Skedaddle — the e-journal
January 13, 1861
New York Herald
The sloop of war Brooklyn arrived off Charleston bay yesterday afternoon. She has not visited that port for a hostile purpose, but upon a mission of peace. Reports from Charleston state that the South Carolina authorities had communicated, under a flag of truce, with Major Anderson, but for what purpose had not transpired. Rumors were current that disaffection exists among the garrison, and that a surrender of Fort Sumter is contemplated. It is stated that there was good authority for believing that negotiations are going on with Washington for the surrender of the fort and a cessation of a warlike attitude. It is certain that Col. Hayne, on the part of South Carolina, and Lieut. Hall, on the part of Major Anderson, have left Charleston for Washington, respectively with proposals and to obtain instructions.
The proceedings of Congress yesterday will be read with unusual interest. The Senate Chamber and galleries and lobbies were occupied at an early hour by a dense throng of spectators, anxious to listen to the long expected speech of Mr. Seward upon the perilous condition of the country. The diplomatic corps were also in attendance. In due time Mr. Seward made his speech, which occupied some three hours in the delivery. A full report of it is given in today’s paper, and in the editorial columns may be found an analysis of the orator effort, with such remarks as the occasion suggests….
In the house a resolution was offered calling for information respecting the reported occupation of the federal offices at St. Louis by United States troops, but the republicans refused to entertain it. A communication was received from the Mississippi delegation announcing the secession of that State from the Union and their withdrawal from Congress….
The steamer Star of the West returned to this port yesterday morning from her unsuccessful attempt to land United States troops at Fort Sumter. The official account of her reception by the South Carolina forces does not differ materially from that heretofore published. Seventeen shots were fired at the steamer, one of which took effect on her port bow, another on her starboard quarter, while a third passed between the smoke stack and the walking beam, but no damage was inflicted, save some splintering of woodwork. The gunnery practice of the assailants is described as having been surprisingly accurate.
A rumor was going the rounds of the city yesterday that five hundred government troops had been despatched South from Governor’s Island, but we have reason to believe the whole thing to be a hoax: at all events, some of the persons connected with the island deny it in the most emphatic manner, and declare that there is no foundation for it. There is an order to prevent all persons from visiting the island, so that perhaps such a thing may be on the tap’s, but we feel confident that it has not yet taken place.
As we announced yesterday, the steamship Marion, which was taken possession of by the South Carolina authorities, has been surrendered to her owners, and is now on her way to this port, to resume her place in the line to which she belongs. An account of the seizure of the ship is given elsewhere in our columns.
The Central Park skating pond last evening was brilliantly illuminated, and many persons skated both by day and night. A large number of sleighing parties visited the Park during the day, causing quite a lively scene. In another column will be found some few remarks on the origin of skating, as well as on the recent improvements made in skates.
The Cruise of the Star of the West.
The steamer Star of the West, the focus of excitement for the last few days, arrived at this city at eight o’clock yesterday morning, and anchored off pier No. 29 North river.
The Star of the West, under command of Captain McGowan, left New York on Saturday night last, and at one o’clock Wednesday morning made Charleston bar. Capt. McGowan says that they laid off the bar until daylight when she proceeded to enter the harbor. When just off Morris Island the steamer was fired into by the battery from the island. Seventeen shots were fired. One shot took slight effect upon the port bow of the steamer, and a second hit her on the starboard quarter as she turned to leave the harbor. One ball passed between the smoke stack and the engine beam.
Finding it impossible to land troops, the captain, at nine A.M., returned to sea, the firing being still continued, but without further damage either to the vessel or those on board.
While coming over the bar, going out, the steamer struck twice.
The Star of the West remained outside the bar all night (Wednesday), and during the night steamers were seen coming out of the harbor, and Captain McGowan supposed that these vessels — the guard boats of the harbor—were in pursuit of him. All the lights on the Star of the West were extinguished, and she was not discovered.
The same night the ship Emily St. Pierre was spoken by the steamer. The St. Pierre is owned in Charleston, and came from Liverpool to that port, but was refused admittance because she had the American flag flying. The captain of the St. Pierre had not anticipated any such difficulty, and lay at anchor off the harbor.
The Star of the West made the passage to New York without incident, arriving here as above mentioned. The United States troops will remain on board until orders are received from Washington.
The steamer lies at anchor at the foot of Chambers street, and will doubtless attract as much attention as did the Great Eastern.
