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Posts Tagged ‘New Bern’

The captured deserters

We mentioned in our last that several deserters from our army had been captured in front of Newbern, two of them executed, and others on trial. The Raleigh Confederate, whose Editor was on the ground, says,

“We learn that among the yankee prisoners taken below Kinston last week, there were forty five deserters from Nethercutt’s Battalion. They were in full yankee uniform, and will of course suffer the penalty so eminently due the base crime of desertion to the enemy. One desert from the 8th Regiment, caught in yankee uniform, was shot on Thursday last, with several others.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, February 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

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Colonel Wood

This accomplished officer of the President’s personal staff has performed at Newbern one of the most gallant and successful exploits of the war. With his little band of thoroughly disciplined Marines, he succeeded in boarding (no matter how,) the Gunboat Underwriter, carrying four heavy guns, well manned and equipped, and lying close into the beach directly under the fire of one of the forts at Newbern. The redoubtable Captain of the formidable monster escaped by jumping overboard. It is creditable to the remaining officers and crew that they made at stout fight; but Col. Wood was too much for them and they were obliged to succumb. The boat was fairly captured; but owing to her being so close in, and having no steam up, our Colonel was unable to bring her off.  He was therefore compelled to relinquish his prize to destruction. The explosion of her magazine was heard for miles, and her shell rent the air for several moments, adding to the consternation of the Yankee and tory inhabitants of Newbern. Col. Wood came off safe and brought most of his prisoners.

This heroic deed adds lustre to our arms. Invigorates the popular confidence in our cause, and reflects the highest honor on the gallant officers and men who executed it.

Raleigh Confederate

Source: Fayetteville Observer, February 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

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February 8, 1864

Sad to say it is true that we have fallen back from New Berne! Gen Picket made a reconnoissance, as he now calls it, “within a mile & a half of New Berne. . . . Met the enemy in force at Batchelor’s Creek, killed, & wounded about one hundred in all; captured thirteen officer’s & two hundred & eighty prisoners, fourteen negroes, two Rifled peices & caissons, three hundred stand of small arms, four ambulances, three wagons, fifty five animals (of what sort Gen Picket?), a quantity of clothing, camp & garrison equipage, and two flags. Commander Wood (C S) captured & destroyed the U S gunboat Underwriter” — signed G E Picket Maj Gen Comdg. He dates his dispatch from Kinston, so the Examiner’s hopes of a great battle the next day would not have been so sanguine, had he been acquainted with the geography of the country! Gen Whiting reports from Wilmington that “Gen Martin . . . broke the R R at Shepherdsville, driving the enemy from their works at Newport barracks & across Newport river,” so I suppose expectation which has been on tip toe for days past can now rest comfortably on the sole of her foot again. It is mortifying truly! James left us today to return to duty. His health is much better & the rest has been of service to him.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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February 6, 1864

Busy with my Garden seeds, dividing them with friends who are not so fortunate or so provident as I was last summer. I have a fine stock, as times go, but it seems meager to what I once thought a necessity for a good garden. Last evening came Mary & Sue on horse back. Sad rumours they bring us, but they are but rumours, to the effect that we have failed in our attack on New Berne & have fallen back, Barton’s Brigade being the scapegoat this time. Gen Martin has stormed & taken Morehead City and Dame Rumour says holds it. The newspapers “distinguish themselves” like the little man in the Spectator “by a profound silence” on the whole subject, so Mad Rumour’s reign is undisturbed. We have had some success of minor importance, capturing a wagon train of eighty wagons in Hardy County, burning a Gunboat, the Smith Briggs, & capturing her crew and a detachment of 130 men sent out to destroy a Factory & Mill in Isle of Wight County. The prisoners boast that they were in the foray which destroyed Brandon. Col Griffin also repulsed the enemy & drove them to their boats at Windsor, killing ten of them.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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February 2, 1864

Last night about bed time came James, much improved by his jaunt. He was reduced to traveling in a cart, having missed Owen whom we had sent for him. He brings no news beyond the fact of the massing of troops at Goldsboro & Kinston & that we have a Pontoon train coming up from Wilmington, which looks like an advance on our part. Maj Gen Picket is in command. He has left his wife at Gen Ransom’s house & she is in such depths of greif at his departure that the wise ones argue from it that she knows there is something more than usual in prospective. The papers are as silent as the grave on the whole matter. Father & Mr E very busy surveying in order to find the Level of the cut in the Dam where Father proposes to put in a flume in order to releive the dams from all pressure save that below eighteen feet by flooding the Low Grounds when the river reaches that height. A troublesome & expensive job & to my mind of doubtful utility, but I exercise myself in things too high for me so I had better seek my level.

