29, 1863

The Franco-Confederate Rams.

The Paris (Nov. 3) correspondent of the New York Herald writes:

The Minister of Marine has positively withdrawn the authorization to the contractors for the arming of the four ships building at Bordeaux and the two at Nantes for the rebel navy. Four of these ships–two at Bordeaux and two at Nantes–were commenced in April last, the contractors, in demanding the authorization to to arm them, representing that they were intended for trade in the Chinese waters, where armed vessels are necessary for protection against pirates, and with the possible contingency of selling them to the Chinese or Japanese Government. These vessels are not iron-clads, but stout wooden screw steamers, built for speed. They are 243 feet in length, of 400 horse power and 2,000 tons burden, and were intended to carry each twelve 32-pounder guns. The two iron-clads were commenced at Bordeaux in July last, and the contract for the payment of the whole six was guaranteed by M. Erlanger, the contractor for the rebels here in Paris. By some unaccountable means the contracts and all the necessary information relative to the design, progress and objects of these vessels fell into the hands of Mr. Dayton; and upon the proper evidence being presented by him, the French Government promptly withdrew the authorization to arm the vessels. The workmen are still employed upon the vessels themselves.


Coal Can Come.—We are most happy to be able to state that the Secretary of the Treasury announced to Mr. Flanders, when in Washington, that orders would at once be issued removing the restrictions upon the forwarding of coal to this port. The Picayune has of late given much of its space to this subject, knowing its great importance to our restricted and impoverished community. Light and heat are among the necessaries to human existence, and we would not be doing our duty to our fellow sufferers did we not use the lights at our command to secure them the heat their life demands.

While on this topic, we would note that the Cincinnati Commercial, of the 19th, says that though the river is falling at Pittsburg, there is snow on the mountains, and another rain, fairly to be expected, will bring another rise soon. Over half a million bushels had already left Pittsburg and points intermediate for Cincinnati, besides that coming by rail. There is so much demand for this article at pints above that our dealers would do well to make early efforts to secure a good supply by placing no dependence on casual importations.


Burial Caskets as Parlor Ornaments.—An ancient Egyptian custom seems about to be revived in the “modern Athens.” A firm of undertakers in that “hub of the universe” advertise the burial cases as follows:

“A French plate glass covers the casket, and is protected by an outside covering. They can be supplied in a cheap form and plain manner, or in costly and elegant workmanship. There is one in Mount Auburn Cemetery, containing a body which was forwarded from the South, which retained a perfectly natural appearance for some weeks, without the least offensive odor or sign of decomposition whatever. They can be retained in a parlor as an elegant piece of furniture, without the least annoyance whatever.”

Just think of it: a dinner party–a burial casket on the side-board–no offensive odor–everything to match–death-head decanter stoppers-crossbones embossed on the spoons–memento mori on the chair-bottoms, done in crewel!

An English contemporary, in speaking of a newly-invented metallic burial case, says it is fast coming into fashion, and I highly recommended by those who have used it.

The Lake Conspiracy.
A Canadian Version of its Spirit and Intent.

The following is the article from the Montreal Advertiser, of the 13th inst., referred to in a telegram copied into the Picayune yesterday:

The operation intended to effect the liberation of the Confederate offices held prisoners on Johnson’s Island, Lake Erie, having failed, in order to remove the misapprehensions that may be created by Federal accounts of a Canadian plot to burn Western cities, we give below all the facts in which the public is interested, which may, we are assured, be implicitly relied upon.

The Washington Government having refused to continue the exchange of prisoners of war under the cartel, sent the Southern officers accustomed to a tropical climate, to Johnson’s Island, where 2000 of them were confined in wretched quarters, absolutely unfit to house cattle.

In these circumstances the Confederate Government determined to make an attempt to rescue the domed officers, and for this purpose an expedition was fitted out, consisting of thirty-six officers, under the command of one who had distinguished himself in similar dashing enterprises, and three hundred men. The offices embarked at Wilmington in the Confederate steamer Robert E. Lee, and landed at Halifax. The cotton and tobacco brought by the steamer as freight were sold to furnish the funds required, amounting to about $110,000. The men came overland through the State in small parties to the general rendezvous. The intention was to surprise the Federal garrison on Johnson’s Island, liberate the prisoners, convey them to Canada in vessels provided for that purpose, and forward them by Halifax to Nassau or Bermuda; the greater part of the funds being specially devoted to paying their passage to one of these points.