THE SEIZURE OF THE STEAMER MARION AT CHARLESTON.—STATEMENT OF CAPTAIN WHITING.
The report which was circulated in this city on Friday last that Captain Whiting, of the steamer Marion, had left his vessel at Norfolk, and his non-arrival at this port, led to considerable apprehension as to his safety among his friends.
In consequence of this, a party of gentlemen from the office of Messrs. Spofford, Tileston & Co., corner of Morris street and Broadway, left this city for Jersey City at twelve o’clock on Friday night, and having arrived there chartered an engine and passenger car to convey them to New Brunswick. This action was taken in consequence of intelligence having been received to the effect that the captain of the steamer had stopped at that point to visit his wife who was unwell. Immediately on their arrival at New Brunswick the gentlemen proceeded to the captain’s residence, and had a lengthy interview with him. After remaining there about two hours they left again for Jersey City, where they arrived early yesterday morning.
The information supplied by Captain Whiting concerning the seizure of the Marion is very interesting. The steamer arrived outside of Charleston Harbor at about five o’clock in the morning, and approached the shore through a dense fog. When the mist began to clear away the port lighthouse became visible, but no buoys were seen, as many of these had been removed by the action of the State authorities within the last few weeks. The steamer General Clinch, with an armed force, was soon after seen coming down the channel, and on reaching the outer buoy she hove to. The officers of the Marion hereupon concluded that she had come out to guide their vessel safely into port. On nearing, however, the General Clinch ran alongside, and inquired what steamer was in the offing. The captain of the Marion had not met or spoken any steamer, and therefore could not supply the desired information. The question was very likely prompted by the supposition that the Star of the West was coming up. The captains of both vessels then entered into a conversation concerning the removal of the buoys, the destruction of the beacons, and other cognate matters. While this colloquy was in progress the Marion struck on the North Breaker Shoal. Captain Whiting immediately turned his attention to the safety of his ship. After making such dispositions as he thought necessary under the circumstances, he called upon the commander of the General Clinch to aid him in relieving the ship by taking a hawser and towing her off the shoal. The Captain, however, only replied by turning his vessel seaward, leaving the Marion hard aground in a dangerous position and with a rapidly falling tide. The General Clinch again came alongside of the Marion, in about an hour afterwards, when Captain Whiting asked her captain why he had not warned him of his danger and thus prevented the grounding of his vessel. Captain Relyea replied that the State authorities had placed a pilot on board, and that it was none of his business.
The Marion remained hard aground all day, but the weather was fortunately very calm. At three o’clock P.M. the steamer Gordon arrived, and under the superintendence of Captain Lockwood, her commander, the Marion was extricated from her perilous position and enabled to reach her dock safely and uninjured in about an hour afterwards. A requisition was then made upon the captain… Charleston stockholders having been previously obtained. Strong assurances at the same time were given by Gov. Pickens that the owners should be amply reimbursed for any loss they might suffer, giving as a reason for his summary demands that the State had urgent need of the vessel, and that the welfare of the State justified the irregularity of the proceeding. The captain, under these circumstances, yielded up the Marion to the Charleston officials, but the Governor eventually reinstated the captain in possession of the vessel. The owners do not consider the affair in the light of a seizure, although neither the Charleston stockholders nor the company’s agents in that port had any legal right to dispose of the Marion at any price. When Captain Whiting left the vessel was coaling, preparatory to a return to New York, and she is expected to arrive on Tuesday next.
From despatches received, Messrs. Spofford & Tileston judged it proper to detain the Columbia beyond her usual time of sailing. Their Charleston agents now assure them that the authorities will at present throw no obstacles in the way of usual trade, and the Columbia will therefore sail on Wednesday and the James Adger on Saturday—the company intending to despatch two vessels each week as usual.
Diary of a Yankee in the Patent Office
by Horatio Nelson Taft
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 1861.—It has been a fine winter day. M. this morning stood at 12. Went to church with wife and boys. Heard a Mr Black of Covington K.Y. a near relative of Mr Sec’y Black. He has evidently mistaken his occupation. Wrote a letter this evening to Col. Paine and took it to the P.O. Walked fast down and back without stoping. It took 28 minutes exactly. Requested the Col. to stop in Elmira for Julia as he is coming to Washington. Wife has been reading “Partons Life of Jackson” aloud and it is now 11 o’clock and time to go to bed (rather later than common).
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