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SUNDAY
MAY 8
, 1864
THE DAILY PICAYUNE (LA)

The Taking of Fort Pillow.—The Journal of Commerce, of the 22d ult., has the following extract from a private letter from a gentleman in Cincinnati to a friend in New York. It gives a new version of the “massacre” at Fort Pillow:

Cincinnati, April 18, 1864.

The storming of Fort Pillow was a serious affair. I conversed with an intelligent Irishman who came up on the steamer that brought many of our wounded men to Cairo. He tells me that our officers placed their Negro soldiers in front of the whites. They immediately ran away, and the whites surrendered as soon as the rebels entered the fort, calling on the Negroes to do the same, but they, not understanding matters, and being afraid of falling into the hands of the rebels, ran away with their arms and occasionally fired on the pursuers. But all who surrendered, whether white or black, were protected as soon as the melee of the assault was over.

A few Negro women and children were killed in the fort, and some of the Negroes were pursued down to the edge of the river and killed before the rebel officers could control their men. The demoralization of the whites and the terror of the black soldiers was excessive. The Negroes did not know enough to give up, and their officers lost all control over them. The passion and rage of the rebels were ungovernable at meeting Negroes in arms. After the surrender the rebel officers, with a few exceptions, did what they could to control their men. It was worse than  folly to attempt a defence with Negro troops unless there was a certainty of success. They could expect nothing, if the defence failed, from the rebels who, entering the fort sword in hand, would probably refuse quarter, which, I was informed, the laws of war permit in cases where a place is taken by assault.

•••••

France and Russia: A Significant Incident.—The Paris correspondent of the St. Louise Republican, in his letter of April 18, writes:

A strong outburst of ill feeling has been created this morning my intelligence of an incident which has taken place at St. Petersburg. The fiftieth anniversary of the entrance of the Russian army into Paris, in 1815, has been celebrated there with a significance not likely to be passed over without remark by a nation so ­­­­­sensitive on the subject of military disasters as the French. In the first place, the  above anniversary is said, like that of the battle of Waterloo in London, to have been allowed to have fallen into oblivion for the last two or three years. Its resuscitation alone, therefore, is a fact to be noticed. But more than this, the re-ëstablishment of the festival has been accomplished with one or two circumstances of a peculiarly aggravating nature in the eyes of Frenchmen.

In a special order of the day, addressed to the Russian Imperial Guard, the different regiments were to take part in the review held by the Emperor in memory of the occasion were directed to display the standards in the reign of Alexander I, instead of those ordinarily employed. Again, “on the occasion of the anniversary of the capture of Paris,” invitations to the table of the Emperor were issued to “all the veterans in St. Petersburg who had taken part in the campaign of 1814.” Nor was this all. The Invalide Russe, a strong Government organ, published on the day before the anniversary an article of anything but a courteous character towards this country. ->

“In the capital which our victorious warriors entered in triumph,” it says, “the vainglorious French have erected everywhere monuments of their victories. Even recently Sebastopol has decorated one of the boulevards of Paris with its ill-omened name. We do not build such monuments in our capital. The standards of our enemies, which drape the vaults of our temples, testify sufficiently to the heroism of our soldiers.” The parading the long series of victories which brought the Russian armies to the banks of the Seine and within the walls of the French capital, the Russian journal concludes by saying: “Thus it was that our Emperor revenged the destruction of Moscow!”

Such language is certainly not allowed to be used by the press at St. Petersburg without a motive; and if the object has been to arouse French indignation, that end has assuredly been most fully attained, for the public here is furious.

•••••

The Shakespeare Statue in New York.—The Journal of Commerce, of April 25, says:

The ceremonies connected with the laying of the foundation of the Shakespeare statue, at the Central Park, took place at the appointed hour on Saturday. A large number of actors and representatives of various professions were present. Mr. Andrew H. Green, comptroller of the Park, commenced the exercises, by reading an “authorization” from the commissioners to James H. Hackett, William Wheatley, Edwin Booth and Hon. Charles P. Daly, applicants on behalf of the actors and theatrical managers of New York, to place a monumental statue in honor of the memory of Shakespeare in the Park. Judge Daly was then introduced, and made a brief but impressive address, after which Mr. Hackett went through the formality of laying the corner-stone. Dodsworth’s Band, which had fortunately been secured for the occasion, performed a most appropriate piece–the grand wedding march from Mendelsohn’s “Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Mr. Wheatley made a short address, and read a spirited poem of his own composition.

The band then played national airs, after which Mayor Gunther, on behalf of the city, accepted the offer of the statue, as an ornament to the Park, and trusted that the citizens of New York would fully appreciate the motives of those who had inaugurated the movement. Thus ended the interesting ceremonies in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.

The day was delightful, and everything passed off pleasantly. Persons who search for the monument will find the spot where it is to be on the east side of the lower end of the Mall. The committee hope to raise a sufficient sum from theatrical benefits and other sources to go on with the work at once.

 

MONDAY
MAY 9, 1864
THE DAILY RICHMOND EXAMINER (VA)

The Great Battle on the Rapid Ann.

