, 1863

Destruction of our State Capitol.—The Capitol of Louisiana is in ashes. We were led to believe that but one wing of the building had been set on fire, but the Baton Rouge Comet, of December 31st, brings us the sad intelligence of the total destruction of the edifice. The first outbreak of flames was subdued and confined, as reported, in one wing, but later the same night, this fire burst out anew, and consumed the whole building. The Comet says:

The building was occupied by Confederate prisoners, but the cause of the catastrophe is enveloped in mystery. Some Negroes were cooking in the eastern portion of the building, above the Senate Chamber, and it is supposed the flues were foul, and hence fire was communicated to inflammable materials, and the second outbreak of the fire is attributed to the presence of gas by the bursting of the pipes.

Gen. Grover was early at the scene of destruction, and issued his commands, and every exertion was made by the soldiers to extinguish the flames. The Provost Marshal, Capt. Seamsur, was indefatigable in his exertions.

The loss is very heavy. Many thousands of rare and valuable books, papers and the furniture of the building were entirely destroyed. The outer walls stand in majestic defiance of the fiery ordeal they have passed through. $70,000 will not replace the building and its contents.


The Indian War.—Release of White Captives.—Intelligence received at St. Paul, Minnesota, from Fort Randall, Dakota Territory, is to the gratifying effect that the white prisoners carried off by Little Crow have been rescued from captivity, and are now at Fort Pierre, where they will be well cared for until an opportunity is afforded of sending them home. A party of friendly Indians went to the Sauntee Camp, on Beaver Creek, where they found White Lodge and Sleepy Eyes with seven white prisoners—five girls and two men, one a daughter of Jacob Price, of Illinois. They offered seven horses for them. The Sauntee refused to sell, thinking they had been sent by the whites. The friendly Indians told them it was either a fight or a trade—if they were not delivered up they would fight and take them and their horses. This is the story of the Indians, but it is most likely they got the prisoners without much difficulty, and conducted them to Fort Pierre.


Restoration by Compromise.—Ion, the Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, in his letter of December 17, says:

Several important propositions have been thrown out in Congress by border State men, looking to a restoration of peace and union, or partial union with peace, by means of a compromise. Mr. S. S. Cox, of Ohio, suggests that the object can be reached through a national convention, to be called by the States, or a number of them. The movement must properly begin with the States which were the original fountain power that gave vitality to the present constitution. A national convention, inaugurated by the States, can submit a plan of compromise to the sovereign people of the United States. But the conservatives do not now control the Governments of more than three or four of the free States, and will not till after another election. So the movement cannot be made till after the lapse of another year.


Newspaper Changes.—The Boston Daily Advertiser, Post, and Courier have been reduced in size more than six columns in consequence of the increase in price of paper.

The Sacking of Fredericksburg.—The following appears in the Boston Traveller, seemingly copied from another journal, though without credit:

After the severe cannonading of Thursday, it seemed to be generally understood that Fredericksburg would have to be given up to pillage upon the occupation of our troops. Today its fine mansions are not standing. A heap of smouldering ruins is all that remains of them. Others, less ostentatious in their style of architecture, are riddled and torn with shot and shell; the furniture broken and defaced; the bedding ripped and stripped, taken out into the street and trodden under foot; elegant chinaware and cutlery, choice libraries of books, rare works of art, all heaped together in the streets, and are scrambled for as trophies.

The old mansion of Douglas Gordon—perhaps the wealthiest citizen in the valley—is now used as the headquarters of Gen. Howard, but before he occupied it, every room had been torn with shot and then all the elegant furniture and works of art broken and smashed by the soldiers, who burst into the house after having driven the rebel sharpshooters from behind it. When I entered it, early this morning, before its occupation by Gen. Howard, I found the soldiers of his fine division diverting themselves with the rich dresses found in the wardrobes; some had on bonnets of the fashion of last year, and were surveying themselves in mirrors, which, an hour or two afterwards, were pitched out of the windows and smashed to pieces upon the pavement; others had elegant scarves bound around their heads in form of turbans, and shawls around their waists, after the fashion of the Turks.

What I saw in this mansion was repeated in nearly every one which the flames had not destroyed.

It is but the truth to say that the wealthy citizens of Fredericksburg possessed something more than wealth, and of much greater value—culture. I doubt if there is a village in New England that possesses more choice private libraries than did Fredericksburg the day before the bombardment. You can see that the old orthodox religions element enters into nearly every one of them. Said a soldier to me to-day, raking among a magnificent private library, half covered with mud in the street, “How intensely religious these d——d rebels are!” Not only solid works upon religion and philosophy are found among the libraries, but books in all the modern languages, which looked as if they had been well read and appreciated.

