, 1863

The Nile Explorers Telling the Story of their Wanderings.

The members of the Royal Institution held a special meeting in London on the 23d ultimo, to hear a lecture by Capt. Speke on the discovery of the sources of the Nile. The Prince of Wales was present, attended by Gen. Kuollys, Sir Roderick Murchison and a numerous suite. The Prince was accompanied by the Comte de Paris and several other members of the late royal family of France.

Before commencing his lecture Capt. Speke introduced to the audience two little black boys who were brought to England for education. He also desired publicly to thank Sir Roderick Murchison and the Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society for the assistance they afforded him in proving the correctness of the conclusion at which he had arrived in 1858, that Lake Victoria Nyanza was the source of some great river, and that that river was the Nile. Time would not permit him to describe the whole of the incidents of the journey from Zanzibar to Egypt, which occupied two years and a half, and extended over a distance of more than three thousand miles. He chose rather to give some account of the Wahuma and some of the other tribes inhabiting the shores of Lake Nyanza.1

Judging from the physical characteristics of these tribes, he considered them to be descended from the ancient Abyssinians–an idea confirmed by the traditions of the people, who, when questioned about their origin, always replied that they came from the north. Capt. Speke gave a long and interesting account of the history of the people of Unyoro, tracing their kings down to the present monarch.2 On the most fertile part of the shores of Lake Nyanza, he said, is the Kingdom of Uganda, which is the most interesting of all the nations of equatorial Africa, being better cultivated and better governed than any other. The customs of Uganda are many of them most irregular. The Princes having large harems of women, their progeny is, of course, most numerous. When a king dies all his sons are burnt except his successor and two others, who are kept, in case of accident, until the coronation, after which one is pensioned off and the other banished to Unyoro. Untidiness in dress is a capital crime, except the offender possesses sufficient riches to pay an enormous fine. Ingratitude, or even neglecting to thank a person for a benefit conferred, is punishable.

The court customs are also curious. No one is allowed to stand before the King, and to touch him or look at one of his women is death. They believe implicitly in magic and the evil eye, and eh kings are always attended by a certain number of women crowned with dead lizards, and bearing bowls of plantain wine in their hands. The King of Karagwe is the most civilized of all these native chiefs; before entering Uganda, Capt. Speke spent many days with him.3 In manners, civility and enlightenment he might be compared with many Europeans. He owes much of this to the influence of an Indian merchant named Moussa Mzouri, who helped him by his advice to conquer his brother, with whom he was at war. Capt. Speke was much entertained with many of his questions as to what became of the old suns and why the moon made faces at the earth. He also wanted to know whether England, of which he had heard from ivory traders, could blow up the whole of Africa with gunpowder. The moment the King heard that he was desirous of going north, he sent messengers to the King of Uganda to prepare the way for him. The King was most anxious to afford him every possible information about the country.

While at the palace the King took him yachting on Murchison Creek for several days, and he frequently went shooting with the princes of the court, who, when he had shot anything, would rush up to shake him heartily by the hand–a custom little known in that part of Africa. Before leaving they heard from the King Karasi that a body of white men had been seen to the north who had killed numbers of the natives with a wonderful gun. This made Capt. Speke most anxious to push on, as he supposed the party of white men to be that of Mr. Petherick, who had appointed to meet him. He then started for Uganda with a numerous retinue. Before leaving King Rumanika’s palace at Karagwe he had noticed on several occasions three or four lofty peaks, more than ten thousand feet high. The King of Uganda sent an armed body of men to meet him, who conducted him through the kingdom. Everywhere they went the people left their huts, leaving their provisions behind them. The fertility of this part is very great, and the scenery on the shores of the lake most beautiful.->

On arriving at the King of Uganda’s capital, Capt. Speke found it necessary to wrap up all his presents in chintz before sending them to the King, as nothing bare or naked could be looked at by His Majesty. He found the palace to consist of hundreds of conical tents, spread over the spur of a hill. Thousands of courtiers and attendants were to be seen engaged in every conceivable occupation, from playing on musical instruments to feeding the royal chickens. On sending word to the King that he wished for an interview, that monarch sent back a sharp message that he was to sit on the ground and wait until he was at liberty. Capt. Speke, however, sent back word that he was a prince, and not accustomed to sit on the ground or to wait. A courtier followed him, prophesying all kinds of evil from his presumption.

