DECEMBER 22, 1861

Battle near Dranesville.

Richmond, Dec. 21.--A portion of our Potomac army suffered defeat yesterday.  At 4 o'clock on yesterday morning Gen. Stewart, with 150 cavalry, the Jeff Davis Artillery, the 1st Kentucky regiment, 10th Alabama, 11th Virginia, and 6th South Carolina regiments--this force being a portion of General Longstreet's brigade--left Centreville to attempt the capture of a Federal foraging party at Dranesville, sixteen miles from Centreville.  As they neared the place the Federals were discovered to be 15,000 strong. Gen. Stewart with his 3000 men, attacked them, and the fight lasted the greater portion of the day, when the Confederates retired.  Our loss was about thirty killed and an equal number wounded.  Among the killed are Col. Taylor, of the 1st Kentucky, and the major of the same regiment..

The Eleventh Virginia, from Lynchburg, had 7 killed and 12 wounded.  The third field officer was killed and another had his arm shot off.  Four of the Jeff. Davis Artillery were killed at their guns and several wounded.  Gen. Stewart sent to headquarters for reinforcements, and last night the balance of Gen. Longstreet's brigade, comprising fourteen regiments, went down to give the Yankees another fight.  Nothing heard of their operations to-day.


Federals 60,000 Strong Moving on Bowling Green.

Nashville, Dec. 21.--reliable intelligence received here reports the Hessians, 9000 strong, as having crossed Green river and are marching on Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  Our forces there is only 3500, under Gen. Clark, of Mississippi, but reinforcements have been ordered from Clarksville to his support.

Passengers from Bowling Green report that 17,000 of the enemy crossed Green river yesterday.

The Bowling Green correspondent of the Union and American, in his letter dated 20th inst., says it is reported that place will be advanced upon from three sides simultaneously by a combined force of 60,000 men.

Since the work of repairing the railroad bridge commenced, several pontoon bridges have been thrown across the river, upon which wagons and cannon can be easily crossed.

General Hindman, ten miles south of Green river, has been strongly reinforced, but it is surmised that no general engagement will take place beyond Bowling Green, where the stand will be made, and a decisive battle fought.

Intelligence from Eastern Kentucky reports the people rise and in overwhelming numbers to join the standard of Gen. Humphrey Marshall, as he approaches the blue grass region.

From Augusta.

Augusta, Dec. 21.-- The Rome (Ga.) Southerner of the 19th says there was an attempt to burn the state road bridge over Pettel's creek, on Monday night last, and the incendiary was caught and hung at Cartersville on Friday.

From Savannah.

Savannah, Dec. 21.--The News of this morning says, seven whaling vessels were sunk in one of the Charleston channels yesterday.

The New York Herald of the 19th says the Lincoln cabinet has not determined what course to pursue in the Mason and Slidell affair, as the English messenger has not arrived.

From Norfolk, via Richmond.

Richmond, Dec. 21.--Advices received by the steamer Jura say that England continued excited on the Mason and Slidell affair.  Active preparations are making and England for war with the United States should it become necessary.

Gen. Scott, in a letter to the Paris press, denies that the Washington Cabinet had predetermined the capture of Mason and Slidell, in hopes that amicable relations with England may be preserved.  Demonstrations hostile to the United States have been made in some of the English ports.

It is reported to administer Adams regarded his recall as inevitable.

The press of a Brussels and a Paris are unanimously sustaining England in condemning the capture of Mason and Slidell.

A letter received in Washington says all the arms destined to the United States have been removed from the vessels, and no more will be shipped.

Lincoln hopes diplomatically to deal affairs with England until England will select France to mediate.  If so, the United States will choose Russia.  No result will follow, and Lincoln will continue the war unmolested with the Confederacy.


The Richmond Examiner says the conflagration at Charleston suggests the danger that many of our southern communities may be momentarily in, from the spies and traitors lurking in their midst, and adds"

"There are large numbers of true and brave men in every one of these communities, who, from various reasons, are constrained from going to war against the public enemy, and it might well be made an appropriate duty for them to organize for home protection against spy, the incendiary, and all kinds of lurking foes, and to establish systems of vigilance that would leave no room for danger from the sudden outrages of such enemies in our midst."


Spies at Headquarters.--A New York paper off the 7th inst., which we have before us, contains a list of the regiments, battalions and companies in the Confederate service, with the names of officers and places of encampment or duty.  There are in accuracies, we admit; but it is a far better list than any journalist of Richmond could prepare from data to which he is allowed to access.  We have suspected that they were persons in official position who would not scruple to betray the country into the hands of the enemy if opportunity offered; and this remarkable publication goes very far towards confirming the theory.  Of what use is it to hold secret sessions of Congress, and place injunctions upon the southern press, if the abolition papers of the north are to have their agents installed in convenient positions in the departments?--Richmond Dispatch.


