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SUNDAY
FEBRUARY 14, 1864
THE DAILY PICAYUNE (LA)

Bond and Free Blacks.—A writer in “The Round Table,” who considers “slavery an evil, but not the only evil in the world,” utters the following with regard to the condition of the Negroes and slaves in this country:

“The whole number of slaves brought into the country from first to last, cannot be exactly ascertained, but it is not supposed to exceed three hundred and fifty thousand. But they have been increased and multiplied, and become an exceeding great people. The slave population of the United States by the last census amounted to about four millions, and the free colored population to about five hundred thousand. Thus in 1860 there were in the United States more than ten slaves for every one African imported. This great increase proves incontestably that the slaves cannot have been very badly treated, so far as material comfort is concerned. No race that is overworked and underfed increases to an extent like this. The law of population is as fixed as the law of gravitation. The white man in America has brought the black man from Africa, and compelled him to work for him–but in return he has fed him and clothed him and sheltered him. He has nursed him in sickness and maintained him in old age. No man ever heard of a slave’s having died of starvation.

“These facts will make the more impression when we contrast them with those of the British West Indies. The whole number of slaves emancipated there in 1834 was 660,000, but the number which had been imported into the British West Indies from Africa was 1,700,000. Thus, instead of ten for one, we have only one for about two and a half, and this, too, in a climate more favorable to the Negro race than that of the United States. Had the slaves in the United States been treated like the slaves in the British West Indies, we should have had to-day only about one hundred and fifty thousand salves to deal with.

“Nor is this all. The slaves in the Southern States, those of unmixed African blood we mean, are superior, morally and intellectually, to those of the same race and blood now to be found in Africa itself. No candid man who has read any of the recently published books of travel in that continent can come to any other conclusion. The African has been improved by transplantation, even under the disadvantage of slavery. His brain has become larger, better, and finer. The good qualities which we commend in him are in some measure the growth of slavery. And this is by virtue of a general law which may thus be stated: that when two races live together in relations of protection and dependence, but without mingling their blood, the lower race is improved by the mere contact with the higher.”

•••••

A French Theory.—A recently published French work maintains that every ten thousand five hundred years, the waters of the sea pass from one pole to the other, submerging and overwhelming in their passage the earth and all its inhabitants. According to the author of this theory, M. Paul de Jouvenel, the last of these deluges occurred four thousand five hundred years ago; the next one is due in six thousand years more.

New England and the West.—Mr. Solomon Parsons, in a communication to the Boston Traveller, in which he advises the circulation of Gov. Andrew’s late message in the West, for the purpose of disseminating his view of the “relation existing between the people of Massachusetts and the people of the Western States,” makes the following statements:

All who have been for any period residents at the West, and mixed freely among the people, are well aware that in many parts of the West a deep and settled prejudice with considerable hostility has existed against New England interests and New England men. The writer, a native of Massachusetts, a son of Illinois by adoption, connected with its legislation and knowing thoroughly the tone of public sentiment existing among the people, has labored for years to overcome the prejudice and distrust existing between the two sections, and while engaged in enterprises intended to connect and cement the two interests, had been kindly allowed the use of your valuable columns. While attending to some interests at the West, last summer, I was surprised to find this prejudice and hostility greatly increased through the efforts of ambitions, designing leaders, and the people in many sections advocating a separation from New England and urging a Union with the Southern States.

The phrase “leaving New England out in the cold,” was no idle unmeaning term; it had a significance, and those who originated it intended to act upon it, and there has been greater danger of a rupture between the West and the East than the people of either section ever thought. The danger for the present has apparently subsided, but there are influences at work, and bold, corrupt men are still in hopes to break up the Union existing between the two sections.

Such influences and efforts must be counteracted, and it is only by the reasoning and array of figures as furnished by Gov. Andrew, that this can be done, and so a terrible catastrophe be averted.

•••••

The Canadian Invasion.—In referring to the rumor of a second intended invasion of Johnson’s Island by Confederates in Canada, the Detroit Tribune says:

“Windsor is the nearest railway terminus to the point in Canada whence the excursion is expected to be made. The kind offices of the British Minister in conveying important information to our Government on a former occasion will not soon be forgotten, and it is at least possible that the Canadian authorities are at this time possessed of information not yet made public, touching some projected piratical enterprise. The facility of crossing on the ice presents unusual facilities for a “raid” on a small scale, and a comparatively small body of men might inflict a vast amount of damage before their progress could be arrested. We are no alarmists, but there can be no harm in our authorities keeping a sharp lookout, at least until it is satisfactorily ascertained that there is no foundation for the rumors which have gained credence.”

