Civil War Anecdotes
The Seventy-ninth at Bull Run
THE WAR FOR THE UNION
The Battle of Bull Run
Correspondence of The N.Y. Tribune.
Washington, Saturday, July 27, 1861.
At about 11 o'clock on Sunday morning we were awakened quietly, and the
whole regiment told to sling their blankets and haversacks and fall in in
light marching order, with as little noise as possible. As it still wanted
an hour or two of daylight, the air was remarkably chilly; and it was after
some little yawning and stretching and shivering that our men gathered the
half-numb limbs from the wet grass where they had been lying, and proceeded
to arrange their equipments and fall in their places, all breakfastless,
for the march.
In due time we faced to the right and marched out upon the road to Bull
Run, proceded by the 2d Wisconsin Regiment. We moved steadily and quickly
on without meeting anything to interrupt until we passed a bridge, where
some axemen were engaged in cutting timber by the stream. Some of our men
asked them what they were cutting timber for, and they answered to cover
our retreat in case of defeat. At the mention ot the word "retreat,"
our men laughed outright; still the experience of last Thursday had made
them cautious, and they kept a bright look-out for "wasps' nest"
in every wood we passed.
At one time, as we came in view of a wooded elevation away to the right
about a mile ahead of us, a perfect frostwork of bayonets gleamed in the
rising sun before our eyes. Still, we kept steadily on until after passing
the artillery which had halted, we defiled to the right, entering a heavily
timbered wood, not very far this side of the creek; here we formed in line
of battle, and advanced to the front, through the dense forest and underbrush.
Owing to the irregularity of the way, and the masses of impenetrable thicket
here and there encountered, it was with great difficulty that we could preserve
our line. One poor fellow managed somehow to get his gun entangled in the
brush, and in extricating it, was shot in the groin. Reaching the skirts
of the wood, we came upon an open space, where were orchards, fields, farm-houses;
all that go to make up a rural scene glistening in the morning sun, as smiling
and peaceful as a patriarch's vision, and yet we knew that among those patches
of wood there lurked a hornet's nest of masked batteries. We were ordered
to lie down on our arms within the edge of the thicket, after throwing down
the fence and placing the battery at a slight projection of the wood a little
to our left. Our officers sent out a party of skirmishers, and rode forth
to reconnoiter the ground.
Our position commanded a view of a large open field skirted by woods on
the opposite side of the creek, beyond which we were told the secessionists
were drawn up for our reception. Soon we observed some motion on the great
plain overlooking us. Some person mounted on a superb white horse could
be plainly seen issuing from the wood and riding about the field surveying
us attentively from various points. This we supposed to be Beauregard, although
the Southern papers since say it was Davis himself. Soon a glittering of
bayonets could be seen in unbroken line from wood to wood--then a long black
column moving rapidly down the slope denoted cavalry. Suddenly a shell was
thrown from one battery which exploded in the midst of the moving mass,
overthrowing several horses, scattering the column for some distance and
causing them to gallop back in the same direction from whence they came.
The long line of infantry then betook themselves on the double quick back
to their woods and along a road by the hill-side, where we could see an
occasional glimmer of the bayonets as they passed some more open space.
Shot and shell were thrown at the vibrating line from time to time as it
came in view and the skirmishers from the front kept up a scattering fire.
Nothing however seemed to elicit any reply from the secessionists--which
led to the belief on the part of some of the higher officers, that they
were retiring, beaten and discouraged. The men however loudly proclaimed
their belief that the "sesechers" were only "lying low"
to entrap us on the other side of the creek. Meanwhile several of our men
climbed up the highest ttrees on the rising ground to our left and reported
a battle going on in our rear; both parties drawn up in lines and the sight
a most superb one. One of our best and most experienced captains said, that
the forces moving about beyond the creek were about 12,000 strong and formed
as fine a division as any army would care to engage. The cannonade on our
right and on our left kept steadily increasing, mingled from time to time
with a dull, shattering fire of musketry, in the direction where Colonel
Hunter's division was engaged. Suddenly up came an Aide at full gallop,
with the command to "forward." The men, in eager haste, began
to strip for the fight. They threw down their blankets, haversacks and some
even their jackets and shoes, and away we dashed on the double quick, while
cheer after cheer burst from the excited solders, and had the effect of
drawing upon them the fire of the Secession batteries,which began to pour
in upon us when we halted at the fordable part of the creek. As soon as
the 69th had crossed, we dashed down the steep bank and into the water,
which was nearly waist deep in some places; splashed and scrambled through,
climbed the opposite bank and away on a full run through the cedar trees;
came out at an open space where another regiment was drawn up in line before
a house, and passed by to what appeared to be the most hotly contested part
of the fight. Here the scene assumed all the characteristics of a battle-field.
