May 22, 1862, The New York Herald

A despatch from General McClellan to the War Department, last night, states that he is following close on the heels of the enemy; that all his camps have advanced in the pursuit. This tallies with the news received in the afternoon, that the attempt of the rebels to defend their position at Bottom Bridge failed under the fatal effect of our artillery, which threw shell to an extent that was irresistible, and drove the enemy back. The headquarters of General McClellan were within a few miles of Richmond at last accounts, and, as it was supposed that the rebels are going to risk a battle in front of Richmond (which may be doubtful), we shall soon hear wither of a great battle, or of the occupation of Richmond by General McClellan’s army.

The members of the State Convention of North Carolina which has recently been in session in Raleigh, and which has displayed such a decided hankering after the Union, were chosen by the people on the 28th of February, 1861, by an aggregate unconditional Union majority of over sixty thousand. They stood, when elected, as follows: —

Union men ………………….. 84

Secessionists ………………. 36

Union majority …………….. 48

The Convention did not meet, for the reason that the people decided at the time the members were elected that no convention was necessary. But Governor Ellis and the Legislature thought different. Another election was ordered, and a secession convention was chosen by a comparatively small vote, and it was this latter body that passed the State over to the tender mercies of Jeff. Davis and his rebel confederacy. The Old North State is Union to the core.

Our letters from London, Paris and Berlin, received by the Scotia, portray very accurately the expression of public feeling current in Europe on the “American question”up to the time of the departure of that vessel from Liverpool.

Rumors with respect to a direct intervention in our war affairs by Napoleon, reports of an approaching allied intervention on the part of France and England, with speculations relative to an offer of mediation by the Emperor of France filled the minds of the people, and served to intensify the interest of the progress of the war towards its termination, this event having become of absolutely vital importance to the industrial classes, as well as of very great individual interest to the rulers of France and England.

The writers do not pretend to say what form the intervention idea is to assume, but all agree in attaching some significance, with regard to its aspect, or the result of M. Mercier’s late visit to Richmond. The Paris Patrie, of the 8th of May, says:— “We have reason to know that important conferences are going on at the present time, at Richmond, between Baron Mercier, the French Minister, and the government of the Southern States. The existence of a negotiation of that kind appears to indicate that the overtures made by the French representative to President Davis have in principle been favorably received.” Our intelligence from Washington, however, states that M. Mercier’s visit to Richmond was one of curiosity simply.

The Paris correspondent of the London Post, writing on the 6th instant, remarks:— “M. Mercier’s visit to Richmond was not intended as an official visit, nor had he any official mission to perform. On the other hand, M. Mercier’s visit may not be unattended by most important results.”

The London Times, contradicting all its former predictions and assertions with regard to the weakness and daily increasing exhaustion of the Union government and treasury, labors to prove that the rebels alone require foreign aid, comfort or advice; and that if such a calamity as intervention should come on the country, it must come at their instance. The writer says:— “They (the Washington Cabinet) have already possession of the seas, and the whole British navy could give them nothing more. We might lend them money, but of this, in some form or other, they have got enough to allow of a present expenditure of L800,000 a day. As to sending them men, all the effective troops now serving in England might be landed in New York without causing any perceptible increase in the fabulous numbers of the Northern armies. We might send them three times as many soldiers as we sent to Canada without adding above five per cent to their forces in the field. No ruler in the world, not even the first Napoleon, ever disposed of so many men or so much money as Abraham Lincoln. He has fully 650,000 troops now under arms, and it is boasted that he could double that number. His finances may rest on a less stable foundation, but he has, at any rate, enough and to spare for the time. Intervention, therefore, on behalf of the North, would be simply a nullity, for no alliance could add to its power or promote its ends.”

It is alleged that Napoleon’s ideas of a new transatlantic policy for France are likely to affect the destiny, for the time being, of Italy, the Papal government and Mexico.

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May 22, 1862, The New York Herald

On Monday the laying of the new telegraph cable for the government from Cherrystone to Fortress Monroe was completed by Mr. W.H. Heiss, assisted by Mr. Charles S. Bulkley.

The telegraph cable laid some time ago from the eastern shore of Virginia to Fortress Monroe, consisting of a single wire covered with gutta percha, either gave way from weakness or was cut by the enemy. In order to make sure of telegraphic communication, the government ordered a heavier cable – one protected with external wire, and calculated to stand any strain to which it is likely to be subjected. It is the application of a new principle, and deserves attention. The reader may have observed that telegraph cable whitherto used for long distances have been enveloped by wire armor, drawn spirally over the core or inner wire, in the form of an ordinary rope. As long as a cable of this construction remained untwisted it afforded ample protection to the core; but the fatal defect was that if the cable should by any accident become untwisted the outer wires would become stretched and longer than the core, thus throwing upon it the whole strain. They therefore failed to give it any strength, and merely protected it from chaffing. The present cable is constructed on an entirely different principle, the protecting wires being extended over the core longitudinally and in straight lines, without any twist whatever as may be seen from the following sections of the cable: –

Now by this plan the strain comes equally upon the external wires and the internal wire or core, which conducts the electricity, and before the latter can give way the outside wires must break. Now, in the cable here represented there are seventeen strands of wire – first, the core and outside sixteen of No. 10, all of the best charcoal wire. Each of them is capable is sustaining a weight of 630 pounds; consequently their united strength is 10,700 pounds, besides whatever is imparted by the single external wire of the same thickness, which is drawn around the whole spirally, in order to keep them together. At the end of every ten feet this spiral wire is lapped several times around the cable at right angles, so that if it should be any accident be cut or broken the cable would still be held sufficiently together. This is a far stronger cable than that which was attempted to be laid across the Atlantic, and had it been used the probability is it would have been successful. It is an inch and a quarter in diameter. There is another peculiarity in this cable. It is the first time that iron wire had been employed for the core. It has been now adopted in order to give greater strength.

As regards insulation, we may state that the core wire is covered with gutta percha one-quarter inch thick, and that is enveloped in tarred hemp, thus effecting a double insulation. Upon the tarred hemp the external wires are laid, and pressure upon them has the tendency to bid them together like the stones of bricks in an arch. The effect of pressure is the very opposite in the old spirally constructed cable.

This cable has been manufactured in lengths of a mile each, and then tested in the water, spliced and put on board the boat as she lay beside the factory of the Bishop Gutta Percha Company on the East River. In the extremely short space of three weeks a cable of twenty five miles was thus manufactured and put on board the dismasted schooner Colorado, which, on the 14th instant, was taken to tow by a steamer and drawn through the canals the greater part of the distance to its destination at Cherrystone, Virginia, whence it was laid across the Chesapeake to Fortress Monroe. This feat was accomplished by the great energy and activity of Mr. Heiss, the superintendent of the work on the part of the government, assisted by Mr. Bulkley, a well known telegrapher and electrician, and the inventor of Bulkley’s repeater, but now a civil engineer. Mr. Heiss has been long favorably known as superintendent of the telegraph lines at the South, and was compelled, for the sake of his Union principles, to retreat Northward between two days at the breaking out of the civil war. But even with the activity of these gentlemen the feat could not have been accomplished in so short a space of time but for two things – first the workmen labored both day and night, and secondly, a machine was invented for uniting the wires, which in the beginning were put together by hand. This is the first machine ever used for such a purpose, and it makes two miles of cable per day. Great credit is due to the general agent of the company, Mr. Bishop, and to the foreman of the factory.

We should not omit to mention that Mr. Bulkley has invented a very simple paying out machine, which wonderfully facilitated the laying of the cable, and is a great improvement on the unwieldy […..] used on the laying of the Atlantic cable….

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May 22, 1862, The New York Herald

OFFICE MILITARY BOARD, LITTLE ROCK, May 5, 1862.

TO THE FREEMEN OF ARKANSAS: –

FELLOW CITIZENS — Again your authorities, charged with the duty of preserving and defending your State government, deem it imperatively necessary to call you to arms. Northern troops, formidable in numbers and preparation, are in the heart of your State, marching upon your capital, with the avowed purpose of perverting your government, plundering your people, eating your subsistence, and erecting over your heads as a final consummation a despotic ruler, the measure of whose power will be the hatred he bears his subjects.

Will the thirty thousand freemen, capable of bearing arms, yet in Arkansas, look listlessly on, while chains are being riveted upon their limbs by a few thousand Hessians from the North – hirelings mercenary cowards as they are, seeking to enslave us, that they may grow rich upon our substance, and divide us and our children as conquered subjects? This cannot, will not be – our people in the government of their choosing – in the sacredness of their persons and defence of their property must be determined. We can and will defend it, unaided if it must be so, at every cost and sacrifice, rather than live under the domination of the detestable and execrable Lincoln government.