We destroyed by fire yesterday nearly two whole squares of buildings, chiefly used for business purposes, together with the fine residences of O. McDowell, Dr. Smith, T. H. Kelly, A. S. Cott, Wm. Slaughter, and many other smaller dwellings. Every store, I think, without exception, was pillaged of every valuable article. A fine drug store, which would not have looked badly on Broadway, was literally one mass of broken glass and jars.


Marching to be Sacrificed.—The New York Journal of Commerce, of Tuesday, says:

We have lying before us as we write, a private letter from as gallant an officer as ever led a column into battle, written the night before the crossing of the Rappahannock, in which he says: “I expect to be sacrificed to-morrow. Good bye, and if to-morrow night finds me dead, remember me kindly as a soldier who meant to do his duty.” Such was the soldierly spirit that animated the magnificent army, every man of whom felt that the crossing was marching into the jaws of death.

JANUARY 5, 1863

Coming to an End.—The North is fast coming to the end of its rope. Of the effect of the recent reverses in Washington, the New York Herald’s correspondent says:

There are here any number of weak-backed Republicans, who are already croaking about the necessity of recognizing the Southern Confederacy. In this list are found a number of Republican members of Congress who openly despair of the success of the Federal Government under the present military administration, and declare that, under existing circumstances, no more troops can be raised, even by draft, in the States which they represent.


The Yankee Navy.—Some weeks ago we copied from the Richmond Examiner the names of five North Carolinians yet in the Yankee Navy, according to the Naval Register just published at Washington. Among them was the name of Lieut. W. A. Kirkland, of Hillsboro, we presume, as the following statements comes to us from that Town:

“Gentlemen: I notice in a late issue of your paper among the list of North Carolina officers who still remain in the service of the United States Government, the name of Lieut. William A. Kirkland. I desire you to give this an insertion in the columns of your paper to disabuse the minds of any one who having seen the statement believes Lieut. K. guilty of such dishonorable conduct. The gentleman in question is a thorough Southerner in all of his feelings and long prophesied and hoped for a disruption of the Union. Being with the Brazil Squadron and hearing but seldom from the United States, he did not learn of the secession of South Carolina until April. Foreseeing the inevitable course in the other States, he promptly sent in his resignation, intending to take passage in an English vessel until he discovered that the neutrality of England prevented that, and having no other means of reaching the South he settled for the present at Montevideo—having left the United States Navy ever since the secession of South Carolina. I think it is due to his family to make this statement.”

We suppose that the Yankees have pretended not to accept his resignation, and continued his name in the official Register. How many of the 121 Southern officers published in that Register as in their service have been treated in the same way? Possibly some one may be able to give the same explanation as to one or more of the four other North Carolinians. Their names are: H. H. Bell, Fabius Stanly, J. A. Winslow, J. H. Spotts.


Accident at Fort Fisher.—A letter from a friend at Fort Fisher, 30th Dec’r, informs us that a few days ago, when Col. Lamb was opening fire upon a blockader, the splendid gun “Cumberland” burst at the first fire, wounding six of Capt. Braddy’s company, viz: Sergeant Hudson, Corporals T. B. Hall, N. T. McArthur, Tho’s Houkaday, W. T. Jones, and private Baker, all slightly except Corporal W. T. Jones, whose wound is about to prove mortal.


Yankee Killed and Wounded in North Carolina.—Our gallant troops in Kinston, and Goldsboro, and White Hall, must have done terrible execution upon the vile invaders. The Richmond Enquirer says that the list of killed and wounded, not including the missing, fills two and a half closely printed columns of the New York Herald. Upon these dead and wounded Foster does not spend a thought in any report that has yet appeared from him. It was apparently a sore subject, an allusion to which might have dispelled the illusion which he tried to produce, that he had “whipped the enemy handsomely” in all of his four fights. His army could no more stand that sort of work than could Burnside at Fredericksburg.

Peace Symptoms.—When the Raleigh mail brought on Monday last, just as we were going to press, a report that the New York Tribune had despaired of conquering the Southern Confederacy, and counseled peace and the recognition of its independence as the only panacea for the present difficulties, we had misgivings as to the truth of the report. It is not confirmed. It does not appear that the Tribune said anything of the kind.

