Colonel Grierson's Raid


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 6, 1863

You are viewing part of our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive serves as an invaluable resource for developing a more in depth perspective on this critical part of American History.

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Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson Biography

Colonel Grierson Biography

General Van Dorn Death

City Park

New Orleans City Park

Colonel Grierson Raid

Grant's March

Grant's March on Vicksburg

Loyalty Oath

Loyalty Oath



Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

Hand to Hand Combat

Hand to Hand Combat

General Grant

General Grant

Stomach Bitters

Stomach Bitters

Illinois Central Railroad

Illinois Central Railroad Land





[JUNE 6, 1863.




WE give above a Map of part of Mississippi, showing the route taken by Colonel Grierson on his late famous CAVALRY RAID; and on page 356 a picture of the RECEPTION OF THE COLONEL AND HIS MEN AT BATON ROUGE.

We have not space for a lengthy account of the affair, and it must suffice to say that the brigade commanded by Colonel Grierson started from La Grange, Tennessee, and rode to Baton Rouge, a distance of 800 miles, through the heart of the rebel country. They were seventeen days on the march. They captured over 1000 prisoners and 1200 horses; destroyed for many miles two important railroads, and stores and other property valued at over four millions of dollars; and finally, on May 1, were received at Baton Rouge with great enthusiasm.




NORTH Latitude 23 1/2, Longitude East 113; the time March of this same year; the wind southerly; the port Whampoa, in the Canton river. Ships at anchor reared their tall masts here and there; and the broad stream was enlivened and colored by junks, and boats, of all sizes and vivid hues, propelled on the screw principle by a great scull at the stern, with projecting handles for the crew to work; and at times a gorgeous mandarin boat, with two great glaring eyes set in the bows, came flying, rowed with forty paddles by an armed crew, whose shields hung on the gunwale and flashed fire in the sunbeams: the mandarin, in conical and buttoned hat, sitting on the top of his cabin calmly smoking Paradise, alias opium, while his gong boomed and his boat flew fourteen miles an hour, and all things scuttled out of his celestial way. And there, looking majestically down on all these water ants, the huge Agra, cynosure of so many loving eyes and loving hearts in England, lay at her moorings, homeward bound.

Her tea not being yet on board, the ship's hull floated high as a castle, and to the subtle, intellectual, doll-faced, bolus-eyed people, that sculled to and fro busy as bees, though looking forked mushrooms, she sounded like a vast musical shell: for a lusty harmony of many mellow voices vibrated in her great cavities, and made the air ring cheerily around her. The vocalists were the Cyclops, to judge by the tremendous thumps that kept clean time to their sturdy tune. Yet it was but human labor, so heavy and so knowing, that it had called in music to help. It was the third mate and his gang completing his floor to receive the coming tea-chests. Yesterday he had stowed his dunnage, many hundred bundles of light flexible canes from Sumatra and Malacca; on these he had laid tons of rough saltpetre, in 200-pound gunny-bags: and was now mashing it to music, bags and all. His gang of fifteen, naked to the waist, stood in line, with huge wooden beetles called commanders, and lifted them high and brought them down on the nitre in cadenee with true nautical power

and unison, singing as follows, with a ponderous bump on the last note in each bar:

And so up to fifteen, when the stave was concluded with a shrill "Spell, oh!" and the gang relieved streaming with perspiration. When the saltpetre was well mashed, they rolled ton butts of water on it, till the floor was like a billiard-table. A fleet of chop boats then began to arrive, so many per day, with the tea-chests. Mr. Grey proceeded to lay the first tier on his saltpetre floor, and then built the chests, tier upon tier, beginning at the sides, and leaving in the middle a lane somewhat narrower than a tea-chest. Then he applied a screw-jack to the chests on both sides, and so enlarged his central aperture, and forced the remaining tea-chests in; and behold the enormous cargo packed as tight as ever shop-keeper packed a box—nineteen thousand eight hundred and six chests, sixty half chests, fifty quarter chests.

While Mr. Grey was contemplating his work with singular satisfaction, a small boat from Canton came alongside, and Mr. Tickell, midshipman, ran up the side, skipped on the quarter-deck, saluted it first, and then the first mate; and gave him a line from the captain, desiring him to take the ship down to Second Bar—for her water—at the turn of the tide.