Any further operations on the lakes were left to the discretion of the officer in command, whose orders were stringent and peremptory to avoid a breach of British neutrality, and to take care that even the semblance of international wrong should be prevented. Had Johnson’s Island been taken, it might have formed a basis for other operations against Federal commerce on the lakes; but the real object of the expedition was to rescue two thousand valuable lives from the cruelty which had devoted them to slow but certain death in a climate and situation in the greatest degree inimical to them.


The Virginia Salt Works.—The capacities of the Virginia salt works are about ten thousand bushels per day. There are some forty furnaces in all, operated by States and private individuals; the States of Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina all have furnaces in operation. The water is obtained from four different wells, by means of force-pumps, and is conducted to the furnaces through wooden pipes. It is the strongest salt water of which any knowledge is possessed, being twenty-five per cent, and requiring only twenty-five gallons of water to make a gallon of salt. Of sea water three hundred and fifty gallons are required to give the same yield. Great difficulty is experienced in procuring fuel for boiling the kettles. The wood for miles around has been exhausted, and it now has to be transported a long distance, either by wagons or over the railroad. It is estimated to cost from twenty-four to thirty dollars a cord, delivered at the works. Several furnaces are now idle for want of fuel. The water is boiled in large iron kettles, ranged over fires, and the crystallization is rapid. The main works, with one thousand acres of land attached, are owned by Messrs. Buchanan & Co., who purchased them from Mr. Thomas L. Preston for the sum of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

NOVEMBER 30, 1863

There is a Future.

And in that future we shall achieve our independence. Did you ever hear a revolutionary soldier say that in the year 1776 he had done or sacrificed too much? Many of us have heard the women of the revolution speak of their privations and sufferings. They never spoke of them with regret, but with pride. Did any one ever hear a revolutionary soldier boast that he had made a fortune out of the war? Or his descendant boast that his ancestor did? I know but two men who made fortunes out of the war of 1812. One of them I have heard spoken of a thousand times. I never heard a man speak respectfully of him. The other I knew well for many years, and though he was very wealthy, remarkably intelligent, kind, hospitable and generous, he never took the position to which these things would otherwise have entitled him. I never heard him made the subject of conversation, that somebody did not remark, “he made his fortune out of the war.” In our future every man and his descendants will be willing to tell how much he did and sacrificed for our independence, but you will never hear a man or his descendants boast that he made a fortune out of the war.

Did you ever hear a man of the revolution or his son say that he hired a substitute and stayed at home to speculate and make money out of the necessities of the country? I never did. In our future they will never say it, but thousands will say it for them, and it will hang to them and their children.

Did you ever hear a man of the revolution or his descendants say that he obtained a petty government contract to keep himself out of the army? Never. In our future you will never hear him or his son say it, but thousands will say it for them.

Did you ever hear a man of the revolution or his descendants boast that he had hid out his horse or his provisions to prevent the government from getting them for the army, because the government did not pay as much as he might have gotten from somebody else? Never. And in our future you will never hear a man or his descendants speak of such a thing; but others will speak of it for him. They are spoken of now. Little as I mingle with the world I rarely go up the street that I do not hear some one speak of somebody who has made a fortune out of the government or out of [the] labor of soldiers’ families; no names are called, but all seem to know who is meant; they can tell how much such men had when the war commenced and how many Negroes and plantations they have bought since, and how much they paid for them.

Travelling not long since on the cars, I overheard a parcel of men talking. One of them said, “How is it that four or five old fire eater can get up some little manufactory for the government and keep out of the army, and employ four or five men, and keep them out too?” I did not understand it, but they all seemed to be fully posted.

I have no doubt that all who are obnoxious to such remarks feel it now; they or their descendants will feel it much more forcibly in our future.

We all know the great power and influence of wealth; it can buy position and influence and popularity in the common acceptation of that term, but it cannot buy character, that character which every man covets, that he loves right better than all things else. ->

These things will even pierce through the shield that wealth may throw around him. He may never hear them, or of them, but he will feel them. They will form an atmosphere of character about him which will often act upon him with suffocating influence.

There is many a man living to-day, perhaps congratulating himself upon his money, who will see the day when he would gladly give up all that he has, and ten times as much if he had it, to regain even as much character as he has lost by making it.

In our future people will meet to talk only of what they have done for the cause, and many a son and many a daughter surrounded by wealth will envy those whose fathers have left them no legacy but a life made useful and a death made glorious, in the achievement of our liberty and independence. It behooves us all now so to use our talents and our means that in our future, neither we nor our children shall have to blush for the past.–Jas. N. Bethune.


From the Battle-field.

