20, 1863

The Campaign in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Everett’s History Corrected.

The following appears in the New York News, of December 3d:

Washington County, Md., Nov. 24.

To the Editor of the New York News:

In reading over  the late oration of Mr. Everett, delivered at Gettysburg, I have been very much struck with an assertion of his, which every man, woman and child of moral accountability in this country knows to be far from the truth. It is in relation to the time that Gen. Meade came up with gen. Lee’s army, and why an attack was not made. Mr. Everett says:

“Passing through the South Mountain, the Union army came up with that of the rebels on the twelfth, and found it securely posted on the heights of Marsh’s Run. His position was reconnoitered, and preparations made for an attack on the thirteenth. The depth of the river, swollen by the recent rains, authorized the expectation that he would be brought to a general engagement the following day. All advance was accordingly made by Gen. Meade on the morning of the fourteenth. But it was soon found that the rebels had escaped in the night, with such haste that Ewell’s corps forded the river where the water was breast high.”

It is well known here that, after the battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Lee’s army arrived in this county on Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th, and took position between Hagerstown and Falling Waters, on the Potomac. A large portion of his cavalry had arrived sooner, and commenced a series of fights, on Sunday, between Hagerstown and Williamsport, with Buford’s and Kilpatrick’s commands. These fights were quite severe, and resulted in the capture of several hundred of Federal cavalry, two pieces of cannon from Gen. Kilpatrick, and the driving of Buford’s and Kilpatrick’s commands to Boonsboro’, a distance of ten miles, by Tuesday evening. The Confederates were under Gens. Fitzhugh Lee and Jenkins. On Wednesday, the 8th, the fight was renewed with great spirit two miles west of Boonsboro’, but by 12 o’clock the Federal cavalry, with artillery, had fallen back to the town itself.

On the afternoon of this day, the 8th, Howard’s Corps, the van of the Federal army passed through Boonsboro’, the Confederate cavalry retiring before them, and took up a position in the front, adjacent the Confederate army. On Thursday morning, the 9th, quite early, Sedgwick’s Corps moved through and around the town toward the front. And during the day Gen. Meade and his main army marched through and took up a position in front of Gen. Lee’s army. His headquarters for several days were at the junction of Beaver Creek and Antietam, near a ridge called the “Devil’s Backbone,” adjacent to Kennedy’s Mill. His army instantly set about throwing up strong entrenchments, instead of attacking the Confederates. Five days thus intervened between the arrival of Gen. Meade’s army and the withdrawal of Gen. Lee’s forces, on Tuesday, the 14th. Ample time had been given for an attack if Gen. Meade had wished it. Day by day it was given out that the battle would begin, but it did not come off. For several days Gen. Lee’s army was drawn up in battle array, and every inducement held out for an attack, but the writer of this frequently heard general officers declare that they were fearful of a defeat, and would not assume the offensive. ->

It is a mystery to me where Mr. Everett got his information that Gen. Meade “came up with the rebels on the 12th, reconnoitered their position on the 13th, and moved to the attack on the 14th, and found they had escaped!” This is pure fiction, and known to thousands here to be false. Gen. Lee was surely found. His position was naturally strong, and was made still stronger. All who came in contact with his officers and men can testify that they prayed for an attack, but Gen. Meade did not accommodate them. A. P. Hill, who was posted to the rear of the St. James College, declared on Sunday, the 12th, that the Confederate army had rations but for two days, and that they would have to move elsewhere; hence the necessity for their recrossing the Potomac.–Veritas.


Great Doings in Gotham–Flora McFlimsey About.1
[New York Correspondence of the Philadelphia Inquirer.]

We hear much of the great things that are to be done among the fashionables up town, between now and Christmas. The sexton of Grace Church, the immaculate Brown, has orders to engineer at least a dozen first-class (that’s Brown’s phrase) parties, for all of which he has carte blanche as to expense. Some of them will cost as high as $2500, without including the hired plate and jewelry to be exhibited on the occasion. In one instance, “cards” have been issued to the number of three hundred, including the flower of all the modern city aristocracy. I say “modern” in order to draw the proper distinction between the ancien regime and the aristocracy which the war and the probable speculations growing out of the war have thrown upon the surface of society. It matters but little that these latter day saints are but little known among us; they have money and plenty of it; they intend to spend their money and make a “splurge.” In so doing they may expose themselves to harsh criticism, but then, as it is “good for trade,” and especially good for the jewelers, the dry goods dealers, the tailors, the milliners, the confectioners and the cooks, there is no good reason why the little weaknesses even of people who have more money than brains should not be indulged.

