ON TO CUBA.
THE FIRST EXPEDITION FOR THE
LIBERATION OF THE GEM
OF THE ANTILLES.
An Interesting Account of This Initial
Movement from Gen. Ambrosio Jose
Gonzalez, Second in Command to
It has been a long time since the remarkable adventures of those who participated in the first and second expeditions against the Island of Cuba to secure its independence, or rather its annexation to the United States, have been referred to. Other issues have thrown around the exploits of Gen. Narciso Lopez and his gallant band of Americans a misty veil. The events of that time, however, have lost none of their prestige, and to those who are familiar with the bravery, rash courage and heroism of the men engaged in the expeditions they are recalled with feelings of appreciation and pride.
The presence in our city of Gen. Ambrosio José Gonzalez, who was chief of staff and second in command to Gen. Lopez in the movement on Cuba, prompted a request to that gentleman for a description of the formation and culmination of the Cuban crusade of 1848, to which request the following is an answer:
You ask me to give you my recollections of the movements inaugurated thirty odd years ago, looking to the liberation and subsequent
ANNEXATION OF CUBA.
As I consider you the recognized friend and advocate of the Latin-American race, I am more than willing to pay, through you, this tribute of gratitude to the noble spirits who have, in this section of the country, sacrificed their fortunes and their lives for thee cause of the Union, of the South and of civil liberty, giving you what I can remember of the incidents connected with the inception and development of this episode of our American history: an imperfectly understood and greatly misinterpreted. The effort in behalf of Cuban annexation was the natural outcome of two political forces. On the one hand, the South, frustrated in its expectation of obtaining additional States out of the territory acquired from Mexico, needed the annexation of Cuba in order to maintain an equilibrium with the North in the Senate; and, on the other hand, the Cubans, oppressed with taxation, thirsting for political freedom and fearing for the preservation of their property, sighed for independence and consequent annexation. Had success attended the effort of American statesmanship and Cuban patriotism, the Union would have been strengthened and our civil war would have been averted. No wonder, then, that so many of the best and most farseeing men in the country, in every section, some reflectively, others instinctively, were the friends of Cuban annexation.
A conspiracy existed in Cuba, Gen. Roncali being Captain General, at the head of which were some of the most enlightened and wealthiest men in that island. They had won over to the cause Gen. Narciso Lopez. Gen. Lopez, had been brought to the island by Captain General Gerónimo Váldes. He was a native of Caracas, Venezuela, had risen from a private in the Spanish army to the rank of major general by his dauntless courage and dash as a cavalry officer. He had been commander-in-chief of the Christino Cavalry, under Espartero, during the Carlist war in Spain, and Governor of Madrid and Captain General of Valencia. In Cuba he had been Governor of the Central Province and president of the "commission militar" (supreme military tribunal), and had married Miss Frías, sister of Count Pozos Dulces. At the time of these events, 1848, he was retired, near Cienfuegos. The Captain General, seemingly aware of his connection with the revolutionists, sent a secret order to the Governor of that province to arrest him. There were then no telegraphs in Cuba. Gen. Lopez
GOT WIND OF IT
and made an extraordinary journey on muleback to a northern port of Cuba, where he arrived just in time to leap on the train for Cárdenas, where the Governor, unconscious of what was passing, received him with all the honors; thence to Matanzas, still nearer to the Captain General, where he was equally entertained. In the night he boarded the American brig Neptune and was sailing, before day, for Bristol, R.I.
