Letter from Antelope.
[Special Correspondence of
York, Dec. 30, 1863.
York has seldom witnessed a more gay or “merry” Christmas than the
one just past. Santa Claus and Kriss Kringle were here, there and
everywhere, and money was literally poured out like water. To get into
some of the silk, jewelry, fancy, millinery and toy stores at any moment
during the whole of the day preceding, was almost an impossibility–so
crowded were they with anxious buyers–while at night, or “Christmas
Eve,” the streets presented the appearance of a carnival. The markets
were also filled to overflowing, and wagons stood for whole squares
leading therefrom, unloading their contents to the eager and joyous
crowd. The theatres, to use a popular phrase, were “crowded from pit
to ceiling,” and to all outward appearances there was nothing to
indicate but what we were blest above all other lands.
the joy and merriment were sincere beyond all doubt! Not a hollow notch
could be detected anywhere! There was no sham, no forced putting on of
gaiety, but it was deep and spontaneous. I have pondered on it much
since–pondered, sorrowed, shall I say, wept? Were we still at war with
our kindred? Had a quarter of a million been laid in the dust? Was our
hearth-stone vacant and the Angel of Destruction still abroad? The
merriment was earnest–the laugh rang loud–the hilarity was
bounding–the eye flashed brilliantly–it was not a dream!
comments of the Halifax and other journals, published in the immediate
vicinity, upon the Chesapeake affair, are scarcely so sensational in
their tone as some of the telegrams that we have received. These
journals, in the main, regret the forced release of the crew of eh
vessel, and express the hope that they may yet be brought to punishment,
though the chances for this are not considered flattering. The release
of the men was certainly a very easy affair, which gives suspicion
against the police of being in sympathy with them and their cause an air
of seeming probability. But why the need of this escape and concealment,
if, as Braine alleges, he was regularly commissioned by the Confederate
Government? He was in a neutral port and the vessel in neutral waters.
Why not then, if acting under authority, fearlessly await a trial?
letter from Halifax to one of our papers here puts a decidedly new face
upon the release of the prisoners. It says that when the Provincial
authorities heard that the Chesapeake’s men were in irons on board a
Federal vessel in the harbor, an order was at once sent on board
requesting that they be given up by 1 o’clock on the 18th. This was
refused, and the next morning ammunition was dealt out to all the forts,
the batteries manned, and the troops retained in the barracks for
instant service, if necessary. Orders were then given that no Federal
vessel of war be allowed to leave the harbor until the prisoners were
given up, which was afterward consented to, and the fleet left for
American waters. The Niagara,
it is said, when she came into the harbor of Halifax, refused to salute
Fort George, as is the custom. Whether she did on leaving is not stated.
is astonished he activity that has taken place since the seizure of the Chesapeake
first became known. The passport system against every passenger and
vessel is rigorously enforced, and certain it is that unexpected
discoveries have already been made. ->
marked “Mercer Potatoes” have been opened and found to contain
powder and caps! Barrels and casks of “Lard” were found to contain
revolvers! In the bosoms of ladies (passengers) the same indelicate
articles were found! And, altogether, there is quite an excitement over
the tremendous extent to which loyal New York has been engaged, in a sly
way, in aiding the rebels.
“Lard” revolver case
alluded to above resulted in the arrest of Mr. H. Segur, who recently
represented the Government of San Salvador at Washington. The Doctor was
just in the act of taking passage on the Geo.
Cromwell, when he was told that he was “wanted.” In his baggage
were several revolvers, as also rifle and pistol cartridges of various
sizes; there was also on his person a bill of lading for 50 tierces of
“Lard,” shipped per British bark Circassian, which tierces, on being opened, were found to conceal
several thousand navy revolvers, worth at least $20 each! The Doctor’s
wife, child and maid were with him, and on the person of each, even the
child, contraband of war was found. The Cromwell
has been taken to the Atlantic docks under orders from Washington. This
inspection of passengers and cargo of every vessel, is playing the deuce
in the way of detention, but the developments are so rich that the new
law will no doubt be rigidly adhered.
in the army is represented as going on swimmingly: the “old sojers”
are nabbing the fat bounties with a will, and one authority asserts that
“by spring, without resorting to the draft, we shall have a
magnificent army of tried veterans, numbering one million men and one
hundred thousand cavalry.”
