18, 1863

Later from Europe.
Important Speech by Earl Russell.

The Times says Earl Russell’s speech relative to the iron-clads is interpreted as meaning the vessels will be detained even if existing law is in their favor, so that Parliament may be called upon to press measures for the purpose.

Earl Russell has made an important speech on foreign affairs at Blair Gowrie in Scotland. He referred at considerable length to the American question, justifying the Queen of England in recognizing the Confederates as belligerents, and answered some of the imputations brought by the people of the North, particularly the speech of Senator Sumner.

He also replied to the complain of the South, in regard to the recognition of the blockade, and asserted that, although self-interest demanded that England should break it, she preferred the course of honor, as it would have been infamous to break it. He showed that the Government had not sufficient evidence against the Alabama to detain her, and explained the difficulty in the way of such interference with such cases. He drew a line between ordinary vessels equipped for war purposes, and steam rams, which are in themselves formed for acts of offence, and might be used without ever touching the Confederate shore.

He asserted that the Government was ready to do everything that a neutral required; everything that is just to a friendly nation, and such as they would wish done to themselves; but would not yield one jot to the menace of powers. He complimented the Federal Government and Mr. Seward on the fairness with which they discussed the matters of difference, but said there were others, including Senator Sumner, who acted different.

He denounced the efforts of those who sought to make trouble between America and Europe, and with expressions of friendship towards America, asserted that all his efforts would be to maintain peace.

Speaking of Poland, he defended England’s position, and remonstrated with that of Russia, but did not think that England should go to war on the subject.

The Withdrawal of Mr. Mason.

The London Times, referring to the withdrawal of Mr. Mason from England, suggests the grounds which have probably prompted the Government at Richmond to address themselves at last wholly and exclusively to France. The inference is that the withdrawal of Mr. Mason is preliminary to some action on the part of France. Messrs. Slidell and Mason were always associated in men’s minds, and so were also the Cabinets of Paris and London.

As regards American affairs, the pressure in London relying upon a successful appeal to an Anglo-French alliance, has no doubt been considered by the Confederates as a shackle to the South. Two powers so appealed to, it would not be a matter of surprise that one of them should hesitate to decide what course to observe without the other.

Now things have changed. One of the powers has taken a position on the American continent, which actually enables it to confer a favor on the South from the new and distant neutral State–a near neighbor to the unrecognized Confederacy from which Mr. Slidell was sent two years ago–a sort of neutral State ally, with a common antagonism to the Federal Government.

Can it be a wonder that the Confederate politicians desire to free the French Emperor from any shackles that may express his liberty of action. The appeal is to France also as proprietor of the Mexican monarchy, and a bold challenger of Federal supremacy on the American continent.

General News.

New Haven, Conn., Oct. 16.–The Tribune’s special dispatch (of the 8th) from Washington says it is understood here, among persons who are posted, that ten or twelve more Russian vessels of war are expected to arrive at New York, or some other American ports, within a few weeks, and it is believed in well informed quarters that they are not likely to go away soon, but may probably winter in our harbors. There are many theories as to to issue of this movement of the Russian navy, but the general belief is that the Emperor expects to keep up a fleet cruising during the winter months, lest some difficulty with his neighbors might arise, and find him as they found him once before–bound in his own harbor.

Chicago, Oct. 8.–A special dispatch from St. Paul says intelligence is brought by half-breeds to Pembina, that Capt. Fisk’s overland expedition to Idaho has been massacred by the Sioux Indians. Nothing definite is given as to time or locality, except that it was on Big Bend, a tributary of the Missouri. The half-breeds say the Indians display as trophies, guns and other articles known to have belonged to persons connected with the expedition. The special says one hope for this report proving to be untrue is that it may be another version of the attack on a party of miners who came down the Missouri, accounts of which have already been published.


The Attack on the Ironsides and Why it Failed.

The report from Charleston is that an attempt, in the main unsuccessful, has been made to blow up, with some kind of infernal machine, the Federal ship Ironsides. The failure is attributed to two causes–an insufficient amount of powder in the machine, and its being ignited too near the water’s edge. Though the destruction of the vessel was not effected, she may have been seriously damaged.

When the torpedo exploded several feet in front of the Yankee gunboat in the James river, sheathing and planks were torn off and many of her crew thrown overboard. Similar results may very probably have followed the explosion of the machine alongside the Ironsides.

The evening papers contain nothing later from Charleston, Virginia, or other points, save as given above.


River News.

The St. Louis Republican, of the 9th, says:

The river here is stationary, and at 10 o’clock a.m., yesterday, was 3 feet 1¾ inches above low water mark in December, 1860.

There is 4½ feet scant out to Cairo, and 4 feet 4 inches on the shoalest bar below.

The Ohio river is very low from Pittsburg to the mouth, and is falling steadily. There is only a depth of 22 inches in the channel at Pittsburg.

