Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

the ordinance of the Convention of the people of Louisiana, the State took possession of the public property, in trust, to prevent any abuse of the same by the Federal government, which, it was believed, would pervert that which the Constition intended for defence to the purposes of destruction. This property she will be ready to render a just and true account of

The Treasurer of the branch mint at New Orleans was ex-officio Assistant Treasurer of the United States. It appears from the report of Secretary of the Treasury, John A. Dix, that, on the 21st January, 1801, there were in the hands of the Treasurer of the branch mint at New Orleans, the following sums:

As Treasurer of the Mint, $389,267 46

As Assistant Treasurer to the credit of the Treasurer

of the United States, 265,445 14

As Assistant Treasurer to the credit of disbursing

On January 21,1861, Secretary Dix drew a draft for $350,000 on the Assistant Treasurer at New Orleans in favor of Adams' Express Company, which was not paid on presentation because there were not sufficient funds in hand to pay the draft, and the Assistant Treasurer declined paying any part until he could pay the whole. This reply Mr. Dix regarded as evasive and designed to create delay, in order that the action of the Louisiana Convention might prevent the transfer of any part of the property of the United States beyond the power of the Convention. Whether so intended or not, the delay had that effect, for the State authorities seized the mint and its contents on January 31.

The Custom House at New Orleans and its contents were seized by the State authorities on the 31st of January, 1861, and Collector Hatch retained the position under the State. Under the revenue system of the United States, goods in bond were permitted to pass the port of entry, and the customs' duty could be paid at the interior Custom House. To continue that system would have deprived Louisiana, then a sovereign State, of her right to collect revenue from imports at her chief port of entry. Hence the collector at New Orleans refused to pass goods in bond, for transportation to port of delivery in States of the United States, without the duty being paid at New Orleans. This would have subjected importers in St. Louis, Louisville, and other river ports to the hardships of paying double duty —first to Louisiana, and second to the United States. This was practically a fatal blow at the free navigation of the Mississippi River, as well as a means of supplying revenue to Louisiana. Such action on the part of the State rose above its relations to the ports above New Orleans, and took the importance of an international question. The free navigation of the

[graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Mississippi River was recognized as a natural right, and, when Lousiana ratified the Confederate Constitution, that right of free navigation was accorded by Act of Congress. February 25, 1861—which declared and established the free Navigation of the Mississippi River "to the citizens of any State upon its borders, or upon the borders of any of its navigable tributaries, of all ships, boats, or vessels, without any duty or hindrance, except light-money, pilotage, and like charges."1 The U. S. revenue cutter, which was lying at New Orleans for repairs, was seized by the State authorities. The U. S. revenue cutter Robert McClelland, under command of Capt. J. G. Brushwood of the revenue service, was ordered from the lower Mississippi to New Orleans by Collector Hatch and seized by the State authorities. To prevent that seizure, Secretary Dix, on January 19, 18G1, ordered W. Hemphill Jones to proceed to New Orleans and take possession of the McClelland. Capt. Brushwood refused to recognize Mr. Jones' authority, which refusal being communicated to Secretary Dix, he ordered, by telegraph, Lieut. Caldwell to arrest Capt. Brushwood,assume command of the cutter, if Brushwood interfered to treat him as a mutineer, and " if any one attempted to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot!" This spirited order came too late—the State authorities already had possession of the cutter.

Texas seceded on February 1, 1861, and seized Forts Chadbourne and Belknap, and General Twiggs surrendered government stores valued at $1,300,000. consisting of $55,000 in specie. 35,000 stand of arms, 20 pieces of mounted artillery, 44 pieces dismounted, with ammunition, horses, wagons, forage, etc., etc. In Galveston Bay, the revenue cutter Dodge was seized, and Fort Brown surrendered.

Arkansas seceded May 6, and the arsenal at Little Rock, containing 9,000 small arms, 40 cannon, and some ammunition, was taken possession of.

The following is a list of the seizures of vessels made by the States as they seceded from the Union, and which formed the nucleus of the Confederate States navy:

Name of Vessel. Number of Ouns. Styles of Guns. Crew.