MONDAY
FEBRUARY 15, 1864
THE DAILY RICHMOND EXAMINER (VA)

Blockade-running is abolished. Congress has put an end to it. We are to have no more luxuries. Articles of necessity only are to come in; and none of these except by especial license from the Executive. The North is at last in alliance with the South. It blockades with ships, and is reinforced in the policy by Confederate enactments. It will be difficult for merchandise to run the gauntlet of two blockades. Contraband goods must grow scarce, must become very dear; and happy the speculator who has large stocks on hand. The new legal provision allowing the importation of merchandise by favor of the Executive innovates upon all the traditions, practices and cherished ideas of this country, and opens wide a door for abuse and corruption. But Congress finds its justification in the military emergency, and the innovation must have its trial. It is no longer free trade that we have; it is not even restricted trade; it is trade by favor. The South can freely give up free trade; it can cheerfully assent to the total cessation of commerce; but trade by mere favor will be a nauseous dose if attended by the least symptom or color of abuse.

If the law accomplishes the purpose designed by its framers, the effect will be highly beneficial. The outflow of gold will be checked, the demand for this metal curtailed, and a more healthy state of prices superinduced. If trade could be absolutely restricted, if importations could be confined to military necessaries, that feverish, eager demand for gold which it often command extraordinary prices far above the ruling market rates, would be removed, and a more stable condition of things would ensue. At present, the heavy demands of blockade-runners, and the impatient wants of fugitive emigrants, have conspired to run up the price of gold to four or five times its old relative value. Dear as living now is at the South in fact, yet to a person choosing and able to pay gold, it is the cheapest country on the face of the earth. Every species of provisions, all articles of dress, cotton, tobacco, real estate, almost everything, can now be purchases at one-fourth the specie rates prevailing before the war; provided only that payment be made in gold.

This extravagant value of the metal cannot fail to be affected by the stoppage of importation. How this law prohibiting foreign trade will be aided in its effect on business by the currency and tax bills about to issue as laws from the secret conclaves of Congress, remain to be seen. Certain it is that prices and trade are about to undergo a more powerful shock than have ever before been received in this country from legislation.

•••••

Trade with the Enemy–Cotton.

Our Mississippi exchanges contain some mortifying accounts of the demoralization consequent upon the recent advance of the enemy into the interior of that State. It does really appear that cotton, which was to do us such royal favors, has become a curse in this war; the very word has become one of dishonorable associations, and suggests the vilest selfishness and avarice.

When our forces fell back from the direction of Canton, the Southern railroad, as far west as Edward’s Depot, was effectually destroyed. A correspondent, writing from that section, says:

“Under these circumstances, you will be surprised to learn that cotton is commanding unusually high prices. Certain parties are buying it up–to trade with the Yankees, of course–but, they say, for the necessaries of life. I saw men sampling cotton yesterday that have never been factors before–men that stand high in public confidence. The lunatic asylum purchased one hundred bales, for its unfortunate inmates must be supported.”

The Re-captured Yankee Officers.–The number of re-captured Yankee officers, who escaped from the Libby Prison on Thursday night of last week, is swelled to nearly fifty by those brought in on Friday night, Saturday and yesterday. They were found, like sheep scattered from the fold, spread about in individual spots, all over the country below Richmond and above, their faces set towards the Yankee lines as truly as the needle to the pole. Several were detected and apprehended in Richmond, having lingered behind to view the sights in the “rebel capital.” One–a lieutenant–ventured into the ball-room at Concert Hall on Friday night last, but was recognized by the cut of his Yankee jib, arrested and sent down to his old quarters. Another stumbled on one of Mosby’s men in a Main street drinking saloon; was asked to drink; got garrulous and claimed to belong to his command, without knowing who his new acquaintance was. Mosby’s man was keen, claimed his as one of the escaped prisoners, and so it proved. A third was detected by a newsboy, swapping his Yankee garment for a Negro’s greatcoat, and was pursued and apprehended.

The object of the recent forward movement of a heavy Yankee force up the Peninsula as far as Bottom’s Bridge, on last Sunday week, is laid bare by the escapade from the Libby. The intended exodus was known in Lincoln’s Cabinet before it was revealed in Richmond by its accomplishment. The column of the enemy was thrown forward in order to be in readiness to succor any of the escaping prisoners who might break through the Confederate lines. It is also plain that the escape was delayed several nights beyond its actual accomplishment, and that it was intended to be far more successful than it was.

Seventeen of the re-captured officers were returned to the Libby on Saturday and yesterday. Two of them were of the big fish who slipped through the prison net–Colonel Ely, of the Eighteenth Connecticut, and Colonel Thomas E. Rose, of the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania. Nearly all of those re-captured were equipped in Yankee greatcoats; and was it not that this garment has come into almost general use among our own people, soldiers and civilians, there is little doubt but that the majority of the fugitives would have been overhauled by this time.