The Illinois river is falling, with 22 inches in the channel from Peoria down to the mouth.

The Upper Mississippi is becoming exceedingly low. There is 3 feet scant in the channel below Keokuk, and the Keokuk and Northern Line packets are beginning to have much trouble from grounding.

The Missouri river is very low and falling from Lexington down, with 3½ feet in the channel above Jefferson and 30 inches scant below.

OCTOBER 19, 1863

From Norfolk.

A friend has kindly furnished us with the following extracts from a private letter written by a highly intelligent lady of Norfolk. The letter bears date some two weeks back, at which time it will be seen the yoke of Yankee tyranny was more galling than ever:

“Tis almost useless to say that we are still groaning under the yoke of bondage almost as bitter as death. You have doubtless heard it over and over again, but you cannot conceive how bitter it is, and may God spare you the sad experience. You have never known what it is to be compelled to smother feelings of rage and indignation which continually well up in your bosom until it seems that your very heart-strings would burst; whenever a friend calls to see you to whisper your feelings, and any news you may have heard from across the lines, as if afraid that the very walls would betray you; if you should get a letter from your darling boy or doting husband, and wanted to communicate the joyful intelligence, to be compelled to act as if you had stolen something and were afraid of being found out; to watch your little ones lest their little tongues should repeat before an enemy some word you may have inadvertently dropped in their presence, and lest, too, they should, true to their childish instincts, express the contempt they feel and inherit from their parents, or sing a few words of some prohibited song breathing devotion to our holy cause and hatred and defiance to its enemies.

“You have never known what it is to go to the house of God and, afraid to utter audibly the dearest wishes of your heart even in prayer to Him; to hear your pastor pray in such a manner that our earthly masters cannot condemn; to feel that his heart is yearning after the dear absent ones of his flock, and he dare not lift up his voice in audible supplication to Almighty God to protect them from the dangers of the battle field, to shield them from the shafts of the enemy, and to return them unharmed to our loving embraces; to be afraid to pray for the success of our holy cause, dearer to our hearts than life itself; and when a day of fasting and prayer or thanksgiving is proclaimed by our beloved President, to meet stealthily and observe it, with perhaps your churches guarded by a squad of armed men lest you should dare attempt such a thing. No, my friend you have never felt all this, and may Almighty God in his mercy spare you such humiliation, such degradation, such slavery. Never before could we appreciate the words ‘worshipping under our own vine and fig tree, with none to molest us or make us afraid.’

“Tell your people as they value every thing that makes life sweet, as they value liberty, sweet liberty, never, never, never to yield to the foe. Talk of reconstruction, they never intend it; they mean subjugation and that alone. Take us as an example. See what we suffer, with even a hope of relief and deliverance–and that is all that keeps us up, and you can imagine what would be our fate if entirely subdued–and that hope gone. What would be your feelings, to sit at your window, depressed in spirits, many wants unsupplied, your body fatigued by unaccustomed labor, your appetites unsatisfied by the kind of food it longs for, your health failing for want of a change of air, and you a prisoner shut in from all the rest of the world, and here comes dashing by a splendid equipage filled with men and women, decorated with all the gilt lace and buttons that their imagination can invent, and seemingly as gay and happy as they could well wish to be. And not only one such equipage–but many constantly passing. First the feeling of envy that would rend your heart, as many a poor person has felt when witnessing the happiness of more favored ones, but a sense of humiliation, of deep, deep wrong and injustice. The bitterest feelings of your heart would be stirred and you would almost wish that some serious accident might happen to mar that heartless gaiety, to turn their laugh into sorrow.

“Knowing the suffering in our community, the depression of our people, none but a heartless and unfeeling enemy could thus trample over a defenseless people. If conquered, all this would be your lot, and this is but a tithe. I have only spoken of mental suffering; it sickens the heart to think of the physical sufferings we have endured, and the darker prospect before us. What is to become of us, God only knows. The only consolation we have is, ‘take no thought for to-morrow–sufficient unto the day is evil thereof.’ We are a wonder to ourselves and could you understand our situation, we would be a wonder to you. You ought to be proud of Norfolk–noble, heroic Norfolk–and for endurance and heroic devotion to principle, she should stand in front of all the other cities of the South. Determined never to be subdued, until dire necessity demands it, our people, men, women, and even children, have stood up under oppression, with a firmness unheard of in modern times. ->

Once in a while a Judas turns up, and again we have to exclaim, as some weak ones give way, ‘et tu, Brute?”, but in a community as large as ours, these things must be expected. The great wonder is, that the instances are so few. Sometimes, under the heavy yoke which is binding us, we grow despondent and wonder when the day of deliverance will dawn, but we do not encourage despondency and grasp at the slightest ray of hope as a drowning man catches at straws.