Orange Court House, May 7.–Your correspondent left the front at 4 a.m., bringing the following reliable information:

General Ewell again repulsed the enemy yesterday, who advanced on his front with five lines of battle. The Yankee loss is terrible, especially on Early’s front. Ewell’s loss is very small. About 12 o’clock yesterday, the enemy having previously attacked  Heth and Wilcox and driven them back, Longstreet planned, and was in the act of executing a flank movement on the enemy’s left wing, when, by the mistake of our men, he was fired upon. Lieutenant-General Longstreet and staff were severely, though not mortally wounded–General Longstreet in the shoulder, so say the surgeons with whom the Press correspondent conversed and who examined his wound, and instantly killing Brigadier-General Jenkins, of South Carolina. Our troops continued to press the enemy until about 4 o’clock, driving back the enemy’s left and centre some two miles, our left standing fast in its position.

Last night our men held possession of the enemy’s battle-field on the left and centre, capturing a number of the enemy’s wounded and some of the dead. The enemy fought, yesterday, most obstinately, in all parts of the line. Our success was very great, though not deemed decisive.

Just before daylight some picket firing was heard in front of Hill’s corps, and, about six a.m., cannonading, lasting half an hour, was heard on Ewell’s line.

Our loss thus far is about five thousand, of whom a large proportion are slightly wounded. The proportion of officers to private killed and wounded is very much larger than in any previous fight.

The Yankee General Hayes is reported killed, and a dead Yankee General with the initials “H. H. C,” supposed to be Couch or Casey, was found in Ewell’s front. The fight occurred in a desolate wooded country. Little or no artillery was brought into action. At one time yesterday, when the enemy were heavily pressing Hill’s men, General Kershaw opportunely, by double-quicking with his troops, arrived on the field, checked, repulsed and pursued the enemy, thus turning the fortunes of the day at that end of the line.

The battle field extends over a space of eight miles in length. Rosser’s cavalry fought the enemy all day on our extreme right, losing heavily and gaining nothing important. Ewell captured two pieces of artillery in the fight of Thursday and twelve hundred prisoners. The wounded are arriving here and receiving every attention.

General R. H. Anderson is now commanding in place of Longstreet.

Two thousand well and wounded prisoners have been captured thus far.

The battle-ground extends from the Rapid Ann river to the plank road, and is about twenty-five miles east of this place.

The battle is not yet ended. Weather hot and sultry.

Second Dispatch.

Orange C. H., May 7.–Gordon’s Georgia brigade and Johnston’s North Carolina brigade, of Ewell’s corps, turned the enemy’s extreme right flank about four miles above Germana ford last evening between dusk and dark, capturing four hundred prisoners, including Brigadier-Generals Seymour and Shaler. The enemy, completely surprised, hastily fled on finding their breastworks turned and stormed. Our loss very slight.

There are rumors here that Mosby has whipped the Negro troops, capturing some, and burning some bridges in Fauquier county.

Third Dispatch.

Orange C. H., May 7.–Trustworthy advices from the front, as late as one o’clock p.m., represent that there was no general engagement up to that time.

Lieutenant-General Longstreet’s condition to-day is reported as much improved.

There was some cannonading on the extreme right and left during the morning, but it amounted to nothing of importance.

A Negro soldier, an infantryman, the first ever captured by his army, was taken near Brandy station yesterday, and brought in here to-day. He says that he belongs to the Twenty-seventh Ohio, Burnside’s corps.

The enemy have been fortifying all day, as if to provoke General Lee to attack him.

From Northern Virginia.

Orange C. H., May 8.–Advices from the front to sunrise this morning report that there was no general engagement yesterday, only heavy skirmishing. The impression prevailed last night that the enemy were falling back towards Culpepper on Fredericksburg.

The Negro troops occupying Brandy station advanced out to Culpepper Court House Friday and occupied it. Yesterday they went back to Brandy station, set fire to  the stores–principally quartermaster’s–and then marched to join Grant.

Scouts say that the enemy have abandoned the line of the Orange railway, and no cars are running on it. It is supposed that Grant now intends to make Fredericksburg his base.

Ewell holds the road leading to Germana ford, but the enemy, it is said, have two fords by which to recross the river to Culpepper if they wish.

Stuart was yesterday engaged with the enemy on our right, and it was reported he was compelled to give back until Hampton joined him, when he forced the enemy to retire.

The enemy’s losses, thus far, are estimated at eighteen thousand. Ours will reach seven thousand. The Yankee General Hayes is certainly killed. Wadsworth is wounded and a prisoner; he may recover. Oglesby is reported killed. Twenty-four hundred privates and one hundred commissioned officers thus far have been registered here, not including the Yankee wounded, of which we captured some fifteen hundred, chiefly in front of Hill and Longstreet.

Our men began yesterday evening to bury our own a d the Yankee dead.

Siegel occupied Winchester on Friday with five thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry.

The country between the Rappahannock and Potomac is reported to be filled with Yankee deserters.

