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Farragut & Our Naval Commanders

By J. T. Headley
Comprising the early life and public services of the prominent naval commanders who, with Grant and Sherman and their generals, brought to a triumphant close the great rebellion of 1861-1865. (First edition 1867)

(Return to table of contents of this book)





THEODORUS BAILEY was born in Franklin Co., New York State, in 1805, and received his education in Plattsburgh academy. Although a lad of but eight or nine years of age, when McDonough won his great victory over the British fleet off this place, the excitement caused by the battle and the thousand and one stories connected with it must have made a lasting impression on his mind, and perhaps had more to do with his eventually entering the navy than he himself is aware of. The fame and deeds of such a hero were well calculated to excite the ambition of a boy, living, as it were, in the very focus of the excitement. Be that as it may, four or five years after, in 1818, he entered the naval service as midshipman, and for the next two years and more he was learning his profession off the coast of Africa. He was then transferred to the Franklin, which had been ordered to the Pacific Ocean. He was absent on this cruise a little over one year, when he was transferred to the Shark, and sent to the West India station. Here, at Natchez, and back again, he was on duty nearly two years more.

In 1827, he was promoted to lieutenant and placed on board the Grampus, in which he served for six months. He was then ordered to the Vincennes, about to start on a long cruise in the Pacific Ocean, and thence to China, and so home by the Cape of Good Hope. He was absent two years and two months, and made his first voyage round the world.

He was afterwards transferred to the Constellation, which was ordered on the same cruise. This time he was gone three years and eight months, and made his second voyage round the world. He also served on board receiving ships; and from 1838 to 1841 was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He afterwards cruised in the East Indies, and also saw much shore duty.

In 1846, in the 21st year of his lieutenancy, Bailey assumed for the first time an independent command. We were then at war with Mexico, and he was ordered to the Lexington, which had been fitted up for the reception of troops and military stores, to be conveyed from New York to a certain point on the western coast of Mexico.

On the morning of sailing, writes one who accompanied him, the “F” company of artillery, a fine body of men, came on board at New York, under the command of Captain Tompkins. The first lieutenant was a tall, spare man, apparently about thirty years of age, with sandy hair and whiskers, and a reddish complexion. Grave in his demeanor, erect and soldierly in his bearing, he was especially noticeable for the faded and threadbare appearance of his uniform. That lieutenant is the present renowned Major-General Tecumseh Sherman. He was characterized at that time by entire devotion to his profession in all its details. His care for both the comfort and discipline of his men was constant and unvaried.

There was another lieutenant, short, rather "pony built," yet lithe and active as a cat—his intellect bright and keen as his eyes-his movements indicative of nerve and spirit-his name was Ord—Edward O. C. Ord, now Brigadier General, United States Army.

A heavy-built, middle-sized man also came on board, with cases containing chronometers, transits, and other instruments. His black velvet trimmings and flat buttons, together with the single bar upon his shoulder straps, indicated his rank as First Lieutenant of Engineers—Henry Wager Halleck is his name. His high forehead was then smooth, his complexion dark and ruddy, his black hair and ample beard were not yet frosted by time and thought. He was never idle at sea or in port, in fair weather or in storm, he was ever at work with book, chart, and pen—for he always read with a pen in his hand. Whether in Brazil, Chili, Mexico, or California, he examined everything with a military eye, taking copious notes and drawings, especially of fortifications and their approaches.

Twenty-six days off Cape Horn, in the winter season, in a succession of gales from the southwest, is not a pleasant experience, even with the best of company.

Here Captain Bailey exhibited conspicuously those high qualities which have ever secured for him in the Navy a reputation for capital seamanship, which implies every phase of judgment, coolness, perseverance, and pluck, with a ready command of resources under all circumstances. Always cheerful and urbane, while full of humor, he never overstepped the line of personal and official dignity, and gentlemanly courtesy.

The decks and lower rigging were encased in ice; the Lexington was deeply laden with heavy guns, shot, shell, &c., for the Army, and though she was what seamen call a comfortable ship, she was often very unsteady.

On one occasion, the whole wardroom mess was precipitated to leeward by a sudden lurch into Sherman’s stateroom—together with the table—crockery, Purser Wilson’s iron money-chest and Doctor Abernethy’s gold spectacles. All the gentlemen who composed that motley pile have since borne the rank of Major General in the Army, or Commander in the Navy. The proprietor of the premises, now Lieutenant-General Sherman, greatly enjoyed, while he participated in the general discomfiture. Storms off Cape Horn, as elsewhere, finally blow themselves out. Clear of "the Horn," the vessel soon reached Valparaiso, where lay a part of the United States Pacific Squadron. The British and French Admirals were also there, each with a number of ships. Admiral Sir Thomas Seymour called on board the Lexington, and was, of course, received with military honors. He scrutinized closely the "material" of the United States Regular Army, which he saw in the guard of artillerymen in line on the quarter-deck. He certainly found a very good specimen, Lieutenant Sherman commanding that guard.

