The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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Dead and wounded, sick and dying from cholera, crowded the decks. One died (Nicholas Carrol) with the cholera, while I was on board. Many of these were wealthy; all respectable, and all my countrymen. I persuaded them all to leave the crowded and infected ship, took them into my own house, as many as I could accommodate, and rented a large house for the others.

        Added to these miseries, evident preparations were making for a sanguinary battle which was near at hand. Arrests were hourly made and imprisonments, and continual applications for protection and relief.

        The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the late Government, Don Mateo Mayorga, for the out-rages at San Carlos and other places, was lying dead at this time in the plaza, shot by order of Walker; leading and wealthy citizens arrested and imprisoned.

        What a scene of horror! what a night of anxiety and excitement was experienced!

        An anxious and fearful morning came; but General Corral, instead of attacking Grenada, made his appearance in the plaza accompanied by his staff and General Walker, with some of his officers. A treaty of peace between these generals was made, (23d October, 1855,) by which Don Patrico Rivas was named as provisional President--an oblivion of past differences. Walker was made Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Corral Minister of War, the barricades of the streets destroyed, the prisons all opened, and peace dawned on the land. Corral marched his forces into the city, wearing the blue ribbon, and they were incorporated into the army of Walker. The two chiefs embraced each other on the plaza, and the officers, military and civil, proceeded to the church "to return thanks to the God of Peace for the termination of the war."

        Everything now seemed quiet. But it was only temporary. At this very time, when the real strength of Walker was known to Corral, with the instincts of his race and color, he was planning treason and murder. Letters from him to Gardiola and Zatruche were intercepted, urging them to come with arms and force, and overthrow the new government. He was arrested, imprisoned, tried for treason by a court-martial, and condemned to be shot, which sentence was executed in the plaza of Grenada, at 2 p. m., on 8th November, 1855.

        I was on the plaza of Grenada on the 8th November, 1855, in company with Captain Scott, Judge Cushing, and some friends, when the tolling of the Cathedral bell, the solemn air of crowds of spectators, indicated some event of deep and solemn importance.

        A guard of soldiers marched out from the quartel, with whom appeared General Ponciano Corral. On one side of him was a priest, bearing in his hand a small cross, and on the other his faithful friend, Don Pedro Rouhard, the Consul of France. The splendid person of Corral seemed borne down with calamity; his features bore the marks of extreme mental suffering. He took his seat in the fatal chair, which was placed with its back to the wall of the Cathedral. He calmly took out his hand-kerchief, folding it in his hands, and bound it around his eyes; then, folding his hands in an attitude of prayer, uttered the word "pronto"--ready. A detail of Mississippi rifles, at the distance of about ten paces, at the word, fired, and every ball pierced through and through his body; he fell dead from the chair, and his spirit departed to answer for the deeds done on earth--

                         --With all his crimes broad blown,--
                         And how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?
                         But, in our circumstance and course of thought,
                         'Tis heavy with him.

        I witnessed, with painful emotion, this tragic scene. General Corral was of a soldierly demeanor and commanding presence. He was rather portly in size, weighing about two hundred pounds, social in his character, of daring courage and indomitable purpose. he was excessively
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