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In a short time the detail, ready to march, was formed in line on the public square. In taking leave of the officers and men, I still bear in mind the warm pressure with which my noble friend returned my grasp, with the remark, “Whatever may happen, we will maintain our honor." I never saw him afterward until " in his shroud the hero we buried.” He fell the next day at the head of his regiment on the bloody but victorious field of Churubusco, where also the hightoned and brave Lieut. Col. Dickinson, who had assumed the command, shortly afterward received a severe wound, the effects of which also proved mortal.
The other field-officer, Major Gladden, though cver in tho thickest of tho fight, cscapod unhurt. Of tho conduct of tho oflicors nnd men, Gen. Shields, in his oflicial report to mo, spcaks ns follows: "I selectcd tho Palmetto Regiment as tho lnso of my lino, and this gallant regimont moved forward firmly and rapidly under a fire of musketry as terrible, perhaps, as any which soldiers cver faced.”
The Castle of Chapultepec, after having withstood our bombardment for the whole of the 12th of September, 1847, was carried by storm on the morning of the 18th.
The South Carolina regiment, then under the command of Major Gladden, was, at the signal of the assault, ordered to advance by a low meadow to the foot of the hill, scale the first line of wall, and charge up the steep ascent. This was executed with steadiness under a scvoro firo of grapo and musketry from tho cncmy. Tho will wns passcd ; and tho regiment, lod by their bravo and cool coinmandor, with bayonets fixed, and with the steady tread of veterans, charged up the steep ascent without firing a gun.
I had ordered the regiments of my division, so soon as the fortress of Chapultepec was carried, to assemble on the aqueduct, there to be . organized into a column of attack on the city of Mexico. As an instance of the discipline and promptness, as well as bravery of the then commanding officer of the regiment and of his command, his was the first of the regiments engaged in the assault upon the fortress that was reported to me as ready for the new movement.
It was selected, with the gallant Rifle regiment, under immediato command of Major Loring, to head tlo column of attack upon tho city by the Garita or Gato of Belen.
Thé description of this last bold and crowning exploit of the American arms in Mexico belongs to history: a full narrative would require more time and space than has already been devoted to this address; I shall, thereforo, merely allude to an incident which occurred at tho taking of the Gate. Anxious to give notice to the other divisions of the army that we were within the walls of the imperial city, I called for “colors," and soon Major Gladden rushed up and prosented the Palmetto flag, which he had taken from the standard-bearer and brought up for that purpose. Licut. Sellick, of your regiment, then also acting on my staff as ordnance officer, was detailed to plant it over the arch of the huge portal, a duty which, with the assistanco of other officers, he performed, but not without receiving a severe wound. This occurred in the presence of more than five hundred witnesses, and leaves no doubt of the fact that the flag of the Palmetto Regiment is entitled to the honor of being the first American ban
ner victoriously unfurled within the walls of the city of Mexico. For the purpose of dislodging bodies of Mexicans posted behind some low sand-bag batteries on the Pasco, and to be prepared to seize upon any favorable occasion which might arise to carry the citadel, Major Glad. den was ordered to advance with his regiment fourteen arches, or about seventy yards within the Garita. In occupying this position ho also was severely wounded and disabled. Thus, in the moment of victory, when tho city wns won, tho rcgimont lost tho scrvices of its last ficld-oflicer, and thenceforth, to tho cnd of its active services, it remained under command of Capt. Dunovant, its senior captain.
During the afternoon of the 13th, the enemy, finding that we had cxhausted all our heavy ammunition, made several sallies from the citadel and adjacent parts of the city, with the purpose of driving us from the Gate by thcir superior numbers. Failing, however, in these cfforts, and despairing of his ability longer to keep possession of the city, Santa Anna concluded, during tho night, to cvacunto tho city. At the first dawn of dny on tho inorning of tho 14th, information reached us of this unexpected movement. I immediately put my command in motion. Leaving tho South Carolina regiment in garrison nt tho Gnritn, and tho Pennsylvania regiment at tho citndcl, I marclied with the remaining troops into the Grand Plaza, and took possession of the National Palace. The first rays of the morning sun of that day that fell upon that proud seat of power were reflected back from tho stars and stripes waving in triumph over its highest pinnacle.
At 8 o'clock the commander-in-chief, with his staff and escort, entered the Great Plazn, and was roccived with all appropriate honors by my command.