Here Bailey met Commodore Stockton, who, with his seamen and the mountaineers under Fremont and his lieutenant, Kit. Carson, had secured possession of what was called Upper California, reinforced as they were, in good season, by General Kearney, who, soon after his arrival on the coast, after his long and perilous march across the continent, was received with his staff on board the Lexington, at San Pedro, and conveyed up the coast. Stoneman, since so distinguished as a cavalry General, was a lieutenant in General Kearney’s command.

The Lexington was very actively employed on the western coast during the remainder of the Mexican war.

Positive instructions were given from Washington, that our forces in the Pacific should secure the possession of both Upper and Lower California.

Upon Lieutenant Bailey devolved the duty of conveying troops to the Peninsula of Lower California, and for a long time he remained at La Paz, covering the small force in occupancy of that point, under Lieutenant-Colonel Burton, United States Army, who so gallantly maintained his position when twice attacked by a superior force.

Bailey was fond of a joke, even a practical one, if good. Many good ones are told of him, of which we give the following, from our pleasant correspondent, as an illustration:


The squadron was in the Bay of Monterey, and about to separate for the performance, by each ship, of its especial work. The general signal had been made from the flagship: "Get under weigh, and proceed as instructed."

The Lexington was by no means rapid, but though she never went over nine and a half knots, she could go five knots with almost anything, especially with a moderate breeze and smooth water, close hauled.

The wind was from the westward, and it was a dead beat out of the roadstead. The Lexington had an inshore berth, and was the last to get her anchors up; but it was a five-knot breeze, and it soon became evident that she was gaining on the frigates. As she made a stretch from Point Pinos, it appeared that she was weathering the Savannah frigate, which was standing in on the other tack. Lieutenant Bailey was delighted at the prospect of astonishing the squadron by the extraordinary sailing qualities of the old Lexington, always noted as being a dull sailer.

It was rather a close thing, but with a fair show he could certainly weather the Savannah. He paced the quarter-deck in high glee, slapping his thigh at each turn with his right hand—as was his custom when pleased—and pleasantly showing his handsome teeth, while his eyes sparkled with fun. Just as he was passing about a cable’s length ahead, and to windward of the Savannah, she put her helm down, and came up into the wind’s eye, forging ahead. So around she must go, or fall foul.

"‘Bout ship!"

"Ready! Ready!"

"Helm a-lee!"

"Raise tacks and sheets!”

Slap comes the frigate right across our bow, and away goes the flying jib-boom.

"Square the main-yard!’

"Box her around, Mr. Macomb!"

"Shift your helm for a stern-board, my man!"

Captain Mervine, on the Savannah’s quarter-deck, shouted: "What do you mean, sir, by running into a first-class frigate?" Captain Bailey (sotto voce): "Can’t a first-class frigate keep out of the way?" (Aloud): "Aye, aye, sir; all aback it is-all clear, sir; no injury done, I hope—quite accidental, of course." (sotto voce): "I accept your explanation." (Aloud): "Good-by, sir, I wish you a pleasant passage home."


It frequently happens that naval officers are required promptly to decide very nice points of international law, and it would be fortunate for the country if every officer had as thorough a command of its principles and precedents, as is possessed by Admiral Bailey.

The Lexington was for some time engaged in blockading the Mexican port of San Blas, during which time, two of Her Britannic Majesty’s frigates anchored in the roadstead for the purpose of receiving on board a large amount of Mexican dollars to be conveyed to England. It was then, and is perhaps now, the custom for British ships of war to carry bullion or coin for a consideration, which consideration, being a percentage upon the value of the treasure, was divided between certain officers of the ships conveying the same, and the Admiral commanding on the Station from whence the shipment is made.

A correspondence took place, between Captain Bailey and the senior British captain on this occasion, upon the question as to whether a ship engaged in carrying “freight" for a consideration, could be looked upon as a ship of war, and be treated as such by a blockading force, the commander of that force knowing her to be thus engaged. Whether it was not proper to "warn off” such vessels from the blockaded port—endorsing notice upon their "registers;’" and, in default of their having registers like other mercantile ships, whether notice might not be endorsed upon the papers under which the ship might be sailing, whether a "sea-letter" pass, or a commission issued to the officer in command.

The correspondence was quite lengthy, and was as humorous as it was able, dignified, and courteous.

The vessels sailed without taking any “freight."

It was in 1848, says our correspondent, that peace with Mexico was concluded, and Henry A. Wise, now Captain, United States Navy, brought the first news direct from the City of Mexico. We landed him at San Blas when he started on his famous ride-during the armistice—and on his return he went up the Coast in the Lexington, at which time we had a peep at the neatly prepared manuscripts of the amusing book in which he so graphically relates his adventures upon that and other occasions.

It was about this time, I think, that the store ship Southampton arrived from Upper California, and John L. Worden, then passed Midshipman, and Acting Master of that ship, called on board the Lexington and exhibited to his friends some nuggets of gold which had been found in cutting a millrace on Captain Sutter’s farm near Sacramento.

