Capture of Beaufort


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861

For your research and study, we have posted online versions of our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers give you unique insight into the key events and people of the Civil War. We hope you enjoy this extensive archive of Civil War material.

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General Halleck

General Halleck

Halleck Biography

General Halleck Biography

Confederate Elections

Davis & Stephens Reelected

Making Artillery Shells

Artillery Shells

Map of South Carolina Coast


Capture of Beaufort, South Carolina


Samuel F. Dupont

Slidell and Mason

Capture of Slidell and Mason


Springfield, Missouri

Hilton Head

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

The Beaufort Naval Expedition

Fort Walker

Attack on Fort Walker and Beauregard

Runyon and Albany

Forts Runyon and Albany

Beaufort Cartoon

Last Man in Beaufort



NOVEMBER 30, 1861.]



(Previous Page) there was a shell striking about once in a minute, At this time the Pocahontas, which had towed a transport ship in, let her go, and came up to join in the sport—sport for us, but death to them. At half past twelve o'clock the little gunboat Mercury, Acting Master S. G. Martin, came tip close to us and stood right in toward the battery, and after taking a position she opened fire with her thirty-pounder Parrott gun, throwing in shell with great precision. Her conduct was brilliant in the extreme, and attracted the attention of the entire fleet.

The rebel battery is badly damaged, and the houses and tents bear the marks of shells, and it looks as if there was a stampede in the rebel camp. At five minutes of two o'clock the Wabash and her consorts are in position to advance; but they remain quiet and let the gun-boats pepper away at the battery, which only replies with one gun, which looks as if they were only firing so as to deceive its while they embark their forces. At two o'clock we weigh anchor, and go still closer in, feeling assured that they have become pretty well used up, and will not or can not injure no.

The transports now launch their surf-boats, nearly one hundred in number, and place the crews in them, all ready to commence disembarking the troops. At half past two o'clock the Wabash came down and fired one gun, and, to our surprise, there was no reply to it, although she waited for some moments. Signals were now made to the vessels, and the firing ceased entirely. The ships got in order, and, to our surprise, prepared to anchor.

At twenty minutes of three o'clock a boat—the whale-boat of the Wabash—was manned, and, with a white flag flying over the bow and Commander John Rodgers in the stern, started for the shore. I can assure you that every stroke of the oars was watched by thousands of anxious people. She strikes the beach. Captain Rodgers, borne on the backs of true and trusty tars, with the Stars and Stripes floating over his head and a large ensign, goes on shore, and at three o'clock precisely the Stars and Stripes wave in triumph over South Carolina soil and a deserted rebel battery. A glorious and brilliant naval victory has been won. All honor to the gallant seamen of the United States Navy !

With regard to FORT WALKER he says:

The armament of the merle, which was of the latest patterns, was as follows : Thirteen 32-pounders, two siege 12-inch guns, two rifled 8-inch. one 10-inch Columbiad, two carronades, and one 8-inch Columbiad. Three of them had been dismounted, but were uninjured, and can readily be mounted on new carriages. In the magazines an immense quantity of shot, shell, powder, fixed ammunition, etc., were found.

The enemy left Fort Walker so hurriedly that their private effects—indeed, every thing—were wholly abandoned, and we found every thing just as they left them. Dinner tables were set, and good food ready for the hungry fighters, and all left to us. The amount of stuff found was astonishing, and all was taken possession of by our forces, and, with the exception of a few articles taken as mementos of the occasion, every thing is safe. Quite a number of elegant swords and pistols, saddles, etc., were found, and distributed among the deserving.

The effects of our fire were to be seen on every hand in the work. On the line along the front three guns were dismounted by the enfilading fire of our ship. One carriage had been struck by a large shell and shivered to pieces, dismounting the heavy gun mounted upon it, and sending the splinters flying in all direction, with terrific force. Between the gun and the foot of the parapet was a large pool of blood, mingled with brain, fragments of skull, and pieces of flesh, evidently from the face, as portions of whiskers still clung to it. This shot must have done horrible execution, as other portions of human beings were found all about it. Another carriage to the right was broken to pieces, and the guns on the water fronts were rendered useless by the enfilading fire from the gun-boats on the left flank. Their scorching fire of shell, which swept with resistless fury and deadly effect across this long water pond, where the enemy had placed their heaviest metal, en barbette, without taking the precaution to place traverses between the guns, did as much as any thing to drive the rebels from their works, in the hurried manner I have before described. The works were plowed up by the shot and shell so badly as to make immediate repairs necessary.