The enemy upon our soil is crushing to earth the proud spirit of our people; presuming upon the temporary absence of many of our brave men, they seek to crush the energy and courage of the remainder. We will drive them from amongst us. Where there is a will there is always a way. An enlightened and brave people will never be subjugated.

The armies of the Revolution were at one time, under George Washington, reduced to 2,500 men; still, with the blessings of God and an undying spirit of resistance, the American colonies, each upon its own account, putting forth its entire energies, conquered a peace from a reluctant and powerful government. So if we of Arkansas are true to ourselves; true to our professions of hatred for the North and devotion to the South; true in our devotion for constitutional liberty and free government, the sun will never set upon us as a subjugated and conquered race. Then, by authority and sanction of the Military board, whose duty it is to protect the State from invasion, whose right it is to call an army in the field when the Confederate States […..] or neglect to protect the people, I call upon each and every man capable of bearing arms to prepare at once to meet the enemy, though it is not contemplated that all will go – some must – a sufficient number must, to free the State and repel the tyrant. The law is, every able bodied free white male inhabitant between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years shall constitute the militia of the State. No person shall be called upon to perform militia duty who has not resided within the State two months, except in cases of invasion, in which case they are subject as other citizens, and subject to the same penalties. Further, the law provides: – “Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts, Secretary, Auditor and Treasurer of the State, clerks of the Supreme and Circuit Courts, postmasters, postriders, ferry men on public roads, all licensed preachers of the Gospel of every denomination, and justices of the peace, shall be exempt from performing military duty, except in cases of insurrection and invasion.” Hence it will be seen, by the law above quoted, that all men found in the State, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, if physically able, may be called to the field now, the State being invaded. The State always sovereign, is sovereign yet, in her reserved rights, one of which is to defend her own soil, her own government, her own people, and to put every one between certain ages, found in her borders, into the field, if necessary to do it. This is the law, State and national, and if it were not, the people in their potential power would make it so.

By your authority and sanction, your representatives in convention assembled at the capital in May last, severed the State of Arkansas from the United States of America, upon the doctrine of State sovereignty, from which grew up the Confederate States. This, in the retrospect, may be viewed no less a political right than a moral and political virtue, looking to our happiness, and the transmission of republican liberty of the present age and future generations, an alliance was formed with the Confederate States of America. In the support of their government no star in the galaxy has shed a brighter lustre than Arkansas. No people have evinced more valor or a more self-sacrificing spirit than hers in upholding confederate nationality. Every doorway is stained with the blood of her children, every roof is a house of mourning, and her altars are consecrated to benedictions, for the dead and lost in battle. The flower of her youth, the pride of her manhood have without stint been lavished for the maintenance and support of the confederation. She has done this because of her generous confidence, that when the evil hour came upon her, the national ensign, the Confederate flag, would be found floating from her battlements, defying the invader and giving succor to her people.

Untoward events have placed her beyond the pale of protection much impaired, though not incapable of resistance, she will strike a blow for liberty, and continue to be free; if left to her fate she will carve a new destiny rather than be subjugated. It was for liberty she struck, and not for subordination to any created secondary power, North or South. Her best friends are her natural allies, nearest at home, who will pulsate when she bleeds, whose uttermost hope is not beyond her existence. If the arteries of the Confederate heart do not permeate beyond the east bank of the Mississippi, let Southern Missourians, Arkansians, Texans, and the great West, know it, and prepare for the future. Arkansas lost, abandoned, subjugated, is not Arkansas as she entered the Confederate government; nor will she remain Arkansas a Confederate State, desolated as a wilderness; her children fleeing from the wrath to come, will build them a new ark, and launch it on new waters, seeking a haven somewhere of equality, safety and rest. Be of good cheer, my countrymen, there is still a balm in Gilead, the good Samaritan will be found. Strike now and ever for your homes and liberty, against all men who invade the one or dispute the other. The despotic power of the North which seeks now to crush you, contains in its own creating ripe seeds of its early destruction. Stand out like men and resist that power, until the hallowed light shed by Southern States rights democratic liberty shall throw its light back upon the very North itself, from the Rio Grande of the South to the Lake of the Woods, and westward to the Pacific. The God of Nations had not decreed, I think, that tyrant hands shall stay the progress of civil and religious liberty upon this continent. The right of the people to govern is an admitted truism. Their capacity to do so is not a fable; but price of liberty is eternal vigilance; be jealous of encroachments, mindful of your public servants. Take the constitution of your State as your political text book, and regard the defence of your homes and firesides as a duty you owe to God and humanity, as all will be well.

Correlative with these views, it is by the Military Board of the State of Arkansas deemed essential for the public safety that four thousand five hundred men be called as volunteers from the Militia of the State, to be organized into companies, battalions and regiments, as directed by ordinances of the State convention, to serve for twelve months in State service unless sooner discharged. The companies not to contain less than sixty-four nor more than ninety-six men, exclusive of commissioned officers. Twenty companies of cavalry will be received, and thirty companies of infantry, with the right, on the part of the authorities, to assign one or more of the infantry companies for artillery service. Each volunteer must furnish his own gun, which will be valued and paid for by the State, or a certain amount paid of it monthly by the government for its use, as the State may ultimately determine.

Companies organizing south of the Arkansas river will rendezvous at Little Rock, unless other instructions are given. Those organizing north of the river will be advised of the proper point to rendezvous by applying to the Military Board for orders. Transportation, subsistence, &c. &c. will be supplied upon application for organized companies; no company will be esteemed organized until a descriptive list is filed with the Military Board, showing the requisite number of men; certificates of election for company officers should accompany the descriptive list. Any commissioned officers of the State may hold and certify to company elections. Able bodied men, sixteen years and upwards, may be received into service. If the requisite number of men is not made up by volunteering by the 25th of May the deficiency will be detailed or drafted from the militia brigades or regiments having the fewest men in service. Troops raised under this call will not be transferred to Confederate service under any circumstances without their consent; and on no account, unless a Confederate force, sufficient to prevent invasions, is sent into the State. These are raised exclusively for home protection. Horses, horse equipments and arms lost by the casualties of war will be paid for by the State.

Men of means and leisure, although advanced in years, now have an opportunity, without sacrifice, to go and fight – too old to walk , they can now go on horseback. Men tilling the soil can be less conveniently spared; something must be produced to eat, either to live or to fight. I say to the gentlemen of leisure and wealth, make up this call, leaving the tiller of the soil at home to produce something for our families and the country. There are many more than the number called for here in Arkansas who will not run a furrow this summer, nor do anything else substantial, beneficial to the country. Business, in the way of trade, is measurably suspended, and money making for a time ought to be. To be rich now, is impossible; for if one owned the whole state, it is worth nothing until freed. The wave of destruction has rolled over the northeast portion of the State, and will soon reach the south, unless stayed by a rampart of Arkansas freemen. I am for defence – the Military Board is for defence, and, if aided by the people, the State will be redeemed.

H. M. RECTOR.

Governor and President of Military board.

(From the Arkansas State Gazette, May 10.)

The proclamation is a compound of usurpation, treason and trash. Attention is directed to it as a curiosity.

(From the True Democrat, May 8.)

In less perilous times we should comment upon this production more at length; but as it is, let it pass now by entering our earnest and most solemn protest against certain features in it.

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May 22, 1862, The New York Herald

TUNSTALL’S STATION, May 21, 1862.

The pickets of the enemy were driven across Bottom’s Bridge yesterday by the troops advancing in that direction.

The rebels attempted to regain the post by the use of their artillery, but failed. Our batteries opened, shelling the woods each side of the bridge.

The advance, under General Stoneman, reached New Bridge yesterday – within eight miles of Richmond – but found no enemy in force this side of the Chickahominy which at that point dwindles down to a small creek.

The country in that locality is in a good state of cultivation, with no more swamp than is to be found on ordinary bottom land.

Six pieces of artillery were found posted upon the opposite bank; but General Stoneman’s purpose not being to bring on an engagement, he retired one mile from the bridge and encamped during the day.

While driving in the enemy’s outposts he had one man killed and three wounded.

The whole army moved this morning early, with he view of making a lengthy march. What roads they took it is not necessary to state; but the headquarters of General McClellan tonight are within a short distance of Richmond, in front of which city is supposed to be encamped the main body of the rebel army.

If they intend to give the Union forces battle, which is almost universally acknowledged to be the case, the hour is drawing near at hand when they will have an opportunity.

