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trained in habits of study. He was a student in Amherst College at the outbreak of the war. But the quiet and secluded life of a student did not suit the thoughts or desires of one who felt that the call for men which was made after the battle of Bull Run was meant especially for him. "There is a call for Frazar A. Stearns," he said, and after much deliberation and discussion, gained the consent of his father and friends, and gave himself to his country. He was commissioned First Lieutenant in the 21st Massachusetts Regiment in the summer of 1861, and was ordered, with his regiment, to Washington on the twenty-first of August. The regiment was soon after stationed at Annapolis, and became a part of the Expedition to North Carolina. General Reno desired to have the young officer upon his staff, but Lieutenant Stearns preferred remaining with his regiment, of which he was now Adjutant. His bravery was conspicuous.on the battle field of Roanoke Island, where he received two wounds. His ardent and impulsive temperament urged him into the thickest of the conflict, while his firm Christian faith kept him cool and composed in the midst of all dangers. He received his death wound early in the battle, while his regiment was charging gallantly into the enemy's works near the brick yard. He was the first to fall, receiving a bullet in his right breast, and uttering a short ejaculation he breathed forth his spirit, supported in the arms of one of his soldiers. It was a pure and beautiful life sacrificed with a willing devotion to duty, freedom, and God. A Memoir, written by his father, and published by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, is a warm and graceful tribute to his memory as a man, a soldier and a Christian. General Burnside directed, in special orders dated March 16th, 1862, that "the six-pounder brass gun taken in the battery where Adjutant Stearns, of the 21st Massachusetts Volunteers, met his death while gallantly fighting at the battle of Newbern, be presented to his regiment as a monument to the memory of a brave man." The regiment voted to present the piece to Amherst College. General Reno expressed, in his official re
port of the battle, his admiration of young Stearns as "one of the most accomplished and gallant officers in the army." His death was the occasion of numerous kind and cordial expressions of sympathy from officers and soldiers, and from many friends and acquaintances who had been attracted to him by his generous and affectionate nature.
In the battle of Newbern, the navy rendered efficient service, by bombarding the enemy's earth works, by defending the right flank of our army, by crossing the troops to the city and holding it in connection with the land forces. General Burnside, in his official report, mentions the conduct of the naval officers in terms of high commendation. Captain Thomas P. Ives, in command of the Picket, is declared to have rendered marked service here, as at Roanoke and elsewhere. The fleet under Commander Rowan was always ready for any service which General Burnside desired. The naval battery, that was sent on shore under Lieutenant McCook, was most handsomely and efficiently handled. It suffered a loss of two men of the Union Coast Guard killed, and two officers, five men of the Guard and four seamen wounded. Near the close of the action, the battery captured Colonel Avery and a portion of the 25th North Carolina, who had been driven out of the rifle pits and were endeavoring to escape, when encountered by Lieutenant McCook and his command. Commander Rowan speaks of the obstructions in the river as "very formidable, and prepared with great care." "The lower barrier was composed of a series of piling driven securely into the bottom and cut off below the water. Added to this was another row of ironcapped and pointed piles, inclined at an angle of about fortyfive degrees down the stream. Near this was a row of thirty torpedoes, with trigger lines attached to the pointed piles." A second barrier "consisted of a line of sunken vessels closely massed and chevaux de frise," leaving open only a narrow passage directly under the guns of Fort Thompson. In passing the barrier, the Commodore Barney and the Stars and Stripes were somewhat injured. The Commodore Perry struck one of
the iron stakes and carried off with her its head sticking in her bottom. The torpedoes did not explode. The Delaware ran up to the city and captured one schooner, two steamers, and a large amount of naval stores sufficient to load nine vessels. Thus brilliantly and without serious casualty did Commander Rowan and his sailors do their part of the work.
