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await intelligence from Lieut. Gift. The enemy meanwhile, receiving information of the dispersing of the expedition, landed a force and drove Midshipman DeBlanc and his command to the swamps. In his report, Lieut. Com. Wm. Budd of the U. S. steamer Somerset, West Pass, St. George's Sound, May 16th, 1864, said:
'' I have the honor to report, that on the night of the 12th inst. I sent the light-draft boats of this vessel and of the U. S. schooner Chambers to land a detachment of troops under command of Lieut. Hunter, 110th New York Vols., a few miles below the town of Appalachicola. After landing the troops the officer in charge of the boats (Acting Ensign E. H. Smith) was instructed to proceed slowly along shore, so as to be in communication with them during their march and approach to the town. in the rear of which the whole force was to arrive at daybreak. Taking t wo launches from this ship, I arrived in front of the place about the same time, and discovered a force of about seventy or eighty of the enemy attempting to embark in boats from the upper end of the wharves. The rapid approach of the first launch caused them to abandon that project and retreat through the town, which movement was hastened by a couple of shells from our howitzer. They passed within a short distance of a portion of our troops under Lieut. Hunter, who unfortunately thought that they were part of his command, and permitted them to gain and escape by the up-river road without molestation. We followed them about two miles, but the density of the undergrowth and number of paths leading through the woods in all directions rendering any further pursuit unwise and futile, we returned to the boats.
"Ascertaining that the commanding officer of the expedition (George "W. Gift, Lieutenant C. S. N.), was on the sound with about thirty men, I dispatched my boats and troops after him, but the swiftness of his boat and the approach of night enabled him to escape, having been chased by our first launch, under command of Acting Ensign C. H. Brantinpham, who captured one of his small boats and three of his party. * * * We captured six of their boats (all they had except one), four prisoners, a quantity of small arms, (rifles, cutlasses, etc.) 1,000 rounds of ammunition, all their compasses, signal flags, blankets, haversacks, medical stores, etc. They abandoned everything. * * * Had it not been for the unfortunate mistake of the officer in command of our troops, we should have captured or destroyed the entire force."
In a subsequent report dated May 21st, 18G1, he said:
"I send down by the U. S. steamer Honduras, as prisoners, Thomas McLean, Anthony Murray and James Anderson, citizens of Appalachicola. These men were engaged in active co-operation with the enemy when captured. McLean enacted the role of a scout or spy. Mistaking our troops for those of the enemy, he gave them information respecting my force and position in front of the town on the morning of the 13th inst. Murray and Anderson were acting as scouts for Gift, keeping open his communications and supplying him with provisions when he was absent from the main body of his command. When taken, they were carrying soldiers from the islands back to the main. Heretofore all of them have enjoyed immunity from us as citizens. Their local knowledge makes them dangerous to us and very useful to the enemy; for the latter they act as scouts, spies and pilots, and in this case they were caught in the act. They pretend to have been forced into Gift's service, but I know them well, and earnestly request that they will not be permitted to return to Appalachicola."
The enemy captured Andrew McCormick, Sergeant of Company F, Bouneau's battalion, Napoleon Terry and Louis Gay, privates, and Joseph Sire, Captain after-guard of the Chattahoochee.
Before Midshipman DeBlanc and his command retreated to the swamps, he sent Thomas McLean, Anthony Murray, and James Anderson, citizens of Appalachicola, with a supply of provisions to search the islands along the coast for Lieut. Gift and his two boats' crews. The relief party found the wrecked crews, and as soon as the storm abated they returned with them to Appalachicola, where they learned for the first time that their comrades had been driven from the town. Lieut. Gift then hastened up the river to avoid the enemy, who were searching the islands for him. He carried his boat some distance up the river, then sank it in a bayou and traveled over-land with his command until he joined the remainder of his party above the obstructions in the Appalachicola River.
Upon the abandonment of the river by the Confederates the Chattahoochee was destroyed, together with the iron-clad gunboat Columbus, which had been building for a long time at Columbus, Ga., under the direction of Lieut. Andrew McLaughlin. A torpedo boat, nearly completed, was also destroyed at Columbus, together with the navy-yard, machine shops, etc.
FROM the time South Carolina seceded to the secession of Georgia on January 19th, 1861, the relations of the States with one another were peaceful. Neither the Federal government, nor any competent authority, had recognized the existence of a breach between sections of the Republic outside of the competency of Congress and the Executive to heal. But day by day, Mr. Seward was piloting the country with accelerating rapidity towards the "red battle" issue which he declared would be the last act of his "irrepressible conflict."
The first act that paved the way for open hostilities between members of a confederation which, only a few months before, were bound together by ties it was fondly hoped could never be sundered, was the uncalled-for, unwarrantable, and illegal seizure of the property of Savannah merchants in the harbor of New York. This grave and momentous' event in the progress toward civil war and military despotism, occurred as early as the 22d of January, 1861. On that day the republican Governor of New York assumed the responsibility of ordering the police of New York City to invade vessels lying in the harbor, and to seize upon such wares as, in their discretion, they might deem to be "contraband of war." Superintendent Kennedy proceeded on board the steamer Monticello, at Pier 12, North River, and seized twenty-eight cases of merchandise, which were found to contain 950 muskets. The seizure created the greatest excitement in Savannah, to which port the Monticello was bound, and immediately afterwards, ex-Senator Robert Toombs, of Georgia, addressed a telegraphic dispatch to the Mayor of New York, protesting against what had been done, and alluding to the inevitable consequences of such lawlessness. Mayor Wood disavowed participation in it, and declared that it met with his own disapproval, and was reprobated by the vast majority of the people of the city of New York.
