Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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burned over ; loss, $10,000,OOOMay 3, 1901
Chicago, 111. ; Iroquois Theatre :

573 lives lost .............. Dec. 30, 1903

Baltimore, Md. ; area of 12 by
9 city blocks in business sec
tion burned over ; insurance
loss, $30,500,000 ........... Feb. 7-8, 1904

New York ; steamboat General NICHOLAS FISH.

Slocum, bearing Sunday-

school excursion, burned ; 958 TT 1 J TOtrl

lives lost ...... ............ June 15, 1904 of the State of New York, and m 1851

First Republic in America, 1718-1769. became a member of the United States

See NEW ORLEANS. Senate, acting with the Republican party

Fish, HAMILTON, statesman; son of after its formation in 1856. He was a

Col. Nicholas Fish; born in New York firm supporter of the government during

the Civil War, and in March, 1869, was
called to the cabinet of President Grant
as Secretary of State, and remained in
that post eight years, during which time
he assisted materially in settling various
disputes with Great Britain, of which
the " Alabama claims " controversy was
the most important. He was president-
general of the Society of the Cincinnati,
and for many years president of the New
York Historical Society. He died in New
York City, Sept. 7, 1893.

Fish, NICHOLAS, military officer; born
in New York City, Aug. 28, 1758; studied
law in the office of John Morin Scott, and
was on his staff as aide in the spring of
1776. In June he was made brigade-
major, and in November major of the 2d
New York Regiment. Major Fish was in
the battles at Saratoga in 1777; was di
vision inspector in 1778; and commanded
a corps of light infantry in the battle of

HAMILTON FISH. Momiiouth. He served in Sullivan s ex-



pedition in 1779; under Lafayette, in Vir
ginia, in 1781; and was at the sur
render of Cornwallis, behaving gallantly
during the siege. For many years after
1786, Fish, who had become lieutenant-
colonel during the war, was adjutant-
general of the State of New York, and
was appointed supervisor of the United
States revenue in 1794. In 1797 he be
came president of the New York State
Cincinnati Society. He died in New
York City, June 20, 1833.

Fish Dam Ford, S. C., BATTLE AT. An
engagement between the Americans under
General Sumter, and the British under Gen
eral Wemyss, which was fought Nov. 12,
1780, and resulted in an American victory.

Fisher, FORT, an extensive earthwork on
a point of sandy land between the Cape
Fear River at its mouth and the ocean,

The powder-ship was the Louisiana, a pro
peller of 295 tons, having an iron hull.
She was disguised as a blockade-runner.
To have the powder above the water-line,
a light deck was built for the purpose.
On this was first placed a row of barrels
of powder, standing on end, the upper
one open. The remainder of the pow
der was in canvas bags, holding about
60 Ibs. each, the whole being stored
as represented in the engraving, in which
the form of the vessel is also delineated.
The whole weight of the powder was 215
tons. To communicate fire to the whole
mass simultaneously, four separate threads
of the Gomez fuse were woven through it,
passing through each separate barrel and
bag. At the stern and under the cabin
was a heap of pine wood (H) and other
combustibles, which were to be fired by


the land-face occupying the whole width
of the cape known as Federal Point, and
armed with twenty heavy guns. All
along the land-front (1864) was a stock
ade, and on the sea-front were the wrecks
of several blockade-runners. It was late
in 1864 when a-n attempt was made to
close the port of Wilmington against Eng
lish blockade-runners by capturing this
fort and its dependencies. The expedition
sent against the fort consisted of a power
ful fleet under Admiral Porter and a land
force under the immediate command of
Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, of the Army of the
James, accompanied by Gen. B. F. Butler
as commander of that army. The whole
force was gathered in Hampton Roads
early in December. The troops consisted
of General Ames s division of the 24th
Army Corps and General Paine s division
of the 25th (colored) Corps. The war-
vessels were wooden ships, iron-clads,
monitors, gunboats, and a powder-ship,
destined to be blown up abreast of the
fort with a hope of destructive effect.

the crew when they should leave the ves
sel. Three devices were used for com
municating fire to the fuses, namely
clock-work by which a percussion-cap was
exploded ; short spermaceti candles, which
burned down and ignited the fuses at the
same time ; and a slow match that
worked in time with the candles and the
clock-work. The powder-vessel followed
a blockade-runner and was anchored with
in 300 yards of the fort, according to the
report of Commander Rhind. When the
combustibles were fired and the apparatus
for igniting the fuses were put in mo
tion, the crew escaped in a swift little
steamer employed for the purpose. The
explosion took place in one hour and fifty-
two minutes after the crew left. Notwith
standing the concussion of the explosion
broke window-glasses in a vessel 12 miles
distant, and the whole fieet s at that dis
tance, felt it, and it was also felt on land
at Beaufort and Nowbern, from 60 to 80
miles distant, there was no perceptible
effect upon the fort.




