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SUNDAY
DECEMBER 11, 1864
THE DAILY TRUE DELTA (LA)

Daring Attempt of Union Men to Destroy Hood’s Pontoons.
[From the Columbus Enquirer, Nov. 28.]

Florence, Nov. 9.–A bold and daring attempt was made a few nights ago to cut loose the pontoon bridge which spans the Tennessee river at this place. Eight Yankees procured a skiff several miles above us, and at nightfall descended the river for the purpose of severing the bridge. On their way down they pressed Mr. Pedan, a good and substantial secesh, into the service as a guide. At this place the river is very wide, and we did not have pontoons sufficient to reach from bank to bank. We were therefore forced to to the necessity of resting the north end of the bridge upon an island, and from thence built a trestle work to the opposite shore. Mr. Pedan, knowing that between the island and the north bank of the river the trestle work existed, when nearing Florence turned the party in the cut off. They were surprised to find this bridge, but Mr. Pedan assured them that the pontoons were below the piers of the railroad bridge. They floated on down until they struck the piers. Here they were soon discovered by our pickets, and were immediately fired upon. The party abandoned the boat, but Mr. Pedan jumped in the river and made to the shore. By aid of the dense undergrowth every one of them escaped. Mr. Pedan paddled ashore and gave himself up. His explanation as to how he became connected with the party was perfectly satisfactory to Gen. Hood, and he was immediately released. His statement was that the object of the expedition was to cut the pontoons loose, so as to cut off all communication with the south bank of the river, thereby isolating one corps of our army, and consequently its capture. The scheme was a bold one, and would have been completely successful but for the presence of mind and coolness of Mr. Pedan.

The same correspondent, writing from the same place on the 10th inst. says:

Another bold attempt was made last night to destroy our pontoon bridge. The night was intensely dark, and a good deal of rain was falling. The guards on duty at the bridge could scarcely see each other more than five steps apart. The Yankees made one lick with a hatchet upon the cable to which the boats were attached; the blow severed all the strands but one. The guards heard the blow, and darted to the cable before they could repeat the lick. There were three of them engaged in the undertaking. The guard captured them before they could get away.

•••••

English Hatred of America.—It is a custom in England to celebrate the 5th November, “Guy Fawkes’ Day,” by bonfires and burning the Pope in effigy, besides resorting to other modes of expressing joy at the escape of king, lords and commons from destruction by gunpowder. At the celebration on the 5th of November last, instead of the Pope, the President of the United States was burned in effigy. The figure, according to a late London letter to a New York journal, is represented to have been hideously grotesque.

•••••

A restaurant has been opened in London for fat people, where nothing will be served up but viands which check obesity.

•••••

Is Intolerance the Characteristic of New England?

We frequently hear, from those too, who should know better, the accusation of intolerance brought against New England, and that of inconsistency against the Pilgrim Fathers. The assertion that they left their own country to establish religious freedom, and then refused it to those who believed differently from themselves, has been so often repeated, that to the uninquiring it is as good as proved. That the Puritans denied religious liberty to others is unquestionably true; but that they claimed it for themselves on the ground of the inherent right of man to regulate his own spiritual concerns, or that they ever assigned as a reason for settling in this country an intention to to establish universal toleration in matters of religion, is as unquestionably false. Such a doctrine was far in advance of the spirit of the age. A religious sect believing, as every sect of that day did and many of the present day do, that its religious views were the only ones in accordance with God’s will as taught in His word, would have considered it a gross dereliction of duty not to enforce those views on all subject to its influence. That the chief duty of the sovereign was to regulate the religion of the subject, was a principle to deny which would have been considered a political as well as a religious heresy. When Roger Williams gave utterance to the startling dogma that every man had a complete and perfect right to enjoy freedom of opinion on the subject of religion, he was regarded as a disturber of the public peace, the dangerous tendency of whose principles demanded his banishment from the community. ->

 That about the same time Lord Baltimore established his colony of Maryland on a basis of religious toleration, is no evidence that toleration was in accordance with the spirit of the age. Lord Baltimore, be it remembered, was a Roman Catholic, a member of a proscribed church, the clergymen of which according to the laws of England at that time were liable to criminal prosecution if convicted of exercising their sacerdotal functions. Lord Baltimore was also a courtier, in high favor with the King, who was himself not ill-disposed toward eh ancient church. Desiring to establish a colony where members of his faith might enjoy the practice of their religion unmolested, the founder of Maryland used his influence at court to obtain from Charles such a patent as would enable him to carry out his favorite plan. Undoubtedly he was a man of large views and generous nature. Far in advance of his age, the religious freedom which he sought for himself he was willing to extend to others. For this let him have full credit; but let it be remembered at the same time that, in order to obtain toleration for his own creed, he was obliged to extend the same to all. For a colony founded under the English Government at that time to establish the Catholic religion as the ruling one, to the exclusion of the Church of England, would not have been tolerated; and even Charles, foolhardy as he was, would not have dared to countenance such an outrage on the English nation. The religious toleration, therefore, which distinguished Maryland from her sister colonies was as necessary and politic as it was literal. The English Roman Catholic, oppressed and almost outlawed since the reign of Elizabeth, was glad enough to obtain toleration for his own religion, and did not dream of attempting to force his infallible church on heretics over whom he had no control.