Mr. Worden was then rather stout-built, somewhat fleshy, of a light, cheerful disposition, and was considered a very good officer. I should hardly have recognized him in the wiry, muscular, and scarred veteran that he is to-day, carrying upon his face the marks of the first engagement ever fought between iron-clads.

Lieutenant Bailey now received advice of his long-delayed promotion, and returned to his home by the way of the Isthmus of Panama.


During the Mexican war, one of Bailey’s duties was the blockading of San Bias—one of the two only ports of entry left open to Mexico. In doing this, he warned all neutrals that the intermediate ports between here and Manzanilla were also blockaded, and the landing of any goods in them would subject such vessels and cargoes to capture and confiscation. This order brought a letter from the British Consul, Wm. Forbes, stationed at Tepic, who protested against the order, as an attempt at paper blockade, without sufficient force-which blockade had been regarded as illegal by American authorities, and also by Lord Stowell. Bailey replied that:

"A state of war gives a neutral no rights, which he did not previously possess in time of peace.

"Because, if the belligerent attempts to relieve himself of the pressure of a blockade by opening new ports, he does so in consequence of the pressure of the arms of his enemy, and the neutral, by intervening to relieve that pressure, interferes with the war to the disadvantage of the other belligerent—which interference the latter cannot tolerate."

He landed four officers and thirty-seven men from the Lexington and a bark, capturing the upper and lower towns of San Blas-spiking guns in the abandoned fort-and brought off two field pieces. He received a few days after a Mexican newspaper, stating that two North American vessels of war had entered the port of San Blas and landed sixteen hundred men, and that a division of five hundred cavalry, stationed in the neighborhood, had, in view of such overwhelming force, retreated to the interior.

From 1853 to ‘55, Captain Bailey commanded the U. S. ship St. Mary, cruising in the Pacific, and visited most of the prominent seaports, including many of the islands.

At the request of the president of Nicaragua, he visited the capital to confer with him and the U. S. minister, respecting the threatened invasion of the renowned filibuster, Walker. He was also at Honolulu while important negotiations were being had with Kamehameha III., which however were suddenly terminated by the death of that monarch.

He afterwards visited the Marquesas, Society Islands, Navigator’s and Fejee Islands, and at these last two places greatly promoted the interests of American citizens, by seeing that justice was administered—he holding frequent courts, before which many criminals were brought, and after due trial properly and summarily punished.

At Apia, the high chief becoming refractory, and refusing to produce one of his subjects, accused of stealing from an American vessel, every preparation was made for an attack upon the town, and for his arrest, when his unconditional surrender and appearance on board the "St. Mary" prevented a collision.

At the Fejee Islands, Capt. Bailey, finding that Captain Boutwell, of the "John Adams," had, by his injudicious treatment of the natives, created some ill feeling, very maturely considered the matter, and gave such orders to Captain Boutwell as were calculated to promote a more thorough and impartial administration of justice.

Capt. Bailey afterwards visited the principal ports of Chili, Peru, and Ecuador, holding everywhere the most agreeable relations with the chief authorities of each country.

He arrived at Panama after the frightful massacre of April 15, 1856, and here displayed, in a very signal manner, great coolness and good judgment in allaying the excitement existing among his own countrymen.

It would have been an easy matter for him to have bombarded Panama, thereby taking prompt satisfaction for the outrages committed. But forty-eight miles of railroad from thence to Aspinwall, affording the only means of transit between California and the Atlantic states, were entirely unprotected, and would have therefore been exposed to the attacks of an irritated and revengeful populace; he accordingly very wisely refrained, and left to the general government the administration of the proper remedies. He remained, however, for nearly a year at Panama, vigilantly looking after and promoting American interests.

His correspondence with the governor, Don F. de Fabrega, was short and spicy. He first asked an explanation of the outrages committed on American citizens and property. Two or three letters passed, but the governor, with customary Spanish duplicity and pomposity, evading the issue, Bailey closed the correspondence with the following direct and curt letter, which his "Excellency” could ponder on at his leisure:



PANAMA, April 25th, 1856.

His Excellency Don Francisco de Fabrega,

Acting Governor, &c., of Panama.


Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your replies to my communications of the 2d and 24th insts. Apart from the announcement of the restoration to the owners of the cannon and arms illegally taken from the steamer Taboga, I must confess that they afford me little satisfaction. I had expected, when asking for information as to the causes of the frightful occurrences of the 15th inst., that, apart from the immediate origin of the tumult, you would have deemed it due to yourself, as the Chief Magistrate of this community, to state why and wherefore you undertook the fearful responsibility of ordering your police to fire upon my countrymen, women and children, and to state what steps you had taken to punish the guilty, and restore the plunder. Ten days have elapsed since the catastrophe, and I have yet to learn that a single criminal has been arrested, or that any portion of the immense amount of valuables taken from the passengers and railroad company, has been restored. I have yet to learn that your high "conscientious views of duty, and understanding well the great interests which are bound up in this line of universal transit" extended any further than to order an indiscriminate massacre of the passengers over this transit. I have yet to learn, that when a riot or collision shall here take place between foreigners, on the one side, and natives on the other, that you recognize any higher obligation on your part than to protect and assist the latter, and to disarm, murder, maltreat, and plunder the former.