If “every dog has his day,” why should not old Ten-per-cent, or Snooks, or Rogers have his, if he has the means to foot the bill? A man with marriageable daughters is nobody in New York anyhow, Brown says, unless he can “make a splurge,” and if the hitherto Nobodies now have it in their power to metamorphose themselves into Somebodies, it would be ungracious if not uncharitable to say nay. We hear, too, of several diamond weddings on the tapis. In one case, the bridegroom is a gallant brigadier, and the bride the blooming daughter of one of our sensation clergymen. In another, the to-be-husband is a distinguished foreigner, and the lady, I believe, is the eldest daughter of a well-known Wall street broker.


DECEMBER 21, 1863

Just About to Subjugate Us.

We have expressed the opinion that this is the idea of the North, and upon it is founded the reconstruction scheme of Lincoln–a scheme to foil all possibility of reconstruction by fixing, as its primary condition, Negro emancipation, citizenship and social and political equality. Indeed, so firmly does this idea, that subjugation is almost accomplished, in the North prevail, that a late number of the New York Herald fixes upon Christmas as the probable termination of the war, and the unconditional submission of the South to whatever our inexorable abolition enemies choose to inflict. By Christmas, says the Herald, in all probability–certain by New Year’s day or early in January.

Time was when we thought the proposition to subjugate the South as absurd as to create a world. And we will say this now–if the South is to be subjugated, it will be to us, as a people, the most disgraceful performance which has been witnessed since the world began. It is of no use to mince matters; we declare as our solemn conviction that if eight millions of Southern people are brought to bow their necks to the yoke of the Northern conqueror, it will be simply because they have not the spirit or capacity of freemen. The fact that an army of invaders can penetrate our territory two hundred miles, and keep open their extended and defenceless lines of communication, is a terrible and ominous fact for us. It could not happen in Poland, where a little handful of brave souls, occupying a territory not so large as Georgia, are defying the power of the Russian autocrat. Either we are not half in earnest, or we lack, as a people, the heroism of the Poles.

It is much to be feared that, we, as a Confederate people, have done, and are doing, ourselves no credit in the past six months of this war. Even the Federals scorn to exult over the recent victory in front of Chattanooga, and say our troops took a causeless and senseless panic. We have seen several apologies for us in the Northern prints–and we a people struggling for the last vestige of liberty and independence! The surrender at Cumberland Gap, the late surprises and captures in Virginia; these, also, indicate a falling off, not only from the standard of a bold and brave people, but a terrible decline from what ought to be expected of such a people in a contest for all which a brave people hold dear.

Let us, however painful, dare to look at facts! They will do us good. Before us is the Sybernian bag of abolitionism, and our bitterest enemies preparing to drag us through it with a rope around our necks. Can any man fathom the deep degradation which Wilson, Lincoln and Seward mean to inflict upon us as a people? These men have the power of a vast empire to back their malevolence, and the vindictiveness of Satan himself, to gratify. Will any man tell us what Georgia will suffer, with her whites made houseless and homeless, and her Yankee police enforced by armed Negro troops in every town and village in the State? And yet such is undoubtedly the programme.

In the face of this most terrible destiny, what do we see? A most insensate people–speculating–hoarding–fooling in the face of ruin! The man drifting over Niagara who should amuse himself in counting his worldly estate in shinplasters, instead of catching up his paddle and straining every sinew for the shore, is as wise as they. We get information from Dougherty, Bajer, Thomas, Decatur and other wealthy counties, that the cribs and smoke houses are all locked up for higher prices; and it is useless to deny that in all the counties the god of avarice has taken possession of the souls of men, at a moment when, if they get the whole of Memminger’s pile, unless they were prepared to defend it by heroic valor, it would not be worth the seizing. ->

If there were a spark of the old Roman or Spartan heroism in our people, subjugation might be scorned. The enemy could no more penetrate our territory in force than he could march a powder train through Tartarus. But where is that noble spirit at home? We do not speak of the army–they are all right and mighty few. Where is the spirit at home–home, where it should buoy up, encourage and sustain the soldier, but which by pusillanimity ad lack of patriotism is really a drag on the army. If the Yankees are not right in their calculations to conquer us in a few months, is it any credit to us? Oh! arise countrymen, and prove yourselves worthy to be freemen!


Lincoln’s Message.

The New York Herald does not think Lincoln’s message a very hopeful affair in its plans. It says:

But President Lincoln wishes it to be understood that in offering this plan of restoration, it does not follow that it is irrevocable, or may not be set aside for some better plan–indeed, he suggests that the rebellious States may return through the door of Congress, but that Congress alone can determine when and how that door is to be opened. We conclude that Mr. Lincoln’s plans will be a failure, and it is quite possible that it has been submitted more with a view to open the question of an amnesty and restoration, or more to conciliate the radicals, than from any hope of the acceptance of these overtures by the States concerned, or any of them not under the absolute control of our armies.

