when an attack is anticipated or when the message is too important to be trusted to an orderly. Then when any order has to be got out in a hurry I have to help write it. When General Porter goes out nowadays he usually goes with McClellan, and as he has to pass an exposed place he never takes more than one aide, and then the senior one, Monteith. I went with him and General McClellan the other day to the batteries. I get up in the morning at 6.30 and have my breakfast at 7.30. We all mess together, and my seat is on the general’s right. He is always kind and pleasant to me and I like him very much. At 4 o’clock we dine, thus having only two meals a day, and that is plenty. We live better than any one yet that I have seen in camp, and at a cheaper rate. We have oysters in plenty, and cooked in every style. They are very good-sized ones, but hardly have the flavor of a New York or Boston oyster. They are transplanted from here in great quantities to New York and Philadelphia.
I have plenty of spare time on my hands, which I spend in reading, when I can get hold of anything to read. Books are rather scarce out here now. Whenever you get an opportunity to send me any books, they will be very welcome. I go to bed by nine o’clock, and always get a good night’s sleep. Whenever the fight begins, there will be plenty of work to be done, and no time to read. My opinion is that we shall not open fire on them until they open on us. We shall dig our trenches, and make the parallels until we are troubled by them, and then our batteries will open on them. The nearer we get to them the better it is for us, and so it would be folly to provoke their fire by opening on them, when by keeping still our men can get nearer to their works. I think our men began to work on the trenches last night. The whole affair will be conducted on scientific principles applied by skilful engineers, and with a man at the head whose forte is in this kind of warfare, namely General McClellan. My idea is that he will take the place with the least possible sacrifice of life, and in order to do this, he must have sufficient time to carry out all his plans thoroughly, and employ the men in trenches, etc., until we get within a reasonable distance to storm their works, if such a course be necessary to drive them out. The enemy have made a fatal mistake in not cutting down the woods to a greater distance from their works. They have just left a belt of woods, which forms a splendid line for us to build batteries and form a base for our operations, and which also affords a shelter to our encampments. The last few days have been unusually quiet, very few skirmishes taking place. We have one battery on our extreme right, on a promontory in the York River, close to a Colonel Flarinlecoult’s house, which mounts 6 guns, 5 100-pounder Parrott guns, and one 200-pound gun. This Colonel F. is in the rebel army.
In regard to my drinking, which you seem to feel some anxiety about, I wish to say that I have not touched a drop of anything but water and coffee since leaving home. I only want the brandy for a medicine in case I should need it. In regard to giving my friends liquor, I have not a friend here whom I care enough about to give him liquor, and have not bought any since I have been here. All my friends are in regiments away from this division. I have formed no intimate friendships out here, although I am on very friendly terms with all my brother officers. They, however, have no interests in common with me, except, of course, the ordinary civilities of everyday life. There is one fellow whom I may except. He is a signal officer named Johnson, a graduate of Yale in ’60, and is a first-rate fellow. He was on our staff, but has recently been promoted to General Heintzelman’s staff. I don’t care about forming any intimate friendships with any one I meet, and I have enough now. Of course I am careful to be polite to every one, and on good terms with my companions. Tom Sherwin I see quite often, and wish, of course, to except him from the general class of officers I meet with. Griswold, too, I like very much. He is lieutenant colonel of the 22d Mass. Then I know the lieutenant colonel of the 83d Penn., Strong Vincent, a graduate of Harvard in ’59, and a very nice fellow. I am in the same tent with McQuade, one of the aides, and a very pleasant person, and one easy to get along with. I don’t wish you to think from what I have been writing that I am squeamish, and overnice in my friendships.
I try to be friendly with every one, but reserve my intimate acquaintance for those whom I know well and especially esteem. Of course it won’t do to set one’s self up as being particularly good or too refined to associate with every one, in this world. We have to take people as we find them, and adapt ourselves to the circumstances in which we are placed. This I do, as far as is in my power. I get on very well, and am very happy, and like my life very much.