With these two exceptions, Roger Williams and Lord Baltimore, both of whom were in advance of their age, it will be difficult to point out many prominent men of that day, religious, yet champions of universal toleration in religion. The Pilgrims, as we have already said, never professes anything so heterodox, so revolutionary. They braved the rigors of the bleak New England clime not to encourage eh spread of latitudinarianism, as they would have characterized religious tolerance, but to free themselves from the odious yoke of what they considered a corrupt and ungodly hierarchy, and to enjoy the freedom of worshipping God in accordance with their own views of pure Christianity. To disseminate these views and enforce the observances in accordance therewith, they believed a sacred duty; to permit the spread of false doctrine in matters so vital would have been condemned by their stern and judaical minds as culpable in the extreme. It cannot be denied that their actions were consistent with their belief.

In view of these facts, it is rather surprising to read in a journal so ably conducted as the World, statements like the following: “In religion, the great American idea is universal toleration, for which we are more indebted to Jefferson than any other one man; but universal toleration is the very opposite of the spirit of the New England Puritans.” If Thomas Jefferson had been a religious man and contemporary with the early settlers of New England, whose tolerance still reflects on their descendants, such a comparison would have been fair; but when we remember that he was a free thinker living a century and a half afterwards, the unfairness of the comparison is striking. Moreover, even in his day, the principle of religious toleration was far from being generally received as correct in unpuritanic Virginia. That a man who did not believe in any church should be willing to tolerate all, in order that he might be tolerated in rejecting all, is not peculiarly meritorious. It is, nevertheless, fortunate for the cause of human progress that such men should rise, and should possess the genius to win to their own liberal views their fellow men. Feeling grateful to Jefferson for the noble work he did in favor of religious as well as civil liberty, we cannot but think it unjust to make him a criterion by which to judge men who lived one hundred and fifty years before his time, and amid circumstances so different.

We maintain then that intolerance never has been a distinguishing characteristic of New England; that when she was intolerant, the whole world was the same; and that the great doctrine of “soul liberty” was first preached in this country upon her shores. She rejected it then; but the leaven so unwelcomely introduced into her theology by Roger Williams has, in the course of time, leavened the whole mass; and at this day there is no part of the world where more liberal views on the subject of religion are entertained than in New England.

MONDAY
DECEMBER 12, 1864
THE MACON DAILY TELEGRAPH AND CONFEDERATE (GA)

Atlanta as Left by the Enemy.
Report of Gen. Howard.

Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 7, 1864.

To His Excellency Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia:

In obedience to orders of November 25, to inspect the State property in Atlanta, and the city itself, I have the honor to make the following report. With it, I beg leave to present your Excellency with a penciled map of the city, showing the position of every house left unburned.

The property of the State was destroyed by fire, but a vast deal of valuable material remains in the ruins, Three-fourths of the bricks are good, and will be suitable for rebuilding if placed under shelter before freezing weather. There is a quantity of brass in the journals of burned curs and in the ruins of various machinery of the extensive railroad shops; also a valuable amount of copper from the guttering of the State depot, the flue-pipes of destroyed engines, stop-cocks of machinery, &c. The car wheels that were injured by fire were rendered useless by breaking the flanges. In short, every species of machinery that was not destroyed by fire was most ingeniously broken and made worthless in its original form ---the large steam-boilers, the switches, the frogs. etc. Nothing has escaped. The fire engines, except Tallulah No. 3, was sent North. Tallulah has been overhauled and a new company organized. Nos. 1 and 2 fire engine-houses were saved. All the city pumps were destroyed, except one on Marietta-street. The car-sheds, the depots, machine-shops, foundries, rolling-mills, merchant mills, arsenals. laboratory, armory, etc., were all burned.

In the angle between Hunter-street, commencing at the City Hall, running; east, and McDonough-street, running south, all houses were destroyed. The jail and calaboose were burned. All business houses, except on Alabama-street, commencing with the Gate City Hotel, running east to Lloyd-street, were burned. All the hotels, except the Gate City, were burned. By reference to my map, you will find about four hundred houses standing. The scale of the map is four hundred feet to the inch. Taking the car-shed for the centre, describe a circle, the diameter of which is twelve inches, and you will perceive that the circle contains about three hundred squares, Then, at a low estimate, allow three houses to every four hundred feet, and we will have thirty-six hundred homes in the circle. Subtract the number of houses indicated on the map, as standing. and you will see be this estimate the enemy have destroyed thirty-two hundred houses. Refer to the exterior of the circle, and you will discover that it is more than half a mile to the city limits in every direction, which was thickly populated, to say nothing of the houses beyond, and you will see that the enemy have destroyed from four to five thousand houses. Two-thirds of the shade trees in the park and the city and of the timber in the suburbs have been destroyed. The suburbs present to the eye one vast naked, ruined, deserted camp. The Masonic Hall is not burned, though the corner-stone is badly scarred by some thief, who would have robbed it of its treasure, but for the timely interference of some mystic brothers.

