|St. Augustine in the
Civil War p2
by Gil Wilson
ab urbe condita - 296 to 300
| 4th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry
The first things that Col Bell did involved placing the fort in readiness, taking slaves from Non-
union citizens and putting the to work for Federal forces and rationing City Residents.
Provost Duties (See Office of Provost Marshal)
The Provost Marshal for St. Augustine would be Captain Nathanel H Brown. The Provost Marshal
over time would close brothels because of disease and send black prostitutes outside the lines
among other duties of loyalty oaths, etc. The Provost Marshal would send a daily report to the
commander stating oaths given, passes given and any occurrences during the day that would be
of interest to the commander. On June 22, 1862 the oath was administered to C Arneau, George
Leon and Edward Hernandez. A sail boat with 3 negroes came in and they had no news. The oath
was also administered to women. On May 22, 1862 the oath was administered to Mrs. Emily
Southwick and Leoncia Salano. To get a pass you must sign an oath.
Oath (See Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty for more information about oaths)
The oath for the 4th New Hampshire stated: I ______ born in ____________________ aged
years, do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America; that I will
in no manner aid the enemies of the United States, and particularly that I will oppose in every
manner, any force acting in opposition to the authority of the United States. So help me God.
Sworn to before me this ______ day of _______1862.
St. Augustine, Fla., ___________ 1862
I _______________________________ born in __________________________ aged _____
years, do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America; that I will
in no manner aid the enemies of the United States, and particularly that I will oppose in every
manner, may force acting in opposition to the authority of the United States. So Help me God.
Sworn to before me this _____ day of ________1862.
Harriet B. Jenckes to Mary Martha Reid:
St. Augustine 10th March 1862.
Tomorrow God willing I will add to this, if W. H. does not come for it as promised.
The City is in motion today, I have not seen so much bustle for a long time. The Blues are ordered
to Smyrna this aft. & I hope as much as a pair of pants will not be left behind, if our safety
depends on their going. Yesterday the alarm was given that the War Steamer which has been off
for some days, was landing Troops. The Catholic congregation left in mass not heeding the
remonstrance of Father Lance. Today they are sounding and placing buoys in the Channel. I
have heard the City Fathers (among them George Burt) have decided upon raising a White Flag
on the fort, and barracks, to invite the gun boats in when they come (They say to prevent the
place being burnt by bombs.) Walton told me he hoped I would join them, I told him I would see
them all in a bad place first, a set of Granies. Already they smell the parched Coffee selling in
Fernandina at 10 cts. pr lb. Flour they say at $5. and here many families have but one meal a
day. Coming events cast their shadows before. I can do nothing but walk and talk. To day I sent
Old Sam to cut up the flag staff, a parcel of girls had cut down in the square (Anna H. giving the
first blow) to boil salt with, Mrs. W. & I were to share it. The Marshal stopped him, I did not think I
was doing wrong, as Mr. S. Mrs. Smith and a number had said what a pity it could not be taken off
the ground. I paid 50 cts. to help put it up. Anna D. does not know what to do. To day nothing can
be had to transport the servants to Palatka, and as we hear the Federals have Jacksonville, she
cannot take the girls there now, it is too late. I have the napkin you [wrote ?] of. I am sorry you
sent the $2 I meant you should keep it for the hats. The blessing of God rest on you & yrs. Pray
for us, yr. friends. 11th Brought in safety to see the light of another day. 12th What a day of trial
and anxiety increased by the invitation to the Federals to come in, by the hoisting of a white flag
on the fort. Dennis the Federal officer was escorted about the town, by the Mayor Bravo. (Arneau
threw up the office in disgust.) The keys have been surrendered and the inhabitants told they
would not be molested. The officers also say they had no intention of coming in at present. It has
leaked out that some one three or four days since bad been out to the vessels, But it is kept
secret who it is. S--y and her son in law B. are suspected, at all events a guard of 17 escorted
them to the Boats that took the blues to Smyrna. I hope they may be shot.
