Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1305, p. 222-223.
March 11, 1865
We have news from New York to the 22nd ult,, at which time gold was quoted at 201½.
Charleston, the capital of South Carolina, has been surrendered. We were able to announce this fact in a portion of our Impression last week. This city, the most important, next to New Orleans, of the Southern seaports, where the first shot of the war was fired, and which for nearly four years set at defiance the whole power of the Northern navy, assisted by a considerable land force, is now garrisoned by Federal troops. Charleston was evacuated by the Confederates on the night of the 17th and occupied by the Federals on the morning of the 18th ult.
In April, 1861, Fort Sumter, at that time occupied by a Federal garrison, was besieged by the people of Charleston, and surrendered after a bombardment of some hours, but which occasioned no loss of life. From that time till the 18th of February, 1865, the flag of the United States never waved either on the forts or in the town. Animated in part by feelings of vengeance and partly by a desire to gain one of the principal Confederate seaport towns, the North spared no efforts to gain possession of Charleston. Expedition after expedition was dispatched with this object, ironclads were built expressly to run the gauntlet of the fire from the forts by which the entrance to the harbour was protected, and even cannon were invented and new engines of destruction designed for the special purpose of raining fire on the city which had so provoked the Federal wrath. But ironclads, Parrott guns, and Greek fire were alike useless. When the city was evacuated the Federal fleet was beyond the range of Fort Sumter, and the besieging army was peaceably encamped behind its intrenchments. Charleston was abandoned because the successes of a General who had never appeared before its walls rendered the step necessary, and the ironclads entered its harbour and General Gilmore's forces occupied its streets without firing or receiving a shot.
On the 15th ult. Sherman appeared before Columbia, and, having bombarded the town from the south side of the river on which it stands, it was surrendered without a struggle. On the following day the outposts of the Federal army reached the Kingsville Junction, twenty miles north-east of Columbia, and thus secured possession of the railroads communicating with the eastern portions of South Carolina.
Intelligence of these events having been transmitted to Charleston, the evacuation of that town was effected on the night of the 17th ult., and on the following morning the Federal troops entered without opposition. The guns, to the number of two hundred, with which the fortifications were armed, fell into the hands of the Federals, after, however, having been spiked, and a considerable quantity of ammunition also became prize of war. The retreating Confederates, however, left as little for the enemy as they could possibly help. They set fire to the arsenals, quartermaster's stores, and cotton dépôts, blew up their ironclads and other vessels in the dockyards, and destroyed the railway bridges leading from the town. The upper portion of the city was also intentionally, or accidentally, set in flames, and 6000 bales of cotton are supposed to have been burnt. The Confederate forces had quitted the city before the besiegers entered, and no attempt was made to molest them in their retreat. The motives which led to the abandonment of Charleston are manifest. Cut off from the rest of the Confederacy, its capture became inevitable, and its abandonment furnished the only way by which the army to which its defence was intrusted could be saved from destruction. The Confederates, after leaving the place, retreated in a north-westerly direction.
Meantime Sherman was pushing his advantage in the centre of
Page 223South Carolina. Beauregard, on leaving Columbia, retreated rapidly towards Charlotte, a railway centre in North Carolina, about eighty-five miles nearly due north of Columbia. Sherman's column lost no time in following the Confederates up, and at last accounts was thirty miles north of Columbia.
At Wilmington, too, the Federals have been successful. On the 19th of February General Schofield, assisted by Admiral Porter, assaulted and carried Fort Anderson, the garrison making good their retreat. The fall of Wilmington, we are told, appeared certain.
From Newbern and various other points strong forces have started to operate on the railways, and in Western Virginia another raid was preparing. In Alabama General Thomas was, it is said, making arrangements to prevent Hood's army from going to the Carolinas. Some 10,000 men have, however, left to reinforce Beauregard.
No active movements had taken place before Petersburg, but a strong impression prevailed that Lee would evacuate that place and fall back to Lynchburg, where he would be joined by Beauregard and such other Confederate forces as could make their way to him.
The Upper House of the Canadian Parliament has voted, by forty-five to fifteen, in favour of the confederation scheme. An address will be presented to the Queen based upon the resolutions of the Conference.
The Legislative Assembly, while in Committee of Supply, voted, without a division, 50,000 dols. for the purpose of reimbursing the St. Albans banks for the losses they sustained by the Confederate raiders.