Capt. Speke, however, terrified the whole court, King and all, into submission, by merely opening his umbrella, which they took to be a deadly weapon, killing by magic. A chair was courteously allowed to Capt. Speke, who was received by the King, surrounded by his court, and having by his side the women crowned with dead lizards, to ward off the effects of the evil eye. The King stared at him for about an hour, at the end of which time His Majesty said, “Have you seen me?” and retired to another tent, where the same process of staring was followed by a similar inquiry. The King went into a third tent, and Capt. Speke followed. This time, however, the monarch deigned to examine Capt. Speke’s Whitworth rifle. Capt. Speke told him it was the custom of the inhabitants of the country of which he was a prince to make presents of everything that they possessed to any king into whose country they entered. He accordingly left him several rifles and watches, and a quantity of gunpowder. He endeavored to engage His Majesty in conversation about Petherick’s party, and the possibility of opening trade through the north. It was a long time, however, before he gained his confidence. On leaving, the King presented him with numerous very valuable presents.

Capt. Grant was present at this meeting, but made no speech.


Proposal to Dig Up Shakespeare’s Bones.–There is a hot and violent controversy going on just now in literary and dramatic circles about the propriety of moving Shakespeare’s bones. Next year, in April, it is proposed to celebrate the bi-centenary of the poet’s birth, and it is urged that this would be a fitting occasion to make a solemn ceremony of digging up his mortal remains, in order that his posterity might satisfy themselves about his stature, the shape of his head, &c. The objectors, on the other hand, profess to be shocked at the bare idea, and declare that they will have no hand in the proceeding, which might bring down upon their heads the curse which Shakespeare himself pronounced upon any one who should venture to disturb his bones. It is argued again that Shakespeare never ordered that inscription to be put upon his tomb, but that it was merely a hack inscription of the sextons and stone-cutters of the period.

We recently wrote (says the London Court Journal) about the proposal to dig up Shakespeare’s bones, and concluded, “What if no bones should be found? How fine a theory might then be raised that there was no such poet as Shakespeare?” We are since informed that, “Notwithstanding the anathema pronounced by the bard on any disturber of his bones, the church-wardens were so negligent, a few years ago, to suffer the sexton, in digging the adjoining grave of Mr. Davenport, to break a large cavity into the tomb of Shakespeare. Mr. __ told the writer that he was excited by curiosity to push his head and shoulders through the cavity, that he saw the remains of the bard, and that he could easily have brought away his skull, but was deterred by the curse which the poet invoked on any who disturbed his remains."4

JULY 20, 1863

The Struggle for Charleston.

The result of the tremendous bombardment and desperate assault of Saturday is exceedingly gratifying–not more from the glorious and bloody defeat of the enemy’s designs, than from the small loss sustained by us in men and by the unimpaired condition of Fort Wagner. Let us not, however, deceive ourselves by the pleasant illusion that we have accomplished anything further than inflicting a heavy loss on the enemy and gaining time. So long as monitors and the wooden gunboats are allowed to approach, the work is still exposed to a concentric fire of nearly half a circle by sea and land from the heavy artillery of the foe. His sharpshooters, too, are in occupation of rifle pits only some six hundred yards off. Renewed assaults at times and in ways of his own selection, it is still in his power to attempt. New batteries and new guns are likely to be put in position–perhaps means of reducing the fort other than either bombardment or assault may be tried. It is plain that men, materials, scientific labors and military contrivances will be exhausted by the active, scientific and ambitious commander of the Yankee forces in this Department. Either great exertions will have to be used to enable Battery Wagner to fight the battle of Charleston–to cope with the foe and beat him off successfully as long as he sees fit to attack–or the fight for the possession of Charleston harbor must be made elsewhere than on Morris Island, and by prompt and vigorous preparations. These questions, of course, we leave to the wisdom and experience of our military authorities to decide and meet. We wish merely to let our people see where we are, and the value of the great and glorious engagement of the 18th instant. While rejoicing with gratitude to God for this victory, we should not encourage false hopes and expectations. We should rather, by a knowledge of the truth, stimulate to every exertion for the lasting preservation of Charleston.5


General Ewell Struck in the Battle of Gettysburg.–During the battle of Gettysburg, General Ewell reining in his horse and calling to one of his aides, to him said: “I have been struck; assist me to alight.”

Having helped him from his horse, the aide inquired where the General had been hit.

“Here,” said General Ewell, pointing to his wooden leg, “ I’ll trouble you to hand me up my other leg.”

The fractured artificial limb having been removed, and a fresh one put on in its place, the brave old General remounted his horse, and again rode to the front.


The Yankee Flotilla, consisting of two monitors, five gunboats and seven or eight transports, still cruises in James River. On Wednesday, the monitors came up above City Point, but after a reconnoissance and considerable blowing of steam whistles, dropped back down the river. The transports are not believed to contain nay troops, as none have been seen on their decks. Some think it is the design of the enemy to attack Drewry’s Bluff; it is, however, more probable that the demonstration is an empty menace.

