Monday, April 30, 2012

April 29, 1862

April 29, 1862:  Once again, at New Orleans, Farragut sends ashore 250 Marines and two howitzers to enforce public order, and the United States flag is raised over the public buildings of the city. 

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes this hopeful editorial, trying to put a positive spin on the Union occupation of New Orleans, and suggesting even possible guerilla warfare, should the armies of the South be defeated in the future:

The fearful state of suspense in which this city existed for two or three days, has at last ended. New Orleans is in the possession of the enemy. It was evacuated by Gen. Lovell, who has removed his forces to Camp Moore, on the Jackson railroad.

This is a heavy blow; it is useless to deny it. But we were anticipating it, and the public mind had already become prepared for it, before the truth had been fully ascertained. It is a heavy blow, but it is very far from being a fatal blow. We may expect to hear of disasters wherever the enemy's gunboats can be brought to bear, on all the points still in our possession. Give him all of them — every one--and still he is as far from his object as he was this time last year. Hatteras fell, Hilton Head fall, Roanoke Island fell, Donelson fell, New Orleans has fallen. But our great armies are still in the field. They have not fallen — they have not been worsted — they have always beaten the enemy, wherever they have encountered him. When they shall have been beaten and dispersed, so that they can never rally again, then it may be time to feel gloomy about our prospects. Until that time shall have arrived, it were unmanly to despond, far less to think of abandoning the cause. Even then the last resource of a brave nation, resolved not to be enslaved, remains to us. We can even then, as other nations have done before us, resolve ourselves into a guerilla force, composed of the whole country, and fight the battle for life or death, throughout a million of square miles. But that time is not come.

---A Union soldier near Fredericksburg writes about the “contrabands” crossing Union lines:

“Contrabands” still come pouring in upon our camps, very many of them seeking and finding employment, and profession uniformly the utmost anxiety to escape from their impatiently-borne thraldom. That strong attachment to “Massa” and “Misses”, which, I often heard it said at the North, would lead them to cling to their Southern homes and refuse freedom even if it were offered, I havn’t yet happened to see,– With one voice they breathe longings for a Northern home, eager to turn their backs upon their masters forever, if they can only carry their families with them. It is impossible to look upon these poor people, an abject, meek…as they seem, so anxious to emerge from their condition of involuntary servitude, into an atmosphere where they can breathe as freely as the white man does, without feeling one’s sympathies strongly enlisted. One finds the question rising involuntarily, Is not the negro a man? Warmed with the same sun, hurt with the same weapons, having the same feelings, affections, aspirations that the white man has? Why then should he be a slave to his fellow man?

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