Bell Promoted (March 18, 1862)
Louis Bell was appointed Colonel and given command of the 4th New Hampshire Volunteers. (See
Organization of troops 1862 for General Hunters Dept.)
The Women were the Most Difficult
My dear daughter (from St. A) this is an attempt to communicate to you, the risk is great and the
success doubtful I have but a short time to do much and can only impart to you of an unhappy
situation. We are under the hand of the oppressor - the cords are drawn upon us, tighter and
tighter every day. The object, the assumed object of the invaders, is to subjugate us, to
exterminate us, to starve us even into submission. Since the 11th of March we have been in their
hands in the first place the City Authorities being of the native population - Romanists, ignorant
and timid through to conciliate and secure for purposes of their property raised a white flag to the
blockading Fleet. Capt. of the Wabash came in and these week and foolish people surrendered
the City to them. Our volunteer company had left the day before, and there is no doubt but there
was and had been constant communication with the vessels off by Traitors, and northern
tradesmen who have lived with us like the snake in the fable, have been warmed in our bosom,
nourished, made strong by ill gotten gains and have turned against us and stung us -- a painful
exhibition of the depravity of Human Nature. At the first coming in, everything was promised, the
quiet possession of our property, every thing to go on n the good old way -- ample supplies of
provisions at cheap rates etc etc. Soon altho there was no show of resistance, he tables were
turned. A large military force thrown in Martial Law proclaimed and the most unheard restrictions
over all our movements, houses taken possession of the furniture and use of utter ? of our
servants, a military governor, a provost marshal, etc. The Court House so near us if filled with
men, Sentinels at every corner, pickets planted in every direction to stop all intercourse with the
country - armed men all the time in the streets - no one permitted to be out after nightfall, without
a pass, no provisions allowed to be sold to citizens. It is now said without taking the oath of
allegiance, evidently a determination to starve the poor women and children into submission
especially the wives and children of the volunteer companies now absent on service. No lady or
any person permitted to cross the bridge without taking the oath. Our servants stray about the
town without doing any work perfectly insubordinate
Col Bell's Order
"By order of Col Louis Bell (4th New Hampshire) commandant, Certain disgusting exhibitions of
treason having been made by some women of the City, It is ordered that any person showing any
evidence of treason by word or act, will be arrested at once, and placed in Confinement as
Traitors, by orders from Headquarters. Rebel flags having been waved by children before houses
in the City, it is ordered upon another occurrence of this kind, the house will be immediately
seized, and all the inmates placed in confinement."
The immediate cause of this order is said to have been that some young girls (native Floridians)
kissed some splinters of the old Flag Staff upon the Square, and took some of the ashes, where
the Yankees had been burning the stump, and some little children up town, were seen playing
with their little flags or remnants of them. (War of the Rebellion)
No Reinforcements Citizens Defend Yourselves
Jacksonville, FL, March 27, 1862
Lieut. Col. Louis Bell,
Colonel: I have to acknowledge the receipt this evening of your two letters of the 26th and 27th
instant, respectively; also yours of the 23d, forwarded by the dispatch schooner Azalea.
I much regret that at present I do not see how any of the force at this post or at Fernandina can
be spared to reinforce your command. Here our force is not too great for our own security against
the force the enemy could readily bring if he were disposed to attack us, unprovided as we are
with defenses of any kind and with a long line, which we must picket for our own safety. Neither is
the force at Fernandina too large, seeing that the fort at that point is of little moment.
I look upon your position as the most secure by far of either of the three posts, even with your
present small force, in view of the defensible condition of Fort Marion, now that you have so
successfully established the heavy ordnance on the work.
It is no doubt true that you cannot with your present strength successfully defend the town from
any attempt in force against it; and I should therefore advise that you confine your undertakings
mainly to the fort and its surroundings, leaving the defense of the place, to some extent at least,
to the inhabitants. Give the people to understand that they are to help themselves, and that you
will then aid them. This, at any time, is all they could demand. In their present attitude, judging
from your views as to their want of loyalty, it is more than they have a right to expect.