But we copy from the Richmond papers all that we have seen of an article quite as significant from the latest New York Herald. That paper, shrewd at all times, and noted for its sagacity in discovering and following the current of public opinion, plainly admits that the Yankee “prospects are gloomy enough,” that the expenditure of over a thousand millions of dollars, and the loss of 200,000 lives, and the array of an army of a million men, have produced no other effect than to “break here and there through the crust of the rebellion,” its heart remaining untouched. Now these are things that would not have been stated six months ago, and they would not have been thus stated now but for an object. The Herald has discovered that “the people are becoming sick of this desolating, costly and unpromising war.” Mark the words: “unpromising war.” And the Herald accordingly proposes that Gov. Seymour shall, at his inauguration which takes place to-day, recommend a Convention of all the loyal States, with a free invitation to the rebellious States to participate. Now we are inclined to think that this proposition of the Herald proceeds from what it knows that Gov. Seymour has determined to do. It is to be the first step in the process of letting down. It would not do boldly to speak all that is meant, viz: a discontinuance of the war as a hopeless undertaking. But let the public mind of the North once settle down upon this idea of a Convention and the result follows as a matter of course. The very proposition from so influential a source as the herald will give boldness to hundreds of thousands who want peace but are afraid to speak.

Of course, neither the Herald nor any one else imagines for a moment that “the rebellious States” would participate in any Convention of any of the U. States, for any purpose. That idea passed away forever with the issuing of Lincoln’s first proclamation of 16th April 1861. But if any force were needed to the determination never to have anything to do with them, it has been abundantly derived from the inhuman conduct of the enemy from that day to this. There may be peace with them, but never again political association, and we hope precious little social or commercial intercourse.

The next few days may be big with the fate of nations. We may be too sanguine, but many indications seem to us to point to an early close of the war.


After the Battle of Fredericksburg.—Readers of the Observer may recollect Burnside’s dispatch to Halleck, after the battle, that he intended to renew it the next day and expected to drive our troops out of their works. It has been rumored that his officers and men refused to obey his orders to renew the fight, and hence the sudden retreat. The rumor was, we think, unquestionably true. A court of investigation has been held and Burnside examined about this battle. His testimony on this point is that on the night after the battle he gave orders for renewal of the attack in the morning and the order of attack was formed. But he passed the night on the field with officers and men and found them “decidedly against it.” The next morning he yielded to the unanimous voice of his officers—and skedaddled.

, 1863

The Loss of the Monitor.

It is hard for people to give up this famous little craft, whose victory over the Merrimac proclaimed the inauguration of a great revolution in naval warfare. But she has gone to the bottom of the ocean—gone with many a gallant sailor to bear her company. The Monitor never was intended for a sea-boat, and the result shows that she never should have been sent among the rough waters off Hatteras. We have the following account of her loss:

She left Fortress Monroe Dec. 29th, in tow of the Rhode Island, with the Passaic in tow of the Georgia. They passed Cape Henry Monday afternoon, over a smooth sea, the Passaic a little ahead. The weather continued fine until 5 o’clock Tuesday evening, when it commenced to blow from the southwest, with a heavy sea running, making a clean sweep over her.

At 9:30 p.m. Cape Hatteras light bore NNW, distant 20 miles—the gale still increasing. The vessel labored very heavily, the upper hull coming down upon every sea with fearful violence. Up to this time, pumps, &c., kept the vessel free.

At 10 p.m. several heavy seas struck the vessel in succession, when word was sent from the engineer’s room that the water was gaining on the pumps. Orders were then given to start Adams’ centrifugal pump, capable of throwing three thousand gallons an hour.

For a while the water appeared to be kept under. In a short time, however, word was passed from the engine room that the water was again gaining on the pumps, and was then up to the ash-pits, stopping in a great measure the draft. The water at this time was standing two feet deep upon the wardroom floor. All hands then set to work with every available bucket at hand to bail. The water, however, kept gaining, until within a foot of the fires in the furnace.

A Coston signal was then fired to call the attention of the Rhode Island. After much delay, consequent upon the heavy sea, a boat was lowered from the Rhode Island and sent to our assistance. After several trials she got alongside of us.

The Rhode Island, at the same time, in going astern, caught the launch between her own side and our vessel, crushing the boat badly and bringing her counter down heavily upon our side. For a time she could not move, her engine getting on a centre. She finally started ahead, and the launch, smashed as she was, succeeded in conveying safely to the steamer 30 of the crew of the Monitor.

After the departure of the launch, those remaining aboard worked at the buckets with a will. The gale was raging furiously, the seas making a clear sweep over the top of the turret. The water at this juncture had risen to the grate bars of the furnace, and gradually extinguished the fires. The steam consequently ran down, and the pumps could not be worked for want of sufficient steam.

Three boats were now discovered coming towards the vessel. Word was passed that the boats at hand were sufficient to take all from the vessel. The Monitor was now sinking. Every pump was stopped and her deck was under water. Several, in coming off the turret, were swept by the waves to leeward, and must have perished, as no assistance could be rendered them.

The boats then shoved off from the sinking vessel. Although several times entreated to come down and get into the boats, several remained standing upon the turret, afraid of being swept from the deck. They were stupefied with fear.

