The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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man and his creed; then the merchant, the railroad, and the telegraph.

        The advent of Walker was not unpleasant nor unexpected to the simple-hearted and gentle natives of Central America. They had been grievously oppressed by the Spanish dominion; nor was their condition much better under their successors. "There was a tradition among them," says Crowe, in his "History of Central America," published in London in 1850, "founded on an ancient prophecy made years ago, that these people would only be delivered from cruel oppression by 'a gray-eyed man.' " Mr. Crowe adds in a note the prophetic remark: "We would remind those who attach any importance to this prophecy, that it may be reserved for our trans-Atlantic brethren to fulfill this prophecy."

        "Last week we saw many of the native Indians," says the Grenada Nicaraguense,"in our city, who desired to see General Walker; and they laid at his feet the simple offerings of their fruits and fields, and hailed his appearance, with fair skin and gray eyes, as 'the gray-eyed man of destiny,' so long and so anxiously waited for by them and their fathers."

        The next day after the capture of Grenada, an election was held by the people for a provisional President, and under the policy of Walker, and at his suggestion, General Ponciano Corral was chosen. General C. was at this time at Rivas, at the head of a large force of troops, preparing to march on Grenada and drive Walker out of the country. Walker knew that with his small force and his unreliable allies, that an attack by Corral (who had some military genius and experience, and much desperate courage) would be serious if not disastrous. He knew that Corral was very ambitious, and fond of power and place. Hence this election.

        But how to get this information to Corral was the point. Not one of Walker's native troops would venture, for they knew that no power could save them if once in the hands of Corral. Appeals were made to the Consuls from Sardinia, Prussia, and France, resident at Grenada, without success. Finally, the Archbishop of Grenada, with the agent of the Transit Company, called on me, and besought me to act as a messenger of peace. Thus urged by them, I agreed to go. Accordingly a steamer was made ready, and with Mr. Van Dyke, of Philadelphia, who was acting as Secretary of the Legation, and Don Juan Ruiz, late Secretary of War, we went to Rivas with the certificate of election of General Corral.

        Rivas is a walled town about fifty miles from Grenada.

        We found it closely picketed and full of infuriated soldiers, commanded by General Zatruche.

        On inquiry for General Corral, I was informed that he had just left Rivas with all his forces, to attack Walker at Grenada. A courier was immediately dispatched to Corral with the communication of his election as President. Zatruche, the General in command, was one of the most bloodthirsty and perfidious men in Central America. Smarting under the defeat he had met with at Virgin Bay, from Walker, he was insolent and imperious. After waiting for some hours for Corral, (and we since ascertained that he was still in Rivas,) I directed the horses to be brought, purposing to return to Virgin Bay and there await Corral's coming. My servant then came and informed us "that Zatruche had taken the horses, and that a guard was then approaching to seize me and my secretary." They entered, and I never saw a more ferocious and villainous looking crowd, armed to the teeth; their uniform was a scanty shirt that hardly reached the knee, a dilapidated straw hat, with a red ribbon, and barefooted. We were then placed in the quartel with a guard over us. Our poor
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