Novel Mode of Capturing an Enemy.--A Washington letter-writer gives an account of the novel mode adopted by the Federals, a few nights since, for the capture of a company of Confederate cavalry.  He says:

"They tied a piece of telegraph wire across the road, just high enough to trip the horses and throw them with their riders, and then placed themselves in ambush beside the road.  About half past 11 forty or fifty of the Confederate cavalry approached, galloping down the road.  The head horseman tripped and fell, and the others rushing on, several tumbled over in the confusion, in the meantime swearing and shouting.  Our men poured a volley into them, unhorsing several, killing six or seven and capturing three, one of whom is a lieutenant."

DECEMBER 23, 1861

A New Annie Hutchinson.--Mrs. Beecher's Congregation at Pittsburg.

Pittsburg, Pa., Chronicle, Dec. 13.--The great mass of our people are innocent of the knowledge that a woman is now pastor of a small but growing congregation in Pittsburg, and is discharging the duties of the sacred office with a zeal and faithfulness worthy of imitation.  We refer to Mrs. Beecher, of the Winebrenarian Church.  Two months since this lady and a few of her followers rented the old Ashbury Chapel, on Townsend street, near Colwell street, Sixth ward, for the purpose of establishing a congregation of their peculiar faith in this city.  Meetings have been held every evening for preaching, prayer and praise, and large audiences have generally attended, moved more by curiosity, however, than by any other feeling.

The leaders of the pastor have not been without their reward, for we are informed that she has now between thirty and forty communicants.  A gentleman from the eastern part of this state,, named Hickerwell, assists Mrs. Beecher in her arduous labors.  The Winebrenarians are little known; but, though small in numbers, they are still entitled, we suppose, to recognition as one of the division's into which the Christian Church is unhappily sundered.  Their doctrines do not differ materially from other evangelical demonstrations.  In worship they resemble the Methodists, but in the church governments and discipline the Winebrenarians are different from all others, in their leaving members generally to be governed by their own consciences in judging what is right and wrong.  The prime distinction of this denomination is their practice of "washing the feet" before the pulpit, in presence of the whole congregation.  This peculiarity they find ample warning to for in the Holy Scriptures, and it is administered at the set times appointed for the Lord's Supper, the women bathing the feet of their own sex, and the men doing the same.

The Winebrenarians have two other small congregations in their immediate vicinity, one in Birmingham and another in Temperanceville.  There are also two more, we believe, not far distant, at Bethany and West Newton; at least we know that revivals have been held at those places.  Mrs. Beecher is well known to a great number of our citizens, and is highly respected.  She was born in this region, married here, and is now a middle-aged widow, with a grown-up son and daughter.  Her style of speaking is very vehement, and both hand and foot are liberally used to enforce and impress the lessons uttered.  The matter of her sermons and exportation is is plain, and the hearer leaves the church more impressed with her apparent sincerity and earnestness than with anything else.  Mrs. Beecher has, however, an extraordinarily powerful voice, which, when raised to a high pitch, tills the "Old Ashbury" to a sense of painfulness, and she is said to possess in a large degrees the power of persuasion.  She has been preaching at different towns for a period extending over five years.  Protracted meetings are held every night by the Winebrenarians in their new house of worship, and in a few months, apparently Mrs. Beecher will have quite a respectable congregation in Pittsburg.


A Rogue's Gallery has been commenced by the police, and now numbers about a dozen pictures of intelligent faces.  Among them are the faces both of males and females, of those who have been sent to state prison and those who are going.  The collection, one a little larger, will be of great interest as a steady of the human face, even though they may not be of the handsomest description in the world.

Saltpetre and Arms.--Some uneasiness has been created here by the announcement in recent English papers that large quantities of saltpetre bought in England for account of our government had been stopped.  We are able to say on the highest authority, that this step cannot in the least embarrass us.  The government has on hand now an immense supply of this necessary article, most of which has been in store since the war of 1812.  The amount of saltpetre now in government stores is, we are assured, sufficient for all emergencies; and we suppose the recent purchases in Europe, if any were really made, were intended only to add to the present store in proportion as it was diminished in the course of the war, in accordance with that policy which induces every great government to keep on hand of this article at all times sufficient for a war of twenty or thirty years' duration.