The City Hall is damaged, but not burned. The Second Baptist. Second Presbyterian, Trinity and Catholic churches and all the residences adjacent between Mitchell and Peter streets, running south of east, and Lloyd and Washington streets, funding north of west, are safe, all attributable to Father O’Riley, who refused to give up his parsonage to Federal officers, who were looking out for fine houses for quarters, and there being a large number of Catholics in the Federal army, who volunteered to protect their church and parsonage, and would not allow any house adjacent to be fired that would endanger them. ->

As a poor of their attachment to their church and love of Father O’Riley, a soldier who attempted to fire Col. Calhoun's house, the burning of which would have endangered the whole block, was shot and killed, and his grave is marked. So to Father O’Riley the country is indebted for the protection of the City Hall, the churches, etc. 

Dr. Quintard’s Protestant Methodist, the Christian and African Churches were destroyed. The Medical College was saved by Dr. D. Alvvigny, who was left in charge of our wounded. The Female College was torn down for the purpose of obtaining the bricks with which to construct winter quarters. All Institutions of learning were destroyed. The African Church was used as an academy for educating negroes. Roderick Badger, a Negro dentist, and his brother Bob Badger, a train-hand on the West Point and La Grange Railroad, both well known to the citizens of Atlanta, were assistant professors to the philanthropic Northmen in this institution. Very few Negroes remained in the city. Thirteen 32-pounder rifle cannon, with cascabels and trunnions broken off and jammed in the muzzles, remain near the Georgia Railroad shop. One well is reported to be filled with ammunition. Fragments of wagons, wheels, axles, bodies, etc., fire strewn over the city.

Could I have arrived ten days earlier with a guard of one hundred men, I could have saved the State and city a million dollars.

There were about 250 wagons in the city on my arrival, loading with pilfered plunder–pianos, mirrors, furniture of all kinds, iron, hides without numbers, and an incalculable amount of other things, very valuable at the present time. This exportation of stolen property had been going on ever since the place had been abandoned by the enemy. Bushwhackers, robbers and deserters, and citizens from the surrounding country for a distance of fifty miles have been engaged in this dirty work.

Many of the finest houses, mysteriously left unburned, are filled with the finest furniture, carpets, pianos, mirrors, etc., and occupied by parties who, six months ago, lived in humble style. About fifty families remained during the occupancy of the city by the enemy, and about the same number have returned since its abandonment. From two to three thousand dead carcasses of animals remain in the city limits.

Horses were turned loose in the cemetery to graze upon the grass and shrubbery. The ornaments of graves, such as marble lambs, miniature, statuary, souvenirs of departed little ones, are broken and scattered abroad. The crowning act of all their wickedness and villainy was committed by our ungodly foe in removing the dead from the vaults in the cemetery and robbing the coffins of the silver name plates and tippings, and depositing their own dead in the vaults.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,

W.P. Howard

 

TUESDAY
DECEMBER 13, 1864
THE HARTFORD DAILY COURANT (CT)

Peace Movements in North Carolina.
Peace Party Ready for Peace on Any Terms.

Newbern, N. C., Dec. 8.–Gen. Wilde, of the African brigade, has arrived here with dispatches, and to look out for the interests of families connected with his command.

The departure of rebel troops to the assistance of Georgia leaves North Carolina nearly destitute of arms.

The opposition papers in North Carolina speak of Sherman’s undertaking as unparalleled in the history of war, and intimate that he will doubtless sweep everything before him, and plant his victorious standard upon the coast.

The re-election of Lincoln, accompanied with Sherman’s prospect of success, is a new incentive to the peace party, who all advocate  immediate steps for a cessation of hostilities, and the acceptance of such terms as the federal government may feel disposed to grant. The recent bold steps taken to this end by her delegation in the rebel congress are sustained by a large majority of the people, who, from all parts of the State, are sending letters of approval to those representatives, who are all urged to withdraw in a body from Richmond and return to North Carolina and assist in a movement of separate State action for peace.

North Carolina papers state that Sherman’s cavalry captured Millen, and doubtless liberated Yankee prisoners, and are moving on to a place still more important.

•••••

Sherman’s March.—The Richmond papers of Friday last report Gen. Sherman half way between Millen and Savannah, moving in the direction of the latter town, but do not give the date when he was at that point. This would leave him about forty miles from Savannah.

The Charleston Mercury of December 5th says: “Sherman is evidently marching for Savannah, or some other point in its neighborhood. On Friday morning, 2d inst., his main body broke up its camp at Louisville, Ga., and marched down the Central railroad, the 14th and 20th army corps, which form his left wing, being in advance. Before night all the greater portion of the Yankee column had passed through Millen, in the direction of Savannah. We have no later news of its whereabouts.”