We are now adrift at sea beyond our ancient landmarks, and upon what shore we may reach the anchorage of peace it would be vain to conjecture. We can only hope that from the very agitation which the restoration plan of the message will create we may reach some satisfactory “half-way rest.”

A Washington telegram says:

The reading of the President’s message today did not attract a very full attendance in the galleries. In the House the portion of the message stating that he should not retract or modify the emancipation proclamation was greeted with considerable applause upon the floor. The impression made by the message seemed to be generally favorable, its brevity being much commended.


In consideration of the scarcity of yarn, would it not be well for those who knit socks for the army, to try their ingenuity on a pair of cloth ones, cut and seamed a la moccasins? A very comfortable covering for the foot might be prepared in this way and much more expeditiously than by knitting; and all the scraps of waste cloth might thus be brought into immediate requisition. We claim the credit of the invention.–Atlanta Confederacy.



The Loss of the Weehawken.–We copy the following particulars relative to the sad disaster to the Monitor Weehawken, from a letter to the Traveller from the fleet off Charleston, December 7th:

“On Saturday, the 5th inst., we had a calm summer’s day. About midnight the breeze sprung up from the Northeast, and blew a gale. The vessels that rode at their anchors so quietly on Saturday, now plunged fearfully. The Ironsides lay about two miles from Sumter; the Montauk was on picket; the Nahant was to the Northeast about two hundred yards, and the Weehawken to the Southwest about a hundred yards. Commander Calhoun had been sent home unfit for duty a short time previously. Commander Duncan, of the Paul Jones, took charge of the Weehawken on Saturday.

“During the forenoon of Sunday, Commander Duncan visited the flag ship, and while there the Weehawken shipped a heavy sea which entered the forward hatch and filled the anchor room. This anchor room is a water tight compartment with a valve under the cabin door to let the water aft to the pumps, but at this time it must have been out of order, as the water could not get aft. The cabin door was closed, yet the bars that were to hold it in its place (so as to keep the water in the anchor room) could not be found. The officers and men inured to dangers of this kind seemed to care but little for what was going on.

“They went below and quietly partook of their dinner, but soon after they were astonished at the rapidity with which the water was gaining upon them. The executive officer commenced to pay out the chain, but the hawser pipe was soon under water, and a six inch stream came pouring in. The paying out of the chain did not relieve the ill-fated vessel, and signals of distress were made to the flag ship. Boats were lowered from all vessels knowing the signals, but before they could reach her she sunk bow first in five fathoms of water, carrying with her twenty-six men and four engineers, including men in irons and men sick, also men at work  in the engine room–supposed the whole watch on duty at the time.

“It is presumed that when the water reached the forward part of the boiler, it made steam so suddenly as to suffocate all hands in the engine room, as not one who were there escaped. The yeoman was picked [up] but died soon afterward. Much credit is due Captains Ammen and Bradford of the navy for their great exertions made to save the perishing sailors. A charge of want of proper care would seem to rest upon the officers of the Weehawken. Some, however, have advanced the idea that the forward overhang of the vessel has broken off, but Mr. Hughes, Inspector of iron-clads, thinks that cannot be the case.

“If the Weehawken is ever raised, it will then be known where the blame, if any, rests. The Weehawken had but recently returned from Port Royal and had an unusual quantity of shot and shell on board, which probably settled her too far in the water. It is calculated when these vessels are under water but fifteen inches, that two hundred tons would sink them bodily, consequently a much less weight would carry them down bow first.”


There are now about 6,000 rebel prisoners in Camp Douglas, very much exercised about the President’s proclamation offering pardon to all those who will take the proposed oath. A large number express themselves willing to take that oath. Over one hundred have enrolled their names, and have had them forwarded to Washington, offering to enlist in the United States navy.

The Japanese.–A “traveller,” in a letter to the London Times, says:

“I assure you, if we go to war with the Japanese, we must not blind ourselves with the belief we shall have a second Chinese affair. They are bold, courageous, proud, and eager after every kind of knowledge. A friend of mine gave a workman a Bramah lock to put on a box; it was not discovered until some time afterward, and only then by the absence of the name, that the lock had been imitated, and as the workman confessed, the original kept as a pattern. I have been on board a steamer (paddle) which used three years ago to run between Nagasaki and Jeddo, six hundred miles, whose engines and boilers, and every part of her machinery, were made of copper. She was built by a doctor in Jeddo, whose only guide was a Dutch description of a steam engine translated into Japanese. An American gunnery officer was sent over in 1859 in the Powhatan to teach them gunnery. He was courteously received, and then taken over the arsenal at Jeddo. He returned to the ship, saying ‘he had been taught a lesson instead of having to teach.’

