27, 1863

Bella! Horrida Bella!

The Peace Society’s occupation is gone. It is evidently as much a thing of the past as the Saxon Heptarchy, or the Order of the Rosicrucians. The nations will [have] none of their indefatigable babble about the “barbarism of war,” the subordination of physical force to the moral law, “man’s inhumanity to man,” and the like Shibboleth of these ill-appreciated philanthropics. War has become our normal condition. There is not a nation in Christendom that is not engaged in hostilities, or liable to be dragged into them any day. All Europe is in unrest, and though actual hostilities prevail but in a small portion of the continent, the Polish question may yet force some of the principal States into a war of vast proportions.

The savages of New Zealand are raising their puny arms against the “Mistress of the Seas,” and the Japanese have fired upon “the flag that braved a thousand years, the battle and the breeze.” The standard of revolt still flies in the Flowery Kingdom, though with varying fortune. Central and South America are in the throes of chronic revolution, and the so-called Republic of Mexico is now the conquered province of a foreign power. Turn whither we will, we hear the clash of arms, or the dread [clatter] of hostile preparations. But it is in our own beloved land that the horrors of war are realized to an extent never before experienced in any country. It is already an old sad story with us; its tragedies are household themes in every city and hamlet from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Gulf to the Lakes, and we would but awake slumbering sorrows, or excite harrowing anxieties, in dwelling upon its features. How the conflict is regarded abroad, apart from its political bearings, may be judged from the following extract from the London Times:

“It is not even war in modern civilized dimensions; it is war on a barbaric scale. It is ancient war revived. Its carnage, its devastations, its famine, its pestilences, are barbaric. Its battle fields are upon an old plan, in which the slaughter is out of all proportion with the strategy. The engines of war are modern, but the angel of destruction which fires them is the same destroying angel which laid low Assyrian, Chaldean and Persian armies. Milton has given us a picture of ancient war conducted with modern instruments, and has boldly introduced the thunders of field guns into the very earliest fight on record. This war combines the newest military inventions with the oldest type of horror and destruction.”


Launch of a Second Iron Ram at Birkenhead.
[From the Manchester Examiner, August 31.]

One of the two iron steam rams built by Messrs. Laird, at Birkenhead, was launched at their works on Saturday, August 29, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators, who were freely admitted into the yard.

The vessel launch on Saturday was christened the El Monassir, or Victory, her consort, launched a few weeks ago, being named the Toussoun. When launched, both vessels bore the English flag astern and the French flag amidships.

Each are two hundred and thirty feet long, forty-two feet beam and nineteen feet deep. Their measurement is one thousand eight hundred and fifty tons, and their engines are of three hundred and fifty horse power. They are plated with four and a half inch iron on a teak backing of great thickness, bolted on to the frame of the ship, which supports the inner shell.->

 The decks are also iron plated, and the iron bulwarks are hinged at the lower edge, so as to be thrown down in action. Each “ram” is pierced for six guns on each side, and they are fitted on the deck with large cupola towers on Captain Cole’s plan, with two guns to each cupola. The bows project under the water, so as to form a ram. The iron plates are so beautifully planed and fitted that it is almost impossible to tell whether the vessels are plated or not. The cupolas are forward and aft the engine house, and have an extreme range nearly fore and aft of the vessel. Each ram is bark rigged, having the lower masts and yards of iron. The officers and men have accommodation above deck, in the poop and forecastle at each end, and below the deck. When launched, the El Monassir was taken into the four hundred and fifty feet graving dock, alongside of her consort, the El Toussoun, which is expected to be ready for sea in about a month.

Great secrecy has been exercised during the building of the rams; but in spite of this they have long excited the suspicions of the federal officials and sympathizers in this country, and the article in the Times, of Friday last, apropos of the memorial of the Emancipation Society to Lord John Russell, has more recently excited the public curiosity respecting them. It was stated at the launch, on Saturday, that, in spite of all their precautions, the Federals have managed to get spies into Messrs. Laird’s yard, and we shall doubtless soon hear their opinions of these formidable rams.1


Recognition All Around.

The London Herald, of August 31, thinks that the Emperor Napoleon will cause Mexico to acknowledge the Southern Confederacy, and maintain unaltered his ostensible position of a neutral, but states that he will not avoid responsibility by this course. He will increase the debt of resentment America owes him for his persistent efforts to insure the co-operation of the European powers in intervention.

[From the Manchester Guardian, August 31.]