Dense volumes of smoke rolling away to the southward; dead horses lying
strewn about--riderless horses plunging madly through the field--while ever
and anon we stumbled over the grim corpse of a soldier, his limbs stiff
in death and blood encrusting his face. Away on every hillside, far as the
eye could reach, were drawn up the long lines of troops, while the deep
booming of the cannon, the steady roll of the musketry, the shouts of the
charging columns formed a misè en scène highly dramatic.
We drew up in front of the 69th, and the Acting General and Staff rode along
the line, speaking words of encouragement to the boys of both regiments.
Three cheers were given for Col. Corcoran and Col. Cameron, reciprocally.
We advanced to the support of the Rhode Island battery, and while in that
commanding position, had a fine view of the field during what was to us
the most interesting part of the day.
First of all we observed what had been all day conceded--the deadly accuracy
of the Confederate artillery. Scarce a shot failed to bring down its horse,
man, or gun-carriage. As one regiment--I think the Brooklyn 15th--was advancing
to the charge, a shot from a rifled-cannon brought down the flag, color
guard and all. It was seized instantly by other hands, and borne rapidly
on. Whenever men would lie down under the slope of a hill to screen them
from the withering fire of the batteries, the gunners would get their range
so accurately that balls and shells would come skimming over the hill-side,
not six inches from the ground, alighting in the hollow, amid a nest of
crouching soldiers. Many and many a poor fellow was killed while lying on
his face or in a gulley to avoid the shot.
After several ineffectual charges by various regiments on a battery that
seemed to be protected by rifle-pits, the artillery shifted their position,
and the United States cavalry and the Fire Zouaves charged vigorously together.
At their approach the fire from batteries, rifle-pits, and the woods, redoubled,
until a perfect cataract of fire poured upon them from three sides; but
not an eye quailed, as the gallant band continued to advance across the
intervening brook and fences to the point of attack. It was a glorious sight
to see them stemming the torrent of death which poured upon them, charging
with all the impassioned fervor of mousquetaires noires of the olden time.
But, unfortunately, the cavalry having had enough, broke, and retreated
precipitately right through the lines of the advancing Zouaves. Once broken
the gallant little fellows rallied and returned to the charge again and
again, but it seemed as if no human power could withstand the hailstorm
of death which showered on all who approached the batteries.
Soon it came our turn to charge. As we rose to our feet and advanced, a
long cheer went up from the men, which could be heard above the boom of
the cannon and the roar of musketry. We moved slowly and steady at first,
for the way was extremely uneven, and it was difficult to preserve the regularity
of the line. On nearing the valley between us and the battery, we found
it raked by batteries on every side. Numbers of our men went down as the
hurricane of iron swept by us, and it was with no little difficulty that
we could close up the line so as to charge effectively. Soon this terrible
gulf was passed, and our men charged up the hill with renewed vigor. The
Confederates waited until we appeared above the brow of the hill, and then
poured such a volley upon us as decimated the regiment in an instant. Scores
of men fell forward on their faces with a peculiar supine motion, as a wave
falls forward on a beach. Capt. Brown being in advance, and seeing the Confederates
running from their guns to the cover of the trees, rushed forward waving
his sword, shouting, "Now, boys, rally." Scarcely were the words
from his lips when a rifle-bullet pierced him through the neck; at the same
instant a cannon ball entered his side, and he fell to the earth, pinned
as it were to the ground.
Some of his men tried to take his watch, by order of the lieutenants, but
found it buried in his vitals. He died bravely and as he had wished, having
often expressed the hope that he might never survive the defeat of the regiment.
Capt. Shillinglaw was shot through both knees, and immediately after, one
of his men lifting him up--for he was lying on his face--found him dead,
with his beard dabbled with blood from a wound in the head. At this time
the storm of battle redoubled, the regiment wavered, then fell back and
retreated slowly, still firing at every step, having lost several of its
best officers. A general retreat commenced. Some members of the 5th company
and the Staten Islanders of company 10 made a gallant stand behind a fallen
tree, where they kept up an obstinate defense for some time. To our astonishment,
however, we saw the stars and stripes waving from the battery and an officer
in uniform like that of the Ohio regiments cried out, "cease firing,
you're killing your own men" We rallied once more, and on some of our
men breasting the hill again the flag disappeared, the Confederate flag
waved in its place, and another death storm of bullets poured upon us, and
the regiment, not being prepared for sudden attack, fell back in disorder.