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May 22, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

The great error of the Provisional Congress, was not that it failed to support and carry out all the recommendations of the President for carrying on the war. It was not even that it did not originate measures of itself to give efficiency to the war. This it did to a certain extent. But its great error was, in its subserviency to Executive dictation. When the President vetoes its measures to carry on the war, it succumbed; and, instead of overruling the Executive veto by the two-thirds vote the Constitution required, it supported the executive veto, and stultified itself and voted down its own measures. When the proceedings of this Congress shall be published, we suspect it will be seen that measures, passed with great unanimity by Congress, after a veto of the Executive were voted down, instead of being supported by two-thirds of its members. This habitual subserviency to the Executive produced another great error. Instead of Congress acting independently in the origination of laws, as the Constitution designed, it shaped its laws to suit the Executive favor. It had the power by the Constitution, by overruling the Executive, to pass any laws its judgment dictated as expedient or necessary to carry on the war. When, to all but the eyes of personal or heated partizans, it was manifest that the Executive could not or would not appreciate the magnitude of the struggle before us, and would neither recommend nor support measures necessary to meet them, it was the duty of Congress to act independently of the Executive, and to have originated and passed, despite his vetos, all the great measures the exigencies of the Confederate States required. They could have bought a navy, filled the country with arms and munitions of war, and passed regulations which might have saved our army from that disgust and alienation towards the service which occasioned the necessity of the late Conscription Law. This was the duty of Congress; and if it had been performed in open day, with unclosed doors, the President would have been compelled to make his administration efficient, or he would have been displaced from power. The people of the Confederate States would have understood the true condition of their affairs; and would have been able to fasten the responsibility of the failures to provide for their defence on those to whom it rightfully belonged. But the fatal error of concealment and subserviency was committed; and the country has been carried blindfolded into the most enormous slaughter and devastation. The motives which governed Congress in pursuing this policy we do not intend to question. They may have been perfectly pure. A mistaken idea of harmony between the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government may have governed their course. Harmony in a wise and efficient policy is wisdom and patriotism; but in a weak and inefficient policy, may be silly and ruinous. Harmony which springs from a concert in wise counsels – must be beneficial; but where it arises from a mere subserviency – Congress to the Executive will – must be as unwise and dishonorable as it is unconstitutional. Congress was not created to be a tool of the Executive, to register his will; but to be an independent element of power in the Government to protect and promote the interests and liberties of the people. The evil effects of abdicating its constitutional power, in submission to Executive dictation, is seen in the disasters and troubles which overshadow the Confederate States. To ward off evils in the future, we must understand those of the past.

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May 21, 1862, The New York Herald

The army of General McClellan is pushing on securely towards Richmond. The advance under General Stoneman arrived at Coal Harbor, on the Newbridge road, on Monday. The enemy were there in force, but General Stoneman’s troops drove their pickets in within two miles of the main body. The railroad bridge on the Chickahominy, the destruction of which was attempted by the rebels, was found to be only partially burned, and could be repaired in a very short time.

The late advance of our iron-clad gunboats towards Richmond, by way of the James river — although the vessels did not succeed in passing the obstructions so adroitly laid in the channel — was a very well executed affair, as far as the destruction of the rebel forts at Day’s Point and the excellent manoeuvring of the boats are concerned. Their approach created a terrible consternation in Richmond. The official despatches of Commodore Rodgers, of the Galena, and Lieutenant Jeffers, of the Monitor, which we publish today, furnish a detailed account of the entire affair at Fort Darling, which will be read with interest.

The telegraph cable across the Chesapeake Bay was completed on Monday, connecting Cherrystone with Back river, and thus placing the War Department in instant connection with General McClellan’s headquarters.

The Richmond papers contain a highly interesting correspondence between Jeff. Davis and the Virginia Legislature in reference to the last backward movements of the rebel army, in which Jeff. Davis says that he never entertained the thought of withdrawing the army from Virginia, and abandoning the State; that if, in the course of events, the capital should fall, the necessity of which he did not see or anticipate, that would be no reason for withdrawing the army from Virginia. The war could still be successfully carried on and maintained on Virginia soil for twenty years.

Mr. Davis has made many very rash statements in his brief career as rebel chieftain, but none so rash as this prediction of a twenty years’ war in Virginia. If he had reduced the […..] to […..] he would probably be nearer the mark.

The news from General Banks’ division, at Strasburg, indicates the breaking up of the rebel army in that portion of Virginia into bands of guerillas and marauders. It is stated that a force of nearly three thousand cavalry, belonging to the commands of different rebel officers, have been disbanded, and are now scattered through the mountain fastnesses. It would seem that this is to be the ultimate termination of the career of a large portion of the rebel army in every quarter. Even now they are carrying on the work of mere highwaymen and brigands in Kentucky and Tennessee, stopping railroad trains and preying upon friends and foes alike.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

During the forenoon of Tuesday a courier, from Battery Island, brought news that the enemy was making a demonstration in that neighborhood. In the afternoon the steamer Marion, Capt. FLYNN, reached the city from Stono river, bringing the details of the movements of the Yankee gunboats in that stream.

It appears that the gunboats, four in number, and all being small and schooner-rigged, having sounded and buoyed out Stono Inlet, crossed the bar about ten o’clock on Tuesday morning. One of them, while passing in, got aground, and remained so; the three others succeeded in entering the harbor, and immediately opened a vigorous fire of shell upon Cole’s Island. Previous to the appearance of the gunboats, our defensive works on Cole’s Island had, by order of General PEMBERTON, been dismantled, and the guns removed. When the enemy had opened the attack, Colonel CAPERS, the commander of the post, carrying out his instructions, burned the barracks, cut down the flagstaff, and with his forces evacuated the Island.

The enemy’s gunboats, finding that our men had retreated, steamed slowly up the river, keeping up a rapid fire of random shells on either side as they advanced, and finally anchored near Battery Island and Legareville. Upon the approach of the gunboats, our positions on Battery Island were also evacuated and the quarters burned.

Other rumors are afloat in regard to this raid of the gunboats, but the above comprises all the authentic particulars that have reached the city. The distance of Cole’s Island from Charleston, as the crow flies, is about twelve miles.

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May 21, 1862, The New York Herald

These two States are among the most important in the South, and their action cannot fail to be attended with tremendous effects upon the rebellious communities. The great meeting at Nashville; the course of Lieutenant Governor Clark, of North Carolina, as exhibited in his proclamation; the demand of the State Convention upon Jeff. Davis to liberate the Mayor of the village of Washington, imprisoned for alleged treason to the confederacy, and the caving in of the rebel government by quickly yielding him up, are facts which speak volumes. Andrew Johnson, as Provisional Governor in one State, and Edward Stanly, as Provisional Governor in the other, will, under the protection of the federal government, bring out the whole Union sentiment of both States, and give it form, strength and consistency. In those States and in all other States where our flag is planted, the Union men ought to be encouraged and protected by a sufficient military force. The abandonment of the Union men of Jacksonville, Florida, to their enemies was extremely reprehensible, and produced the very worst effects throughout the South, and we hope such a course will never be repeated. The proclamation of Mr. Lincoln cannot fail to be productive of the most happy consequences throughout the border States, and in North Carolina and Tennessee it will give the finishing blow to the rebellion.

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May 21, 1862, The New York Herald

Our Army Correspondence.

CAMP NEAR WHITE HOUSE, Va., May 18, 1862.

It is unnecessary to state that under the new allotment of divisions into corps dours cannot now be regarded as second to any. This order, of course, has necessitated other important changes. In the first place, in consequence of our General having been promoted, the command of our division has been given to another general, one of the most competent officers in the Potomac Army.

This being Sunday, it has been very quiet in camp. The day, however, has been one of glorious loveliness, the finest and most enjoyable day, in fact, that the regiments have enjoyed thus far in their sojourn on the peninsula. The curiosity about the “White House” and other points of interest in the immediate vicinity having been satisfied, a large number of officers today visited St. Peter’s church, about two and a half miles distant, memorable as is well known, in history, as being the church in which the immortal Washington was married. The ride by either one or the other two roads is through the most delightful and picturesque portion of the peninsula that has yet fallen under my observation. The old church itself, on its commanding elevation, and environed by mammoth oaks and stately pines, and shrubbery and gravestones, was the central object of interest. I need not describe its quaint structure, gothic windows, arched doorways of the porch, plain wooden steps, plain ceilings, rude wooden benches, pulpit devoid of ornament, neat chancel and the baptismal font. The thoughts were not of these, as they are mostly of modern introduction, but upon the old brick walls, the corniced and time-seared roof, and the old tablets either side of the chancel; for it was within those walls, underneath this roof and within sight of those tablets that Washington was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to that Martha whose name is now as inseparably linked to that of Washington as is his to immortality. I saw on one of the brick the date 1710, which is said to be the date of its erection. The oldest tombstone is dated back as far as 1716. The last services held in the church were about a month ago, the Rev. Mr. Repner, the rector, having suspended services and gone over to Secessia. In the neighborhood of the church is a fine old Virginia mansion, the sole occupants of which now are five females. It is now in charge of the provost guard, as are all the dwellings here about. The ladies, all of whom have husbands or lovers in the rebel army, utter secesh strong, and say that the enemy will fight at Richmond to the last gasp.