“In many of the arts and manufactures they excel us; their beautiful castings in bronze would puzzle the most experienced European workman. I have shown specimens to clever workmen who have confessed they could not imitate them. Though they do not know how to blow glass, I have seen samples which would rival in brilliancy any made in England. The French Minister had a large ball, so clear and of such perfect color that he believed it to be a gigantic sapphire, and bought it for a good round sum. Their paper imitations of leather are perfect; their paper waterproof coats are bought by captains of ships for their exposed boats’ crews; their own clocks are good, and they have imitated our watches; they walk about with ‘pedometers’ attached to their belts, and they are not backward in copper-plate engraving and perspective. Their china is far superior to the Chinese. The country abounds in coal, though they only use that found close to the surface; but even that, a sort of bituminous shale, is good. In gold and silver I believe they could rival Mexico and Australia; iron, copper and tin are found in profusion. A friend of mine at Yokohama gave a Japanese a piece of English cotton shirting; in a few days the man brought back two pieces, and my friend had much difficulty in saying which was his, so closely had it been imitated. In fact, they are a people who want for nothing but teachers.”


There are now in the United States service 223 regiments of cavalry; and so great is the waste and destruction of horses that General Halleck estimates there will be required, for the coming year, 435,000 horses. The waste is due to the miserable treatment of the animals by the cavalry soldiers, and General Halleck recommends that authority be given to dismount such offenders and transfer them to the infantry service.


A young lady in Richmond, writing to her friends in Baltimore, says that the gaieties of society in that city consist chiefly of what are called “starvation parties,” at which people meet in each other’s houses and have music and dancing, but nothing to eat or drink. The fair writer attends these parties twice a week, and she avers that they have a good deal of fun but no supper.


DECEMBER 23, 1863


The Rebel Cotton Loan.—Foreign sympathizers with secession, who were inveigled into investments in the confederate cotton loan, will not read the report of Mr. Memminger, confederate secretary of the treasury, with the highest satisfaction. It reveals to them the unpleasant fact that they are likely to realize neither cotton nor money very soon, and if not soon they must now see it will be never. Mr. Memminger states that the government realized some 399,753 bales of cotton by the loan, at a cost of a little over thirty millions in confederate bonds. Over one-fifth of the cotton has disappeared or been destroyed, and the government now has in store about 329,500 bales, all but 39,000 bales of which is in the cotton houses on the plantations where it was raised, and therefore not absolutely secure in the present military exposure of the cotton states. Besides, time has damaged the bagging and roping and the bales are not in a moveable condition, and there are no supplies of these articles to be had at present. These statements are evidently made to show the foreign capitalists, who advanced the hard cash for this cotton at nominal prices, that they must be patient for some time to come. Mr. Memminger carefully avoids any statement as to how much has been realized by the confederate government, either abroad or at home, by this cotton speculation, but it is evident it has turned out just as was predicted at the time; that the British speculators have lost all they invested in it; that the cotton is still on hand, convenient for confiscation by the federal government when they can get at it, and that King Cotton has proved a damage and a disgrace to the rebellion, instead of an irresistible power. “For this and all other mercies, make us duly thankful.”


Hard Coal Ashes.—Hard coal ashes for manure are much more valuable as an absorbent of the fertilizing elements in manures than is generally supposed, and may be worth something as a disinfectant. It will not be difficult for some of your readers to try the experiment, as I have, and satisfy themselves. My belief is, that all the ashes and all the drainage of our cities should be combined, and thus, out of two evils, bring an inexhaustible good. I have no doubt but that effluvia proceeding from the slaughter-houses in Brighton could be thoroughly neutralized by the use of anthracite coal ashes, and the atmosphere rendered as pure as in any other neighborhood. It will be found, upon mixing a moderate proportion of ashes with the contents of the privy, cess-pool or hog-pen, that in a short time the offensive odor has entirely disappeared. It is not expelled, as by the use of chlorides, but held in combination until, by its use as manure, the earth and roots of plants liberate and use it. Dry peat, charcoal dust and other like substances have the same power. But nothing is so cheap as hard coal ashes, which have generally been considered only a nuisance.–New England Farmer.