The Richmond Dispatch of the 9th says: “We hear nothing from Sherman. Whether he is crossing the Savannah on pontoons or sailing down the Oconee in rafts and flatboats, is equally unknown to us. We only know, and we rejoice much in the fact, that central Georgia is relieved of his presence, and that our railroad and lines of communication are being rapidly reconstructed in his wake. As regards their railroads, the Georgians are, to a man, reconstructionists.”

The Charleston papers of the 6th state that Sherman was at Station No. 6, on the 5th, sixty miles from Savannah. He was marching in the direction of Savannah. It is ciphered up near the Executive Chamber that he was in Savannah on Sunday.

A dispatch from City Point, dated December 11th, says the latest news in Richmond papers yesterday, the 10th, state that on the 7th Sherman was east of the Ogeechee river, 25 miles from Savannah, moving on that city. Sherman had marched his army on the 6th 18 miles.

The Case of the Florida.

The mails of the Hansa, which left Southampton November 23d, bring the late discussions of the French papers in the case of the Florida. For a while after the seizure was announced, the secession press were bitter in their denunciation of the act, and several papers friendly to the Union cause took the ground that the officers of the Wachusett were plainly in the wrong. Lately the Opinion Nationale in a leading article ably reviewed all the facts, and vindicated the seizure. It points out the cases where the rebels have violated Brazilian neutrality, and shows that the Brazilian government admits its inability to compel belligerents to observe neutrality in its waters. Hence the American Government notified Brazil of its intention to redress its own wrongs. The Opinion cites the case of the General Armstrong, an American ship seized by England in Portuguese waters, for which satisfaction was demanded from Portugal. The case was referred to the Emperor Napoleon, who, in 1852, decided against the United States. The article in the Opinion produced a great change in public feeling. Since its appearance papers in the rebel interest have hardly alluded to the subject.

Mr. Goldwin Smith has written a letter in reply to Mr. Sumner’s citations from British naval history, in which he endeavors to mitigate the injustice of the decisions by referring them to an earlier and darker period. England once suffered from the domination of a class not unlike the oligarchy of American slaveholders. He contends, however, that the England of to-day should not be held accountable for acts which her people heartily repudiate.

•••••

[Miscellaneous].

Gen. Butler wants teachers for his free schools in Eastern Virginia, which commence on the first of January. Wages for men $45 and $60 per month; for women $20 and $30–preference given to disabled soldiers and soldiers’ wives and widows.

The Louisville Journal gives enthusiastic praise to the women of Franklin, Tenn., who exposed themselves to danger on the field, before the recent battle was over, in their haste to minister to the wounded.

Charles E. Waters, another of the Baltimore blockade runners, and reputed to be a bitter secessionist, was up before Gen. Doubleday’s court martial on Saturday, charged with selling hardware, percussion caps, and a machine for the manufacture of cotton cards to the rebels.

Among the statements in the report of the Secretary of the Navy is one, says the Washington Chronicle, which is not to the credit of American industry. “The bunting under which our soldiers fight and citizens hurrah is not the product of American hands. We rely upon foreign factories for the principal material of which the thousand flags of the Republic are composed. How long shall this reproach last? Manufacturers of America, see to it that foreign looms shall no longer have the monopoly of producing the bunting which floats from mast-heads and flag-staffs, as the emblem of our assailed yet surely triumphant nationality.”

WEDNESDAY
DECEMBER 14, 1864
THE BOSTON HERALD

Progress in the Arts of War.

Since the commencement of the American contest to suppress rebellion, the art of war has made gigantic strides. Railways for military purposes are but the most common affairs, and excite no special surprise or notice. The constant use of the telegraph system, an American invention, not only brings the whole wide country into the War Department, but follows the armies on their marches, and extends its wires from post to post on the battle-field, even under fire and in the midst of the fiercest frays. The telegraphic corps attached to the various armies does not receive a tithe of praise to which it is entitled for its efficiency, bravery and usefulness. The damming up of a great river so as to float a fleet of gunboats is an event which, had its counterpart occurred in ancient days, would have furnished material for historians and epic poets for a thousand years.

The construction of iron vessels is still an experiment, but the lavish expenditure and the great successes which have in some instances attended them are among the marked incidents of the period. The battle of the Monitor and Merrimac is among the titanic occurrences of the age. The great gun of Gilmore, in the swamps of James Island, sending its huge death-dealing instruments miles through the air, to fall and do the work of war in the streets of a distant city, is one of the marvels of this great contest, which a few years ago would have been deemed so little short of miraculous as to be at least incredible. The digging of a canal to turn aside the waters of a river and make a new channel for the passage of ships is not without precedent in ancient days, but it is many centuries since the boldness of man has been equal to undertaking such works as have been tried at Vicksburg and Dutch Gap.