The boats reached the Rhode Island in safety, and all in them got aboard. A picked crew, with a gallant officer of the Rhode Island, a Mr. Brown, then shoved off in a launch, to return to the Monitor. The moon, which up to this time had been throwing some light upon the waves, was shut in by a dense mass of black clouds.

At 1 o’clock in the morning the Monitor’s light disappeared beneath the waves. The Rhode Island then started for the spot where the Monitor was seen to go down. Coston’s signals were kept constantly burning, and a strict lookout kept on all parts of the vessel to catch a glimpse of the missing boat. At daylight nothing was seen on the waters, and with heavy hearts we ran around the spot, as near as we could judge, where the Monitor disappeared, until late in the afternoon. Several steamers and other vessels were spoken, to learn, if possible, the fate of the missing boat, but none could be had. >

The survivors reached Fortress Monroe last night in the Rhode Island. Nothing whatever was saved, except the apparel of the officers and crew that they had on.

The conduct of both the officers and men of the Monitor is beyond reproach. No sign of a panic was visible. Each stood at his post, confident in his commander, and it was hard to prevail upon the men to get into the boats, each being willing to remain by her to the last.


Five Days’ Battle.

Cairo, Jan. 4.—The Memphis Bulletin, just received, says the steamer Rattler has arrived, direct from the fleet at Vicksburg, which place she left on Monday evening. Fighting has been going on for five days, commencing on Wednesday.

Up to Monday morning, Gen. Sherman had captured three lines of the enemy’s works. The firing on the fourth and last line of defence, on the Jackson & Vicksburg R. R., had ceased, and the indications were that it had surrendered. This line was just two miles from Vicksburg.

There was nothing between Gen. Sherman and the city but a trestle-work of the railroad. Before taking the fortifications, Gen. Sherman sent a brigade to cut off communications with the city by the Shreveport railroad, which was successfully accomplished.

Gen. Sherman was reinforced Sunday night by 9000 men from Gen. Grant’s army, by way of the river. The whole Federal force at Vicksburg is now 40,000 men. At the latest accounts we had captured 10 guns and 700 prisoners. Nothing has been heard from the forces below.

The steamer Judge Torrance was fired on while passing Millikensville. In retaliation, the Rattler burned the town.

Gen. Sullivan, with a force of 6000 men, attacked Gen. Forrest on Thursday morning, at Hunt’s Cross Roads, 12 miles from Lexington, Tenn. It was a severe engagement, lasting all day. A gunboat patrolled the river, which prevented the rebels from crossing. They fought desperately, but were finally routed and scattered with a loss of 1400 in killed and wounded, and 400 prisoners.

We also took 350 horses, nearly 1000 stand of arms and a battery of six guns. Our loss was 800 in killed and wounded. These losses may be exaggerated, but it is certain, however, that they were very heavy.


The War.

The war has settled down to a war of Proclamations. The President of the Confederate States has issued his proclamation, stern, relentless, and exterminating against men of the North.

President Lincoln has issued his Proclamation, stern, relentless and exterminating, against the institutions of the South.

The armies of the Potomac and of Richmond appear to have ceased fighting for the winter, and in the Spring the campaign will open late; popular judgment will then have become more exasperated and more divided, and motives of disunion will have multiplied, and it is questionable whether the power of the Federal Government, under its policy of a war for Negro freedom, will be equal to holding half of its nominal military force up to a line of duty, and whether, also, we may not then have a new antagonist in the field under French auspices and French banners. The removal of Gen. Butler is significant of an under current of “military necessity” not yet divulged to the people. The milder administration of Gen. Banks, and his renovation of the confiscation usurpations of Gen. Butler, may do something to avert impending threats of French intervention. But, the future of the country is fearful—a horrid dream, and yet a more horrid reality.

JANUARY 7, 1863


Mr. Editor: You must know that my husband is in the army, and as I am alone with my children, I am very lonely. On the night before Christmas, I was awakened and much alarmed by what I supposed was a burglar. I arose, struck a light and caught up the broom, determined to drive the rascal from the premises, but upon searching for him he was not to be found. I soon found that the noise was in the chimney and, convinced that it was Santa Claus on his annual visit, I retired and soon fell asleep. In the morning I found in one of my stockings the following:

Ten Commandments to Soldiers’ Wives.


Thou shalt not put on important airs because thy husband receives thirteen dollars a month with clothes and rations, nor because thou thyself receives a nice little sum from the State; nor shalt thou whine and pine thyself pale at thy husband’s absence, but thou shalt bear all thy sorrows and perplexities with a patient and womanly manliness.


Thou shalt not spend thy husband’s bounty money for finger-rings and other brass trinkets and flummydiddles to adorn thyself, nor for confectionery, nor to ride on the cars when thou hast nothing to ride for, nor for accordions or jews-harps, but thou shalt buy with much prudence and only what is useful to thyself or the children, and lay by some till thy husband’s return.