Our glorious task was now finished. Mexico was prostrato at our fect, rendy to receive such terms as our country should dictate. Whether wo acted wisely in giving back the conquered country to a race incapable of self-government may bo regarded ns very doubtful.
But this is not a proper occasion for political speculation, and my time admonishes me to bring this long address to a conclusion.
South Carolinians! You sent your noble band of champions to represent the chivalry of your state in the war with Mexico. They have not only maintained its reputation, but added fresh laurels to tho fomo of the state, and won for themselves a position among tho bravest of tho bravc! Tho remnant of that brave band now stands before you. Permit their old commander, on leaving them his parting blessing, also to commend them to the fostering care and protection of the great state which they have served so well.
QUITMAN AND CUBA. Sinco this work has gone to press, n number of documents have follo cn into my hands which I am compelled to insert hcrc, with but littlo commont. As for back ns 1823 tho pcoplo of Cuba had contemplated thicir libcration from the irou rulo of Spain. In that ycar thoy scnt &
secret committee to confer with Bolivar. That illustrious man was then in Peru, combating the royal forces; bat General Santander, President ad interim of Colombia, warmly espoused the scheme. In 1826 Mexico and Colombia were organizing a joint expedition for the liberation of Cuba, but finally abandoned it, mainly in consequence of the policy announced by the United States at the Congress of Panama. În 1828 the assistance of Mexico was again invited, and an extensive combination, known as the “Black Eagle," was formed; but, before its plans matured, it was discovered and suppressed by the Spanish authorities. In 1836, the Cuban patriots, with the cooperation of a Spanish Liberalist, General Lorenzo, proclaimed the Spanish Constitution at St. Jago de Cuba, but were summarily cruslaed by Tacon, the captain gencral. In 1847 General Lopez made an cffort at revolution, but his plans were discovered, and he was compelled to fly to the United States.
The Spanish authorities, becoming alarmed by these demonstrations, angmented their military and marine force, and distinctly threatened to proclaim the freedom of the blacks if these attempts were repeated. The captain general issued a circular to the several heads of departments in the island and other functionaries, inviting their opinion as to the best mode of introducing African and other free labor, in view of the probable abolition of slavery. He declared that the royal authorities had definitely determined on the introduction of the African apprenticeship in Cuba as a counter-revolutionary idea, and to harmonize with the policy of Great Britain and Franec; that Gen. Pezuela had been appointed to supreme authority in Cuba, specially with reference to this policy, and that Lord Clarendon, then the organ of the British ministry, had expressly stated in Parliament that his government would give its hearty co-operation and support. Even under these menacing influences, the patriots of Cuba continued their efforts, and at the peril of life maintained an active correspondence with Gen. Lopez, and other refugees in the United States.
In the winter of 1850 onc of the most distinguished of these gentlemen waited on Gov. Quitman, and presented him the following communication in writing:
" Jackson, Mlss., Doc. 18th, 1860. “ His ExceLLENCY J. A. QUITMAN: Sır, -As I have had the honor verbally to say to you, I have come to Mississippi to place in your hands a request, the contents of which are now in your possession. My object being especially to impress you with the high character of the source whence this message came, I felt a painful delicacy lest prejudices, which I was told had been excited against me in your mind, should be calculated to injurc my present purpose. You have been pleased to deny having ever heard any thing of the kind, and to rcassure mo on the subject with a frunkness that could not be inistaken, and in a manner flattering to myself, and certainly beyond my deserts. “Don
and myself have received the documents referred to above from two gentlemen of great influence, and known for their honorable character. One of them is very wealthy himself, and a member of one of the most wealthy and extensive families in the island, with whom he is on the most intimate terms. The other is an enter
prising capitalist, a thorough business man, connected also with wealthy families, and ho it is who assured me that one or two hundred countrymen could be rallied by him in the immediate vicinity of his estate. Such decision from men of his standing I had not heard of before. He mentioned several facts which I have repeated to you, showing the present cxcitement
the country people becoming more and more emboldonod, and that tho Cuban cockadcs had been sent to many Spaniards through tho post-osico, and ono to tho captain gcncral." At tho samo timo ho added that it was lois belief that Lopcz, unprotectod, would be fought against even by those who would advocato tho cause under better guidance. Ho did not hesitate to say that the old Spaniards were irritated, and that an uncomfortable feeling, scarcely to be endured, existed between them and thc Creoles—a state of things which required action of some kind or other. He stated that all confidence in Lopez was lost. · Both these gentlemen are now probably in Ilavana, and nono arc botter calculated to establish thero a proper organization.