reënlisting is going forward to a large extent is very certain. The World
reports, upon good authority, that two-thirds of Meade’s army has
accepted the bounty and furlough tendered them, and there is reason to
believe that the forces with Grant have, to a large extent, done the
same. This, it is said, is a welcome disappointment to the
Administration, as the fear was pretty general that the veteran troops
would ask their discharge at the end of their term, and thus throw the
prosecution of the war into new and untried hands.
whole army will undergo a thorough reorganization before it again snuffs
the breeze of battle. Whether or no any contingency has been provided
against an attack from Lee, while the forty thousand reënlisting
regiments are enjoying their furlough, does not appear; but if not, the
risk run is an immense one. One report says that fresh troops take their
refusal of the Confederate authorities to treat with Butler was pretty
clearly foreshadowed by me a few days back. They adhere unflinchingly to
their determination with reference to the Negro troops, and refuse
either to receive a flag of truce from Butler or negotiate with him. The
Tribune, in speaking of the refusal, says: “As they have now fully
taken their position, it may be that our Government will stop throwing
grass and see what virtue there may be in stones.”
MACON DAILY TELEGRAPH (GA)
The Question of Questions.
Congress manifests its chief concern about swelling the army, every man
who will take the trouble to inquire into facts, can easily satisfy
himself that the real, vital question turns upon our ability to supply
the army. The difficulties are two-fold and exceedingly threatening in
their character. The first difficulty is in the scanty supply of food in
the country, and the second, which is perhaps even still more
[unsavory?] in its character, is the insufficient and failing means of
transportation. The railroads and their motive power and rolling stock
are giving out, at a time when the great bulk of our army supplies have
to be carried vast distances. It is possible a final breakdown might be
averted altogether or postponed by a strengthening [of] the repair
forces of the roads and their work-shops, but the railroads are now
busy, apparently without effect, in endeavoring to save even their present
force from conscription. If they fail to do it, the story will be short
with their lines of roads, and if they fail to get sufficient force in
their machine shops to keep repairs better than they have done, the tale
will not be much longer.
Railroads of the country, which ought to be its great element of
defensive strength, will then be useful only to the enemy. The
Confederate authorities may rely upon it that when our roads cease to be
in running order, the enemy will put and keep them in good and effective
condition during the balance of the war.
two points, which we have indicated, are the great dangers of the
Confederacy, and yet Congress says nothing about them. On the contrary,
the clamor for universal conscription, it is to be feared, is already
thinning out the railroad shops of foreign workmen, whose services are
invaluable to the roads and the country as machinists, but who will not
take the field as soldiers.
The Largest Contribution Yet.
received the following on Saturday:
Valley, Jan. 5, 1864.
As a minister of the Gospel of Peace, I am opposed to the destruction of
human life, but if it be determined by our cruel invaders that blood
must needs be shed, then I present the inclosed one thousand dollars as
a contribution toward remounting the chivalric General Morgan and his
dauntless troops, that they may as best they can, under God, see to it
that the blood shed shall not be the blood of our dearly beloved
Store for the Poor.—We are glad to see from the proceedings
of Council that the city authorities have adopted a scheme for the
establishment of a provision store for the poor, where they will be
supplied with food at cost and charges, and that Mr. Bond has been
engaged to superintend the business. We call upon producers to remember
this store in selling their produce. Give it the preference and sell as
low as you can.
New York Herald publishes
later news from Mexico, which gives a very sad picture of the disunity
and helplessness of the Juarez Government. If we may rely on these
accounts, it would seem that Juarez is now ready to take his flight from
San Luis Potosi, having packed up his archives and treasures, ready for
the expected migratory movement. The French forces were gradually
pushing into the interior, and the star of the empire seemed to be
ascending to the Zenith.
is an extract from one of the Herald’s
Forney counted upon the want of firmness, instability, deceit and
endless internal divisions of the Mexican people as his best allies in
the conquest of their country, he was not wrong. It is true
reinforcements have lately arrived from France–in what number I do not
know; but this significant fact still remains that Bazzine marched out
of Mexico city with about twelve thousand Frenchmen and half that number
of native allies to attempt, or perhaps accomplish, the conquest of that
vast country, and meets with no opposition. We must take facts as we
find them, and estimate them at their proper value. I say again that
there is no Mexican nation, and for that very reason the success of the
French is now so wonderful as may at first sight appear.
is dead, and all the telegraphic bulletins from California, or all the
sympathy of the United States, cannot galvanize her into life. We now
find the national army broken into fragments, the chiefs at variance
with each other, the people divided, the treasury empty and the
constitutional head of the Government flying from town to town for
Weather, and the Price of Keeping Warm.—Friday night at 11½
o’clock the mercury stood at 28. At 3 o’clock Saturday morning it
was at 24–at Sunrise, 26, at 9 o’clock 22. The probabilities now are
that Saturday night will be colder still. During the day the imposition
of the wood-haulers surpassed all bounds. We saw a little load, say
one-sixth of a cord, priced at twenty dollars, and it had been sold at
that price. More than half of it was gum and of no value as firewood.