The Case of the Alexandra.

The decision of the British Court in the case of the Alexandra puts an end to Mr. Adams’ operations, through his spies, peering and prying into every British ship yard to ascertain if there were any ships building for the Confederate States. The decision gives perfect liberty to every shipbuilder to build as many ships as he pleases for the South. It will highly irritate the Yankees; but the English Court fortified itself by the highest Federal authority. It sustained its decision by citing the opinion of Judge Story, who “laid it down that, although by the terms of the Foreign Enlistment Act, a neutral State was precluded from equipping or arming vessels for the purpose of aggression against a friendly power, they were not precluded from equipping and arming them for the purpose of sale, to any one, belligerent or otherwise, who chose to purchase them.” This, the Court assumed, authorized a neutral to equip a ship of war just as he may construct a cannon, if he intends not to use it against a friendly power, but merely to sell it; and he might even sell it to either of the belligerents. But in the case of the Alexandra the question was not as “to arming and equipping,” the testimony only providing the “building” of the ship. The jury gave a verdict for the defendants very promptly.


The “Sixteenth.”–The Charleston correspondent of the Savannah Republican writes: “Just in front of the Charleston Hotel may be witnessed, about 6 o’clock, a spectacle that should be photographed as a lesson of patriotism for generations to come. The living at the present day may also learn from it their duty. It is The Old Men’s Regiment, made up of exempts, and composed chiefly of the old men of the city. Most of their heads and chins are “silvered o’er with years,” and many with the infirmities incident to age upon them. A few foreigners are also among the number. All, fired by patriotism and the duty they owe, while life itself lasts, to the noble State that gave them birth or protection, have come up in the day of her distress from their counting rooms, their studios, their workshops, and quiet retirement for the evening of their days, to stake their lives, if need be, in defence of Charleston. With a proud mien and resolute tread, they shoulder their muskets and respond to the word of command. It is a glorious and most affecting exhibition. I commend their noble example to all the cities and towns of the South, and with special earnestness to my own beloved Savannah.”


JULY 21,

The New York Riots.
Three Vermont Regiments to Remain in the City.

New York, July 20.—The 11th, 15th and 16th Regiments of the Vermont Brigade from the Army of the Potomac arrived in this city today. They are nine months men. Upon their arrival General Dix took measures to obtain their services in the city for a few days. Col. Howe, who has been appointed on General Dix’s staff, waited upon the officers and made an address to the Green Mountain Boys, after which they all agreed to offer their services in any manner most desirable for the interests of the country and the maintenance of the laws. The regiments are commanded by Colonels Nichols, Proctor, and A. G. Veazey. The officers visited the rooms of the Loyal League this evening by invitation.

The merchants of this city met this afternoon and subscribed $5000 for the relief of the Negroes who were maltreated by the mob in the late riot, and passed resolutions requesting Gen. Dix to give assurance of protection to them in their labors on the docks.


Quiet in New York.

All was quiet in New York on Sunday and yesterday, and suitable military forces were posted at different points. Three thousand troops still garrison the Seventh Avenue Arsenal. Two steamboats heavily armed cruise up and down the North river as far as the northern boundary of Westchester county, which is a part of the Metropolitan Police District, in consequence of threats to burn the towns in that vicinity. All has been quiet, however.

Policeman Dipple died on Sunday night from injuries received from the mob.

It is stated that in the attack on the Union Steam Works, corner Twenty-second street and Second avenue, the mobs carried off 3508 muskets, of which only 300 were recovered.

The British Consul has notified the Police Commissioners that he has ordered the ship-of-war Challenge to take position in the river for the purpose of protecting colored seamen, subjects of Great Britain.

A subscription has been started in behalf of the injured defenders of the city, policemen, firemen, and military, and $20,750 had been secured on Saturday night. It was reported that the banks would take concerted action in the matter.


Colored Substitutes.

New York, July 20.—A decision of the Provost-Marshal is that colored men cannot be accepted as substitutes for white men, not being, under the existing laws, a military equivalent.6


New Orleans letters state it is rumored that Admiral Porter will assume command of the Mississippi river, and that Admiral Farragut will go outside to begin operations in another quarter against the enemy.

