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Title: The Civil War in America - Fuller's Modern Age, August 1861
Author: Russell, William Howard, Sir, 1820-1907
Language: English
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PRICE, TWENTY-FIVE CENTS.

No. 1. SERIAL. August, 1861.

Fuller’s Modern Age.

DEVOTED TO

Sermons, Orations, Lectures, Popular Correspondence, &c.

THE

CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA;

BY

WM. H. RUSSELL, LL.D.,

Special Correspondent of the London Times.

BOSTON:

GARDNER A. FULLER, 112 WASHINGTON STREET.

LONDON: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row.

STEREOTYPE EDITION.

No. TWO WILL CONTAIN A SECOND SERIES OF MR. RUSSELL’S
LETTERS. A LIBERAL DISCOUNT TO THE TRADE.☜

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.:
MILES & DILLINGHAM,
Printers and Stereotypers.



THE

CIVIL WAR

IN

AMERICA:

BY

WM. H. RUSSELL, LL.D.,

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE

LONDON TIMES.

BOSTON:

GARDNER A. FULLER,

No. 112 Washington Street.



THE MODERN AGE.


In presenting the first number of the _Modern Age_ to the public, I have
selected the letters of Mr. Russell, deeming them the most appropriate
topic for the times, and worthy of an extensive circulation.

That these letters are written by the most interesting correspondent of
the largest, ablest, and most influential paper in the world, is
sufficient proof of their merits, and that they come to us “well
recommended and properly vouched for.”

The universal “desire for more light” in regard to affairs in the South,
will find abundant satisfaction in this brilliant and talented
correspondence of a writer, whose chirographical experience in the
Crimean war, has so eminently fitted him “to render a fair and impartial
account” of the Civil War in America.

Number two of the _Modern Age_ will contain another serial of Mr.
Russell’s letters, at the close of which I shall introduce popular
Orations and occasional Sermons from our most eminent Divines. The
principal design of this work is to preserve in the most convenient form
the best thoughts, fresh from the lips of our most gifted men: its
peculiar character will prevent a regular monthly publication; yet I
hope to be able from the many reports, to elect twelve in the course of
a year. No pains will be spared in my endeavors to make it the best and
most attractive work of its kind in the country, and I trust it will
meet with much favor at the hands of a generous public.

G. A. FULLER.



THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA.



LETTER I.

WASHINGTON, March 29, 1861.


IF the intelligent foreigner, who is supposed to make so many
interesting and novel observations on the aspect of the countries he
visits, and on the manners of the people among whom he travels, were to
visit the United States at this juncture, he would fail to detect any
marked indication of the extraordinary crisis which agitates the members
of the Great Republic, either at the principal emporium of its commerce,
or at the city which claims to be the sole seat of its Government.
Accustomed to the manifestation of violent animosity and great
excitement among the nations of Europe during political convulsions, he
would be struck with astonishment, if not moved to doubt, when, casting
his eyes on the columns of the multitudinous journals which swarm from
every printing-press in the land, he read that the United States were in
such throes of mortal agony, that those who knew the constitution of the
patient best, were scarce able to prophesy any result except final
dissolution. It would require such special acquaintance as only those
well versed in the various signs and forms of the dangerous influences
which are at work can possess, to appreciate from anything to be seen at
New York or Washington, the fact that the vast body politic which sprang
forth with the thews and sinews of a giant from the womb of rebellion
and revolution; which claimed half the New World as its heritage, and
reserved the other as the certain reward of future victory; which
extended its commerce over every sea, and affronted the antiquity of
international law by bold innovations and defiant enumerations of new
principles; which seemed to revel in success of doctrines that the
experience of the Old World had proved to be untenable, or had rejected
as unsuited to the government of mankind; which had developed all the
resources of the physical agencies in manufactures, machinery,
electricity, and steam, that could give strength, and wealth, and vigor
to its frame;--that this mighty Confederation should suddenly be smitten
with a desire to tear its limbs asunder, and was only restrained by the
palsy that had smitten some of its members. Certainly no notion of the
kind could be formed from actual observation of the words and deeds of
men in the cities I have visited, or from any source of information,
except the casual conversations of fellow travellers, or the startling
headings in the newspapers, which have, however, reduced “sensation”
paragraphs and lines to such every-day routine, that the American is no
more affected by them than the workman in the proof-house is moved by
the constant explosion of cannon. We are accustomed to think the
Americans a very excitable people; their personal conflicts, their rapid
transitions of feeling, the accounts of their public demonstrations,
their energetic expressions, their love of popular assemblies, and the
cultivation of the arts, which excite their passions, are favorable to
that notion. But New York seems full of divine calm and human phlegm. A
panic in Wall Street would, doubtless, create greater external
disturbance than seemed to me to exist in its streets and pleasant
mansions. No doubt there is, and must be, very great agitation of
feeling, and much apprehension; but to the stranger they are not very
patent or visible. An elegant refinement, which almost assumes the airs
of pococuranteism, reigns in society, only broken by the vehement voices
of female patriotism, or the denunciations addressed against the
provisions of a tariff, which New York seems unanimous in regarding with
hostility and dismay. If Rome be burning, there are hundreds of noble
Romans fiddling away in the Fifth Avenue, and in its dependencies, quite
satisfied that they cannot join any of the fire companies, and that they
are not responsible for the deeds of the “Nero” or “anti-Nero” who
applied the torch. They marry, and are given in marriage; they attend
their favorite theatres, dramatic or devotional, as the case may be, in
the very best coats or bonnets; they eat the largest oysters, drink the
best wines, and enjoy the many goods the gods provide them, unmoved by
the daily announcement that Fort Sumter is evacuated, that the South is
arming, and the Morrill tariff is ruining the trade of the country. And,
as they say, “What can we do?” “We are,” they insinuate, “powerless to
avert the march of events. We think everybody is wrong. Things were
going on very pleasantly when these Abolitionists disturbed the course
of trade, and commerce, and speculation with their furious fantasies;
and now the South, availing themselves of the opportunity which the
blindness of their enemies has afforded them to do what they have wished
in their hearts for many a year, start in business for themselves, and
will not be readily brought back by the lure of any concession till they
find they are unable to get money to pay their way, and resort to
measures which may be ruinous to capital, or lead to reconstruction of
the Confederation on both sides.”

If, pursuing the researches which such remarks suggest, an investigation
is made in the same stratum of thought by careful exploration, it will
not be long before the miner comes upon matters which he never could
have expected to find in that particular gallery. What are the most
cherished institutions of the Great Republic? If the intelligent
foreigner were asked what were the fundamental principles which,
guaranteed by, and guaranteeing, their Constitution, the people of the
United States admired the most, he would probably reply, “Universal
suffrage (with its incidental exercise of vote by ballot), free
citizenship, a free press.” Probably he would answer correctly in the
main, for he would know more of the matter than I do; but if he visited
New York for a few days, what would be his amazement to see his best
friends shake their heads at the very mention of these grand
Shibboleths! How would his faith be disturbed when he learnt from some
merchant prince that universal suffrage, in its practical working in
that city, had handed over the municipal government to the most
ignorant, if not the most unprincipled men; that it flooded and
submerged the landmarks of respectability and station by a tide of
barbarous immigrant foreigners; that the press had substituted
licentiousness for liberty; and that the evils done in New York by these
agencies afflicted the whole State! Ingenious theorists might attempt to
convince him that the effect of these mischievous elements had been felt
at the very centre of the social system, and had led to the separation
which, be it temporary or permanent, all Northern Americans deplore.
Few, however, would admit that the failure of Republican institutions
is by any means involved in the disasters which have fallen on the
Commonwealth, even when they freely confess that they desire to modify
the Constitution, while they lament the impossibility of doing so in
consequence of the very condition of things it has created. It is my
firm conviction, forced on my mind by the words of many men of note with
whom I have spoken, that they would gladly, if they could, place some
limits to their own liberties as far as their fellow-men are concerned,
and that they begin to doubt whether a Constitution founded on abstract
principles of the equality of mankind can be worked out in huge
cities--veritable _cloacæ gentium_--however successful it was in the
earlier days of the Republic, and as it is in the sparsely inhabited
rural districts where every inhabitant represents property. These men
may be a small minority, but they certainly represent great wealth, much
ability, and high intelligence in the State of which I speak. They
assert there is no recuperative power in the Constitution. The sick
physician cannot heal himself, for he has caused his own illness, and a
Convention, the great nostrum of the fathers of the Republic, is only an
appeal from Philip drunk to Philip mad. “_Volumus leges Americæ
mutari_,” is their despairing aspiration, and they justify the wish by
contrasts between the state of things which existed when the
Constitution was prepared for the thirteen Confederated States and that
which prevails at the present time, when thirty-four States, some two or
three of which are equal to the original Republic, and many of which
declare they are absolute sovereignties; which have absorbed all the
nomads of the Old World, with a fair proportion of Genghis Khans,
Attilas, and Timours in embryo, present a spectacle which the most
sagacious of the framers of the original compact never could have
imagined. They are impatient of the ills they have, and are somewhat
indifferent to the wondrous and magnificent results in material
prosperity and intellectual development which the old system either
promoted or caused. New York, however, would do anything rather than
fight; her delight is to eat her bread and honey, and count her dollars,
in peace. The vigorous, determined hostility of the South to her
commercial eminence, is met by a sort of maudlin sympathy without any
action, or intention to act. The only matter in which the great
commercial aristocracy take any interest is the Morrill tariff, which
threatens to inflict on them the most serious losses and calamity.
There is a general expectation that an extra Session of Congress will be
called to amend the obnoxious measure; and it is asserted that the
necessity for such a Session is imperious; but, so far as I can judge,
all such hopes will be disappointed. There is no desire at Washington to
complicate matters by stormy debates, and the statesmen so recently
elevated to power are sufficiently well read in general and in national
history to know that extraordinary Parliaments are generally the
executioners of those who call them. The representatives of the great
protected interests at the capital deny that the tariff will have the
injurious effects attributed to it, or that it augments to any very
grievous extent the burdens of the New Yorkers or of the foreign
manufacturers. Even if it does, they declare that protection is
necessary. The ingenious proposals to evade the operation of the tariff
by a jugglery of cargoes between the Southern and Northern ports will,
they say, be frustrated by the more rigid application of the Revenue and
Customs’ system, out of which most serious complications must inevitably
arise at no distant period. While at New York all is calm doubtfulness
or indolent anticipation, at Washington there is excitement and
activity. The aristocracy of New York has yielded itself unresistingly
to a tyranny it hates; it cannot wield at will the fierce democracy, and
it abandons all efforts to control it, forgetting the abundant proofs in
every history of the power of genius, wealth, and superior intelligence
to control the heavier masses, however wild and difficult of approach.

At Washington there is at this moment such a ferment as no other part of
the world could exhibit--a spectacle which makes one wonder that any man
can be induced to seek for office, or that any Government can be
conducted under such a system. The storm which rolled over the capital
has, I am told, subsided; but the stranger, unaccustomed to such
tempestuous zones, thinks the gale is quite strong enough even in its
diminished intensity. All the hotels are full of keen gray-eyed men, who
fondly believe their destiny is to fill for four years some pet
appointment under Government. The streets are crowded with them; the
steamers and the railway carriages, the public departments, the steps of
the senators’ dwellings, the lobbies of houses, the President’s mansion,
are crowded with them. From all parts of the vast Union, not even
excepting the South, they have come fast as steam or wind and waves
could bear them to concentrate in one focus on the devoted head of the
President all the myriad influences which, by letter, testimonial,
personal application, unceasing canvass, and sleepless solicitation,
they can collect together.

Willard’s Hotel, a huge caravanserai, is a curious study of character
and institutions. Every form of speech and every accent under which the
English tongue can be recognized, rings through the long corridors in
tones of expostulation, anger, or gratification. Crowds of long-limbed,
nervous, eager-looking men, in loose black garments, undulating shirt
collars, vast conceptions in hatting and booting, angular with documents
and pregnant with demand, throng every avenue, in spite of the printed
notices directing them “to move on from front of the cigar-stand.” They
are “senator hunters,” and every senator has a _clientelle_ more
numerous than the most popular young Roman noble who ever sauntered down
the Via Sacra. If one of them ventures out of cover, the cry is raised,
and he is immediately run to earth. The printing-presses are busy with
endless copies of testimonials, which are hurled at everybody with
reckless profusion.

The writing-room of the hotel is full of people preparing statements or
writing for “more testimonials,” demanding more places, or submitting
“extra certificates.” The bar-room is full of people inspiring
themselves with fresh confidence, or engaged in plots to surprise some
place or find one out; and the ladies who are connected with members of
the party in power find themselves the centres of irresistible
attraction. “Sir,” said a gentleman to whom I had letters of
introduction, “I know you must be a stranger, because you did not stop
me to present these letters in the street.”

At the head of the list of persecuted men is the President himself.
Every one has a right to walk into the White House, which is the
President’s private as well as his official residence. Mr. Lincoln is
actuated by the highest motives in the distribution of office. All the
vast patronage of tens of thousands of places, from the highest to the
lowest, is his; and, instead of submitting the various claims to the
heads of departments, the President seeks to investigate them, and to
see all the candidates. Even his iron frame and robust constitution are
affected by the process, which lasts all day, and is not over in the
night or in the morning. The particular _formula_ which he has adopted
to show the impossibility of satisfying everybody is by no means
accepted by anybody who is disappointed. What is the use of telling a
man he can’t have a place because a hundred others are asking for it, if
that man thinks he is the only one who has a right to get it?

At the very moment when the President and his Cabinet should be left
undisturbed to deal with the tremendous questions which have arisen for
their action, the roar of office seekers dins every sense, and almost
annihilates them. The Senate, which is now sitting merely to confirm
appointments, relieving the monotony of executive reviews with odd
skirmishes between old political antagonists now and then, will, it is
said, rise this week. Around their chamber is the ever-recurring
question heard, “Who has got what?” and the answer is never satisfactory
to all. This hunting after office, which destroys self-respect when it
is the moving motive of any considerable section of a great party, is an
innovation which was introduced by General Jackson; but it is likely to
be as permanent as the Republic, inasmuch as no candidate dares declare
his intention of reverting to the old system. These “spoils,” as they
are called, are now being distributed by two Governments--the _de jure_
and _de facto_ Government of Washington, and the Government erected by
the Southern States at Montgomery.

It is difficult for one who has arrived so recently in this country, and
who has been subjected to such a variety of statements to come to any
very definite conclusion in reference to the great questions which
agitate it. But as far as I can I shall form my opinions from what I
see, and not from what I hear; and as I shall proceed South in a few
days, there is a probability of my being able to ascertain what is the
real state of affairs in that direction. As far as I can judge--my
conclusion, let it be understood, being drawn from the prevailing
opinions of others--“the South will never go back into the Union.” On
the same day I heard a gentleman of position among the Southern party
say, “No concession, no compromise, nothing that can be done or
suggested, shall induce us to join any Confederation of which the New
England States are members;” and by another gentleman, well known as one
of the ablest of the Abolitionists, I was told, “If I could bring back
the Southern States by holding up my little finger, I should consider it
criminal to do so.” The friends of the Union sometimes endeavor to
disguise their sorrow and their humiliation at the prospect presented
by the Great Republic under the garb of pride in the peculiar excellence
of institutions which have permitted such a revolution as Secession
without the loss of one drop of blood. But concession averts bloodshed.
If I give up my purse to the footpad who presents a pistol at my head I
satisfy all his demands, and he must be a sanguinary miscreant if he
pulls trigger afterwards. The policeman has, surely, no business to
boast of the peculiar excellence, in such a transaction, of the state of
things which allows the transfer to take place without bloodshed. A
government may be so elastic as, like an overstretched india-rubber
band, to have no compressive force whatever; and that very quality is
claimed for the Federal Government as excellence by some eminent men
whom I have met, and who maintained the thesis, that the United States
Government has no right whatever to assert its authority by force over
the people of any State whatever; that, based on the consent of all, it
ceases to exist whenever there is dissent,--a doctrine which no one need
analyze who understands what are the real uses and ends of Government.
The friends of the existing administration, on the whole, regard the
Secession as a temporary aberration, which a “masterly inactivity,” the
effects of time, inherent weakness, and a strong reaction, of which,
they flatter themselves, they see many proofs in the Southern States,
will correct. “Let us,” they say, “deal with this matter in our own way.
Do not interfere. A recognition of the Secession would be an
interference amounting to hostility. In good time the violent men down
South will come to their senses, and the treason will die out.” They
ignore the difficulties which European States may feel in refusing to
recognize the principles on which the United States were founded when
they find them embodied in a new Confederation, which, so far as we
know, may be to all intents and purposes constituted in an entire
independence, and present itself to the world with claims to recognition
to which England, at least, having regard to precedents of _de facto_
Governments, could only present an illogical refusal. The hopes of other
sections of the Northerners are founded on the want of capital in the
Slave States; on the pressure which will come upon them when they have
to guard their own frontiers against the wild tribes who have been
hitherto repelled at the expense of the whole Union by the Federal
troops; on the exigencies of trade, which will compel them to deal with
the North, and thereby to enter into friendly relations and ultimate
re-alliance. But most impartial people, at least in New York, are of
opinion that the South has shaken the dust off her feet, and will never
enter the portals of the Union again. She is confident in her own
destiny. She feels strong enough to stand alone. She believes her
mission is one of extension and conquest--her leaders are men of
singular political ability and undaunted resolution. She has but to
stretch forth her hand, as she believes, and the Gulf becomes an
American lake closed by Cuba. The reality of these visions the South is
ready to test, and she would not now forego the trial, which may,
indeed, be the work of years, but which she will certainly make. All the
considerations which can be urged against her resolves are as nothing in
the way of her passionate will, and the world may soon see under its
eyes the conflict of two republics founded on the same principles, but
subjected to influences that produce repulsion as great as exists in two
bodies charged with the same electricity. If ever the explosion come it
will be tremendous in its results, and distant Europe must feel the
shock.

The authorities seem resolved to make a stand at Fort Pickens,
notwithstanding the advice of Mr. Douglass to give it up. They regard it
as an important Federal fortress, as indisputably essential for national
purposes as Tortugas or Key West. Although United States property has
been “occupied,” the store vessels of the State seized, and the
sovereignty of the seceding States successfully asserted by the
appropriation of arsenals, and money, and war materials, on the part of
the local authorities, the Government of Washington are content by
non-recognition to reserve their own rights in face of the exercise of
_force majeure_.

The Chevalier Bertinnati, who has been Chargé d’Affaires for the
Government of King Victor Emmanuel, has been raised to the rank of
Minister, and in that capacity delivered his letters of credence to the
President on Wednesday. The letter addressed to the President by the
King of Piedmont was couched in terms of much friendliness and sympathy,
and Mr. Lincoln’s reply was equally warm. There is no display of
military preparation to meet the eye either at Washington or along the
road to it. General Scott, who was to have dined at the President’s
Cabinet dinner last night, and who was actually in the White House for
that purpose, was compelled to leave by indisposition. Any attempt to
relieve Fort Sumter would unquestionably be attended with great loss of
life; but most Americans readily admit that if they had a foreign force
to deal with, no consideration of that kind would stay the hands of the
Government. The fort stands on a sand-bank in shallow water, and
batteries have been cast up on both shores effectually commanding the
whole of the channels for several miles. The military activity and
enterprise--I hear the skill as well--of the South have been displayed
in the readiness and completeness of their preparations. In Galveston,
Texas, Governor Houston, who has resigned, or been deposed, protests, it
is said, against the acts of the new Government, and is likely to give
them trouble. The telegraph will, however, anticipate any news of this
sort which I can send you, though its intelligence should be received
with many grains of salt. Some people assert that “the telegraph has
caused the Secession,” and there is a strong feeling that some
restrictions should be placed upon the misuse of it in disseminating
false reports.



LETTER II.

WASHINGTON, April 1, 1861.


FROM all I have seen and heard, my belief is that the Southern States
have gone from the Union, if not forever, at least for such time as will
secure for their Government an absolute independence till it be
terminated by war, or, if their opponents be right, by the certain
processes of internal decay arising from inherent vices in their system,
faulty organization, and want of population, vigor, and wealth. That the
causes which have led to their secession now agitate the Border States
most powerfully with a tendency to follow them is not to be denied by
those who watch the course of events, and as these powerful neutrals
oscillate to and fro, under the pressure of contending parties and
passions, the Government at Washington and the authorities of the
revolting States regard every motion with anxiety; the former fearful
lest by word or deed they may repel them forever, the latter more
disposed by active demonstrations to determine the ultimate decision in
their own favor, and to attach them permanently to the Slave States by
resolute declarations of principle. Whatever the results of the Morrill
tariff may be, it is probable they must be endured on both sides of the
Atlantic, for there is no power in the Government or in the President,
as I understand, to modify its provisions, and there is a strong feeling
in Mr. Lincoln’s Cabinet against the extra session, so loudly demanded
in New York, and so confidently expected in some parts of the Union.
Nothing but some overwhelming State necessity will overcome that
opposition, and, as the magnitude of such an occasion will have to be
estimated by those who are vehemently opposed to an extra Congress, it
is not likely that anything can occur which will be considered of
sufficient gravity by the Government at Washington to induce them to
encounter the difficulties and dangers they anticipate in consequence of
the convocation of an extraordinary assemblage of both Houses. Until
next December, then, in all probability, the President and his Cabinet
will have such control of affairs as is possible in the system of this
Government, or in the circumstances, together with the far more than
coördinate responsibility attached to their position as a Federal
Government. It is scarcely possible for an Englishman, far less for the
native of any State possessing a powerful Executive, to comprehend the
limits which are assigned to the powers of the State in this country, or
to the extent to which resistance to its authority can be carried by the
action of the States supposed to be consenting parties to its
Constitution and supporters of its jurisdiction. Take, for instance,
what is occurring within a few miles of the seat of the Central
Government, across the Potomac. At a certain iron-foundery guns have
been cast for the United States Government, which are about to be
removed to Fort Monroe, in the State of Virginia, one of the fortresses
for the defence of the United States. The Legislature of Virginia sat
all night last Saturday, and authorized the Governor of that State to
call out the public guard in order to prevent by force, if necessary,
the removal of those guns, at the same time offering to the contractor
the price which he was to have received for them from the Federal
Government. Again, at Mobile, where a writ of _habeas corpus_ is sued
out on behalf of the master of a vessel, who was seized because he had a
cargo of small stores which he intended to sell to the United States
men-of-war on observation off Pensacola, the counsel for the State of
Florida resists the application on the ground that the prisoner was
carrying supplies to an enemy, and that a state of war exists in
consequence of the acts of the Federal Government; and the Court,
without deciding on the point, discharge the prisoner, in order that it
may be freed from responsibility. On the other hand, the Federal
Government remits the penalties of forfeiture and fines on the vessel
seized by the Custom House at New York for want of proper clearances
from Southern ports. The stereotype plates with the words “Evacuation of
Fort Sumter” have apparently been worn out, but it is believed on all
sides that it will be abandoned by Major Anderson this week, although I
heard a member of the Cabinet declare last week that no orders had been
issued to that officer to evacuate it. If the opinions of some of the
Northern people prevailed, the fort would be retained until it was taken
by assault. The Southern Confederation, secure of Fort Sumter, are now
preparing for active operations against Fort Pickens, which protects the
entrance to the quondam United States Navy Yard at Pensacola, now in the
possession of the troops of Florida; and certain organs of the extreme
party in the South have already demanded that the forts at Tortugas and
Key West, which are situated far out at sea from the coast, should be
surrendered.

The Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln is understood to contain the representatives
of three different courses of policy--that trinity of action which
generally produces torpid and uncertain motion or complete rest. First,
there are those who would, at any risk, vindicate the rights they claim
for the Federal Government, and use force, even though it could only, in
its most successful application, overrun the States of the South, and
compel a temporary submission, without leading to the reestablishment of
Federal authority, or the reincorporation of the States with the Union.
Secondly, there are those, men of intellect and capacity, who,
dissenting altogether from the doctrines propounded by the leaders of
the revolution, and convinced that the separation will not be permanent,
see the surest and safest mode of action in the total abstinence from
all aggressive assertion of rights, and in a policy of _laissez aller_
of indeterminate longitude and latitude. These statesmen believe that,
like most revolutions, the secession is the work of the minority, and
that a strong party of reaction exists, which will come to the front by
and by, “expel the traitors,” and return triumphantly with their
repentant States into the bosom of the Union. The gentlemen who hold
these views have either a more accurate knowledge than the public, are
better read in the signs of the times, or have more faith in the
efficacy of inaction on the love of Americans for the Union, than is
possessed by most of the outer world. The third party is formed of those
who are inclined to take the South at their word; to cut the cord at
once, believing that the loss would be a gain, and that the Southern
Confederation would inflict on itself a most signal retribution for what
they consider as the crime of breaking up the Union. Practically, so far
as I have gone, I have failed to meet many people who really exhibited
any passionate attachment to the Union for its own sake, or who
pretended to be animated by any strong feelings of regard or admiration
for the Government of the United States in itself. The word
“Constitution” is forever ringing in one’s ears, its “principles” and
its authority are continually appealed to, but the end is no nearer. The
other day I bought the whole Constitution of the United States, neatly
printed, for three halfpence. But the only conclusion I could draw was,
that it was better for States not to have Constitutions which could be
bought at such very moderate prices. It is rather an inopportune moment
for the Professor of the Harvard Law School to send forth his lecture on
the Constitution of the United States, and on the differences between it
and that of Great Britain. Just as the learned gentleman is glorying in
the supremacy of the Judicial body of the United States over Congress,
Presidents, and Legislatures, the course of events exhibits that Supreme
Court as a mere nullity in the body politic, unable to take cognizance,
or unwilling to act in regard to matters which are tearing the
Constitution into atoms. No one thinks of appealing to it, or invoking
its decision. And, after all, if the Court were to decide, what would be
the use of its judgment, if one or other of the two great parties
resisted it? The _ultima ratio_ would be the only means by which the
decision could be enforced. In the very midst of the hymns which are
offered up around the shrines of the Constitution, whether old or
mended, all celebrating the powers of the great priestess of the
mysteries, there are heretic voices to be heard, which, in addition to
other matters, deny that the Supreme Court was ever intended by the
Constitution to exercise the sole and signal right of interpreting the
Constitution, that it is competent to do so, or that it would be safe
to give it the power. Its powers are judicial, not political, and Mr.
Calhoun on that very point said:

     “Let it never be forgotten, that if we should absurdly attribute to
     the Supreme Court the exclusive right of construing the
     Constitution, there would be, in fact, between the sovereign and
     subject under such a Government no Constitution, or at least
     nothing deserving the name, or serving the legitimate object of so
     sacred an instrument.”

The argument revolves in a circle; it ends nowhere, and there seems no
solution except such as concession or a sword cut may give.

There are at present in Washington two of the three unrecognized
Ministers Plenipotentiary of the Southern Government, Mr. Roman and Mr.
Crawford. Judging from the tone of these gentlemen, all idea of
returning to the Union, under any circumstances whatever, has been
utterly abandoned. Mr. Forsyth, the third of the Commissioners, who is
at present engaged in adjusting certain business of a very important
character at New York, is expected back in a few days, and it will then
be seen whether the Commissioners consent to walk up and down in the
_salles des pas perdus_ any longer. They are armed with full powers on
all questions which can come up for settlement. The Government has
refused to receive them, or to take any official notice of them
whatever; but there is reason to believe that certain propositions and
negotiations have been laid before Mr. Seward in a private and
unofficial manner, to which no reply of a definite character has been
given. Before this letter reaches you, Mr. Yancey, Mr. Mann, and Mr.
Rort will have arrived in Europe to try the temper of the Governments of
England and France in reference to the recognition of the Southern
States. Both parties have been somewhat startled by the intelligence of
an active movement of Spain to gain political ascendancy in St. Domingo;
and the news that France and England are sending a combined fleet to
these shores, though coming in a very questionable shape, has excited
uneasy feeling and some recrimination.

If the Congress is reassembled, there is much reason to fear an open
rupture; if not, another solution may be arrived at. It is unfortunate
for the Government that General Scott is suffering at this moment from
the infirmities of age, and the effect of the great demands made upon
his strength. Mr. Lincoln gave a dinner to his Cabinet on Thursday last,
the first of the season, in honor principally of General Scott; but the
veteran General, who had entered the White House, was obliged to leave
before dinner was served. There has been a great emigration of
candidates and office-hunters from this since I last wrote, some
contented, many more grumbling. It is asserted that there never has been
such a clean sweep of office-holders since the practice was introduced
by General Jackson. If I am rightly informed, the President has the
patronage of one hundred and forty thousand places, great and
small--some very small.

NIGHT.--The influence of England and of France on the destinies of the
Republic is greater than any American patriot would like to admit. It
must not be expected, therefore, that there will be any proof of
excessive anxiety afforded by the leaders of either party in reference
to the course which may be taken by the European Governments in the
present crisis; but it is not the less to be apprehended, that an
immediate recognition of the confederated independence of the South, or
of the doctrine of absolute individual sovereignty on the part of those
States, may precipitate the hostile action which, in the event of
absolute final separation, seems to be inevitable. To the North it would
be a heavy blow and great discouragement, the consequences of which
could only be averted by some very violent remedies. Separation without
war is scarcely to be expected. The establishment of an independent
Republic in the South may, indeed, be effected peaceably; but it is not,
humanly speaking, within the limits of any probability that the diverse
questions which will arise out of conflicting interests in regard to
revenue and State and Federal rights can be settled without an appeal to
arms. At the present minute there is nothing to induce a stranger to
believe that an effectual resistance could be offered to a vigorous
aggressive movement from the South, supposing the means to make it
existed either in the adhesion or permission of the Border States. The
North, however, is strong in its population, in its wealth, and in its
calm. In the hands of the Border States are all the arbitraments of
revolution or union, of war or peace. By an unmeaning euphemism the
revolution of the South has been called Secession; but the confusion and
mischief caused by the euphemistic timidity of statesmen disappear, when
the acts of the South are tested by the standard applicable to
revolutionary crises; and by that standard alone are those acts
intelligible and coherent. Measured in that way, the seizure of
property, the deeds and the language of the leaders of the movement,
and the acts of the masses, can be properly estimated. Mr. Douglass,
whose mental capacity is a splendid justification of his enormous
political activity, and of a high political rank--unattached--is
understood to be engaged on a vast system for establishing duties all
over the North American continent in the nature of a Zollverein. It is
his opinion that the North, in case of separation, must fight the South
on the arena of free trade; that the tariff must be completely altered;
and that the duties must be lowered from point to point, in proportion
as the South bids against the North for the commerce of Europe, till the
reduction reaches such a point that the South, forced to raise revenue
for the actual expenses of Government, and unable to struggle against
the superior wealth of the North in such a contest, is obliged to come
to an understanding with its powerful competitor, and to submit to a
treaty of commerce which shall include all the States of the North
American continent, from the Isthmus of Panama to the ice of the Arctic
Seas. The Canadas are, of course, included in such a project; indeed, it
is difficult to say where the means of escaping from their present
embarrassment will not be sought by the leading statesmen of America.
But on one point all are agreed. Whatever may happen, the North will
insist on a Free Mississippi. It is the very current of life for the
trade of myriads of people hundreds of miles from New Orleans. If
Louisiana, either as sovereign State or representative agent of the
Southern Confederation, attempts to control the navigation of that
river, we shall see a most terrible and ruinous war. Let England look to
the contingencies.

APRIL, 5.--One month and one day have elapsed since Mr. Lincoln and his
Cabinet were installed at Washington. Long previous to their accession
to power or rather to office, the revolution of the South had assumed
the aspect of an independent Government. When the new Administration
tried to direct the horses’ heads, they found the reins were cut, and
all they could do was to sit on the State coach, and take their chance
of falling in a soft place, or of the fiery steeds coming to a
standstill from exhaustion. A month ago and the State Treasury was
nearly exhausted; only some £370,000 was forthcoming to meet demands and
requirements four times as large. The navy was scattered all over the
world at stations by no means readily accessible, the army posted along
frontier lines, between which and the Northern States was interposed the
expanse of the Southern Confederation; the officers disaffected to the
Government, or at all events so well affected to their individual
sovereign States as to feel indisposed to serve the United States; the
whole machinery of Government in the hands of the revolutionary leaders,
every trace of Federal existence erased in the South, wiped away by acts
which, unless justified by successful revolt, would be called
treasonable, or by force or stratagem, and only two forts held on the
seaboard, weekly garrisoned, and unhappily situated with reference to
operations of relief. In addition to these sources of weakness, came the
confusion and apprehension caused by divided counsels, want of cohesion,
the disorders of a violent national contest, mistrust of adequate
support, and above all the imperious necessities of the place-seekers,
whose importunate requisitions distracted the attention of the
Government from the more important business which presented itself for
adjustment. It was, of course, necessary to fill the posts which were
occupied by enemies with men devoted to the interests of a Government
which could little brook any indifference or treacherous tendencies on
the part of its subordinates. But had the Administration been as strong
in all respects as any United States Government ever could or can hope
to be, in reference to such emergencies as the present, it really could
have done little except precipitate a civil war, in which the Border
States would have arranged themselves by the side of the Cotton States.
A considerable portion of the North would have been hostile to coercion,
and the theories which have been propounded with much apparent
approbation respecting the actual uses of Government, its powers and
jurisdiction, show that European doctrines on such points are not at all
accepted by statesmen, politicians and jurists in North America. Without
the means of enforcing an authority which many of its own adherents, and
most of the neutral parties denied to it, Mr. Lincoln’s Administration
finds itself called upon to propound a policy and to proceed to vigorous
action. The demand is scarcely reasonable. The policy of such men
suddenly lifted to the head of affairs, which they cannot attempt to
guide, must be to wait and watch, and their action must be simply
tentative as they have no power to put forth with moderate hope of
success any aggressive force.

Be satisfied of this--the United States Government will give up no
power or possession which it has at present got. By its voluntary act it
will surrender nothing whatever. No matter what reports may appear in
the papers or in letters, distrust them if they would lead you to
believe that Mr. Lincoln is preparing either to abandon what he has now,
or to recover that which he has not.

The United States Government is in an attitude of protest; it cannot
strike an offensive blow. But, if any attack is made upon it, the
Government hopes that it will be strengthened by the indignation of the
North and West, to such an extent that it cannot only repel the
aggression, but possibly give a stimulus to a great reaction in its
favor.

On these principles Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens are held. They are
claimed as Federal fortresses. The Stars and Stripes still float over
them. Whatever may be said to the contrary, they will remain there till
they are removed by the action of the Confederate States. The
Commissioners of Mr. Jefferson Davis’s Government “have reason to say
that if any attempt be made to throw reënforcements into Fort Pickens,
unless they receive previous notice of it as promised, it will be a
breach of good faith.” From all I can learn, no intention of
strengthening the fort is at present entertained; but it may be doubted
if the attempt would not be made should any favorable opportunity of
doing so present itself. All “the movements of troops,” of which you
will see accounts, are preparations against--not for--aggression. At
most they amount to the march of a few companies and guns to various
forts, now all but undefended. Fort Washington, of which I shall have a
few words to say hereafter, was till lately held by a very inadequate
force. As a member of the Cabinet said to me, “I could have taken it
last week with a little whisky,” that potent artillery being applied to
the weak defences of the aged Irish artilleryman who constituted “the
garrison.” The “formidable military force concentrated in Washington,”
of which you may read in the American journals, consists of about 700
men of all arms, as far as I can see, and four brass field guns. There
is a good deal of drumming, fifing, marching, and music going on daily.
I look on and see a small band in gay uniforms, a small body of men in
sombre uniforms, varying from fifteen to thirty rank and file, armed,
however, with excellent rifles, and a very large standard, pass by; and
next day I read that such and such a company had a parade, and
“attracted much admiration by their efficient and soldierly appearance,
and the manner in which,” &c. But these military companies have no
intention of fighting for the Government. Their sympathies are quite
undetermined. Formidable as they would be in skirmishing in the open
country, they would be of comparatively little use against regular
troops at the outset of the contest, as they have never learnt to act
together, and do not aspire to form even battalions. But their existence
indicates the strong military tendencies of the people, and the danger
of doing anything which might turn them against the Government. Mr.
Lincoln has no power to make war against the South: the Congress alone
could give it to him; and that is not likely to be given, because
Congress will not be assembled before the usual time, unless under the
pressure of and imperious necessity.

Why, then, hold these forts at all? Why not give them up? Why not
withdraw the garrison, strike the flag, and cease to keep up a useless
source of irritation in the midst of the Southern Confederation? The
answer to these questions is: These forts are Federal property. The
Government does not acknowledge the existence of any right on the part
of the people of the States to seize them as appertaining to individual
States. The forts are protests against the acts of violence to which the
Federal authority has yielded elsewhere. They are, moreover, the _points
d’appui,_ small as they are, on which the Federal Government can rest
its resistance to the claims of the Southern Confederation to be
acknowledged as an independent republic. If they were surrendered
without attack, or without the existence of any pressure arising from
the refusal of the Southern authorities to permit them to get supplies,
which is an act of war, the case of the United States Government would
be, they consider, materially weakened. If it be observed that these
forts have no strategic value, it may readily be replied that their
political value is very great. But, serious as these considerations may
be, or may be thought to be, with respect to foreign relations, there
are in reference to domestic politics still more weighty inducements to
hold them. The effect produced in the North and Northwest by an attack
on the forts while the United States flag is floating over them, would
be as useful to the Government at Washington as the effect of abandoning
the forts or tamely surrendering them would be hurtful to them in the
estimation of the extreme Republicans. A desperate attack, a gallant
defense, the shedding of the blood of gallant men, whose duty it was to
defend that intrusted to their keeping, and who yielded only to
numbers--the outrage on the United States flag--would create an
excitement in the Union which the South, with all its determination and
courage, is unwilling to provoke, but which the Government would be
forced to use in its own service. Such an event must lead to war, a very
terrible and merciless war, and both parties pause before they resort to
that court of arms. Unless the Border States join the South, Mr.
Jefferson Davis could scarcely hope to carry out the grand projects
which are attributed to his military genius of marching northward, and
dictating terms on their own soil to the Republicans. He could scarcely
venture to leave the negro population unguarded in his rear, and his
flanks menaced by the sea-born northerners on the one side, and by such
operations as the water-sheds significantly indicate on the other. It is
idle to speculate on the incidents of that which may never occur, and
which, occurring, may assume the insignificant aspect of border
skirmishes, or the tremendous proportions of a war of races and creeds,
intensified by the worst elements of servile and civil conflict. The
Government of Mr. Lincoln hope and believe that the contest may be
averted. The Commissioners of the South are inclined to think, also,
there will be a peaceful solution, obtained, of course, by full
concession and recognition. But inaction cannot last on the part of the
South. Already they have begun the system of coercion. The supplies of
the garrison at Sumter will be cut off henceforth, if they are not
already forbidden. They do not fear the moral effect of this act, for
some of their leading men actually believe that nothing can stop the
progress of a movement which will, they fondly think, absorb all the
other States of the Union, and leave the New England States to form an
insignificant republic of its own, with a possible larger destiny in
Canada. Their opponents in the North are as fully satisfied that the
direst Nemesis will fall on the Montgomery Government in the utter ruin
of all their States the moment they are left to themselves.

The Government is elated at the success of the loan, and Mr. Chase has
taken high ground in refusing offers made to him yesterday, and in
resolving to issue Government securities for the balance of the amount
required to complete the amount. Mr. Forsyth, one of the Southern
Commissioners, who has just returned from New York here, is equally
satisfied with the temper of parties in that city, and seems to think
that the New Yorkers are preparing for a secession. But, though States
may be sovereign, it has never been ascertained that cities or portions
of States are so, and in the western and northern portions of the State
of New York there is a large agricultural population, which, with the
aid of Government, would speedily suppress any attempt to secede on the
part of the city, if men are to be believed who say they know the
circumstances of the case. Virginia is claimed by both sides, but
accounts this morning are to the effect that the Secessionists have been
defeated on a division by a vote of two to one in favor of the Union;
and although General Houston appears to be forced to accept the
situation for a time, there are many who think he will organize a strong
reaction against the dominant Secessionists.

Whatever may be these result of all the diverse actions, the Great
Republic is gone! The shape of the fragments is not yet determined any
more than their fate. They may reunite, but the cohesion can never be
perfect. The ship of the State was built of too many “platforms,” there
were too many officers on board, perhaps the principles of construction
were erroneous, the rigid cast-iron old constitution guns burst
violently when tried with new projectiles--any way, those who adhere
with most devotion to the vessel, admit that it is parted right
amidships, and that its _prestige_ has vanished. The more desperate of
these would gladly see an enemy, or go out of their way to find one, in
the hope of a common bond of union being discovered in a common
animosity and danger.

The naval preparations, of which you will hear a good deal, are intended
to make good existing deficiencies and to meet contingencies. At any
other time the action of Spain in St. Domingo would create a cry for
war. Now all the Federal Government can do is to demand and receive
explanations. In reply to Mr. Seward’s inquiries, the Spanish Minister
has possibly stated that the recent events in St. Domingo have been
caused by the acts and threats of Hayti, which forced the Dominicans to
call in the aid and claim the protection of Spain. There have been
several attempts from time to time to induce France to assume the
dominion of its former possession, and it is not unlikely that an
excellent understanding exists between the Court of Madrid and the
Emperor Napoleon in reference to the subject. The report that the
Mexicans have made, or contemplate making, an attack on Texas, is
scarcely worthy of credence.

As to the Morrill tariff, I can only repeat what I have already said. It
must be borne till results show that it cannot be persisted in. Then
only will it be repealed or modified. The theory of the Government is,
that the United States always takes far more from Europe than it can pay
for. “If the revenue is collected, there is no ground for complaint. The
English and French manufacturer will be satisfied, as well as the
northern population. If the revenue is not collected, then the tariff
must be repealed, and that will be done within the year, if the mischief
is serious.” Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Manchester must make the
best they can out of the doctrine.



LETTER III.

WASHINGTON, April 9, 1861.


THE critical position of the Federal Government has compelled its
members to preserve secrecy. Never before under any Administration was
so little of the councils of the Cabinet known to the public, or to
those who are supposed to be acquainted with the opinions of the
statesmen in office. Mr. Seward has issued the most stringent orders to
the officers and clerks in his department to observe the rules, which
heretofore have been much disregarded, in reference to the confidential
character of State papers in their charge. The sources of the fountain
of knowledge from which friendly journalists drew so freely are thus
stopped without fear, favor, or affection, toward any. The result has
been much irritation in quarters where such “interference” is regarded
as unwarrantable, or, at least, as very injurious. The newspapers which
enjoyed the privilege of free access to despatches are hatching
_canards_, which they let fly along the telegraph wires with amazing
productiveness and fertility of conception and incubation. Hence the
monstrous and ridiculous rumors which harden into type everyday--hence
the clamors for “a policy,” and hence the contending accusations that
the Government is doing nothing, and that it is also preparing to plunge
the country into civil war. Each member of the Cabinet has become a
Burleigh, every shake of whose head perplexes New York with a fear of
change; every Senator is watched by private reporters, who trace “the
day’s disasters in his morning’s face.” If a weak company of artillery
is marched on board a ship, its movements are chronicled in columns of
vivid description, and its footsteps are made to sound like the march of
a vast army. The telegraph from Washington has learnt its daily message
about Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens by heart, and the world has been
soothed daily by the assurance that General Braxton Bragg is ready, and
that the South Carolinians can no longer be restrained. But there is
always a secret understanding that Generals Bragg and Beauregard will be
more ready still the next day, and that the people will be more
unrestrainable by next telegram. When I landed in New York, the first
news I learnt was that Fort Sumter would be evacuated next day; and if
not, that the supplies would be cut off, and that the garrison would be
starved out. I have learnt how to distrust prophecy, and I am going
South in the hope that the end is not yet. The Southern Commissioners
state that the Government here has promised them that no efforts shall
be made to reënforce Fort Pickens without previous notice to them--a
very singular promise. The Government, however, denies that it has been
in communication with them. Fort Sumter must be considered as gone, for
there is no disposition, apparently, on the part of the Government to
hazard the loss of life and great risk which must inevitably attend any
attempt to relieve or carry off the garrison, now that the channels are
under the fire of numerous heavily armed batteries, which the people of
South Carolina were permitted to throw up without molestation. The
operations of a relieving force would have to be conducted on a very
large scale by troops disembarking on the shores and taking the
batteries in reverse, in conjunction with an attack from the sea; and,
after all, such an expedition would be futile, unless it were intended
to occupy Charleston, and try the fortune of war in South Carolina--an
intention quite opposed to the expressions and, I believe, the feelings
of the Cabinet of Washington, not to speak of the people of the Border
States and of large remnants of the Union. From your correspondent at
New York you will receive full particulars of the movements of troops,
and of the naval preparations which are reported in the papers, which
create more curiosity than excitement among the people I meet. My task
must be to describe what I see around me.

It may be as well to state in the most positive terms that the reports
which have appeared in the American papers of communications between the
English Minister and the American Government on the subject of a
blockade of the Southern ports, are totally and entirely destitute of
foundation. No communication of any kind has passed between Lord Lyons,
on the part of the English Government, and Mr. Seward, or any one else,
on behalf of the Government at Washington. It would be a most offensive
proceeding to volunteer any intimation of the course to be pursued by a
European Power respecting a contingency of action on the part of the
United States; nor would it be necessary, in case a blockade were
declared, to formulate a supererogatory notice that it must be such a
blockade as the law of nations recognizes. The importance of a distinct
understanding on that point is all the greater in connection with the
stories which are afloat that the naval preparations of the hour are
intended to afford the Federal Government the means of blockading the
mouths of the Mississippi and the Southern ports, with the object of
collecting the Federal revenue. If anything is clearer than another, in
the doubt and perplexity which prevail, it is that the Government will
do nothing whatever to precipitate a conflict. It would ill become me,
in such a crisis, to hazard any authoritative statements as to the
conduct of the Administration under the very great variety of
complications which may arise hereafter. Of this, however, be assured,
not a ship, or a gun, or a man will be directed to make any attack, or
to begin an offensive movement against the Confederate States. If any
promise was made by the Buchanan Administration to inform the members of
the Southern Government or its representatives of their course of
action, it will not be considered binding on the consciences of Mr.
Lincoln’s Cabinet, composed as it is of men who look on their
predecessors as guilty of treason to the State. An attempt may be made
to reënforce Fort Pickens, and neither that nor any position occupied by
the Federal authorities will be voluntarily abandoned.