What are the poor to do in such a state of affairs?
Captured.—Hunt’s Merchant’s Magazine says that
up to Oct. 1st, 1863, as far as reported, 175 Yankee vessels had been
captured. The summary shows one U. S. gunboat, one steamer, one steam
tug, fifty-four ships, forty-two barks, thirty-two brigs, forty-seven
schooners–80,999 tons. The Alabama
captured 59 of these. This is a tolerably fair admission for a Yankee.
JANUARY 12, 1864
SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN (MA)
telegraphic chess match between New York and Philadelphia commences
Lessoffsky has written a letter to Mayor Lincoln, saying that the
Russian fleet will visit Boston in the spring.
hundred and fifty cords of wood were cut and split at Marion, Iowa, on
Christmas day for the benefit of the “war widows.”
is officially announced that John Morgan escaped through a
misunderstanding. Penitentiaries ought to be built without them.
South Bend, Indiana, lived two Germans, both married men. Snowbergen had
improper intercourse with Schriner’s wife. Whereupon Schriner split
open Snowbergen’s head with an axe and Mrs. Snowbergen poisoned Mrs.
Schriner. It was a horrible affair all around.
Montreal, a couple of ardent sympathizers with each of the contending
parties of the American war, have wagered $2500 that Grant would never
take Atlanta, $2500 that Charleston would not fall, $500 that Richmond
would never be taken, [and] $10,000 that the South would never be
report having been circulated that Prentice of the Louisville Journal
had become incapable of editing his paper or managing his property, on
account of his fondness for Bourbon, he has written a letter saying that
he is capable of managing his paper and himself. He didn’t say
anything about Bourbon, however.
offense of Dr. Gwynn, of this state, the employee of the treasury
department lately arrested at Washington, was only the diversion of
seventy thousand dollars of public money from the payment of presses and
materials purchased for his bureau into his own pocket. The detectives
have traced paper and ink from the bank note printing department in
which he and another were principal employees, directly to a
counterfeiting establishment in New Jersey.
of the guards at Camp Douglas, near Chicago, although the men were
frequently relieved, had their hands and feet so badly frozen on
Thursday night as to incapacitate all of them for duty for some time and
many for their whole lives. Four prisoners escaped, but two perished,
and the others were brought back badly frozen. In Indiana, about thirty
miles south of the Michigan state line, a family of seven persons were
driven from their house by fire on Friday night, and all were frozen to
death before they could reach shelter.
number of clerks and other officials in the various departments at
Washington is thus given in round numbers: State department 50, treasury
1200, interior 450, war 500, navy 100, post office 120, agricultural
department 30, commissioner of public buildings, office, 40, Senate 100,
House 120, police 150, white house, courts, &c., 100. Add to these
8000 men employed by the quartermaster’s department in this city, and
at least 3000 more at the navy yard, arsenal, and on the works at the
capitol and other public buildings, and one can form an idea of the army
of occupation paid by Uncle Sam.
are a drag now. Many foreign muskets imported on speculation are going
back, and a lot of 10,500 Austrian muskets, destined for the rebels but
captured by the government, were sold at auction in Boston the other day
for $3.50 to $3.75 each. We are now manufacturing all we want, and more,
have the heat in your living rooms so that the thermometer will go above
70 degrees, and if you can possibly bear it, down to 62 degrees it is
very much better. It takes a double expenditure of fuel in cold weather
to raise the temperature of a room from 65 to 75 degrees.
to January 1, 1863, Central Park had cost New York city over seven
million dollars, but had increased the taxable valuation of the three
adjoining wards nearly thirty millions.
