The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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boy (Carlos), after the doors were locked, with sobs and tears, informed us that we were to be shot at sunrise to-morrow. Mr. Van Dyke, with great emotion, said that he cared but little for himself, but much for me and my little ones and wife at Grenada. I felt buoyed up by the consolation that I was in the line of duty--on a mission of mercy and peace. Never did I spend a more unhappy night; the dim lamp revealed the army officials peering at intervals to ascertain our confinement, and the watch-word, ALERTO, (all well,) sounding in our ears from the line of guards. But early in the morning the sound of cannon and rifles was heard firing on the town. Zatruche had felt their fatal accuracy and danger. He rushed in and exclaimed, "In the name of Christ! Senor, what does this mean?" He was informed that my friends had expected me to return last night; that they had determined to rescue me, and in doing so would not spare one of his party; that they were well-armed with rifles that were certain, and with cannon. "Won't you write a small letter (un billitte), to them to cease their fire?" This was pre-emptorily declined. He then said. "You know, Senor Minister, that we are friends; you are very dear to me. Go out to them, forthwith, your horses are at the door, and I will send a guard of honor to escort you and your flag." Accepting the leave, but declining the honor of the escort, we soon mounted and were soon at the steamer where Captain Scott was with only six men and four small brass cannons. We soon reached Virgin Bay, where Judge Cushing, the agent of the Transit Line, was, and who had dispatched the steamer to relieve me, and who stated that when I set out on the day before, he had never expected my return. Judge Cushing, late our Minister at Bogota, and agent at this time of the Transit Company, had, only a few days before, been seized and imprisoned by Zatruche and only escaped murder by paying a rausom of two thousand dollars in gold. That my destruction was imminent, is proved by the letter of General Corral, that "he would not be responsible to what might happen to me personally," as he had issued orders to Zatruche to execute me. But the kindness of Scott, and a gracious Providence prevented his atrocious purpose.

        The following letter, the original of which is in my possession, was received by me at Virgin Bay:

"Marching, 17th Oct., 1855.

"To the Minister of the United States:

        "I am placed under the imperious necessity to manifest to the Minister of the United States that in consequence of his leaving the city of Grenada in the steamer of the Accessory Transit Company, taken by the chief commanding the forces who occupy that place with the object to hurt the forces of the Supreme Government, whom I have the honor to command at Rivas, I now inform you that I am not, or will not be responsible for what may happen to you personally, for having interfered in our domestic dissensions to the prejudice of the Supreme Government, by whom he has been recognized; and has made himself the bearer of communications and proclamations against the legitimately recognized authority. Therefore I now protest and give you notice that in this same date I have informed Governor Marcy and the newspapers of New York.

I am your dear servant, D. F. L.,


        To which the following reply was sent:

"VIRGIN BAY, 18th Oct., 1855.

"To Gen'l Ponciano Corral:

        "I have honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, in which you inform me that you are compelled to manifest your protest against me for leaving the city of Grenada with the intent of injury of the forces under your command in the town of Rivas.

        "I reply, I had no such object in visiting Rivas, as will appear more fully by a letter which I wrote to the military governor of that department, a copy of which I enclose.

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