McClellan .... 5 4 side guns and 1 pivot . 85

Lewis Cass ... 1 C8-pounder ... 45

Aiken 1 42-pounder.... 45

Washington ... 1 42-pounder ... 45

Dodge 1 Pivot —

And, in addition to the above, the following:

Name. Class. Ouns. How obtained.

James Gray . Propeller . . .1 Purchased at Charleston.

Bonita . Brig ... 1 Captured Slaver.

Nina . . Steam gunboat . 1

Everglade . Steamer . . —

Fulton . . U. S. War Steamer . 3 Seized at Pensacola.

[ocr errors]

The gun on the James Gray was a forty-two-pounder columbiad, and those on the Fulton thirty-two-pounders.

RECAPITULATION.

Vessels 10

Number of Guns 15

The weight of metal these fifteen guns carried was comparatively light, only one being a sixty-eight-pounder, three forty-two-pounders, and the rest of still less calibre.

The Fulton had been wrecked off Pensacola, and was of very little account, "but was repaired and rebuilt by the Confederate government.'

The seceded States met, by delegates, at Montgomery, on the 4th of February, 1861, and adopted the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States of America. On that day the Confederacy had neither army or navy, and the States which com posed it had only such munitions of war as every State in the United States had at all times—namely, their volunteer soldiery —badly armed, poorly drilled, and in very limited numbers. The evidence of preparation nowhere existed, but the peaceful condition of public affairs plainly told that no purpose of dissolution had been long maintained, but that it was the sudden appearance of a long-dreaded danger that had driven them to the last alternative in a federative union—Secession; and that the States expected it to be peaceful, but that Mr. Lincoln and his advisers had outwitted and overreached all the precautions of peace taken at the South, and, by deftly and cunningly drawing the fire of the Charleston batteries, had inaugurated war. The latent spirit of devotion to the Union, which the echoes of the guns at Charleston aroused into such terrible force and proportion, stopped not to consider the trick by which the war had been begun. It only saw the flag of the Union in the smoke of battle, and, whether right or wrong, rushed to its defence. But neither that expression of loyalty to the Union, nor the extraordinary efforts in its defence, nor the triumphs of its army and navy, will be able to cover up and conceal from the reprehension of history the shameful subterfuge of provisioning Sumter as a start to war; but history will separate the glory of the people's defence from the shame of the politician's trick.

[table]

1 At the breaking out of the war the United States owned ten navy-yards, viz.: — Kittery, Me.: Portsmouth, N. H.; Charlestown, Mass.; Brooklyn, N. Y.: Philadelphia. Pa: Washington, D. C: Norfolk, Va.; Pensacola, Fla.; Mare Island. Cal.: Sackett'n Harbor, N. Y.

The following list shows the number and rate* of vessels built at each of these yards before 1861:

BriXT AT OTHER PLACES.

Erie, Pa., steamer Michigan, then on the Lakes

Pittsburgh, Pa., Allegheny, . ..Receivingshipat

Baltimore, Chariest-own, Mass., Independence Pacific receivingship. Boston, Mass., Princeton Philadelphia receiving-whip. Charlestown, Mass.. Warren. ..Panama receiving-ship. Charlestown,Mass., Falmouth, Aspiiiwall receiving-ship. By the secession of Virginia and Florida the Federal government lost the Norfolk and Pensacola navy-yards; but, owing to the rigid blockade, they were of little service to the Confederacy. The Norfolk navy-yard was one of the driest and perhaps the most valuable in the United States. From its stocks were launched two ships-of-the-line, one frigate, four sloops-of-war, one brig, four screw steamers and one side-wheel steamer, besides doing the vast amount of refitting and rebuilding of vessels. The Pensacola yard had only turned out two vessels—the Pensacola, a second-class screw steamer of 2,158 tons. Her hull was built there, but she was completed at the Washington navy-yard. The other vessel built at Pensacola was the Sanitvde. a third-class BC row steamer of 801 tons. It will thus be seen that the Northern navy-yards had always built the largest number of vessels.

« ПредишнаНапред »