According to La France, an aid-de-camp of the Archduke Maximilian will embark for Mexico on Wednesday, and the same authority says that President Davis has promised to recognize the Mexican monarchy.

[From the Dublin Freeman, September 4.]

A Paris letter of Saturday evening, August 29, says the town is pretty much occupied with the Franco-American difficulty, for, notwithstanding certain assertions to the contrary, it is pretty sure that animated conversations have taken place on the subject of the Monroe doctrine, both between Mercier and Seward and Drouyn de Lhuys and Dayton, and, as if to render still more grave the character of the dispute, to lessen the chance of its entering a pacific channel, come the Mexican proposition that the provisional government of that country should recognize the Southern Confederacy. In fact, there would seem to have become some preconcerted action agreed upon between the governments of Davis and Almonte and his colleagues.


SEPTEMBER 28, 1863

The Yankees on the Pamunkey.

The Yankee hog and Negro stealers made another water raid up the Pamunkey river on Friday morning last, and captured a small pleasure steamer and two pontoons. The steamer is about four tons burthen, and anchored at General Lee’s farm, about ten miles by water above West point, at 9 o’clock on Thursday night, and remained until next morning, when she commenced getting up steam about seven o’clock. Before she got ready to start, two Yankee gunboats turned the point at short distance below, and in less than ten minutes were up with the little steamer, which is called the Ellen Johnson. The owner of the boat attempted to sink her by having the plug taken out, but did not succeed, and the Yankees soon got alongside, coming very rapidly with the flood tide.

The owner, Mr. Dickins, and Captain Dick Brook, made their escape, but the engineer, Captain Smack, of Richmond, remained, strange to say, though urged by the owner to leave, and was soon captured.

They soon landed a vulgar, low-bred, Negro-associating lieutenant and six marines, who sought in vain to find the remainder of the crew, firing shot and shell at random. They sent two Negro sailors ashore to persuade General Lee’s servants to leave with them, but they refused to go and associate with a Yankee race so much their inferior in social position. They told them if they would go, they would make officers, drummers, fifers, &c., of them, but the servants had seen Yankees before, and knew well their base characteristics. They took Mr. Collins, General Lee’s overseer, and for what cause no one can tell, as he had nothing to do with the expedition of the steamer.

The lieutenant was in a bad humor, having heard of General Bragg’s, Magruder’s and Dick Taylor’s late victories. He shot all the geese, ducks, and a large sty hog, and took them on board. They then took their departure, shelling right and left; set fire to a house in New Kent; stopped at West point; arrested James F. New and carried him on board. They next went up the Mattaponi river about ten miles; stopped at Mr. Robinson’s; searched his house; stole a small boat; shelled the country, and returned at night to West Point.

We may look out for the Northern papers to contain General Dix’s official report of a grand naval expedition an the capture of a large Confederate steamer, as he made a flourishing report when they burnt, in January last, one of the same size.


City Intelligence.

Financial and Commercial–Review of the Richmond Market, Saturday, September 26th, 1863.–The market is dull without change in quotations.

Merchandise.–We have some changes to make to-day in our quotations of merchandise. Speculation continues active, and retailers as well as wholesale dealers employ their talents in putting up prices. In the course of a fortnight the produce tax will be payable to the Confederate collectors, and as a large amount of Treasury notes will then be withdrawn from circulation it is believed that the upward tendency of prices will be temporarily checked.

Wheat.–Nine-tenths of the wheat brought to this city are sent to the Government mills to be converted into flour for the army. The remaining tenth is barely sufficient to keep the Gallego Mills in partial operation. It is claimed that the agents of the Commissary Department are bringing wheat from remote and exposed sections of the State. We hope that this may be so, but it is important that the farmers should know how much each one is expected to furnish to the Government, and the remainder he should be allowed to send to market with a guarantee that it will not be impressed on the way or when it arrives. Until some policy like this adopted, the receipts of wheat here will be light.

Latest from the United States.

Baltimore papers of Saturday have been received. They contain only meagre accounts of the battle of Chickamauga, the substance of which we subjoin:

Cincinnati, September 23.–Special dispatches from Chattanooga today fail to get through. Though the news is far from encouraging, people here have confidence that Rosecranz will maintain himself till reinforcements reach him, and that he will then turn the tables on Johnston.

Washington, September 24.–A dispatch from General Rosecranz, dated at his headquarters last night, says: “I cannot be dislodged from my present position.”

Nashville, September 23.–Very little news of an official character is received here, we obtaining all our news from officers directly from the front. It is rumored that we have lost four generals in killed and wounded, and two as prisoners.