These are a few of the prominent illustrations, which all have observed, of the progress of the art of war in our day. But in this, as in nearly all other subjects, the visible and notorious facts are not the surest indications of real advance. The improvements, in the minutest particulars, in the equipment of men, the organization of armies, the character of small arms, the methods of preparing gunpowder for transportation and use, and in all the countless departments which go to make up the art of war, have been more decided and noteworthy in four years of war in America than in forty years before this in the whole world. The fact that we are fast changing into a military nation seems now beyond contradiction. We have undoubtedly developed a new phase of character. Who can prophesy the results to proceed from the development?

•••••

Gunboats on the Lakes.—The prohibition which England and the United States mutually imposed upon themselves at the close of the last war, to keep each not more than one revenue cutter on each of the lakes, is about to expire. In the month of October last, the Federal Government gave the requisite six months’ notice of their intention to discontinue the arrangement. There will, therefore, be an end to the prohibition next April. Both parties to the agreement will then be at liberty to place a naval marine on the lakes. The Toronto Leader expresses an opinion, upon examination of all the bearings in the case, that there is no cause for England to regret the annulment of the arrangement, adding that: ->

For some time past–for three full years–the obligation had been operating unequally. The Americans have been building a suspicious class of vessels on the lakes, during the last two or three seasons; vessels of a strength altogether beyond anything that the necessities of commerce require; vessels which might, without any great difficulty, be converted into ships of war, and which appear to have been built with direct reference to that contingency. In this way, our neighbors have been getting an undue advantage over us, and one which they would not have obtained, if the prohibition against war vessels being placed on the lakes had not existed. And if, in this way, the spirit of the treaty has been encroached upon, its letter has latterly, we believe, not been fully respected. Under these circumstances, the best thing for us that could be done, and the fairest to both parties, is to put an end to the prohibition.

•••••

Prices in Richmond.—A letter written in the city of Richmond on the 8th inst., gives a most gloomy account of the condition of affairs in the rebel capital. The pending cold weather pinches the denizens of the doomed city in the extreme. Calico is held at twenty-one dollars a yard, coal seventy-five dollars a load, and twenty-five dollars for hauling; flour three hundred dollars a barrel, and wood one hundred dollars a cord. The letter states that plenty reigns in the market at these prices. One dollar in gold is valued at forty in rebel notes.

•••••

The Arming of Slaves by the Rebels.—Governor Smith of Virginia, in his recent message to the Legislature of that State, recommends the arming of slaves to be ready for the spring campaign of the rebel armies. As to the policy of putting Negroes in the army, he says:

The only question is, has the time arrived? Are we able beyond a question to wage successful war against a Power three times our own in numbers, with all Europe from which to recruit, and who unhesitatingly put arms in the hands of our Negroes for our destruction? I will not say that under the providence of God we may not be able to triumph; but I do say that we should not, from any mawkish sensibility, refuse any means within our reach, which will tend to enable us to work our own deliverance. For my part, standing before God and my country, I do not hesitate to say that I would arm such portion of our able-bodied slave population as may be necessary, and put them in the field, so as to have them ready for the spring campaign, even if it resulted in the freedom of those thus organized. Will I not employ them to fight the Negro force of the enemy–aye, the Yankees themselves, who already boast that they have two hundred thousand of our slaves in arms against us. Can we hesitate, can we doubt, when the question is whether our enemy shall use our slaves against or we use them against him?–when the question may be between liberty and independence on the one hand or subjugation and utter ruin on the other? I know it is the opinion of some of the highest military authorities that the time has come when we should call our slaves to our assistance, and I hold it to be clearly the duty of every citizen, however much he may doubt the wisdom and necessity of the policy, to co-operate in strengthening by every means our armies.

THURSDAY
DECEMBER 15,
1864
THE PITTSFIELD SUN (MA)

Proposed Changes in Our Form of Government.

The abolitionists are congratulating themselves on the fact that they have secured a two-thirds vote in the next Congress. This majority will enable them to propose, in a legal way, amendments to the Constitution, by which means they hope to abolish slavery and make radical changes in the fundamental law.

Leading administration papers are already out in favor of propositions amending the Constitution so as to abolish State rights and give us a centralized power–“a strong government,” as these revolutionists call are in the habit of terming it.

They also want all doubt removed as to the power of the government to establish a national banking system and a rag currency. Here is a virtual confession that the pernicious sprig grafted upon our financial system by Mr. Chase, is of doubtful legitimacy.

The also advocate, in imitation of Jeff Davis’ Confederate Constitution, an extension of the Presidential term to six years.

These are but a few of the changes which the party in power contemplate making, and hence their jubilation over their two-thirds vote. It will be seen that the great object aimed at is centralization–the very evil which the framers of the Constitution struggled so zealously and faithfully to avoid. It is not improbable that upon these questions the next great political battle will be fought.

But yet there is one ray of hope for the American people! Fortunately for the free government given us, the Constitution has more than one safeguard thrown around it. A partisan two-thirds in Congress may propose amendments, but they will have no validity unless ratified by three-fourths of the States! Here is where the fanatics will find their checkmate if they undertake, by Constitutional amendments, to change the character of the government and interpose lasting obstacles to a reunited and prosperous country. They cannot now, and will not within the lifetime of their party, be able to control the legislatures and executives of three-fourths of the States, without which they cannot succeed in their nefarious schemes to break up the government.

