Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 16.djvu/128

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122 Southern Historical Society Papers.

tions, can be held by comparatively a small force. On the 8th of November, the most unexpected and terrible news reached us that the whole of the enemy's fleet had gotten in, and that their land forces had been disembarked and were in possession of our works at Port Royal. The reason given for the disaster was, that the supply of powder was insufficient. If this was true, some one must have been guilty of inexcusable negligence. The derelict officer should have been discovered and the severest punishment meted out to him. Many of the planters in the neighborhood of Port Royal left as soon as the landing of the enemy was known. Some of them managed to take a few of their negroes with them, but the most of them failed to get anything away from their plantations. All of their household goods and tens of thousands of negroes were left to fall into the hands of the invaders. A perfect panic, in fact, seized the planters when they ascertained that the Confederates had fallen back. There was

" No stop, no stay, no thought to ask or tell

Who escaped by flight, or who by battle fell ;

T'was tumult all and violence of flight."

The coast from the mouth of the Savannah to the mouth of theStono, and all of the intermediate islands, were now exposed to the ravages of the Federal forces. It was expected that the enemy would fol- low up their success by an immediate attack on Charleston. The excitement in that city was intense. The militia was ordered out to reinforce the troops, and everything done to put the city in a tho- rough state of defence. We were in daily expectation of a fleet in the Stono, co-operating with an army moving on Charleston. Non- combatants began to leave the city, and almost every family was making inquiries for a place of safety in the country. The military authorities desired to reduce the population of Charleston to men capable of bearing arms, so that there would be no useless mouths to feed and no women and children to be endangered in case the city was reduced to a state of siege. There was a report in circulation that the citizens of Charleston had resolved to make it a second Moscow, rather than allow it to fall into the hands of the enemy. There was, probably, some such talk, but such purpose was not seriously enter- tained by any considerable number of the thinking portion of the population. The burning of Moscow destroyed Napoleon's army and saved Russia because of the rigor of the climate. No such effect would have been produced on the Federal army by the destruc-