Desirous, however, of strengthening you as soon as possible, I shall send to General Sherman a
copy of your letter of the 26th instant, and ask that more troops be furnished, if they have them to
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. Wright,
Col. Samuel Buffington, proprietor of the Magnolia House Hotel and Mr. Solana, member of the
Florida Secession Convention were arrested on March 29, 1862. (Ltr Bell to Nicholson)
(Buffington had lost one son (Samuel) at the Battle of Bull Run and the eldest son, John C,
commanded a rebel battery in the 10th Florida.)
"At 3 p.m. Captain Towle received orders to arrest Col. Samuel Buffington, the proprietor of the
Magnolia House, and Mr. Solana, who had been a member of the Florida Secession convention.
Both of these gentlemen were found in their respective residences. They were assigned a good
room in the barracks. Furniture and food were sent them by their families, and with the exception
of being deprived of their liberty they were in every way comfortable. Colonel Buffington had two
charming daughters and so had Mr. Solana, both celebrated for their personal beauty" Captain
Geo. F. Towle, Co. F. Elizabeth Buffington would later marry Capt William McNelty CSA who
commanded a ship in the Charleston Harbor.
He was born 1815. He built the first hotel in Jacksonville. Col. Saml. Buffington, formerly a citizen
of Milledgeville, Ga died at St. Augustine Fla. June 1st, 1866
Fort Marion, St. Augustine FL March 29th, 1862
Lieutenant Commanding Nicholson, U. S. N.:
Sir:--I am very sorry to complain of the officers under your command, but the circumstances
hereinafter mentioned compel me to do so.
Military expediency rendered it necessary that I should place one Samuel Buffington under arrest.
I am held responsible to my superior officers and military law if I have exceeded my authority or
violated any instruction in so doing. Yesterday (28th March) your officers held a meeting, or
accidentally met together, and unanimously came to the conclusion that I had together, and
unanimously came to the conclusion that I had together, and unanimously came to the conclusion
that I had committed a great injustice in causing a loyal citizen to be arrested. One of your
officers, Mr. Gale, informed me of the above proceeding in the hearing of several persons not
connected with the navy or army, at the same time intimating that the matter would e made public
in the Northern press. If the naval and military forces are to work at cross purposes in this way the
efficiency of both is ended. If the disloyal part of the inhabitants of St. Augustine, the chief of
whom is Mr. Buffiington, is to be encouraged by men in the service of the United States, I shall be
compelled, much against the best interests of the government and my own inclination, to place St.
Augustine under martial law, as by my orders I have power to do so.
The proceeding of your officers is so extraordinary, and so utterly at variance with the uniform
courtesy of officers of the navy, that I am at a loss to explain it.
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding.
Fort Marion April 2, 1862
Sir: I am well informed as to your threats against the government, both at the time of the naval
force being in sight, when you attempted to raise a company to resist the United States forces,
and your threats since.
As long as you do not attempt to leave the city, and do not abuse your position, you can remain
with perfect security in the exercise of your usual business.
Should any overt act of treason be shown by you, I shall inflict the punishment of treason with as
little hesitation as I did the punishment for attempted treason.
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding U. S. Forces
Capture of the (Empire City) British Empire (see following)
In a joint operation of the U.S. Navy and 4th New Hampshire the ship British Empire was caught in
the Mantanzas outlet. Contents of the ship were sold in the city. The Captain of the boat escaped
from custody and crew was sent to Port Royal.
Headquarters Third Brigade, Jacksonville, Fl, April 8, 1862
Lieut. Col. Louis Bell
Colonel: The major-general commanding the department having directed the abandonment of
Jackson as a military post and the re-enforcement of the garrison at St. Augustine, I send by the
Belvedere four companies of your regiment and the regimental quartermaster to report to you.