Once for all, let it be impressed on the minds of the English people
that whatever reports they hear, and however they may come--no matter
whence, or in what guise--there is no truth in them if they indicate the
smallest intention on the part of Mr. Lincoln to depart from the policy
indicated in his Inaugural Address. As strongly as words can do it, I
repeat that the forces which have been assembled are only intended for
the reënforcement of the strong places at Tortugas and Key West, which
have been left short of every necessary of occupation and defence, and
for the establishment of posts of observation, which are essential in
case of hostility and to guard against surprise or treachery. I have
dwelt in previous letters on the obvious policy of the Government of the
United States, and I beg your readers to have firm faith that there will
be no departure from it. By concentrating forces at Key West and
Tortugas very valuable political results are obtained in face of the
present disputes, and material strategical advantages in case those
disputes should lead to a rupture, which will not be initiated by the
Cabinet at Washington. These places are within a few hours’ sail of the
coast; they are healthy, and can be easily supplied, as long as the
United States fleet can keep the sea and cover the movements of its
transports. Their occupation in force cannot be taken as an act of open
war, while it is undoubtedly an alarming menace, which will keep the
Confederates in a state of constant apprehension and preparation,
leading to much internal trouble and great expense. By a confusion of
metaphor which events may justify, the eye to watch may be turned into
an arm to strike.

The Southern Commissioners are still here, but they are still unable to
procure even a semi-official recognition of their existence, and all
their correspondence has been carried on through one of their clerks.

It is, perhaps, not necessary to add that Mr. Seward has no intention of
resigning, as has been stated, and that there is no dissention in the
Cabinet.



LETTER IV.

NORFOLK, VA., April, 15, 1861.


SUMTER has fallen at last. So much may be accepted. Before many hours I
hope to stand amid the ruins of a spot which will probably become
historic, and has already made more noise in the world than its guns,
gallant as the defence may have been. The news will produce an
extraordinary impression at New York--it will disconcert stock-jobbers,
and derange the most ingenious speculations. But, considerable as may be
its results in any part of the Union, I venture to say that nowhere will
the shock cause such painful convulsions as in the Cabinet at
Washington, where there appeared to exist the most perfect conviction
that the plan for the relief of Sumter could not fail to be successful,
either through the force of the expedition provided for that object, or
through the unwillingness of the leaders at Charleston to fire the first
shot, and to compel the surrender of the place by actual hostilities.
The confidence of Mr. Seward in the strength of the name and of the
resources of the United States Federal Government must have received a
rude blow; but his confidences are by no means of a weakly constitution,
and it will be long ere he can bring himself to think that all his
prophecies must be given up one after another before the inexorable
logic of facts, with which his vaticinations have been in “irrepressible
conflict.” It seems to me that Mr. Seward has all along undervalued the
spirit and the resolution of the Southern Slave States, or that he has
disguised from others the sense he entertains of their extent and vigor.
The days assigned for the life of Secession have been numbered over and
over again, and Secession has not yielded up the ghost. The “bravado” of
the South has been sustained by deeds which render retreat from its
advanced position impossible. Mr. Seward will probably find himself hard
pushed to maintain his views in the Cabinet in the face of recent
events, which will, no doubt, be used with effect and skill by Mr.
Chase, who is understood to be in favor of letting the South go as it
lists without any more trouble, convinced as he is that it is an element
of weakness in the body politic, while he would be prepared to treat as
treason any attempts in the remaining States of the Union to act on the
doctrine of secession. But the Union party must now prevail. As yet I do
not know whether the views I expressed relative to the destination of
the greater part of the troops and stores sent from the North were
correct, for it cannot be learned how many ships were off Sumter when it
surrendered; but, notwithstanding what has occurred, I reiterate the
assertion that the Washington Cabinet always said and say they had no
intention to provoke a conflict there, and that had the authorities at
Charleston continued their permission to the garrison to procure
supplies in their markets, there would have been no immediate action on
their part to precipitate the fight, though they were determined to hold
it and Fort Pickens, as well as Tortugas and Key West, and to victual
and strengthen the garrison of the former as soon as they were able.
Fate was against them. The decision and power of their opponents were
against them. But their defence will be that they could not do anything
till they got troops, and ships, and munitions of war together, and that
they did as much as they could in a month. Sumter, in fact, was a mouse
in the jaws of the cat, and the moment an attempt was made to release
the prey by external influence, the jaws were closed and the mouse
disposed of. The act will produce, I believe, in spite of what I see, a
very deep impression throughout all the States, and will tend to bring
about an immediate collision between the high-minded parties on both
sides. When Mr. Lincoln came into office it was discovered that a
promise had been made by outgoing members of the preceding government to
surrender the Southern forts. The promise was ignored by the incoming
ministry. The Southern Commissioners insist on it that, apart from the
compact of Mr. Buchanan’s Cabinet, a pledge had been given to the South
that no attempt would be made to reënforce the forts without notice to
the Government at Montgomery; and so far as can be ascertained the
authorities at Washington did cause to be conveyed to the Southern
Confederation the expression of their intention to victual Sumter: but
whether they do so in respect to their pledge, if it existed, or in
consequence of the decision at Charleston to prevent the issuing of
further supplies to the garrison, is uncertain. The withdrawal of the
permission to market was all but an act of war. If the United States
Government would act on the hypothesis that the Southern Confederation
was an independent power, it would surely have considered the proceeding
as a prelude to immediate hostility. But the course thus adopted arose
out of the preparations made by the United States Government in fitting
out expeditions, the object of which was scarcely dubious. The
Commissioners of the Southern States at Washington, never acknowledged,
at last met with a decisive rebuff just as Virginia saw her
representatives from the Convention on the way to ask Mr. Lincoln to
explain his intentions. The Commissioners were given to understand that
their presence was useless, and that the forts would be reënforced; and
on the intelligence thus furnished to the Government at Montgomery it
was resolved to act by summoning Major Anderson to surrender before
succor could arrive, and in event of refusal by compelling him to yield
in the sight of the would-be relieving squadron. As soon as the
Commissioners found that Mr. Lincoln had made his decision, they
departed in no very yielding temper, and washed their hands in a
valedictory paper of the results. It was my intention to have left
Washington early in the week, and to have reached Charleston before
these gentlemen had departed, but the heavy storms and floods which
washed away part of the railway between Washington and Richmond at the
other side of the Potomac prevented my departure, and not only arrested
the mails from the South and the journey of the Virginian delegates for
several days, but obliged the Commissioners to take the round-about
course by rail to Baltimore, thence by steamer to Norfolk, Virginia, and
then on by rail to Charleston, which I am now pursuing one day later.

Although the Ministers at the capital affected to discredit the
existence of any design to seize upon the city, their acts indicated an
apprehension of danger, or at least a desire to take all possible
precautions against treachery. The district militia were called out and
sworn for service, and the result showed that there were more citizens
in the ranks ready to stand by the Government than there were
Secessionists who would not defend it. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
last were very busy days. The companies forming the battalions of the
district militia were mustered and marched off from their various
quarters to the inclosure in front of the War Department, where they
took or refused the oath of service, as the humor moved them. It is
scarcely possible to imagine a more heterogeneous-looking body of men;
the variety of uniform, of clothing, and of accoutrements was as great
as if a specimen squad had been taken from the battalions of the Grand
Army of 1812. The general effect of the men and of their habiliments is
decidedly French, and there is even a small company of Zouaves, but I
cannot understand how these little independent bodies are to be brought
into line of battle, or depended on for united action. On the days above
mentioned the monotony of the wide, lifeless streets was broken at
intervals by the tap of the drum, beating a pas in the French fashion,
and then came the crowd of idlers who are fond of cheap martial display.
To a company of forty rank and file there are generally two drummers
and six or seven officers or more, and the glory of epaulettes shines
out bravely through the cloud of French gray, and light and dark blue
capotes. The musters are not, I am told, as they should be. There are
some pale faces, rounded shoulders, and weak frames in the ranks, but
the majority are very fair specimens of a fine race of men, and some
companies were composed of soldier-like, stout fellows, who only
required active service to set them up for any military duty. Not a
fourth of those bound to serve were ready, however, to come forward and
fight for the Government at Washington; and it is probable that nothing
short of a struggle for life or death would induce one-half to take the
field. Not one-half of the militia is properly armed. It is a great army
on paper; no army in the world is so magnificently officered, even in
proportion to its numbers. The strength of the militia of the whole of
the ex-United States is nearly 3,000,000 men of all ranks. Of those
there are no less than 3,833 generals of all sorts, 9,800 colonels and
field officers, 38,680 captains and subalterns. Kentucky boasts of 188
generals, New York has not less than 392, Michigan is rich in 383
generals, and so on. But, unless there were some popular passion to
excite the country, the actual force available for the field would be a
fractional part of these grand totals. The American Minerva which sprang
from the womb of the great Revolutionary War with panoply of proof,
believes that she is invincible, and there is unquestionably a strong
military spirit among the people, generated by the instances which
attended their national birth, and developed by the subsequent small
wars in which they have been engaged with rather impotent enemies.
Whether this spirit will be called forth in the North and West as
largely as it unquestionably has been in the South, remains to be seen.
The evidences of the near approach of a civil war are now beyond all
dispute, but the nature of the conflict will depend on the steps taken
by the belligerents. If the Southern States await invasion they fight
over a loaded mine. To avoid the horrors of a conflict on their own
soil, they will probably seek to make good their boast of marching upon
Washington; but whether they will reach it is quite another matter. The
present means of defending it are very contemptible; but vast
populations are close at hand which can furnish thousands of men for its
protection. The city contains no stragetical points, and in a military
sense its possession is not so important that it would be worth while
to risk all to gain it; but its political significance is enormous, and
it is likely enough that the Capital will become the object of military
demonstrations on both sides. With the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay
strongly held by the Federal Government, Virginia, in case she casts in
her lot with the South, will find herself menaced in the most formidable
manner. Southern men have complained to me in terms of the strongest
indignation, that Virginia Secessionists have applied to South Carolina
for five thousand men to enable them to seize the forts which command
the rivers and the sea-coast. It proves that little active aid can be
expected from that State if the Confederate party cannot do that little
piece of business on their own account.

From the date of this letter it will be seen that I am on my way to the
South; and, although I shall not arrive in time to give any account of
the recent operations against Fort Sumter, I hope to gain some insight
into the actual condition of the army of the Confederate States.

On Friday evening I bade good-by to Washington, and none of the
Ministers had any idea that Sumter had been attacked, nor had Lord Lyons
received any intelligence from Charleston.



LETTER V.

CHARLESTON, S. C., April 21, 1861.


I FIND some consolation for the disappointment of not arriving in time
to witness the attack upon Fort Sumter in describing the condition of
the work soon after Major Anderson surrendered it. Already I have upon
my table a pamphlet entitled “The Battle of Fort Sumter and First
Victory of the Southern Troops,” &c.; several “poems,” and a variety of
versicules, songs, and rhetorical exercitations upon this event, which,
however important as a political demonstration, is of small value in a
military sense, except in so far as the bloodless occupation of a
position commanding Charleston Harbor is concerned. It may tend to
prevent any false impressions founded on imperfect information to state
a few facts connected with the fire in the work, and its effects, which
will interest, at least, some military readers.

In the first place, it may be well to admit that the military
preparations and positions of the South Carolinians were more formidable
than one was prepared to expect on the part of a small State, without
any considerable internal organization or resources. This comparative
efficiency was due mainly to General Beauregard and his assistant
engineer, Major Whiting, who are both professional engineer officers of
the United States Army, and who had capacity and influence enough to
direct the energies of the undisciplined masses in the proper direction,
instead of allowing them to rush on their fate in the perilous essay of
an escalade, as they intended. The State of South Carolina had for a
long time past been accumulating arms and munitions of war, and it may
be said that ever since the nullification contest she had permitted
herself to dwell on the idea of ultimate secession, to be effected by
force, if necessary. When General Beauregard and Major Whiting came
here, the works intended to resist the fleet and to crush the fort were
in a very imperfect state. Major Anderson and his officers had a true
professional contempt for the batteries of the civilians and militiamen,
which was in some measure justifiable. One morning, however, as they
took their survey of the enemy’s labors for the previous night, they
perceived a change had come over the design of their works. That “some
one who knows his business is over there” was evident. Their strange
relationship with those who were preparing to destroy them if possible,
however, prevented their recourse to the obvious means which were then
in abundance in their hands to avert the coming danger. Had Major
Anderson maintained a well-regulated fire on the enemy the moment they
began to throw up their batteries and prepare Fort Moultrie against him,
he could have made their progress very slow and exceedingly laborious,
and have marked it at every step with blood. His command over the ground
was very decided, but he had, it is to be supposed, no authority to
defend himself in the only way in which it could be done. “Too
late”--that fatal phrase--was the echo to every order which came from
the seat of government at Washington. Meantime the South Carolinians
worked at their batteries, and were soon able to obtain cover on the
soft sandy plains on which they were planting their guns and mortars.
They practised their men at the guns, stacked shot and shell, and
furnished their magazines, and drilled their raw levies with impunity
within fourteen hundred yards of the fort. We all know what impunity is
worth in offensive demonstrations. It is a powerful agent sometimes in
creating enthusiasm. Every day more volunteers flocked to the various
companies, or created new associations of armed men, and the
heterogeneous and motley mass began to assume some resemblance to an
army, however irregular. At the present moment Charleston is like a
place in the neighborhood of a camp where military and volunteer tailors
are at work trying experiments in uniforms, and sending in their
animated models for inspection. There is an endless variety--often of
ugliness--in dress and equipment and nomenclature among these companies.
The head-dress is generally, however, a smart cap like the French kepi;
the tunic is of different cuts, colors, facings, and materials--green
with gray and yellow, gray with orange and black and white, blue with
white, and yellow facings, roan, brown, burnt sienna, and
olive--jackets, frocks, tunics, blouses, cloth, linen, tweed, flannel.
The officers are generally in blue frocks and brass buttons, with red
sashes, the rank being indicated by gold lace parallelograms on the
shoulder straps, which are like those in use in the Russian army. The
arms of the men seem tolerably well kept and in good order. Many,
however, still shoulder “White Bess”--the old smooth-bore musket with
unbrowned barrel. The following is an official return, which I am
enabled to present to you through the courtesy of the authorities,
showing the actual number of men under arms yesterday in and around
Charleston:--

MORRIS ISLAND.--17th Regiment, 700 men; 1st Regiment, 950
men; 2d Regiment, 975 men. Total, 2625.

SULLIVAN’S.--5th Regiment, 1,075 men; detachment of 8th
Regiment, 250 men; detachment of 6th Regiment, 200 men; cavalry
and others, 225 men. Total, 1,750.

Stone and other points, 750 men; Charleston, 1,900 men; Columbia,
1,950 men.
                                                          Men.
  Morris Island,                                          2,625
  Sullivan’s Island,                                      1,750
  Stone and other points,                                   750
                                                          -----
        Total,                                            5,125
  Columbia,                                               1,950
  Charleston,                                             1,900
                                                          -----
        Total,                                            8,975
  In field at the time of report,                         3,027
                                                          -----
        Total,                                            12,002



The regiments mentioned here are composed of the various companies
raised in different localities with different names, but the State
regulars are in expectation that they will soon be made portions of the
regular army of the Confederate States, which is in course of formation.
There are, I believe, only fifty-five thousand registered voters in
South Carolina. The number of men furnished by them is a fair indication
of the zeal for the cause which animates the population. The _physique_
of the troops is undeniably good. Now and then undersized, weakly men
may be met with, but the great majority of the companies consist of rank
and file exceeding the average stature of Europeans, and very well built
and muscular. The men run very large down here. Nothing, indeed, can be
more obvious when one looks at the full-grown, healthy, handsome race
which developes itself in the streets, in the bar-rooms, and in the
hotel halls, than the error of the argument, which is mainly used by the
Carolinians themselves, that white men cannot thrive in their State. In
limb, figure, height, weight, they are equal to any people I have ever
seen, and their features are very regular and pronounced. They are,
indeed, as unlike the ideal American of our caricaturists and our stage
as is the _“milor”_ of the Porte St. Martin to the English gentleman.
Some of this superiority is due to the fact that the bulk of the white
population here are in all but name aristocrats or rather oligarchs. The
State is but a gigantic Sparta, in which the helotry are marked by an
indelible difference of color and race from the masters. The white
population, which is not land and slaveholding and agricultural, is very
small and very insignificant. The masters enjoy every advantage which
can conduce to the physical excellence of a people, and to the
cultivation of the graces and accomplishments of life, even though they
are rather disposed to neglect purely intellectual enjoyments and
tastes. Many of those who serve in the ranks are men worth from £5,000
to £10,000 a year--at least, so I was told--and men were pointed out to
me who were said to be worth far more. One private feeds his company on
French pâtés and Madeira, another provides his comrades with unlimited
champagne, most grateful on the arid sand-hill; a third, with a more
soldierly view to their permanent rather than occasional efficiency,
purchases for the men of his “guard” a complete equipment of Enfield
rifles. How long the zeal and resources of these gentlemen will last it
may not be easy to say. At present they would prove formidable to any
enemy, except a regular army on the plain and in the open field, but
they are not provided with field artillery or with adequate cavalry, and
they are not accustomed to act in concert and in large bodies.

Yesterday morning I waited on General Beauregard, who is commanding the
forces of South Carolina. His aides-de-camp, Mr. Manning, Mr. Chesnut,
Mr. Porcher Miles, and Colonel Lucas, accompanied me. Of these, the
former has been Governor of this State, the next has been a Senator, the
third a member of Congress. They are all volunteers, and are gentlemen
of position in the State, and the fact that they are not only content
but gratified to act as _aides_ to the professional soldier, is the best
proof of the reality of the spirit which animates the class they
represent. Mr. Lucas is a gentleman of the State, who is acting as
aide-de-camp to Governor Pickens. Passing through the dense crowd which,
talking, smoking, and reading newspapers, fills the large hall on
Mills’s house, we emerge on the dirty streets, sufficiently broad, and
lined with trees protected by wooden sheathings at the base. The houses,
not very lofty, are clean and spacious, and provided with verandahs
facing the South as far as possible. The trees give the streets the air
of a boulevard, and the town has somehow or other a reminiscence of the
Hague about it, which I cannot explain or account for satisfactorily.
The headquarters are in a large, airy, public building, once devoted to
an insurance company’s operations, or to the accommodation of the public
fire companies. There was no guard at the door; officers and privates
were passing to and fro in the hall, part of which was cut off by
canvass screens, so as to form rooms for departments of the Horse Guards
of South Carolina. Into one of these we turned, and found the desks
occupied by officers in uniform, waiting despatches and copying
documents with all the _abandon_ which distinguishes the true soldier
when he can get at printed forms and Government stationery. In another
moment we were ushered into a smaller room, and were presented to the
General, who was also seated at his desk. Any one accustomed to soldiers
can readily detect the “real article” from the counterfeit, and when
General Beauregard stood up to welcome us, it was patent he was a man
capable of greater things than taking Sumter. He is a squarely-built,
lean man, of about forty years of age, with broad shoulders, and legs
“made to fit” a horse, of middle height, and his head is covered with
thick hair, cropped close, and showing the bumps, which are reflective
and combative, with a true Gallic air, at the back of the skull; the
forehead, broad and well-developed, projects somewhat over the keen,
eager, dark eyes; the face is very thin, with very high cheek-bones, a
well-shaped nose, slightly aquiline, and a large, rigid, sharply cut
mouth, set above a full fighting chin. In the event of any important
operations taking place, the name of this officer will, I feel assured,
be heard often enough to be my excuse for this little sketch of his
outward man. He was good enough to detail his chief engineer officer to
go with me over the works, and I found in Major Whiting a most able
guide and agreeable companion. It is scarcely worth while to waste time
in describing the position of Charleston. It lies as low as Venice, the
look of which it rather affects from a distance, with long, sandy
islands stretching out as arms to close up the approaches, and lagunes
cutting into the marshy shores. On a sandy island and spit on the left
hand shore stands Fort Moultrie. On the southern side, on another sandy
island, are the lines of the batteries which, probably, were most
dangerous, from their proximity and position, to the unprotected face of
Sumter. The fort itself is built in the tideway, on a rocky point, which
has been increased by artificial deposits of granite chips. Embarked,
with a few additions to our original party, on board a small steamer,
called the Lady Davis, we first proceeded to Morris Island, about 3¾
miles from Charleston. Our steamer was filled with commissariat stores
for the troops, of whom 4,000 were said to be encamped among the
sand-hills. Any one who has ever been at Southport, or has seen the
dunes about Dunkirk or Calais, will have a good idea of the place. Our
landing was opposed by a guard of stout volunteers, with crossed
firelocks; but they were satisfied by the General’s authority, and we
proceeded, ankle-deep in the soft, white sand, to visit the batteries
which played on the landward face of Sumter. They are made of sand-bags
for the most part, well placed in the sand-hills, with good traverses
and well-protected magazines, the embrasures being faced with palmetto
logs, which do not splinter when struck by shot. It did not, however,
require much investigation to show that these works would be greatly
injured by a fire of vertical and horizontal shell from the fort, and
that the distance of their armament would render it difficult to breach
the solid walls which were opposed to them at upward of 1,200 yards
away. However, there were two powerful mortar batteries, which could
have done great damage if they were well served, and have made the
terreplein and parade of the fort a complete “shell trap” unless the
mortars were injured. The civilians and militiamen set greater store on
the Iron Battery at Cummings’ Point, which is the part of the island
nearest to the fort, but the fire of heavy guns would have soon
destroyed their confidence. It consists of yellow pine logs placed as
vertical uprights. The roof, of the same material, slopes from the top
of the uprights to the sand facing the enemy; over it are dovetailed
bars of railroad iron, of the T pattern, from top to bottom, all riveted
down in the most secure manner. On the front the railroad iron roof and
incline present an angle of about thirty degrees. There are three
portholes with iron shutters. When opened by the action of a lever the
muzzles of the columbiads fill up the space completely. The columbiad
guns with which this battery is equipped bear on the south wall of
Sumter at an angle. The inclined side of the battery has been struck by
six shots, the effect of two of which is enough to demonstrate that the
fire of the guns _en barbette_ would have been destructive. The
columbiad is a kind of Dahlgren--that is, a piece of ordinance very
thick in the breech, and lightened off gradually from the trunnions to
the muzzle. The platforms were rather light, but the carriages were
solid and well made, and the elevating screws or hitches of the guns
were in good order. The mortars are of various calibres and
descriptions, mostly 8-inch and 10-inch; and it is said there were
seventeen of them in position and working against the fort, and that
thirty-five guns were from time to time directed against it. Shot and
shell appeared to be abundant enough. The works are all small detached
batteries, with sand-bag merlons, and open at the gorge, and they extend
for four miles along the shore of the island. The camps are pitched most
irregularly between the sand-hills--tents of all shapes and sizes, in
the fashion called higgledy-piggledy, here and there, in knots and
groups, in a way that would drive an Indian quartermaster-general mad.
Bones of beef and mutton, champagne and wine bottles, obstructed the
approaches, which were of a nature to afflict Dr. Sutherland and Sir
John M’Neill most bitterly, and to suggest the reflection that the army
which so utterly neglected sanitary regulations could not long exist as
soon as the sun gained full power. They say, however, the men are not
sickly, and that these sand-hills are the most healthy spots about
Charleston. The men were occupied as soldiers generally are when they
have nothing to do--lounging or lying on the straw and plank carpets,
smoking, reading, sleeping. The owners of the tents give them various
names, of which “The Lions’ Den,” “The Tigers’ Lair,” “The Eagles’
Nest,” “Mars’ Delight,” are fair specimens, and these are done in black
on the white calico. In one which we visited, the hospitable inmates
were busily engaged in brewing claret cup, and Bordeaux, lemons, sugar,
ice, and Champagne, and salads were in abundance, and at the end of the
tent was a Bar, where anything else in reason could be had for the
asking, though water was not so plentiful. At one of the batteries the
great object of attraction was a gun made on Captain Blakeley’s
principle, by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., of Liverpool, which was
only put in battery the day before the fire opened, and the effect of
which on the masonry is said to have been very powerful. It is a
12-pounder--the same which was tried last year, I think--and bears a
brass plate with the inscription, “Presented to South Carolina by one of
her citizens.” It is remarkable enough that the vessel which carried it
lay in the midst of the United States war vessels at the mouth of the
harbor.

Having satisfied our curiosity as well as time and a sand-storm
permitted, we got in a row-boat and proceeded to Sumter. At a distance,
the fort bears some resemblance to Fort Paul at Sevastopol. It is a
truncated pentagon, with three faces armed--that which is toward Morris
Island being considered safe from attack, as the work was only intended
to resist an approach from the sea. It is said to have cost altogether
more than £200,000 sterling. The walls are of solid brick and concrete
masonry, built close to the edge of the water, sixty feet high, and from
eight to twelve feet in thickness, and carry three tiers of guns on the
north, east, and west exterior sides. Its weakest point is on the south
side, where the masonry is not protected by any flank fire to sweep the
wharf. The work is designed for an armament of one hundred and forty
pieces of ordnance of all calibres. Two tiers are under bomb-proof
casemates, and the third or upper tier is _en barbette_; the lower tier
is intended for 42-pounders paixhan guns; the second tier for eight and
ten-inch columbiads, for throwing solid or hollow shot, and the upper
tier for mortars and guns. But only seventy-five are now mounted. Eleven
paixhan guns are among that number, nine of them commanding Fort
Moultrie. Some of the columbiads are not mounted. Four of the 32-pounder
_barbette_ guns are on pivot carriages, and others have a sweep of 180°.
The walls are pierced everywhere for musketry. The magazine contains
several hundred barrels of gunpowder, and a supply of shot, powder, and
shells. The garrison was amply supplied with water from artificial
wells. The war garrison of the fort ought to be at least six hundred
men, but only seventy-nine were within its walls, with the laborers--one
hundred and nine all told--at the time of the attack.

The walls of the fort are dented on all sides by shot marks, but in no
instance was any approach made to a breach, and the greatest damage, at
one of the angles on the south face, did not extend more than two feet
into the masonry, which is of very fine brick. The parapet is, of
course, damaged, but the casemate embrasures are uninjured. On landing
at the wharf we perceived that the granite copings had suffered more
than the brickwork, and that the stone had split up and splintered where
it was struck. The ingenuity of the defenders was evident even here.
They had no mortar with which to fasten up the stone slabs they had
adapted as blinds to the windows of the unprotected south side; but
Major Anderson, or his subordinate, Captain Foster, had closed the slabs
in with lead, which he procured from some water piping, and had rendered
them proof against escalade, which he was prepared also to resent by
extensive mines laid under the wharf and landing-place, to be fired by
friction tubes and lines laid inside the work. He had also prepared a
number of shells for the same purpose, to act as hand-grenades, with
friction tubes and lanyards, when hurled down from the parapet on his
assailants. The entrance to the fort was blocked up by masses of
masonry, which had been thrown down from the walls of the burnt barracks
and officers’ quarters, along the south side. A number of men were
engaged in digging up the mines at the wharf, and others were busied in
completing the ruin of the tottering walls, which were still so hot that
it was necessary to keep a hose of water playing on part of the
brickwork. To an uninitiated eye it would seem as if the fort was
untenable, but, in reality, in spite of the destruction done to it, a
stout garrison, properly supplied, would have been in no danger from
anything, except the explosion of the magazine, of which the copper door
was jammed by the heat at the time of the surrender. Exclusive of the
burning of the quarters and the intense heat, there was no reason for a
properly handled and sufficient force to surrender the place. It is
needless to say Major Anderson had neither one nor the other. He was in
all respects most miserably equipped. His guns were without screws,
scales, or tangents, so that his elevations were managed by rude wedges
of deal, and his scales marked in chalk on the breech of the guns, and
his distances and bearings scratched in the same way on the side of the
embrasures. He had not a single fuse for his shells, and he tried in
vain to improvise them by filling pieces of bored-out pine with caked
gunpowder. His cartridges were out, and he was compelled to detail some
few of his men to make them out of shirts, stockings, and jackets. He
had not a single mortar, and he was compelled to the desperate expedient
of planting long guns in the ground at an angle of 45 degrees, for which
he could find no shell, as he had no fuses which could be fired with
safety. He had no sheers to mount his guns, and chance alone enabled him
to do so by drifting some large logs down with the tide against Sumter.
Finally, he had not even one engine to put out a fire in quarters. I
walked carefully over the parade, and could detect the marks of only
seven shells in the ground; but Major Whiting told me the orders were to
burst the shells over the parapet, so as to frustrate any attempt to
work the barbette guns. Two of these were injured by shot, and one was
overturned, apparently by its own recoil; but there was no injury done
inside any of the casemates to the guns or works. The shell splinters
had all disappeared, carried off, I am told, as “trophies.” Had Major
Anderson been properly provided, so that he could have at once sent his
men to the guns, opened fire from those in barbette, thrown shell and
hot shot, kept relays to all his casemates, and put out fires as they
arose from red-hot shot or shell, he must, I have no earthly doubt, have
driven the troops off Morris Island, burnt out Fort Moultrie, and
silenced the enemy’s fire. His loss might have been considerable; that
of the Confederates must have been very great. As it was, not a life was
lost by actual fire on either side. A week hence and it will be
impossible for a fleet to do anything except cover the descent of an
army here, and they must lie off, at the least, four miles from the
nearest available beach.



LETTER VI.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

APRIL 30, 1861.


NOTHING I could say can be worth one fact which has forced itself upon
my mind in reference to the sentiments which prevail among the gentlemen
of this State. I have been among them several days. I have visited their
plantations, I have conversed with them freely and fully, and I have
enjoyed that frank, courteous, and graceful intercourse which
constitutes an irresistible charm of their society. From all quarters
have come to my ears the echoes of the same voice; it may be feigned,
but there is no discord in the note, and it sounds in wonderful strength
and monotony all over the country. Shades of George III., of North, of
Johnson, of all who contended against the great rebellion which tore
these colonies from England, can you hear the chorus which rings through
the State of Marion, Sumter, and Pinckney, and not clap your ghostly
hands in triumph? That voice says, “If we could only get one of the
Royal race of England to rule over us, we should be content.” Let there
be no misconception on this point. That sentiment, varied in a hundred
ways, has been repeated to me over and over again. There is a general
admission that the means to such an end are wanting, and that the desire
cannot be gratified. But the admiration for monarchical institutions on
the English model, for privileged classes, and for a landed aristocracy
and gentry, is undisguised and apparently genuine. With the pride of
having achieved their independence is mingled in the South Carolinians’
hearts a strange regret at the result and consequences, and many are
they who “would go back to-morrow if we could.” An intense affection for
the British connection, a love of British habits and customs, a respect
for British sentiment, law, authority, order, civilization, and
literature, preëminently distinguish the inhabitants of this State, who,
glorying in their descent from ancient families on the three islands,
whose fortunes they still follow, and with whose members they maintain
not unfrequently familiar relations, regard with an aversion of which it
is impossible to give an idea to one who has not seen its
manifestations, the people of New England and the populations of the
Northern States, whom they regard as tainted beyond cure by the venom of
“Puritanism.” Whatever may be the cause, this is the fact and the
effect. “The State of South Carolina was,” I am told, “founded by
gentlemen.” It was not established by witch-burning Puritans, by cruel
persecuting fanatics, who implanted in the North the standard of
Torquemada, and breathed into the nostrils of their newly-born colonies
all the ferocity of blood-thirstiness and rabid intolerance of the
Inquisition. It is absolutely astounding to a stranger, who aims at the
preservation of a decent neutrality, to mark the violence of these
opinions.

“If that confounded ship had sunk with those ---- Pilgrim Fathers on
board,” says one, “we never should have been driven to these
extremities!” “We could have got on with fanatics if they had been
either Christians or gentlemen,” says another; “for in the first case
they would have acted with common charity, and in the second they would
have fought when they insulted us; but there are neither Christians nor
gentlemen among them!” “Anything on the earth!” exclaims a third, “any
form of government, any tyranny or despotism you will; but”--and here is
an appeal more terrible than the adjuration of all the Gods--“nothing on
earth shall ever induce us to submit to any union with the brutal,
bigoted blackguards of the New England States, who neither comprehend
nor regard the feelings of gentlemen! Man, woman, and child, we’ll die
first.” Imagine these and an infinite variety of similar sentiments
uttered by courtly, well-educated men, who set great store on a nice
observance of the usages of society, and who are only moved to extreme
bitterness and anger when they speak of the North, and you will fail to
conceive the intensity of the dislike of the South Carolinians for the
Free States. There are national antipathies on our side of the Atlantic
which are tolerably strong, and have been unfortunately pertinacious and
long-lived. The hatred of the Italian for the Tedesco, of the Greek for
the Turk, of the Turk for the Russ, is warm and fierce enough to satisfy
the Prince of Darkness, not to speak of a few little pet aversions among
the allied Powers and the atoms of composite empires; but they are all
mere indifference and neutrality of feeling compared to the animosity
evinced by the “gentry” of South Carolina for the “rabble of the North.”

The contests of Cavalier and Roundhead, of Vendean and Republican, even
of Orangeman and Croppy, have been elegant joustings, regulated by the
finest rules of chivalry, compared with those which North and South will
carry on if their deeds support their words. “Immortal hate, the study
of revenge,” will actuate every blow, and never in the history of the
world, perhaps, will go forth such a dreadful _væ victis_ as that which
may be heard before the fight has begun. There is nothing in all the
dark caves of human passion so cruel and deadly as the hatred the South
Carolinians profess for the Yankees. That hatred has been swelling for
years, till it is the very life-blood of the State. It has set South
Carolina to work steadily to organize her resources for the struggle
which she intended to provoke, if it did not come in the course of time.
“Incompatibility of temper” would have been sufficient ground for the
divorce, and I am satisfied that there has been a deep-rooted design,
conceived in some men’s minds thirty years ago, and extended gradually
year after year to others, to break away from the Union at the very
first opportunity. The North is to South Carolina a corrupt and evil
thing, to which for long years she has been bound by burning chains,
while monopolists and manufacturers fed on her tender limbs. She has
been bound in a Maxentian union to the object she loathes. New England
is to her the incarnation of moral and political wickedness and social
corruption. It is the source of everything which South Carolina hates,
and of the torrents of free thought and taxed manufactures, of
Abolitionism and of fillibustering, which have flooded the land. Believe
a Southern man as he believes himself, and you must regard New England
and the kindred States as the birthplace of impurity of mind among men
and of unchastity in women--the home of Free Love, of Fourierism, of
Infidelity, of Abolitionism, of false teachings in political economy and
in social life; a land saturated with the drippings of rotten
philosophy, with the poisonous infections of a fanatic press; without
honor or modesty; whose wisdom is paltry cunning, whose valor and
manhood have been swallowed up in a corrupt, howling demagogy, and in
the marts of a dishonest commerce. It is the merchants of New York who
fit out ships for the slave-trade, and carry it on in Yankee ships. It
is the capital of the North which supports, and it is Northern men who
concoct and execute, the fillibustering expeditions which have brought
discredit on the Slave-holding States. In the large cities people are
corrupted by itinerant and ignorant lecturers--in the towns and in the
country by an unprincipled press. The populations, indeed, know how to
read and write, but they don’t know how to think, and they are the easy
victims of the wretched impostors on all the ’ologies and ’isms who
swarm over the region, and subsist by lecturing on subjects which the
innate vices of mankind induce them to accept with eagerness, while they
assume the garb of philosophical abstractions to cover their nastiness
in deference to a contemptible and universal hypocrisy.

    “Who fills the butchers’ shops with large blue flies?”

Assuredly the New England demon who has been persecuting the South until
its intolerable cruelty and insolence forced her, in a spasm of agony,
to rend her chains asunder. The New Englander must have something to
persecute, and as he has hunted down all his Indians, burnt all his
witches, and persecuted all his opponents to the death, he invented
Abolitionism as the sole resource left to him for the gratification of
his favorite passion. Next to this motive principle is his desire to
make money dishonestly, trickily, meanly, and shabbily. He has acted on
it in all his relations with the South, and has cheated and plundered
her in all his dealings by villainous tariffs. If one objects that the
South must have been a party to this, because her boast is that her
statesmen have ruled the Government of the country, you are told that
the South yielded out of pure good nature. Now, however, she will have
free trade, and will open the coasting trade to foreign nations, and
shut out from it the hated Yankees, who so long monopolized and made
their fortunes by it. Under all the varied burdens and miseries to which
she was subjected, the South held fast to her sheet anchor. South
Carolina was the mooring ground in which it found the surest hold. The
doctrine of State Rights was her salvation, and the fiercer the storm
raged against her--the more stoutly demagogy, immigrant preponderance,
and the blasts of universal suffrage bore down on her, threatening to
sweep away the vested interests of the South in her right to govern the
States--the greater was her confidence and the more resolutely she held
on her cable. The North attracted “hordes of ignorant Germans and
Irish,” and the scum of Europe, while the South repelled them. The
industry, the capital of the North increased with enormous rapidity,
under the influence of cheap labor and manufacturing ingenuity and
enterprise, in the villages which swelled into towns, and the towns
which became cities, under the unenvious eye of the South. She, on the
contrary, toiled on slowly, clearing forests and draining swamps to find
new cotton-grounds and rice-fields, for the employment of her only
industry and for the development of her only capital--“involuntary
labor.” The tide of immigration waxed stronger, and by degrees she saw
the districts into which she claimed the right to introduce that capital
closed against her, and occupied by free labor. The doctrine of squatter
“sovereignty,” and the force of hostile tariffs, which placed a heavy
duty on the very articles which the South most required, completed the
measure of injuries to which she was subjected, and the spirit of
discontent found vent in fiery debate, in personal insults, and in
acrimonious speaking and writing, which increased in intensity in
proportion as the Abolition movement, and the contest between the
Federal principle and State Rights, became more vehement. I am desirous
of showing in a few words, for the information of English readers, how
it is that the Confederacy which Europe knew simply as a political
entity has succeeded in dividing itself. The Slave States held the
doctrine, or say they did, that each State was independent as France or
as England, but that for certain purposes they chose a common agent to
deal with foreign nations, and to impose taxes for the purpose of paying
the expenses of the agency. We, it appears, talked of American citizens
when there were no such beings at all. There were, indeed, citizens of
the Sovereign State of South Carolina, or of Georgia or Florida, who
permitted themselves to pass under that designation, but it was merely
as a matter of personal convenience. It will be difficult for Europeans
to understand this doctrine, as nothing like it has been heard before,
and no such Confederation of Sovereign States has ever existed in any
country in the world. The Northern men deny that it existed here, and
claim for the Federal Government powers not compatible with such
assumptions. _They_ have lived for the Union, they served it, they
labored for and made money by it. A man as a New York man was
nothing--as an American citizen he was a great deal. A South Carolinian
objected to lose his identity in any description which included him and
a “Yankee clockmaker” in the same category. The Union was against him;
he remembered that he came from a race of English gentlemen who had been
persecuted by the representatives--for he will not call them the
ancestors--of the Puritans of New England, and he thought that they were
animated by the same hostility to himself. He was proud of old names,
and he felt pleasure in tracing his connection with old families in the
old country. His plantations were held by old charters, or had been in
the hands of his fathers for several generations; and he delighted to
remember that when the Stuarts were banished from their throne and their
country, the burgesses of South Carolina had solemnly elected the
wandering Charles king of their State, and had offered him an asylum and
a kingdom. The philosophical historian may exercise his ingenuity in
conjecturing what would have been the result if the fugitive had carried
his fortunes to Charleston.

South Carolina contains 34,000 square miles and a population of 720,000
inhabitants, of whom 385,000 are black slaves. In the old rebellion it
was distracted between revolutionary principles and the loyalist
predilections, and at least one half of the planters were faithful to
George III., nor did they yield till Washington sent an army to support
their antagonists, and drove them from the colony.

In my next letter I shall give a brief account of a visit to some of the
planters, as far as it can be made consistent with the obligations which
the rites and rights of hospitality impose on the guest as well as upon
the host. These gentlemen are well-bred, courteous, and hospitable. A
genuine aristocracy, they have time to cultivate their minds, to apply
themselves to politics and the guidance of public affairs. They travel
and read, love field sports, racing, shooting, hunting and fishing, are
bold horsemen, and good shots. But, after all, their State is a modern
Sparta--an aristocracy resting on a helotry, and with nothing else to
rest upon. Although they profess (and I believe, indeed, sincerely) to
hold opinions in opposition to the opening of the slave trade, it is
nevertheless true that the clause in the Constitution of the Confederate
States which prohibited the importation of negroes was especially and
energetically resisted by them, because, as they say, it seemed to be an
admission that slavery was in itself an evil and a wrong. Their whole
system rests on slavery, and as such they defend it. They entertain very
exaggerated ideas of the military strength of their little community,
although one may do full justice to its military spirit. Out of their
whole population they cannot reckon more than 60,000 adult men by any
arithmetic, and as there are nearly 30,000 plantations which must be,
according to law, superintended by white men, a considerable number of
these adults cannot be spared from the State for service in the open
field. The planters boast that they can raise their crops without any
inconvenience by the labor of their negroes, and they seem confident
that the negroes will work without superintendence. But the experiment
is rather dangerous, and it will only be tried in the last extremity.

SAVANNAH, GA., May 1, 1861.

It is said that “fools build houses for wise men to live in.” Be that
true or not, it is certain that “Uncle Sam” has built strong places for
his enemies to occupy. To-day I visited Fort Pulaski, which defends the
mouth of the Savannah River and the approaches to the city. It was left
to take care of itself, and the Georgians quietly stepped into it, and
have been busied in completing its defences, so that it is now capable
of stopping a fleet very effectually. Pulaski was a Pole who fell in the
defence of Savannah against the British, and whose memory is perpetuated
in the name of the fort, which is now under the Confederate flag, and
garrisoned by bitter foes of the United States. Among our party were
Commodore Tattnall, whose name will be familiar to English ears in
connection with the attack on the Peiho Forts, where the gallant
American showed the world that “blood was thicker than water,”
Brigadier-General Lawton, in command of the forces of Georgia, and a
number of naval and military officers, of whom many had belonged to the
United States regular service. It was strange to look at such a man as
the Commodore, who for forty-nine long years had served under the Stars
and Stripes, quietly preparing to meet his old comrades and friends, if
needs be, in the battle-field--his allegiance to the country and to the
flag renounced, his long service flung away, his old ties and
connections severed--and all this in defence of the sacred right of
rebellion on the part of “his State.” He is not now, nor has he been for
years, a slave-owner; all his family and familiar associations connect
him with the North. There are no naval stations on the Southern coasts
except one at Pensacola, and he knows almost no one in the South. He has
no fortune whatever, his fleet consists of two small river or coasting
steamers, without guns, and as he said, in talking over the resources of
the South, “My bones will be bleached many a long year before the
Confederate States can hope to have a navy.” “State Rights!” To us the
question is simply inexplicable or absurd. And yet thousands of
Americans sacrifice all for it. The river at Savannah is as broad as the
Thames at Gravesend, and resembles that stream very much in the color of
its waters and the level natures of its shores. Rice-fields bound it on
either side, as far down as the influence of the fresh water extends,
and the eye wanders over a flat expanse of mud and water and green
oziers and rushes, till its search is arrested on the horizon by the
unfailing line of forest. In the fields here and there are the
whitewashed, square, wooden huts in which the slaves dwell, looking very
like the beginnings of the camp in the Crimea. At one point a small
fort, covering a creek by which gunboats could get up behind Savannah,
displayed its “garrison” on the walls, and lowered its flag to salute
the small blue ensign at the fore, which proclaimed the presence of the
Commodore of the Naval Forces of Georgia on board our steamer. The guns
on the parapet were mostly field-pieces, mounted on frameworks of wood
instead of regular carriages. There is no mistake about the spirit of
these people. They seize upon every spot of ’vantage ground and prepare
it for defence. There were very few ships in the river; the yacht
Camilla, better known as the America, the property of Captain Deasy, and
several others of those few sailing under British colors, for most of
the cotton ships are gone. After steaming down the river about twelve
miles the sea opened out to the sight, and on a long, marshy, narrow
island near the bar, which was marked by the yellowish surf, Fort
Pulaski threw out the Confederate flag to the air of the Georgian 1st of
May. The water was too shallow to permit the steamer to go up to the
jetty, and the party landed at the wharf in boats. A guard was on duty
at the landing--tall, stout young fellows, in various uniforms, or in
rude mufti, in which the Garibaldian red shirt and felt slouched hats
predominated. They were armed with smooth-bore muskets (date 1851),
quite new, and their bayonets, barrels and locks were bright and clean.
The officer on duty was dressed in the blue frock-coat dear to the
British Linesman in days gone by, with brass buttons, emblazoned with
the arms of the State, a red silk sash, and glazed kepi, and
straw-colored gauntlets. Several wooden huts, with flower-gardens in
front, were occupied by the officers of the garrison; others were used
as hospitals, and were full of men suffering from measles of a mild
type. A few minutes’ walk led us to the fort, which is an irregular
pentagon, with the base line or curtain face inlands, and the other
faces casemated and bearing on the approaches. The curtain, which is
simply crenellated, is covered by a Redan surrounded by a deep ditch,
inside the parapet of which are granite platforms ready for the
reception of guns. The parapet is thick, and the scarp and counterscarp
are faced with solid masonry. A drawbridge affords access to the
interior of the Redan, whence the gate of the fort is approached across
a deep and broad moat, which is crossed by another drawbridge. As the
Commodore entered the Redan the guns of the fort broke out into a long
salute, and the band at the gate struck up almost as noisy a welcome.
Inside, the parade presented a scene of life and animation very unlike
the silence of the city we had left. Men were busy clearing out the
casemates, rolling away stores and casks of ammunition and provisions,
others were at work at the gin and shears, others building sand-bag
traverses to guard the magazine doors, as though expecting an immediate
attack. Many officers were strolling under the shade of an open gallery
at the side of the curtain which contained their quarters in the lofty
bomb-proof casemates. Some of them had seen service in Mexico or border
warfare; some had travelled over Italian and Crimean battle-fields;
others were West Point graduates of the regular army; others young
planters, clerks, or civilians, who rushed with ardor into the First
Georgian Regiment. The garrison of the fort is some six hundred and
fifty men, and fully that number were in and about the work, their tents
being pitched inside the Redan or on the terreplein of the parapets. The
walls are exceedingly solid and well built of gray brick, strong as
iron, and upward of six feet in thickness, the casemates and bomb-proofs
being lofty, airy, and capacious as any I have ever seen, though there
is not quite depth enough between the walls at the salient and the
gun-carriages. The work is intended for one hundred and twenty-eight
guns, of which about one fourth are mounted on the casemates. They are
long 32’s, with a few 42’s, and columbiads. The armaments will be
exceeding heavy when all the guns are mounted, and they are fast getting
the ten-inch columbiads into position _en barbette_. Everything which
could be required, except mortars, was in abundance--the platforms and
gun carriages are solid and well made, the embrasures of the casemates
are admirably constructed, and the ventilation of the bomb-proof
carefully provided for. There are three furnaces for heating red-hot
shot. Nor is discipline neglected, and the officers with whom I went
round the works were as sharp in tone and manner to their men as
volunteers well could be, though the latter often are enlisted for only
three years by the State of Georgia. An excellent lunch was spread in
the casemated bomb-proof, which served as the Colonel’s quarter, and
before sunset the party were steaming towards Savannah through a tideway
full of leaping sturgeon and porpoises, leaving the garrison intent on
the approach of a large ship, which had her sails aback off the bar and
hoisted the Stars and Stripes, but which turned out to be nothing more
formidable than a Liverpool cotton ship. It will take some hard blows
before Georgia is driven to let go her grip of Fort Pulaski. The channel
is very narrow, and passes close to the guns of the fort. The means of
completing the armament have been furnished by the stores of Norfolk
Navy Yard, where between seven hundred and eight hundred guns have
fallen into the hands of the Confederates; and, if there are no
columbiads among them, the Merrimac and other ships, which have been
raised, as we hear, with guns uninjured, will yield up their Dahlgrens
to turn their muzzles against their old masters.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 2.--May-day was so well kept yesterday that the exhausted editors
cannot “bring out” their papers, and consequently there is no news; but
there is, nevertheless, much to be said concerning “Our President’s”
Message, and there is a suddenness of admiration for pacific tendencies
which can with difficulty be accounted for, unless the news from the
North these last few days has something to do with it. Not a word now
about an instant march on Washington! No more threats to seize on
Faneuil Hall! The Georgians are by no means so keen as the Carolinians
on their border--nay, they are not so belligerent to-day as they were a
week ago. Mr. Jefferson Davis’s Message is praised for its “moderation,”
and for other qualities which were by no means in such favor while the
Sumter fever was at its height. Men look grave and talk about the
interference of England and France, which “cannot allow this thing to go
on.” But the change which has come over them is unmistakable, and the
best men begin to look grave. As for me, I must prepare to open my lines
of retreat--my communications are in danger.