Is it possible that your Excellency recognizes but one party to a riot? that you shelter yourself under the philosophic assurance, that the fearful catastrophe of the 15th inst. was the result of "elementos tan heterogeneous como los que forman nuestra poblacion i la emaqgracion Californiana?" The deduction, I regret to state, affords me little assurance of the safety of the transit for the future, unless your Excellency shall devise some more speedy and efficacious method for rendering these unfortunate "elements" less "heterogeneous" hereafter. The police who took part in this terrible tragedy now guard the lives and property of the transit passengers. The "Jendarmena" who, with the same philosophy as your Excellency, deemed it best) in the late emergency, to destroy the foreign "element," are the reliable means of protection which your Excellency will. furnish us to any extent for the future, and it, no doubt, should be a source of gratification. that they have, since the 10th inst., permitted the passengers and treasure of the steamers "Uncle Sam" and "Golden Age," to make the transit without murdering the one, or plundering the other. I am, with the force under my command, but from eight to ten days removed from communication with my Government, and am, therefore, bound to submit to their judgment the manner in which the fearful accountability that you have incurred shall be investigated, and to their discretion the indemnity that shall be demanded for the past and security for the future: meanwhile, I shall do all in my power to avert any danger that may occur to the transit passengers, from whatever quarter it may come, and under every emergency. In directing my first communication to your Excellency, I had no desire to listen to apologies for certain parties or certain acts, but an earnest wish to know what you did towards punishing the parties concerned in this frightful atrocity. I wanted not sophistry but action; the names of the criminals arrested-the officers dismissed-and some allusion to plunder restored. That I have not been thus gratified, I have no reason to doubt, arises from the fact that you deem the origin of the affair a sufficient justification for its frightful conclusion.

I shall here take my leave of your Excellency as a correspondent, and shall have the honor to submit your two communications to my Government, presuming that they will not be more satisfactory to them than to me.

I am respectfully, sir,

Your obedient servant,


Commander U. S. N.


At the breaking out of the rebellion, he was in the latter part of 1861 ordered to the steamer Colorado, blockading Pensacola, and took part in the subsequent bombardment of the fortifications. After a night reconnoissance he sent a boat expedition to cut out the privateer Judah. The vessel was destroyed, and the battery on shore spiked. The three lieutenants commanding the boats, Russel, Blake, and Sproston, received the highest commendation for their gallantry.

He was subsequently sent to the passes of the Mississippi, second in command under Farragut in the contemplated movement against New Orleans.

Although the general plan of attack had been determined on, Farragut called a council of war just before it occurred, in which Captain Bailey suggested that an attack in the daytime would draw on them the fire of the enemy the moment they came in sight—also, that the advance in double lines would expose the vessels to get fouled. It will be seen that these ideas received the approval of the commander-in-chief.

The way in which Bailey happened to lead his division of eight vessels in the little Cayuga is not generally known. The Colorado was a heavy vessel and one much better calculated to withstand the horrible fire of the batteries than this little gunboat. But it was found impossible to get her over the bar, and so he brought up his men, determined to lead the fleet in the passage of the batteries if he did it in his launch. He was at the time suffering under a painful disease, and the surgeon reported that—


His health would not permit him to take part in the fight. For this act of kindness, he was anything but grateful, and fumed and swore he was not sick, and would go. But the surgeon was firm in the performance of his duty, and asked for a "Medical Survey" upon him, which was ordered in due form.

The "Board" assembled in his cabin, examined his case with great care, retired, talked it over, and made out a written report of his case, closing with the opinion that it would be very dangerous for him to take part in the coming fight, and finally recommended that he should remain quiet, and that severe medical treatment be applied as soon as practicable.

The Board returned to the cabin, (where were assembled Admiral Farragut and other officers, awaiting the result of the examination,) and communicated in due form the result of their consultation.

All remained quiet, waiting to see what effect it had upon "Old Bailey," expecting to see him fume and rage at being prevented from taking part in giving those "d—d rebels a lesson which they would not soon forget." But instead of this, he quietly rose, and in the most dignified manner, said:

"Admiral, I am very much obliged to the gentlemen, and am very grateful to them for their solicitude in regard to my health, for their attention to my case and their kind and considerate recommendation; but, by —, I’ll lead your fleet up the river, if I burst my boiler."


Farragut gave him a division and assigned him the sloop-of-war "Oneida," to carry his flag. The latter had not been long on board when certain matters occurred, which need not now be discussed, but which rendered it undesirable for Bailey to remain on that ship. Lieutenant-Commanding Harrison having dined on the "Oneida" on that day, and seeing, in this hitch, a chance for himself (his gunboat having been assigned a place in the rear), he offered Bailey the "Cayuga" and urged him to lead up in her. He promptly accepted the offer, and before sunset was aboard the little vessel, bag and baggage. Now this was an act of the purest patriotism and most unselfish courage; it was giving up, voluntarily, a new, strong, and fast ship (and in this instance speed was of the utmost moment) for a vessel of trifling force and speed, scarcely sufficient to stem the current of the Mississippi; but it was done to prevent agitation, and to produce harmony among the commanders of the fleet, on the eve of a great and uncertain conflict.