Our gunboats fire at long range, and so far with little success, as their fuses have not been long enough. When the fight begins they will approach much nearer and will then do some damage. I imagine that one of our iron gunboats will run by the water batteries here at the proper time, and will give them a good dressing in their rear.
I am astonished to find the season so backward here. I imagined that it was some six weeks ahead of our season, but find that I am mistaken. We have had two or three hot days, but most of the time we have been here a fire has been almost a necessity. The leaves have just burst through their buds. I imagine the change is more sudden up North from winter to spring, while here it is more gradual. For instance, we have had no snow since the first of March, while you have had plenty of it, yet I don’t think we are more than a week, or possibly two weeks ahead of you as regards the season. . . .
I heard from pretty good authority that the Secretary of War handed in his resignation to the President because the President ordered Franklin’s division to reinforce McClellan, contrary to Stanton’s wish. I only hope that it will be accepted and that these men who are trying to advance McDowell by the ruin of McClellan will be made to answer for it.
My horse is in good condition and spirits. He likes to jump around some, when he has not been used much, but I soon take that out of him. If I ever get him home safely, he will make a fine carriage horse. He is turning bay color now as he sheds his old coat. . . .
I hope if you come as far as Washington you will please try to come on here, or I hope to Richmond.
Friday, April 25. Camp Number 2, Price’s Farm, four miles. — Rained in torrents all night. The windows of heaven were indeed opened. By midnight the streams we crossed with teams yesterday swum a courier’s horse. At 7:30 this morning they were impassable — swollen to rushing rivers. About seven this morning rain ceased to fall.
Received orders last evening to send party to New River to crush one hundred and twenty-five Rebels who crossed Monday evening. In view of the storm, order countermanded this A. M. Hereafter the camps of this detachment will be known by their number. This is Number 2. Men catch fish this morning — a species of chub. We have a corps of scouts organized, Sergeant Abbott commanding, composed chiefly of citizens — six or eight citizens. Names: Russell G. French, Mercer County farmer, and Thos. L. Bragg, Wm. C. Richmond, Maxwell, and Simpkins, all of Raleigh.
Prepared during the afternoon to send four companies, A, E, G, and H, to the junction of New River and Bluestone to “bag” (favorite phrase with officers) a party of one hundred and twenty-five Rebels supposed to be there on this side, shut in by the high water. They left in the night under Major Comly, Dr. Webb accompanying. Had a dress parade and a spirited little drill after it. The sun set bathing the western sky and its fleecy clouds in crimson. Said to indicate fair weather. I hope so. The streams still too high to be crossed.
APRIL 25TH.—Gen. Wise, through the influence of Gen. Lee, who is a Christian gentleman as well as a consummate general, has been ordered into the field. He will have a brigade, but not with Beauregard. The President has unbounded confidence in Lee’s capacity, modest as he is.
Another change! Provost Marshal Godwin, for rebuking the Baltimore chief of police, is to leave us, and to be succeeded by a Marylander, Major Griswold, whose family is now in the enemy’s country.
Friday, 25th—We struck our tents early this morning and marched about three miles to the southwest, and went into camp again, camp No. 2. We were brigaded over again. It rained all day.
To Mrs. Lyon
Hamburg, Tenn., April 25, 1862.—We are encamped here with an immense and constantly increasing army, camps, artillery, cavalry, and all the machinery of war, for several miles up and down the river. There is undoubtedly to be a great battle before long. We, Company K, go out a few miles this morning as part of the grand guard. This is a guard along the whole front of the army, about three miles in advance.
25th. Started south for Diamond Grove. Detachments kept leaving when we approached the grove, so as to surround and enter it from different directions. Nettleton and we of the noncommissioned staff took one course and scouted through the woods. None found any rebels. Went to the farm of a Mr. Holsell, a notorious rebel. Boys took everything takable from the house and premises. Abundance of apples and some ammunition. Encamped here for the night. One girl, good secesh, has brother in the rebel army.
April 25.—A rainy, gloomy day, and well accords with the news just heard. New Orleans is in the hands of the enemy. The particulars have not reached us, but I sincerely trust that it was not given up without a great struggle. What a severe trial this will be to the proud people of that place—to have their fair city desecrated by the tread of such a vandal foe. I trust that the day is not far distant when they will be compelled to leave much quicker than they came into it.