All the houses and many of the tents about the work were perforated and torn by flying shell, and hardly a light of glass could be found intact, in any building where a shell exploded. The trees in the vicinity of the object of our fire showed marks of heavy visitations. Every thing, indeed bore the marks of ruin. No wonder, then, that the rebels beat a hasty retreat. I can, and do, cheerfully bear testimony to the gallant and courageous manner in which the rebels maintained their position under a hot fire, and fought at their guns when many would have fled.

Their loss in killed and wounded must have been heavy. About fifteen have been buried today by the marines; two or three of their wounded were found, the remainder are undoubtedly carried with the retreating forces.

Of the METHOD OF SIGNALING our artist writes :


November 11, 1861.

I send you inclosed a sketch of Signal Officer Lieutenant Howard in the act of communicating with the frigate Wabash. In the day time signals are made by means of a flag, either a white ground and crimson centre, or a black ground and white centre. In the night torches are used, protected from the wind by a peculiar arrangement of strips of copper, resembling the fingers of a man's hand. To each signal officer there are attached two sergeants who make the motions with the signal apparatus, the officer directing. The officers are equipped at the expense of the United States, drawing field-glasses (night and day), telescopes, horses, and various other things. I send this with other sketches at the earliest opportunity. The entrance to Port Royal is in the middle of the picture.



I send you herewith a sketch of the head-quarters of General Wright, with its surroundings, which, as you see, is a picturesque as well as an interesting subject. This old house, formerly the mansion of a planter named William Pope, was, on the occupation of this place by the rebels, immediately confiscated, and used as the head-quarters of the General-commanding, Drayton. During the bombardment the building was the recipient of a number of iron favors from the big guns of our little gun-boats. After the helter-skelter retreat of the chivalry it was occupied by General Wright. The small buildings surrounding it, formerly used as negro-quarters, were found filled with commissary stores of all descriptions, the encampment in front and around it being that of the Ninth South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Colonel William Hayward, a brother-in-law of Hon. Francis B. Cutting, of New York. It is now occupied by the Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers. It will be perceived by my sketch that "contrabands" have already begun to make their appearance, and as evening closed many dark objects were visible, and the cry is still they come. Their delight is unbounded at the prospect of future freedom, and their method of expressing it ludicrous.

The following brief biographical sketches will introduce THE MILITARY AND NAVAL COMMANDERS to our readers :

Acting Major-General Thomas W. Sherman—in charge of the land force of the expedition—was born in Rhode Island, graduated at the West Point Military Academy in 1836, standing number eighteen in a class of forty-six cadets—an unusually large proportion—and was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Third United States Artillery in July, 1836. In March, 1837, he became Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, and in the same month of the following year was promoted to a first lieutenancy. Just at the breaking out of the troubles with Mexico he was promoted to a captaincy, his commission bearing date May 28, 1846. He served with distinction previously in the Florida wars, and accompanied General Taylor to Mexico, rendering himself conspicuous for the zeal and efficiency with which he performed his duty. He was breveted Major for his gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Buena Vista, February 23, 1847. Since the close of the Mexican war he has been on duty in various parts of the

country, always rendering efficient service. In August, 1857, while on duty at the Minnesota agency, in the Indian country, he was distinguished for the prudence and firmness with which he acted in averting a war with the Mississippi tribes of the Sioux. On the formation of the Fifth Artillery he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, a portion of which was engaged in the Bull Run fight, under the name of Sherman's, and subsequently Ayres's battery. He was made a Brigadier-General May 17, 1861.

Commodore Samuel F. Dupont, the commander of the naval forces of the expedition, is a native of the State of Delaware, and received his appointment into the navy from that State. His original entry into the service of his country was on the 19th of December, 1815; he has been, therefore, nearly forty-six years in the service, and his forty-sixth anniversary has won more glory and raised him higher in the estimation of the people, both at home and abroad, than all previous ones. Up to the present time Commodore Dupont has spent nearly twenty-two years on sea, eight and a half years in active duty on shore, and the balance of his time has been unemployed. His present commission bears date September 14, 1855. He was last at sea in May, 1859, and since that time he has been commandant of the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, where his kindness of manner, together with his strict discipline, won for him many friends.

Commodore Dupont is a man a little past what is usually termed the prime of life, although possessed of all the vigor, bodily strength, and ambition that usually characterize younger men. In his personal appearance the Commodore is a person that would at once attract attention.