LETTER VII.

FACTS AND OPINIONS IN REGARD TO NORTH AND SOUTH.

MONTGOMERY, May 16, 1861.


ALTHOUGH I have written two letters since my arrival at Charleston, I
have not been able to give an account of many things which have come
under my notice, and which appeared to be noteworthy; and now that I am
fairly on my travels once more, it seems only too probable that I shall
be obliged to pass them over altogether. The roaring fire of the
revolution is fast sweeping over the prairies, and one must fly before
it or burn. I am obliged to see all that can be seen of the South at
once, and then, armed with such safeguards as I can procure, to make an
effort to recover my communications. Bridges broken, rails torn up,
telegraphs pulled down--I am quite in the air, and air charged with
powder and fire.

One of the most extraordinary books in the world could be made out of
the cuttings and parings of the newspapers which have been published
within the last few days. The judgments, statements, asseverations of
the press, everywhere necessarily hasty, ill-sifted, and off-hand, do
not aspire to even an ephemeral existence here. They are of use if they
serve the purpose of the moment, and of the little boys who commence
their childhood in deceit, and continue to adolescence in iniquity, by
giving vocal utterance to the “sensation” headings in the journals they
retail so sharply and curtly. Talk of the superstition of the Middle
Ages, or of the credulity of the more advanced periods of rural life;
laugh at the Holy Coat of Treves, or groan over the Lady of Salette;
deplore the faith in winking pictures, or in a _communiquè_ of the
_Moniteur_; moralize on the superstition which discovers more in the
liquefaction of the ichor of St. Gennaro than a chemical trick; but if
you desire to understand how far faith can see and trust among the
people who consider themselves the most civilized and intelligent in the
world, you will study the American journals, and read the telegrams
which appear in them. One day the 7th New York regiment is destroyed for
the edification of the South, and is cut up into such small pieces that
none of it is ever seen afterward. The next day it marches into
Washington, or Annapolis, all the better for the process. Another, in
order to encourage the North, it is said that hecatombs of dead were
carried out of Fort Moultrie, packed up, for easy travelling, in boxes.
Again, to irritate both, it is credibly stated that Lord Lyons is going
to interfere, or that an Anglo-French fleet is coming to watch the
ports, and so on through a wild play of fancy, inexact in line as though
the batteries were charged with the aurora borealis or summer lightning,
instead of the respectable, steady, manageable offspring of acid and
metal, to whose staid deportment we are accustomed at a moderate price
for entrance. As is usual in such periods, the contending parties accuse
each other of inveterate falsehood, perfidy, oppression, and local
tyranny and persecution. “Madness rules the hour.”

It was only a day or two ago I took up a local journal of considerable
influence, in which were two paragraphs which struck me as being
inexpressibly absurd. In the first it was stated that a gentleman who
had expressed strong Southern sentiments in a New York hotel, had been
mobbed and thrown into the street, and the writer indulged in some
fitting reflections on the horrible persecution which prevailed in New
York, and on the atrocity of such tyrannical mob-lawlessness in a
civilized community. In another column there was a pleasant little
narrative how citizens of Opelika, in Georgia, had waited on a certain
person, who was “suspected” of entertaining Northern views, and had
deported him on a rustic conveyance, known as a rail, which was
considered by the journalist a very creditable exercise of public
spirit. Nay, more; in a _naive_ paragraph relative to an attempt to burn
the huge hotel of Willard, at Washington, in which some hundreds of
people were residing, the paper, to account satisfactorily for the
attempt, and to assign some intelligible and laudable motive for it,
adds, that he supposes it was intended to burn out the “Border ruffians”
who were lodged there--a reproduction of the excuse of our Anglo-Irish
lord, who apologized for setting fire to a cathedral, on the ground that
he imagined the Bishop was inside. The exultation of the South when the
flag of the United States was lowered at Sumter, has been answered by a
shout of indignation and a battle-cry from the North, and the excitement
at Charleston has produced a reflex action there, the energy of which
cannot be described. The apathy which struck me at New York, when I
landed, has been succeeded by violent popular enthusiasm, before which
all Laodicean policy has melted into fervent activity. The truth must
be, that the New York population did not believe in the strength and
unanimity of the South, and that they thought the Union safe, or did not
care about it. I can put down the names of gentlemen who expressed the
strongest opinions that the Government of the United States had no power
to coerce the South, and who have since put down their names and their
money to support the Government in the attempt to recover the forts
which have been taken. As to the change of opinion in other quarters,
which has been effected so rapidly and miraculously, that it has the
ludicrous air of a vulgar juggler’s trick at a fair, the public regard
it so little, that it would be unbecoming to waste a word about it.

I expressed a belief in my first letter, written a few days after my
arrival, that the South would never go back into the Union. The North
thinks that it can coerce the South, and I am not prepared to say they
are right or wrong; but I am convinced that the South can only be forced
back by such a conquest as that which laid Poland prostrate at the feet
of Russia. It may be that such a conquest can be made by the North, but
success must destroy the Union as it has been constituted in times past.
A strong Government must be the logical consequence of victory, and the
triumph of the South will be attended by a similar result, for which,
indeed, many Southerners are very well disposed. To the people of the
Confederate States there would be no terror in such an issue, for it
appears to me they are pining for a strong Government exceedingly. The
North must accept it, whether they like it or not. Neither party, if
such a term can be applied to the rest of the United States and to those
States which disdain the authority of the Federal Government, was
prepared for the aggressive or resisting power of the other. Already the
Confederate States perceive that they cannot carry all before them with
a rush, while the North have learnt that they must put forth all their
strength to make good a tithe of their lately uttered threats. But the
Montgomery Government are now, they say, anxious to gain time, and to
prepare a regular army. The North, distracted by apprehensions of vast
disturbances in its complicated relations, is clamoring for instant
action and speedy consummation. The counsels of the moderate men, as
they were called, have been utterly overruled.

I am now, however, dealing with South Carolina, which has been the _fons
et origo_ of the Secession doctrines, and their development into the
full life of the Confederate States. The whole foundation on which South
Carolina rests is cotton and a certain amount of rice, or rather she
bases her whole fabric on the necessity which exists in Europe for those
products of her soil, believing and asserting, as she does, that England
and France cannot and will not do without them. Cotton, without a
market, is so much flocculent matter encumbering the ground. Rice,
without demand for it, is unsalable grain in store and on the field.
Cotton at ten cents a pound is boundless prosperity, empire, and
superiority, and rice or grain need no longer be regarded. In the matter
of slave labor, South Carolina argues pretty much in this way: England
and France require our products. In order to meet their wants, we must
cultivate our soil. There is only one way of doing so. The white man
cannot live on our land at certain seasons of the year; he cannot work
in the manner required by the crops. We must, therefore, employ a race
suited to the labor, and that is a race which will only work when it is
obliged to do so. That race was imported from Africa, under the sanction
of the law, by our ancestors, when we were a British colony, and it has
been fostered by us, so that its increase here has been as that of the
most nourishing people in the world. In other places where its labor was
not productive, or imperatively essential, that race has been made free,
sometimes with disastrous consequences to itself and to industry. But we
will not make it free. We cannot do so. We hold that Slavery is
essential to our existence as producers of what Europe requires; nay,
more, we maintain it is in the abstract right in principle; and some of
us go so far as to maintain that the only proper form of society,
according to the law of God and the exigencies of man, is that which
has Slavery as its basis. As to the slave, he is happier far in his
state of servitude, more civilized and religious than he is or could be
if free or in his native Africa.

I have already endeavored to describe the portion of the State through
which I travelled, and the aspect of Charleston, and I will now proceed,
at the risk of making this letter longer than it should be, to make a
few observations on matters which struck me during my visit to one or
two of the planters of the many who were kind enough to give me
invitations to their residences in the State.

Early one fine morning I started in a coasting steamer to visit a
plantation in the Pedee and Maccamaw district, in the Island coast of
the State, north of Charleston. The only source of uneasiness in the
mind of the party arose from the report that the United States squadron
was coming to blockade the port, which would have cut off our line of
retreat, and compelled us to make a long detour and a somewhat difficult
journey by land, seeing that the roads are mere sand tracts, as the
immense number of rivers and creeks offers excuse for not improving the
means of land communication. Passing Sumter, on which men are busily
engaged, under the Confederate flag, in making good damages, and
mounting guns, we put out a few miles to sea, and with the low sandy
shore, dotted with soldiers, and guard-houses, and clumps of trees, on
our left, in a few hours pass the Santee River, and enter an estuary
into which the Pedee and Maccamaw Rivers run a few miles further to the
northwest. The arid, barren, pine-covered sand-hills, which form the
shores of this estuary, are guarded by rude batteries, mounted with
heavy guns, and manned by the State troops, some of whom we can see
strolling along the beach, or, with arms glancing in the sunlight,
pacing up and down on their posts. On the left hand side there are said
to be plantations, the sites of which are marked by belts of trees, and
after we had proceeded a few miles from the sea, the steamer ran
alongside a jetty and pier, which was crowded by men in uniform, waiting
for the news, and for supplies of creature comforts.

Ladies were cantering along the fine hard beach, and some gigs and
tax-carts, fully laden, rolled along very much as one sees them at
Scarborough. The soldiers on the pier were all gentlemen of the county.
Some, dressed in gray tunics and yellow facings, in high felt hats and
plumes, and jack-boots, would have done no discredit in face, figure,
and bearing, to the gayest cavaliers who ever thundered at the heels of
Prince Rupert. Their horses, full of Carolinian fire and metal, stood
picketed under the trees along the margin of the beach. Among these men,
who had been doing the duty of common troopers in patrolling the
sea-coast, were gentlemen possessed of large estates and princely
fortunes; and one who stood among them was pointed out to me as captain
of a company for whose uses his liberality provided unbounded daily
libations of champagne, and the best luxuries which French ingenuity can
safely imprison in those well-known caskets, with which Crimean warriors
were not unacquainted at the close of the campaign. They were eager for
news, which was shouted out to them by their friends in the steamer, and
one was struck by the intimate personal cordiality and familiar
acquaintance which existed among them. Three heavy guns, mounted in an
earthwork, defended by palisades, covered the beach and landing-place,
and the garrison was to have been reënforced by a regiment from
Charleston, which, however, had not got in readiness to go up on our
steamer, owing to some little difficulties between the Volunteers, their
officers, and the Quartermaster-general’s department.

I mention these particulars to give an idea of the state of defence in
which South Carolina holds itself, for, unless Georgetown, which lies at
the head of this inlet, could be considered an object of attack, one
seeks in vain for any reason to induce an enemy to make his appearance
in this direction. A march on Charleston by land would be an operation
of extreme difficulty, through a series of sand-hills, alternating with
marshes, water-course, rivers, and flooded rice-fields. As to
Georgetown, which we have now reached, nothing can be said by way of
description more descriptive than the remark of its inhabitants, that it
was a finished town a hundred years ago. It is a dosy, sleepy, sandy,
lifeless, straggling village, with wooden houses drawn up in right lines
on the margins of great, straight, grass-grown pathways, lined with
trees, and known to the natives as streets.

As the Nina approaches the tumble-down wharf, two or three citizens
advance from the shade of shaky sheds to welcome us, and a few country
vehicles and light phaetons are drawn forth from the same shelter to
receive the passengers, while the negro boys and girls, who have been
playing upon the bales of cotton and barrels of rice, which represent
the trade of the place on the wharf, take up commanding positions for
the better observation of our proceedings. One or two small yachts and
coasting schooners are moored by the banks of the broad, full stream,
the waters of which we had previously crossed in our journey from the
dismal swamp.

There is an air of quaint simplicity and old-fashioned quiet about
Georgetown, refreshingly antagonistic to the bustle and tumult of most
American cities, and one can, without much stretch of imagination, fancy
the old loyal burghers in cocked hats, small-swords, and long,
square-cut sober suits, stalking solemnly down its streets, rejoicing in
the progress of the city which recalled the name of the King and the old
country, or hastening down to the river’s side to hear the tidings
brought from home by the Bristol bark that has just anchored in the
stream. Instead thereof, however, there are the tall, square forms of
eager citizens bowed over their newspapers in the shade before the
bar-room, or the shuffling negro delighting in the sunshine, and kicking
up the dust in the centre of the road as he goes on his errand.

While waiting for our vehicle, we enjoyed the hospitality of one of our
friends, who took us into an old-fashioned angular wooden mansion, more
than a century old, still sound in every timber, and testifying, in its
quaint wainscotings and the rigid framework of door and window, to the
durability of its cypress timbers, and the preservative character of the
atmosphere. In early days it was the crack house of the old settlement,
and the residence of the founder of the female branch of the family of
our host, who now only makes it his halting-place when passing to and
fro between Charleston and his plantation, leaving it the year round in
charge of an old servant and her grandchild. Rose trees and flowering
shrubs clustered before the porch, and filled the garden in front, and
the establishment gave one a good idea of a London merchant’s retreat
about Chelsea a hundred and fifty years ago.

At length we were ready for our journey, and, mounted in two light
covered vehicles, proceeded along the sandy track which, after a while,
led us to a cut, deep in the bosom of the woods, where silence was only
broken by the cry of a woodpecker, the boom of a crane, or the sharp
challenge of the jay. For miles we passed through the shades of this
forest, meeting only two or three vehicles containing female planterdom
on little excursions of pleasure or business, who smiled their welcome
as we passed. Not more than twice in a drive of two hours did we come
upon any settlement or get a view of any white man’s plantation, and
then it was only when we had emerged from the wood and got out upon the
broad, brown plains, where bunds, and water-dykes, and machinery for
regulating the flooding of the lake indicated the scenes of labor. These
settlements consisted of rows of some ten or twelve quadrangular wooden
sheds, supported upon bricks, so as to allow the air, the children, and
the chickens to play beneath; sometimes with brickwork chimneys at the
side, occasionally with ruder contrivances of mud and woodwork to serve
the same purpose.

Arrived at a deep chocolate-colored stream, called Black River, full of
fish and alligators, we find a flat large enough to accommodate vehicles
and passengers, and propelled by two negroes pulling upon a stretched
rope, in the manner usual in the ferryboats of Switzerland, ready for
our reception. Another drive through a more open country, and we reach a
fine grove of pine and live oak, which melts away into a shrubbery,
guarded by a rustic gateway, passing through which we are brought by a
sudden turn into the planter’s house, buried in trees, which dispute
with the green sward, and with wild flower beds, every yard of the space
which lies between the hall-door and the waters of the Pedee; and in a
few minutes, as we gaze over the expanse of fields, just tinged with
green by the first life of the early rice crops, marked by the deep
water-cuts, and bounded by a fringe of unceasing forest, the chimneys of
the steamer we had left at Georgetown gliding, as it were, through the
fields, indicate the existence of another navigable river still beyond.

Leaving with regret the veranda which commanded so enchanting a
foreground of flowers, rare shrubbery, and bearded live oaks, with each
graceful sylvan outline distinctly penciled upon the waters of the
river, we enter the house, and are reminded by its low-browed,
old-fashioned rooms, of the country houses yet to be found in parts of
Ireland or the Scottish border, with additions made by the luxury and
love of foreign travel of more than one generation of educated Southern
planters. Paintings from Italy illustrate the walls in juxtaposition
with interesting portraits of early Colonial Governors and their lovely
womankind, limned with no uncertain hand, and full of the vigor of
touch and naturalness of drapery, of which Copley has left us too few
exemplars, and one portrait of Benjamin West claims for itself such
honor as his own pencil can give. An excellent library, filled with
collections of French and English classics, and with those ponderous
editions of Voltaire, Rousseau, the Memoires pour Servir, books of
travel and history, such as delighted our forefathers in the last
century, and many works of American and general history, afford ample
occupation for a rainy day. But alas! these, and all good things which
the house affords, can be enjoyed but for a brief season. Just as nature
has expanded every charm, developed every grace, and clothed the scene
with all the beauty of opened flower, of ripening grain, and of mature
vegetation, on the wings of the wind the poisoned breath comes borne to
the home of the white man, and he must fly before it or perish. The
books lie unopened on their shelves, the flower blooms and dies
unheeded, and, pity ’tis ’tis true, the old Madeira, garnered ’neath the
roof, settles down for a fresh lease of life, and sets about its
solitary task of acquiring a finer flavor for the infrequent lips of its
banished master and his welcome visitors. This is the story, at least,
that we hear on all sides, and such is the tale repeated to us beneath
the porch, when the full moon enhances, while softening, the loveliness
of the scene, and the rich melody of hundreds of mocking-birds fills the
grove.

Within these hospitable doors Horace might banquet better than he did
with Nasidienus, and drink such wine as can be only found among the
descendants of an ancestry who, improvident enough in all else, learned
the wisdom of bottling up choice old Bual and Sercial ere the demon of
odium had dried up their generous sources for ever. To these must be
added excellent bread, ingenious varieties of the gallette, compounded
now of rice and now of Indian meal, delicious butter and fruits, all
good of their kind. What more is needed for one who agrees with Mr.
Disraeli in thinking bread and wine man’s two first luxuries and his
best? And is there anything bitter rising up from the bottom of the
social bowl? My black friends who attend on me are grave as Mussulman
Khitmutgars. They are attired in liveries, and wear white cravats and
Berlin gloves. At night, when we retire, off they go to their outer
darkness in the small settlement of negrohood, which is separated from
our house by a wooden palisade. Their fidelity is undoubted. The house
breathes an air of security. The doors and windows are unlocked. There
is but one gun, a fowling-piece, on the premises. No planter hereabouts
has any dread of his slaves.

But I have seen within the short time that I have been here in this part
of the world several dreadful accounts of the murder and violence in
which masters suffered at the hands of their slaves. There is something
suspicious in the constant, never-ending statement, that “We are not
afraid of our slaves.” The curfew and the night patrol in the streets,
the prisons and watch-houses, and the police regulations prove that
strict supervision, at all events, is needed and necessary. My host is a
kind man and a good master. If slaves are happy anywhere, they should be
so with him.

These people are fed by their master. They have upward of half a pound
per diem of fat pork, and corn in abundance. They rear poultry, and sell
their chickens and eggs to the house. They are clothed by their master.
He keeps them in sickness as in health. Now and then there are gifts of
tobacco and molasses for the deserving. There was little labor going on
in the fields, for the rice has been just exerting itself to get its
head above water. These fields yield plentifully, for the waters of the
river are fat, and they are let in, whenever the planters require it, by
means of floodgates and small canals, through which the flats can carry
their loads of grain to the river for loading the steamers.



LETTER VIII.

FACTS AND OPINIONS AT THE CONFEDERATE CAPITAL.

MONTGOMERY, CAPITAL OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES }
OF AMERICA, May 8, 1861. }


IN my last letter I gave an account of such matters as passed under my
notice on my way to this city, which I reached, as you are aware, on the
night of Saturday, May 4. I am on difficult ground, the land is on fire,
the earth is shaking with the tramp of armed men, and the very air is
hot with passion. My communications are cut off, or are at best
accidental, and in order to re-open them I must get further away from
them, paradoxical as the statement may appear to be. It is impossible to
know what is going on in the North, and it is almost the same to learn
what is doing in the South out of eyeshot; it is useless to inquire what
news is sent to you to England. Events hurry on with tremendous
rapidity, and even the lightning lags behind them. The people of the
South at last are aware that the “Yankees” are preparing to support the
Government of the United States, and that the Secession can only be
maintained by victory in the field. There has been a change in their war
policy. They now aver that “they only want to be let alone,” and they
declare that they do not intend to take Washington, and that it was
merely as a feint they spoke about it. The fact is, there are even in
the compact and united South men of moderate and men of extreme views,
and the general tone of the whole is regulated by the preponderance of
one or other at the moment. I have no doubt on my mind that the
Government here intended to attack and occupy Washington--not the least
that they had it much at heart to reduce Fort Pickens as soon as
possible. Now some of their friends say that it will be a mere matter of
convenience whether they attack Washington or not, and that, as for Fort
Pickens, they will certainly let it alone, at all events for the
present, inasmuch as the menacing attitude of General Bragg obliges the
enemy to keep a squadron of their best ships there, and to retain a
force of regulars they can ill spare, in a position where they must lose
enormously from diseases incidental to the climate. They have
discovered, too, that the position is of little value so long as the
United States hold Tortugas and Key West. But the Confederates are
preparing for the conflict, and when they have organized their forces,
they will make, I am satisfied, a very resolute advance all along the
line. They are at present strong enough, they suppose, in their domestic
resources, and in the difficulties presented to a hostile force by the
nature of the country, to bid defiance to invasion, or, at all events,
to inflict a very severe chastisement on the invaders, and their excited
manner of speech so acts upon the minds that they begin to think they
can defy, not merely the United States, but the world. Thus it is that
they declare they never can be conquered, that they will die to a man,
woman, and child first, and that if fifty thousand, or any number of
thousands of Black Republicans get one hundred miles into Virginia, not
one man of them shall ever get out alive. Behind all this talk, however,
there is immense energy, great resolution, and fixed principles of
action. Their strategy consists in keeping quiet till they have their
troops well in hand, in such numbers and discipline as shall give them
fair grounds for expecting success in any campaign with the United
States troops. They are preparing with vigor to render the descent of
the Mississippi impossible, by erecting batteries on the commanding
levees or embankments which hem in its waters for upward of eight
hundred miles of bank, and they are occupying, as far as they can, all
the strategical points of attack or defence within their borders. When
everything is ready, it is not improbable that Mr. Jefferson Davis will
take command of the army, for he is reported to have a high ambition to
acquire reputation as a general, and in virtue of his office he is
Generalissimo of the Armies of the Confederate States. It will be
remarked that this plan rests on the assumption that the United States
cannot or will not wage an offensive war, or obtain any success in their
attempts to recover the forts and other property of the Federal
Government. They firmly believe the war will not last a year, and that
1862 will behold a victorious, compact, slave-holding Confederate power
of fifteen States under a strong government, prepared to hold its own
against the world, or that portion of it which may attack it. I now but
repeat the sentiments and expectations of those around me. They believe
in the irresistible power of cotton, in the natural alliance between
manufacturing England and France and the cotton producing Slave States,
in the force of their simple tariff, and in the interest which arise out
of a system of free-trade, which, however, by a rigorous legislation
they will interdict to their neighbors in the Free States, and only open
for the benefit of their foreign customers. Commercially, and
politically, and militarily, they have made up their minds, and never
was there such confidence exhibited by any people in the future as they
have, or pretended to have, in their destiny. Listen to their programme.

It is intended to buy up all the cotton crop which can be brought into
the market at an average price, and to give bonds of the Confederate
States for the amount, these bonds being, as we know, secured by the
export duty on cotton. The Government, with this cotton crop in its own
hands, will use it as a formidable machine of war, for cotton can do
anything, from the establishment of an empire to the securing of a shirt
button. It is at once king and subject, master and servant, captain and
soldier, artilleryman and gun. Not one bale of cotton will be permitted
to enter the Northern States. It will be made an offence punishable with
tremendous penalties, among which confiscation of property, enormous
fines, and even the penalty of death, are enumerated, to send cotton
into the Free States. Thus Lowell and its kindred factories will be
reduced to ruin, it is said, and the North to the direst distress. If
Manchester can get cotton and Lowell cannot, there are good times coming
for the mill-owners.

The planters have agreed among themselves to hold over one-half of their
cotton crop for their own purposes and for the culture of their fields,
and to sell the other to the Government. For each bale of cotton, as I
hear, a bond will be issued on the fair average price of cotton in the
market, and this bond must be taken at par as a circulating medium
within the limits of the Slave States. This forced circulation will be
secured by the act of the Legislature. The bonds will bear interest at
10 per cent., and they will be issued on the faith and security of the
proceeds of the duty of one-eighth of a cent on every pound of cotton
exported. All vessels loading with cotton will be obliged to enter into
bonds, or give security that they will not carry their cargoes to
Northern ports, or let it reach Northern markets to their knowledge. The
Government will sell the cotton for cash to foreign buyers, and will
thus raise funds amply sufficient, they contend, for all purposes. I
make these bare statements, and I leave to political economists the
discussion of the question which may and will arise out of the acts of
the Confederate States. The Southerners argue that by breaking from
their unnatural alliance with the North they will save upward of
$47,000,000, or nearly £10,000,000 sterling annually. The estimated
value of the annual cotton crop is $200,000,000. On this the North
formerly made at least $10,000,000, by advance, interest and exchanges,
which in all came to fully 5 per cent. on the whole of the crop. Again,
the tariff to raise revenue sufficient for the maintenance of the
Government of the Southern Confederacy is far less than that which is
required by the Government of the United States. The Confederate States
propose to have a tariff which will be about 12½ per cent. on imports,
which will yield $25,000,000. The Northern tariff is 30 per cent., and
as the South took from the North $70,000,000 worth of manufactured goods
and produce, they contribute, they assert, to the maintenance of the
North to the extent of the difference between the tax sufficient for the
support of their Government, and that which is required for the support
of the Federal Government. Now they will save the difference between 30
per cent, and 12½ per cent. (17½ per cent), which amounts to
$37,000,000, which, added to the saving on commissions, exchanges,
advances, &c., makes up the good round sum which I have put down higher
up. The Southerners are firmly convinced that they have “kept the North
going” by the prices they have paid for the protected articles of their
manufacture, and they hold out to Sheffield, to Manchester, to Leeds, to
Wolverhampton, to Dudley, to Paris, to Lyons, to Bordeaux, to all the
centres of English manufacturing life, as of French taste and luxury,
the tempting baits of new and eager and hungry markets. If their facts
and statistics are accurate, there can be no doubt of the justice of
their deductions on many points; but they can scarcely be correct in
assuming that they will bring the United States to destruction by
cutting off from Lowell the 600,000 bales of cotton which she usually
consumes. One great fact, however, is unquestionable--the Government has
in its hands the souls, the wealth, and the hearts of the people. They
will give anything--money, labor, life itself--to carry out their
theories. “Sir,” said an ex-Governor of this State to me to-day, “sooner
than submit to the North, we will all become subject to Great Britain
again.” The same gentleman is one of the many who have given to the
Government a large portion of their cotton crop every year as a
free-will offering. In his instance his gift is one of 500 bales of
cotton, or £5,000 per annum, and the papers teem with accounts of
similar “patriotism” and devotion. The ladies are all making sand-bags,
cartridges, and uniforms, and, if possible, they are more fierce than
the men. The time for mediation is past, if it ever were at hand or
present at all; and it is scarcely possible now to prevent the processes
of phlebotomization which are supposed to secure peace and repose.

There was no intelligence of much interest on Sunday, but there is a
general belief that Arkansas and Missouri will send in their adhesion to
the Confederacy this week, and the Commissioners from Virginia are
hourly expected. The attitude of that State, however, gives rise to
apprehensions lest there may be a division of her strength; and any
aggression on her territories by the Federal Government, such as that
contemplated in taking possession of Alexandria, would be hailed by the
Montgomery Government with sincere joy, as it would, they think, move
the State to more rapid action and decision.

Montgomery is on an undulating plain, and covers ground large enough for
a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants, but its population is only
twelve thousand. Indeed, the politicians here appear to dislike large
cities, but the city designers certainly prepare to take them if they
come. There is a large negro population, and a considerable number of a
color which forces me to doubt the evidences of my senses rather than
the statements made to me by some of my friends, that the planters
affect the character of parent in their moral relations merely with the
negro race. A waiter at the hotel--a tall, handsome young fellow, with
the least tinge of color in his cheek, not as dark as the majority of
Spaniards or Italians--astonished me in my ignorance to-day when, in
reply to a question asked by one of our party, in consequence of a
discussion on the point, he informed me he “was a slave.” The man, as he
said so, looked confused; his manner altered. He had been talking
familiarly to us, but the moment he replied, “I am a slave, Sir,” his
loquacity disappeared, and he walked hurriedly and in silence out of the
room. The river Alabama, on which the city rests, is a wide, deep
stream, now a quarter of a mile in breadth, with a current of four miles
an hour. It is navigable to Mobile, upward of four hundred miles, and
steamers ascend its waters for many miles beyond this into the interior.
The country around is well wooded, and is richly cultivated in broad
fields of cotton and Indian corn, but the neighborhood is not healthy,
and deadly fevers are said to prevail at certain seasons of the year.
There is not much animation in the streets, except when “there is a
difficulty among the citizens,” or in the eternal noise of the hotel
steps and bars. I was told this morning by the hotel keeper that I was
probably the only person in the house, or about it, who had not loaded
revolvers in his pockets, and one is aware occasionally of an unnatural
rigidity scarcely attributable to the osseous structure in the persons
of those who pass one in the crowded passages.

MONDAY, May 6.--To-day I visited the Capitol, where the Provisional
Congress is sitting. On leaving the hotel, which is like a small
Willard’s, so far as the crowd in the hall is concerned, my attention
was attracted to a group of people to whom a man was holding forth in
energetic sentences. The day was hot, but I pushed near to the spot, for
I like to hear a stump speech, or to pick up a stray morsel of divinity
in the _via sacra_ of strange cities, and it appeared as though the
speaker was delivering an oration or a sermon. The crowd was small.
Three or four idle men in rough, homespun, makeshift uniforms, leaned
against the iron rails inclosing a small pond of foul, green-looking
water, surrounded by brick-work, which decorates the space in front of
the Exchange Hotel. The speaker stood on an empty deal packing case. A
man in a cart was listening with a lack-lustre eye to the address. Some
three or four others, in a sort of vehicle, which might either be a
hearse or a piano-van, had also drawn up for the benefit of the address.
Five or six other men, in long black coats and high hats, some whittling
sticks, and chewing tobacco, and discharging streams of discolored
saliva, completed the group. “Nine h’hun’nerd and fifty dollars! Only
nine h-hun’nerd and fifty dollars offered for him,” exclaimed the man,
in the tone of injured dignity, remonstrance, and surprise, which can be
insinuated by all true auctioneers into the dryest numerical statements.
“Will _no one_ make any advance on nine hundred and fifty dollars?” A
man near me opened his mouth, spat, and said, “Twenty-five.” “Only nine
hundred and seventy-five dollars offered for him. Why, at’s
radaklous--only nine hundred and seventy-five dollars! Will no one,” &c.
Beside the orator auctioneer stood a stout young man of five-and-twenty
years of age, with a bundle in his hand. He was a muscular fellow,
broad-shouldered, narrow-flanked, but rather small in stature; he had on
a broad, greasy, old wide-awake, a blue jacket, a coarse cotton shirt,
loose and rather ragged trowsers, and broken shoes. The expression of
his face was heavy and sad, but it was by no means disagreeable, in
spite of his thick lips, broad nostrils, and high cheek-bones. On his
head was wool instead of hair. I am neither sentimentalist, nor Black
Republican, nor negro-worshiper, but I confess the sight caused a
strange thrill through my heart. I tried in vain to make myself familiar
with the fact that I could, for the sum of nine hundred and seventy-five
dollars, become as absolutely the owner of that mass of blood, bones,
sinew, flesh, and brains, as of the horse which stood by my side. There
was no sophistry which could persuade me the man was not a man--he was,
indeed, by no means my brother, but assuredly he was a fellow creature.
I have seen slave markets in the East, but somehow or other the
Orientalism of the scene cast a coloring over the nature of the sales
there which deprived them of the disagreeable harshness and
matter-of-fact character of the transaction before me. For Turk, or
Smyrniote, or Egyptian, to buy and sell slaves, seemed rather suited to
the eternal fitness of things than otherwise. The turbaned, shawled,
loose-trowsered, pipe-smoking merchants, speaking an unknown tongue,
looked as if they were engaged in a legitimate business. One knew that
their slaves would not be condemned to any very hard labor, and that
they would be in some sort the inmates of the family and members of it.
Here it grated on my ear to listen to the familiar tones of the English
tongue as the medium by which the transfer was effected, and it was
painful to see decent-looking men in European garb engaged in the work
before me. Perchance these impressions may wear off, for I meet many
English people who are the most strenuous advocates of the slave system,
although it is true that their perceptions may be quickened to recognize
its beauties by their participation in the profits. The negro was sold
to one of the bystanders, and walked off with his bundle, God knows
where. “Niggers is cheap,” was the only remark of the bystanders. I
continued my walk up a long, wide, straight street, or, more properly,
an unpaved sandy road, lined with wooden houses on each side, and with
trees by the side of the footpath. The lower of the two stories is
generally used as a shop, mostly of the miscellaneous store kind, in
which all sorts of articles are to be had, if there is any money to pay
for them; and, in the present case, if any faith is to be attached to
the conspicuous notices in the windows, credit is of no credit, and the
only thing that can be accepted in exchange for the goods is “cash.” At
the end of this long street, on a moderate eminence, stands a
whitewashed or painted edifice, with a gaunt, lean portico, supported on
lofty, lanky pillars, and surmounted by a subdued and dejected-looking
little cupola. Passing an unkempt lawn, through a very shabby little
gateway in a brick frame, and we ascend a flight of steps into a hall,
from which a double staircase conducts us to the vestibule of the
Chamber. Anything much more offensive to the eye cannot well be imagined
than the floor and stairs. They are stained deeply by tobacco juice,
which have left its marks on the white stone steps, and on the base of
the pillars outside. In the hall which we have entered there are two
tables, covered with hams, oranges, bread and fruits, for the
refreshment of members and visitors, over which two sable goddesses, in
portentous crinoline, preside. The door of the chamber is open, and we
are introduced into a lofty, well-lighted and commodious apartment, in
which the Congress of the Confederate States hold its deliberations. A
gallery runs half round the room, and is half filled with
visitors--country cousins, and farmers of cotton and maize, and, haply,
seekers of places, great or small. A light and low semi-circular screen
separates the body of the house, where the members sit, from the space
under the gallery, which is appropriated to ladies and visitors. The
clerk sits at a desk above this table, and on a platform behind him are
the desk and chair of the presiding officer or Speaker of the Congress.
Over his head hangs the unfailing portrait of Washington, and a small
engraving, in a black frame, of a gentleman unknown to me. Seated in the
midst of them, at a Senator’s desk, I was permitted to “assist,” in the
French sense, at the deliberations of the Congress. Mr. Howell Cobb took
the chair, and a white-headed clergyman was called upon to say prayers,
which he did, upstanding, with outstretched hands and closed eyes, by
the side of the Speaker. The prayer was long and sulphureous. One more
pregnant with gunpowder I never heard, nor could aught like it have been
heard since

    “Pulpit, drum ecclesiastic,
     Was beat with fist instead of a stick.”

The Rev. gentleman prayed that the Almighty might be pleased to inflict
on the arms of the United States such a defeat, that it might be the
example of signal punishment forever; that this President might be
blessed, and that the other President might be the other thing; that the
gallant, devoted young soldiers, who were fighting for their country,
might not suffer from exposure to the weather or from the bullets of
their enemies; and that the base mercenaries who were fighting on the
other side might come to sure and swift destruction; and so on.

Are right and wrong mere geographical expressions? The prayer was over
at last, and the House proceeded to business. Although each State has
several delegates in Congress, it is only entitled to one vote on a
strict division. In this way some curious decisions may be arrived at,
as the smallest State is equal to the largest, and a majority of the
Florida representatives may neutralize a vote of all the Georgia
representatives. For example, Georgia has ten delegates; Florida has
only three. The vote of Florida, however, is determined by the action of
any two of its three representatives, and these two may, on a division,
throw the one State vote into the scale against that of Georgia, for
which ten members are agreed. The Congress transacts all its business in
secret session, and finds it a very agreeable and commendable way of
doing it. Thus, to-day, for example, after the presentation of a few
unimportant motions and papers, the Speaker rapped his desk, and
announced that the House would go into secret session, and that all who
were not members should leave.

As I was returning to the hotel there was another small crowd at the
fountain. Another auctioneer, a fat, flabby, perspiring, puffy man, was
trying to sell a negro girl who stood on the deal-box beside him. She
was dressed pretty much like a London servant girl of the lower order
out of place, except that her shoes were mere shreds of leather patches,
and her bonnet would have scarce passed muster in the New Cut. She, too,
had a little bundle in her hand, and looked out at the buyers from a
pair of large sad eyes. “Niggers were cheap;” still here was this young
woman going for an upset price of $610, but no one would bid, and the
auctioneer, after vain attempts to raise the price and excite
competition, said, “Not sold to-day, Sally; you may get down.”


TUESDAY, May 7.--The newspapers contain the text of the declaration of
the state of war on the part of President Davis, and of the issue of
letters of marque and reprisal, &c. But it may be asked, who will take
these letters of marque? Where is the Government of Montgomery to find
ships? The answer is to be found in the fact that already numerous
applications have been received from the shipowners of New England, from
the whalers of New Bedford, and from others in the Northern States, for
these very letters of marque, accompanied by the highest securities and
guaranties! This statement I make on the very highest authority. I leave
it to you to deal with the facts.

To-day I proceeded to the Montgomery Downing Street and Whitehall to
present myself to the members of the Cabinet, and to be introduced to
the President of the Confederate States of America. There is no sentry
at the doors, and access is free to all, but there are notices on the
doors warning visitors that they can only be received during certain
hours. The President was engaged with some gentlemen when I was
presented to him, but he received me with much kindliness of manner, and
when they had left entered into conversation with me for some time on
general matters. Mr. Davis is a man of slight, sinewy figure, rather
over the middle height, and of erect, soldier-like bearing. He is about
fifty-five years of age; his features are regular and well-defined, but
the face is thin and marked on cheek and brow with many wrinkles, and is
rather careworn and haggard. One eye is apparently blind, the other is
dark, piercing, and intelligent. He was dressed very plainly in a light
gray summer suit. In the course of conversation he gave an order for the
Secretary of War to furnish me with a letter as a kind of passport in
case of my falling in with the soldiers of any military posts who might
be indisposed to let me pass freely, merely observing that I had been
enough within the lines of camps to know what was my duty on such
occasions. I subsequently was presented to Mr. Walker, the Secretary of
War, who promised to furnish me with the needful documents before I left
Montgomery. In his room were General Beauregard and several officers,
engaged over plans and maps, apparently in a little council of war,
which was, perhaps, not without reference to the intelligence that the
United States troops were marching on Norfolk Navy Yard, and had
actually occupied Alexandria. On leaving the Secretary I proceeded to
the room of the Attorney General, Mr. Benjamin, a very intelligent and
able man, whom I found busied in preparations connected with the issue
of letters of marque. Everything in the offices looked like earnest work
and business.

On my way back from the State Department I saw a very fine company of
infantry and three field pieces, with about one hundred and twenty
artillerymen, on their march to the railway station for Virginia. The
men were all well equipped, but there were no ammunition wagons for the
guns, and the transport consisted solely of a few country carts drawn by
poor horses, out of condition. There is no lack of muscle and will among
the men. The troops which I see here are quite fit to march and fight as
far as their _personnel_ is concerned, and there is no people in the
world so crazy with military madness. The very children in the streets
ape the air of soldiers, carry little flags, and wear cockades as they
strut in the highways; and mothers and fathers feed the fever by
dressing them up as Zouaves or Chasseurs.

Mrs. Davis had a small levee to-day in right of her position as wife of
the President. Several ladies there probably looked forward to the time
when their States might secede from the new Confederation, and afford
them the pleasure of holding a reception. Why not Presidents of the
State of Georgia, or Alabama? Why not King of South Carolina, or Emperor
of Florida? Soldiers of fortune, make your game! Gentlemen politicians,
the ball is rolling. There is, to be sure, a storm gathering at the
North, but it cannot hurt you, and already there are _condottieri_ from
all parts of the world flocking to your aid, who will eat your Southern
beeves the last of all.

One word more as to a fleet. The English owners of several large
steamers are already in correspondence with the Government here for the
purchase of their vessels. The intelligence which had reached the
Government that their Commissioners have gone on to Paris is regarded as
unfavorable to their claims, and as a proof that as yet England is not
disposed to recognize them. It is amusing to hear the tone used on both
sides toward Great Britain. Both are most anxious for her countenance
and support, although the North blusters rather more about its
independence than the South, which professes a warm regard for the
mother country. “But,” says the North, “if Great Britain recognizes the
South, we shall certainly look on it as a declaration of war.” “And,”
says the South, “if Great Britain does not recognize our privateers’
flag, we shall regard it as proof of hostility and of alliance with the
enemy.” The Government at Washington seeks to obtain promises from Lord
Lyons that our Government will not recognize the Southern Confederacy,
but at the same time refuses any guaranties in reference to the rights
of neutrals. The blockade of the Southern ports would not occasion us
any great inconvenience at present, because the cotton-loading season is
over; but if it be enforced in October, there is a prospect of very
serious and embarrassing questions arising in reference to the rights of
neutrals, treaty obligations with the United States Government, the
trade and commerce of England, and the law of blockade in reference to
the distinctions to be drawn between measures of war and means of
annoyance.

As I write the guns in front of the State Department are firing a
salute, and each report marks a State of the Confederacy. They are now
ten, as Arkansas and Tennessee are now out of the Union.



LETTER IX.

FROM MONTGOMERY TO MOBILE.

MOBILE, Alabama, May 11.


THE wayfarer who confides in the maps of a strange country, or who
should rely upon even the guide-books of the United States, which still
lack a Murray or a Bradshaw, may be at times embarrassed by insuperable
hills and unnavigable rivers. When, however, I saw the three towering
stories of the high-pressure steamer Southern Republic, on board of
which we tumbled down the steep bank of the Alabama river at Montgomery,
any such misgivings vanish from my mind. So colossal an ark could have
ascended no mythical stream, and the existence and capabilities of the
Alabama were demonstrated by its presence.

Punctuality is reputed a rare virtue in the river steamers of the West
and South, which seldom leave their wharves until they have bagged a
fair complement of passengers, although steaming up and ringing gongs
and bells every afternoon for a week or more before their departure, as
if travellers were to be swarmed like bees. Whether stimulated by the
infectious activity of these “war times,” or convinced that the
“politeness of kings” is the best steamboat policy, the grandson of Erin
who owns and commands the Southern Republic casts off his fastenings but
half an hour after his promised start, and the short puff of the engine
is enlivened by the wild strains of a steam-organ called a “calliope,”
which gladdens us with the assurance that we are in the incomparable
“land of Dixie.”

Reserving for a cooler hour the attractions of the lower floor--a Hades
consecrated to machinery, freight, and negroes--we betake ourselves to
the second landing, where we find a long dining-hall surrounded by two
tiers of state rooms, the upper one accessible by a stairway leading to
a gallery, which divides the “saloon” between floor and roof. We are
shown to our quarters, which leave much to be desired and nothing to
spare, and rush from their suffocating atmosphere to the outer balcony,
where a faint breeze stirs the air. There is a roofed balcony above us
that corresponds to the second tier of state rooms, from which a party
of excited Secessionists are discharging revolvers at the dippers on the
surface and the cranes on the banks of the river.

After we have dropped down five or six miles from Montgomery, the steam
whistle announces our approach to a landing, and, as there is no wharf
in view, we watch curiously the process by which our top-heavy craft,
under the sway of a four-knot current, is to swing round in her
invisible moorings. As we draw nigh to a wagon-worn indenture in the
bank, the “scream” softens into the dulcet pipes of the “calliope,” and
the steamer doubles upon her track, like an elephant turning at bay, her
two engines being as independent of each other as Seceding States, and,
slowly stemming the stream, lays her nose upon the bank, and holds it
there, with the judicious aid of her paddles, until a long plank is run
ashore from her bow, over which three passengers, with valises, make way
for a planter and his family, who come on board. The gang-plank is
hauled in, the steamer turns her head down stream with the expertness of
a whale in a canal, and we resume our voyage. We renew these stoppages
at various times before dark, landing here a barrel and there a box, and
occasionally picking up a passenger.

After supper, which is served on a series of parallel tables running
athwart the saloon, we return to enjoy from the balcony the cool
obscurity of the evening in this climate, where light means heat. As we
cleave the glass surface of the black water, the timber-clad banks seem
to hem us in more closely and to shut up in the vista before us, and
while we glide down with a rapidity which would need but the roar of
rapids to prefigure a cataract beyond, we yield to the caprice of fancy,
instituting comparisons between the dark perspective ahead and the
mystery of the future.

Again a scream, and a ruddy light flashes from our prow and deepens the
shades around us. This proceeds from the burning of “light wood”--a
highly resinous pine--in a wire basket hung on gimbals and held like a
landing-net below the bow of the steamer, so as to guide without
blinding the pilot, who is ensconced like a Hansom cabman upon its roof.
The torch-bearer raises his cresset as we steam up to the bank, and
plants it in a socket, when a hawser is seized round a tree, and the
crew turned ashore to “wood up.” There is a steep high bank above us,
and while dusky forms are flitting to and fro with food for our
furnaces, we survey a long stairway ascending the bank at a sharp angle
in a cut, which is lost in the sheds that crown the eminence over head.
This stair is flanked on either side by the bars of an iron tramway, up
which freight is hauled when landed, and parallel to it is a wooden
slide, down which bales of cotton and sacks of corn are shot upon the
steamer. One or two passengers slowly ascend, and a voice in the air
notifies us that a team is at hand with a load of ladies, who shortly
after are seen picking their way down the flight of steps. The cresset
is constantly replenished with fresh light wood, and the shadows cast by
its flickering flame make us regret that we have not with us a Turner to
preserve this scene, which would have been a study for Rembrandt or
Salvator Rosa.