“No man is allowed to do any kind of business unless he takes out licenses, and to do that he must swear allegiance not only to the U. S. Government, but to the bogus Virginia Government under Pierpoint as Governor, ignoring the act of secession and all fealty to the government at Richmond. Our citizens refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, how much more do they abhor the other. The consequence is, no business has been done by them for nearly a year, and as many have been dependent upon their business for support, you can imagine how many sacrifices they have been compelled to make. ‘Hope on, hope ever,’ is our our motto, and our trust is in Him who listens to the young ravens when they cry.

“One of the most cruel acts is the prohibiting of our physicians to practice unless they take the detested oath as before described. But one yielded, Dr. Granier, and now we must languish and die if the great Physician does not interpose. They at first attended their patients gratuitously, but that was soon forbidden.

“The next cruel act is stopping the circulation of our money. Nothing passes but the U. S. currency, and very few persons have any of that. If we take a ten dollar note down town of the best Virginia bank money, it is difficult to get three dollars currency for it. What is to become of us at that rate?

Now with all these facts before you, and many more which I could mention, do you not think our situation deplorable in the extreme? Tell our friends, particularly our Norfolk boys, if you ever see any of them, they shall never have cause to blush for us. Tell them ever to remember that while they are fighting to deliver us, we are fighting to sustain them, and while prevented from engaging with our enemies in open battle, we are struggling with them in as great a conflict at home. God grant that our example may be blessed and our efforts at last crowned with victory. Our enemies would dishearten us if they could. They tell us constantly of the weakness and almost imbecility of our rulers, the disaffection of our army, and withhold from us if possible every encouraging thought; but despite it all, hope springs up, and we trust, under God, everything to our leaders.–Petersburg Express.1


Great Britain an d the Confederacy.—The banishment from the country of the British consuls indicates increasing differences and asperity between our Government and that of Great Britain. There is hardly a doubt that the British Ministers, relying upon Federal successes and advances before the battle of Chickamauga, and upon Seward’s assurances that the rebellion was about to be speedily put down, have been very arrogant and haughty of late, and, as is the custom of their nation, have availed themselves of the period of our supposed irremediable reverses to brow beat and insult us. We are glad that the President has acted with decision and manliness in this matter, and we trust that for a long time Great Britain will have cause to rue the estrangement which she has forced upon a people who could have done more than all the world besides to minister to her industrial wants and her general prosperity.–Col. Enquirer.


The handsome young lady who recently attended the tables at the Crystal Palace Fair near London, sold choice cigars to her admirers, and obtained an enormous advance on the common price by simply biting off, first, the end to be placed in the smoker’s mouth.


The national or revolutionary government of Poland has found time, amid the din of war, to issue an order prohibiting crinoline. The order led to disgraceful scenes in Warsaw. Boys and men seized ladies wearing crinoline, tore their clothes, and treated them in a most disgraceful manner.


The Baxter Springs Massacre.

Gen. Blunt, in a letter to Captains Tholem and Loring, gives the particulars of the attack on his escort and the massacre that followed, at Baxter Springs, a place sixty-three miles below Fort Scott. We make the following extracts, which place the affair in a somewhat different light from the first reports:

“The escort, Company I, 3d Wisconsin, and Company A, 14th Kansas, consisting of 100 men, behaved disgracefully and stampeded like a drove of frightened cattle. I did not anticipate any difficulty until we got below this point. We arrived near this camp about 12M., and halted on the hill almost in sight of the camp, and not more than four hundred yards distant, to wait for the escort and wagons to close up. The escort came up and dismounted, to wait for the train, which was but a short distance behind. At this time my attention was called to a body of men, about one hundred, advancing in line from the timber of Snow River, on the left, which you will recollect is not more than three or four hundred yards from the road. The left of the line was not more than two hundred yards from Lieutenant Pond’s camp at the Spring. They being nearly all dressed in Federal uniform, I supposed them at first to be Lieut. Pond’s cavalry (two companies) on service. At the same time my suspicions were aroused by some of their movements. I ordered the wagons, which had come up, to the rear, and formed the escort in line, with their carbines unslung, while I advanced alone toward the party fronting us to ascertain if they were rebels.

“I had advanced but a short distance when they opened fire; at the same time firing was heard down in Pond’s camp. Turning around to give the order to the escort to fire, I discovered them all broken up and going over the prairie to the west at full speed. They did not even discharge the loaded carbines they had in their hands, except in a few cases. Had the escort stood their ground, as soldiers should have done, they could have driven the enemy in ten minutes. I endeavored in vain, with the assistance of Major Curtis, to halt and form a portion of them. When the escort stampeded, the enemy, discovering it, rushed on with a yell, followed by another line of about 200 that emerged from the edge of the timber. Being better mounted than our men, they soon closed in on them. The men of the escort were much scattered, and with them it was a run for life. After going a mile I succeeded in halting fifteen men, including Lieut. Pierce, Co. A, 14th Kansas, who has done his duty well and nobly throughout.