There will also be delivered at the same time subsistence and forage for about sixty days and
60,000 rounds of cartridges (caliber.69), for all of which Quartermaster Kelly has receipted. ...Until
further instructions are received you will therefore consider yourself as the commander of the post
at St. Augustine, and make your reports to the headquarters of General Benham, commanding
the Northern District. ...I shall advise that the Belvedere or some other light-draught steamer be
sent back to ply between Fernandina and St. Augustine...
H. G. Wright, Brigadier-General, Commanding
The St. Augustine Examiner Returns (April 9, 1862)
It was under new management of the 4th New Hampshire. The first issue contained General
Sherman's proclamation, a editorial on change in management, a poem "The Flag of Our Union,"
and news of union advances.
The World Changes St. Augustine
is Placed Under Martial Law
Report to Brig. Gen. H. W. Benham
Col Bell's Report to Brig. Gen. H. W. Benham, Comdg Northern District, Dept of the South from
St. Augustine FL, April 15, 1862
I have the honor to report that (finding a constant communication was kept up between the
inhabitants of this city and the enemy and that the members of the city government would not
assist me in preventing it) I placed the city under martial law on the 12th instant. The day after a
re-enforcement of four companies of my regiment arrived. I should have replaced the city officials
in power had not the feeling among the citizens been that they desired martial law to remain. I am
pleased to be able to report that no ill-feeling or difficulty has arisen between the citizens and the
men of my command, not an instance of any insult or unpleasant feeling has taken place. I have
prohibited any person passing the line of my command without taking the oath of allegiance. Fort
Marion has now mounted two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, one 32-pounder gun, four iron 6-
pounder guns, one brass 6-pounder, one 24-pounder siege howitzer, and a Wizard rifled gun.
Lieutenant Tardy, U.S. Corps Engineers, has arrived at this post and taken charge of putting the
fort in a state of defense. Lieutenant Tardy intends to mount two 8-inch columbiads on the fort.
With the ordnance stores I have drawn a requisition for I can defend the post against all the
enemy now in arms in Florida. I have the honor to request instructions as to slaves belonging to
disloyal men. I have retained such slaves, furnishing them with food and compelling them to work,
and simply excluding other slaves from the fort. This city is in a most lamentable condition with
respect to food. I have been compelled to issue Government provisions to families to prevent
them from perishing from hunger. I have the honor to request instructions as to whether such
issues will be permitted. Five deserters from the enemy have come in no information of any
importance has been got from them, except that one of the St. Augustine companies wished to lay
down their arms and surrender. I have used every effort to inform them that they might return
here and remain unmolested. .....
Louis Bell (War of the Rebellion - Series 1 Vol 14)
What was Martial Law in the Civil War
At the outset of the Civil War, in July 1861, Congress ratified most of the martial law measures
declared by President Abraham Lincoln. Its martial law declaration gave the Union military forces
the authority to arrest persons and conduct trials. Congress initially refused to ratify Lincoln's
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court reviewed the issue and ruled in Ex
parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861) (No. 487), that only Congress had the power to suspend
the writ of habeas corpus. After Congress approved Lincoln's suspension of the writ in 1863,
Union forces were authorized to arrest and detain Confederate soldiers and sympathizers, but
only until they could be tried by a court of law. (See Lincoln Declares Martial Law in Key West)
St. Johns River
As the U. S. Navy was retaking St. Augustine it was also moving up the St. Johns River. The navy
based its river patrols at Mayport and made patrols as far up the river as Lake George. In April,
1862 the Belvedere removed loyalists from Jacksonville to St. Augustine. Later the Myers and
tombs families also fled the area because they were expected to moved to the interior of Florida.
The control of the river also closed the back door to St. Augustine and made St. Augustine a
relatively safe place.
Yankee Outrages and Thefts on the St. Johns River. (Savannah Republican April 28th, 1862)
...On Thursday night, the 13th of March, two gunboats came up the St. Johns river, as far as
Orange Mills, and one of them on Friday, went up to Palatka, and after a few hours returned to
the mill. On Saturday one of them went to the mouth of Rice creek and took from a house there
some ten sacks of coffee belonging to Messrs. Teasdale & Reid, and returned to Orange Mill and
took all the poultry belonging to Dr. Mays, and shot and maimed a number of sheep and hogs.