As to arms, we are able to help ourselves.  We have not only arms manufactories, but we have the means and knowledge to construct new machinery whenever it may be needed.  The machinery by which the best service muskets and rifles used for the British army are made, at Woolrich, in England, was constructed in this for the British government, and an American mechanic set it up in its place, and taught the British to work it.  It is evident that what our workmen have done for others they can do for themselves, and for their government.

Of lead and iron we have inexhaustible quantities at home; and of sulfur, if the supply should run low, of which there is at present no danger, we can get as much as we need from the volcanic districts of Mexico.--Evening Post.


We learn that among the papers on Thursday transmitted to the Senate concerning Mexican affairs, was the project of a treaty with Mexico, the provisions of which are of such importance that it is even thought it would, if confirmed, lead to the withdrawal of England and France from the Spanish alliance.  It provides that our Government shall pay $11,000,000 to Mexico, to be applied to the satisfaction of English and French creditors, and for a grant to the United States of commercial privileges, the adjustment of our outstanding debts, and the right of transit across Mexican territory for troops and munitions of war.  It is thought the treaty will be speedily confirmed, and send that wants to Vera Cruz.


Interesting Items.

Six weeks ago potatoes were selling in Canada for 25 cents; the price is now 75 cents.  The rot has already destroyed half the crop.

Navigation on the Pennsylvania canals has closed for the season, and the water will be drawn off in a few days.

Three or four "munition trains" leave Watertown, Mass., every week, loaded with shot, shell, cartridges, baggage trains, etc., for the seat of war.

The fishermen of New England are responding to the call of the government for seamen for the Navy with a readiness hardly anticipated.  Hundreds are entering into service every day.

Our diplomatic relations growing out of the complications arising from the European expedition to Mexico are regarded as in a more critical condition then even our relations with England.

A "secesh" woman, calling herself Mrs. Mayer, was arrested at St. Albans, Vt., on Wednesday, and her baggage being searched, much important treasonable correspondence was found, which she was carrying to rebels, temporarily concealed in Canada.  Her frequent journeys to and from Canada had excited to be suspicion of the federal officers and caused her arrest.  The correspondence was forwarded to Secretary Seward at Washington, and is said to implicate parties in New York.

DECEMBER 24, 1861

Washington a Yankee City.--In the spring, it will be remembered, when the capital was considered in danger from the rebels, real estate was woefully depreciated and business was almost annihilated.  The change now is thus noted by the Washington Republican:

"Washington is essentially a Yankee city at the present time.  In every department business is thriving to a degree unparalleled in its history. Real estate has advanced to unexpected figures, and it is a matter of impossibility to find suitable accommodations for the influx of business pouring in upon us.  Enterprise is now the watchword, where a short year ago inactivity and decay prevailed.  Vigorous competition has reduced the price of many of the necessaries of life.  Old monopolies have been scattered to the winds, and the consumer is generally benefitted by the change.  The Washington of today is different from the Washington of 1860.  Many are unacquainted with the cause of transformation, and look with wondering eyes at what is only a legitimate consequence."


The Trent Affair.—Yesterday’s report from Washington to the Tribune is that Lord Lyons made his first official communication to Mr. Seward, on the Trent affair, on Saturday, and that the Secretary of State was preparing his reply. The Tribune’s correspondent says the prevailing belief is that Great Britain does not present an ultimatum but leaves the way open for negotiation. The Philadelphia Bulletin has another version, to the effect that Lord Lyons will not present his dispatch until Admiral Milne acts upon his instructions to proceed to Boston harbor.


Cannon.—The machinery for rifling cannon, recently received at the government foundry, is now in successful operation at Fortress Monroe. One hundred marine guns, of large caliber, have been successfully rifled, and it is not believed that their strength has been materially diminished by the process. Fortress Monroe will soon have her four hundred and fifteen rifled cannon in place.


Southern Items.--The system of drafting begun in Richmond is exceedingly unpopular.  It calls into active service the entire militia.  Boys of 15 years are often enrolled.  Those who desire to remain at home have to provide substitutes, who can only be had with great difficulty.

A deserter from the Confederate navy, an intelligent man, says there is universal depression through the South, who and that the whole game is up.  New Orleans is particularly despondent.  The sugar planters are Union at heart, and if we take New Orleans or Mobile, the cotton planters would all bring their cotton in for sale.  There is great destitution, and planters have nothing to feed their Negroes on.

The bad financial condition of the rebels is illustrated by the fact that one of the regiments at Manassas has begun to issue a currency of its own, in the form of shinplasters.

Among the other things the Louisianians are much in want of are barrels and hogsheads for their sugar and molasses.  They were dependent on the Yankees for these, and do not know how to make them.  Sugar is selling as low as 1½ to 2 cents in New Orleans.