Cincinnati, September 24.–Mr. Shanks, correspondent of the New York Herald, has arrived from the battle-field. He says that the official reports of the battle from Washington are in the main totally incorrect; that really the army of the Cumberland has met a defeat which must put it on the defensive for some time to come.

General Rosecranz was falling back on Chattanooga, where he was perfectly safe from all that Bragg could do. His lines of communication were perfectly secure, and he had plenty of ammunition and provisions in Chattanooga to stand a month’s siege.

The result is virtually a defeat, as we have lost tremendously in material–not less than fifty pieces of artillery falling into the enemy’s hands, whilst they lost twenty taken by us.

General Rosecranz is in no danger, but at the time Mr. Shanks left Chattanooga the danger to Burnside was very imminent.

The Washington papers of Friday evening say that dispatches from General Rosecranz to 2 p.m., Thursday, show that he is in an impregnable position; feels entirely safe, and has no doubt about holding out. Rosecranz invites battle in his present position.

From appearances, Bragg’s army is massed in Chattanooga valley before the city.



A Washington telegram, dated the 24th, says that General Meade’s army is undoubtedly advancing towards Gordonsville, and a battle is daily looked for. General Lee’s force is estimated at forty thousand.

Lincoln has removed the blockade of the port of Alexandria, Virginia.

Another Russian frigate had arrived at New York. Five more were expected in the course of a few days. The Baltimore Gazette says, whether they come by accident or for some ulterior purpose, are questions it cannot satisfactorily answer.

Official information has been received at Washington of the detention of the rams at Birkenhead by order of the British Government.

An official paper at St. Petersburg says that the Czar will adhere to his policy in regard to Poland.


The Steam Rams in the Mersey.
[From the London Times, Sept. 16.]

The public will certainly have learnt with some satisfaction that the two iron-clad steamers now approaching completion in the Mersey will not be allowed to leave that river until something more is known of their ownership and destination. As Lord Russell acknowledged a sort time ago the inability of government, in default of evidence, to venture upon this step, we may presume that the grounds for interference have since acquired strength, and, indeed, although notoriety is no warrant for conviction, it was hardly possible to overlook the universal impression, whether justifiable or otherwise, in the case before us. Whatever might be the complicity or the innocence of this party or that, it was everywhere accepted as beyond reasonable doubt that these two vessels were ultimately destined for the service of the Confederate States, and the precedents of the Alabama and the Florida enabled us to conjecture the future stages of their equipment and the uses to which they would be turned. The law of the case is certainly obscure, and its application is perhaps not likely to be facilitated by much clearness in the facts, but the reason of the question can be readily apprehended.

It is not denied that a neutral may sell munitions of war, ships included, to a belligerent. International law deals considerably with neutrals, and limits the extent to which their customary trade may be curtailed in and of belligerents and their operations. It is not our fault that the Americans are fighting each other, and our share in the suffering produced by the war ought to be as light as possible. We, therefore, or any other neutrals, are entitled to pursue our ordinary business in all its branches, provided only that we do not violate the principles of neutrality by refusing to one belligerent what we grant to the other. If the goods in which we deal are contraband of war, they are liable to confiscation, but even that trade, subject to the risk, is perfectly lawful. According to these doctrines, it is undoubtedly competent to any British shipbuilder to build a ship and sell it, as another merchant might sell a battery of field-pieces or a cargo of gunpowder. Even if the ship be manifestly and exclusively designed for purposes of war the transaction is not necessarily unlawful, for the construction of ships of war for foreign States is notoriously a branch of our customary trade. We can thus, without much difficulty, see our way to both the construction and sale of such vessels; but then comes another point of the greatest importance–their delivery.

If a ship of war thus built and disposed of were delivered at the belligerent port, as other munitions of war might be delivered, we do not see that the transaction could be impeached. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that these steam rams in the Mersey were avowedly destined for delivery at Charleston, there to be equipped  and received into the service of the Confederate Government, the obligation of stopping them would then lie with the Federals, who would be entitled to capture a siege train on its way to New York. Under such conditions, there would certainly be no difference between the sale of a steam frigate and the sale of a park of artillery; but such are not the conditions to be assumed. The Alabama was not delivered at a Southern port, nor are we sure, indeed, that she has ever entered one. The Florida has run in and out of Charleston, but she only entered those waters as a ship already in commission, fully manned and fully equipped. Where and how was this equipment effected? If it was not effected–as it certainly was not–in a Confederate port, it must apparently have been effected in or from some neutral port, and that deprives the adventure of its lawfulness. ->