The appointed rendezvous of the ex- the command of GEN. ALFRED H. TERRY
pedition was 25 miles off the coast, fac- (q. v.) , with the addition of a brigade of
ing Fort Fisher, so as not to be disco v- 1,400 men. Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock,
ered by the Confederates until ready for of General Grant s staff, who accompanied
action. There was a delay in the arrival the first expedition, was made the chief-
of the war vessels, and the transports, engineer of this. The expedition left
coaled and watered for only ten days, Hampton Roads, Jan. 6, 1865, and rendez-
were compelled to run up to Beaufort voused off Beaufort, N. C., where Porter
Harbor, N. C., for both, the fleet remain- was taking in supplies of coal and ammu-
ing off Fort Fisher. The transports re- nition. They were all detained by rough
turned on Christmas evening; the next weather, and did not appear off Fort
morning the war vessels opened a bom- Fisher until the evening of the 12th. The
bardment, and at 3 P.M. the troops be- navy, taught by experience, took a posi-
s^an their debarkation two miles above tion where it could better affect the land
the fort. Only a part of the troops front of the fort than before. Under
had been landed when the surf ran too cover of the fire of the fleet, 8,000 troops
high to permit more to go ashore. These were landed (Jan. 13). Terry wisely pro-
marched down to attack the fort. Not a vided against an attack in the rear by
gun had been dismounted, and, as they casting up intrenchments across the
were ready to rake the narrow peninsula peninsula and securing the free use of
on which the troops stood the moment Masonboro Inlet, where, if necessary,
the fleet should withhold its fire, pru- troops and supplies might be landed in
dence seemed to require the troops to with- still water. On the evening of the 14th
draw. They did so, and were ordered to the light guns were landed, and before
the James River to assist in the siege morning were in battery. Wisely planned
of PETERSBURG ( q. v. ) , and the expedition by Terry, a grand assault was made on
of the land force against Fort Fisher was the morning of the 15th.
temporarily abandoned. It was resumed The war-ships opened the battle on the
ten days afterwards. The war vessels had 14th. They kept up a bombardment all
remained off Fort Fisher. The same day, severely damaging the guns of the
troops, led by Weitzel, were placed under fort and silencing most of them. The



iron-clads fired slowly throughout the ed by General Terry as over 2,000 prison-
night, worrying and fatiguing the garri- ers, 169 pieces of artillery, over 2,000
son, and at eight o clock in the morning small-arms, and commissary stores. The
(Jan. 15) the entire naval force moved port of Wilmington was then effectively
up to the attack. Meanwhile, 1,400 ma- closed to blockade-runners.
lines and GOO sailors, armed with re- Fisher, JOSHUA FRANCIS, author; born
volvers, cutlasses, and carbines, were sent in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 17, 1807; grad-
from the ships to aid the troops in the uated at Harvard College in 1825; studied
assault. Ames s division led in the as- law but never practised. His publications
sault, which began at half-past three include An Account of the Early Poets and
P.M. The advance carried shovels and dug Poetry of Pennsylvania; Private Life and
rifle-pits for shelter. A heavy storm of Domestic Habits of William Penn ; The
musketry and cannon opened upon the Degradation of our Representative System
assailants. The fleet had effectually de- and Its Reform; Reform of Municipal
stroyed the palisades on the land front. Elections; and Nomination of Candidates.
Sailors and marines assailed the north- He died in Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 21, 1873.
east bastion, and with
this assault began the
fierce struggle. The gar
rison used the huge tra
verses that had shielded
their cannon as breast
works, and over these
the combatants fired in
each other s faces. The
struggle was desperate
and continued until nine
o clock, when the Na
tionals, fighting their
way into the fort, gain
ed full possession of it.
All the other works
near it were rendered un
tenable; and during the
night (Jan. 16-17) the
Confederates blew up
Fort Caswell, on the
right bank of Cape Fear
River. They abandoned
the other works and fled
towards Wilmington.
The National loss in this
last attack was 681 men,
of whom eighty-eight
were killed. On the
morning succeeding the
victory, when the Nation
als were pouring into
the fort, its principal
magazine exploded, kill
ing 200 men and wound
ing 100. The fleet lost
about 300 men during
the action and by the ex
plosion. The loss of the