At midnight we halt for a couple of hours at Selma, a “rising town,”
which has taken a start of late, owing to the arrival of a branch
railway, that connects it with Tennessee and the Mississippi River. Here
a huge _embarcadere_, several stories high, seems fastened to the side
of the bank, and affords us an opportunity of stepping out from either
story of the Southern Republic upon a corresponding landing. Upon one of
these floors there are hackmen and hotel runners, competing for those
who land, and indicating the proximity of a town, if not a city. Our
captain had resolved upon making but a short stay, in lieu of tying up
until morning--his usual practice--when an acquaintance comes on board
and begs him to wait an hour for a couple of ladies and some children,
whom he will hunt up a mile or so out of town. Times are hard, and the
captain very cheerfully consents, not insensible to the flattering
insinuation: “You know our folks never go with any one but you, if they
can help it.”

The next day and evening are a repetition of the foregoing scenes, with
more plantations in view and a general air of tillage and prosperity. We
are struck by the uniformity of the soil, which everywhere seems of
inexhaustible fertility, and by the unvarying breadth of the stream,
which, but for its constantly recurring sinuosities, might pass for a
broad ship canal. We also remark that the bluffs rarely sink into
bottoms susceptible of overflow, and admire the verdure of the primitive
forest, a tangle of magnolias in full flower, of laurel, and of various
oaks peculiar to this region, and which, though never rising to the
dignity of that noble tree in higher latitudes, are many of them
extremely graceful. All this sylva of moderate stature is intertwined
with creepers, and at intervals we see the Spanish moss, indicating the
malarious exhalations of the soil beneath. The Indian corn, upon which
the Southerners rely principally for food, has attained a height of two
feet, and we were told that, in consequence of the war, it is sown in
greater breadth than usual. The cotton plant has but just peeped above
the earth, and, alluding to its tenderness, those around us express
anxieties about that crop, which, it seems, are never allayed until it
has been picked, bagged and pressed, shipped and sold.

As I am not engaged upon an itinerary, let these sketches suffice to
convey an idea of the four hundred and seventeen miles of winding river
which connect Montgomery with Mobile, to which place the Southern
Republic conveyed us in thirty-four hours, stoppings included.

One of the Egyptian pyramids owes its origin to the strange caprice of a
princess, and the Southern Republic is said to have been built with the
proceeds of an accidental “haul” of Gold Coast natives, who fell into
the net of her enterprising proprietor. This worthy, born of Irish
parents in Milk street, is too striking a type of what the late Mr.
Webster was wont to call a “Northern man with Southern principles,” not
to deserve something more than a passing notice.

For out-and-out Southern notions there is nothing in Dixie’s Land like
the successful emigrant from the North and East. Captain Meagher had at
his fingers’ ends all the politico-economical facts and figures of the
Southern side of the question, and rested his reasoning solely upon the
more sordid and material calculations of the Secessionists. It was a
question of tariffs. The North had, no doubt, provided the protection of
a navy, the facilities of mails, the construction of forts, Custom
Houses, and Post Offices, in the South, and placed countless well-paid
offices at the disposal of gentlemen fond of elegant leisure; but for
all these the South had been paying more than their value, and when
Abolitionists were allowed to elect a Sectional President, and the
system of forced labor, which is the basis of Southern prosperity, was
threatened, the South were too happy to take a “snap judgment,” as in a
_pie poudre_ Court, and declare the Federal compact forfeited and
annulled forever.

During the long second day of our voyage, we examined the faces of the
proletarians, whose color and constitutions so well adapted them for the
Cyclopian realms of the main deck. Among them we detect several
physiognomies which strike us as resembling seedlings from the Gold
Coast rather than the second or third fruits of ancient transplantation.
A fellow traveller gratifies at the same time our curiosity and our
penetration. There are several native Africans, or, as they are called
in Cuba, _bozales_, on board. They are the property of the argumentative
captain, and were acquired by a coup de main, at which I have already
hinted in this letter. It seems that a club of planters in this State
and one or two others resolved, little more than a year ago, to import a
cargo of Africans. They were influenced partly by cupidity and partly by
fancy to set the United States laws at defiance, and to evince their
contempt for New England philanthropy. The job was accepted by an
Eastern house, which engaged to deliver the cargo at a certain point on
the coast within certain limits of time.

Whether the shipment arrived earlier than anticipated, or whether
Captain Meagher was originally designed as the person to whom the bold
and delicate manoeuvre of landing them should be intrusted, it is
certain that on a certain Sunday in last July he took a little coasting
trip in his steamer Czar, and appeared at Mobile on the following
morning in season to make his regular voyage up river. It is no less
certain that he ran the dusky strangers in at night by an unfrequented
pass, and landed them among the cane-brakes of his own plantation with
sufficient celerity to be back at the moorings of the Czar without his
absence having been noticed. The vessel from which the _bozales_ were
delivered was scuttled and sunk, and her master and crew found their way
North by rail.

But the parties in interest soon claimed to divide the spoils, when, to
their infinite disgust, the enterprising Captain very coolly professed
to ignore the whole business, and defied them to seek to recover by suit
at law property the importation of which was regarded and would be
punished as felony, if not as piracy, by the judicial tribunals. A case
was made and issue joined, when the Captain proved a circumstantial
_alibi_, and, having cast the claimants, doled them out a few _bonzes_,
perhaps to escape assassination, as shells, while he kept the oyster in
the shape of the pick of the importation, which he still holds,
reconciling his conscience to the transaction by interpreting it as
_salvage_.

All this is told us by our interlocutor, who was one of the losers by
the affair, and who stigmatized the conduct of its hero as having been
treacherous. The latter, after repeated jocular inquiries, suffers his
vanity to subdue his reticence, and finishes by “acknowledging the
corn.”

In the forenoon of the second day we meet two steamers ascending the
river, with heavy cargoes, and are told that they are the Keyes and the
Lewis, recently warned off, and _not seized_ by the blockading squadron
off Pensacola. They are deep with provisions for the forces of the
Confederate States Army before Pickens, which must now be dispatched
from Montgomery by rail.

In Mobile, for the first time since leaving Washington, “we realize” the
entire stagnation of business. There are but five vessels in port,
chiefly English, which will suffice to carry away the _dêbris_ of the
cotton crop. Exchange on the North is unsalable, owing to the
impossibility of importing coin through the unsettled country, and bills
on London are of slow sale at par, which would leave a profit of seven
per cent. upon the importation of gold from your side.

       *       *       *       *       *

MOBILE, Sunday, May 11.

The heat of the city rendered an excursion to which I was invited, for
the purpose of visiting the forts at the entrance of the bay,
exceedingly agreeable, and I was glad to get out from the smell of warm
bricks to the breezy waters of the sea. The party comprised many of the
leading merchants and politicians of this city, which is the third in
importance as a port of exportation in the United States of America.
There was not a man among them who did not express, with more or less
determination, the resolve never to submit to the rule of the accursed
North. Let there be no mistake whatever as to the unanimity which exists
at present in the South to fight for what it calls its independence, and
to carry on a war to the knife with the Government of the United States.
I have frequently had occasion to remark the curious operation of the
doctrine of State Rights on the minds of the people: but an examination
of the institutions of the country as they actually exist leads to the
inference that, where the tyranny of the majority is at once
irresponsible and cruel, it is impossible for any man, where the
doctrine prevails, to resist it with safety or success. It is the
inevitable result of the action of this majority, as it operates in
America, first to demoralize and finally to absorb the minority; and
even those who have maintained what are called “Union doctrines,” and
who are opposed to secession or revolution, have bowed their heads
before the majesty of the mass, and have hastened to signify their
acquiescence in the decisions which they have hitherto opposed. The
minority, cowardly in consequence of the arbitrary and vindictive
character of the overwhelming power against which it has struggled, and
disheartened by defeat, of which the penalties are tremendous in such
conflicts as these, hastens to lick the feet of the conqueror, and
rushes with frantic cheers after the chariot in the triumph which
celebrates its own humiliation. If there be a minority at all on this
great question of Secession in the Southern States, it hides in holes
and corners, inaccessible to the light of day, and sits there in
darkness and sorrow, silent and fearful, if not dumb and hopeless. There
were officers who had served with distinction under the flag of the
United States, now anxious to declare that it was not their flag, and
that they had no affection for it, although they were ready to admit
they would have continued to serve under it if the States had not gone
out. A man’s State, in fact, under the operation of these majority
doctrines to which I have adverted, holds hostages for his fidelity to
the majority, not only in such land or fortune as he may possess within
her bounds, but in his family, his relatives, and kin, and if the State
revolts, the officer who remains faithful to the flag of the United
States is considered by the authorities of the revolting State a
traitor, and, what is worse, he is treated in the persons of those he
leave behind him as the worst kind of political renegade. General Scott,
but a few months ago the most honored of men in a Republic which sets
such store on military success, is now reviled and abused because, being
a Virginian by birth, he did not immediately violate his oath, abandon
his post, and turn to fight against the flag which he has illustrated by
repeated successes, during a career of half a century, the moment his
State passes an ordinance of Secession.

An intelligent and accomplished officer, who accompanied me to-day
around the forts under his command, told me that he had all along
resisted Secession, but that when his State went out he felt it was
necessary to resign his commission in the United States army, and to
take service with the Confederates. Among the most determined opponents
of the North, and the most vehement friends of what are called here
“domestic institutions,” are the British residents, English, Irish, and
Scotch, who have settled here for trading purposes, and who are
frequently slave-holders. These men have no State rights to uphold, but
they are convinced of the excellence of things as they are, or find it
their interest to be so.

The waters of two rivers fall into the head of the Bay of Mobile, which
is, in fact, a narrow sea creek between low, sandy banks, covered with
pine and forest trees, broken here and there into islands, and extending
some thirty miles inland, with a breadth varying from three to seven
miles. No attempt has been made apparently to improve the waters or to
provide docks or wharfage for the numerous cotton ships which lie out at
the mouth of the bay, more than twenty-five miles from Mobile. All the
cotton has to be sent down to them in lighters, and the number of men
thus employed in the cotton season in loading the barges, navigating and
transferring the cargoes to the ships, is very considerable, and their
rate of wages is high.

The horror entertained by a merchant captain of the shore is well known,
and skippers are delighted at an anchorage so far from land, which at
the same time detains the crews in the ships and prevents absenteeism
and “running.” At present there are but seven ships at the anchorage,
nearly all British, and one of the latter appears in the distance hard
and fast ashore, though whether she got there in consequence of the
light not being burning or from neglect, it is impossible to say. Fort
Gaines, on the right bank of the channel, near the entrance, is an
unfinished shell of a fort, which was commenced by the United States
engineers some time ago, and which it would not be easy to finish
without a large outlay of money and labor. It is not well placed to
resist either a land attack or an assault by boats. A high sand-bank in
front of one of the faces screens the fire, and a wood on another side,
if occupied by riflemen, would render it difficult to work the barbette
guns. It is not likely, however, that the fort will be attacked. The
channel it commands is only fit for light vessels. From this fort to
the other side of the channel, where Fort Morgan stands, the distance
is over three miles, and the deep water channel is close to the latter
fort. The position at Gaines is held by a strong body of Alabama
troops--stout, sturdy men, who have volunteered from farm, field, or
desk. They are armed with ordinary muskets of the old pattern, and their
uniform is by no means uniform; but the men look fit for service. The
fort would take a garrison of five hundred men if fully mounted, but the
parapets are mere partition walls of brickwork crenelled; the
bomb-proofs are unfinished, and but for a few guns mounted on the
sand-hills, the place is a defenceless shell-trap. There are no guns in
the casemates, and there is no position ready to bear the weight of a
gun in barbette. The guns which are on the beach are protected by
sand-bags traversed, and are more formidable than the whole fortress.
The steamer proceeded across the channel to Fort Morgan, which is a work
of considerable importance, and is assuming a formidable character under
the superintendence of Colonel Hardee, formerly of the United States
army. It has a regular trace, bastion, and curtain, with a dry ditch and
drawbridge, well-made casemates and bomb-proofs, and a tolerable
armament of columbiads, 42 and 32-pounders, a few 10-inch mortars, and
light guns in the external works at the salients. The store of
ammunition seems ample. Some of the fuses are antiquated, and the
gun-carriages are old-fashioned. The open parade and the unprotected
gorges of the casemates would render the work extremely unpleasant under
a shell fire, and the buildings and barracks inside are at present open
to the influence of heat. The magazines are badly traversed and
inadequately protected. A very simple and apparently effective
contrivance for dispensing with the use of the sabot in shells was shown
to me by Colonel Maury, the inventor. It consists of two circular
grummets of rope, one at the base and the other at the upper
circumference of the shell, made by a simple machinery to fit tightly to
the sphere, and bound together by thin copper wire. The grummets fit the
bore of the gun exactly, and act as wads, allowing the base of the shell
to rest in close contact with the charge, and breaking into oakum on
leaving the muzzle. Those who know what mischief can be done by the
fragments of the sabot when fired over the heads of troops will
appreciate this simple invention, which is said to give increased range
to the horizontal shell. There must be about sixty guns in this work;
it is over-garrisoned, and, indeed, it seems to be the difficulty here
to know what to do with the home volunteers. Rope mantlets are used on
the breeches of some of the barbette guns. At night the harbor is in
perfect darkness. Notwithstanding the defences I have indicated, it
would be quite possible to take Fort Morgan with a moderate force well
supplied with the means of vertical fire.

“Are there any mosquitoes here?” inquired I of the waiter, on the day of
my arrival. “Well, there’s a few, I guess; but I wish there were ten
times as many.” “In the name of goodness why do you say so?” asked I,
with some surprise and indignation. “Because we’d get rid of the ----
Black Republicans out of Fort Pickens all the sooner,” replied he. There
is a strange unilateral tendency in the minds of men in judging of the
operation of causes and results in such a contest as that which now
prevails between the North and the South. The waiter reasoned and spoke
like many of his betters. The mosquitoes, for whose aid he was so
anxious, were regarded by him as true Southerners, who would only
torture his enemies. The idea of these persecuting little fiends being
so unpatriotic as to vex the Confederates in their sandy camp never
entered into his mind for a moment. In the same way a gentleman of
intelligence, who was speaking to me of the terrible sufferings which
would be inflicted on the troops at Tortugas and at Pickens by fever,
dysentery, and summer heats, looked quite surprised when I asked him
“whether these agencies would not prove equally terrible to the troops
of the Confederates?”



LETTER X.

FORT PICKENS AND PENSACOLA--A VISIT TO BOTH CAMPS.

MOBILE, May 16, 1861.


OUR little schooner lay quietly at the wharf all night, but no one was
allowed to come on board without a pass, for these wild-looking sentries
are excellent men of business, and look after the practical part of
soldiering with all the keenness which their direct personal interest
imparts to their notions of duty. The enemy is to them the incarnation
of all evil, and they hunt his spies and servants very much as a terrier
chases a rat--with intense traditional and race animosity. The silence
of the night is not broken by many challenges, or the “All’s well” of
patrols; but there is warlike significance enough in the sound of the
shot which the working parties are rolling over the wooden jetty, with a
dull, ponderous thumping on board the flats that are to carry them off
for the food and _nourriture_ of the batteries. With the early morning,
however, came the moral signs of martial existence. I started up from
among my cockroaches, knocked my head against the fine pine beams over
my hammock, and then, considerably obfuscated by the result, proceeded
to investigate all the grounds that presented themselves to me as worthy
of consideration in reference to the theory which had suddenly forced
itself upon my mind that I was in the Crimea. For close at hand, through
the sleepy organs of the only sense which was fully awake, came the
well-known _réveillée_ of the Zouaves, and then French clangors, rolls,
ruffles, and calls ran along the line, and the Volunteers got up, or did
not, as seemed best to them. An ebony and aged Ganymede, however,
appeared with coffee, and told me, “the Cap’n wants ask weder you take
some bitters, Sir;" and, indeed, “the Captain” did compound some amazing
preparation for the Judges and Colonels present on deck and below, that
met the approval of them all, and was recommending it for its fortifying
qualities in making a Redan and Malakhoff of the stomach. Breakfast came
in due time; not much Persic apparatus to excite the hate of the
simple-minded, but a great deal of substantial matter, in the shape of
fried onions, ham, eggs, biscuit, with accompaniments of iced water,
Bordeaux, and coffee. Our guests were two--a broad, farmer-like
gentleman, weighing some sixteen stone, dressed in a green frieze tunic,
with gold lace and red and scarlet worsted facings, and a felt wide
awake, who, as he wiped his manly brow, informed me he was a “rifleman.”
We have some Volunteers quite as corpulent, and not more patriotic, for
our farmer was a man of many bales, and, in becoming an officer in his
company of braves, had given an unmistakable proof of devotion to his
distant home and property. The other, a quiet, modest,
intelligent-looking young man, was an officer in a different battalion,
and talked with sense about a matter with which sense has seldom
anything to do--I mean uniform. He remarked that in a serious action
and close fighting, or in night work, it would be very difficult to
prevent serious mistakes, and even disasters, owing to the officers of
the Confederate States’ troops wearing the same distinguishing marks of
rank and similar uniforms, whenever they can get them, to those used in
the regular service of the United States, and that much inconvenience
will inevitably result from the great variety and wonderful diversity of
the dresses of the immense number of companies forming the different
regiments of Volunteers.

The only troops near us which were attired with a regard to military
exactness, were the regiment of Zouaves from New Orleans. Most of these
are Frenchmen or Creoles, some have belonged to the battalions which the
Crimea first made famous, and were present before Sevastopol and in
Italy, and the rest are Germans and Irish. Our friends went off to see
them drill, but, as a believer in the enchanting power of distance, I
preferred to look on at such of the manœuvres as could be seen from the
deck. These Zouaves look exceedingly like the real article. They are,
perhaps, a trifle leaner and taller, and are not so well developed at
the back of the head, the heels, and the ankles, as their prototypes.
They are dressed in the same way, except that I saw no turban on the fez
cap. The jacket, the cummerbund, the baggy red breeches, and the
gaiters, are all copies of the original. They are all armed with
rifle-musket and sword-bayonet, and their pay is at the usual rate of
$11, or something like £2 6s. a month, with rations and allowances. The
officers do their best to be the true “chacal.” I was more interested, I
confess, in watching the motions of vast shoals of mullet and other
fish, which flew here and there, like flocks of plover, before the red
fish and other enemies, and darted under our boat, than in examining
Zouave drill. Once, as a large fish came gamboling along the surface
close at hand, a great gleam of white shot up in the waves beneath, and
a boiling whirl marked with a crimson pool, which gradually melted off
in the tide, showed where a monster shark had taken down a part of his
breakfast. “That’s a ground-sheark,” quoth the skipper. “There’s quite a
many of them about here.” Porpoises passed by in a great hurry for
Pensacola, and now and then a turtle showed his dear little head above
the enviable fluid which he honored with his presence. Far away in the
long stretch of water toward Pensacola are six British merchantmen in a
state of blockade; that is, they have only fifteen days to clear out,
according to the reading of the law adopted by the United States
officers.

The Navy Yard looks clean and neat in the early morning, and away on the
other side of the channel Fort Pickens--_teterrima causa_--raises its
dark front from the white sand and green sward of the glacis, on which a
number of black objects invite inspection through a telescope, and
obligingly resolve themselves into horses turned out to graze on the
slope. Fort M’Rae, at the other side of the channel, as if to irritate
its neighbor, flings out a flag to the breeze, which is the counterpart
of the “Stars and Stripes” that wave from the rival flagstaff, and is at
this distance identical to the eye until the glass detects the solitary
star in its folds instead of the whole galaxy. On the dazzling snowy
margin of sand that separates the trees and brushwood from the sea,
close at hand, the outline of the batteries which stud the shore for
miles is visible. Let us go and make a close inspection. Mr. Ellis, a
lieutenant in the Louisiana regiment, who is aide-de-camp to
Brigadier-General Bragg, has just arrived with a message from his chief
to escort me round all the works, and wherever else I like to go,
without any reservation whatever. He is a handsome, well-built, slight
young fellow, very composed and staid in manner, but full of sentiment
for the South. Returned from a tour in Europe, he is all admiration for
English scenery, life, and habits. “After all, nature has been more
bountiful to you than to us.” He is dressed in a tight undress cavalry
jacket and trowsers of blue flannel, with plain gold lace pipings and
buttons, but on his heels are heavy brass spurs, worthy of the heaviest
of field officers. Our horses are standing in the shade of a large tree
near the wharf, and mine is equipped with a saddle of ponderous
brass-work, on raised pummel and cantle, and housings, and emblazoned
cloth, and mighty stirrups of brass fit for the stoutest marshal that
ever led an army of France to victory; General Braxton Bragg is longer
in the leg than Marshal Pelissier or Canrobert, or the writer, and as we
jogged along over the deep, hot sand, my kind companion, in spite of my
assurances that the leathers were quite comfortable, made himself and me
somewhat uneasy on the score of their adjustment, and, as there was no
implement at hand to make a hole, we turned into the General’s court
yard to effect the necessary alterations. The cry of “Orderly” brought
a smart, soldierly young man to the front, who speedily took me three
holes up, and as I was going away he touched his cap and said, “I beg
your pardon, Sir, but I often saw you in the Crimea.” His story as he
told it was brief. He had been in the 11th Hussars, and on the day of
the 25th of October he was following, as he said, close after Lord
Cardigan and Captain Nolan, when his horse was killed under him. As he
tried to make his escape, the Cossacks took him prisoner, and for eleven
months he was in captivity, but was exchanged at Odessa. “Why did you
leave the service?” “Well, Sir, I was one of the two sergeants that was
permitted to leave in each regiment on the close of the war, and I came
away.” “But here you are soldiering again?” “Yes, Sir; I came over here
to better myself, as I thought, and I had to enter one of their cavalry
regiments, but now I am an orderly.” He told me further, that his name
was Montague, and that he “thought his father lived near Windsor,
twenty-one miles from London;” and I was pleased to find his superior
officers spoke of him in very high terms, although I could have wished
those who spoke so were in our own service.

I do not think that any number of words can give a good idea of a long
line of detached batteries. I went through them all, and I certainly
found stronger reasons than ever for distrusting the extraordinary
statements which appear in the American journals in reference to
military matters, particularly on their own side of the question.
Instead of hundreds of guns, there are only ten. They are mostly of
small calibre, and the gun-carriages are old and unsound, or new and
rudely made. There are only five “heavy” guns in all the works, but the
mortar batteries, three in number, of which one is unfinished, will
prove very damaging, although they will only contain nine or ten
mortars. The batteries are all sand-bag and earthworks, with the
exception of Fort Barrancas. They are made after all sorts of ways, and
are of very different degrees of efficiency. In some the magazines will
come to speedy destruction; in others they are well made. Some are of
the finest white sand, and will blind the gunners, or be blown away with
shells; others are cramped, and hardly traversed; others, again, are
very spacious, and well constructed. The embrasures are usually made of
sand-bags, covered with raw hide, to save the cotton bags from the
effect of the fire of their own guns. I was amused to observe that most
of these works had galleries in the rear, generally in connection with
the magazine passages, which the constructors called “rat-holes,” and
which are intended as shelter to the men at the guns, in case of shells
falling inside the battery. They may prove to have a very different
result, and are certainly not so desirable in a military point of view
as good traverses. A rush for the “rat-holes” will not be very dignified
or improving to the _morale_ every time a bomb hurtles over them; and
assuredly the damage to the magazines will be enormous if the fire from
Pickens is accurate and well sustained. Several of the batteries were
not finished, and the men who ought to have been working were lying
under the shade of trees, sleeping or smoking--long-limbed, long-bearded
fellows in flannel shirts and slouched hats, uniformless in all save
bright, well-kept arms, and resolute purpose. We went along slowly from
one battery to the other. I visited nine altogether, not including Fort
Barrancas, and there are three others, among which is Fort M’Rae.
Perhaps there may be fifty guns of all sorts in position for about three
miles, along a line exceeding 136 deg. around Fort Pickens, the average
distance being about 1-1/3 mile. The mortar batteries are well placed
among brushwood, quite out of view to the fort, at distances varying
from 2,500 to 2,800 yards, and the mortars are generally of callibres
nearly corresponding with our 10-inch pieces. Several of the gun
batteries are put on the level of the beach; others have more command,
and one is particularly well placed, close to the White Lighthouse, on a
raised plateau, which dominates the sandy strip that runs out to Fort
M’Rae. Of the latter I have already spoken. Fort Barrancas is an old
fort--I believe of Spanish construction, with a very meagre trace--a
plain curtain-face toward the sea, protected by a dry ditch and an
outwork, in which, however, there are no guns. There is a drawbridge in
the rear of the work, which is a simple parallelogram, showing twelve
guns mounted _en barbette_ on the sea-face. The walls are of brick, and
the guns are protected by thick merlons of sand-bags. The sole advantage
of the fort is in its position; it almost looks down into the casemates
of Pickens opposite, at its weakest point, and it has a fair command of
the sea entrance, but the guns are weak, and there are only three pieces
mounted which can do much mischief. While I was looking round there was
an entertaining dispute going on between two men, whom I believe to
have been officers, as to the work to be done, and I heard the inferior
intimate pretty broadly his conviction that his chief did not know his
own business in reference to some orders he was conveying.

The amount of ammunition which I saw did not appear to me to be at all
sufficient for one day’s moderate firing, and many of the shot were
roughly cast and had deep flanges from the moulds in their sides, very
destructive to the guns as well as to accuracy. In the rear of these
batteries, among the pine woods and in deep brush, are three irregular
camps, which, to the best of my belief, could not contain more than
2,700 men. There are probably 3,000 in and about the batteries, the Navy
Yard, and the suburbs, and there are also, I am informed, 1,500 at
Pensacola, but I doubt exceedingly that there are as many as 8,000 men,
all told, of effective strength under the command of Gen. Bragg. It
would be a mistake to despise these Irregulars. One of the Mississippi
regiments out in camp was evidently composed of men who liked
campaigning, and who looked as though they would like fighting. They had
no particular uniforms--the remark will often be made--but they had
pugnacious physiognomies, and the physical means of carrying their
inclinations into effect, and every man of them was, I am informed,
familiar with the use of arms. Their tents are mostly small and bad, on
the ridge-pole pattern, with side flys to keep off the sun. In some
battalions they observe regularity of line, in others they follow
individual or company caprice. The men use green boughs and bowers, as
our poor fellows did in the old hot days in Bulgaria, and many of them
had benches and seats before their doors, and the luxury of boarded
floors to sleep upon.

There is an embarrassing custom in America, scarcely justifiable in any
code of good manners, which in the South at least is too common, and
which may be still more general in the North; at all events, to a
stranger it is productive of the annoyance which is experienced by one
who is obliged to inquire whether the behavior of those among whom he is
at the time is intentional rudeness or conventional want of breeding.
For instance, my friend and myself, as we are riding along, see a
gentleman standing near his battery or his tent--“Good-morrow, Colonel,”
or “General” (as the case may be), says my friend--“Good-morrow
(imagining military rank according to the notion possessed by speaker
of the importance of the position of a General’s A. D. C.), Ellis.”
“Colonel, &c., allow me to introduce to you Mr. Jones of London.” The
Colonel advances with effusion, holds out his hand, grasps Jones’s hand
rigidly, and says warmly, as if he had just gained a particular object
of his existence, “Mr. Jones, I am very glad to make your acquaintance,
Sir. Have you been pretty well since you have been in this country,
Sir?” &c. But it is most likely that the Colonel will just walk away
when he pleases, without saying a word to or taking the least notice of
the aforesaid Jones, as to whose acquaintance he had just before
expressed such friendly feelings, and in whose personal health he had
taken so deep an interest; and Jones, till he is accustomed to it, feels
affronted. The fact is, that the introduction means nothing; you are
merely told each other’s names, and if you like you may improve your
acquaintance. The hand shaking is a remnant of barbarous times, when men
with the same colored skin were glad to see each other.

The country through which we rode was most uninteresting, thick
brushwood and pine trees springing out of deep sand, here and there a
nullah and some dirty stream--all flat as ditchwater. On our return we
halted at the General’s quarters. I had left a note for him, in which I
inquired whether he would have any objection to my proceeding to Fort
Pickens from his command, in case I obtained permission to do so, and
when I entered General Bragg’s room he was engaged in writing not merely
a very courteous and complimentary expression of his acquiescence in my
visit, but letters of introduction to personal friends in Louisiana, in
the hope of rendering my sojourn more agreeable. He expressed a doubt
whether my comrades would be permitted to enter the fort, and talked
very freely with me in reference to what I had seen at the batteries,
but I thought I perceived an indication of some change of purpose with
respect to the immediate urgency of the attack on Fort Pickens, compared
with his expressions last night. At length I departed with many thanks
to General Bragg for his kindness and confidence, and returned to a room
full of Generals and Colonels, who made a levee of their visits.

On my return to the schooner I observed that the small houses on the
side of the long sandy beach were filled with men, many of whom were in
groups round the happy possessors of a newspaper, and listened with the
utmost interest to the excited delivery of the oracular sentences. How
much of the agony and bitterness of this conflict--nay, how much of its
existence--may be due to these same newspapers, no man can say, but I
have very decided opinions, or rather a very strong belief, on the
subject. There were still more people around the various bar-rooms than
were attracted even by the journalists. Two of our companions were on
board when I got back to the quay. The Mobile gentlemen had gone off to
Pensacola, and had not returned to time, and under any circumstances it
was not probable that they would be permitted to land, as undoubtedly
they were no friends to the garrison or to the cause of the United
States.

Our skipper opened his eyes and shook his rough head when he was ordered
to get under way for Fort Pickens, and to anchor off the jetty. Up went
the flag of truce to the fore once more, but the ever-watchful sentry,
diverted for the time from his superintendence of the men who were
fishing at our pier, forbade our departure till the corporal of the
guard had given leave, and the corporal of the guard would not let the
fair Diana cast off her warp till he had consulted the sergeant of the
guard, and so there was some delay occasioned by the necessity for
holding an interview with that functionary, who finally permitted the
captain to proceed on his way, and with a fair light breeze the schooner
fell round into the tideway and glided off towards the fort. We drew up
with it rapidly, and soon attracted the notice of the look-out men and
some officers who came down to the jetty.

We anchored a cable’s length from the jetty. In reply to the sentry’s
hail, the skipper asked for a boat to put off for us. “Come off in your
own boat.” Skiff of Sharon! But there was no choice. With all the pathos
of that remarkable structure, it could not go down in such a short row.
And if it did? Well, “there is not a more terrible place for sharks
along this coast,” the captain had told us incidentally _en route_. Our
boat was inclined to impartiality in its relation with the water, and
took quite as much inside as it could hold, but we soused into it, and
the men pulled like Doggett’s Badgers, and soon we were out of shark
depth and alongside the jetty, where were standing to receive us Mr.
Brown, our friend of yesterday, Captain Vogdes, and Captain Berry,
commanding a United States battery in the fort. The soldiers of the
guard were United States regular troops of the artillery, wore blue
uniforms with brass buttons and remarkably ugly slouched hats, with an
ornament in the shape of two crossed cannons. Captain Vogdes informed me
that Col. Moore had sent off a reply to my letter to the fleet, stating
that he would gladly permit me to go over the fort, but that he would
not allow any one else, under any circumstances, whatever, to visit it.
My friends were, therefore, constrained to stay outside; but one of them
picked up a friend on the beach, and got up an impromptu ride along the
island.

The way from the jetty to the entrance of the fort is in the universal
deep sand of this part of the world; the distance from the landing place
to the gateway is not much more than two hundred yards, and the approach
to the portal is quite unprotected. There is a high ramp and glacis on
the land side, but the face and part of the curtain in which the gate is
situate are open, as it was not considered likely that it would ever be
attacked by Americans. The sharp angle of the bastion on this face is so
weak that men are now engaged in throwing up an extempore glacis to
cover the base of the wall and the casemates from fire. The ditch is
very broad, and the scarp and counterscarp are riveted with brick-work.
The curvette has been cleared out, and in doing so, as a proof of the
agreeable character of the locality, I may observe, upwards of sixty
rattlesnakes were killed by the workmen. An abattis has been made along
the edge of this part of the ditch--a rough inclined fence of stakes and
boughs of trees. “Yes, Sir; at one time when those terrible fire-eating
gentlemen at the other side were full of threats, and coming to take the
place every day, there were only seventy men in this fort, and Lieut.
Slemmer threw up this abattis to delay his assailants, if it were only
for a few minutes, and to give his men breathing time to use their small
arms.”

The casemates here are all blinded, and the hospital is situated in the
bomb-proofs inside. The gate was closed. At a talismanic knock it was
opened, and from the external silence we passed into a scene full of
activity and life, through the dark gallery which served at first as a
framework to the picture. The parade of the fort was full of men, and at
a _coup d’œil_ it was obvious that great efforts had been made to
prepare Fort Pickens for a desperate defence. In the parade were several
tents of what is called Sibley’s pattern, like our bell tents, but
without the lower side wall, and provided with a ventilating top, which
can be elevated or depressed at pleasure. The parade ground has been
judiciously filled with deep holes, like inverted cones, in which shells
will be comparatively innocuous; and, warned by Sumter, everything has
been removed which could prove in the least degree combustible. The
officer on duty led me straight across to the opposite angle of the
fort. As the rear of the casemates and bomb-proofs along this side will
be exposed to a plunging fire from the opposite side, a very ingenious
screen has been constructed by placing useless gun platforms and parts
of carriages at an angle against the wall, and piling them up with sand
and earth for several feet in thickness. A passage is thus left between
the base of the wall and that of the screen through which a man can walk
with ease.

Turning into this passage we entered a lofty bomb-proof, which was the
bed-room of the commanding officer, and passed through into the casemate
which serves as his headquarters. Colonel Harvey Brown received me with
every expression of politeness and courtesy. He is a tall, spare,
soldierly-looking man, with a face indicative of great resolution and
energy, as well as of sagacity and kindness, and his attachment to the
Union was probably one of the reasons of his removal from the command of
Fort Hamilton, New York, to the charge of this very important fort. He
has been long in the service, and he belonged to the first class of
graduates who passed at West Point after its establishment in 1818.
After a short and very interesting conversation, he proceeded to show me
the works, and we mounted upon the parapet, accompanied by Captain
Berry, and went over all the defences. Fort Pickens has a regular
bastioned trace, in outline an oblique and rather narrow parallelogram,
with the obtuse angles facing the sea at one side and the land at the
other. The acute angle, at which the bastion toward the enemy’s
batteries is situated, is the weakest part of the work; but it was built
for sea defence, as I have already observed, and the trace was prolonged
to obtain the greatest amount of fire on the sea approaches. The crest
of the parapet is covered with very solid and well-made merlons of heavy
sand-bags, but one face and the gorge of the bastion are exposed to an
enfilading fire from Fort M’Rae, which the Colonel said he intended to
guard against if he got time.

All the guns seemed in good order, the carriages being well constructed,
but they are mostly of what are considered small calibres now-a-days,
being 32-pounders, with some 42-pounders and 24-pounders. There are,
however, four heavy columbiads, which command the enemy’s works on
several points very completely. It struck me that the bastion guns were
rather crowded. But, even in its present state, the defensive
preparations are most creditable to the officers, who have had only
three weeks to do the immense amount of work before us. The brick
copings have been removed from the parapets, and strong sand-bag
traverses have been constructed to cover the gunners, in addition to the
“rat-holes” at the bastions. More heavy guns are expected, which, with
the aid of a few more mortars, will enable the garrison to hold their
own against everything but a regular siege on the land side, and so long
as the fleet covers the narrow neck of the island with its guns, it is
not possible for the Confederates to effect a lodgment. If Fort M’Rae
were strong and heavily armed, it could inflict great damage on Pickens;
but it is neither one nor the other, and the United States officers are
confident that they will speedily render it quite untenable.

The _bouches à feu_ of the fort may be put down at forty, including the
available pieces in the casemates, which sweep the ditch and the faces
of the curtains. The walls are of the hardest brick, of nine feet
thickness in many places, and the crest of the parapets on which the
merlons and traverses rest are of turf. From the walls there is a
splendid view of the whole position, and I found my companions were
perfectly well acquainted with the strength and _locus_ of the greater
part of the enemy’s works. Of course I held my peace, but I was amused
at their accuracy. “There are the quarters of our friend, General
Bragg.” “There is one of their best batteries just beside the
lighthouse.” The tall chimney of the Warrington Navy Yard was smoking
away lustily. The Colonel called my attention to it. “Do you see that,
Sir? They are casting shot there. The sole reason for their
‘forbearance’ is that Navy Yard. They know full well that if they open a
gun upon us we will lay that yard and all the work in ruins.” Captain
Vogdes subsequently expressed some uneasiness on a point as to which I
could have relieved his mind very effectually. He had seen something
which led him to apprehend that the Confederates had a strong intrenched
camp in the rear of their works. Thereupon I was enabled to perceive
that in Captain Vogdes’ mind there was a strong intention to land and
carry the enemy’s position. Why, otherwise, did you care about an
intrenched camp, most excellent engineer? But now I may tell you that
there is no intrenched camp at all, and that your vigilant eye, Sir,
merely detected certain very absurd little furrows which the
Confederates have in some places thrown up in the soft sand in front of
their camps, which would cover a man up to the knee or stomach, and are
quite useless as a breastwork. If they thought a landing probable, it is
unpardonable in them to neglect such a protection. These furrows are
quite straight, and even if they are deepened the assailants have merely
to march round them, as they extend only for some forty or fifty yards,
and have no flanks. The officers of the garrison are aware the enemy
have mortar batteries, but they think the inside of the fort will not be
easily hit, and they said nothing to show that they were acquainted with
the position of the mortars.

From the parapet we descended by a staircase into the casemates. The
Confederates are greatly deceived in their expectation that the United
States troops will be much exposed to the sun or heat in Pickens. More
airy, well-ventilated quarters cannot be imagined, and there is quite
light enough to enable the men to read in most of them. The plague of
flies will infest both armies, and is the curse of every camp in summer.
As to mosquitoes, the Confederates will probably suffer, if not more, at
least as much as the States’ troops. The effect of other tormentors,
such as yellow fever and dysentery, will be in all probability felt on
both sides; but, unless the position of the fort is peculiarly
unhealthy, the men, who are under no control in respect to their
libations, will probably suffer more than those who are restrained by
discipline and restricted to a regular allowance. Water can always be
had by digging, and is fit to use if drunk immediately. Vegetables and
fresh provisions are not of course so easily had as on shore, but there
is a scarcity of them in both camps, and the supplies from the
store-ships are very good and certain. The bread baked by the garrison
is excellent, as I had an opportunity of ascertaining, for I carried off
two loaves from the bakehouse on board our schooner.

Our walk through the casemates was very interesting. They were crowded
with men, most of whom were reading. They were quiet, orderly-looking
soldiers--a mixture of old and young--scarcely equal in stature to their
opponents, but more to be depended upon, I should think, in a long
struggle. Everything seemed well arranged. Those men who were in bed had
mosquito curtains drawn, and were reading or sleeping at their ease. In
the casemates used as a hospital there were only some twelve men sick
out of the whole garrison, and I was much struck by the absence of any
foul smell, and by the cleanliness and neatness of all the arrangements.
The Colonel spoke to each of the men kindly, and they appeared glad to
see him. The dispensary was as neat as care and elbow-grease could make
it, and next door to it, in strange juxtaposition, was the laboratory
for the manufactory of fusees and deadly implements, in equally good
order. Everything is ready for immediate service. I am inclined to think
it will be some time before it is wanted. Assuredly, if the enemy attack
Fort Pickens, they will meet with a resistance which will probably end
in the entire destruction of the Navy Yard and of the greater part of
their works. A week’s delay will enable Colonel Brown to make good some
grave defects; but delay is of more advantage to his enemy than it is to
him, and if Fort Pickens were made at once _point d’appui_ for a
vigorous offensive movement by the fleet and by a land force, I have
very little doubt in my mind that Pensacola must fall, and that General
Bragg would be obliged to retire. In a few weeks the attitude of affairs
may be very different. The railroad is open to General Bragg, and he can
place himself in a very much stronger attitude than he now occupies.

At last the time came for me to leave. The Colonel and Captain Berry
came down to the beach with me. Outside we found Captain Vogdes kindly
keeping my friends in conversation and in liquid supplies in the shade
of the bakehouse shed, and, after a little more pleasant conversation,
we were afloat once more. Probably no living man was ever permitted to
visit the camps of two enemies within sight of each other before this
under similar circumstances, for I was neither spy nor herald, and I owe
my best thanks to those who trusted me on both sides so freely and
honorably. A gentleman who preceded me did not fare quite so well. He
landed on the island and went up to the fort, where he represented
himself to be the correspondent of an American journal. But his account
of himself was not deemed satisfactory. He was sent off to the fleet.
Presently there came over a flag of truce from General Bragg, with a
warrant signed by a justice of the peace, for the correspondent, on a
charge of felony; but the writ did not run in Fort Pickens. The officers
regarded the message as a clever ruse to get back a spy, and the
correspondent is still in durance vile, or in safety, as the case may
be, on board the squadron.

All sails filled, the Diana stood up toward the Navy Yard once more in
the glare of the setting sun. The sentinels along the battery and beach
glared at us with surprise as the schooner, with her flag of truce still
flying, ran past them. The pier was swept with the glass for the Mobile
gentlemen; they were not visible. “Hollo! Mr. Captain, what’s that
you’re at?" His mate was waving the Confederate flag from the deck.
“It’s only a signal, Sir, to the gentlemen on shore.” “Wave some other
flag, then, while there’s a flag of truce flying, and while we are in
these waters.” After backing and filling for some time, the party were
descried in the distance. Again, the watery skiff was sent off, and in a
few minutes they were permitted, thanks to their passes, to come off.
Some confidential person had informed them the attack was certainly
coming off in a very short time. They were anxious to stay. They had
seen friends at Pensacola, and were full of praises of “the quaint old
Spanish settlement,” but mine is, unfortunately, not an excursion of
pleasure, and it was imperative that I should not waste time. Everything
had been seen that was necessary for my purpose. It was beyond my power
to state the reasons which led me to think no fight would take place,
for doing so would have been to betray confidence. And so we parted
company: they to feast their eyes on a bombardment--and if they only are
near enough to see it, they will heartily regret their curiosity, or I
am mistaken--and we to return to Mobile.

It was dark before the Diana was well down off Fort Pickens again, and,
as she passed out to sea, between it and Fort M’Rae, it was certainly to
have been expected that one side or other would bring her to. Certainly
our friend Mr. Brown, in his clipper Oriental, would overhaul us
outside; and there lay a friendly bottle in a nest of ice waiting for
the gallant sailor, who was to take farewell of us according to promise.
Out we glided into night, and into the cold sea breeze, which blew fresh
and strong from the north. In the distance the black form of the
Powhatan could be just distinguished; the rest of the squadron could not
be made out by either eye or glass, nor was the schooner in sight. A
lantern was hoisted by my orders, and was kept aft some time after the
schooner was clear of the forts. Still no schooner. The wind was not
very favorable for running toward the Powhatan, and it was too late to
approach her with perfect confidence from the enemy’s side. Beside, it
was late; time pressed.

The Oriental was surely lying off somewhere to the west-ward, and the
word was given to make all sail, and soon the Diana was bowling along
shore, where the sea melted away in a fiery line of foam so close to us
that a man could, in nautical phrase, “shy a biscuit” on the sand. The
wind was abeam, and the Diana seemed to breathe it through her sails,
and flew along at an astonishing rate through the phosphorescent waters
with a prow of flame and a bubbling wake of dancing meteor-like streams
flowing from her helm, as though it were a furnace whence boiled a
stream of liquid metal. “No sign of the Oriental on our lee bow?”
“Nothin’ at all in sight, Sir.” The sharks and huge rays flew off from
the shore as we passed and darted out seawards, making their runs in
brilliant trails of light. On sped the Diana, but no Oriental came in
sight.

I was tired. The sun had been very hot; the ride through the batteries,
the visits to quarters, the excursion to Pickens had found out my weak
places, and my head was aching and legs fatigued, and so I thought I
would turn in for a short time, and I dived into the shades below, where
my comrades were already sleeping, and kicking off my boots, lapsed into
a state which rendered me indifferent to the attentions no doubt
lavished upon me by the numerous little familiars who recreate in the
well-peopled timbers. It never entered into my head, even in my dreams,
that the Captain would break the blockade if he could--particularly as
his papers had not been indorsed, and the penalties would be sharp and
sure if he were caught. But the confidence of coasting captains in the
extraordinary capabilities of their craft is a madness--a hallucination
so strong that no danger or risk will prevent their acting upon it
whenever they can.