It was then that the Havana Junta sent the undersigned to the United States. His mission was two fold: 1. To offer Gen. Worth, returning home from the Mexican war, $3,000,000, wherewith to raise an expedition of 5,000 men out of the disbanded soldiers of the Mexican war and officered by the best personnel in our army, to land in Cuba in support of a patriot movement to be initiated by Gen. Lopez with a bodyguard of Cubans and Americans. 2. To put Worth in communication with Narciso Lopez and Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros, editor of La Verdad, the Cuban revolutionary paper in New York. Finding difficulty in obtaining a passport, the undersigned determined to leave without it, and secreting himself in a state-room left Havana on the 5th of August, 1848, in the steamer Crescent City, and landed in New Orleans. Had the steamer been searched his fate was sealed. Gen. Worth had just passed New Orleans on his way North. He followed him up without stopping for seven days and nights until he caught up with him at Newport, R. I. It is illustrative of the development of the country that he had to go by boat to Mobile, from Mobile to Montgomery, Ala., from Montgomery to Columbus in the mail stage, from Columbus to near Macon, Ga., in the stage, where he struck the Georgia Central, and from Charleston to Wilmington in the night mail boat. His credentials, given in Havana to an American passenger as a matter of precaution to drop at the New Orleans Post office under a fictitious name, were not found here, and it is supposed they were intercepted by Mr. Buchanan, then Secretary of State, and who had, too, his eye on the Presidency. Nevertheless Gen. Worth gave him perfect credence at the outset, and accepted his offer. He then took him to Hudson, N.Y., his native city, where his former townspeople gave him a great ovation; from Hudson to West Point, where he was introduced to Charles F. Smith, commandant of cadets, Gustavus W. Smith, professor at the Military Academy and other officers; from West Point to New York, where Worth, Lopez and Betancourt were put in communication by the undersigned, and thence to Washington, where we made, through Gen. Worth, the acquaintance of Mr. Polk, Robt. J. Walker, of Mississippi, Secretary of the Treasury; Mr. John T. Mason, Secretary of the Navy, and others. The undersigned then requested Gen. Worth to send a confidential friend to Havana to satisfy himself of all that he had stated. Col. Henry Bohlen, of Philadelphia, a noted merchant and consul of Holland, in that city, who had been Gen. Worth's volunteer aid in Mexico, went accordingly to Cuba, and returned with every assurance, from personal intercourse with some of the leaders, of their willingness and ability to furnish the sum stated. Gen. Worth, probably through some powerful and rival influence, was then sent take command of the Department of Texas, where he died soon after.
The wealthy leading Cubans then withdrew their promises, and those who had more perseverance than capital did what they could to forward the cause. Money was contributed by some,
THE JEWELS OF THE CUBAN LADIES
were sold, arms were purchased, and the steamers New Orleans and Sea Gull were chartered in New York for an expedition. While Col. White collected a number of men on Round Island, on the Coast of Mississippi, where he was blockaded by Comr. Randolph, with the sloop-of-war "Albany," United States Navy. The customary devices in such cases were resorted to in New York by our antagonists. The engines were found out of order, time was lost in repairs and gained to procure the affidavits necessary to arrest the movement, and of course [...] government.
In 1849 the first Cuban Junta was established in New York. It was composed of Gen. Narciso Lopez, president; Juan Manuel Macias, José Maria Sanchez Iznaga, Cirilo Villaverde and the undersigned. The military commission of Cuba took at once the matter in hand, and the sentence of death by the garrote was duly passed upon its members.
A season of inactivity, for utter want of means, then ensued until the early part of 1850, when at a levee of President Zachary Taylor the undersigned, who had throughout represented the Cubans in Washington, was asked by a lady to be introduced to her friend, Gen. John Henderson, ex Senator from Mississippi and a prominent lawyer of this city, a friend of Cuba, then in the room. After a short conversation he was encouraged by Gen. Henderson, if ever he thought of moving in behalf of Cuba, to come to New Orleans and see him. Some days after some young gentlemen from Kentucky, hearing in Washington of his being a representative of Cuba, called on him. They had served as officers in the Mexican war. They were Col. Theodore O'Hara, editor of the Louisville Democrat, author of the "Bivouac of the Dead," commander of Fort McRae, in Pensacola, and inspector general to Sidney Johnston, at Shiloh, in our civil war; Col. Pickett, afterward consul and acting minister to Mexico, and Major Hawkins. They asserted their ability and willingness to raise at their own expense and bring down to New Orleans a regiment of Kentuckians, as fine material as could be found anywhere, if the authority was given them. Upon this the writer asked Gen. Lopez to come to Washington, and they left for Kentucky. They crossed the Alleghanies by stage, arrived in Pittsburgh, and coming down the Ohio landed at Louisville, where the undersigned having been appointed chief of staff to Gen. Lopez, gave the requisite authority to O'Hara. With him went Johnson, Breckinridge, Allen and other scions of the best stock of the State.