The Character of the Mob.–Mr. N. P. Willis gives the following emphatic description of the New York rioters as he saw them, which goes with many things to show that the better class of our citizens of foreign birth has been grossly calumniated in the last few days:

“We have not made the character of ‘the mob’ a part of our description–it has been done so fully by the daily journals. But we must add our confirmatory remark upon on peculiarity of the confessed rioters: There were no decent Irish among them. Irish they all were–every soul of them–but they were the dirty, half-drunken, brutal rowdies, who are the leprosy of that fair-skinned race. They were the filthy pustules of an eruption on the Irish skin–not to be accounted part of the natural complexion of the blood, but starved down and purged away like a diseased excess. In ordinary life, such fellows sneak about, and hide from daylight, in places where they can drink, and debauch, and contrive wickedness; but here, where this grand fire made them feel like masters and gave them impudence for an hour, they were the pictures of saucy beggars, half-drunken brutes and robbers, longing to put a clutch upon your throat and empty your pockets. One of our daily papers estimates this class of the New York population at twenty thousand. How shall we sufficiently damn, for all history, the cringing politician or cowardly office-holder who–for a makeweight to his party–will basely strive to propitiate such a scum of a great city?”

A correspondent of the New York Tribune, who says he devoted his time from Monday until Thursday last week observing the riot and the rioters says:

“In addition to what I said before about the open sympathy between the rioters and the rebels, I will say that, according to my observation, the rioters were without exception pro-slaver democrats; that I heard them express unbounded admiration for ‘Fernandy Wud,’ great confidence in the friendship of Gov. ‘Saymoor,’ and high respect for the World and the Daily News, and that the only men among them whom I heard speak without an Irish brogue were a very few Germans and some half-dozen glib-tongued fellows, who were evidently of the lowest order of ward politicians. Of the last I saw none when there was any danger near. But one of them, whom I heard addressing a throng after an utter defeat by the police and a company of troops, cautioned them against attempting anything unless they were in sufficient force to accomplish it–adding: ‘This is peculiarly a people’s movement, and, unless we manage it with prudence, it may end disastrously for us.’ Though very near him, I was almost behind him, and could not get a sight of his face. His English showed that he was born and bred in this country, and I therefore thought him the viler creature. When he had finished his harangue, his hearers, by the mouths of one or two ringleaders, appointed –o’clock that night for a repetition of their attempt; but they failed, and many of them never saw the morning."7


JULY 22, 1863


The Plot.–The New York Post affirms that a messenger of the rebel government, recently captured, was found in possession of a correspondence between four of the principal military chiefs of the rebellion–Beauregard, Lee, Bragg, and Adjutant-General Cooper. According to the plan as formed, Lee was to enter Pennsylvania with a strong force and keep the army of Hooker fully occupied; secondly, Beauregard and Bragg were to send a picked force and capture Washington; thirdly, while these things were going on, the agents of the rebellion in New York were to get up a riot and stop the progress of the draft. But the first failure was on the part of Beauregard, who wrote that the federal forces near him were not diminished and he could not spare a man. Bragg wrote that he had just sent Johnston all he could spare. Then came Lee’s failure, which was the most unexpected of all, because he had with him the very flower of the rebel army, in abundant force, as was thought. The results of the riots, up to this date, are matters of record.


Survey of the Field.–The following paragraphs, from the New York Post of the 16th inst., present a cheerful view of affairs, but not more cheerful than just:

Within the last thirty days we have taken prisoners nearly a third of the whole armed force of the rebels. If we count in the killed and wounded, the total loss of the enemy during the last month foots up over 100,000. The nation scarcely comprehends the immense successes of our armies of late. They have been so great and so numerous that we have ceased to count them; and when men hear of the evacuation of Chattanooga by Bragg, or the surrender of Port Hudson to Banks, they receive these important tidings as though they were matters of course.

Our armies, flushed with victory, are pursuing an enemy who was less numerous than we at the beginning, and who has lost in less than a month 100,000 of his forces. If ever the end was certain and near, if ever the lovers of the Union might rejoice and be comforted, this is the time.

But we must not relax our efforts; we must follow the enemy; we must reinforce our wearied and lessened armies at once. Hence the necessity now, and at once, [of] making a draft. The slow course of volunteering will not do at this juncture. In thirty days we should have our army reinforced, not by the addition of new and raw regiments, but by filling up the old regiments. Hence we must draft. But, to use the words of the Boston Post, a loyal democratic sheet, “it is a summons to join, not a discomfited and broken-spirited soldiery, but a band of heroes, the monuments of many a well fought field.”


Various Items.–The Richmond Enquirer of the 16th exults over the “beginning of chaos” at the North exemplified by riot, murder and conflagration in New York. It wonders that “this good work did not commence long ago.”

Both the sons of Hon. Edward Everett–one of whom has just graduated at Cambridge, England–have been drafted in Boston. Both have made up their minds to serve in person, instead of procuring a substitute or paying the $300.

The woods in New Jersey are filled with fugitive Negroes from New York.