Quite a number of General Price’s army came last night. They are from the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, and as brave and daring a set of men as the world has ever seen. I feel that we are now safe in Corinth, and that Fremont may bring as many of his abolition horde as he pleases; they will meet their match.
Troops are coming in from all quarters. A day or two since a regiment arrived, and camped in front of our windows. The men were nicely dressed, and displayed a flag, of which they appeared very proud. They attracted the attention of a number of ladies—and there was many a conjecture as to where they were from. To-day I learned that it was the Twenty-fourth Alabama Regiment, from Mobile. A number of the officers went to Virginia, as privates, in the Third Alabama.
I am getting along very well now. Miss Henderson from Mobile, and Mrs. Noland from Natchez, and myself are the only ladies attending the men up-stairs. There were two others, but Dr. Smith discovered that they had no business here, and sent them off. Mrs. N. and Miss H. are very devoted nurses. Miss H. is paying a great deal of attention to a young man by the name of Jones. He is badly wounded in the leg, and the doctors think that he will lose it. Mrs. N. has some patients very badly wounded, of whom she has taken as much care as if they were her own children. She has a son in another part of the army, and says that, if any thing happens to him, she knows that some good woman will do the same for him that she is now doing for others.
With a few exceptions, all the ladies are doing good service. It is said that there is always a black sheep in every flock: we have ours. We have been eating our meals lately in a small room opening into a large ward. This morning, while at breakfast, I was not a little astonished to hear a very pretty widow say that she had never enjoyed herself so much as she had since she had been here; that, when she left home, she was told that she must try to catch a beau—and she had succeeded. The doctors, I thought, looked amazed, that any woman, at such a time, and in such a place, should be guilty of such heartlessness. Enjoyed herself! when it was impossible to look one way or the other without seeing the most soul-harrowing scenes that it has ever been the lot of mortals to witness; and at that moment the groans of the suffering and dying were entering the room. I looked at the sentinels who were at the door; they, I thought, looked as shocked as we. I trust that such women are very rare.
25th.—Still men are occasionally shooting each other along the picket lines, but nothing of general importance.
April 25. We have now been several weeks in the city and the boys are beginning to tire of it. This every-day, humdrum life is getting irksome, and the boys are anxious for a change. Frequent changes and excitement are what keeps up the soldier’s spirits. In the dull routine and idleness of camp, they grow uneasy, homesick and despondent.
April 25th. Left our anchorage early and proceeded up the river, keeping constantly on the alert for a battery which had been reported in this vicinity. We found the batteries some five or six miles below New Orleans called the Chalmette batteries, and consisting of some ten to fifteen guns. They opened upon us before we could get range of them, and we passed steadily on amid a shower of shell, and when within range gave them a broadside that sent them flying from their guns.
After an action of some thirty minutes all was quiet again, and, strange to say, none were injured except two, who fell overboard. As we passed on towards the city we were met by burning ships of all kinds; large ships were fired and cut adrift to float upon us, while others were burned at the levee. The destruction of property was immense, and hardly a ship or steamer escaped the flames. We anchored abreast of the city about 1 o’clock, P. M., amid a drenching rain, and the Flag Officer sent ashore a demand for the surrender of the city by Captain Bailey. The levee was thronged with people, and a party who waved a white flag and cheered for the Union thus created a terrible riot, and several persons were killed.
A rebel ram was burned and sunk at the levee, and the new floating battery Mississippi, of immense strength and proportions, was destroyed by fire and floated by us down the river.
New York, April 25, ‘62.