A shipbuilder may not sell a ship ready armed, for that is not a customary trade, and no such sales are effected. But if the purchaser, after receiving the empty hull, goes elsewhere to purchase guns and elsewhere to obtain men and stores, then the transaction in the aggregate amounts to the equipment and dispatch of a hostile expedition from a neutral territory. To put the case clearly, let it be supposed that we ourselves were at war with the Federals, and that our Government, being pressed for ships, ordered the construction of vessels in private yards, as was actually done during the war with Russia. Suppose, also, that in the urgency of our needs guns were purchased from private manufacturers, and stores of all description obtained in like manner. All this would be perfectly natural, but all this, and nothing less, is what probably happened in the case of the Confederate cruisers, though we are not at war, but suppose, with the Federal States. The Confederate Government, or its representatives, did not simply buy ships in this country for transport to a Confederate port. These agents bought ships and guns and stores, and having thus got all the elements of a man-of-war together, sent the vessel to sea on her business fully equipped. But we ourselves could have done no more than this if we had been the belligerents, and consequently our ports or our territory would have been used by a belligerent for purposes of war. When the Alabama commenced her attacks on the enemy’s shipping, from what port had she sailed? That is the important question. It has been answered by the assertion that she never sailed as a fully equipped man-of-war from any port at all; that when she left the Mersey she was unequipped, and therefore innocent; that she borrowed her guns and her men from a Confederate consort at sea, and supplied herself afterwards with stores in a justifiable manner. But would an adventure so planned be lawful in its inception? Would it, for instance, be allowable for a British merchant to build a ship of war for delivery, with all but her guns and stores, to the Alabama or Florida, lying conveniently off to receive her, and ready to put men and guns on board directly? . . .


What is an Abolitionist?—We find the following definition of the term “abolitionist” quoted from the Southern Literary Messenger, a Richmond publication:

“An abolitionist is any man who does not love slavery for its own sake as a Divine institution, who does not worship it as a corner stone of civil liberty, who does not adore it as the only possible social condition on which a permanent Republican Government can be created, and who does not in his inmost soul desire to see it extended and perpetuated over the whole earth as a means of human reformation second in dignity, importance and sacredness to the Christian religion. He who does not love African slavery with this love is an abolitionist.”

Some of our contemporaries in the loyal States, as for instance the Courier, have adopted this definition for some time past with such marked care and precision, that we might almost suspect them of having been furnished with slips in advance from the Messenger office.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1863


What Will Posterity Think of Us?—It cannot be possible that the governing men of the country realize the nature and the magnitude of current events. The do not measure the history they are making. Every American is familiar with the military chronicles of his own country. He has read of Lexington, Bunker Hill, Monmouth, Germantown, Guilford; of Bridgewater, Niagara, and New Orleans; and of Palo Alto, Monterey, Buena Vista and Chapultepec; all these and many more are invested with historic renown as the scenes of the great battles of the country. Yet, what were they? Skirmishes all, which in this war would hardly make a newspaper paragraph.

We are making history by the Napoleonic model now. We are killing men by the thousands and tens of thousands; yet nobody seems to be conscious that anybody is hurt. Mr. Lincoln retells his vulgar jokes and writes Shakespearian criticisms, just as though the whole land were not drenched with the blood and tears of its people on account of his folly and wickedness. The mass of his followers seem to be as insensible to this suffering as he is; and, strangest of all, and most to be deplored, the ministers of the Prince of Peace are most ravenous for human blood!

We do not know that any class of men could stop this war with honor in a day, a week or a month. But the people who are expected to do the fighting have a right to complain that the administration have placed it upon such a basis that it can never end. Just so long as Negro emancipation is made the issue, this war will go on. We can conceive of no stronger impulse to rouse the Southerners to perpetual resistance than Mr. Lincoln has given them. He does not propose to take away their property merely, but he intends to turn loose among them an equal number of barbarians, and compel them to recognize their political and social equality. We do not believe the comparatively cool blood of New England would submit to such degradation.

We think an honorable peace has recently been within our reach; and we are amazed that there is not humility enough in the administration or amongst its friends to resecure such a modification of its policy as to make peace practicable and hopeful. And we are amazed, too, that men of position and influence outside of administration circles, do not at least protest against a policy so disastrous and disgraceful.

Two millions of men in arms; ten thousand slaughtered in single conflict–and conflicts often! Still larger numbers wasting by disease! And all about a few Negroes! And scarce a man on either side prays for peace! What will posterity say of us?–Manchester Union.