The story of Colonel Straight’s re-capture and wounding grew out of the arrest, up the canal, of a burly Dutchman, with too much Dutch in him to pronounce his own name. We believe, with the prison officials, that extraordinary efforts were made to secure the escape of Straight, and that he has gone straight into Abraham’s bosom, who will give him a Brigadier’s commission.

•••••

Very Latest from the North.
The Yankees Hear of the Excitement at Richmond.

The Northern papers are principally occupied with the accounts that had reached the North of the great excitement that had been caused in Richmond by the reported advance of the Yankee’s at Bottom’s Bridge. The Herald is very happy over it–represents the city in a great “scare,” “the people in a wild state of excitement,” “the citizens rushing to arms,” “mounted officers galloping through the city,” “artillery rumbling through the streets,” and “the local militia hastening to the fortifications.”

The Yankee papers give no information of any advances from the Peninsula, and intimate that the whole thing was nothing more than “a scare in the rebel capital.”

TUESDAY
FEBRUARY 16,
1864
THE BOSTON DAILY ADVERTISER

Jefferson Davis’s Proclamation
To the Rebel Armies.

Richmond papers of the 10th instant, received at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, contain the following proclamation:

Soldiers of the Armies of the Confederate States:

In the long and bloody war in which your country is engaged, you have achieved many noble triumphs. You have won glorious victories over vastly more numerous hosts. You have cheerfully braved privations and toil to which you were unused. You have readily submitted to restraints upon your individual will that the citizen might better perform his duty to the State as a soldier. To all these you have lately added another triumph, the noblest of human conquests, a victory over yourselves. As the time drew near when you who first entered the service might well have been expected to claim honor from your arduous labors and restoration to the endearments of home, you have heeded only the call of your suffering country. Again you came to tender your service for the public defence–a free offering which only such patriotism as yours could make–a triumph worthy of you and of the cause to which you are devoted. I would in vain attempt adequately to express the emotions with which I received the testimonials of confidence and regard which you have recently addressed to me.

To some of those first received, separate acknowledgements were returned, but it is now apparent that a like generous enthusiasm pervades the whole army, and that the only exception to such magnanimous tender will be those who, having originally entered the war, cannot display anew their zeal in the public service.

It is therefore deemed appropriate, and it is hoped will be equally accepted, to make a general acknowledgement, instead of successive special responses. Would that it were possible to render my thanks to you in person, and in the name of our common country, as well as in my own, while pressing the hand of each war-worn veteran, to recognize his title to our love, gratitude and admiration.

Soldiers: By your will, for you and the people are but one, I have been placed in a position which debars me from sharing your dangers, your sufferings and your privations in the field. With pride and affection my heart has accompanied you in every march. With solicitude it sought to minister to your every want. With exultation it has marked your every heroic achievement. Yet never in the toilsome march nor in the weary watch, nor in the desperate assault have you rendered a service so decisive in results as in the last display of the highest qualities of devotion and self sacrifice which can adorn the character of a warrior patriot. Already the pulse of the whole nation beats in unison with yours. Already they compare your spontaneous and unanimous offer of your lives for the defence of your country with the halting and reluctant service of the mercenaries who are purchased by the enemy at the price of higher bounties than have hitherto been known in war. Animated by this contrast they exhibit cheerful confidence and more resolute bearing. Even the murmurs of the weak and timid, who shrink from the trials which make stronger and firmer your noble natures, are shamed into silence by the spectacle which you present. Your brave battle-cry will ring loud and clear through the land of the enemy as well as our own, will silence the vainglorious boastings of their corrupt partisans and their pensioned press, and will do justice to the calumny by which they seek to persuade a deluded people that you are ready to purchase dishonorable safety by a degrading submission. ->

Soldiers: The coming spring campaign will open under auspices well calculated to sustain your hopes. Your resolution needed nothing to fortify it. With ranks replenished under the influence of your example and by the aid of representatives, who give earnest of their purpose to add by legislation largely to your strength, you may welcome the invader with a confidence justified by the memory of past victories. On the other hand, debt, taxation, repetition of heavy drafts, dissensions occasioned by the strife for power, by pursuit of the spoils of office, by the thirst for the plunder of the public treasury, and above all, the consciousness of a bad cause, must tell with powerful force upon the over-strained energies of the enemy. His campaign of 1864 must from the exhaustion of his resources of men and money be far less formidable than those of the last two years, when unimpaired means were used with boundless prodigality, and with results which are suggested by the names of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesborough, the Chickahominy, Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

Soldiers: Assured success awaits us in our holy struggle for liberty and independence and for the preservation of all that renders life desirable to honorable men. When that success shall be reached, to you, your country’s hope and pride, under divine Providence, will it be due. The fruits of that success will not be reaped by you alone, but your children and your children’s children in long generations to come will enjoy the blessings derived from you, that will preserve your memory ever living in their hearts.

