Imágenes de páginas

Sword Presentation.


One of the papers of the day, in its account of this affair, says:

“As soon as the noble sailor made his appearance, the audience arose and gave cheer upon cheer, waving their bats and handkerchiefs with a patriotic enthusiasm seldom witnessed. Admiral Foote is not only a good fighter, but an eloquent impromptu speaker, with a full, rich voice, and a ready command of language. In person, he is of ordinary stature, well built, with plump limbs and square shoulders. He has dark brown hair, not silvered enough to be noticed ; but his whiskers are well frosted. His head is finely developed, and when he speaks his eyes flash with electric fire. When he raised the beautiful sword and wielded it, saying, “I will draw this sword in defense of the Union and the Constitution and the country,' the spell-bound audience broke forth in demonstrations of applause."





PUBLIC honors were quickly followed by a deep family affliction, the death of the admirals two youngest daughters, Emily Frederica and Maria Eudocia, within ten days of each other. The first of these was a little blind girl, whom her father regarded with a peculiar tenderness, always asking when he came into the house, before he spoke with any one else, “Where is my little Emily?” The second was a lovely child of seven years of age; and thus, within six months, three children were taken from him. The letters of sympathy which came from men overwhelmed with great public cares do honor to their writers' hearts. Admiral Joseph Smith, before little Maria had died, prays that “Petitemay be spared to her father; and as the following letter has relation also to the movements and plans of the subject of this memoir, we here give it in full:

“WASHINGTON, October 15, 1862. “MY DEAR SIR,-Admiral Smith submitted to me your note to him announcing your affliction, and has doubtless written you my desire that you would, under this dispensation, take your own time and your own way to resume your duties.

“Believe me, my dear sir, I most deeply sympathize with you as a friend and parent, for I also have been bereaved, having five times followed to the grave those who, in the course of nature, I had anticipated would have done me that sad office.

“The sufferings and death of our children are hard to endure, and our consolation is not of this world when such sorrows are upon us. To Him

Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting.


who gave and who has taken to himself the gifts that are so precious we must look, and in Him put our trust.

“Give yourself no thought or care of the duties now. They shall be attended to.

“With kindest regard and sincerest sympathy to Mrs. Foote and yourself, believe me, very truly yours,


Although Admiral Foote could not enter as yet entirely upon his duties as Chief of Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, he still was in consultation with the government in regard to its affairs, as this extract from a letter dated September 20, 1862, emanating from his office, will indicate:

“I have carefully considered the proposition and views of Mr. de la Montagnie, consul of the United States at Nantes, with reference to obtaining sailors for the Navy.

“I consider the plan objectionable, especially that part of it iuducing the Norwegian sailors in Nantes to leave their vessels in England, as it would involve a responsibility of employing an agent or agents in different ports of England for the transportation of them to the United States; besides, the number of Norwegian sailors thus obtained would be but comparatively few to the amount of expense and risk of implication.

“While Norway possesses the largest merchant marine of any country in Europe except England and France, yet comparatively few Norwegian sailors enter our service, and the reason is, they seldom desert their vessels in foreign ports, and are strongly attached to their homes.

“As emigration is increasing, and our mode of warfare at sea of late has been modified by the iron-clads, we require a less number of sailors. Landsmen are quickly trained in the exercise of guns, etc. I am induced to believe the better plan would be to employ some agent or agents to publish in different parts of Germany and in the North of Europe the high wages, etc., that the United States Government pays to seamen, landsmen, and boys who are entering our Navy; this might have the effect of inducing young men, especially in the North of Europe, to emigrate for the purpose of entering the service.

“In the free port of Hamburg, more sailors could be procured than in any port in Europe; and should any effort be made to secure foreign seamen, this free port would afford us the greatest number without implicating our government.

“ Hamburg is, as you know, a free port, and sailors from all nations are there largely represented.”

We are glad to insert here one letter from that noble seapaladin, Farragut, albeit it is of an entirely business character:

“NEW ORLEANS, March 7, 1863. “DEAR ADMIRAL, I have received yours of the 16th ult., in which you give me the pleasing intelligence that you have sent me one hundred recruits by the Circassian. If they had been twenty days sooner, they would have been invaluable to me; as it is, they are very valuable. I will take the men I want from the Pensacola, and let Commodore Morris supply himself temporarily from the recruits.

“I am dreadfully in want of both officers and men. I do not wish to place the vessels of war in the hands of inexperienced men, and yet I do not know how to avoid it. Very truly yours,

“D. G. FARRAGUT, Rear-Admiral. "Rear-Admiral A. H. Foote, Chief of Bureau of Equip

ment and Recruiting, Washington, D. C.”

At the end of the year 1862, and the beginning of 1863, we find the admiral settled with his family in Washington, busy with the duties of his new office, apparently throwing himself into them with the same ardor that he did into active service; and we hear little in regard to his health, although it was in no sense reassured, but continued growing perhaps gradually worse. Much of his time and attention seems to have been taken up with the matter of furnishing naval vessels at all occupied stations on our extended coast with coal, and fighting with contractors, public carriers, and owners of freight-vessels and chartered vessels in regard to their exorbitant war-prices. It was his habit to carry through his measures at any cost, but the old Connecticut blood in him prompted him to the greatest economy practicable. He was strict and scrutinizing in business matters, and was ever in favor of retrenchment. He never gave way to the feeling of irresponsibility in the lavish

Incessant Activity.


expenditure of the public funds even in times of great public demoralization and peril, but kept a shrewd eye to the main chance.

In the midst of these busy scenes at the heart of the waractivity of the country, he still found time for a large correspondence both of a public and private nature. He forgot no one, and interested himself, thongh unsuccessfully, to procure a situation in his Department commanding a good salary for his colored friend, John H. Brooks, whom he soon afterward employed as a personal attendant to go with himn to Charleston. He gave advice in regard to the management of naval academies; he was active in his duties as President of the Connecticut Soldiers' Aid Society; he pressed his matters of naval reform and temperance, and the better observance of the Lord's day, with his usual persistency; he found time and heart to write in a playful strain to his few old friends and his relatives who thoroughly knew him; but his mind was, for the most part, borne down with sorrow and care, though always hopeful for the country. A strictly private letter speaks somewhat of his feelings :


WASHINGTON, January 17, 1863. s “MY DEAR SIR,—It has been my intention to snatch a few minutes from the heavy pressure of my public duties for the purpose of writing to you. Thus, as the will has been always ready, I know that your hightoned patriotism will not only excuse my silence, but even approve and applaud it.

“ The governor and his good wife are with us, and are doing good, as they always do wherever they are. The governor is sharply looking out for the comfort of the soldiers of your noble and gallant state, which, as my friend General Buford remarked to him, is the banner state in this. war.'

“My duties are laborious in organizing my new Bureau, but I hope in this Department of which I have charge to render the Navy more efficient. I want as soon as possible to be afloat again, and there remain till


« AnteriorContinuar »