Col. Cameron, who had succeeded in rallying the men twice, seemed paralyzed
at this new reverse--the sword which he had been waving dropped from his
hand--he stood a moment looking at the retreating mass, some of the men
still obstinately firing, and on one of his lieutenants coming down from
the front of the battery to ask advice about the wounded officers, he turned
suddenly toward him, faced the battery, and the same instant a Miniè
bullet pierced his breast. He fell without a groan. After his fall the route
became complete. The fatal cry of "savue qui peut" seemed communicated
from regiment to regiment, and night saw the disheartened army in full retreat
toward Fort Corcoran.
NEW-YORK DAILY TRIBUNE
New-York, Monday, July 29, 1861
VARIOUS INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE
Heroic Conduct of a Young Soldier
During the battle at Bull Run on Sunday last, a most heroic achievement
was performed by Edw'd Schwartz, nephew of Thomas Boesè, esq., clerk
of the Board of Education, and son of Louis Schwartz of this city. Young
Schwartz is a member of the 8th Regiment, Company B, and is only 18 years
of age. In the hottest of the battle, when the Rebel cavalry was charging
on our forces, young Schwartz very coolly shot the captain of the advancing
foe, and captured his sword and sash, which he now holds as trophies. All
honor to the young soldier!
Terrible Bowie-Knife Work
After the battle had been raging for some hours, according to the account
of this Zouavian hero, he saw an immense body of Mississippians, accompanied
by some (believed to be) Baltimoreans, rush furiously over the Confederate
ramparts. They at once saw the conspicuous uniform of the Zouaves, and made
at them. The Mississippians, after approaching near enough, sent a terrible
volley from their rifles into the Zouave ranks. This done, they threw their
guns aside and charged onward until each contending enemy met face to face
and hand to hand in terrible combat. The Mississippians, having discarded
their rifles after the first fire, fell back upon their bowie-knives. These
were of huge dimensions, eighteen to twenty inches long, heavy in proportion
and sharp, or two-edged at the point. Attached to the handle was a lasso,
some eight to ten feet in length, with one end securely wound round the
wrist. My informant says when these terrific warriors approached to within
reach of their lasso, not waiting to come in bayonet range, they threw forward
their bowie-knives at the Zouaves after the fashion of experienced harpooners
striking at a whale. Frequently they plunged in, and penetrated through
a soldier's body, and were jerked out, ready to strike again while the first
victim sunk into death. On several occasions the terrible bowie-knife was
transifixed in a Zouave, and the Zouave's bayonet in a Mississippian, both
impaled and falling together. So skillfully was this deadly instrument handled
by the Mississippian that he could project it to the full lasso length,
kill his victim, withdraw it again with a sudden impulse, and catch the
handle unerringly. If by any mischance the bowie-knife missed its aim, broke
the cord fastening it to the arm, or fell to the earth, revolvers were next
resorted to and used with similar dexterity. The hand to hand closing in
with both pistol and bowie-knife, cutting, slashing, carving, and shooting
almost in the same moment, was awful beyond description. Blood gushed from
hundreds of wounds until, amid death, pitiful groans and appalling sights,
it stanched the very earth. My Zouave champion says himself and comrades
did hard fighting, stood up manfully to the murderous conflict, but never
before knew what undaunted bravery and courage meant. He felt no further
ambition to engage in such encounters. Having been shot through the wrist
by a revolver, after escaping the fearful Mississippi weapons, and disabled
from further active participation in the struggle, he willingly retired
to reap the glory won, convinced that to fight against Mississippians with
bowie-knives and pistols, after receiving a volley of their sharp-cracking
rifles, is no ordinary fun.
NEW-YORK DAILY TRIBUNE
New-York, Monday, July 29, 1861
RHODE ISLAND IN THE FIGHT
When Captain Tower was hit, he said, "turn me over on my back, boys,
and go in."