“As soon as I got them in line, and commenced advancing on the pursuing enemy, they fled and fell back to the wood, when their whole command (600) formed in line of battle. The balance of the escort that had escaped, were all out of sight in the advance. Major Curtis had been seen to fall from his horse, which had been wounded, and stumbled in crossing a ditch. About one o’clock I sent Lieut. Tappan (who had kept with me all the time), with four men, to Fort Scott, while with the other nine I determined to remain until the fate of those who had fallen could be ascertained, and whether the post at the Spring had been captured, which I much feared was the case. As they fell back to the road, I followed them up over the ground we had come, to look for the wounded, but all, with two or three exceptions (who had escaped accidentally), were killed, shot through the head. All the wounded had been murdered. I kept close to them, and witnessed their plundering the wagons. At one time they made a dash at me, but failed in their purpose. As they moved off on the road leading south, I went down to the Spring and found them all O. K.

“Lieut. Pond of the 3d Wisconsin, and also his command, are entitled to great credit for the manner they repulsed the enemy and defended the post. The colored soldiers fought with great gallantry. All of the wounded were shot through the head, and thus murdered. The band wagon was captured, and all of the boys shot in the same way after they were prisoners.->

The same was the case with the teamsters and Mart, my driver. O’Neill (artist for Frank Leslie) was killed with the band boys. All the office clerks except one were killed; also, my orderly, Ely. Major Henning is with me. But few of the escort who escaped have come in; I suppose they have gone to Fort Scott. The dead are not all buried, but the number will not fall short of seventy-five. The enemy numbered six hundred–Quantrell’s and Coffey’s commands. They are evidently intending to go south of the Arkansas. I have scouts on the trail. Two have just come in and report coming up with them at the crossing of the Neosho river.

“Others are still following them up. Whether they will go directly south on the Fort Gibson road, or cross Grand River to Cowakin Prairie, I cannot determine. When they came in they crossed Spring River, close by Baxter. I have sent messengers to the Arkansas River, and if they succeed in getting through safe, our forces there will be put on the alert and may intercept them. I am now waiting the arrival of troops from Fort Scott. If I get them (which is doubtful, as the 14th Kansas is not armed) I will follow the hounds through the entire Southern confederacy as long as there is a prospect of overtaking them. And I will have it well understood that any man of this command who again breaks from the line and deserts his post, shall be shot on the spot; and there shall be no quarter to the motley bands of murderers . . .

“I was fortunate in escaping, as in my efforts to halt and rally the men I frequently got in the rear and became considerably mixed up with the rebels, who did not fail to pay me their compliments. Revolver bullets flew round my head as thick as hail–but not a scratch. I believe I am not to be killed by a rebel bullet.”–Jas. G. Blunt.


Our Dead at Gettysburg.—Thursday, the 19th of November, has been appointed for the consecration of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, the ceremony having been postponed from the 22d inst. to that day at the suggestion of Hon. Edward Everett, who is to deliver the oration on the occasion. One object of this postponement is that the dead may be interred in the new cemetery before the day of consecration, and the work of removing the bodies will be begun early next week. The committee of the city council, who, in connection with the agent of the State, have charge of the Massachusetts dead, expect to order the removal of the bodies to the new ground in a few days. The relatives of many of the soldiers have signified a wish that the remains of their kindred might rest in the national cemetery; but if there are any who desire that bodies buried on the field shall not be disturbed, they are requested to give early notice of the fact to Alderman H. A. Stevens, the chairman, or Mr. H. T. Rockwell, Clerk of Committees, at the City Hall.


Tobacco for France.
[From the Richmond Examiner, Oct. 10.]

Vicomte de St. Romain has been sent by the French government to ours to negotiate for the exportation of the tobacco bought for France by French agents. The Confederate States government has at last consented to allow the tobacco to leave the country, provided the French government will send its own vessels for it. The latter will send French ships, accompanied by armed convoys. To this the United States government objects in toto. Vicomte de St. Romain is now making his way to New York, to send the result of his mission, through the French Consul, to the Emperor. The French frigates in New York are there on this errand.

OCTOBER 21, 1863


War News.

The Army of the Potomac.–The army of Gen. Meade has retreated to the vicinity of Washington, closely followed by Gen. Lee. The movements of the latter indicated a design to flank Gen. Meade, and to get into his rear; and to head this off, Gen. Meade, on Sunday of last week, evacuated Culpepper and retired across the Rappahannock. Lee followed, and various severe skirmishes ensued between the rear guard of Meade and Lee’s advance, until our forces reached Centreville, four miles on this side of the Bull Run battlefield. On Wednesday a severe and protracted conflict occurred at Bristow’s Station, some ten miles beyond Manassas, between the 2d corps, which was the rear of our forces, and a strong force of the enemy, which resulted in the decided repulse of the latter, with the loss of about 1000 men and five guns. Our forces are between Centreville and Washington; while the enemy hold undisputed sway over the whole country in front and above. It is said that they occupy the river above; and it is conjectured that another invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania may be made. The Richmond papers report that their forces captured much property and many prisoners. They say they took 4000 prisoners and 400o wagons at Bristow Station, 700 men in another skirmish, and 3000 in another. These reports are doubtless exaggerated, although it is probable that our army suffered heavy losses in men and property.

