, 1862

Opinion of Americans Abroad.

It is perhaps not a commendable characteristic in any man to be totally indifferent to the good or ill opinion of his neighbors. This, however, is preferable to that extreme and sickly sensitiveness as to what this or that individual may think of him. If he can keep his own high self-respect, if he can take a conscious pride in his own manhood, he can well afford to smile even if some small specimen of humanity should entertain a very poor opinion of him. Nor will he lose a moment’s sleep if a score or a hundred empty heads should regard him in a light equally unfavorable.

In this, as in most other matters, the medium course between these two extremes is probably the one that wisdom would approve, and which a noble, a great nature would be the most likely to adopt. As with individuals, so with nations. As a nation, we Americans have ever been proud of the good opinion of other nations; but at the same time we have troubled ourselves very little about what they may have thought of us. Whenever they have liked us, very well. It has gratified us. When they have not, we have been disposed to snap our fingers at them, and tell them that Brother Jonathan don’t care the toss of a copper what they may think or say of him. He’s an independent character, that Brother Jonathan, and deems himself just as good as any body else in all creation, perhaps a little better! He can put himself upon his dignity at times, too, and affect any thing that the occasion may require. He is by no means disposed to truckle to Don, Monsieur, Herr, Count or even to his Majesty—not a bit of it. He considers himself the peer of any of them, a veritable sovereign who can “whip” any body that chooses to pitch in!

Badinage apart, it is admitted that Americans have rather an exalted idea of themselves, their country, and its institutions. They think there is no other one like it, no society so happily constituted as theirs, no people so free, so independent, so spirited and so powerful as they; no rivers, valleys, mountains, railroads, constitutions, statesmen, orators and soldiers like theirs. Well, if they do thus think and feel, are they peculiar or singular in it? Go ask John Bull if there is any country like his, any constitution like the British constitution, any warriors or statesmen like his! Will Monsieur admit that there is any land like la belle France? Preposterous to suppose he would! Are not the arts and sciences carried to greater perfection there than anywhere else? Though there is no “united Italy,” we’ll venture that the true son of Ansonia will contend that no excellence can compare with the excellence which is found in the country of the “Eternal City.” We might follow the entire cycle of nations, and we should probably find the same principle of self-esteem running through all of them. Each nation is possessed of the happy illusion that it is superior in many, if not all respects, to any other; and whether true or not the effect upon its people is the same—they are proud of themselves and of their country. Their vanity is flattered, they become in consequence more patriotic, are more contented, and in all respects happier than they would be if this conceit were taken out of them.

Now, if Americans are as egotistical as they are represented—and we don’t deny that their bump of self-esteem is “large, very large”—how do they differ from other people, since other nations have precisely the same notion of their own superiority? We are not quite sure that their ideas of themselves are more exalted than are the ideas which other people have of themselves. Bishop Hughes, of New York, says that European opinion puts a very low estimate upon America and American civilization. That may be, and it may also be that American opinion of European civilization reciprocates in full the compliment. America is in trouble now. Let not her enemies exult. Her glory just now is obscured; but behind the darkness, behind the red storm of horror and death, there is a glorious sun, and ere long it will roll out of the tempest clouds, out from the smoke of the battlefield, up out of the black and terrible night, with a splendor all peerless, a brightness of its own, and enhanced by contrast with the appalling tableau that shall have disappeared. The ordeal she is passing through is a trying one. But what nation in Europe can point back to its history and find no page red with the blood of brothers? What country has been free from anarchy, from revolution, war, the sack of cities, the annihilation of commerce, devastation, widespread miseries [and] comfortless sorrows? Let the one that is without blot answer.

We are regarded in Europe, the bishop says, as little more than semi-civilized, as we should regard a far off, sparsely inhabited new territory. Let us see. We are a young nation. We have had to contend with the forests. These have disappeared from millions of acres of as rich land as there is in the world. These broad lands are converted into beautiful farms and plantations which embrace in their multifarious productions everything requisite for the use of man, from a potato to cotton, rom the cereals to fruits and sugar. They include alike the useful and the ornamental, and they are cultivated by implements which have been awarded the prize of superiority by the jealous husbandmen of Europe. These lands are fretted over with railroads that cannot be excelled by any in Europe, that carry the traveler by day and by night, while he slumbers upon his bed, as far as Stamboul is from Paris, with hardly a change of baggage check.

Let us see again. This semi-civilized nation, that is looked upon with so much contempt, has had the genius to revolutionize the whole nature of modern commerce, both with respect to the materials of it and the agents by which it is made available and mobilized. Who built the first steamboat? Who invented the cotton gin? Who constructed the first magnetic telegraph? Who have produced a greater number of labor-saving machines, thereby allowing the multitude increased leisure for mental cultivation, than Americans?