We continue to get but very little information of a reliable and authentic nature from above, except the main fact that we have been pretty badly whipped by an overwhelming force of the enemy, having been driven from all our positions, both on Lookout mountain and Missionary ridge. Our loss in prisoners and artillery is heavy. In killed and wounded the loss of the enemy is much greater than ours. In fact all parties from above concur in eh statement that the enemy has been most severely punished. We hear some of our regiments on the left spoken of in rather disparaging terms, while on the other hand Gen. Walthall, in particular, is mentioned in terms of the highest praise. It withstood the onslaught of the overwhelming forces of the enemy until well nigh the last man was captured. . .

In this affair the enemy has gained his point–the undisturbed possession of Chattanooga and the railroad to Bridgeport and Nashville. Here he will winter and accumulate supplies for the spring and summer campaigns, unless he can, by some means, be engineered out of the place, of which we have little hope.

Serious apprehensions are now felt for the safety of Gen. Longstreet and his command. The enemy’s cavalry have cut off all railroad and telegraphic communication with Knoxville, and there is some doubt whether his army can subsist long in East Tennessee, unaided by supplies from  this quarter. We have literally nothing from Knoxville, except unreliable and conflicting rumors. We continue, however, to hope for the best, and are [of the] opinion that the enemy has been too badly punished at Chattanooga to permit a demonstration for the relief of Burnside from that quarter.–Atlanta Appeal.



The Escape of John Morgan.

Philadelphia, Monday, Nov. 30.

A special dispatch to the Evening Bulletin says:

Cincinnati, Nov. 30.–The six rebel officers who escaped from the Penitentiary at Columbus with John Morgan were: Captains Bennett, Sheldon, Haines, Hacksmith and Magee. John Morgan, on retiring, arranged with his brother Dick to exchange cells, from the top one to the lower one on the first floor. The lower cell is two and a half inches thick, in which a hole was cut running to the main walls around the Penitentiary. This wall was cut under, and the party escaped into the open country.

The night was dark, and a heavy rain was falling at the time. Not the slightest clue has been discovered of their whereabouts or the route they have taken. The Governor has telegraphed to all the military committees of the state to arouse their several counties, and Col. Parrott, the Provost Marshal General of the state, has notified every provost marshal within his jurisdiction to scour their several districts thoroughly to recapture the rebels. The most plausible theory mentioned is that they escaped in time to take the Cincinnati train via Dayton, which started from Columbus at two o’clock on Saturday morning. That their escape was connived at by sympathizers, there is little doubt.

The manner of escape was ingenious, but, after all, it was simple enough when based upon the almost certain theory that they were correctly informed as to the ground they had to work through. They, by patient labor for nearly four weeks, by means of small pocket knives, dug through the floors of their cells, composed of about one foot of stone and bricks, down into a four foot sewer. Two weeks ago one of the escaped prisoners asked of the guard for a few boards to cover the bottom of the cells, giving as an excuse, that the damp stone was injuring their health. The unsuspicious guard granted their request. The boards were used to cover the holes they were cutting. On the night of their final escape, on retiring to their several cells, Dick Morgan managed to change with his brother John from the upper to the lower tier. After getting into the sewer, they crawled to the heavy grating and masonry at the its mouth, and found they could not escape by that route. They however made a hole upward to a heavy pile of coal, which rolled in on them to such an extent that they were forced to go further back into the yard. They then excavated the soft earth clear under the main wall, and so correctly was the distance calculated that they came out into the open road one foot from the foundation.

One of the party, Capt. Haines, was by trade a brick mason, and seems to have had the management of the whole affair. A note signed by that worthy, written in a fine commercial hand, was left behind. It reads as follows:

Castle Merion, Cell Number 20,
Nov. 27th, 1863.

To Capt. Merion, Warden of the Penitentiary,

Commencement Nov. 4th, 1863; conclusion Nov. 20th, 1863.

Number of hours of labor per day, three tools, two small knives– La patience est amère, mais son fruit est doux. [Translation–Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.] By order of my six honorable confederates.

T. Henry Haines, Capt., C. S. A.

Public opinion is divided as to where the blame really rests. It is proper to state, however, that for the last two weeks, several of the most prominent Copperheads of the State have been putting up at the principal hotels and laying their heads together without any visible reason therefor.


Condition of Vicksburg.—The city of Vicksburg has been greatly improved under federal rule. It has been cleaned of its accumulated garbage and filth, the barricades of earth have been removed from the streets, numerous stores have recently been reopened, and, though little business is yet transacted, it is hoped the embargo upon trade may soon be removed, and then there will be great activity. Many churches and schools are again opened, and the peaceful pursuits of trade and traffic are gradually gaining ground.

The Advance of the Army of the Potomac.