Indian town, across the river, has been and continues to be a place of rather popular resort. There is a reserved tract of 1,700 acres of land occupied by Indians, all of which claim to be descendants of Pocahontas. I spent several hours among them this forenoon. It seems that General Magruder had all the men in the tribe capable of shouldering a musket impressed into the service. The feeble old men, wives and young squaws made a pow-wow about it, and applied to Governor Letcher for redress, which resulted in the impressed masculine being returned home. An intelligent member of the tribe told me that the rebels were in a peck of trouble about the two engineers of the railroad, both being Northern men. Afraid that the engineers might be working against their cause, they arrested them semi-occasionally, and, with a view to keep them straight, threatened to hang them, shoot them or tar and feather them, and do anything but discharge them, which they dared not do, as they could not possibly get along without them.

A conversation I heard today between two dealers in bread will throw some light on the soft bread question, which, I think, is worth revealing: —

BREAD DEALER No. 1 — I shan’t pay you this bill, sir. It a damned swindle.

BREAD DEALER No. 2 — What’s the difficulty, sir?

BREAD DEALER No. 1 — You have charged me fifteen cents per loaf, and I shall pay you only twelve cents.

No. 2 — Don’t you sell the bread at twenty-five cents per loaf?

No. 1 — Of course I do.

No. 2 — Don’t you make ten cents on every loaf ? Ain that profit enough?

No. 1 — But you pay only six cents a loaf, and sell it to me for fifteen cents, which is two hundred and fifty per cent profit, while I’m not making over one hundred per cent. I say you are a damned swindler.

No. 2 — I shall sue you.

No. 1 — Sue and be damned.

I did not stop to hear the end of the bread dispute.

It is a busy night in camp, as we move in the morning. We move in the direction of Bottom’s Bridge.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

It is refreshing to note the coolness with which the Northern Journals are arranging the future disposition of the lands and negros belonging to the people of the […..] States. The lands, they all agree, must be apportioned among Yankee settlers, the negros are to be stolen, and, as slaves, are to happy under Yankee taskmasters. With regard to the […..], we copy the scheme gravely suggested by the editor of the New York Post. He says:

At convenient points lay out tracts from the forfeited lands, of 40,000 acres each. Lay out these tracts in squares, as near as may be, and let each of these tracts be the homestead of a body of a thousand men — say a regiment of infantry, battery of artillery and a squadron of cavalry.

At each angle of the square of eight miles — which would be about the size of a 40,000 acre tract — I would place a redoubt with a few guns. In the centre place a fort large enough to need a garrison of a thousand men. Here could be the Quartermaster’s stores, the shop, etc. — in fact, the village of the homestead.

I would divide the tract into forty acre farms, as near as might be. On them the soldiers could work when off drill, and raise crops, with the aid of free negros or otherwise — these negros being in a state of apprenticeship. Such troops would need little pay; they could nearly maintain themselves. They could be made, by the effect of military discipline, to treat the apprentices kindly and to work regularly, and they could help collect the war tax.

I would cover the revolted States with a chequer-work of these fortified homesteads — let the white squares on a chequer-board represent vacant lands – the black the fortified ones. The loyal whites could occupy the vacant lands.

As to lands, that is certainly explicit enough. And the following editorial from the Boston Pilot is equally explicit with regard to the fate which the Yankees have in store for such negros as may fall into their hands.

What should be ultimately done with the seized blacks? They cannot be restored to their first owners, for they are traitors; if they be allowed their freedom they will be worse than a plague of locusts to the Free States; if they be not taken care of they will suffer from every description of want, for they have never known how to provide for their own necessities; if they be taken from the South, the cotton, the tobacco, the rice, the fruit and the sugar of the South will disappear, to the great detriment of the commerce, and, therefore, the happiness of the world; and sending them to Liberia would involve an enormous expense, which the country, at present, is unable to bear. Thus, the case has a formidable difficulty at every side of it. But something must be done. Before six months there will be scores of thousands of negro contrabands on our hands. What is best thing to be done with them? It is plain that the negro is better off, both in regard to himself and to the whites, in bondage, than in any other state. Nature has intended him to be the slave of the white man, and nothing else. Every feature of his mind, of his disposition, and of his person, indicate this. In all he is, he is nature’s work as completely as the white man is. Philanthropy is a fine virtue, but it is a vice when it would subvert the decrees of Nature, which is another term for Law; and it is as clear as anything on which the sun shines, that the servile condition is the most happy in which the black can be. There is no sense in objecting to this fact; Nature has made it, and history is the witness. To bondage, therefore, the contraband negros should be restored. Expediency requires this. Humanity — a generous regard for the blacks themselves — demands it with a loud voice. Bondage is their natural position. In it they were as happy as they could be before the rebellion commenced; in it they would be happy again. To bondage, therefore, they should be restored. But who should be their masters? Not their old ones, for they are traitors. They therefore, should have new masters. Who they should be it is too soon yet to suggest. A little time will tell. But this much is certain: that the most natural and most expedient thing for all parties to be done with the contraband blacks is to restore them to bondage, and to bondage in their native country — the South.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

RICHMOND, May 20. — The Lynchburg Virginia of today says that about 5000 of the enemy were caught on Sunday between the forces of Generals HETH and MARSHALL, near the narrows of New river, in Giles county, Va. The Yankee troops, seeing their predicament, broke and fled without making a fight. Eighteen hundred prisoners were captured. They surrendered their arms, and were then released on parole.

It is believed that the news is confirmed by official despatches which were received at the War Office this afternoon.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

CORINTH, MISS., May 19. — A general order of General BEAUREGARD was read at the head of every regiment of the army, at dress parade, today. The order includes an atrocious proclamation, dated May 15, and addressed to the ladies of New Orleans, by BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, the Massachusetts General commanding the Yankee forces in that city. General BEAUREGARD adjures our troops to avenge the insult which BUTLER has offered to their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, in the brutal threat that,

‘If any female shall, by word, gesture or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town.’

General BEAUREGARD’S order, after reciting the proclamation of BUTLER, closes as follows:

‘MEN OF THE SOUTH! Shall our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, be thus outraged by the ruffianly soldiers of the North, to whom is given the right to treat, at their pleasure, the ladies of the South as common harlots?’

‘Arouse, friends! Drive back from our soil these infamous invaders of our homes, and disturbers of our family ties!’

A heavy skirmish took place last Saturday evening on the Purdy Road, between a portion of General SMITH’S command and the Yankees under SHERMAN. Our loss was six killed and wounded. The enemy’s loss is not known. The enemy is busily entrenching on our right, along the Monterey Road, two and a half miles from Corinth. It is said that he is erecting mortar batteries. General MITCHELL’S column from Huntsville is reported to be this side of Florence, Alabama, marching towards Pittsburg Landing. It is also reported that the enemy cavalry are within nine miles of Pocahontas, which is on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Yankee prisoners say that the men of their army dread our falling back more than a battle, as they cannot stand the climate further South. They hope to starve us out by a long siege, and thus compel us to surrender. A skirmish took place at 1 o’clock this morning, in which a number of Yankees were killed and wounded. Another skirmish took place this afternoon on Bridge Creek, a mile and a half from our lines. Several of the enemy were killed; no loss on our side. FORREST’S cavalry, KENNEDY’S Louisiana, and BENTON’S Mississippi regiments displayed great gallantry.

The New Orleans Crescent has been suppressed by the Yankees because the proprietor, J. O. NIXON, is in the Confederate service, as Lieutenant Colonel of SCOTT’S Cavalry Regiment.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

If there be any man in these Southern States who, until now, has clung to the belief that there can be any safety for himself, mercy for his people, or honor for his household, until, by the force of arms, we have freed our soil from invasion and spread terror and desolation over the land of our enemies, let him read the edict of the brute, who, by virtue of the shotted guns of his frigates and the bayonets of his hirelings, rules today over the hapless city of New Orleans.