Thou shalt love thy country, but thou shalt love thy husband better, and wish him a safe return, and always remember that husbands will be scarcer after the war.


Thou shalt not gad about as a tattler and slanderer and tell Mrs. Hornblower more than you know, because she promises she “sartin won’t tell out,” nor make any calls till thou hast washed and combed the children and thyself, too; but, moreover, thou mayest join the Knitting Society and work diligently to furnish clothes for the needy soldier all through the cruel winter.


Thou shalt behave thyself with discretion towards all mankind, especially such as have black moustaches, god finger rings and smooth speech; thou shalt not take oyster suppers with them, nor shalt thou allow their fair speech or arch looks to turn thy head or thy heart lest shame come upon thee.


Thou shalt anticipate thy husband’s return with the loss of a limb, or an eye, or a cripple for life; thou shalt treasure up much love for him; thou shalt cherish, honor and respect him all the days of his life.


Thy shalt not fret thyself because thou dost not receive letters from thy husband as often as thou thinkest meet; nor shall thou burden him in thine epistles with many imaginary ills of thyself and children; thou shalt not let tears fall upon them, (especially of the genus crocodile); thou shalt cheer and encourage him, now and henceforth.


Thou shalt not buy Wood lottery tickets.


Thou shalt not go to balls nor dancing schools, nor envy those who ride in costly vehicles drawn by fine horses; nor shalt thou go to the circus to see the elephant and bipeds.


Thou who art unmarried shalt act soberly; thou shalt write long and cheerful letters to thy betrothed; thou shalt comfort and encourage the mother or wife of the deceased soldier.

Unio n.

Military Schools.

An invidious distinction is often drawn between the gallantry of our private soldiers and the incompetency of our officers. Indeed it has grown highly fashionable to attribute every misfortune that befalls us to the unskillfulness of volunteer officers. They are the victims, too, of no inconsiderable amount of fault-finding connected with alleged malfeasance in the ordinary duties of the camp.

In numerous instances, no doubt, the complaints are well founded. Where men by tens of thousands are suddenly transferred to situations of responsibility entirely new, it would be a miracle if all, or nearly all, proved worthy. When the circumstances, however, are considered, it must be allowed that our citizen-officers have done well. Everywhere they have shown unflinching courage, and the losses have fallen upon them with unusual severity. When the war broke out, the large majority of them were wholly uninstructed in military science, and wholly inexperienced in military tactics. The country needed their services, and to her they were freely given. But they were compelled to learn the art of war from the rudiments. Except perhaps in superior education and business experience, they started on the same level with the most indifferent men in the ranks.

It is generally allowed that the Confederate officers are more than a match for Federal officers of the same grade. The reason is obvious. The South abounds in military schools where hundreds of young men are instructed in the theory and art of war. Some of these institutions approximate in the thoroughness of their discipline to the Academy at West point. Hence the Southern army has been supplied from the beginning with an abundance of men, well qualified to command. Little has been lost in blundering experiments which weaken and dispirit, while they instruct. The very best use has been made of the limited resources of the insurrectionary States. They have invariably been quick to discover and take advantage of our mistakes. Their watchfulness and wariness, their discreet caution and daring, have been conspicuous throughout the war.

In intelligence and the varied qualities which render men skillful in all pursuits, military as well as civil, the rank and file of the Northern army are incomparably superior to their antagonists. That the Southern army is better handled, is because the Southern officers are better trained.

It is our duty, profiting by our experience, to introduce military instructions into our academies and colleges. It would give an impulse to the martial spirit of the North, and furnish an abundance of competent men to take charge of our troops in any emergency.


Mr. William Braman, a middle-aged man and a respectable citizen of Hampton, attempted suicide on Christmas night by taking laudanum, but did not succeed, as the dose was insufficient. He gives as a cause that he had received the mitten from a young lady to whom he expected soon to be married.1



What is in the Moon?

The comparative proximity of our own satellite, the moon, has necessarily rendered it an object of the greatest interest, and it has, perhaps, in a greater degree than the other celestial orbs, been subjected to the scrutinizing observations of the telescope. Since the completion of the great instrument of Lord Rosse, that nobleman has frequently observed it, and its appearance, as seen by the great telescope, is thus described by Dr. Scoresby:

“It appeared like a globe of molten silver, and every object of the extent of one hundred yards, was quite visible. Edifices, therefore, of the size of York Minster, or the ruins of Whitby Abbey, might be easily perceived if they had existed. But there was no appearance of anything of that nature; neither was there any indication of anything like water, or of any atmosphere. There was a vast number of extinct volcanoes, several miles in breadth. Through one of them was a line, in continuance of about one hundred and fifty miles in length, which ran in a straight direction like a railway. The general appearance, however, was like one vast ruin of nature; and many of the pieces of rock, driven out of the volcanoes, appeared to be laid at various distances.”