Charleston.–The Mercury of the 15th, in an article admitting the possible capture of that city, says:

In case that frightful calamity fall upon us, they who remain here must suffer grievous evils. The woes they will have poured out upon them will be far heavier than those under which the citizens of New Orleans, Nashville and Memphis have groaned. For the vile foe hates the people of this state with a tenfold more bitter hatred than he entertains for the inhabitants of any other section, and he will not spare us when he comes as conqueror.

On the supposition of the foe’s success, it is our duty to avoid incurring his fiendish malignity. All who can be of no service in the work of defense should betake themselves to places of shelter; and it were well not to defer removal to a late day. We may be compelled to remain, or if we make good our escape, circumstances may oblige us to leave all our personal effects behind.

We should also consider that our city is going to make a fierce and determined resistance. If the enemy gets it he will have to take it. No flag of truce boat will meet him midway between the wharves and Fort Sumter, in order to effect a surrender. We are going to fight until we are driven from street to street, and continue the fight while we are retreating.


The opening of the Mississippi is the joint achievement of the gallant troops of the East and Northwest. The Cincinnati Commercial comments upon the great event in this liberal spirit:

The river whose banks have been made memorable forever in the history of this great war, is ours unequivocally. We are beyond the point of negotiating with any earthly power for the free navigation of the Mississippi. It is ours. We have bisected the southern confederacy.

Let us remember it is not the men of the West alone who have done this. The soldiers and sailors of New England (with the exception of a couple of regiments from the Northwest) opened the mouth of the Mississippi, and have met us, not half way up to Cairo, but at a point more than three hundred miles from the Gulf. Give them their share of the glory, for they have earned it hard and well.


The Newburyport Herald reports that measures have been taken for the erection of batteries on Salisbury Beach, just below Black Rocks, to be occupied in two months. Fifty or sixty men would be employed in their erection. Eight 32-pounder guns are to be mounted there, and a garrison of 100 men will hold them.


Counterfeit fives on the City Bank of Lynn are now in circulation. The bogus bill has for a vignette in the upper center three mechanics, a figure 5 in the upper corner, with a male portrait beneath, also “five” at the left, and the arms of some state (not Massachusetts) under it. In the genuine bill the vignette is a view of Lynn common, it has at the right a figure 5 with a ship in a circle below, also half a female figure at the left and a figure 5 under it.

JULY 23,

Rifle Clubs.

If the present war has demonstrated anything, it is the want of independent military organizations–independent, yet so far subordinate to the State Government that they can be mustered into service when the public weal demands it.8 The particular kind of organization that we have in view in making this suggestion is a “rifle club.” If we required precedent, as a nation, for taking such a step, or at least making the proposal, the example of the English, Swiss, and German nations may be cited in evidence of the popularity with which such a system is regarded abroad. Similar bodies of militia, so to speak, are also recruited in France, but they are by no means popular convocations, and are under the surveillance of the authorities. With a profound sense of the necessity which exists among ourselves for the recruiting and forming of such companies, we unite an earnest desire to see our suggestion acted upon without delay. Any person at all conversant with the history of the hour can readily perceive the inestimable value of such bodies of men and the practical use to which they can be put. Riflemen in particular are the most efficient infantry in the world when properly handled, and all generals take special care to guard against exposing their troops to their galling fire. Mechanics make the best riflemen in the world, as they do also the most versatile soldiers. The record of the war is full of instances where tradesmen have thrown down the musket, turned sappers and miners, completed their labors in this line, and then resumed their guns and fallen into the ranks again. They have been ready to attack the enemy either with spade or musket, and have skillfully and cheerfully performed their labors, against time, that were not within the legitimate range of the particular corps to which they belonged. If these glorious achievements can be cited of those artisans now in the ranks, why can we not, in perfect confidence that our voice will be heeded, call upon our workmen still at home to organize bodies of riflemen, to form themselves into clubs of home-guards, and be willing to defend that home, either on its doorstep or 5,000 miles from it? Steady of hand, keen of vision, and stout of heart, no better materials than our mechanics can be found for the formation of a band of defenders, that shall be such in reality. In some instances, military organizations have contented themselves with parades, holiday affairs, suppers, camping out in the woods or some watering-place in close proximity to a fine hotel; in short, doing everything except face the foe. We are confident that no such short comings as these could be recorded against regiments of hard-fisted, stout-hearted workmen, and we urge them, in whatever State of the union they may be, to take steps to form companies without delay, for at the present writing there is no prophesying then they may not be needed.–Scientific American.