In Baltimore, in St. Louis and in Nashville, where the cunning invaders hoped, by cloaking for a time, their real intentions, to gain supporters among the timid and unwary, they have forborne to violate, publicly and avowedly, the usages of civilized warfare. Yet, even in those wretched cities, freedom of speech and of the press is at an end; men and women are immured in distant dungeons, without warrant or chance of appeal; the spy system, with all its hateful features, has been inaugurated; and an irresponsible military despot holds command over the fortunes, liberties and lives of the citizens. But in the great Crescent City, where the smoking ashes of the coveted cotton taught the victorious enemy that he had neither plunder or sympathy to expect, he has thrown off the mask, and stands forth the ruffian that he is.

Vie Victis. So let is be. The cry of ‘Booty and Beauty’ was once before raised in vain by an enemy at New Orleans, and now, again, it has been raised too soon. We have faith that the people of the Southwest will now rise up as one man, to rid themselves of the polluting presence of their foe. We have faith that there are still strong arms and brave hearts in New Orleans, who can and will prevent the deeds, the bare threat of which has stamped its author with undying infamy.

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May 21, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

THE PANORAMA at Hibernian Hall last night drew a crowded house. It consists of three parts: Views of Constantinople, the Turtle Ram Fight at the Passes of the Mississippi, and the Panic at Manassas. The first is a series of views, more happily selected for panoramic effect, than probably any other which could have been chosen, embracing the course of the Bosphorous from the Euxine to the Propontis, and combining a variety of landscape and marine scenery, and views from the Oriental Kiosk to the ruins of the Byzantium period, resembling more some vision of enchantment than a reality. While this part of the Panorama has been highly admired as a work of taste and artistic skill, the others have been even more commended for other merits. Military men pronounce the picture of the Panic at Manassas a most successful representation of a battle, while the actors in the battle of the 21st of July, and the subsequent visitors of the battlefield, unite in praising the faithfulness of the picture, both as a landscape and as exhibiting the movements of the troops on that memorable day.

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May 20, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

RICHMOND, Saturday, May 17.

Truth is hard to tote. No man has been strong enough to bring it from DruryBluff — eight miles off. This much is certain, the Yankee fleet went off, more or less damaged, giving us time to finish the second line of obstructions, and to mount a 120-pounder rifle, with which we hope to pierce the Monitor. When the gunboats return in stronger force, matters will be so far advanced that it is believed, even should we be shelled out of our works, it will take three weeks to remove the barricades — supposing our riflemen to let the work go on without molestation. Hence we feel pretty safe, so far as the river is concerned.

Our army is now on this side of the Chickahominy, Johnston’s headquarters being only five or six miles from town. McClellan’s aim will be to renew his recollections of Sebastopol in a regular siege, and to starve us out by cutting off our supplies by flank movements upon the railroads at Weldon and Gordonsville. We ask nothing better. To cut us off at either of these points he will have to fight, and that is what he is least anxious to do. His experience at Williamsburg, with thirty thousand against eight thousand hungry and exhausted rebels, has taught him a thing or two. His braggart despatches prove that he is an untruthful swaggerer and a humbug. He is afraid to fight. Johnston offered him battle for a whole week and tried his best to bring it on, but the Young Napoleon refused to come to the scratch. Stuart is now worrying him with cavalry and horse artillery. A writer to a Philadelphia paper states that it was designed that McDowell should join McClellan, but the rebels were found in such force in the valley that this plan was abandoned.

A friend who was in the fight at Williamsburg gives me some interesting items. He says that when our men were ordered back to the fight, he saw for the first time what Russell so often speaks of, the […..] of battle in their faces. The greeting given them by the ladies as they went at double-quick through the town, roused them to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. The fight was conducted entirely by Longstreet, who sat with a shawl over his shoulders to protect him from the rain, as cool and calm as a May morning. Johnston was not far off, watching, but not interfering. He was particularly pleased that there were no stragglers; only the wounded came off the field. At one time his face darkened. ‘What, a whole regiment returning. Tell those men to go back.’ They proved to be 300 Yankee prisoners. As no correspondents are with the army, particulars are unpublished.

Johnston was so delighted with the fight that he could not restrain himself. He went off the field humming to himself. ‘I bet my money on the bob tail horse, &c.’ The army is in the finest possible spirits. Ever since the battle they have been like new men. A General has but to show himself to start them cheering. Officers and men are in good humor; they feel that confidence in each other which makes it pretty sure that when McClellan comes in contact with them he will go down. If the people were half as high hearted as the army, all would be well. There is but little doubt that we are in a better condition than we have been since the war broke out. It was said last night that the marines and sailors from the Merrimac, with volunteers from this city, were going to board the gunboats, but we hear nothing of it this morning, except in advertisements in the papers addressed to Marylanders and to persons desirous of sharing in a daring enterprise.

By going on Council Chamber Hill, which is in the heart of the city, about midway between the Capitol and the Exchange Hotel, the noise of the bombardment, last Thursday, could be plainly heard, yet the people were as quiet and unconcerned as when the war was on the borders of Maryland.

HERMES.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

Major General Hunter’s silly order relative to the abolition of slavery in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida is effectually squelched. The President has issued his proclamation, which not only settles this particular case, but defines the position of the administration on this important point and on the compensation principle of his special message of March last.

After the unwavering line of policy of the President, from the firing of the first gun at Fort Sumter till the present day, we have had no reason to expect any other course; and now, that the rebuke administered to General Fremont has been repeated, even more emphatically, to General Hunter, the public will be rejoiced that we have so conservative a statesman at the helm of the nation, and one who is determined to adhere to the rights of the respective States as guaranteed by the constitution.

The proclamation, which we publish elsewhere, is manifestly the most important State paper issued since the outbreak of the rebellion. It is the result of a Cabinet council held yesterday after the return of Messrs. Seward, Welles and Bates from General McClellan’s headquarters, and in that view is clearly the deliberate and declared policy of the administration, although it bears the special marks of Mr. Lincoln’s own work. All opposition from any particular member of the Cabinet, and all outside pressure from the radicals of Congress or of the press, have been crushed out by the President, and hereafter we may expect to escape the unwarrantable and ridiculous efforts of military generals to interfere with the prerogatives of the civil power in attempting to make political capital out of the poor contrabands.

It was time for Mr. Lincoln to settle this matter, and place the question where the patriot and the true lover of the constitution and the country can reach it and sustain his action against the assaults of the radical abolitionists and Jacobins who have been upheaved by the troubles of the republic. Now, with the rights of the South thus clearly defined; with our splendid army in the field, led by such conservative and patriotic soldiers as McClellan, Halleck and Burnside, and with our fleets commanded by such gallant sailors as DuPont, Farragut and Foote, the President, by his firm and patriotic course, will bring the nation safely and splendidly out of the troubles into which it has been plunged by the abolitionists of the North and secessionists of the South. We breathe freer and deeper.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

A PROCLAMATION.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Whereas, there appears in the public prints what purports to be a proclamation of Major General Hunter, in the words and figures following, to wit: —

GENERAL ORDERS — NO. 11

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

HILTON HEAD, S. C., May 9, 1862.

The three States of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, comprising the Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three States — Georgia, South Carolina and Florida — heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.

Official. DAVID HUNTER.

Major General Commanding.

ED. W. SMITH, Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

And, where as, the same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding,

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare that the government of the United States had no knowledge or belief of an intention on the part of General Hunter to issue such a proclamation, nor had it yet any authentic information that the document is genuine; and, further, that neither General Hunter nor any other commander or person has been authorized by the government of the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any State free, and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such declaration.

I further make known that whether, it be competent for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to declare the slaves of any State or States free, and whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field. These are totally different questions from those of policy regulations in armies and camps.

On the 6th of March last, by a special message, I recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be substantially as follows: —

Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State, in its discretion, compensation for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.

The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people most immediately interested in the subject matter. To the people of these States I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue. I beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You cannot, if you should, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of heaven, not rending or wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by one effort in all past times as in the Providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this 19th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President — Wm. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

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May 20, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

THE CRISIS ON THE JAMES RIVER

INTERESTING FROM THE NORTH.

PETERSBURG, May 19. — Eighteen of the Monitor crew came ashore at City Point, on the James River, at three o’s this afternoon. They were surprised by our pickets and ordered to surrender. Nine of them, including four officers, laid down their arms. The others rushed to their small boat and pulled for the Monitor. Eight of the fugitives were killed, and the other had his arm shot off. The Monitor opened fire with her heavy guns upon our men, and prevented the capture of the boat and unarmed survivor. The nine prisoners captured reached here about half-past six o’clock, and marched, surrounded by a great crowd, through Sycamore street to Gen. HUGER’S Headquarters. One of the captured officers was a Paymaster, and the other three Midshipmen. None of the Confederates were hurt.