We have here a strong, nay, a complete confirmation of the most interesting recent discoveries of the continual philosophers Maelder, of Dorpat, and Raer, of Berlin. The result of their curious and elaborate observations has been a map of what may now, without a figure, be called the geography of the moon, in which the surface of that satellite has been laid out with as much accuracy as that of our own globe. Of this map, a singular contrivance of human ingenuity, Dr. Nichol has given a reduced copy, besides a number of plates, representing on a larger scale, special parts of the surface. The general character of the moon is highly irregular, marked by huge mountains and pits, the height and depth of which have been accurately measured. About one-third part only of the surface presented to us is comparatively regular, this regular portion being plains, and not seas, as was formerly imagined. There is no appearance of water; and although astronomers are divided in the opinion about the existence of an atmosphere, we are to conclude that the moon is not, in its present state, adapted for the abode of organized beings. With regard to the mountains, a great number of them are isolated peaks, such as Tenerife’s mountain ranges, of which some reach a great elevation, are also present in the moon, though not a chief feature in its surface. At least three-fifths of its surface is studded with caverns, penetrating its body, and generally engirt at the top by a great wall of rock, which is serrated, and often crowned by lofty peaks. These caverns, or craters, as they are called, vary in diameter from fifty or sixty miles to the smallest visible space. And it is also remarkable that as they diminish in size, they increase in number.—English Quarterly.


The New York Tribune says that African soldiers will be employed to guard the banks of the Mississippi, garrison the forts below New Orleans and on the coast, and to enforce the proclamation of freedom to their brethren.

French Success in Mexico.

An Austin (Texas) paper of the 6th has a San Antonio dispatch of the 4th, stating that an express from Monterey brings the news that a French force of 5000 met and engaged a Mexican force of about 25,000, commanded by Gen. Ortega. After a sharp fight, the Mexicans gave way and fled in all directions. The victors took possession of Puebla, where they await reinforcements, and then [will] advance on the City of Mexico, distant 90 miles.

A French force of 6000 landed and took possession of Tampico, which post was supposed to be open to the commerce of the world.

The French frigate recently seen by the Mexicans passing through the Federal fleet off the mouth of the Rio Grande created a panic in Matamoras. They thought all the vessels were French, and come to attack the town. When the facts were known confidence was restored.


“If the army goes into winter quarters,” says the N. Y. Post, “all the Generals can come to Washington to testify one against the other.” This will be convenient.


The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee are working 250 hands at swords, cannon, and gun machinery. Three cannon a day are made; they are 24-pound howitzers o the Dahlgren pattern for gunboats. Their gun machinery is for gunmakers in England and at home; the English not yet having had the enterprise or ingenuity to make it for themselves, though it is some five or six years since they introduced the American system of manufacturing small arms.


The Dwight Cotton Company of Chicopee are running three of their eight mills now; but they will probably enlarge operations soon.


Many of our readers have supposed that our statement that Gov. Andrew and the Secretary of State “dined with a colored friend in South street on Thanksgiving Day” was a joke. Not so. The host was Lewis Hayden, a contraband employed as messenger at the State house—a very clever and intelligent man, and quite as well qualified to be at the head of one of the departments of the State Government as some of the sticks who now occupy these stations. The dinner was a success. About twenty-five guests were present—the company was very select, the Governor and the Secretary being the only white persons present. There is no truth whatever in the rumor that His Excellency’s aids-de-camp were present in full dress, that the Cadets did escort duty, or that “Gov. No. 2” was entertained at the second table. We hope some one will be able to give the public a copy of the toasts drunk, and of His Excellency’s speech, which ought to be printed on parchment.

9, 1863

From Convalescent Camp.

Headquarters W. Troops,
New Convalescent Camp,

December 29, 1862.

Mr. Editor: Since writing my last, our camp has been moved to Fort Barnard, and within two miles if Long Bridge. The encampment is on a side hill sloping towards the southeast, at the foot of which is a small creek and the railroad from Alexandria to Vienna and Strasburg. In many respects, this is a better place than our former one. Wood and water are both more convenient and the situation is much warmer, being protected from cold by intervening hills and woods. We are still in the same tents, but barracks are in rapid progress and it is hoped they will be furnished in a few weeks. The buildings are long and narrow, built in a dense growth of small pines, each capable of accommodating one hundred and four men. They are well warmed, ventilated and roomy, and if they were only well lighted, would be very pleasant and comfortable quarters.