Let it be remembered, further, that their new Congress will not meet until December, 1865, so that it would be impossible to get their amendments submitted to an acted upon b enough of the States before some time in 1866. Before that period, the people, disappointed and deceived by the flattering promises just made by the administration, and disgusted with its continued failures and want of practical wisdom, will have recalled the Democracy to power in many of the free States. It will be for them to say whether these schemes of the agitators and fanatics shall be crowned with success.–Hudson Gazette.

•••••

Christmas Dinner for the Soldiers.—Our citizens are again called upon to contribute to the comfort of the soldiers. It is proposed to provide a Christmas Dinner for Co. A, 61st Regiment, now stationed at City Point, Va., and those who are desirous of contributing, are requested to do so immediately, as packages must be forwarded as early as Monday next, in order to reach the Company by Christmas. This Company, it will be remembered, is made up almost entirely of Pittsfield men, and let us demonstrate to them on this occasion, that amid the comforts of home we do not forget the noble sacrifice they have made in leaving all they held most dear, to defend our country and our institutions. All contributions of money may be sent to Mrs. Fenn, at the Sanitary Rooms. Those who will contribute turkeys, or anything that will help to make a “Merry Christmas,” may send to Mr. J. S. Brown, at the meat market in Burbank’s North Block. Let the response be a generous one.

Government Plantations.

The Springfield Republican’s correspondent at Vidalia, La., has the following to say in regard to the leased Government plantations and their management:

A hundred plantations were leased in this Natchez district for the season. As has been said, of this whole number but about twenty five have gathered crops–one in five. The eighty have been broken up by guerrillas. My last letter gives you an idea of the process. The blacks put upon them have been driven back to slavery, or in considerable numbers and with every circumstance of brutality killed, or have escaped as they could fight and returned to the points from which they were taken. On some of these deserted places, however, the rebels have allowed a number of blacks to remain on condition that they would not work or gather cotton. They make a living from the corn and potatoes and gardens which had been planned by the lessees or themselves previously to the breaking up of the plantation.

The twenty plantations now occupied, are all within a semi-circle of about seven miles, described from Vidalia as a centre. A small force at Bullet’s Bayou, with another between the foot of the lake and the bend of the river below Vidalia, make these farms comparatively safe, twelve of them very comfortably so. Of the other six, the York and Fletcher and the Sycamore places (scenes of the atrocities mentioned in my last) are two. Four others of the twenty are subject to the constant visitation of guerrillas, and owe their crops to the fact that the old hands and overseers remain upon them, or to other and less honorable arrangements.

Of these twelve, one firm has part or full control of nine. At the head of this firm stood Burnet, the treasury agent who had the leasing of plantations, and with him was Judge Field, who was the commissioner for the leasing last year. The military authorities have once tried and convicted Field, and Burnet is now under arrest. Of the plantations on which crops are being gathered, which are outside of this safe twelve, Judge Field had at least three. In how many more he had a covert interest it is impossible to say. The out-lying eighty farms were leased by such persons as could be allured, in their ignorance of the indefensible positions of their land, to the perilous undertaking, either by the promise of enormous profit, or by the humane purpose of aiding in the elevation of the black, or the patriotic motive of lightening the burden of the government in the care of these freedmen. They have been broken up, many lives lost, a vast amount of property not only lost, but thrown directly into rebel hands, very many thrown back into the hands of the government for support. The disasters to these many are but poorly compensated by the partial success of the fortunate few who were able to locate themselves within safe lines.

The relief which these plantations have furnished to the government in this district is just of this importance. Five of them (of the safe ones) have furnished labor to refugee blacks. They have paid the government, in rents, possibly $5,000, while the defence of the tract of land in which they were situated has cost a regiment or two of soldiers and a quarter of a million of money. This is to say nothing of the loss of life, the loss of liberty, the loss of property and the gain to rebel resources of the eighty plantations which have been broken up.

FRIDAY
DECEMBER 16, 1864
THE CALEDONIAN (VT)

The Situation.

The military situation has not been so interesting for a long time as at this moment. The climax of Sherman’s great movement is at hand. By this time he must be near the Atlantic coast, but whether he must first engage in a desperate struggle, and whether its scene, if any occurs, is to be at Savannah, or the railroad between that city and Charleston, or the vicinity of Darien, Georgia, remains to be seen. The recent rebel intelligence throws but little light on the matter, for while it points Sherman’s course toward Savannah, the gentlemen who supply the comments coincide in the belief that he is really aiming for Beaufort. The advices brought by steamer from the latter place are but little more definite, and are important only from their statement that Foster’s forces still hold Pocotaglio bridge, which cuts off all further reinforcements from the north. Every day now may solve for us the problem of Sherman’s achievements.