A big bear was being exhibited in a certain town in the Green Mountain State, and a farmer, whose olive plants had increased to twenty, wanted his offspring to see it. But twenty times one shilling was too much for his exchequer, and he therefore agreed to give a dollar for a private exhibition in his back yard, which was done. But when after the “performance” the dollar was offered, the showman said with an obliging smile: “I can’t take anything; it is no more a sight for your family to see my bear, than for my bear to see your family.”–Vt. Standard.

Relative Mortality among White and Black Troops.–In The Army and Navy Official Gazette, the first number of which has just appeared, is a statement by Surgeon-General Hammond of the relative ability of the white and black troops to withstand malarious diseases; and scientific data here, of course, only fortify the universal opinion that the former will suffer heavily, while the latter will almost wholly escape such afflictions. In the department of the Gulf, the white troops suffer in the proportion of 10.8 per cent; the black troops of 0.8 per cent; or, in other words, eleven white soldiers to one black. The experience of the British Government, through a series of years, has been similar, being in these terrible numbers: Jamaica, 109.9 white to 8.2 black; Bahamas, 159 to 5.6; Honduras, 81 to 4.4; Sierra Leone, 410 to 2.1.

These fierce facts should stimulate to the most poignant degree the action of our Government in the employment of black troops. We have now at the end of more than two years of the war but a few colored regiments in the field; when, by every impulse of common sense, and an apprehension especially of the axiom that the right man should be in the right place, we should have many such regiments. There ought to be now at least twenty to one of the actual force of black troops. The fearful lie that they would [not] fight is dissipated forever; the most venomous Copperhead will hiss it no longer. Every energy, then, should be put forward in view of actual needs, and the threatened European Complications with our affairs, to increase this arm of defense.–N. Y. Tribune.


The Irish.–There is a very general excitement and prejudice against the Irish residents of our city, because of the riotous outrages of last week, which, though natural, is tending to gross injustice. It is true that most of the immediate perpetrators of those outrages were of Irish birth or lineage; but it is not true that all, or nearly all the Irish, nor even of the Irish Roman Catholics, are either rioters themselves or sympathizers with the rioters. On the contrary, we personally know many Irish Catholics who are as loyal, as law-abiding and as hostile to all manner of riot and outrage, as any men on earth. For example, our Sixth and Fourteenth wards, which are pre-eminently, predominantly Irish, have not been disgraced by a single outrage, not even upon their colored residents. And from every quarter we have testimony that the industrious, sober, intelligent Irish–of whom there are thousands among us–indignantly declined all participation in the crimes of the grog-shop rowdies and ruffians, who have done their worst to disgrace the Irish name.–N. Y. Tribune.


The New Flag.–Agreeably to the act of Congress, a new star has been inserted in the national flag for the new State of Western Virginia.

, 1863

The Retreat Across the River.
How it was Done.

J. C. Wilson, a reporter of the New York Herald, was taken prisoner by the rebels near Hagerstown, Md., on Monday last, and arrived at Williamsport. He tells who and what he saw, and how the rebels got over the river:

“I was immediately taken to the headquarters of General Stuart. There I saw Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, Robinson, Rhodes and several others. On finding out who I was, General Stuart ordered that I be treated with the most distinguished consideration. I found the rebel forces rapidly marching to the river. The crossing commenced on Saturday afternoon. Previous to this the enemy had succeeded in constructing a kind of rat which resembles a floating bridge. The wounded, who had been placed in houses used as hospitals at Williamsport, were put in ambulances and sent over, then followed the ammunition train. Some of the wagons went by the ford, for it must be stated the rebel force crossed in two columns, one on the bridge and one through the water. The retreat was conducted in the most orderly manner. The southern troops are in no manner demoralized; they are eager for fresh encounters. The principal part of the rebel infantry crossed yesterday. In order to blind the Unionists, the enemy built a long line of high earthworks, built camp fires, and during all the heavy rain that fell during the night, drenched as they were with rain, finished their works, and marched to Williamsport and crossed before daylight. Gen. Longstreet is not dead, but once more on the sacred soil of Virginia. The enemy found a good place for crossing. Gen. Hampton is recovering from his wound.

Other Accounts of the Crossing.

Dispatches from Hagerstown and Williamsport, dated Tuesday, say that the rebels lost some wagons and cattle in fording the river and that several rebels were drowned. The rebels took away several thousand stolen horses. They have left at Williamsport a number of the wounded of the Gettysburg fights. The rebels said they waited for an attack from Meade long enough. Their fortifications were very extensive, running over ten miles in good position. The retreat was hastened by the want of subsistence, they having eaten up everything they could reach in Maryland, and sent for supplies to Martinsburg. Lee will be apt to occupy Winchester at once, unless a federal force interferes with his march there. In the attack on the rebels on Sunday 2000 Pennsylvania  militia were put in front, and charged the enemy promptly, suffering some loss.