The camp is under the command of Col. Belknap, and is divided into four divisions, each under the immediate command of a captain or lieutenant with sufficient assistants. The 4th division is under the command of Lieut. Hagar, comprising all the Western troops, and are under the charge of acting Serg’t Maj. H. L. Collins, who acts under the orders of his lieutenant. By this promotion of Serg’t Collins, the Me., N.H. and Vt. boys have lost an excellent officer and one of the best men. The men have felt so “blue” about the proceedings that they have entered their protest, and the Sergeant has asked to be placed in his old command. For the sake of the men it is hoped his request will be granted. Serg’t Collins’ command comprises nearly 1500 men—quite an honor for one of the non-commissioned officers of Co. G, 3d Vt.

The weather has been very pleasant for the last two weeks, and the men have suffered very little from cold; but it is probable that the next cold spell we have will be one of nearly as intense suffering as ever. The colonel seems to be doing all in his power for the men, but with the moving of the camp and the great number of men constantly coming in poorly supplied with clothing, it is impossible to furnish them with what they need. The fault lies with the authorities at Washington and the imbecility of some of the shoulder straps in camp.

Christmas day a lot of the patriotic people from Washington thought to make a gala day for the soldiers in Convalescent Camp; but, to use a military expression, it was a “gigantic failure.” Several government teams were loaded with everything nice in the shape of eatables, and it was proposed to have tables set to accommodate the whole camp. It was started but given up as impossible; finally the chickens, turkeys, ducks, baked meat, pies, cakes, potatoes, &c., &c., were divided among the different Sergeants commanding streets, to be distributed to the men. By the time the men got it, there was scarcely a mouthful apiece, making it a mere aggravation. The intentions of the good people of Washington were the very best, and they should be commended for their kindness, but I am afraid their Christmas dinner was but poorly appreciated by the hungry soldiers. >

During the last two weeks quite a number of gentlemen and ladies from Vermont have visited us. The first one I saw was a lady in search of her son; and by the way, for a stranger to find a friend in this camp, is often like hunting for a needle in a hay-mow. Christmas, a couple of gentlemen from Cabot were here; I have since learned that surgeon Phelps and Dr. Thayer are in Washington making arrangements to have all the Vermont men not fit for duty to be either discharged or sent home, while all fit for duty are to be sent to their regiments. They have already procured the names of most of the men and it is probable that an examination will be had in a few days. It is sincerely hoped that they will accomplish their object, as most men fit for duty had much rather be in their regiment than here; and it is certain that this is no place for a sick man. As an illustration of the ratio of men fit for duty in this camp, a detail of 75 men was made, and out of nearly 1500 men, it was impossible to get the required number. Besides the Convalescent Camp there is the Camp of Distribution, or, as it was formerly called, Stragglers’ Camp, in which it is supposed the men are all fit for duty and are sent to their regiments as fast as called for. Yet, for all this is supposed to be a “duty” camp, many are totally unfit for service, and large numbers get their discharges or are sent to hospitals. This camp comprises several thousand men and is under the command of Col. Belknap.

I learnt that the 2d brigade is encamped near Fairfax Station but have been unable to visit them since their arrival. It was rather hard for them to leave their old quarters, as they had spent many a hard day’s work in fitting up “winter quarters.” It has been rather sickly in some of the regiments and quite a number have died at Alexandria since the brigade left.

While I presume you are having plenty of snow and cold weather, we are enjoying, if it may be said any one can enjoy themselves here, the most beautiful weather. There is not the least sign of frozen ground, but the men sit out in the sun in their short sleeves sunning themselves. No fire is needed, and it has the appearance of pleasant days for a week to come; but when the cold does come, then will come all the horror of men freezing.

JANUARY 10, 1863


Jefferson Davis’s Speech
Before the Mississippi Legislature

In his address before the Mississippi Legislature, Jefferson Davis unbosomed himself quite freely. From the beginning he had predicted a fierce war, but it had assumed more formidable dimensions than he anticipated, in consequence of the utter wickedness of the North, which is now completely given up to the sway of evil passions. The Northern people are the descendants of bigots and persecutors who hung witches, and did a thousand other things to make them forever infamous. With such a race he will under no circumstances consent to reunion.

He had been anxious to transfer the war to Northern soil, and his failure to do so has resulted from the lack of power. The Confederacy is a newly established nation. The people are agricultural. They have had to improvise their armies and equip them with the materials at hand. Now, however, the army is larger, better armed, and in better condition than it was twelve months ago.

When he arrived in Mississippi, he thought the Yankees would pour down from the northern borders of the State. At Grenada he learned that nothing could be seen of them but their backs. Vicksburg and Port Hudson are the real points of attack. Thither he exhorts all true patriots to hurry without delay.

He tells his hearers that the real question at issue in the war is whether they will be free, or the “slaves of the most depraved, and intolerant, and tyrannical, and hated people upon earth.” Mississippi is the object of their peculiar hatred. For her they are preparing the refinements of cruelty. But, notwithstanding, Jeff feels safe, for “Vengeance belongs to the Lord.” Comfortable assurance for Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, and Jefferson Davis!