In the army of the Potomac a very important movement has been commenced. Nearly a week ago, Gen. Warren, with three infantry divisions and Gregg’s cavalry, broke camp and marched down the Weldon railroad. Reaching the Nottoway river, twenty miles below Petersburg, he crossed on pontoons, which he pulled up behind him and continued to march. Except that the rebel papers have since reported him at Jarrett’s, thirty-two miles south of Petersburg, we know nothing further about him. The rebels manifest the liveliest interest in this movement, conjecturing that Warren has gone to North Carolina, to Weldon and toward the South Side Railroad. No satisfactory explanation has yet appeared in loyal quarters. In the meantime, the Richmond papers and other signs indicate an impending movement on our right, in the neighborhood of the Dutch Gap canal. If any such has been delayed by the bad weather, we may be sure that it will be put in force before long, and that a certain connection between Grant’s and Sherman’s armies will appear in due season.

The situation around Nashville has not changed materially the last week. Gen. Thomas has been strengthening his position daily, and though Hood’s invasion is too strong to be an object of ridicule or neglect, it is confidently believed that serious danger is past, and that the attempt will prove another of Hood’s bad mistakes.–Boston Journal, 13th.

•••••

More Trouble Brewing.

Reliable information has been received that a large number of evil disposed persons, consisting of rebel sympathizers, secessionists, marauders and other outlaws, who have collected in Canada with the view to enter the commercial cities of the North, and particularly those on the Canadian frontier, with the ostensible purpose of seeking employment, but who are really intent upon the destruction of life and property, will shortly arrive in the United States, all officers of this bureau are instructed to place all persons suspected to be of this class under strict surveillance, and to arrest such as evidently belong to it. Provost marshals will confer with the municipal authorities, with the view of preventing the mischief contemplated, and will aid the civil authorities in discovering these persons and causing their arrest.

James B. Fry,
Provost Marshal General.

Accompanying this Gen. Meigs issues an order respecting the employment of strangers about railroad or other depots, on steamboats, etc. The plots by which some months since many steamboats on the western rivers were fired and destroyed by rebel agents have now been extended with the intent to attempt the destruction by fire of military stores, shipping, manufactories and public and private property at various points throughout the loyal states.

Words Fitly Spoken by Mr. Seward.

Some time since, Lord Wharncliff informed Minister Adams that the Liverpool bazaar had raised about £1700 and asked permission for an accredited agent to visit the military prisons in the northern states, and distribute this money among their rebel inmates. He disclaimed all idea of any political aid, or any imputation as to the improper treatment of the confederate prisoners, and based his request upon grounds of humanity. Mr. Adams replied that the government had no delight in individual suffering, and said he should greatly rejoice if the effects of such sympathy could be extended to the ministering to their mental ailments as well as their bodily sufferings, thus contributing to put an end to a struggle which otherwise is too likely to be only procrastinated by English sympathizers.

Secretary Seward replied to Lord Wharncliff’s application, received through Mr. Adams under date of December 5, in a very pithy letter, saying that the North has ample means to take care of its prisoners, as well as meet all other demands upon them. The secretary says: “The American people will be likely to reflect that the sum thus insidiously tendered in the name of humanity constitutes no large portion of the profits which its contributors may be justly supposed to have derived from the insurgents by exchanging with them arms and munitions of war for the coveted productions of immoral and enervating slave labor. Nor will any portion of the American people be disposed to regard the sum thus ostentatiously offered for the relief of the captured insurgents as a generous equivalent for the devastation and dissolution which a civil war, promoted and protracted by British subjects, have spread throughout the states which before were eminently prosperous and happy. Finally, in view of this last officious intervention in our domestic affairs, the American people can hardly fail to recall the warning of the father of our country against the two great and intimately connected public dangers–namely: ‘sectional faction’ and ‘foreign intrigue.’ I do not think the insurgents have become debased, although they have sadly wandered from the ways of loyalty and patriotism. I think, in common with all our countrymen, that they will rejoice in being saved by their considerate and loyal government from the grave insult which Lord Wharncliff and his associates, in their zeal for the overthrow of the United States, have prepared for the victims of this unnatural and hopeless rebellion.”

•••••

In Brief.

Mrs. Gen. Grant has gone to the front.

Only ten hours between Washington and New York.

The Ohio dogs have killed $146,000 worth of sheep the past year. The dogs are not to blame, but their owners are. They should cure them the German way–take their heads off.

An effort will be made in the N. Y. legislature for leave to tunnel Broadway for a street railway, a la London.

 

SATURDAY
DECEMBER 17, 1864

COLUMBIAN WEEKLY REGISTER (CT)

Swindling the Soldiers.

A gentleman of character in Fairfield County, who went down to the army on the James river, gives a shocking revelation of the perversion of “good things” sent to the soldiers for their Thanksgiving dinner by the benevolent people of the North. There are a set of swindlers who enrich themselves by stealing half of everything that is sent to the army; and it is a pity they cannot be caught and punished. Hear what this gentleman writes to the Farmer, from City Point:

Well, I have witness the great “Thanksgiving Day among the soldiers,” and may God grant that I may never witness another like it.