The South.–We get next to nothing from New Orleans in regard to the great Texas expedition. Advices to the 10th report the arrival of the 19th corps at Vermillion river, below Vermillionville, which is some twenty miles west of the Atchafalaya. It was thought there would be no difficulty or delay in crossing, although they had a sharp skirmish. Gen. Banks was with this corps.

Charleston seems to be in no danger of capture. Indeed, operations there seem to have been suspended. A number of the iron-clads have been withdrawn for repairs, and Gen. Gilmore is still erecting batteries for the shelling of the city. The rebels seem to be active. Two serious attempts have been made to destroy the iron frigate Ironsides, one of which came near being successful. They sent a little boat armed with an immense torpedo to explode under her. The scheme was successful, but the Ironsides was too strong, and was not materially damaged. As to the state of affairs there, a Washington dispatch says:

“From what can be ascertained of the real state of affairs at Charleston, the rebels have effectually closed the channel to the city from our fleet, reserving a passage, however, for their own craft, after the manner of a canal with a safety lock against the enemy. The obstructions may be of such a nature as that they cannot be removed by any appliances of our own, or of too formidable a nature to justify any hazardous attempts by our iron-clads to penetrate further into the harbor and within range of the rebel guns. Under these circumstances the best engineering and strategic skill becomes necessary on the part of the commanders of the land and water forces to make a thoroughly successful demonstration on Charleston. Such a result is not considered doubtful, but time is necessarily required for a consummation of the plans.”

The First Secessionist.

The Republican papers are publishing a letter from Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts to the President, which is very decided in urging that the war must be prosecuted until slavery is abolished. Mr. Q. is very bitter against the secessionists–which is explained on the old saying that a renegade is worse than a Turk. Mr. Q. is the first man who ever broached the idea of secession; he was the first secessionist–the father of secession. He was in Congress from 1805 to 1813, and there, on an occasion of great public interest, maintained the right and duty of secession by force of arms–just what the Southern secessionists are now doing. And it is remarkable that for his “treasonable utterances” on that occasion, he was emphatically rebuked by a Southern man, a representative from Mississippi! The following is the historical account of this matter:

At the 3d session of the 11th Congress, in 1811, the dissolution of the Union was spoken of for the first time by a member from the State of Massachusetts, as a possible event of the future. The manner in which this was received by that Congress seemed to indicate that it was looked upon by them almost with sentiments of abhorrence. The circumstances are interesting at this time. The bill to form a Constitution and State Government for the Territory of Orleans, and the admission of such State under the name of Louisiana into the Union, was under consideration.

Mr. Quincy of Massachusetts, in opposition to the bill, said: “I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion, that if this bill passes, the bonds of Union are virtually dissolved; that the States which comprise it are free from their obligations; and that, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.”

Mr. Quincy was here called to order by Mr. Poindexter.

Mr. Quincy repeated and justified the remark he had made, which, to save all misapprehension, he committed to writing. After some little confusion, Mr. Poindexter required the decision of the Speaker, whether it was consistent with the propriety of debate to use such an expression. He said it was radically wrong for any member to use arguments going to dissolve the Government, and tumble this body itself to dust and ashes. It would be found from the gentleman’s statement of his language, that he had declared the right of any portion of the people to separate.

Here we have the origin of Secessionism, which, like other pestilential heresies, owes its paternity to Massachusetts. Here it was proclaimed for the first time in Congress that it was a “right” and a “duty” to break up the Union, and by force if necessary. And the treason thus boldly avowed fifty years ago by a leading Massachusetts federalist, has been entertained ever since by his political associates and followers, and has been avowed on numerous occasions. Yet the man who first broached secession, and the party whose leaders and organs have for years preached disunion and avowed their desire to to get the Southern States out of the union, are now the most loud-mouthed in their devotion to the Union and most earnest in their demands for the extermination of those who are seeking to carry into effect their own doctrines.


Beau Hackett becomes a Valiant Zouave.
[From the Chicago Post.]

Militia companies have always been popular, but never has so much so as since the war broke out. Young men with stay-at-home-and-take-care-of-the-women proclivities are more than ever inclined to join the Home Guards in consequence of increased mortality in the army of the United States, as shown by the newspaper statistics.

With a laudable ambition to support the Government in any and every emergency, I have recently become a member of the War Department myself. I joined the Ellsworth Zouaves, a remnant of what used to be a troupe of acrobats, who distinguished themselves all the way from Chicago to Washington, by turning double somersaults, with muskets in their mouths and bayonets in their hands.