Two hours after receipt of this order the ship swung to the ebb. Instantly Mr. Sharpe unmoored, and the Agra began her famous voyage, with her head at right angles to her course; for the wind being foul, all Sharpe could do was to set his top-sails, driver, and jib, and keep her in the tide-way, and clear of the numerous craft, by backing or filling as the case required; which he did with considerable dexterity, making the sails steer the helm for the nonce: he crossed the Bar at sunset, and brought to with the best bower anchor in five fathoms and a half. Here they began to take in their water, and on the fifth day the six-oared gig was ordered up to Canton for the captain. The next afternoon he passed the ship in her, going down the river to Lin-Tin, to board the Chinese admiral for his chop, or permission to leave China. All night the Agra

showed three lights at her mizen-peak for him, and kept a sharp look-out. But he did not come: he was having a very serious talk with the Chinese admiral; at daybreak, however, the gig was reported in sight: Sharpe told one of the midshipmen to call the boatswain and man the side. Soon the gig ran alongside; two of the ship's boys jumped like monkeys over the bulwarks, lighting, one on the main channels, the other on the midship port, and put the side ropes assiduously in the captain's hands; he bestowed a slight paternal smile on them, the first the imps had ever received from an officer, and went lightly up the sides. The moment his foot touched the deck, the boatswain gave a frightful shrill whistle; the men at the sides uncovered; the captain saluted the quarter-deck, and all the officers saluted him, which he returned, and stepping for a moment to the weather side of his deck gave the loud command, "All hands heave anchor." He then directed Mr. Sharpe to get what sail he could on the ship, the wind being now westerly; and dived into his cabin. The boatswain piped three shrill pipes, and "all hands up anchor," was thrice repeated forward, followed by private admonitions, "Rouse and bitt!" "Show a leg!" etc., and up tumbled the crew with homeward bound written on their tanned faces. (Pipe.) "Up all hammocks!" In ten minutes the ninety and odd hammocks were all stowed neatly in the netting, and covered with a snowy hammock cloth; and the hands were active, unbitting the cable, shipping the capstan bars, etc.

"All ready below, Sir," cried a voice.

"Man the bars," returned Mr. Sharpe from the quarter - deck. "Play up, fifer. Heave away!"

Out broke the merry fife with a rhythmical tune, and tramp, tramp, tramp went a hundred and twenty feet round and round, and, with brawny chests pressed tight against the capstan bars, sixty fine fellows walked the ship up to her anchor, drowning the fife at intervals with their sturdy song, as pat to their feet as an echo:

Heave with a will, ye jolly boys, Heave around; We're off from Chainee, jolly boys, Homeward bound. "Short stay apeak, Sir," roars the boatswain from forward. "Unship the bars. Way aloft. Loose sails. Let fall!" The ship being now over her anchor, and the top-sails set, the capstan bars were shipped again, the men all heaved with a will, the messenger grinned, the anchor was torn out of China with a mighty heave, and then run up with a luff tackle and secured; the ship's head cast to port:

"Up with the jib! man the taupsle halliards! all hands make sail!" Round she came slow and majestically; the sails filled, and the good ship bore away for England.

She made the Bogue forts in three or four tacks, and there she had to come to again for another chop, China being a place as hard to get into as Heaven, and to get out of as—Chancery. At three P.M. she was at Macao, and hove to four miles front the land, to take in her passengers.

A gun was fired from the forecastle. No boats came off. Sharpe began to fret: for the wind, though light, had now got to the N.W., and they were wasting it. After a while the captain came on deck, and ordered all the carronades to be scaled. The eight heavy reports bellowed the great ship's impatience across the water, and out pulled two boats with the passengers. While they were coming Dodd sent and ordered the gunner to load the carronades with shot, and secure and apron them. The first boat brought Colonel Kenealy, Mr. Fullalove, and a prodigious negro, who all mounted by the side ropes. But the whip was rigged for the next boat, and the Honorable Mrs. Beresford and poodle hoisted on board, item her white maid, item her black nurse, item her little boy and male Oriental in charge thereof, the strangest compound of dignity and servility, and of black and white, being clad in snowy cotton and japanned to the nine.

Mrs. Beresford was the wife of a member of council in India. She had been to Macao for her boy's health, intending to return to Calcutta; but meantime her husband was made a director, and went home: so she was going to join him. A tall, handsome lady, with too curved a nose. Like most aquiline women she was born to domineer a bit; and, for the last ten years, Orientals cringing at her knee, and Europeans flattering at her ear, had nursed this quality high, and spoiled her with all their might. A similar process had been applied to her boy Frederick from infancy; he was now nearly six: arrogance and

caprice shone so in both their sallow faces, and spoke so in every gesture, that, as they came on board, Sharpe, a reader of passengers, whispered the second mate: "Bayliss, we have shipped the devil."

"And a cargo of his imps," grunted Mr. Bayliss.