General Longstreet’s condition is much improved. He left for the interior to-day.

Mosby captured two wagon trains, heavily laden and horses attached, near Martinsburg on Thursday.

The latest from the front, at twelve m., to-day, represents the enemy falling back towards Fredericksburg, and our troops following them closely.

•••••

Fight at Port Walthall.

Petersburg, May 8.–A battle was fought in the vicinity of Port Walthall on Saturday. It raged from eleven to half past four o’clock, with an intermission of half an hour. The enemy greatly outnumbered us, but were handsomely repulsed and retired from the field, leaving some dead and wounded. The heaviest fighting was on our left, near the railroad, where chiefly South Carolinians were engaged. Our casualties are one hundred and seventy-five–about thirty killed. Prisoners taken say they belong to Gilmore’s corps, and are recently from Florida, and that Butler commanded in person. The enemy lost heavily–prisoners say two thousand.

All quiet to-day, save slight firing from gunboats in the Appomattox.

TUESDAY
MAY 10,
1864
THE HARTFORD DAILY COURANT (CT)

The Fighting in Virginia.

The series of battles in Virginia commenced on Thursday. Our entire army was in motion at daylight. At six o’clock scouts brought in reports that the enemy were advancing in full force to meet us. Not long after, Gens. Grant and Meade came up from Germania Ford, and an advantageous position for battle was selected. En. Sedgwick’s corps occupied the right, Gen. Warren the centre, and Gen. Hancock, who was also in the van, was expected to form on the left. The right and centre were in line of battle by 11 o’clock. At noon Gen. Warren was ordered to send forward Griffith’s division along the turnpike to learn the position, strength and probable intentions of the enemy. Gen. Ayers’ brigade of regulars pushed ahead on the right of the road, Gen. Bartlett’s on the left, and Gen. Sweitzer’s followed as a reserve. Three-quarters or a mile from the starting point, they encountered the enemy drawn up in a strong position on a thickly wooded ridge. The fight soon commenced. After an hour’s struggle the rebels flanked Ayers’ brigade and drove it back. The retreat of the regulars exposed Bartlett’s brigade, which was also compelled to retire. Here two pieces of the 3d Mass. artillery had to be left behind, as nearly all the horses were killed.

Sweitzer’s and Wadsworth’s brigades were now ordered forward to relieve the troops which had been repulsed. The firing was continued for an hour longer, when the enemy withdrew from that quarter of the field. Our loss in this reconnoissance, amounting in the aggregate to about six hundred, fell chiefly on the brigades of Ayers and Bartlett. We captured three hundred prisoners.

Meanwhile, Hancock had been moving his corps with a view to complete the formation of the line of battle. About 3 o’clock, the rebels were discovered to be advancing rapidly in strong force, with the obvious purpose of cutting off Hancock from the residue of the army. Gen. Sedgwick at once directed Gen. Getty’s division to checkmate the enemy. Mott’s division of Hancock’s corps formed a junction with Getty on the right and left of the plank road leading from Chancellorsville to Orange Court House. In order to give the rest of Hancock’s corps time to come up,  Gen. Grant ordered these two divisions to attack the enemy in front. Other divisions rapidly pushed forward to re-enforce our line, and the fight soon became furious. Owing to the dense growth of timber and brush, artillery was unavailable. The fight was confined to musketry, and was very severe. Both sides steadily maintained their positions till night ended the conflict. Our total loss in this part of the field was about one thousand.

Meanwhile, Gen. Sheridan had concentrated his cavalry force a few miles south of Chancellorsville, to hunt for Stuart’s cavalry, which was reported to be massed somewhere in the vicinity. At night he sent a message to Gen. Meade, announcing that he had met a portion of them, and was driving them in every direction.

In Thursday’s fight, Gen. Lee resorted to his old tactics, endeavoring to crush the advance of our army before the residue came up. He made two violent attempts, both of which were unsuccessful. Less than one-half of our army was engaged. By night the reserves under Burnside had reached the field, and all was ready for the morning’s combat.

During the fight of Friday there were few bayonet charges or attempts at strategy. Ammunition trains could not be brought up owing to the density of the forest. Cartridges were brought in on the stretchers which carried out the wounded.

On Friday Lee repeated the tactics of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He first threw the entire strength of this army upon the corps of Gen. Hancock, holding our right. Thwarted in this quarter, Lee suddenly withdrew to hurl his legions upon Sedgwick. Our line wavered several times, but rallied nobly, and finally drove back the enemy with fearful slaughter. Failing to penetrate our ranks at any point, Lee at four p.m. made a feint of attacking our whole line, and then suddenly concentrated how hole force against Sedgwick. For some time the combat raged with great fury and with varying success. At length the enemy were a second time driven back with great loss.

During the night Lee commenced a hurried retreat for Richmond. There was no serious fighting on Saturday. Our army commenced the pursuit at once, and have followed it up with great vigor.

Banks Responsible for the Red River Disaster.
Is he Incompetent or Insane?