Carter, late commander of the famous Virginia Black Horse Cavalry that
made the furious charge on our lines at Bull Run, is now a prisoner in
Camp Chase prison. This body of horsemen, which constituted the flower
of Stuart’s cavalry division, has been entirely obliterated. This
Colonel Carter is a son of that Colonel Carter who, in eh convention, so
persistently opposed the secession of Virginia at the time when the mob
threatened the convention with violence unless they would immediately
adopt the ordinance of secession. The father is said to be a sound Union
National Academy of Sciences.—The last Congress designated
the names of fifty respectable gentlemen of real or supposed superior
knowledge in the various branches of science, and gave them an act of
incorporation as the National Academy of Sciences. The gentlemen thus
appointed met in New York last winter, effected an organization after
the plan of similar bodies, and as a first move voted to hold their
meetings in private, excluding even the members of the press, and thus
shutting off the people, for whose interest the academy had been
founded, from all knowledge of their deliberations, and all benefit to
be derived from them. Since that time till within a week, the national
academy has not been heard from. Last week a meeting was held in
Washington, and we are vouchsafed so much as to be informed that an
earnest discussion was going on as to who should be elected the first
foreign member, Sir William Hamilton or Professor Farraday. It is a very
momentous question and we shall be glad to hear that it is decided one
way or another. We have no hopes, however, that an early decision will
be reached, for the telegraph also informs us that the members are
enjoying very largely the hospitalities of Washington, so that they can
have but little time for deliberation. Altogether our national academy
has not done very much yet that any body can be proud of; but there is
always hope while there is life.
was introduced by representative Stevens of Pa., on Monday, the
consideration of which was postponed till February next, providing that
within all the territory of all the confederate states which has been or
may be conquered and subdued by the federal armies, all laws and parts
of laws which permit slavery are henceforth abolished, and that slavery
shall never again be established within said territory; that hereafter
no portion of it shall be admitted into the Union as a state or be
represented in its Congress, excepting by delegates if the same should
be authorized, until the people within the territory forming such state
shall by its organized law forever prohibit slavery therein.
JANUARY 13, 1864
NEW HAMPSHIRE PATRIOT & GAZETTE
Florida.—A Key West letter of the 29th ult., to the Herald,
states that the steamer Bloomer
had made an expedition, under Ensign Cressy, to St. Andrew’s Bay,
where he found one hundred and ninety-nine private salt works and the
Government salt works nearly a mile square. Five hundred salt boilers
and kettles, eight hundred bushels of salt, together with all the
buildings, were completely destroyed by the expedition with fire and
axes. A large number of contrabands were set free and a train of rebel
produce wagons captured and destroyed, which were laden with provisions,
tools, &c. The destruction occupied two whole days. The damage done
is estimated by the rebels at over $3,000,000. At the same time the
steamer Restless went to St.
Andrew City, where some four hundred rebel soldiers were quartered, who
were driven off by her guns, and a party of volunteers under Ensign
Eaton landed and burned every building in the place. Not a shanty was
left above the ground. The schooner Fox,
on the 10th, found a steamer in a creek near the mouth of the Savannah
River, which proved to be the steamer Flushing,
of New York–a blockade runner–and a boat expedition soon reduced her
to ashes. On the 24th, the Fox
captured the rebel steamer Edwin,
which tried to run the Fox
down, but a volley of musketry swept her deck, fatally wounding her
rebel captain. She was sent to Key West as a prize. Her cargo was salt
and lead. Several small captures have been made near Key West.
Feeding.—The high price of hay and grain in the present
winter, (says the Massachusetts Ploughman,)
will furnish temptations to farmers to be parsimonious in dealing out
their fodder to the stock in the barn. When hay is selling at $25 per
ton, and corn at $1.35 per bushel, it is hard to see a realization of
the present value of these articles in the gain upon the stock by the
usual course of winter feeding, in the spring. The failure of the corn
crop by reason of the early frost is estimated by the Commissioner of
Agriculture from statistics received by him, at 140,000,000 bushels.
This fact taken in connection with the partial failure of the hay crop
in many of the States, and the immense demand for army purposes, renders
it quite certain that prices will advance rather than recede, until
another harvest. The practical question then that meets every stock
feeder is: Will it pay to pursue the old system, and feed as many
animals, and as well as formerly, or reduce the stock and dispose of the
surplus food that will remain, at the present high prices? As regards
the number to be kept, every one must be his own judge by careful
estimate of the prospective value of his stock, with the present worth
of his hay and grain. But whatever his decision may be in that
particular, there should be no doubt or hesitancy as to a strict
observance of the gold old rule, “Keep no more stock than you can keep
well.” Better part with the stock now than to feed them grudgingly
through the winter. For the ill effects of short rations during this
period will be certain to manifest themselves in the reduced state of
the stock when turned out to grass in the spring, and all that is fed
out in that way may be considered as a positive loss. In stock feeding,
the farmer’s profit lies not in such a bestowal of food as will simply
keep the animal alive, but one that will supply all its wants, and keep
up a constant development of muscle and fat, or increase the secretion
of milk. ->
system of feeding that contemplates less than this, is unwise and
unprofitable–and farmers will find to their great disappointment and
cost, that the money realized by sale of hay and grain even at present
advanced rates, is money lost in the end, if it tempts them to carry
through the winter their usual stock, upon poor fodder and scant fare.