That evening both of the gunboats went down the river again.
On Monday the Federals returned with one gunboat and the steamer Darlington, and proceeded
up the river to Dunn's Creek, about eight miles above Palatka and remained there several days,
and succeeded in raising the yacht America, which had been sunk in the creek. During their stay
in the creek the Federals killed and destroyed a large number of cattle on Dunn's Island. On their
way down the river again, the Federals stopped at Palatka, broke open the warehouse of H. L.
Hart, and took therefrom a quantity of turpentine and resin which had been stored there. The also
broke open the warehouse of Messrs. Teasdale & Reid, took a quantity of syrup and other things,
and also took all of the valuable silver ware glass ware and China belonging Mrs. Jencks, of St.
Augustine. The also broke open the house of Col. Devall, took the iron safe and destroyed
One of the gunboats, previous to the seventh day of April, had been lying at anchor below
Orange Mills for several days, and on that day came up to, or opposite, and bombarded the
residence of Dr. R. G. Maya literally riddling the dwelling house with shot and shell. While the
gunboats were cruising about the river many negroes made their escape from their owners and
...I also learn from St. Augustine that the Federals have got Mr. Matthew Solano a prisoner in
close confinement. Mr. Solano lived near Picolata on the St. Johns river, and was a member of the
convention that passed the secession ordinance. It appears that all of Mr. Solano's negroes
except two ran away from him and joined the Federals, and the commanding officer sent word to
Mr. S. to come and get his negroes; and when he went, the officer nabbed him. (Editor: Should be
Matthew Solana, newspaper error) [Matthew Solana would be held in the Barracks. Dr. Peck
would visit him there.]
Regimental Band (Leander Harris) University of New Hampshire, May 11, 1862
I believe that I never have written about our regimental band. That is something worth hearing.
They play every evening, besides at guard mounting and dress parade I don't think you ever an
so good a band I am sure I never did another. How pleasant it would be if we could listen to it
together. But never mind "There's a good time coming."
In June Col. Bell will receive an order that would allow him to deport residents that refuse to take
the oath of office but it is later rescinded. General Hunter ordered Colonel Bell, commanding at St.
Augustine, "to at once drive out of your lines all persons, without reference to sex, who have not
taken and still refuse to take the oath of allegiance." A similar order was made by Brigadier-
General Saxton, directing the provost-marshal to expel all such people who should refuse to take
the oath of allegiance. A large number of women and children were put on board the steamer
Burnside, but off the bar of the St. Johns River, they were met by Gen. A. H. Terry, who, under the
direction of General Brannon, countermanded General Saxton's order, and compelled the
Burnside to return to St. Augustine with the expelled people.
Lake City, June 8 – Some of the banished families have arrived here---they came on yesterday’s
train --- Mrs. Paul Arnau, Mrs. Andreu and children, and some others. I understand they report all
sent out –some to Fernandina, Hilton Head, and other places. Mrs. Arnau and Mr. Ardreu have
gone in the direction of Gainesville. --- Tallahassee Floridian
James F. Tilton, a private of Co. I, was married to a young lady of St. Augustine, names Walton.
The ceremony was performed by Alvah Buzzell of Co. F, who, before enlistment, had been a local
preacher. The father of the young lady was strongly opposed to the marriage, and on his
complaint to the colonel, the bridegroom and the officiating minister were arrested and confined in
Story 2: On June 9th, 1862 Captain N. H. Brown the provost marshal officiated at the marriage of
Mr. James F. Tilton of New Hampshire to Miss Mary A. the second daughter of George W. Walton.
The Bridal supper was held at the Florida House along with officers, privates and the regimental
band from the 4th New Hampshire.
Lots of Hazards (Sergeant Abner L. Knowlton) June 13, 1862
This morning nine men beside Sergeant Knowlton himself belonging to our company, Sergt. A. H.