The following special dispatch to the Springfield Republican shows up Gen. Banks in a light which proves that he is either thoroughly incompetent or a fit subject for a lunatic asylum:

“A bearer of dispatches from Admiral Porter, whose character for intelligence and truthfulness is established at Washington, arrived Sunday. He gives an even more deplorable account of Banks’ campaign upon Red River than any heretofore published. Besides confirming in all essential respects our statements derived from private letters, which were published a week ago, he adds facts calculated to dispel whatever hopes the friends of Banks may entertain of a satisfactory explanation of his conduct. On the first day a column of 30,000 was disposed on the march in such a fashion that they were easily and shamefully routed by from 12,000 to 15,000. On the second day, Gen. A. J. Smith whipped the rebels alone, driving them six miles. He was in hot pursuit, and eager to reap all the fruits of his victory and hopeful of reaching Shreveport, when an order came from Gen. Banks directing him to retreat with the rest of the army. Gen. Smith refused to obey. A second order to fall back he also refused to obey. Gen. Banks in person brought a third order, and insisted that Smith should fall back before daylight. He begged permission to stay long enough to bury his dead and care for the wounded and sick, promising to be on the march in an hour after sunrise, but Banks was inexorable, and the old soldier was obliged, with tears in his eyes, to leave his men who had fallen on the battle-field to the tender mercies of the rebels. Gen. Smith carried off two of the twenty-three cannon which the rebels abandoned, but was not allowed time to spike the remainder.

“Our forces were retreating in one direction, and the rebels were retreating in the opposite direction. Some hours after Gen. Smith’s departure, the rebels sent a flag of truce to the battle-field to ask permission to bury the dead, and sought vainly for somebody to receive it. It may be imagined they profitted by this unlooked for advantage.

“A few miles out from Alexandria, Gen. Banks while retreating found Gen. McClernand with 6,000 men on their way to reinforce him. He ordered him to fall back to Alexandria at once, after destroying his grain and supplies. McClernand refused twice to obey, but on the receipt of the third order set fire to part of his oats. Gen. Smith with 2,000 men took the responsibility of marching to the spot, extinguished the flames, which he succeeded in doing before more than fifty bushels burned, and after remaining there all night marched back again with the remainder of the oats and all the other supplies. Gen. Banks requested that these should be given up to him, (Banks,) but Gen. Smith replied that they were his by right of capture and he should keep them for his own use.

“No General but Banks was blamed in the army for the campaign.”

WEDNESDAY
MAY 11, 1864

THE BOSTON HERALD

telegraph to the herald.
Highly Important Revelations.

A Captured Letter Disclosing the Plans of the Rebel Campaign.

GRAND INVASION OF THE NORTH PROJECTED!

150,000 REBEL TROOPS TO CARRY OUT THE MOVEMENT!

New York, May 10, midnight.

The following letter was taken in an intercepted mail in Butler’s Department, and forwarded by the special correspondent of the World this evening. The writer is the Chief Clerk of the rebel War Department, and Mr. Lewis is a member of the rebel Congress from the Fifth Georgia District. There is no doubt of its authenticity:

“Confederate States of America,
War Depar’t, Richmond, April 19th.

“My Dear Friend–The reason of my not answering your letter of the 2d inst. before is that I could not do so without violating the regulations of the Department. Indeed, I cannot give the information you desire now without transgressing the rules, but knowing your patriotism and discretion, I shall venture to do so. Gen. Lee’s plans are perfected, and the President, Secretary, and even grumbling B., are delighted with them, and it only remains for the Departments and Bureaus to carry out their parts of them. Your conjecture that the seat of war will be transferred to the North is correct, and you may depend that this time Gen. Lee will go prepared to remain there until the Yankees sue for peace.

“The intention is to give him one hundred and fifty thousand men. The troops will be withdrawn from from points of minor importance, and as Charleston and Mobile are no longer in danger, the troops near these points can be spared, so that there will be no difficulty in giving him the required number of men. He has at hand more than two-thirds of the number now and we are hurrying up others from every direction. Enough will be left in and around the city to defend it if assailed via the Peninsula, and enough to confront Meade and keep him north of the North Anna, or at all events north of the South Anna, while Lee will make a flank movement and push two columns northward, both Longstreet and Stuart going with him. These in brief are the plans for the Summer campaign and they will surely be carried out unless unfortunately the enemy advance before Lee gets ready and necessitates a change in the programme. If unfortunately Lee should be obliged to fall back, Beauregard will have command of the defences of the city while Lee will with all the force that can be spared, will operate in conjunction with Johnston and carry the war into Ohio. Thirty thousand men can hold the Capital against all the men the enemy can send here. In a few days I will write you again more at length. Remember me to Mrs. Lewis and the girls.

Truly, Your Friend,

B. R. Wellford, Jr.

To Hon. D. W. Lewis.”

•••••

Battle on Monday–Report of a Messenger.