Citizen defenders of the homes, the liberties and altars of the Confederacy! that the God whom we all humbly worship may shield you with His fatherly care, and preserve you for safe return to the peaceful enjoyment of your friends and the associations of those you most love, is the earnest prayer of your Commander-in-Chief.

Jefferson Davis.

•••••

From Fortress Monroe.
ESCAPE OF UNION PRISONERS CONFIRMED.

Fortress Monroe, Feb. 14.–The steamer S. R. Spaulding arrived this afternoon from Beaufort, N. C., with about 50 rebels that fell into our hands during the recent raid about Newbern. All was quiet at Newbern when the steamer left.

Two Union officers–a captain and a lieutenant–arrived today on the Yorktown mail boat, having effected their escape from the Libby prison. They report that about thirty prisoners, mostly officers, had escaped from the prison just before they left. As yet none of them have been heard from.

Fortress Monroe, Feb. 15.

I have received a dispatch, under date of Feb. 14, from Col. Wistar, which states that Col. Streight with 100 other Union officers escaped from prison in Richmond by digging a tunnel. Col. Streight with 17 others are safe.

Benj. J. Butler, Major-General.

WEDNESDAY
FEBRUARY 17, 1864

THE PROVIDENCE EVENING PRESS (RI)

The Destruction of Blockader-runners off Wilmington.

Washington, Feb. 16.–The Navy department has received a dispatch from Acting Rear Admiral Lee, dated U. S. ship Minnesota, off Newport News, Va., Feb. 15, in which he reports the circumstances attending the capture and destruction by the blockading fleet off Wilmington of the following blockade runners, viz: the Wild Dayrell, Hatfield, Dee, Emily and Fanny and Jennie.

The Admiral says that upon the reporting of the Sassacus, Lieut. Commander Rowe, she was assigned to duty as an outside cruiser, to cruise upon the line of bearing between New Inlet and Bermuda, and not farther eastward than the meridian of 70 degs. west lon. Astern, where her reputation for speed would be fairly tested, and one in which a very fast cruiser would prove a great stumbling block to blockade runners. The result has equalled my expectations, and the destruction of the steamers Wild Dayrell and Hatfield by the Sassacus, both new and fast steamers, the latter on her first voyage, are added to the long list of disasters to blockade runners. On the morning of the 1st inst. Lieut. Commander Rowe discovered black smoke in shore of him, and pursuing it discovered the Wild Dayrell in shore, near Slump Island.

He boarded her and found her partially filled with an assorted cargo. The crew had deserted her and fled to the shore. After great exertions to get her afloat, in which he was assisted by the Florida, it was found impracticable, and she was completely destroyed. Lieutenant Commander Rowe estimates her value, with cargo, about $20,000.

After the destruction of the Wild Dayrell, the Sassacus proceeded to take her assigned position.

At 7 o’clock, on the morning of the 4th, a blockade runner was discovered to the northwest, about twelve miles distant. Chase was immediately given, and after five hours pursuit, the steamer was brought under fire, and as escape was impossible, she was run ashore at 1 o’clock p.m., near River Inlet, her officers and crew escaping. One boat load, however, was capsized and the crew drowned, with the exception of a Mr. Neill, the purser of the steamer, who was rescued by our boats, which were immediately sent to take possession of the prize. She proved to be the English steamer Hatfield, from Bermuda, bound to Wilmington, previously mentioned in Consular dispatches.

From Mr. Neill I learned that her cargo was munitions of war and arms, a battery of eight Whitworth guns and pig lead. The guns and lead were thrown overboard during the chase. The Hatfield, after great exertions to that end, was fired and destroyed. Some seven hundred rifles and a quantity of cavalry sabres, together with other articles, were rescued from her, and will be sent in for adjudication at an early date.

Lieut. Com. Rowe reports that the Sassacus attained a speed of thirteen and a half knots, and gained rapidly upon any one of the steamers yet sent out to run the blockade.

On the 6th inst. the Cambridge discovered a steamer ashore and on fire about one mile south of Masonboro’ Inlet, which proved to be the blockade runner Dee, from Bermuda for Wilmington.

Finding it impossible to extinguish the flames or to get her off, Commander Spicer, of the Cambridge, abandoned the attempt, and still further destroyed her by firing into her. Severn of her crew were captured, and are now held as prisoners on the Cambridge. From these prisoners I learn that the Dee was commanded by G. H. Byer, formerly a Lieutenant in the U. S. naval service. She was loaded with lead, coffee and bacon, all of which with the vessel was completely destroyed.

At 5:50 a.m. on the 10th inst., a steamer was discovered from the Florida, standing along shore towards New Inlet. After firing at her, she ran on shore at Masonboro’ Inlet.