The signal for attack was made at 2 A. M., on the morning of the 24th April, 1862. There was too much anxiety on board for sleep; part of the night was spent in steaming up and down the division, in order that Bailey might satisfy himself that nothing was amiss—the river was continually lighted by fire-rafts, as they came down with the current, snapping and cracking with their intense heat—great fires were built at the barrier chains, making the scene and the hour one never to be forgotten. The signal lights had scarcely reached the peak of the Hartford before the "Cayuga" had her anchor atrip, and was heading up stream. The heavier ships were longer in securing their anchors. Much anxiety was felt as to the precise locality of the opening that had been made in the barrier; he, however, steered fairly into it, and just then his vessel was discovered, and the forts opened. The "Cayuga" was now put upon her speed, not much at best, and pointed close under the guns of St. Philip, so as to have the shot strike her rigging. Emerging from the dense smoke that filled the river between the forts, Bailey encountered a new, and a most unexpected enemy, nothing less than a flotilla of gunboats, having among them the “Louisiana" and "Manassas," with iron armor. The Cayuga was quite unsupported at this time, and things wore an anxious look. It was now that Captain Bailey exhibited that quiet courage and calm confidence that told so finely on the crew. He could look in no direction without seeing an enemy close aboard. The "Gov. Moore," the best-fought ship of the enemy, was bearing down on his starboard bow, and to her Harrison gave most of his attention. At the same moment a gunboat approached from nearly astern, with the evident intention of ramming. Captain Bailey called to Harrison to "send aft the boarders." The latter replied: "I have no men to spare just now, you must take care of that end of the vessel." With that, Bailey stepped on the arm-chest, and singing out "Surrender, you fool, or I’ll blow you out of water!" he opened with his revolver. Almost immediately the reply came back, “Don’t shoot! We surrender." "Then stick your d—-d nose in the mud until I take possession." The vessel sheered off, ran ashore, and was soon in flames. About the same time a fearful discharge of grape was delivered from the large Dahlgren into the "Gov. Moore," raking her from stem to stern, killing many of her men, and causing her to sheer off. Two other vessels of the rebel flotilla were forced to surrender and run on shore before Bailey knew that any other of our ships had succeeded in coming through the fire of the forts—then came the "Varuna" into action, followed in quick succession by the fleet. This was the last effort of the rebels. The victory was complete. "You can fancy the scene: now, says our correspondent, "as the bright day broke over the river, disclosing fourteen vessels of our fleet above the forts, gaily bedecked with the "old flags," while eleven burning hulls were all that remained of the rebel flotilla." As soon as objects on shore were visible Camp Lovell was discovered, having the Chalmette regiment in tents, commanded by Col. Szymanski. Anchoring in front of the camp, and ordering the Colonel on board, Captain Bailey received the surrender of the regiment, He could not but smile at the idea of a regiment on shore captured by a gunboat. He had now no specific orders; but knowing New Orleans to be the objective point, he determined, if possible, to be first before the city. Steaming at full speed, he found himself next day, suddenly, in a tremendous cross fire; this came from the Chalmette batteries, situated on either bank of the river. The Cayuga endured this fire until Farragut could come up and divert it to his own ship. The little gunboat suffered severely here, but her bow was never turned down stream.

In speaking of the passage of these latter forts, Farragut says, "Captain Bailey was still far in advance, not having noticed my signal for close order." We rather suspect the gallant captain did not look in the direction where he could see it. His eyes were turned up stream towards New Orleans. N. B. Harrison, the lieutenant commanding the Cayuga, than whom a cooler, braver, and more gallant officer never trod the deck of a battle-ship, reported that his vessel was struck forty-two times, and that both her masts were so cut up as to be unfit for farther service. Strange as it may appear, only six of his crew were wounded.

The river was now clear to New Orleans; and at one o’clock, on the 25th, the fleet came to anchor in front of the city. The rain was coming down in torrents; but the crowd on shore was dense and turbulent, and blind with futile passion. Directly, a boat was seen to put off from the flagship, and swept towards the shore, impelled by the strong arms of well-dressed sailors. In the stern sat Captain Bailey, with his lieutenant, Perkins, by his side, and Acting-Master Morton, in charge of the boat. He was on his way to demand the surrender of the city. As he approached the levee, the drenched and waiting crowd grew more excited, and deafening cheers were sent up for Jeff. Davis, and groans uttered for Lincoln and the fleet. Now and then a sudden eddy would be seen in some portion of the black, dark mass, as a man was collared or shoved about, who dared to express a Union feeling. Bailey saw at a glance that it was not a pleasant reception that awaited him; but he stepped calmly and firmly ashore, and said he wished to see the mayor of the city. A few came forward, and offered to conduct him. As the little handful moved off; the crowd surged after them, yelling and shouting like demons. A single word, and Bailey and his lieutenant would become the victims of its fury; but they showed no alarm, and reached the City Hall in safety, when the passions of the crowd broke forth. At one time it seemed that they would be set upon by the most infuriated; but some well-dressed citizens, who were aware of the wholesale destruction of the city that would follow such an act, interfered.