The Memphis Appeal reports the impressment of free Negroes in the confederate army.

The letter from Richmond says: "There has been a good deal of sickness and several deaths of late among the Union prisoners, resulting in many cases from wounds.  Several hundred were sent to Tuscaloosa, Ala., last week.  Many of them were really objects of pity.  It was a painful site to see the poor fellows marched off to their southern prison.  Some of them were coatless and without shoes, and all very poorly clad."

Poultry.--if There is a good supply of poultry for Christmas, and the market today, and prices have advanced since yesterday on account of the cold weather.  Good fresh-killed turkeys can be bought for fifteen cents per pound and poorer ones for twelve cents; geess and chickens are selling for from ten to twelve cents per pound.


At Raines & Co.'s can be found a large assortment of useful as well as fancy articles.  They have just returned from New York and Boston, where they have purchased for cash a large block of goods for Christmas and New Year's presents.  They are really worth examining, and can be purchased at "war prices."


More Contraband Bundles.--Among the large number of packages received at the city governments building to be sent today to our soldiers at Fortress Monroe, four bottles of liquor were discovered and confiscated.


Various Items.--One George Lee, whose property in New Orleans, has just been confiscated by the rebels, committed suicide at Ballston Spa, New York, a day or two since.  The loss of a hundred thousand dollars caused him to become insane.

Bounties to fishermen will be payable the first of January.  The Yarmouth Register says the amount due in the Barnstable district is $45,000.  In Gloucester the sum is $125,000.  In the middle of hard winter the bounty will bring relief to many a poor man's door.

In Bavaria, Clermont county, Ohio, the boys who are too young to go to the war, have formed a company which they call the "Sawbuck Rangers," the members of which agreed to saw the wood of women whose husbands are at the war.

Levi Mann, a colored man, recently arrived from Fort Pickens, and formerly employed on board the steamship Star of the South, and for some time a prisoner in the interior of Alabama, informs the Herald that there are upwards of 8000 runaway Negroes in that state hiding in the woods.  They have vague ideas of the war.

The Washington Republican says: "The imbroglio over the affairs of Mason and Slidell is only a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself.  The hostility of the British government existed before their capture, and would have been manifested effective and had not happened."

The Boston Post, in an article upon this difficulty, remarks: "The latest intelligence from England and the war tempest in Canada give new and even painful interest to the affair of the Trent.  It is singular, at least, that, when there is among our northern neighbors every note of preparation, the people of the states along the whole line should be called as a summer's morning."

The recruiting officer as Rochester, New York, detected a young female adventurer, last week, who applied to him, dressed in bifurcated apparel, for a situation as drummer boy.  Her favorite masculine alias was Charlie Miller, and she had been a hack driver, a circus rider, a bar tender, a whip pedlar's clerk, and a drummer boy in the 18th New York and 46th Pennsylvania regiments.

The rebel army is composed almost entirely of twelve months' men, whose term of service expires in February, the Richmond papers, in anticipation of the return of these men to their homes, and the difficulty of supplying their places, recommends conscription.

Eight boys in Gloucester, on Wednesday last, ate some hemlock roots, supposing them to be parsnips.  One of them named Knowles died in great agony, but the rest are expected to recover.


DECEMBER 25, 1861


Without waiting to receive the Message of the President or the reports of the Secretaries, without knowing what policy had already been adopted by the Government, and was now in operation, the Radicals of the two Houses of Congress, on the first day of the session, precipitated before both Chambers the question of Emancipation.  The process was as logical as the attempt itself was reasonable! "Whereas," the resolution that generally ran, "Congress has no power to emancipate sleeves, resolved that our Generals shall recruit them into the army and declare them free." The non sequiturs is as apparent as it would be in fact if the proclamation for the Negroes allies were sounded.  They would not follow to the call.

We are wearied by the pertinacity of folly with which the factious leaders of a minority attempt to force the delusive and fatal policy upon the country.  We shot argue the question of right, for they heed not right; nor of the Constitution, for they mock it; nor of expediency, for they are incapable of understanding it.

But if Congress distrusts the power of the 600,000 white soldiers in arms, in defense of the Constitution, and of the vast Navy of the Federal Government, and must needs recruit from the black population, why not commence at the North?  If blacks are needed for soldiers, why not marshal the free blacks to the reserve, instead of attempting this tardy and circuitous method of rallying slaves to our standard?  There are 200,000 free blacks in the loyal States, and an army of 25,000 might easily be supplied from their numbers.  To get the same force of able bodied men from the slave population, we would have to take within our lines, and support till the close of the war, eight times the number, counting women, children, the decrepit and incapable.  The burden of such a population would be immensely greater than that of any similar number of the most expensive troops we now have, even on the most extravagant estimate.

