Tag Archives: The Charleston Mercury
Battle of Shiloh

General Order #14 – Rebel Instructions for Shiloh

A New York paper says that the following order of Gen. Beauregard was picked up on the battlefield of Shiloh:

General Order No. 14: Headquarters Army of
the Mississippi, Jackson, Tenn., March 14, 1862.


1. Field and company officers are especially enjoined to instruct their men, under all circumstances, to fire with deliberation at the feet of the enemy. They will thus avoid over-shooting, and, besides, wounded men give more trouble to our adversary than dead, as they have to be taken from the field.

2. Officers in command must be cool and collected; hold their men in hand in action, and caution them against useless, aimless firing. The men must be instructed and required each one to single out his mark. It was the deliberate sharpshooting of our forefathers in the Revolution of 1776, and New Orleans, in 1815, which made them so formidable against the odds with which they were engaged.

3. In the beginning of a battle, except by troops deployed as skirmishers, the fire of file will be avoided. It excites the men and renders their subsequent control difficult. Fire by wing or company should be resorted to instead. During the battle the officers and non-commissioned officers must keep their men in the ranks, enforce obedience, and encourage and stimulate them if necessary.

4. Soldiers must not be permitted to leave the ranks even to assist in removing our own dead, unless by special permission, which shall only be given when the action has been decided. The surest way to protect the wounded is to drive the enemy from the field. The most pressing, highest duty, is to win the victory.

5. Before the battle, the Quartermaster of the division will make all necessary arrangements for the immediate transportation of the wounded from the field. After consultation with the medical officers, he will establish the ambulance depot in the rear, and give his assistants the necessary instructions for the efficient service of the wagons and other means of transportation.

6. The ambulance depot to which the wounded are to be carried directed for immediate treatment, should be established at the most convenient building nearest the field of battle. A red flag marks the place and to it.


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.


Fort Pulaski After the Breach

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 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


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:


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.

Smoke House

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.


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