I propose to mention a few of the incidents of that Thanksgiving Day, that came within my personal observation. When I state that I saw soldiers of “The Army of the Potomac,” standing around a barrel filled with the sweepings of the wharf, and turning up the refuse stuff with their hands in search of bits of “hard tack” with which to appease their hunger, you perhaps will be astonished; but I saw even more than that. I saw a party of Negroes loading boxes of pilot bread, or what the soldiers term “hard tack,” into a freight car, and white men–soldiers in the United States service–were underneath the car, busy at work picking up from the mud and eating the bits that dropped through the seams in the boxes during the process of loading.

The night of Thanksgiving Day I spent with a regiment in the highest branch of the service, and one that stands as high as any regiment in the service. Soon after I arrived, the camp was thrown into quite a state of excitement by the announcement that “our turkeys” had come.

Several barrels were unloaded, each marked “18 turkeys” and “48 pies.” But alas, for human expectation, what a shock! On opening said barrels, they contained, each, a few miserable looking half-cooked fowls, which, on being equally divided, gave one chicken and a half to each four men. There was not a single turkey or anything that resembled a pie in the whole concern.

The fowls were taken into the tents, cut up into pieces and placed in piles, and were then divided among the men, by one of their number turning his back, while another put his finger first on one pile and then on another, and the man with his back turned calling the name of the person to whom it was to belong.

After it was divided, I saw one man offer to exchange his Thanksgiving dinner for ten hard tack, but found no takers. The best offer he got was five, if he would wait until the man who made the offer could draw them.

As near as I can learn, the Soldiers’ Thanksgiving dinner, in this part of the country at least, was a perfect farce.

•••••

[Miscellaneous].

The coopers of Troy are on strike. They want two cents more per barrel–and have been idle about eight weeks. The bosses continue to stave off the matter, in order to bring it to a head–hooping that the jours will soon see that, whilst they are “saving at the spigot, they are wasting at the bunghole.”1

Massachusetts has obtained between 1100 and 1200 recruits in insurgent States, at a cost of $125 per man. These are the chaps who were to “swarm the highways” when the Emancipation policy should prevail. ->

A noticeable feature of the Convention of tobacconists at the Cooper Institute a few days since, was that nearly all present, some two thousand, were smoking, doubtless from a patriotic desire to increase the revenues. A suggestion that gentlemen had better not smoke, as it might prove “offensive to somebody,” brought down the house.

“The Worcester Spy says Mr. Sargent, of Southboro, Mass., has raised this year four pounds of genuine coffee from the real Java coffee seed. He planted and raised it in a manner similar to peas, the coffee growing in pods in the same manner. Mr. Sargent intends to plant the whole four pounds of his raising next year. It is reported that coffee was successfully cultivated in Methuen the past year.” The Worcester Spy ought to know better than this: “Real Java Coffee,” and all other “real” coffee, grows upon a tree of considerable size, not in pods, but as the kernel of a fruit, somewhat similar to a cherry. We are painfully satisfied, however, that much “genuine” coffee now sold does “grow in a manner similar to peas” and beans.–Boston Courier.

•••••

Scenes in a Southern Prison.—The Philadelphia Inquirer relates that among the 30,000 Union prisoners in Andersonville, there was a band of about two hundred of the most dangerous and vicious characters, who seized any man who came into the camp, if they had a chance, and robbed him of everything he had. If he made an outcry they murdered him. This state of things finally became so notorious that the prisoners determined to put a stop to it, and the rebel authorities gave them permission. A court was formed, lawyers and a jury procured, and six of the ringleaders found guilty, sentenced to be hung, and finally executed. The above facts are corroborated by Lieut. Edward T. Abbott of the 20th C. V., who has just returned from Andersonville prison. Speaking of t, however, he says:

“Robbing each other used to be very frequent among the prisoners, and some men had been murdered for their money and watches, and there was no chance of the perpetrators being punished. This was carried to so great an extent, that the prisoners for self-defence formed a large police force among themselves. The rebel authorities allowed them to do this, and paid policemen by giving them double rations. At one time two thousand were thus employed. They soon arrested and convicted several murderers, finding the dead bodies under their bunks. These murderers were turned over to the rebel officers and were hung. After this there was but little robbery comparatively. While the executions were going on the guns at the forts were all manned ready to fire into the crowd should there be any outbreak, but all passed off quietly. Punishments for stealing are various, such as buck and gagging, whipping with the cat, or shaving part of the head. A correct police report is kept, which the chief of police intends to have published in the States, as additional punishment to those who are so wicked as to rob or murder their comrades in misfortune.”

1 After an extensive exchange of emails with an ancient guild of coopers in England, which developed into a conversation with a linguist specializing in Mediaeval English, the best that can be ascertained is that “jours” in this case relates to the French for “day,” and would have been understood by a 19th century population far more versed in Classical, Shakespearean and French references than we today are, to mean “day laborers”–the obvious target of any machination undertaken by “the bosses.”

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