Don’t Pay.—The Washington correspondent of the N. Y. Herald last week wrote that the Washington authorities had “come to the conclusion that the draft will not pay.” They were told so before they tried the experiment; but instead of listening to reason, they preferred to sacrifice thousands of lives and spend millions of money in the effort to make it pay. They have miserably failed, and in so doing have verified the old saying–“experience is a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”


The draft in Vermont.—The Burlington Free Press says that less than 1000 men will be got by the draft in Vermont. About 6500 were drafted. While the draft has been in progress in Vermont, with this result, more than 5000 men have been raised in New Jersey by volunteering.

Five Russian steam ships of war, of from 17 to 52 guns each, were in New York harbor last week, and more were looked for. “What’s up?” is the question of the curious. No one knows; but some think the Emperor or Russian anticipates war with France and England, and don’t intend to have his navy shut up and destroyed in his own waters, while others think he is going in to help put down our little rebellion!


The substitutes sent off from here last week proved themselves rather a troublesome set of fellows. On the way to Boston they did considerable damage to the cars, smashing windows, &c., and we learn that three jumped out and escaped. One, James Smith, jumped out in Reading, Mass., and was killed. On the way from Boston to Long Island, an attempt was made to fire the steamer, and several attempted escape.


The Providence Post notices that in the town of Bristol, in Rhode Island, 109 men were drafted; only one of whom enters the ranks and he is a Negro. In Little Compton, where three-fourths of the voters are Republicans, not one of the drafted men enters the service!


If Meade had had the 40,000 men employed in New York and New England in “enforcing the draft,” he could have taken Richmond before this time. All accounts agree that a large portion of Lee’s army was sent to aid Bragg, and that there were left but few troops to defend Richmond. If Meade had had the troops scattered over New York and New England, his army would have been more than twice as large as Lee’s–yes, more than three times as large, and nothing could have prevented his capture of Richmond. But the “Government” preferred to employ its troops in political partisan work–maintaining its party rather than in maintaining the Constitution.


The Statesman welcomes the tyrant’s yoke. It says, “peaceable, well-disposed people can get along under arbitrary power and hardly feel its arm.” Yes, in Russia, Austria and Turkey, “peaceable” people “get along” nicely–all they have to do is submit body, soul and estate to the demands of the Government and its menials. The proclamation “will not touch people who mind their own business” and the Government will not harm you. The people must not meddle with affairs of Government–must not claim the protection of the laws–must not assume to have any rights. All they have and are, belongs to the Government, and whatever of freedom they exercise is a boon graciously granted by the Government! This is the Statesman’s idea, evidently. Shame on such cowardly apologists for tyranny! They are fit subjects for Eastern despots, but unworthy of the freedom which our fathers bequeathed to us.


A Russian War Fleet in New York.

The Tribune says that the Russian steam-frigate Alexander Nevsky, from Cronstadt, via Long Island Sound, fifty days, arrived above Hurl Gate on Thursday morning. She is the flagship of Rear-Admiral Lisovski, is of 800 horse power, and mounts 51 guns. The Russian steam-frigate Presviet, from Cronstadt, via Long Island Sound, fifty-five days, also arrived. The Presviet is of 450 horse power, and mounts 46 guns. The corvette Variag mounting 16 guns, with engines of 360 horse power; the clipper Almas, 9 guns and 300 horse power; the clipper Isoumvoud, of 9 guns and 360 horse power, are expected. The frigate Osliaba, Capt. Boutakoff, is now in port.

The Committee of the New York City Council have decided upon a public reception at the Governor’s room, a visit to the public institutions, and a grand banquet for the entertainment of the Russian naval officers.

The presence of this large fleet excites much comment but the real object of the visit is not yet explained. It is most generally interpreted to be a gentle intimation to the meddlesome European powers who are inclined to put their fingers into Brother Jonathan’s pie, that Russia means at least to see fair play and give a helping hand to an old friend if necessary.

Some British and French men of war have since arrived at New York, so that one of the largest and most varied naval forces ever seen there is now in the harbor.


A Battle Song.—The effect of a stirring song or tune is often electrical. The western armies have one of this character called “The Battle Cry of Freedom,” which is described in one of our exchanges as of most potent effect:

In either Grant’s or Rosecrans’ army it only needs to be started to be caught up from camp to camp, till it spreads for miles over the whole army. By order of a general commanding one division of the army of the Cumberland, the colonel of each regiment is directed to start the “Battle Cry” whenever the army goes into action, and the effect of thousands of voices united upon the chorus:

“The Union forever, hurrah! Boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitors, up with the star,
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom!”

is described as awakening a frenzied enthusiasm perfectly indescribable.