The distinguished travellers known as the Army of the Potomac have set out again for a visit to Richmond, or any other point that will be found most convenient. It has never started on one of its numerous journeys in better spirits and more determined courage. The Western victories have acted like an excellent tonic, and it goes forward with a good degree of assurance that the final struggle between it and its old antagonist is about to be entered upon. General Meade, thus far, has proved himself more nearly a match for his crafty antagonist than any one who has thus far had the honor or dishonor to lead that unfortunate army.

On Thursday morning the whole army moved from Germania and Culpepper and formed in line of battle, extending in a semi-circle, and facing the southwest toward Orange Court House. The rebel Hill’s corps advanced upon our centre, but nothing more than a skirmish ensued. Our cavalry on the left attacked the rebel cavalry, and a severe fight ensued, in which ours was driven back on the 5th corps, and the rebels were then repulsed. The various contests of the day, which were nothing more than brisk skirmishes, resulted in the enemy’s falling back two miles towards Orange Court House.

On Friday our cavalry advanced to a short distance north of the battle-ground called the Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, where Hooker fought last May. Our centre had advanced in this time so as to straighten somewhat the curve that had formed the line on the previous day. On our right, a severe contest ensued between part of the 3d corps and Ewell’s, now Early’s, rebel corps, and were repulsed with a loss of 500, but the rebels were afterwards driven back with a loss of 900 prisoners.

Up to Saturday noon, which is the last we have heard of the army, there had been skirmishing and the enemy were being gradually driven back towards Orange Court House. Later reports are encouraging but indefinite.

General Meade, it is asserted, was able to deceive Lee so that he crossed the Rapidan without opposition, and rendered Lee’s extensive earthworks entirely useless. General Meade has taken with him forage and subsistence enough to last to the 10th of December, and Lee must defeat him in order to get at his supplies. Meade having abandoned all communication with Washington, and having been left entirely to his own discretion to strike the blow that he may deem the most fatal to the rebels, he has nothing to impede him in any way from showing what manner of man he is. If the report be true that he has cut Lee’s communication with Richmond, it will task the abilities of both these Generals to the utmost, and we shall probably witness the best display of generalship of which each is capable. The plan of counting in the safety of Washington as an element of the struggle has been abandoned. If Meade should be defeated, Lee will be in no condition to follow him up. It is also hinted that Meade will, if he finds it impossible to get a fight out of Lee, march for the James river, and make that his base. We may expect the most interesting intelligence from this new, daring, and thus far generally successful movement.


When the telegram from Cumberland Gap reached Mr. Lincoln that “firing was heard in the direction of Knoxville,” he remarked that he was “glad of it.” Some person present who had the perils of Burnside’s position uppermost in his mind, could not see why Mr. Lincoln should be “glad of it,” and so expressed himself. “Why, you see,” responded the president, “it reminds me of Mistress Sallie Ward, a neighbor of mine, who had a very large family. Occasionally one of her numerous progeny would be heard crying in some out-of-the-way place, upon which Mistress Sallie would exclaim, ‘there’s one of my children that isn’t dead yet.’ ”


DECEMBER 2, 1863


The Fighting on Monday.
We Find the Enemy Too Strongly Posted and Operations Cease.

New York, Dec. 2.

The Tribune’s army correspondent says one of the rebel prisoners captured during the battle stated that the enemy knew several days previously the exact time at which our army would cross the Rapidan. . .

Another correspondent of the Tribune . . . says:

The morning is cloudy and cold, with a raw east wind. Our forces are again changing position to meet the wiles of our adversary.

Our engineers were out under cover of the darkness last night, and constructed bridges over Mile Run brook, and our artillery protects them now.

The enemy have also constructed a considerable line of earthworks and have seven heavy guns in position in full view. Thus stand matters up to 10 and 12 o’clock.

The Fifth Corps, which was the reserve of yesterday, has moved out to the front and taken the place of the Second, while Gen. Warren has swung around to the left, to execute one of those important movements where his well known sagacity and dashing bravery will be put to one of the severest tests.

Owing to the marshy ravine and mire and running stream at the base of the Long Ridge, occupied by the enemy, their position is one of unusual strength, and as is their wont, they have improved every moment in throwing up earthworks along the entire crest.

Considerable picket firing has been kept up on both sides this morning, and more or less random shooting through the night, but the artillery has thus far remained quiet.

The enemy has reserved its artillery ammunition throughout, scarcely deigning to reply to any of the many compliments of the kind thus far.

It is noon, and the present expectation is that the battle will open about 3 o’clock this afternoon.