PROCEEDING DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI,
we came to New Orleans, where Gen. Lopez was introduced to Mr. Henderson, and we were by the latter made acquainted with L. J. Sigur, editor of the Delta, Gen. John A. Quitman, Governor of Mississippi, Judge Cotesworth Pinkney Smith, of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, Judge Boyd, of Natchez, Miss., Chief Justice Sharkey, and others. Cuban bonds were issued, signed, as well as I can remember, by Gen. Lopez, Mr. Sanchez and myself, of the "Cuban Junta." With the money collected, about $10,000, the little steamer Creole, that had been plying between New Orleans and Mobile, was purchased, repaired, coaled, officered, manned and provisioned, arms and uniforms were procured, and the bark Georgiana was chartered as a transport.
Authority was given to Col. Bunch and Lieut. Col. Smith, son of Justice C. Pinkney Smith, of Mississippi, to raise in that State a skeleton regiment. At this juncture Col. Robert Wheat, who had served in the Mexican war, presented himself to me, begging to be allowed to go. I told him we had no transportation for him, but he removed the objection by offering to procure it if I only gave him the authority to form also a skeleton regiment of Louisianans. This being done, he obtained money from young gentlemen friends of his, to charter the brig Susan Loud, provisioned her, etc., all for the mere privilege of going.
Such were the men we took to Cuba, men of family, position and means. There were about 500 men, two hundred and odd Kentuckians, the remainder Louisianans and Mississippians. Some of the arms were sent out in a vessel, a portion only being taken on the Creole in cases and opened at sea, and most of the men in the other. I opened the map of the Gulf of Mexico and told the captains at the intersection of this degree of longitude and at this degree of latitude.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GULF,
you wait for us. They did so, and the Creole steamed away from New Orleans with the rest of the men, without arms. At the very point marked out we found the vessels, and proceeded to the Islands of Mugeres and Contoy, on Mexican territory, on the northeast coast of Yucatan; the same islands where Cortez stopped before his descent upon Vera Cruz.
There we landed, armed and perfected our organization, and drilled. About forty-two of our men refused to go any further, and Gen. Lopez told them they might return in the vessels to New Orleans, as he wanted no unwilling spirits. They tarried there after our departure, and the fishing smacks of Pancho Martí, the fish-monger of Havana, owner of the Tacon Theater, gave information of their being there. Spanish war vessels promptly appeared and carried them off to Cuba. These were the well-remembered "Contoy Prisoners" whom the Spaniards wanted to hang for having deserted us, who were sent to Spain and whom our Minister, Mr. Barringer, of North Carolina, had so much difficulty in rescuing from a sad fate. As they came off the harbor of Havana, in charge of two Spanish men-of-war, they fell in with the United States sloop-of-war Albany, Com'r Randolph, who demanded them, and, being refused,
PREPARED FOR ACTION
against superior force, when Capt. Tatnall, coming up from Key West in the Saranac, overruled him and consented, to avoid complication, to their being carried off. The Creole in the meantime giving a wide berth to the coast of Cuba, made a circuit toward Florida, and suddenly made for Cardenas, our point of destination.
While in New Orleans a well dressed person came to me saying that he was our well-wisher, that aware of what we were doing, and that what Gen. Lopez most needed was a number of horses at the place of his landing he could and would furnish them to us, as he was a dealer in Cuba in horses and mules from Kentucky and Tennessee. I had my suspicions, and communicated them to Gen. Lopez. He told me to manage him, and I was thus compelled, to save ourselves, to use a "ruse de guerre" by putting him on the wrong scent. I told him, therefore, we were going to Santa Cruz, on the southeast coast of the island, whereas our objective was Cardenas, on the northwest of it. I attribute to this that the Spanish consul at this place sent a schooner to Havana with the information, and that every available ship of war was ordered around Cape San Antonio to cruise off the threatened point, and the approach to Cardenas was clear for us. A few years ago I saw in a Northern paper that this schooner that carried to Havana the above news in the extraordinary short run of three days, had been lost somewhere on the northeast coast of the United States.