What will it cost to sustain a population of 200,000 slaves during the war, fed with daily rations as the "contrabands" at Fortress Monroe now are?  The elements of the calculation are to be found in that experiment, and it is in the power of the Government to give the results also.  We venture to say that there never was a body of man, outside of the established Alms Houses, so unproductive and wasteful and useless, as the laborers at Fortress Monroe, and their large dependent families.

We do not believe the people are rich enough to support such a body of pensioners; or that the suffering citizens of the North will patiently abide the idea that while government leaves them to their bitter fate of hunger and cold, it is manifesting paternal indulgence and bestowing it's a liberal bounties upon the vagrant population of the South, whom it has invited into idleness.  And then, when the Negroes class has sucked its millions from the Treasury, the master class is to have its turn!  How many millions will the state, and who but the Northern laborer will have to pay them?

Will the northern soldiers stand, side by side, in their ranks with the black freed men?  Try it!  Let the experiment be made with the soldiers recruited from the black population of the North, before we rush into the experiment of a general levy of troops at the South.  If the northern me grow, if freedom is an advantage, is the better man of the two, and is certainly better educated, and disciplined, and a self reliant.  What would be the fate of a brigade of blacks, officered by their own class, or even by whites, and marching to battle?  What would be their discipline, their tone, their courage, and to what extent would they elevate or depress the war like sentiment, and esprit de corps of the Army?

We ask these questions, but we seek no answer.  Every man can answer them.  The country has already answered them.  Not a State has sent a single black man to the defense of the country.  The Government has asked for none, and will accept none.  It is a mere trick of words, a delusion and falsehood, to talk about recruiting our armies from such a source.  Reduced to its real meaning, the action of Congress comes to this--an invitation to the slaves to desert their masters, with a promise that Government will support and free them if they do.  Behind this invitation is the hidden incitement to servile insurrection; but the fanatics of Congress have not yet resolved that supernal folly and climbed into words.  They hope that the quick year of the Negro will catch the thought ere it is expressed in words, and that he will hasten to the lines of our army and seek his promised reward, with the blood of his master and mistress and children dripping from his knife; and those who have not toned up their minds to this expectation, hope at least that the fear of such an impending horror may drive the South into submission.

It is but a new delusion, another sequence in that long line of fallacies, which underrating the energies and the power of our adversaries, has let us from one error to another, in a long career of disappointments and calamities.--Albany Argus.


The Union Not to be Restored.--The Boston correspondent of the Springfield Republican scouts the idea that the Union is to be restored, and mocks at the President for appearing to believe it.  We quote:--

"The restoration of the old Union is impossible, and admitted to be so practically, by everybody, including Mr. Lincoln himself.  Mr. Cameron proposes great changes in the boundaries of states, and I do not understand that Mr. Lincoln objects to this part of his report.  Virginia is already dismembered; Tennessee is liable to be cut in pieces at any time; Delaware is to be enlarged, and so on. The exigencies of the war may make the absolute extinguishment of half a dozen rebel states, as political organizations, as necessary.  Florida may yet be ceded back to Spain, and Texas to Mexico.  The old Union!  It is a thing of the past.  To call a man a disunionist who is not in favor of allowing things to be restored to the condition they were in before the election of 1860, is very poor and cheap and harmless nonsense."

DECEMBER 26, 1861


The last foreign dispatches comprising six days' intelligence, and down to the 12th inst., record nothing of striking importance in connection with a great international topic.  From a comparison of the statements made, the real character of the communication prepared by the British Cabinet had not probably been divulged to the press.  It is noticeable that the latest London Times omits to say anything about the return of the commissioners.  The Cabinet is in a difficult political situation, and naturally prefers secrecy in the midst of the present popular excitement.  The further postponement of the meeting of Parliament seems to strengthen this view of the matter.  The warlike preparations continue. . .

Accounts from Fortress Monroe state that Gen. Burnside's expedition is about ready for departure, which will probably take place within the week.  Its strength of force, and destination are wisely concealed from the public.  Of one thing, however, we may be sure--the expedition means hot work somewhere.

On the coast of the rat-hole fleet our sealing up Charleston and Savannah, Pickens is again battering Fort McRae, with what effect, not known, and Butler's forces are concentrating at Ship Island to pay their respects to New Orleans.  The Constitution will probably leave Boston this week with several regiments to reinforce them.