America has something to be proud of. If European aristocrats turn up their noses at her, she will return the compliment. She asks no odds of them, either in peace or war, in learning or commerce, in inventive genius or eloquence. She treads a path as elevated as that pursued by any nation upon earth. She accepts no second position.

DECEMBER 22, 1862

Counting Chickens Before They Are Hatched.

The New York Herald continues to inform the world that the rebellion is about to be crushed out, and states precisely what is to take place immediately after the doodles have marched triumphantly into Richmond—an event which is yet one of the unhatched chickens so often counted by the Herald. That prophetic journal of the 8th instant has the following article:

“We are assured that the fullest confidence exists at Washington that the land and naval forces of the Union now in the field are not only competent to put down the armed forces of the rebellion east and west, but the work will be done in this winter’s campaign. With an army in round numbers of a million men thus engaged, and with a  co-operating naval force chiefly of iron-clad gunboats equal, we dare say, to another army of a half a million of men, against a rebel army which can scarcely exceed half a million, there should seem to be no ground for a reasonable doubt upon the subject.

“The organization, equipment and distribution of these overwhelming warlike forces of the Union are believed to be such as to render their success inevitable in every quarter, and against all possible contingencies in the way of blunders, accidents or disasters. In the East it is thought that the army of General Burnside is of itself equal to the enterprise of fighting its way successfully into the rebel capital; but if we conjecture, the expedition of Gen. Banks is designed to advance upon Richmond, by way of the York or James River, with a fleet of gunboats, while Burnside moves down upon the devoted city overland from the North, it is difficult to imagine any chain of mistakes and misfortunes that can prevent the destruction of complete dispersion of the great rebel army of Virginia.

“The army of Burnside is chiefly an army of veterans. It is under a tried, experienced, and successful commander, and he appears fully to inherit that unqualified confidence and affection of his troops which Gen. McClellan so remarkably possessed. Gen. Banks, too, has proved himself equal to every position and emergency in which he has been tested as a military leader, and he has been exposed to trials and dangers before, while any other than a skillful, courageous, cool and self-possessed commander would have been captured or destroyed. And the both Burnside and Banks have not only the valuable experience of McClellan to guide them, but some very important practical advantages, resulting from his peninsular campaign, including the possession of Yorktown and its fortifications, and the command of the river on each side of the peninsula. It was recently said by a Washington contemporary that the army on the Rappahannock would win Richmond, but that the army of the James would occupy the city. However this may be, the means for the end in view appear to be simple and admirably bestowed; and, therefore, within a few weeks we may anticipate the occupation of the rebel capital by the Union forces assigned to the task.

“With the fall of Richmond, involving the defeat and demoralization of the main army of Jeff Davis, the rebellion in the east will be substantially suppressed; for we shall have gained the one thing wanted to put an end to all Southern dreams of European intervention, and all hopes of the ultimate redemption of Confederate scrip. If fifty dollars of the scrip are now required to pay for a good pair of boots in Richmond, five hundred dollars in Memminger’s treasury notes will hardly get the boots anywhere in the South, with the Confederate rebel capital in possession of the Union army.

“Thus much for the prospects of the grand Union campaign now afoot in the east. Meantime, in the west, where the rebellion has already been thrown off its feet, a system of military combinations is in motion calculated to sweep off the remnants of the rebel armies in that quarter to the Gulf of Mexico. The gunboat flotilla of Admiral Porter, with the co-operating army of Gen. McClernand, will move down the Mississippi River together, while inland, through the State of the same name and Alabama, following up the rebel forces of Bragg, Pemberton and others, the powerful and victorious armies of Rosencrans and Grant will advance. Simultaneously, therefore, or soon after the overthrow of the great rebel army of the east and the capture of Richmond, we may expect to hear of the rout and dispersion of the last remaining rebel armies of the West of any moment, and the capture of Vicksburg and Mobile. With these grand results achieved East and West, the conquest of the remaining strongholds of the rebellion will be so easy that, excepting Charleston, we may expect them to fall without serious resistance.”

The Fifth “On to Richmond.”

All signs seem to indicate that the enemy are making arrangements for a fifth demonstration upon Richmond, which shall embody a great portion of the entire military force of the Lincolnites. The force under Banks is said to have landed at Beaufort, North Carolina, no doubt with the purpose of cutting off railway communication with Richmond from the South. The coast of South Carolina and Georgia is said to be literally stripped of Yankee troops, and heavy square rigged transports have passed Charleston bar bound northward, indicating apparently the direction the troops have taken. In the West it is reported that the enemy are leaving Nashville via Bowling Green, as was supposed, to reinforce Grant in Mississippi; but, as we suppose, to concentrate for a last and exhaustive struggle to take Richmond. The recent movement against the Weldon Railroad, which is conjectured to have embodied a portion of Banks’s forces, was probably the initial step in the “grand movement”—to prevent a correspondent concentration of the Confederate troops by cutting off the railway avenues to the capital.