It is evident from its effect that this is one of the few songs not written “to order,” but written because the author could not help it. The great number of thrilling circumstances under which this song has been sung in the army, added to its popularity. When Gen. Blair’s brigade, that led the assault upon Vicksburg last fall, after being hurled again and again upon the enemy’s fortifications only to see each time a ghastly proportion of their numbers go down in death, were at last ordered to retire, the brave fellows closed up their shattered battalions, and came out of the some of that terrible carnage singing:

“Yes, we’ll rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom!”

We are not surprised that the remembrance of that scene drew tears from the officer who described it to us. And when, after months of hardship, assault and battle, these same troops ran up the Stars and Stripes over this same rebel stronghold, Gen. McPherson and staff, on the cupola of the Court-house, fittingly started the same song, and we can imagine with what a will it was sung by Grant’s entire army.

The Battle of Chickamauga.—Some journalists are very busy now in seeking a victim who shall be chargeable with the check of the Union forces in North Georgia. One critic imputes the blame to this General and another to that; one to the Secretary of War and another to the General in Chief–and each, it may be observed, to that individual against whom his own preconceived opinions were most adverse. This is all wrong, and the contrariety of argument proves that there are no sufficient facts known on which to form a proper judgment. Would it not be better to apply all one’s energies towards repairing damages and strengthening the weak points, than to perplex and dishearten the public mind by such mischievous discussions.

From all that appears, the check to Rosecran’s advance was no such disastrous repulse as has been represented in some quarters. That it was a misfortune, and a disappointment to excited and extravagant hopes, may be admitted, without the doleful croakings and gloomy forebodings in which the very sensitive indulge who believe in the infallibility of army correspondents, and all the more strongly the more their romantic accounts are tinged with exaggerated stories of disaster and repulse. That the rebels were bitterly disappointed in the result is evident from the tone of the Richmond papers, which looked for nothing less than the utter rout and dispersion of Rosecrans’s army, and will regard the field as lost unless the Union forces are riven from Chattanooga and East Tennessee.

The Nashville Journal, which is published many of hundreds of miles nearer the scene of operations than we are, takes this view of the situation. On Friday last, when it expected the battle to be still in progress, this paper said: “Should the contest even now cease, it will rank among the greatest battles yet fought in this rebellion. Time alone can develop its results. To the advantage of numbers, the rebels added that of a perfect knowledge of the country, Chattanooga having been to them a centre for nearly two years. These considerations show that the rebel advantages were those of numbers, position, and knowledge of the country. With equal numbers on such a field, the latter advantages would ordinarily give even inferior fighting skill and endurance the victory. We are not of the school to shout ‘A Great Victory!’ will we know all the facts. But, if General Rosecrans has maintained his ground–even with greater loss than the enemy–against the combined genius of half a dozen rebel Generals, and the combination of at least three veteran armies, he has justly earned the reputation of one of the greatest Generals of the age.”

A hopeful spirit should be cherished and the bright side regarded in these troublesome times. There is full enough of gloom and disaster under the best of circumstances, but it is inexcusable to add to the necessary fluctuations of war the imaginary and exaggerated evils of feverish dreams. The cause moves grandly onwards despite all temporary checks.

, 1863

From the Conscript Camp.

Camp Vermont, Long Island.2
September 21, 1863.

To the Editor of the Caledonian:

In my last letter spoke of two deserters being drowned and their bodies brought to their island. They were buried the same day without ceremony, and the next morning the other two were taken by the police on Jeffries point, East Boston. The authorities were informed of the fact and a strong guard was dispatched to escort them to the Island. They were safely secured, and brought to camp and placed in the guard house, where they remained till the next morning, when they were taken to Fort Warren to await a trial by court-martial. They will probably be shot. On Friday last, about 700 conscripts were placed on board the steamer Forest City and started for Portsmouth, Va., where they will remain till they go to regiments to which they are assigned, (the 4th and 5th). Since they left it has been pretty peaceable times, but before there was scarcely a day that there was not some disgraceful affray, originating generally from gambling and drinking, the two scourges of the army. You may calculate the extent to which these vices run when I say that I have known whisky to be sold for $10 per quart a number of times. On Thursday morning a drunken stabbing affair came off among the New Hampshire men. One man won some $36 from the other at a game called poker, and because h would not give up the money he had won, he stabbed the other in the face and abdomen, inflicting severe if not fatal injuries. They were both sent to the lock-up to await trial.