Confederates was report- M




Fisher, REDWOOD S., statistician; born
in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1782. Edited a
New York daily newspaper. He wrote The
Progress of the United States of America
from the Earliest Periods, Geographical,
Statistical, and Historical, and was editor
of a Gazetteer of the United States. He
died in Philadelphia, Pa., May 17,

Fisher, SYDNEY GEORGE, author; born
in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 11, 1856; grad
uated at Trinity College in 1879; is the

have just sent the enemy whirling through
Winchester, and are after them to-mor
row." He kept his word, and appeared in
front of Fisher s Hill on the 22d. There
Early was strongly intrenched. Sheridan
sent Crook s corps to gain the left and
rear of the position, and advanced to the
attack of the left and front, with Wright s
and Emory s corps. The assault began at
four o clock. The Confederate line was
soon broken, and the entire force retreat
ed in disorder up the valley, leaving be-


author of The Making of Pennsylvania-; hind them sixteen guns and over 1,000

The True Benjamin Franklin; The Evo- men as prisoners. Early s army was saved

lution of the Constitution of the United from total destruction by the holding in

Stales, etc. check of Torbert s cavalry in the Luray

Fisher s Hill, ACTION AT. When Valley, and the detention of Wilson s cav-

driven from Winchester (see WINCHESTER, airy, who fought at Front Royal the day

BATTLE OF) Early did not halt until he before (Sept. 21). Sheridan chased Early

reached Fisher s Hill, beyond Strasburg, to PORT REPUBLIC (q. v.) , where he de-

and 20 miles from the battle-field. It was stroyed the Confederate train of seventy-

strongly fortified, and was considered the five wagons. Thence his cavalry pursued

most impregnable position in the valley, as far as Staunton, where the remnant of

In his despatch to the Secretary of War Early s army sought and found shelter in

(Sept. 19, 1864) Sheridan wrote: "We the passes of the Blue Ridge. The Na-



tional cavalry destroyed a vast amount Americans had almost alone enjoyed these
of supplies at Staunton, passed on to fisheries, and deemed that they had gained
VVaynesboro, and laid waste the Virginia a right to them by exclusive and imme-
Central Railway. Then
Sheridan s whole army
went down the Shenandoah
Valley, making his march
a track of desolation. He
had been instructed to leave
nothing " to invite the
enemy to return." He
placed his forces behind
Cedar Creek, halfway be
tween Strasburg and Mid-
dletown. Early s cavalry
had rallied, under Rosser,
and hung upon Sheridan s
rear as he moved down the
valley. Torbert and his
cavalry turned upon them
(Oct. 9) and charged the
Confederates, who fled, leav
ing behind them 300 prison
ers, a dozen guns, and
nearly fifty wagons. They
were chased 26 miles. Three
days later Early attempted
to surprise Sheridan, while
resting at Fisher s Hill,
when the Confederates were
severely chastised.

Fisheries, THE. The in
terruption of the fisheries
formed one of the elements
of the Revolutionary War
and promised to be a mark
ed consideration in any
treaty of peace with Great
Britain. Public law on the
subject had not been set
tled. By the treaty of
Utrecht France had agreed
not to fish within 30
leagues of the coast of
Nova Scotia; and by that of Paris not morial usage. New England, at the begin-
to fish within 15 leagues of Cape Breton, ning of the war, had, by act of Parlia-
Vergennes, in a- letter to Luzerne, the ment, been debarred from fishing on the
French minister at Philadelphia, had said: banks of Newfoundland, and they claimed
" The fishing on the high seas is as free that, in any treaty of peace, these fish-
as the sea itself, but the coast fisheries eries ought to be considered as a perpetual
belong, of right, to the proprietors of the joint property. Indeed, New England had
coast; therefore, the fisheries on the coasts planned, and furnished the forces for, the
of Newfoundland, of Nova Scotia, and of first reduction of Cape Breton, and had
Canada belong exclusively to the English, rendered conspicuous assistance in the
and the Americans have no pretension acquisition of Nova Scotia and Canada by
whatever to share in them." But the the English. The Congress, on March 23,