The Exchange of Prisoners.—The whole matter of exchange of prisoners has been entrusted to Gen. Butler, and Gen. Meredith, who has badly mismanaged the business, is required to report to Gen. Butler and act under his orders. The flag of truce boat was under orders to leave for City Point on the James river on Monday, with a thousand rebel prisoners, in charge of Gen. Butler, who would offer to deliver them in exchange for a thousand of our men now in Richmond, and there is reason to expect the success of the experiment, and the renewal of exchanges on fair terms, except so far as the captured slaves in our military service are concerned. In there behalf there must be distinct negotiations, and there is little room to doubt that our government is fixed in its determination to retaliate if this class is not dealt with according to the usages of civilized warfare. The fate of the Negroes is involved with that of the southern Union men enlisted in our armies, whom the rebels claim the right to punish for desertion or treason. They, also, must be protected against outrage, as well as the Negroes, though their claims seem to have been strangely overlooked.


A New Motive for Peace.—The Mobile Register, which has been bitterly rebellious, is now squinting towards peace and reconstruction, and argues the matter in this way: The war was commenced in the cotton states to secure more slaves; within the last year, and since the change in the policy of the war, at least one million have been added to their former stock by fugitives from the border states. These have been purchased by those who had foresight enough to hoard gold two years since, at low prices; therefore a peace which should secure their title to these slaves would not be unacceptable. This idea will hardly be acceptable to slave-breeding Virginia. And the Mobile peace man seems to forget too that there is a slight obstacle to the arrangement in President Lincoln’s proclamation. It is a good sign, though, to find peace talked about in Mobile on any terms.


Patriotism that Amounts to Something.—About an hour before the House of Representatives met Wednesday morning, an old man with a knapsack on his back, all dusty and worn, was seen standing in the main door-way, looking with wonder on the scene before him. He was a poor farmer from Pennsylvania and was on his way home from Virginia, where he had just buried his youngest son, who, as a soldier, had died from wounds received in battle. The knapsack on his back was that of his dead boy. All this was quite enough to enlist my feelings, but when the old man talked affectionately about his dear country and the old flag, and then told me that he had now no less than five sons in the army of the United States, I could not look upon him without intense regard. As he stood there, too modest to take a seat, and waiting to have a parting word with the man whom he had helped to elect to Congress, he presented a picture not to be forgotten.–Washington letter in Journal of Commerce.


From Washington.

Washington, Dec. 22.–Information received to-night from the Army of the Potomac says there are no indications of a retrograde movement towards Washington, as has been reported; nor is it believed that the enemy, in its present position, are enabled to give us much annoyance.

Their cavalry, diminished considerably on our front, are not equal to the task of making any formidable raid on our base of supplies, owing to the impoverished condition of their horses.

The insufficiency of shoes and blankets, if the statements of deserters can be relied upon, renders it equally improbable that Lee’s infantry can be called from their strong position and comfortable shelter to undertake a campaign during the rigor of winter.

The probable number of re-enlistments into the Veteran Corps from the Army of the Potomac is estimated at 10,000.

The bill which passed both Houses of Congress to supply deficiencies, appropriates $20,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, for the payment of bounties and advance pay, providing no bounties excepting those that are not provided by law shall be paid to any persons enlisting before the 5th of January next; that the money paid by drafted persons under the enrollment act shall be paid into the Treasury, and shall be drawn out on requisitions, as is the case of other public money; and the money so paid shall be kept in the Treasury as a special deposit, applicable only to the expenses of the draft and for the procurement of substitutes; for these purposes it is hereby appropriated.


Recapture of the Steamer Planter.

The Morris Island correspondent of the New Bedford Mercury writes that the steamer Planter, the vessel which was run out of Charleston harbor by Robert Smalls and turned over to the blockading fleet, has been captured by the rebels. It appears that the vessel was bound round Stono inlet, and the creek dividing Cole and Folly islands, through Lighthouse inlet, but owing to the dense fog prevailing at the time, her pilot ran her past the turn-off in the creek, continuing on too far up the inlet towards Seceshville. He did not discover his error until he ran in among the rebel picket boats patrolling the vicinity, when, as a natural consequence, she was captured. The pecuniary loss will not be very great, as the vessel was an old cotton dragger, but the fate of her crew may be a rather serious matter, for all except the captain and engineers are contrabands, and some of them formed a part of the crew who ran away with her. It is believed that Smalls was piloting her on the occasion.