Late Northern papers report that JEFF. THOMPSON’S cotton-clad fleet had sunk the Yankee gunboats Mound city and Cincinnati. The Benton (flagship of Commodore FOOTE) was also badly damaged.

The Yankees acknowledge the loss of 1000 killed, 2500 wounded, and 600 prisoners at Williamsburg.

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May 20, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

From a Mr. HAESLOOP, whose arrival from the LINCOLN fleet on Sunday we mentioned in yesterday’s issue, we learn that the Mary Theresa, the vessel on which he had taken passage from Nassau, sailed from that port, with an assorted cargo, consisting of salt, salts, quinine, tea, coffee, boots and shoes, codfish, cheese, &.c, &c., on the 2d of May, and was captured on the 10th, while becalmed, by the LINCOLN gunboat Unadila, Commander COLLINS. The Captain and crew were, on the following morning, sent to New York, in their own vessel, under charge of an armed prize crew.

HAESLOOP, having claimed to be the subject of a foreign power, was sent to Port Royal to obtain the permission of Commodore DUPONT to be sent ashore. Mr. HAESLOOP states that the Commodore, with whom he had a personal interview, readily assented to his claim, and agreed to land him wherever he chose. After consultation, it was thought best to return to the blockading fleet off Charleston, and enter the port by flag of truce.

Shortly after sunrise, on Sunday morning, the Alabama, on board of which he was, anchored off Dewees’ Island, and hoisted a flag of truce. After waiting for some time, and seeing no response from the shore a small boat was lowered, and with HAESLOOP, two officers and four seamen, the boat, with a flag of truce, rowed towards the shore. Having proceeded about half way, and being within easy gunshot of the shore batteries, and still seeing no response to their flag of truce, the seamen rested on their oars for about fifteen minutes, after which they again pulled towards shore. On approaching the land, however, they were suddenly brought to by a cannon ball, which passed amidships over the boat, and struck the water a few yards beyond. A small boat was then sent out to meet the stranger, and after the usual formalities, Mr. H. was landed on Sullivan’s Island, and finally reached Charleston, as was reported yesterday.

Mr. HAESLOOP states that the Yankee fleet receives the Charleston and other daily regularly, generally before they are two days old. The officers and crews generally were in ecstasies at the destruction of the Virginia— Merrimac — and the blowing up of the Norfolk Navy Yard. They were in continual dread that the Merrimac might pay them an unexpected visit, and hence were delighted to learn that no further apprehensions from so formidable an enemy need be entertained.

The arrival of the Planter was hailed by the blockaders. The Planter was immediately sent to Port Royal, where she slipped her moorings from Southern wharf. Mr. HAESLOOP says the Planter had on board fifteen negro men and a number of women and children. Commodore DUPONT stated that he was heartily sick and tired of negros; that they were a filthy, lazy race, and that he would most cheerfully deliver them to their lawful owners, if the proper application were made. On Friday, the 16th, five deserters from Fort Sumter reached Port Royal.

Mr. HAESLOOP states that a very large number of negros are impressed in the vicinity of Port Royal, by General HUNTER, that they were tasked, and compelled to perform their task more promptly and with much more rigidity than when under the careful and protecting rule of their legitimate owners.

Mr. HAESLOOP had heard nothing definite in reference to an attack upon Charleston, but from the general appearance and indication of things, his impression is — especially since the destruction of the Merrimac — that their iron-clad gunboats will soon attack our forts.

The blockading force on Sunday, consisted of the following vessels: Flag ship Augusta, the Alabama, the gunboats Pocahontas, Unadila, Ottowa, the steamers Flambeau, Bienville, Keystone State and James Adger. Sailing vessels: Onward, Blunt, Roeback, Restless and two ships off the Bar, names unknown. Total, 15. A gunboat, name unknown, arrived from the Burnside expedition on Saturday morning.

The crew of the schooner C. C. Pinckney, as well as the crew of the schooner Flash, were sent to New York on the steamer Massachusetts. The Pinckney, with her owner, Mr. KOPAL, was captured bound out. The Flash was taken while aground, as previously reported. In addition to the above two, the schooners Guide, Wave, Lucas, Harriet Lownds, and the Mary Theresa, on board of which Mr. HAESLOOP was, are known to have been captured.

The following are the officers of the steamer Alabama:

Commander — Lanier.

1st Lieutenant — West.

Acting Masters — Messrs. Dennis, Taylor and Lee.

Engineers — H. C. Maxson, chief; E. C. Berryman, 1st assistant; B. Taylor (formerly of the Cecile) 2d assistant; L. J. Blanchard, 3d assistant.

Masters Mates — N. C. Smith, T. Tice, and G. W. Worth.

The Pocahontas is officered as follows:

Commander — Balch.

1st Lieut. and Executive Officer — Mahon.

Acting Masters — L. Phoenix, E. Baker, T. Sims, McGlensey.

Surgeon — Rhodes.

Chief Engineer — Jas. M. Adams.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

THE PAMUNKEY RIVER EXPEDITION.

Our Army Correspondence.

WHITE HOUSE, Va., May 17 — Midnight.

Captain Romaine B. Ayres, of the Fifth artillery, who fought Sherman’s battery so splendidly at Bull run, now attached to General Smith’s division as Chief of Artillery, has been absent today on a gunboat expedition. He proceeded twenty miles up the stream and forced the rebels to burn all the shipping on the York river that they had not previously destroyed. He placed two of his rifled Parrott guns upon the Alice Lowe, and also two companies of the Eighth regular infantry, armed with muskets. Captain Murray, of the Sebago, and Captain Nicholson, of the Marblehead, accompanied Captain Ayres in another gunboat. They left White House at eight o’clock and proceeded slowly up the narrow river, at times brushing the tree boughs and often pressing so close to the brink that one could almost leap ashore.

The high bluffs were thickly wooded, and the adventurers looked anxiously into the recesses of the leaves, scarcely persuading themselves that concealed foes were not looking down upon them. The negroes came down by couples and families to make grimaces and gestures of welcome. The Captain says that they reminded him of the Mohave Indians, who used to act in a like apish manner when he made his exploration of the Colorado river.

He saw few white people, and in a case or two the inhabitants fled from their houses at the approach of the gunboats. Twelve miles above they found the channel obstructed by large trees that had been felled from opposite sides of the river, so that their boughed tops met in the middle. After investigating the place a while, they concluded to run down the obstructions, and putting on a full head of steam passed them in fine style, crushing the boughs to splinters and bending the piles in such a direction that they could not again impede navigation. They met similar obstructions at divers points, but soon displaced them and finally came to passages or narrows, where the banks were so close that the boat could not turn in the channel. The stream widened into pools, however, and at times they could see stretches of country so beautiful in waving grain, gently sloping meadow, farmhouses and picturesque hovels, that Captain Ayres describes them as a man weep for very admiration. Some of the residences were sumptuous, and the country was like a new world to the soldiers. At three o’clock they reached a point twenty miles from White House, where a […..] of sunken canal boats effectually stopped the channel. In the distance a number of rebel steamers and schooners could be seen, with rebel soldiers drawn up in line of battle order on the high bluffs. As the canal boats had been filled with stones, it was of course an impossible matter to raise or remove them. The Captain accordingly resolved to set his infantry ashore, and prepared to cover their advance with his rifled field pieces.

The men were disembarked on the east side of the river while the rebel forces occupied the west side. The little party commenced their march and matters were beginning to look interesting, when, with a flash of blue smoke, a hollow explosion and a burst of flame, the rebel craft were ignited and so far enveloped in fire and cloud that there was evidently no salvation for them. At the same time the rebel soliders ran off without firing a shot. More men counted two large steamboats and about twenty schooners, all of which were totally destroyed. This ends the career of the rebel vessels upon the York and Pamunkey rivers. An expedition up the Mattapony river might result in a like advantageous manner.

The gunboats remained below the boom about one hour, when their troops rejoined them and they prepared to return. A small force of cavalry was seen about half way down; but they were not molested, and they did not trouble us and where only half visible in the woods. The expedition reached White House at Nine o’clock, and Captain Ayres was made the recipient of much encomium from his friends in the grand army. The expedition has been much talked of in camps tonight.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,

SAVANNAH RIVER, April 11, 1862.

SIR — I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command in connection with the investment and reduction of Fort Pulaski.