The largest portion of men on the Island are substitutes, mostly foreigners who have come for the bounty, and the result is that a strong picket guard is posted around the Island to keep them within bounds, a regiment from Fort Warren being stationed here for that purpose; and the consequence is that no man can get a pass to leave the Island. Thus honest men have to suffer with the rogues. At Brattleboro the conscripts are all kept in one of the most disgusting places that can be imagined, and a guard stationed at the outside, and every precaution is taken to prevent them from taking “leg bail;” but once in a while one gets the better of them and makes himself scarce. If the Government would promptly punish the deserters when caught there would be less of the business done I think. The crime of desertion is one that should be punished and that to the extent of the law. A man that will willfully desert his country’s flag in this her hour of peril deserves death as much as the felon, for in many instances the presence of those that have deserted on the battle field would have turned the tide of battle in our favor.

An incident occurred the other day that created no little excitement in camp, A gentlemanly appearing man came to the camp holding a large book headed in large capitals “Adams Express Company,” saying he was an agent for that company. He managed to get into his possession a couple thousand dollars, promising to send it to the friends of the soldiers, and was about to leave  when a word happened to drop a headquarters that caused the matter to be investigated, and the man proved to be an arrant humbug. The chap was obliged to disgorge his ill-gotten gains and compelled to quit the Island, which he was probably very glad to do. And such is life.->

The prevailing opinion seems to be that we shall stay here till the next draft is finished and all go out at once. That there will be another draft ere long is evident, as preparations are being made as fast as they can and those men that have displayed their patriotism by paying $300 will have the privilege of trying their luck again.


The Barbarism of Slavery.

The following incident is one worth noting by the collector of facts for future histories of the Great Rebellion: The rebels, on the 30th of June last, passed through Wellsville, York county, Pa., and were greeted with tumultuous sympathy by the copperhead men and women of the town. Three days afterwards, an unarmed Negro was quietly passing along the street, when these same sympathizers raised the cry of “horse thief,” and one of them pursued him with a gun.

The Negro quietly submitted, and was walking along with his captor, when five more men, armed to the teeth, came up, and one of them, named Jeremiah Sphor, deliberately and without a word, shot him. The Negro fell, when Sphor shot him a second time as he lay upon the ground. The party then dragged the still living victim by the heels with a strap into a field, where they proceeded to bury him. Observing that he still lived, one of the tried to cut his throat, but the knife used was too blunt; whereupon a rifle was discharged into his head, and the poor wretch at length ceased to breathe. The body was left upon the ground. A week afterward a coroner’s jury caused the arrest of the murderers, who frankly acknowledged their guilt; but the grand jury ignored the bill against them. The correspondent who sends these particulars states that the prosecutors are Republicans, and the defendants Copperheads. York rejoices in a Democratic majority of 3,000.–Tribune.


The Eagle and the Bear.—The New Yorkers were to give our Russian neighbors a very flattering reception to-day (Thursday). AN item elsewhere gives the information that a fleet of nine Russian vessels are in n. Y. harbor; and from the friendly conduct of the Czar for the past two years we have no reason to think this fleet is on an unfriendly mission. It is fitting that our people should exhibit their gratitude, and show the subjects of Alexander that the conduct of the government and the people, in strong contrast with that of England and France, is appreciated by the loyal people of America.


A teacher of contrabands at Newbern declares the following to be the creed of the Negroes in that vicinity: 1st. They believe in the good Lord who has heard their prayers; 2d, in Abraham Lincoln, who has broken their chains; 3d, In Massachusetts and everything that comes from it.


OCTOBER 3, 1863


Over and Over.

It is curious to observe how in all our campaigns the same movements are repeated. The rebels adhere to their policy of concentration both as to the whole scope of the war and the handling of their troops in each battle; and we still repeat the same mistake of scattering our armies at distant points around the borders of the rebellion, and in each battle offer to the rebels extended and easily penetrated lines, as if to ensure success to their favorite tactics. In the late battles, however, the nature of the country and the lack of time for concentration before the attack was made, compelled Rosecrans to fight at this disadvantage. It was a matter of necessity, not choice; and it enabled the enemy to throw his whole army into confusion, with the exception of the single corps of Gen. Thomas. It is also noticeable that the rebels have been following the strategy marked out for them by Schalk, the German military essayist, not because of his suggestion, probably, but because they saw it to be their true policy. Yet neither in Maryland and Pennsylvania, nor in Georgia, has the policy of concentration vindicated itself by entire success; but it has failed by lack of men and means, and by the indomitable fighting of our inferior forces. The lesson yet to be learned, after all our mistakes of the same sort, is concentration; or if the policy of scattering our forces and conducting important enterprises at so many widely scattered points is to be persisted in, then we want several hundred thousand more men.