When the messenger with the above left the front Sunday afternoon, a flank movement was being executed by 2d corps, Gen. Warren, which would, it was thought, bring on a general engagement on Monday. Yesterday morning heavy firing was heard, continuing until after he reached Rappahannock Station. From passengers by the train from Rappahannock Station, we learn that the firing continued during the greater part of the forenoon of Monday.

A dispatch bearer from Gen. Meade is understood to have come in on the train with dispatches to the War Department.

New York, Dec. 2.

The Herald’s Potomac Army dispatches state this (Monday) morning at 8 o’clock the battle opened along our entire front, the enemy replying only from a few pieces for an hour.

The artillery practice was incessant and heavy. Then came a lull which lasted until 1 o’clock, our infantry in the meantime preparing for a grand assault along the whole line, but now comes a report that Warren has found the enemy too strongly posted in his front, and Gen. Meade has gone to the left. In the meantime, operations have ceased at the centre and right. At this time I do not think we shall fight to-day.

Another Herald correspondent who left the Army of the Potomac at 3 p.m. on Monday, says:

Just before leaving the field, which is a good forty miles from Rappahannock Station, I rode over our whole front line of battle. Everything was in readiness for the assault, and I have but little doubt that our forces now occupy or have occupied the enemy’s works on Mine Run. ->

My impression is that he had left the night before in the direction of Gordonsville, leaving only force enough to make a show in our front. Lee has cunning enough to see that the longer he can employ us before giving battle, the weaker we must become in numbers and supplies.

When I left an assault had been ordered to be made on their works by infantry.

The cannonading commenced before I left, and continued some time, without any reply from the enemy, and finally ceased entirely before I reached Ely’s Ford. It has not been heard since, and my conclusion is that we occupied their works without much opposition.

The Herald’s Washington dispatch states: If as reported to-day, Gen. Meade has fallen back upon Fredericksburg, as is least probable, the campaign in Virginia must be closed with the recent movements there.

Special dispatch to the World, Dec. 1:

We have advices by special messenger to an early hour this morning from the Army of the Potomac. There was considerable skirmishing yesterday, as usual, but no general engagement was opened; Meade was not attacking, while Lee seems to remain entirely on the defensive. It is evident that the former is awaiting developments elsewhere.

The rebel lines are several miles in front of Orange Court House, directly to the east of that place, and along the banks of Mill Creek and North Mine Run, which is several miles this side near Fredericksburg.


A Ghost on Board the Great Eastern.—On the 11th, Captain W. Paton, while addressing the members of the Mercantile Marine Association, in reference to the plan for repairing the big ships, mentioned a singular occurrence which took place in New York. An impression got abroad that the ship was haunted, the alleged ghost being no other than the impersonation of an unfortunate riveter; he was missed from the ship and never came for his wages, the supposition being that he had been riveted up in some part of the vessel. So firmly impressed were some of the men with this idea, that they left the ship in consequence. They affirmed that they had heard their departed friend busily engaged in riveting in the middle of the night.

The story was believed by many persons in New York, and on one occasion while the ship was under repair, a diver signalled to be drawn up. He appeared pale with fright, and declared the ghost of the riveter was busy in the bottom of the ship; in fact, that he had begun riveting immediately over his head. Such was the consternation among the divers that that they called in the aid of one of the spirit mediums, who are somewhat numerous in the city of New York. The medium came on board the ship, and after an examination, declared that the missing man was there both “in body and spirit.” Fortunately, he (Captain Paton) [by] pure accident, was enabled to dispel the illusion. Being in a boat near the bows of the ship, he discovered that a swivel connected with the moorings worked to and fro, the movement causing a chink or vibration which at times, more especially at night, was heard throughout the vessel. It was this sound which had conjured up, in connection with the supposed fate of the unfortunate riveter, the phantom whose mysterious doings spread such consternation on board the bog ship.–Liverpool Times, Nov. 14.


A Regiment of Woodsawyers.—The Dayton (Ohio) Journal says:

“To the boys of Miami City across the river, belongs the credit of first conceiving and carrying out the idea of organizing into companies for the purpose of sawing wood for soldiers’ families in the vicinity. Two companies were formed there, and thereupon the boys on this side of the river began operation in good earnest; the four hundred cords of wood brought in here for the soldiers’ families by the loyal people of Old Montgomery, on the 7th instant, giving them an extensive opening for operations. Since last Monday, the 9th instant, all over the city the nights have resounded with the screeching of saws, the clatter of axes, and the cheering of boys at their work of preparing for the families of soldiers in every part of the city. Our readers at a distance must understand that these youngsters are not half-grown men, but boys from six to fifteen years of age. Not old enough to battle for their country, they are doing the next best thing they can–making those as comfortable as possible whom the soldiers in the field have left at home.”