The next point in General Burnside's instructions was to secure the towns of Beaufort and Morehead City, and to reduce Fort Macon. Not a moment was lost in proceeding to this task. As soon as the captures at Newbern could be properly cared for, and the necessary business of closing up the affairs, which a battle of this kind always carries in its train, had been transacted, General Burnside made his preparations for investing Fort Macon. The storage of supplies, the paroling of prisoners, the communications with the enemy respecting the late contest, the settlement of affairs in the city and the inauguration of a new order of things occupied considerable time. The position required to be fortified to some extent, to guard against any attempt of the enemy to reöccupy it. It was feared at the North, that a portion of the enemy's forces, which had just evacuated Manassas and its neighborhood, might have been sent to North Carolina to drive our troops away from that point. The battle of Newbern demonstrated the ability of General Burnside and his troops to take care of themselves against an ordinary or equal force of the enemy. But it was yet barely possible, that an overwhelming number of the enemy might attack them. Newbern was open to such attack, and must consequently be fortified, so that it could be easily defended even against superior forces. Happily its situation at the confluence of the rivers Neuse and Trent was such that fortifications could be speedily thrown up, and a canal dug between the two rivers, which when filled with water, would entirely insulate the city, and thus render it when defended by a resolute garrison, almost impregnable. It was also necessary to destroy the railroad leading westward towards Goldsboro' for a
The first act was to take possession and occupy the railroad leading from Newbern to Beaufort, by gradually extending our outposts towards the latter city. General Parke's brigade was selected for this movement, and the navy, at the proper moment, was to go round by sea and assist in the reduction of the fort. The distance from Newbern to Beaufort is about forty miles, and the country between is a series of morasses, traversed by the railroad and the common highway. Our forces could use both these roads in marching. But the destruction of the bridge at Newbern prevented the use of the railroad for purposes of transportation. Still our troops were in the rear of the desired points, and no resistance was anticipated except immediately under the guns of the fort. No resistance was made. The first movement was a reconnaissance down the railroad for about fifteen miles, made by General Burnside and Lieutenant Williamson, engineer officer, on the 18th of March. It was found that a force could be transported by water to Slocum's Creek, there land, and march thence by way of the highway and railroad. Hand cars on the railroad were used for carrying supplies. On the 20th, this movement was made, and a part of the command proceeded as far as Havelock Station, about a mile from the landing, where one company of the 5th Rhode Island Battalion remained until the 23d as guard of the post. Captain Arnold, who was in command, found near his camp an abandoned grist mill, the machinery of which the rebels had attempted to destroy, when they abandoned the neighborhood. The mechanics of the 5th, under the intelligent direction of their captain, soon put it in order again, and the mill was found to be very serviceable to the comfort and subsistence of the troops. The rest of the command marched on well into the night, and finally reached and occupied some barracks which had been previously built and used by the enemy's troops. On the 21st, the advance proceeded as far as Carolina City, a village containing from fifty to one hundred
General Burnside initiated these two
inhabitants, a few respectable dwellings and the ruins of a large hotel-a place of considerable summer resort. The hotel had been burnt by the enemy a few days before the arrival of our troops. Opposite the town across a narrow channel was Bogue Island, on the eastern extremity of which was Fort MaOn the 22d two companies of the 4th Rhode Island were sent to Morehead City, and on the night of the 25th another detachment of the same regiment, supported by one company of the 8th Connecticut, occupied Beaufort. On the night of the 23d the command was closed up, the 5th Rhode Island occupying Newport. Here a railroad bridge had been destroyed by the enemy, which Major Wright was directed to rebuild. He commenced work on the 24th, and by the night of the 29th he and his command had constructed a bridge of one hundred and eighty feet in length, capable of bearing a train of the weight of fifty tons.
General Parke made his headquarters at Carolina City and summoned the fort. Its commandant, Colonel Moses J. White, declined to surrender his post. He was even disposed at one time to bombard the towns occupied by our forces, but happily refrained from such an unwarrantable proceeding. The citizens seemed to be about equally divided in their sentiments of loyalty. In some instances our troops were welcomed with great cordiality. It was remarked at the time, as an encouraging fact, that on the Sunday following the occupation of Beaufort, prayers for the President of the United States were read in the Episcopal church of the town and responded to with marked
Fort Macon itself is a small, but strong stone, casemated work, mounting sixty-seven guns at the time, and was then garrisoned by a battalion of about five hundred men. Its commandant was a brave and resolute officer, and though entirely isolated, was determined to hold his position till the last moment. He had made preparations for defence by procuring supplies, by levelling the ground for the sweep of his guns, by undermining and overthrowing the neighboring light-house,