WE WAITED TILL NIGHT
to approach near to the island and for the moon to go down to go into the harbor.
Our real objective was not Cardenas, but Matanzas; but Matanzas was fortified by sea, and we had no artillery. Our arms were old flint muskets and only fifty Mississippi rifles. There were no telegraphs, as previously stated. We went to Cardenas, which was not fortified, expecting to take it by surprise, and through Cardenas by railroad to surprise Matanzas.
Garibaldi, who was a friend of ours, and at the time of our expedition was a manufacturer of tallow candles on Staten Island, copied subsequently our plan, landed with a thousand men at Marsala, in Sicily, made a forced march on Palermo, which led to his conquest of the kingdom of Naples. He met with no accident, and the British fleet was friendly.
Having no pilot, we were taken, unfortunately, to a wharf in Cardenas, where the water was shoal, and we grounded a few yards from it. The moon had gone down, and it was utterly dark, so that we could not see. It was then that Fayssoux, a native of South Carolina, who was mate of the Creole, jumped overboard with a plank with rope attached, climbed the wharf and thus secured communication with the vessel. The plank was tested on a gunnel and unsteady, Fayssoux, wet to the skin, sat on the wharf and steadied it.
Gen. Lopez being a heavier man than myself, I would not allow him to go over the plank first, as he wished to, but having stood on it and felt it was firm I landed on the wharf and beckoned him to come on.
He landed, and then one by one his staff and then the Kentucky and other regiments followed. The delay was so great the alarm was given, and the Spaniards had time to prepare themselves for defense. Foiled in our expectation of surprising the place, we were constrained to take it by force. Lieut. Col. Pickett, with sixty Kentuckians, was sent to the railroad depot to take possession and hold it. He had with him such railroad engineers as we carried with us for the purpose of operating the road.
A detachment was sent to the skirts of the town to cut off communication with the country, and Gen. Lopez and the rest of the expedition moved in solid column toward the barracks, which was built of stone, with the windows grated, a species of fortress, with our means of attack.
On approaching them a line of Spanish soldiers formed in front of us, and as Gen. Lopez answered "Cuba" to their challenge,
A VOLLEY WAS FIRED
into us, which wounded Cols. Wheat, O'Hara and many others. They then retreated into the building and fired upon us through the grated windows. After a time means were devised to batter down the gate. The gate soon succumbed, and our troops rushed in and the Spaniards evacuated by a rear door.
A single Spanish soldier, who was on guard over some prisoners of their own, upon the approach of our men fearlessly presented his bayonet to our whole force, and stood his ground. As he was about being dispatched Gen. Lopez roared out in a loud voice commanding that he be spared and honored as a brave man.
Having evacuated the barracks, they joined the Governor in his own building, and opened fire upon us from windows and terraces. We rushed in and battered the doors of the lower floor, and took possession. About this time it was dawning, and Gen. Lopez asked me to cross with him to the public square in front of the Governor's building.
The moment we were seen by the garrison they opened fire upon us, and I received in the left thigh two musket balls, Gen. Lopez being unhurt. I may be pardoned for saying it was the first wound a Cuban ever received in battle for his country's cause.
Upon that Gen. Lopez became incensed, and turning back ordered the building to be set on fire. The building was fired and the garrison were forced to surrender. It was commanded by Col. Ceruti. The Governor and his officers were sent on board the Creole as prisoners, and the soldiers were given by Gen. Lopez the option to join us or go back to the Spaniards. Many of them took off the Spanish uniform, put on our blouses, came over to the United States with Narciso Lopez, and returned to Cuba with him in 1851, where they perished by his side.
We had left New Orleans, as well as I can remember, on the 7th of May, 1850, and landed at Cardenas on the 19th. The town was held the whole of that day. Attacks were made by the Spaniards, of infantry and cavalry from the interior, during the day, but were repulsed. The gallant charge of Carrasco, who headed the latter upon our rear guard, was fatal to him and most of his followers. Having failed to surprise Cardenas, the plan, of course, fell through.