Col. Slocum was killed in the early part of the engagement, and Major Ballou
a short time afterward. Our men stood up to the fight without flinching,
and I think bore the principal part of the battle. Had other regiments been
officered like our own, with Gov. Sprague to lead them on, there would have
been no retreat. Gov. Sprague had two horses shot under him, one of which
was shot through the neck, and the other through the shoulder. In one case
as the horse fell, the Governor took off his hat, and waving it to his men,
shouted, "Three cheers for the flag, boys; forward and give it to them!"
He has several bullet holes in his shirt, but escaped all bodily injury,
with the exception of a slight scratch in the face from a shell. He was
at the head of the column throughout the battle.
Capt. Brown covered himself with glory. He was very cool throughout the
engagement, heading his company, and keeping them constantly at work. He
deserves great praise for the manner in which he has performed his duties.
Samuel W. Burbanks, Company C., 1st regiment, was bruised in his legs. When
retiring, and getting over a fence, a cannon-ball struck the rail he was
upon and cut it in two, the splinters hitting his legs. Soon after a shell
struck near him in a pile of brush and stones, scattering them around him,
again slightly bruising him. He writes that his legs are stiff, but not
The following touching incident is given in a letter from a young officer
in the 2d Rhode Island regiment:
"After the battle was fought, I went into a grove where the Secessionists
had been concealed. I found the ground covered with the dead and dying.
The sight was one that I pray never to see again. One poor fellow, with
his leg blown off, called me to him and asked me to shake hands with him.
He then asked me if I had any ill feelings toward him. I replied, 'No; but
I am sorry that brothers should be obliged to slaughter each other in this
manner.' The poor fellow burst into tears, and said he came from Georgia,
and that they would have shot him in his own house if he had not come. I
saw many heart-rending scenes, too numerous to mention."
After Frederic Bub, a gunner of the 2d battery, was killed, Reeder, the
well known colored servant of Capt. Reynolds, took his place and worked
A ZOUAVE IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP
When the Fire Zouaves stormed the masked battery at Bull Run, and were forced
to fall back by the grapeshot and cavalry charge, one of them was stunned
by a blow from a saber, and fell almost under one of the enemy's guns. The
Secessionists swarmed around him like bees, but feigning death, in the excitement
he was unnoticed, and when a sally was made managed to crawl back into the
thicket inside the Confederate lines. Here he waited some time for an opportunity
to escape, but finding none concluded he would make the best of a bad bargain,
and if he was lost would have a little revenge beforehand. Hastily stripping
the body of a Confederate near by, he donned his uniform, and seizing a
rifle made his way to the intrenchments, where he joined the Secessionists,
and, watching his opportunities, succeeded in picking off several of their
most prominent officers whenever they advanced out upon the troops. Here
he remained some time, until thinking it best to leave before his disguise
should be discovered, he joined a party who were about to charge upon our
forces, and was, to his gratification, again captured, but this time by
his own men. Our fire proved very destructive to the enemy, and cut down
their men by hundreds. In the battery five dead bodies lying close together,
and the bushes were full of the wounded who had crawled off to get out of
A DESPERATE HAND-TO-HAND CONTEST
On Saturday night, before the battle, two of the Minnesota boys took it
into their heads to forage a little, for amusement as well as estables.
Striking out from their encampment into the forest, they followed a narrow
road some distance, until, turning a bend, five Secession pickets appeared
not fifty yards distant. The parties discovered each other simutaneously,
and at once leveled their rifles and fired. Two of the Confederates fell
dead, and one of the Minnesotians, the other also falling, however, but
with the design of trapping the other three, who at once came up, as they
said, to "examine the d---d Yankees." Drawing his revolver, the
Minnesotian found he had but two barrels loaded, and with these he shot
two of the picket. Springing to his feet, and snatching his saber bayonet
from his rifle, he lunged at the survivor, who proved to be a stalwart lieutenant,
armed only with a heavy sword. The superior skill of the Southerner was
taxed to the utmost in parrying the vigorous thrusts and lunges of the brawny
lumberman; and for several minutes the contest waged in silence, broken
only by the rustle of the long grass by the roadside and the clash of their
weapons. Feigning fatigue, the Minnesotian fell back a few steps, and as
his adversary closed upon, him with a cat-like spring, he let his saber
come down upon the head of Secesh, and the game was up. Collecting the arms
of the Secessionists, he returned to the camp, where he obtained asistance,
and buried the bodies of his companion and their foes in one grave.
