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Hillsborough Recorder

Hillsborough Recorder

Sept. 11, 1861

Page 2


There seems to be a disposition on the part of our papers and people to underrate the disaster at Hatteras.  Let us imitate the Nutmeg Chinese by all means.  The Fort has been taken, many hundreds of men have surrendered, valuable officers have become prisoners, a large amount of powder has been captured, the most important part of our coast for privateering purposes is in the hands of the enemy, and the gallant North State is now liable to invasion and rapine—still, it is a small matter.  It will take 30,000 men to regain the Fort—but that’s nothing.  What do we want with the Fort?  It was built for fun, evidently; else it would have been perfectly manned and supplied with abundant ammunition.  Had we been in earnest, some novice would have been taken of the warning given us by Northern papers.  But the truth is, we didn’t want to hold Hatteras.  The sole object in erecting that fortification was to afford Picayune Butler a chance to retrieve his misfortunes at Bethel.  Unquestionably, there must have been a determination somewhere, but not in high quarters—to give the Yankees an opportunity to lower Southern pride and abate Southern conceit.  We have been crowing altogether too loudly of late.  It was felt—but not by the government—that this was not good for us.  Hence shot and shell were permitted to lie at Newbern and reinforcements were strenuously kept back, until the Fort was captured.

A correspondent of the Petersburg Express has put himself to the unnecessary trouble of exonerating Colonel Walter Gwinn from all blame in this matter.  The fact is, nobody is to blame.  All admit that the Governor of North Carolina is innocent.  It would be the height of folly and treason to accuse any member of the Cabinet of negligence in the premises.  We who live at the seat of Government know too well the superhuman energy, the sleepless vigilance and the miraculous promptitude of every Department, to entertain for a moment the shadow of a shade of suspicion of any shortcoming connected with the Administration.  “Blame!”  The word is singularly out of place in this or any other connection.  Since the occurrence of the first railroad accident there has been no use for the word.  It ought to be dropped from the English language.  During the last twenty years thousands of mishaps, some of them of the gravest character, have occurred, and yet it remains to be proven that any human being was to blame for them.  Individuals in private life may possibly be to blame for this or that; but persons holding office—never!  As for eminent officials living hundreds of miles from the scene of disaster, how can they be to blame for it!  The idea is absurd.

Picayune Butler can now leave as many men as he pleases in the fort of North Carolina.  Of course, we will whip them.  Haven’t we the greatest abundance of armed militia?  There is no occasion for alarm?  “Nobody is hurt.”  Nothing is in danger.  Let every true patriot continue to repose the most unbounded confidence in the rulers of the Confederacy, and all will be well, even though Newbern, Washington and Charleston should be sacked.  A sense of perfect security, a feeling of entire irresponsibility may result from this unbounded confidence.  If the people think they are secure, and the Powers that be feel they are irresponsible, what more could any man desire?  Let us perfect our government in all its parts by a blind and loving reliance.  Let us magnify our victories and underrate our defeats.  By all means, let us go on pooh-poohing the affair at Fort Hatteras.

--Richmond Whig--


[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]


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