Recapture of the Chesapeake.–The Chesapeake has at length been recaptured, by the Ella and Annie, Lieut. Commanding J. F. Nickels, in Sambro Harbor. It seems that her movements have been for some time known to the inhabitants and authorities in Nova Scotia, who, however, had no means of communicating with the gunboats until the Ella and Annie came in for coal. She was informed of the whereabouts of the Chesapeake, followed her from one hiding place to another, and finally captured her, with three only of her crew. It is reported that the Nova Scotian authorities in attempting to arrest Braine were resisted.2


A Desperate Fellow.–One of a squad of conscripts who passed Pittsfield from the east last Wednesday night, adopted desperate means to escape while the train was in rapid motion, and within a mile of Chatham. He managed to open the car door, and in order to effect his escape, tried to stab the guard who stood upon the platform. The latter, however, saw the glitter of the blade, and, trying to ward it off, knocked the conscript from the train, immediately firing upon him. The knife made only a slight flesh wound in the guard’s shoulder, but the conscript accomplished his object, for although the train was stopped as soon as possible, nothing could be found of him, and they were obliged to go on, leaving him behind.


It is worth while to look to the record of the beginning of the war, if only to see at what rate and in what direction we are drifting.

Here is the Crittenden resolution, in which Congress, by a nearly unanimous vote, pledged itself to the People and the States, to confine the war to its only just and legitimate purpose, the suppression of the Rebellion, and the restoration of the Union:

“That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the Southern States now in revolt against the constitutional Government and in arms around the capital; that in this national emergency Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole country; that this war is not waged on our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.”

At the same time Secretary Seward, in a letter to our Ministers abroad, took this ground:

“There is not even a pretext for the complaint that the disaffected States are to be conquered by the United States, if the revolution fail; for the rights of the States, and the condition of every human being in them, will remain subject to exactly the same laws and forms of administration, whether the revolution shall succeed or whether it shall fail. In the one case, the States would be federally connected with the new Confederacy; in the other, they would, as now, be members of the United States; but their constitutions and laws, customs, habits, and institutions in either case will remain the same.”

These pledges secured the acquiescence of the people in the war. Kentucky and Maryland adhered to the Union cause, upon this condition. The people of the whole North rallied to the support of the Administration, and gave it all it asked in the way of armies and armament, men and money.

Now the President proposes to carry on the war for the subjugation of the States, and not of the Rebels, and to re-organize the States, placing the political power in the hands of one-tenth, and using it for his own re-election.

If three years have created so wide a departure from the course laid out, what are the chances of the future? Who can tell what new violence is to be done the cause of Constitutional government by the reckless men who are bent on using this war for their own selfish and ambitious purposes?–Albany Argus.


The Pirates Rescued by the People of Halifax.–At one o’clock Saturday afternoon the steamer Chesapeake and the prisoners on board of her were delivered over to the British Government by A. G. Clary, commander of the Dacotah. Upon the arrival of the boat containing the prisoners at the queen’s wharf, the excitement became intense. The prisoners were immediately seized by a boat’s crew in the slip and hurried off by the crowd in attendance. Upon the Government officers moving to arrest the prisoners under a warrant, they were seized and held by prominent citizens and rendered powerless to perform their duty. The crowd finally succeeded in getting the pirates off in a small boat, which forthwith moved down the bay. The affair caused the greatest excitement throughout the city. What course the authorities will pursue in the matter it is as yet impossible to say. The pirates are now all at liberty, scattered throughout the province. The federal vessels and gunboats Niagara, Dacotah, Ella and Annie, Acacia and Cornubia were preparing to leave on Saturday, and some of them left Saturday night.

, 1863

Sailor’s Grog and Prize Money.–A member of Congress from the city of New York has concluded to lay a resolution before Congress, the effect of which will be to lay a resolution before Congress, the effect of which will be the restoration of grog in the navy and a prompt and immediate disbursement of the prize money due to sailors. The following is a brief synopsis of their view of the case: They state that the Secretary of the Navy has broken faith with them in several ways. First, in passing a law lately prohibiting sailors from being relieved when their time expires. Men are nominally enlisted for a year, and leave their families with the intention of returning at that time. When they are thousands of miles from home, however, an order is issued from the Navy Department, in obedience to which the contract with the men is broken and they are kept as many months as the Secretary deems it proper beyond their time. They next allude to the stoppage of their grog, and state that in cold and wintry weather, at sea and in port, their grog always exhilarated them and never injured them. They also state that since the stoppage of grog, smuggling and drunkenness have increased ten-fold in the American navy. They then refer to the prize money and repeat at length the facts, the substance of which was given in a report of the sailors’ meeting some time since. Another object of their complaint is the lack of liberty on shore. Some of their friends, they state, had been eight and ten and twelve months on board ship, never being allowed on shore for one moment. This incarceration is said to have injured the men in several ways.