Commander Crosby sent his boats and took possession of her. She proved to be the sidewheel steamer Fanny and Jennie, commanded by the notorious Capt. Coxetter, who, with the purser, was drowned in endeavoring to reach the shore. The remainder of her crew, 25 in number, are now prisoners on board of the Florida. The steamer was loaded with merchandise and coal.

The enemy opened fire upon the wreck and upon the Florida with musketry and Whitworth guns, by which Assistant Paymaster J. F. Keeler received a severe, but not dangerous wound.

Finding it impossible to get the steamer afloat, after great exertions, Commander Crosby ordered her to be fired, which was done under a severe fire from the enemy.

At the same time that the Fanny and Jennie ran ashore, about a mile and a half to the northward, another steamer was seen ashore, and was boarded by the Florida’s boat. This proved to be the Emily, from Nassau, with a cargo of merchandise and salt. She was also fired and destroyed, as it was impossible to get her afloat.

The Fanny and Jennie and Emily are new vessels, and this is supposed to be their first attempt to run the blockade. The Wild Dayrell has made one successful voyage, and the Dee is an old offender.

•••••

Particulars of the Escape of the Union Officers.

Baltimore, Feb. 17.–The escaped Union officers reached here this morning, and go to Washington this afternoon. The account of their escape is full of thrilling interest, but for prudential reasons many particulars are withheld from publication at present. They were fifty-one days making a tunnel.

Having managed to find access to the cellar, they commenced work, relieving one another as opportunity offered. Their instruments were case knives, pocket knives, chisels and tiles.

Twice they had to abandon their work and commence anew on account of the obstructions which they could not pass. They had hoped to avail themselves of a culvert but found it impracticable.

After getting through the wall they disposed of the excavated soil by drawing it out in a spittoon which they attached to a cord; this would be filled by the party at work in the tunnel and pulled out in the cellar by their companions, who disposed of it by spreading it in shallow layers over the floor, concealing it beneath the straw. The work was necessarily slow.

So close was the atmosphere in the tunnel that they could not remain in it but a few minutes at a time, and their candles would go out.

At one time they got so near the bend of the street that a small pole about the size of stove pipe broke through, but fortunately this was not discovered by the guard, and was of great service, admitting air and enabling them to prosecute their work more rapidly.

The tunnel, when completed, was about 60 feet long and opened into an old tobacco shed beyond the line of guards.

As soon as they found the way clear they emerged slowly in small squads of two or three, and sauntered off until they got clear of the guards, making their way toward the Williamsburg road by the shortest route.

The darkness favored them, and the fact that all the rebel soldiers whom they met were habited in the army coats of Uncle Sam, which they had stolen from the supplies sent to our prisoners by our government, were of great benefit to them.

Although they were attired in army overcoats and many of them had their haversacks, they found the national uniform a better disguise than if they had been provided with the genuine rebel uniform.

In order to elude the pursuers who they knew would soon be on their track, they scattered as much as possible.

Many were their hardships and sufferings, and frequent were their narrow escapes from the rebel cavalry, who the next morning were bushwhacking in every direction for them.

THURSDAY
FEBRUARY 18,
1864
THE BOSTON HERALD

The Recent Movement on Richmond.

Wilkes’ Spirit furnishes the following account of the recent attempt to capture Richmond, which failed on account, it is alleged, of information given to the rebels by a deserter from Gen. Butler’s command:

The ostensible task consigned to Gen. Butler was the negotiation of an exchange; but he, foreseeing he might fail through the obvious interests of the rebels to refuse, at once devoted himself to making an accurate survey of his department, and particularly to the task of ascertaining the relative strength of the forces in Richmond with his own. The result of this latter enquiry informed him, that the standing garrison of the city for the winter months had been fixed at five thousand men. That these veterans, however, whenever Lee was menaced on the Rappahannock, were always marched to the front, leaving Richmond to the custody of some seven or eight thousand irregular militia, which were scattered about its defences, and could scarcely be concentrated with effect in case of a surprise. The further fortification which extended towards our lines was distant but three miles from Richmond, and this was garrisoned by a single company from Maryland.

Their most extended picket beyond this outer line was a cavalry squad of twenty-five men, which were stationed to guard Bottom’s Bridge, that crossed the Chickahominy at twelve miles from the city. From this point to Williamsburg, our nearest post was sixty miles, and the country in between, exhausted by the campaign of 1862, was sparsely occupied by a semi-subdued but secession population. This strip was, however, to all intents and purposes, a desert; and half a dozen troopers, from either side, might daily travel it at will, without any prospect of a combat. The deserted condition of this interesting country, however, was regarded one of the great obstacles to an advance from our side in force, as the massing of troops within its neighborhood would excite the suspicion of the disloyal residents, and thus frustrate any prospect of surprise.