Some weeks ago, we copied an editorial of the New York Times, which the reader will probably remember, developing this plan of massing an immense Federal force around Richmond and capturing that city at any cost of men and money, although it should be necessary for a time to cripple or abandon every military enterprise against other points. In the opinion of the Times, the capture of Richmond would be a death blow at the heart of the rebellion, while assaults upon other points would but scarify the surface. We think it quite possible the Lincoln Government has adopted the ideas of the Times, and is now preparing to carry them out. We all see with what desperation the advance upon Richmond by Burnside has been urged forward, at all hazards—hit or miss—and he has been exhorted to risk everything on the blow. The blow has been struck and has failed. The war is now at a desperate strait, in which something decisive and signal must be done and done at once or the struggle be abandoned forever. Affairs have now arrived at that critical stage in which the Lincolnites are compelled to shape their military movements not so much by military as by political reasons and necessities.

They are fighting off Europe as much as fighting the rebellion, and it is for this reason, if our conjectures are well founded, that they have taken the hazardous step of revolutionizing their whole programme in the middle of a campaign. It is now neck or nothing. To rush upon Richmond with an immense force, concentrated from all quarters by the abandonment of every collateral and subsidiary movement in crushing the rebellion, and so take the Confederate capital, is the great necessity now to keep foreign governments out of the struggle. We shall see, in a few days, whether these conjectures have any foundation. Our government, we are confident, will be ready for any change in the abolition programme, however sudden. Meanwhile, it is one of the most encouraging signs of the times that we can meet an enemy waging war on these conflicting principles, and for these diverse objects, with a  gallant army and tried and accomplished leaders, acting only upon strict military principles. Let this fifth grand expedition to Richmond fail, and the war is wound up forever.


, 1862

Official Dispatch of General Burnside.—The following is General Burnside’s report, explaining the reasons of the repulse. It will be observed that he makes no complaint of the tardy arrival of the pontoon bridges, and frankly acknowledges himself responsible for the whole movement:

Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
Falmouth, Dec. 19, 1862.

To Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief U.S.A., Washington:

General: I have the honor to offer the following reasons for moving the army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock sooner than was anticipated by the president, secretary of war and yourself, and for crossing at a point different from the one indicated to you at our last meeting at the president’s.

During my preparations for crossing at the pace I had first selected, I discovered that the enemy had thrown a large portion of his force down the river and elsewhere, thus weakening his defences in front, and also thought I discovered that he did not anticipate the crossing of our whole force at Fredericksburg, and I hoped, by rapidly throwing the whole command over at that place, to separate, by a vigorous attack, the forces of the enemy on the river below from the forces behind and in the rear of the town, in which case we could fight him with great advantage in our favor. To do this we had to gain a height on the extreme right of the crest, which height commanded a new road lately made by the enemy for the purpose of more rapid communication along his line, which point gained, his position along the crest would have been scarcely tenable, and he could have been driven from them easily by an attack on this point in connection with a movement in the rear of the crest.

How near we came of accomplishing our object, but for the fog and unexpected and unavoidable delay in building the bridges, which gave the enemy twenty-four hours more to concentrate his forces in his strong positions, we would almost certainly have succeeded. In which case the battle would have been, in my opinion, far more decisive than if we had crossed at the place first selected. As it was we came very near success.

Failing in accomplishing the main object, we remained in order of battle two days, long enough to decide that the enemy would not come out of his strongholds to fight us with his infantry, after which we re-crossed to this side of the river, unmolested and without the loss of men or property.

As the day broke, our long lines of troops were seen marching to their different positions as if going on parade. Not the least demoralization or disorganization existed.

To the brave officers and soldiers who accomplished the feat of thus re-crossing the river in the face of the enemy, I owe everything. For the failure in attack I am responsible, as the extreme gallantry, courage and endurance shown by them was never exceeded, and would have carried the points, had it been possible.

To the families and friends of the dead I can only offer my heartfelt sympathies; but for the wounded I can offer my earnest prayer for their comfortable and final recovery.

The fact that I decided to move from Warrenton on to this line, rather against the opinion of the President, Secretary of War, and yourself, and that you left the whole movement in my hands, without giving me orders, makes me responsible. >

I will visit you very soon, and give you more definite information, and finally I will send you my detailed report, in which a special acknowledgement will be made of the services of the different grand divisions, corps, and my general and staff departments of the Army of the Potomac, to whom I am so much indebted for their support and hearty co-operation.

I will add here that the movement was made earlier than you expected, and after the President, Secretary of War, and yourself requested me not to be in haste, for the reason that we were supplied much sooner by the different staff departments than we anticipated when I last saw you.