Bailey, on being presented to the mayor, and exchanging salutations, said: "I have been sent by Captain Farragut, commanding the United States fleet, to demand the surrender of the city, and the elevation of the flag of the United States over the Custom-House, Mint, Post-Office, and City Hall."

The mayor, Munroe, was in company with Pierre Soule, and was evidently prompted by him as to questions and replies. Among other things, the mayor wished to know what credentials Bailey had from Flag-Officer Farragut. He replied that he was second in command; had led the fleet by the forts, had forced the surrender of three gunboats, and captured the Chalmette regiment; and as such needed no other credentials—which they appeared to consider sufficient.

Munroe replied that he was not a military man, and had no authority to surrender the place, but that he would send for General Lovell, the military commander, who was out of the city. While the messenger was gone, Bailey engaged in free conversation with those in the mayor’s office, interrupted now and then by the yells of the crowd surging to and fro in the pouring rain without. Much property had been destroyed in the city after the news of the passage of the forts was received, and Bailey expressed his regret that it had taken place. The Mayor rudely replied that the property was their own, and its destruction concerned nobody but themselves. Bailey good-humoredly said that such a course looked to him very much like a man biting off his nose to spite his face.

The Mayor did not relish the joke, and grew more disagreeable.

Soon cheers from without heralded the arrival of Lovell, and the next moment he entered the room, and announced his name and rank. He then shook hands with Bailey, who renewed the demand he had a short time before made to the Mayor. To this Lovell replied, that he would not surrender the city; that he intended to fight on land as long as he could; and if they wished to shell the city, filled with women and children, they might do it. Bailey courteously replied, that nothing was farther from Captain Farragut’s intentions than shelling the city; that he regretted the destruction of property that had already occurred. To which Lovell answered, with much unnecessary hauteur, that it was done by his own orders. Lovell leaving the affairs of the city in the hands of the civil authorities, Bailey determined to return, and report the situation of matters to Farragut. But as he was about to leave, he turned to General Lovell, and said that he had visited many uncivilized places, such as the South Sea and Fejee Islands and found even among the savages a decent respect for a herald and flag of truce, which are regarded by all civilized nations as sacred, but that he had been insulted every step of the way from his boat by an unwashed mob. He therefore demanded a safe conduct to his boat. A carriage was then drawn up at a rear door of the City Hall, and he was conducted to it with his aid, Lieutenant Perkins, by two officers, and driven through certain streets entirely depopulated, their inhabitants having thronged to what they supposed would be the scene of his assassination on the route by which he had come.

He arrived without molestation at the landing, where a great crowd was assembled—but the officers, drawing their swords, made way for him, when he shook hands with them and departed.

Bailey was now sent home with dispatches to the Government, and on arriving at Fortress Monroe forwarded the following telegraph to the Secretary of War: "I have the honor to announce that, in the providence of God, which smiles upon a just cause, the squadron under Flag Officer Farragut has been vouchsafed a glorious victory and triumph in the capture of New Orleans, Forts Jackson, St. Philip, Lexington, and Pike, the batteries above and below New Orleans, as well as the total destruction of the enemy’s gunboats, steam-rams, floating batteries (iron-clad), fire-rafts, obstruction booms, and chains. The enemy with their own hands destroyed from eight to ten millions of cotton and shipping. Our loss is thirty-six killed, and one hundred and twenty-three wounded. The enemy lost from one thousand to fifteen hundred, besides several hundred prisoners. The way is clear, and the rebel defenses destroyed from the Gulf to Baton Rouge, and probably to Memphis. Our flag waves triumphantly over them all. I am bearer of dispatches. THEODORUS BAILEY."

The important part that Captain Bailey took in the capture of New Orleans clearly entitled him to receive from the Navy Department some signal recognition of its sense of the value of his services, and, in the fall of 1862, Acting Rear-Admiral Lardner, commanding Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron, suffering greatly from the weakening effects of an attack of yellow fever, having applied to the Navy Department to be relieved from duty on that station, and ordered North, Commodore Bailey was at once directed to assume the command, and in November, 1862, proceeded to Key West.

The limits of the command comprised a stretch of sea-coast extending nearly a thousand miles, embracing the entire Peninsula of Florida, from Mosquito Inlet on the eastern coast, to St. Andrew’s Bay on the western. The headquarters of the squadron were at the important island of Key West—the key of the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, this squadron was the only one, except the West India squadron, that did not contain within its limits some stronghold to be captured. The North Atlantic squadron had its Fort Fisher—the South Atlantic its Sumter—the West Gulf squadron its Fort Morgan—but the East Gulf squadron afforded no sufficient scope for the restless courage that was so distinguishing a trait in the character of its commander-in-chief.