There are no members of the Old Zouave battalion in the new one, but the new ones retains the name of Ellsworth because one of the members has a brother that once saw a picture of Col. Ellsworth’s grandfather. The names of the organizations frequently have a more remote origin than this, and many of them are about as consistent and reasonable as a man claiming relationship to the President of the United States because he was born in Lincolnshire, or supposing he would be Governor if he married a governess, or trying to pass free at a circus as a representative of the press because he is a cheese-maker.

 Was put through a rigid course of examination before I could be made a Zouave, and I say it with feelings of gratification and self-esteem, that I was remarkably well posted in the catechism. My father was a hero of the revolution, having been caught once in a water-wheel, and whirled round rapidly a number of times. Others of the family have also distinguished themselves as military men at different periods, but their deeds of courage are too well known to need repetition.

The following is a copy verbatim et literatim et wordem of most of the questions propounded to me, and the answers thereto, which my intimate acquaintance with the Army Regulations and the Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War enabled me to answer readily and accurately. My interrogator was a little man in Federal blue, with gold leaves on his shoulders. They called him Major, but he looked young enough to be a minor. He led off with–

“How old are you, and what are your qualifications?”

“Twenty-two, and a strong stomach.”

Then I requested him to fire his interrogations singly, which he did:

“What is the first duty to be learned by a soldier?”

“How to draw his rations.”

“What is the most difficult feat for a soldier to perform?”

“Drawing his bounty.”

“If you were in the rear rank of a company during an action, and the man in the front rank should be wounded and disabled, what would you do?”

“I would dispatch myself to the rear for a surgeon immediately. Some men would step forward and take the wounded man’s place, but that is unnatural.”

“If you were commanding skirmishers, and saw cavalry advancing in front and infantry in the rear, which would you meet?”

“Neither; I would mass myself for a bold movement, and shove out sideways.”

“If you were captured, what line of conduct would you pursue?”

“I would treat my captors with the utmost civility.”

“What are the duties of Home Guards?”

“Their duty is to see that they have no duties.”

“What will you take?”

The latter question may have been answered with too much vehemence, and may have impressed listeners with the belief that I am in the habit of jumping at conclusions. Such, however, is not the case.

I am a Zouave; I am a Home Guard. I have been through all the manœuvres, and can right about face; I can also write about any other part of the body. I can do the handsprings, and the tumbling, and lay down and roll-overs, which are done with and without a musket. I have been drilled until the drill has become a bore. I have drilled in all the marches and leaps and vaults, and in the bayonet exercises, and in all the steps–the common step, the quick step, the very quick step, and the double quick step, and the trot and the run; also in slow time and long time, which I never learned from my landlady nor my tailor. I can shoulder arms, and bear arms, and carry arms (if they are not too heavy), and reverse arms, and support arms (ordinarily my arms support me), and I can order arms better than I can pay for them after they are ordered. I can parry in tierce, and I can throw a hand-spring with a sword-bayonet in my hand without breaking the sword-bayonet in more than three pieces, and I can bite off a cartridge without breaking my teeth out.

I have been getting a Major General’s uniform made. There is every opportunity that could be desired for promotion in our corps, where real merit exists, and a Major General of Home Guards is not to be sneeze at. I may have to keep my uniform a few years before I will have occasion to wear it, but a Major General’s toggery is a good thing to have in case of promotion. I trust my friends will give themselves no uneasiness, as I feel sure of ultimate success in the enterprise I have undertaken. I mean to strike the keynote of my campaign soon, and then look out for a sensation in military circles.

I haven’t shaved my upper lip since yesterday afternoon. Tomorrow will be the third day. I mean to grow a mustache that will be an object of admiration and envy. Mustachios are indispensable to the achievement of a Major Generalship. Mustachios are absolutely necessary to the achievement of anything that is useful. I have laid mine out on the plan of the harpist’s in Arleonniker’s (that’s a kind of an abbreviation of Arlington, Kelly, Leon and Donniker’s) opera troupe. Mr. Spaulding nobly ad generously volunteered to sit by as a pattern while my barber took the measure of my face, and he also generously and nobly volunteered to lend me the price of the shave.

I am a Zouave, and I can almost feel that I am a Major General. I am constantly on the alert to detect the faults in our home defences. Two of the first things I shall do on assuming command of the Home Guards here, will be to erect a line of fortifications on Michigan avenue and over the city with a mosquito bar. Our harbor defences are very poor, and will admit of many improvements. I shall also build a fortress at Calumet and erect a drug store at the mouth of Chicago river. In the event of a war between the United States and the Esquimaux, Chicago will, in all likelihood, be one of the first cities attacked by the invading enemy, and every precaution should be taken to be fully prepared for them. Should such attack ever be made by the warlike and bloodthirsty Esquimaux, or any other of the great powers of the earth, and should it be my misfortune to be unable to personally command my forces, (for I have often observed that an invasion is productive of sickness,) I shall take care that my second officer is a man of sufficient capacity to defend the city as ably as I would do myself. Should the worst come to the worst, I stand ready to sacrifice a substitute on the altar of my country.