The following letter, published in the Herald, will show how narrow an escape the "WINFIELD SCOTT" had of being lost on the way to Port Royal :

The gale commenced on Friday west of Cape Fear, blowing hard; at three o'clock P. M., the ship laboring hard, saw steamboat Governor, with flag of distress at mast-head; could not go to her assistance ; had to keep the vessel's head to the sea. At five o'clock, the gale still increasing, and the ship laboring very hard. Up to ten o'clock the sea was running higher than the vessel ; every sea that struck her seemed to twist her like a piece of whalebone. Thunder and lightning and pitch dark up to five o'clock. Captain Edie was on deck all the time, giving orders to the men at the wheel. At one o'clock Saturday morning, five feet of water in the hold. The soldiers' provisions in the after-hold and camp equipage floating about in one mass. He then commenced to throw overboard all their stores and cargo to lighten the ship, in which work sailors, soldiers, and every person that could stand lent their aid. The ship's pumps were stopped by the floating rubbish. At half past four A.M. made signals of distress. At half past six A.M. spoke gun-boat Bienville and told them we were leaking, and wanted them to stand by us in case we went down. At half past eleven A.M. made fast to her by a hawser, and lowered a boat with boat's crew, three disabled men and one lady, and got them on board all safe. The boat then got stove alongside the Bienville. She then sent us another boat, on board of which some of our crew went, including the Chief Engineer, Sabin —the first man on board to desert his post, which example was followed by many of the crew. Then the Bienville's boat also got stove, after landing them on board. She then parted the hawser, and came alongside of us with a plunge. On account of the heavy sea she could not stay there, when some twenty men jumped on board. Both the ships were slightly damaged by coming together. About half past three P.M. she came alongside again, and struck and took off four men, one of them being the carpenter. She then lowered another boat with a crew, and came alongside, and made three trips, carrying ten or twelve persons each time from the Winfield Scott. The leak was then gaining on us—six feet of water in the hold on account of the soldiers stopping bailing to get on board the Bienville—it being previously reported to Captain Edie that the forward hold was full of water. Then the First Assistant Engineer came on deck, and reported water in the engine-room to such an amount that the fires would not burn half an hour longer. The Captain, seeing that it was getting late, and finding that he could not get all the soldiers off before night, then sent the purser, Mr. Patterson, on board the Bienville to ask the Captain to come alongside again; but after waiting some time for the Bienville to come alongside he made up his mind to try and get into smooth water, which he was advised to do by all the officers of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania Regiment, who were on board, they promising him to keep the ship afloat by bailing for at least eight hours. He then steamed away from the Bienville at about six miles an hour. About one o'clock Sunday morning, 3d, got into smooth water; the wind lowered by daylight. At eight A.M. all the water out of the ship, steam pumps at work. At eleven A.M. made the land off Port Royal and cast anchor in the bay, all hands in good spirits.

With regard to the MAP of the coast of South Carolina, its author says :

The Map on page 762 is made from the charts of the United States Coast Survey and other good authorities, and represents clearly the region of South Carolina which produces rice and sea-island cotton, also the important position gained by the Federal Government. It will be seen that Port Royal harbor is nearly midway between Charleston and Savannah, and that both the land and water communications between these two cities are commanded by the force holding possession of the Broad River.

On this map the depth of water less than three fathoms or 18 feet is tinted, and thereby the approaches of the harbors can be distinctly understood. It will be seen that this tint forms a bar to each harbor except that of Port Royal. The depth of water in feet is given in figures on each bar. The circuit which our fleet made in their attack on Forts Walker and Beauregard is also shown. After a reconnoissance made by a captain of the engineer department, a site for a battery at Seabrook was fixed upon. Here five heavy guns will command Skull Creek, which is the only passage of deep water from Broad River to Savannah.

On good maps and charts Bay Point is the name given to the southern point of Edisto Island. However, as in our dispatches this name is often given to the south end of Philip's Island, the position of Fort Beauregard, the name is here given on our map.


I HAD come back, after an absence of nearly twenty-five years, to linger for a brief time amidst the old places made sacred to memory by childhood and youth. How familiar, and yet how changed in its familiarity was every thing!—every thing but the living who remained; and they were few, for death had been there as every where. I asked for this one and that one, as the thought of boyish friends came trooping back upon me, and the answer, "Dead," came so frequently that I felt as if a pestilence must have been there.

"What of Payson ?" said I.

"Oh, he's all right," was the cheerful answer of the old friend with whom I was conversing. " How all right ?" I inquired.

My friend pointed to an elegant house standing in the midst of ornamental grounds that were adorned with fountains and statuary.

" He lives there," said he.