I was assured once by the “captain” of a “Billyboy,” that he could run
to windward of any frigate in her majesty’s service, and there is not a
skipper from Hartlepool to Whitstable who does not believe his own “Mary
Ann,” or “Three Grandmothers,” is, on certain “pints,” able to bump her
fat bows and scuttle-shaped stern faster through the seas than any
clipper which ever flew a pendant. I had been some two hours and a half
asleep when I was awakened by a whispering in the little cabin. Charley,
the negro cook, ague-stricken with terror, was leaning over the bed, and
in broken French was chattering through his teeth--“Monsieu, Monsieu,
nous sommes perdus! The bateman de guerre nous poursuit. Il n’a pas
encore tiré. Il va tirer bientôt! Oh mon Dieu! mon Dieu!" Through the
hatchway I could see the skipper was at the helm, glancing anxiously
from the compass to the quivering reef points of his mainsail. “What’s
all this we hear, captain?" “Well, Sir, there’s been somethin’ a runnin’
after us these two hours” (very slowly). “But I don’t think he’ll keech
us up no how this time.” “But, good heavens, you know, it may be the
Oriental, with Mr. Brown on board.” “Ah wall--may bee. But he kep quite
close upon me in the dark--it gev me quite a stark when I seen him. May
bee, says I, he’s a privateerin’ chap, and so I draws in on shore close
as I cud,--gets mee centerboard in, and, says I, I’ll see what yer med
of, mee boy. He an’t a gaining much on us.” I looked, and sure enough,
about half or three-quarters of a mile astern, and somewhat to leeward
of us, a vessel, with sails and hull all blended into a black lump, was
standing on in pursuit. I strained my eyes and furbished up the glasses,
but I could make out nothing definite. The skipper held grimly on. The
shore was so close we could have almost leaped into the surf, for the
Diana, when her center-board is up, does not draw much over four feet.
“Captain, I think you had better shake your wind, and see who he is. It
may be Mr. Brown.” “Meester Brown or no I can’t help carrine on now. I’d
be on the bank outside in a minit if I didn’t hold my course.” The
captain had his own way; he argued that if it was the Oriental she would
have fired a blank gun long ago to bring us to; and as to not calling us
when the sail was discovered, he took up the general line of the cruelty
of disturbing people when they’re asleep. Ah! captain, you know well it
was Mr. Brown, as you let out when we were safe off Fort Morgan. By
keeping so close in shore in shoal water the Diana was enabled to creep
along to windward of the stranger, who evidently was deeper than
ourselves. See there! Her sails shiver! so one of the crew says; she’s
struck! But she’s off again, and is after us. We are just within range,
and one’s eyes become quite blinky, watching for the flash from the bow,
but, whether privateer or United States schooner, she was too
magnanimous to fire. A stern chase is a long chase. It must now be
somewhere about two in the morning. Nearer and nearer to shore creeps
the Diana. “I’ll lead him into a pretty mess, whoever he is, if he tries
to follow me through the Swash,” grins the skipper. The Swash is a very
shallow, narrow, and dangerous passage into Mobile Bay, between the
sand-banks on the east of the main channel and the shore. Our pursuer
holds on, but gains nothing. The Diana is now only some nine or ten
miles from Fort Morgan, guarding the entrance to Mobile. Soon an uneasy,
dancing motion, welcomes her approach to the Swash. “Take a cast of the
lead, John!” “Nine feet.” “Good! Again!” “Seven feet.” “Good--Charley,
bring the lantern.” (Oh, Charley, why did that lantern go out just as it
was wanted, and not only expose us to the most remarkable amount of
“cussin,” imprecation, and strange oaths our ears ever heard, but expose
our lives and your head to more imminent danger?) But so it was, just at
the critical juncture when a turn of the helm port or starboard made the
difference perhaps between life and death, light after light went out,
and the captain went dancing mad, after intervals of deadly calmness, as
the mate sang out, “Five feet and a half! seven feet--six feet--eight
feet--five feet--four and a half feet (oh Lord!)--six feet,” and so on,
through a measurement of death by inches, not at all agreeable. And
where was Mr. Brown all this time? Really we were so much interested in
the state of the lead-line, and in the very peculiar behavior of the
lanterns, which would not burn, that we scarcely cared much when we
heard from the odd hand and Charley that she had put about, after
running aground once or twice, they thought, as soon as we entered the
Swash, and had vanished rapidly in the darkness. It was little short of
a miracle that we got past the elbow, for just at the critical moment,
in a channel not more than one hundred yards broad, with only six feet
water, the binnacle light, which had burned speedily for a minute, sank
with a splutter into black night. When the passage was accomplished the
captain relieved his mind by chasing Charley into a corner, and with a
shark which he held by the tail, as the first weapon that came to hand,
inflicting on him condign punishment, and then returning to the helm.
Charley, however, knew his master, for he slyly seized the shark and
flung his defunct corpse overboard before another fit of passion came
on, and by the morning the skipper was good friends with him, after he
had relieved himself by a series of castigations of the negligent
lamplighter with every variety of Rhadamanthine implement.

The Diana had thus distinguished her dirty little person by breaking a
blockade, and giving an excellent friend of ours a great deal of trouble
(if it was indeed Mr. Brown), as well as giving us a very unenviable
character for want of hospitality and courtesy; and for both I beg to
apologize with this account of the transaction. But she had a still
greater triumph. As she approached Fort Morgan all was silence. The
morning was just showing a grey streak in the east. “Why, they’re all
asleep at the fort,” observed the indomitable captain, and, regardless
of gun or sentries, down went his helm, and away the Diana thumped into
Mobile Bay, and stole off in the darkness toward the opposite shore.
There was, however, a miserable day before us. When the light fairly
broke we had got only a few miles inside, a stiff northerly wind blew
right in our teeth, and the whole of the blessed day we spent tacking
backward and forward between one low shore and another low shore, in
water the color of pea-soup, so that temper and patience were exhausted,
and we were reduced to such a state that we took intense pleasure in
meeting with a drowning alligator. He was a nice-looking young fellow,
about ten feet long, and had evidently lost his way, and was going out
to sea bodily, but it would have been the height of cruelty to take him
on board our ship, miserable as he was, though he passed within two
yards of us. There was, to be sure, the pleasure of seeing Mobile in
every possible view, far and near, and east and west, and in a lump and
run out, but it was not relished any more than our dinner, which
consisted of a very gamy Bologna sausage pig, who had not decided
whether he would be pork or bacon, and onions fried in a terrible
preparation of Charley, the cook. At five in the evening, however,
having been nearly fourteen hours beating about twenty-seven miles, we
were landed at an outlying wharf, and I started off for the Battle House
and rest. The streets are filled with the usual rub-a-dubbing bands, and
parades of companies of the citizens in grotesque garments and armament,
all looking full of fight and secession. I write my name in the hotel
book at the bar as usual. Instantly young Vigilance Committee, who has
been resting his heels high in the air, with one eye on the staircase
and the other on the end of his cigar, stalks forth and reads my style
and title, and I have the satisfaction of slapping the door in his face
as he saunters after me to my room, and looks curiously in to see how a
man takes off his boots. They are all very anxious in the evening to
know what I think about Pickens and Pensacola, and I am pleased to tell
the citizens I think it will be a very tough affair on both sides
whenever it comes. I proceed to New Orleans on Monday.



LETTER XI.

FORT PICKENS AND PENSACOLA--A VISIT TO BOTH CAMPS.

MOBILE, May 18, 1861.


I AVAIL myself of the departure of a gentleman who is going to New York
by the shortest route he can find, to send you the accompanying letters.
The mails are stopped; so are the telegraphs; and it is doubtful whether
I can get to New Orleans by water. Of what I saw at Fort Pickens and
Pensacola here is an account, written in a very hurried manner, and
under very peculiar circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

TUESDAY, May 14, 1861.

Two New Orleans gentlemen, who came overland from Pensacola yesterday,
give such an account of their miseries from heat, dust, sand, and want
of accommodation, in the dreary waste through which they passed for more
than seventeen hours, that I sought out some other way of going there,
and at last heard of a small schooner, called the Diana, which would
gladly undertake to run round by sea, if permitted to enter by the
blockading squadron.

She was neither clean nor neat-looking; her captain, a tall, wild-haired
young man, had more the air of a mechanic than of a sailor, but he knew
his business well, as the result of the voyage showed. His crew
consisted of three men and a negro cook. Three gentlemen of Mobile, who
were anxious to visit General Bragg’s camp, agreed to join me, but
before I sailed I obtained a promise that they would not violate the
character of neutrals as long as they were with me, and an assurance
that they were not in any way engaged in or employed by the Confederate
States’ forces. “Surely you will not have Mr. R---- hanged, Sir?” said
the Mayor of Mobile to me when I told him I could not consent to pass
off the gentleman in question as a private friend. “No, I shall do
nothing to get Mr. R---- hanged. It will be his own act which causes it,
but I will not allow Mr. R---- to accompany me under false pretences.”
Having concluded our bargain with the skipper at a tolerably fair rate,
and laid in a stock of stores and provisions, the party sailed from
Mobile at five in the evening of Tuesday, May 14, with the flag of the
Confederate States flying; but, as a precautionary measure, I borrowed
from our acting Consul, Mr. Magee, a British ensign, which, with a flag
of truce, would win the favorable consideration of the United States
squadron. Our craft, the somewhat Dutch build of which gave no great
promise of speed, came, to our surprise and pleasure, up with the lights
of Fort Morgan at nine o’clock, and we were allowed to pass unchallenged
through a “swash,” as a narrow channel over the bar is called, which,
despite the absence of beacons and buoys, our skipper shot through under
the guidance of a sounding-pole, which gave, at various plunges, but few
inches to spare.

The shore is as flat as a pancake--a belt of white sand, covered with
drift logs and timber, and with a pine forest; not a house or human
habitation of any sort to be seen for forty miles, from Fort Morgan to
the entrance of the harbor of Pensacola; cheerless, miserable, full of
swamps, the haunts of alligators, cranes, snakes, and pelicans; with
lagoons, such as the Perdida, swelling into inland seas; deep buried in
pine woods, and known only to wild creatures and to the old
fillibusters,--swarming with mosquitoes. As the Diana rushed along
within a quarter of a mile of this grim shore, great fish flew off from
the shallows, and once a shining gleam flashed along the waters and
winged its way alongside the little craft--a monster shark, which plowed
through the sea _pari passu_ for some hundred yards leeward of the
craft, and distinctly visible in the wonderful phosphorescence around
it, and then dashed away with a trail of light seaward, on some errand
of voracity, with tremendous force and vigor. The wretched Spaniards who
came to this ill-named Florida must often have cursed their stars. How
rejoiced were they when the Government of the United States relieved
them from their dominion! Once during the night some lights were seen on
shore, as if from a camp fire. The skipper proposed to load an old iron
carronade and blaze away at them, and one of the party actually got out
his revolver to fire, but I objected very strongly to these valorous
proceedings, and, suggesting that they might be friends who were there,
and that, friends or foes, they were sure to return our fire, succeeded
in calming the martial ardor on board the Diana. The fires were very
probably made by some of the horsemen lately sent out by General Bragg
to patrol the coast, but the skipper said that in all his life-long
experience he had never seen a human creature or a light on that shore
before. The wind was so favorable and the Diana so fast, that she would
have run into the midst of the United States squadron off Fort Pickens
had she pursued her course. Therefore, when she was within about ten
miles of the station she hove to, and lay off and on for about two
hours. Before dawn the sails were filled, and off she went once more,
bowling along merrily, till with the first flush of day there came in
sight Fort M’Rae, Fort Pickens, and the masts of the squadron, just
rising above the blended horizon of low shore and sea. The former, which
is on the western shore of the mainland, is in the hands of the
Confederate troops. The latter is just opposite to it, on the extremity
of the sand-bank called Santa Rosa Island, which for forty-five miles
runs in a belt parallel to the shore of Florida, at a distance varying
from one and a quarter to four miles. To make smooth water of it, the
schooner made several tacks shoreward. In the second of these tacks the
subtle entrance of Perdida Creek is pointed out, which, after several
serpentine and reëntering undulations of channel, one of which is only
separated from the sea for a mile or more by a thin wall of sand-bank,
widens to meet the discharge of a tolerably spacious inland lake. The
Perdida is the dividing line between the States of Alabama and Florida.

The flagstaff of Fort M’Rae soon became visible, and in fainter outline
beyond it that of Fort Pickens and the hulls of the fleet, in which one
can make out three war steamers, a frigate, and a sloop-of-war, and then
the sharp-set canvas of a schooner, the police craft of this beat,
bearing down upon us. The skipper, with some uneasiness, announces the
small schooner that is sailing in the wind’s eye as the “Oriental,” and
confesses to have already been challenged and warned off by her sentinel
master. We promised him immunity for the past and safety for the future,
and, easing off the main sheet, he lays the Diana on her course for the
fleet.

Fort M’Rae, one of the obsolete school of fortresses, rounds up our
left. Beyond it, on the shore, is Barrancas, a square-faced work, half a
mile further up the channel, and more immediately facing Fort Pickens.
A thick wood crowns the low shore which treads away to the eastward, but
amid the sand the glass can trace the outlines of the batteries.
Pretty-looking detached houses line the beach; some loftier edifices
gather close up to the shelter of a tall chimney which is vomiting out
clouds of smoke, and a few masts and spars checker the white fronts of
the large buildings and sheds, which, with a big shears, indicate the
position of the Navy Yard of Warrington, commonly called that of
Pensacola, although the place of that name lies several miles higher up
the creek. Fort M’Rae seems to have sunk at the foundations; the crowns
of many of the casemates are cracked, and the water-face is
poor-looking. Fort Pickens, on the contrary, is a solid,
substantial-looking work, and reminds one something of Fort Paul at
Sevastopol, as seen from the sea, except that it has only one tier of
casemates, and is not so high.

As the Oriental approaches, the Diana throws her foresail aback, and the
pretty little craft, with a full-sized United States ensign flying, and
the muzzle of a brass howitzer peeping over her forecastle, ranges up
luff, and taking an easy sweep lies alongside us. A boat is lowered from
her and is soon alongside, steered by an officer; her crew are armed to
the teeth with pistols and cutlasses. “Ah, I think I have seen you
before. What schooner is this?” “The Diana, from Mobile.” The officer
steps on deck, and announces himself as Mr. Brown, Master in the United
States Navy, in charge of the boarding vessel Oriental. The crew secure
their boat and step up after him. The skipper, looking very sulky, hands
his papers to the officer. “Now, sir, make sail, and lie to under the
quarter of that steamer, the guardship Powhatan.”

Mr. Brown was exceedingly courteous when he heard who the party were.
The Mobilians, however, looked as black as thunder; nor where they at
all better pleased when they heard the skipper ask if he did not know
there was a strict blockade of the port. The Powhatan is a paddle
steamer of 2,200 tuns and 10 guns, and is known to our service as the
flag-ship of Commodore Tatnall, in Chinese waters, when that gallant
veteran gave us timely and kindly proof of the truth of his well-known
expression, “Blood is thicker than water.” Upon her spar-deck there is a
stout, healthy-looking crew, which seems quite able to attend to her
armament of ten heavy 10-inch Dahlgren columbiads, and the formidable
11-inches of the same family on the forecastle. Her commander, Captain
Porter, though only a lieutenant, commanding, has seen an age of active
service, both in the navy and in the merchant steam marine service, to
which he was detailed for six or seven years after the discovery of
California. The party were ushered into the cabin, and Captain Porter
received them with perfect courtesy, heard our names and object, and
then entered into general conversation, in which the Mobilians, thawed
by his sailorly frankness, gradually joined, as well as they could. Over
and over again I must acknowledge the exceeding politeness and civility
with which your correspondent has been received by the authorities on
both sides in this unhappy war.

Though but little beyond the age of forty, Captain Porter has been long
enough in the navy to have imbibed some of those prejudices which by the
profane are stigmatized as fogyisms. Until the day previous he had, he
told me, felt disposed to condemn rifled cannon of a small calibre as
“gimcracks,” but had been rapidly converted to the “Armstrong faith” by
the following experiment: He was making target-practice with his heavy
gun at a distance of some 2,600 yards. At anything like a moderate
elevation the experiment was unsatisfactory; and, while his gunners were
essaying to harmonize cause and effect, the charge and the elevation, he
bethought him of a little rifled brass plaything which Captain Dahlgren
had sent on board a day or two before his departure. To his astonishment
the ball, after careering until he thought “it would never stop going,”
struck the water 1,000 yards beyond the target, and established a
reputation he had never believed possible for a howitzer of 6lb. calibre
carrying a 12lb. bolt. He observed that the ancient walls of Fort M’Rae
would not resist this new missile for half an hour.

If it comes to fighting, you will hear more of the Powhatan and Captain
Porter. He has been repeatedly in the harbor and along the enemy’s works
at night in his boat, and knows their position thoroughly; and he showed
me on his chart the various spots marked off whence he can sweep their
works and do them immense mischief. “The Powhatan is old, and if she
sinks I can’t help it.” She is all ready for action; boarding-nettings
triced up, fieldpieces and howitzers prepared against night boarding,
and the whole of her bows padded internally, with dead wood and sails,
so as to prevent her main deck being raked as she stands stern on
toward the forts. Her crew are as fine a set of men as I have seen of
late days on board a man-of-war. They are healthy, well fed, regularly
paid, and can be relied on to do their duty to a man. As far as I could
judge, the impression of the officers was that General Bragg would not
to expose himself to the heavy chastisement which, in their belief,
awaits him, if he is rash enough to open fire upon Fort Pickens. As
Captain Porter is not the senior officer of the fleet, he signaled to
the flag-ship, and was desired to send us on board.

One more prize has been made this morning--a little schooner with a crew
of Italians and laden with vegetables. This master, a Roman of Civita
Vecchia, pretends to be in great trouble, in order to squeeze a good
price out of the captain for his “_tutti fruti e cosi diversi_.” The
officers assured me that all the statements made by the coasting
skippers, when they return to port from the squadron, are lies from
beginning to end.

A ten-oared barge carried the party to the United States frigate Sabine,
on board of which Flag-Captain Adams hoists his pennant. On our way we
had a fair view of the Brooklyn, whose armament of twenty two heavy guns
is said to be the most formidable battery in the American navy. Her
anti-type, the Sabine, an old-fashioned fifty-gun frigate, as rare an
object upon modern seas as an old post-coach is upon modern roads, is
reached at last. As one treads her decks, the eyes, accustomed for so
many weeks to the outlandish uniforms of brave but undisciplined
Southern Volunteers, feel _en pays de connaissance_, when they rest upon
the solid mass of three hundred or four hundred quid-rolling, sunburnt,
and resolute-looking blue-shirted tars, to whom a three years’ cruise
has imparted a family aspect, which makes them almost as hard to
distinguish apart as so many Chinamen.

A believer in the serpent-symbol might feel almost tempted to regard the
log of the Sabine as comprising the Alpha and the Omega of, at least,
the last half century of the American Republic. Her keel was laid
shortly after our last war with Brother Jonathan, and so long as the
Temple of Janus remained closed--her size having rendered her unfit to
participate in what is called the Mexican war--she remained in the
shiphouse of the Navy Yard which had witnessed her baptism. In the year
1858 she was summoned from her retirement to officiate as flagship of
the "Paraguay expedition,” and after having conveyed the American
Commissioner to Montevideo, whence he proceeded with a flotilla of
steamers and sloops-of-war up to Corrientes, and thence in the temporary
flagship, the steamer Fulton, to Assumpcion, she brought him back to New
York in May, 1859, and was then dispatched to complete her cruise as
part of the Home Squadron in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
During the concluding months of her cruise the political complications
of North and South burst into the present rupture, and the day before
our visit one of her lieutenants, a North Carolinian, had left her to
espouse, as nearly all the Southern officers of both army and navy have
done, the cause of his native State. Captain Adams is in a still more
painful predicament. During his eventful voyage, which commenced a six
days’ experience in the terrible Bermuda cyclone of November, 1858, he
had been a stranger to the bitter sectional animosities engendered by
the last election; and had recently joined the blockade of this port,
where he finds a son enlisted in the ranks of the C. S. A., and learns
that two others from part of the Virginia divisions of Mr. Jefferson
Davis’s forces. Born in Pennsylvania, he married in Louisiana, where he
has a plantation and the remainder of his family, and he smiles grimly
as one of our companions brings him the playful message from his
daughter, who has been elected _vivandière_ of a New Orleans regiment,
“that she trusts he may be starved while blockading the South, and that
she intends to push on to Washington and get a lock of Old Abe’s
hair”--a Sioux lady would have said his scalp.

The veteran sailor’s sad story demands deep sympathy. I, however, cannot
help enjoying at least the variety of hearing a little of the _altera
pars_. It is now nearly six weeks since I entered “Dixie’s Land,” during
which period I must confess I have had a sufficiency of the music and
drums, the cavaliering and the roystering of the Southern gallants. As
an impartial observer. I may say I find less bitterness and
denunciation, but quite as dogged a resolution upon the Roundhead side.
Some experience, or at least observation of the gunpowder argument, has
taught us that attack is always a more grateful office than defence,
and, if we are to judge of the sturdy resolution of the inmates of Fort
Pickens by the looks of the officers and crews of the fleet, Fort
Pickens will fall no easy prize, if at all.

After some conversation with Captain Adams, and the ready hospitality
of his cabin, he said finally he would take on himself to permit me and
the party to land at the Navy Yard and to visit the enemy’s quarters,
relying on my character as a neutral and a subject of Great Britain that
no improper advantage would be taken of the permission. In giving that
leave he was, he said, well aware that he was laying himself open to
attack, but he acted on his own judgment and responsibility. We must,
however, hoist a flag of truce, as he had been informed by General Bragg
that he considered the intimation he had received from the fleet of the
blockade of the port was a declaration of war, and that he would fire on
any vessel from the fleet which approached his command. I bade good-by
to Captain Adams with sincere regret, and if--but I may not utter the
wish here. Our barge was waiting to take us to the Oriental, in which we
sailed pleasantly away down to the Powhatan to inform Captain Porter I
had received permission to go on shore. Another officer was in his cabin
when I entered--Captain Poore, of the Brooklyn--and he seemed a little
surprised when he heard that Captain Adams had given leave to all to go
on shore. “What, all these editors of Southern newspapers who are with
you, Sir?” I assured him they were nothing of the kind, and after a few
kind words I made my adieu, and went on board the Diana with my
companions.

Hoisting one of our two table-cloths to the masthead as a flag of truce,
we dropped slowly with the tide through the channel that runs parallel
to one face of Fort Pickens. The wind favored us but little, and the
falling breeze enabled all on board to inspect deliberately the
seemingly artistic preparations for the threatened attack which frowns
and bristles from three miles of forts and batteries arrayed around the
slight indenture opposite. Heavy sand-bag traverses protect the corners
of the parapet, and seem solid enough to defy the heavy batteries
ensconced in earthworks around the Lighthouse, which to an outside
glance seems the most formidable point of an attack, directed as it is
against the weaker flank of the fort at its most vulnerable angle.

A few soldiers and officers upon the rampart appeared to be inhaling the
freshening breeze which arose to waft the schooner across the channel,
and enable her to coast the mainshore, so that all could take note of
the necklace of bastions, earthworks, and columbiads with which General
Bragg hopes to throttle his adversary. We passed by Barrancas, the
nearest point of attack (a mile and a quarter), the Commander-in-Chief’s
head-quarters, the barracks, and the hospital successively, and as the
vessel approached the landing-pier of the Navy Yard one could hear the
bustle of the military and the hammers of the artificers, and descry the
crimson and blue trappings of Zouaves, recalling Crimean reminiscences.
A train of heavy tumbrils, drawn by three or four pairs of mules, was
the first indication of a transport system in the army of the
Confederate States, and the high-bred chargers mounted by the escorts of
these ammunition wagons corroborated the accounts of the wealth and
breeding of its volunteer cavalry. The Diana now skirted the Navy Yard,
the neat dwellings of which, and the profusion of orange and fig groves
in which they are embosomed, have an aspect of tropical shade and
repose, much at variance with the stern preparations before us. Our
skipper let go his anchor at a respectful distance from the quay,
evincing a regard for martial law that contrasted strangely with the
impatience of control elsewhere manifested throughout this land, and
almost inspiring the belief that no other rule can ever restore the lost
bump of veneration to American craniology.

While the master of the Diana was skulling his leaky punt ashore to
convey my letters of introduction to the Commander-in-chief, I had
leisure to survey the long, narrow, low sand belt of the island
opposite, which loses itself in the distance, and disappears in the
ocean forty-seven miles from Fort Pickens. It is so nearly level with
the sea that I could make out the main-yards of the Sabine and the
Brooklyn, anchored outside the island within range of the Navy Yard,
which is destined to receive immediate attention whenever the attack
shall begin. Pursuing my reflections upon the _morale_ of the upper and
nether millstones between which the Diana is moored, I am sadly puzzled
by the anomalous ethics or metaphysics of this singular war, the
preparations for which vary so essentially--it were sin to say
ludicrously--from all ancient and modern belligerent usages. Here we
have an important fortress, threatened with siege for the last sixty
days, suffering the assailants of the flag it defends to amass battery
upon battery, and string the whole coast of low hills opposite with
every variety of apparatus for its own devastation, without throwing a
timely shell to prevent their establishment.

War has been virtually declared, since letters of marque and a
corresponding blockade admit of no other interpretation, and yet but
last week two Mobile steamers, laden with £50,000 worth of provisions
for the beleaguering camp, were stopped by the blockading fleet, and,
though not permitted to enter this harbor, were allowed to return to
Mobile untouched, the commander thinking it quite punishment enough for
the Rebels to thus compel them to return to Mobile, and carry up the
Alabama River to Montgomery this mass of eatables, which would have to
be dispatched thence by rail to this place! Such practical jokes lend a
tinge of innocence to the premonitories of this strife which will hardly
survive the first bloodshed.

The skipper returned from shore with an orderly, who brought the needful
permission to haul the Diana alongside the wharf, where I landed, and
was conducted by an aide of the Quartermaster-General through the shady
streets of this graceful little village, which covers an inclosure of
three hundred acres, and, with the adjoining forts, cost the United
States over £6,000,000 sterling, which may have something to do with the
President’s determination to hold a property under so heavy an
hypothecation. Irish landlords, with encumbered estates, have no such
simple mode of obtaining an acquittal.

The Navy Yard is, properly speaking, a settlement of exceedingly neat
detached houses, with gardens in front, porticoes, pillars, verandahs,
and Venetian blinds to aid the dense trees in keeping off the scorching
rays of the sun, which is intensely powerful in the summer, and is now
blazing so fiercely as to force one to admit the assertion that the
average temperature is as high as that of Calcutta to be very probable.
The grass-plots under these tree are covered with neat piles of cannon
balls, mostly of small size; two obsolete mortars--one dated 1776--are
placed in the main Avenue. Tents are pitched under the trees, and the
houses are all occupied by officers, who are chatting, smoking, and
drinking at the open windows. A number of men in semi-military dresses
of various sorts and side arms are lounging about the quays and the
lawns before the houses. Into one of these I am escorted, and find
myself at a very pleasant mess, of whom the greater number are officers
of the Zouave Corps, from New Orleans--one, a Dane, has served at
Idstedt, Kiel, Frederichstadt; another foreigner has seen service in
South America; another has fought in half the insurrectionary wars in
Europe. The wine is abundant, the fare good, the laughter and talk loud.
Mr. Davis has been down all day from Montgomery, accompanied by Mrs.
Davis, Mr. Maloney, and Mr. Wigfall, and they all think his presence
means immediate action.

The only ship here is the shell of the old Fulton, which is on the
stocks, but the works of the Navy Yard are useful in casting shot,
shell, and preparing munitions of war. An aide-de-camp from General
Bragg entered as we were sitting at table, and invited me to attend him
to the General’s quarters. The road, as I found, was very long and very
disagreeable, owing to the depth of the sand, into which the foot sank
at every step up to the ankle. Passing the front of an extended row of
the clean, airy, pretty villas inside the Navy Yard, we passed the gate
on exhibiting our passes, and proceeded by the sea beach, one side of
which is lined with houses, a few yards from the surf. These houses are
all occupied by troops, or are used as bar-rooms or magazines. At
intervals a few guns have been placed along the beach, covered by
sand-bags, parapets, and traverses. As we toiled along in the sand, the
aide hailed a cart, pressed it into the service, and we continued our
journey less painfully. Suddenly a tall, straight-backed man in a blue
frock-coat, with a star on the epaulette strap, a smart kepi, and
trowsers with gold stripe, and large brass spurs, rode past on a
high-stepping, powerful charger, followed by an orderly. “There is
General Bragg,” said his aide. The General turned round, reined up, and
I was presented as I sat in my state chariot. The commander of the
Confederated States Army at Pensacola is about forty-two years of age,
of a spare and powerful frame; his face is dark, and marked with deep
lines, his mouth large, and squarely set in determined jaws, and his
eyes, sagacious, penetrating, and not by any means unkindly, look out at
you from beetle brows which run straight across and spring into a thick
tuft of black hair, which is thickest over the nose, where naturally it
usually leaves an intervening space. His hair is dark, and he wears such
regulation whiskers as were the delight of our generals a few years ago.
His manner is quick and frank, and his smile is very pleasing and
agreeable. The General would not hear of my continuing my journey to his
quarters in a cart, and his orderly brought up an ambulance, drawn by a
smart pair of mules, in which I completed it satisfactorily.

The end of the journey through the sandy plain was at hand, for in an
inclosure of a high wall there stood a well-shaded mansion, amid trees
of live oak and sycamore, with sentries at the gate and horses held by
orderlies under the portico. General Bragg received me at the top of the
steps which lead to the verandah, and, after a few earnest and
complimentary words, conducted me to his office, where he spoke of the
contest in which he was to play so important a part in terms of
unaffected earnestness. Why else had he left his estates? After the
Mexican war he had retired from the United States Artillery; but when
his State was menaced he was obliged to defend her. He was satisfied the
North meant nothing but subjugation. All he wanted was peace. Slavery
was an institution for which he was not responsible; but his property
was guaranteed to him by law, and it consisted of slaves. Why did the
enemy take off slaves from Tortugas to work for them at Pickens? Because
whites could not do their work. It was quite impossible to deny his
earnestness, sincerity, and zeal as he spoke, and one could only wonder
at the difference made by the “stand point” from which the question is
reviewed. General Bragg finally, before we supped, took down his plans
and showed me the position of every gun in his works and all his
batteries. He showed the greatest clearness of unreserved openness in
his communications, and was anxious to point out that he had much
greater difficulties to contend with than General Beauregard had at
Charleston. The inside of Pickens is well known to him, as he was
stationed there the very first tour of duty which he had after he left
West Point. It was late at night when I returned on one of the General’s
horses toward the Navy Yard. The orderly who accompanied me was, he
said, a Mississippi planter, but he had left his wife and family to the
care of the negroes, had turned up all his cotton land and replanted it
with corn, and had come off to the wars. Once only were we challenged,
and I was only required to show my pass as I was getting on board the
schooner. Before I left General Bragg he was good enough to say he would
send down one of his aides-de-camp and horses early in the morning, to
give me a look at the works.



LETTER XII.

NEW ORLEANS, May 25, 1861.


THERE are doubts arising in my mind respecting the number of armed men
actually in the field in the South, and the amount of arms in the
possession of the Federal forces. The constant advertisements and
appeals for “a few more men to complete” such and such companies furnish
some sort of evidence that men are still wanting. But a painful and
startling insight into the manner in which “Volunteers” have been
sometimes obtained has been afforded to me at New Orleans. In no country
in the world have outrages on British subjects been so frequent and so
wanton as in the States of America. They have been frequent, perhaps,
because they have generally been attended with impunity. Englishmen,
however, will be still a little surprised to hear that within a few days
British subjects living in New Orleans have been seized, knocked down,
carried off from their labor at the wharf and the workshop, and forced
by violence to serve in the “Volunteer” ranks! These cases are not
isolated. They are not in twos and threes, but in tens and twenties;
they have not occurred stealthily or in by-ways, they have taken place
in open day, and in the streets of New Orleans. These men have been
dragged along like felons, protesting in vain that they were British
subjects. Fortunately, their friends bethought them that there was still
a British Consul in the city, who would protect his countrymen--English,
Irish, or Scotch. Mr. Mure, when he heard of the reports and of the
evidence, made energetic representations to the authorities, who, after
some evasion, gave orders that the impressed “Volunteers” should be
discharged, and the “Tiger Rifles” and other companies were deprived of
the services of thirty-five British subjects whom they had taken from
their usual avocations. The Mayor promises it shall not occur again. It
is high time that such acts should be put a stop to, and that the mob of
New Orleans should be taught to pay some regard to the usages of
civilized nations. There are some strange laws here and elsewhere in
reference to compulsory service on the part of foreigners which it would
be well to inquire into, and Lord John Russell may be able to deal with
them at a favorable opportunity. As to any liberty of opinion or real
freedom here, the boldest Southerner would not dare to say a shadow of
either exists. It may be as bad in the North, for all I know; but it
must be remembered that in all my communications I speak of things as
they appear to me to be in the place where I am at the time. The most
cruel and atrocious acts are perpetrated by the rabble who style
themselves citizens. The national failing of curiosity and prying into
other people’s affairs is now rampant, and assumes the name and airs of
patriotic vigilance. Every stranger is watched, every word is noted,
espionage commands every keyhole and every letter-box; love of country
takes to eavesdropping, and freedom shaves men’s heads, and packs men up
in boxes for the utterance of “Abolition sentiments.” In this city there
is a terrible substratum of crime and vice, violence, misery, and
murder, over which the wheels of Cotton King’s chariot rumble gratingly,
and on which rest in dangerous security the feet of his throne. There
are numbers of negroes who are sent out on the streets every day with
orders not to return with less than seventy-five cents--anything more
they can keep. But if they do not gain that--about three shillings and
six pence a day--they are liable to punishment; they may be put into
jail on charges of laziness, and may be flogged _ad libitum_, and are
sure to be half starved. Can anything, then, be more suggestive than
this paragraph, which appeared in last night’s papers. “_Only_ three
coroners inquests were held yesterday on persons found drowned in the
river, names unknown!” The italics are mine. Over and over again has the
boast been repeated to me that on the plantations lock and key are
unknown or unused in the planters’ houses. But in the cities they are
much used, though scarcely trusted. It appears, indeed, that unless a
slave has made up his or her mind to incur the dreadful penalties of
flight, there would be no inducement to commit theft, for money or
jewels would be useless; search would be easy, detection nearly certain.
That all the slaves are not indifferent to the issues before them, is
certain. At one house of a planter, the other day, one of them asked my
friend, “Will we be made to work, massa, when ole English come?” An old
domestic in the house of a gentleman in this city said, “There are few
whites in this place who ought not to be killed for their cruelty to
us.” Another said, “Oh, just wait till they attack Pickens!” These
little hints are significant enough coupled with the notices of
runaways, and the lodgments in the police jails, to show that all is not
quiet below the surface. The holders, however, are firm, and there have
been many paragraphs stating that slaves have contributed to the various
funds for State defence, and that they generally show the very best
spirit.

By the proclamation of Governor Magoffin, a copy of which I inclose, you
will see that the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and
Commander-in-chief of all her military forces on land or water, warns
all States, separated or united, especially the United States and the
Confederate States, that he will fight their troops if they attempt to
enter his Commonwealth. Thus Kentucky sets up for herself, while
Virginia is on the eve of destruction, and an actual invasion has taken
place of her soil. It is exceedingly difficult of comprehension that,
with the numerous troops, artillery, and batteries, which the
Confederate journals asserted to be in readiness to repel attack, an
invasion which took place in face of the enemy, and was effected over a
broad river, with shores readily defensible, should have been
unresisted. Here it is said there is a mighty plan, in pursuance of
which the United States troops are to be allowed to make their way into
Virginia, that they may at some convenient place be eaten up by their
enemies; and if we hear that the Confederates at Harper’s Ferry retain
their position one may believe some such plan really exists, although it
is rather doubtful strategy to permit the United States forces to gain
possession of the right bank of the Potomac. Should the position at
Harper’s Ferry be really occupied with a design of using it as a _point
d’appui_ for movements against the North, and any large number of troops
be withdrawn from Annapolis, Washington, and Baltimore, so as to leave
those places comparatively undefended, an irruption in force of the
Confederates on the right flank and in rear of General Scott’s army,
might cause most serious inconvenience and endanger his communications,
if not the possession of the places indicated.

Looking at the map, it is easy to comprehend that a march southwards
from Alexandria could be combined with an offensive movement by the
forces said to be concentrated in and around Fortress Monroe, so as to
place Richmond itself in danger, and, if any such measure is
contemplated, a battle must be fought in that vicinity, or the
_prestige_ of the South will receive very great damage. It is impossible
for any one to understand the movements of the troops on both sides.
These companies are scattered broadcast over the enormous expanse of the
States, and, where concentrated in any considerable numbers, seem to
have had their position determined rather by local circumstances than by
considerations connected with the general plan of a large campaign.

In a few days the object of the present movement will be better
understood, and it is probable that your correspondent at New York will
send, by the same mail which carries this, exceedingly important
information, to which I, in my present position, can have no access. The
influence of the blockade will be severely felt, combined with the
strict interruption of all intercourse by the Mississippi. Although the
South boasts of its resources and of its amazing richness and abundance
of produce, the constant advices in the journals to increase the breadth
of land under corn, and to neglect the cotton crop in consideration of
the paramount importance of the cause, indicate an apprehension of a
scarcity of food if the struggle be prolonged.

Under any circumstances, the patriotic ladies and gentlemen who are so
anxious for the war must make up their minds to suffer a little in the
flesh. All they can depend on is a supply of home luxuries; Indian corn
and wheat, the flesh of pigs, eked out with a small supply of beef and
mutton, will constitute the staple of their food. Butter there will be
none, and wine will speedily rise to an enormous price. Nor will coffee
and tea be had, except at a rate which will place them out of the reach
of the mass of the community. These are the smallest sacrifices of war.
The blockade is not yet enforced here, and the privateers of the port
are extremely active, and have captured vessels with more energy than
wisdom.

The day before yesterday, ships belonging to the United States in the
river were seized by the Confederation authorities, on the ground that
war had broken out, and that the time of grace accorded to the enemy’s
traders had expired. Great was the rush to the Consul’s office to
transfer the menaced property from ownership under the Stars and Strips
to British hands; but Mr. Mure refused to recognize any transactions of
the kind, unless sales _bona fide_ had been effected before the action
of the Confederate Marshals.

At Charleston the blockade has been raised, owing, apparently, to some
want of information or of means on the part of the United States
Government, and considerable inconvenience may be experienced by them in
consequence. On the 11th, the United States steam frigate Niagara
appeared outside and warned off several British ships, and on the 13th
she was visited by Mr. Bunch, our Consul, who was positively assured by
the officers on board that eight or ten vessels would be down to join in
enforcing the blockade. On the 15th, however, the Niagara departed,
leaving the port open, and several vessels have since run in and
obtained fabulous freights, suggesting to the minds of the owners of the
vessels which were warned off the propriety of making enormous demands
for compensation. The Southerners generally believe not only that their
Confederacy will be acknowledged, but that the blockade will be
disregarded by England. Their affection for her is proportionably
prodigious, and reminds one of the intensity of the gratitude which
consists in lively expectations of favors to come.

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW ORLEANS, May 21, 1861.

Yesterday morning early I left Mobile in the steamer Florida, which
arrived in the Lake of Pontchartrain late at night, or early this
morning. The voyage, if it can be called so, would have offered, in less
exciting times, much that was interesting--certainly, to a stranger, a
good deal that was novel--for our course lay inside a chain, almost
uninterrupted, of reefs, covered with sand and pine trees, exceedingly
narrow, so that the surf and waves of the ocean beyond could be seen
rolling in foam through the foliage of the forest, or on the white
beach, while the sea lake on which our steamer was speeding lay in a
broad, smooth sheet, just crisped by the breeze, between the outward
barrier and the wooded shores of the mainland. Innumerable creeks, or
“bayous,” as they are called, pierce the gloom of these endless pines.
Now and then a sail could be made out, stealing through the mazes of the
marshy waters. If the mariner knows his course, he may find deep water
in most of the channels from the outer sea into these inner waters, on
which the people of the South will greatly depend for any coasting
trade, and supplies coastwise, they may require, as well as for the safe
retreat of their privateers. A few miles from Mobile, the steamer
turning out of the bay, entered upon the series of these lakes through a
narrow channel called Grant’s Pass, which some enterprising person, not
improbably of Scottish extraction, constructed for his own behoof by an
ingenious watercut, and for the use of which, and of a little iron
light-house that he has built close at hand, on the model of a
pepper-castor, he charges toll on passing vessels. This island is
scarcely three feet above the water; it is not over twenty yards broad
and one hundred and fifty yards long. A number of men were, however,
busily engaged in throwing up the sand, and arms gleamed amid some tents
pitched around the solitary wooden shed in the centre. A schooner lay at
the wharf, laden with two guns and sand-bags, and as we passed through
the narrow channel several men in military uniform, who were on board,
took their places in a boat which pushed off for them, and were conveyed
to their tiny station, of which one shell would make a dust-heap. The
Mobilians are fortifying themselves as best they can, and seem, not
unadvisedly, jealous of gunboats and small war steamers. On more than
one outlying sand-bank toward New Orleans are they to be seen at work on
other batteries, and they are busied in repairing, as well as they can,
old Spanish and new United States works which had been abandoned, or
which were never completed. The news has just been reported, indeed,
that the batteries they were preparing on Ship Island have been
destroyed and burnt by a vessel of war of the United States. For the
whole day we saw only a few coasting craft and the return steamers from
New Orleans; but in the evening a large schooner, which sailed like a
witch and was crammed with men, challenged my attention, and on looking
at her through the glass I could make out reasons enough for desiring to
avoid her if one was a quiet, short-handed, well-filled old merchantman.
There could be no mistake about certain black objects on the deck. She
lay as low as a yacht, and there were some fifty or sixty men in the
waist and forecastle. On approaching New Orleans, there are some
settlements rather than cities, although they are called by the latter
title, visible on the right hand, embowered in woods and stretching
along the beach. Such are the “Mississippi City,” Pass Cagoula, and Pass
Christian, &c.--all resorts of the inhabitants of New Orleans during the
summer heats and the epidemics which play such havoc with life from time
to time. Seen from sea, these huge hamlets look very picturesque. The
detached villas, of every variety of architecture, are painted brightly
and stand in gardens in the midst of magnolias and rhododendrons. Very
long and slender piers lead far into the sea before the very door, and
at the extremity of each there is a bathing box for the inmates. The
general effect of one of these settlements, with its light domes and
spires, long lines of whitewashed railings, and houses of every hue set
in the dark green of the pines, is very pretty. The steamer touched at
two of them. There was a motley group of colored people on the jetty, a
few whites, of whom the males were nearly all in uniform; a few bales of
goods were landed or put on board, and that was all one could see of the
life of that place. Our passengers never ceased talking politics all
day, except when they were eating or drinking, for I regret to say they
can continue to chew and to spit while they are engaged in political
discussion. Some were rude provincials in uniform. One was an
acquaintance from the far East, who had been a lieutenant on board of
the Minnesota, and had resigned his commission in order to take service
under the Confederate flag. The fiercest among them all was a thin
little lady, who uttered certain energetic aspirations for the
possession of portions of Mr. Lincoln’s person, and who was kind enough
to express intense satisfaction at the intelligence that there was
small-pox among the garrison at Monroe. In the evening a little
difficulty occurred among some of the military gentlemen, during which
one of the logicians drew a revolver, and presented it at the head of
the gentleman who was opposed to his peculiar views, but I am happy to
say that an arrangement, to which I was an unwilling “party,” for the
row took place within a yard of me, was entered into for a fight to come
off on shore in two days after they landed, which led to the
postponement of immediate murder.

The entrance to Pontchartrain Lake is infamous for the abundance of its
mosquitoes, and it was with no small satisfaction that we experienced a
small tornado, a thunderstorm, and a breeze of wind which saved us from
their fury. It is a dismal canal through a swamp. At daylight the vessel
lay alongside a wharf surrounded by small boats and bathing stations. A
railway-shed receives us on shore, and a train is soon ready to start
for the city, which is six miles distant. For a few hundred yards the
line passes between wooden houses, used as restaurants, or “restaurats,”
as they are called hereaway, kept by people with French names and using
the French tongue; then the rail plunges through a swamp, dense as an
Indian jungle, and with the overflowings of the Mississippi creeping in
feeble, shallow currents over the black mud. Presently the spires of
churches are seen rising above the underwood and rushes. Then we come
out on a wide marshy plain, in which flocks of cattle up to the belly in
mud are floundering to get at the rich herbage on the unbroken surface.
Next comes a wide-spread suburb of exceedingly broad lanes, lined with
small one-storied houses. The inhabitants are pale, lean, and sickly,
and there is about the men a certain look, almost peculiar to the
fishy-fleshy populations of Levantine towns, which I cannot describe,
but which exists all along the Mediterranean seaboard, and crops out
here again. The drive through badly-paved streets enables us to see that
there is an air of French civilization about New Orleans. The streets
are wisely adapted to the situation; they are not so wide as to permit
the sun to have it all his own way from rising to setting. The shops are
“magasins;” cafés abound. The colored population looks well dressed, and
is going to mass or market in the early morning. The pavements are
crowded with men in uniform, in which the taste of France is generally
followed. The carriage stops at last, and rest comes gratefully after
the stormy night, the mosquitoes, “the noise of the captains” (at the
bar), and the shouting.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 22.--The prevalence of the war spirit here is in everything somewhat
exaggerated by the fervor of Gallic origin, and the violence of popular
opinion and the tyranny of the mass are as potent as in any place in the
South. The great house of Brown Brothers, of Liverpool and New York, has
closed its business here in consequence of the intimidation of the mob,
or, as the phrase is, of the “citizens,” who were “excited” by seeing
that the firm had subscribed to the New York fund, on its sudden
resurrection after Fort Sumter had fallen. Some other houses are about
to pursue the same course; all large business transactions are over for
the season, and the migratory population which comes here to trade has
taken wing much earlier than usual. But the streets are full of “Turcos”
and “Zouaves” and “Chasseurs;” the tailors are busy night and day on
uniforms; the walls are covered with placards for recruits, the
seamstresses are sewing flags, the ladies are carding lint and stitching
cartridge bags. The newspapers are crowded with advertisements relating
to the formation of new companies of Volunteers and the election of
officers. There are Pickwick Rifles, Lafayette, Beauregard, Irish,
German, Scotch, Italian, Spanish, Crescent, McMahon--innumerable--Rifle
Volunteers of all names and nationalities, and the Meagher Rifles,
indignant with “that valiant son of Mars” because he has drawn his sword
for the North, have re-baptized themselves, and are going to seek glory
under a more auspicious nomenclature. About New Orleans I shall have
more to say when I see more of it. At present it looks very like an
outlying suburb of Chalons when the Grand Camp is at its highest
military development, although the thermometer is rising gradually, and
obliges one to know occasionally that it can be 95° in the shade
already. In the course of my journeying southward I have failed to find
much evidence that there is any apprehension on the part of the planters
of a servile insurrection, or that the slaves are taking much interest
in the coming contest, or know what it is about. But I have my
suspicions that all is not right; paragraphs meet the eye, and odd
sentences strike the ear, and little facts here and there come to the
knowledge which arouse curiosity and doubt. There is one stereotyped
sentence which I am tired of: “Our negroes, Sir, are the happiest, the
most contented, and the best off of any people in the world.”

The violence and reiterancy of this formula cause one to inquire whether
anything which demands such insistance is really in the condition
predicated, and, for myself, I always say, “It may be so, but as yet I
do not see the proof of it. The negroes do not look to be what you say
they are.” For the present that is enough as to one’s own opinions.
Externally the paragraphs which attract attention, and the acts of the
authorities, are inconsistent with the notion that the negroes are all
very good, very happy, or at all contented, not to speak of their being
in the superlative condition of enjoyment; and, as I only see them, as
yet, in the most superficial way, and under the most favorable
circumstances, it may be that when the cotton-picking season is at its
height, and it lasts for several months, when the labor is continuous
from sunrise to sunset, there is less reason to accept the assertions as
so largely and generally true of the vast majority of the slaves. “There
is an excellent gentleman over there,” said a friend to me, “who gives
his overseers a premium of $10 on the birth of every child on his
plantation.” “Why so?” “Oh, in order that the overseers may not work
the women in the family-way overmuch.” There is little use in this part
of the world in making use of inferences. But where overseers do not get
the premium, it may be supposed they do work the pregnant women too
much. Here are two paragraphs which do not look very well as they stand:

     “Those negroes who were taken with a sudden leaving on Sunday night
     last will save the country the expenses of their burial if they
     keep dark from these parts. They and other of the ‘breden’ will not
     be permitted to express themselves quite so freely in regard to
     their braggadocio designs upon virtue in the absence of
     volunteers.”--[Wilmington (Clintock County, Ohio,) _Watchman_
     (Republican).