The plan of operations assigned to me comprised the erection of batteries on the Savannah river, to cut off communication between the fort and the city of Savannah, from which supplies, ammunition and men were drawn, and to establish batteries on the islands adjacent to the fort, against the gorge and left flank, with which, in conjunction with the batteries on Tybee Island, the fort could be reduced.

The expedition for these purposes was fitted out at Port Royal and consisted of a detachment of the Third Rhode Island artillery, a detachment of the Volunteer Engineers, a battalion of the Eighth Maine regiment Volunteers, the Sixth regiment Connecticut Volunteers, the Forty-eighth New York Volunteers and a full supply of heavy ordnance and intrenching tools.

A full reconnoissance and report had previously been made by Lieutenant J. J. Wilson, topographical engineers, of the water communications with the Savannah river, by which it was developed that the rebels had sunk the hulk of a brig, securely fixed in its position by means of heavy piles, in what is known as “Walls’ cut,” an artificial channel connecting Wright river (one of the outlets of the Savannah) with Bull river which last, by its connection, forms a direct communication with the harbor of Port Royal, thus serving as a thoroughfare between that harbor and Savannah.

The removal of the hulk was the first thing to be accomplished, and was entrusted to Major O. T. Beare, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers who, with the aid of a company of the Volunteer Engineers, and by means of a mechanical appliances suggested by his own ingenuity, succeeded, after seven days of unremitting night labor, and in close proximity to the rebel forces, in removing the piles and hulks from the channel, so as to admit of the passage of gunboats and light draft steamers.

This being accomplished, the expedition proceeded to the north end of Dawfuskie Island, at which point a camp and depot were established for operations in the Savannah. Reconnoissances for suitable locations for the batteries were made, under the superintendence of Captain and Acting Brigadier General Gilmore, during which the telegraphic communication between Fort Pulaski and Savannah was cut, and the wires, both land and submarine, removed for the distance of about one mile.

Venus Point, on Jones Island, on the north side of the Savannah, and the upper end of Long Island, in the Savannah river, were recommended as the most feasible positions to be occupied.

These islands, as well as all others, in the river, are merely deposits of soft mud on sand shoals, always covered at high tide and overgrown with dank grasses.

The occupations of points so unfavorable for the erection of batteries was rendered still more difficult by the presence in the Savannah of a fleet of rebel gunboats, constantly passing and always on the alert.

To have flatted the ordnance in the flat boats in which it had been placed into the Savannah river would have exposed it to capture by the gunboats; to move it over the swamps seemed almost impossible, while at the same time it would be constantly exposed to view from the river. The alternative was adopted of moving the armament of one battery by hand at night, on shifting tramways across Jones Island, and it was accomplished on the night of the 11th of February. A drenching storm added to the difficulties, the men often sinking to their waists in the marsh, and the guns sometimes slipping from the tramways. By morning the guns were in position on the river, and the next day resisted, with unfinished platforms and without cover, an attack from the rebel gunboats, disabling them and driving them off. Three days after another battery was erected on Bird Island, in the Savannah, under cover of the battery on Jones Island. Bird Island was selected in preference to the upper end of Long Island, as affording a more uninterrupted command of the south channel of the river. Since the erection of the batteries the works have been completed on both islands — the one on Jones Island being called Fort Vulcan, and that on bird Island, Battery Hamilton; and although the material of which they are composed (mud highly saturated with water) is of the most unfavorable description, they are both most creditable specimens of field works, and evidence of the great labor and perseverance of the troops under most trying circumstance — the fatigue parties always standing in water twenty-four hours. The positions selected for batteries to aid in the reduction of the fort were the lower end of Long island and the south side of Turtle Island.

As these two points were directly under the fire of the fort, it was deemed advisable to delay the erection of the batteries until those on Tybee Island were ready to open. Hence it was not until the night before the bombardment commenced that they were thrown up. The intrenchments were completed; but before the guns were all in position the fort surrendered unconditionally.

The mortar battery on Long Island did good execution.

In reporting the results accomplished, I have to refer to the services rendered by the staff of General Sherman, without whom the work could not have been performed. These officers were captain and Acting Brigadier General Gilmore, Chief Engineer; Captain John Hamilton, Chief of Artillery; Lieutenant J. H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers; Lieutenant Porter, Ordnance corps, and Lieutenant O’Rorke, Engineer Corps. Hesitating at no amount of exposure of fatigue, they succeeded by their individual examples in inspiring the men with that energy and zeal which could alone have led them to accomplish the arduous labor required. I am also greatly indebted to the service of Captain Sear , of the Volunteer Engineers, and to Captain J. H. Libenau, Assistant Adjutant General. The accompany sketch exhibits the positions of the batteries.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE,

Brigadier General commanding.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

Our Army Correspondence.

WHITE HOUSE,

TWENTY THREE MILES EAST OF RICHMOND, May 18, 1862.

Two very important reconnoissances were made yesterday from this point. The first was under command of Colonel Grigg, of Pennsylvania, with three regiments of infantry and some light artillery. They proceeded along the Richmond road, south of the Richmond and York river Railroad, to the point where that road crosses the Chickahominy river, at Bottom’s Bridge, which is only twelve miles from Richmond. During the last few miles they encountered and drove back the cavalry pickets of the enemy, who always retired with the utmost precipitation. After we had crossed Bottom’s Bridge the rebels, who appeared to be in force on the west side, began to open fire from artillery on our troops. The latter however, were kept out of range, and no one was hurt. The enemy, after throwing about a dozen shells, ceased firing, and our troops returned to camp.

The other reconnoissance was made by Major Williard and Captain James Steel, with about two hundred picked men from the regular infantry and Sturgis’ Rifles and a section of Ayres’ battery of artillery. This expedition proceeded up the Pamunky river in two large gunboats — the Seth Lowe and Curritick. The object of this movement was to ascertain the condition of the river and its capacities for navigation, and also the position of the enemy, as well as to destroy a large amount of ordnance, military stores and forage, which it was known he had collected. After proceeding a few miles up the river the expedition encountered some obstacles in the shape of large trees cut down on each side of the stream, their upper branches being interlaced together in the middle. The gunboats pushed their way through these without difficulty. Had the river been narrower, however, or had the trees been longer, or had they been disposed across the stream with more art, they might have proved a very serious obstacle.

The scenery all along the Pamunkey, from its junction with the York river to the point to which these gunboats ascended, is magnificent. Indeed, I have seldom, if every seen anything to equal it. The banks are usually high. In some places, quite frequently, too, these banks form bluffs from fifty to one hundred feet high. In others they slope gradually down to the water’s edge. The river is comparatively narrow, yet wide enough and deep enough of the passage of any of our vessels. Its banks are beautified with innumerable cottages and buildings of more ambitious pretensions, each one surrounded by lawns and grounds beautifully laid out and each one, doubtless, inhabited by people of comparative refinement, who must have sense enough to deplore the infatuation which has brought the scourge of war to their doors.

The gunboats having ascended the Pamunkey river twenty miles from here, to a point called Bassett’s Landing within fifteen miles of Richmond, without seeing any signs of the enemy, landed the troops there. The latter then marched two miles towards Richmond, the mounted pickets of the enemy, as was the case with the other reconnoissance, retiring before them.

I should have stated that, on reaching Bassett’s Landing, it was found that the enemy had already destroyed twenty schooners, and a large sound steamer called the Logan, which were lying a short distance above. It was ascertained that these vessels contained twenty thousand bushels of corn and other stores, all of which, with the vessels themselves, the rebels burned and abandoned. The vessels were wrapped in flames when our men arrived.

All along the banks of the river were seen herds of cattle and sheep, which had been collected by the rebels and driven thus far in their retreat from Yorktown.

The results of these reconnoissances show that the road and water approaches to Richmond are open to within twelve or fifteen miles of that city, and that the enemy is in force beyond those points. The state of the roads is such that it will require some days to get the army up to those points. Ever since last Monday, now a week ago, the army has been moving from the neighborhood of West Point to this place, a distance of only about twenty miles. Yet steady progress has been made on each day. The nature of the soil is such that it is found necessary to construct military roads nearly the entire distance in order to transport the artillery and baggage wagons. This work has bee admirably performed by the engineer corps of General Daniel P. Woodbury, whose labors have been incessant. There are some spots in the roads, over swamps and ravines, where a mile a day is considered good progress. Let those who feel impatient at our slow progress toward Richmond remember this and be content.,

The importance of having the York river and its continuation, the Pamunkey, in our possession, cannot be too highly estimated. By this means we have direct water communication from this point to Baltimore, which city is distant only twenty hours’ sail, while fortress Monroe can be reached from here in eight hours. Thus we can have everything needed brought to us very rapidly by water.