A council of war was held, and it was decided to leave for the eastern part of Cuba. The reembarkation was leisurely and quietly made, but the greatest of our mishaps occurred when, on leaving the harbor (a very shallow and intricate one), we ran aground, at about eight o'clock, p.m. There we lay entirely helpless, and the efforts of the captain, the gallant and able Lewis, to get her off were unavailing. As a last resort to save ourselves (for we had a right to expect at any moment the appearance of men-of-war), orders were given to cast overboard ammunition, provisions, and everything which could lighten the steamer. With this and the rise of the tide, at nearly daylight, after so many hours of anxious suspense, the Creole floated at last. We struck the channel and steamed out of the bay in an easterly direction, to deceive the Spaniards as to our intentions, which were to make for Key West, Fla., as we were incapacitated from landing again in Cuba. When it was determined to return to the United States on account of the disastrous results of our grounding on leaving the Bay of Cardenas, Gen. Lopez gave their freedom to his prisoners, Col. Ceruti, Governor of Cardenas, a captain of the Spanish army, and other officers of the captured garrison, and landed them on Cayo Piedra. Here occurred a kind interposition of Providence in our behalf. At some distance to the east of Cardenas we stopped our engine
TO GIVE BURIAL
to one of our officers who had died of his wound the previous night. While the service was being read, and we lay to, we saw a tall column of black smoke approaching from the westward. It was the fast Spanish war steamer Pizarro, coming up for us. She did not see us, as we made no smoke, and entered Cardenas. Slow as our boat was, and she the fastest of the Spanish fleet, had she perceived us there was no help for us. As soon as she disappeared in the interior of the bay we made for Key West. We arrived in the evening off the reefs of Florida, many miles from the town. The captain came to me, for Gen. Lopez gave me the command of the expedition both going and returning, although severely wounded on the return. He said that we drew but five feet of water, that he thought we could pass over the reef, and that he would much prefer lying that night inside than out of it. His request being granted we went over. But no sooner had dawn appeared than the Pizarro and the Creole saw each other at a distance of four miles, the reef between them. Then
COMMENCED A CHASE
never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The coal we had taken at Cardenas was a miserable black dust we found near the wharf. We could not make with it more than five miles an hour. I had had the precaution of shipping from this city thirty barrels of rosin, for an emergency. The ax was put to every available piece of wood in the boat, bunks, furniture, etc., and with this and the rosin and the bacon we had saved and the coal dust, we made ten knots, and our next danger anticipated was the explosion of our boiler. The Pizarro made over thirteen knots, but she drew, probably, sixteen or seventeen feet of water. She could not go over the reef, which described a circle, of which she had the arc and we the chord. Gen. Armero, the Spanish admiral in Cuba, was in command of the Pizarro, with a picked force of several hundred grenadiers. She was delayed in taking a pilot, and got aground fifteen or twenty minutes, in an attempt to cross the reef. This was another providential incident in our behalf. The Spanish admiral is reported as attributing it all to the Key West pilot, and to have threatened him with hanging.
Finally, we reached the inner harbor, the Pizarro coming up so near behind us as to have been within cannon shot. Our boat was stopped some distance from the wharf. Lieut. Rogers, United States navy, in command of the surveying schooner Petrel, then close by, thought he saw in the manoeuvre of the admiral a purpose to run between the wharf and ourselves with no good intent. As a stiff breeze was blowing, he made all sail for the very spot, hoisted the American flag, an ran out an iron 12-pounder gun, his only armament. The admiral reflected, and seemingly made straight for us. Capt. Lewis rushed to me to tell me that the Pizarro would run us down, and that by this and that naval manoeuvre, taking advantage of the tide, and we being so light and small, he could avoid her, lay broadside to her and board her. Orders were given for our men to throw away their guns, seize their bowie knives and pistols, and be ready to grapple with her.
ON CAME THE PIZARRO,
like a huge shark, on the Creole minnow, and passed but a few yards astern of us. As I look around through the cabin window, I could distinctly see the faces of the admiral and his officers standing on the upper deck to have recognized them had I known them, and the gunners at their guns, with the old-fashioned port fires burning. She lay off in the bay, and in a twinkle our boat was at the wharf and the expedition landed.