in High Places.—In an article upon the corrupt practices in
vogue at Washington, suggested by the shameful developments in John P.
Hale’s case, the N. Y. Journal
of Commerce draws the following frightful yet truthful picture:
period in which we just now live is one of unbounded fraud and
corruption. There was never an administration in Washington under which
fraud was carried on as openly and boldly as now. The millions that are
the plunder of the present army of hangers-on will never be counted.
There is no end to the terrible revelations. Nor does the trouble stop
with the mere robbing of the public purse. The most atrocious crimes are
perpetrated with the stolen money, and the people are growing used to
the rascals. Legislators are bought and sold in Pennsylvania, New York
and elsewhere. Elections are fraudulently carried. The machinery of
political parties is turned everywhere to the private account of
individual office seekers or money seekers. The taint is spreading
through the entire body politic. Men look calmly now on crimes from
which they would have shrunk two or three years ago. Men think on the
whole that it is a good thing when the administration carry an election
by shipping home a few thousand selected voters. Men chuckle over some
political ruse in which a Legislature is bought for money. Men approve
the action of the Treasury Department in giving a responsible office to
a man whose vote, conscience and reputation, as every one knows, were
sold by himself and bought by the party which protects him. No one seems
to think that fraud, public robbery, is a very great crime. We meet
daily in the streets, nightly at receptions and grand assemblies and
grand assemblies, men who are known to be fattening on plunder, but
whose social position seems wholly unaffected by the fact. We are not
drawing any too dark a picture of the moral condition of affairs under
the present administration. The doctrine is in principle everywhere
acted on, that if a man professes to be right on the Negro question, he
may be as black a sinner on all other questions as he pleases, and not
lose the social and public support of either the leaders of his party or
his daily associates in life.
Sad Picture.—People who buy a great deal more than they
sell or produce for others will run into embarrassment, sooner or later.
So of a nation. We see by recent reports that our imports for seven
weeks preceding the 19th of December were $14,000,000 in excess of
exports; and to make the matter worse, our exports did not consist of
cotton, tobacco or breadstuffs, but of gold–$10,000,000
of which was sent away in the time named–seven weeks.
SALEM REGISTER (MA)
the Fifty-Fourth Regiment.
Island, S. C., Dec. 28, 1863.
Island. Once can but notice the very great change that has taken
place in the general appearance of this Island since its occupation by
the U. S. forces. Before its capture, but one building stood upon it,
that being what is called “the Beacon House” on the beach, about one
mile below Fort Strong (formerly Wagner). Now numerous large buildings
are seen upon the lower end of Morris Island, convenient to the landings
used by the Quartermaster’s Department–blacksmith’s shops, a boat
yard, engineer depot, carpenter shops, &c., in which mechanics
detailed from their regiment exercise their trades for the benefit of
the Government. “The Light House” deserves mention, for without the
bricks of which it was constructed, there would be but few of the
numerous high chimneys, so noticeable in the rear of the greater portion
of wall tents along the shore.
in the Desert. Roaming among the camps, a stranger would be
surprised to occasionally meet with little patches of green verdure in
the vicinity of the offices’ quarters, so greatly in contrast with the
sandy surroundings. They consist of small portions of ground raised,
planted with oats, which in a few days germinate, and spring from the
ground, presenting much the appearance of grass. Sometimes the “grassy
bank” is enclosed in a little hedge of bushes, transplanted from some
distant portion of the Island.
Obstructions. You have heard of the huge timbers, some with railroad
iron attached, which recently floated from Charleston harbor–great
pine timbers–and, I assure you, they make excellent firewood, in spite
of their connection with “Southern waters.” The logs were washed
ashore by the tide, and eagerly seized upon by the soldiers, who find
that article scarce, not a tree growing on the Island fit to burn.