Gen. Halleck's Cairo fleet of a dozen iron-plated river gun-boats are fitting up for their voyage down the Mississippi.  The General is pushing on his other preparations with great vigor, and will be ready to take the field in a week or two. Halleck and the victorious Pope did fair to clear Missouri of her domestic foes in a short time.

The report of the committee appointed at the extra session of Congress, to investigate Government contracts, was presented in the House, Wednesday, b y Mr. Van Wyck of New York, the chairman.  The committee have held settings in all the principle cities, and traveled 6700 miles.  Many extortions and abuses in the purchase of arms and vessels have been exposed.  The investigation into the chartering of the steamer Cataline discloses the fact that she was chartered for $10,000 a month, for not less than 3 months, and it lost $50,000 was to be paid for her, although she cost only $18,000.  The subject of the purchase of arms developed the fact that the Government and the States were in direct competition, leading to extraordinary cupidity on the part of those having such a for sale, both in Europe and America, and to combinations to rob the treasury.  Immense supplies both in the Navy and War departments, have been purchased privately and without any competition.  In the purchase of cattle there has been gross mismanagement, and great irregularities have been practiced in New York in the purchase of horses and wagons.  The circumstances of the erection of the fortifications at St. Louis were marked by extravagance, recklessness, insubordination and fraud, and the committee hope some means may be found to make the parties to these atrocious frauds disgorge the sums of which the government has been so enormously swindled, and that laborers be no longer delayed from their pay.  The abuses in the Western Military Department are prominently [delineated], including those relating to the shipment of ice, the diversions of monies from the Paymaster's department, for which they were appropriated, rotten and condemned blankets, the roofing of the Benton barracks, transportation, &c.  . . .  The Committee report that in numerous cases which have come under their observation, the price paid for arms is inexcusably exorbitant.  In some instances the arms were worthless, and in others an exorbitant price was coupled with other evidence of a purpose to defraud the government.

Port Royal.--The cotton crop of this year is a fair one. The Negroes are formed into gangs and are picking it under superintendents.  The Atlantic brought $50,000 worth, and other vessels were loading on Government account.  The soldiers were delighted with Beaufort Common for a campaign ground.  An expedition inland to secure the control of the railroad from Charleston to Savannah, so 1500 rebels, who retreated if.  The health of the troops is suffering for want of sufficient hospitals and medical supplies.  The burning of Tybee light-house is confirmed.


Soldiers’ Mittens.—Cloth mittens may be made of any stout, warm, woolen cloth. They can be lined with flannel if the outside material is not warm enough. They should be basted nicely together, and then stitched by a machine or hand on the right side, leaving only a narrow edge round the side after the fashion of buckskin gloves. If the seams are turned inside they will be clumsy. Round the wrist they should be turned down, and stitched round also. If they are lined with colored flannel they can be turned down on the right side, and the contrast is quite ornamental, corresponding to the edge of the flannel lining which is at the seams. Every housekeeper has pieces of broadcloth, water proof, or ladies’ cloth, and every one can lend a helping hand.—Correspondent, Boston Journal.


Fashion and Shaving Brushes.—The Philadelphia Gazette says that the changes in fashion operate oddly on business. Since the beard and moustache followed the wake of lager and meerschaum, and become Americanized, the number of barber shops in this city has fallen off from above two hundred to about eighty. A leading brushmaker informs us that five years age he constantly kept three journeymen the year round for the sole purpose of making shaving brushes. At the present moment a single journeyman can supply the entire demand, without occupying much more than half his time. While this is true of shaving brushes, it is equally true of razors also.

Houses that used to import fifty to a hundred gross for a season’s sales, are now unable to dispose of one-fourth that number, while many of them still retain stock lying upon their shelves for many season’s past, an excess of importation predicated upon the continuance of smooth jowls and shaven lips. Things hang queerly together. It is in the power of fashion to ruin any business in a single season. The class of manufacturers who have had the best and longest run of luck are the makers of hoop skirts and adjustable bustles. Since Eugene first experienced the delights of maternity, hoop skirt makers have had their own time of it. At one time quill pens sold so high that geese took on more airs than any fowl in existence. In these days of improved gold and steel pens goose-quills are hardly worth the task of preparing them for the market.