Our killed amounts to 1152, our wounded to about 9000, and our prisoners 700, which last have been paroled and exchanged for about the same number taken by us. The wounded were all removed to this side of the river, and are being well cared for, and the dead were all buried under a flag of truce. The surgeons report a much larger proportion of slight wounds than usual, 1632 only being treated in hospitals.

I am glad to represent the army at the present time in good condition.

Thanking the government for the entire support and confidence which I have always received from them, I remain, General,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 A. E. Burnside,
Maj. Gen. Commanding Army of the Potomac.


“Cow-Cotton.”—A friend in Tennessee has sent us a specimen of “cow-cotton,” a novelty among manufacturers, uniting in its fabric both the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, being a mixture, half and half, of cotton and cow hair. It makes a cheaper and stronger fabric than all cotton for common clothing. Its gray color, its coarse grain, its tough fiber, give it a little of the old-time homespun look, when men wore linsey-woolsey. The mode of manufacture is by hand-carding, as practiced by our mothers and grandmothers. If the pure southern stuff that is fed to the Manchester mills should utterly fail, the English aristocracy may be glad to hear that their backs need not go bare, but can be clothed with cow-cotton.—Independent.


The Soldiers Remembered.—Twenty-two boxes, containing about seven hundred packages for the Sixth Regiment and Seventh Battery, were sent from the city government building this afternoon, to Boston, to be forwarded to Suffolk, Va. This is believed to be the largest consignment of the kind that has been sent out of Lowell. How many smiling faces are to be lighted up with joy on receipt of these previous tokens of remembrance, with many a missive conveying wishes of a “Merry Christmas.”

, 1862

New London Navy Yard.

No effort should be left untried to secure the location of the proposed navy yard at New London. A majority of the Naval Commission reported in favor of New London, and their recommendation will have great weight with Congress. The Legislature has appointed a committee upon the subject, and this committee will no doubt do all in its power to secure the location at New London. It has been suggested that an able and energetic Committee should be directed to appear before Congress and the Navy Department to press the claims of this State with vigor and perseverance. The suggestion is a good one, and we hope such a committee will be appointed. The subject is of great importance to the whole State as well as to New London and the eastern counties, and the location of the yard here will probably do more than any other single enterprise to develop our resources and our industry.


Trouble in the Cabinet.—The last week has been a stormy one in President Lincoln’s Cabinet. Secretaries Seward and Chase resigned. Their resignations were not accepted by the President, and they were prevailed upon to recall them. Affairs are now as they were.


Manufacturing of various kinds has been unexpectedly prosperous in this section for some time past. While some factories have undoubtedly suffered, most of them have been doing well, and many branches of manufacturing have received a new impulse from the war. On the whole, the demand for mechanical labor has been good, and fair wages can generally be obtained. In many departments of mechanical labor wages are higher now than they have been for some time before. The state of things is different from what many anticipated. It was predicted that factories would stop, that workmen would be thrown out of employment, and there would be great destitution and want this winter. It is not so. The factories in Middletown, in Cromwell, in East Hampton and Durham are dong a fair business, and there inclines to be a demand for more workmen. Some factories are running day and night, particularly such as manufacture firearms. Perhaps the most successful and thriving business in this city is that of grommet-making. Wilcox & Hall, at their factory at Pameacha [Pond, in Middletown], have all the orders they could attend to. So have I. K. Penfield & Son. The latter have nearly completed a large new brick factory, which they have erected for their business in Hubbard street. Grommets are used in the manufacture of army tents, and the demand for them is consequently very great.


Finished this Week.—The stone work on the Pameacha Bridge was finished some time since. The filling and grading will be completed this week, when it will be ready for the use of the public. Next spring a wall of stone two feet high will be built on each side of the bridge, and this will be surmounted with an iron railing, making the sides of the bridge perfectly secure. The bridge has cost the town, as we are informed on the best authority, less than $15,000, which is close on to the estimate originally made for it, showing that the business has been conducted in an economical and judicious manner.

Old Papers.—There has been an extraordinary demand during the week, and there is now, for old papers, books and pamphlets. Garrets have been ransacked, and quantities of old rubbish have been converted into good and lawful money. The temptation to sell antiquated books and papers has been great, for the fact is undeniable that not every day would they fetch five cents a pound. Many an old file of papers that had been carefully preserved has been thrown into the scale, and many an old book that had been nicely packed away has been consigned to the paper maker. We heard of one excellent gentleman in this city, who has been something of a politician in his day, who had gradually collected a famous library of public documents. For safe keeping they had been piled up in his garret. Now it is, or should be, well known that rats are the principal enemies of books in a garret, and that these vermin have not yet been known to eat a Congressional document or meddle with a political speech. Whether they can detect the presence of brimstone or arsenic or something else in this kind of literature we shall not undertake to say. Well, the gentleman aforesaid had his public documents stowed away in his garret, when he was visited by the collector of old papers. A variety of rubbish was disposed of and paid for. The collector looked longingly at the books. The owner began to reflect. Those speeches, reports and debates were remarkably heavy reading, and ought to fetch a great price. He threw in a book. His suspicions were almost confirmed. He threw in another, and that decided him. They weighed almost like lead. He bargained to sell the whole lot, and realized a sum so large that we fear we should be charged with Munchausenism if we told our readers.