1779, in committee of the whole, agreed fish and fisheries for the fiscal year end
that the right to fish on the coasts of ing June 30, 1900, but principally cover-
Nova Scotia, the banks of Newfoundland, ing the calendar year 1899, shows that the
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the national government distributed 1,164,-
straits of Labrador and Belle Isle, should 336,754 fish, an increase, principally of
in no case be given up. In the final treaty shad, cod, flat-fish, white-fish, and lake
of peace (1783) the fishery question was trout, of about 100,000,000 over the pre-

satisfactorily settled.

vious year. The stocking of suitable

In the summer of 1845 some ill-feeling streams with various species of trout was

was engendered between the United States continued, special attention being paid to

and Great Britain concerning the fisher- the distribution of brook, rainbow, and

ies on the coasts of British America in the black-spotted trout. The amount of capi-

East. American fishermen were charged
with a violation of the treatv of

tal invested in the fisheries of the New


1818 England States was $19,637,036.

with Great Britain, which stipulated that were 35,445 persons employed in the in-

they should not cast their lines or nets in dustry and 1,427 vessels, valued with their

the bays of the British provinces, except equipment at $4,224,339. The total prod-

at the distance of 3 miles or more uct, chiefly in cod, cusk, haddock, and

from shore. Now the British Government pollock, aggregated 393,355,570 Ibs., valued

claimed the right to draw a line from at $9,672,702. The oyster fisheries of

headland to headland of these bays, and Rhode Island and Connecticut yielded

to exclude the Americans from the w r aters catches valued at $1,910,684. The lobster

within that line. It had been the common fisheries yielded $1,276,900. On the Great

practice, without interference, before, for Lakes 3,728 persons and 104 vessels were

American fishermen to catch cod within engaged, representing an investment of

large bays, where they could easily carry $2,719,600, and in the calendar year 1899

on their vocation at a greater distance the catches amounted to 58,393,000 Ibs.,

than 3 miles from the shore; now this valued at $1,150,890. About 15,000,000

new interpretation would exclude them lake-trout eggs were collected on the

from all bays. The British government spawning grounds of Lake Michigan, and

sent an armed naval force to sustain this more than 12,000,000 on those of Lake

claim, and American vessels were threat- Superior, and at the Lake Erie station

ened with seizure if they did not comply, more than 337,838,000 white-fish eggs

The government of the United States, re- were hatched and the fry liberated, a gain

garding the assumption as illegal, sent two of 2,000,000 over the previous year. For

war steamers, Princeton and Fulton, to the Pacific coast fisheries more than

the coast of Nova Scotia to protect the 10,000,000 sockeye and blueback salmon

rights of American fishermen. For a fry were hatched and planted in Baker

time war between the two governments Lake, Washington, and in Skagit River,

seemed inevitable, but the dispute was During the calendar year 1900 the yield

amicably settled by mutual concessions in of salmon was 2,843,132 cases, valued at

October, 1853. See ALASKA; ANGLO- $2,348,142. The American fur-seal herd


in the w r aters of Alaska continued to de
crease in numbers through the mainte-


The fisheries industries of the United nance of pelagic sealing.

States in 1900 were chiefly carried on in Fishing- Bounties. In 1792 an act of

three sections known as the New England, Congress re-established the old system of

the Pacific coast, and the Great Lakes bounties to which the American fisherman

fisheries. The United States government had been accustomed under the British

for several years has been liberally pro- government. All vessels employed for the

moting the fishery industry, and several of term of four months, at least, in each

the States, having large capital invested year, on the Newfoundland banks, and

therein, have been rendering independent other cod-fisheries, were entitled to a

assistance, both the national and State bounty varying from $1 to $2.50 per ton,

governments maintaining large hatcher- according to their size, three-eighths to

ies. The report of the commissioner of go to the owners and five-eighths to the



fishermen. The national benefit of the
fisheries as a nursery for seamen in case
of war was urged as the chief argu
ment in favor of the bounties. That
benefit was very conspicuous when the
war with Great Britain occurred in

Fishing- Creek, ACTION AT. When
General Gates was approaching Camden
in 1780 he sent General Sumter with a
detachment to intercept a convoy of stores
passing from Ninety-six to Rawdon s
camp at Camden. Sumter was successful.
He captured forty- four wagons loaded with
clothing and made a number of prisoners.
On hearing of the defeat of Gates. Sumter
continued his march up the Catawba
lliver and encamped (Aug. 18) near the
mouth of Fishing Creek. There he was
surprised by Tarleton, and his troops were
routed with great slaughter. More than
fifty were killed and 300 were made
prisoners. Tarleton recaptured the Brit
ish prisoners and all the wagons and their
contents. Sumter escaped, and in such
haste that he rode into Charlotte, N. C.,
without hat or saddle.