Washington, May 10.–The Star says: “A messenger got in last night from the army, who left Spotsylvania yesterday at 12 o’clock, and came on horseback to Acquia Creek, and thence on gunboat. At 12 o’clock yesterday a heavy fight was going on at Spotsylvania Court House. We held the place at that hour, and Lee gave evidence of being weakened and of falling back. The messenger had an escort of 150 cavalry, and as guerrillas were frequently encountered on the way, it is not improbable that many of the escort were captured when returning to the army.

Our wounded are reported to be 15,000, most of whom are at Fredericksburg, and so thick were they lying in the streets and upon the pavement that a cavalry patrol ordered out could not do duty, as it was difficult to pass between the rows of wounded without trampling on them. It is said that there are between 2000 and 3500 of the rebel wounded left upon the field there also.

GEN. BUTLER’S MOVEMENTS.

WHAT THE RICHMOND PAPERS SAY.

Panic at Petersburg and Richmond.

Starvation Prospect Ahead.

New York, May 10.–The Richmond Whig of the 7th says: “Up to a late hour on the night of the 6th no fighting had taken place on the Peninsula. The movement of Butler’s transports up the James river was known in Petersburg at 11 a.m. on Monday, when Gen. Pickett ordered out the militia. The court-house bell and all the other bells were rung. Great excitement ensued. All the force at Petersburg was moved out, but nothing is said of meeting the enemy. Forty-one transports (and others coming), 3 iron-clads and 4 gunboats were counted, and from 10,000 to 15,000 men were landed at Bermuda Landing.”

The Whig of the 7th states that Richmond is in worse peril than when threatened by McClellan, and argues that there is no need of a panic, and holds out the encouragement that ample reinforcements are at hand, and says there will be trouble from insufficiency of food.

Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 10, via Fortress Monroe.–Fighting commenced yesterday noon and continued until night between Gen. Heckman’s brigade and several other brigades under Gen. Smith, Gen. Beauregard commanding the rebels in person. During the fight our forces drove the enemy back three miles, nearly into Petersburg. We hold the railroad between Richmond and Petersburg. Gen. Kantz’s cavalry succeeded in destroying some portions of the Petersburg and Weldon railroad, and captured many rebel prisoners; 20 go to Fortress Monroe to-day, including Captains and Lieutenants.

•••••

Official Dispatch from the Secretary of War.

Washington, May 10.

To Major General Dix:

Dispatches have been received this evening from Major Gen. Grant, dated at 1 o’clock yesterday. The enemy have made a stand at Spotsylvania Court House. There had been some sharp fighting, but no general battle had taken place there.

I deeply regret to announce that Major Gen. Sedgwick was killed in yesterday’s engagement at Spotsylvania, being struck by a ball from a sharpshooter. His remains are at Fredericksburg, and are expected here to-night.

The army is represented to be in excellent condition and with ample supplies.

Gen. Robinson and Gen. Morris are wounded. No other casualties to general officers are reported.

Gen. Wright has been placed in command of Sedgwick’s corps.

Gen. Grant did not design to renew the attack to-day, being engaged in replenishing from the supply train so as to advance without it.

Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.

•••••

Removal of Gen. Banks.—The removal of Gen. Banks was made by Gen. Grant, who, several days ago, dispatched an order to Banks, directing him to turn over his command to the next officer in rank, and to report himself at New Orleans.

THURSDAY
MAY 12,
1864
THE SALEM REGISTER (MA)

Battle of the Wilderness.

The extraordinary conflict which took place on Thursday and Friday of last week in the vicinity of a place of this name, may, perhaps, be recorded in history under the above title. Taking it in all its elements and features, it may justly be considered as the greatest battle of our day, if not of all time. The contending hosts were, on each side, at least a hundred thousand–how many more it is impossible to ascertain.1 The belligerents were not, as in most great battles, of distinct races. They were both of them Anglo Saxons, descendants of other races in the British Isles, or of kindred continental stocks. They were all Americans, composed entirely of men born under the Republic, or had chosen it as their adopted home. They were trained in the school of liberty and self-government. A greater amount of intelligence pervaded the rank and file, on both sides, than was ever found in armies. They had all the elements of energy and mental and moral force, which are appropriate to freemen and volunteers, and of endurance, steadiness and momentum to be expected only from veterans. Two long days, each extending from the earliest dawn far into midnight, were spent in assaults and repulses on both sides, of the most desperate nature. Obstinate invincibility seemed to characterize both armies. The nature of the ground and the advantages resulting from it to the rebel forces would have secured to them a victory against any other army than such as has sprung from the free States of North America. The retreat of the rebels, of course, gives the victory, for the time, to the Union army. There is no reasonable ground to apprehend that the tide of its triumph can be seriously, permanently, or long checked.

•••••

The Last Year of the War.—The Richmond Examiner of the 29th ult., says: “If we hold our own in Virginia till this summer is ended, the North’s power of mischief elsewhere will be gone. If we lose, the South’s capacity for resistance will be broken. The Confederacy has ample power to keep its place in Virginia if employed with energy and consistency, and this is the last year of the war, whichever wins.”