I was taken on the shoulders of four of his servants to the house of that noble gentleman, Stephen R. Mallory, then a lawyer at Key West, at the head of his profession in admiralty law; since, United States Senator from Florida, chairman of the Senate naval committee, and afterward the secretary of the Confederate Navy. There I was nursed and cared for, though a stranger, as if I had been his own, and one of the musket balls still in my thigh extracted. The admiral demanded us from the Key West authorities. The answer was for the Key West company, of which Mr. Mallory was captain, to join our force. Possession was taken of Fort Taylor, of which the lower tier was armed and such disposition taken that the admiral was advised by his consul to go outside, which he did, and stood off the harbor. That very night the steamship Isabel, Capt. Rollins, of the Charleston and Havana Line, came in, as usual, on her way North. Gen. Lopez asked Capt. Rollins to take him and his Cuban staff. The latter answered he would, if Mr. Mallory gave him his opinion as to the rights of the Spaniard in foreign waters. Mr. Mallory promptly did so to his satisfaction, and Gen. Lopez passed by the Pizarro on the Isabel, and landed in Savannah, Ga. The Spanish consul having brought him before Judge Nichols, of the United States District Court, the latter discharged him for want of evidence, and he then came on to New Orleans and surrendered to the United States authorities.
While at Key West and under the apprehension, on the part of many citizens, that I might be delivered to the Spaniards, two merchants of Key West, Messrs. Tift(1) and Wall,(2) had for weeks a vessel each at my disposal, to take me free of charge to any part of the world I desired to go. Mr. Mallory had a fast rowboat always ready to take me at any time to Boca Chica, one of the Florida Keys, where no one could find me. All these offers I declined, as I had no fear whatever of being delivered. I remained at Mr. Mallory's until my wounds were healed and then surrendered, too, and was sent by the United States in a schooner to this city, to be tried for alleged violation of the neutrality law.
On the 7th of June, 1850, Gen. Lopez arrived at 10 a.m. at the St. Charles Hotel in this city. He had notified the United States marshal from Pass Christian that he would be at his disposal. The general and Deputy Marshal Labuzan accordingly proceeded to the District Court of the United States, where the United States District Attorney, Mr. Logan Hunton, upon the affidavit of the Spanish consul, Señor Don Juan Ignacio Laborde, opened the case. The counsel for Gen. Lopez were Hon. Seargent S. Prentiss and Hon. John Henderson, Judge McCaleb presiding. The court ordered, on account of his ill health, the preliminary investigation to be made by ex-Recorder Baldwin. Recorder Caldwell, of the Second Municipality, was surety in $3,000 for his appearance. Gen. Lopez was then greeted by the people before the St. Charles Hotel, when he delivered the following speech in Spanish, which was translated by Mr. Sigur, editor of the Delta:
"Gentlemen--I can find no suitable expression to convey to you the gratitude of my heart for these demonstrations of your kindness and sympathy. They are particularly welcome at this moment, when my motives and conduct are traduced, and my acts subjected to criminal prosecution. Of this, however, I do not complain; he who would deserve the smiles of fortune must know how to bear her caprices. I am prepared for either.
"Gentlemen, whatever may be the shortsighted calculations of a shallow and selfish policy based upon mere expediency, and disregarding the best and holiest feelings of our nature, the hearts and arms of a generous and noble people cannot be made indifferent to the sacred cause of freedom and humanity. There is a law within us--a law which you have this day made manifest--which proclaims and enforces the duty of mutual assistance and love among all men, by whatever national designation they may be known. My offense is that I have sought the benefits of that law--of that common bond of humanity--for oppressed Cuba. I am conscious of no other. If for this I must be traduced and persecuted, well, let it be so. Resting upon the purity of my motives, I shall pursue my course, and accept the consequences, whatever they may be. If it be a crime to solicit the aid of freemen to achieve the liberation of oppressed and enslaved Cubans--men like themselves and to place the Queen of the Antilles in the path of her magnificent destiny, I am determined to be a criminal now and to the very last moment of my life--a pertinacious, unrepenting and open criminal--for I shall implore that assistance from noble and sympathizing men, wherever I shall meet them--from my judges, from President Taylor, from his Cabinet and from Congress--as I shall ever beseech it from God, with every pulsation of my heart. Gentlemen, I thank you again." (Cheers.)