I am, patriotically and militarily,

Beau Hackett.

, 1863

The News.—There is really nothing further from the Army of the Potomac. Lee was defeated in his purpose of turning Gen. Meade’s flank and getting between him and Washington by the coolness and skill of the latter. In the fight which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday last between some of our divisions and those of the enemy, our troops behaved with great gallantry and bravery, the rebel loss being greater than ours. Lee occupies the old Bull Run battle ground and the road leading to Loudon village to the north of it. In the meantime, a large force of cavalry has been sent to the front from Washington, and Meade will be able to defend himself against any attack, if he does not find himself in force to assail his opponent.

News from Rosecrans’ army to the 15th is encouraging. The rebel batteries on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain had been silenced, and all was quiet. Burnside’s army is said to be doing service, though in what direction is not stated. It was rumored in rebel papers that Jeff Davis was about to take command of Bragg’s army.


Imposition.—Two young men, apparently not over eighteen years of age, came to this city on Friday and enlisted in Capt. Hurlbut’s cavalry company. While loitering about the recruiting office they were requested by an individual who came in, to accompany him to the Provost Marshal’s office for the purpose of obtaining their uniforms, the same person telling them that it would be necessary for them to pass a second examination, and sign a few more papers, to which they readily acceded, and were accordingly accepted as substitutes. Upon objecting to put on an infantry uniform, as they wished to join a cavalry company, they were told it could be changed when they got into camp, and receiving $25 with the assurance that the State would pay them $402 more, they marched to the Station House, ready to take the morning train en route for Long Island. It was not until they related the facts to the officers, that they discovered they had been taken in by a substitute broker, and were destined for the conscript camp. To allay the excitement which was rapidly increasing, the broker agreed to pay the young men a satisfactory sum, who gave up their cavalry scheme and took up with the lot assigned them by “the progress of events.” This is one of many cases in which the ignorant and inexperienced are taken in by sharpers. We give it as a caution to others to be on their guard.


Chaplains Not to be Held as Prisoners of War.—Gen. Meredith has succeeded in effecting the release of all the chaplains of the union army now held as prisoners of war by the rebels. In return, our government has released all rebel chaplains. About 25 were sent to City point a few days ago. This policy, it is understood, will be carried out in the future, and chaplains will not be held as prisoners of war.

Military Drill in Schools.—The expediency of introducing military drill into the  schools of the Commonwealth was referred by the last Legislature to the consideration of the State Board of Education, with instructions to submit a report on the subject to the next Legislature. The subject was informally discussed at the last annual meeting of the Board, and a sub-committee was appointed, of which Gov. Andrew was eh Chairman, to visit Brookline and witness the results of the military drill which had been partially introduced into some of the schools of that town. Last Saturday afternoon was the time appointed for the visit, and an hour or two was spent in the Town Hall, witnessing the evolutions of the “Brookline Rifles,” a company of boys belonging to the High and Grammar Schools of that beautiful town. The company at present numbers only about 50, with a drum corps of 13, all boys, two of whom are but nine years old and belong to the Primary School. They have been accustomed to meet for drill on Saturdays, and at such other times as would not interfere with their school duties. Each one is supplied with a short, light rifle, and they wear a neat, inexpensive uniform. The exhibition was an exceedingly gratifying one, and the rapidity and precision with which every command was executed would have done credit to a veteran corps. The good order that prevailed, and the deference paid to the officers who are all selected from their own number, were marked features. The Captain, Drum Major, and one of the juvenile drummers, are sons of Moses Williams, Esq. The sons of the “rich men” of Brookline are all to be found in the public schools, which, in consequence of the liberal salaries paid, by which the best talent is secured, are their best schools. The exhibition was witnessed by Gov. Andrew and several members of his family, Ex-Gov. Washburn, Rev. James freeman Clark, David mason and A. J. Phipps, Esqs., members of the Board of Education, and the Secretary and Agent of the Board, and several gentlemen and ladies of the town. After the “parade” the Governor made a few remarks of a complimentary character, soon after which the company was dismissed.


Irish Evidence.—In the justice’s court in New Orleans the judge was in a quandary the other day. A coat was in dispute; the parties were Irish, and the evidence was direct and positive for both claimants. After much wrangling, Patrick Power, one of the parties, proposed that he and Timothy Maguire should see whose name was on the coat. Timothy searched in vain and the coat was handed to Pat, who immediately took his knife, opened a corner of the coat, and out dropped two small peas. “There, d’ye see that now?” “Yes, but what of that?” said Timothy. “A deal it has to do with it; it is my name, to be sure–pea for Patrick, and pea for Power!” He got the coat.

OCTOBER 24, 1863


The Ambulance System.