Hard on Bragg.—The following bit of satire is credited to a Southern paper:

“After the battle of Chickamauga, a soldier who had been within the enemy’s lines and escaped was carried before Gen. Bragg and questioned in relation to what he saw. He said the rout was complete and the enemy in full retreat when he left. The General asked him if he knew what a retreat was. He looked at the General with surprise, and said, ‘Why, General, haven’t I been with you in your whole campaign?’ ”


Lieut. Alden tells a good anecdote, as published in the Gardiner Journal, of one of the prisoners who was taken at Chickamauga. Johnny Reb was looking at one of our guns, and remarked that he “didn’t think that the Yanks would use them big guns much longer.” “Why not?” inquired the Feds. “Because,” said he, “the Confederacy is getting to narrow that you’ll fire clear over it and hit your men on the other side.”


A Deserter’s Confession.—A Chattanooga correspondent of the Philadelphia Press writes to that paper as follows:

“What are you people fighting for? I inquired of one of twelve rebel deserters who came into our lines to-day. I could never get to know exactly, said he, but some of our officers tell us we are fighting for liberty. Beautiful sentiment, thought I, but what a fatal delusion! Pretty theory, and attractive. Pray tell me, said I, how much of this liberty you have secured for yourself, personally, and what is the nature of it? Liberty, said he, to enter the army or be shot in my own house; liberty to leave my family to starve for the necessaries of life; liberty to fight against my own countrymen, and peril my life to gratify a few slaveholders who are leading us to destruction. I am sick of it, said he, and have deserted, and thousands more would do so if the opportunity. And the eleven who were with him said, Amen.”

A Madman’s Hunt.—An Englishman of fortune visited a lunatic asylum, where the treatment consisted chiefly in forcing the patients to stand in tubs of cold water–those whose cases were graver, up to the middle; while persons very seriously ill were immersed up to the neck. The visitor entered into conversation with one of the patients, who appeared to have some curiosity to know how the stranger passed his time out of doors.

“I have horses and greyhounds for coursing,” said the latter, in reply to the other’s questions.

“Ah! they are very expensive.”

“Yes, they cost me a great deal of money in the year, but they are the best of their kind.”

“Have you anything more?”

“Yes, I have a pack of hounds for hunting the fox.”

“And they cost a great deal, too?”

“A very great deal. I have birds for hawking.”

“I see; birds for hunting birds. And these swell up the expense, I dare say?”

“You may say that, for they are not common in this country. And then, I sometimes g out alone with my gun, accompanied by a setter and retriever.”

“And these are expensive, too?”

“Of course. After all, it is not in the animals themselves that run away with the money–there must be men, you know, to feed and look after them, houses to lodge them–in short, the whole sporting establishment.”

“I see, I see. You have horses, hounds, setters, retrievers, hawks, men–and all for the capture of foxes and birds. What enormous revenue they must cost you. Now, what I want to know is this–what return do they pay? What does you year’s sporting produce?”

“Why, we kill a fox now and then–only they are getting rather scarce hereabouts–and we seldom bag more than fifty brace of birds each season.”

“Hark!” said the lunatic, looking anxiously around him. “My friend (in an earnest whisper) there is a gate behind you; take my advice and get out of this while you are safe. Don’t let the doctor get his eyes upon you. He ducks us to some purpose, but as sure as you are a living man, he will drown you!”

The gentleman looked serious as he passed on. Perhaps he thought that he was as mad as the inmates of the asylum.


The Chicago Tribune says that Mr. Hoes, a public-spirited jeweller of that city, offered a prize of a $50 gold watch to the largest contributor to the great Sanitary Fair. It turns out that President Lincoln was the largest contributor, his Proclamation having brought $3000 for the benefit of the Fair. Accordingly, Mr. Hoes has decided that the prize belongs to the President, and sent on the watch–but not a $50 watch, but a magnificent one worth $150, with this inscription upon it: “Presented to Abraham Lincoln as a memorial from the Northwestern Sanitary Fair, in consideration of his being the largest contributor to that enterprise.” A letter accompanies it, explaining the matter.1

, 1863

The Starving Prisoners–Who Prevents Exchanges.