Why There was no Battle.

Gen. Meade held a council of war on Saturday and Sunday evenings, consisting of his corps commanders, when the question of attack was freely discussed. All the generals present were in favor of an immediate attack except Gens. Sedgwick, Slocum, Sykes and French. Gen. Meade himself was in favor of active operations, but finding his corps commanders equally divided, he hesitated to give the order, and the rebel army was allowed to make its escape. An order was issued Monday night for a movement along the whole line at 7 o’clock Tuesday morning, but that was a day too late.->

The Tribune correspondent says the corps officers stood five for an attack and seven against it. The former were: Gen. Meade, Gen. Howard, commanding the 11th corps; Gen. G. K. Warren, chief of engineers; Gen. Wadsworth, commanding 1st corps; and Gen. Pleasanton, commanding cavalry corps. Of these Gen. Howard was apparently the most thoroughly convinced of the necessity of immediate attack; at least he was the most strenuous in debate. Those opposed were the oldest corps commanders, and their weight carried a decision in the negative. The event has shown that this day, Monday, was our golden opportunity. Had the attack been made, we should have caught the rebels in the midst of a general breaking up, with only a thin line to oppose us, with the roads full of trains, with a thousand wagons yet quietly parked at Williamsport; their army, its artillery, its trains, its vast spoils, would have been our prey.


Meade and Lee.

The report received last week as our paper was ready for the press, that Lee had escaped across the Potomac with his army, leaving only his wounded and some prisoners in our hands, proved to be true. How and when he retreated is told in another column. Why he escaped with so little loss, there is a diversity of opinion among the army correspondents. The people at the North believed that Meade would follow up the enemy, after the defeat at Gettysburg, and attack him on this side of the Potomac. The Commanding General knew that the enemy was numerically about his equal; that he was strongly entrenched; that to assault his position successfully would involve great loss of life, and that the attacking party must suffer much more terribly than the defending army. On Sunday night, the 12th, Gen. Meade convened his corps commanders, laid the case before them and announced himself in favor of assaulting the enemy’s works on Monday morning at daylight. After mature consideration, which consumed most of the night, on voting it was found the counsel stood three in favor of and seven against making the attack. With such a decided majority against him, Gen. Meade did not see fit to assume the responsibility of ordering an attack upon the enemy’s position, but waited for reinforcements which he knew were on the way. Before they arrived, however, Lee had crossed the river.

Meade will, of course, be much censured for having thus delayed. But in extenuation it must be remembered that many of the Federal troops who took part in the battles of Gettysburg did so immediately after long and fatiguing marches, without time to rest; that the terrible conflicts shattered Meade’s forces; that he had received but few reinforcements, and those of a kind little to be depended upon; and that the enemy would fight desperately being strongly entrenched. With these facts before him, together with the adverse opinions of so many of his corps commanders, it is not at all surprising that the Commanding General should hesitate to order an immediate attack. It must be confessed that much disappointment was felt throughout the North when the news came of Lee’s escape, but whether it were better that 15,000 or 20,000 loyal men should lie dead and wounded on the heights of Williamsport, and Lee’s army probably defeated, or that he should escape to be more successfully, and at less cost, defeated in some other place, every man must form his own opinion.

JULY 25, 1863


Let Us Talk About It.

The whole community is of course intensely excited by the draft now making, for it comes home to every home and every heart. Though familiar to other nations for centuries, and to the seceded states since the war commenced, it is a new thing among us, and it must take time for our minds to become accustomed to its practical operation. Let us make a few suggestions to our citizens.

First.–When you are drafted, you are only called upon to fight for the defense of your own interests–your own property, home, and rights. To hear some of the talk in our streets, one would suppose that the government was an enemy, seizing on our men and dragging them away to the army for some evil ends of its own. People say, “All the government cares for is is to get men; it don’t care how; it is fixing it so nobody can get free; and it is compelling every man to fight; even paying three hundred dollars don’t exempt a man only this time, he may be drafted again in six months or a year–it is outrageous in the government to do this!” Bow, it is true all the government cares for, or should care for in a time like this, is to get men–but what does it get them for? To build itself up at your expense–to establish a despotism on the ruins of your freedom? No; to protect your soil from the tread of insolent foes; to secure to you in future a peaceful home as a citizen of these United States, to save your government from destruction destruction, which, if accomplished, would involve the ruin of your business, your home, and of everything dear to you. The men now called out may save your town and property from invasion; certainly nothing stands between it and the rebels, but our army, which must be kept up to a full and effective size in order to protect you. Settle it clearly in your mind, then, that if you are drafted, it is to fight–not for somebody or something which is seeking to oppress you, called the government–but in defense of your own property and rights.