No More Books.—The booksellers of New York intend to publish no more books for six months, or until there is a reduction in the price of paper.


A barrel of New Hampshire cider, a keg of water from the Merrimac river and one from the Connecticut, with some branches of pine and hemlock from the Granite hills, are about to be forwarded to the order of ex-Gov. N. B. Baker, now adjutant general of Iowa, for use at the celebration of Forefathers’ Day in that state.


A man from Conway, Mass., has asked for a license under the United States Laws for a traveling distillery. He has the apparatus fitted upon wheels and travels about among the cider makers and distills their cider into cider brandy.


Corn for Fuel.—It seems incredible, but it is said to be a fact that the Delzeil steam mills at Atlanta, Illinois, are now using corn for fuel instead of wood, that article being cheaper and more easily obtained than either wood or coal.


Execution of a Maine Soldier.

On Monday forenoon, Dec. 1, Albert W. Lunt was shot at Hilton Head, pursuant to a sentence of a court martial to that effect, for the crime of desertion to the enemy. Lunt was born of respectable parents at Hampden, Me., but was always of a wayward disposition, and was released from prison, where he was undergoing sentence for horse stealing, to enlist in the 9th Maine regiment. He was 22 years of age. At the time the forts on the Florida coast were occupied by our troops he deserted from his regiment, then at Fernandina, and went over to the enemy. There his thieving propensities brought him into trouble, and he was sent back into our lines. For desertion, and for robberies at several times, he was tried by court martial and sentenced to be shot. From the date of his conviction he showed an unconcern approaching indifference concerning his fate.

Two weeks since an order authorizing the execution of the sentence was received from the War department, and Monday, the 1st inst., was announced as the time for carrying it into effect. Lunt was informed that he must no longer entertain the hope of a reprieve, and warned to spend the few days which remained to him of this life in preparation for that to come. The announcement he received carelessly—almost with insolent derision—saying he might as well die one time as at another.

As his earthly term shortened, however, he seemed to realize the solemnity of his position, and ultimately he expressed himself anxious to make his peace with his Maker and with the world. He denied that his desertion was willful, but insisted that it was accidental, and occurred in consequence of doing an improper errand for an officer while on a scouting expedition. He gave no excuses for the robberies for which he was in part convicted. The day before his execution he left a paper addressed to his fellow-soldiers, warning them against bad company, and praying that they might be sustained through the perils of battle, and may be in the end victorious. His execution is thus described by a Hilton Head correspondent of the New York Times.

The charges upon which he was convicted, and the sentence of the court being read, Major Van Brunt addressed the prisoner, remarking that it only remained for him to see that the sentence was executed, but offering him an opportunity to speak, if he desired. The prisoner thereupon spoke in a loud, clear tone, as follows:

“Fellow Soldiers: I want you to take warning by me and seek salvation from the Lord before it is too late. I am not guilty of the crimes which I am condemned to death for.”

Having thus spoken, his overcoat was taken off, and, obeying Major Van Brunt’s direction, he knelt upon the coffin. In this position a bandage was fastened over his eyes, and at the same moment a squad of twelve men were silently motioned to post themselves in front of him at a distance of fifteen paces. While the attention of the culprit was engaged by the Chaplain in a brief prayer, the moment was seized for cocking the muskets, the loud clicking of which was probably unheard by the poor fellow, whose last words were an expression of perfect resignation to his fate.

Major Van Brunt then shakes the prisoner’s hand and steps back. Capt. Eddy, by a wave of his sword, brings his men to a position of ready—aim. The spectators feel a thrill of agony. The major now drops his pocket handkerchief, (the signal to fire,) and that word—the only verbal order given—is promptly uttered by Capt. Eddy. Then a loud report—an instant’s poise of the kneeling figure on the coffin—a flashing as if by magical power of six or eight dark blotches upon the body—and the offender lies lifeless upon the ground.

There is no need of the reserve of twelve men who, with loaded muskets, take the places vacated by those who have just fired. The surgeons examine the body and pronounce life to be extinct. Eight balls passed entirely through his body. There is no doubt of the instantaneous death of the condemned. He was killed by the shock on his nervous system. The body was at once placed in the coffin and removed to the graveyard under the charge of six soldiers, the usual honors being withheld, and the barbarous custom of allowing the corpse to lie where it fell until the entire command should march by also being dispensed with. This was the second execution which has taken place under such circumstances since the commencement of the war—the first being Johnson’s cavalry soldier attached to the Army of the Potomac.