I remembered him as a young man of small means, but industrious and saving. We had been tolerably intimate, and I had liked him for his amiability, intelligence, and cheerful temper.

"Then he has become a rich man?"

" Yes, he is our wealthiest townsman; one of the most successful men in this region of country." "Did he build that house?"

"Yes, and its style shows how well his taste is

cultivated. We feel naturally proud of Mr. Payson."

"Then he is liberal as a citizen, using his wealth in enterprises that look to the common good?" "Oh, as to that," was replied, "he is like other men."

" How like other men ?"

"'Thinks more of himself than he does of other people."

" And what of Melleville?" I asked.

"Henry Melleville?"


There was a change in my companion's countenance and manner that did not foreshadow a good report. He shook his head as he replied :

"Poor Melleville stands about where you left him; never has succeeded well in any thing." " I am grieved to hear you say that. Of all my young friends I valued him most."

"It is too true; and I am sorry for it. That is his house." And he pointed to a plain white cottage, standing not far from the splendid residence of Mr. Payson, which made it look poor and almost mean in contrast.

" Strange diversity of fortune !" I said, speaking partly to myself. "Taking the two men as I now recall them, Melleville most deserved success."

"He was an excellent young man," was replied to this ; " but lacked force of character, I suppose, or some other element of success. What, I don't really know, for I have not been very intimate with him for some years. He is peculiar in some things, and don't have a great many warm friends." "Not so many as Mr. Payson, I presume."

" Oh no ! Of course not."

I was surprised at this intelligence. Of the two men, I carried in my mind by far the pleasantest recollections of Melleville, and was prepared to hear of his success in life beyond that of almost every other one I had left in my native place.

" What of Henry Melleville ?" I asked of another.

"Oh, he's a stick in the mud," was answered coarsely, and with an indifferent toss of the head.

" I am sorry that my old friend Henry Melleville has made out so poorly," said I, speaking of him in a third direction. "What is the cause of it ?"

"The causes of success or failure in life are deeply hidden," was the answer I received. " Some men profess to be gifted with a clear sight in these matters ; but I own to being in the dark. There isn't an honester or more industrious man in the world than Melleville, and yet he don't get along. Five or six years ago he seemed to be doing very well, better than usual, when his shop burned down, and he lost not only valuable tools, but a considerable amount of stock, finished and unfinished."

" Had he no insurance ?"

"Yes, but it was only partial; just enough to get him going again. Ten years ago he had a mill, and was doing, he told me, very well, when a spring freshet carried away the dam and water-wheel. He had only rented the mill, and as the owner was in pecuniary difficulty, and involved at the same time in a lawsuit about this very property, no repairs were attempted, and he was forced to abandon a business that looked very promising. And so it has been with him all along. There ever comes some pull back just as he gets fairly on the road to success."

"How does he bear his misfortunes?" I inquired. "I never heard him complain."

"It has been different with Mr. Payson."

"O dear, yes ; his whole life has been marked with successes. Whatever he touches turns to gold."

The testimony in regard to the two men agreed in the general. One had succeeded in life, the other had not. I felt interest enough in both of them to get a nearer point of view, and so, in virtue of old acquaintanceship, called to see them. My first visit was to Mr. Payson. Was it because, like the rest of the world, I was more strongly attracted by the successful man ? Have it so, if you will : human nature is weak.

"Will you send up your name?" said the servant, who showed me into a rather stylishly-furnished office, where it was plain, from the display of books and papers, that Mr. Payson met his visitors who came on business.

I gave my name, and then waited for nearly five minutes before the gentleman appeared. I saw, the instant my eyes rested on his face, that he was in some unpleasant doubt as to the purpose of my visit.

"Mr. Payson," said I, warmly, as I arose and extended my hand.

He pronounced my name, but in a tone guiltless of pleasure or cordiality. The earnest pressure of my hand received no appreciative return. His fingers lay in mine like the senseless fingers of a sleeper. I was chilled by his manner, and felt like retiring without another word. But having approached him, I was not willing to recede without reading him with some care.

"It is twenty-five years since we met," said I, after resuming the seat from which I had arisen. "Time works great changes in all of us."

"So long as that," he responded, without interest.

"Yes, it is twenty-five years since I went from the home-nest out into the world, an ardent, hopeful young man."

"And how has the world used you ?" He did not look at me in direct aspect, but with a slightly angular range of vision, as if there here a selfish suspicion in his mind touching the object of my visit.

"I have no complaint to make against the world," said I.