C. Jewett, Sergt. Adoniram J. Jones, corp. Charles C. Cofran, Solomon N. Leavitt, John H.
Jackson, John Lamay, Luther L. Libby, Philip Olwell, and William B. Reynolds, took a sailboat and
went down the harbor on a pleasure excursion. We landed at the lighthouse, and after partaking
of refreshments, we visited the sandbar and enjoyed a sea bath. At 1 p.m. we started on our
return trip. There was a light and fair wind on our return, and all went well with us until we were
within half a mile of the fort, when Libby, who was sitting in the bow of the boat, suddenly jumped
up to come aft, and springing upon the gunwale of the boat and grasping the mast to steady him,
the boat suddenly upset, and in a moment we were all in the water and the boat bottom up. ...
Libby, Cofran and Lamay went down. On June 16 Luther L Libby's body rose to the surface and
was found by a local fisherman.
Philip Fraser appointed to U. S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
He was nominated by Abraham Lincoln on June 14, 1862 and confirmed by the U. S. Senate on
July 17, 1862. He was not active because of marshal law and pushed for its removal on civil
liberties. He would hold court in St. Augustine but find conflict with military.
From St. Augustine (Savannah Republican, June 15, 1863)
There is a rumor from St. Augustine that all the citizens who had been allowed to remain there,
mostly old men, women and children, have been compelled to leave that city by the Yankees.
Since the above was in type, we have been furnished with the following private telegraphic
dispatch, confirming the rumor:
The Case of William Keyes
Headquarters Dept of the South
Hilton Head, S. C., June 20, 1862
Lieut. Col. Louis Bell,
Commanding Post, St. Augustine FL:
Sir: reply to your letter dated June 1, relative to the case of William Keyes and three other men
who had taken the oath of allegiance, and who nevertheless were guilty of harboring a sergeant
of the Confederate Army and supplying him with information, I am instructed by the major-general
commanding to advise you that the prisoners in question are to be heavily ironed and sent to
these headquarters, with a statement in writing, and as full as possible, of their offense. Your
action in the case of Mr. Steubenmeyer, the Episcopal clergyman, is approved.
In reference to your letter dated May 29, relative to the hanging and persecution of loyal citizens
by roving bands of Confederate guerrillas, the major-general commanding desires that you shall
take the most rigorous and prompt measures for the suppression of such practices. All guerrillas
caught you will iron heavily and send to these headquarters, with written charges accompanying
You will also threaten to arm, and if necessary arm, all negroes and Indians who may be willing to
enter the service. You should also at once drive out of your lines all persons, without reference to
sex, who have not taken and shall refuse to take the oath of allegiance.
The general commanding, reposing much confidence in your judgment, gives you a large and
liberal discretion in reference to all acts that may be necessary for the vindication of the laws
within your district, and guarantees you a frank support in any acts within the limits of a
It is not his wish, however, that the death penalty should be inflicted on prisoners captured without
express orders from these headquarters. The better way will be to iron all malefactors and send
them here for disposition under the necessary guard.
You will report frequently and fully all action taken by you under the terms of these instructions.
Chas. G. Halpine,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General
War of the Rebellion Series 1 - Volume 14
People Removed - June 25, 1862
A number of undesirable persons, both whites and blacks, who had caused considerable trouble,
were sent beyond the picket lines, with orders not to return.
Bishop Verot Leaves Savannah to move seven Sisters of Mercy to Columbus, Georgia -
July 2, 1862
It takes one month to get to St. Augustine and make the preparations to leave. He was stuck for
10 additional days trying to get a pass back out of the picket lines. On August 17th they
finally started their journey in an old wagon. After four hours of very slow travel they were stopped
by a detachment of cavalry because it was believed that he was taking slaves dressed like Sisters
of Mercy. By August 20 the sisters were on board a train to Lake City, Florida
Fourth of July, 1862
Celebrated Independence Day with a 34 gun salute at sunrise from Ft. Marion, a parade down St.