There was another and still greater obstacle to any successful sudden movement, and this was the Chickahominy, which ran through a marsh a mile deep on either side, and could only be crossed by horses and artillery over the direct road and bridge. While debating on the latter difficulty, General Butler received information from one of well-paid scouts, that a practicable ford had been discovered through a wood, three miles below the bridge, which stretched to the bank on either side, and not only afforded cover but footing for an expedition. Thus relieved and encouraged, the General went to Washington, and laying his plans before the President, received his permission to proceed. Having secured this liberty of action, all that general Butler asked from the Government was, that the moment he was ready Lee should be menaced from the Rappahannock, in order that Richmond might be drained of its defenders, and left at the mercy of his swoop.

Gen. Butler began preparations for his expedition by ordering four thousand men to be gradually massed at Williamsburg; and by way of protecting them from observation, and at the same time to furnish a specious pretext for the movement, he had posters distributed throughout the region between Williamsburg and Bottom’s Bridge, notifying the residents to come in and enroll themselves for military service, or on a given day he would ransack the country with an overwhelming force and conscript every able-bodied man he found. ->

 His next care was to pick twenty-two hundred choice “sabers” for the raid; but in this, the selection was much easier of horses than of men, for while the former were abundant in the camp, their riders were, many of them, availing themselves of the furloughs which are granted to veterans who had agreed to re-enlist.

The material of the expedition being at length all in shape, General Wistar was put in charge, and as the preliminary to the word of march, two scouts, who were tempted with large sums, were sent forward by the ford to cut the wires between Bottom’s Bridge and Richmond. A large force of cavalry was likewise sent to cross the river by the same route, to intercept any messengers who might come out from Richmond to enquire the meaning of this break, and also to hive the Confederate troopers who were stationed at the bridge. These preliminary manœuvres against the telegraph and the messengers from the city were successfully performed, and the signal was given to the army of the Potomac to move on Lee.

This feint operated in Richmond as had been expected, for all the regulars were ordered from the city to the North, and the rebel capitol, not dreaming of the danger that was sweeping up from the Peninsula, had its eyes fixed on the Rappahannock. Never before had the insurgent stronghold been in such vital peril. Our infantry, which left Williamsburg on Saturday, 6th inst., for its forced march, were followed by the cavalry in four hours afterwards, which from greater rapidity were to pass ahead, and after leaving about four hundred men at the bridge, were to descend like a whirlwind on the city, early Sunday morning. The programme then was to release the Federal prisoners, seize the Confederate authorities, and burn the arsenals, dock-yards, rams, public buildings and commissariat. We would then be in a position, after having armed our released men, or passed them to the rear with the Confederate authorities, to hold or abandon the city, as prudence might advise.

It was thought doubtful, however, whether, after we had acquired possession of the city, (had that been our fortune,) it would have been necessary to abandon it, for Lee, with his communications destroyed, would have found it necessary to have selected a new base, and, instead of venturing on Richmond, with an army striking at his rear, would, of necessity, have fallen back by the way of Danville, and made good his retreat to North Carolina.

It is in proof, from numerous rebel journals, that this plan was well conceived, and that it was on the very point of absolute success. Had it succeeded, there can be but little doubt that the Confederacy would have been thoroughly broken and demoralized for the want of any head or heart, and that Gen. Butler would have been the undoubted hero of the war.

FRIDAY
FEBRUARY
19, 1864
THE CALEDONIAN (VT)

After a Battle.

In the madness and furor of the battle there is no time for exercising the gentle feelings of our nature; the promptings of humanity are silent, and the sight of shattered wrecks of men is but a passing dream, and awaken but little emotion. It is when the reaction occurs, and the whistling of balls and the hissing of shot is hushed, and the noble innate gentleness and love of the spared soldier asserts its power–and forgetting his weariness and fatigue he goes about to minister to the suffering mangled bodies that are scattered about so fearfully frequent.

A private in the 37th Massachusetts regiment–who in self-forgetfulness, and kindness to his comrades, has no rival–writes thus:

“The last day of Gettysburg was seemingly the hottest I ever experienced, and the 37th was ordered back and forth from left to right to support batteries and strengthen reserves; much of the way at double quick and with heavy knapsacks. Some fifteen of our boys were ‘sun-struck,’ and I being detailed to care for them, soon found gathered at the extemporized hospital some two hundred dead, dying, wounded men from both armies. The house and garden door-yard were filled with groaning, torn, blackened men, lying side by side; who, but a short hour ago, stood face to face in mortal combat. No enmity now; a common misery made all brothers. To add to their agony, night was rapidly approaching, and the dense black clouds shooting forth vivid flashes, and the terrific road of thunder, foretold the coming tempest.