Destruction of Plymouth, N. C.
Correspondence of the New York Herald

Roanoke Island, N. C., Dec. 14, 1862.—On Wednesday morning last, about 5 o’clock, a body of rebels made a dash into Plymouth, and attacked the Custom House, where the port guard, one company of the Massachusetts 8th, Capt. Ewer, and one company of the North Carolina 1st, were stationed. There was but slight resistance, Capt. Ewer and some of his men escaping to the gunboat Southfield, Capt. Behm, then lying in the stream. Fifteen of Capt. Ewer’s company are reported captured, and stragglers were coming in at last accounts.

The rebels opened fire on the Southfield at short range. One of the first shots entered the steam drums, which enveloped the steamer with scalding steam in an instant. Fortunately no one was injured by the accident, but the working of the engine was prevented, and at the same time all access to the magazine was cut off. Upon this being discovered, Capt. Behm ordered the vessel to be dropped down the river, where she could be out of range of the enemy’s guns. As soon as the steam cleared off the fire was again opened upon the rebels, but with what effect is not known. It is said that several rebels were killed and wounded, and carried off by their friends. Several on board the Southfield were badly wounded, and one has since died.

The rebels occupied the town about an hour and a half, and during that time they laid three-quarters of it in ashes. Many Union families were rendered houseless by this barbaric act. The most lamentable occurrence of the day was the shooting of Mrs. Phelps, wife of John Phelps, a prominent Union man, whose house was robbed of some eight thousand dollars in gold and then burned by some miscreant, who evidently bore him personal ill-will.

The gunboat Commodore Perry, Captain Chas. W. Flusser, was no present at the time of the attack, having started on an expedition the evening previous, but laid at the mouth of the river. She came up on hearing the cannonading, but too late to participate in the engagement. The rebels had gone. We lost no men as prisoners.

I understand a grand expedition is just about to start for a point not to be mentioned at present.


The Great Antagonist of Disease: How He Carries on the War.—The “Faculty” consider it infra dig to advertise.1 It would be lowering the “dignity of the profession” to tell the sick what is good for them, through the newspapers. The regular physician must hide his light—supposing him to have any light—under a bushel. His medical knowledge, if he chances to have a modicum of the article, and if not, his ignorance, must be wrapped up in contractions of Latin words, and he must even conceal the quantities of drugs he administers by using queer-looking signs, incomprehensible except to the initiated. That the formulas professedly designed to promote the general health should be enveloped in mystery is a paradox we cannot understand. How different in this respect is the rule adopted by the profession to the course pursued by that great irregular Physician, Professor Holloway. No sooner had he discovered and effectively combined the remedial ingredients of his death-defeated Pills and Ointment, than he commenced advertising them, and after extending the area of their publicity annually, during a period of twenty-five years, he now employs the whole newspaper press of the world as a medium of communicating their properties and effects to mankind. Had he merely presented these unrivalled specifics to those who applied to him for medical aid, fee in hand, hundreds of thousands whose lives have been saved, would long since have been in their coffins. While the rush-lights of medical science have been shedding a doubtful light on small circles of private patients, Professor Holloway has kindled a beacon that has irradiated over the world. All honor his fearless contempt of stupid conventionalisms. In breaking through them he has conferred immeasurable blessings on the afflicted throughout the whole earth.—N. Y. Inquirer.

, 1862

There are but few new facts concerning the battle of Fredericksburg, The loss sustained by Gen. Burnside’s army was much greater than reported last week. Some 1200 were killed and about 10,000 wounded and missing. The soldiers fought with the greatest bravery, and had they been enabled to carry the enemy’s works it would have been one of the greatest victories on record. We publish Gen. Burnside’s official report of the battle by which it will be seen that he takes the responsibility. This will put an effective quietus upon stories of the N. Y. World and other papers who have endeavored to attach all the blame to Halleck and Stanton. Very many of the wounded were but slightly injured, while hundreds if not thousands will die for want of that attention and care which they cannot receive in the crowded hospitals and at the hands of the overworked surgeons. Burnside’s army remains in its old position on this side of the Rappahannock, and it has been greatly reinforced by troops sent on from the vicinity of Washington. When active operations are again to be resumed is an open question.

The gloom and despondency consequent over this repulse hang like a pall over our land. The people are getting discouraged. It will require the greatest efforts of the patriotic and hopeful to throw off this feeling, while the naturally distrustful and gloomy mind will entirely give up to it. The opinion is gaining ground that active and successful operations must be waged against the rebels this winter, or a disgraceful peace with new concessions to slavery, or a separation of this Union, will be the result. And we must beat the enemy with the armies we have, as it will be impossible to raise more men under existing circumstances.