. . . I always have a little talk with Col. Betts coming out of church, he keeps out such a sharp eye. He predicted all that business of the sub-division of McClellan’s command and the Rappahannock department exactly as it fell out. He predicts now—(he laughs and says of course he only guesses)—no desperate fighting at Yorktown. He thinks there will be some bombarding but no storming of the works; that the great battle at Corinth, now imminent, will occur before a battle at Yorktown, and will probably greatly demoralize the rebel cause. . . . Cousin William Aspinwall has just sent us in an interesting letter from Lieutenant Greene, giving his experience on the Monitor in the voyage and fight. He is only 18, and was in command for a little while after Worden was blinded. I have been down several days this week to the New England Association, and have succeeded in doing nothing with considerable éclat. We have had only eight or ten transient lodgers, have had some droll incidents, have made a few beds and a few cups of tea, got great glory in the newspapers, and that is all. Don’t think I am going into a minute account, for I have no idea of it. Indeed there is none to go into. The ladies’ committee does not work altogether smoothly, and I think there will be some further attempt at organization with a responsible head. W— B— looks in occasionally and does nothing. M— P— tries to come the heavy patronizing over me with entire want of success. . . . The house is admirable, and the patients (if there are any) will be splendidly taken care of. If you know any New England men coming home invalided, and who want to rest over a night or two (most of them will not do it), send them to us.
April 25.—The bombardment of Fort Macon, N. C, by the combined forces of Gen. Burnside and Com. Goldsborough, terminated in the reduction and capture of the garrison.—(Doc. 135.)
—The Forts on Lake Ponchartrain, La., were this day evacuated by the rebel forces, and all their gunboats on the lake were burnt or otherwise destroyed.—Richmond Despatch, April 29.
—New-Orleans, La., surrendered to the naval forces of the United States, under the command of Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut.—(Doc. 149.)
—Major-Gen. C. F. Smith died at Savannah, Tenn., at four o’clock this afternoon, of dysentery. He was taken sick shortly after the occupation of Savannah by the forces under him.
—Major Von Steinhaus, Capt Botticher, and Capt Camp, of the Sixty-eighth regiment of New York volunteers; Lieut. Lombard, Battalion Adjutant Eighth Illinois cavalry, and Assist. Surg. Williams, First New-York artillery, were, by the order of President Lincoln, struck from the roll of the’ army, for being captured while straggling, without authority, beyond the National lines.
—Com. Paulding published a letter giving an account of the destruction of the Norfolk Navy Yard, in April, 1861.— (Doc. 148.)
—Henry Kuhl, Hamilton W. Windon, and Conrad Kuhl, having been tried by court-martial, in Western Virginia, and found guilty of murdering a Union soldier, the two first named were sentenced to be hung, and the third to wear a ball and chain, and perform hard labor during the war. Major-Gen. Fremont, in an order issued this day, confirmed the findings and sentence of the court. The hanging is to take place at Suttonville, on the ninth of May, and the ball and chain individual is ordered to Camp Chase, to satisfy the violated law in that locality.— Cincinnati Gazette, April 29.
Written from the Sea islands of South Carolina.
St. Helena’s Island, Pope’s Plantation.
April 24, 1862.
Mr. Pierce’s Head Quarters—
Family — Mrs. Johnson and her sister;
Miss Susan Walker;
Miss Laura Towne;
Rina, Rebecca, Susannah, Lucy, Jane, Harry, Joe, Dagus, and others, being outside and inside members of the household.
Miss Donelson goes home only because she is not so situated that she can work.
The question of to-day is how to dispose of the clothing to the poor people. They are willing to buy generally, but the supply is too small to admit of selling all they want. . . .
They say, “Gov’ment is fighting for us and we will work for Gov’ment. We don’t ask money; we only ask clothes and salt and sweetins.” They express the greatest love for the Yankees.
We ladies are borrowed, to go talk to the negroes, from one plantation to another, and we do good, great good. If I only had time to tell all they say to me! Or how they come thronging here for clothes and go away “too satisfied — too thank,” one woman said, at receiving some few things — generally, too, second-hand — some of it miserable. Too thankful, indeed, if you will only let them buy. We go again to-morrow upon a visit of cheering to the poor, anxious people who have lived on promises and are starving for clothes and food while patiently “working for Gov’ment.”
The cotton agents promised last year and now are just paying for the cotton picked on their promise, one dollar in four — the rest in orders on their stores, where they sell molasses at fifteen cents a pint and soap and salt in proportion. The negroes take it hard that they must work at cotton again this year, especially as it must be to the neglect of their corn, upon which they have the sense to feel that their next winter’s food depends….