"If I understand rightly tho nature of the proposal now tendered you, its chicf object is to tio into onc single action Southern interest and Cuban annexation; to create an intelligent American centre of action for the purpose of examining the subject, adopting a course, commanding and executing: a secret Southern committee for the annexation of Cuba I would venture to suggest as the first step, without attempting to rcsolve now all the complicated questions of necessity to be considered in this glorious undertaking.
“You have mentioned the present agitation on the slavery question, which you consider in a rising rather than a receding tide; and truly, if it is so, the opinion which Mr. Calhoun govo inc, to wait for its final decision, might well deserve a serious consideration, like every thing emanating from that great man. But if an extraordinary excitement prevails in Cubn, it may not be in our power to calm the unsettlcd horizon of that island. However, could not the cause of Cuba be made the rallying banner of the South, and the honorable adjustment of the disquieting difficulties of the whole island ? Were the extreme Southern men, possessing influence like yourself, to stretch forth a friendly hand to all the Southern Unionists on the guaranteed condition of striking together one great and bold blow for Cuban annexation, positive force and probable advantages would result to the South, instead of an indefinito and prolonged anxiety in a morcment which has never had constant advocates. And onco united in a common and popular cause, the union of the Southern States among themselves would never be broken; and commanding their unbounded respect in the North by the attitude assumed, and by the great object undertaken of liberating Cuba, concessions would bo made before an exhibition of power which would forever be refused to the suppliant confederate, and the Union be preserved—that Union which has a charm for every American heart, in spite of injustice and humiliation. The accomplishment of a scheme so patriotic would be worthy of the gallant hand that unfurled the American flag on the capitol of Anahuac; and if, as I had occasion to observe to you yesterday, that was a proud day in your life, you may rest assured that, while saving the rights and honor of the South in tho path herein proposed, the accla
mations of twenty millions and upward of Americans would hail, and their children bless you as the preserver of the noblest structure of human freedom in existence, which, whilo perpetually threatening the monarchs of Europe, expands with hope the heart of the oppressed millions around them.
“The certainty among the influential men of Cuba of being under tho guidance of a Southern association would awaken every energy of their soul, and those embarking in the enterprise could then feel that in risking their lives, which they have a right to do, they do not risk the success of their cause, which they have no right to expose.
“The noble ambition of your congenial and frank nature is certainly inspiring; but if I am enthusiastic in developing thicso views, I feel confident, bold as they may appear, that they will stund tho tcst of a cold and closc examination, and will prove to bo safe and calculated for ultimate success.” From the same source the following letter was received:
“ New York, February 24th, 1850. “Gov. J. A. QUITMAN: DEAR SIR-When, some months ago, I obtained the inclosed introduction to you, I was informed that the clection of governor then pending would precludo your acceptance of the proposition I contemplated. The embarrassments which we have experienced in the object of annexing Cuba by an expedition, and the certainty that thoy would disappear wero you to aid is, thu fiirtlior acqunintauco with onnobling traits of your character, and the prospects of a speedy settlement of the slavery question, have now determined us to try our luck by boldly making our propositions. “We are assured by a banker of high respectability and wealth, Mr.
(I mention his name in strict confidence), that with your acceptance of the command-in-chief of an expedition which you would then organize, the loan could be secretly raised for one of four thousand men at least, to carry to the island of Cuba republican institutions, with a view to her annexation to the United States. My conversation with many other parties has led me to the conclusion that no less than one million could be raised at once, with your namo privately given to one or two men of higli character, on whoso judge mont others would rely. As the representative of the Ilavana Club, chiefly consisting of planters, I can assure you that, with you, the movement would be headed by respectable gentlemen of the island. I can add that among the lower classes there is also a very strong feeling in favor of the movement, which should be directed and controlled by the upper classes, so as to secure the blessings of annexation without the dangers of insurrection. I believe that any delay not warranted by the proper preparatory steps would bo injurious, and perhnps placo the enterprise in the hands of those not fully impressed with its requisites in a slave country.
“In boldly stretching your hand to aid Cuba in her struggle for liberty, you would manifest that happy appreciation of future
events which marks a superior mind; petty considerations, or the fear of disapproval from your country's government, should not stand in the way of an act much easier to accomplish than is generally believed, and which will, perhaps, bo in its mighty conscqucnces tho grcatost of