"You are a rara axis, then," he replied, with the ghost of a smile ; "the first man I have met in a decade who didn't rail at the world for treating him badly."

"Has it treated you badly?" I could not help smiling back into his face as I asked this question.

"Yes; or at least, the people in it. The world is well enough, I suppose; but the people! Oh dear! Every other man you meet has some design on you."

"Your experience has been more unfavorable than mine," said I.

"Then you are fortunate-that is all I have to say."

I had been reading the face of this friend of my younger days attentively from the moment he came in. He looked older by forty years, instead of by twenty-five. But time had not improved his face, as it does some faces. Every feature remained; I would have known him among a thousand; but every feature was changed in its stronger or feebler development. All that expressed kindness, humanity, and good-will had nearly died out; while hard selfishness looked at you from every lineament.

"You have been fortunate," I remarked, " as to this world's goods. Your garner is filled with the land's fatness."

The reference did not seem wholly agreeable. "When I went from this neighborhood you were a poor young man. I return, and find that you have heaped up wealth in rich abundance. Only the few are successful in your degree."

"Money isn't happiness," he replied, his hard, heavy forehead contracting.

"No ; but it may be made the minister of happiness," I said, in return.

"Yes, I know. That's the common talk of the day." He answered in a kind of a growl. " I find it the minister of evil."

"You surprise me. Rich men are not wont to speak after this fashion."

"'Then they don't speak from their hearts, as I do."

"You have health and a beautiful home. These are elements of happiness."

He shut his lips tightly and shook his head.

"I have no sound health. Don't know what it is to have a pleasant bodily sensation. And as for the beautiful home to which you refer—" He checked himself, and became silent, while a painful expression settled in his face.

" You have children ?"

He lifted his eyes to mine with a questioning look, as if he thought me probing him.

"Yes," He simply answered.

"Pretty well grown by this time?"

"Some of them." He paused, and then added, "And quite past me. Children, Sir !" His manner grew suddenly excited. But he checked himself, with a slight air of confusion; then went on. "Children, Sir!" Stopped once more, as if in shame.

"Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them," said I, cheerfully.

Payson merely shrugged his shoulders, and looked stolid and unhappy. I referred, in order to change the subject, to a topic of public interest. But his answers showed that he had no intelligent appreciation of a matter in which every man of thought felt a common interest. When I left him, after half an hour's interview, it was with the impression that, outside of money, he was the most unsuccessful man it had been my fortune to meet in this world. In nothing besides money-getting had he succeeded. When I last saw him he was a cheerful, bright, hopeful, good-tempered young man. Now he was morose, gloomy, and dull of intellect, except in a single direction—a great money fungus, without any of the elements of a noble and true life.

Upon inquiry I learned that, while his children were young, he was so absorbed in his fields and in his merchandise that he had no time or inclination to cultivate their morals or to win their love. In matters of no real moment as to the welfare of these children he would interfere with his wife's management of them in an arbitrary and tyrannical way; thus closing their minds against him, and destroying his influence over them for good. Badly managed, repressed unwisely in some directions and unwisely indulged in others, they were growing up selfish, ill-tempered, proud, and exacting; cursing with discord his home instead of blessing it with love. And he, as far as I could learn, giving way to a morose temper, made their lives as uncomfortable as they made his. It was mutual antagonism, and under circumstances that precluded a separation. And here was my successful man !

"My dear old friend !" exclaimed Henry Melleville, grasping my hand as he opened the door of his modest little home, and stood looking me in the face, his own fine countenance all aglow with pleasure. "This is a surprise ! Come in ! Come in !" And he drew me along the passage into a small parlor, the meagre furniture of which told the story of his limited means.

"When did you arrive ? Where did you come from ? Why, it's over—let me see—over twenty years since you were here, or at least since I have seen you here."

"Over twenty-five," said I.

"So long! Is it possible? Well, how are you, and where are you ? Tell me all about yourself." All about myself! And the interest was sincere and cordial. "I must hear about you first," I answered, smiling back into his smiling face. " How is it with you ?"

"Oh, as well as I deserve, and something better," he replied, cheerfully. No shadows came over his face.

"You have not succeeded in getting rich, I see."

"Not rich in this world's goods; but true success in life is not always to be measured by gold. We start, in early manhood, with happiness as the end in view, and in most cases wealth is considered the chief means of securing that end. I own to having fallen into the error myself. But my successes have not been in that direction. Riches would have done me more harm than good, and so in mercy they have not been given. I struggled hard for them ; I called them for a time the greatest good, or the chief means toward attaining the



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