•••••

The Rebels Not Prepared for Defeat.—The Richmond Whig of the 6th asks the question, “Are we prepared?” and answers it thus:

“Suppose the battle between Lee and Grant is indecisive, or suppose the enemy gain such advantages as to compel Lee to fall back toward Richmond, are we at all prepared for such a contingency? Candor compels a negative answer, for we have been so elated by success after success that we have not permitted ourselves to contemplate the probability of anything but victory.”

•••••

Terrific Engagement between the Rebel Ram Albemarle and Union Gunboats.

New York, May 11.–The following is from a letter of Saturday in the Herald:

On Thursday there was a contest between the rebel ram Albemarle and seven Union gunboats twelve miles from the mouth of the Roanoke river.

The ram was accompanied by the Cotton Plant and the Bombshell, recently captured at Plymouth. The Union gunboats were the Sassacus, Wyalusing, Mattabeset, Miami, Whitehead, Ceres and Commodore Hull.

Our gunboats opened fire and a terrific engagement ensued, lasting from five until eight o’clock p.m. The Cotton Plant escaped, and the ram, firing rapidly, retreated up the Sound. The gunboat Bombshell was retaken with all on board.

The Sassacus, having an iron prow, steamed at full speed and ran into the ram, striking it abaft the centre, but apparently without inflicting any injury on it. ->

The Sassacus, however, was compelled to retire, having the forward rudder knocked off and a 100 pounder Parrott shot fired by the ram through its boiler. Under cover of the darkness the ram succeeded in gaining and entering the Roanoke River, where our gunboats could not venture to follow.

Our loss is 5 killed and 26 wounded. The only gunboats struck were the Wyalusing, Mattabeset, and Sassacus, but the injury done thereby is very slight.

The ram carried at least four hundred-pounders, probably those captured at Plymouth, but believed by some to be English Blakely guns. The shot are steel and well pointed.

•••••

A Wail from Rebeldom.—The Norfolk New Regime copies the following article from the Richmond Whig of Saturday, April 30. It is the most desponding in its tone of any Richmond article we have recently seen:

The Duty of the Hour.

That a great struggle is about to take place for the possession of Richmond is conceded on all hands. The enemy is marshaling his cohorts on the Rappahannock and the Peninsula, and that a last desperate effort will be made to overrun Virginia and occupy her ancient capital, is admitted by the enemy himself. What then becomes the duty of the people of Richmond in view of the mighty conflict at hand? It is evidently the same as that of the commander of a man of war who sails out of port to engage the foes of his flag in mortal combat. The decks are cleared for action, non-combatants are ordered below or ashore, the supply of ammunition and food is looked to, and a short prayer uttered that Heaven will favor the right, and protect the land and the loved ones for whom the battle is waged.

Such is now the duty of the people of Richmond. Every preparation should be made for the approaching conflict, and every obstacle removed which can hinder or embarrass the movements of our armies. If there is a man, woman or child in the city who cannot serve the cause here, and who can find temporary refuge elsewhere, they should immediately withdraw, and thus clear the decks and diminish the consumption of food. The trains employed in bringing up supplies for their subsistence might then be used in transporting troops; and for every non-combatant thus withdrawn a soldier might be substituted and supported. The food now consumed by persons who can render no assistance, and which is hauled over over-taxed railways, would be available for armed men, able and ready to defend the city against the assaults of the invader. Armies, like men, are confused and embarrassed by frightened women and children crying to them for assistance and clinging to them for support.

We sincerely hope and pray that the red waves of battle may not, as in 1862, roll and break and hiss against the walls of the capital, and the ears of our suffering but resolute people may never again be saluted by the reports of hostile guns. But our hopes may be disappointed; the enemy may come again as he has come before, and, for aught we know, the battle may be fought on these hills and in these streets. It is with a view to this possible contingency that we would urge upon our people to make all needful preparation for whatever fate betides them, and especially to give our brave and unconquerable defenders a clear deck and an open field. And above all, let the living oracles of our holy religion, and pious men and women of every persuasion, remember that God alone giveth the victory, and that His ear is ever open to the prayer of the righteous.

FRIDAY
MAY
13, 1864
THE LIBERATOR (MA)

Retaliation.

President Lincoln, in his remarks at Baltimore, observed that the mode in which redress was to be sought for the outrage of Fort Pillow, was not yet determined on; and indicated that it might be a question of some difficulty. We have Confederate prisoners enough in our hands, and it would seem to be easy to select three or four hundred men out of Camp Douglas, by lot or otherwise, and order them shot at once. But it will hardly do for the Government of the United States to proceed with rashness or to be guilty of any act which may savor of cruelty. It is hard to say what might be properly done under some conceivable circumstances; but in seeking redress for a violation of the law, we must proceed lawfully, so as to secure the approbation of civilized nations, and to stop the mouths of the rebels themselves.

The men who perpetrated the horrible atrocity of murdering men after surrender, were not a parcel of unauthorized guerrillas. Had they been such, we might proceed to hunt and kill them as murderers, without any further ceremony. But they are the regular soldiers of the Confederacy, wearing its uniform, bearing its commission, and receiving its pay–acting thus in all respects under its authority. The first steps in our course are therefore clear. We must know of the rebel authorities if these acts are done by their orders or permission; if they will take the responsibility of them, or disavow them, and relinquish to punishment the perpetrators.

