Tag Archives: The Charleston Mercury
Confederate Cavalry

Gallant Affair on Alston’s Island

A correspondent writes us an interesting account of a recent brilliant exploit of the 21st Battalion Georgia Cavalry, on the 5th instant. He says: ‘The enemy landed on Alston Island fifteen men, who raised a flag and marched across the island with a guide moving some distance in advance. When they discovered our cavalry approaching they retreated to a dense thicket, which skirts the foot of the sand hills on the creek side, and there awaited the charge of our cavalry, which of necessity had to be made under a heavy fire from the enemygunboat, not more than half a mile distant.

The charge also had to be made over a high, bold sand hill. Captain HARRISON, with twenty men of his command (Company B), made the charge. The horses were checked at the crest of the hill by a volley of musketry from the thicket, not more than thirty or forty feet distant. Captain HARRISON gallantly charged down the hill, reiterating the command, ‘, when those of our men who could not force their horses down the hill threw themselves from their saddles and charged on foot. By this impetuous attack the enemy were prevented firing a second volley, although they had re-loaded their rifles, and a moment more might have been fatal to many of our men.

‘Of the enemy, fifteen, including two Lieutenants and a Paymaster, were captured, two of their privates were wounded, one mortally. The loss on our side was one man killed, and one fine horse. Captain BOWEN, Company D, charged the barges in the face of a brisk fire from the blockader, but the sailors, lying in their boats, made off. Captain HARRISON took from the enemy rifles, pistols, cutlasses, and a boat flag. The Yankees threw some of their arms into the creek, and they could not be recovered.

(more…)

Comments Off

The Southern Forts in 1861

Our Civil War Collection: A Newspaper Perspective contains major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Coverage begins with the events preceding the outbreak of war at Fort Sumter, continues through the surrender at Appomattox and concludes with the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln.

This detailed summary of the Southern forts appeared in the January 14, 1861 edition of The Charleston Mercury,

Southern Forts

FORT MACON, BEAUFORT, N.C.

Fort Macon protects Beaufort, N.C., and is situated on a bluff on Bogiebank, one and three fourths mile from the city. It commands the entrance to Beaufort harbor, having full sweep of fire on the main channel. The opposite entrance to the harbor is Shackleford bank, one and a half miles across. The fortification is of hexagonal form, has two tiers of gins, one in casemated bombproofs and the other en barbette.

Its armament consists of twenty thirty two pounders, thirty two twenty four pounders, two eighteen pounders, two twelve pounders, three field pieces for flanking defense, twelve flank howitzers (heavy), eight eight-inch howitzers (light), one thirteen inch mortar, three ten inch mortars, two Coehorn mortars. Total, eighty-seven guns.

The war garrison of the fort is three hundred men. This fort, requires pointing in many places; nearly all the iron work, such as door and window fastenings, are rusted away. One of the wooden bridges across the ditch is decayed, as also the shingled entire slope of the covered way. The shot furnace is useless, the storerooms need renovation, and the roadway requires to have its embankment repaired, and a new bridge to be built across the canal. The wharf having its piers undermined by the sea current and its wooden superstructure much decayed, requires to be rebuilt.

The fortification cost the Federal Government half a million dollars.

Fort Macon from the Shoreward Side

Fort Macon from the Shoreward Side

(more…)

Comments Off
Ancoats, Manchester. McConnel & Company's mills, about 1820. From an old water-colour drawing of the period.

Great Distress in Europe – 1862

We give herewith from our latest English files some interesting information concerning the nature and extent of the suffering in Europe from the effects of the war in America, especially from the want of the great staple of cotton. The distress in England is growing to an alarming extent, as shown by the facts, figures and incidents we give below:

STARVATION THREATENED IN ENGLAND

The prospect darkens each day, and, unfortunately, there seems no chance of a break in it. – Business in Manchester market is virtually at a stand still, and notwithstanding the recent arrivals of cotton, the course of what trade there is steadily tends to a diminution of consumption. – It is difficult to foresee in what quarter a way of salvation can be opened for the next four or five months at least, for, anomalous as it may seem, the announcement of a speedy settlement of the American difficulty would probably have the effect of throwing out of employment a large proportion of those who are fortunate enough still to be in receipt of wages.

Mr. Gladstone speech at Newcastle, which by many was looked on as a sort of semi-official foreshadowing of something being about to happen which might possibly liberate the Southern cotton crop, is said to have created quite a little panic here, and induced many manufacturers to stop their mills altogether. If we could only have a perfect assurance that the war would last another twelve month, or that no cotton would come from the South for two years or eighteen months hence, we might hope, spite of the large accumulated stocks, to see some at least of the giant chimneys, which at present bear witness so forcibly to the stagnation of the district, set a smoking again, and each week the pressure on the charitable fund would lighten, instead of increasing. If the duration of the war could only have been foreseen – if less faith had been placed in Mr. Lincoln days,’things would never have got to their present desperate pass; and it may be but just to the mill owners to say that probably they would have made adequate preparations to meet the necessities of their work people had they anticipated anything but a temporary crisis. So now it is in a great measure the uncertainties of the American conflict – the dread of being caught in full work with high priced cotton by sudden arrivals from America – which tie their hands.
(more…)

Comments Off

Civil War News: Bacon, Ashes And Salt

This article appeared in The Charleston Mercury in response to rampant inflation in the price of salt and other commodities.

Bacon, Ashes, and Salt

During the Revolution, good bacon was made with one peck of salt and an abundance of hickory ashes to six hundred pounds. In applying the ashes, it is well to have a bucket of molasses, and apply a portion with a white washing brush to each joint. When well smeared, rub on the ashes, which will thus adhere firmly and make an impenetrable cement.

Let the experiment be tried. If the consumption of salt could be thus diminished, so as to disappoint the expectations of greedy speculators, it would be a public blessing.

Source

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The Charleston Mercury
Date: November 26, 1861
Title: Bacon, Ashes And Salt

Comments Off

Railroads and the War Shortages in the Confederacy

A great deal of the suffering which the people of the South have been forced to bear since the blockade began, is the result rather of bad management than of actual scarcity.

The Confederacy abounds in the resources necessary to sustain a people in time of war, nothing has been wanting but the tact to develop those resources and to make them available for the whole country. The duty of distributing the varied products of the several States, so that our distant communities might extend mutual succor in the time of need, seems to have been neglected altogether, or left to the tender conscience of the extortioner and the speculator.

The result is an artificial scarcity of some of the necessaries of life, everywhere.

Thus, while in the Valley of the Mississippi, the supply of sugar far exceeds the demand, in Charleston the same article almost keeps pace with the luxuries, coffee and tea. By comparing other localities, a similar disproportion of value will be found existing, to a greater or less extent, in the case of flour, corn, bacon, salt, rice, etc…

The main difficulty in reducing the prices of such articles to a moderate and equal standard, has consisted in the alleged lack of transportation. The railroads to which the country looked for relief, have generally been under the control of the Government for the purposes of military transportation; and we fear that, in the effort to provide supplies for the army, due regard has not been given to the wants of the people.

It may be true, indeed, that the facilities of the South for intercommunication, have never been adequate to meet such an exigency as the present; but we feel assured that our railroads might, by taxing their capacities to the utmost, and by an intelligent and systematic cooperation, do far more than they are now doing to lighten the pressure of these hard times.

Source

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The Charleston Mercury
Date: November 12, 1862
Title: The Railroads and the War.

Comments Off