In a few days another dispatch was received by telegraph by Governor Morgan of New York, from Governor Brown of Georgia. The latter simply demanded that the property belonging to his citizens should be handed over to G. B. Lamar, the president of the Bank of the Republic. Governor Morgan replied by sending back a telegraphic answer that the subject was too grave a one to reply to cursorily, and that he must wait a more detailed communication from Governor Brown by mail, before giving it his attention. "This was, of course," says the New York Herald, of February 10th, 1861, "equivalent to an endorsement of the robbery which the Metropolitan police had committed, with an attempt at evasion, and to gain time, similar to those which have characterized every public leader of the Seward school of Massachusetts politics, since the beginning of the crisis under which the country is laboring."
In retaliation for the illegal seizure by the New York police, under pretence that they were contraband of war. of goods belonging to individuals of that State, the authorities of Georgia, on February 9th, seized, in Savannah, the barks D. Colden Murray, the W. R. Kibby, Golden Lead and Adjuster, and the schooner Julia A. Hallock. They were the property of citizens of New York. This was the first act of reprisal at the South, against aggression in the non-slaveholding States, and it was tantamount to a decree of non- intercourse.
"Every sober-minded, intelligent, patriotic American citizen (said the New York Herald) will be startled and alarmed by it, and will shrink back with horror from the prospect of blood, carnage and internecine strife which it threatens to inaugurate. Gov. Brown will find an abundant justification of the act he has ordered, in the responsibilities of his position, and in the necessity of indemnifying private citizens, who are his constituents, for an unwarrantable robbery committed by our police, for which they could obtain no other redress. It is the very nearest thing to the beginning of a civil war; but let the blame rest where it belongs, upon the Republican Executive of the State of New York, whose atrocious usurpation of powers that do not belong to him has led to such a sad result."
The seizure of the vessels by the authorities of Georgia also created considerable excitement in Washington among all parties. In the House of Representatives, Hon. John Cochrane offered a resolution calling on the Secretary of the Treasury for information on the subject, but the proposition was objected to and it went over to the following Monday. In the meantime, later in the day, the arms were restored to the agent of the owners, or it was said they were, and the vessels seized in Savannah were released. On the 23d of February Supt. Kennedy refused to give up ten cases of the merchandise referred to, until the legality of the seizure was determined by the "proper tribunals." This unjustifiable act roused the ire of the Georgians, and Gov. Brown showed their spirit of retaliation by holding three vessels belonging to New York, as a surety
for the safe return of their property which they contended had been taken from them without any just cause or reason. The vessels seized were the ship Martha J. Ward, bark Adjuster and bark Harold. In consequence of the cargo of the bark Adjuster belonging to the subjects of Great Britain, she was released, but the other vessels seized in reprisal by the Georgia authorities were advertised to be sold on the 25th of March. In the meantime, on March 19th, in consideration of the release of the arms by the New York police, the vessels seized in Savannah were released.1
At the release of the arms in the keeping of the police of New York, the U. S. revenue officers instituted a strict surveillance over vessels leaving that port to prevent provisions, ammunition and weapons of war from being forwarded to the Southern States, and to stop suspected vessels that it was thought might engage in privateering for the Confederacy. The Secretary of the Treasury, in May, gave orders to the Collector of St. Louis to examine the manifests of all vessels sailing South, and Collector Barney of New York, and the collectors of all ports north of the Potomac, were ordered to make a careful examination of every vessel leaving their respective ports. In this way a complete blockade was maintained in all the collection districts. The revenue cutter Harriet Ltmewas at first used for this purpose at the port of New York, but having been called away, in accordance with the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln, to assist in the blockade of the Southern ports, it became necessary to procure other vessels. Collector Barney therefore impressed into the revenue service three of the vessels engaged in the U. S. coast survey. These were located at three different points to command the several outlets from the harbor of New York. The Vixen was placed in Throgg's Neck and guarded the passage from the East River into Long Island Sound. On an average 120 vessels passed this point every day during the flood tide in May, 1861, and each of these had to be boarded and have their papers examined. The Corwin was stationed inside the Narrows, where all the large steamers and vessels of extensive tonnage pass out into the ocean. At least fifty vessels a day were boarded at this point. The Bibb was
i The following ia a copy of a letter sent by the owners of the Martha J. Ward to Mr. Kennedy, which helped to bring about the desired result:
A. Kennedy, Esq..'
Peak Sir: We are the owners of the ship Martha J. Ward, now under seizure at Savannah, u stated, in reprisal for the arms seized by you. We have made every effort to save our property, valued at over #40.0(10. and find that without your friendly aid, we shall be unable to do so, and must submit to such enormous sacrifice. If. in consideration of our unfortunate position, you will deliver the arms to us, we will indemnify you against all damages and costs which may be recovered against you for such seizure.
Jamk* E. Ward k Co.
The before-mentioned indemnity read as follows:
In consideration that John A. Kennedy will, at our request, deliver up ten cases of arms seized on board the steamer Monticrllo, and in consideration of one dollar to us paid, we hereby agree to pay all costs ami damages and expenses that may be recovered against him for such seizure, llated this 15th day of March,
1861- James E. Wauii * Co.
The above indemnity was required of the owners of the ship Martha J. Ward by Superintendent Kennedy. Upon giving it, the arms were delivered to the owners of the ship, who transmitted them to Savannah to be delivered to Governor Brown.