George Street, speeches, races, wheelbarrow and bag races, greased pole and greased pig. Co
G had a dinner at the Florida House. No fireworks due to evening rain.
Rumors of Attacks (Leander Harris - University of New Hampshire) July 14, 1862
There is a report that there is a party at the Guerrillas, about 800 strong, in the woods near here,
who are going to attack the place tonight, but I shall not lose any sleep on that account.
Col Bell and General Hunter have a conflict
Col Bell was relieved from his command for an alleged violation of one of the government's
numerous orders with reference to slavery. He was placed under arrest on the charge of returning
a female slave to her master. The facts of the case were that in June the Surgeon told him that
St. Augustine was "infested" with prostitutes. He directed the provost marshal to investigate this
claim and put such characters outside the picket line. He didn't care if the women were black or
white or slave or free. He was directed to report to Hilton Head under arrest. (Hunter's Order 27)
General Brannan, a skillful and judicious officer, succeeded General Hunter, and immediately
restored Col Bell to his command.
"I saw Col. Bell this morning he stopping at the Genl Hospital with his brother who is quite ill. He
was poisoned some time since while amputating he cut his finger and got some of the blood into
the cut and since that his arm has swollen a good deal. I was quite surprised to hear that the Col
was under arrest. When you write please let me know what for." (Leander Harris)
An Opinion of a 4th Regiment Soldier sent to The Farmers' Cabinet (a New Hampshire
newspaper), July 31, 1862
Last winter, in Florida, it was no uncommon thing for negroes to accost us thus--"Masa, when ye
gwine to make de new law?" Ask them what new law, and they would say "de new law dat makes
de niggas all free." When Gen. Hunter declared the negroes of South Carolina, Georgia and
Florida "forever free," It was then that the "new law," made more discontent among Union soldiers
in this vicinity, than all the poor hard-tack and pork they ever ate. Not simply because the negro
was free, but because the soldier and negro must, from the very circumstances attending it,
become more intimate with each other; a fact which is repugnant to the good sense of every
soldier here, as well as to the poor sense of Garrison, Higginson, and a thousand others, who will
be very likely to keep as far from the "lambs of oppression" as possible. As soon as the "new law"
order was promulgated, an insult was the return received from all "contrabands" that you might
ask to hold a horse or draw a pail of water; and woe to the soldier that dare make them do it,
unless he hired them. I heard a fellow on Hilton Head a few days since remark that "a soldier who
treats a nigger with any less respect than he does a white man, is worse off than a rebel in arms."
I asked him why so, and said he, "Oh, the soldier would get court-martialed; while they would
swear the rebel and let him go."
Taking Oath - Richmond Examiner in the National Republican - August 1, 1862
"From St. Augustine, Florida. Gen. [sic.] Bell, the Federal commandant at St. Augustine, issued
orders on the 3d of July that every white male citizen above the age of fourteen should take the
oath allegiance to the United States Government by noon of the 5th inst., or be removed beyond
the pickets, and that any person, male or female, who should by word, deed, or manner, show
disrespect to the United States Government, should be arrested and placed beyond the lines of
Those orders amount to the virtual exile of all the Southern citizens of the town."
The Episcopal clergyman was conducted beyond the pickets with order not to return.
Florida Items --- The following paragraphs are from the Jacksonville (Fla.) Southern Rights, of
the 16 inst: (Augusta Chronicle, August 22, 1862)
We learn that the Yankee commander at St. Augustine, Louis Bell, who made himself so notorious
by his brutal threats to helpless women and children, has been arrested and sent off to stand his
trial by Court Martial. We have not heard the cause of his arrest.
We notice that Captain Westcott’s company of partisan rangers arrested in the vicinity of St.
Augustine two men. The charge against them was, we learn, furnishing the Yankees with beef.
They have been sent to headquarters, there to stand their trial.