Our citizens can hardly have failed to notice in the papers the agitation of this measure now going on. It is unfortunate that the question has taken so personal a form–having Dr. Bowditch and Senator Wilson at each extreme. No one need doubt that the Senator is a zealous and faithful servant of the people, and the Doctor a zealous, faithful servant of humanity; but the Boston Advertiser has thus pithily summed up the case: “There is enough weight in the statements of either to shake our confidence in the position maintained by the other.”

And if there be a doubt let humanity have the benefit. It is much easier to accept “all’s well,” and go about our pleasures; but if such mismanagement and positive atrocity exist as is claimed, in the ambulance department, we have no right to rest. This is one of the ways in which the people at home are the very body-guard of the army. If Congress has already devised an excellent system, many thanks for it; but it exceeds most human achievements if it is so absolutely good that it cannot be bettered. The system then may well be investigated. Do not let our heroes be twice killed–once by the enemy and after by their neglecting friends.

Latterly, to the favorable statements of Mr. Wilson, have been added those of the Rev. Messrs. Quint and Alvord, also testifying that the ambulance and hospital arrangements are admirable in their departments.

On the other hand is the report of the Sanitary Commission, through that reliable authority, Fred. Law Olmstead, who writes that as late as the July campaign of the Potomac army, the wounded were brought to the railroad faster than they could be taken away and were laid upon the ground, exposed alike to sun and storm, and without any sustenance. Had not the Sanitary Commission gone to the rescue with tents, food and other comforts, it is difficult to see how many could have survived. But during the month from one to two thousand wounded were daily fed by that agency and one to two hundred furnished with beds at night.

Beside, there are the private letters of soldiers who have suffered, and of officers who have seen for themselves–too many to name or quote. Says one surgeon of the Potomac army: “At Gettysburg, I carried off all my men upon muskets and the blankets of unwounded soldiers–I could not get any of the ambulance department near me.” But a Colonel adds: “I would as soon die at once, as ride when wounded in one of the ambulance carriages, driven furiously as they often are, by rough drivers over a corduroy road. I am sure some men must have died in consequence of such treatment.”

In either case it would seem that a wound must be fatal. And yet another states that for one whole night after battle, with the wounded crying to him from every quarter, he could not command a single ambulance, although a row of carriages with their drivers stood idle all the time.

Let the figures of Mr. Wilson be accepted then–“4000 ambulances in the army!”–but let there also be devised some way to make them effective. To this end a petition to Congress is in circulation simply asking that body to pass a law providing for a “uniform Ambulance and Hospital corps that shall not leave them to fall upon the single arm, strong though it be, of the Sanitary Commission.

The President at the Theatre.—I had the pleasure on Monday night of seeing Macbeth rendered upon the stage by Mr. Wallack and Mr. Davenport, and also of seeing Mr. Lincoln present at the time with his little “Tad” (Thaddeus Lincoln) with him. It is Mr. Lincoln’s favorite play, and one could not repress a certain curiosity to know (though he is familiar with them as he is with stump-speaking, doubtless,) how certain passages would strike him. When the following passage between Malcolm and Macduff was pronounced, the audience was suddenly silent as the grave:

Mal. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.

Macd. Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out
Like syllable of dolour.

Mr. Lincoln leaned back in his chair in the shade after this passage was pronounced, and for a long time wore a sad, sober face, as if suddenly his thoughts had wandered from the play-room far away to where his great armies contest with the rebellion a vast empire.–Springfield Repub.


New Call for Troops.—A dispatch from Washington dated 20th inst. says:

An amended circular has been sent out from the provost marshal general’s office, by which it appears that to every recruit who is a veteran volunteer, a bounty and premium amounting to four hundred and two dollars will be paid, and to all other recruits not veterans, three hundred and two dollars. These are for the old organizations. The object is to encourage volunteering, as those who are drafted receive only one hundred dollars bounty. Men enlisted under this order will be permitted to select their own regiments, which however must be one of the old regiments in the field.


Admiral Dahlgren complains that the newspaper correspondents reveal important secrets to the enemy in their letters. Thus the fact that a night expedition had succeeded in reaching and examining the rebel harbor obstructions was made known by a letter writer, whose account was copied into the Charleston papers. This intelligence would of course lead the rebels to make such changes in their obstructions as would render the reconnoissance worthless in its practical results.


Streets Paved with Silver.—The Virginia City (Nevada) Bulletin says it is absolutely no figure of speech to say that the streets of that place are paved with silver, for it is a literal fact that they are. Thousands of tons of rock, which in other countries would pay well to extract the silver from, are used to level and macadamize the streets. Rock that will not pass through the screens at the quartz mills is carried on to the roads, though some of it in any other locality would be considered rich.

1 Contrast this extravagant litany of woe with articles from New Orleans, which was returned to the Union about the same time as Norfolk–and is doing quite well under the “tyranny” of the Yankees. For all this writer’s claims of abuse, they omit mention of whipping or maiming or being set on by dogs for trying to get away . . . 

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