Fisk, CLINTON BOWEN, lawyer; born
in Griggsville, N. Y., Dec. 8, 1828; re
moved with his parents to Michigan while
a child, where he became a successful
merchant; removed to St. Louis in 1859.
hi 1801 he was commissioned colonel of
the 33d Missouri Regiment; in 1862 was
promoted brigadier-general; and in 1865
was brevetted major-general. He was
deeply interested in educational and tem
perance reform ; was a founder of Fisk
University, Nashville, Tenn. ; and was
the Prohibition candidate for governor
of New Jersey in 1886, and for Presi
dent of the United States in 1888.
He died in New York City, July 9,

Fiske, AMOS KIDDER. author ; born in
Whitefield, N. H., May 12, 1842; gradu
ated at Harvard in 1866; admitted to the
bar in New York in 1868; and engaged in
journalism. He is the author of Story
of the Philippines; The West Indies,

Fiske, JOHN, historian; born in Hart
ford. Conn., March 31, 1842; graduated
at Harvard in 1863 and at its Law
School in 1865, but never practised; has
since been identified with that institu

tion as instructor, lecturer, assistant
librarian, and overseer. He has also been
Professor of American History in Wash
ington University, St. Louis, and is a well-
known lecturer on historical themes.
He was the son of Edmund Brewster
Green, of Smyrna, Del., and Mary Fiske
Bound, of Middletown. Conn. In 1852


his father died and three years later
his mother married Edwin W. Stoughton,
of New York. The same year the boy,
whose name was Edmund Fiske Green,
assumed the name of John Fiske, which
was that of his maternal grandfather.
Professor Fiske s works fall under two
heads: philosophical, including the Cosmic
Philosophy; Idea of God, etc.; and his
torical, including The Critical Period of
American History; Civil Government in
the United States; The War of Independ
ence; The American Revolution; The Be
ginnings of New England; The Discovery
of America; Old Virginia and her Neigh
bors. His three essays, The Federal Union
(q. v.) ; The Town-Meeting; and Manifest
Destiny, were published in one volume
under the title of American Political Ideas
from the Stand-point of Universal History.
With James Grant Wilson he edited Ap-
pletons Cyclopaedia of American Biog
raphy. He died at Gloucester, Mass.,
July 4, 1901.

Fitch, JOHN, inventor; born in East
Windsor, Conn., Jan. 21, 1743; was an
armorer in the military service during the




Revolution, and at Trenton, N. J., manu- as governor of the colony. He died in
factured sleeve-buttons. For a while, Norwalk, in July, 1777.
near the close of the war, he was a sur- Five Forks, BATTLE OF. Sheridan had
veyor in Virginia, during which time he crossed the Appomattox from Bermuda
prepared, engraved on copper, and printed Hundred, and, passing in the rear of the
on a press of his own manufacture, a map army before Petersburg, on the morning
of the Northwest country. He construct- of March 29, 1865, had halted at Din-
od a steamboat in 1786, and a year widdie Court-house. A forward move-
later built another propelled by six ment of the National army had just
paddles on each side. A company was begun. Warren and Humphreys, with
formed (1788) in Philadelphia, which their corps, had moved at an early hour
caused a steam-packet to ply on the Dela- that morning against the flanks of the
ware River, and it ran for about two Confederates, and they bivouacked in
years when the company failed. In 1793 front of the works of their antagonists,
he unsuccessfully tried his steam naviga- only 6 miles from Dinwiddie Court-house,
tion projects in France. Discouraged, he Warren had lost 300 men in a fight on
went to the Western country again, where the way. On the next day (March 30),

Sheridan sent a party
of cavalry to the Five
Forks, but the Confed
erate works there were
too strongly armed and
manned to be ridden
over, and the Nation
als were driven back
to the Court - house.
There was some severe
fighting that day, with
out a decisive result.
Sheridan was engaged in
the struggle, but at mid
night he was satisfied
that Lee was withdraw
ing his troops, and felt
quite at ease. It was
known at headquarters
that his troops had been
driven back from Five
he died in Bardstown, Ky., July 2, 1798, Forks, and that it was uncertain
leaving behind him a history of his ad- whether he could hold his position,
ventures in the steamboat enterprise, in a Warren was sent to his aid with a

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 59 of 76)