Bailey’s orders were to blockade the Florida coast, and as there was no more active work at hand, he set himself to do this thoroughly. The means at his disposal he found very inadequate to the work, for the squadron had been greatly thinned out by the yellow fever, and a number of the vessels infected with the contagion had been ordered North by Admiral Lardner. The Navy Department found it impossible at that time to supply their places with others, the pressure upon them for vessels being so great for other squadrons, and the material from which to supply this demand, so limited.

In this emergency, finding it useless to apply to the Government for aid, Admiral Bailey set zealously to work to make additions to his force from such materials as he could command. As the Department could not supply him with vessels, he proposed to supply himself. The blockade-running from the Florida coast was, at this time, carried on mostly by swift-sailing schooners that slipped quietly out of the creeks and rivers, under cover of the night, and made for the coast of Cuba. Admiral Bailey determined to make this class of vessels useful, and accordingly, as soon as he caught a particularly fast one, instead of allowing it to be sold at auction, and bought in by the blockade-runners, to be again put upon the contraband line, he took it for the use of the Government at an appraisement, and having sent carbines, cutlasses, a howitzer, and a sufficient number of "blue-jackets" aboard, the American flag was run up at the peak, and the little craft sailed off to astonish her old allies by appearing in her entirely new and unexpected character of a United States vessel. These tenders, for they were all attached to one or another of the larger vessels of the squadron, soon became a distinguishing feature of the Eastern Gulf squadron, and a terror to all the contrabandists along the coast. It was not long before a complete cordon of these vigilant little sentinels was formed; stretching along the entire coast, the cruising-ground of one dove-tailing on to that of the next, and they became the heroes of many bold adventures. Their light draft of water enabled them to run into the creeks and inlets that mark the Florida coast, and they would frequently pounce down upon a nest of blockade-runners—loading their vessel with cotton up some quiet river, and almost before the latter could recover from their astonishment at the apparition of the unwelcome "Yankees," their vessel would be towed out to sea and under sail for Key West, with a prize crew on board.

Admiral Bailey, by his prompt recognition of every act of gallantry, and of every important service on the part of his officers and men, soon imparted a portion of his own energy to his squadron. There was no more "loafing" on the blockade. It was understood that the vessels were stationed to make captures, and not for fishing purposes, and if a vessel set to guard a particular passage allowed the blockade-runners to slip in and out, the commanding officer was held responsible at headquarters for his negligence; and if, on the other hand, he showed constant vigilance and attention to duty, his good conduct did not fail to receive notice, and to be reported with commendation to the Department at Washington. The vessels of the fleet were likewise, from time to time, personally visited by the commander-in-chief, and his able and vigilant Chief-of-Staff, Commander Temple, and thoroughly inspected. Their efficiency in drill at the great guns and in small arms, and at fire quarters was carefully noted, and every commanding-officer felt that the exact status of himself and his ship’s company was known and kept in mind at headquarters. In fact, it is not too much to say that the discipline of this squadron was so perfect that the Department highly complimented Bailey, saying: "It was so well governed that it gave them no trouble—it took care of itself." It certainly did its work thoroughly. The coast of Florida was hermetically sealed, and vessels were spared to cruise at large in the Gulf, and intercept the blockade runners that plied regularly between Mobile and Havana.

Few persons are aware what a very essential part the blockading vessels performed in crippling and dispiriting the enemy. Their work was noiseless, and attracted but little of the public attention; but the pressure brought to bear upon the South was tremendous, and grew every month more intolerable. It was not so much that the rebels were put to the greatest individual discomfort and inconvenience—that indeed was a result, but not the aim or intention of the blockade. The principal pressure was felt where it was intended that it should be—in their military movements—in their armies. They could not purchase military supplies abroad, and they had no adequate means of manufacturing them at home. Their troops were therefore ill-equipped, poorly shod, poorly clothed, and destitute of many of the articles that are necessary to the efficiency of armies in the field.

In 1863, the limits of the East Gulf Squadron were increased by the addition to its jurisdiction of an important part of what had been the cruising-ground of the West India, or Flying Squadron; to wit: the Bahama Banks. The difficulty of communicating by boats with the Admiral, where vessels were lying often at a distance of two miles from the flagship, became so great, that in the spring of this year headquarters were moved ashore, and the flagship was sent to cruise in the Gulf. By this change, the commander-in-chief became rapidly accessible to all those under his command. Whether it was that twenty-odd years on "blue water" had had its effect upon him, or whether Nature in the beginning had implanted in him a kindly heart, certain it was that the Admiral possessed all of those qualities of a large hearted and open-handed nature that belong traditionally to the sailor. He was the very embodiment of the poetic idea of a son of Neptune, and every human being who crossed the threshold of the great rooms at which headquarters were now located, was sure to find there a hearty, cheerful welcome—except one class, the enemies of his country. When any of the members of his staff heard from their adjoining apartments an unusual noise and declamation, ending with calls for "Orderly," they were pretty certain that one of this class was about being marched out from the indignant presence of Bailey, at the double-quick, and it was usually some time before the waters fairly subsided after one of these storms. The devotion of a sailor to the flag he has served for nearly half a century has in it an ardor that landsmen fail to appreciate. An amusing instance of the Admiral’s dislike of the sympathizers with secession, occurred shortly after the headquarters were moved on shore. It happened that the principal church at Key West was the Episcopal, and that, though the rector was loyal, a majority of the vestry were secessionists, who reelected themselves to office year after year. This state of things coming to the Admiral’s knowledge at the time that the annual election for vestrymen occurred, he resolved to "purge the temple," and, summoning his officers (it being a free church, all who attended there were entitled to vote), he marched up to the annual meeting, on the first Monday after Easter, to the great consternation of the close corporation, who had assembled to vote each other in. As a matter of course, a heavy "Union" vote was cast, and for that year, at least, the church was officered by loyal men, from rector to sexton. The Admiral used laughingly, after this incident, to proclaim himself ex-officio "Bishop of that Diocese."