     “SERVED HIM RIGHT.--One day last week some colored individual,
     living near South Plymouth, made a threat that, in case a civil war
     should occur, ‘he would be one to ravish the wife of every
     Democrat, and to help murder their offspring and wash his hands in
     their blood.’ For this diabolical assertion he was hauled up before
     a committee of white citizens, who adjudged him forty stripes on
     his naked back. He was accordingly stripped, and the lashes were
     laid on with such good will, that the blood flowed at the end of
     the castigation.--[Washington (Fayette County, Ohio,) _Register_
     (Neutral).

It is reported that the patrols are strengthened, and I could not help
hearing a charming young lady say to another, the other evening, that
“she would not be afraid to go back to the plantation, though Mrs. Brown
Jones said she was afraid her negroes were after mischief.”

There is a great scarcity of powder, which is one of the reasons,
perhaps, why it has not yet been expended as largely as might be
expected from the tone and temper on both sides. There is no sulphur in
the States--nitre and charcoal abound. The sea is open to the North.
There is no great overplus of money on either side. In Missouri, the
interest on the State debt due in July will be used to procure arms for
the State volunteers to carry on the war. The South is preparing for the
struggle by sowing a most unusual quantity of grain, and in many fields
corn and maize have been planted instead of cotton. “Stay laws,” by
which all inconveniences arising from the usual, dull, old-fashioned
relations between debtor and creditor are avoided (at least by the
debtor), have been adopted in most of the Seceding States. How is it
that the State Legislatures seem to be in the hands of the debtors, and
not of the creditors?

There are some who cling to the idea that there will be no war, after
all; but no one believes that the South will ever go back of its own
free will, and the only reason that can be given for those who hope
rather than think in that way, is to be found in the faith that the
North will accept some mediation, and will let the South go in peace.
But could there, can there be peace? The frontier question, the
adjustment of various claims, the demands for indemnity, or for
privileges or exemptions, in the present state of feeling, can have but
one result. The task of mediation is sure to be as thankless as
abortive. Assuredly the proffered service of England would, on one side
at least, be received with something like insult. Nothing but adversity
can teach these people its own most useful lessons. Material prosperity
has puffed up the citizens to an unwholesome state. The toils and
sacrifices of the Old World have been taken by them as their birthright,
and they have accepted the fruits of all that the science, genius,
suffering, and trials of mankind in time past have wrought out,
perfected, and won as their own peculiar inheritance, while they have
ignorantly rejected the advice and scorned the lessons with which these
were accompanied.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 23.--The Congress at Montgomery, having sat with closed doors almost
since it met, has now adjourned till July the 20th, when it will
reassemble at Richmond, in Virginia, which is thus designated, for the
time, capital of the Confederate States of America. Richmond, the
principal city of the old Dominion, is about one hundred miles in a
straight line south by west of Washington. The rival capitals will thus
be in very close proximity by rail and by steam, by land and by water.
The movement is significant. It will tend to hasten a collision between
the forces which are collected on the opposite sides of the Potomac.
Hitherto, Mr. Jefferson Davis has not evinced all the sagacity and
energy, in a military sense, which he is said to possess. It was bad
strategy to menace Washington before he could act. His Secretary of War,
Mr. Walker, many weeks ago, in a public speech, announced the intention
of marching upon the capital. If it was meant to do so, the blow should
have been struck silently. If it was not intended to seize upon
Washington, the threat had a very disastrous effect on the South, as it
excited the North to immediate action, and caused General Scott to
concentrate his troops on points which present many advantages in the
face of any operations which may be considered necessary along the
lines either of defence or attack. The movement against the Norfolk Navy
Yard strengthened Fortress Monroe, and the Potomac and Chesapeake were
secured to the United States. The fortified ports held by the Virginians
and the Confederate States troops, are not of much value as long as the
streams are commanded by the enemy’s steamers; and General Scott has
shown that he has not outlived either his reputation or his vigor by the
steps, at once wise and rapid, he has taken to curb the malcontents in
Maryland, and to open his communications through the City of Baltimore.
Although immense levies of men may be got together on both sides for
purposes of local defence or for State operations, it seems to me that
it will be very difficult to move these masses in regular armies. The
men are not disposed for regular, lengthened service, and there is an
utter want of field trains, equipment, and commissariat, which cannot be
made good in a day, a week, or a month.

The bill passed by the Montgomery Congress, entitled “An act to raise an
additional military force to serve during the war,” is, in fact, a
measure to put into the hands of the Government the control of irregular
bodies of men, and to bind them to regular military service. With all
their zeal, the people of the South will not enlist. They detest the
recruiting sergeant, and Mr. Davis knows enough of war to feel
hesitation in trusting himself in the field to volunteers. The bill
authorizes Mr. Davis to accept volunteers, who may offer their services,
without regard to the place of enlistment, “to serve during the war,
unless sooner discharged.” They may be accepted in companies, but Mr.
Davis is to organize them into squadrons, battalions, or regiments, and
the appointment of field and staff officers is reserved especially to
him. The company officers are to be elected by the men of the company,
but here again Mr. Davis reserves to himself the right of veto, and will
only commission those officers whose election he approves.

The absence of cavalry and the deficiency of artillery may prevent
either side obtaining any decisive results in one engagement, but no
doubt there will be great loss whenever these large masses of men are
fairly opposed to each other in the field. Of the character of the
Northern regiments I can say nothing more from actual observation, nor
have I yet seen in any place such a considerable number of the troops of
the Confederate States moving together, as would justify me in
expressing any opinion with regard to their capacity for organized
movements such as regular troops in Europe are expected to perform. An
intelligent and trustworthy observer, taking one of the New York State
Militia regiments as a fair specimen of the battalions which will fight
for the United States, gives an account of them which leads me to the
conclusion that such regiments are much superior when furnished by the
country districts to those raised in the towns and cities. It appears in
this case, at least, that the members of the regular militia companies
in general send substitutes to the ranks. Ten of these companies form
the regiment, and in nearly every instance they have been doubled in
strength by volunteers. Their drill is exceedingly incomplete, and in
forming the companies there is a tendency for the different
nationalities to keep themselves together. In the regiment in question,
the rank and file often consists of quarrymen, mechanics, and canal
boatmen, mountaineers from the Catskill, bark peelers and timber
cutters--ungainly, square-built, powerful fellows, with a Dutch tenacity
of purpose crossed with an English indifference to danger. There is no
drunkenness and no desertion among them. The officers are almost as
ignorant of military training as their men. The Colonel, for instance,
is the son of a rich man in his district, well educated, and a man of
travel. Another officer is a shipmaster. A third is an artist; others
are merchants and lawyers, and they are all busy studying “Hardee’s
Tactics,” the best book for infantry drill in the United States. The men
have come out to fight for what they consider the cause of theo cuntry,
and are said to have no particular hatred of the South or of its
inhabitants, though they think they are “a darned deal too high and
mighty, and require to be wiped down considerably.” They have no notion
as to the length of time for which their services will be required, and
I am assured that not one of them has asked what his pay is to be.

Reverting to Montgomery, one may say without offence, that its claims to
be the capital of a Republic which asserts that it is the richest, and
believes that it will be the strongest in the world, are not by any
means evident to a stranger. Its central position, which has reference
rather to a map than to the hard face of matter, procured for it a
distinction to which it had no other claim. The accommodations which
suited the modest wants of a State Legislature vanished or were
transmuted into barbarous inconveniences by the pressure of a central
government, with its offices, its departments, and the vast crowd of
applicants which flocked thither to pick up such crumbs of comfort as
could be spared from the Executive table. Never shall I forget the
dismay of myself, and of the friends who were travelling with me, on our
arrival at the Exchange Hotel, under circumstances with some of which
you are already acquainted. With us were men of high position, Members
of Congress, Senators, ex-Governors, and General Beauregard himself. But
to no one was greater accommodation extended than could be furnished by
a room held, under a sort of ryot-warree tenure, in common with a
community of strangers. My room was shown to me. It contained four large
fourpost beds, a ricketty table, and some chairs of infirm purpose and
fundamental unsoundness. The floor was carpetless, covered with litter
of paper and ends of cigars, and stained with tobacco juice. The broken
glass of the window afforded no ungrateful means of ventilation. One
gentleman sat in his shirt sleeves at the table reading the account of
the marshalling of the Highlanders at Edinburgh in the Abbotsford
edition of Sir Walter Scott; another, who had been wearied, apparently,
by writing numerous applications to the Government for some military
post, of which rough copies lay scattered around, came in, after
refreshing himself at the bar, and occupied one of the beds, which,
by-the-bye, were ominously provided with two pillows apiece. Supper
there was none for us in the house, but a search in an outlying street,
enabled us to discover a restaurant, where roasted squirrels and baked
opossums figured as luxuries in the bill of fare. On our return we found
that due preparation had been made in the apartment by the addition of
three mattresses on the floor. The beds were occupied by unknown
statesmen and warriors, and we all slumbered and snored in friendly
concert till morning. Gentlemen in the South complain that strangers
judge of them by their hotels, but it is a very natural standard for
strangers to adopt, and in respect to Montgomery it is almost the only
one that a gentleman can conveniently use; for, if the inhabitants of
this city and its vicinity are not maligned, there is an absence of the
hospitable spirit which the South lays claim to as one of its animating
principles, and a little bird whispered to me that from Mr. Jefferson
Davis down to the least distinguished member of his Government, there
was reason to observe that the usual attentions and civilities offered
by residents to illustrious stragglers had been “conspicuous for their
absence.” The fact is, that the small planters, who constitute the
majority of the land-owners, are not in a position to act the
Amphytrion, and that the inhabitants of the district can scarcely aspire
to be considered what we would call gentry in England, but are a frugal,
simple, hog and hominy-living people, fond of hard work and,
occasionally, of hard drinking.

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW ORLEANS, May 24, 1861.

It is impossible to resist the conviction that the Southern Confederacy
can only be conquered by means as irresistible as those by which Poland
was subjugated. The South will fall, if at all, as a nation prostrate at
the feet of a victorious enemy. There is no doubt of the unanimity of
the people. If words mean anything, they are animated by only one
sentiment, and they will resist the North as long as they can command a
man or a dollar. There is nothing of a sectional character in this
disposition of the South. In every State there is only one voice
audible. Hereafter, indeed, State jealousies may work their own way.
Whatever may be the result, unless the men are the merest braggarts--and
they do not look like it--they will fight to the last before they give
in, and their confidence in their resources is only equalled by their
determination to test them to the utmost. There is a noisy vociferation
about their declarations of implicit trust and, reliance on their
slaves, which makes one think they do “protest too much,” and it remains
to be seen whether the slaves really will remain faithful to their
masters should the Abolition army ever come among them as an armed
propaganda. One thing is obvious here. A large number of men who might
be usefully employed in the ranks are idling about the streets. The
military enthusiasm is in proportion to the property interest of the
various classes of the people; and the very boast that so many rich men
are serving in the ranks is a significant proof either of the want of
substratum, or of the absence of great devotion to the cause of any such
layer of white people as may underlie the great slaveholding,
mercantile, and planting oligarchy. The whole State of Louisiana
contains about 50,000 men liable to serve when called on. Of that number
only 15,000 are enrolled and under arms in any shape whatever; and if
one is to judge of the state of affairs by the advertisements which
appear from the Adjutant-General’s office, there was some difficulty in
procuring the 3,000 men--merely 3,000 volunteers--“to serve during the
war,” who are required by the Confederate Government. There is plenty of
“prave lords,” and if fierce writing and talking could do work, the
armies on both sides would have been killed and eaten long ago. It is
found out that “the lives of the citizens” at Pensacola are too valuable
to be destroyed in attacking Pickens. A storm that shall drive away the
ships, a plague, yellow fever, mosquitoes, rattlesnakes, small-pox--any
of these agencies is looked to with confidence to do the work of shot,
shell, and bayonet. Our American “brethren in arms” have yet to learn
that great law in American cookery, that “if they want to make omelets
they must break eggs.” The “moral suasion” of the lasso, of
head-shaving, ducking, kicking, and such processes, are, I suspect, used
not unfrequently to stimulate volunteers; and the extent to which the
acts of the recruiting officer are somewhat aided by the arm of the law,
and the force of the policeman and the magistrate, may be seen from
paragraphs in the morning papers now and then, to the effect that
certain gentlemen of Milesian extraction, who might have been engaged in
pugilistic pursuits, were discharged from custody, unpunished, on
condition that they enlisted for the war. With the peculiar views
entertained of freedom of opinion and action by large classes of people
on this continent, such a mode of obtaining volunteers is very natural,
but resort to it evinces a want of zeal on the part of some of the
50,000 who are on the rolls; and, from all I can hear--and I have asked
numerous persons likely to be acquainted with the subject--there are not
more than those 15,000 men of whom I have spoken in all the State under
arms, or in training, of whom a considerable proportion will be needed
for garrison and coast defence duties. It may be that the Northern
States and Northern sentiments are as violent as the South, but I see
some evidences to the contrary. For instance, in New York ladies and
gentlemen from the South are permitted to live at their favorite hotels
without molestation; and one hotel-keeper at Saratoga Springs advertises
openly for the custom of his Southern patrons. In no city of the South
which I have visited would a party of Northern people be permitted to
remain for an hour if the “citizens” were aware of their presence. It is
laughable to hear men speaking of the “unanimity” of the South. Just
look at the peculiar means by which unanimity is enforced and secured.
This is an extract from a New Orleans paper:

     "CHARGES OF ABOLITIONISM.--Mayor Monroe has disposed of some of the
     cases brought before him on charges of this kind by sending the
     accused to the workhouse.

     “A Mexican, named Bernard Cruz, born in Tampico, and living here
     with an Irish wife, was brought before the Mayor this morning,
     charged with uttering Abolition sentiments. After a full
     investigation, it was found that from the utterance of his
     incendiary language, that Cruz’s education was not yet perfect in
     Southern classics, and his Honor therefore directed that he be sent
     for six months to the Humane Institution for the Amelioration of
     the Condition of Northern Barbarians and Abolition Fanatics,
     presided over by Professor Henry Mitchell, keeper of the workhouse,
     and who will put him through a course of study on Southern ethics
     and institutions.

     “The testimony before him on Saturday, however, in the case of a
     man named David O’Keefe, was such as to induce him to commit the
     accused for trial before the Criminal Court. One of the witnesses
     testified positively that she heard him make his children shout for
     Lincoln; another, that the accused said, ‘I am an Abolitionist,’
     &c. The witnesses, neighbors of the accused, gave their evidence
     reluctantly, saying they had warned him of the folly and danger of
     his conduct. O’Keefe says he has been a United States soldier, and
     came here from St. Louis and Kansas.

     “John White was arraigned before Recorder Emerson on Saturday for
     uttering incendiary language while travelling in the baggage car of
     a train of the New Orleans, Ohio and Great Western Railroad,
     intimating that the decapitator of Jefferson Davis would get
     $10,000 for his trouble, and the last man of us would be whipped
     like dogs by the Lincolnites. He was held under bonds of $500 to
     answer the charge on the 8th of June.

     “Nicholas Gento, charged with declaring himself an Abolitionist,
     and acting very much like he was one by harboring a runaway slave,
     was sent to prison, in default of bail, to await an examination
     before the Recorder.”

Such is “freedom of speech” in Louisiana! But in Texas the machinery for
the production of “unanimity” is less complicated, and there are no
insulting legal formalities connected with the working of the simple
appliances which a primitive agricultural people have devised for their
own purposes. Hear the Texan correspondent of one of the journals of
this city on the subject. “It is to us astonishing,” he says,

     “That such unmitigated lies as those Northern papers disseminate as
     anarchy and disorder here in Texas, dissension among ourselves, and
     especially from our German, &c., population, with dangers and
     anxieties from the fear of insurrection among the negroes, &c.,
     should be deemed anywhere South worthy of a moment’s thought. It is
     surely notorious enough that in no part of the South are
     Abolitionists or other disturbers of the public peace so very
     unsafe as in Texas. The _lasso_ is so _very_ convenient!"

Here is an excellent method of preventing dissension described by a
stroke of the pen; and, as such, an ingenious people are not likely to
lose sight of the uses of a revolution in developing peculiar principles
to their own advantage, repudiation of debts to the North has been
proclaimed and acted on. One gentleman has found it convenient to inform
Major Anderson that he does not intend to meet certain bills which he
had given the Major for some slaves. Another declares he won’t pay
anybody at all, as he has discovered it is immoral and contrary to the
laws of nations to do so. A third feels himself bound to obey the
commands of the Governor of his State, who has ordered that debts due to
the North shall not be liquidated. As a _naive_ specimen of the way in
which the whole case is treated, take this article and the
correspondence of “one of the most prominent mercantile houses of New
Orleans:”

     SOUTHERN DEBTS TO THE NORTH.

     “_The Cincinnati Gazette_ copies the following paragraph from _The
     New York Evening Post_:

     “‘BAD FAITH.--The bad faith of the Southern merchants in their
     transactions with their Northern correspondents is becoming more
     evident daily. We have heard of several recent cases where parties
     in this city, retired from active business, have, nevertheless,
     stepped forward to protect the credit of their Southern friends.
     They are now coolly informed that they cannot be reimbursed for
     these advances until the war is over. We know of a retired merchant
     who in this way has lost $100,000.’--and adds:

     “‘The same here. Men who have done most for the South are the chief
     sufferers. Debts are coolly repudiated by the Southern merchants,
     who have heretofore enjoyed a first-class reputation. Men who have
     grown rich upon the trade furnished by the West are among the first
     to pocket the money of their correspondents, asking, with all the
     impudence and assurance of a highwayman, “What are you going to do
     about it?” There is honor among thieves, it is said, but there is
     not a spark of honor among these repudiating merchants. People who
     have aided and trusted them to the last moment are the greatest
     losers. There is a future, however. This war will be over, and the
     Southern merchants will desire a resumption of their connections
     with the West. As the repudiators--such as Goodrich & Co. of New
     Orleans--will be spurned, there will be a grand opening for honest
     men.

     “‘There are many honorable exceptions in the South, but dishonesty
     is the rule. The latter is but the development of latent rascality.
     The rebellion has afforded a pretext merely for the swindling
     operations. The parties previously acted honestly, only because
     that was the best policy. The sifting process that may now be
     conducted will be of advantage to Northern merchants in the future.
     The present losses will be fully made up by subsequent gains.’

     “We have been requested to copy the following reply to this tirade
     from one of our most prominent mercantile houses, Messrs. Goodrich
     & Co.:


     “‘NEW ORLEANS, May 24, 1861.

     “‘CINCINNATI GAZETTE.--We were handed, through a friend of ours,
     your issue of the 18th inst., and attention directed to an article
     contained therein, in which you are pleased to particularize us out
     of a large number of highly respectable merchants of this and other
     Southern cities as repudiators, swindlers, and other epithets,
     better suited to the mouths of the Wilson Regiment of New York than
     from a once respectable sheet, but now has sunk so low in the
     depths of niggerdom, that it would take all the soap in Porkopolis
     and the Ohio River to cleanse it from its foul pollution.

     “‘We are greatly indebted to you for using our name in the above
     article, as we deem it the best card you could publish for us, and
     may add greatly to our business relations in the Confederate
     States, which will enable us in the end to pay our indebtedness to
     those who propose cutting our throats, destroying our property,
     stealing our negroes, and starving our wives and children, to pay
     such men in times of war. You may term it rascality, but we beg
     leave to call it patriotism.

     “‘Giving the sinews of war to your enemies have ever been
     considered as treason.--Kent.

     “‘Now for ‘repudiating.’ We have never, nor do we ever expect to
     repudiate any debt owing by our firm. But this much we will say,
     never will we pay a debt due by us to a man, or any company of men,
     who is a known Black Republican, and marching in battle array to
     invade our homes and firesides, until every such person shall be
     driven back, and their polluted footsteps shall, now on our once
     happy soil, be entirely obliterated.

     “‘We have been in business in this city for twenty years, have
     passed through every crisis with our names untarnished or credit
     impaired, and would at present sacrifice all we have made, were it
     necessary, to sustain our credit in the Confederacy, but care
     nothing for the opinions of such as are open and avowed enemies. We
     are sufficiently known in this city not to require the indorsement
     of _The Cincinnati Gazette_, or any such sheet, for a character.

     “‘The day is coming, and not far distant, when there will be an
     awful reckoning, and we are willing and determined to stand by our
     Confederate flag, sink or swim, and would like to meet some of _The
     Gazette’s_ editors _vis-à-vis_ on the field of blood, and see who
     would be the first to flinch.

     “‘Our senior partner has already contributed one darkey this year
     to your population, and she is anxious to return, but we have a few
     more left which you can have, provided you will come and take them
     yourselves.

     “‘We have said more than we intended, and hope you will give this a
     place in your paper.

     GOODRICH & Co.’”

There is some little soreness felt here about the use of the word
“repudiation,” and it will do the hearts of some people good, and will
carry comfort to the ghost of the Rev. Sydney Smith, if it can hear the
tidings, to know I have been assured, over and over again, by eminent
mercantile people and statesmen, that there is “a general desire” on the
part of the repudiating States to pay their bonds, and that no doubt, at
some future period, not very clearly ascertainable or plainly indicated,
that general desire will cause some active steps to be taken to satisfy
its intensity, of a character very unexpected, and very gratifying to
those interested. The tariff of the Southern Confederation has just been
promulgated, and I send herewith a copy of the rates. Simultaneously,
however, with this document, the United States steam frigates Brooklyn
and Niagara have made their appearance off the Pas-à-l’Outre, and the
Mississippi is closed, and with it the port of New Orleans. The
steam-tugs refuse to tow out vessels for fear of capture, and British
ships are in jeopardy.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 25.--A visit to the camp at Tangipao, about fifty miles from New
Orleans, gave an occasion for obtaining a clearer view of the internal
military condition of those forces of which one reads much, and sees so
little, than any other way. Major-General Lewis of the State Militia,
and staff, and General Labuzan, a Creole officer, attended by Major
Ranney, President of the New-Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern
Railway, and by many officers in uniform, started with that purpose at
4:30 this evening in a rail-carriage, carefully and comfortably fitted
for their reception. The militia of Louisiana has not been called out
for many years, and its officers have no military experience, and the
men have no drill or discipline.

Emerging from the swampy suburbs, we soon pass between white clover
pastures, which we are told invariably salivate the herds of small but
plump cattle browsing upon them. Soon cornfields “in tassel,” alternate
with long narrow rows of growing sugar-cane, which, though scarcely a
fourth of the height of the maize, will soon over-shadow it; and the
cane-stalks grow up so densely together that nothing larger than a
rattle-snake can pass between them.

From Kennersville, an ancient sugar plantation cut up into “town lots,”
our first halt, ten miles out, we shoot through a cypress swamp, the
primitive forest of this region, and note a greater affluence of Spanish
moss than in the woods of Georgia or Carolina. There it hung, like a
hermit’s beard, from the pensile branch. Here, to one who should
venture to thread the snake and alligator haunted mazes of the jungle,
its matted profusion must resemble clusters of stalactites pendent from
the roof of some vast cavern; for the gloom of an endless night appears
to pervade the deeper recesses, at the entrance of which stand, like
outlying skeleton pickets, the unfelled and leafless patriarchs of the
clearing, that for a breadth of perhaps fifty yards on either side seems
to have furnished the road with its sleepers.

The gray swamp yields to an open savannah, beyond which, upon the left,
a straggling line of sparse trees skirts the left bank of the
Mississippi, and soon after the broad expanse of Lake Pontchartrain
appears within gunshot of our right, only separated from the road by one
hundred yards or more of rush-covered prairie, which seems but a feeble
barrier against the caprices of so extensive a sheet of water subject to
the influences of wind and tide. In fact, ruined shanties and outhouses,
fields laid waste, and prostrate fences remain evidences of the ravages
of the “Wash” which a year ago inundated and rendered the railroad
impassable save for boats. The down trains first notice of the disaster
was the presence of a two-story frame building, which the waves had
transported to the road, and its passengers, detained a couple of days
in what now strikes us as a most grateful combination of timber-skirted
meadow and lake scenery, were rendered insensible to its beauties by the
torments of hungry mosquitoes. Had its engineers given the road but
eighteen inches more elevation its patrons would have been spared this
suffering, and its stock-holders might have rejoiced in a dividend. Many
of the settlers have abandoned their improvements. Others, chiefly what
are here called Dutchmen, have resumed their tillage with unabated zeal,
and large fields of cabbages, one of them embracing not less than sixty
acres, testify to their energy.

Again through miles of cypress swamps the train passes on to what is
called the “trembling prairie,” where the sleepers are laid upon a
tressel-work of heavier logs, so that the rails are raised by “cribs” of
timber nearly a yard above the morass. Three species of rail, one of
them as large as a curlew, and the summer duck, seem the chief occupants
of the marsh, but white cranes and brown bitterns take the alarm, and
falcons and long-tailed “blackbirds” sail in the distance.

Toward sunset a halt took place upon the long bridge that divides Lake
Maurepas, a picturesque sheet of water which blends with the horizon on
our left, from Pass Maunshae, an arm of Lake Pontchartrain, which
disappears in the forest on our right. Half a dozen wherries and a small
fishing-smack are moored in front of a rickety cabin, crowded by the
jungle to the margin of the cove. It is the first token of a settlement
that has occurred for miles, and when we have sufficiently admired the
scene, rendered picturesque in the sunset by the dense copse, the water
and the bright colors of the boats at rest upon it, a commotion at the
head of the train arises from the unexpected arrival upon the “switch”
of a long string of cars filled with half a regiment of Volunteers, who
had been enlisted for twelve months’ service, and now refused to be
mustered in for the war, as required by the recent enactment of the
Montgomery Congress. The new comers are at length safely lodged on the
“turn off,” and our train continues its journey. As we pass the row of
cars, most of them freight wagons, we are hailed with shouts and yells
in every key by the disbanded Volunteers, who seem a youngish,
poorly-clad, and undersized lot, though noisy as a street mob.

After Maunshae, the road begins to creep up toward _terra firma_, and
before nightfall there was a change from cypresses and swamp laurels to
pines and beeches, and we inhale the purer atmosphere of dry land, with
an occasional whiff of resinous fragrance, that dispels the
fever-tainted suggestions of the swamp below. There we only breathed to
live. Here we seem to live to breathe. The rise of the road is a grade
of but a foot to the mile, and yet at the camp an elevation of not more
than eighty feet in as many miles suffices to establish all the climatic
difference between the malarious marshes and a much higher mountain
region.

But during our journey the hampers have not been neglected. The younger
members of the party astonish the night-owls with patriotic songs,
chiefly French, and the French chiefly with the “Marseillaise,” which,
however inappropriate as the slogan of the Confederate States, they
persist in quavering, forgetful, perhaps, that not three-quarters of a
century ago Toussaiant l’Ouverture caught the words and air from his
masters, and awoke the lugubrious notes of the insurrection.

Towards nine P. M., the special car rests in the woods, and is flanked
on one side by the tents and watch-fires of a small encampment, chiefly
of navvy and cotton-handling Milesian volunteers, called “the Tigers,”
from their prehensile powers and predatory habits. A guard is stationed
around the car; a couple of Ethiopians who have attended us from town
are left to answer the query, _quis custodiet ipsos custodes?_ and we
make our way to the hotel, which looms up in the moonlight in a
two-storied dignity. Here, alas! there have been no preparations made to
sleep or feed us. The scapegoat “nobody” announced our coming. Some of
the guests are club men, used to the small hours, who engage a room, a
table, half a dozen chairs, and a brace of bottles to serve as
candlesticks. They have brought stearine and pasteboards with them, and
are soon deep in the finesses of “Euchre.” We quietly stroll back to the
car, our only hope of shelter. At the entrance we are challenged by a
sentry, apparently ignorant that he has a percussion cap on his brown
rifle, which he levels at us cocked. From this unpleasant vision of an
armed and reckless Tiger rampant we are relieved by one of the dusky
squires, who assures the sentinel that we are “all right,” and proceeds
to turn over a seat and arrange what might be called a sedan-chair bed,
in which we prepare to make a night of it. Our party is soon joined by
others in quest of repose, and in half an hour breathings, some of them
so deep as to seem subterranean, indicate that all have attained their
object--like Manfred’s--forgetfulness.

An early breakfast of rashers and eggs was prepared at the _table
d’hôte_, which we were told would be replenished half-hourly until noon,
when a respite of an hour was allowed to the “help” in which to make
ready a dinner, to be served in the same progression.

Through a shady dingle a winding path led to the camp, and, after
trudging a pleasant half mile, a bridge of boards, resting on a couple
of trees laid across a pool, was passed, and, above a slight embankment,
tents and soldiers are revealed upon a “clearing” of some thirty acres
in the midst of a pine forest. Turning to the left, we reach a double
row of tents, only distinguished from the rest by their “fly roofs” and
boarded floors, and, in the centre, halt opposite to one which a poster
of capitals on a planed deal marks as “Head-quarters.” Major-General
Tracy commands the camp. The white tents crouching close to the shade of
the pines, the parade alive with groups and colors as various as those
of Joseph’s coat, arms stacked here and there, and occasionally the
march of a double file in green, or in mazarine blue, up an alley from
the interior of the wood, to be dismissed in the open camp, resembles a
militia muster, or a holiday experiment at soldiering, rather than the
dark shadow of forthcoming battle. The cordon of sentinels suffer no
Volunteer to leave the precincts of the camp, even to bathe, without a
pass or the word. There are neither wagons nor ambulances, and the men
are rolling in barrels of bacon and bread and shouldering bags of
pulse--good picnic practice and campaigning gymnastics in fair weather.

The arms of these Volunteers are the old United States smooth-bore
musket, altered from flint to percussion, with bayonet--a heavy and
obsolete copy of Brown Bess in bright barrels. All are in creditable
order. Most of them have never been used, even to fire a parade volley,
for powder is scarce in the Confederated States, and must not be wasted.
Except in their material, the shoes of the troops are as varied as their
clothing. None have as yet been served out, and each still wears the
boots, the brogans, the patent leathers, or the Oxford ties in which he
enlisted. The tents have mostly no other floor than the earth, and that
rarely swept; while blankets, boxes, and utensils are stowed in corners
with a disregard of symmetry that would drive a martinet mad. Camp
stools are rare and tables invisible, save here and there in an
officer’s tent. Still the men look well, and, we are told, would
doubtless present a more cheerful appearance, but for some little
demoralization occasioned by discontent at the repeated changes in the
organic structure of the regiments, arising from misapprehensions
between the State and Federal authorities, as well as from some
favoritism toward certain officers, effected by political wire-pulling
in the governing councils. The system of electing officers by ballot has
made the camp as thoroughly a political arena as the poll districts in
New Orleans before an election, and thus many heroes, seemingly
ambitious of epaulettes, are in reality only “laying pipes” for the
attainment of civil power or distinction after the war.

The volunteers we met at Maunshae the previous evening had been enlisted
by the State to serve for twelve months, and had refused to extend their
engagement for the war--a condition now made precedent at Montgomery to
their being mustered into the army of the Confederate States. Another
company, a majority of whom persist in the same refusal, were disbanded
while we were patrolling the camp, and an officer told one of the party
he had suffered a loss of six hundred volunteers by this disintegrating
process within the last twenty-four hours. Some of these country
companies were skilled in the use of the rifle, and most of them had
made pecuniary sacrifices in the way of time, journeys, and equipments.
Our informant deplored this reduction of volunteers, as tending to
engender dissaffection in the parishes to which they will return, and
comfort when known to the Abolitionists of the North. He added that the
war will not perhaps last a twelvemonth, and if unhappily prolonged
beyond that period, the probabilities are in favor of the short-term
recruits willingly consenting to a reënlistment.

The encampment of the “Perrit Guards” was worthy of a visit. Here was a
company of _professional gamblers_, one hundred and twelve strong,
recruited for the war in a moment of banter by one of the patriarchs of
the fraternity, who, upon hearing at the St. Charles Hotel one evening,
that the vanity or the patriotism of a citizen, not famed for
liberality, had endowed with $1,000 a company which was to bear his
name, exclaimed that “he would give $1,500 to any one who should be fool
enough to form a company and call it after him.” In less than an hour
after the utterance of this caprice, Mr. Perrit was waited upon by
fifty-six “professionals,” who had enrolled their names as the “Perrit
Guards,” and unhesitatingly produced from his wallet the sum so
sportively pledged. The Guards are uniformed in Mazarin blue flannel
with red facings, and the captain, a youngish-looking fellow, with a
hawk’s eye, who has seen service with Scott in Mexico and Walker in
Nicaragua, informed us that there is not a pair of shoes in the company
that cost less than six dollars, and that no money has been spared to
perfect their other appointments. A sack of ice and half a dozen silver
goblets enforced his invitation “to take a drink at his quarters,” and
we were served by an African in uniform, who afterward offered us cigars
received by the last Havana steamer. Looking at the sable attendant, one
of the party observes that if these “experts of fortune win the present
fight, it will be a case of _couleur gagne_.”

It would be difficult to find in the same number of men taken at hazard
greater diversities of age, stature, and physiognomy; but in keenness of
eye and imperturbility of demeanor they exhibit a family likeness, and
there is not an unintelligent face in the company. The gamblers, or, as
they are termed, the “sports,” of the United States have an air of
higher breeding and education than the dice-throwers and card-turners of
Ascot or Newmarket--nay, they may be considered the Anglo-Saxon equals,
minus the title, of those _âmes damnées_ of the continental nobility who
are styled Greeks by their Parisian victims. They are the Pariahs of
American civilization, who are, nevertheless, in daily and familiar
intercourse with their patrons, and not restricted, as in England, to a
betting-ring toleration by the higher orders. The Guards are the model
company of Camp Moore, and I should have felt disposed to admire the
spirit of gallantry with which they have volunteered in this war as a
purification by fire of their maculated lives, were it not hinted that
the “Oglethorpe Guards,” and more than one other company of volunteers,
are youths of large private fortunes, and that in the Secession, as in
the Mexican War, these patriots will doubtless pursue their old calling
with as much profit as they may their new one with valor.

From the Lower Camp we wind through tents, which diminish in neatness
and cleanliness as we advance deeper, to the Upper Division, which is
styled “Camp Tracy,” a newer formation, whose brooms have been employed
with corresponding success. The adjutant’s report for the day sums up
one thousand and seventy-three rank and file, and but two on the sick
list. On a platform, a desk beneath the shade of the grove holds a Bible
and Prayer-book, that await the arrival at ten o’clock of the Methodist
preacher, who is to perform Divine service. The green uniforms of the
“Hibernian Guards,” and the gray and light blue dress of other
companies, appertain to a better appointed sort of men than the Lower
Division.

There may be two thousand men in Camp Moore--not more, and yet every
authority gives us a different figure. The lowest estimate acknowledged
for the two camps is three thousand five hundred men, and _The Picayune_
and other New Orleans papers still speak in glowing terms of the five
thousand heroes assembled in Tangipao. Although the muster there
presents a tolerable show of ball-stoppers, it would require months of
discipline to enable them to pass for soldiers even at the North; and
besides that General Tracy has never had other experience than in
militia duty, there is not, I think, a single West Point officer in his
whole command. The only hope of shaping such raw material to the
purposes of war, would naturally be by the admixture of a proper
allowance of military experience, and until those possessing it shall be
awarded to Camp Moore, we must sigh over the delusion which pictures its
denizens to the good people of New Orleans as “fellows ready for the
fray.”

While the hampers are being ransacked an express locomotive arrives from
town with despatches for General Tracy, who exclaims when reading them,
“Always too late!” from which expression it is inferred that orders have
been received to accept the just-disbanded volunteers. The locomotive
was hitched to the car and drew it back to the city. Our car was built
in Massachusetts, the engine in Philadelphia, and the magnifier of its
lamp in Cincinnati. What will the South do for such articles in future?

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 26.--In the evening, as I was sitting in the house of a gentleman in
the city, it was related as a topic of conversation that a very
respectable citizen named Bibb had had a difficulty with three
gentlemen, who insisted on his reading out the news for them from his
paper as he went to market in the early morning. Mr. Bibb had a revolver
“casually” in his pocket, and he shot one citizen dead on the spot, and
wounded the other two severely, if not mortally. “Great sympathy,” I am
told, “is felt for Mr. Bibb.” There has been a skirmish somewhere on the
Potomac, but Bibb has done more business “on his own hook” than any of
the belligerents up to this date; and, though I can scarcely say I
sympathize with him, far be it from me to say that I do not respect him.

One curious result of the civil war in its effects on the South will,
probably, extend itself as the conflict continues--I mean the refusal of
the employers to pay their workmen, on the ground of inability. The
natural consequence is much distress and misery. The English Consul is
harassed by applications for assistance from mechanics and skilled
laborers who are in a state bordering on destitution and starvation.
They desire nothing better than to leave the country and return to their
homes. All business, except tailoring for soldiering and cognate labors,
are suspended. Money is not to be had. Bills on New York are worth
little more than the paper, and the exchange against London is
enormous--18 per cent. discount from the par value of the gold in bank,
good draughts on England having been negotiated yesterday at 92 per
cent. One house has been compelled to accept 4 per cent. on a draught on
the North, where the rate was usually from ¼ per cent. to ½ per cent.
There is some fear that the police force will be completely broken up,
and the imagination refuses to guess at the result. The city schools
will probably be closed--altogether, things do not look well at New
Orleans. When all their present difficulties are over, a struggle
between the mob and the oligarchy, or those who have no property and
those who have, is inevitable; for one of the first acts of the
Legislature will probably be directed to establish some sort of
qualification for the right of suffrage, relying on the force which will
be at their disposal on the close of the war. As at New York, so at New
Orleans. Universal suffrage is denounced as a curse, as corruption
legalized, confiscation organized. As I sat in a well-furnished
club-room last night, listening to a most respectable, well-educated,
intelligent gentleman descanting on the practices of “the Thugs”--an
organized band who coolly and deliberately committed murder for the
purpose of intimidating Irish and German voters, and were only put down
by a Vigilance Committee, of which he was a member--I had almost to
pinch myself to see that I was not the victim of a horrid nightmare.

       *       *       *       *       *

MONDAY, MAY 27.--The Washington Artillery went off to-day to the
wars--_quo fas et gloria ducunt_; but I saw a good many of them in the
streets after the body had departed--spirits who were disembodied. Their
uniform is very becoming, not unlike that of our own foot artillery, and
they have one battery of guns in good order. I looked in vain for any
account of Mr. Bibb’s little affair yesterday in the papers. Perhaps, as
he is so very respectable, there will not be any reference to it at all.
Indeed, in some conversation on the subject last night it was admitted
that when men were very rich they might find judges and jury-men as
tender as Danae, and policeman as permeable as the walls of her dungeon.
The whole question now is, “What will be done with the blockade?” The
Confederate authorities are acting with a high hand. An American vessel,
the Ariel, which had cleared out of port with British subjects on board,
has been overtaken, captured, and her crew have been put in prison. The
ground is that she is owned in main by Black Republicans. The British
subjects have received protection from the Consul. Prizes have been
made within a league of shore, and in one instance, when the captain
protested, his ship was taken out to sea, and was then re-captured
formally. I went round to several merchants to-day; they were all gloomy
and fierce. In fact, the blockade of Mobile is announced, and that of
New Orleans has commenced, and men-of-war have been reported off the
Pas-à-l’Outre. The South is beginning to feel that it is being bottled
up all fermenting and frothing, and is somewhat surprised and angry at
the natural results of its own acts, or, at least, of the proceedings
which have brought about a state of war. Mr. Slidell did not seem at all
contented with the telegrams from the North, and confessed that “if they
had been received by way of Montgomery he should be alarmed.” The names
of persons liable for military service have been taken down in several
districts, and British subjects have been included. Several applications
have been made to Mr. Mure, the Consul, to interfere in behalf of men
who, having enlisted, are now under orders to march, and who must leave
their families destitute if they go away; but he has, of course, no
power to exercise any influence in such cases. The English journals to
the 4th of May have arrived here to-day. It is curious to see how quaint
in their absurdity the telegrams become when they have reached the age
of three weeks. I am in the hapless position of knowing, without being
able to remedy, the evils from this source, for there is no means of
sending through to New York political information of any sort by
telegraph. The electric fluid may be the means of blasting and blighting
many reputations, as there can be no doubt the revelations which the
Government at Washington will be able to obtain through the files of the
despatches it has seized at the various offices, will compromise some
whose views have recently undergone remarkable changes. It is a hint
which may not be lost on Governments in Europe when it is desirable to
know friends and foes hereafter, and despotic rulers will not be slow to
take a hint from “the land of liberty.”

Orders have been issued by the Governor to the tow-boats to take out the
English vessels by the southwest passage, and it is probable they will
all get through without any interruption on the part of the blockading
force. It may be imagined that the owners and consignees of cargoes from
England, China, and India, which are on their way here, are not at all
easy in their minds. Two of the Washington Artillery died in the train
on their way to that undefinable region called “the seat of war.”

MAY 28.--The Southern States have already received the assistance of
several thousands of savages, or red men, and “the warriors” are
actually engaged in pursuing the United States troops in Texas in
conjunction with the State Volunteers. A few days ago a deputation of
the chiefs of the Five Nations, Creeks, Choctaws, Seminoles, Camanches,
and others passed through New Orleans on their way to Montgomery, where
they hoped to enter into terms with the Government for the transfer of
their pension list and other responsibilities from Washington, and to
make such arrangements for their property and their rights as would
justify them in committing their fortunes to the issue of war. These
tribes can turn out twenty thousand warriors, scalping-knives,
tomahawks, and all. The chiefs and principal men are all slaveholders.

MAY 29.--A new “affair” occurred this afternoon. The servants of the
house in which I am staying were alarmed by violent screams in a house
in the adjoining street, and by the discharge of firearms--an occurrence
which, like the cry of “murder” in the streets of Havana, clears the
streets of all wayfarers if they be wise, and do not wish to stop stray
bullets. The cause is thus stated in the journals:

“SAD FAMILY AFFRAY.--Last evening, at the residence of Mr. A. P.
Withers, in Nayades street, near Thalia, Mr. Withers shot and
dangerously wounded his step-son, Mr. A. F. W. Mather. As the police
tell it, the nature of the affair was this: The two men were in the
parlor, and talking about the Washington Artillery, which left on Monday
for Virginia. Mather denounced the artillerists in strong language, and
his step-father denied what he said. Violent language followed, and, as
Withers says, Mather drew a pistol and shot at him once, not hitting
him. He snatched up a Sharp’s revolver that was lying near and fired
four times at his step-son. The latter fell at the third fire, and as he
was falling Withers fired a fourth time, the bullet wounding the hand of
Mrs. Withers, wife of one and mother of the other, she having rushed in
to interfere, and she being the only witness of the affair. Withers
immediately went out into the street and voluntarily surrendered himself
to officer Casson, the first officer he met. He was locked up. Three of
his shots hit Mather, two of them in the breast. Last night Mather was
not expected to live.”

Another difficulty is connected with the free colored people who may be
found in prize ships. Read and judge of the conclusion:

     “What shall be done with them?--On the 28th inst., Capt. O. W.
     Gregor, of the privateer Calhoun, brought to the station of this
     district about ten negro sailors, claiming to be free, found on
     board of the brigs Panama, John Adams, and Mermaid.

     “The Recorder sent word to the Marshal of the Confederate States
     that said negroes were at his disposition. The Marshal refused to
     receive them or have anything to do with them, whereupon the
     Recorder gave the following decision:

     “‘Though I have no authority to act in this case, I think it is my
     duty as a magistrate and good citizen to take upon myself, in this
     critical moment, the responsibility of keeping the prisoners in
     custody, firmly believing it would not only be bad policy, but a
     dangerous one, to let them loose upon the community.’

     “The following despatch was sent by the Recorder to the Hon. J. P.
     Benjamin:


     “‘NEW ORLEANS, May 23.

     “‘To J. P. BENJAMIN, Richmond--_Sir:_ Ten free negroes, taken by a
     privateer from on board three vessels returning to Boston, from a
     whaling voyage, have been delivered to me. The Marshal refuses to
     take charge of them. What shall I do with them?

     ‘Respectfully, A. BLACHE,

     ‘Recorder, Second District.’”


The monthly statement I enclose of the condition of the New Orleans
banks on the 25th inst., must be regarded as a more satisfactory exhibit
to their depositors and shareholders, though of no greater benefit to
the commercial community in this its hour of need than the tempting show
of a pastrycook’s window to the famished street poor. These institutions
show assets estimated at $54,000,000, of which $20,000,000 are in specie
and sterling exchange, to meet $25,000,000 of liabilities, or more than
two for one. But, with this apparent amplitude of resources, the New
Orleans banks are at a deadlock, affording no discounts and buying no
exchange--the latter usually their greatest source of profit in a mart
which ships so largely of cotton, sugar, and flour, and the commercial
movement of which for not over nine months of the year is the second in
magnitude among the cities of the old Union.

As an instance of the caution of their proceedings, I have only to state
that a gentleman of wealth and the highest respectability, who needed a
day or two since some money for the expenses of an unexpected journey,
was compelled, in order to borrow of these banks the sum of $1,500, to
hypothecate, as security for his bill at 60 days, $10,000 of bonds of
the Confederate States, and for which a month ago he paid par in coin--a
circumstance which reflects more credit upon the prudence of the banks
than upon the security pledged for this loan.

MOVEMENTS OF THE BANKS, MAY 25, 1861.

  CASH RESPONSIBILITIES.

  Circulation--Chartered Banks,                $5,323,376
  Circulation--Free Banks,                      1,798,835
                                               ----------  $7,122,211

  Deposits--Chartered Banks,                  $12,979,307
  Deposits--Free Banks,                         4,929,544
                                               ---------- $17,908,851
                                                           ----------
            Total,                                        $25,031,062

  CASH ASSETS.
  Coin--Chartered Banks,                      $10,808,812
  Coin--Free Banks,                             4,183,722
                                               ---------- $14,992,534
  Exchange, chiefly sterling matured and
    maturing:
          Chartered Banks,                     $4,481,140
          Free Banks,                           1,083,928
                                                --------- $ 5,565,068
                                                          -----------
            Total,                                        $20,557,602

  Short commercial paper, 1 to 90 days,
  intended to meet cash responsibilities,
  and not renewable:
          Chartered Banks,                     $7,235,077
          Free Banks,                           4,670,979
                                                --------- $11,906,056
                                                          -----------
            Total,                                        $32,463,658

  Circulation of the Free Banks, secured by a
    deposit in the public Treasury, of State
    and New Orleans City Bonds, to the amount
    of,                                        $3,793,873
  The Chartered Banks hold of the same
    securities,                                 1,747,467
                                                ---------  $5,541,340

  DEAD WEIGHT.