The rebels themselves, have just set an example of the proper mode of procedure. They found, or pretended to find, upon the person of Col. Dahlgren, whom they killed, a copy of orders–real or spurious–detailing the work to be done by his command when Richmond should be in their hands. Some of the items were the taking of Jeff Davis and sundry acts of burning and devastation, averred to be contrary to the rules of regular warfare. All rebeldom has continued to be greatly exasperated by these orders, which they affirm to be genuine, but which have been supposed to be forgeries, for the sake of effect. Their mode of procedure has been to inquire of our military leaders in Virginia if such orders were given to Col. Dahlgren; and if he was carrying out the policy of the United States Government in the endeavor to act upon them.

Gen. Meade and Gen. Kilpatrick have both replied, that no such orders were given to Col. Dahlgren, their mode of procedure was obviously the proper one in the premises.

If Jeff Davis avows the act of Forrest, it will then be necessary to consider the next step. It will then be for us to decide upon what act of retaliation we will enter. In that case it might be proper to proceed to extreme measures at once–even to the putting to death of prisoners in our hands–should such a step seem safe and proper. It would doubtless be lawful.

But if Davis disavows the act, and is ready to accord some suitable satisfaction, something less of stringency might be insisted on in our demands. But in any event the gang which perpetrated the massacre are the proper subjects of vengeance. If Davis will give up Forrest, Chalmers and their bloody crew, very well. If not, a proclamation of outlawry is the least that can be thought of. They are no more entitled to protection in case of being taken prisoners, than a parcel of tigers with the blood of men upon their jaws.

At all events, we must go far enough to vindicate justice, and protect our black soldiers in the future.–Chicago Tribune.

Retaliation.—President Lincoln has promised that retaliation must follow the act of the rebels in the massacre at Fort Pillow. Every fair-minded man must concede that retaliation for such barbarities would an act of justice, but there are many grave objections in the way of it. It must be remembered that the perpetrators stand low in the scale of civilization. They illustrate too truly the “barbarism of Slavery,” and their acts of barbarism are not to be imitated. Our civilization, our self-respect, our position in the eyes of the world, prevent us from retaliation in kind. Other modes may possibly be resorted to, which though they may not possibly be so effectual, will be more in consonance with an enlightened age and country.

Such retaliation in kind would bring counter retaliation and the cold blooded slaughter would be terrible in the eyes of the world. The nations of the old world would find justification in an attempt to prevent it, as they did at the time of the cruelties of the Turks to the Greeks. Let me give them no pretext for intervention.

We are willing to leave the whole matter to the wisdom and sagacity of our President. Perhaps he may deem it best for the black troops to be their own avengers in any future successes we may gain. Whatever he may decide to do of severity will be approved by the loyal men of the republic.–Salem Observer.

•••••

Vicksburg.–Some 8,000 slaves of all ages and colors reached here yesterday. It was one of the saddest spectacles witnessed for a long time in Vicksburg. The women and children have almost starved, and are half naked. Such a terrible picture of abject want and squalid misery can neither be imagined nor portrayed with pen. Many of the women and children were sick with fevers, brought on by the great fatigue and exposure of the long march from Meridian, Enterprise, Quitman, and other places. Will not the friends of freedom and the humane philanthropists of the North come forward at once, and with their generous hands rescue these liberated slaves from premature graves? Shoes and clothing for both sexes are needed immediately.–Corr. New York Tribune.

•••••

Evidence that the rebels are determined to massacre all the black soldiers who may fall into their hands is furnished in a letter from Canton, Mississippi, and published in the Atlanta (Georgia) Appeal of April 18. The writer says:

“General Ross broke up a plantation near Snyder’s Bluff, killing some fifty Negro soldiers who were guarding the workmen. The killing was applauded. ‘Take no Negro prisoners’ is the cry in which all join. It is proper.”

The writer goes on to assign a reason for the murder of black prisoners of war. He says:

“Self-preservation requires that there be no rule but that of extermination with armed Negroes.”

He is not insensible of the logic of this proposition as he adds:

“It might be well to have no other rule with these white fellows.”

SATURDAY
MAY 14, 1864

THE BOSTON DAILY ADVERTISER

Special Dispatch.
to the boston herald.

THURSDAY’S VICTORY.

Retreat of Lee in the Night.

Twelve Thousand Prisoners in our Hands.

Washington, May 13.–The following has just been received from our special correspondent with the army:

Battlefield, May 12.–There was desultory fighting along our front all day yesterday, but it was not of serious character. An opening in the line between our left under Burnside and our centre under Hancock was an object of apprehension throughout the day. To fill it, General Hancock was ordered to move to the left under cover of the night.

