The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Under instructions, a treaty was formed [20th June, 1855] of amity and commerce.

        The President was kind and polite, and more of a poet and musician than a soldier or statesman. Our intercourse was kindly and pleasant, and the republic was quiet. But it was only the lull that precedes a fearful storm. The agents of the Democratic party succeeded at San Francisco in engaging the services of William Walker, and on the 4th of May, 1855, he embarked on the brig "Vesta" for Nicaragua, with fifty-two followers, to invade a territory of more than 200,000 people. Was the act of Cortez in burning his ships after landing his troops more daring or desperate?

        He and his force landed at Realejo, and was strengthened by three hundred native troops under General Valle. After a repulse at Rivas by Colonel Bosque, in which Achilles Kewen and Timothy Crocker and some of Walker's best troops were killed, he attacked Guardiola at Virgin Bay, whom he defeated with heavy loss. He captured, without loss, the steamers on the Lake of Nicaragua, and on the 12th October, after a sharp conflict, he captured Grenada, which, as before stated, completed the conquest of the republic. The President and Cabinet fled, and many resorted to my house and placed themselves under the flag for protection. I met now, for the first time, General William Walker. He appeared to be about thirty-one years of age [born in Nashville, Tennessee, on 8th May, 1824.] He was liberally educated, and graduated at the University of Tennessee in October, 1838.

        He studied medicine, and received a diploma from the Medical University at Philadelphia, in April, 1843. He then went to France and England, where he completed his studies. He then traveled extensively on the Continent, where he learned to speak and write the French, German, Italian, and Spanish languages. He returned to the United States in June, 1845. Although he had a fondness for the profession of medicine and acquired knowledge from the ablest masters, yet he saw and felt that it was not as auspicious as the profession of the law for an ambitious and aspiring temperament. He entered the law office of Edward and Andrew Ewing, and remained there two years. He was admitted to the bar in June, 1847, at New Orleans.

        His active temper still sought additional action, and he entered the stormy sea of politics. He became editor of the New Orleans Crescent.

        In July, 1850, he went to California, and was connected with the Daily Herald, just then established by John Nugent. He had some difficulty with Judge Parsons as to some articles he wrote for the paper, and he removed to Marysville, and devoted himself to the law.

        In October, 1853, he visited Sonora, and, with Gilman, Emory, Crocker, and others, made an unsuccessful attempt on the Mexican authorities. Walker returned to San Francisco, and was arrested and tried for violation of the neutrality law, but was acquitted.

        The Democratic party of Nicaragua forwarded to him a commission as colonel and an extensive grant of land, through agency of Byron Cole.

        Gathering a band of sixty-two followers, (among whom were C. C. Hornby, of North Carolina, and Julius de Brissot,) he landed at Realejo, in the northern part of Nicaragua. His history will now be connected with Nicaragua for all time.

        He had, as already stated, captured Grenada, and was now "master of the situation," and had the possession of the capital. Had Walker possessed some portion of that quality which General Lee called "a rascally virtue," he could have attained complete success. The history of every nation repeats only the history of nations gone before. First comes the adventurous pioneer, with his rifle; then the schoolmaster, with his books; then the clergyman
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