The whole army is in fine spirits and eager to be led on. The troops idolize General McClellan, and will fight for him like heroes. The General himself is incessantly occupied with his numerous staff in making the necessary arrangements for the movements of such an immense army as this.

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May 20, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)

FRIDAY, May 9.

I was roused yesterday afternoon from the confused state induced by quinine, by the sound of heavy firing almost in our immediate vicinity. It was not, however, until two hours after, that I learned, and then but partially, what was going on. A cavalry man stopped in the street, reported that the enemy were advancing in line by every road along our entire front. Skirmishing was taking place very nearly up to our entrenchments, within two hundred yards of which a confederate soldier was killed. Soon I saw some of the results of the skirmish, in the passage of ambulances containing the wounded, the groans of one or two of whom made the heart sick. Then came the news that our whole army had deployed a mile beyond our fortifications, and were to lay upon their arms all night. About nine o’clock, the deep boom of three of our own heavy 24 pounders — signals doubtless understood by our Generals, but unintelligible to us — seemed to give notice that the opening of the solemn tragedy could not be far off. We all retired to rest under the impression that battle would be joined today. Through the night I was often awakened from feverish slumbers by the clatter of passing cavalry, or the march hither and thither of infantry; and long after midnight the knock of a messenger, who brought an order to an officer lodging in the building, one poor chamber of which I occupy, made me doubly sure that on the morrow, indisposed as I was, I should be called upon to sally forth in order to witness the successful determination by Beauregard and his noble associates of the western campaign.

I opened my eyes, at a late hour this morning, upon a scene of perfect quiet. The report is that the Yankees have retired — an officer tells me, though I can scarcely believe it — leaving their tents behind them. Looking through the one window of my domicile, which, partially shaded by a locust tree, gives upon a small yard enclosed by a dilapidated fence, I see nothing more warlike than a half-starved horse grazing upon the scanty grass of the enclosure. Beyond is a space of unappropriated ground dotted with stumps, and across which not a soul is moving; the whole brief vista being closed by the line of woods which marks the boundaries of the town in this direction. It is in the depths of those woods that the interest now concentrates. There lies, on hill and slope, in valley, and by the side of numerous creeks, amid swamps and quagmires, the gallant army on which the cause of the South in the West now depends. Still further on in their mysterious recesses, on the neutral ground between the opposing forces, are enacted every day scenes which, in the bulletins of the time, are denominated trivial skirmishes, but which, as the slow and uncertain reports of them reach the various parts of the Confederacy, will put an end forever to the peace of many a now happy and hopeful home! I confess I have not yet been able, and never will be, I fear, to put considerations like these altogether aside. With every engagement that I hear of, there rises before me the vision of some tearful mother or sister; and I see, with the distinctness that rivals the hallucination of the opium eater, the blanched lips of maidens and wives, over whose future shall henceforth rest — in some cases never to pass away except with life — the sombre shadow of death! These are thoughts, however, which tend rather to nerve than to weaken the arm of a lover of one’s country. He who most vividly realizes the woes of his land, will strike the hardest to end, or at least to avenge them. There is truth, in a wider sense, that the poet intended it, in Baily’s popular song:

Go seek the foremost rank

In danger’s dark career,

Be sure the hand most daring found

Has wiped away a tear!

Since the above was written, information has been brought me which explains the stampede of the Yankees this morning — a stampede so astounding in the face of their late hold, though cautious demonstrations, that I was inclined at first to doubt it, and then to react it as a ruse. But it turns out to be a glorious fact. Our cavalry, under Jackson, is said to have got behind the invading army, crossed the Tennessee River, captured two hundred of their troopers, and destroyed Paducah, together with stores to the value of six millions of dollars.

Still later events show that my inexperience, in connection with the confinement which my indisposition imposes, has led me to misinterpret the quiet of the morning. It was the silence before the storm. The enemy are retreating towards the river, and the Confederates are in full pursuit. I hear the roll of the musketry and the thunder of the cannon, with an angry impatience at my necessitated inactivity. But I can procure no horse, and must await here the developments of the day. Intelligence just come in, says that our army is carrying all before it. Tomorrow I hope to announce you a splendid victory.

KAPPA.

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May 20, 1862, The New York Herald

The proclamation of the President, which we publish today, relative to the military order of General Hunter, declaring the slaves in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida free, is positive in its abrogation of the aforesaid foolish order, as we announced a day or two ago that it would be as soon as it appeared. Mr. Lincoln affirms that the government had no knowledge of the intention of General Hunter to issue any such order; that neither he nor any other officer had authority to promulgate such a document, and that General Hunter proclamation, whether genuine of false, is altogether void. The President refers to his Message of the 6th of March last, in which he proposed to Congress the adoption of a measure offering, on the part of the government, to co-operate with any State wishing for a gradual abolishment of slavery, and he asks the earnest consideration of the people of those States most interested. Beyond this conservative and just idea the President does not go.

Our special correspondence from General McClellan’s army today furnishes some very interesting particulars of the late naval movements near Richmond, which we commend to the attention of our readers. We give elsewhere a map of the scene of General McClellan’s operations on the peninsula in his advance on the rebel capital.

A despatch from General Wool’s division, dated yesterday, says that Suffolk was occupied by his forces. The place was found nearly deserted by the rebels. Everything at Norfolk goes on quietly. Business is being resumed there gradually.

The report of General Viele, relative to the works erected by the Union troops above Fort Pulaski, shows in a very marked manner what our volunteers, who have been taken from the pulpit, the counter, the counting house, the farm and the workshop, are capable of doing in erecting out of mud works of such sufficient strength as to cut off all communication between the rebels at Savannah and the garrison of that fort.

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May 20, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)

CORINTH, Wednesday, May 7.

At last I may regard myself as properly naturalized in the wilds of Mississippi, having received my certificate of citizenship in the shape of one of the intermittent fevers of the country. Stretched upon a pallet, from which I look up to a roof of naked rafters, tapestried with cobwebs, or down upon a floor, whereon the dust lies to the depth of an eighth of an inch in thickness, and every crevice of which is peopled with whole families of cockroaches, that, on the approach of night, sally forth and promenade my chamber in all directions; with nerves unstrung and quinine humming like a swarm of wasps in my ears; with the vivid recollection of yesterday’s chill upon me, and the prospect of another ere I shall be twelve hours older; turning and twisting myself in every way in order that I may write with as little discomfort as possible — under these circumstances, I think I may venture to throw myself upon the indulgence of your readers, and to entreat them, if I should be more than usually dull in my bulletin today, to blame my sickness and its […..],rather than my wit.

There is but little matter with which I can eke out a letter. Topics of interest, indeed, might be found in the scenes which I daily witness at Corinth, but I am at present too much out of sorts to do any one of them justice. At the Ordnance Office, presided over by Captain Champneys, of the staff of General Polk, I have had the pleasure of meeting many South Carolina gentlemen, of whom I hope ere long to have many pleasant things to say. There I shook hands not long ago with Captain Joseph Carr, who, having done good service in Missouri in the army of Price, will act in the present campaign as volunteer aid to General Trapier.

A visit a few nights ago to the headquarters of General Beauregard, was a pleasant episode in the hardships of my present life. In an ante-room I found no less a person than the Prince Camille de Polignac, presiding at the piano while waltzes were going on, with none the less spirit, because no crinoline was present. After a while refreshments were brought in, among which the company were astonished by the appearance of that rarest of articles — ice!

In all these gatherings, however, whether for pleasure or business, the one topic of conversation is ‘war, dreadful war!’ and the theme is discussed in all its bearings with as many lights thrown upon it as there are luminaries to reflect them. Yet, I am astonished to find, even at the headquarters of various Generals, as much real or affected ignorance of the movements of the enemy as exists among those usually well-posted individuals, newspaper correspondents. For instance, I have heard it strongly contended that the enemy was making a demonstration upon Rienzi, on the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, south of us, and in the rear. This may be true, and is certainly an apparently sagacious movement on the part of the Federals; but, I apprehend, thirty-six hours will prove the undertaking to be blind, futile, and without the first element of success.

John Morgan and Col. Scott, with their respective corps of cavalry, recently made another of their brilliant dashes upon the enemy in the vicinity of Huntsville — I have forgotten the name of the place — killed about thirty, and took some three hundred and fifty prisoners, whom they permitted to go on parole, besides a considerable amount of valuable stores. Among the prisoners was a son and Aid-de-Camp of General Mitchell.

KAPPA.

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