Several of our surgeons, just sent home from Richmond, have addressed to the War Department a formal statement as to the treatment of our prisoners at Richmond. It confirms previous accounts, and adds to them. The surgeons say:

“We enjoyed several months daily access to the hospitals where our sick and wounded among our Union soldiers received treatment. As the result of our observations, we hereby declare our belief that since the battle of Chickamauga, the number of deaths per diem has averaged fully fifty. The prevailing diseases are diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid pneumonia. Of late the percentage of deaths has greatly increased–the result of causes which have been long at work, such as insufficient food, clothing and shelter, combined with that of depression of spirits brought on so often by long confinement. It may seem almost incredible, when we affirm of our personal knowledge that in the three hospitals for Union soldiers, the average mortality is near 40 per day, and upon the most reliable testimony we are forced to believe that the deaths in the tobacco factories and upon the island will raise the total mortality among all the Union prisoners to 50 per day, or 1500 monthly. The extremely reduced condition of those brought from the island argues that hundreds quite sick are left behind, who with us would be considered fit subject for hospital treatment. Such, too, is the fact as invariably stated by scores we have conversed with from that camp.

“The first demand of the poor creatures from the island was always for something to eat. Self respect gone, hope and ambition gone, half clad, and covered with vermin and filth, many of them too often beyond all reach of medical skill. In one instance the ambulance driver brought sixteen to hospital, and during the night seven of them died. Again, eighteen were brought in, and eleven of them died within 24 hours. At one time fourteen were admitted, and in a single day ten of them died. Judging from what we ourselves have seen, we do not hesitate to say that, under a treatment of systematic abuse, neglect and semi-starvation, the number who are becoming permanently broken down in their constitutions must be reckoned by the thousands. We leave it for others to say what is demanded by the state of things.

“The confederate daily papers in general terms acknowledge the truth of all we have affirmed, but usually close their abusive editorials by declaring that even such treatment is better than the invading Yankees deserve. The Examiner, in a recent article, begrudged even the little food the prisoners did receive, and the boxes sent us from home, and closed by eulogizing the system of semi-starvation and exposure, as well calculated to dispose of us. All this is true and yet cold weather has hardly commenced. We are horrified when we picture the wholesale misery and death that will come with the biting frosts of winter. Recently several hundred prisoners per day were being moved to Danville. In two instances we were standing in view of them as their ranks filed past. It was a sad sight to see the attenuated features and pallid faces of en a few months since robust and vigorous in health. Numbers were without health–numbers without shoes–nearly all without blankets or overcoats–and not a man did we see who was well and fully clad. But to the credit of the prisoners in Richmond, of all ranks, be it recorded, that all along they have shown heroic fortitude under suffering, and spurning the idea that their government had forgotten them, they have held fast their confidence in the final and speedy success of our cause.” ->

A statement, evidently prompted at the war office, comes from Washington, to the effect that commissioner Meredith proposed to the rebel commissioner an exchange of 12,000 on each side, and the offer was declined. This seems incredible, as the rebel authorities have all along shown a great desire to get possession of their own men. The New York Herald has a very different story, told by a gentleman who lately went to City Point on a flag of truce steamer, by consent of President Lincoln, in charge of supplies for the prisoners from his State. He met the rebel commissioner Ould, who assured him that the confederates were ready to exchange man for man as soon as our government would consent. The gentleman saw Gen. Butler on his return from Fortress Monroe, and told him how the matter stood, and Gen. Butler is now attempting to get Secretary Stanton’s ukase against exchanges withdrawn. As we now hold twice as many prisoners as the rebels, there will be enough left in our hands, after all our white soldiers are saved from starvation, to answer all purposes of retaliation in case of ill treatment to our Negro soldiers or a persistent refusal to exchange them. It is hoped that Gen. Butler has taken the matter in hand and will succeed in obtaining a renewal of exchanges; and this is not only for the sake of thousands of our men dying in rebel prisons, at the frightful rate of fifty per day, but in order to remove one of the chief obstacles to volunteering; for more than wounds and death by battle do all men dread the horrors of torture and lingering death by starvation. It is a matter in every view of the first importance, and the President cannot too soon interfere for the correction of the ruinous policy of his war secretary.


Gen. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, with his veteran army, has achieved a great victory. Bragg and his army are defeated and routed. Routed because the success was followed up by the Union army. After defeating the rebel hordes at Chattanooga, Gen. Grant did not consider the victory complete, and sit down to make an official report and recruit his army; but although he had taken four or five thousand prisoners and forty pieces of artillery, and was enabled to telegraph the War Department, “I believe I am not premature in announcing a complete victory,” he also added, “We will pursue the enemy in the morning.” He did pursue the enemy in the morning. He did what no other commander has done in this war–follow up a success! All honor to the brave heroes of Chattanooga. They have now accomplished what Gen. Rosecrans would had he been reinforced before the disastrous fight of Chickamauga.

DECEMBER 5, 1863


General Meade’s Retrograde Movement.
The Army Short of Supplies.