The Cabinet and Senatorial imbroglio has created considerable excitement the present week. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State, resigned his office, as did also S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury. The circumstances which led to this act, which comes unexpectedly upon the country, are reported as follows: The republican senators, in caucus on the 16th, considered a resolution requesting the President to dispense with the services of Mr. Seward. No vote was taken, but the senators present stood 16 for to 13 against the resolution. At an adjourned meeting the next evening, the resolution was made more general, so as to ask the President partially to remodel his cabinet, and this was unanimously agreed to. On being informed of the action of these senators, Secretary Seward immediately sent in his resignation. The President acknowledged the reception of the resignations of secretaries Seward and Chase, and informed them, that after mature deliberation, the acceptance of their resignations would be incompatible with the public interests, and requested them to resume their functions. It is generally supposed that they acquiesced, though a report came Wednesday night that the senators were determined on a reconstruction of the cabinet; and also that Seward having conquered the senators, wants further triumph, and proposes not to resume work except upon his own terms, which are, report says, the going out of Stanton and the coming back of McClellan. We don’t believe it, but hope the secretary will go to work again for the good of the country.

On the same day that the battle of Fredericksburg was fought, Gen. Foster gained a complete victory over the rebels at Kinston, N. C. He fought a battle for three days, each day driving the rebels, and on the third captured the city of Kinston. Our troops followed so close upon the enemy that they prevented the destruction of property that had been set on fire by the retreating army. Our loss is estimated at about 30 killed and 120 missing. We captured 500 prisoners, 14 pieces of artillery and 800 small arms.

Another dispatch to the war department announces the continued success of Gen. Foster in North Carolina. He has fought two successful battles since the capture of Kinston, reached Goldsboro, destroyed a railroad bridge there, and tore up several miles of railroad track.

Congress is inquiring into the conduct of the war through a joint committee. They are at work now upon the facts relating to the battle of Fredericksburg, and trying to find out who is responsible for that failure and terrible slaughter. Gen. Burnside has told them in advance that he alone is responsible. The inquiring into the conduct of the war will amount to about as much as the trial of Porter and McDowell.


A great calamity has fallen upon us. Another great battle has been fought and lost. Another blow to the cause of right, and another prop to support the Rebellion added. It is useless, nay, madness and folly to disguise the fact that we have suffered one of the most disastrous defeats that ever befell a nation—not in the repulse which Burnside has received, though in itself bad enough, lays the great defeat. It is in the crushing blow given to our affairs abroad; the gloom it has cast upon the people; the despondency that drags down the enthusiasm of the army; the disappointment, the chagrin, the shame that our loyal men feel, and the secret joy, aye, the open joy that traitors feel and express.

And yet we should not despair. Look at the example set by Rome when her legions were slaughtered at Cannæ and Trazamena; her only remaining consul flying without an army back to the City, Hannibal with his victorious troops within a few miles of her walls, selling the ground of the Forum in mere bravado, and no Roman soldiers to oppose him. The old grey haired fathers, consuls, senators and the noble women all came out to meet the defeated consul and to “thank him that he did not despair of the Republic.” Carelessness, want of generalship, distractions of counsels, ill-starred ambition, and officious meddling had ruined the nation, slaughtered the army, and left Rome to be defended by old men, women and children, and a few unskilled warriors, and yet not a murmur!

Never did Rome appear so great and noble, so grand and majestic, as at this time, when shaking from her garments the dust of war, the blood of her slaughtered thousands, the gloom of the people, the timid murmurs of cowards, she rose to stagger on against a fresh, vigorous and victorious foe; with no voice of regret, reproach or despondency, but with an unflinching energy.

Then comes the lesson of the Revolution—the stoutness of heart that held up the people amid defeats and famine: the hero-spirit that led our fathers, over the snow stained with the blood that flowed from their sore feet, to the gloomy huts of Valley Forge. A truly great people can never be driven to despair. Crushing calamities are tests of true national vitality.

A truly great, free and enlightened nation will rise from the shock of defeat and disaster as the strong oak that bends for a moment before the furious gale, rises and stands firm and unmoved while the forest falls around it. If ours is a nation worth preserving, twenty years of disasters and failures will only make us more united and determined. Never despair! Our cause is just! If we hold fast to the plan of action as laid down at first—that no state shall go out of the Union—that our flag shall again float over this land, it is as sure to be done as the sun is to shin e and fructify the earth.


Gen. O. B. Wilcox, so long a prisoner among the rebels and released just in time to gallantly lead a division in the battle of Antietam, commanded the 9th Army Corps during the last fight and fought like a tiger. “Give them a little ’76!” was his order as he “waded in.”


December 25, 1862.—We wish all our friends as merry a Christmas as the times will admit.