Messrs. Seargent S. Prentiss, John C. Larue, John Henderson and Laurent J. Sigur were counsel for the accused. The following well known persons in this community were called upon to testify: L. J. Sigur, Alexander Walker, George W. White, Lewis H. Desforges, Custom-House officer; F. Garcia, clerk at the arsenal; Jacob Soria, of the arsenal; Victor Kerr, Custom-House employe; J. B. Walton, T. B. Moran, of the arsenal; W. L. Crittenden, Mr. Maury, of the arsenal; J. Aimann; David Adams, harbor master; F. Garrique, in charge of the powder magazine; Major Thomas Patton, Robert McAlpin, etc. Messrs. Randell Hunt, Col. Field and W. E. Moise were added to the counsel for the defense. Mr. Judah P. Benjamin was associated by the government to the district attorney. Major Gally being incapacitated from appearing in court the judge, the marshal, district attorney, his assistant and counsel for the defense, followed by a large number of people, proceeded to his residence, on St. Peter Street, to take his declaration. Gen. Rowley, adjutant general of Louisiana, was examined, and finally Gen. Donatien Augustin, commander of the Legion. Upon their testimony, reluctantly given, the grand jury, composed of W. Taft (foreman), Charles F. Caruthers, Henry Hopkins, James McLean, William Laughlin, Horace Bean, Geo. M. Pinckard, Joseph Lallande, J. M. Lapeyre, L. E. Forstall, Cornelius Fellowes, L. J. Harris, L. D. Wood, J. W. Zacharie, A. F. Dunbar, Levy H. Gale and John Andrews, found an indictment against the following: Gen. Lopez, and John Quitman, Governor of Mississippi; Justice Cotesworth Pinckney Smith, of the Supreme Court of Mississippi; Hon. John Henderson, ex-Senator in Congress from Mississippi; Laurent J. Sigur, editor of the New Orleans Delta; Judge Boyd, of Natchez, Mississippi; John L. O'Sullivan, former editor of the Democratic Review--since United States Minister to Portugal; Col. Theodore O'Hara, ex-major of the United States Army in the Mexican war and author of the "Bivouac of the Dead;" Mr. J. Pickett, ex-consul of the United States at Turk's Island; Lieut. Col. Peter S. Smith, son of Justice Smith; Major Thomas T. Hawkins, major of the expedition; Lieut. Col. W. H. Bell; Col. W. J. Bunch; J. R. Hedden; Gen. Donatien Agustin, commander-in-chief of the Louisiana Legion, to New Orleans; Col. Robert Wheat, Capt. A. J. Lewis, and lastly myself.
On the 16th of December, 1850, the trial commenced before Judge McCaleb, of the United States District Court. Mr. Miles Taylor appeared as counsel for Mr. Sigur. Of all the indicted Hon. John Henderson, ex-United States Senator from Mississippi, was first placed on trial. The jury were composed of N. H. Brighman, Ferd. Evans, H. D. McLean, C. L. Carter, J. P. Couton, H. E. Lawrence, W. B. McCutcheon, A. H. May, Moses Greenwood, August W. Walker and Mathew Martin. Four were for acquittal and eight for conviction. On the second trial, had in February, 1851, six were for acquittal and six for conviction. On the third trial, March 6, 1851, eleven jurors were for acquittal and one for conviction, upon which the proceedings were quashed. It was during the preliminary examination that the gifted orator, Hon. Seargent S. Prentiss, delivered his brilliant and his last speech. It was a feast of reason and a flow of trenchant wit.
I shall endeavor to give in my next some idea of the continued efforts in Georgia and New Orleans in 1851, with some considerations on this significant reaching out of our people toward Cuban annexation.
1. 305. The prosperous and influential Asa F. Tift, of the mercantile house Tift and Company. In 1845 Stephen Mallory held power of attorney for Tift and was a joint owner of a plot of land with Tift and Company.
2. 306 William H. Wall.