  Chartered Banks--bills and mortgaged
    bonds and other assets, not realizable    $14,140,925
    in 90 days,
  Free Banks--bills and mortgaged bonds and
    other assets, not realizable in 90 days,    2,606,249
                                               ---------- $16,747,174
                                                          -----------
            Total                                         $54,752,172
                                                          -----------
      Remarks:
  Amount of coin, as above,                               $14,993,531

  Amount of coin required by the Fundamental Bank
  Rules of Louisiana--one-third of the cash responsibilities,
  say, on $25,031,062, as above,                                $8,343,137
                                                                ----------
                  Surplus,                                      $6,648,847
                                                                ----------
  Amount of short notes maturing within a circle of 90
  days, and exchange, as above,                                 $17,471,124
  Amount required to be held by the Fundamental Bank
  Rules--at least two-thirds,                                   $16,687,378
                                                                -----------
                  Surplus,                                         $783,771



LETTER XIII.

NATCHEZ, Miss., June 14.


ON the morning of the 3d of June, I left New Orleans in one of the
steamers proceeding up the Mississippi, along that fertile but
uninteresting region of reclaimed swamp lands called “the Coast,” which
extends along both banks for one hundred and twenty miles above the
city. It is so called from the name given to it, “La Cote,” by the early
French settlers. Here is the favored land--alas! it is a fever-land
too--of sugar-cane and Indian corn. To those who have very magnificent
conceptions of the Mississippi, founded on mere arithmetical
computations of leagues, or vague geographical data, it may be
astonishing, but it is nevertheless true, the Mississippi is artificial
for many hundreds of miles. Nature has, of course, poured out the
waters, but man has made the banks. By a vast system of raised
embankments, called levees, the river is constrained to abstain from
overflowing the swamps, now drained and green with wealth-producing
crops. At the present moment the surface of the river is several feet
higher than the land at each side, and the steamer moves on a level with
the upper stories, or even the roofs of the houses, reminding one of
such scenery as could be witnessed in the old days of treckshuyt in
Holland. The river is not broader than the Thames at Gravesend, and is
quite as richly colored. But then it is one hundred and eighty feet
deep, and for hundreds of miles it has not less than one hundred feet of
water. Thus deeply has it scooped out the rich clay and marl in its
course, but as it flows out to join the sea it throws down the vast
precipitates which render the bars so shifting and difficult, and bring
the mighty river to such a poor exit. A few miles above the wharves and
large levees of the city the country really appears to be a sea of light
green, with shores of forest in the distance, about two miles away from
the bank. This forest is the uncleared land, extending for a
considerable way back, which each planter hopes to take into culture one
day or other, and which he now uses to provide timber for his farm. Near
the banks are houses of wood, with porticoes, pillars, verandahs, and
sun-shades, generally painted white and green. There is a great
uniformity of style, but the idea aimed at seems to be that of the old
French chateau, with the addition of a colonnade round the ground story.
These dwellings are generally in the midst of small gardens, rich in
semi-tropical vegetation, with glorious magnolias, now in full bloom,
rising in their midst, and groves of live-oak interspersed. The levee is
as hard and dry as the bank of a canal. Here and there it is propped up
by wooden revelments. Between it and the uniform line of palings which
guards the river face of the plantations there is a carriage-road. In
the enclosure near each residence there is a row of small wooden huts,
whitewashed, in which live the negroes attached to the service of the
family. Outside the negroes who labor in the fields are quartered in
similar constructions, which are like the small single huts, called
“Maltese,” which were plentiful in the Crimea. They are rarely furnished
with windows; a wooden slide or a grated space admits such light and air
as they want. One of the most striking features of the landscape is its
utter want of life. There were a few horsemen exercising in a field,
some gigs and buggies along the levee roads, and little groups at the
numerous landing-places, generally containing a few children in tom-fool
costumes, as Zouaves, Chasseurs, or some sort of infantry, but the
slaves who were there had come down to look after luggage or their
masters. There were no merry, laughing, chattering gatherings of black
faces and white teeth, such as we hear about. Indeed, the negroes are
not allowed hereabouts to stir out of their respective plantations, or
to go along the road without passes from their owners. The steamer J. L.
Cotten, which was not the less popular, perhaps, because she had the
words “Low pressure” conspicuous on her paddle-boxes, carried a fair
load of passengers, most of whom were members of Creole families living
on the coast. The proper meaning of the word “Creole” is very different
from that which we attach to it. It signifies a person of Spanish or
French descent born in Louisiana or in the Southern and tropical
countries. The great majority of the planters here are French Creoles,
and it is said they are kinder and better masters than Americans or
Scotch, the latter being considered the most severe. Intelligent on most
subjects, they are resolute in the belief that England must take their
cotton or perish. Even the keenest of their financiers, Mr. Forstall, an
Irish Creole, who is representative of the house of Baring, seems
inclined to this faith, though he is prepared with many ingenious
propositions, which would rejoice Mr. Gladstone’s inmost heart, to raise
money for the Southern Confederacy, and make them rich exceedingly. One
thing has rather puzzled him. M. Baroche, who is in New Orleans, either
as a looker-on or as an accredited _employé_ of his father or of the
French Government, suggested to him that it would not be possible for
all the disposable mercantile marine of England and France together to
carry the cotton crop, which hitherto gave employment to a great number
of American vessels, now tabooed by the South, and the calculations seem
to bear out the truth of the remark. Be that as it may, Mr. Forstall is
quite prepared to show that the South can raise a prodigious revenue by
a small direct taxation, for which the machinery already exists in every
parish of the State, and that the North must be prodigiously damaged in
the struggle, if not ruined outright. One great source of strength in
the South is its readiness--at least, its professed alacrity--to yield
anything that it is asked. There is unbounded confidence in Mr.
Jefferson Davis. Wherever I go, the same question is asked: “Well, Sir,
what do you think of our President? Does he not strike you as being a
very able man?” In finance he is trusted as much as in war. When he sent
orders to the New Orleans Banks, some time ago, to suspend specie
payment, he exercised a power which could not be justified by any
reading of the Southern Constitution. All men applauded. The President
of the United States is far from receiving any such support or
confidence, and it need not be said any act of his of the same nature as
that of Mr. Davis would have created an immense outcry against him. But
the South has all the unanimity of a conspiracy, and its unanimity is
not greater than its confidence. One is rather tired of endless
questions, “Who can conquer such men?” But the question should be, “Can
the North conquer us?” Of the fustian about dying in their tracks and
fighting till every man, woman and child is exterminated, there is a
great deal too much, but they really believe that the fate which Poland
could not avert, to which France as well as the nations she overran
bowed the head, can never reach them. With their faithful negroes to
raise their corn, sugar and cotton while they are at the wars, and
England and France to take the latter and pay them for it, they believe
they can meet the American world in arms. A glorious future opens before
them. Illimitable fields tilled by multitudinous negroes open on their
vision, and prostrate at the base of the mountain of cotton from which
they rule the kings of the earth, the empires of Europe shall lie, with
all their gold, their manufactures, and their industry, crying out,
“Pray give us more cotton! All we ask is more!” But here is the boat
stopping opposite Mr. Roman’s--Ex-Governor of the State of Louisiana,
and Ex-Commissioner from the Confederate Government at Montgomery to the
Government of the United States at Washington. Not very long ago he
could boast of a very handsome garden--the French Creoles love
gardens--Americans and English do not much affect them; when the
Mississippi was low one fine day, levee and all slid down the bank into
the maw of the river, and were carried off. This is what is called the
“caving in” of a bank; when the levee is broken through at high water it
is said that a “crevasse” has taken place. The Governor, as he is
called--once a captain always a captain--has still a handsome garden,
however, though his house has been brought unpleasantly near the river.
His mansion and the out-offices stand in the shade of magnolias, green
oaks, and other Southern trees. To the last Governor Roman was a
Unionist, but when his State went he followed her, and now he is a
Secessionist for life and for death, not extravagant in his hopes, but
calm and resolute, and fully persuaded that in the end the South must
win. As he does not raise any cotton, the consequences for him will be
extremely serious should sugar be greatly depreciated; but the
consumption of that article in America is very large, and, though the
markets in the North and West are cut off, it is hoped, as no imported
sugar can find its way into the States, that the South will consume all
its own produce at a fair rate. The Governor is a very good type of the
race, which is giving way a little before the encroachments of the
Anglo-Saxons, and he possesses all the ease, candid manner, and suavity
of the old French gentleman--of that school in which there are now few
masters or scholars. He invited me to visit the negro quarters. “Go
where you like, do what you please, ask any questions. There is nothing
we desire to conceal.” As we passed the house, two or three young women
flitted past in snow-white dresses with pink sashes, and no doubtful
crinolines, but their head-dresses were not _en règle_--handkerchiefs of
a gay color. They were slaves going off to a dance at the sugar-house;
but they were in-door servants, and therefore better off in the way of
clothes than their fellow slaves who labor in the field. On approaching
a high paling at the rear of the house the scraping of fiddles was
audible. It was Sunday, and Mr. Roman informed me that he gave his
negroes leave to have a dance on that day. The planters who are not
Catholics rarely give any such indulgence to their slaves, though they
do not always make them work on that day, and sometimes let them enjoy
themselves on the Saturday afternoon. Entering a wicket gate, a
quadrangular enclosure, lined with negro huts, lay before us. The bare
ground was covered with litter of various kinds, amid which pigs and
poultry were pasturing. Dogs, puppies, and curs of low degree scampered
about on all sides; and deep in a pond, swinking in the sun, stood some
thirty or forty mules, enjoying their day of rest. The huts of the
negroes, belonging to the personal service of the house, were separated
from the negroes engaged in field labor by a close wooden paling; but
there was no difference in the shape and size of their dwellings, which
consisted generally of one large room, divided by a partition
occasionally into two bed-rooms. Outside the whitewash gave them a
cleanly appearance; inside they were dingy and squalid--no glass in the
windows, swarms of flies, some clothes hanging on nails in the boards,
dressers with broken crockery, a bedstead of rough carpentry; a
fireplace in which, hot as was the day, a log lay in embers; a couple of
tin cooking utensils; in the obscure, the occupant, male or female,
awkward and shy before strangers, and silent till spoken to. Of course
there were no books, for the slaves do not read. They all seemed
respectful to their master. We saw very old men and very old women, who
were the canker-worms of the estate, and were dozing away into eternity
mindful only of hominy, and pig, and molasses. Two negro fiddlers were
working their bows with energy in front of one of the huts, and a crowd
of little children were listening to the music, and a few grown-up
persons of color--some of them from the adjoining plantations. The
children are generally dressed in a little sack of coarse calico, which
answers all reasonable purposes, even if it be not very clean. It might
be an interesting subject of inquiry to the natural philosophers who
follow crinology to determine why it is that the hair of the infant
negro, or of the child up to six or seven years of age, is generally a
fine red russet, or even gamboge color, and gradually darkens into dull
ebon. These little bodies were mostly large-stomached, well fed, and not
less happy than free-born children, although much more valuable--for
once they get over juvenile dangers, and advance towards nine or ten
years of age, they rise in value to £100 or more, even in times when the
market is low and money is scarce. The women were not very well-favored,
except one yellow girl, whose child was quite white, with fair hair and
light eyes; and the men were disguised in such strangely cut clothes,
their hats and shoes and coats were so wonderfully made, that one could
not tell what they were like. On all faces there was a gravity which
must be the index to serene contentment and perfect comfort, for those
who ought to know best declare they are the happiest race in the world.
It struck me more and more, as I examined the expression of the faces of
the slaves all over the South, that deep dejection is the prevailing, if
not universal, characteristic of the race. Let a physiognomist go and
see. Here there were abundant evidences that they were well treated, for
they had good clothing of its kind, good food, and a master who
wittingly could do them no injustice, as he is, I am sure, incapable of
it. Still, they all looked exceedingly sad, and even the old woman who
boasted that she had held her old master in her arms when he was an
infant, did not look cheerful, as the nurse at home would have done, at
the sight of her ancient charge. The precincts of the huts were not
clean, and the enclosure was full of weeds, in which poultry--the
perquisites of the slaves--were in full possession. The negroes rear
domestic birds of all kinds, and sell eggs and poultry to their masters.
The money they spend in purchasing tobacco, molasses, clothes and
flour--whiskey, their great delight, they must not have. Some seventy
or eighty hands were quartered in this part of the estate. The silence
which reigned in the huts as soon as the fiddlers had gone off to the
sugar-house was profound. Before leaving the quarter I was taken to the
hospital, which was in charge of an old negress. The naked rooms
contained several flock beds on rough stands, and five patients, three
of whom were women. They sat listlessly on the beds, looking out into
space; no books to amuse them, no conversation--nothing but their own
dull thoughts, if they had any. They were suffering from pneumonia and
swellings of the glands of the neck; one man had fever. Their medical
attendant visits them regularly, and each plantation has a practitioner,
who is engaged by the term for his services. Negroes have now only a
nominal value in the market--that the price of a good field hand is as
high as ever, but there is no one to buy him at present, and no money to
pay for him, and the trade of the slave-dealers is very bad. The
menageries of the “Virginia negroes constantly on sale. Money advanced
on all descriptions of property,” &c., must be full--their pockets
empty. This question of price is introduced incidentally in reference to
the treatment of negroes. It has often been said to me that no one will
ill-use a creature worth £300 or £400, but that is not a universal rule.
Much depends on temper, and many a hunting-field could show that if
value be a guarantee for good usage, the slave is more fortunate than
his fellow chattel, the horse. If the growth of sugar-cane, cotton and
corn, be the great end of man’s mission on earth, and if all masters
were like Governor Roman, Slavery might be defended as a natural and
innocuous institution. Sugar and cotton are, assuredly, two great
agencies in this latter world. The older got on well enough without
them.

The scraping of the fiddles attracted us to the sugar-house, a large
brick building with a factory-looking chimney, where the juice of the
cane is expressed, boiled, granulated, and prepared for the refiner. In
a space of the floor unoccupied by machinery some fifteen women and as
many men were assembled, and four couples were dancing a kind of Irish
jig to the music of the negro musicians--a double shuffle and thumping
ecstasy, with loose elbows, pendulous paws, and angulated knees, heads
thrown back, and backs arched inwards--a glazed eye, intense solemnity
of mien, worthy of the minuet in _Don Giovanni_. At this time of year
there is no work done in the sugar-house, but when the crushing and
boiling are going on the labor is intense, and all the hands work in
gangs night and day; and, if the heat of the fires be superadded to the
temperature in September, it may be conceded that nothing but
“involuntary servitude” could go through the toil and suffering required
to produce sugar for us. This is not the place for an account of the
processes and machinery used in the manufacture, which is a scientific
operation, greatly improved by recent discoveries and apparatus.

In the afternoon the Governor’s son came in from the company which he
commands. He has been camping out with them to accustom them to the
duties of actual war, and he told me that all his men were most zealous
and exceedingly proficient. They are all of the best families
around,--planters, large and small, their sons and relatives, and a few
of the Creole population, who are engaged as hoopers and stavemakers.
One of the latter had just stained his hands with blood. He had reason
to believe a culpable intimacy existed between his wife and his foreman.
A circumstance occurred which appeared to confirm his worst suspicions.
He took out his fire-lock, and, meeting the man, he shot him without
uttering a word, and then delivered himself up to the authorities. It is
probable his punishment will be exceedingly light, as divorce suits and
actions for damages are not in favor in this part of the world. Although
the people are Roman Catholics, it is by no means unusual to permit
relations within the degree of consanguinity forbidden by the Church to
intermarry, and the elastic nature of the rules which are laid down by
the priesthood in that respect would greatly astonish the orthodox in
Ireland or Bavaria. The whole of the planters and their dependents along
“the coast” are in arms. There is but one sentiment, as far as I can
see, among them, and that is, “We will never submit to the North.” In
the evening, several officers of M. Alfred Roman’s company and neighbors
came in, and out under the shade of the trees, in the twilight,
illuminated by the flashing fireflies, politics were discussed--all on
one side, of course, with general conversation of a more agreeable
character. The customary language of the Creoles is French, and several
newspapers in French are published in the districts around us; but they
speak English fluently.

Next morning, early, the Governor was in the saddle and took me round to
see his plantation. We rode through alleys formed by the tall stalks of
the maze out to the wide, unbroken fields--hedgeless, unwalled, where
the green cane was just learning to wave its long shoots in the wind.
Along the margin in the distance there is an unbroken boundary of forest
extending all along the swamp lands, and two miles in depth. From the
river to the forest there is about one mile and a half or more of land
of the very highest quality--unfathomable, and producing from one to one
and a half hogshead an acre. Away in the midst of the crops were
white-looking masses, reminding me of the sepoys and sowars as seen in
Indian fields in the morning sun on many a march. As we rode towards
them we overtook a cart with a large cask, a number of tin vessels, a
bucket of molasses, a pail of milk, and a tub full of hominy or boiled
Indian corn. The cask contained water for the use of the negroes, and
the other vessel held the materials for their breakfast, in addition to
which they generally have each a dried fish. The food looked ample and
wholesome, such as any laboring man would be well content with every
day. There were three gangs at work in the fields. One of them with
twenty mules and plows, was engaged in running through the furrows
between the canes, cutting up the weeds and clearing away the grass,
which is the enemy of the growing shoot. The mules are of a fine, large,
good-tempered kind, and understand their work almost as well as the
drivers, who are usually the more intelligent hand on the plantation.
The overseer, a sharp-looking Creole, on a lanky pony, whip in hand,
superintended their labors, and, after a few directions and a salutation
to the governor, rode off to another part of the farm. The negroes when
spoken to saluted us and came forward to shake hands--a civility which
must not be refused. With the exception of crying to their mules,
however, they kept silence when at work. Another gang consisted of forty
men, who were hoeing out the grass in Indian corn--easy work enough. The
third gang was of thirty-six or thirty-seven women, who were engaged in
hoeing out cane. Their clothing seemed heavy for the climate, their
shoes ponderous and ill-made, so as to wear away the feet of their thick
stockings. Coarse straw hats and bright cotton handkerchiefs protected
their heads from the sun. The silence which I have already alluded to
prevailed among these gangs also--not a sound could be heard but the
blows of the hoe on the heavy clods. In the rear of each gang stood a
black overseer, with a heavy-thonged whip over his shoulder. If
“Alcibiadev” or “Pompée” were called out, he came with outstretched hand
to ask “how do you do,” and then returned to his labor; but the ladies
were coy, and scarcely looked up from under their flapping _chapeaux de
paille_ at their visitors. Those who are mothers leave their children in
the charge of certain old women, unfit for anything else, and “suckers,”
as they are called, are permitted to go home to give their infants the
breast at appointed periods in the day. I returned home _multa mecum
revolens_. After breakfast, in spite of a very fine sun, which was not
unworthy of a January noon in Cawnpore, we drove forth to visit some
planter friends of M. Roman, a few miles down the river. The levee road
is dusty, but the gardens, white railings, and neat houses of the
planters looked fresh and clean enough. There is a great difference in
the appearance of the slaves’ quarters. Some are neat, others are
dilapidated and mean. As a general rule, it might be said that the
goodness of the cottages was in proportion to the frontage of each
plantation towards the river, which is a fair index to the size of the
estate wherever the river bank is straight. The lines of the estate are
drawn perpendicularly to the banks, so that the convexity or concavity
of the bends determines the frontage of the plantation.

The absence of human beings in the fields and on the roads was
remarkable. The gangs at work were hidden in the deep corn, and not a
soul met us on the road for many miles except one planter in his gig. At
one place we visited a very handsome garden, laid out with hot-houses
and conservatories, ponds full of magnificent Victoria Regia in flower,
orange trees, and many other tropical plants, native and foreign, date
and other palms. The proprietor owns an extensive sugar refinery. We
visited his factory and mills, but the heat from the boilers, which
seemed too much even for all but naked negroes who were at work, did not
tempt us to make a very long sojourn inside. The ebony faces and
polished black backs of the slaves were streaming with perspiration as
they toiled over boiler, vat and centrifugal driers. The good refiner
was not gaining much at present, for sugar has been falling rapidly in
New Orleans, and the three hundred thousand barrels produced annually in
the South will fall short in the yield of profit, which, on an average,
may be taken at £11 a hogshead, without counting the molasses for the
planter. All the planters hereabouts have sown an unusual quantity of
Indian Corn, so as to have food for the negroes if the war lasts,
without any distress from inland or sea blockade. The absurdity of
supposing that blockade can injure them in the way of supply is a
favorite theme to descant upon. They may find out, however, that it is
no contemptible means of warfare. At night, after our return, a large
bonfire was lighted on the bank to attract the steamer to call for my
luggage, which she was to leave at a point on the opposite shore,
fourteen miles higher up, and I perceived that there are regular patrols
and watchmen at night who look after levees and the negroes; a number of
dogs are also loosed, but I am assured by a gentleman, who has written
me a long letter on the subject from Montgomery, that these dogs do not
tear the negroes; they are taught merely to catch and mumble them, to
treat them as a retriever well broken uses a wild duck. Next day I left
the hospitable house of Governor Roman, full of regard for his personal
character and of wishes for his happiness and prosperity, but assuredly
in no degree satisfied that even with his care and kindness even the
“domestic institution” can be rendered tolerable or defensible, if it be
once conceded that the negro is a human being with a soul--or with the
feelings of a man. On those points there are ingenious hypotheses and
subtle argumentations in print “down South,” which do much to comfort
the consciences of the anthropoproprietors. The negro skull won’t hold
as many ounces as that of the white man’s. Can there be a more potent
proof that the white man has a right to sell and to own a creature who
carries a smaller charge of snipe dust in his head? He is plantigrade
and curved as to the tibia! Cogent demonstration that he was made
expressly to work for the arch-footed, straight-tibia’d Caucasian. He
has a _rete mucosum_ and a colored pigment. Surely he cannot have a soul
of the same color as that of an Italian or a Spaniard, far less of a
flaxen-haired Saxon! See these peculiarities in the frontal sinus--in
sinciput or occiput! Can you doubt that the being with a head of that
nature was made only to till, hoe, and dig for another race? Besides the
Bible says that he is a son of Ham, and prophecy must be carried out in
the rice swamps, sugar canes, and maize-fields of the Southern
Confederation. It’s flat blasphemy to set yourself against it. Our
Saviour sanctions Slavery because he does not say a word against it, and
it’s very likely that St. Paul was a slave-owner. Had cotton and sugar
been known, he might have been a planter! Besides, the negro is
civilized by being carried away from Africa and set to work, instead of
idling in native inutility. What hope is there of Christianizing the
African races except by the agency of the apostles from New Orleans,
Mobile, or Charleston, who sing the sweet songs of Zion with such
vehemence, and clamor so fervently for baptism in the waters of the
“Jawdam?” If these high, physical, metaphysical, moral and religious
reasonings do not satisfy you, and you venture to be unconvinced and to
say so, then I advise you not to come within reach of a mass meeting of
our citizens, who may be able to find a rope and a tree in the
neighborhood.

As we jog along in an easy-rolling carriage drawn by a pair of stout
horses, a number of white people met us coming from the Catholic chapel
of the parish, where they had been attending a service for the repose of
the soul of a lady much beloved in the neighborhood. The black people
are supposed to have very happy souls, or to be as utterly lost as Mr.
Shandy’s homuncule was under certain circumstances, for I have failed to
find that any such services are ever considered necessary in their case,
although they may have been very good--or where it would be most
desirable--very bad Catholics. My good young friend, clever, amiable,
accomplished, who had a dark cloud of sorrow weighing down his young
life, that softened him to almost feminine tenderness, saw none of these
things. He talked of foreign travel in days gone by--of Paris and
poetry, of England and London hotels, of the great _Carême_, and of poor
Alexis Soyer, of pictures, of politics--_de omne scibili_. The storm
gathered overhead, and the rain fell in torrents--the Mississippi flowed
lifelessly by--not a boat on its broad surface. The road passed by
plantations smaller and poorer than I have yet seen belonging to small
planters, with only some ten or twelve slaves, all told. The houses were
poor and ragged. At last we reached Governor Manning’s place, and drove
to the overseer’s--a large, heavy-eyed old man, who asked us into his
house from out of the rain till the boat was ready--and the river did
not look inviting--full of drift trees, swirls, and mighty eddies. In
the plain room in which we sat there was a volume of Spurgeon’s Sermons
and Baxter’s works. “This rain will do good to our corn,” said the
overseer. “The niggers has had sceerce nothin’ to do leetly, as they
’eve clearied out the fields pretty well.” We drove down to a poor shed
on the levee called the Ferry-house, attended by one stout, young slave
who was to row me over. Two flat-bottomed skiffs lay on the bank. The
negro groped under the shed, and pulled out a piece of wood like a large
spatula, some four feet long, and a small, round pole a little longer.
“What are those?” quoth I, “Dem’s oars, Massa,” was my sable ferryman’s
brisk reply. “I’m very sure they are not; if they were spliced they
might make an oar between them.” “Golly, and dat’s the trute, Massa.”
“There, go and get oars, will you?” While he was hunting about we
entered the shed for shelter from the rain. We found “a solitary woman
sitting” smoking a pipe by the ashes on the hearth, blear-eyed,
low-browed, and morose--young as she was. She never said a word nor
moved as we came in, sat and smoked, and looked through her gummy eyes
at chickens about the size of sparrows, and at a cat no larger than a
rat, which ran about on the dirty floor. A little girl some four years
of age, not over-dressed--indeed, half-naked, “not to put too fine a
point upon it”--crawled out from under the bed, where she had hid on our
approach. As she seemed incapable of appreciating the uses of a small
piece of silver presented to her--having no precise ideas on coinage or
toffy--her parent took the obolus in charge with unmistakable decision;
but, still, she would not stir a step to aid our Charon, who now
insisted on the “key ov de oar-house.” The little thing sidled off and
hunted it out from the top of the bedstead, and I was not sorry to quit
the company of the silent woman in black. Charon pushed his skiff into
the water--there was a good deal of rain in it--in shape a snuffer-dish,
some ten feet long and a foot deep. I got in and the conscious waters
immediately began vigorously spurting through the cotton wadding
wherewith the craft was caulked. Had we gone out into the stream we
should have had a swim for it, and they do say that the Mississippi is
the most dangerous river for that healthful exercise in the known world.
“Why, deuce take you” (I said at least that, in my wrath), “don’t you
see that the boat is leaky?" “See it now for true, Massa. Nobody able to
tell dat till Massa get in, tho’.” Another skiff proved to be stanch. I
bade good-bye to my friend, and sat down in my boat, which was soon
forced up along the stream close to the bank, in order to get a good
start across to the other side. The view, from my lonely position, was
curious, but not at all picturesque. The landscape had disappeared at
once. The world was bounded on both sides by a high bank, and was
constituted by a broad river--just as if one were sailing down an open
sewer of enormous length and breadth. Above the bank rose, however, the
tops of tall trees and the chimneys of sugar-houses. A row of a quarter
of an hour brought us to the levee on the other side. I ascended the
bank and directly in front of me, across the road, appeared a carriage
gateway, and wickets of wood, painted white, in a line of park palings
of the same material, which extended up and down the road as far as the
eye could follow, and guarded wide-spread fields of maize and
sugar-cane. An avenue of trees, with branches close set, drooping and
overarching a walk paved with red brick, led to the house, the porch of
which was just visible at the extremity of the lawn, with clustering
flowers, rose, jessamine, and creepers clinging to the pillars
supporting the verandah. The proprietor, who had espied my approach,
issued forth with a section of sable attendants in his rear, and gave me
a hearty welcome. The house was larger and better than the residences
even of the richest planters, though it was in need of some little
repair, and had been built perhaps fifty years ago, but it had belonged
to a wealthy family, who lived in the good old Irish fashion, and who
built well, ate well, drank well, and--finally, paid very well. The view
from the Belvedere was one of the most striking of its kind in the
world. If an English agriculturist could see 6,000 acres of the finest
land in one field, unbroken by hedge or boundary, and covered with the
most magnificent crops of tasselling Indian corn and sprouting
sugar-cane, as level as a billiard table, he would surely doubt his
senses. But here is literally such a sight. Six thousand acres, better
tilled than the finest patch in all the Lothians, green as Meath
pastures, which can be cultivated for a hundred years to come without
requiring manure, of depth practically unlimited, and yielding an
average profit on what is sold off it of at least £20 an acre at the old
prices and usual yield of sugar. Rising up in the midst of the verdure
are the white lines of the negro cottages and the plantation offices and
sugar-houses, which look like large public edifices in the distance. And
who is the lord of all this fair domain? The proprietor of Houmas and
Orange-grove is a man, a self-made one, who has attained his apogee on
the bright side of half a century, after twenty-five years of successful
business.

When my eyes “uncurtained the early morning” I might have imagined
myself in the magic garden of Cherry and Fair Star, so incessant and
multifarious were the carols of the birds, which were the only happy
colored people I saw in my Southern tour, notwithstanding the assurances
of the many ingenious and candid gentlemen who attempted to prove to me
that the palm of terrestrial felicity must be awarded to their negroes.
As I stepped through my window upon the verandah, a sharp chirp called
my attention to a mocking-bird perched upon a rose-bush beneath, whom my
presence seemed to annoy to such a degree that I retreated behind my
curtain, whence I observed her flight to a nest cunningly hid in a
creeping rose trailed around a neighboring column of the house, where
she imparted a breakfast of spiders and grasshoppers to her gaping and
clamorous offspring. While I was admiring the motherly grace of this
melodious flycatcher, a servant brought coffee, and announced that the
horses were ready, and that I might have a three-hours’ ride before
breakfast. At Houmas _les jours se suivent et se ressemblent_, and an
epitome of the first will serve as a type for all, with the exception of
such variations in the kitchen and cellar produce as the ingenuity and
exhaustless hospitality of my host were never tired of framing.

If I regretted the absence of our English agriculturist when I beheld
the 6,000 acres of cane and 1,600 of maize unfolded from the Belvedere
the day previous, I longed for his presence still more, when I saw those
evidences of luxuriant fertility attained without the aid of phosphates
or guano. The rich Mississippi bottoms need no manure, a rotation of
maize with cane affords them the necessary recuperative action. The cane
of last year’s plant is left in stubble, and renews its growth this
spring under the title of _ratoons_. When the maize is in tassel,
cow-peas are dropped between the rows, and when the lordly stalk, of
which I measured many twelve and even fifteen feet in height--bearing
three and sometimes four ears--is topped to admit the ripening sun, the
pea vine twines itself around the trunk, with a profusion of leaf and
tendril that supplies the planter with the most desirable fodder for his
mules in “rolling time,” which is their season of trial. Besides this,
the corn blades are culled and cured. These are the best meals of the
Southern race-horse, and constitute nutritious hay without dust. The
cow-pea is said to strengthen the system of the earth for the digestion
of a new crop of sugar-cane. A sufficient quantity of the cane of last
season is reserved from the mill and laid in pits, where the ends of the
stalk are carefully closed with earth until spring. After the ground has
been ploughed into ridges these canes are laid in the endless tumuli,
and not long after their interment a fresh sprout springs at each joint
of these interminable flutes.

As we ride through the wagon roads, of which there are not less than
thirty miles in this confederation of four plantations, held together by
the purse and the life of our host, the unwavering exactitude of the
rows of cane, which run without deviation at right angles with the river
down to the cane-brake, two miles off, proves that the negro would be a
formidable rival in a plowing match. The cane has been “laid by”--that
is, it requires no more labor--and will “lap,” or close up, though the
rows are seven feet apart. It feathers like a palm top; a stalk which
was cut measured six feet, although from the ridges it was but waist
high. On dissecting it near the root, we find five nascent joints, not a
quarter of an inch apart. In a few weeks more these will shoot up like a
spy-glass pulled out to its focus.

There are four lordly sugar-houses, as the grinding mills and boiling
and crystalizing buildings are called, and near each is to be found the
negro village, or “quarter,” of that section of the plantation. A wide
avenue, generally lined with trees, runs through these hamlets, which
consist of twenty or thirty white cottages, single storied and divided
into four rooms. They are whitewashed, and at no great distance might be
mistaken for New England villages, with a town-hall which often serves
in the latter for a “meeting-house,” with, occasionally, a row of stores
on the ground floor.

The people, or “hands,” are in the field, and the only inhabitants of
the settlements are scores of “picaninnies,” who seem a jolly
congregation, under the care of crones, who here, as in an Indian
village, act as nurses to the rising generation destined from their
births to the limits of a social Procrustean bed. The increase of
property on the estate is about 5 per cent. per annum by the birth of
children.

We ride an hour before coming upon any “hands” at work in the fields.
There is an air of fertile desolation that prevails in no other
cultivated land. The regularity of the cane, its garden-like freedom
from grass or weeds, and the _ad unguem_ finish and evenness of the
furrows would seem the work of nocturnal fairies, did we not realize the
system of “gang-labor” exemplified in a field we at length reach, where
some thirty men and women were giving with the hoe the last polish to
the earth around the cane, which would not be molested again until
gathered for the autumnal banquet of the rolling-mills.

Small drains and larger ditches occur at almost every step. All these
flow into a channel, some fifteen feet wide, which runs between the
plantations and the uncleared forest, and carries off the water to a
“bayou” still more remote. There are twenty miles of deep ditching
before the plantation, exclusive of the canal, and as this is the
contract work of “Irish navvies,” the sigh with which our host alluded
to this heavy item in plantation expenses, was expressive. The work is
too severe for African thews, and experience has shown it a bad economy
to overtask the slave. The sugar-planter lives in apprehension of four
enemies. These are the river when rising, drought, too much or
unseasonable rain, and frost. The last calls into play all his energies,
and tasks his utmost composure. In Louisiana the cane never ripens as it
does in Cuba, and they begin to grind as early in October as the amount
of juices will permit. The question of a crop is one of early or late
frost. With two months’ exemption they rely, in a fair season, upon a
hogshead of 1,200 pounds to the acre, and if they can run their mills
until January, the increase is more than proportionate, each of its
latter days in the earth adding saccharine virtue to the cane.

At an average of a hogshead to the acre, each working hand is good for
seven hogsheads a year, which, at last year’s prices, 8 cents per pound
for ordinary qualities, would be a yield of £140 per annum for each full
field hand.

Two hogsheads to the acre are not unfrequently, and even three have
been, produced upon rich lands in a good season. Estimating the sugar at
70 per cent., and the refuse, _bagasse_, at 30 per cent., the latter
would give us two tuns and a quarter to the acre, which open one’s eyes
to the tireless activity of nature in this semi-tropical region.

From the records of Houmas I find that, in 1857, the year of its
purchase at about £300,000, it yielded a gross of $304,000, say £63,000,
upon the investment.

In the rear of this great plantation there are 18,000 additional acres
of cane-brake which are being slowly reclaimed, like the fields now
rejoicing in crops, as fast as the furnace of the sugar-house calls for
fuel. Were it desirable to accelerate the preparation of this reserve
for planting, it might be put in tolerable order in three years at a
cost of £15 per acre. We extended our ride into this jungle on the
borders of which, in the unfinished clearing, I saw plantations of
“negro corn,” the sable cultivators of which seem to have disregarded
the symmetry practised in the fields of their master, who allows them
from Saturday noon until Monday’s cockcrow for the care of their private
interests, and in addition to this, whatever hours in the week they can
economize by the brisk fulfilment of their allotted tasks. Some of these
patches are sown broadcast, and the corn has sprung up like Zouave
_tirailleurs_ in their most fantastic vagaries, rather than like the
steady regimental drill of the cane and maize we have been traversing.

Corn, chickens, and eggs, are from time immemorial the perquisites of
the negro, who has the monopoly of the two last named articles in all
well ordered Louisiana plantations. Indeed, the white man cannot compete
with them in raising poultry, and our host was evidently delighted when
one of his negroes, who had brought a dozen Muscovy ducks to the
mansion, refused to sell them to him except for cash. “But Louis, won’t
you trust me? Am I not good for three dollars?" “Good enough, Massa; but
dis nigger want de money to buy flour and coffee for him young family.
Folks at Donaldsonville will trust Massa--won’t trust nigger.” The money
was paid, and, as the negro left us, his master observed, with a sly,
humorous twinkle, “That fellow sold forty dollars worth of corn last
year, and all of them feed their chickens with my corn, and sell their
own.”

There are three overseers at Houmas, one of whom superintends the whole
plantation, and likewise looks after another estate of 8,000 acres, some
twelve miles down the river, which our host added to his possession two
years since, at a cost of £150,000. In any part of the world, and in any
calling, Mr. S---- (I do not know if he would like to see his name in
print) would be considered an able man. Mr. S. attends to most of the
practice requiring immediate attention. We visited one of those
hospitals, and found half a dozen patients ill of fever, rheumatism, and
indigestion, and apparently well cared for by a couple of stout nurses.
The truckle bedsteads were garnished with mosquito bars, and I was told
that the hospital is a favorite resort, which its inmates leave with
reluctance. The pharmaceutical department was largely supplied with a
variety of medicines, quinine and preparations of sulphites of iron.
“Poor drugs,” said Mr. S., “are a poor economy.”

I have mentioned engineering as one of the requisites of a competent
overseer. To explain this I must observe that Houmas is esteemed very
high land, and that in its cultivated breadth there is only a fall of
eight feet to carry off its surplus water. In the plantation of Governor
Manning, which adjoins it, an expensive steam draining machine is
employed to relieve his fields of this encumbrance, which is effected by
the revolutions of a fan-wheel some twenty feet in diameter, which laps
up the water from a narrow trough into which all the drainage flows, and
tosses it into an adjoining bayou.

On Governor Manning’s plantation we saw the process of clearing the
primitive forest, of which 150 acres were sown in corn and cotton
beneath the tall girdled trees that awaited the axe, while an equal
breadth on the other side of a broad and deep canal was reluctantly
yielding its tufted and fibrous soil, from which the jungle had just
been removed, to the ploughs of some fifty negroes, drawn by two mules
each. Another season of lustration by maize or cotton, and the rank soil
will be ready for the cane.

The cultivation of sugar differs from that of cotton in requiring a much
larger outlay of capital. There is little required for the latter
besides negroes and land, which may be bought on credit, and a year’s
clothing and provisions. There is a gambling spice in the chances of a
season which may bring wealth or ruin--a bale to the acre, which may
produce 7_d._ per pound. In a fair year the cotton planter reckons upon
ten or twelve bales to the hand, in which case the annual yield of a
negro varies from £90 to £120. His enemies are drought, excessive rains,
the ball worm, and the army worm; his best friend “a long picking
season.”

There is more steadiness in the price of sugar, and a greater certainty
of an average crop. But the cost of a sugar-house, with its mill,
boilers, vacuum pans, centrifugal and drying apparatus, cannot be less
than £10,000, and the consumption of fuel--thousands of cords of which
are cut by the “hands”--is enormous. There were cases of large fortunes
earned by planting sugar with large beginnings, but these had chiefly
occurred among early settlers, who had obtained their lands for a song.
A Creole, who recently died at the age of fifty-five, in the
neighborhood, and who began with only a few thousand dollars, had
amassed more than $1,000,000 in twenty-five years, and two of his
sons--skilful planters--were likely to die each richer than his father.

This year the prospects of sugar are dreary enough, at least while the
civil war lasts, and my host, with a certainty of 6,500 hogsheads upon
his various plantations, has none of a market. In this respect cotton
has the advantage of keeping longer than sugar. At last year’s prices,
and with the United States protective tariff of 20 per cent to shield
him from foreign competition, his crop would have yielded him over
£100,000. But all the sweet teeth of the Confederate States army can
hardly “make a hole” in the 450,000 hogsheads which this year is
expected to yield in Louisiana and Texas. Under the new tariff of the
Seceding States the loss of protection to Louisiana alone may be stated,
within bounds, at $8,000,000 per annum--which is making the planters pay
pretty dear for their Secession whistle.

When I arrived at Houmas there was the greatest anxiety for rain, and
over the vast, level plateau every cloud was scanned with avidity. Now,
a shower seemed bearing right down upon us, when it would break, like a
flying soap-bubble, and scatter its treasures short of the parched
fields in which we felt interested. The wind shifted and hopes were
raised that the next thunder-cloud would prove less illusory. But no!
“Kenner” has got it all. On the fifth day, however, the hearts of all
the planters and their parched fields were gladdened by half a day of
general and generous rain, beneath which our host’s cane fairly reeled
and reveled. It was now safe for the season, and so was the corn. But
“one man’s meat is another’s poison,” and we heard more than one
“Jeremiad” from those whose fields had not been placed in the condition
which enabled those of our friend to carry off a potation of twelve
hours of tropical rain with the ease of an alderman or a Lord Chancellor
made happier or wiser by his three bottles of port.

What is termed _hacienda_ in Cuba, _rancho_ in Mexico, and “plantation”
elsewhere, is styled “habitation” by the Creoles of Louisiana, whose
ancestors began more than a century ago to reclaim its jungles.

At last “_venit summa dies et inetuctabile tempus_.” I had seen as much
as might be of the best phase of the great institution--less than I
could desire of a most exemplary, kind-hearted, clear-headed, honest
man. In the calm of a glorious summer evening, arrayed in all the
splendor of scenery that belongs to dramas in Cloudland, where mountains
of snow, peopled by “gorgons, and hydras, and chimæras dire,” rise from
seas of fire that bear black barks, freighted with thunder, before the
breeze of battle, we crossed the Father of Waters, waving an adieu to
the good friend who stood on the shore, and turning our back to the home
we had left behind us.

It was dark when the boat reached Donaldsonville, on the opposite
“coast.” I should not be surprised to hear that the founder of this
remarkable city, which once contained the archives of the State, now
transferred to Baton Rouge, was a North Briton. There is a simplicity
and economy in the plan of the place not unfavorable to that view, but
the motives which induced the Donaldson to found his Rome on the west of
Bayou La Fourche from Mississippi must be a secret to all time. Much
must the worthy Scot have been perplexed by his neighbors, a
long-reaching colony of Spanish Creoles, who toil not and spin nothing
but fishing-nets, and who live better than Solomon, and are probably as
well dressed, _minus_ the barbaric pearl and gold of the Hebrew
potentate. Take the odd little, retiring, modest houses which grow in
the hollows of Scarborough, add to them the least imposing mansions in
the natural town of Folkestone, cast them broadsown over the surface of
the Essex marshes, plant a few trees in front of them, then open a few
“Café billiards” of the camp sort along the main street, and you have
done a very good Donaldsonville. A policeman welcomes us on landing, and
does the honors of the market, which has a beggarly account of empty
benches, the Texan bull done into beef, and a coffee-shop. The policeman
is a tall, lean, west country man; his story is simple, and he has it to
tell. He was one of Dan Rice’s company--a traveling Astley. He came to
Donaldsonville, saw, and was conquered by one of the Spanish beauties,
married her, became tavern keeper, failed, learned French, and was now
constable of the parish. There was, however, a weight on his mind. He
had studied the matter profoundly, but he was not near the bottom. How
did the friends, relatives, and tribe of his wife live? No one could
say. They reared chickens, and they caught fish; when there was a
pressure on the planters, they turned out to work for 6_s._ 6_d._ a day,
but those were rare occasions. The policeman had become quite gray with
excogitating the matter, and he had “nary notion of how they did it.”
Donaldsonville has done one fine thing. It has furnished two companies
of soldiers--all Irishmen--to the wars, and a third is in the course of
formation. Not much hedging, ditching, or hard work these times for
Paddy? The blacksmith, a huge tower of muscle, claims exemption on the
ground that “the divil a bit of him comes from Oireland; he nivir hird
av it, barrin’ from the buks he rid,” and is doing his best to remain
behind, but popular opinion is against him. As the steamer would not be
up till toward dawn, or later, it was a relief to saunter through
Donaldsonville to see society, which consisted of several gentlemen and
various Jews playing games unknown to Hoyle, in oaken bar-rooms flanked
by billiard tables. My good friend the doctor, whom I had met at Houmas,
who had crossed the river to see patients suffering from an attack of
Euchre, took us round to a little club, where I was introduced to a
number of gentlemen, who expressed great pleasure at seeing me, shook
hands violently, and walked away; and finally we melted off into a cloud
of mosquitoes by the river bank, in a box prepared for them, which was
called a bedroom. These rooms were built in wood on the stage close to
the river. “Why can’t I have one of these rooms?" asked I, pointing to a
larger mosquito-box. “It’s engaged by ladies.” “How do you know?”
“_Parceque elles ont envoyes leur butin._” It was delicious to meet the
French “plunder” for baggage--an old phrase so nicely rendered in the
mouth of the Mississippi boatman. Having passed a night of extreme
discomfiture with the winged demons of the box, I was aroused toward
dawn by the booming of the steam drum of the boat, dipped my head in
water among drowned mosquitoes, and went forth upon the landing. The
policeman had just arrived. His eagle eye lighted on a large flat, on
the stern of which was inscribed, “Pork, corn, butter, beef,” &c.
Several spry citizens were also on the platform. After salutations and
compliments, policeman speaks: “When did _she_ come in?” (meaning flat).
First Citizen--“In the night, I guess.” Second Citizen--“There’s a lot
of whiskey aboard, too.” Policeman (with pleased surprise)--“You never
mean it?” First Citizen--“Yes, Sir; one hundred and twenty gallons!”
Policeman (inspired by a bright aspiration of patriotism)--“It’s a West
country boat; why _don’t_ the citizens seize it? And whiskey rising from
17 cents to 35 cents a gallon!" Citizens murmur approval, and I feel the
whiskey part of the cargo is not safe. “Yes, Sir,” says Citizen Three,
“they seize all our property at Cairey (Cairo), and I’m for making an
example of this cargo.” Further reasons for the seizure of the article
were adduced, and it is probable they were as strong as the whiskey,
which has, no doubt, been drunk long ago on the very purest principles.
In course of conversation with the Committee of Taste which had
assembled, it was revealed to me that there was a strict watch kept over
those boats which are freighted with whiskey forbidden to the slaves,
and with principles, when they come from the West country, equally
objectionable. “Did you hear, Sir, of the chap over at Duncan Kenner’s
as was caught the other day?" “No, Sir, what was it?” “Well, Sir, he was
a man that came here and went over among the niggers at Kenner’s to buy
their chickens from them. He was took up, and they found he’d a lot of
money about him.” “Well, of course, he had money to buy the chickens.”
“Yes, Sir, but it looked suspic-ious. He was a West country fellow, tew,
and he might have meant tamperin’ with ’em. Lucky he was not taken in
the arternoon.” “Why so?” “Because if the citizens had been drunk they’d
have hung him on the spot.” The Acadia was now alongside, and in the
early morning Donaldsonville receded rapidly into trees and clouds. To
bed, and make amends for mosquito visits. On awaking, find that I am in
the same place I started from; at least, the river looks just the same.
It is difficult to believe that we have been going eleven miles an hour
against the turbid river, which is of the same appearance as it was
below, the same banks, bends, driftwood and trees.