“As I passed among them, many would look at the clouds and then at me, and beseechingly ask if I could get something to cover them. As I looked at these bloody, writhing sufferers, without tent or blanket, my heart bled in sympathy, and I thought of the blankets and knapsacks, passed that day, which lay strewn on the battle-field. On searching for some, I could find nothing but knapsacks; two of them, however, opened, make quite a respectable covering. But, oh, how many lay all night in that drenching rain without the slightest shelter. As I went from one to another, raising the head of this one, changing the position of that, moving another with great effort from a pool of his own blood, bathing the heads, rubbing the arms, getting old hay or turf for pillows, speaking words of tenderness to the suffering, my heart, in its deepest sadness, was made glad by the loving recognition of even the slightest favor, and oh, how many went that night up to Him whose ministries alone can meet the wants of our immortal nature.

“I shall never forget the finding of one fellow who had been overlooked, and was only discovered by his moaning. I found him by a large rock in a thicket of brush, in terrible pain from a wound in his side, perhaps mortal.

“He was a Confederate soldier from Southern Virginia; a boy only 18, possessed of a noble, dignified demeanor. With great distrustfulness, he asked my aid. In an hour like this, whatever a man’s color or regiment, he is entitled to my tenderest sympathies. For several hours, with a raging thirst, he had lain in one position. I had him removed to the hospital, when his agony was so intense as to call forth such cries of pain as I never before heard. Intermingled with piercing screams were prayers and petitions on this wise: ‘Jesus Christ, have mercy on my soul.’ ‘Oh, my heavenly Father, have mercy on me, and take me out of this fearful suffering.’ ‘What would poor mother say, could she see her darling boy in this condition?’ Before morning his earthly sufferings were at an end.

“I speak of these scenes to awaken a deeper, tenderer interest in the behalf of our soldiers, and to appeal for practical aid, which can be so well supplied through the agency of the Christian Commission, which is doing a ‘power of good’ for our army.”

Let us, who in the quiet of our homes have so little  idea of the necessities and needs of our loyal patriotic army, put forth every effort to aid those who, “in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness,” stand a living wall on the border of strife, to protect us and to preserve for us our most sacred privileges.

Rebel Movements.

The recent active movements of Rebel armies and detachments in Central and Eastern Tennessee, Western Virginia, and on the North Carolina coast, are a somewhat curious commentary upon the stories of Southern despondency and military insubordination which have been published so widely at the North. There can be no question but that the South is suffering severely from a depreciated currency and inadequate supplies; but it is not safe in estimating the probabilities of the coming spring campaign, to count upon much smaller armies or a less determined spirit than the South has heretofore brought to bear in this great struggle. If the recent offensive movements of the Rebel forces will serve to give pause to the over-sanguine expectations of the Northern people, the effect will be wholesome.

Yet, withal, these raids can scarcely be deemed indications of surplus military strength on the part of the Rebellion. The objects the Confederate generals seem to have had in view in authorizing them, were, we should judge, three fold. (1) To prevent discontent by keeping a portion of their armies employed, and all of them interested. (2) To annoy and embarrass our forces, while the veteran regiments were away on furlough and the several armies were re-organizing with new recruits for the coming spring campaign. (3) To obtain needed supplies.

These considerations, especially the latter, will account for the activity of Forrest, Longstreet, Early and Picket, at a season when campaigning is alike difficult and unmilitary. Nothing but a most urgent necessity could have induced the Southern generals to sacrifice their men by forced marches in a broken country, at the most inclement season of the year. The report that Early lost two-thirds of his men in Western Virginia from the severity of the weather is not improbable in view of the character of the country his forces were operating in. It will be remarked that in all these vicious raids the capture of mule-trains, droves of cattle, forage and other supplies, were the main objects kept in view.–Army and Navy Journal.

•••••

Cats at Sea.–Considering how much the cat abhors water, our readers must often have wondered why seafaring men are so find of taking the animal with them on a voyage. This is explained by two circumstances. Marine insurance does not cover damage done to cargo by rats; but if the owner of the damaged goods can prove that the ship went to sea unfurnished with a cat, he can recover damages from the shipmaster. Again, a ship found at sea with no living creature on board is considered a derelict, and is forfeited to the Admiralty, the finders or the Queen. It has often happened that, after a ship has been abandoned, some domestic animal–a dog, a canary bird, or most frequently a cat, from its hatred of facing the waves–has saved the vessel from being condemned as a derelict.–Once a Week.

•••••

After asking your name in the state of Arkansas, the natives are in the habit of saying, in a confidential tone, “Well, now, what were yer name afore yer moved to these parts?”