An Opinion of Col Bell
In a story for the St. Augustine Historical Society in 1912 by E. C. F. Sanchez he states that "the
Colonel (Bell) was a cross grained coward and a hater of everything southern; a caitiff of the
lowest order." Sanchez lists a Col French and Colonel Liberty Billings as provost marshals for the
town. Col. Bell held an opinion of himself as a "ogre" at least that how he felt the citizens of St.
Augustine viewed him.
Lieut Col Gilman Sleeper
After the arrest and removal of Col Bell, Lieut Colonel Sleeper became commander of the 4th New
Hampshire troops in St. Augustine. He would be the commander who would welcome the 7th New
The Picket Lines
There were pickets at the bay bridge that crossed the St. Sebastian and along King street and
built a breastwork along the north side of the city which would be Mission Avenue today. The
breastwork extended from the St. Sebastian river to the North river. The opening was where San
Marco Avenue is today. It had a large tree that could block the entrance with limbs sharpened
projecting out to prevent a charge.
Union Deserters (Leander Harris) September 6, 1862
Mrs Brewster will not be likely to receive anything that might have been due her husband from the
Government at the time that he left, for it is very evident that has deserted, and is at present in
the service of the rebels, and consequently he forfeits all pay and bounty, and his life besides if
he should even fall into our hands. You had better not make this public. For if it is know the town
will not pay her anything more. I sincerely pity her, but for him. I only hope he may meet
the fate he so justly merits (Editor note: Did not find a Brewster on the deserter list.)
4th Regiment Leaves St. Augustine (September 10, 1862) (Diary of Elias Alexander Bryand,
Co. C. )
Regiment left on the Ben Deford. Some residents who had become attached to the regiment were
sorry to see them leave. People were waving goodbye from their windows. Soldiers also sorry to
leave St. Augustine.
Daily Morning News, September 11, 1862
The Ben Deford arrived yesterday from St. Simons, Fernandina and St. Augustine, having on
board General Saxton and a portion of his staff, who have been on a brief tour of inspection down
the coast. At the beautiful residence of Thomas Butler King, Mr. Delacroix has been left, and will
hereafter look out for the Government interests on the island. Some thirty-five thousand pounds
of cotton were also collected from Jekyl and St. Simon’s Islands, and the article is expected daily
on the steamer Darlington. At Fernandina and St. Augustine meetings were held, and the citizens
were addressed by the General and by Mr French, Major Beard and others. The people at the
later towns are thoroughly secesh, especially since the fight before Richmond.
Go to Page 3
|Col Louis Bell
1st Commander of St. Augustine Post
4th New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire
Died Jan 16, 1865 from wounds at
Ft. Fisher , NC
|Fort Marion in the Civil War
Old Spanish fortress of St. Augustine.
Cooley, Sam A. (Samuel A.)
|Commanders and Provost Marshals
4th New Hampshire April 9 - Sept 6
Col Louis Bell Commander of St. Augustine
Captain Nathaniel H. Brown, Provost Marshal
Lieut Col Gilman Sleeper, after arrest of Bell
|Brig General Henry W. Benham
|Major Chas. G. Halpine
|4th New Hampshire Died in St. Augustine
John B. Hutchins, April 13, 1862
Loren H. Dorr, May 1, 1862
Corporal Charles Cofran, June 18, 1862
John Lamay, June 18, 1862
Luther L. Libby, June 18, 1862
Sgt. Cyrus H. Hubbard, July 16, 1862
Lorenzo Wright, August, 19, 1862
William P. Kendall, Private, Co. B (died at Port Royal)
Abram S. Sanborn, Sept 2, 1862
George P. Greeley, Surgeon, died in St. Augustine
Fl Dec 26, 1892
4th New Hampshire
|Col Bell's Casy's Military Manuel
|Lieut Col Gilman Sleeper
4th New Hampshire
|Capt George W. Huchinsons, Co A
|Capt William Badger, Co D
|General John F Brannan
Temporary commander Dept of
South after 1st removal of General
|Map of St. Augustine Dorr - 1862
|4th of July, 1862 in St. Augustine
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