All day yesterday at Hascosea transplanting & pruning. Met some officers’ of Ferrabee’s Regiment, which had been ordered here from Northern Va to recruit their horses. They give a heart breaking account of the desolation wrought in that whole country. The Quarter Master rode up to the Flower Garden where I was at work & told me that the sight of it & my employment was a refreshment to him, that there was not a fence or an enclosure in the whole country where he had been! He came to order the tax-in-kind to be paid to him, orders having been issued to that effect & requested that the corn might be unshelled & the Hay not baled & that he would haul it, for all of which we should be much obliged to the Government.

On the road home met Mr Peter Smith & some other of our neighbors on their way from Halifax Court. They told me that the rumour was that we had taken New Berne & that Col Shaw of the [ -- ] N C was certainly killed, his body having passed on the train the night before. Poor fellow! he is the officer who was so severely & as most persons now beleive unjustly censured for the fall of Roanoke Island. He was called a Yankee, a traitor, & I know not what, but his only fault seems now to have been a want of capacity for the situation in which he found himself & for that the blame should rest on the shoulders of those who placed him there. A simple Colonel of no military ability, he was unable to cope with the difficulties which surrounded him, difficulties which required a man of the first order & a far stronger force & heavier canon to meet successfully. The country has long ago acquitted him of all blame in the matter & to Sec Benjamin & Maj. Gen Huger, as principals, do we look for the liquidation of the debt of responsibility, the misery, the bloodshed & the loss which have followed in the train of that most unfortunate event! If Col Shaw was a Yankee he came to N C under six months of age & even that is denied by his friends. He was a Southern man by education & instinct but weak & an aspirant for political honours, which gained him many enemies, but he has expiated his faults real & imaginary now & has died a soldier’s death in his country’s cause. May he rest in Peace! God be with his family! Sent off yesterday to Mrs Webb for the Hospital thirty eight dozen eggs, for which, sad to say, I had to pay $1.00 per doz! Twenty five dollars of the money was sent me by our neighbours to be expended as I thought best for the Hospital. The rest was our contribution.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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"Battle of Bachelor’s Creek NC. Fought Feb. 1st 1864. On Spot’s Farm. Drawn by Cornelius C. Cusick (Indian Lieut Co. D 132d Regt. NY Infantry). Collections of East Carolina University

“Battle of Bachelor’s Creek NC. Fought Feb. 1st 1864. On Spot’s Farm. Drawn by Cornelius C. Cusick (Indian Lieut Co. D 132d Regt. NY Infantry). Collections of East Carolina University

Description written by Hitchcock in his scrapbook:

“The above battle was fought by the 132d Regiment of New York Infantry 700 men. 1 Company 99 NY 65 men. A Company of the 1st North Carolina Union troops 40 men. A squadron of 12 NY Cavalry. 120 men with two howitzers and a section of the 3d NY Artillery 20 men. Commanded by Lieut Col and Brevet Brig Genl Geo. H. Hitchcock.

The Confederates made an assault on our out posts 15,000 strong under Gen. Picket at 2 o’clock AM Feby 1st 64 and were held in check until 11 o’clock AM. a sufficient time to make the woods any disposition of our forces to repel him at every point. Our loss was 84 all told. That of the Confederates being 1500 in killed, wounded, and captured including Col Shaw of North Carolina and Major Rhett of South Carolina. The 132d NY were ordered to place the name of the battled on its colors.”

Image Caption:

Battle of Bachelor’s Creek NC. Fought Feb. 1st 1864. On Spot’s Farm. Drawn by Cornelius C. Cusick (Indian Lieut Co. D 132d Regt. NY Infantry)

** Cornelius Cusick was a member of the Iroquois Nation: http://www.niagara2008.com/history127.html

Source: George H. Hitchcock papers, East Carolina University Special Collections Library. Link to the collection: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/956.1

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January 31, 1864

Such weather as we have had for the past ten days! Maderia could not surpass it. I have been much out of doors, transplanting, pruning, & getting ready for Spring work. Have been frequently to Hascosea & to father’s & had Sue & Father here with me.