The public need not be surprised when the announcement is made that the Army of the Potomac, which set out six days ago, full of high hopes, and with every promise of success, is back again upon its old camping ground, worn, tired and weary. My last dispatch was sent on Monday night last, from the field south of the Rapidan, and I hoped then that my next would be written at Orange Court House, or at least as far away as the west bank of Mine River. I believed then that Gen. Meade’s plans and combinations could not be other than successful; and the reasons for that faith you will see when you read the story. All day on Saturday and Sunday Gen. Meade and his corps commanders were engaged in devising means to oust the enemy from his position on the western slope of Mine River. It had been demonstrated that he was too strongly posted to warrant us in making a direct assault upon his works, even though we should outnumber him two to one. Let me describe his position. Mine River is a stream of perhaps ten feet in width, but very shallow, if we judge by the depth of clear water, but very deep when we count in the mud at its bottom. At its sides, extending several rods back, is a low marsh, miry and reed-grown. From the edges of the marsh the land rises gradually to a height of perhaps a hundred feet. A half mile back from either shore these slopes are open, and in many places cultivated patches of young pines dot the slopes, and extend back to the dense woods which crown the summits of the hills. The run rises somewhere south of the old plank road, and flows lazily northward to the river, in nearly a straight line. The enemy had fortified the western slope by a strong earthwork at its summit, in front of which felled trees and shrubbery and brush formed an impenetrable abattis; they had also dug a succession of pits half way up the slope, within easy musket range of the creek, and another series of the same style of defences at the commencement of the abattis. His line of defences extended from Clark’s Mountain, south of the plank road, to the mouth of the stream, and was fully supported by artillery, and was, in fact, said by military men to be a stronger position than he held at Fredericksburg.

Our own artillery was planted upon the side of the eastern slope, a few rods down from the edge of the timber, while our infantry were covered from view by the thick wood. In order to successfully operate upon the enemy with infantry, it became necessary to bridge that stream and morass in several places–a work you will imagine to be both difficult and dangerous. It was done, however, by the first divisions of the 1st and 3d corps, respectively. Darkness found us, on Sunday night, in the following position: The Second corps was on the extreme left, in the vicinity of Clark’s Mountain, reinforced by one division of the Sixth corps. Gen. Warren was to have attacked and turned the enemy’s right wing at three o’clock in the afternoon. ->

The Fifth and Sixth, under Sykes and Sedgwick, were, at the same time, to attack his left, while the Third and First were to make a demonstration upon his centre. The reserves of the artillery had all been brought forward and positioned ready for action; but, for some reason, Gen. Warren failed to connect, and night slipped in upon us, all drawn up in line of battle. That night a change was made in the programme. Gen. Warren did not deem his force adequate to the task of turning the enemy’s right, so he was still further reinforced by two divisions of the Third corps, under Gens. Carr and Prince, while Birney, with his division of the same corps, was to support the artillery.

Eight o’clock on Monday morning was then set as the hour for the great battle to open, and we retired to our ground beds to rest and dream. The night of Sunday was the coldest we have yet experienced. Ice formed in the streams an inch in thickness, and several of our men froze their limbs, and one or two lost their lives while doing duty as pickets. At eight o’clock on Monday the artillery began to play upon the enemy, and for an hour, I think, the firing was as constant and heavy as I ever witness; but the infantry did not make any demonstrations whatever, and, after making a great deal of noise and wasting a large amount of ammunition, the artillery was silenced by an order from general headquarters. Nothing further was done during the day, except to study strategy; and that study resulted in demonstrating that the wisest plan to advance would be to go back to the line of the Rappahannock and take a fresh start. Accordingly, yesterday morning we commenced moving back cross the river, and at night we crossed in safety, having succeeded in losing about 1000 men killed, wounded and missing, and generating a very unkind feeling in the breasts of the rank and file towards those in position who had promised them so much and yielded them so little. That there was a great blunder made by somebody, somewhere, is apparent; but it is not for me to fix it. The public must wait until a court of inquiry settles the matter.


The Cincinnati Commercial, speculating upon the possibility of Gen. Grant’s following up his recent advantages over the rebel army,  says:

“The great difficulty he will have to contend with is as to supplies. It will be impossible for him to advance very far, owing to the scarcity of provisions and forage for animals, before the railroad is competed to Chattanooga. The country through which the rebels are retreating is exceeding broken. The railroad crosses the Chickamauga river thirty-two times. Bragg will burn the bridges after him, and may be able to get away with his beaten and demoralized army.”

1 See the Salem Register of 5 November 1863 for a related article discussing Lincoln’s donation of the original draft.

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