Though the Admiral and his staff were always on duty, and business was transacted at any hour, from eight in the morning till midnight, there was no lack of mirth at headquarters, and the Admiral’s hospitality became so well known through the service, that along the whole coast, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, there was no naval station visited with more pleasure by officers than that at Key West. As that post lay in the direct track of all vessels bound to the West Gulf Squadron, or from that squadron North, and as the vessels of the West India Squadron were accustomed to put into Key West for provisions and their mails, it often happened that from twelve to fifteen men-of-war were in harbor at the same time. On these occasions, the table of the Admiral’s mess was stretched to its largest capacity, and the headquarters became a scene of great animation. In the summer of 1864, however, all this was changed, for the port was again visited by that scourge, the yellow fever. The epidemic commenced in June, and extended from vessel to vessel, and what had shortly before been a scene of bustle, activity, and mirth, became now one of desolation and mourning. A few hours was sufficient to hurry the victims from a state of apparently perfect health to the grave. The vessels were sent North as fast as the infection appeared upon them, and before long the dreaded port of Key West was itself as completely blockaded by the invisible but fearful forces of Yellow Jack, as was any port along the coast by the most vigilant of our cruisers. For weeks there was scarcely any communication with the outer world. No vessel was bold enough to venture in, and there were none to venture out. In the mean time, those on the island sickened, and very many died. The Admiral, after a severe illness, rallied, and, thanks to a fine constitution, recovered. After the abatement of the fever, the Department thought it due to his long service in a sickly climate, to transfer him to a healthier station, and accordingly, in the fall of the same year, he was ordered to the command of the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

There is one anecdote told of the Admiral, while engaged in the blockade, which not only illustrates his character, always noble and incorruptible, but explains satisfactorily how so many of our officers, in the South and Southwest, got rich during the war. One day the Admiral received a letter from a merchant in Havana, stating that he desired a personal interview with him, as he had an important communication to make. Not long after, the former, having occasion to send a vessel to Havana, directed the commanding officer to call on the merchant and learn what the important communication was. It turned out to be a proposal to him that he should so arrange his squadron as to allow a vessel to be run into port with contraband goods, the Admiral to receive for so doing forty thousand dollars a trip for six trips, and then have vessel, cargo, and all. The money was to be paid in gold, which then being at $2.50 would have netted the Admiral the nice little sum of about a million of dollars. He could have carried out this nefarious scheme without being detected, with the utmost ease. To most men such a sum of money would seem a large bribe, but to the Admiral a five-dollar bill would have been just as great a temptation. It is needless to say that he took no notice of the proposal, but it would have fared hard with the traitorous merchant, if he had fallen into his clutches. That many officers on land were not superior to much smaller bribes, the military records furnish, alas! too much evidence.

The best proof of the efficiency of the blockade during the period that the Eastern Gulf squadron was under Admiral Bailey’s command, is found in the number of prizes captured. With a fleet of some thirty vessels, of which not more than six were steamers in any way fit for cruising, he captured in the course of a little more than a year and a half, more than a hundred and fifty blockade runners of all rates and sizes, from sloops to large and heavily loaded Mississippi steamers. In proportion to the time and the number of vessels employed, this is a larger capture list than is exhibited by any other squadron.

Admiral Bailey remains at present the commandant of the Portsmouth station, although by a law of Congress he is, from his age and length of service, placed on the retired list. The character of Admiral Bailey is clearly developed in the foregoing sketch. To see him dispensing hospitality at his table, and keeping his guests often in a roar of laughter, one would hardly know him for the same man when leading his line into battle. On the deck of his ship, amid the raining balls of the enemy, he is altogether another being. Stern and inflexible, his orders ring sharply out, and all the lineaments of his kindly countenance reveal the great commander and the fearless man. The confusion and carnage of battle seem to quicken his perceptions, and he is never so much at home as when, amid the thunder of his own broadsides, he presses where the boldest hold their breath. Of great energy, untiring perseverance, quick perceptions—fearless in action, and wise in counsel, he has won a place in the foremost rank of those naval heroes who are at once the pride and glory of the land.

Chapter XII

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