DECEMBER 27, 1861


The prohibition of the export of arms and saltpetre by Great Britain causes an uneasiness in this country.  We can now make our own arms as fast as we shall need them, and they are vastly superior to any we get from abroad.  Indeed England is indebted for her best muskets to the machinery with which we generously furnished her, and to our workmen who instructed her own in making them.  The markets of the rest of Europe are still open to us if we should need more than we can manufacture, which is not likely.  In a matter of heavy ordnance we are equally independent, for our Parrott guns are unquestionably superior to the Armstrong and Whitworth guns.  As to saltpetre, it is stated that our government has on hand and immense supply off, sufficient for any possible emergency.  Some of it has been in store since the war of 1812.  Indeed it is intimated that the stir in England as to saltpetre was made by agents of our government, who were purchasing largely, with the desire to call forth a prohibition of the exportations, and thus keep the secessionists from obtaining a supply, as they have hitherto done by vessels running the blockade. . .

Our own government should now prohibit the exportation of ship timber, for which the British government is largely dependent on us, and has now great quantities stored here which it has recently purchased.  The blockade of the Virginia ports has cut off our supply from that quarter, and ship-builders find it difficult to obtain suitable material for their work.  Under these circumstances it is highly important to forbid all further exportation of the article.

Washington Gossip.

A gentleman occupying a high position in Paris, writing to a friend in Washington, says that the impression was very general in the best informed circles in France and England, that a rupture between England and the United States is inevitable.

The efforts being made to abolish sutlerships in the army are bringing to light many abuses.  If in some instances the appointment of a sutler has been given to whoever would agree to contribute the largest bonus to the regimental fund, which is under the control of the regimental officers.  Out of it is paid a portion of the expenses of the band; the remainder is disposed of by the officers, who also appoint the sutler.  That this course results in injury to the interest of both sutlers and soldiers, who are, in many cases, thus indirectly taxed to pay for wines, liquors and cigars for the regimental mess.

Mr. Ely is expected to arrive from Richmond early this week.  The exchange of prisoners is proceeding systematically, and to the entire satisfaction of the government.


“Ah! I am very sorry for this rebellion; it prevents my going South,” said an Englishman the other day, dining at a  club in Philadelphia by invitation. “They tell me,” he continued, “that the American gentleman is only to be found at the South. How is that, pray? Can you explain it?” “I can’t,” replied his host; “it is no more to be explained than the sentiment so often made here that there are gentlemen in England, but that none of them ever come to this country!”

The Fat Home Guard.

The Cleveland Plaindealer's "Fat Contributor" (Griswold) has joined the valiant "Home Guards." He tells his experience thus:

The moment the flag was threatened, large bodies of men were called upon to rally to its defense.  Being a large bodied man, I rallied and enrolled myself in the Home Guards.  The drill is very severe on me.  I am a living paradox, for well getting Hardee, I am daily growing weak.1 Talk about "the times that tried men's souls," these are the times that try men's fat, if they have got any.  The captain takes pleasure in putting me through at a double quick step.  When I go off, I think it will be with a "double quick" consumption.

I am constantly reminded that one of the first acquirements of a soldier is to throw out his chest and a draw in his stomach.  Having been turned out several times while occupying rooms in the attic, I have had considerable practice in "throwing out my chest," but by what system of practice could I ever hope to draw and my stomach?  I can't "dress up," it's no use trying.  If my vest buttons are in line, I am far in the rear, and if I toe the mark, a fearful bulge indicates my position.  There is no room for argument in regard to my sentiments; everybody can see at a glance just where I stand.

One evening we had a drill-sergeant who was near-sighted.  Running his eyes down the line, he exclaimed sharply: "What is that man doing in their ranks with a bass drum?" He pointed at me, but I hadn't any drum.

I overheard a spectator inquire of the drill-sergeant one day:

"Do you drill the whole of him at once?"

"No," he returned in an awful whisper, "I drill him by squads!"

I would have drilled him if I had had a bayonet.

On drill last night, and old farmer who dropped in to see us drill, took me a side and said he wanted to sell me a yoke of powerful oxen.

"My ancient agriculturist," said I, smiling at his simplicity, "I have no use for oxen."

"Perhaps not at present," quoth he, "but if you go to war you will need them."

"For what?" said I, considerably annoyed.

"Want'em to draw your rations!"

The guards paid me a delicate complement at their last meeting.  They elected the "Child of the Regiment," with the rank of "1st Corpulent."


A Battle Near Leesburg.

Washington, Dec. 20.--This morning, at 6 o'clock, a portion of Gen. McCall's division proceeded in the direction of Drainesville on a foraging expedition, and for the purpose of making a reconnaissance in that locality. Drainesville is about midway between Gen. McCall's headquarters and Leesburgh.  On arriving in that vicinity they encountered the enemy, who had four regiments of infantry--South Carolinians, Alabamians and Kentuckians, with a battery of six pieces and a regiment of cavalry, under command of Gen. Stuart.