Narrow Escape of One of the New-Hampshire Second..--A gentleman who arrived
in Boston on Friday night from the camp of the New-Hampshire 2d Regiment,
Col. Marston, reports that at the battle on Sunday last, Capt. Hiram Rollins
of Company D. 2d New-Hampshire Regiment, had been shot in the shoulder,
and was lying by the roadside under a fence, faint from the loss of blood.
Capt. Thomas Snow of the 2d passed at the time, and Capt. Follins gave the
cry of "Second New-Hampshire," and the officer went back, and
hailing an ambulance wagon, placed the wounded officer in it. A few moments
after, Capt. Rollins, by some means unknown to himself, was thrown out of
the ambulance, and almost immediately afterward a cannon ball struck the
ambulance, shattering it and scattering the pieces in a fearful manner.
The officer was afterward picked up and conveyed to the camp of the regiment.
He reports that Col. Marston has a very severe wound in the shoulder by
a Miniè ball, which plowed the flesh in a shocking manner.
Death of Capt. Tillinghast, U. S. A.--Capt. Otis H. Tillinghast, who was
killed in the battle at Bull Run, on Sunday last, was born in the Eastern
part of New-York State. He was a graduate at West Point, of the class of
1847, and had seen service in many parts of this country and in Mexico,
and was for a number of years Quartermaster of the 1st Artillery. He was
a man of high repute, as a gentleman, a soldier, and an officer, and was
well known to many of our citizens; he married about three years since a
daughter of our townsman, Oliver C. Wyman, esq. Capt. Tillinghast was attached
to Gen. McDowell's Staff, and was killed while gallantly rallying the troops
at Bull Run. The earth covers no braver soldier or truer man than Otis H.
Tillinghast. His country can ill affort to lose so gallant an officer in
this hour of its peril. [Boston Paper.
The Rev. Mr. Eddy Missing.--Thomas M. Clark, editor of The Winsted Herald,
writes: "A telegram was received at Winsted Friday afternoon, from
Washington, stating that the last seen or heard from the Rev. Mr. Eddy,
who went out with the Connecticut 2d Regiment, he was carrying water to
the soldiers on the field of battle at Bull Run, last Sunday. Mr. Eddy is
either dead or a prisoner."
--The Pawtucket Chronicle says: "It is a somewhat singular circumstance
that the mothers of Col. Slocum, Major Ballou, and Capt. Tower, all of the
2d Rhode Island Regiment, who fell on Sunday last, should all live in this
place, almost within a stone's throw of each other."
NEW-YORK DAILY TRIBUNE
New-York, Monday, July 29, 1861
A LETTER FROM A RICHMOND
Mr. A. H. Morrill, of the Thirteenth New York Regiment, (from Rochester,)
has written a letter dated at Richmond on the 10th of September, which has
just been published. Mr. Morrill was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle
of Bull Run. We make a few extracts from his letter:
"I am confined in the same building with our member of Congress, Hon.
Alfred Ely and Calvin Huson, Jr., of Rochester. They occupy the lower floor
of the building with some sixty-five United States officers, and myself
and several Rochester boys on the floor above.
"Much has already been published about our treatment here as prisoners
of war--some things that are true and others not. It is a subject which
I will altogether omit at this time. I will, however, say a word or two
in this regard about our member of Congress, who bears his captivity with
so much dignity and composure. He and Col. Corcoran, of the Sixty-ninth
New York State Regiment, have been subjects of great attraction at Richmond.
The captivity of a member of the United States Congress seems to have been
regarded as a 'big thing' by the South, for great have been the multitudes
of visiters calling upon Mr. Ely at his quarters. Governors of States, members
of the Confederate Congress, in squads, who were acquainted with him in
Washington, and distinguished gentlemen from every section of the South,
have given to him the consideration due to his former position. This incessant
visitation was kept up until it became a burden instead of a pleasure, when
it was curtailed by order of Gen. Winder, in charge of the post, and at
the request, I have understood, of Mr. Ely himself.
"The newspapers, North and South, have teemed with various statements
of the circumstances attending Mr. Ely's capture, and his treatment at his
quarters in Richmond; some of them, especially those of Southern manufacture,
ridiculous in the extreme. The truth is, Mr. Ely was never in better health
and cheer in his life, and one would think, to look at him in the entertainment
of the gay and courteous company with which he has been constantly 'honored'
since his arrival here, that it was bliss to be a prisoner of war. Himself,
Col. Corcoran, and I believe two other United States officers, mess at the
same table, and are allowed their servants, and furnish their own table
as daintily as they please. Many of the Rochester boys, brought here in
a destitute condition from the battle ground, have found their member of
Congress a lucky neighbor in misfortune, for to him forever be our thanks
for saving us at times from absolute distress."