Beyond the levees there were occasionally large clearings and
plantations of corn and cane, of which the former predominated. The
houses of the planters were not so large or so good as those on the
lower banks. Large timber rafts, navigated by a couple of men, who stood
in the shade of a couple of upright boards, were encountered at long
intervals. The river was otherwise dead. White egrets and blue herons
rose from the marshes where the banks had been bored through by
crayfish, or crevasses had been formed by the waters. The fields were
not much more lively, but at every landing the whites who came down were
in some sort of uniform, and a few negroes were in attendance to take in
or deliver goods. There were two blacks on board in irons--captured
runaways--and very miserable they looked at the thought of being
restored to the bosom of the patriarchal family from which they had, no
doubt, so prodigally eloped. I feared the fatted calf-skin would not be
applied to their backs. The river is about half a mile wide here and is
upward of one hundred feet deep. The planters’ houses in groves of pecan
and magnolias, with verandah and belvedere, became more frequent as the
steamer approached Baton Rouge, already visible in the distance over a
high bank or bluff on the right-hand side.

Before noon the steamer hauled alongside a stationary hulk, which once
“walked the waters” by the aid of machinery, but which was now used as a
floating hotel, depot, and storehouse--three hundred and fifteen feet
long, and fully thirty feet on the upper deck above the level of the
river. Here were my quarters till the boat for Natchez should arrive.
The proprietor was somewhat excited on my arrival because my servants
was away. “Where have you been, you ----?” “Away to buy de newspaper,
Massa.” “For who, you ----?” “Me buy ’em for no one, Massa; me sell ’um
agin, Massa.” “See now, you ----, if ever you goes aboard to meddle with
newspapers, I’m ---- but I’ll kill you, mind that!" Baton Rouge is the
capital of the State of Louisiana, and the State House is a quaint and
very new example of bad taste. The Deaf and Dumb Asylum near it is in a
much better style. It was my intention to visit the State Prison and
Penitentiary, but the day was too hot, and the distance too great, and
so I dined at the oddest little Creole restaurant, with the funniest old
hostess and the strangest company in the world. On returning to the boat
hotel, Mr. Conrad, one of the citizens of the place, and Mr. W. Avery, a
Judge of the Court, were good enough to call to invite me to visit them,
but I was obliged to decline. The old gentlemen were both members of the
Home Guard, and drilled assiduously every evening. Of the one thousand
three hundred voters at Baton Rouge, more than seven hundred and fifty
are already off to the wars, and another company is being formed to
follow them. Mr. Conrad has three sons in the field already. The waiter
who served our drinks in the bar wore a uniform, and his musket lay in
the corner among the brandy bottles. At night a patriotic meeting of
citizen soldiery took place in the bow, in which song and whiskey had
much to do, so that sleep was difficult; but at seven o’clock on
Wednesday morning the Mary T. came alongside, and soon afterward bore me
on to Natchez through scenery which became wilder and less cultivated as
she got upward. Of the one thousand five hundred steamers on the river
not a tithe are now in employment, and the owners are in a bad way. It
was late at night when the steamer arrived at Natchez, and next morning
early I took shelter in another engineless steamer, which was thought to
be an hotel by its owners. Old negress on board, however, said, “There
was nothing for breakfast; go to Curry’s on shore. Walk up hill to
Curry’s--a bar-room, a waiter and flies.” “Can I have any breakfast?”
“No, Sir-ree; it’s over half an hour ago.” “Nothing to eat at all?” “No,
Sir.” “Can I get something anywhere else?” “I guess not.” It had been my
belief that a man with money in his pocket could not starve in any
country _soi-disant_ civilized life. Exceptions prove rules, but they
are disagreeable things. I chewed the cud of fancy _faute de mieux_, and
became the centre of attraction to citizens, from whose conversation I
learned that this was “Jeff. Davis’s fast day.” Observed one, “It quite
puts me in mind of Sunday: all the stores closed.” Said another, “We’ll
soon have Sunday every day, then, for I ’spect it won’t be worth while
for most shops to keep open any longer.” Natchez, a place of much trade
and cotton export in the season, is now as dull--let us say as Harwich
without a regatta. But it is ultra-Secessionist, _nil obstante_. My
hunger was assuaged by a friend who drove me up to his comfortable
mansion through a country not unlike the wooded parts of Sussex,
abounding in fine trees, and in the only lawns and park-like fields I
have yet seen in America. In the evening, after dinner, my host drove me
over to visit a small encampment under a wealthy planter, who has
raised, equipped, and armed his company at his own expense.

We were obliged to get out at a narrow lane and walk toward the
encampment on foot; a sentry stopped us, and we observed that there was
a semblance of military method in the camp. The captain was walking up
and down in the verandah of the poor, deserted hut for which he had
abandoned his splendid home. _A Book of Tactics_ (Hardee’s)--which is,
in part, a translation of the French _Manual_--lay on the table. Our
friend was full of fight, and said he would give all he had in the world
to the cause. But the day before, and a party of horse, composed of
sixty gentlemen in the district, with from £20,000 to £50,000 each, had
started for the war in Virginia. Everything to be seen or heard
testifies to the great zeal and resolution with which the South have
entered upon the quarrel. But they hold the power of the United States
and the loyalty of the North to the Union at far too cheap a rate. Next
day was passed in a delightful drive through cotton fields, Indian corn,
and undulating woodlands, amid which were some charming residences. I
crossed the river at Natchez, and saw one fine plantation in which the
corn, however, was by no means so fine as I have often seen. The cotton
looks well, and some had already burst into flower--bloom, as it is
called--which had turned to a flagrant pink, and seemed saucily
conscious that its boll would play an important part in the world. In
this part of Mississippi the Secessionist feeling was not so
overpowering at first as it has been since the majority declared itself,
but the expression of feeling is now all one way. The rage of Southern
sentiment is to me inexplicable, making every allowance for Southern
exaggeration. It is sudden, hot, and apparently causeless as summer
lightning. From every place I touched at along the Mississippi, a large
proportion of the population has gone forth to fight, or is preparing to
do so. The whispers which rise through the storm are few and feeble.
Some there are who sigh for the peace and happiness they have seen in
England. But they cannot seek those things; they must look after their
property. Each man maddens his neighbor by desperate resolves, and
threats, and vows. Their faith is in Jefferson Davis’s strength, and in
the necessities and weakness of France and England. The inhabitants of
the tracts which lie on the banks of the Mississippi, and on the inland
regions hereabout, ought to be, in the natural order of things, a people
almost nomadic, living by the chase and by a sparse agriculture, in the
freedom which tempted their ancestors to leave Europe. But the Old World
has been working for them. All its trials have been theirs; the fruits
of its experience, its labors, its research, its discoveries, are
theirs. Steam has enabled them to turn their rivers into highways, to
open primeval forests to the light of day and to man. All these,
however, would have availed them little had not the demands of
manufacture abroad, and the increasing luxury and population of the
North and West at home, enabled them to find in these swamps and uplands
sources of wealth richer and more certain than all the gold mines of the
world. But there must be gnomes to work those mines. Slavery was an
institution ready to their hands. In its development there lay every
material means for securing the prosperity which Manchester opened to
them, and in supplying their own countrymen with sugar. The small,
struggling, deeply mortgaged proprietors of swamp and forest set their
negroes to work to raise levees, to cut down trees, to plant and sow. As
the negro became valuable by his produce, the Irish emigrant took his
place in the severer labors of the plantation, and ditched and dug, and
cut into the waste land. Cotton at ten cents a pound gave a nugget in
every boll. Land could be had for a few dollars an acre. Negroes were
cheap in proportion. Men who made a few thousand dollars, invested them
in more negroes and more land, and borrowed as much again for the same
purpose. They waxed fat and rich--there seemed no bounds to their
fortune. But threatening voices came from the North--the echoes of the
sentiments of the civilized world repenting of its evil pierced their
ears, and they found their feet were of clay, and that they were nodding
to their fall in the midst of their power. Ruin inevitable awaited them
if they did not shut out these sounds and stop the fatal utterances. The
issue is to them one of life and death. Whoever raises it hereafter, if
it be not decided now, must expect to meet the deadly animosity which is
displayed toward the North. The success of the South--if it can
succeed--must lead to complications and results in other parts of the
world for which neither it nor Europe is now prepared. Of one thing
there can be no doubt--a Slave State cannot long exist without a
slave-trade. The poor whites who will have won the fight will demand
their share of the spoils. The land is abundant, and all that is wanted
to give them fortunes is a supply of slaves. They will have them in
spite of their masters, unless a stronger power prevents the
accomplishment of their wishes.



LETTER XIV.

CAIRO, Ill., June 20, 1861.


MY last letter was dated from Natchez, but it will probably accompany
this communication, as there are no mails now between the North and the
South, or _vice versa_. Tolerably confident in my calculations that
nothing of much importance could take place in the field till some time
after I had reached my post, it appeared to me desirable to see as much
of the South as I could, and to form an estimate of the strength of the
Confederation, although it could not be done at this time of the year
without considerable inconvenience, arising from the heat, which renders
it almost impossible to write in the day, and from the mosquitoes, which
come out when the sun goes down, and raise a blister at every stroke of
the pen. On several days lately the thermometer has risen to
ninety-eight degrees--on one day to one hundred and five degrees--in the
shade.

On Friday evening, June 14, I started from Natchez for Vicksburg on
board the steamer General Quitman, up the Mississippi. These long yellow
rivers are very fine for patriots to talk about, for poets to write
about, for buffalo fish to live in, and for steamers to navigate when
there are no snags, but I confess the Father of Waters is extremely
tiresome. Even the good cheer and the comfort of the General Quitman
could not reconcile me to the eternal beating of steam drums, blowing
whistles, bumpings at landings, and the general oppression of levees,
clearings, and plantations, which marked the course of the river, and I
was not sorry next morning when Vicksburg came in sight on the left bank
of the giant stream--a city on a hill, not very large, besteepled,
becupolaed, large-hoteled. Here lives a man who has been the pioneer of
hotels in the West, and who has now established himself in a big
caravanserai, which he rules in a curious fashion. M’Makin has, he tells
us, been rendered famous by Sir Charles Lyell. The large dining room--a
stall, _à manger_, as a friend of mine called it--is filled with small
tables covered with particolored cloths. At the end is a long deal
table, heavy with dishes of meat and vegetables, presided over by
negresses and gentlemen of uncertain hue. In the centre of the room
stood my host, shouting out at the top of his voice the names of the
joints, and recommending his guests to particular dishes, very much as
the chronicler tells us was the wont of the taverners in old London.
Many little negroes ran about in attendance, driven hither and thither
by the command of their white Soulouque--white-teethed, pensive-eyed,
but sad as memory. “Are you happy here!” asked I of one of them who
stood by my chair. He looked uneasy and frightened. “Why don’t you
answer?" “I’se feared to tell dat to massa.” “Why, your master is kind
to you?” “Berry good man, sir, when he not angry wid me!" And the
little fellow’s eyes filled with tears at some recollection which pained
him. I asked no more. Vicksburg is Secessionist. There were hundreds of
soldiers in the streets, many in the hotel, and my host said some
hundreds of Irish had gone off to the wars, to fight for the good cause.
If Mr. O’Connell were alive, he would surely be pained to see the course
taken by so many of his countrymen on this question. After dinner I was
invited to attend a meeting of some of the citizens at the railway
station, where the time passed very agreeably till four o’clock, when
the train started for Jackson, the capital of Mississippi; and after a
passage of two hours through a poor, clay country, seared with
water-courses and gullies, with scanty crops of Indian corn and very
backward cotton, we were deposited in that city. It must be called a
City. It is the State capital, but otherwise there is no reason why, in
strict nomenclature, it should be designated by any such title. It is in
the usual style of the “cities” which spring up in the course of a few
years amid the stumps of half-cleared fields in the wilderness--wooden
houses, stores kept by Germans, French, Irish, Italians; a large hotel
swarming with people, with a noisy billiard-room and a noisier bar, the
arena and the cause of “difficulties;” wooden houses, with portentous
and pretentious white porticoes, and pillars of all the Grecian orders:
a cupola or two, and two or three steeples, too large for the feeble
bodies beneath--hydrocephalic architecture; a State house, looking well
at a distance, ragged, dirty, and mean within; groups of idlers in front
of “Exchange,” where the business transacted consists of a barter
between money or credit and “drinks” of various stimulants; a secluded
telegraph office round a corner; a forward newspaper office in the
street, and a population of negroes shuffling through the thick dust
which forms the streets. I called on Mr. Pettus, the Governor of the
State of Mississippi, according to invitation, and found him in the
State House in a very poor room, with broken windows and ragged carpets
and dilapidated furniture. He is a grim, silent man, tobacco-ruminant,
abrupt-speeched, firmly believing that the state of society in which he
exists, wherein there are monthly foul murders perpetrated at the very
seat of Government, is the most free and civilized in the world. He is
easy of access to all, and men sauntered in and out of his office just
as they would walk into a public house. Once on a time, indeed, the
Governor was a deer hunter in the forest, and lived far away from the
haunts of men, and he is proud of the fact. He is a strenuous Seceder,
and has done high-handed things in his way--simple apparently, honest
probably, fierce certainly--and he lives, while he is Governor, on his
salary of $4,000 a year in the house provided for him by the State.
There was not much to say on either side. I can answer for one. Next day
being Sunday I remained at rest in the house of a friend listening to
local stories--not _couleur de rose_, but of a deeper
tint--blood-red--how such a man shot another, and was afterwards stabbed
by a third; how this fellow and his friends hunted down in broad day and
murdered one obnoxious to them--tale after tale such as I have heard
through the South and seen daily narratives of in the papers. Aceldama!
No security for life! Property is quite safe. Its proprietor is in
imminent danger, were it only from stray bullets when he turns a corner.
The “bar,” the “drink,” the savage practice of walking about with pistol
and poniard--ungovernable passions ungoverned because there is no law to
punish the deeds to which they lead--these are the causes of acts which
would not be tolerated in the worst days of Corsican _vendette_, and
which must be put down, or the countries in which they are unpunished
will become as barbarous as jungles of wild beasts. In the evening I
started by railroad for the city of Memphis, in Mississippi. There was a
sleeping car on the train, but the flying bug and the creature less
volatile, more pungent and persistent, which bears its name, murdered
sleep, and when Monday morning came I was glad to arise and get into one
of the carriages, although it was full of noisy soldiers bound to the
camp at Corinth, in the State of Mississippi, who had been drinking
whiskey all night, and were now screaming for water and howling like
demons. At Holly Spring, where a rude breakfast awaited us, the warriors
got out on the top of the carriages and performed a war dance to the
music of their band, which was highly creditable to the carriage-maker’s
workmanship. Along the road at all the settlements and clearings the
white people cheered, and the women waved white things, and Secession
flags floated. There is no doubt of the state of feeling in this part of
the country; and yet it does not look much worth fighting for--an arid
soil, dry water-courses, clay ravines, light crops. Perhaps it will be
better a month hence, and negroes may make it pay. There were many in
the fields, and it struck me they looked better than those who work in
gangs on the larger and richer plantations. Among our passengers were
gentlemen from Texas going to Richmond to offer services to Mr. Davis.
They declared the feeling in their State was almost without exception in
favor of Secession. It is as astonishing how positive all these people
are that England is in absolute dependence on cotton for her national
existence. They are at once savage and childish. If England does not
recognize the Southern Confederacy pretty quick, they will pass a
resolution not to let her have any cotton, except, &c. Suppose England
does ever recognize a Confederation based on the principles of the
South, what guarantee is there that in her absolute dependence, if it
exists, similar coercive steps may not be taken against her? “Oh! we
shall be friends, you know;” and so on.

On the train before us there had just passed on a company armed with
large bowie-knives and rifled pistols, who called themselves the
“Toothpick Company.” They carried a coffin along with them, on which was
a plate with “Abe Lincoln” inscribed on it, and they amused themselves
with the childish conceit of telling the people as they went along that
“they were bound” to bring his body back in it. At Grand Junction
Station the troops got out and were mustered preparatory to their
transfer to a train for Richmond, in Virginia. The first company, about
seventy strong, consisted exclusively of Irish, who were armed with
rifles without bayonets. The second consisted of fifty-six Irish, armed
mostly with muskets; the third were of Americans, who were well
uniformed, but had no arms with them. The fourth, clad in green, were
nearly all Irish; they wore all sorts of clothing, and had no
pretensions to be regarded as disciplined soldiers. I am led to believe
that the great number of Irish who have enlisted for service indicates a
total suspension of all the works on which they are ordinarily engaged
in the South. They were not very orderly. “Fix bayonets,” elicited a
wonderful amount of controversy in the ranks. “Whar are yer dhrivin to?”
“Sullivan, don’t yer hear we’re to fix beenits.” “Ayse the strap of mee
baynit, sargint, jewel!” “If ye prod me wid that agin, I’ll let dayloite
into ye.” Officer, reading muster--“No. 23, James Phelan.” No reply.
Voice from the ranks--“Faith Phelan’s gone; sure he wint at the last
dipot.” Old men and boys were mixed together, but the mass of the rank
and file were strong, full-grown men. In one of the carriages were some
women dressed as “vivandieres,” minus the coquet air and the trousers
and boots of those ladies. They looked sad, sorry, dirty, and foolish.
There was a great want of water along the line, and the dust and heat
were very great and disagreeable. When they have to march many of the
men will break down, owing to bad shoes and the weight of clothes and
trash of various kinds they sling on their shoulders. They moved off
amid much whooping, and our journey was continued through a country in
which the railroad engineer had made the only opening for miles at a
time. When a clearing was reached, however, there were signs that the
soil was not without richness, and all the wheat was already cut and in
sheaf. The passengers said it was fine and early, and that it averaged
from forty to sixty bushels to the acre (more than it looked). Very
little ground here is under cotton. It was past one o’clock on Monday
when the train reached Memphis, in Tennessee, which is situated on a
high bluff overhanging the Mississippi. Here is one of the strategic
positions of the Confederates. It is now occupied by a force of the
Tennesseeans, which is commanded by Major-General Pillow, whom I found
quartered in Gayoso House, a large hotel, named after one of the old
Spanish rulers here, and as he was just starting to inspect his
batteries and the camp at Randolph, sixty odd miles higher up the river,
I could not resist his pressing invitations, tired as I was, to
accompany him and his staff on board the Ingomar, to see what they were
really like. First we visited the bluff on the edge of which is
constructed a breastwork of cotton bales, which no infantry could get
at, and which would offer no resistance to vertical and but little to
horizontal fire. It is placed so close to the edge of the bluff at
various places that shell and shot would knock away the bank from under
it. The river rolls below deep and strong, and across the roads or
water-courses leading to it are feeble barricades of plank, which a
howitzer would shiver to pieces in a few rounds. Higher up the bank, on
a commanding plateau, there is a breastwork and parapet, within which
are six guns, and the General informed me he intended to mount thirteen
guns at this part of the river which would certainly prove very
formidable to such steamers as they had on these waters, if any attempt
were made to move from Cairo.

In the course of the day I was introduced to exactly seventeen colonels
and one captain. My happiness was further increased by an introduction
to a youth of some twenty-three years of age, with tender feet if I may
judge from prunella slippers, dressed in a green cutaway, jean pants,
and a tremendous sombrero with a plume of ostrich feathers, and gold
tassels looped at the side, who had the air and look of an apothecary’s
errand boy. This was “General” Maggles (let us say) of Arkansas.
Freighted deeply with the brave, the Ingomar started for her voyage, and
we came alongside the bank at Chickasaw Bluffs, too late to visit the
camp, as it was near midnight before we arrived. I forgot to say that a
large number of steamers were lying at Memphis, which had been seized by
General Pillow, and he has forbidden all traffic in boats to Cairo.
Passengers must go round by rail to Columbus.

       *       *       *       *       *

JUNE 18.--I have just returned from a visit to the works and batteries
at the intrenched camp at Randolph’s Point, sixty miles above Memphis,
by which it is intended to destroy any flotilla coming down the river
from Cairo, and to oppose any force coming by land to cover its flank,
and clear the left bank of the Mississippi. The Ingomar is lying under
the rugged bank, or bluff, about 150 feet high, which recedes in rugged
tumuli and watercourses filled with brushwood from the margin of the
river, some half mile up and down the stream at this point, and
Brigadier-General Pillow is still riding round his well-beloved
earthworks and his quaint battalions, while I, anxious to make the most
of my time now that I am fairly on the run for my base of operations,
have come on board, and am now writing in the cabin, a long-roofed room,
with berths on each side, which runs from stem to stern of the American
boats over the main deck. This saloon presents a curious scene. Over the
bow, at one side, there is an office for the sale of tickets, now
destitute of business, for the Ingomar belongs to the State of
Tennessee; at the other side is a bar, where thirsty souls, who have
hastened on board from the camp for a julep, a smash, or a cocktail,
learn with disgust that the only article to be had is fine Mississippi
water with ice in it. Lying on the deck in all attitudes are numbers of
men asleep, whose plumed felt hats are the only indications that they
are soldiers, except in the rare case of those who have rude uniforms,
and buttons and stripes of colored cloth on the legs of their
pantaloons. A sentry is sitting on a chair smoking a cigar. He is on
guard over the after part of the deck, called the ladies’ saloon, and
sacred to the General and his staff and attendants. He is a tall,
good-looking young fellow, in a gray flannel shirt, a black wide-awake,
gray trowsers, fastened by a belt, on which is a brass buckle inscribed
“U. S.” His rifle is an Enfield, and the bayonet-sheath is fastened to
the belt by a thong of leather. That youthful patriot is intent on the
ups and downs of fortune as exemplified in the pleasing game of euchre,
or euker, which is exercising the faculties of several of his comrades,
who, in their shirt-sleeves, are employing the finest faculties of their
nature in that national institution; but he is not indifferent to his
duties, and he forbids your correspondent’s entrance until he has
explained what he wants, and who he is, and the second is more easy to
do than the first. The sentry tells his captain, who is an euchreist,
that “It’s all right,” and resumes his seat and his cigar, and the work
goes bravely on. Indeed, it went on last night at the same table, which
is within a few yards of the General’s chair; and now that I have got a
scrap of paper and a moment of quiet, let me say what I have to say of
this position, and of what I saw--pleasant things they would be to the
Federalist General up at Cairo, if he could hear them in time, unless he
is as little prepared as his antagonist. On looking out of my cabin this
morning, I saw the high and rugged bluff of which I have spoken on the
left bank of the river. A few ridge-poled tents, pitched under the shade
of some trees, on a small spur of the slope, was the only indication
immediately visible of a martial character. But a close inspection in
front enabled me to detect two earthworks mounted with guns, on the side
of the bank, considerably higher than the river, and three heavy guns,
possibly 42-pounders, lay in the dust close to the landing-place, with
very rude carriages and bullock-poles to carry them to the batteries. A
few men, ten or twelve in number, were digging at an encampment on the
face of the slope. Others were lounging about the beach, and others,
under the same infatuation as that which makes little boys disport in
the Thames under the notion that they are washing themselves, were
bathing in the Mississippi. A dusty cart track wound up to the brow of
the bluff, and there disappeared. Some carts toiled up and down between
the boat and the crest of the hill. We went on shore. There was no
ostentation of any kind about the reception of the General and his
staff. A few horses were waiting impatiently in the sun, for the flies
will have their way, and heavy men are not so unbearable as small
mosquitoes. With a cloud of colonels--one late United Statesman, who was
readily distinguishable by his air from the volunteers--the General
proceded to visit his batteries and his men. The first work inspected
was a plain parapet of earth, placed some fifty feet above the river,
and protected very slightly by two small flanking parapets. Six guns,
32-pounders, and howitzers of an old pattern were mounted _en barbette_,
without any traverses whatever. The carriages rested on rough platforms,
and the wheels ran on a traversing semicircle of plank, as the iron
rails were not yet ready. The gunners, a plain looking body of men, very
like railway laborers and mechanics without uniform, were engaged at
drill. It was neither quick nor good work--about equal to the average of
a squad after a couple of days’ exercise; but the men worked earnestly,
and I have no doubt, if the Federalists give them time, they will prove
artillerymen in the end. The General ordered practice to be made with
round shot. After some delay, a kind of hybrid ship’s carronade was
loaded. The target was a tree, about two thousand five hundred yards
distant, I was told. It appeared to me about one thousand seven hundred
yards off. Every one was desirous of seeing the shot; but we were at the
wrong side for the wind, and I ventured to say so. However, the General
thought and said otherwise. The word “Fire!” was given. Alas? the
friction-tube would not explode. It was one of a new sort, which the
Tennesseeans are trying their ’prentice hand at. A second ball answered
better. The gun went off, but where the ball went to no one could say,
as the smoke came into our eyes. The party moved to windward, and, after
another fuse had missed, the gun was again discharged at some five
degrees elevation, and the shot fell in good line, two hundred yards
short of the target, and did not ricochet. Gun No. 2 was then
discharged, and off went the ball, at no particular mark, down the
river; but if it did go off, so did the gun also, for it gave a frantic
leap and jumped with the carriage off the platform; nor was this
wonderful, for it was an old-fashioned chamber carronade or howitzer,
which had been loaded with a full charge, and solid shot enough to make
it burst with indignation. Turning from this battery, we visited another
nearer the water, with four guns (32-pounders), which were well placed
to sweep the channel with greater chance of ricochet; and higher on the
bank, toward a high peak commanding the Mississippi, here about seven
hundred yards broad, and a small confluent which runs into it, was
another battery of two guns, with a very great command, but only fit for
shell, as the fire must be plunging. All these batteries were very ill
constructed, and in only one was the magazine under decent cover. In the
first it was in rear of the battery, up the hill behind it. The parapets
were of sand or soft earth, unprovided with merlons. The last had a few
sand-bags between the guns. Riding up a steep road, we came to the camps
of the men on the wooded and undulating plateau over the river, which is
broken by water-courses into ravines covered with brushwood and forest
trees. For five weeks the Tennessee troops under General Pillow, who is
at the head of the forces of the State, have been working at a series of
curious intrenchments which are supposed to represent an intrenched
camp, and which look like an assemblage of mud beaver dams. In a word,
they are so complicated that they would prove exceedingly troublesome to
the troops engaged in their defence, and it would require very steady,
experienced regulars to man them so as to give proper support to each
other. The maze of breastworks, of flanking parapets, of parapets for
field-pieces, is overdone. Several of them might prove useful to an
attacking force. In some places the wood was cut down in front, so as to
form a formidable natural abattis; but generally here, as in the
batteries below, timber and brushwood were left uncut up to easy musket
shot of the works, so as to screen an advance of riflemen, and to expose
the defending force to considerable annoyance. In small camps of fifteen
or twenty tents each the Tennessee troops were scattered, for health
sake, over the plateau, and on the level ground a few companies were
engaged at drill. The men were dressed and looked like laboring
people--small farmers, mechanics, with some small, undersized lads. The
majority were in their shirt sleeves, and the awkwardness with which
they handled their arms showed that, however good they might be as
shots, they were by no means proficients in manual exercise. Indeed,
they could not be, as they have been only five weeks in the service of
the State called out in anticipation of the Secession vote, and since
then they have been employed by General Pillow on his fortifications.
They have complained more than once of their hard work, particularly
when it was accompanied by hard fare, and one end of General Pillow’s
visit, was to inform them that they would soon be relieved from their
labors by negroes and hired laborers. Their tents, small ridge-poles,
are very bad, but suited, perhaps, to the transport. Each contains six
men. I could get no accurate account of their rations even from the
Quartermaster-General, and Commissary-General there was none present;
but I was told that they had “a sufficiency--from ¾ lb. to 1¼ lb. of
meat, of bread, of sugar, coffee, and rice, daily.” Neither spirits nor
tobacco is served out to these terrible chewers and not unaccomplished
drinkers. Their pay “will be” the same as in the United States Army or
the Confederate States Army--probably paid in the circulating medium of
the latter. Seven or eight hundred men were formed in line for
inspection. There were few of the soldiers in any kind of uniform, and
such uniforms as I saw were in very bad taste, and consisted of gaudy
facings and stripes on very strange garments. They were armed with
old-pattern percussion muskets, and their ammunition pouches were of
diverse sorts. Shoes often bad, knapsacks scarce, head-pieces of every
kind of shape--badges worked on the front or sides, tinsel in much
request. Every man had a tin water-flask and a blanket. The General
addressed the men, who were in line two deep (many of them unmistakably
Irishmen), and said what Generals usually say on such
occasions--compliments for the past, encouragement for the future. “When
the hour of danger comes I will be with you.” They did not seem to care
much whether he was or not; and, indeed, General Pillow, in a round hat,
dusty black frock coat, and ordinary “unstriped” trowsers, did not look
like one who could give any great material accession to the physical
means of resistance, although he is a very energetic man. The
Major-General, in fact, is an attorney-at-law, or has been so, and was
partner with Mr. Polk, who, probably from some of the reasons which
determine the actions of partners to each other, sent Mr. Pillow to the
Mexican war, where he nearly lost him, owing to severe wounds received
in action. The General has made his entrenchments as if he were framing
an indictment. There is not a flaw for an enemy to get through, but he
has bound up his own men in inexorable lines also. At one of the works a
proof of the freedom of “citizen soldiery” was afforded in a little
hilarity on the part of one of the privates. The men had lined the
parapet, and had listened to the pleasant assurances of their commander,
that they would knock off the shovel and the hoe very soon, and be
replaced by the eternal gentlemen of color. “Three cheers for General
Pillow” were called for, and were responded to by the whooping and
screeching sounds that pass muster in this part of the world for cheers.
As they ended, a stentorian voice shouted out, “Who cares for General
Pillow?” and, as no one answered, it might be unfairly inferred that
gallant officer was not the object of the favor or solicitude of his
troops; probably a temporary unpopularity connected with the hard work,
found expression in the daring question.

Randolph’s Point is, no doubt, a very strong position. The edges of the
plateau command the rear of the batteries below; the ravines in the
bluff would give cover to a large force of riflemen, who could render
the batteries untenable if taken from the river face, unless the camp in
their rear on the top of the plateau was carried. Great loss of life,
and probable failure, would result from any attack on the works from the
river merely. But a flotilla might get past the guns without any serious
loss in the present state of their service and equipment; and there is
nothing I saw to prevent the landing of a force on the banks of the
river, which, with a combined action on the part of an adequate force of
gunboats, could carry the position. As the river falls the round-shot
fire from the guns will be even less effective. The General is providing
water for the camps by means of large cisterns dug in the ground, which
will be filled with water from the river by steam power. The officers of
the army of Tennessee with whom I spoke were plain, farmerly planters,
merchants, and lawyers; and the heads of the department were in no
respect better than their inferiors by reason of any military
acquirements, but were shrewd, energetic, common-sense men. The officer
in command of the works, however, understood his business, apparently,
and was well supported by the artillery officer. There were, I was told,
eight pieces of field artillery disposable for the defence of the camp.

Having returned to the steamer, the party proceeded up the river to
another small camp in defence of a battery of four guns, or rather of a
small parallelogram of soft sand covering a man a little higher than the
knee, with four guns mounted in it on the river face. No communication
exists through the woods between the two camps, which must be six or
seven miles apart. The force stationed here was composed principally of
gentlemen. They were all in uniform. A detachment worked one of the
guns, which the General wished to see fired with round shot. In five or
six minutes after the order was given the gun was loaded, and the word
given, “Fire.” The gunner pulled the lanyard hard, but the tube did not
explode. Another was tried. A strong jerk pulled it out bent and
incombustible. A third was inserted, which came out broken. The fourth
time was the charm, and the ball was projected about 60 yards to the
right, and 100 yards short of the mark--a stump, some 1,200 yards
distant, in the river. It must be remembered that there are no disparts,
tangents, or elevating screws to the guns; the officer was obliged to
lay it by the eye with a plain chock of wood. The General explained that
the friction tubes were the results of an experiment he was making to
manufacture them; but I agreed with one of the officers, who muttered in
my ear, “The old linstock and portfire are a darned deal better.” There
were no shells, I could see, in the battery, and, on inquiry, I learned
the fuses were made of wood at Memphis, and were not considered by the
officers at all trustworthy. Powder is so scarce that all salutes are
inderdicted, except to the Governor of the State. In the two camps there
were, I was informed, about 4,000 men. My eyesight, so far as I went,
confirmed me of the existence of some 1,800, but I did not visit all the
outlying tents. On landing the band had played “God Save the Queen” and
“Dixie’s Land;" on returning we had the “Marseillaise” and the national
anthem of the Southern Confederation; and, by way of parenthesis, it may
be added, if you do not already know the fact, that “Dixie’s Land” is a
synonym for Heaven. It appears that there was once a good planter, named
“Dixie,” who died at some period unknown, to the intense grief of his
animated property. They found expression for their sorrow in song, and
consoled themselves by clamoring in verse for their removal to the land
to which Dixie had departed, and where probably the revered spirit would
be greatly surprised to find himself in their company. Whether they were
ill-treated after he died, and thus had reason to deplore his removal,
or merely desired Heaven in the abstract, nothing known enables me to
assert. But Dixie’s Land is now generally taken to mean the Seceded
States, where Mr. Dixie certainly is not at this present writing. The
song and air are the composition of the organized African Association
for the advancement of music and their own profit, which sings in New
York, and it may be as well to add, that in all my tour in the South I
heard little melody from lips black or white, and only once heard
negroes singing in the fields.

Several sick men were put on board the steamer, and were laid on
mattresses on deck. I spoke to them, and found they were nearly all
suffering from diarrhœa, and that they had no medical attendance in
camp. All the doctors went to fight, and the Medical Service of the
Tennessee troops is very defective. As I was going down the river I had
some interesting conversation with General Clark, who commands about
5,000 troops of the Confederate States, at present quartered in two
camps at Tennessee on these points. He told me the Commissariat and the
Medical Service had given him great annoyance, and confesses some
desertions and courts-martial had occurred. Guard-mounting and its
accessory duties were performed in a most slovenly manner, and the
German troops from the Southern parts were particularly disorderly. It
was late in the afternoon when I reached Memphis. I may mention,
_obiter_, that the captain of the steamer, talking of arms, gave me a
notion of the sense of security he felt on board his vessel. From under
his pillow he pulled one of his two Derringer pistols, and out of his
clothes-press he produced a long heavy rifle and a double gun, which
was, he said, capital with ball and buckshot.

       *       *       *       *       *

JUNE 19.--Up at 3 o’clock, A. M., to get ready for the train at 5, which
will take me out of Dixie’s Land to Cairo. If the owners of the old
hostelries in the Egyptian city were at all like their Tennesseean
fellow craftsmen in the upstart institution which takes its name, I
wonder how Herodotus managed to pay his way. My sable attendant quite
entered into our feelings, and was rewarded accordingly. At 5 A. M.,
covered with dust, contracted in a drive through the streets which seem
“paved with waves of mud,” to use the phrase of a Hibernian gentlemen
connected with the baggage department of the omnibus, “only the mud was
all dust,” to use my own, I started in the cars along with some
Confederate officers and several bottles of whiskey, which at that early
hour was considered by my unknown companions as a highly efficient
prophylactic against the morning dews; but it appeared that these dews
are of such a deadly character that, in order to guard against their
effects, one must become dead drunk. The same remedy, I am assured, is
sovereign against rattlesnake bites. I can assure the friends of these
gentlemen that they were amply fortified against any amount of dew or of
rattlesnake poison before they got to the end of their whiskey, so great
was the supply. By the Memphis papers it seems as if the institution of
blood prevailed there as in New Orleans, for I read in my paper as I
went along of two murders and one shooting as the incidents of the
previous day, contributed by “the local.” To contrast with this low
state of social existence, there must be a high condition of moral
feeling, for the journal I was reading contained a very elaborate
article to show the wickedness of any one paying his debts, and of any
State acknowledging its liabilities, which would constitute an
invaluable _vade mecum_ for Basinghall Street. At Humboldt, there was
what was called a change of cars--a process that all the philosophy of
the Baron could not have enabled him to endure without some loss of
temper, for there was a whole Kosmos of Southern patriotism assembled at
the station, burning with the fires of Liberty, and bent on going to the
camp at Union City, forty-six miles away, where the Confederate forces
of Tennessee, aided by Mississippi regiments, are out under the
greenwood tree. Their force was irresistible, particularly as there were
numbers of relentless citizenesses--what the American papers call “quite
a crowd”--as the advanced guard of the invading army. While the original
occupants were being compressed or expelled by crinoline--that
all-absorbing, defensive, and aggressive article of feminine war reigns
here in wide-spread, iron-bound circles--I took refuge on the platform,
where I made, in an involuntary way, a good many acquaintances in this
sort: “Sir, my name is Jones--Judge Jones of Pumpkin County. I am happy
to know you, Sir.” We shake hands affectionately. “Colonel,” (Jones
_loquitur_) “allow me to introduce you to my friend Mr. Scribble!
Colonel Maggs, Mr. Scribble.” The Colonel shakes hands, and immediately
darts off to a circle of his friends, whom he introduces, and they each
introduce some one else to me, and, finally, I am introduced to the
engine-driver, who is really an acquaintance of value, for he is good
enough to give me a seat on his engine, and the bell tolls, the
steam-trumpet bellows, and we move from the station an hour behind time,
and with twice the number of passengers the cars were meant to contain.
Our engineer did his best to overcome his difficulties, and we rushed
rapidly, if not steadily, through a wilderness of forest and tangled
brakes, through which the rail, without the smallest justification,
performed curves and twists, indicative of a desire on the part of the
engineer to consume the greatest amount of rail on the shortest extent
of line. My companion was a very intelligent Southern gentlemen,
formerly editor of a newspaper. We talked of the crime of the country,
of the brutal shootings and stabbings which disgraced it. He admitted
their existence with regret, but he could advise and suggest no remedy.
“The rowdies have rushed in upon us, so that we can’t master them.” “Is
the law powerless?” “Well, Sir, you see these men got hold of those who
should administer the law, or they are too powerful or too reckless to
be kept down.” “That is a reign of terror--of mob-ruffianism!” “It don’t
hurt respectable people much, but I agree with you it must be put down.?”
“When--how?” “Well, Sir, when things are settled we’ll just take the law
into our own hands. Not a man shall have a vote unless he’s American
born, and by degrees we’ll get rid of these men who disgrace us.?” “Are
not many of your regiments composed of Germans and Irish--of foreigners,
in fact?” “Yes, Sir.?” I did not suggest to him the thought which rose in
my mind, that these gentlemen, if successful, would be very little
inclined to abandon their rights while they had arms in their hands, but
it occurred to me as well that this would be rather a poor reward for
the men who were engaged in establishing the Southern Confederacy. The
attempt may fail, but assuredly I have heard it expressed too often to
doubt that there is a determination on the part of the leaders in the
movement to take away the suffrage from the men whom they do not scruple
to employ in fighting their battles. If they cut the throats of the
enemy they will stifle their own sweet voices at the same time, or soon
afterward--a capital recompense to their emigrant soldiers!

The portion of Tennessee traversed by the railroad is not very
attractive, for it is nearly uncleared. In the sparse clearings were
fields of Indian corn, growing amid blackened stumps of trees and rude
log shanties, and the white population which looked out on us was poorly
housed, at least, if not badly clad. At last we reached Corinth. It
would have been scarcely recognizable by Mummius--even if he had ruined
his old handiwork over again. This proudly-named spot consisted
apparently of a grog-shop in wood, and three shanties of a similar
material, with out-offices to match, and the Acro-Corinth was a grocery
store, of which the proprietors had no doubt gone to the wars, as it was
shut up, and their names were suspiciously Milesian. But, if Corinth was
not imposing, Troy, which we reached after a long run through a forest
of virgin timber, was still simpler in architecture and general design.
It was too new for “_Troja fuit_,” and the general “fixins” would
scarcely authorize one to say to hope _Troja fuerit_.

The Dardanian Towers were represented by a timber-house, and Helen the
Second--whom we may take on this occasion to have been simulated by an
old lady smoking a pipe, whom I saw in the verandah--could have set them
on fire much more readily than did her interesting prototype ignite the
City of Priam. The rest of the place and of the inhabitants, as I saw it
and them, might be considered as an agglomerate of three or four sheds,
a few log huts, a saw-mill, and some twenty negroes sitting on a log and
looking at the train. From Troy the road led to a cypress swamp, over
which the engines bustled, rattled, tumbled, and hopped at a perilous
rate along a high trestlework, and at last we came to “Union City,”
which seemed to be formed by great aggregate meetings of discontented
shavings which had been whiled into heaps out of the forest hard by. But
here was the camp of the Confederates, which so many of our
fellow-passengers were coming out into the wilderness to see. Their
white tents and plank huts gleamed through the green of oak and elm, and
hundreds of men came out to the platform to greet their friends, and to
inquire for baskets, boxes, and hampers, which put me in mind of the
Quartermaster’s store at Balaklava. We have all heard of the unhappy
medical officer who exhausted his resources to get up a large chest from
that store to the camp, and who on opening it, in the hope of finding
inside the articles he was most in need of, discovered that it contained
an elegant assortment of wooden legs; but he could not have been so much
disgusted as a youthful warrior here who was handed a wicker-covered jar
from the luggage van, which he “tapped” on the spot, expecting to find
it full of Bourbon whiskey, or something equally good. He raised the
ponderous vessel aloft, and took a long pull, to the envy of his
comrades, and then spirting out the fluid, with a hideous face,
exclaimed, “D----, &c. Why, if the old woman has not sent me sirup!”
Evidently no joke, for the crowd around him never laughed and gravely
dispersed.

It was fully two hours before the train got away from the camp, leaving
a vast quantity of good things and many ladies, who had come on in the
excursion train, behind them. There were about 6,600 men there, it was
said--rude, big, rough fellows, with sprinklings of odd companies,
composed of gentlemen of fortune exclusively. The soldiers who were only
entitled to the name in virtue of their carrying arms, their duty, and
possibly their fighting qualities, lay under the trees playing cards,
cooking, smoking, or reading the papers; but the camp was guarded by
sentries, some of whom carried their firelocks under their arms like
umbrellas, others by the muzzle with the butt over the shoulder; one for
ease, had stuck his, with the bayonet in the ground, upright before him;
others laid their arms against the trees, and preferred a sitting to an
upright posture. In front of one camp there were two brass fieldpieces,
seemingly in good order. Many of the men had sporting rifles or plain
muskets. There were several boys of fifteen and sixteen years of age
among the men, who could scarcely carry their arms for a long day’s
march; but the Tennessee and Mississippi infantry were generally the
materials of good soldiers. The camps were not regularly pitched, with
one exception; the tents were too close together; the water is bad, and
the result that a good deal of measles, fever, diarrhœa, and dysentery
prevailed. One man who came on the train was a specimen of many of the
classes which fill the ranks--a tall, very muscular, handsome man, with
a hunter’s eye, about thirty-five years of age, brawny-shouldered,
brown-faced, black-bearded, hairy-handed; he had once owned one hundred
and ten negroes--equal, say, to £20,000--but he had been a patriot, a
lover of freedom, a fillibuster. First, he had gone off with Lopez to
Cuba, where he was taken, put in prison, and included among the number
who received grace; next he had gone off with Walker to Nicaragua, but
in his last expedition he fell into the hands of the enemy, and was only
restored to liberty by the British officer who was afterward assaulted
in New Orleans for the part he took in the affair. These little
adventures had reduced his stock to five negroes, and to defend them he
took up arms, and he looked like one who could use them. When he came
from Nicaragua he weighed only one hundred and ten pounds--now he was
over two hundred pounds--a splendid _bete fauve_; and, without wishing
him harm, may I be permitted to congratulate American society on its
chance of getting rid of a considerable number of those of whom he is a
representative man. We learned incidentally that the district wherein
these troops are quartered was distinguished by its attachment to the
Union. By its last vote Tennessee proved that there are at least forty
thousand voters in the State who are attached to the United States
Government. At Columbus the passengers were transferred to a steamer,
which in an hour and a half made its way against the stream of the
Mississippi to Cairo. There, in the clear light of the summer’s eve,
were floating the Stars and Stripes--the first time I had seen the flag,
with the exception of a glimpse of it at Fort Pickens, for two months.
Cairo is in Illinois, on the spur of land which is formed by the
junction of the Ohio River with the Mississippi, and its name is
probably well known to certain speculators in England, who believed in
the fortunes of a place so appropriately named and situated. Here is the
camp of Illinois troops under General Prentiss, which watches the shores
of the Missouri on the one hand, and of Kentucky on the other. Of them,
and of what may be interesting to readers in England, I shall speak in
my next letter. I find there is a general expression of satisfaction at
the sentiments expressed by Lord John Russell, in the speech which has
just been made down here, and that the animosity excited by what a
portion of the American press called the hostility of the Foreign
Minister to the United States has been considerably abated, although
much has been done to fan the anger of the people into a flame, because
England had acknowledged the Confederate States have _limited_
belligerent rights.



Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

But had the Adminstration been as strong=> But had the Administration
been as strong {pg 19}

Linclon is preparing either to abandon=> Lincoln is preparing either to
abandon {pg 20}

who is acting as aid-de-camp=> who is acting as aide-de-camp {pg 36}

small detatched batteries=> small detached batteries {pg 38}

connect him with the the North=> connect him with the North {pg 49}

Colonol Harvey Brown received=> Colonel Harvey Brown received {pg 92}

welcome her approach=> welcomes her approach {pg 99}

The Powhattan is a paddle=> The Powhatan is a paddle {pg 104}

accusomed for so many weeks=> accustomed for so many weeks {pg 106}

I had received premission to go on shore=> I had received permission to
go on shore {pg 108}

though not premitted=> though not permitted {pg 110}

the usuages of civilized nations=> the usages of civilized nations {pg
113}

consider the cause of theo cuntry=> consider the cause of the country
{pg 125}

tike outlying skeleton pickets=> like outlying skeleton pickets {pg 133}

àmes damnées=> âmes damnées {pg 138}

Or the fustian about dying=> Of the fustian about dying {pg 148}

stopping oyposite=> stopping opposite {pg 148}

lanky pony, whip in hand, superintend=> lanky pony, whip in hand,
superintended {pg 153}

the rain fell in torents=> the rain fell in torrents {pg 156}

year of its purshase at about=> year of its purchase at about {pg 161}

fifty-five, in the neigborhood=> fifty-five, in the neighborhood {pg
163}

At lest=> At last {pg 164}

fifty-sixth Irish=> fifty-six Irish {pg 175}

a brass buckle incribed=> a brass buckle inscribed {pg 178}

and did not riochet=> and did not ricochet {pg 179}

greater chance of riochet=> greater chance of ricochet {pg 180}

on retnrning we=> on returning we {pg 183}

agressive article=> aggressive article {pg 185}








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