The only troops on our side that engaged in the affair were Gen. Ord's brigade, the 1st Rifles, and Easton's battery of four guns. At 4 o'clock, after the action, Gen. McCall sent two officers to count the rebels killed and wounded, when it was ascertained that they left on the field 57 killed and 22 wounded.  Three of the latter died on being removed, making their loss 60 killed and 19 wounded, and they, no doubt, carried off many more.

DECEMBER 28, 1861

The British Navy and Our Own.--Donald McKay, the American ship-builder, who is now in England, furnishes to the Boston Commercial Bulletin an account of the British navy, which has at this time a peculiar interest.  He says the British government is now directing its attention almost wholly to the immediate erection of a fleet of iron-cased frigates and ships.  There are now a float five iron-cased ships, ranging from 22 to 40 guns, and from 600 to 1250 horse power each.  Their names are the Warrior, Black Prince, Defense, Resistance and Hector.  Of these, only the Warrior and the Black Prince have had their trial trips, on which the first named vessel realized, with all her armament, stores and provisions on board, the high speed of 14 1-8 knots.  The Black Prince had obtained even a higher speed than the Warrior.  The experiments on the Warrior, have plainly shown the her sides are practically impenetrable to the heaviest shot, which settles the question of the superiority of iron-cased ships. The Warrior is soon expected in our waters.  Whether these vessels have been built with strength proportionate to their immense weight, and great length (over four hundred feet), or whether their massive plating in a heavy sea will strain the vessels, become loose, and produce leaks of a dangerous character--as in the case of the La Gloire (French)--a few weeks may determine.  A gale such as that which disabled the Great Eastern might settle the question.

In addition to these, two other iron-cased ships are building, and six others are to be built, three of them having been ordered already.  Besides these thirteen iron ships, five wooden ships are building in the navy yards, expressly designed for being armor plated.  All of these iron-cased men-of-war are to be ready for sea by the end of next year.  Their cost will be about thirty-nine millions of dollars.  In the French government's we'll also have by the same time, afloat, twenty iron-cased ships, and all the principle and even minor powers of Europe, are constructing a large number of these powerful ships.

Whether we are to have war with England or not, we must compete to some extent with these great naval preparations. And Mr. McKay says we can readily do it.  He says:--

It is true on a very urgent occasion, in a great emergency, our country could largely increase her navy in a very few months, with very powerful descriptions of vessels, if they would proceed as follows: cut down all our line-of-battle ships one or two decks, case them with five-inch iron plates,

put a battery of thirty or forty guns of the heaviest caliber on board of them, and moor them across the entrance of our harbors.  Plate our heavy frigates with shell-proof iron plates, and to make up for the additional weight put into them, do away with their armament on the upper deck.  Transform one hundred of our best sea-going merchant steamers into so many frigates, sloops, dispatch and gunboats of a speed superior to any men-of-war ships yet produced.  Among our large clipper ships and traders, more than five hundred may be found that are capable to be transformed into so many efficient ceiling sloops and frigates.  Their length varies from 220 to 300 feet, their breadth from 40 to 52 feet, and whenever they are cut down one deck, or their decks are lowered, will be found capable of carrying and armament varying from twenty to fifty guns, according to their respective capacities. Twenty or thirty of our best and largest clipper ships might very well be transformed into powerful screw frigates--as for instance the Great Republic, which exceeds in her dimensions the largest English fifty-gun frigates, while her shape for speed is incomparably superior.  The scantling2 of all these ships is well known to be larger than that of the best and strongest men-of-war ships of our navy.

"Among the barks and brigs there are certainly 400 to 500 capable of receiving an armament  over from8 to 20 guns, and more than a thousand of our large coasting schooners that have a breadth of 28 to 30 feet and over, and a form never surpassed for speed, can in a few weeks be transformed into men-of-war schooners, armed with one pivot gun of the heaviest description in the middle, and two to four 32 pounders at the ends.  These vessels have a very large stability, and the scantling of their timbers, etc., is by 20 per cent heavier than that of the common men-of-war schooners.  This fleet of about 2000 vessels of war, canned, (working with all the natural energy of our nation) can be turned out in less time than four to six months, and it would be sufficient to protect our coast and meet the first storm.  Time would be so gained to build a fleet fit to represent our great nation, and to make our flag once more respected in all the seas of the globe."

1 A play on words. Hardee’s Infantry Tactics was a standard drill manual of the time. The writer is punning on the homophone, “hardy.”

2 Scantlings refers to the wooden frame of a ship.

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