part to perfection, with folded arms he was stationed near the pilot house and received "the upturned sea of faces" with the dignity of a hero. As the boat neared the wharf the flag was raised, loud cheers followed, and cannon after cannon rung out a cordial welcome. When the boat gained the wharf, Colonel Odem took off his chapeau and made a graceful and dignified bow. Then Dr. Warren mounted a barrel on the wharf, and with a loud voice commenced; "General Scott, we welcome you to North Carolina! We hail you with delight and glory, as the hero of Chippewa, Cerro Gordo, Lundy's Lane, and Mexico, the greatest living representative of the warrior, and the hero of two glorious wars. Like our Washington, without a model and without an equal, 'none but thyself can be thy parallel.' " He thus continued for ten minutes, making one of the most beautiful reception speeches, which captivated his audience. They expressed their admiration by loud and continued cheers. Now for General Scott. Colonel Odem, who stammers a little at times, and was evidently overcome, replied as follows:
"Gent-gentle-men; if, if, I, I, were Gen-General Scott; (which he pronounced Scart, with a slight hiss,) I would make you a speech-a speech. But I am not General Scart, Scart, I am only John B. Odem,-John B. Odem; and I shan't do it."
"The crowd were furious, and madness ruled the hour; some were for throwing him overboard, uniform, feathers and all; some cried 'kill him, kill him, for he has fooled us all.' But Major Henry H. Gilliam, who was the marplot of the whole matter, and who knows very well how to get a fellow out of a bad scrape either in court, or out of court, interposed. He said, 'boys, hold on, what are you mad about? Warren has given us as a good speech as you ever heard. I propose to wash it down in champagne: come up to the hotel, it is my treat.' This was unanimously agreed to, and the crowd went to the hotel; the first order was for six baskets, and how many more has not been ascertained. At any rate there was not a bottle to be found, until the next boat from Norfolk brought a fresh supply."*
This section of the state suffered sadly from the ravages of warfare, for after the fall of Roanoke Island the sounds and navigable rivers were open to the enemy's gunboats. These coasted up and down, and bore off the means and necessaries of life, living freights of fugitive negroes, and the low and skulking buffaloes. These were shameless and mean whites, who turned traitors to their friends, and betrayed them to their unrelenting foes. These were held in abhorence and contempt. They established a stronghold at Wingfield--the lovely homestead for years of the Browrigg family, previously occupied by Dr. Dillard, but the Buffaloes took possession, and the spacious halls, once the scene of elegance and beauty, were occupied by a foul and cowardly crew, who became such an intolerable nuisance that the building was fired.
These miscreants plundered all alike, the plate and pianos of the rich, as also the poultry and bread stuff of the poor.
The conduct of the colored population contrasted most honorably with the conduct of their professed friends, and is recorded to their undying credit. While every white man capable of bearing arms was in the field, the colored men remained at home cultivating the crops for the support of the helpless white women and their children. Although freedom, plunder, and every allurement was held out to them to leave their old homes and their old masters, many of them utterly refused, and many of them became warmly attached to the cause of their struggling masters. Moore, from whom I quote, states that in December, 1862, at Fort Warren, the humane federal commander, Colonel Dimmick, offered to release two colored men from captivity, William, the servant of Captain
Index - Contents