Beacon House” was formerly used in times of peace as a Quarantine
Building. Before we had advanced our parallels towards Wagner, the old
House was the recipient of many a shot and shell from its former
masters, the “Johnnies.” Now it is used as an observatory, in which
a very powerful glass is mounted. The soldier in charge will willingly
oblige you with a look into Charleston and vicinity. The city looks
almost deserted. Large and small vessels are lying idle at the deserted
wharves, where so many valuable cargoes have been landed after a
successful run through the blockade. The rebels appear to be building
fortifications immediately at the head of the wharves. Sullivan’s
Island and its numerous batteries are brought plainly to view, with a
glass, the rebel rag being conspicuous floating over Fort Moultrie and
the works nearer the city.
the front matters are usually quiet. Sometimes a little artillery
practice is indulged in on both sides; occasionally we fire ten or a
dozen shells in to the city, and wait to hear the result of their
explosion by the Charleston papers of the succeeding day, which I hear
are received by the General daily, a few hours after publication. The
James Island and Secessionville batteries waste their powder and shot on
our steamers which pass up the river from Stono and Pawnee Landing.
the Regiment we have the pleasure of congratulating the recipients of new
promotions. The duty we are engaged in calls for so many officers that every
vacancy in the line should be filled at once. By this time you will have
heard of the decision of our men in reference to eh pay the State offers.
Bills before Congress indicate that the men will receive full pay shortly.
weather, in spite of the lateness of the season, is quite mild, sometimes
rather chilly for two or three days, then mild again.
I see, is to raise a Colored Cavalry Regiment, to be commanded by Lieut.
Col. Russell. Good for Massachusetts!
Items and Incidents.
three hundred recruits from Springfield, on their way to Cairo on the night
of the 6th, a large number were rendered insensible by drugged liquor
prepared by three men who enlisted for the purpose of robbing them. They
succeeded in taking away nearly $1000 in money, besides watches and other
valuables. One recruit died from the effects of the poison.
New Orleans Times publishes a
letter written on board one of the blockading fleet off Mobile about the
close of the year, which says that the rebel papers received in Pensacola
are full of wailings over the ruined hopes and prospects of the Confederacy.
Deserters from Florida and Alabama are continually coming to Pensacola,
haggard, starved, dirty, surprised to see our soldiers drinking real coffee, and ready to enlist for a stomach-full of Uncle Sam’s
rations. They say they have had enough of treason and rebellion. They had
not a word of preference for “the last ditch.”
Grant.—The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune
does not believe that Gen. Grant has written a word about any attempted
agitation in his favor for the Presidency. He adds:
saw to-day a letter from the general, written in the style of Roman
simplicity, and exhibiting sound Saxon sense. His desire, he says, is to
break the army of the rebels, and for this end to more fully secure the
confidence of the men whom he commands. He says he has had as many honors
and as much promotion as he could expect, or as his services deserve. There
is not a line about the Presidency, or even the clamor wit which some
journals use his name, in connection therewith.”
friend of Gen. Grant informs us that when rallied recently about the
persistent use of his name by the New York Herald
for the Presidency, he said, “I aspire to only one political office. When
this war is over I mean to run for Mayor of Galena (his place of residence).
And if elected, I intend to have the side-walk fixed up between my house and
the depot.”–Boston Journal.
correspondent of the Baltimore American
writes as follows off Morris Island, December 29th:
a recent visit to Port Royal I witnessed with considerable interest the
operations of the divers employed to clean the bottoms of the monitors,
and perform other operations under the water. Messrs. Joseph H. Smith
and James B. Phelps have a contract with the government for the
performance of this work, and have been of great use here. The principal
diver–appropriately named Waters–is so used to this work that he has
become almost amphibious, remaining for five or six hours at a time
under water. A man of Herculean strength and proportions, when clad in
his submarine armor, becomes monstrous in size and appearance.
more singular sight than to see him roll or tumble into the water and
disappear from sight, or popping up, blowing, as the air escapes from
his helmet, like a young whale, can scarcely be imagined. Waters has his
own ideas of a joke, and when he has a curious audience will wave his
scraper about as “he bobs around” on the water, with the air of a
veritable river god. One of his best jokes—the better for being a
veritable fact—occurred last summer. While he was employed scraping
the hull of one of the monitors, a Negro from one of the up-river
plantations came alongside with a boat load of watermelons. While busy
selling his melons the diver came up, and rested himself on the side of
Negro stared at the extraordinary appearance thus suddenly coming out of
the water, with alarmed wonder; but when the diver seized one of the
best melons in the boat, and disappeared under the water, the gurgling
of the air from his helmet mixing with the muffled laughter, the fright
of the Negro reached a climax. Hastily seizing his oars, without waiting
to be paid for his melons, he put off at his best speed, and has not
been seen at Station Creek since. He cannot be tempted beyond the bounds
of the plantation, and believes that the Yankees have brought river
devils to aid them in making war.