(click on image for larger version)
Pang & Company Catalog Description:
“Capture of New Orleans.”
Farragut’s Fleet passing the Forts.
This naval scene is a brilliant representation of that famous battle by night, showing the Mississippi squadron, under Commodore Farragut, passing Forts Philip and Jackson, and the engagement with them and with the Confederate gunboats in the early morning of April 24, 1S62. The terrific fire belched forth from the heavy guns and mortars, the flash of the bursting shells, and the light from blazing fire-rafts, turned adrift to destroy the Union fleet, form a lurid and exciting spectacle, and represent one of the most hotly contested naval battles of the war.
The final victory of the fleet secured the opening of the Lower Mississippi and the surrender of the city of New Orleans to the Union forces.
Image was digitally enhanced for fade correction, contrast, brightness, and color.
Capture of New Orleans by Julian Oliver Davidson; Fac-simile Print by L. Prang and Company; Copyright 1886 by L. Prang & Co., Boston
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
This drawing is located here on the Library of Congress website.
Price’s Farm, four miles south of Raleigh, Virginia, April 24, 1862. Thursday. — Left camp at Beckley’s at 10:30 A. M. with Twenty-third, a section of McMullen’s Battery under Lieutenant Crome, twenty horse under Captain Gilmore and his first lieutenant, Abraham. Reached here at 1.30 P. M. A short march but crossed two streams somewhat difficult. Broke one whiffletree. All right, with this exception. Camp on fine ground, sandy, rolling and near to Beaver Creek. Floyd camped here on his retreat from Cotton Hill. The men carried their knapsacks; shall try to accustom them to it by easy marches at first. They are in fine spirits; looked well.
A hostile feeling exists toward the Twenty-third by the Thirtieth. Had a talk with Colonel Jones, Major Hildt, and Colonel Ewing. All agree that Major Comly and myself have treated them well, but the company officers of the Twenty-third have not behaved fraternally towards them. The immediate trouble now is some defilement of the quarters we left for the Thirtieth in Raleigh. This must be looked into and punished if possible.
This is one of the finest camping spots I have seen. Soil sandy, surface undulating, in the forks of two beautiful mountain streams; space enough for a brigade and very defensible. It began to rain within half an hour after our tents were pitched and was “falling weather” (west Virginia phrase for rainy weather) the rest of the day. This is the sixth day of falling weather, with only a few streaks of sunshine between.
APRIL 24TH —Webster has been tried, condemned, and hung.
Is it not shameful that martial law should be playing such fantastic tricks before high heaven, when the enemy’s guns are booming within hearing of the capital?
Thursday, 24th—No news of importance.
24th. In the morning early, Companies “A” and “G” came in with Major Burnett and staff. At noon fifty men from each of the four companies of Burnett’s battalion left camp, marched twenty miles. Our ride was through a rich country, over Gen. Siegel’s first battle field. Many pretty flowers. Passed a little deserted village. Encamped by a clear stream and occupied some vacant houses. After supper made our bed out of doors and had a good night’s rest.
April 24.—Mr. Isaac Fuquet, the young man who had his arm cut off, died to-day. He lived only a few hours after the amputation. The operation was performed by Surgeon Chaupin of New Orleans, whose professional abilities are very highly commended. Dr. Hereford was well acquainted with Mr. F., and intends to inform his mother of his death.
It is reported that an engagement is going on at Monterey. A wounded man has just been brought in.
The amputating table for this ward is at the end of the hall, near the landing of the stairs. When an operation is to be performed, I keep as far away from it as possible. To-day, just as they had got through with Mr. Fuquet, I was compelled to pass the place, and the sight I there beheld made me shudder and sick at heart. A stream of blood ran from the table into a tub in which was the arm. It had been taken off at the socket, and the hand, which but a short time before grasped the musket and battled for the right, was hanging over the edge of the tub, a lifeless thing. I often wish I could become as callous as many seem to be, for there is no end to these horrors.