He was in the proper position before daylight and at half-past four o’clock advanced to attack the enemy in his front, consisting of part of Ewell’s corps. He took them by surprise and gave them no time to form, but charged upon and beyond their first and second lines of breastworks, enveloping and capturing a whole rebel division composed of seven thousand men, with its commander, Major General George Johnson, Brigadier-General George C. Stuart, and a Brigadier-General Johnson, with twenty-five pieces of artillery.

About two hours later the 6th corps moved to the  attack, carrying also the enemy’s lines in gallant style and capturing fifteen hundred men and ten more guns.

At about half past ten the 5th corps made a similar attempt on the enemy’s right, but failed to carry the rebel breastworks and was compelled to fall back after meeting with very heavy losses. After the repulse of the 5th corps there was a lull of about an hour and a half, but at this moment, half an hour later, our forces are again moving to the attack and a most violent artillery and musketry firing is again raging along the line. With the advantages gained by the 2d and 6th corps, final and decisive success is now sure.

In his advance General Hancock pushed his line forward over a mile. We have now a total of twelve thousand prisoners.

•••••

The American Telegraph Company sent from Washington on Thursday, to the press of the country, fifty-eight thousand seven hundred and forty words; the largest amount ever sent for the press in one day.

•••••

Our Losses.—The following is a specimen of the style in which the copperhead writers strive to throw a shade of gloom over their readers:

“On Monday, the Surgeon-General expressed the opinion that the wounded would not count more than eight thousand, two thousand of whom were said to be rebels. Thus we see that, as time progresses, the victory of grant, which we all so fondly hoped for, is lessening in importance. Up to this time we have no statement whatever as to the amount of our men actually killed; but surely they cannot reach the enormous difference between 35,000 and 12,000! Let us hope that the majority of these 23,000 were not killed but only disaffected.”

One would scarcely suppose from reading this that since the Surgeon-General’s statement there had been four days’ fighting, increasing instead of “lessening” the importance of the victory of Grant, and accounting in part for the difference between 35,000 and 12,000, which so puzzles the writer whom we quote.

FROM THE SOUTHWEST.

The Battle of Cane River.

New York, May. 13.–The steamer Creole, from New Orleans 5th inst., via Havana, has arrived. Her advices are not so late as per the George Washington, but nevertheless contain some news.

The report of a fight at Cane river April 23d is confirmed by correspondence in the New Orleans papers. The rebel position was taken by assault by Gen. Birge at the point of the bayonet, and from 80 to 100 rebels captured. Among the first of the killed was Gen. Fessenden while leading his brigade. The rebels were pursued and again routed. Their loss was heavy. Our loss was 175 killed and wounded.

The U. S. supply steamer union at New Orleans, captured, April 26th, off the Florida coast, the O. K., from Havana, ostensibly bound for Matamoras, and sent her to Key West.

General Franklin, who was wounded in the leg at the battle of Mansfield, had arrived at New Orleans. General Fitz Henry Warren had arrived from Texas. General Hunter had also arrived.

The steamer Emma, before reported captured and burned in Red river by the rebels, had a guard of colored troops and ten white officers on board and a crew of 36 men. Nothing has been learned of their fate. Four or five dead bodies were seen floating down the river.

Gen. McClernand arrived at Alexandria on the 26th ult. The army occupies a strong position, and is able to resist five times their number. All the transports are below the falls and safe at Alexandria. There were eight gunboats above the falls. The Eastport was blown up on the 27th ult.

The enemy made their appearance on the Shreveport road and drove in the advanced cavalry. Gen. McClernand met them with his command when they withdrew without a fight. The armies are, however, in close proximity, and a battle was hourly expected. Our men are anxious for the conflict.

Gen. Banks was hit with a piece of shell in the battle of Moret’s Bluffs on the 23d ult. He was improving.

Gen. Magruder is said to be on the way from Texas to Western Louisiana to join Kirby Smith’s army.

New York, May. 13.–A New Orleans letter of the 7th in the Express gives a report that General Banks is retreating by the land route to Brashear City, it being impossible to do so by the Red River, as the steamer City Belle, on her way up the other day with a regiment of troops to reinforce him, was captured with all on board and the boat burned. His other boats have been captured or burned.

Chicago, May. 13.–The Chattanooga correspondent of the Journal says the entire loss in the Red river campaign in men was 4300 in killed, wounded and missing. Gen. Banks’s army had been reinforced, and was 4000 stronger than when he first advanced.

Cairo, Ill., May. 13.–Memphis dates to the 11th have been received. They contain no news. There was but little activity in the cotton market. The orders for closing the lines of the district and indefinite advices from the North have tended to stagnate the markets and render both buyers and sellers slow in transacting business. The receipts for the last 24 hours were 356 bales; middling to strict middling 72-73c; good 75-76c; fair 77-78c.

Late reports from below represent the rebels in complete possession of the Red River below Alexandria; that they have captured two more of our gunboats. The truth of this is not vouched for.

1 While Grant had 102,000 men, Lee fielded but 61,000. Casualties amounted to 18,400 (18%) on the Union side and 11,400 (18.6%) on the rebel. (Source.)

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