diver when clothed in his armor is weighted with 185 pounds. Beside his
armor, he has two leaden pads, fitting to his breast and back. The soles
of his shoes are of lead, an inch and a half thick. All this weight is
needed to overcome the buoyancy given by the mass of air forced into the
armor and dress, the latter of India rubber, worn by the diver. When
below the surface he can instantly bring himself up by closing
momentarily the aperture in the helmet for the escape of the air. His
buoyancy is immediately increased, and he pops up like a cork and floats
at will upon the surface. The work of scraping the bottoms of the
monitors is very arduous.
diver sits upon a spar, lashed athwart the bottom of the vessel, so
arranged to be moved as the work progresses, and with a scraper fixed to
a long handle, works on both sides of himself as far as he can reach.
The mass of oysters that become attached to the iron hull of one of the
monitors, even during one summer here, is immense. By actual measurement
it was estimated that 250 bushels of oysters, shells and sea-weed were
taken from the bottom of the Montauk
alone. The captains of the monitors have sometimes indulged in the
novelty of a mess of oysters raised on the hulls of their own vessels.
cleaning the monitors, the divers perform other important services. They
have ransacked the interior of the Keokuk,
attached buoys to lost anchors, and made under-water examinations of the
rebel obstructions. Waters recently examined the sunken Weehawken, and met an unusual danger for even his perilous calling.
The sea was so violent that he was twice thrown from the deck of the
monitor. Finally, getting hold of the iron ladder, he climbed to the top
of the turret, when a heavy sea cast him inside the turret between the
guns. Fearing that his air hose would become entangled, he made his way
out with all possible speed, and was forced to give up his
investigations until calmer weather offered a more favorable
of Rebel Resources.–A correspondent of the World
writing from the army of the Cumberland, describing the defeat of the
rebel cavalry under Wheeler, on the Hiawassee, by a party of Union men
greatly inferior in number, says that while Wheeler could only bring
1500 men together for a work of the utmost importance to the
Confederacy, viz., the severing of our communication between Chattanooga
and Knoxville, the fact is worth noting that only a year ago Wheeler and
Forrest and Morgan and Clarke and Scott could each head twice to four
times that number, and march them simultaneously into all parts of
Kentucky and Tennessee, and destroy government property without let or
hindrance. But 1500 men can now be spared to a point sixty miles from
the base of operations, when twelve months since, 15,000 could have been
spared 300 miles away! And above all, how surprising that these late
invincible cavaliers can now not only be defeated, but absolutely routed
by less than their own number!
writer concludes that the Confederacy is wasting away in every
particular that has heretofore constituted it strength, and the
industrial energies of the slave States are far ahead on the road to
decay. The attempts to supply Northern ingenuity in the South have
utterly failed, for although they possess mountains of coal and iron,
their railroad track has been worn to nothing, without being
replenished; their rolling stock has been nearly exhausted, and none can
be supplied from home industry; and with forests of choice timber, they
have been unable to supply wagons for the use of their army.
the product of Northern industry was available to them, and while it
continued in good condition, the rebels succeeded in resisting the
progress of our arms with success; but when thrown at last upon their
own resources, as they are now, and have been for months, they give
unmistakable evidences of speedily succumbing, however loud the bravado
used by the leaders in public speeches, in leading articles in the
various journals, or in official documents.–Boston
JANUARY 16, 1864
NEWPORT MERCURY (RI)
Important from the South.
What the Rebels Expect of France
Removal of the Rebel Capital.
Tribune publishes a Washington
letter, from which we quote several interesting statements. The writer
says that seven years ago he established himself as a telegraph operator
at Columbia, S. C. Being conscripted, he was wounded at the battle of
South Mountain. He was then detailed to act as clerk in the War
Department. Here he remained till the 19th of November last, when he was
sent as telegraph operator to Atlanta, Ga. He was afterwards ordered
back to Richmond, but changed his pass so as to get to Gordonsville, and
thence escaped into our lines.