The passage to the kitchen leads directly past the amputating room below stairs, and many a time I have seen the blood running in streams from it.
There is a Mr. Pinkerton from Georgia shot through the head. A curtain is drawn across a corner where he is lying to hide the hideous spectacle, as his brains are oozing out.
24th.—Comparatively quiet to-day, with only occasional skirmishing along the lines. Sickness rapidly increasing; yet government furnishes no medicines, no appliances for comfort of sick and wounded!
April 24th.—Volunteered at Chattanooga, Tenn., in Company F, 39th Georgia Regiment of Infantry. Privileged to stay at home until May 10th.
(Note: picture is of an unidentified Confederate soldier.)
April 24th. This morning was destined to be recorded in history as the day on which occurred the most brilliant naval feat ever accomplished. It had been decided to run past the forts without stopping, and accordingly, at two o’clock A. M., all hands were quietly turned out, hammocks lashed, and everything put in order, while two red lights from our peak gave the signal for the squadron to get under way.
The squadron was divided into three divisions under the commands of Flag Officer Farragut, Capt. Bailey, and Capt. Bell. The night was pleasant and starlight, and as we moved away the morning moon came looming up from behind the trees. Twenty minutes brought us within range of the enemy’s guns, which were immediately opened upon us. Our men lay down on the decks till our guns could be brought to bear. The forts, mounting in the aggregate some two hundred and twenty guns, were soon in full blast upon us, and we returned the fire with decision and effect, making the action general and terrible. The forts, only three quarters of a mile apart, gave our ships shot and shell on both sides at once, while our ships sent back grape, canister, shrapnel, and shells, besides using our howitzers from our tops, where they had been mounted. On reaching the forts we were assailed by twenty of the enemy’s gunboats and rams, but we made short work of them, sinking some, and burning nearly all of them.
A shell entered our starboard beam, cutting off our cable passing through eighteen inches of oak, and after tearing the armory down, exploded at the main hatch, killing one man instantly, and severely wounding three or four others; another entered the muzzle of a gun, breaking the lip, which killed the sponger, who was in the act of ramming home a cartridge. At this time we ran aground, when the ram Manassas forced a fire raft against our port quarter for the purpose of destroying us, but owing to the superhumane fforts of the officers and crew it was cast off and sent floating down the river. Our mizzen rigging was burnt, and the ship considerably charred, but we providentially escaped, and in a few minutes got afloat by backing down towards the enemy’s forts, while they played away upon us beautifully.
After an hour and twenty minutes action we passed beyond reach of the rebel guns, and ceased firing. We came to our anchor at the quarantine grounds at about five o’clock, the river banks being lined on either side with burning steamers.
The ram Manassas had followed us up some distance, and now the old frigate Mississippi turned about to run her down, but the ram ran her nose into the mud, and the Mississippi in three broadsides crippled her, and she drifted down the river, while her crew escaped. One of our gunboats, the Varuna, after destroying five or six of the enemy’s steamers was herself sunk, and was run aground with some loss of life. Our loss was some thirty in killed and one hundred wounded. The enemy’s loss was five or six hundred, while their dead and wounded were burned in their steamers. Two of our gunboats were obliged to put back, one with a shot through her boilers, and the other disabled. Among the ships which passed the forts were the following: Flag ship Hartford, Brooklyn, Pensacola, Richmond, and the old frigate Mississippi, Iroquois, and Oneida. Gunboats Varuna, Wissahickon, Cayuga, Katadin, and Pinola. After taking prisoners from Camp Chalmette we started for New Orleans. White flags were waving in all directions, and as we proceeded the plantations and river banks presented a scene truly beautiful, being at a time of year when nature puts on her best attire. Some of the dwellings looked like castles, and bore evidence of age, being usually surrounded by large trees; each had attached its double row of negro dwellings, regularly laid out and interspersed with trees. We ran up near the English Turn, and anchored for the night unmolested.
Camp of the Berdan Sharpshooters before Yorktown, Va, April 1862, by Alfred R. Waud.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
This drawing is located here on the Library of Congress website.