Second.–It is a service you owe to your country. She has protected you from your birth, given you equal laws, home, schools, churches, and every privilege you have had; now in turn, you are bound to defend her, in this, her hour of peril. It is a debt rightfully due from every man who has enjoyed the privileges of a citizen–lawfully, justly due; and as you would be an honest man in the sight of God and the world, pay that debt, cheerfully and ungrudgingly.

Third.–Keep before you a true idea of what freedom is. Freedom is not to lie down at ease and let the country go to ruin, hoping somebody else will save it; to go about your business, and talk largely of your rights, while you lift not a finger to protect the government which accords to you those rights. Some seem to suppose freedom means enjoying all the advantages of a free people and bearing none of the burdens; they complain that in a time of war, a heavy pressure is brought to bear on them, and call everything not justifiable in time of peace, oppression and injustice. Of course things are done, and power is used, in war, which were not lawful in peace. It is the very price you pay for being a free people. A despot wields the strong arm at all times; he keeps standing armies in times of peace; but a free people do not; ->

hence, when war comes the latter are peculiarly defenseless; the whole burden of creating and maintaining an army comes upon them all at once; then for the first time they feel that their government is not only a benefactor, but a power. Foreign nations, when sneering at our republican institutions, have always said: “Let them be tested by a long war; the people will rebel against authority and the republic crumble into ruins.” We have said in reply: “A republic will stand the test; we have conferred on our government powers to meet such emergencies; we believe our people will submit to rightful authority, and that it is safer to rely on a free, intelligent people, than on standing armies.” Now the hour of trial has come, and the world is watching to see whether a republican is a strong or weak form of government–whether it can sustain itself or not? On you, citizens of these towns and states, it rests to prove to all despots and lovers of despotism, that a free people is willing to submit to the power it has itself created and to uphold the form of government it has chosen. On you it rests to prove to the whole world, that freemen can be trusted, that this reproach can never again be hurled at us.

Fourth.–Drafting is a test of your patriotism. Not of your neighbors, but of yours. Volunteering was the first test; it was responded to nobly, and for a time both government and people supposed it would be enough. But it has not proved so, and now comes a severer test. How will it be met? If you love your country, you will say, “It is right, I will stand in my lot like a man. If I am drafted, I will go like a man, without whining or regretting. I will even, God giving me strength, glory in the opportunity to lay down my life, if need be, for my country and for freedom.” If you do not love your country, you will groan and talk of injustice and oppression; of what it costs you to leave your business and your family, as if it did not cost every other man just as much, and as if the cause was not worth the sacrifice.

Now too it will be proved whether as a nation we are worth saving or not; for if we are not willing to pay the price of liberty, we surely are not worthy of freedom; and a just God will probably leave us to become a bye-word, a hissing and a reproach to all people. But we shall prove ourselves worthy of it, and when drafted, our citizen-soldiers will go forth manfully to meet the foe, and to win victories which shall transmit to coming generations, a country stronger, freer, more united and stable than was bequeathed to us. So we believe–God grant the prediction may prove true!




4 Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
   to digg the dust encloased heare.
   Blese be the man that spares thes stones,
   and curst be he that moves my bones.

5 This is the assault of the 54th Massachusetts and 7th New Hampshire, depicted (save for the absence of similarly-suffering white troops) in the movie “Glory.” The 54th deserves its place in the history books, but they did not make the attack alone.

6 Contrast this with the fact that in the U.S. Navy (whose enlisted ranks were integrated), African American crewmen were accorded equal treatment under military law, received equal food rations, equal clothing allowances, equal medical care, equal pay and bounties; following the war, they would receive equal pensions and have equal access to the system of Soldiers & Sailors Homes set up by the government.

7 Contemporary reports claim 1155 persons were killed in the four-day riots, but the official account indicates a much lower figure of 119 rioters and 180 police. Contrary to the movie “Gangs of New York,” the U.S. Navy did not fire on the city. Gotta love Hollywood. See for more detail. 

8 While it seems the many local militia companies responded very well in the opening days of the war, the lack of a semi-trained body of men from which to draw recruits was a concern for both the Army and the Navy. The latter had expected to rely upon the merchant mariners and fishermen of New England, but the system of bounties paid by the federal, state and local governments for enlistment in the land forces saw most sailors sign up with infantry regiments–leaving the Yankee Navy short-handed. One solution that was attempted was to institute an apprentice school for naval trainees, which lasted but a few short years. 

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