Northern journalists and statesmen appear to think that the rebel
leaders have ceased to expect a speedy recognition of the Confederacy by
Foreign Powers. But I can assure you that their hopes in this respect
have never flagged.
after the rebel rams in the Mersey were arrested, I heard Mr. Seddon,
the Secretary of War, say to Wm. C. Rives, Member of Congress from the
Seventh District of Virginia–“Let Great Britain be made to believe
that we can gain our independence without her assistance, and understand
that when we have succeeded in doing so, we are determined to punish her
for her want of sympathy for us, and her partiality for our enemy, if
she perseveres in her course and you may depend upon it we shall son
find her the most zealous friend we have in Europe. It is for Congress
to open her eyes.”
rebel officials have an abiding faith in the manifestations of
friendship and the constancy of Napoleon III.
the middle of November, I was present at an interview between the rebel
Secretary of War and Gov. Lubbock of Texas. The latter expressed himself
quite despondingly at first, but left feeling much elated. Mr. Seddon
assured him that “the policy and purpose of the Emperor was no longer
a matter of speculation, but was well defined, and would soon take
by compulsion or compromise we were to return to the Union, what would
become of the French army and Napoleon’s schemes in Mexico. He knows,
as we know, that the Federal Government would crush them with little
ceremony, and that the result in France would be very disparaging to the
Emperor, if not to make his very throne totter under him. Therefore, the
Emperor’s interest is identical with our own; but we must be patient
and leave him to vindicate and enforce his policy in his own way. We
know we can depend on him. Before the first of April his government will
recognize our nationality.”
have heard and seen more than enough to satisfy me that if their fond
hopes were expelled, both the leaders and their starving followers would
in despair lay down their arms.
gunboats and iron clads in Richmond are all, with one exception,
completed and ready for service; and although their number and
dimensions are not sufficient to constitute a very formidable armada,
they are capable of doing much mischief if not closely watched. On the
15th ultimo they were ordered to make a demonstration against the
vessels in the lower part of James River and Hampton Roads, but after
proceeding as far as a signal station about three miles below Drury’s
Bluff, the order was countermanded. If the Union commanders in those
waters do not exercise much vigilance and caution, some fine night the
new Merrimac and others will
come upon them as suddenly as a nightmare. ->
has been decided to remove or change the rebel capital from Richmond to
Columbia, S. C. I say decided; perhaps I should have said almost
decided–the President and his Cabinet, including Mr. Seddon, who is a
Virginian, and Gov. Letcher, Quartermaster General Myers, and many other
prominent Virginians, being entirely in favor of it. So it may be said
to be decided.
persistent efforts, and repeated failures, of the Unionists to take
Richmond induce the belief that next summer a sufficient force will be
concentrated to capture the city, and they consider that the fall of the
capital would have not only a damaging effect abroad, but would excite
ruinous disappointment among their friends at home.
base this assertion not only upon what I have heard from Mr. Seddon and
other functionaries, but I know that preparations for the removal are
already being made. The work on the edifice at Columbia has been
resumed, with the assistance of mechanics from Europe; and a railroad is
being constructed from Milledgeville, Ga., forming a junction with the
rail line from Atlanta to Charleston, at the Warrenton Branch, about 50
miles from the former place, and separating again at Graniteville, S.
C., running through Lexington direct to Columbia, comprising a distance
of over 150 miles, by building less than 100 miles of new road.
54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments (colored) have declined to accept
the additional pay which was voted by the Massachusetts Legislature, in
order to put them on the same footing with white troops. These high
spirited Negroes affirm that they have not sought equal pay for the sake
of money. What they seek is recognition as soldiers of the United
States, and they will neither accept the inferior wages at present
offered them nor any addition from another source.
letter from Memphis to the St. Louis Republican
(which the editor says comes from a well informed source) states that a
proposition, duly authorized from Richmond, has been made to the Union
Government to sell to that Government all the cotton (about 15,000
bales) within a certain district outside of the Union lines, taking
greenbacks in pay; also, that Kirby Smith has sent an authorized
messenger to Washington to deliver up for greenbacks all the cotton in
the Red River region now under rebel control, the money to be paid to
officers excepted from the President’s amnesty, the said officers to
leave the country. The Republican says that these propositions involve the disbandment of
all the rebel forces west of the Mississippi, and the consequent speedy
restoration of that region to loyalty.
Clisby is editor of The Macon Daily Telegraph.
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