DAILY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER
Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 17, 1861
The battle at Edward's Ferry supplies another proof that sharpshooting is
the chief characteristic of this war. Of the California regiment the Colonel
was killed, the Lieutenant Colonel, Major, and Adjutant wounded, and five
Captains are dead or missing and two wounded. Of the Fifteenth Massachusetts
regiment the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel were wounded, five Captains
killed and three wounded. These two regiments were in the heat of battle,
and suffered most severely. The number of killed and wounded officers is
far out of proportion to that of the privates. Every man with a sword and
shoulder-strap, who could be seen in front or by the side of his command,
was, without doubt, the common target of dozens of rebel sharpshooters concealed
in woods, underbrush, or riflepits, at a distance of from two to four hundred
yards. Col. Baker was pierced with six balls, other officers with two or
three, and those who escaped unhurt were grazed once or twice. It is said
that one officer was hit four times in various parts of his uniform and
equipments without personal injury. The killing or maiming of all these
officers was equivalent to defeating the two regiments. In the absence of
artillery and cavalry, the rebel sharpshooters may claim to have won the
battle at Edward's Ferry. How much havoc our sharpshooters caused among
the enemy there is no means of knowing; but it is not unlikely that a large
number of their officers too were dropped. Against these deadly Minie balls
there is no effective precaution that a brave man would wish to adopt. Nothing
but a complete coat of mail from crown to sole could save him from the searching
bullets. A ball-proof chain armor, (if one could be made,) or the steel
breastplates worn by the Cent Gardes of Napoleon III, woudl be of no avail.
The chest might escape, but presently a ball from some sharpshooter of extraordinary
skill might come crashing through the head, killing on the instant, or through
the legs, crippling the officer and sending him off the field. Nothing but
a wavering aim can prevent the slaughter of officers from being horrible
on both sides. If the position of an officer has its honors and privileges,
it also has its peculiar dangers, and should not be sought by those who
have not the courage fearlessly to meet them.
[Journal of Commerce.
DAILY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER
Washington, D. C.,Tuesday, October 29, 1861
ATTEMPTED ESCAPE FROM FORT LAFAYETTE
PUTTING TO SEA IN A WASHTUB
[From the New York Tribune, Oct, 28th]
Between one and two o'clock on Sunday morning, as a sentinel, in the darkness
and storm, was pacing his lonely round outside the walls of Fort Lafayette,
he heard the shutter of a casement unfastening, and, upon cautious examination,
discovered that casement No. 5 had been opened. Soon after a rope was thrown
out, various articles lowered in succession, followed by a man. The rope
was just long enough to enable the fugitive to reach the ground. As he touched
the earth, the sentinel presented his bayonet, and bade him surrender. The
man proved to be Jas. Lowber, the rebel bearer of dispatches who was recently
followed by the detectives from the house of his brother-in-law, Mr. Alexander
Shultze, at Peeksville, to Crestline, Ohio, where they arrested him. it
will be remembered that previous to his being taken he had forwarded his
dispatches to their destination, and he himself came near eluding the officers.
The sentry, upon seizing his prisoner, found that he had lowered a large
new wash tub, a life-preserver, and his valise-the latter packed full of
valuables. Lowber begged hard to be permitted to ascend the rope again into
his apartment and attempted to bribe his captor by the offer of his old
watch and $47.50 in gold coin, which he had tied up in a bladder, if he
would allow him to do so. Of course his proposal was not accepted, but,
instead, the sentry marched his prisoner into the fort and roused the officer
of the guard. Lieut. Wood, the commander of the fort, was immediately apprised
of the attempted escape, and ordered the long roll to be beaten. This brought
the garrison to the parade. All the prisoners of the fort were then brought
out and the roll called to ascertain if any were missing. All, however,
answered to their names. It appears that Mr. Lowber occupied casemate No.