DECEMBER 27, 1862


Our Soldiers in Rotten Ships.—If the Banks expedition gets to its destination without wholesale loss of life it will be the next thing to a miracle. The cupidity of the public plunderers has culminated in the outfit of this expedition, and thousands of precious lives have been risked on the ocean in rotten old hulks, with a recklessness never before paralleled. No less than eight of the transports have either been wrecked or been obliged to put into port short of their destination in a disabled condition, and that too in ordinary weather. If the fleet had been overtaken by a violent storm, the probability is that thousands of our brave volunteers would have found graves in the ocean—a terrible sacrifice to Mammon. From the constant and wholesale puffing of the expedition and all engaged in its preparation, we had reason to expect better things. Mr. Aspinwall was entrusted with the duty of hiring the transports, but he excuses himself by saying that he did not see the vessels, but trusted to the official inspectors. Very likely the inspectors too can say they did not see the vessels, but trusted to the statements of the owners.

The Niagara put into Philadelphia in a sinking condition, two days after she left New York. She was found perfectly rotten and ready to drop in pieces, her planks shaking off from the motion of the vessel in a smooth sea. This is an old lake boat, built in 1844. She had been laid up and abandoned in the Genesee river, but when the war broke out an enterprising contractor bought her for $9000, laid out a few hundred dollars in tying her together, and leased her to the government for $10,000 a month and her fuel found. She took on board 500 men of the Massachusetts 30th, who may congratulate themselves that her condition was discovered before she reached the rough waters off stormy Hatteras. The Thames, another lake craft of the same sort, with 400 men aboard, was towed into Port Royal, S. C., and was found rotten and unseaworthy. If she had been left without convoy she must have foundered at sea; as it was they had to throw the rations overboard and break in the heads of the water casks to keep her afloat. The Quincy, an old rotten river boat, was also towed into Port Royal, only in a slightly less dangerous state than the others. The Prometheus, the Albany and the Salvar, all put into Port Royal in distress, but were repaired and sent forward again. Another put into Norfolk leaky. The Charles Osgood, and old Sound boat, also put into Philadelphia for repairs, and has started out again. The M. Sandford was wrecked on the Florida coast, and her 800 troops were providentially rescued and taken to Key West, Florida. As a passenger ship it is said she could not have taken over 500 persons on board without incurring severe penalties. These are all the casualties in the Banks expedition so far as heard from—and they all prove gross fraud and deception on the part of the contractors, and either incapacity, carelessness or collusion with the plunderers on the part of those who had charge of the preparation of the expedition. These rotten hulks, not fit for ocean service in their best condition, were not taken because safe transports cannot be had. There is an abundance of sound and safe shipping, and our men are thus risked in unseaworthy vessels because men are found so cruelly mercenary as thus to impose upon the government, and because the government is so utterly helpless for its own protection against knavery. Is there no remedy against these monstrous abuses?

The Armies of the World.—We think it is a great thing to maintain an army of a million men—and it is—but when we look at the armies maintained by the European nations in time of peace we shall see that we are by no means subjected to heavier burdens than other nations. The peace establishment of Austria consists of 740,000 soldiers, and yet Austria has a population only five millions larger than that of the United States, counting in all its provinces. Prussia maintains a still larger army in proportion to her population, having 720,000 soldiers in time of peace in a population of 17,000,000. France, with a population of 87,000,000, has a military peace establishment of 680,000 men. The army of Russia is relatively the smallest, being but 850,000 in a population of 70,000,000. These European armies are not militia, occupied in productive pursuits in times of peace, but professional soldiers, kept in constant equipment and preparation for service. They are so many thousand men taken constantly from productive labor and maintained by the labor of the remainder of the people. When we consider how expensive are the civil governments of Europe; how large a portion of the results of productive industry goes to support the aristocracies, the great church establishments, and the numerous non-producers of all classes; and that the rewards of labor are much less in Europe than in this country, it would seem that the popular burden borne here in time of war is actually less than that which the people of the old countries endure constantly. It is so, although the expense of maintaining our armies is much greater than that of any of the armies of Europe. If we could find means of protecting the treasury against the army of plunderers, we could stand up under the burdens of such a war as this, and feel it no more than the people of Europe feel the burden of their peace establishments.


A Guillotine Demanded for McClellan and Burnside.—Young William Dwight, Jr., grows ferocious with recovered wounds and a brigadier general’s commission. Yet who shall not say there is something in it, as we read his swelling and sounding words at the New England dinner in New York the other night:

“We can only obtain military success through military criticism. We shall only obtain it through a general. We have submitted for fifteen months to delay and defeat, and yet not one military voice has spoken of the general in command. We have just submitted to a great defeat and a great butchery, and the whole people of the country are charging it everywhere but where it belongs—to the general in command. He has come out and acknowledged it. I do not desire the guillotine for incompetent commanders, but if success can be obtained in no other way, then in the name of the hundred thousand buried on the peninsula and in Virginia, and in the name of the fifteen thousand who fell before Fredericksburg, let the guillotines be erected. I hope that the guillotines will not be erected, but that the general will be found.”

1 Latin infra dignitatem: beneath one’s dignity.

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