The war has been protracted somewhat beyond his expectations, and while he has never doubted final success, he now considers it absolutely certain. Since the fall of New Orleans, they have gained greatly in strength. Gunboats have been stripped of their terrors, and the army can be relied upon.

The two grand objects of the enemy are to get possession of the Mississippi river, and seize the Confederate Capital. Vicksburg and Port Hudson must be defended at all hazards. Both will stand if the people are true to themselves. In this event the Northwest will grow restive, and refuse to continue a war beneficial only to New England contractors. From the Northwest he looks for the first gleams of peace.

In the speech, Mr. Davis returned repeatedly to the brightening prospects of the Confederacy, and her improvement in all the elements of national strength.


Our citizens were startled about ten o’clock last night by a loud explosion which fairly shook many buildings. A powder mill in East Hartford exploded, but the cause or extent we did not learn. Persons skating on the river saw the flash, and in about thirty seconds heard the sound of the explosion.


The apprehensions generally entertained for the safety of General Sherman at Vicksburg are not shared by the government. He has probably ere this been reinforced by the arrival of Gen. Grant’s army, which was directed to unite with him. It was not expected that Gen. Banks or Admiral Farragut would support Gen. Sherman; but they were to reduce the rebel fortifications at Port Hudson, which is essential to the breaking up of the rebel gateway for sending out cotton and bringing in beef cattle, which has been carried on to a very great extent between Vicksburg and Port Hudson.

Narrow Escape of the Passaic.—The iron-clad Passaic, it seems, had a narrow escape from shipwreck on the same night that the Monitor was lost. A letter from an Assistant Engineer on board the State of Georgia, dated Fortress Monroe, Jan. 2, says: “We have arrived back again, after a stormy passage to Beaufort, N.C., having towed out the iron-clad Passaic. When off Cape Hatteras we experienced two severe gales, in one of which we came near losing our charge. During Tuesday night the Passaic made signals that she was sinking and that the sea was breaking clear over her. We returned to her, but it fortunately calmed down, and we went on all right, and put into Beaufort. That night all hands on our boat were called, and the life-boat was got ready to receive the men of the Passaic, but I doubt whether a boat could have lived in such a sea.” 2


The relief ship George Griswold, stored with flour and other provisions for the English sufferers, sails from New York to-day. A public reception will be given on board, at 11 a.m., to those gentlemen who have been most actively engaged in this work of international charity.


The blockading squadron off Charleston on the 22d ult. comprised about thirty vessels, all under steam. Some of them are new and part gunboats, and they are stationed along the entire outlet from Charleston, guarding every channel or inlet. Sixteen of them lay off Charleston, in the very sight of Sumter and the shore batteries. So complete now is the blockade it will be a very difficult matter for any craft, large or small, to enter the harbor day or night.


Paper.—A company of New York and Philadelphia capitalists have purchased the paper mill at Windsor Locks, Conn., lately owned by Persse & Seymour, for the manufacture of paper from fiber. We understand that the Boston Journal and New York Times are to make an experiment with the same.

The convention of western paper manufacturers held their first meeting in Chicago on the 3d inst., and their second on the 23d inst. At the latter there were exhibited several samples of pulp made from straw, corn husks, sorghum, and bass wood. The experiments are to be prosecuted to a more successful test. Messrs. Butler & Hunt, at St. Charles, and Mr. Beardsley, at Elkhart, and the two mills at Beloit, are engaged with others in efforts to induce a cheaper article for the manufacturing of paper than the rag affords. In the five extreme northwestern States there are thirty-three paper mills.—Boston Comm. Advertiser.


A troop of Pennsylvania cavalry, known as the “Anderson Troop,” refused to go into action at Murfreesboro, for the reason “that they had no confidence in their officers, and were disappointed in not having been selected for Gen. Rosecrans’ bodyguard.” Such conduct ought not to go unpunished.


Dr. Colton, whose exhibitions with the “nitrous oxide” or “Laughing Gas,” were so exceedingly popular in this city a few months since, proposes to give one more (and one only) entertainment of the same nature in the course of a week or two. Since he was here, he has given some 24 exhibitions in Boston, a long series in Providence, and has latterly been holding forth in New York and Brooklyn. He takes Hartford on his way to Chicago, where he opens in February. His entertainment being exceedingly amusing, and at the same time innocent in its character, will ensure a crowded house.

1 To “give the mitten” was the 19th century equivalent of “talk to the hand.” Specifically, it referred to the act of a young woman in denying the suit of a man—basically indicating that she had no interest in marrying him.

2 See for a narrative of this passage.

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