5, in company with fifteen others, only six of whom as far as could be gathered,
were aware of the premeditated escape, and these say they attempted to dissuade
him from his purpose. Lowber states that the gold was brought to him on
a draught by the wife of one of the prisoners; but how he came possessed
of the wash tub, the rope, and the life-preserver, is a mystery. The key
with which the prisoner unlocked the padlock of the casement shutter, he
says he made himself. It is supposed that he intended to place his valise
in the tub, and supported by his life-preservers, to have pushed off from
the fort with his novel craft, either for the shore or for some vessel in
the vicinity. It seems probably that an arrangement had been made to board
a vessel, as three were hovering about in suspicious proximity-one of which,
a bark, had approached so near, that the sentry had ordered her off. As
soon as the prisoners had gone to their lodgings, and Lowber had been double-ironed,
Lieut. Wood, with a file of soldiers, entered his cutter and rowed out to
the vessels, which proved to be a bark, a brig and a schooner. These he
captured, and anchored alongside the revenue cutter Bibb. The Lieutenant
states that the officers of the Bibb treated him very uncivilly, apparently
not being very well pleased that he had disturbed them at such an unwarrantable
hour. Yesterday the vessels were missing from the Bibb, but it had been
ascertained what had become of them. Yesterday, at the urgent request of
Lowber and his friends, the handcuffs were removed, his legs remaining manacled.
So far from expressing regret at the attempt at escape he is rather boastful
of it, and declares himself to be a most ardent secessionist.
DAILY MISSOURI DEMOCRAT
St. Louis, Thursday Morning, October 31, 1861
HUMANITY OUTRAGED.--At a large skirmish near Romney, Virginia, a party of
our men were forced to retreat, leaving a corporal and two privates so hard
pressed they had to secrete themselves in the bushes to escape death or
capture. In this situation they werediscovered by two slaves belonging to
a violent secessionist in the vicinity. Under cover of the night these faithful
fellows managed to conduct our three men safely to our camp, where all were
received with joy and surprise.--The negroes were kindly treated, and duly
fed and protected. When, some time after, Brigadier-General Kelly, of Western
Virginia, came to the camp and assumed command, the circumstances were related
to him, and the negroes commended to this notice. Instead of treating them
with honor and assuring them of his protection, he immediately handed them
over to the tender mercies of the traitor-villain who claimed to own them.
ELMIRA DAILY ADVERTISER
Elmira, Chemung County, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec 3, 1861
A Pirate Sentenced to Be Hung
Captain Gordon of the Slaver Erie to be Hung--Motion for a new Trial
In the United States Circuit Court on Saturday last, before Judge Shipman,
Nathaniel Gordon, Captain of the Slaver Erie, captured off the coast of
Africa, and who was under indictment for piracy, was sentenced to be executed
at the City prison, on the 7th day of February next, between the hours of
twelve and three o'clock.
A motion for a new trial had previously been denied.
SENTENCE OF THE COURT
Judge Shipman, then passed sentence of death upon the prisoner, as follows:
It appears from the evidence in this case that in the Summer of 1860 you
sailed in the ship Erie from Havana, in the island of Cuba, bound to the
coast of Africa. you were master of the vessel, and had on board a competent
crew, and a large amount of provisions of a kind and quantity appropriate
for food for a large number of persons, and such as is usually carried out
in vessels which are intended for the slave trade.
The ship also had on board a large number of water casks as well as a quantity
of liquor, which latter was to be left in Africa--probably exchanged for
the freight which you undertook to bring back to Cuba. In command of this
ship thus manned and provided, you proceeded to the Congo river, on the
West Coast of Africa, and then, after landing your cargo and subsequently
re-shipping all or nearly all but the liquor, and filling your water casks
with fresh water, you dropped your vessel a few miles down the river to
a point a few miles from its mouth, and in a few hours on the afternoon
of the 7th of August, you took on board eight hundred and seventy-nine of
the inhabitants of that country, thrust them densely packed and crowded,
between the decks of the ship, and immediately set sail for Cuba.
On the morning of the 8th, in the Atlantic Ocean, about fifty miles from
the coast, you were captured by the United States war vessel Mohican, your
ship taken to Monrovia, where all the unfortunate victims of your crime
then living were put on shore, and you were brought in your ship to this
port. Upon these facts you have been accused, bro't to trial before a jury
of your countrymen, and found guilty of a crime for which the laws of your
country adjudge you a pirate and inflict upon you the punishment of death.
In the verdict of the jury it is my duty to say the Court fully concurred.
The evidence was so full and complete as to exclude from the minds of your
triers all doubt.
You are soon to be confronted with the terrible consequences of your crime,
and it is proper that I should call to your mind the duty of preparing for
that event which will soon terminate your moral existence and usher you
into the presence of the Supreme Judge.