 

SATURDAY
FEBRUARY 20, 1864

THE NEWPORT MERCURY (RI)

Europe, as last noticed, was left in a critical and uncertain situation in regard to the question most likely to disturb the general peace in that quarter. The subsequent advices of last week left the question of the expected war against Denmark still perhaps undecided, as nothing was known to have occurred denoting a change in the posture of the several antagonistical powers. Austria and Prussia appeared to have undertaken the hegemony in the field for the Germans, as those members of the Federation might well feel themselves entitled to do, because they have long been regarded as powers of the first class in the German interest. The smaller kingdoms holding only the second rank in the Federation were expected, it seems, to yield to Austria and Prussia the special honor of advancing upon Schleswig. But what is likely to render this Danish and German complication more uncertain in its result, is the great number of smaller princes or petty states of the third rank that are to be taken into the account; though they are capable of doing little else than rendering the German machine more complicated, and by that means at least embarrassing important movements.

In looking upon the condition of the people under such a multitude of petty sovereignties, it may seem to be regretted that, amidst the wars and revolutions to which Germany has been subjected, the whole country has not yet been relieved of many of its burdensome principalities. Such diminutive powers have singly no effective strength; they can give but little support in that manner, though they must frequently need to receive support while they remain in that condition. This circumstance renders the situation of all the petty German States one of great anxiety in times of general commotion, and exposes them to undergo the most distressing vicissitudes in endeavoring to preserve the integrity of a divided nationality. In this point of view, it might seem to be better for such a population to be taken under the protection of a generous conqueror, than to remain the humble and despised subjects of their present arbitrary rulers.

Conquests in Europe are not always followed by the worst consequences of subjugation. Sometimes indeed the survivors of battles and sieges which have proved ineffectual for their defense or by which they have been reduced to submission, find themselves in no worse condition on that account, if not under alleviated circumstances. In such cases, however, the objects of the conquest have not been to destroy the lives of the people or to diminish their means of happiness, in any respect. When France lay at the mercy of the conquerors of Napoleon the Great, the vindication of the principle contended for in the restoration of the Bourbons, then the good conservative principle of Crowns, was deemed sufficient. The French population were not amerced to reimburse the nations for the expenses incurred in the various coalitions against the French Emperor as a rebel against their constitution. The Allies did not enter Paris in triumph for the benefit; they did not use their power as they might have done for the injury of France. The nation was simply replaced within its ancient frontier–without acquisitions but without loss. And being no longer regarded as hostile, the same nation was allowed to be represented in an assembly of pacificators on an equal footing with those to whom as enemies it had just before been in hostile opposition.

The assembled wisdom of Europe, in 1815, did not assume to make an example of the French, either as inhabitants or as a nation. The soundness of such a policy was verified by the result, which lasted about as long as the principle of “legitimacy” on which it was founded, and it could not be expected to last much longer. ->

The effect of an opposite policy could not have been better; and if there is anything to be learned from history, [it] would probably have been worse. Nothing in such cases can be gained by outraging the instincts of human nature, and insulting as well as wounding the population upon which you must finally rely for complete success. The turmoil of wars, insurrections and revolutions, have here and there for so many ages blackened the records of history, that something should be learned from such lessons. The saying that history repeats itself will be found too true, all the way from Grecian to the American States. The words of the impartial historian of Athens may seem to be prophetic, because they are truly philosophical. He gives a narration “of things that have happened and,” as he says, “of the same and very similar things which, as men are, shall hereafter come to pass.”

•••••

While every one perhaps is looking for later news in relation to the affairs of Europe, and to the sentiments entertained there in relation to the affairs of America, many may derive some satisfaction to learn that Mr. George Thompson has this week been lecturing in Boston upon his favorite subject, particularly as it is viewed by the working people and the masses of his countrymen. Mr. Thompson recently represented the “Tower Hamlets” in the British Parliament; but he is better known to Americans as a popular lecturer in this country, many years ago, when the subject now shaking the whole country to the centre of its foundations firs began to be more generally agitated. His lecture a few evenings ago as published in the Boston Journal, gives information of the progress of his cause at home through the instrumentalities of two English organizations, called “Union and Emancipation Societies.” He represented that the South had got the start at first by means of their emissaries. That there was till recently a lamentable degree of ignorance among the people of England respecting the frame of the American Government and the relations which the States bore to one another and to that Government. From the early movements and documents in relation to the rebellion, that the English people had come to the conclusion that the object of the war was not so much to destroy slavery as to restore the Federal Union. But that after the policy of the American Administration had become clearly fixed in opposition to slavery, he could find more freedom to speak to Americans, and from that time it began to be easier to place matters in a right position before Englishmen in general. He said, however, that the question among them was only a prolongation of the old strife (more or less in eh abstract perhaps) between those favorable to liberty and those classes which are more favorable to aristocracy and monarchy. Of the latter are mentioned some members of Parliament who took an interest in the rebellion, particularly Lord Campbell, Mr. Lindsey, Mr. Gregory, and Mr. Beresford Hope. Of the former are given the names of John Stuart Mill, Professor Nichol of the Glasgow University, Professor Newman Hall, the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel, and concluding with John Bright, to whose genius and oratory in the halls of legislation the lecturer paid the highest compliments.

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