Mr. Fullalove was a Methodist parson—to the naked eye: grave, sober, lean, lank-haired. But some men are hidden fires. Fullalove was one of the extraordinary products of an extraordinary nation, the United States of America. He was an engineer for one thing, and an inventive and practical mechanician; held two patents of his own creating, which yielded him a good income both at home and in Great Britain. Such results are seldom achieved without deep study and seclusion: and accordingly Joshua Fullalove, when the inventive fit was on, would be buried deep as Archimedes for a twelvemonth, burning the midnight oil: then, his active element predominating, the pale student would dash into the forest or the prairie, with a rifle and an Indian, and come out bronzed, and more or less bepanthered or bebuffaloed; thence invariably to sea for a year or two: there, Anglo-Saxon to the back-bone, his romance had ever an eye to business; he was always after foreign mechanical inventions—he was now importing an excellent one from Japan—and ready to do lucrative feats of knowledge: thus he bought a Turkish ship at the bottom of the Dardanelles for twelve hundred dollars, raised her cargo (hardware), and sold it for six thousand dollars; then weighed the empty ship, pumped her, repaired her, and navigated her himself into Boston harbor, Massachusetts. On the way he rescued, with his late drowned ship, a Swedish vessel, and received salvage. He once fished eighty elephants' tusks out of a craft foundered in the Firth of Forth, to the disgust of elder Anglo-Saxons looking on from the shore. These unusual pursuits were varied by a singular recreation: he played at elevating the African character to European levels. With this view he had bought Vespasian for eighteen hundred dollars; whereof anon. America is fertile in mixtures: what do we not owe her? Sherry cobbler, gin sling, cocktail, mint julep, brandy smash, sudden death, eye openers. Well, one day she outdid herself, and mixed Fullalove: Quaker, Nimrod, Archimede, Philanthropist, decorous Red Rover, and What Not.

The passenger boats cast loose. "All hands make sail!" The boatswain piped, the light-heeled topsmen sped up the ratlines, and lay out on the yards, while all on deck looked up, as usual, to see them work. Out bellied sail after sail aloft; the ship came courtesying round to the southward, spread her snowy pinions high and wide, and went like a bird over the wrinkled sea—homeward bound.

It was an exhilarating start, and all faces were bright; but one. The captain looked somewhat grave and thoughtful, and often scanned the horizon with his glass; he gave polite but very short answers to his friend Colonel Kenealy firing nothings in his ear; and sent for the gunner.

While that personage, a crusty old Niler, called Monk, is cleaning himself to go on the quarter-deek, peep we into Captain Dodd's troubled mind, and into the circumstances which connect him with the heart of this story, despite the twelve thousand miles of water between him and the lovers at Barkington. It had always been his pride to lay by money for his wife and children, and, under advice of an Indian friend, he had, during the last few years, placed considerable sums, at intervals, in a great Calcutta house, which gave eight per cent. for deposits: swelled by fresh capital, and such high interest, the hoard grew fast. When his old ship, sore battered off the Cape, was condemned by the company's agents at Canton, he sailed to Calcutta, intending to return thence to England as a passenger. But while he was at Calcutta the greatest firm there suspended payment, carrying astonishment and dismay into a hundred families. At such moments the press and the fireside ring for a little while with the common-sense cry,* "Good interest means bad security." As for Dodd, who till then had revered all these great houses with nautical, or childlike, confidence, a blind terror took the place of blind trust in him; he felt guilty toward his children for risking their money (he had got to believe it was theirs, not his), and vowed, if he could only get hold of it once more, he would never trust a penny of it out of his own hands again; except, perhaps, to the Bank of England. But should he ever get it? it was a large sum. He went to Messrs. Anderson and Anderson, and drew for his fourteen thousand pounds. To his dismay, but hardly to his surprise, the clerks looked at one another, and sent the check in to some inner department. Dodd was kept waiting. His heart sank within him: there was a hitch. Meantime came a government officer, and paid in an enormous sum in notes and mercantile bills, principally the latter. Presently Dodd was invited into the manager's room. "Leaving the country, Captain Dodd?" "Yes, Sir." "You had better take some of your money in bills at sight on London." "I would rather have notes, Sir," faltered Dodd. "Oh, bills by Oliveira upon Baring are just as good, even without our indorsement. However, you can have half and half. Calcutta does but little in English bank-notes, you know." They gave him his money. The bills were all manifestly good. But he recognized one of them as having just been paid in by the civilian. He found himself somehow safe in the street clutches


*The Duke of Wellington (the iron one) is the author of this saying.

Map Colonel Grierson's Raid




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