All continues quiet along our lines. Gilmore keeps up his barbarous shelling of Charleston without inflicting much damage on ought save the character of his country, but that is lost beyond redemption. Troops are being massed at Goldsboro & Kinston under secret orders. What it portends we know not. Rumour has it we are to attack New Berne to forestall the Yankee attack on Wilmington. Per contra, another says that the Yankees are collecting a heavy force there, that Meade is in command, & that N C is to be the seat of the War & that the Summer Campaign opens here. God avert it. A party of Yankees came up to Windsor in Bertie last Thursday & committed the usual excesses, taking off with them the Episcopal Clergyman, the Cashier of the Bank, and a leading merchant, all non combattants. This is not War but sheer barbarity. When will it end? A band of Yankees from Butler’s command came up the James & destroyed every out house, the crops, & provisions on the Brandon estate owned by Mrs Devereux’s relatives. This seems the more wanton as it was spared by McClellan in his famous “change of base,” as well as by the British in the Revolution, and there seems no reason for it now beyond the fact that Butler is in command. Seven members of the Signal Corps were there captured.

This afternoon came brother in better spirits than usual. He is on his way to Harrell’sville to look after a lot of Bacon left there by the carelessness of somebody. The Yankees came up & set fire to it, but fortunately for us the flames skimmed over on the surface only & almost the whole amount has been saved in good condition. The Advance is again in safely with a valuable cargo, run in in the teeth of the Blockaders. This is our N C vessel & Capt Crossan deserves well of the State for his boldness & skill in so often bearding the Yankee Lion successfully.

Letters from my neice, Mrs T. D. Jones, give me an account of what herself, mother, & sisters underwent from the hands of the Yankees & their allies, armed negroes — make my blood boil in my veins. On leaving us on the 1st of Dec she went at once to her Sister Mrs Wood’s house where her Mother & Brother were, the latter at home on a sick furlough with a wounded foot.

“Early the next morning,” I quote her own words, “Ma, Sallie, & I were awakened about daylight by men’s voices talking loudly in the house. . . . Soon one of the little servants came up & told us that the house was full of Yankees & that they were looking for Joshua. You may be sure we were quickly up and then, Aunt Kate, before we could get any of our clothing on we heard the report of a gun & a shout of ‘we’ve got him! we’ve got him!’ Mama & I rushed out just as we were, in our night dresses & bare feet, expecting to see our poor J killed. Oh! Aunt Kate, I cannot tell you the horror of that moment! When we got out on the piazza we saw J running across a field which was just over the road from the house & two Yankees in hot pursuit. They fired on him four times but the brave little fellow never halted until compelled to do so by his lame foot & the rapid gaining on him of his yelling pursuers. They treated him very roughly after his surrender; & allowed him but five minutes to get ready to go with them.

They were the roughest, most brutal looking set of men I ever saw: It seems that they came to Hertford in the night . . . there they found one of sister Mary’s servants who told them about J being a ranger & who gladly piloted [them] out to Sister Mary’s. . . . J was asleep when one of the negro girls ran in & told him the yard was full of Yankees. He sprang up & dressed as quickly as possible taking his gun with him & attempted to escape, but as he reached back, they burst open the front door of the house. They saw & halted him but he did not stop; they ran after him but he slipped under the house & they lost sight of him. They looked around for him a while & then rushed into Sister Mary’s room where she was all undressed & told her that she had a Guerilla hid in her house & if she did not tell them where he was they would burn the house down. She had not seen him that morning and of course could not tell them. Whilst they were in the house poor J thought it would be a good time to try & get off, for he knew that the negroes all saw him go under there & was afraid that they would inform on him, as they doubtless would have done, so he crept out & was just climbing the fence into the field when one of the wretches saw & fired at him. He fell over into the field & they thought he was killed, but he had only stumbled & he soon sprang up & ran. Then began the chase & at last the ungracious surrender. He hated it so bad, Aunt Kate, & I was so proud of him! I wish you could have seen how nobly he acted after his surrender. I know you would have admired him….