A Brave Man.–John Jackson, ship’s cook on the  mortar-boat C. P. Williams, attached to Admiral Dahlgren’s fleet, has recently had conferred upon him a medal for bravery by the Secretary of the Navy. He had volunteered alone, in a ship’s boat, to divert the course of two dangerous-looking torpedoes that the enemy had set afloat in the current toward the mortar-boat on which he served. Finding the infernal machines attached to each other with wires, he dexterously cut them apart without exploding them. He then removed the “plungers” and emptied them of powder, of which the smaller torpedo had 67 pounds, the larger 92 pounds. The cases and exploding apparatus were sent to Secretary Welles, with an account of Mr. Jackson’s exploit. Mr. Welles acknowledged the receipt of the torpedoes, and expressed himself in high terms of commendation, at the same time transmitting to Mr. Jackson the well-earned “medal for bravery.”


English Opinion of Southern Railroads.–The Southern correspondent of the London Times says it is safer to go into action than to take a long journey by rail in the Confederacy. The trains run “wild,” that is, at the convenience of the conductors, and there being but single lines of track there is nothing to prevent collisions; the rails are worn down to the thickness of a lady’s little finger, and the numerous trestle bridges creak and tremble as a train passes in such a fashion as would, in England, elicit one hundred letters per diem to the Times from agonized passengers. The Times’ correspondent was two days and two nights in getting from Chickamauga to Atlanta, a distance of only 130 miles.

The Recent Embezzlement in the Treasury Department: How it Was Done.–The arrest of Charles H. Cornwall, head of the Redemption Bureau in the U. S. Treasury Department, has already been mentioned by telegraph. His plan for embezzling the Government funds was as follows:

It has been the custom to have redeemed bills counted in his office, then cut lengthwise, and each of the halves wrapped up separately, labelled and sent to two different offices to be recounted. If these two countings tallied with Mr. Cornwall’s return, the money was burned. The burning was done under the supervision of a Committee of Three, of which Mr. Cornwall was one. It now turns out that during the burning, Mr. C. had a habit of slipping a package of halves into his pocket, noting the denomination, and whether it was the upper or lower half of the notes. Then he would take another package of opposite halves but of the same denomination. At the next count he would extract the total amount of his theft from whole bills of like denomination, sending the abstracted halves to be counted a second time.

A boy chanced one day to see him slip one of the packages into his pocket, and immediately notified the Treasurer. At the next count the halves were taken from the two offices and compared, when those stolen, not being the actual halves of the same bills, although of the same denominations, were easily detected. The amount thus stolen can only be arrived at by confession, as millions of dollars were burned under the superintendence of Mr. Cornwall and the committee. The plan was very simple and ingenious, the only dexterity required being to select and pocket the respective halves of the same denomination without being detected by the other members of the committee. This was generally done while they were checking the tallies of notes as they were thrown into the furnace.


A Northern Association to Cultivate Mississippi Cotton Lands.–The Traveller states that a few days since several gentlemen of this city held a meeting to consider the subject of forming an association to cultivate a section of the cotton lands of the State of Mississippi (near the borders of the river), now abandoned by the rebel planters, and within the limits of the military occupation of the United States. The originator proposes to obtain capital by subscription for his new scheme to the extent of one hundred thousand dollars. About half this sum has already been obtained. The services of a skillful superintendent have also been secured, while free black labor will be plentiful there for years to come. One-third of the net profits are to be paid to the superintendent, and the remainder will be divided amongst the members of the association.

DECEMBER 26, 1863


President’s Message in Dixie.

The following is the view of President Lincoln’s Message and Pardoning Proclamation in Richmond:

Mr. Lincoln’s Proclamation–An Attempt to Corrupt and Divide the South.
[From the Richmond Sentinel, Dec. 14.]

Abraham’s Message and Proclamation.

Supposing our readers have a curiosity to see the late message of President Lincoln to his Congress, and presuming that Lincoln wants our people to see how gracious he is, and what a loving proclamation he has issued to us all in Dixie, we publish both in our issue to-day. Whenever the British envoys wished to tempt our fathers in the Revolution by their proffers of amnesty, the Continental Congress always assisted in giving their proclamations a wide circulation; for not only did Congress confide in the loyalty of the people, but they considered those papers as calculated to animate the popular patriotism.