Let me implore you to seek the spiritual guidance of the ministers of religion;
and let your repentence be as thorough and humble as your crime was great.
Do not attempt to hide its enormity from yourself;--think of the cruelty
and wickedness of seizing nearly a thousand fellow beings, who never did
you harm, and thrusting them between the decks of a small ship, beneath
a burning tropical sun, to die of disease or suffocation, or be transported
to distant lands, and be consigned they, and their posterity, to a fate
far more cruel than death.
Think of the sufferings of the unhappy beings whom you crowded on the Erie;
of their helpless agony and terror when you took them from their native
land; and especially think of their miseries on the passage from the place
of your capture to Monrovia! Remember that you showed mercy to none, carrying
off as you did, not only those of your own sex, but women and helpless children.
Turn your thoughts toward Him who alone can pardon and who is not deaf to
the supplications of those who seek his mercy.
It remains only to pronounce the sentence which the law affixes to your
crime, which is, that you be taken back to the City Prison, whence you were
brought, and remain there until Friday, the seventh day of February next,
and then and there, the place of execution, between the hours of twelve
o'clock at noon and three o'clock in the afternoon on that day, you be hanged
by the neck until you are dead, and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.
As the judge concluded the delivery of the sentence the stoical expression
which Gordon's countenance had assumed was for a moment relaxed; but when
the order was given to remand him, he stepped quickly forward, and proceeded
with much firmness with the officer to the Tombs.
When Gordon was re-committed to the Tombs he was met by his wife. An affecting
interview took place.
ELMIRA DAILY ADVERTISER
Elmira, Chemung County, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec 3, 1861
Another Woman in Male Clothing--A "Bould Sojer Boy" (?)--Yesterday
afternoon a smart looking lad wearing a military cap and overcoat, applied
at the recruiting office of Capt. Benjamin, in the Arcade, to be enrolled
as a drummer boy. He stated that he was seventeen years of age, and had
served as a drummer in the army on the Potomac several months. An officer
took him into a private room where a very brief inspection revealed the
fact that the pretended boy was a woman! She was handed over to the custody
of the police, and accommodated with lodgings in a cell. Apparel more becoming
to her sex was supplied her, and she will appear before the magistrate suitably
clothed, if not exactly in her right mind. She is the same woman that was
arrested at Albion last winter. She tended bar at the Clinton House in that
village two weeks, going by the name of Charley Miller. Being detected by
officer Foster she was taken before Justice Braley who discharged her on
her promise to leave town.
She says now that she enlisted last Spring in the 18th New York volunteers,
Col. Jackson, as a drummer, and served in that capacity for two months.
She was then transferred to the 46th Pennsylvania volunteers, Col. Knipes,
and acted as servant to one of the officers. She was then discharged--whether
upon discovery of her sex or not; she did not inform us. She returned home
to her mother, who lives in Cayuga county, and to whom she gave the money
she had received as wages; but being enamored of the life of a soldier,
she determined to enlist again, and came to Rochester for that purpose.
In the 18th regiment she was called Edward D. Hamilton, but the name she
prefers is Charley Miller. Her real name we do not think proper to mention,
as she disclosed it under promise that it should not be published.
We are informed that this woman is more than thirty years old, but she gave
her age to us as twenty-one. In crinoline she appears to be twenty-five
or twenty-six: in pantaloons seventeen or eighteen. A person who professes
to have known her twelve or fourteen years ago, says that at that time she
was driving a hackney coach for Mr. Benjamin McFarlin. Subsequently she
was engaged in the same business in Buffalo. Almost from childhood she has
chosen to unsex herself and lead a masquerading life in male garb. For some
two years she traveled with a circus. She was here last summer with a concern
of that sort, in the employ of a man who sold whips from a wagon. So long
has she followed an adventurous career, passing herself off as a boy, that
she scarcely retains any feminine characteristics. When she is in her favorite
attire there is nothing in general appearance, or in her voice, to indicate
that she is other than she seems. A slight peculiarity in her walk is alone
likely to betray her.
What disposition will be made of her we cannot say. It scarcely probable
that the magistrate will deem her deserving of any very severe punishment,
as no crime or offence is charged against her except her disguise.--Rochester
ELMIRA DAILY ADVERTISER
Elmira, Chemung County, N. Y., Thursday, Dec 19, 1861