J & his hateful captors were hardly out of sight before a whole troop of armed negroes came up, the most impudent set that you can imagine, Aunt Kate. Sister Mary’s nurse who left her a year ago came up with them. She was dressed very finely & was exceedingly insolent & abusive. She went into the house followed by a guard of armed men (negroes) & told Sister M that she left a bed & some clothing when she went away & that she intended to have others in the place of them. She then went to Sister M’s bed & commenced rolling it up, sheets, blankets, & all. Sister M stopped her & told her that she must not take that bed. She dropped it & ran up stairs, tore one of the beds there off the stead, tied it up in a quilt, & gave it to two of her escort who carried it down stairs & put it in a cart ready for moving. She then went to the wardrobe where the bed linen was kept, helped herself to two prs of blankets, 2 prs of sheets, 2 white Marseilles quilts, two bed quilts, napkins, pillow cases, etc. She also took Ma’s cloak & shawl, sister M’s shawl, two easy chairs, in short everything she could possibly carry off. In the meantime the negroes belonging to the farm were packing up & getting ready to go with them and as a matter of course stealing everything they could find. They were very abusive, cursing us, & calling us by our names. They called Mr Wood “Charles” whenever they spoke of him. The house was filled with armed negroes from early in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon & they were like wild things, Aunt Kate, running about & peeping into every crack & corner & cursing most dreadfully whenever they could not find things to steal. One of the wretches told me that he knew me, that I was Pattie Skinner, & that he was coming back to marry me soon! I said the wicked. . . then, Aunt Kate, it was more than I could stand! When they left, every negro on the land went with them & Sister M was left entirely without help save what we could do for her. Nearly every negro in Hertford left also.

One of my Cousins, Sally Harvey, was slapped in the face by one of their own servants because she tried to keep her from taking her dresses! The print of the negroe’s hand was on my cousin’s face for several days!

Poor Mr Snowden, our clergyman, was robbed of a bed & nearly all his bed clothing. They did not leave him enough to cover comfortably with. His daughter’s clothes, dresses, & underclothing were nearly all taken & if he dared to say a word he was cursed. All that from his own servants, Aunt Kate! Just before the Yankees left Hertford the Rangers attacked them & drove them to their boats. They shelled the town but did very little injury. A lighter containing about fifty negroes got aground & the Yankees were in such a hurry to get off that they could not wait for it. So of course they were captured by the Rangers & the lighter burned. Two of Sister M’s women with their children were on board; they were immediately sent over the lines. . . . We have not heard from Joshua since his capture. We hear he has been sent to New Berne. We are very anxious about him.”

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Harper's Weekly, January 23, 1864. Collections of Tryon Palace, Accession Number 2012.004.001

Harper’s Weekly, January 23, 1864. Collections of Tryon Palace, Accession Number 2012.004.001

“COLORED TROOPS, UNDER GENERAL WILD, LIBERATING SLAVES IN NORTH CAROLINA”

A page from Harper’s that has the image on one side and articles on the reverse about various aspects of the Civil War.  Articles on the reverse of the image include “The Old Sophism;” “Railroad Annoyances” detailing the heightened demand on Northern railways; “Foreign News;” “Army and Navy Items,” including court martials, orders, and proclamations; and “Domestic Intelligence,” including “A Skirmish in North Carolina,” which records that “An expedition under Colonel M’Chesney, of the First North Carolina Regiment, which left Newbern December 30, for Greenville, met the enemy near Washington and routed them. The lieutenant who led the union troops in a charge was killed. The loss on the other side was one lieutenant and five men. The troops engaged on our side were negroes.”

 

Source: Tryon Palace Collections, Accession number 2012.004.001.

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A gentleman from one of the eastern counties within the lines of the enemy, informs us on the authority of a Yankee Official, that the negroes which are held in Newbern by the Federals are dying at the rate of 25 to 50 per day. In addition to being entirely without shelter, they are suffering from small-pox, and some other very malignant disease, the name of which our informant could not recollect. Such being the case, if the Yankees continue to steal the slaves from their comfortable and healthful homes, their guilt can hardly be estimated to its full extent.

The gentleman who brings this intelligence is known to be worthy of all credit, and he thinks that there will surely be an abandonment of negro stealing in our eastern borders for the time to come. We forgot to add that the contrabands in Newbern are also in a naked and starving condition.

Source: Greensborough Patriot, December 24, 1863 as found on www.ncecho.org

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From Newbern

We learn from a source that we consider reliable, that Butler has been to Newbern and returned to Fortress Monroe. He was there two or three days the first of the past week, was feted, serenaded &c. We learn from a gentleman right up from the lines that the “Beast” has shut down upon all returning to Newbern by our people. He says that they shall not return even though they take the oath. These are pretty hard papers on those outsiders who are so anxious to get back, but we see no help for it. We suppose the best way to get back to Newbern is to organize a force and whip Butler out. Who’ll volunteer?

Source: Greensborough Patriot, December 3, 1863 as found on www.ncecho.org

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