Treatment of Our Prisoners by the Rebels.—Surgeon Stone of the Massachusetts 54th writes that he has reliable information that Col. Shaw was not buried in the trenches with the Negro soldiers–which spoils some poetry and considerable indignation. He also says that our wounded and prisoners are well treated at Charleston. He thinks the probability is that Capts. Russell and Simpkins of the 54th were killed at the first assault on Fort Wagner, as they have not been heard from. The president has directed Gen. Gilmore to demand from Gen. Beauregard a list of the officers and men of the 54th colored regiment who were taken prisoners on Morris Island, and a statement of their present status. If the list be furnished, an equal number of rebels of the same rank or higher, who are now in our hands, will be set apart for such treatment as our men receive. It is understood that if Beauregard refuses to furnish the list or pleads ignorance, as he is reported to have done in answer to inquiries on this subject from Commissioner Oudt, our government will presume that the rebels have carried out their threats, and will act accordingly.

Baton Rouge Yankeeized.—A correspondent of the St. Louis Republican, of evident rebel sympathies, writes from Baton Rouge, La.:

“Baton Rouge has degenerated, and is now nothing more than a Yankee village. The greater part of the male population have gone into the rebel ranks, and the females have either departed for the heart of Dixie, or else take their snuff in the seclusion of back parlors where the Yankee entereth not. Yankee cavalry kick up the dust; Yankee idiom is the medium for the interchange of ideas on the street; the roll of Yankee drums has superseded the tinkle of the ubiquitous piano; and the ‘Bonnie Blue Flag,’ which bears but one single star, has given place to ‘John Brown’s Body.’ In walking the streets, you can almost fancy that you hear the sound of the hammers of the shoemakers of Lynn; and the other day, in the course of a prospecting tour to see if there was anything left that I had seen before, I was electrified by coming suddenly upon a sign of ‘Fresh doughnuts for sale.’ Shades of the cavalier and Huguenot! Fresh doughnuts!”3


The President’s Salary.—Somebody is trying to manufacture public opinion for an increase of the president’s salary, by means of an article sent to the newspapers on the subject. We are unwilling to believe that it is inspired at the White House, and coming from any other quarter it is a piece of gratuitous impertinence. The salary of $25,000 must be sufficient for the housekeeping at the White House, and for all the hospitality that can be properly demanded of the chief magistrate and his amiable wife, as well as for an ample supply of fresh millinery, and thus far the president has been too constantly engrossed with his public duties and cares to waste time or money in expensive entertainments. Some of our presidents have saved snug little fortunes out of their salaries, to which there is no objection; but the place should not be made specifically desirable for the salary attached, and if the present salary, with the liberal appropriations made frequently for new furniture and other matters, is enough to support the establishment respectably, it is better to leave the salary as it is. As a matter of curiosity we should like to know the origin of the effort for an increase of the president’s salary, and the motives for it.


The Enlistment of Negroes in Maryland.—The enlistment of slaves in Maryland is being pushed by the war department, and is causing much excitement among the slave-owners. The measure is interpreted as a confession that the confederacy is a success, and that the government is determined to make the border states free states as the only means of holding them in the Union. The slaveholders on the Patuxent and lower Potomac are smuggling their slaves into Virginia in order to avoid the conscription. There begins to be some uneasiness in Kentucky lest the same policy shall be tried there, and there will be more apprehension now that Judge Advocate General Holt has issued an opinion fully sustaining the legality of this conscription. The opinion is dated August 20th, but is just promulgated.

1 An image of El Monassir as HMS Wyvern (she would have become CSS Mississippi) are available from the Navy History and Heritage Command

2 This Long Island is one of the Boston Harbor islands, not the Long Island south of the state of Connecticut.

3 Evidently the South did rise again–with the advent of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in 1937, which opened in North Carolina with a recipe from a New Orleans chef. (Ref.) Was the “electrifying” advent of Yankee doughnuts in nearby Baton Rouge in 1863 a subtle and long-term influence? One of the great unanswered cultural questions of the Civil War . . .

  Having trouble with a word or phrase? Email the transcriptionist.