A hundred times stronger are our reasons for expecting this result now. Never did British commissioner or general, in all his arrogance, put forth so impudent a message as the Washington man has sent down to us. He is going to forgive us something, it seems, on certain terms. To the most liberal, unqualified and all-embracing offer of forgiveness to our fathers, Dr. Franklin replied–“We, who have committed no offence, need no forgiveness.” Our answer would be the same, even if Lincoln’s offer imitated the humanity of Britain’s. Forgive us what? Forgive us because he has invaded our States with armed multitudes, to destroy our liberties and compass our destruction? Forgive us because he has plundered our seas and ravaged our coasts? Forgive us for having burned our towns and desolated our homes? Forgive us for the many thousands of our brothers and sons and dear friends whom he has slain upon our own soil, and while repelling his invasion? Forgive us for the dear mutilated ones who will remain the legacy of the war when the war shall be over? Forgive us for having outraged even the sensibilities of Europe by his attempt to excite servile revolt? Forgive us for his Beast Butler, and for the thousand atrocities which he has let loose against us?

He may forgive us for these, his crimes; but so long as we have hearts to feel and hands to strike we shall never forgive him. How impudent it is to come, with our brothers’ blood upon his accursed hands, and ask us to accept his forgiveness! But he goes further. He makes his forgiveness dependent upon terms. We have only to swear obedience to his will. We have to swear that the proclamation of emancipation which he issued last year, and which we have received with mocking, and which has since been a general derision, shall be submitted to by us. Our society is to be upturned. Instead of that distinction between the races necessary for the happiness of both, he asks us to swear that we will have none at all, until his Congress of fanatics or his packed bench of judges shall say that his proclamation was wind. But all this will not do. We must abandon to that demon thirst for their blood, which has been indecently exhibited from the first, all the men who have rendered our annals conspicuous, and under whose lead we have won a fame, if not a name, among the nations. ->

We must leave the President to Abraham’s tender mercies. The Army of the Potomac must offer up their glorious leader, under whom both have become illustrious. Beauregard must be hung. In short, every officer down to colonel, and every civil functionary from Congressman to messenger, and from Governor to constable, are to be retained for Lincoln’s malignity. How he and Seward and Sumner would gloat over the hanging bodies of the “dead rebels!”

Is even Lincoln base enough to imagine that a brave people such as the Confederates have proven themselves, would, under any stress of fortune, prove traitors to the men whom they have called to lead them, in camp or council?

This miserable attempt to divide and corrupt us will be contemptuously resented as the insult which it is. And this is the best that Lincoln can think of for us–utter prostration at his feet–a social ruin, horrible to every white man, rich or poor; and our choicest citizens whose names are our pride handed over to be hanged!

This infamous proclamation will but arouse us to new zeal and new efforts.


The Last Wrinkle.–The latest “wrinkle,” in this age of novelties, is a new fashioned tea or coffee cup, contrived for the benefit of gentlemen with heavy mustachios. It is provided with a neat band over the top, of a piece with a cup itself, on which the luxurious mustache rests, while the mouth, at the same time, finds itself conveniently situated with reference to an aperture large enough to allow free egress for the fluid within. Thus the most savage-phized military man may imbibe without immersing the delight of his sweetheart in the drink.


The Conscription Law–The Draft to be Suspended.–It was demonstrated that the conscription law will not be amended before the holiday recess is taken, as a necessary result, the draft will be postponed. The Military Committee of the House reported their amendments, which leave the three hundred dollar clause as it is, and simply consolidate the classes. Senator Wilson received letters from some sections, stating that owing to the probable abolition of the financial clause, recruiting has ceased, those desiring to enlist preferring to wait and go at the still larger premium which will certainly result when the price of substitutes is unlimited.


The London Daily News publishes a letter from Hull, dated Nov. 27th, which says a vessel got away some days back, an undoubted “ram,” with masts fitted to lower on the deck and telescope funnel. She was launched with steam, and came alongside the west pier. Two cabs full of Southern looking gentlemen drove down and went on board, and she was off like a shot. Every one was taken by surprise.


1 This is not the cute little girl Flora McFlimsey of the series of children’s books by Marian Foster Curtiss (b. 1909), which are still in print today, but her antecedent, who appeared in an 1857 poem, “Nothing to Wear,” by William Allen Butler. The character of Flora was used as a device for mocking the idle rich, who lamented that she had “nothing to wear” despite the immense amount of shopping in which she had indulged while in Paris. (Text of the poem.) Her male equivalent was Fitz Frivols, who appeared in the poem “Nothing to Do (An Accompaniment to ‘Nothing to Wear’)” in the same year. The poems must have struck a chord and become immediately well-known, as Attorney General Caleb Cushing warned later in 1857 that, “all the follies of all the Fitz Frivols and Flora McFlimseys in the land are as nothing, in effect, on the financial condition of the United States . . .” (An Address Delivered Before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, p. 36)

2 See “Rebel Pirates” in the December 16, 1863 copy of The Constitution.

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